View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Health matters

In the period that I have been writing Northern Trip (on AOL) and Atlantic Lines, I have come out very outspoken against the Big Brother programme and its participants. More so, since BB is actually a Dutch invention. One object of my objections was Jade Goody, a contestant in the 2002 edition of the show in the UK, who stood out for having a big mouth that was commonly engaged before her brain was. A few years ago, she gained more infamy by participating in a Celebrity version of BB and opening her mouth too wide again.

Ms Goody was diagnosed with bowel cancer last August, and it has since emerged that the disease has spread. She has used her celebrity status to promote awareness of cancer, which is a good thing. Last night, Jade underwent a 4-hour operation to remove a growth on the bowel, which was causing much pain. Whilst realising that metastatic cancer is not usually curable, I do hope that Jade's illness has a positive outcome. I am happy at any rate that she is using her status as a celebrity for a positive cause.

Remembering Today - 7 February

On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Ailig Ruadh or Alastair Dhomhnaill Aonghais
Last address in Lewis: 15 Valtos,
Son of Donald and Annie Mackay, husband to Christina, father of 3 children
Regiment or division: Royal Naval Reserve, SS Vedamore
Date of death: 7 February 1917 at the age of 48
Ship sunk by U-boat
Survivor from sinking of HMS Hermes
Lewis Memorial: Uig, Timsgarry

Saturday 7 February

Bright and sunny day, but quite cold in the brisk northerly wind. The thin layer of snow may melt in the afternoon sun, and I do think we're having the best weather in the country. I do not envy those in England who may find themselves in a 12 to 15 degree frost overnight tonight. More snow is on its way to the southern parts of the UK over the weekend, so this cold winter is not over by a long shot.

In recent days, there has been ongoing coverage in the news media about the credit crisis and particularly bonuses for bankers. I think it is a complete outrage for bonuses to be paid to bankers anywhere in the world, for adopting the policies that have led to the current crisis. They are the ones that were selling debts, in other words air, between each other, getting rich in the process. For instance, the Royal Bank of Scotland, currently 70% in public ownership, says it has to pay the bonuses in order to retain its top bankers. Methinks they can do without those bankers if they caused the bank to be taken into partial public ownership. I have also noticed that the banks continue to rake in money from their customers in order not to have to change their modus operandi.

A few months ago, news emerged of a so-called City fat cat taking his own life. Whilst deploring suicides for whichever reason, my sympathy wore thin when I read that this particular chap was holding down a lavish lifestyle, throwing parties in sumptuous locations across Europe at very frequent intervals. It struck me that he probably was unable to cope with the loss of earnings and therefore a loss of face for not being able to hold down said lifestyle.

For as long as banks and other financial institutions do not realise and own up to the fact they are mostly responsible for the current financial crisis, this same crisis will not be resolved any time soon. A complete overhaul in attitude is required, not just on the part of the banks. People do not seem to remember that when you borrow money it also has to be paid back at some stage. Creditcards, storecards and the like are all very nice and convenient, but you don't see you are spending money - until the day the final demand comes in.