The facts don’t lie, and nor do I – An open letter to Jeremy Hunt MP

NHA - South West Surrey Group

Dear Mr Hunt

On Thursday night, in your acceptance speech, you accused me of “falsehoods”.

In your words, you accuse me of lying about “both our record with the NHS and also our motives”. You were clearly rattled that over 12,000 people in South West Surrey showed their concern for the NHS and voted for someone who questioned your record, but that is what democracy is all about – holding the government to account.

The truth is that I haven’t lied for the simple reason that I haven’t needed to. The facts speak for themselves.

When I talked about your record, I drew out many facts:

  • The number of people lying on trolleys waiting more than 4 hours to be admitted to a hospital bed increased from 387,737 in 2015/16 to 560,108 in 2016/17 – that’s a 45% increase in one year. I’m sure…

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Running myself into the ground

Running myself into the ground

In recent weeks I have started a bit of a fitness regime. I have been feeling my age for a few years, and while I didn’t really have to put much effort into staying reasonably ‘fit’ during my youth it turns out that you start feeling tired and energy-less when you hit your forties.

This cannot stand, and so I have restarted running. This has been more difficult than I imagined.

I have never really been able to sustain any self-enforced fitness programme, so I decided to augment my enthusiasm for such a thing by buying a fitness-based smart watch. I can’t afford an Apple Watch, so I decided to buy a Fitbit Blaze. I found that I couldn’t afford that either, so I decided I’d better save up for something. Then Amazon Prime day came along and they had the Garmin Vivoactive for £60 off and I just HAD to get one.

So I did.

I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and for an infrequent runner like me it is perfect. Well, not perfect, but certainly excellent value for money for the amount of functions it provides. The low-quality screen is good enough and doesn’t drain the battery like many other watches of its type – I only really need to recharge every couple of weeks, and I’d have to recharge every night with an Apple Watch. It’s GPS accuracy is great and I’ve found it a great motivational tool to get out and run or walk.

It also provides some useful exercise information which can be shared with friends and used for keeping track of progress. Here’s my latest run.

Note that this is pretty slow, but pretty acceptable for a chap nearing 50. I’ve also linked in my existing RunKeeper and Strava accounts so that they stay in sync.

I don’t know where this is going or how much improvement I can get. I’m feeling good about it at the moment and intend to keep going. I’ve joined the gym at work and I’m starting to add in some strengthening exercises into my week. I’m just trying to keep the decrepitude away for a little bit longer, but I’d also love to just get down to running a 5k in a 5 minute KM pace. I have some way to go for that.

There are posts in this blog from previous (failed) attempts at getting more fit. I’ve already exceeded the number of continuous weeks of exercise from those attempts and I do feel a lot more motivated than in previous years. The new tech is part of that, but also the feeling of impending infirmity. I’m increasingly aware of my age and the fact that I want to enjoy a good few decades with my lovely wife and daughter. I want to live it well, not feeling like crap.

I’m going to keep it going. Yes.

#EURef

#EURef

With still more than two weeks left of this EU Referendum nonsense, how does a sensible person choose which box to tick come June 23rd?

There’s so much crap to wade through before we get to any FACTS. This is the fault of the modern politician, everything has to be so binary and I don’t think anyone really has a handle on what will actually happen given either option being selected by the British electorate.

I particularly enjoyed this blog:

I have not really engaged with the referendum campaign. I feel angered that a short term political fix thought up by a bloke who can’t see more than one move ahead on the political chessboard, and which he appears never to have imagined would lead to an actual vote with actual voters expressing actual opinions […]

via Ach, to hell with it – on not engaging with the referendum — Love and Garbage – some commonplace musings

I am going to vote ‘Remain’. This is mainly because the current situation is not terrible, if somewhat imperfect, and changing to another unproven position is, well, unknown. I am in favour of free movement and being part of a larger trade area. While the EU parliament appears to be chock full of incompetent bureaucrats I have even less faith that our own government (of any stripe) could create as good a position come Brexit.

The Referendum is giving us two bad options and I think Remain is the least bad. It’s all a bit rubbish, isn’t it?

Mama

I know it’s not fashionable to prefer the Phil Collin’s era of Genesis over Peter Gabriel, but there’s just something about the poppier approach. I like it. I like it a lot. My favourite Genesis track is this:

This is a great track by any standards.

For the love of a good metaphor

For the love of a good metaphor

I love a good metaphor. They help a great deal in systems thinking modelling of complex situations; but they do have their limits and the most excellent posiwidblog has a very useful post about this.

Metaphor, huh yeah What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, oh hoh oh Metaphor huh yeah What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, say it again y’all Metaphor, huh good God What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, listen to me… Metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to […]

via Metaphor, huh yeah, what is it good for? — posiwidblog

We have a systemsy workshop at work and we are using Clean Language to develop metaphors for how we see certain aspects of what we do. It’s a very useful exercise and can really help us to learn how we work, and we can improve.