PM urges hospitals to cut bureaucracy

David Cameron has urged hospitals to cut bureaucracy rather than making doctors or nurses redundant, on the same day as a new health watchdog was appointed on a salary of £57,000 for a two-day week.

The Prime Minister said it was “not acceptable” that the ranks of NHS managers had been swelling at twice the rate of nurses, and called on trusts to make savings in “back office costs”.

He spoke after it emerged that two hospitals in London – St George’s Healthcare Trust and Kingston Hospital Foundation Trust – announced they would axe hundreds of posts, including those of nurses and high-ranking consultants, bringing the total number of positions under threat to nearly 2,000.

Asked at a press conference on Friday to spell out his message to health bodies that are under pressure to make £20billion of savings in three years, Mr Cameron replied: “We have put more money into the NHS, we have taken difficult decisions elsewhere, including in welfare, so the NHS is getting a real-terms increase.

“So yes, of course, I would urge every health authority to look at what they can do in terms of saving back-office costs, saving bureaucracy and trying to keep everything on the front line. “What we saw over the last few years was the number of bureaucrats growing twice as fast as the number of nurses and that’s not acceptable.”

Meanwhile doctors are stepping up their opposition to the controversial legislation, which would see control of £80billion of the NHS budget handed over to new bodies run by GPs and treatment opened up to more private healthcare providers. At a regional meeting of the British Medical Association, the doctors’ trade union, on Thursday evening, members voted in favour of a motion calling for “total opposition” to the bill.

There are growing hopes that the wording of the bill, which says that only maximum prices will be set for patient treatments, could be altered after an internal NHS document stated that “there is no question of introducing price competition”.

Labour’s shadow health secretary, John Healey, said: “The Tory-led government is losing ground on its big NHS reorganisation. The more people see of their plans, the less they like or trust them. “Most GPs don’t want the changes, and four in five don’t believe patient care will improve as a result.

“David Cameron has shown with his u-turn on the selling off of forests that he will drop policies that are damaging and deeply unpopular. He should move now rather than later to drop his plans for the NHS, and changing course would win him widespread support.”


British school chaos

“A lack of discipline is at the root of our educational malaise”

David Starkey

I may have quite considerable experience as a history teacher – over 15 years lecturing in the subject at the London School of Economics – but I had never imagined that the next time I stepped into the classroom, I’d be doing so under circumstances quite like these.

Let me explain. Recently, Jamie Oliver approached me and asked if I’d be interested in teaching at his Dream School – a “school” staffed by celebrities and well-known experts in their field. They would try to turn around the education of a group of 16 to 18-year-olds who had resisted every attempt to be educated in the past, all in front a the cameras. Rolf Harris would teach art, Daley Thompson would tackle sports, drama lessons were to be led by Simon Callow, and I was to take the history class. Guest assistants would include Cherie Blair and the photographer Rankin.

The first thought that came to mind was that this sounded rather like “Strictly Come Teaching”. The second was that the task in hand was going to be very hard going.

All the young people had failed, for various reasons, to obtain five GCSEs at A* to C grade – some had experienced personal or health difficulties during their schooling, while others had spent time excluded from school for short periods.

You have to remember that these children – and they are children, despite what they themselves might believe – find it difficult to control their emotions. As I was to find, they are easily distracted and the smallest thing can make them fly off the handle. The violence that can be witnessed on our streets is also to be found bubbling under the surface in the classroom. An aggressive emotional incontinence pervades inside the school gate.

No wonder, then, that I felt this particular mission of Jamie’s would probably fail. But I was also aware that the fundamentals behind his Dream School were inspiring.

I am passionately committed to state education. I went to a progressive primary school in Kendal, followed by a boys’ grammar school and then Cambridge. Back then, two thirds of the students were from state schools. It is more or less the opposite case now, which is testimony to the crisis inflicted on state education, which this TV programme aimed to address.

I decided to let my heart rule. I’ve long had a high opinion of Jamie. I first met him back in 2001 at an awards ceremony where we had both won book prizes. I have to confess I did not behave well towards him. I was snobby and I couldn’t understand why a cook was getting a book prize. But Jamie went out of his way to be nice – and that impressed me. He still does. His heart is most certainly in the right place.

And so I prepared my lessons carefully. I wanted to show the class how the historical concept of honour and dying for one’s country had changed. But my first lesson was, if I am honest, a catastrophe. I decided to use props in the form of the Anglo-Saxon Hoard, which was found in the Midlands last year, to teach the class about the old aristocratic society and how the upper classes decked themselves in jewels to illustrate their status. The only problem was that we had to transport it from Birmingham to London. Sure enough, it got stuck on the M6. The students were forced to wait for two-and-a-half hours. By the time the lesson started, they were bored, irritated and edgy.

This is perhaps understandable. But what surprised me was the utter lack of discipline in the school. The Dream School’s head teacher was the award-winning John D’Abbro, whose New Rush Hall educational organisation specialises in working with children with behavioural and emotional difficulties. D’Abbro treated the institution rather like a caring machine, rather than an educational one.

My students felt they could do what they wanted. They shouted, gossiped and sent texts to friends. The noise was quite extraordinary. It was bedlam – like the Lord of the Flies. I am not normally scared by anything, but even I was sweating. It was an appalling experience and it gives you a sense of why things have gone so wrong in state education.

During the lesson, I had a mild altercation with one boy, Conor. It was silly and trivial, with mild insults on both sides – he commenting unfavourably on my height and I commenting on his weight. He didn’t take offence, but the school officials became agitated. I was told I must never say anything harsh to the children – even though they were trying to tear me apart. The notion that an adult is not allowed to verbally spar, to give as good as they get, is ludicrous. It is why our educational system has gone wrong. I believe young people need rules. They will respond to discipline.

I don’t blame anyone at Jamie’s school for this. To my mind, the headmaster was simply a representative of the new kind of establishment running our state schools. It is reluctant to discipline, brims over with human kindness and is sceptical about authority.

By the end of the series, I had taught five lessons on everything from jousting to religion. So did I notice a big transformation in the pupils’ attitude? The short answer is there was no miracle. A few weeks is not going to change the pattern of behaviour of someone who is so damaged. You are fighting a continuing battle. The notion you can get these pupils to do what you, the teacher, want is an alien concept.

I did try to engage them as much as I could – and had some success. About half of the class of 20 became enthusiastic about history. By the final lesson, we even talked about how you would write an essay, something they had never done before.

I have stayed in touch with a few of them, including Conor, and a girl called Danielle. I even took Danielle to Cambridge University for a tour. In a different world, she would have been the right girl for Cambridge. Instead, her reaction was somewhere between inspiration, bewilderment and frustration.

I have nothing but admiration for teachers who face these kinds of problems every day. Without wishing to sound too emotional, I also felt deeply for many of the pupils who, with the exception of one or two, were all above average in intelligence. A few others were even higher. It is tragic that they feel so disillusioned and ambivalent about their schooling.

Education might be at the centre of our political debate, but I realise now that until you have stood in front of a class and tried to teach in this kind of challenging environment, you don’t know much about the realities. The programme hasn’t necessarily offered solutions, but it has highlighted the problems we face. And it does provide incontrovertible evidence to show why a lack of discipline is at the root of our educational malaise.

I have nothing but contempt for the new-style head teachers who adopt a “happy family” approach, where everything is laid back. It has failed several generations already – and now society is paying the consequences. Jamie’s restaurants are run like military operations: why aren’t our schools?

And how could we really save the children in Jamie’s school? I would prescribe a good dollop of discipline – and a system of one-to-one mentoring. I am sure this would work wonders.

I’m glad I took part, but sadly, the whole experience has only confirmed that turning our state education system around is a bit like turning a tanker round: it’s a slow and arduous process. One can only hope that we’re not too late to start.


Put Beddington to bed

Sir John Beddington is the British government’s chief scientific adviser. A recent pearl of wisdom below:

We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of racism. We are grossly intolerant, and properly so, of people who [are] anti-homosexuality… We are not—and I genuinely think we should think about how we do this—grossly intolerant of pseudo-science, the building up of what purports to be science by the cherry-picking of the facts and the failure to use scientific evidence and the failure to use scientific method.”

“One way is to be completely intolerant of this nonsense,” he said. “That we don’t kind of shrug it off. We don’t say: ‘oh, it’s the media’ or ‘oh they would say that wouldn’t they?’ I think we really need, as a scientific community—and this is a very important scientific community—to think about how we do it.”

Even one of his Leftist allies is critical. See the excerpt below

This is what is offered by John Beddington’s recent animated call to a conference of UK government scientists, for “gross intolerance” of what he holds to be “pernicious”, “fatuous”, “pseudoscience”.

What is this ‘pseudoscience’? For Beddington, this seems to include any kind of criticism from non-scientists of new technologies like genetically modified organisms, much advocacy of the ‘precautionary principle’ in environmental protection, or suggestions that science itself might also legitimately be subjected to moral considerations.

Who does Beddington hold to blame for this “politically or morally or religiously motivated nonsense”? For anyone who really values the central principles of science itself, the answer is quite shocking. He is targeting effectively anyone expressing “scepticism” over what he holds to be ‘scientific’ pronouncements—whether on GM, climate change or any other issue. Note, it is not irrational “denial” on which Beddington is calling for ‘gross intolerance’, but the eminently reasonable quality of “scepticism”!

The alarming contradiction here is that organised, reasoned, scepticism—accepting rational argument from any quarter without favour for social status, cultural affiliations or institutional prestige—is arguably the most precious and fundamental quality that science itself has (imperfectly) to offer. Without this enlightening aspiration, history shows how society is otherwise all-too-easily shackled by the doctrinal intolerance, intellectual blinkers and authoritarian suppression of criticism so familiar in religious, political, cultural and media institutions.

The point is not that science or scientists —themselves (thankfully!) human— are mystically immune to these tendencies. When the single largest area of global research expenditure is military and the principal driving forces behind science lie in narrow disciplinary agendas, rich world markets and intellectual property—there can be no denying that science is itself as political and power-laden as other social institutions.

The fact that science is, as Beddington concedes, also always uncertain, profoundly compounds the legitimate scope that typically remains for openly subjective value judgement and interpretation. These are precisely the realities that Beddington’s unmeasured language is in danger of suppressing.

The point is that the basic aspirational principles of science offer the best means to challenge the ubiquitously human distorting pressures of self-serving privilege, hubris, prejudice and power. Among these principles are exactly the scepticism and tolerance against which Beddington is railing (ironically) so emotionally!

Of course, scientific practices like peer review, open publication and acknowledgement of uncertainty all help reinforce the positive impacts of these underlying qualities. But, in the real world, any rational observer has to note that these practices are themselves imperfect. Although rarely achieved, it is inspirational ideals of universal, communitarian scepticism—guided by progressive principles of reasoned argument, integrity, pluralism, openness and, of course, empirical experiment—that best embody the great civilising potential of science itself.

As the motto of none other than the Royal Society loosely enjoins (also sometimes somewhat ironically) “take nothing on authority”. In this colourful instance of straight talking then, John Beddington is himself coming uncomfortably close to a particularly unsettling form of unscientific—even (in a deep sense) anti-scientific—’double speak’.

Anyone who really values the progressive civilising potential of science should argue (in a qualified way as here) against Beddington’s intemperate call for “complete intolerance” of scepticism. It is the social and human realities shared by politicians, non-government organisations, journalists and scientists themselves, that make tolerance of scepticism so important.

The priorities pursued in scientific research and the directions taken by technology are all as fundamentally political as other areas of policy. No matter how uncomfortable and messy the resulting debates may sometimes become, we should never be cowed by any special interest—including that of scientific institutions—away from debating these issues in open, rational, democratic ways. To allow this to happen would be to undermine science itself in the most profound sense.

It is the upholding of an often imperfect pursuit of scepticism and tolerance that offer the best way to respect and promote science. Such a position is, indeed, much more in keeping with the otherwise-exemplary work of John Beddington himself.


Climate zealots made my life hell for being a sceptic says British TV presenter

As a climate change sceptic, Johnny Ball doesn’t mince his words. He once declared spider flatulence to be more damaging to the environment than fossil fuels.

But the veteran children’s TV presenter is paying the price for his outspoken remarks. Yesterday he revealed he has become the victim of a vicious hate campaign by environmentalist ‘zealots’.

Mr Ball – father of Radio Two DJ Zoe Ball – popularised maths and science for millions of youngsters in the 1970s and 1980s with his eccentric TV shows. More recently he has carved out a career giving talks in schools and at science festivals and teachers’ conferences.

But he says zealots are trying to sabotage his career because he has described climate change as ‘alarmist nonsense’. He claims the internet has been used to try to discredit his opinions. Bloggers have run campaigns stating Mr Ball ‘should not be allowed near children’. And an imposter has even tried to cancel his booking at a training day for maths teachers in Northampton.

In a sinister twist, websites have also been set up in his name which contain pornographic images.

Mr Ball, a 72-year-old grandfather, believes his career has been destroyed and says his bookings have fallen by 90 per cent since the smear campaign began four years ago. Police are investigating his claims.

The former presenter of Think of a Number and Think Again first spoke out against ‘alarmist’ climate change scientists at the Manchester Science Festival in 2007. He criticised those who terrify children by telling them that they ‘are all going to hell in a handcart in 39 years’ because of climate change. And in 2009 he was booed off stage for making his spider remark.

Yesterday he said the campaign against him amounted to a ‘witch-hunt’. He said: ‘This was clearly a criminal act to damage me and my career business. People have every right to make up their own minds on my stance. But to deliberately smear my name in ways that are clearly criminal is so very disappointing. ‘I would hope it is not the way fair and sensible debate is going in this far more open, modern society.’

Mr Ball is a prolific author of maths books who has also produced five educational stage musicals. He said he has been sceptical of climate change arguments since the 1960s when scientists warned of an impending ice age.

And he said that anyone who seeks to make a common sense, measured comment about climate change is branded a ‘heretic’.

Yesterday, he called for the views from both sides of the climate change camp to be heard. He highlighted a recent Independent Panel on Climate Change ruling that stated that there must be no more exaggeration about the issue.

Explaining his views on climate change, he told the Times Education Supplement: ‘The reason I take this stance is because several films have been introduced into schools which imply that the earth may not be able to sustain human life as we know it, in around 39 years’ time, which is unscientific, alarmist nonsense.

‘Of course mankind is a great burden on the earth, but at every turn we are learning to manage and better control our impact and the damage we do.

‘However, my main concern is that the alarmism is actually frightening schoolchildren to an alarming degree. ‘It is suggesting to them that the previous generation have all but ruined the planet, and unless they switch stand-by lights off, for instance, we could all be going to hell in a handcart. ‘This does nothing to promote confidence in our young. It sends the message that all technology is harmful. Yet, in truth, great strides are being made.

‘Gas-fired power stations now produce twice as much power for the same fossil fuel as they did 15 years ago. Cars have far cleaner exhausts and have doubled their mileage and tyre wear, and they are all recyclable or reclaimable. ‘These are success stories.’


The bureaucrats thrive in broke Britain

A legacy from years of Leftist government

The larger-than-life Communities Secretary Eric Pickles hit on something earlier this week when he proposed that any council employees earning over £100,000 a year should have their salary approved by councillors in an open meeting. Or, as he put it, ‘democracy-proofed’.

The only shame is that he didn’t go far enough. Surely the best way to ‘democracy-proof’ local government pay would be to get us, the voters, to approve or reject council executives’ remuneration packages.

Can you imagine the voters of Hartlepool — the same voters who face losing their hospital, bus service, three community centres and a library — rushing out to approve the 7 per cent salary increase just awarded to the town’s chief executive Paul Walker? His annual pay next year will be £168,000 — £25,000 more than the Prime Minister, and all to run a medium-sized town in the north of England.

The pay rise is an unbelievable cheek. Last month Hartlepool’s elected mayor Stuart Drummond — who is himself on a salary of well over £50,000 — wrote to the Government to protest about the cut in Hartlepool’s grant. And yet we now learn that, while the cuts will be affecting services desperately needed by the poor, there is apparently enough money in the kitty to stuff the pockets of the council’s top brass.

I know how the people of Hartlepool feel. Two weeks ago, I studied the new county council’s budget for Cambridgeshire, where I live, and discovered that my daughter’s transport to school had been selected for the chop.

Like many disabled children, she has a long daily journey to a school which is far from where we live. The nearest special school — built on a cheap greenfield site so that the sites of the two schools which preceded it could be sold to developers — is half an hour’s drive away.

That is not such a problem if the council’s education department runs minibuses to pick up the children, as it does at present. But if the service is stopped, some families who are already at breaking point will have to spend two hours a day driving their children to school. Following an outcry, the county council now claims that the proposal was a ‘drafting error’, and that home-to-school transport will still be available for parents who want it. I’ll hold them to that.

But still £1 million is to be cut from the disability budget, libraries are to close and bus services to be axed. Meanwhile, brass-necked councillors sat down to a three-course lunch midway through their meeting to discuss cuts.

One thing they didn’t do when they eventually slunk back to the council chamber was to take a penny off the pay of senior staff — the chief executive enjoys a £196,000 salary. When I asked my local councillor why not, I was astonished by the response. ‘I don’t know. I’m not on the remuneration committee,’ he said.

What is the point in electing councillors if they don’t even have the power to control pay rises for the unelected cliques who really seem to hold sway on our councils? It is the same all over the country: the old, the sick and the vulnerable are seeing services slashed while councillors and council executives live it up at the taxpayers’ expense.

In Birmingham, dinner ladies and education support workers are being sacked, while the chief executive continues to earn £204,000 and the council leader — which used to be a voluntary position until the mid-Nineties — earns £72,000.

In Suffolk, all lollipop men and women are to go, 16 care homes are to close, 29 out of 44 libraries are to be lost. And yet the county council is so cash-strapped that it will be paying its chief executive £218,000 this year.

Perhaps rather than sacking lollipop ladies the council might just think about cutting out the £400,000 it recently spent on ‘brain-training’ for staff, and the £6,000 it spent on staff ‘team-building’ exercises, including chocolate-making.

The sheer waste of money is staggering, Yesterday, the Mail reported how the Labour government public sector jobs boom during its 13 years in power left town halls employing as many as three million workers — and that one in four of them has no link to front-line services. Worse still, councils across Britain have continued to recruit for these non-jobs despite the recession.

So while dinner ladies go, bus services are axed and disability budgets slashed, councils have been advertising for ‘walking co-ordinators’ on salaries of £32,000, roller-disco coaches to make sure children can skate properly at £7.50 an hour, and climate change officers on nearly £40,000 a year.

Yet while making these outlandish appointments and awarding themselves bumper salaries, councils are trying to shift all blame for the cuts on to the Government. What’s more: they are getting away with it.

Remember Riven Vincent? She is the mother who a fortnight ago said she was considering putting her six-year-old quadriplegic daughter Celyn into a full-time residential home because she could no longer cope with just the six hours of respite care the council offered her a week — Celyn requires looking after 24 hours a day. She blamed everything on the cuts imposed by David Cameron, saying he had promised her during last year’s election campaign not to do anything to hurt disabled children.

She could instead have blamed Amanda Deeks, chief executive of South Gloucestershire District Council. Ms Deeks is not as important as David Cameron, though she is paid more — £186,590 a year, to be precise. If Ms Deeks took a pay cut so that she was paid the same as the Prime Minister, it would free up enough money to give Ms Vincent and ten other families an extra six hours of respite care a week. Had South Gloucestershire lavished a little less luxury on its new £31 million office in the town of Yate it would have provided much more still. Nevertheless, Ms Vincent went for David Cameron’s jugular. In many people’s minds these are already the ‘Coalition cuts’.

The London borough of Newham reckons we are all so cross with the Government that we won’t notice its own extravagance. Besides spitting vitriol about the Coalition in its in-house magazine (which costs £547,000 a year to produce) the borough’s £81,000-a-year elected mayor Sir Robin Wales (who rules in tandem with the borough’s £241,000-a-year chief executive) has made a video moaning about the unfairness of his reduced budget. The video holds forth about the great achievements of the council — omitting, for some reason, any mention of the £111 million that the council has just spent buying and fitting out its own spanking new waterside HQ.

It is so luxurious — fitted out with trendy lights costing £1,800 each — that it won a prestigious design award from the British Council for Offices, beating any bank headquarters. But the cost of this temple of extravagance has nothing to do with your child’s playgroup or your meals-on-wheels being cancelled, of course — that is all the Government’s fault.

It is extraordinary how quickly councils have gone from being quietly-efficient administrative bodies with town clerks and unpaid councillors to seeing themselves as businesses, with salaries, bonuses and perks to boot.

Until the Seventies, councillors received no remuneration whatsoever. Then they were allowed to claim expenses, which at first were very modest. Then, from the mid-Nineties, they were given allowances, which have since swelled into fat salaries — £118,500 in the case of Steve O’Connell, who rakes in the money sitting on the Greater London Assembly, Croydon Council and the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Meanwhile, the town clerks who were on modest salaries have puffed themselves into ‘Chief Executives’. During the boom years they started awarding themselves vast pay increases on the conceit that they could always be earning more in the private sector (though funnily enough few seem to make this transition).

Yet when the crash came and private sector earnings started to shrink, council executives continued to award themselves big pay rises. In 1997 councils employed an average of just seven staff on salaries of more than £50,000 a year. By 2008 that had swelled to 81.

We used to call greedy and wasteful councils the ‘Loony Left’. But now senior council staff have their noses in the trough left, right and centre.

At one school in the Hampshire town of Gosport, 19 staff are to lose their jobs, some working with children with learning difficulties, while the borough council has just sent four councillors on a junket to Spain to visit a potential bidder for the town’s waste services. The council argued that the councillors needed to check out the company — which hardly required a trip to Spain, given that it has a British subsidiary with offices on the Isle of Wight.

Meanwhile in Scotland, Renfrewshire Council is closing community halls, but spent £15,000 hiring an X Factor singer to switch on its Christmas lights.

We are all supposed to be in this together. But for some reason council executives seem to think that they are an exception.

These local politburos should stop blaming all cuts on the Government and admit their own greed and waste. It is high time that we, who are paying their salaries, got to veto their obscene levels of remuneration.


Hurrah – eating red meat is good for you! After all the warnings, Sunday roast not linked to heart disease

No details are given of the study below but all the evidence I have seen that opposes meat eating is very weak — motivated more by vegetarian convictions than anything else

After years of worrying that tucking into red meat could lead to a heart attack or cancer, you can relax and enjoy the Sunday roast, say researchers. A report demolishes the ‘myths and misconceptions’ about the meat, saying that most people eat healthy amounts which are not linked to greater risk of disease.

Modern farming methods have cut fat levels, which can be even lower than chicken, while red meat provides high levels of vital nutrients, including iron.

A vegetarian having a Cheddar cheese salad will eat seven times more fat, pound for pound, than lean red meat contains, says a review by the British Nutrition Foundation.

However, the World Cancer Research Fund, which advises people to curb red meat consumption and cut out processed meat, disputed the findings. [They would. Scares are meat and potatoes to them]

The 77-page review, which looks at current evidence on health and red meat, found no evidence of ‘negative health effects’. It shows on average men in the UK eat 96g of red meat and processed meat a day and women are eating 57g.

Those eating more than 140g a day are advised by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to cut down, as these levels are linked to disease. There has been a cut in consumption over the last 30 years, with Britons eating less than many other European countries including Spain, Italy, France, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The review says there is ‘no conclusive link’ between cardiovascular disease and red meat, which actually contains some fatty acids that may protect the heart. At current levels of average consumption, there also is no evidence of a link to cancer, it says.

Cooking methods which overdo or char the meat are a much more likely cause of any link with bowel cancer, says the review.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, an independent dietician and member of the Meat Advisory Panel, which is supported by a grant from the meat industry, said: ‘This review highlights that eating red meat in moderation is an important part of a healthy balanced diet.

‘It also lays to rest many of the misconceptions about meat and health. People have been told they can’t eat it and they feel guilty when they do, but given that current intakes, on average, are well within health targets, there is no reason to eat less red meat if you enjoy it.’ An average slice of ham is 23g, beef 45g and a thick slice of lamb 90g. A small piece of steak is 100g.

Dr Ruxton said: ‘There is less saturated fat in a grilled pork steak than a grilled chicken breast with the skin left on.’

Although meat eaters often have more body fat than vegetarians, the review says it is impossible to attribute this to shunning meat as vegetarians tend to have more health-conscious lifestyles.

Dr Ruxton said many young women were iron-deficient and should be eating more red meat, but she advised that processed meat should be no more than an occasional treat. ‘You don’t need red meat every day, people should be eating fish twice a week, but if you ate a slice of red meat in a sandwich daily you can eat a portion of red meat for dinner up to four times a week and still stay within healthy limits,’ she said.

Since 2006 researchers have been giving hollow warnings about red meat. Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific adviser for World Cancer Research Fund, said the study was being promoted by the meat industry, but added: ‘This paper is not a systematic review of the evidence and does not change the fact that there is convincing evidence that red and processed meat increase risk of bowel cancer. ‘This is why we recommend limiting red meat to 500g cooked weight per week and avoiding processed meat.

‘It is true that red meat contains valuable nutrients and this is why we do not recommend avoiding it altogether. But to suggest, as the authors of this review have done, that there is “no evidence” that a moderate intake of lean red meat has any negative health effects is wrong.

‘Essentially, the public has a choice between believing our findings – which are those of an independent panel of scientists after a systematic and transparent review of the complete global evidence – or the conclusions of this review.’

The review was published in the Nutritional Bulletin, the journal of the British Nutrition Foundation, a charity with funding from various sources including the food industry.


Must not notice that someone is black, apparently

This was said 11 years ago but has just been dredged up:

“Weeks after sexist behaviour cost him his job at Sky Sports, racism was added yesterday to the accusations levelled against Richard Keys.

The shamed football presenter was taped referring to a black player as ‘choco’. Keys, who today attempts to revive his career by starting a £200,000-a-year radio job alongside his partner-in-disgrace Andy Gray, made the comment while preparing for a broadcast.

Keys and former footballers Graeme Souness and Ray Wilkins are heard discussing Jamaican-born David Johnson, who at the time was tipped to represent Scotland.

Johnson, then a striker at Nottingham Forest, had been tipped to play for Scotland but it turned out he was ineligible. Wilkins starts asking a question before Souness, himself a Scot, interrupts, saying sarcastically: ‘He looks like a Jock, doesn’t he?’

Keys replies: ‘Choco Jocko.’



About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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