Monday, 31 August 2009

The Prayer Book Society and the Road to Heaven

This morning I went to do an interview for Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales. It was all about the names of the Sundays before Lent. It's something I don't really get exited by on an August bank holiday morning building up to a day plastering and painting our conservatory.

On the other side of the debate there was someone from the Prayer Book Society who started the conversation by saying he found bilingual road signs in Swansea confusing. He also took exception - I think - to the way I pronounced Septuagesima. I said it in the same way that everybody from Trawsfynydd says Septuagesima on a Monday morning in August.

I'm so sorry to disappoint all those who know me well but I wasn't rude to this guy. I have to confess to a sin. It's worried me all day that I was so nice.

Never mind. Felicity Evans, one of the presenters, was a total, total star... Thanks Felicity! She asked him the question I didn't dare ask "You are just a snob really aren't you?" That so made my day.

I have thought a lot since then, while painting the conservatory, about how hard it would be to spend the whole of eternity in heaven with members of the Prayer Book Society. Then I thought perhaps not...they won't be able to read the signs telling them how to get there!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

The Latest from Barack Obama on Health Reform

Just got this email through...

On Thursday, an astounding 280,000 Organizing for America supporters gathered online to huddle with the President at our National Health Care Forum. With Congress about to return to Washington to make historic decisions on health insurance reform, the President chose this critical moment to speak directly to the OFA community. He reminded us of how far we've come and what we can accomplish together:

Remember one thing: Nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. That's how we won this election. You know this, and that's why since OFA launched its health reform campaign in June you've hosted 11,000 events in more than 2,500 towns in every single state and every single congressional district...I am absolutely confident that we can get this done, but I want everybody to remember, this has never been easy....We are not going to give up now. We are going to get this done. Now it's up to us to take the next step.

This week, we need to make sure every member of Congress heads back to Washington hearing overwhelming support for change. Lies and fear must not have the last word about the health reform America so desperately needs. So here's what you can do: Host or attend a "Let's Get It Done: Health Insurance Reform Now" event near you.There are many different kinds of events, from forums to rallies to "Health Care Phone Booths," where local folks can get the facts and call Congress. And if there isn't yet one near you, you can easily host your own. Wherever you live, you can help show Congress, the media, and your neighbors that the American people have one clear message about health reform: Let's get it done.

Thursday, the President made the stakes of reform crystal clear. He talked about how, with health care costs rising three times faster than wages, the cost of inaction is simply too high.He explained how reform will guarantee competition and choice. He described the Insurance Guarantees that will protect every American from discrimination against pre-existing conditions, exorbitant charges, and arbitrary denials or reductions in coverage just when we need it most.And he made plain his stance on the public option: "So let me just be clear: I continue to support a public option, I think it is important, and I think it will help drive down costs and give consumers choices."But even the best plan only matters if it passes, and that's where we all have a critical role to play. As the President said:

And that's why what all of you do is so important, because people trust you -- your neighbors, your friends, fellow community members -- they trust you. They know you. And if you are presenting the facts clearly and fairly, I'm absolutely confident that we're going to win this debate. But we're going to have a lot of work to do and I'm grateful that you're willing to do it. Let's go get 'em.

Click here to see highlights of the President's remarks or the full video of the National Health Care Forum.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Five Live

Just had lots of fun being a guest on Five Live talking about honesty. If a cash machine gave you more money than you asked for, would you give it back? I would, but not everyone believes me.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

The Real NHS in The UK

This is for all my US friends who may have been bombarded recently by the Republicans with negative and false pictures of our UK national health system. I well remember the campaign debates.Barack Obama really is on the right course for the US.

The key issue, dare I suggest, is the provision of universal healthcare. Courtesy of the provision of universal healthcare in the UK, citizens live longer than their US counterparts and have a better chance of surviving childbirth. The NHS also offers value for money. Taxes are cheaper than insurance schemes.

There are areas where the quality of treatment in the US is better than in the UK. However, gaps in key areas such cancer treatment are narrowing. UK citizens are also at liberty to pay for private treatment if they wish and can afford it. All taxpayers are obligated to maintain the NHS.

These are the comparators that are really worth noting:

Health spending as a share of GDP
US 16%
UK 8.4%

Public spending on healthcare (% of total spending on healthcare)
US 45%
UK 82%

Health spending per head
US $7,290
UK $2,992

Practising physicians (per 1,000 people)
US 2.4
UK 2.5

Nurses (per 1,000 people)
US 10.6
UK 10.0

Acute care hospital beds (per 1,000 people)
US 2.7
UK 2.6

Life expectancy:
US 78
UK 80

Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)
US 6.7
UK 4.8

[From today's Independent]

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


Tonight I went to see the film Adam. It was for me a joy of a film helping others to perhaps understand those - whatever the intensity of their Aspergers Syndrome - whose capacity to be fascinated by details and focus on things that other people don't concentrate on is only surpassed by their capacity to miss the blatantly obvious.

I just can't understand why people can't get exited by the pre commencement functions of Ministers of the Crown mentioned in Part 2 of Schedule 7 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 and talk about things such as the weather.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Congratulations Steffan and Shona

Had a great time today conducting the wedding of Steffan and Shona. It's been a great day.