My 2 cents for the 4 topics

Today on the Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show (with Paddy sitting in for Jeremy) there were four topics for which I had opinions floating round my head, so in order for me to get them off my chest (because apparently that’s where they’ve ended up) I’ll share my 2 cents (or pence) here.

The topics are as follows:

  • NHS Hertfordshire Controversy
  • Social Media Sperm Donors
  • Universal Credit Debate
  • In Praise of Baths

NHS Hertfordshire Controversy
– They’re set to ban obese people and smokers from receiving non-urgent surgery.

I think it is unfortunate that both smoking and obesity come under the same heading for this ban. While I believe they’re both generally based on addiction (nicotine and sugar/over-eating), smoking in the UK has been in decline and has reached a point where it’s generally not acceptable. I think this point also means it’s easier than ever to no only not take up smoking but to quit if one already smokes (although if you’ve smoked for decades then quitting is likely to be tough).

Obesity on the other hand is on the increase and has reached a point (although not in all circles) where it’s just accepted as a norm. The fact that the NHS itself has a problem with its own staff being obese makes a ban somewhat laughable. I believe they got strict on smoking on NHS property, and I think this move, which sets an example of what is healthy living, is a positive move, but have they considered banning the consumption of refined sugar on their premises?

Obesity however is an epidemic, and yes it costs the NHS dearly, and as one speaker on the show pointed out, it could break the NHS.

One could argue that the NHS would be broken without the obesity crisis, but regardless, its funding levels and the service it offers should be based on the health of the nation, and obesity is a known factor; it needs to work with this issue and not avoid it. I’m sure there is help through the NHS, such as from one’s local GP, where obesity is an issue or concern and the system needs to ensure there are adequate programs in place to assist people, from educating about food (and what is actually food and what is just peddled nonsense that one can ingest) to practical techniques to shift weight through exercise and changing lifestyles. Ultimately our lifestyles are at fault, and this includes consumables are stuck under our noses.

One speaker on the show was terribly ignorant regarding these addictions, painting them as simple choices. I agree that the decision to first start smoking is quite a simple one in comparison, and to start is a stupid one, but the “choice” to stop, once an addiction and its routines take hold, is a different kettle of fish; addiction is difficult to beat, the speaker herself was just one of (I think the minority) who never face any sort of unhealthy behaviour.

Yes, there are people who pawn off the Health Service rather than knuckling down and making the real effort to help themselves; these people should be rooted out and pushed aside. But to refuse a knee operation because someone is overweight, thus limiting their ability to actually exercise and loose weight, is just wrong. There are some also non-urgent operations that I don’t think should be dished out by the NHS, but I’d have to look at a list of those to really get into that.

It is also quite… lets say strange, that smokers who pay so much tax, and thus contribute to the NHS’ budget could get banned from some of their services. Perhaps anyone who doesn’t consume their 5-a-day in fruit and veg should be banned from using the NHS.

Social Media Sperm Donors
– Some lesbian couples who are desperate for a baby are turning to Facebook to find donors.

I think this topic is so wrong on many levels, and I have to admit that my views are harsh and quite bigoted. This might also seem quite shocking given my previous sympathies towards addiction, but that I’m sure is all down to life experiences.

My knee-jerk reaction to this topic was probably “if these women want children then they should consider the type of relationship they’re in”. Again, this could be compared with the “choices” illustrating the previous topic, so for me to go from stating there is no choice where addiction is concerned, then there is no choice where who you fall for is concerned. My point here is that “you can’t have the best of both worlds” – I was always taught that you need a man and a woman, and love, to make a baby.

My other reasoning is that we are over-populating this world. One guy phoned in and spoke on the show about how he believed that, while he was a donor, there was a moral obligation for him to not provide too many wanting couples with children, his cut off point was around the 8 or 9 mark. 8 or 9. I face-palmed at this point. If there is a moral cut off point above 0, then my figure is 2, or ideally 1. One or two is my opinion about how many children any couple should have (and I’m saying this when I have three siblings), but the world is over-populated and to essentially replace ourselves with more than one other (which is what I think we’re doing when we have children) then we’re adding to the problem, and this problem increases with each generation.

If such couples want children, then I think they should consider adoption, but I do question if such a family environment is a good idea. Yes not all families are the same, and there are plenty of different-sex couple relationships where kids aren’t brought up well, but to plan it that way, again, if you can turn it into a “choice” then it shouldn’t happen; the natural order is for a mother and a father.

And a for my final argument on this topic, the process just made me cringe, regardless of the two options as they were labelled (AI or NI).

Universal Credit Debate
– Some recipients say the 6 week wait for the first payment is causing them major issues.

I totally agree. Waiting 6 weeks for benefit payments to start rolling in utter stupidity; lots of people relying on this money do not have six weeks worth of household expenses lying around when they find themselves signing up for benefit – ideally they would, and sure, there are all too many people who live off their last penny each week (and then some), buying things they don’t need and not having an ability to save for a rainy day; ideally everyone could, but that’s perhaps another culture thing (another addiction perhaps). These systems obviously get designed by people who don’t have a clue about the world the people live in that they’re supposedly designed for.

There was also another topic within this one about a Credit helpline that was costing people a packet to phone, again something else not properly considered. This will apparently now change to a free-phone number. Of course this will be funded by the tax payer, including those that can save for a rainy day, and also some non-addicts too I’m sure.

A point I don’t think was raised on the show, since it seemed to be mostly about the phone line, was if a Universal Basic Income (UBI) was adopted and dished out to all (and claimed back in taxes from those that earn enough) this would mitigate this issue and ensure all people continue to receive an income should other channels stop. There are arguments for and against UBI though. Of course those that are mortgaged up to the hilt and have the latest iPhone out on contract whilst paying for a car they will never own will still be left up creek with a teaspoon for a paddle. Personally I think I’m someone that could manage with a teaspoon, but culture dictates that most people can’t.

In Praise of Baths
– An MP has said that he spends an hour in the bath every morning and despises showers.

As far as washing goes, showers are greener than baths, they’re also quicker generally (otherwise running a whole bath full of water would really be a waste) so I personally opt for a shower most of the time. Bathing isn’t particularly clean either, unless you shower as well. However, since living on my own and no longer having a household (and in particular a dad) knocking on the bathroom door nagging me to hurry up, I’ve found myself quite liking the luxury of lounging in a hot bath with a book. I don’t do this often though, perhaps only once a month, and I find it quite beneficial in order to ease my aches and pains from the lots of cycling and/or running I do. I have even gone as far as saving the bath water to flush the toilet with (FYI I could get a week’s worth of flushes out of it).

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