|  Uncategorized   |  Less smoke – more heat.

Less smoke – more heat.

The weekly round up of stuff that is in my head – in no particular order.

Submitted last years’ tax return – one bit of bureaucracy I always used to leave until the last minute. Now pleased to have it out of the way for another year. Been focused largely on two ongoing pieces of work – one of which that ends at the end of this month. Final housekeeping – last Board papers to check, final achievements of the delivery phase to review and endings to plan for. It’s perhaps indicative of our times that a programme that has delivered truly astonishing reductions in offending amongst young people engaged with and which has won numerous external awards now faces an uncertain future with only very limited ongoing funding secured.

The Final Report is due out at the end of the year – produced by @RussellWebster.

Interesting legislation to limit the potential for young people to buy tobacco poducts and to take us closer to becoming a smoke free country. Safe to assume that whatever the legislative status of tobacco determined young people will always be able smoke in reality. It does though give some potential extra leverage to the steady progress that is already being made in terms of reducing smoking amongst the population – down from 50% to 13% or so in a matter of decades.

Population level health interventions like this always jar with my instinctive ‘liberal’ tendencies. I am also naturally sceptical when things like this are presented as ‘silver bullets’ to health problems. So they must be accompanied by resolute attention to ongoing support, education and targeted interventions for the declining numbers of smokers. I feel generally the same about Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol – where we know that at a population level this approach can be effective in reducing over-all consumption but does little for dependent drinkers other than make it even more expensive. Same also applies to sugar taxes and their potential impact upon poorer communities.

So whilst broadly supportive of all such measures – I still think it’s impossible to really address health inequalities without addressing wealth inequalities.

I noted the publication of the Cass Report last week – I have always stood back from the ‘trans’ debate. I have nothing of value to add to it and have preferred to listen to people who can inform and educate me. The coverage following the reports publication has been as febrile and polarised as before and I still have nothing to contribute.

Indeed like 90% of commentators I haven’t read the report so my views would be utterly invalid anyway. But…. I was struck by some of the lesser emphasised news coverage of the author’s conclusions and observations which included the recognition that young people needed ‘better’ and ‘more accessible’ support and treatment services.

The reality is of course – there is now ‘less’ specialist support available, the two new promised services are yet to open properly (in one case they don’t have a premises), are running at 20% staffing, with long waiting lists and are only offering on-line support.

All set against a backdrop in which trans people have experienced increasing hostility, where their existence is often denied and within which in extreme cases they are attacked (& killed).

Surely we can all agree that right now what we should all want is a bit more compassion and love – and a lot less heat. It seems to me that if you can’t step forward as an ally now then you never will. And given that the trans community seems to be bearing the brunt of the ‘culture wars’ we never know when we’ll need some allies ourselves.

Push-ups challenge continues – I’m now 1700/3000 into it. Seemingly a few push over a couple of weeks doesn’t entirely reverse the impact of 40 years of Harvey’s Best and Kit Kats but I’m sure its making some difference.

Music – went to see Johnny Marr last Friday. My generations finest guitarist and a great night of singing along to old Smith’s songs without feeling compromised by the presence of the racist one.

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