THE recent mini-TV series called How Mad Are You? was a bit like Big Brother, only the idea was to see if “experts” could work out which five people out of a group of 10 had experienced mental illness.
The “experts” tried to do this by watching them performing various activities for a week (such as stand-up comedy, paint-balling, memory tests and, of course, group living).
The experts did not do too well. They identified only two of the five who had experienced mental illness. And they only got these after a couple of pretty daft tests. Mucking out a cowshed, for example, to see who has an obsession about cleanliness!
The programme showed that people who have had a mental illness are fundamentally no different to those who haven’t.
The media often portray those with mental illness as dangerous, odd and “different”. The truth is that you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than by someone with a mental illness.
And since one in four of us experience an episode of mental illness at some point in our lives shouldn’t we see this as part of normal development, rather than something that is odd, different, and to be feared?
Eggs and a basket!
IN the wake of the collapse of the Icelandic economy and the repercussions in this country I find it incredible that councils and NHS Trusts have put millions into fixed-rate interest accounts, making funds inaccessible, with the failed Icelandic banks, instead of spreading the money around.
Obviously this is with the benefit of hindsight, but if this is not a case of putting all your eggs in one basket, then I don’t know what is.
Back Green New Deal
The CBI reports that Yorkshire is to be the hardest- hit region outside London in the coming recession. We can’t hide from it but a Green New Deal for Yorkshire and the Humber can bring sustainable jobs.
The Green Party is calling on the Government and councils to invest in the development of renewable energy production and energy conservation.
In Kirklees a council initiative led by Green Party councillors and funded by the energy companies is offering free home insulation to every household.
This is creating new jobs, helping people save on their fuel bills as winter approaches and reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
We need more of this innovative thinking with practical applications and we need it now.
The Green New Deal calls on the Government to do three things; regulate the banks, create new jobs in the growing ‘green’ sector and tax the energy company profits from rising energy prices. Gordon Brown argued against further regulation of the banks at the G20 meeting. Alistair Darling is talking about a New Deal, but has lost the green component which will ensure that it is sufficiently effective to make a lasting difference.
We must follow the lead of Barack Obama, who has promised $150bn to create 5m “green collar” jobs in the USA.
We need quick and effective action in the region to reverse the effects of the financial crisis. The credit crunch was not caused by the negligence of the population of Yorkshire and the Humber and they should not be the ones to suffer. They need jobs for the future not sticking plasters applied to a failed economic system.
Dr Martin Hemingway
Lead Green Party candidate Yorkshire and the Humber for the European Union elections in 2009
Act against lawbreakers
THIS year’s hunting season is now in full swing and, sadly, while the majority of those who take part are following the law we are already receiving reports of illegal hunting activities taking place.
The police authorities must take a firm stance if the law is to be upheld. All too often they cite competing priorities and budgetary constraints when the issue of hunting enforcement is raised; this simply is not good enough.
The latest polls show 75% of the population support the ban on fox hunting. The police work for us, the public, and we have made our wishes perfectly clear. The will of the people should not be ignored.
I urge your readers to lobby their police authority to ensure that steps are taken by local forces to stamp out illegal hunting and prevent a bloodthirsty and irresponsible minority from continuing to break the law.
League Against Cruel Sports
WE have all seen the significant press coverage surrounding the Government’s multi-billion bail-out of banks. However, I have been contacted by a number of people who have been severely hit by another financial scandal, for which the Government has been found entirely negligent yet has so far refused to pay compensation. These are Equitable Life pensioners, about 1m of whom have lost up to half their pensions.
This year the Parliamentary Ombudsman ruled that Government failures led to the near-collapse of Equitable Life seven years ago, which lost more than 1m policyholders their savings and pensions.
This was as a result of serial maladministration on the part of the former Department of Trade and Industry, the Government Actuary’s Department and the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
In total, the report identified 10 instances of maladministration by public authorities.
However, despite the fact the Government was quick to step in and rescue Northern Rock for around the same initial injection of funds it seems somewhat reluctant to compensate those who have suffered a direct loss as a result of its own negligence.
I would therefore like to urge our local MPS to step in and ensure the Government accepts its responsibilities and compensates those severely impacted by its own incompetence.
Conservative Parliamentary candidate, Calder Valley