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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Eat Me!

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It was proposed last week that to help the burger obsessed British with their obesity epidemic, big institutions such as subway and nestle would reduce their saturated fat amount within some of their products. Statistics show that the materialistic and image obsessed country have over indulged amid westerns excessive obsession with excess. Only 39% of women and 36% of men have a normal BMI in Britain, resulting in 65% of men and 58% of women being overweight. Worryingly, 1 in 100 of the UK’s population suffer from anorexia, which although an opposite illness, they all boil down to one common denominator. Food.

Institutions have agreed to lower the saturated fats within some of their products, however, saturated fats, although a ‘big’ problem, is only “one hidden nasty” (Malcolm Clark, Children’s food campaign) that is part of the ‘large’ problem, but the government insist that this voluntary scheme, put forward by Jane Ellison, will make a FAT difference. It is suggested that on average people consume 3 times as much saturated fat as is recommended by NHS.

So who is to blame for this food crisis? Who can we paint with our sins and fault for our food issues? Is it the food retailer’s responsibility to reduce the fat in their foods? Is the government at fault because of their lack of education in healthy eating? Or, is it the individual’s responsibility to have a healthy diet?

The government have, for a long time tried to tackle the problem off over eating within our country, curriculum in schools deem it compulsory to have 2 hours of exercise a week, teaming up with Jamie Oliver in 2005 enforced healthy school meals, and in 2011 (now mandatory as of this winter) it was suggested to place a traffic light chart on food packaging to reinforce what we are putting into our bodies. Despite all this, things haven’t helped. Childhood obesity is now thought to cost the NHS around £4.2billion every year, according to estimates put forward by the Royal College of Paediatrics, and shockingly one 10 month old baby was admitted to Portsmouth hospital last year due to obesity issues.

These shocking statistics keep on getting fatter and fatter! So is it really the government at fault here? Education begins at home as they say, logically; I would assume that most children don’t start really taking care of their bodies and food intake alone until they are 16 or older. The parents of a child are responsible for that child, in terms of punishment, moral teachings and guidance. So why does this responsibility stop at what the child eats?

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“Of course chivalry should die a death in the modern age”

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During PMQ time last Wednesday, Jo Swinson a Liberal Democrat representative for East Dunbartonshire was left standing in he House of Commons for the duration of the half hour. Not one of the elected MPs offered Swinson a seat, despite the fact that she is 7 months pregnant.

Upon reading this, it seemed a little shocking to see comments left on the article such as: “Of course chivalry should die a death in the modern age”. The irony of it all is that Jo Swinson is the Liberal Equalities minister, which seems to throw 100 more spanners in the works, it seems political correctness has really gone mad! The entire modern movement in my opinion has gone totally ‘tits up’…

Reports suggest that Ms Swinson implied that it would’ve been quite sexist if any of the MPs had in fact offered her a seat. In fact, many women seem to actually agree with this point, Sally Peck writing: “Pregnancy is not an illness and it IS sexist to suggest that Jo Swinson ‘needed’ a seat”

The feminist movement in the 21st century is the strongest it has ever been, any form of discrimination against gender is deemed extremely offensive, and in some cases can lead to prosecution (Sexual discrimination when hiring a member of staff etc.). In fact, it was a great pain for me when it was made illegal to discriminate gender for car insurance, as personally, I rather enjoyed the cheaper bill! However, that is by the by. Today the pay gap between men and women is closer than ever, with only a 10.2% gap between wage earnings (ONS 2011).

The extent of equal rights seems to have reached a point at which now we are totally unsure of what is and what isn’t acceptable anymore? Its a sphere of extremes that seem to get very muddled when they clash in the middle.

If women want to be treated equally – then no, Swinson shouldn’t have been offered a seat. The idea of equal treatment should be seen within everything, from gentlemanly gestures, to maternity care. But the fact is, biologically we are different beings, and traditionally, this has been so since the dawn of man. I am not proposing that every women should go back to the ice age, where her man would go out hunting and she would dust the cave, but I am proposing that people should get a little perspective embedded with their opinions of what is equality.

Chivalry manners and etiquette is what makes our country so great, a true British gentlemen (such as the people we vote to run a country) should offer a seat if a women is pregnant. Furthermore, a woman should offer her seat if an elderly man is in need of it. Having respect and manners should not be viewed under the equality umbrella.

Click here to see the original story

To learn more on this topic click here.

Mean-ie Testing?

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       Benefits – the political hot potato that is served up at almost every dinner table, canteen and communal place in society.  If you know politics, you have a lot to say on it, if you don’t know politics, you’ll still have a lot to say on it! The benefit system immediately sparks thoughts of council houses and child allowance, some people forget the true ‘benefits’ of old age, and disregard the states pension aids as part of the benefit system.

State pension age has recently changed. Depending on what year you are born in, the age you are allowed to file for a state pension will increase (to find out when you can claim a state pension go on checkout the state pension website.)

It currently stands that upon starting your state pension you are entitled to:

  • A free bus travel pass (check out the pensioners that travelled 500 miles with their free pass!)
  • Winter fuel payments (including a Christmas bonus)
  • Even if you haven’t paid enough through national insurance, the government will ensure that you will get a reasonable amount of state pension to keep you going.

This is all very nice; I for one feel very reassured that I would not go hungry when I am old and grey! Similarly, it is comforting to know that my favourite grandma will not be too cold this winter!

However, the reality of this kind gesture is, can the government really afford to do this for every man and woman at state pension age? Britain’s state pension is one of the lowest in the developed world, but the benefit system needs a desperate reform in order to get the economy back on track. A proposition to means – test the winter fuel payment is currently under siege.

On paper, this proposal seems perfectly fair, in my opinion, if you have enough money to heat your house as a pensioner, then accepting the winter fuel payment is unnecessary charity, some pensioners would very much appreciate an increase in the winter fuel allowance, which the higher income elderly could probably afford to donate.

In reality, means testing isn’t that easy. Where is it that you draw the line between a modest income and a high earning income? “Only 2pc of pensioners pay higher-rate tax and those who are not on pension credit are still only on incomes of around £12,000- £15,000” (Ros Altman – The Telegraph)

Statistics show that on average, 20,000 pensioners die of cold each winter. Implying that the benefits aren’t reaching those who really need it. There is no doubt that the cost of social care is a massive predicament within politics, and there doesn’t seem to be an obvious answer for it.

To ‘means test’ these pensioners would cost the government more money and time, and probably result in more pensioners with modest to low incomes freezing to death. It saddens me that people who do not need this benefit accept it anyway as a matter of principle. I think that it becomes a moral obligation to help those who are worse of than you, rather than accept what you are offered, simply because you are entitled to it.

To read more on this debate:  The Telegraph   The BBC