We are living in truly remarkable times

Horse watching

Horse watching (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Three news items struck me yesterday so much so that they inspired a mention because they show we are living in truly remarkable times.

1. The Pope resigns.

I’m agnostic so have no affiliation to any particular religion, however today’s news that the Pope has resigned came as a surprise. This is history in the making.  The Pope was appointed in his late seventies and has decided after c. 8 years that as an octogenarian he no longer has the strength or energy required to fulfil his duties as effectively as he would wish. I’m sure this news was a shock to the Catholic Church and as our news has reported, it breaks with the tradition of a Pope holding office until his death. I respect the Pope for his decision; acknowledging that his age and health were impinging on his ability to fulfil his duties and dealing with it by going against the expectations of so many people must call for a lot of soul-searching. Whether you like him or not and irrespective of your personal beliefs, seeing someone who is courageous enough to go against centuries of tradition to do what he believes is right for the greater good of his organisation is pleasantly refreshing.

2. We’ve been eating horse meat.

I know this is common practice in many parts of the world but in the UK horse meat isn’t typically sold or eaten.  In the last week a new and growing scandal has emerged since the discovery that food sold in many of our major supermarkets as beef, e.g. Burgers, mince,  etc has been constituted of horse meat to a greater or lesser extent. One particular brand of ready-made lasagne was found to be almost entirely horse meat. Most people I’ve spoken to aren’t overly concerned that they’ve eaten horse products. What’s irritated them is that the practice took so long to uncover and supermarkets and food manufacturers failed to identify problems in their supply chain or manufacturing processes. The question many people are asking is if horse meat can be passed off as beef, can meat that is unfit for human consumption also be slipped into our food?

3. One in Four have no support

Recent research by MacMillan Cancer Support has identified that one in four people in the UK go through cancer diagnosis and treatment alone. Many have been abandoned by friends and family following diagnosis, for some the cost of travel prevents people visiting and for others they simply have no-one in their lives to offer assistance or friendship.  Medical staff involved in the research state that a significant number of those who are unsupported refuse treatment or are unable to get to hospital appointments. Many have gone without meals as they’ve been too unwell to cater for themselves. In a country that is densely populated, it’s remarkable that 25% of cancer patients have no support. What is even more remarkable is that this country is supposed to be an exemplar of human rights yet it is failing this section of society, leaving them to fend for themselves and, lets not beat around the bush here, die a horrible death if they’re unable to attend for treatment or refuse it because they cannot cope on their own.

Some of our politicians ought to consider taking a leaf from the Pope’s book. The horse meat in our food is a scandal no doubt driven by greed and the desire to make a fast buck.  The MacMillan 1 in 4 research is a truly shameful reflection on our modern-day society, a failing welfare system and people who just don’t care as long as they’re seen to be managing a national debt all their parties were in no small part responsible for creating.  Not so long ago people with no friends or family to care for them would’ve received state funded help at home, now they have to be at deaths door before they qualify for any assistance. (I know because I’ve looked at the Disability Living Allowance criteria).

We live in truly remarkable times where money drives greed, dishonesty and despair in equal measure. Welcome to the 21st Century Britain you won’t hear about in tourist information publications.

United Kingdom: stamp

 

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12 thoughts on “We are living in truly remarkable times

  1. Hi Tracy, Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope your enjoyed your visit. This is a great article. I agree with you about the pope. I think in any position, if we can’t do our job to the level it needs to be done for the good of those we serve, then we owe it to others to retire, and move on to something else. The sorrow is when people haven’t been able to prepare financially for that day, because it does come to everyone. 🙂 Marsha 🙂

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    • Thanks for stopping by Marsha 🙂 I agree about preparing financially, although we might not want to think about it, this kind of preapration can never start too soon. Iremember saying to one of my friends when we hit 35 that it was important to start thinking about it, even though she said we had loads of time ahead of us so shouldn’t worry. Given my experiences in the past year I’m glad I was at least partially prepared because help would not have come from any other source so I’d have been in more trouble than just the health issues.

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      • WE never know. My first husband died when he was 47. No one knows when something like that is going to happen to them. It is something we need to be careful of when we switch jobs. Make sure that your insurance goes with you, or that you have good benefits. I just ran into another friend who switched jobs 15 years ago, and now that person is working to pay for insurance. It helps to be vigilant, but sometimes we are just lucky, too! 🙂

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  2. Your post reminds me of a saying I try to follow–“Love All/Serve All.” Sounds like the Pope has heard the saying, but the meat distributors and politicians have not. 😦

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    • We can live in hope that the Pope’s honourable approach might in some way nudge the conscience of others who need to find a new way forward. I wonder if, like peace, the more of us who strive to lead ethical lives causing no harm, the more ethics and harmlessness will propagate around the world. I am always hopeful 🙂

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      • I have no doubt that what you say is true, Tracy. Gandhi knew it when he said “be the change you want to see in the world.” Even if we are wrong, at least we will have lived an ethical life without harming others. 🙂

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  3. I really admire the pope for taking this stance and I’m with you – politicians should take note 😉

    The horse meat scandal is just odd! Is horse meat really cheaper than beef – I’m supposing it must be… The further forward we move, the more we are taken advantage of by people who want to make a quick buck. It’s pretty sad really…

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    • It seems the horse meat thing will get worse before it gets better. After the BSE / CJD issue you’d hope people might be conscious of the dangers of this kind of fast buck, but I guess some people just don’t care. You’re right, it’s sad…

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  4. I have been following the horse meat scandal quite closely, mainly because it has really made me chuckle due to the amount of jokes that have been made at the supermarkets expense. As you say, it’s not eating horse that is the problem, it’s knowing whether it was safe to eat in the first place.
    As I am not a beef eater anyway my family have had very little exposure to it. However it has encouraged me to visit the local butcher for our meat instead, which can only be a good thing as we help local businesses! Hopefully butchers across the country are seeing increases in trade this month.

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    • It does make you wonder what’s really going on in our food chain doesn’t it, where things come from and what kind of state they were in before they became cuts of meat. I buy our meat locally too, lets hope we do see a resurgence of butchers, fishmongers and grocers who can offer good quality local produce. Better for us, better for local farmers and businesses and better for the welfare of the animals too if they aren’t transported miles and miles to abattoirs (I’ve never been able to understand the rationale for that).

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  5. As always, a well informed and inspiring article that highlights the ‘best’ in those people who care more about others than themselves and the saddening state of our politicians attitude towards the population they are supposed to support. It is a sad endightment to our society when people who need care the most are let down by a system that undervalues and underpays the staff who give their all for the betterment of the people they care for. Even worse, is the situation where patients are left for long periods without any form of interaction because of staff shortages. We unfortunately live in a society that is driven by greed. That greed brings about fraud on a huge scale, much to the detriment of the populous as a whole. I applaud the pope for his selfless action and hope that he will go down in history as being a forward thinking, altruistic leader of the Catholic church. As for our politicians; They sadden me greatly!
    Love, long life, {{{hugs}}} and happiness always xxx.

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    • The Pope has been inspirational, I hope he’ll be remembered for demonstrating the virtue of humility. The 1 in 4 report is very sad and so unnecessary for anyone to face that situation. Increasingly I wonder what’s really in our food and what we’re storing up for ourselves in future… I’m sure it’s no coincidence that certain diseases and conditions are increasing, affecting younger people or showing up in sections of society who’ve previously been unaffected. However, once I’m better and your cough is gone we will be having a pâté and bubbles picnic even if the pâté is horse meat and the bubbles are apple juice 😉 xxxx

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