Posts Tagged ‘health’

OBJECT: Demolition of The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s

September 5, 2013
The Tumbledown Dick

The Tumbledown Dick

The Tumbledown Dick

The Tumbledown Dick

a Drive-Thru McDonald's will feed into this

a Drive-Thru McDonald’s will feed into this

a Drive-Thru McDonald's will feed into this

a Drive-Thru McDonald’s will feed into this

trash McDonald's

trash McDonald’s

Where there is evidence of deliberate neglect of or damage to a heritage asset the deteriorated state of the heritage asset should not be taken into account in any [planning] decision. — National Planning Policy Framework

planning ref: 13/00512/FULPP

Deadline for objections: Friday 6 September 2013

Note: late objections will be considered, but please get in as soon as possible.

Objection to:

- plan@rushmoor.gov.uk keith.holland@rushmoor.gov.uk

Note: You may also wish to copy your objection to members of the planning committee, other councillors, Gerald Howarth MP and the media.

Note: Please encourage your friends to object. Please spread the word.

Introduction

Dating from the 1720s, The Tumbledown Dick is one of the oldest buildings in Farnborough. A once popular live music venue, it is is now sitting derelict, with holes in the roof.

McDonald’s have submitted a planning application to demolish The Tumbledown Dick and erect a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. They will retain the front façade of the building.

Heritage

The Tumbledown Dick is a locally listed building and an Asset of Community Value (ACV) and is therefore a ‘Heritage Asset’ which means the planning committee cannot permit development which would result in destruction of the building. McDonald’s proposal to keep only the façade but demolish the rest of the building, is thus unacceptable and must be REJECTED.

As a local listed building, it is contrary to that policy to demolish. The only exception is if to be replaced by a building of outstanding character. A Drive-Thru McDonald’s does not meet the exception.

Where there is evidence of deliberate neglect by the owners (it has been wilfully neglected) the deteriorated state of the heritage asset should not be taken into account in any planning decision, ie it cannot be decided it is ok to demolish due to deliberate neglect by the developer.

There are holes in the roof, water is pouring through these holes. The situation will rapidly deteriorate with winter storms.

As a matter of urgency enforcement action must be taken to install a new roof, put good all the internal damage. If the owners refuse, the Council should undertake repairs and bill the owner. In the meantime, scaffolding must be erected and the building enclosed within a waterproof membrane.

Why is the Council refusing to take enforcement action?

Heritage gives a sense of place, of well being.

The best way to protect heritage is to put it to some use. Proposals have been put forward to bring the building back into use as a community owned cultural centre.

Asset of Community Value

The Council recognises the importance of the building by registering it as an Asset of Community Value. Were it to come up for sale, the local community has the opportunity to purchase the building and run it as a local cultural centre. Friends of the Tumbledown Dick have in place such plans, but they will only be granted that opportunity if the plans to demolish the building and turn it into a Drive-Thru McDonald’s are rejected.

The building is also locally listed as a building of local importance.

Culture

Farnborough is a cultural desert.

Proposals have been put forward to bring the building back into use as a community owned cultural centre cf the West End Centre in Aldershot.

A refurbished Tumbledown Dick would feature live music, art exhibitions, serve good food and coffee, source wherever possible locally, provide meeting space, possibly a recording studio, employ local people on a living wage, recycle money within the local economy.

Traffic and pollution

By its very nature, a Drive-Thru is a traffic generator.

The Farnborough Road, A325, is a main arterial route, at peak times approaching gridlock, the traffic between the two roundabouts either very slow moving or not moving.

The Drive-Thru would feed directly onto this main road, very close to a major junction.

How many cars queuing before there is a tailback onto the main road? This already occurs at the Drive-Thru at Farnborough Gate. A tailback onto the main road, close to a very busy junction, this then feeds back down the slip road to the Blackwater Valley Road.

Queuing traffic causing potential tailbacks onto a main arterial route between two of the busiest roundabouts in Farnborough could be dangerous, as drivers exiting the Pinehurst Roundabout may have to slow down or quickly change lanes to avoid the queuing traffic for the Drive-Thru. This could be dangerous and may lead to accidents.

Deliveries to service the site will be carried out by large articulated lorries, due to the limited space on the site, the tracking shown in the plans means the lorry will have to block 7 parking spaces plus 1 disabled space during their deliveries (potentially blocking parked vehicles for up to an hour).

To exit the site, the articulated lorry would have to carry out a very difficult manoeuvre and go over both lanes of the A325 dual carriageway. This could lead to accidents or traffic delays.

Parking – there are insufficient parking spaces for the site and size of the 2 storey restaurant proposed. This will lead to further traffic queues and is not in keeping with local planning requirements for 63 spaces minimum as only 30 spaces are proposed.

The prevailing wind is from the west. The unpleasant stench of cooking oil will drift across residential areas 18 hours a day.

Health

Nationally we have an obesity epidemic and associated health problems such as type 2 diabetes. Health care costs are spiralling out of control.

Type 2 diabetes used to be known as late middle age onset diabetes. It is now effecting young people in their mid-twenties.

Two-thirds of British adults are overweight and one in four is classified as obese.

Contrary to myth, children do not exercise less. They are not getting fat because they exercise less, they exercise less because they are getting fat. They are getting fat because of what they eat.

By 2001, obesity in the UK had doubled in men and trebled in women. And it was rising. Two years later WHO published a ground-breaking report that said the food industry marketing to children high calorie foods and the increased consumption of sugary drinks was having a major impact on obesity.

Bad as health statistics are nationally, these are even worse in Aldershot and Farnborough, due to lack of education on healthy diet, lack of exercise, poor diet and too many fast food outlets serving high fat, high sugar, high salt, energy dense, junk food.

Rushmoor has a rising obesity problem (it is above the national average in children of Reception Age and Adults), should the council approve yet a further fast food outlet, especially one aimed at families due to the soft play centre?

You only have to walk through the town centres of Farnborough and Aldershot and notice the number of fat, overweight and clinically obese people, often with some disgusting fast food in their hands, eating on the hoof. Then look around and observe the number of tacky fast food outlets. Try counting the number in Aldershot town centre, one soon runs out of fingers and thumbs on both hands.

Even more noticeable the dire situation locally, if you then take the same walk in Alton, Farnham, Godalming and Guildford and do a comparison.

At the McLibel Trial, McDonald’s admitted they serve junk food.

The plans for the Drive-Thru will have a soft play area. This is to entice children into a lifetime of bad food, poor health and an early death. Do our children not deserve better?

Health is a national and local material planning consideration.

Islington has health and control of the number of fast food outlets and their location built into its local planning policies. Why does not Rushmoor?

Islington has an excellent pub protection policy, as does Cambridge. Were a pub protection policy in place locally, as required by national planning policy, there would be no planning application from McDonald’s, as The Tumbledown Dick would have had to be put on the market as a pub, free of pubco ties.

Noise and Pollution

The constant hum of traffic passing through the Drive-Thru lanes, 6am to midnight, 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, is going to cause more traffic noise and pollution in a zone already at the high-end range of pollution. It will lead to an increase in litter around the area and the Empress ward, plus an increase in anti-social behaviour in light of what already occurs at Farnborough Gate.

The Rushmore core strategy and the SPD (Supplementary Planning Document) where Rushmoor states they want to provide a “clean and healthy place to live.” There are also planning regulations in the National Planning Policy Framework about Noise and Pollution.

Stationary or slow moving traffic generates far more pollution than free-flowing traffic. This will become a pollution hot spot.

By its vary nature, a Drive-Thru generates car journeys, this leads to increased pollution, increased CO2 generation.

How is the increase in CO2 compatible with the statutory obligations of the Climate Change Act (2008)?

Climate Change Act (2008) sets a legally-binding target for the UK to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

At a recent talk entitled Focus on Farnborough (Wednesday 28 August 2013), looking at the past, present and future of Farnborough, Andrew Lloyd Rushmoor chief executive agreed there was congestion on this stretch of road and action was required. Mitigation is not pouring many more cars and lorries onto this congested stretch of highway. If action is required to reduce the traffic, then it is not possible to approve an application that by its very nature is a traffic generator and would pour many more cars onto this congested arterial highway.

A precedent has been set. Opposite, on the other side of the road, plans to expand a doctors surgery were rejected on the grounds that it would pour additional traffic onto this stretch of highway. The number of extra cars would have been insignificant compared with that generated by a Drive-Thru whose very businesses model is based on traffic generation. If the doctors surgery was rejected on the basis of extra traffic onto the same busy road, then the Drive-Thru must be REJECTED.

Litter and antisocial behaviour

Polystyrene burger boxes cannot be recycled. These will be destined for landfill or incineration, assuming of course not thrown in the street.

Walk past any Drive-Thru McDonald’s and note the amount of litter not only in the vicinity but also scattered down the road. McDonald’s claim to employ litter patrols. The very act of employing litter patrols, is an admission of causing a litter problem, and clearly these litter patrols are not effective, else we would not see the litter. Has anyone ever seen a litter patrol?

McLitter finds its way as far away as the top end of George V Playing Fields.

At Farnborough Gate, staff were dumping the rubbish in the bushes.

At the McLibel Trial, evidence was submitted that showed the litter problem caused by McDonald’s.

For whatever reason, Drive-Thru McDonald’s attract anti-social behaviour. A place for the low-life to congregate.

The Metropolitan Police have OBJECTED to a two-story Drive-Thru McDonald’s at Wallington near Croydon on the grounds that it would lead to an increase in antisocial behaviour. Local residents have handed in a petition with 1,200 names objecting.

There is an easy way to stop the litter and anti-social behaviour, REJECT the planning application.

Employment

McDonald’s, as with Sports Direct and Vue Cinema, is a bad employer, low pay, temporary part-time jobs, zero-hour contracts, low skill, high employee turnover, a revolving door with the Job Centre down the road.

Low-skill jobs, otherwise known as McJobs. The businesses model of Ray Kroc, was based on job de-skilling.

A good restaurant, employs skilled chefs, newcomers learn new skills, important life skills, how to prepare and cook meals.

The number of jobs McDonald’s claim they will create should be seen as a gross exaggeration and taken with pinch of salt. Unlike their junk food which has more than a pinch of salt. 65 jobs, which is an estimate at the high end, is not 65 full-time jobs. These are part-time, temporary, zero-hours contracts McJobs, which equate to a handful of real jobs.

McDonald’s state this site will create 65 full-time but mostly part-time jobs, but any jobs lost in the family-run takeaways opposite due to competition in the immediate vicinity should be mitigated against this. In addition, McDonald’s operate their employment contracts for 95% of their ‘crew’ on zero-hour contracts, which means they do not have to guarantee any set hours of employment and staff will only be paid for hours worked. Crew staff are paid minimum wage, which can lead to continued reliance on additional employment or the benefits system.

No one can survive on zero-hour contracts, not knowing how many hours worked, how much money will come in on any week. Bills land on the doormat with monotonous regularity.

We should be looking to good employers, who at the very least pay a living wage, who give guarantees on working hours, who are wishing to employ skilled people, and when a person leaves, they do so with enhanced skills, improving their prospects in the job market

Local economy

McDonald’s is an international chain. It will drain money out of the local economy, not recycle money within the local economy.

We then have the externalised costs of dealing with the health costs, the stress of living on low wage and uncertain hours, the cost of subsiding the low wages through the benefit system.

Rushmoor is (allegedly), committed to tackling local pockets of deprivation, much emphasis was put on this by Andrew Lloyd at his recent talk.

You do not tackle deprivation by draining money out of the local economy. You do not tackle deprivation by opening yet more fast food outlets. You do not tackle deprivation with McJobs.

You tackle deprivation by paying living wages, improving skills, improving diet and health, plugging the leaks and recycling money in the local economy.

Rushmoor is (allegedly), committed to tackling local pockets of deprivation, much emphasis was put on this by Andrew Lloyd at his recent talk. You do not tackle deprivation by draining money out of the local economy. You do not tackle deprivation by opening yet more fast food outlets. You do not tackle deprivation with McJobs. You tackle deprivation by paying living wages, improving skills, improving diet and health, plugging the leaks and recycling money in the local economy.

There is a strong argument to be made for the social and economic value of a community pub. IPPR’s recent report Pubs and Places: the social value of community pubs, placed the wider social value of a sample of community pubs at between £20,000 and £120,000 per pub. It noted that pubs inject an average of £80,000 into their local economy each year, besides their cultural and practical community value.

Need for not demonstrated

The need for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s has not been demonstrated.

There is a Drive-Thru McDonald’s a mile up the road, there are takeaways opposite, behind as part of the cinema complex, two restaurants, with the possibility of more to come.

On the other hand, we know the abysmal health statistics due to the locality saturated with too many fast food outlets.

Lack of vision

Farnborough and Aldershot town centres have been destroyed by lack of vision and decades of bad planning decisions. Boarded-up shops, tacky chains, charity shops, fast food outlets, gambling joints. All the signs of failing town centres. The places to avoid, and those who have the means go elsewhere.

A few new paving slabs in Queensmead is not going to bring the punters in. Even less a festival to celebrate an appalling waste of public money.

A Drive-Thru McDonald’s is simply going to reinforce the bad image of Farnborough.

Towns need heritage, a sense of place, diversity.

In Paris, we still see street markets. In Alton, Farnham, Godalming, the butcher, the baker, the greengrocer.

With fresh, cheap, easily available food, people cook. They lead healthier lives.

Heritage, good food, diversity, a sense of place, leads to well being.

Farnborough is a cultural desert.

The Tumbledown Dick as a community owned cultural centre, would safeguard heritage, it would provide music, art, good food, support local businesses, it would link in with The Barn in Farnham, West End Centre in Aldershot, Electric Theatre in Guildford, it would enhance diversity, not reduce.

A Drive-Thru would simply reinforce all that is bad about Farnborough.

Conclusion

Bad on several grounds: noise, litter, traffic congestion, pollution, health, destruction of local heritage.

The planning application to demolish The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s must be REJECTED.

Disgusting Southwest Trains

June 28, 2013

1830 Guildford-Ascot train, the stench from the toilets unbearable. I felt sorry for anyone who was forced to use the toilets.

For more than a decade the train fares have been rising at more than twice the rate of inflation. We are told the service is improving, but those who use the trains see no sign of improvement in service, they cannot even keep their toilets clean.

Battersea Park Adventure Playground facing closure

January 11, 2013
Battersea Park Playground  occupied

Battersea Park Playground occupied

Battersea Park Playground no to cuts

Battersea Park Playground no to cuts

Today, just 1 in 5 children regularly play outside in their neighbourhood. The rest are denied the chance to get out of the house and have the everyday adventures that – to people of my generation – are what childhood is all about. — David Cameron

Battersea Park Adventure Playground what a wonderful place for kids to play, a safe place for kids to play, you can see the joy on their faces.

It beggars belief that mean-spirited Wandsworth Council wishes to shut it down. I dare say if there was a playground run for profit by McDonald’s, Wandsworth would support it, the planners would push it through.

We are facing an epidemic of childhood obesity. Anything that encourages children to be active should be welcome. Were these kids not in the adventure playground, they would either be cooped up in high-rise flats or on the street with street gangs, robbing and doing drugs.

They are being fed decent food at the adventure playground. A pleasant change from McDonald’s, where too many parents abuse their kids.

Shame on Wandsworth for trying to shut down Battersea Park Adventure Playground.

Monday of this week Wandsworth were due to send in the bulldozers. The Adventure Playground has now been occupied by local parents and kids to prevent its destruction. Wandsworth Council is threatening the occupiers with legal action for occupying their own park.

It makes a mockery of Localism where local people are supposed to decide what happens in their locality.

Argyll and Bute Council picked a fight with Martha Payne for daring to write a food blog NeverSeconds about their disgusting school dinners, Wandsworh Council picks a fight with local kids by shutting down their adventure playground.

The occupation has the backing of tennis star Greg Rusedski, celebrity chef Levi Roots and Lord Dubs of Battersea, the former Labour MP, comedian Mark Thomas, Bianca Jagger, founder and chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, and presenter Gia Milinovich. London Play has also given their support, as has Play England.

For more information, with further videos about Battersea Adventure Playground, check out Wandsworth Against Cuts.

The occupation has also set up a facebook page.

Wandsworth are cutting basic services, closing libraries, cutting school crossing patrols, refuse to pay their lowest paid workers a living wage, has axed 14 staff posts at three adventure playgrounds, and yet can find £2 million for Boris Bikes (the cost of hiring is due to double this year).

The only response from Wandsworth has been to smear the opponents to destruction, ordinary kids, parents and carers.

The following demand has been issued from local groups, residents and occupiers involved:

We demand the suspension of the demolition of Battersea Park Adventure Playground, pending the holding of a public meeting with a transparent and accountable dialogue and a full consultation by Wandsworth Borough Council of the whole community about the future provision of free, safe, staffed adventurous and accessible play facilities.

This Saturday a fun day at the adventure playground 1400 to 1600 afternoon Saturday 11 January 2012. Attend and join in the fun. Show your opposition to Wandsworth.

Please sign the petition Hands off our Adventure Playgrounds.

Please spread the word and give your support.

We judge a society by how it treats its children.

The Men Who Made Us Fat (3 of 3)

July 17, 2012

Jacques Peretti examines assumptions about what is and is not healthy. He also looks at how product marketing can seduce consumers into buying supposed ‘healthy foods’ such as muesli and juices, both of which can be high in sugar.

He speaks with Simon Wright, an ‘organic consultant’ for Sainsbury’s in the 1990s, who explains how the food industry cashed in on the public’s concerns around salmonella, BSE and GM crops. By 1999 the organic industry was worth over £605M, a rise of 232% within two years.

How did the mainstream food producers compete? Peretti speaks with Kath Dalmeny, former policy director at the Food Commission, who explains some of the marketing strategies used by mainstream food producers to keep our custom.

The programme also explores the impact of successive government initiatives and health campaigns, such as the proposal of ‘traffic light labelling’, the introduction of which the food industry lobbied hard against.

But in 2012, when we have an Olympic Games sponsored by McDonalds and Coca Cola, has anything changed?

Third part of three-part series on BBC 2, The Men Who Made Us Fat (July 2012).

When people became concerned at the food they were eating, to the food industry saw it as a new market opening up, the opportunity to market us yet more junk food, only this time labelled as ‘healthy’ and so could be sold at a premium.

Consumers are being mislead into buying food labelled healthy which is not healthy.

Sunny Delight was marketed as a healthy drink for kids. It was sugary water full of colouring and additives.

Supermarkets were keen to promote organic, not because they cared about our health or the health of the planet but because they could get away with a bigger mark up.

By 2001, obesity in the UK had doubled in men and trebled in women. And it was rising

Two years later WHO published a ground-breaking report that said the food industry marketing to children high calorie foods and the increased consumption of sugary drinks was having a major impact on obesity.

Cadbury’s introduced a marketing scheme where kids would gorge themselves on chocolate and get vouchers for sports equipment for their schools. They would need to spend many times what the sports equipment would cost if bought direct and in the meantime get very fat.

Cadbury’s are one of the sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics. As are McDonald’s and Coca-Cola.

The food industry has spent an estimated in excess of one billion euros lobbying the European Parliament to stop effective food labelling that would advise consumers they were eating junk food bad for their health.

A traffic light system makes it very clear to shoppers what food is good, what food is bad. The very last system the food industry wants to see in place.

A Harvard Business School study showed that people would eat a foot long sandwch from Subway thinking they had made a healthy choice (it contained 50% more calories than a Big Mac!). Worse still they would then indulge in a fattening desert thinking it ok because thinking they had just made a healthy eating choice they thought they had some leeway to indulge themselves.

People are getting fatter because they believe they are eating healthier foods.

Health Secretary Andrew Landsley was an executive director of marketing company Profero whose clients include Pizza Hut, Pepsi and Mars. He drew up a policy on obesity with the major players of the food industry. This would be like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank.

Landsley is in bed with the food industry when it comes to health in much the same way as he is in bed with the private health sector when it comes to destroying the NHS.

Fructose sweet white and deadly

July 8, 2012
fructose sweet white and deadly

fructose sweet white and deadly

Fructose is fruit sugar. It comes from fruit.

Complex sugars like sucrose can be broken down into simpler sugars, glucose and fructose.

If fructose comes from fruit, then it must be natural. If it is natural then it must be good for us.

That is what the food industry would like us to believe.

I was in Holland & Barrett, a health food store, at least that is what they would like us to think.

At the back of the store boxes of pure fructose. I was reminded of boxes of washing powder. It would probably be safer to eat washing powder, certainly safer to eat the box.

Why not simply serve the customers rat poison? The end result will be the same.

Fructose is deadly!

No child wants to be obese. No child gets up in the morning and shouts Mam, I want to be fat. No child wants to be bullied at school for being overweight.

Why then do parents abuse their children by taking them to the local McVomit, stuff them with sugary treats, give them Coke to drink?

We have an epidemic of childhood obesity, we have kids with type 2 diabetes a disease of late middle age. We have an epidemic of obesity in 6-month old babies!

It may surprise most people to learn that children do not exercise less than they used to. Children do not become fat because they exercise less. They exercise less because they are fat.

We are eating more. Gluttony.

This is a biochemical and psychological problem.

McDonald’s showed in the 1970s, if you give people bigger portions they eat more, and there appears to be no limit. Supersize everything, the food is cheap, the profits go up, but so does the calorie intake.

The calorie intake is in the carbohydrates, the sugars, not the fats.

We are eating more, but what we are eating more of is calorie dense, thus we are hit with a double whammy.

High Fructose Corn Syrup. Obtained from maize. Advantage to the drinks industry is that it is cheap. They switched from sucrose to HFCS. The net result that in the US is 63 pound per person.

Fructose is sweeter. If we give sucrose a base index of 100. On the same measure HFCS 120, fructose 173

We are increasing our total food intake, we are increasing the amount of sugar.

Agricultural policy is that food should be cheap. But cheap food comes at a high cost, high environmental cost, animal welfare, junk food.

High Fructose Corn Syrup. Cheap so replaces sucrose. But gets in everywhere because it is cheap.

Fruit juices are problematic. Healthy yes, but high in sugar, or can be.

Grams of sugar per 100ml

  • pomegranate juice 12.4
  • red grape and raspberry juice 11.5
  • orange juice 10.0
  • coconut water 4.8

Pomegranate juice is known to be high in sugar, that is why the advice is no more than one glass a day.

An athlete after a burst of activity will have burnt down the energy store held in the liver. High energy or sports drinks are designed to replenish the depleted energy levels in the liver. Do we see elite athletes drinking these drinks? No. We see fat kids drinking them because they have been brainwashed into thinking it is cool.

A legacy of the London 2012 Olympics is that more people will get more exercise. Sheer and utter nonsense. Sat watching the Olympics on TV does not incline one to get up and be active.

Two of the sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics are McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. What message does that send?

Eat less fat. Junk low fat foods are high in sugar.

In the home, food from fresh ingredients, we can control what we eat.

With processed food, cut the fat and it tastes crap, so replace the fat with sugar. Low fat processed food is high in sugar, which usually means high in High Fructose Corn Syrup

Fructose suppresses the signals to the brain that says I am no longer hungry. Thus if a kid drinks a can of coke in a fast food restaurant, a huge intake of calories, far from feeling satiated and having no appetite, can actually eat more.

A can or bottle of coke is a syrup. Caffeine is a stimulant, it is also a diuretic, meaning we urinate more. This leads to loss of fluid, we feel thirsty and drink more. Also contains salt, the sugar masks the salt. The salt makes us thirsty, we drink more.

Fructose and glucose are simple sugars, but they are not the same. They have different physical structures, they are metabolised in different ways.

The boxes of fructose in Holland & Barrett are labelled fruit sugar. The side panel states it is a natural sugar and advises use to replace sucrose!

Sucrose is 50:50 fructose and glucose.

With my knowledge of plants I can quite easily concoct a delicious but deadly meal.

Tobacco is natural!

The Men Who Made Us Fat (1 of 3)

June 27, 2012

Around the world, obesity levels are rising. More people are now overweight than undernourished. Two thirds of British adults are overweight and one in four of us is classified as obese. In the first of this three-part series, Jacques Peretti traces those responsible for revolutionising our eating habits, to find out how decisions made in America 40 years ago influence the way we eat now.

Peretti travels to America to investigate the story of high-fructose corn syrup. The sweetener was championed in the US in the 1970s by Richard Nixon’s agriculture secretary Earl Butz to make use of the excess corn grown by farmers. Cheaper and sweeter than sugar, it soon found its way into almost all processed foods and soft drinks. HFCS is not only sweeter than sugar, it also interferes with leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, so once you start eating or drinking it, you don’t know when to stop.

Endocrinologist Robert Lustig was one of the first to recognise the dangers of HFCS but his findings were discredited at the time. Meanwhile a US Congress report blamed fat, not sugar, for the disturbing rise in cardio-vascular disease and the food industry responded with ranges of ‘low fat’, ‘heart healthy’ products in which the fat was removed – but the substitute was yet more sugar.

Meanwhile, in 1970s Britain, food manufacturers used advertising campaigns to promote the idea of snacking between meals. Outside the home, fast food chains offered clean, bright premises with tempting burgers cooked and served with a very un-British zeal and efficiency. Twenty years after the arrival of McDonalds, the number of fast food outlets in Britain had quadrupled.

First part of three-part series on BBC 2, The Men Who Made Us Fat (June 2012).

The salads looked tasty and delicious, and of course are healthy, the junk food made me feel sick.

Chilling was the amount of internal fat being accumulated.

How to safeguard your investment in saturated fat

June 26, 2012
McDonald's

McDonald’s

McD's press button to open the door, less exercise

McD’s press button to open the door, less exercise

It is the parents who have to take responsibility for what their children eat. — McDonald’s

As a company over many years, we have promoted a healthy active lifestyle. — McDonald’s

Why needlessly expend energy on opening a door?

Why waste that investment in saturated fat?

McDonald’s is here to help you,

McDonald’s is here to help safeguard your careful investment in saturated fat.

McDonald’s has installed a button to open the door. No longer do you need to needlessly expend energy. No longer do you need to worry about that careful investment in saturated fat.

You can always rely on McDonald’s to help safeguard your investment in saturated fat.

In the 1970s, less than 2% of adults in UK were obese.

Obesity has trebled in the UK since the 1980s.

By the mid-90s, more than one in ten children in the UK were obese.

Children are developing type-2 diabetes, a disease of late middle age (it used to be known as maturity onset diabetes).

60% of adults in the UK are overweight or obese.

Obesity is costing the NHS over £4 billion a year.

Annual health bill in the US for obesity approaching $150 billion.

In the US, one-third of the population is clinically obese.

It is not only saturated fat that is the problem, sugar is too.

Block the Bridge

October 10, 2011
Save our NHS - Westminster Bridge

Save our NHS - Westminster Bridge

Block the Bill - Westminster Bridge

Block the Bill - Westminster Bridge

Sunday afternoon people from all over the country occupied Westminster Bridge in protest at cuts and privatisation of the National Health Service.

On the eve of the protest I thought, why not the police let protesters occupy the bridge, it is after all public highway. For once intelligent policing, and that is what happened. Maybe because the police facing 20% cuts and in the same boat. Sadly though they did blot their copy book later by directing protesters off the bridge into a kettle on Lambeth Bridge.

Coverage of Block the Bridge by BBC Radio 4 news was a disgrace. A brief mention on a couple of on-the-hour two-minute news bulletins and that was it.

No mention on the garbage Westminster Hour. The real world occupies Westminster Bridge and yet not a mention. Nor a mention on the midnight news.

- We won’t take this lying down: Thousands of demonstrators force Westminster Bridge to close with protest over Government health reforms

I recall my grandmother talking about days before the NHS, dreading anyone falling ill and a visit from the doctor and having to pay the doctor. We do not wish to see a return to those grim days.

- I remember a pre-NHS Britain. I don’t want to see a post-NHS one

But already, in Yorkshire, patients are being charged for minor surgery. They are referred to a private company which surprise surprise, they find is owned by their own company.

In Farnborough, doctors and dentists have been told to refer patients to a hospital in Basingstoke, not the nearby Frimley Park. Patients are being denied patient choice and when they try to exercise that choice are being told they have to go to Basingstoke.

- Farnborough patients denied patient choice

Yes, there are need for reforms. Consultants should be stopped from using the NHS to tout for business. Sorry a three month wait, but if you wish to bribe me, oops I mean pay me, you can be seen next week as my private patient.

Learned helplessness

April 14, 2011

learned helplessness

The American psychologist Martin Seligman’s foundational experiments and theory of learned helplessness began at University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression.

A person should be able to walk away from an abusive relationship, for example, or voluntarily quit a stressful job.

A psychological condition known as learned helplessness, however, can cause a person to feel completely powerless to change his or her circumstances for the better.

The result of learned helplessness is often severe depression and extremely low self-esteem.

Learned helplessness can be seen as a mechanism some people employ in order to survive difficult or abusive circumstances.

An abused child or spouse may eventually learn to remain passive and compliant at the hands of his or her abuser, since efforts to fight back or escape appear futile.

Learned helplessness results from being trained to be locked into a system. The system may be a family, a community, a culture, a tradition, a profession or an institution.

Initially, a system develops for a specific purpose. But as a system evolves, it increasingly tends to organize around beliefs, perspectives, activities and taboos that serve the continuation of the system. Awareness of the original purpose fades and the system starts to function automatically. It calcifies.

Some experts suggest learned helplessness can be passed on through observation, as in the case of a daughter watching her abused mother passively obey her husband’s commands.

The daughter may begin to associate passivity and low self-esteem with the “normal” demands of married life, leading to a perpetuation of the learned helplessness cycle.

Child abuse by neglect can be a manifestation of learned helplessness: when parents believe they are incapable of stopping an infant’s crying, they may simply give up trying to do anything for the child.

Another example of learned helplessness in social settings involves loneliness and shyness. Those who are extremely shy, passive, anxious and depressed may learn helplessness to offer stable explanations for unpleasant social experiences.

A third example is aging, with the elderly learning to be helpless and concluding that they have no control over losing their friends and family members, losing their jobs and incomes, getting old, weak and so on.

This was originally posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog. It stimulated quite a debate. Please check out the heart-rendering comments as readers post their traumatic stories

National Health Service Reforms

April 6, 2011

I can’t stand rap, but there are exceptions. The Andrew Lansley Rap is brilliant. Do I detect hints of House of the Rising Sun?

The so-called reforms of the National Health Service have nothing to do with improving the service provided to patients, it is about privatisation by the back door.

When you go to see your local doctor and he or she recommends a course of treatment or gives you advice, you hope that your doctor has your best interest at heart, not that you are prescribed a drug with one eye on the conference in Barbados that Big Pharma has promised. Now you wil have an additional worry, is that course of treament because the doctor or his practice profits from it, that he has referred you to a consortium in which your doctor has a stake.

There is a need for reform. Currently patients are getting a better service from walk in clinics than they are getting from their own local practice.

It should not be necessary to sit on a long waiting list when you need to see a specialist at a hospital.

Waiting times for knee and hip surgery is growing. Those in need of an operation wait in pain, the outcome is not as good as it would have been without the long wait.

The biggest refom needed is of consultants working within the NHS for whom the NHS is a gravy train. Either they work in the NHS (for which they are paid for 20 hours) or they work in the private sector. But they cannot be allowed to use the NHS to tout for private business, to use NHS services for their private patients. It is insulting to be told by a consulant, well there is a long wait, but should you wish to see me privately ….

Pressure works. The ConDem governement is already backing down on NHS reforms.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg say they are listening. If they are listening then heed the message, scrap the NHS Reforms!

But it is not only on NHS reforms where Andrew Lansley is at odds with public health. He attacked Jamie Oliver for trying to improve school meals, he can see no reason to control what goes into junk food or restricting sales, and as for respected medical journals, well these can be dismissed out of hand.

So who does Lansley listen to? Maybe the private health care industry who will benefit from his back-door privatisation, who have already had the windfall of juicy government contracts. A mere coincidence of course that Lansely and the Tory party have been in receipt of donations from the self-same sector!

I was poorly whilst in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife. I had no problems seeing a doctor the same day. The first visit I had to return in the afternoon, the second time wait 20 minutes until the doctor was free. The consultation was not rushed, the prescription was free.

Yes, the National Health Sevice is in need of reform. Back-door privatisation where the only ones to profit are private care providers is not reform. We do not want a US-style health service where the patients suffer and the only beneficiaries are the private health care companies.

Shock doctrine: Use the Budget Deficit as an excuse to push through slash and burn of public services.

Approval ratings for the NHS are the highest they have ever been, waiting times have fallen. What problem therefore are these reforms designed to solve, other than to syphon public funds into the private sector?

More information from Big Society NHS, UK UnCut and False Economy on why ConDen NHS Reforms are bad for our health, bad for our pocket.

- Captain SKA – Liar Liar
Tax dodger Boots turned into a field hospital
We are all in it together
Andrew Lansley on Food and Obesity
Far from cutting debt, Osborne’s plans will make it soar
Surgeons raise alarm over waiting
– Cuts are not the cure
Why austerity is not common sense
Will the cuts work? Just look at Ireland
Ireland the Model
Why cuts are the wrong cure


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