Sunday, January 06, 2019

Thoughts from Heald Green, England: 6.1.19

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

The UK
  • It's reported that:-
  1. An horrific rise in obesity surgery threatens the [eternally 'under-funded'] NHS.
  2. Two-thirds of adults in the UK are already overweight or obese, as are a third of children aged 10, and 
  3. 41,000 overweight patients got new hips and knees last year — including 7 teenagers
  • A major factor, says one commentator, is that: Our conflicted attitudes to obesity are denting efforts to tackle the problem. The general public has never been more conflicted about weight. Just as the public health warnings about obesity are growing strident, a burgeoning culture of self-acceptance is turning against “fat-shaming”.
  • Here's a very relevant article – Obesity, 5 dangerous myths, debunked which introduced me to the word “fatlogic”. This term doesn’t mean “fat people’s logic” but refers to the complex grab bag of supposedly medical facts, well-meaning advice, homegrown ideas and fantasies that make losing weight not only difficult, but impossible.
Spain
  • A poll suggests that the left-of-centre PSOE party would gain most votes in an early election but would not have an absolute majority over all the right-wing parties.
  • Last time I looked, there were 39 Caminos de Santiago. Not just the 1 or 2 well-known ones. Here's some stats from last year. I stress that these, I believe, only relate to those 'pilgrims' who report in when they arrive in Santiago. This rather highlights the questionable accuracy of numbers taken to 2 decimal places, though not in this blog:-
- Total number of 'pilgrims' last year 327,342
- This was a 9% increase on 2017
- And was 20% up on the last Holy Year of 2010
- Only in April and December were totals down on last year. But both March and May showed large increases.
- The most foreigners were again the Italians, followed by the Germans and North Americans.
- The most popular camino was, as ever, the French, with 57% of the total. Followed by the Portuguese Caminos (25%), the Camino of the North(6%) and the Camino Primitivo(5%).

More here for those who can at least read Spanish.

The UK/Brexit
  • Richard North, referring to a newspaper article of today by Mrs May, comments that: The Prime Minister declares that MPs must ask themselves 3 things. The first is whether the deal she has negotiated delivers on the result of the EU referendum by taking us out of the EU and restoring sovereign control over our borders, laws and money. The second is whether it protects the jobs constituents rely on to put food on the table for their families and the security co-operation that keeps each one of us safe. The third is whether it provides "the certainty that citizens and businesses have every right to expect from those who govern and represent them". Mrs May says she believes her deal does all of those things. The big problem, though is that excluding her own circle of close supporters who agree with her out of loyalty - she could be the only person in the country who does. In North's view: Mrs May's deal does none of the things she claims for it. If MPs are to vote for it, it is because the price of not doing so is a no-deal Brexit, the worst of all possible options bar re-joining the EU. 
  • As for the future, North comments: Such is the noise level, that the situation remains as murky as ever. Trying to predict an outcome hasn't got any easier and there is nothing immediately on the horizon which suggests that we are moving towards a resolution. The only clear strain that is emerging is the "ultra" determination to play down the consequences of a no-deal.
Social Media
  • Facebook's burnt-out moderators are proof that it is broken. Despite employing a small army of contractors to monitor posts, it’s clear the company is no longer fit for purpose. More here.
Finally . . . 
  • God knows we all make typos but  . . . . A headline in today's Telegraph - Bad weather could prevent India of victory in fourth Test.
  • Those bizarre army ads . . . Recruitment for the army is franchised to the company Capita, which has previously been fined by the Financial Services Authority and made a dog’s breakfast of providing administrative support within the NHS and education sectors. How do these hapless monkeys keep getting contracts?
  • I loved the comment that this sign meant that you're at risk of bumping into a Kardashian:-


© [David] Colin Davies

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