Friday, 30 May 2008
Those are the words of a mother who reported her own sons to the police after she discovered they had brutally attacked a man leaving him blind in one eye. As a consequence she has lost contact with most of her family, and of course her two sons are now in prison. It is a very sad and emotional story but I think she is a very brave woman and should be highly commended for her actions. The full story can be read HERE.
Monday, 26 May 2008
I asked what regulations were the biggest burden to their business and the replies were really interesting: 17% said maternity/paternity leave; 8% said pensions; 21% said money laundering; but 43% said health & safety regulations with many adding additional comments on the same theme.
I also asked what one change would help their business most and unsurprisingly the replies ranged from a cut in corporate tax for small businesses and the reduction of fuel duty through to less red tape. Businesses, especially small ones, are often forgotten by media commentators when reporting on the "credit crunch" and the impact it is having domestically. But it is quite clear from the surveys that business is already finding it tough, and that they are tightening their belts - which sadly often means job losses - in order to prepare for some difficult times ahead. However there was one respondent who didn't ask for a change in tax or red tape. He simply said that the one change that would help his business most was for "Labour being voted out". Quite.
Saturday, 24 May 2008
Friday, 23 May 2008
Saturday, 17 May 2008
ps - There were photos taken but I look a right wally in my purple hooded pac-a-mac so I am not posting them!! But if any parents want a copy please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, 10 May 2008
Our surveys are coming back thick and fast and for the first time I am beginning to see the "cost of living" listed as a key concern. Sadly I expect to see it a lot more in the near future.
Thursday, 8 May 2008
It was all a bit daunting to start off with because I was asked to send my top 10 records in advance but they couldn't be depressing or have any reference to death or dying in them - for obvious reasons. So when we started the interview I was very conscious that the listeners were most likely to be extremely unwell and that they were looking to be distracted and entertained - no pressure then! But when the two DJs are sitting in football tops, taking the mickey out of each other, it was hard not to relax and enjoy the experience.
The two hours flew by and we covered a whole range of topics from local politics, the state of the Conservative Party, Boris the Mayor through to crime (Ian is a police officer when he is not volunteering at the hospital), community action programmes and mixed sex wards. KGB (or Bill) is brilliant - he is a real "man of the people" with strong views on a number of issues. On a number of occasions I could hear myself chuckling into the mic as he and Ian exchanged witty remarks - although I was most upset when they both disagreed with me that blue cheese "is the best cheese" (their signature question).
It was actually harder than I thought to pick my top 10 records. My taste is so eclectic that the top 10 change on a daily basis! Anyway, here are the top 10 non-depressing tunes chosen for Hospital Radio Medway - if only I knew how to upload them onto a e-mixed tape for you all to listen to!!
1) Paint it Black, Rolling Stones
2) Town called Malice, The Jam
3) This is the One, The Stone Roses
4) History, Thirteen Senses
5) We've Got Tonight, Bob Seger
6) Islands in the Stream, Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers
7) Wish you were here, Pink Floyd
8) Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol
9) Romeo & Juliet, Dire Straits
10) The Man Who Sold the World, Nirvana
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
The Home Secretary was right to point out that, given the increasing strength of modern day cannabis varieties, there is huge uncertainty over the impact on users' mental health. Shadow Home Secretary David Davis highlighted the dangers of the downgrading of cannabis to a Class C drug four years ago in a speech to Spring Forum. He said:
One thing can wreck opportunities, destroy freedom, and shatter lives: drugs. And the first thing I will do as Home Secretary is reverse this Government's foolish reclassification policy on cannabis. Let me tell you why. The Times recently told the story of a young cannabis user called Steve. His father Terry recalls how Steve turned to him one evening while watching television and said: "Why did you ring the BBC?" Terry said he hadn't. "Yes you did" Steve said. "You rang them and told them I was lazy and they've been broadcasting it all day". Steve had become paranoid and started to hear voices. Three years later, and after 3 months in a psychiatric ward, Steve lives at home with his parents. His paranoia is controlled by medication but he still hears voices, is unable to work and remains afraid to go out alone. But compared with some, Steve is lucky.
The paper featured another article. A moving account from the mother of an art student. After a harrowing account of his addiction, she wrote: "I knew how my bright, clever, acerbic, handsome son had been destroyed, his creative brain damaged, his strong physique crippled. What made this boy, my lively, lovely, articulate son with his many gifts of perception, art, facility with languages, writing skills, critical capacity, acting ability, physical beauty, elegance of mind and body, sell his life to drugs? George, her son, progressively declined into psychosis caused by cannabis. He died in a drug dealer's flat of heroin poisoning, the drug he took to escape the terrors of his psychotic episodes. This weekend is the fourth anniversary of his death.
You can't listen to those two stories and believe cannabis is harmless. After four studies proved the link between cannabis and psychosis, the papers were full of such stories. Including from those who had once been protagonists for cannabis legalisation. That was until their own children had suffered from the ill effects of marijuana. The past 20 years have seen super potent varieties of cannabis emerge, 10 times as powerful, and 10 times as dangerous. Making the problems worse.
Those who use cannabis by the age of 15 are over three times as likely to develop psychosis. In South London, the incidence of psychosis has doubled since 1964. Some commentators say it is not the job of government to stop people ruining their lives. Well I believe it is when youngsters start smoking marijuana at the age of 10 or less.
Today this Government's policy on drugs is sending mixed messages to our children. Reclassification of cannabis has persuaded many that cannabis is safe and legal. Wrong. It is neither. We have opposed this lunacy. And we will reverse it.
The Government has a responsibility to stop children and young people starting on the path of self-destruction. And it has a responsibility to stop those hell bent on self-destruction from ruining other people's lives.
Four years later, and for some four years too late, the Government has finally recognised that it made a huge mistake. If only it had listened earlier. For some it may just be too late.
Monday, 5 May 2008
The Snodland Festival is back and 2008 promises to be absolutely fantastic.
This year it will be over the weekend of 19th & 20th July with two excellent pop tribute acts - Queen and Abba (Iain Dale are you reading this?) on Saturday; and then an amazing classical concert on the Sunday involving choirs from the primary schools in Snodland singing alongside the City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra.
Further information can be found at the festival website HERE.
Thursday, 1 May 2008
In Labour's 1997 and 2001 manifestos they promised to eliminate mixed sex wards but 11 years on they are having to repeat their promise because they have failed to make true on the commitment. So why should we believe that this is anything more than just a cynical attempt to relaunch the Labour Party as it descends further down the opinion polls?
I think mixed sex wards are an abomination in what should be a dignified environment of care for the ill - especially, although not exclusively, for elderly patients. I genuinely hope that this is more than another promise to be broken by this failing Labour Government.