MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Blood Alcohol Level

The comments found on this story in the Daily Mail, show the uninformed nature of many 'pressure groups'. Despite the fact that the current level has only been in operation for a few years, and that for many years the level of drink driving has decreased, Labour's review of road safety proposes reducing the level from 80mg per 100, to 50mg per 100.

Clearly, the fact that the drink-driving levels were reducing for many years, shows that the current level does act as a deterrent. What must have changed in recent years is that the belief that the consequences of flouting the law are not severe, has grown. Thus, more people are taking risks. The solution, therefore, is simply to increase penalties, not to attempt to criminalise more law-abiding people.

What is more annoying than this government tinkering, however, is the comments from 'road safety' campaigners:
Road-safety campaigners welcomed the move but called for the ministers to reduce the limit to zero. [...]

Elizabeth Davidson, whose 26-year-old daughter Margaret, a doctor, was killed by a dangerous driver last year, said: "This is a step in the right direction but the limit should really be zero.
To all intents and purposes, 50mg is zero. To reduce it any further, especially to Zero mg per 100, is completely barmy. As this website says, the body naturally produces alcohol:
The human body produces its own supply of alcohol naturally on a continuous basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s called endogenous ethanol production. Therefore, we always have alcohol in our bodies and in some cases people produce enough to become legally intoxicated and arrested for DUI.
You would have thought people who campaign in the area would have been aware of such an obvious flaw in their argument. Clearly not.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Another Pointless Crusade

Doncaster Central MP and Labour minister for 'Health Services', Rosie Winterton, is quoted on a mental health website calling for "rapid improvement in the way mental health services respond to the needs of BME patients". BME, to the uninitiated, means black and minority ethnic, and she is referring to the fact that ethnic groups are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems. In fact, Afro-Caribbean's are 3 to 5 times more likely to be diagnosed and admitted to hospital for schizophrenia than any other group.

When differences exist between racial groups, the iron law of race-relations says that hand-wringing must ensue, then large amounts of money in 'tackling' the problem, and, finally, if all else has failed, mention the r-word. Winterton is at the 'tackling' stage, she explains:

One in five people treated in hospital for a mental health problem comes from a black and minority ethnic background. Although some of the reasons for this - such as social exclusion - cannot be tackled by the NHS in isolation, we still have a moral and legal duty to do more.

Some communities view mental health services with mistrust and are dissatisfied with their care.

Our DRE action plan sets out very clearly what positive steps services need to take to address this situation. We have also backed this up with resources, such as funding to recruit 500 community development workers. Now, with the help of this new guidance, front-line professionals can play their part.

Blink, however, just comes out and uses the r-word:

There is no justification whatsoever for Black people to be disproportionately sectioned, detained, over-medicated or restrained. The only explanation is racism and stereotyping within the health system.

So, poverty, social exclusion, racism, under-funding - all are quoted. But are we really sure that this could be cause the of all the mental health ills for minorities? Clearly, the likes of Blink are always going to cry 'racism', but they also are rather coy about the fact that people of Chinese descent do not have anywhere near the same rate of mental health problems. It cannot be true that 'racism' within the health service is only directed against Asians and Blacks, and not against Chinese.

So, could there actually be another, more plausible explanation for the differing rates of mental health problems in minorities and the White population? I think the answer is a resounding yes. Dennis Mangan has produced many posts on the subject of vitamin D. In this one, he cites an article by M. J. Dealberto, which makes the link between deficiency in the vitamin, and mental health rates:
Hmmm, dark skin, northern climes, could it be? Yes, vitamin D:

This article proposes two biological hypotheses related to changes in sun exposure, changes in diet, and stress associated with immigration, which would explain the increased risk for psychosis associated with immigrant status. (1) Vitamin D insufficiency has been proposed as a risk factor for schizophrenia. The main source of vitamin D is through photosynthesis by sun exposure, and dark skins need more sun exposure to maintain adequate blood levels. Vitamin D insufficiency in adulthood could explain why dark-skinned immigrants develop psychosis when moving to high latitude countries, and its insufficiency during pregnancy could explain why the observed risk is higher in the second generation.
Therefore, if this conclusion is correct, and it seems fairly logical to me, Rosie Winterton's attempts to stamp out differences between mental health rates, will be futile. But, I suppose such a conclusion would not be particularly popular with politicians; the solution to it doesn't involve hand-wringing or using words like 'exclusion', and, worst of all, points out differences between racial groups - something we all know cannot be said to exist.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Camera in a Cat's Eye

There may be a logical explanation for why there is a camera in one of these. Nonetheless, it's very difficult not to feel a tad disturbed when such things are added to the already ubiquitous surveillance state.


Saturday, February 17, 2007


In an otherwise excellent interview on the Conservative Home site, David Davis repeats a common falsehood:
Tired and Emotional: Does Mr. Davis believe that the demographic trends this county is experiencing - along with old Europe - are irreversible and how might a Tory government attempt to reverse or mitigate such changes without recourse to mass immigration?

If you mean the trend for all Western countries to get older as lifespans increase and birthrates decline, yes it is hard to see how they would reverse. By the same measure, people are staying healthier for longer, which I guess is one reason people do not object to the extension of working life.

Can immigration stop this trend? No, because immigrants age too, and quickly match the demographic profile of the indigenous population. The actuarial arithmetic to stop the trend requires massive and geometrically growing numbers (many millions!), far greater than even the current government would countenance and massively greater than our housing and public services could cope with.

There are a range of answers to all the issues arising from this, ranging from a much more successful pensions policy right through to policies designed to encourage stable families.

We will be publishing some ideas on population policy in the next year.

I am consistently amazed about the high number of conservatives who say we need to worry about demographics. To a man they talk about the free-market, and how it efficiently deals with peaks and troughs, yet they seem to believe that government intervention in population is needed. There are three different factors which I think they should remember:

  1. Productivity gains will cause demographic pains to reduce.
  2. If, financially speaking, it is worth the effort to have more children, people will.
  3. That the population may have reacehd a natural celing, and will remain stable from now on.
To say that it's hard to see the current trend changing ever, is simply wrong. The natural equilibrium will be found eventually. By disturbing all attempts to reach that equilibrium, mass immigration, in an attempt to reverse demographic decline, is shuffling the deckchairs on The Titanic.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

The Belief That's Now Unmentionable

Reading this article in the Mail this week, I was struck by the way that those who do not agree with abortion now seem to be scared of voicing that belief to the world. Which ever way they wish to dress it up with quotes about 'leading-edge medicine', the very act of banning it suggests that there are moralistic reasons behind this decision.

But, I will not be too harsh on Ms Czernin. I can understand why simply coming out and saying that you do not agree with abortion would be a problem. For they probably realise that such an admission would set themselves in opposition to the pro-abortion lobby.
A lobby composed of death-threatening, maniacal feminists.

The end of the article also has some quotes from a pro-abortion bint, named Anne Quesney:
Forty years after abortion was legalised in Britain, women's rights continue to be under threat from those who oppose abortion and want to impose their personal beliefs across the country
No, actually, they want to stop abortions within their own clinic – how is that ‘imposing their personal beliefs across the country’? It is you, in fact, who is imposing your beliefs on people, and when they disagree with you it’s your lobby that is the one that seeks resort to violence in attempt to silence opposition.

As for myself, I have said before that my view is that the less abortions there are in this country, the better. There's nothing unreasonable in that! And, considering that I do accept that there is always going to be a demand for abortions so a ban would not be in feasible, I would regard my views as moderate and sensible. How airing of such views is threatining 'women's rights', I do not know.

Ultimately, it’s Anne Quesney’s world that we live in, not mine. Britain’s abortion laws are not ‘under threat’, but have recently been given a massive vote of confidence by the Liberal Democrats and Labour.
Instead of making it harder for women to have abortions, we are as liberal as just about anywhere in the world. The result has been increasing abortions year after year.

This is where we are at, morally.
We have what seem like the vestigial remains of Christianity - with some aspects completely disregarded - surviving in the sort of Secular Religion that I talked about a few weeks ago. Where we believe that abortions should be as ubiquitous as appendix operations, but when it comes to the remains of Tasmanians, taken in the name of science, we regard it as immoral. We sneer at Polygamous Mormons, and retain a prohibition on polygamy, yet are desperate to welcome in ‘civil partnerships’ and gay adoption. This is a fundamentally illogical stand to take, after all aren’t they also ‘loving’ relationships, which take place behind closed doors?

It all feels like a great contradiction. And that is the point: this is an experiment that has no logic, doctrine or stability, and is, therefore, doomed to failure sooner rather than later.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Couple of Articles

Unfortunately, as I explained last month, work is heavy at the moment. That's shame, because I have found many things I wanted to comment on. Nonetheless, with the small amount of time I do have, I thought I would point out a couple of articles, on which I will comment on more in the future.

When the findings of a study was released saying that Churchgoers lived longer, I wasn't surprised. Now there is more:
Some people live and breathe their religion. Turns out going to church might actually help them breathe easier. Researchers measured the breathing of 1,189 people aged 70 to 79. Those who attend church regularly scored better on a test that measures pulmonary flow rate.

The findings could not be explained by differences in smoking or physical activity, the scientists said. "Pulmonary function is an important indicator of respiratory and overall health, yet little is known about the psychosocial factors that might predict pulmonary function," said Temple University’s Joanna Maselko. "At the same time, religious activity is emerging as a potential health promoting factor, especially among the elderly. We wanted to determine whether there was a connection between the two."

A study earlier this year found that churchgoers live longer, too. Church could benefit health in several ways, Maselko and her colleagues speculate. It provides social contact and emotional support, reducing the isolation many older people experience and boosting psychological well-being.
So, I will add that to the growing body of evidence that proves that going to Church is good for you. And that's without being able to find a link to a report I saw that stated that HIV suffers who have a belief in God were healthier than atheists.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Modern Britain - We've Never Had It So..........

The state of modern Britain excites wildly different opinions in public discourse. One person says we have never has it so good, another will say we're poorer. One, probably a New Labour supporter, will say that crime is very low, the other will say that is political spin. And so on.

Recently, the Economist's leader waded into the debate, emphatically stating that we have never had it so good:

Yet in a way it is odd that Britain's spirits should be low. The place is enjoying a period of extraordinary prosperity. Fourteen years of stable growth have kept unemployment down. There have been social gains as well as economic ones: fewer children and pensioners live in poverty than ten years ago. Crime is broadly lower. And with prosperity has come renewed political clout. Britain has helped to shape aid for Africa, the debate on climate change, European enlargement and, last week, negotiations to restart world trade talks.

All this is especially remarkable in contrast with the recent past. A quarter-century ago, the home of the industrial revolution was closing factories and mines. The class war raged as unions took on the government and business. In the South Atlantic a weird little war palely recalled Britain's glory days. Comparison with mainland Europe is also gratifying. After the humiliation of il sorpasso, Britain's GDP per head has once more overtaken not just Italy's, but also France's and Germany's. Although Britons are too good-natured to indulge in anything as Teutonic as Schadenfreude, they might be forgiven for a small smirk at the troubles of their old rivals.

That the Economist is cheerleading modern Britain shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, they believe that globalisation is an unmitigated good. The thing is, the worries of the British people are not as irrational as the Economist would have us believe.

Peter Hitchens' new blog post contains an extraordinary quote from a Russian journalist, that sheds some light on why it isn't that odd that the British people's "spirits should be low":

Under its corrupt government, which is widely believed to sell seats in the upper house of parliament in return for contributions to ruling party funds, the once-free nation of Britain is rapidly turning into a police state. Pre-trial detention, once limited to 72 hours, is being repeatedly extended to far longer periods. Old rules about the accused being innocent until proved guilty are being cast aside. The right to silence has been abolished and so has the law which prevented anyone being tried twice for the same offence. The police increasingly take action against individuals for expressing opinions which defy 'political correctness', the official orthodoxy of the British state. The major Churches claim that new laws discriminate against their freedom of conscience. The streets are under perpetual surveillance by closed -circuit TV cameras recording every action. The citizens are shortly to be issued with internal passports similar to Russian ones, and will be compelled to provide their fingerprints to their authorities. Schoolchildren are already being fingerprinted on such pretexts as allowing library access. The police increasingly use arrests - not followed by charges - to harass those they wish to pursue - and anyone arrested - whether convicted or not - is now compelled to give a DNA sample. As a result, Britain now has the most comprehensive DNA records of its population, anywhere in the world. Many state bodies now have the power to search people's homes, and the old maxim that 'An Englishman's Home is His Castle' is now so untrue as to be laughable. Elections are still held, but are a sham in which all the parties have more or less the same policies. The main political movements, which have lost much of their popular support, are kept going by state subsidies and contributions from millionaire businessmen. The main state-owned broadcasting system is slavishly loyal to the government and keeps minority viewpoints off the air, or treats them with contempt and derision, while the other channels mostly purvey low-grade pornographic entertainment, so-called 'reality' shows of stunning banality, old movies and sport. Meanwhile, actual crime is out of control, though citizens are legally prevented from many actions of self-defence and a government minister recently advised Britons to 'jump up and down' if they saw an old woman being attacked in the street, in the hope of distracting the attacker. This is the country which lectures Russia about 'civil society' and 'human rights'.
The fact is that whatever 'prosperity gains' globalisation's champions claim it has provided, there are at many, many drawbacks to life in modern Britain. And what they also fail to understand is that economic prosperity can be transient, but once traditional liberties and moralities are lost they are gone forever. So when you see this in action, the cry of 'never had it so good' seems extremely hollow.

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