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Is Kim Jong ill? North Korean dictator in poor health as his weight has ballooned thanks to an obsession with cheese.

That is Kim Jong Un who is 31! Hell’s Teeth I like a bit of cheese and being a European there is a lot of it about. Say what you like about Europe (including the UK) we make formidable cheese. We do because we are free(ish). This is the reason the North Koreans can’t make decent cheese despite being a nation of 25 million.

So Comrade Kim is eating himself to death whilst the proles (and isn’t communism meant to be about the proles?) are starving. Apparently Dear Leader Kim got on the Emmental train following his education in Switzerland. Well, that is nice. I can honestly say that my assorted travels have changed my tastes but I can’t say, oddly enough, that, say, learning olives were nice in Spain or that certain fish was very nice in Florida (and there is some good fishing off FL) ever meant bizarre imports for just me whilst everyone else starved. That is obscene.

Defector Cho Myung-Chul, of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, said: ‘North Koreans think being fat is good, unlike South Koreans who want to be skinny.’

Well, currently Nick Witchell is on the telly. The telly is a Samsung. It is not by any means the only thing I own from the Korean Republic. Let us be honest. Celebrating fatness is what you do when you are so poor you have to eat grass.

So in the name of communism the people are dying of starvation whilst the boss is doing death by cheesing. It is shocking.

He is understood to be furious that the Pyongyang Dairy has continually failed to produce an Emmental-style cheese of a high enough quality to satisfy his demands.

Well, oddly enough, I walked down the road yesterday and bought some very nice Emmental from the local shop. In a real sense I am (cheese-wise) a richer man than a dictator of 25m souls. I can buy cheese. The Supreme Potentate of North Korea can’t. And God knows what the poor folk can do.

The news comes as North Korea branded the U.S. ‘a graveyard of human rights’, criticising the nation in the wake of the Missouri riots following the shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Err… I have been to the USA several times and whilst, obviously, it ain’t perfect it is way better than North Korea. Actually it is incomparable. They are taking the piss.

So who agrees…

China, Iran and Russia have previously criticised America following the shooting and the crackdown on protesters following the shooting in the town of Ferguson, a suburb of St Louis.

I think that is enough said.

Seeing as it is the weekend – almost.

This is Minnie Snodgrass trapped in a bucket. This happened in Yorkshire – this could only happen in Yorkshire. It is like Compo going down a hill in a bath. More generally it is just so Carry On. You can imagine the scene with Babs Windsor having a “bra malfunction”, Hattie Jacques like a galleon in full sail forcing Kenneth Williams into a corner and Jim Dale doing 80mph on a motorised floor cleaner through an exit into a laundry van – you know the drill. I can hear the ghostly laughter of dear old Sid James*.

The kid was rescued totally OK after A&E called in the firemen with their cutting gear. But that bucket! It is enough to wrinkle Norah Batty’s stockings.

*Rather a good straight actor in his day.


Pop quiz. Without clicking the link to see what I’ve cut out, what is this about?

… the scandal over hidden waiting lists at a growing number of [...] hospitals (seven so far) — wherein dozens of [people] died while waiting months for vital treatment, and [somebody] covered up the lengthy wait times — should make everyone wonder whether we can place our trust in a government-managed health-care system.

Another mean Daily Mail article lambasting the harworking angels™ of the NHS? Nope. It’s John Fund at the National Review, talking about the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the only part of the US government that owns and runs its own hospitals the way Britain’s does. And – would you believe it? – they have people dying while on waiting lists as well. “Hidden” waiting lists, even.

Fund noticed the similarities too:

In 2012, it was discovered that more than 7,000 patients in just a few Scottish hospitals had been wrongly removed from waiting lists for surgery in order to pretend to meet government targets for treatment. One trick was offering to perform surgery on a date when hospital officials knew a patient would be away on holiday, then dropping the patient from the wait list for “refusing” the date.

Oh yes, I’ve seen that. Or failing to send any notification of the appointment, that’s another good one.

Sarah Boyack, a member of the Scottish Parliament, called the figure of 7,000 “astonishing,” given that “an extra five million pounds [$8 million] has been pumped into the NHS [National Health Service] to help cut the waiting list” in the affected hospitals.

It’s only “astonishing” if you think “underfunding” is the problem – the NHS budget has more than doubled over the last 15 years – rather than a total absence of market pressure or price signals. Long waiting lists, people dying before they have a chance to be treated, and bureaucrats trying to cover these inconveniences up are simply what happens when you get the government to run hospitals. Any government.

Yale Thinks I Have an Eating Disorder

This is outrageous — the Yale Administration’s Mommy-Knows-Best attitude, if that’s what it is…but no, I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s the “You’ll do what I say, OR ELSE, young lady!” attitude. In loco parentis* on steroids! I have to cheer this woman for writing this up, even if she did see fit to post it on HuffPo.

Coming on the heels of Prof. Rubenfeld, he of the Yale Law School, and in light of Yale’s reputation for having an unfortunately highly Progressivist weltanschaaung, I find myself disgusted with Yale altogether. When Lucy grows up I’m sending her to Oxbridge.

Herewith, the whole thing. I just don’t see how to break it up without ruining the flow.


Yale University Thinks I Have an Eating Disorder

“I don’t know if my body is even capable of gaining three more pounds.”

The nurse looked at me apprehensively. “It’s easy to gain a couple pounds. What I’m afraid will happen is that you’ll lose it again and you’ll just be cheating yourself.”

I couldn’t keep the impatience out of my tone. “So you’re just going to keep checking on me until I graduate?”

“If we don’t tackle your low weight now, it will kill you.”


In the past three weeks alone, I have spent ten hours at Yale Health, our student health center. Since December, I have had weekly weigh-ins and urine tests, three blood tests, appointments with a mental health counselor and a nutritionist, and even an EKG done to test my heart. My heart was fine — as it always has been — and so was the rest of my body. So what was the problem?

The medical professionals think I have an eating disorder — but they won’t look past the number on the scale, to see the person right in front in them.

I visited the cancer hospital on September 17, 2013, worrying about a lump in my breast. It turned out to be benign, but I received an email in November from the medical director about “a concern resulting from your recent visit.” My stomach lurched. Was the lump malignant after all?

I met with a clinician on December 4 and was told that the “concern” was my low weight and that I would meet with her for weekly weigh-ins. These appointments were not optional. The clinician threatened to put me on medical leave if I did not comply: “If it were up to the administration, school would already be out for you. I’m just trying to help.”

I’ve always been small. I’ve been 5’2” and 90 pounds since high school, but it has never led to any illnesses related to low weight or malnutrition. My mom was the same; my whole family is skinny. We all enjoy Mom’s fabulous cooking, which included Taiwanese beef noodle soup, tricolor pasta, strawberry cheesecake, and cream puffs, none of which make the Weight Watchers shortlist. I just don’t gain weight easily.

Yet the clinicians at Yale Health think there’s more to it. Every week, I try to convince my clinician that I am healthy but skinny. Over the past several months, however, I’ve realized the futility of arguing with her.

“You should try to gain at least two more pounds.” (What difference does two pounds make?)

“Come next week to take a blood test to check your electrolytes.” (No consideration that I had three exams that week.)

“I know you’ve said in the past that you don’t eat as much when you get stressed out.” (I’ve never said that.)

So instead of arguing, I decided that perhaps the more I complied, the sooner I could resume my normal life.

I was forced to see a mental health professional. She asked me all of the standard questions — how I felt about my body, how many calories I ate. I told her everyone’s body is beautiful, including mine. When I said I didn’t know how many calories, since I don’t care to count, she rephrased the question, as if that would help.

Next step was a nutritionist. The nurse passed a post-it note, saying “Here are two times for the nutritionist next Tuesday. Usually it takes three months to get into nutrition at all.” What a privilege! Now I get to feel guilty about using clinical resources in desperately short supply!

Finally, I decided to start a weight-gain diet. If I only had to gain two pounds, it was worth a shot to stop the trouble. I asked my health-conscious friends what they do to remain slim and did the exact opposite. In addition to loading up on carbs for each meal, I’ve eaten 3-4 scoops of ice cream twice a day with chocolate, cookies, or Cheetos at bedtime. I take elevators instead of stairs wherever possible.

Eventually, the scale said I was two pounds heavier. When I saw her last Friday, I felt my stomach tighten, my heart racing. Would I finally be granted parole?

“You’ve gained two pounds, but that still isn’t enough. Ideally, you should go up to 95 pounds.” I hung my head in disbelief. I’ve already shared with you the memorable exchange that followed.

She had finally cracked me. I was Sisyphus the Greek king, forever trapped trying uselessly to push a boulder up a hill. Being forced to meet a standard that I could never meet was stressful and made me resent meals. I broke down sobbing in my dean’s office, in my suitemate’s arms afterwards, and Saturday morning on the phone with my parents. At this rate, I was well on my way to developing an eating disorder before anyone could diagnose the currently nonexistent one.

It seems Yale has a history of forcing its students through this process. A Yale Herald piece from 2010 told the story of students in similar situations. It’s disturbing how little things have changed. “Stacy” was “informed that if she kept failing to reach [Yale Health]‘s goals for her, she would be withdrawn for the following semester.” Unfortunately, “the more she stressed out about gaining weight, the more she lost her appetite.”

Furthermore, a recent graduate messaged me saying that her cholesterol had actually gone up due to the intensive weight-gain diet she used to release herself from weekly weigh-ins.

It is clear that the University does care about students suspected of struggling with eating disorders. And it should. Eating disorders are particularly prevalent on college campuses and Yale is no exception. However, because the University blindly uses BMI as the primary means of diagnosis, it remains oblivious to students who truly need help but do not have low enough BMIs. Instead, it subjects students who have a personal and family history of low weight to treatment that harms our mental health. By forcing standards upon us that we cannot meet, the University plays the same role as fashion magazines and swimsuit calendars that teach us about the “correct shape” of the human body.

I was scheduled to have a mental health appointment at 9:00 a.m. and a weigh-in at 10:30 a.m. this past Friday. But I’m done. No more weigh-ins, no more blood draws. I don’t have an eating disorder, and I will not let Yale Health cause me to develop one. If Yale wants to kick me out, let them try — in the meantime, I’ll be studying for midterms, doing my best to make up for lost time.

. . .
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

New Drugs May Transform Down Syndrome

It’s rather shocking to me how many presumably-intelligent people say neuroscience is “quack science.” In the first place it’s still a young science, as sciences go. But if many theories (or “sub-theories”) turn out to be wrong, or severely incomplete, that doesn’t disqualify the validity of neuroscience, which is the study of how the nervous system — including the brain — works. Scientists develop theories about this, and prove, improve, or disprove them depending on new discoveries that they make. And then, of course, we utilize the results.

Great stuff has already come out of neuroscience. And speaking from personal experience, that includes some of the much-maligned anti-depressant medications, which can turn a life that has become extremely unpleasant into one that can be downright enjoyable and experienced as being worth the living.

This is wonderful news indeed.

From Scientific American.

New Drugs May Transform Down Syndrome

Recent breakthroughs may lead to pharmacological treatments for the chromosomal disorder

Mar 1, 2014 |By Jenni Laidman

‘People born with Down syndrome have always been considered to be incurably developmentally delayed—until now. In the past few years a number of laboratories have uncovered critical drug targets within disabled chemical pathways in the brain that might be restored with medication. At least two clinical trials are currently studying the effects of such treatments on people with Down syndrome. Now geneticist Roger Reeves of Johns Hopkins University may have stumbled on another drug target—this one with the potential to correct the learning and memory deficits so central to the condition.

‘Down syndrome occurs in about one in 1,000 births annually worldwide. It arises from an extra copy of chromosome 21 and the overexpression of each of the 300 to 500 genes the chromosome carries. “If you go back even as recently as 2004, researchers didn’t have much of a clue about the mechanisms involved in this developmental disability,” says Michael Harpold, chief scientific officer with the Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation. But all that has changed. “In the past six or seven years there have been several breakthroughs—and ‘breakthroughs’ is not by any means too big a word—in understanding the neurochemistry in Down syndrome,” Reeves says. [ ... ]‘

Scientific American The article continues with a description of the subject research.

New, Better CPR Method — 5-min. video

Chest-Compression-Only CPR Video

From Sarver Heart Center at the University of Arizona. Links at source. They are an Amazon Associate.

We need more smuggling in the UK says government

Cigarettes seized by customs officers at Birmingham Airport

Cigarettes sold in non branded packaging could appear on the shelves of shops by 2015 in a landmark move by the Prime Minister

By Claire Carter, and Peter Dominiczak

In a surprise u-turn, it seems that David Cameron has decided that given the alleged “health benefits” of Australia’s plain packaging policy, the UK will follow the same plain packaging approach by 2015.

Unfortunately the government appears to have given no consideration to the downside to plain packaging in that such nanny-state tactics have been a gold-mine for tobacco smugglers in Australia or that given the openness of free-trade between mainland Europe and the UK the only winners here will be both amature and professional tobacco smugglers.

Tobacco smuggling: HMRC ‘failures’ highlighted by MPs

Tobacco smuggling written evidence


Crikes oh Lor! A good news Health story.

Almost inevitably it is… Experts warn… Scientists warn… Uncle Tom Cobbley and his Nanny warns, but this one is different, it modestly celebrates the raising of the wrist.

We tipplers have always known that the safe Units crap was made up on the back of an envelope, much like that secondary smoke will laser its way through walls and kill entire families while they sleep, especially the Cheeeldren!

And on the cure for a cold being alcohol (with a little bit of spicy help), I can concur…

Many years ago the Gay Buddhist, my wife and I were working our way down a bottle of Tequila. I had a  stinking cold, and I mean really stinking , coughing up stuff that looked like well masticated Pistachios. Ness curled up and went to sleep, but the GB and I decided to go out for a curry, Cardiff Curry houses staying open till 3 in the morning in those days.

We both had a Vindaloo, and mine was so goddam hot my eyeballs were sweating. Then we went back to the flat and polished off the rest of the Tequila. The next day I woke up and the cold had completely gone.

So raise your glasses ladies and gentlemen…

Our Enemy, The State

Our enemy, the state

“It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men.

– Henry L. Mencken, 1926 

The above is one of the opening quotations in Albert J Nock’s 1935 classic “Our enemy, the state” and to my mind this single phrase along with the above quotation typifies my current view of the increasingly statist world within which we are forced to exist (I will not say “live”).

I am well aware that this viewpoint, while being common among libertarians, is very much at odds with the propagandised masses that surround us, who see the state as a beneficent or at least benign entity which would deliver an earthly utopia if only it weren’t for x, y or z. (more…)

Sowell: “Studies Prove…”

Often we hear that “all the experts agree” that A is better than B or that “studies prove” A to be better than B. ….

A fascinating discussion of the fact that statistical studies can be interpreted and presented in various ways…with varying degrees of rigor and of intellectual honesty…for various reasons. Dr. Sowell provides some excellent examples in this three-part article.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Obama Administration to Delay Health Law Requirement until 2015

“Postponed till after midterm elections.” How convenient.

Obama Administration to Delay Health Law Requirement Until 2015

Published: July 2, 2013 2 Comments

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration announced on Tuesday that it would delay for a year, until 2015, the Affordable Care Act mandate that employers provide coverage for their workers or pay penalties, responding to business complaints and postponing the effective date beyond next year’s midterm elections.

Story continues at

Lard of the Glen.

Apparently a consignment of lard has washed-up in Scotland.

Storms over the east coast have resulted in several unusual relics from World War II washing up on an Angus beach.

Staff at St Cyrus nature reserve said four large, barrel-shaped pieces of lard have appeared on the shore.

The fat is believed to have escaped from the wreck of a merchant vessel that was bombed in WW II.

Scottish Natural Heritage said the lard was still a brilliant white and smelled “good enough to have a fry up with.

Only in Scotland could they elect celebrate…

A washed-up tub of lard.

A washed-up tub of lard.

Angus McHardy [who might just be Scottish], a local resident and retired fisherman, said he remembers similar events in the in early 1940s.

“I’d never seen anything like it,” he said. “There was quite a lot washed up at St Cyrus and beyond, not quite to Montrose.”

“Some barrels were complete and others were just lumps. People collected it. My grandma boiled it up to get the sand out. It was great because we couldn’t get fat during the war.”

He added: “After a storm in the late 60s or early 70s, the lard came up on-shore again. The seagulls thought it was a bonanza.”

Scotland has found a seemingly inexhaustible supply of saturated fats. The First Minister must be delighted. The Hell with North Sea oil when Scotland can lay claim to fat deposits that would put Überwald to shame.

Does this mean the Scottish people will re-elect…

Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond

…despite the best nannying efforts of Ms Sturgeon (why are these Scottish pols so fishy?) to nanny and coerce the population into “health”?

And I speak as someone who has had a lunch of deep-fried cheese washed down with an excellent beer in the Czech Republic.

The Succession

Now much has been said about abolishing primogeniture which as Single Acts of Tyranny points out is like something from the Dark Ages. He of course goes further so read the whole thing. Good post.

But, yesterday, and before I read SAoT’s spot-on post, I clocked something. The extreme form of morning sickness that the Duchess of Cambridge has is frequently associated with a multiple pregnancy. Now being a monarch is very much a lottery of life thing at the best of times but if it is a case of twins born a couple of minutes apart it kind of focuses debate as to the arbitrariness of the order of succession.

Now, I’m a computer geek with no kids but I have a little knowledge of the mechanics and my understanding is that particularly for multiple births a C-section is often the delivery method of choice. I assume in such cases the order of succession is defined by which child is taken from the womb first. I assume this is down to the clinical decision of a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. A more obscure form of determining a future Head of State is beyond me.

Just a thought. At the risk of sounding vile both involve appraising entrails. Whether of a princess or a goat matters little.

Although, to be fair, if they are identical twins they can alternate the more tiresome duties, “It’s an even numbered day so you get to open the industrial park outside of Swindon!”. Nobody will know the difference. I can see an upside. Especially if it is the tiresome “spectacle” of the Royal Variety Performance with Joe Pasquale in his sodding bath-chair being as tedious as ever.

It goes without saying that I wish them all the best. The wife of a mate of mine had a tricky pregnancy recently. All worked out OK in the end but… For a while my mate didn’t look anywhere near 100%. Nor would you, nor would I. I never saw his wife at the time.

Complete and utter Bollocks Study of the Week Pt 69.

But bloody nice try guys!

This is the study that all us fellas would absolutely love to be true, but it’s the usual crapola based on statistical insignificance and wishful thinking.

But come on ladies, it might be true, think of all the expensive shit you shovel on your faces in the hope of beating wrinkles, the mad diets you put yourselves through to lose weight, the self help books you devour by the ton… You want to be less depressed, become more affectionate, sleep better (it certainly makes me sleep better, and with a smile on my face!) It’s more than a mouthful, it’s a meal!! Swallow don’t spit!

The Sheep Sheep Song

Smoking during pregnancy is a controversial issue that gets anti-smoking puritans frothing at the mouth. In Blackpool they are taking a proactive stance by screening mothers-to-be for carbon monoxide in their blood. I’ll let Emma Harris of the Evening Gazette take up the narrative.

WOMEN are now being screened for signs of a deadly chemical as part of Blackpool’s bid to cut the number of mums-to-be smoking.

The resort still has the highest rate in the country of pregnant women who light up – at 29 per cent.

I hope these chemical checks are being performed with the permission of the women concerned. After all, according to the statistics, more than 70% of pregnant women in Blackpool don’t smoke making nearly three quarters of the tests redundant and a waste of resources if the screening is involuntary. Unfortunately Ms Harris doesn’t elucidate.

But health bosses say this is the first time the figure has been below 30 per cent since records began.

Nor does Ms Harris expand on when records began so we have no idea what percentage of pregnant women smoked prior to this. The percentage of so called deprived families increased when local housing associations started accepting hell knows how many problem families from other deprived parts of Lancashire, especially Liverpool and Manchester. There is also a growing East European migrant population that appears to enjoy smoking. It seems the figures don’t discriminate between locals and incomers. For all I know the local born smokers could be trending towards the national average.

Smoking while pregnant poses a higher risk of serious health problems to the unborn child, including low birth weight, pre-term birth, placental complications and even still-birth.

Presumably Blackpool health bosses have strong evidence to support this higher risk claim of serious anti and post natal health problems due to women smoking during pregnancy. Stronger than the weasel word poses that is. Let’s see the statistics of birth complications linked directly to smoking. Blackpool, with nearly a third of pregnant women sucking on cancer sticks, should be bursting at the seams with neo-natal victims and smoking induced maternity misery. It isn’t.

Nationally, the average rate of women who admitted smoking during pregnancy during 2011/12 was 13 per cent.

[Insert sound of gramophone needle being clumsily and noisily removed from record track]

What about the women who didn’t admit to smoking whilst pregnant? Having seen how women like Stacey Solomon suffer public demonisation by the Witchfinders General anti-smoking puritans for indulging in a habit that is legal, how many pregnant women are willing to admit they smoke? The average rate of women who admit to smoking during pregnancy, in a nation where the government and media actively collude to discriminate against smokers, is only as good as the honesty of the women who were polled. Unless of course we are to believe that pregnant women are somehow incapable of lying to protect themselves from the baying, finger-pointing, Cromwellian masses.

Fran Frankland, lead for reducing tobacco use in pregnancy with NHS Blackpool, said measures had been taken to try to tackle the problem.

Fran Frankland’s time would be better spent reducing drug abuse during pregnancy which is a far greater concern in Blackpool than lighting up a fag.

Blackpool, which has high levels of deprivation, has a high rate of smokers across the general population.

Obviously not so deprived they can’t afford to smoke…

She said a new scheme started in October which saw midwives trained to screen women for carbon monoxide – a poisonous gas in cigarette smoke, which takes the place of oxygen in the blood and causes damage to the body.

There is a national shortage of midwives in the NHS which is said to be at crisis point yet their precious time can be co-opted to assuage the demands of the anti-smoking lobby?

She said: “If they test positive, they are automatically referred to our specialist stop smoking service for support.

If they test positive? So they are wasting vital resources testing non-smokers then?

They can opt out of this at any time of course, but the door is always left open for them to come back at any time.

But can they opt out of the initial screening if they don’t want it? Once a smoker’s guilty secret is out how hard are they pressured into taking up this optional specialist service? Are they supplied with a pamphlet stuffed with tactically ambiguous ifs, coulds and mights so that they can make up their own minds?

They are given information on the risks of smoking during pregnancy, so if a woman does choose to opt out, it’s not because she doesn’t know or isn’t aware of the issues. It’s for some other reason.

That other reason being – mind your own damned business? People are sick and tired of being lectured and harangued by self-righteous busybodies. Are you even listening Fran Frankland?

This has been really useful for us to identify women who are smoking.

So they don’t take a woman’s word for it unless it comes disguised as the national average. Does this mean the test on Blackpool women is involuntary? Who the hell do these people think they are?

We don’t have a specialist midwife here in Blackpool purely for women who smoke during pregnancy, because of the large numbers, but we do have a specialist stop smoking clinic.

Does any hospital have a midwife purely for women who smoke during pregnancy? And why does Blackpool need a “specialist” stop smoking clinic? One that seemingly approves the implementation of involuntary medical procedures on pregnant women to justify what? Jobs for the girls and boys? At what cost? And on who’s say so? What ever happened to the much cheaper GP’s advice to not smoke during pregnancy and let the patient make up her own mind?

I think sometimes for some women, it’s a bit like the chances of winning the Lottery – they just don’t think it will happen to them.

What won’t happen to them? Giving birth to an underweight or premature baby? Because it never happens to non-smoking mothers? Ever?

It’s trying to help them understand it may not have happened to their mum, or in their previous pregnancy, but it could still happen.

Of course it could still happen. It can happen to anyone- smoker and non-smoker. So the point being made here is…?

It costs more than £10,000 to deliver what is termed as a complicated birth – in women who smoke during pregnancy, the placenta can be broken down, causing birth complications.

More weasel words. So let’s see the figures on difficult births. How many can be directly attributed to smoking?

As the rate of women smoking in pregnancy has dropped by 3.5 per cent – that’s roughly a decrease of 48 women – there has been a potential saving of close to £500,000.

So how much extra did the remaining 96.5% of smokers cost in real terms? Since only the potential saving was quoted I’m going to hazard a guess and say the actual additional cost of whelping a smoker in Blackpool is close to a big fat zero. If it was otherwise the health officials wouldn’t be scraping the bottom of the reality barrel in order to brag about apocryphal savings.

Ms Frankland added: “That’s without the emotional cost of babies having to be rushed off into neo-natal care.

Maybe Ms Frankland should refrain from adding the emotional cost of alarmism to the stress of pregnancy in order to justify her salary.

“The work we’ve been doing is starting to have an effect so hopefully it will now grow.”

The numbers of women smoking during pregnancy has fallen dramatically over several decades. However, Ms Frankland feels duty bound to justify the expansion of her “specialist” service. I prefer to call it rent seeking.

Dr Arif Rajpura, director of public health, added: “We have been working very hard on this for several years now.

“It is very gratifying to see the downward trend as this means far more babies get a healthy start in life.”

Having a statistic that is more than double the (questionable) national average is something to be gratified about, I can see that now. As for more babies getting a healthy start in life – says who? There are no end of strapping lads and lasses born into families who smoke. There are sick children born into families who do not smoke, drink or abuse drugs. Are the lifestyles of non-smokers blamed for their afflicted newborns? Or is it that filthy smokers offend the senses of the puritans and must be punished and vilified at every level of society? The most reviled of all being the consenting adult female who indulges a certain legal habit during pregnancy.

The days of trust me, I’m a doctor are long gone because the profession has lost all credibility through empty alarmism and sanctimonious nannyism. So let’s see the evidence, medical profession. Crusading rhetoric isn’t proof. Neither is spinning non-existant potential savings. I sure hope doctors and other clinical staff are not advocating the non-consensual testing of pregnant women for CO at the behest of government sponsored pressure groups even if it’s for the perceived own good of patients. Health fascism and political correctness have no place in medicine. The NHS exists to try and heal people, not to crush freedom of choice beneath its dictatorial heel. So please do stop singing your imperious, we-know-best song because people, whether you like it or not, are not the sheep you want them to be.

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