Thursday, 21 February 2008

All set for E-day?

www.e-day.org.uk
(27-28 February)

Sick note - Pulling a sickie or a sign of a wider social malaise?

In the summer plans are afoot to try and stem the tide of the so-called sick-note culture which affects the UK. Doctors will be urged to try and find ways to write a well-note, outlining what parts of the job a patient can do, or steps to be taken to try and get the patient back to work (and off benefits) as soon as possible. While some see this as asking doctors to 'police' the benefits system, I can't help wondering if our sick-note culture is the price we pay for our 24-7 lifestyle.

A longer, harder look at our working hours, minimum wage, lunch breaks, smoking, eating and drinking habits, child care for working parents, burden of individual debt, long term caring responsibilities of the elderly, mentally ill etc., might well find evidence that we are pushing the fabric and pace of our society to it's limits and something, somewhere will give. There will always be people who think a hand-out is easier than a job but when a large proportion of society prefer to opt out, surely we should look for the cause as well as simply treat the symptoms?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Lunar eclipse tonight/tomorrow morning...

Should you be a night owl, tonight there is a total eclipse of the moon... viewable in UK from about 3.00 am onwards. No internet links for this one - would suggest just try looking out the window....

Monday, 18 February 2008

Telephone trees and banking bungles...

Out and about yesterday and, having spotted several phone masts 'disguised' as the most hideous trees possible, I mean really, not realistic at all, I got to thinking why? Why bother, because mobile phone masts are part of modern outdoor furniture aren't they? I know, I know, no one wants to live near one and fair enough, nor should people have to but as a design object they have a certain invisible modernity. You look at it and think 'phone mast' and move on. But a fake tree? You look at it and think 'what the...is it a piece of art masquering as an ugly tree..does it have a purpose, I wouldn't want that near my house..what is it and did it have to so tall and so oddly twigless?' At which point, if you are driving down a motorway in your fuel-efficient small car, you might have well missed your turning or worse, shunted the car in front which had slowed down to look at the weird telephone tree.
Northern Rock finally gets nationalised but after so much time wasting and dithering I wonder how many jobs will now be on the line? No matter how the government tried to dress it up it was still what it was, a bank in trouble that no one else wanted to buy. It seems Labour managed to turn this particular drama into a protracted crisis.