Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hypocrite Bliar: responsiblity and health

Don’t cha love it when someone in power starts lecturing everyone else on the importance of responsibility? Tony Bliar has stated that people need to take more responsibility for their health to relieve pressure on the NHS. He warned that the service could be crippled by the cost of treating those “affected by obesity, alcohol and smoking..”

Dunno about you readers but it makes me just wanna buy a 20 pack of Benson and Hedges and blow the fine nicotine smoke into the war mongerer’s face (and I don’t smoke). Bliar has also maintained that he wants to encourage healthier lifestyles and to consider banning advertising of junk food to children but will give the industry a “chance to self-regulate”. Oh so once they regulate themselves the food industry will stop shoving their advertising down our throats and stuffing food with too much salt, sugar and saturated fats (telling us in tiny letters on the tin)? Does this mean affordable and nutritious food as well...?

Now, key to this maintaining a healthy lifestyle, is “taking responsibility as individuals for our healthcare”.

There has been an increase in diabetes, obesity, booze related illnesses and illnesses related to smoking but moralising and lecturing people will not help.

Ok, increasing fitness, for instance. Loads of gyms and sports halls out there but how many are actually affordable? The one I attend is privately owed as most gyms. Council owned gyms and sports centres are disappearing fast. Same with swimming pools and I remember a campaign which was trying save pools being closed in Hackney a couple of years ago. Another thing is schools are selling off their sport grounds so where are kids expected to congregate or play sport?

The issue conveniently left out is why there has been an increase in these illnesses and the fact that there is this kind of guilt tripping where people are accused of draining the NHS dry with their illnesses due to self-neglect.

The fact there is so much isolation and alienation in this society probably makes people resort to the “quick fixes” of booze, fags and saturated fats. Stress-related problems are on the increase, working longer hours, manual workers are more likely to drop off the perch quicker than non-manual workers (and they are likely to smoke more), the widening gap between the rich and poor and so on. These are at the heart of the matter but this government chooses to blame everyone else for unhealthy lifestyles.

But as Professor Danny Dorling from the University of Sheffield, argues:

“If you have a society that tells increasing numbers of people that they have less and less worth, while others are allowed to become richer and richer, it is very hard to get people’s self worth up”.

Now, as a poorly paid stressed public sector worker I will go home and pour myself a glass of white wine (organic naturally and from Waitrose) guzzle the contents along with some Green and Blacks chocolate. Flip on a CD and smoke a spliff.

Cheers to responsibility or should that be irresponsibility?!