It’s the 30th November 2011. The day of the biggest strike in recent years. Somewhere in the region of 2.7m people on strike today.
And all to inconvenience the hard working people of this country who don’t have the luxury of working for the state.
Well if you read the Mail that is. So what’s going on?
As far as I can tell people are complaining about yet another devaluation of current pension schemes (last devalued 3 years ago) and a salary freeze. Add to that the general dissatisfaction inherent in any system when lunatics at the top screw up the whole system in order to flog off the things to the highest bidders who not at all incidentally fund the bosses political party. Reference here: the boss of Care UK funds the health minister.
The main arguments against seem to be:
1 – How can health staff leave patients to suffer? Well we’re not really. If anything we’re protecting the services for people into the future. The RCN never strike and the doctors are still at work (for now). Physios and many nurses are off (amongst others). I don’t think any of my colleagues want to do this but they’re angrier than I’ve ever seen. It’s difficult to stand by watching your own future degrade as well as the dismantling of the services that cater so well for so much of the population. If these changes go unchallenged then the NHS that so many fought for will be gone, probably for ever. All to line the pockets of private health care companies; there is no other good nor valid reason for the current changes to the NHS.
2 – The pensions are better than private pensions. If so then why the hell are people not fighting for better private pensions? The bankers ripped off millions with dodgy pension management and they’re continuing to do very well with massive salaries and bonuses for their abject failure. But it’s the public pensions that are seen as too generous. Typical rhetoric to insist all are brought down; just when did people get so cowed that they’d rather that than fight for their own benefit?
3 – The pensions are unsustainable. That’s simply not true. The pension scheme is currently getting more in than it’s paying out and this is predicted to continue this way for a goodly number of years into the future. So why mess with it? A pessimist would say so that it’ll annoy the unions, cause strife (along with reducing real funding to services) and then they can stop the NHS providing services and flog a “failing” service to the private sector.
There was a lovely letter in The Times on Monday that referred to the strikes. The author stated that “2.7m people are to strike” and also that “we hear that 2.72m people are now unemployed and would be glad of the work” so the conclusion is “The solution to this problem seems obvious!”
If I follow correctly then he’s suggesting that the 2.72m unemployed be brought in to do the jobs that the strikers are not doing today. Not sure how well the hordes of uneducated and feckless included in that number would be as teachers, physios, nurses, court staff and more. Maybe people actually think that qualifications are simply pointless exams rather than a pre-requisite to demonstrate that you know enough to do the job. Bizarre letter.
If I were working today then I wouldn’t be working.
Saw “Attack the Block” innit. It was well ….. erm I can’t do the youth speak nonsense that these tedious neets witter on with all through the thing.
I love my Adam and Joe whenever they’re on radio or telly and this fillum was written and directed by Joe so I was looking forward to it. I listen to Radio 5′s fillum reviews with Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo and heard reviews and discussion about the thing when it came out. As far as I remember it was very much “not as funny or scary as it should be”.
I don’t recall much at all in the way of comedy from it if I’m honest. Not much laughter from me. I did enjoy the fillum but only as a bit of popcorn fodder.
There were some startlingly obvious scene setting points. At one stage a kid wants to do some parkour style move where he jumps from a bridge to a stairwell but it’s too far and the other kids laugh at him so he doesn’t try. DING! He’ll manage that jump at some later point in the fillum then possibly whilst running away from the aliens. DING! Correct one point to me.
The main kid will realise through the peril he’s brought to himself and his block that he has to grow up a bit and take reponsibility for the effects of his actions. DING! Second point to me.
This second point was rammed home unrelentingly towards the end of the thing. First the girls in the fillum more or less tell him this. Then you’ve got the nurse who they mugged at the beginning more or less telling him this. And finally you’ve got scenes of him wrestling with it himself. All a bit linear and obvious really.
He may well save the planet at the end but he’s a horrible character. Drug running, mugging, violent piece of dirt. There may be a fillum out there that tells the story of why these kids turn out like this but this wasn’t it. One scene had one kid complaining that the cops just nick them “for nothing”. Oh “nothing” seems to include having the proceeds of muggings on them, knife carrying, drug carrying, carrying fireworks as offensive weapons etc etc… Not sure I want to root for such a lowlife.
And the sheer lack of ambition of these kids was very disheartening. R’s worked with neets and she said that the fillum depicted them very well, so point to Joe there. Makes me quite depressed thinking how we can dig these folk out of the holes they, to a large extent, dig for themselves. Talk about screwing yourself up. Ah but then it’s everyone else’s fault innit?
I’ve been saying for years that stretching before exercise is a pointless waste of time at best (for most people) and detrimental for some. There are occsaions where stretching is useful and my working day is spent picking out those who would benefit from specific stretches as opposed to the general splurge of stretches that people seem to do.
Anyway there’s been a meta-study of pre-exercise stretching: here.
It’s only looking at soreness after exercise but rather unsurprisingly comes down on the side of “no effect”. Hurrah!
The NY Times article has some interesting wotsits tho.
The amount of received wisdom in the comments is unsurprising. How many times have I heard “Don’t stretch cold muscles they’ll tear”? I don’t know how often but I’m still not sure where that comes from. I give stretches to people every day and I can’t remember ever telling them to wait until they’ve jogged around a bit.
And then there’s the “Ah yes but stretching stops injury”. Well no it doesn’t. At least random stretching that everyone seems to do. But yet again those who advocate injury preventing stretches never quote sources or studies but are oddly insistent on their correctness.
And finally “stretching improves performance”. Now there’s a tiny bit of truth here. If you use end of range movements in your sport then stretches help. However if you do a power sport then stretches will reduce your performance. Stretching is a relaxation exercise. How does anyone think that stretching muscles improves power? No clue. But it seems to be a clingy notion.
I saw a study recently that says that runners with stiffer muscles are more efficient than stretchy runners (sorry don’t have the reference handy). But people don’t want to hear it.
Work is chaotic as the NHS changes (“There won’t be any more top-down re-organisations of the NHS” – D.Cameron) start to take effect. We have no idea what’s coming down the track in a few years or even months. After our forced removal from one PCT to another (for no valid reason) we now have the utterly arbitrary “Any Qualified Provider” stuff coming our way.
AQP for those fortunate enough not to know is where they randomly picked a few areas of medicine to be put out to tender. One such is “Back and neck pain”. What this means in practice is that GPs must offer patients services wherever anyone qualified to provide can offer it. The money follows the patients. Sounds fair enough but then no-one has any idea of how many patients will go where so investing is pointless as it could all be for nothing.
Any just what happens with people who have sciatica? What if it comes from piriformis spasm rather than the lumbar spine? Or those pesky tennis elbow patients? Most are neck related but we know that GPs haven’t a clue about this.
It doesn’t help that commisioning staff have no clue either. As an example they wanted us to do outcome measures. Again that’s reasonably fair. But then they wanted to impose the “FRAT”. Oops. This is the “Falls Risk Assessment Tool”. Would be useful for an elderly population with limited mobility but our customers are all mobile and can be as young as 16. Nice to know that those with financial clout over us have so little idea what actually happens in their services.
Private work is still on-going. Pilates classes going well too.
Would be nice to have a bit more certainty though.