22 November 2008

A matter of dedication

If Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, can manage to go back to his constituency almost every week, why can't Ruth Kelly be arsed to visit her Bolton constituency as often?

Mr. Carmichael has a 1,400 mile round trip each week by train, plane and sometimes by boat, whilst Ms. Kelly would only have to do 440.

I think it has something to do with dedication to your job, and an interest in the people you serve. Mr. Carmichael's constituents should be proud of him. He has the longest and most difficult journey home, but still manages it. Perhaps it's because he actually lives in Orkney, and not in London.

This BBC article is a very interesting insight into Mr. Carmichael's dedication to job. Read it and learn.

18 November 2008

Are you missing out on religion?

Not for those who have had a sense of humour bypass.

11 November 2008

Edith Appleton's diary

Edith Appleton was my friend Dick Robinson's Great Aunt. Born in 1877, the tenth of thirteen children, she went on to spend many years nursing, including five years service during WWI when she served on the front lines in France.

Edith's diary is a fascinating insight into the daily lives of the medical staff on the front lines, and how bravely these men and women dealt with the horrors of war.

There are some parts which made me smile, like Edith's joy at having a bath - something we all take for granted these days:

"I don’t fancy bathing in company, but as I have not sat in water deeper than 1 inch since last year the temptation to go is great."

"Up to our necks in water - glorious! The first time for months and months! A dear old nun came trotting in when I was in my bath, felt to see the water was right heat, thought the bath was too full and pulled the plug by a patent in the floor, I was sitting on the hole where the water runs away and was sucked hard into it!"

Edith was awarded several medals for her service, and photographs of them can be found on the website. There's a couple of medals that Dick cannot identify, so if anyone can help, please let him know - his contact details are on the site.

I am very pleased that Dick has published these diaries and I look forward to listening to him talk about them on Radio 4 this afternoon.

01 November 2008

When 'voluntary' really means 'compulsory'

Some pubs in Aberdeen are introducing drug testing as a condition of entry. I don't have time right now to go into just how wrong I think that is (machine faults, prescription drugs, over-zealous Police etc.) but what has really angered me is this statement:

"The test is voluntary, but customers will be refused entry if they do not take part."

So what they're saying is that it is not voluntary at all, it is compulsory. Big brother would, undoubtedly, say "of course it's voluntary, you don't have to go into the pub if you don't want to take the test", but that's just playing semantics/pedantics. It is compulsory and an erosion of our civil liberties.

I can see what will happen; people will see the drug testing taking place and decide not to go into the pub. The Police will say "Oh look! Someone choosing not to go into the pub, they must be guilty, quick! Stop and search them!"

Something else will happen too, pubs will lose business. I don't take drugs, but there's no way I would go into any pub which wanted to test me. To insist on testing people is a presumtion of guilt, which goes against what this country's law is allegedly based upon, innocent until proven guilty.

How would the pubs like it if every customer demanded to test the strength/quality of their beer every single time they ordered a pint? After all, I've been in a few pubs where the beer tasted watered-down.