Tony Blair has urged the British public to take more responsibility for their own health in an effort to relieve the pressure on the National Health Service. With more and more British children suffering from obesity and diabetes, Mr Blair vowed to bring in mandatory rules to ban the advertising of junk food. Mr Blair believes that healthcare shouldn’t just be about treating the sick but encouraging people to live healthier lives as well. It reminds me of the expression, “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” Mr Blair can bring in as many rules as he likes, if the public want to eat junk food, they will eat it. I personally believe that banning the advertising of junk food won’t make a jot of difference.
Former Coronation Street soap actress Julie Goodyear is following in the footsteps of American actor Matthew McConaughey and selling her car on auction site Ebay. The 1981 Mercedes sports car is up for sale with a price tag of over £30,000. There is a also a note to any potential buyers that Julie won’t be available to show them the car.
BBC viewers can now view the news on video podcasts. Mini versions of Newsnight and the Ten O'clock news which can be viewed on computers, mobile phones and ipods, are being launched in a year long trial.
In a week when it was revealed that spiralling council tax is causing misery for millions of Britain’s pensioners, how can Buckingham Palace justify £4million of taxpayers money being spent on security for a house that Prince Charles’ wife Camilla rarely uses? Surely some of this money could be used for a more worthy cause in our community. Charles and Camilla are lucky that they can afford to own several properties. Most people in this country struggle to own one.
Congratulations to Ant McPartlin of Ant and Dec fame on his marriage to Lisa. The wedding was a quiet low key affair with family and friends. What a refreshing change to see a celeb who isn’t flogging exclusive coverage of his big day to a glossy magazine for mega bucks!
According to a recent survey by the Carphone Warehouse, most Britons cannot get through a day without using their mobile phones. A quarter of people said they would feel isolated without one. Experts say that mobiles have restored our sense of community, with the majority of people relying on them to chat with friends and catch up on gossip. I must admit I’d be lost without mine!
Former James Bond actor Sean Connery has been named as the greatest British hero in a poll carried out by amusement park, Thorpe Park. The theme park plans to name seats on a new rollercoaster after the country’s top 20 heroes. Olympic rower Steve Redgrave came second in the poll, with chef and champion of school dinners Jamie Oliver coming third.
I’ve just heard that the makers of Monopoly are bringing out a plastic (credit card) version with no cash. Fortunately a cash version will still be available to buy. That’s a relief. Monopoly without cash is unthinkable! It just wouldn’t be the same! Like a lot of British children, I grew up playing Monopoly and Cluedo. One of the highlights of playing Monopoly as kids, was organising who was going to be the banker and count out the money. Using plastic just wouldn’t be the same! In addition the makers of Monopoly will be increasing the property prices, changing some of the London addresses and updating some of the playing pieces in the new version. Thank goodness the “Go to Jail” element of the game will remain the same!
Royal coroner Michael Burgess has quit plunging the inquest and investigation into Diana’s death into chaos. It’s not surprising the poor man never had a chance. He was under pressure from all sides; royal aides wanting to put an end to the alleged “conspiracy theories”, Mohamed Al Fayed wanting a full investigation and even No. 10 has become involved. What a shambles! Surely we owe it to the people’s Princess to have a proper investigation and finally get some answers as to the events of that tragic night. Unfortunately with the resignation of Michael Burgess, further delays are now inevitable and we may never get to the bottom of what happened
Congratulations to Chancellor Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah on the birth of their second son, James Fraser. The beaming chancellor announced, “I love being a dad. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.” Let’s just hope Gordon Brown is as good a Prime Minister as he is a dad, if he ever makes it to No. 10.
According to a recent survey by consumer watchdog Which, most kids’ breakfast cereals contain as much sugar as a bar of chocolate. Researchers also found that some cereals contained as much salt as a bag of crisps. Cereal manufacturers are now being urged to cut down on salt levels and reduce the amount of fat and sugar found in their cereals.
A government health committee made up of labour MPs has recommended charging patients when they visit their GP or A & E Unit of hospitals. Maybe it’s going towards funding the latest government initiative. Over in Bristol £6,000 of public cash has been flittered away on a panpipe player whose music will be played to help patients relax whilst waiting to see the doctor. Wonder if he’ll play requests? Not sure whose bright idea this scheme was but I’m sure the public would rather have the money put towards something sensible rather than listening to music. Increased funding for operations would be a good start.
I watched singer Kylie Minogue on Sky One last week, having her first interview since her recovery from breast cancer. Fighting back tears, Kylie told interviewer Cat Deeley how her cancer battle wasn't over yet, she was still having treatment and how she still had, "a mountain to climb." She also revealed how her ordeal had made her "embrace life with both hands." Kylie is a very brave girl and it's nice to see her up and about again and planning to resume her Showgirl tour. She is an inspiration to other cancer sufferers. To the delight of her British fans, Kylie is planning some shows at the Wembley arena in January as part of her "Showgirl" tour. The tickets sold out within 6 minutes of going on sale, with fans jamming the phonelines to buy them. Everyone in England wishes Kylie well and is eager to see her back on stage again. Good luck to her!
Thousands of Britains, including politicians, celebrities and well-known sportspeople, ran, jogged or walked a mile yesterday to raise money for Sport Relief. The charity, set up by BBC Sport and Comic Relief, helps to tackle poverty here in Britain and abroad.
The foreign press has sunk to an all-time low, publishing photos of Diana Princess of Wales, dying in the wreckage after being involved in a horrific car crash in Paris. The British press this week condemned Italian based Chi magazine and Spanish magazine Interviu. Will Diana ever be allowed to rest in peace? This is the last thing that her family, particularly her sons, William and Harry want to see, photos of their beloved Mum’s last moments, being published in magazines to make money. They want to remember their Mum the way she was and the happy times they had with her. To publish photos like this is the height of insensitivity and bad taste. The press hounded Diana when she was alive and now’s she’s dead they still can’t leave her in peace. It’s disgraceful and taking freedom of the press a step too far.
I'm soldering on through the hayfever season and eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new pill which when taken twice a day, will wipe out all symptoms of hayfever, asthma and eczema. It will come as a welcome relief to millions of people, including myself. Clinical trials of the new drug (which blocks allergens) are due to start in 3 years and if successful, the drug could be available within 5 years.
Tony Blair believes that one of the main ways everyone in this country can save energy is by switching to energy efficient lightbulbs. So now we know! I wonder if Mr Blair is following his own advice and using them at No. 10?
The government is cost-cutting again and planning to get a million sick people back to work as part of an overhaul of the benefits system. The plans have already been criticised by various charity organisations who fear the affect the plans will have on older people or those suffering from depression. Okay there are a few people out there who cheat the system but for every person that does, there are several people out there who are genuinely sick and unable to work through no fault of their own. Instead of penalising them to save some money, maybe the government should take a look at the scandal of over 500 doctors and nurses who have all been suspended on full pay. These are all able-bodied people who are being paid to stay at home, costing the country millions, according to a recent national newspaper report. No wonder this country and the National Health Service are in the state they’re in.
The government has recommended the use of nuclear power in a bid to tackle climate change and cut carbon emissions. Tony Blair believes it could make a significant contribution to Britain’s energy needs alongside renewable energy sources.
Critics argue that by advocating the use of nuclear power, we may be creating another Chernobyl, a disaster waiting to happen. The argument rages on.
On Friday 7th July, the nation remembered the victims of the 7/7 London bombings, with many workplaces and individuals observing two minute’s silence at noon to remember those who sadly lost their lives that day. A service of remembrance was held at London’s Hyde Park, culminating in members of the public laying flowers within a mosaic in Queen Mary's Gardens in the park. Prime Minister Tony Blair said the anniversary was an opportunity for "the whole nation to come together".
The government has so far refused to launch an enquiry into the events of 7/7, the main reason being money. Unfortunately you can’t put a price on people’s lives. The sooner Mr Blair realises that, the better. Surely the only way to stop something like the atrocities of 7/7 ever happening again is to launch a full enquiry. We owe it to the victims and their families, to find out who was behind the terrible atrocities of that day. There are still so many unanswered questions. Until a full investigation is launched and with the threat of more terrorist activity hanging over us, none of the people in this country will ever feel secure again. A similar situation occurred in the States but unlike Mr Blair, George Bush set up a 9/11 Commission ending any myths or speculation surrounding the September 11th attacks. The American people then had some reassurance. Like our American neighbours, the British public demand nothing less. Tony Blair has been battling to win back public confidence since the events surrounding the Iraq war. Acknowledging what happened on 7th July would be a step in the right direction.
Space shuttle Discovery finally blasted off on Tuesday with British astronaut Piers Sellers on board. The launch had been delayed twice due to bad weather and then a crack was found in the fuel tank’s insulation, causing a further delay. Crowds, including Dr Sellers’ mum and brothers who had flown in from England, cheered as the shuttle left the Kennedy Flight Centre at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The government is getting tough on underage smokers and is considering raising the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes from 16 to 18. Under new proposals anyone caught selling cigarettes to underage youngsters will be banned from selling cigarettes for one year. Public Health Minister Caroline Flint said that the younger children are when they start smoking, the more likely they are to be hooked on the evil weed for life! Around nine percent of British children aged between 11 and 15 now smoke.
Shakira has toppled Nelly Furtado securing her first No. 1 hit in the official U.K. singles chart, with her hit song, “Hips Don’t Lie”, featuring Wyclef Jean. Nelly Furtado was riding high in the chart for 3 weeks with her song, “Maneater”.
The England team have returned home after their hopes of a World Cup win were dashed this weekend, when they lost to Portugal. The England team were devastated, many of them in tears, after a dramatic quarter final match that saw Rooney get sent off with a red card, Beckham leaving the pitch injured and three other players missing vital spot-kicks. England Captain David Beckham resigned in the aftermath of the defeat. Fighting back tears, he said: "I've lived the dream and am extremely proud to have worn the armband and been captain of England." Meanwhile departing England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson urged fans and the media not to savage Rooney and blame him for England’s defeat, describing him as “the golden boy of English football”. Singer Sir Elton John branded the England team, “a disgrace” after losing to Portugal, at one of his gigs. Let’s hope the team have better luck in their next World Cup bid in 4 years time!
According to a recent report this week, respiratory diseases kill as many as one in five people in Britain, costing the National Health Service more than 6 billion pounds a year in treatment. The illnesses include lung cancer, tuberculosis, asthma and pneumonia. More people die of lung cancer than breast cancer in Britain, with respiratory disease killing more people than heart disease.
The royal family’s expenditure has come under scrutiny this week, after Clarence House revealed that Prince Charles’ new wife Camilla comes cheap as she “lives in a house that’s already there, travels with the Prince and on three occasions she went on an aircraft on her own”. Apparently Charles and Camilla cost the British public the equivalent of 3.5p each for every person in Britain! Sounds like creative accountancy to me! It would be nice if it were true though! I have to say the fact that Charles pays only £3.3million in tax from £14million earned from his Duchy of Cornwall estate stunned me. It might be a good idea if he shared his tax-saving secrets with the rest of the nation!
It was also revealed this week that royal travel expenses cost the taxpayer £5.5 million last year. Apparently Prince Charles was the most expensive royal traveller, complaining how uncomfortable business class seats were compared to first class. I’m sure we all agree with him but unfortunately unlike Prince Charles, most of us can’t afford to be choosy! But Royal accountants insisted that the royal family were still good value for money, costing the nation the equivalent of 62p per person for their upkeep and expenses. I’m not sure about some of the other members of the royal family, but I personally think that the Queen is worth every penny. Long may she reign over us! The Queen has always been a hardworking and devoted monarch. It’s just unfortunate that some of the other members of the royal family can’t follow her example.