Stella Stickland

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HIDDEN DANGERS – A talk to the Allergy Support group 26th April 2013

I’m going to talk to you tonight about the hidden dangers in the food readily available on the shelves in your local supermarket. The term hidden dangers relates to the sheer amount of chemicals in most of our food which are making many people very ill, with diseases like cancers, diabetes,  gastritis, and illnesses which affect the colon like Crohn’s disease, colitis and diverticulitis, and that’s apart from arthritis, raised blood pressure, cholesterol problems, migraines,  irritable leg syndrome etc. I also believe that some of the chemicals in our food are having a chronic effect on the body’s nervous system, which is possibly a major contributor to the fact that we now have so much anxiety, depression and mental illness, and I believe certain chemicals contained in junk food eaten in large quantities could be very capable of making some people aggressive, which I believe is why so many of our young people are violent. I am a spiritual healer, counsellor, food intolerance advisor, life coach and author of “Is It An Omen” and awaiting to be published is my new book called “Freedom” which addresses the problems we are having in this country and around the world with chemicals in our food.

I became very interested, or shall I say obsessed, with food when I became ill seven years ago with a mild form of colitis. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s inflammation of the colon. Colitis is a very painful and debilitating illness which meant I spent a lot of time in the loo every day because my food went straight through me. I had all the usual tests including a test to see if gluten was a problem, but it wasn’t, although I had a problem with wheat. If I ate too much wheat I got a very persistent itchy cough. I have had an intolerance to wheat and dairy for many years and consequently I’ve substituted rye bread and goat’s milk. Because I am unable to take prescription drugs through having had pancreatitis in my late twenties it meant that I had no option but to eat myself back to health. As I’d eaten myself into bad health it made sense for me to eat my way back to good health which I did eventually, but it took a long time because I had to eliminate every single thing I ate one at a time and then re-introduce it to see what the effect that item would  have on me. This included everything in my store cupboard from flour and gravy to the tins of salmon and tuna.

Once I’d eliminated the foods that didn’t agree with me I did the same thing with soap, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and the entire house cleaning materials, many of which contain dangerous chemicals. Also because I’d had pancreatitis I declined to have any invasive tests done on me, like a colonoscopy, because the consultant informed me the test could damage my colon which if it did would result in having to have part of it being removed, which I certainly didn’t want to take the risk of. Another major reason for not having it done was that if they’d found anything else more serious wrong with me than the mild colitis, I would not have been able to take any medication for it. The consultant at the hospital agreed wholeheartedly with me not having it done, but my GP was so annoyed with me he struck me off of his list!!!! This suited me because I prefer alternative medicine anyway, and have spent a good deal of my life going to osteopaths and an acupuncturist.

Out of interest, we had a young doctor stay with us a few years ago, whilst he was doing his G.P training, and he told me that when he was training he only received six hours of training to do with food. So the doctors never really associate food with illness.

I’d never been a junk food eater, so it surprised me somewhat to even think that I’d done this to myself. I’ve never smoked, I’d never been a drinker, the occasional Cinzano maybe but alcohol never really agreed with me so I gave it up totally. I’ve never eaten a curry or a chilli in my life as I don’t like the smell of hot spicy foods, and I also think something that is called a ring burner cannot be good for our stomachs and bowels. But years ago when I had my business, and I was working long hours, I was guilty of buying ready-made foods like pies, puddings, pizzas, cakes, biscuits, tubes of pringles, sweets and chocolate, all of which contain dangerous chemicals. In my desire for health and good healthy food I started off in Waitrose at Hailsham, where I found a good assortment of wheat free products like cakes and cereals and biscuits. They also sold what I consider to be the best goat’s milk and various goat’s cheeses, plus some sheep’s cheeses. It took ages to shop in the beginning because I wanted to read the labels on everything to see what ingredients were in them. I even read the labels on things I wasn’t buying and was constantly horrified at the amount of chemicals in them. No wonder people were getting ill. No wonder the NHS is in crisis. We sure have become a sick nation.

I found a book called “Eat Right For Your Type” by Dr.Peter J. D’Adamo to be a very valuable guide to what to eat, and I used it on myself and I use it on my patients. It says which foods are right for which blood group. Eg group A should be vegetarians, and so on for each blood group.  Although I have to say that you cannot divide the world into just four categories, so it’s a bit more complicated than that. But a “must have” book for anyone with food allergies and intolerances.

We have recently had the horse meat fiasco, where horses were driven to Eastern Europe to be slaughtered, then the carcasses were driven hundreds of miles to meat processing factories in Western Europe and then packaged as beef products. It’s not that horse meat is not a good meat to eat, it is, they eat a lot of it in France but it did highlight the fact that food labelling is not always correct. That was just one incidence of the food fiasco we now find ourselves in. How can we be sure what we are eating if the labelling is incorrect? We need to shop like they used to years ago. If you eat meat, try to go to a butcher, especially for chicken, because chicken in supermarkets although it says on the label that it’s British it isn’t, chances are it’s from Eastern Europe. It’s only packaged in Britain and because of that they are allowed to call it British. Chicken from a butcher has no smell, and tastes delicious. Chicken from the supermarkets has quite a strong smell, and tastes quite chemically. You’re ok with fish from a supermarket but if you can get to the wet fish shop so much the better, and you can be assured that it is really fresh.

Milk used to be delivered daily by a milkman and it went off after two days. Now it’s so full of chemicals it lasts for seven days. Same with the bread. It used to be collected daily from a baker or delivered from a bakers van. The bread used to go rock hard when it was a few days old. My mother used to soak old bread to make if soft so that she could make bread pudding. Now the bread just goes mouldy. One good thing about sliced bread is that if you run out of Polyfilla just squeeze the bread in the palm of your hand and it will form a little grey ball. The only suitable thing to do with it is fill holes in the walls.

Try not to buy ready-made pies puddings and cakes etc. Make your own instead, and you will then know exactly what’s in it. And it won’t contain huge amounts of fats sugar and salt either. Simple food is best, organic and  locally grown vegetables, along with locally reared and locally slaughtered meat is best.
I’m always horrified when I watch t/v chefs because they use so much sugar, cream, alcohol and chocolate in their recipes. Casseroles do not need alcohol in them. We have become a nation where drinking alcohol is as common now as a cup of tea. The thing is though that tea won’t give you liver disease. Deaths from alcohol poisoning in our young is far too high, and alcoholism has reached epidemic levels.

The Chinese baby food fiasco of 2008 when melamine was found in the baby formula was nothing short of evil. The industrial chemical melamine found in the baby food resulted in 6 babies dying, with a further 300 thousand babies becoming ill.  Now in 2013 it has been discovered that out of date baby food has been mixed with imported formula and has jinxed the parents to the point where they no longer trust what is for sale in their country, and are now having British baby food flown out to China, and some are buying it on e-bay which is not a wise thing to do but parents are desperate.

I picked up a children’s birthday cake in Sainsbury’s on Thursday just out of interest to see what was in it, and I couldn’t believe the amount of ingredients it had in it. I lost track after counting to forty five! If I make a cake its flour, Bertolli, eggs and sugar, plus some icing sugar and butter for the filling, with some jam, and icing for the top which again is icing sugar and water. That’s seven ingredients, not 45! What were the other 38 ingredients? They were chemicals! I picked up a packet of egg sandwiches in Costa coffee on Tuesday and read the label. To my shock horror it had Demerara sugar in it. It’s all nonsense!

Jamie Oliver has summed it up whilst in America recently. 0.8% deaths from homicides and over 60% deaths from food related illnesses. And typical Jamie he said” And no-one is doing an effing thing about it!!!” No wonder we all have allergies and food intolerances. If the food was pure none of us would have a problem. We’re not weirdoes because we can’t tolerate this food. The normal body just cannot deal with the sheer amount of chemicals pumped into it any more. But we can learn to eat well again by using different flours, different milks and by trying different food generally. I found my way around it when I was ill. Now I help many people with all sorts of health problems get back to full health with eating superb unadulterated food. I know as a very spiritual person and healer that God is very concerned about what is happening in his world to his people, and I’m going to do all I can to try to change the food industry and the way they make food. And all kids at school need to learn to cook. I was arrested once for helping prevent someone who was innocent go to prison, so if I’m arrested again for being a nuisance to food manufacturers so be it.

The writing is on the wall. We are now paying the price for cheap food, and the price of cheap food is illness and costly healthcare. There is no doubt that the NHS is in crisis. How much longer can it continue to treat the sheer number of people needing help. It’s up to each and every one of us to take more responsibility for our health. We must stop buying this contaminated food. Food manufacturers will only stop making food with chemicals  in it if we the public stop buying it. So read the labels on every item of food (and soft drinks) that you buy and let’s see if we can change the way that food is made in this country. 
26th April 2013


Education
I was horrified to learn that as many as a fifth of our children leave school unable to read and write proficiently enough to either read a medicine label or write a cheque. How can that be right in the twenty-first century for kids to go right through the system of eleven years of schooling and end up illiterate? I think education should be bespoke. Obviously everyone should be able to read and write and do simple arithmetic, but apart from that, the curriculum could possibly be more tailor made. Children who go to public schools probably need literature mathematics sciences and languages to equip them for the jobs in government the civil service, law and medicine etc. Comprehensive schools could be split into two categories like they used to be, but without the old stigma of the grammar schools and the secondary schools. We could call them the academic comprehensives, and technical comprehensives. The academic schools would be for those who want to go into a profession like their public school contemporaries, or management jobs, teaching and general office work etc., but for all those kids who don’t need that sort of education many of whom need to be encouraged to go to school in the first place, and for whom school needs to be a bit more interesting- a bit more hands on maybe, but who do need to be able to read and write in order to apply for jobs and to be able to do all the form filling required in this life, they only need to be able to do simple arithmetic they don’t need algebra for example. They also need valuable life skills which maybe haven’t been taught them at home. Because these kids  are looking at different types of jobs very valuable to our society jobs, like plumbing, bricklaying, electrical etc. car mechanics, factory and maintenance jobs, hairdressing and the service sector, chefs, they all need the technical comprehensives where they actually learn to do the job that they want to do as part of the curriculum. And perhaps because of late development the age at which kids are split into different schools could be thirteen instead of eleven years of age. Then they would all come out of school with qualifications, either GCE’S and A Level’s or a recognisable certificate from whatever trade they have learnt. I think many kids would enjoy going to school a lot more and perhaps truancy would not be such a problem. We also need to bring back domestic science, to teach the kids how to run a home and teach them to cook, boys and girls! I know of so many girls who can’t cook how can they in turn produce healthy children if they have to feed them on ready-made food. The foods with the additives in them! We have created an enormous social problem with deprived kids on a scale I never thought possible when I was growing up in the fifties. There is not enough for the kids to do, youth clubs and boys clubs which were everywhere in the fifties and sixties are mostly closed down,  would be brilliant brought back now, all with computers,  plasma televisions to watch football with their mates and a football pitch where they could have inter club matches. Get our kids off the streets make them feel worthwhile. Give them back fathers so that they don’t have to form gangs in order to protect themselves.

February 2013


Clothing:
Do you remember that well known song “Why can’t a woman be more like a man” from the film “My Fair Lady” by Frederick Loewe and sung by Rex Harrison? Well why can’t a woman be more like a man when it comes to clothing?
 
Would a man tolerate the hem of his trousers moved up and down every year? Would he tolerate shoulder pads in one year and out the next? Would he wear cropped shirts, and heeled shoes? When you see a man dressed smartly in a suit he looks like a substantial person, a person who is business like and reliable. When you see a women dressed in a suit with a sensible length skirt on or just below the knee, a well cut jacket, a blouse and small heeled shoes she also looks business like. In fact you might guess (because it’s so rarely you see a smart woman) she is either a lawyer or a business woman. But that doesn’t mean that if you’re not a professional person you cannot look smart.

I have thought for years and years that women’s and girl’s clothing is getting sillier by the year. I know we’ve had mini- skirts since the sixties, I wasn't keen on them then and I'm not keen on them now. I have no problem with skirts just above the knee with tights if you are a young girl up to school leaving age but over that age it looks a bit ridiculous. Strange it should have been a woman (Mary Quant) to invent mini-skirts. She obviously never went out with the red blooded males that I knew! Girls wear the clothes that designers say they will wear. A lot of these clothes show too much flesh. These clothes are designed for high street shops and supermarkets for the mass market, and also they are incredibly cheap and as we’ve become so mindless now (hardly anyone thinks much anymore, it seems it’s too exhausting) these items are snapped up as something desirable when in actual fact they are highly undesirable. Too many of our girls look like hookers, with flesh hanging out from the top the middle and the bum. In came crop tops showing your belly button so then they had to have it pierced. Thongs replaced knickers. There was a reason why undergarments were originally designed - it was to mop up the leaks from our orifices! Heels have got to a ridiculous height. I like heeled shoes especially for evening wear but not very high heels for every day wear. Surgeons now have to repair broken toes because of these stupid shoes! Hair seems to be more desirable if it is hanging all over your face. If women want to be taken seriously in this world if they want to be seen as an equal to a man, they have got to stop dressing like bimbos. Britain has also become a very scruffy nation! A nation of obese and scruffy people. Before the eighties there wasn’t the amount of casual clothing around that there is now. Now it’s all jeans, cargo trousers, t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, fleeces and anoraks! Now that’s ok for casual wear, we all want to be comfortable, but does it have to be all anyone ever wears? I love jeans myself with gorgeous sweaters and boots, but I also like long skirts with boots. And throw away your anorak, or else put it into the cupboard for those trips to the beach or a walk in the countryside, for which they were originally intended, and buy a nice jacket and a fun hat!

 In the sixties it was miniskirts, hot pants and toplessness. I cringe when I think of those days, when women really were men’s playthings! In my opinion that horrible film “Alfie” with Michael Caine summed up the sixties. But it wasn’t the men who went to the unmarried mother and baby homes, many of whom had to have their babies adopted. They were horrible days that we certainly don’t want a return to. Then came the seventies and those awful flared trousers that only suited the tall and lean, with platform shoes and jackets with wide collars. Abba looked fabulous in it all but they were performers and on stage where anything goes. The eighties were quite moderate years. I remember buying nice smart clothing, when suits were fashionable again for women, and skirts were still worn more than trousers. It really started to change in the nineties, nearly everybody now wears trousers and jeans, and if you ever see a woman in a skirt, it’s such an unusual sight that you naturally assume that she must be going to a wedding! And why do some of the trousers hang on the pelvic bone and drag on the pavements making the hems ragged and filthy. And why would some people want to buy ripped jeans? Why not go the whole hog and buy ripped jumpers and jackets. Why not look like a real down and out while you’re about it!

I just want to see girls looking smarter, and acting sensibly, and not showing so much flesh. I want them to have more self-worth and pride in their bodies. Men would not walk about like the girls do. I want real equality for women which first of all is a good education for them all, it’s covering up a bit more flesh which she’s only flashing for the benefit of men not other women or herself, it’s enjoying a drink but not getting drunk and therefore being out of control of their senses! And its saying “No”.
January 2013


Food and eating disorders:
You are going to be the sum total of what you eat and drink-whether you like it or not! Look around you -how many obese people are there? How many obese young people (those under 40) are there with walking sticks and mobility scooters? Being overweight leads to arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and cancers. Alcohol in moderation is ok but taken to excess it's causing liver disease on a massive scale, with many more youngsters waiting for transplants. I also think drinking too much alcohol accounts for the rise in Alzheimer's disease! There is a massive rise in the number of people with diabetes as well as allergies and food intolerances! There seems to be a general lack of common sense now when it comes to eating and drinking. Your body is a temple - treat it as such!

December 2012


Energy or Poison - Healthy eating - an alternative way

During one of the early morning conversations I had with God, He told me that food fell into two categories, Energy or Poison! Nothing in between. Food either nourished us (and would give us a healthy life)or it poisoned us (which would make us ill and perhaps take our life prematurely)! Wow that was very black and white wasn’t it? I was ill at the time with Colitis, and I was receiving a lot of help from God and one particular Angel, and I realised then what my destiny was going to be. I was going to learn all I could about food in order to help as many people as possible.

Much of the food on our supermarket shelves is making many people ill, and in some cases killing them prematurely. The food that used to be made in kitchens is now being made in factories that are akin to laboratories. By that I mean that with the amount of chemicals added to our food they might as well be laboratories. All the additives which include, e-numbers, preservatives, colourings and monosodium glutamate has caused many people to have quite major reactions to their food, and illnesses like cancers, diabetes, heart disease, colitis and Crohn’s disease are now not rare but commonplace. People’s immune systems are not functioning properly anymore, the chemicals have suppressed them so much they cannot function anymore,  so the result is inevitable - illness. And that’s apart from the allergies and intolerances many people now have which years ago no-one had even heard of.

Because of my own illness I had to find a new way of eating. I have never been a junk food eater, in fact I always prided myself on my abilities in the kitchen, and have for  many years grown a lot of our fruit and vegetables in the garden. But like most people I occasionally ate a ready prepared meal like pizza, quiche, some shop bought pies, certain cakes along with chocolate, some sweets and crisps. I had to eliminate one by one every single thing that I ate and drank, and replace it with something else. Everything that I used in cooking I had to replace as well  with an alternative until eventually I knew exactly what suited me and what didn’t. It took a long time to get the balance right and eventually after many hundreds of hours, week after week, month after month, which turned into several years, of reading every label on everything that I purchased from different supermarkets, I discovered a new way of eating that made my body well and my mind as well much clearer. I don’t know why food manufacturers are allowed to make some of the food they do, except to say that I suppose a lot of it is customer driven, and if people demand highly flavoured foods, the manufacturers are going to supply it. The flavours of course aren’t real, they are all chemical. The more highly flavoured foods we eat the more our taste buds don’t work, so the food needs to get a stronger and stronger taste. It’s a bit like being a heroin addict for some people, and  they end up craving the very foods that are eventually going to make them ill and possibly kill them.

Why did God want me to work in this particular area? Well why not me was the answer. As a practising spiritual healer and  counsellor and my desire to make people well, this really was my forte. I have since helped many people with various illnesses recover. God has given us this wonderful opportunity of a life, he’s given us this amazing body to walk about in and what are we doing to it? We’re  filling it up with  junk food, and if that isn’t bad enough, some people are smoking, and drinking huge amounts of alcohol, and taking recreational drugs. We are here in this world to learn. This is the planet of learning. We queued up to get this valuable life and the opportunity to improve ourselves for our next incarnation, but a lot people are feeling so ill and depressed they can’t even function at the most basic level. Even some kids at school can’t function well enough to learn their lessons.

We have to take stock now, the writing is on the wall. The NHS is in crisis because of the illnesses caused by the chemicals in the food, they simply cannot deal with the amount of people demanding help, and to be honest most of them don’t know what is causing the illnesses because most doctors have never learnt enough about the effects of food on the body. One particular doctor friend of ours told me that they only did a small number of  hours training on food. It won’t be long before the NHS is like our major motorways, clogged up with too many patients and insufficient resources to deal with them.

Take a good long look at yourself. Are you overweight, do you get headaches, do you have a chronic illness, are you depressed? Then learn to eat differently, eat properly. We also have a real crisis with obesity in the Western world, with many of our children  eating junk food filled with chemicals which the body cannot break down easily. Whilst the rest of the world are undernourished and starving. I have just finished writing my new book “Freedom” which covers the problems of our food in great depth and it will be followed by a simple to understand cookery book, including which supermarkets to go to buy the best food. I’m now in the process of finding a publisher. The world needs to sort out its food problems sooner rather than later.

There is another way to live which must be consumer led, not government and scientifically led.

02/06/2012


9/11 - The Twin Towers. Our lucky escape!

I was watching a programme called 9/11, about the Twin Towers in New York, and I was reminded of the holiday that my husband and I were going to have touring the East Coast of America that same year. We had booked our dream holiday thinking that we had deserved it after all the trauma we had suffered from losing my business due to a fire.

We booked to fly into Washington on September 10th 2001. We wanted to see The Pentagon and The White House. The following day we were going by train to New York and do all the things we had dreamed of doing, Empire State building, Central Park, go to the book shop featured in “Falling In Love”, and go to Broadway. Then we were going back on the train to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, including whale watching, then on to Boston. I was so excited - it was to be the trip of a lifetime. Then one day, an ordinary day like any other, I heard this voice. It was very clear and it told me that something dreadful was going to happen on the East Coast of America in September and I was to cancel the holiday. I told Mike, and he knowing me so well didn’t question it and we cancelled it and lost our deposit.

Imagine our horror when 9/11 came onto our television screens. We had been booked to stay in the same hotel that the bombers were staying in, in Boston. We would have been in Washington on September 11th, probably looking at the Pentagon when the plane hit,  and we were then due to go on to New York the day after the planes hit the Twin Towers. I was so grateful to be so well looked after when I was told to cancel the holiday. I will go to America one day. It’s a country that I feel a very strong affinity with.
11 September 2009


Prisons    

What is the point of having prisons? Isn’t it a real sign of failure for a country to have as  many people in prison as Britain has. Does it rehabilitate offenders? No it doesn’t. Does it dehumanise them? Yes it does. So what then is the point of it. Power, that is the point. The power to show everybody what can happen if we don’t obey the laws of the land. But it’s power used badly. Yes of course we have to have laws, but isn’t there a better way of dealing with this problem instead of building more and more prisons and costing the tax payer ever more money?

Most people in prison come from impoverished backgrounds and consequently are uneducated. Why don’t we make our society better where babies are born to two parents, where children can be nurtured loved  and enjoyed. Why don’t we make the education system one that works for all, where all kids get enjoyment out of learning, where a more bespoke kind of education can be taught. How many kids from middle class backgrounds where they’ve been to public school go to prison? The answer is not very many. How many kids from deprived backgrounds go to prison? The answer is loads. Isn’t the answer so obvious to us all and still nothing is done to improve the lives of the disadvantaged.

I believe they should be split into  Four categories:

 

 1)  Petty criminals should all do community work paying back to society. Non payment of a t.v. licence or council tax should never go to prison. Get them out cleaning up the streets etc. There are stacks of jobs they could do. Road signs need cleaning.

 2) Persistent non violent offenders need to be educated. Turn prisons into universities, educate them, get them fit for  proper jobs, give them self worth.

 3) Separate the mentally ill offenders who include drug  addicts, paedophiles and perhaps some murderers who are obviously mentally ill. They could all go to a secure hospital for the treatment they deserve and get well. They could also receive an education whilst they are there.

4) Only dangerous people, serial killers and terrorists should be locked up forever, thus reducing our prison population to a quarter of what it is now and save the tax payer at the same time. I don’t understand why we don’t all look after one another a lot better than we do. The divide between the have’s and the have not's is wider now than it was when I wrote Is It An Omen?



Litter and filth


On a recent trip to see my Mother who lives in Worthing, I was horrified to see the amount of litter all along the dual carriageway from Lewes to Worthing. Why do people like to throw rubbish out of their cars instead of taking it home? I have got a real thing about rubbish and filth generally, and I will never understand the mentality of people who litter our beautiful countryside. It has always been bad along that stretch of road but this time it was gross. I couldn’t take my eyes off it (I wasn’t driving I must add!). Also when I go to see one of my sons who lives in Essex I am equally appalled at the litter on the duel carriageways  from the Dartford Tunnel to Basildon. What must foreign visitors think about us? It is just another case of lack of standards. I didn’t used to know what all the little white blobs were all over our pavements. I could hardly believe it when someone told me it was chewing gum. Isn’t it perfectly revolting that people spit chewing gum out of their mouths and that it sits on our pavements until the council cleans it off? In some areas the pavements are covered. I originally thought it was bird droppings.

Don’t be surprised that our hospitals are full of super bugs. Cleaning! Who likes cleaning today? Germs in hospitals come from filthy wards. Why don’t we clean everything  like we used to. Hospitals used to reek of disinfectant, and you were never allowed to sit on the beds if you were a visitor . Matron would have 'had your guts for garters'. Whilst visiting someone in hospital I was appalled at the filthy windows. They hadn’t been cleaned in ages. Not just the glass, I’m talking about the paintwork which should have been white but was black. And I was also horrified at the pots of pee all lined up alongside the patients bed. Outside the hospital front doors a lot of people were smoking and dropping their dog ends. Honestly what have we sunk to?

We are fast becoming a filthy country. How do you make people care who don’t care? The thing is you can’t. Standards  generally used to be set by those in positions of authority, but now all that has gone. Bring back the ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ hoardings that we used to have. If children were trained to put litter into their pockets to take home, and if no bins are available perhaps chewing gum could be put into the little piece of paper it came out of and then also put into the persons pocket until a bin could be found, that would be a good start. Hands should be washed after visiting the loo and before you eat. We wouldn’t have some of the horrible infections we have if these simple things were put into practice. Incidentally the governments initiative (to do with Swine Flu) that all sneezes should be caught in a tissue and then binned is a good idea but if people spit gum onto the pavements are they really going to sneeze into tissues. I don’t think so.

Rubbish bins now adorn the front gardens of terraced houses of residents who cannot get the bins around to the back garden. On a recent trip to Oxford, a place I have wanted to visit for ages because of the television programme, Morse, I was very disappointed. On the way into the City lovely old terraced houses had wheely bins in the front gardens, and not just one bin, where it was multiple occupation, there were several bins, and some overflowing. Could you imagine the Victorians allowing that to happen, rubbish on display to all and sundry - it’s horrible. Rats are a real problem now. Rubbish lorries that have been to recycling centres to pick up their loads do not always secure them properly, and consequently some of the rubbish falls off them all along the road. Litter bins are hard to find now because of national security and if you find one it is usually overflowing. Pride has all but gone, ladies cleaning their front steps and sweeping the pavement has been consigned to history. Perhaps instead of the obsession with what we look like perhaps we could develop an obsession again in  cleanliness. I can but dream.
11th July 2009


Alcohol Abuse
 

Listening to the report about Scotland’s alcohol problem I was somewhat amazed that this was a surprise to anyone. Fifty million litres of alcohol were drunk last year in Scotland alone, which worked out at five hundred and seventy pints for each person. One thousand deaths resulted from this consumption and goodness knows how many more people seriously ill with liver and heart problems.
The figures for the U.K. for 2007 were 8724 alcohol related deaths. Again that doesn’t take into account all the people suffering with alcohol related diseases. We have become a drunken nation.
Increasingly we hear about binge drinking and the enormous amount of hospital beds taken up with alcohol related diseases.
 Many of our young people feel that it isn’t a good night out unless they get drunk. It’s a real drink culture that we have now, and cheap booze on sale in supermarkets doesn’t help at all.
 Programmes like Eastenders and Coronation Street make it seem commonplace to go to the pub every lunchtime and evening, and drinking too much is the norm for some of the characters in these programmes. In these soaps which are based around the Queen Victoria in Eastenders and the Rovers Return in Coronation Street, every celebration they have is always in the pub. What message does this send out to the millions of people watching those and every other programme where they portray excessive drinking as normal?  Of course not everyone who drinks has a problem - far from it, but it does seem that just as we have become used to overeating as normal, drinking large amounts seems to have become normal as well.
I have just read “The End of My Addiction” by Dr. Olivier Ameison, which is a very frank account of his own addiction to alcohol. In the book he describes first hand the destructive force it brings, when as an eminent cardiac doctor in New York he had to give up his practice for a while to get well. His prognosis was that alcoholism isn’t the disease - it’s the anxiety, that causes people to drink in the beginning, that is the illness that needs addressing.

And that made good sense to me when I read it. Why do people hit the bottle, or buy cigarettes with a warning on the packet saying that the contents could kill you? And why do people take prescription drugs and then move on to hardened drugs?  I think the majority of the people taking these substances are suffering from anxiety on a level that anti-depressants, beta blockers and tranquillisers do not address. As Dr Ameison says, the problem is that doctors do not know what to do with patients who are anxious, and they certainly don’t know what to do with patients who are addicts.
We live in a very tense world. Everything is getting faster, and humans are not always able to keep up with it. We’ve created an unnatural world. Gone are the days when you can park in the high street and shop in little shops that offer personal service. Now it’s huge supermarkets, huge shopping centres and multi storey car parks. This island is overcrowded, that’s for sure, and we are all cheek to jowl and jostling for our places. Our roads are nose to tail, our houses are all on top of one another, and this leads to more and more stress. Happiness today is thought to be in material things, but once objects are obtained people discover that actually things don’t make you happy. Debt is now the word on every newsreader’s lips - debt from huge loans that were thrust at us from every bank, building society, credit card and store card company. Now of course that has all gone wrong.  The bubble has burst and we have a serious recession, and with that comes house repossession and unemployment. More stress.
Happiness comes from structure and discipline, the very things that have been done away with in this country. We all know that children feel safer and more loved in a disciplined environment. Adults also feel safer and happier in a structured society. It has been proved that women’s health is better in a marriage than if she’s just living with a partner. Having done away with family life where kids feel very safe, having done away with boundaries generally, it’s no wonder that we are in a state of bewilderment. And kids know that if they commit a crime they won’t really be punished. We do not have a happy well balanced society at all, so maybe that’s why people take whatever substance they can get their hands on to just feel okay. Sad isn’t it?

28th March 2009


Kids Having Kids!

We are all  familiar with a recent story about the young teenagers becoming parents, and whether you’re horrified or not, this highlights  a serious problem in Britain today.

Let’s not discuss this from a moral point of view. After all, kids were having sex in the Middle Ages from a younger age than that, but as the average life expectancy was only thirty five it is hard to tell who died from sexually transmitted diseases, and who from all other diseases. Girls from rich families were often married at twelve.

We hopefully should have moved on from that scenario, which is why the age of consent was brought in to protect children.
Britain and the welfare state has created this society - it didn’t just arrive. Some girls who don’t have much opportunity to get good jobs and get on the housing market are making a conscious decision to get pregnant and get housed with all the benefits on offer as well. The number of teenage pregnancies just published for last year is 42,000. 8,200 of those are under 16.

As Churchill said “ …The era of procrastination … is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences”. We now live in a very sexual society. Nearly everything you buy is termed “sexy”. Sex is rammed down our throats like never before. To be female is very difficult in this society. I wonder how many men would tolerate male nudity splashed everywhere, and would they like to wear the same provocative clothing that girls are encouraged to wear. Yes girls are actively encouraged to, because magazines and the media dictate that they have to, and in some shops it’s all that’s on offer. A lot of young girls look like they’re prostitutes. We need pop stars and actresses to start setting standards for these girls who idolise them, there are some who have set very bad examples.

When I was young it was easy. There were rules. You didn’t have sex until you were married. You went as far as you could, heavy petting it was called, but sexual intercourse was left for marriage. It was much better for the girls then, we felt protected by the rules. There wasn’t all the pressure that girls have today. I feel that girls nowadays have a really tough time because there is a lot of peer pressure to have sex by the age of twelve. They also are encouraged to wear provocative clothing,  thongs, crop tops, mini skirts, heeled shoes and jewellery from a very early age. And I’m surprised it isn’t illegal to have your baby’s ears pierced. That is a decision surely that the girl should make when she’s maybe at least eleven. And men no longer know how old girls are, its very confusing for them.

Children should ideally not have children for two very good reasons. 1) They are not mature enough to be parents and 2) They haven’t got any money to pay for it. Why should the tax payer have to pick up the bill? Girls should be made aware of the risks of not only STD’s but also the HPV Virus, the major cause of cervical cancers, and as screening starts at twenty five in England (twenty in the rest of the U.K.) a lot of them are risking their lives. The walls of the vagina are very thin in a young girl, another reason to wait.

Education seems to fail so many kids, and I suppose if education isn’t actively encouraged in a home it’s much more difficult for kids to get excited about learning. When I went to school in the fifties after the war and then the sixties,  there were a lot of poor families, but education we were told was the way out of poverty. Many parents who may not have been well educated themselves actively encouraged their kids to do well. It was as it should be. We all knew we had to get a job (it wasn’t optional) so naturally we wanted to get as good a job as we could. And where some parents in my day used to fail their kids, teachers took over and inspired their pupils, they were a kind of surrogate parent. But teachers wouldn’t be allowed to do that today. They have to be very careful and watch their backs, getting overly involved with  a child could be very difficult, it’s all changed so much.

 Charles Murray wrote about the underclass whom he refers to as Neets which stands for ‘Not in education, employment or training schemes’. Some families are third generation not working, but they don’t stop breeding! They don’t contribute to society but they still want to take from it. They all know their rights. What effect does that have on their kids? Well, they grow up thinking that it’s normal to live off the state, so why bother with education and getting a job. Work? Don’t be silly!

Kids should be allowed to be kids. They have so many more opportunities than we ever had. Sex education should arm them with all the information they need. It should also alert them to all the dangers of sex too early. And to be honest, what kid really wants to saddle itself with the responsibility of another human being at such a young age? These kids do lose most of their choices, and I’m sure that when they get older they will be filled with regret.
 Is this the sort of society we want in Britain?
3rd March 2009