Keeping level-headed

81345182-1905041525+-+London+Regional+Summer+Championships+2019I was helping para-swimmers during the London Regional Swim England Para Championships at the London Aquatics Centre yesterday.

Whilst I had planned to watch the TV debate about the forthcoming Brexit date and had an invite to attend the huge demo in central London, I had completely forgotten that I had signed up to help out with the swimming event.

That is what’s really important that we keep services for people going and not disrupt everything like Extinction Rebellion obviously think is the right way to go about things.

Whatever somebody wants to achieve, the main objective always needs to be that whilst there is a long-term goal, we always need to be able to let those on the ground to get about their daily business.

Thankfully we have great laws and good rules in place, which prevent from crash-outs and catastrophic failures of our services.

Making sure there are food supplies, people can stay save, health care, education and communications stay in tact, are just a few of the things, which do not seem important but they really, really are.

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cabin fumes and breathing problems

That’s what happened to me when I worked at City Airport. The story was, that because my pension was delayed, the DWP wanted to find me a job prior to my oncoming retirement at the age of 62 1/2.

I passed the tests for working at the airport and was given the job at London City Airport as a Passenger Service Agent. I worked at the check-in desk and boarded passengers onto the planes.

Pretty quickly into that employment I started getting breathing problems. I went to my GP about this and said, that everytime I left the house, went up that little hill towards the road, I gotten breathing problems and I never had a problem like that before.

I didn’t even go into the planes, I only worked around the airport. I am really glad that those breathing problems have now ceased. My employment there lasted for 3 months and it took some time to get my breathing back to normal afterwards.

The dictator’s speech

I think that the Boris speech at the Tory Party Conference was just an empty shell of promises, which were not even the most effective remedies for the ailments that society suffers from.

There is the promise to spend Billions on new hospitals. A real populist measure, that does not expect people to live more healthily but merely offers to treat their illnesses.

The promise of a higher living wage. This measure will drive up food prices even more and make it impossible for smaller businesses to continue trading.

The promise of a new EU Brexit agreement. It has already been rejected by the EU.

I must admit, I would be aroused by Boris’s speech had I been in the audience. But then if you watch the speeches of other dictators, who electrify large audiences, you will see that it is simply an emotional effect and psychological trick that makes people happy to listen to some speakers.

The reality is a different matter.

Don’t memorise unless you have to

planet earth

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Our brains are a little bit like a computer. We have the Random Access Memory (RAM) and the Read Only Memory (ROM). The more memory we purchase for our computers, the more we can put into it permanently.

Humans also have emotional intelligence, stuff that is recalled from our brain’s memory through emotional triggers, e.g. what is nice and what is frightening.

I tend not to memorise at all unless I have to. That is making the most use of the brain capacity I have. The more you stuff into your memory, the less capacity you have to be creative.

That is my thesis and I believe it is true.

Why punish people if they cannot recall things out of memory when it is easy to look it up in library type storage and retrieve the skill that goes with it. Why remember all this stuff?

As long as a person has flexibility to carry out activities ad hoc and do it quickly and within context, I think that the ability to recall from memory is next to useless.

I think humans may have lost the instinct for survival with respect to planet health because they memorise too much static fact and loose their instincts because of it.

Einstein had a very bad memory and he is my only hope for excusing my bad memory.

There’s a famous quote that is attributed to Albert Einstein: “Never memorise something that you can look up.” … Of course, if the story is true, that was Einstein and he had better and more complicated things to remember. He didn’t need to clutter his mind with things that could easily be looked up.

Honouring Jo Cox

Boris Johnson actually said: “The best way to Honour in Jo Cox’s memory is to get Brexit done”.

There it is again, the sheer repetitive intellectual poverty of those privately educated Tories who say the same thing again and again and again.

For years we heard as standard answer to all queries: “Yes but we improved the employment rate”. That was the one for all answers of all answers and it always worked. Whatever the opposition said, this one answer solved all problems.

Now Boris is the standard bearer for repetitive, almost notorious answers by saying, we need to get Brexit done, to every query put.

If an old person keeps on saying the same thing over and over, they get diagnosed with Alzheimers, Dementia and the like but if a politicians keep on repeating themselves in parliament, then it is a good thing. It doesn’t surprise me that Margaret Thatcher suffered from extreme Dementia in old age that is because of her working schedule and working methods. It cannot be healthy for anybody, having to repeat the same process over and over again.

Not being able to show compassion for people must affect your mental health.

We have automation for repeats even in production but for politicians they actually repeat the same phrases over and over again.

Against brothels

What I really hate is legalised prostitution. Having to sell your body is just about the one thing that people must not be forced to do. My biggest fear of Germany is that prostitution is legalised in that country and that is why I would never have had children in that country I suppose.

You just imagine, you send your kid to school and then, once they finished education, they get a letter from the Department of Employment telling them to go for an interview in a brothel and if they do not attend, they loose their entitlement to unemployment benefit.

How horrible is that!!!

Because if sex work is a legalised activity, then children will be groomed into the profession from a very young age, as it is already happening in India, where girls as young as 7 get prepared into sex work. Further up in Asia they sell girls from the age of 7 into marriage, a similar slave trait.

Personal freedom must be that the one bastion that is us, must be our body. Just as our home is our castle, so our bodies have to be our first priority to choose what we want to do with it or not.

We have some very good personal protection laws in Britain and we have to be careful not to overstep the mark and loose the right to protect our bodies from harm.

So being against Brexit doesn’t mean that I would want to accept German employment laws, I am only in it for the close proximity of land mass.

I have not heard much about that point in for or against Brexit discussions.

 

 

Happiness, the forbidden word

sculpture st. pancrasThe per-pupil funding formula leads to huge, overcrowded schools, which leave no time for enjoying education. Pupils are perched into class-rooms like chickens in a coop.

Pupils are stuffed in their hundreds and thousands into the smallest available space and treated as profit making goods to get as much yield per square metre of pupil occupied in relation to GCSE results achieved.

Of course the law of probability will ensure that the more pupils there are, the more top results will be achieved. Perhaps a couple per hundred achieve top results.

So any school that has a huge building, with even more pupils can kid themselves by saying, they provide quality education because a few of their pupils achieved top marks. Smaller schools will find it harder to get the same success total. If a dense school achieves 10 out of 2.000 top achievers, a small school will probably only produce 1 out of 200.

It then comes down to cost spent per top grade achieved. It is no longer about the person.

If it was and researched and the research would be publicised to show how much knife crime originates from over-crowded schools, how much misery and despair follows in the aftermath of production line style education follows, we would see a sudden change in attitudes, yet those figures are never made public in that context.

I dare to say that our increase in knife crime and gangs is a direct result of per pupil funding, bigger schools and absent parents, who work for the work program.

The government believes a crowded school is more rewarding, cheaper to run with bigger yields.

So our not so clever government tends to rate all schools, that manage to educate hundreds of kids like robots on an assembly line with top Ofsted ratings simply because a small percentage of the huge pool of pupils get top grades.

If those pupils then can actually behave on the day of the Ofsted inspection, the school can get a world class rating. Ofsted puts no weight on pupil’s mental health, physical health or happiness. Well they look a bit at healthy meals, but that’s all.

Happiness, is the forbidden word.

Smaller schools, which can actually find the time and space to allow for some personal freedom to build meaningful relationships with teachers or among pupils are only possible in either private schools or such remote environments, that there are naturally very few children around.

The government has to change the per pupil funding formula and Ofsted has to consider mental, physical and academic health of pupils. Ofsted should enquire about any reports of stressed behaviour, how many pupils bunk off, how many have eating disorders, mental health issues, learning disability and special needs, the amounts of bullying, the air quality, the green space, academic, sporting, craft, arts achievement, all important factors to ensure a young person can develop a great personality.

kicking cans

If the promise to leave the EU is as strong as the promise to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050 are of the same strenght, then we can assume that this government is just a promise but no action government.

What we get are sincere, deep voices, manly promises, but nothing changes, really.

Greenpeace thought of getting the grey cells of some politicians into motion but that didn’t have any effect, other than being pushed out of the event.

Action speaks louder than words but words are all what some people can come up with. The dinners, the speeches, the outfits, the glamour.

I am not certain that our politicians these days have the mental capacity or even flexibility to actually change anything that moves them out of their current comfort zones.

I don’t care whether we get Brexit or not, but what I care about is that our quality of life increases.

And I don’t believe those who say they are so totally Green because they all use medications and modern technology that was borne out of dirty production methods and using fossil fuels. They all have cars and use flights.

We need to start somewhere and how about changing the way we fund and perceive our schools?

Why not make sure that all schools are enabling our pupils and future generations to breathe in clean air? That all our pupils get plenty of palying fields and green spaces?

If we really want to change our lives, we need to change the way we calculate profits, taxes and distribution of wealth, ownership. In fact we need to redefine the meaning of wealth to include

  • health
  • environment

You cannot sell a walk in the forest for profit, you cannot sell the rainforest because it needs to be wild and just as it is. You cannot sell the ocean because it needs to stay and we cannot sell the north or south pole because we need it just as it is.

Yet there are two things, which are wars and space exploration, which create more carbon emission than a lot of other items. Also the production of white goods and anything that uses metals is highly contageous. Calculate your carbon footprint here.

Lets think about that for a while.

Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using machines is simply not creating the bio diversity we need to keep the environment healthy and evacuating from earth to another planet is nothing but wishful dreaming.

I must admit, I just love living in our civilisation, the freedom that women can have would be not even half as good in a primitive low carbon society.

Yet there is still the possibility of an educated low carbon society, something we probably all dream about. Articles 25 and 26 of the Universal Human Rights deal with health and education whilst the vast majority of paragraphs deal with legal definitions of personal freedoms.

Perhaps that declaration of Human Rights, should include taking care of our planet as an obligation and right for all of us.

Health first

action activity adult athletes

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The best part about being a human is being as healthy as possible. At least that is what we are striving for.

Here in Tower Hamlets, school children are thought to have 10% less lung capacity, compared to children in rural areas.

Tower Hamlets schools are normally encoached in busy traffic areas, with roads, right, left and centre.

For example Bishop Challoner School is unfortunately a good example of a school being in a totally traffic polluted area. The school is judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted because of exam results only. The school is siutated in Commercial Road.

For Ofsted good results are everything, they do not consider other health considerations when they judge a school, which I think is very sad indeed.

On the other hand, Raine’s Foundation school, is a secondary school situated near Victoria Park, an area classified as almost suburban, with leafy streets, access to Victoria Park for PE and much less traffic, as roads around the building are one lane only.

Raine’s Foundation school is classified as ‘in need of improvement’ by Ofsted and because of this, parents won’t apply to send their kids there.

Parents as well as Ofsted only care about exam results.

Tower Hamlets Council  now wants to close Raine’s Foundation school because of the poor exam results, poor in comparison to national results.

Why does nobody care about the children’s health? Isn’t it better to run a school in a healthy area because the kids will be better off throughout their life, if their lungs breathe healthy air?

I personally want to fight to keep the school open just to give children the chance to attend a healthy school. Because sacrificing health in exchange for good exam results will have long-lasting effects on the children’s health.

Access to green spaces, a nice playground, a nearby park will have a great effect not only on children’s mental health but also the physical health.

I want everybody to write to their MP to ask for support to change the classification criteria for schools in respect of a healthy environment.

Having lives before politics

I am astounded to read that

  • Michael Gove took Cocaine
  • Rory Stewart smoked Opium
  • Jeremy Hunt had a Cannabis Lassi
  • Boris Johnson snorted cocaine and smoked drugs as teenager

Although these events are kind of ancient, e.g. they have been described by

Mr Gove who told the Mail: “I think all politicians have lives before politics. Certainly when I was working as a journalist I didn’t imagine I would go into politics or public service.”

I think that is the source of the problem of our increased drug culture in Britain, that taking them is seen as having a life.

On the front line, living in Tower Hamlets, a borough that has a high drug dealing problem, we find that it’s the social users, the ones that have jobs and earn enough money to consume drugs, have a substantive responsibility towards the drug dealing problem. If they wouldn’t buy the drugs, the dealers would have less reason to sell.

I can only hope that people are starting to realise that it would be better for all of us not to take any class A, B, or C drugs whether in politics or not.

Tower Hamlets Council is currently  conducting a substance misuse strategy survey on how to best combat drug use and how to educate people about it. They suggest that care leavers and high risk groups like pupils who have been excluded from schools should be educated about the dangers. Yet, the council seems to forget that it is those established high earners and middle class university graduates that also need educating.

Drugs are very common these days and it is definitely not easy to say no.

Yet if a pupil in a school these days would be caught out in any way with drugs whatsoever, they would be expelled and had little chance to ever enter a high-profile political post.  It doesn’t help to play down the drug taking of major politicians and put it down to life before politics.

What should happen is that children who nowadays get themselves in trouble whilst in school should not be expelled but helped instead so that they have a future equally as those politicians who now admit their failures once they had a career.

It is more than cynical that Michael Gove feels fit to admit his drug taking when he used to be Minister for Education who fell through the net.

Perhaps also our alcohol drinking culture should be called into question as this also has severe health implications both on our minds and on our bodies.

But the moral of the story is though that nobody is perfect after all.

 

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