Thursday, October 02, 2003

Hmm, need to sort out the archives thing (so it does the dates properly, ie 30/9/03 not 9/30/03, cos there aren't 30 months).

The law is an ass: Discuss.
Well there's been quite a bit in the news recently about various court cases. Firstly the bizarre and apparently unexplained withdrawal of legal aid to the class lawsuit on behalf of the parents of post-MMR autistic children. Apart from the fact I don't think they have a case, (and if there is a link then it simply becomes part of a process of risk management), why did the awarding body drop it now? What's changed to cause this, and if nothing's changed then why did it happen?

Then onto the law getting really silly - the rulingthat the mother of artificially created embryos cannot use them to have children as the father has withdrawn his consent [the couple having split up]. If the embryo's already been created then the consent has been granted by both parties. It is a potential human. Just because the gestation period is abnormally long, does not mean that the process has not occurred. Can a father demand the pregnant mother abort a foetus because they are no longer together? You shouldn't be able to apply decisions retrospectively. [And it does sound very like a spiteful act on the father's part, but more on this on Cutting Edge tonight - which of course clashes with 2 other things I want to watch]. But then the 1990 act requires full consent, and they both should have been sticking to the rules I suppose the result was inevitable (it's just the rules may need changing).

And now the law annoying the government, and possibly damaging the NHS. Patients can go abroad for NHS funded treatment if they would be faced with undue delay. Other than the judge carefully not quantifying "undue delay", this could cause a nightmare for the NHS, as it allows claims for reimbursement, rather than requiring prior agreement. So if a patient choose a very expensive hospital for treatment, the NHS would be as liable for funding as if they had chosen a cheaper alternative (though with any luck someone will add in a "within reasonable limits" clause). If the NHS groups have any sense they try and steer people to certain cheaper regions to get work done (and would it cost them less than doing it themselves? How long before hospitals become outsourcing agencies?). Either that or hope some ruling qualifies it as requiring the NHS's consent before seeking foreign healthcare.
NB. Please note the studious lack of puns on patient patients, etc.

Other stuff:
Tax discs - why do they tear easier than the perforations? And how can a little bit of paper be worth £195? (said he carefully not noticing that I to get that I gave the Post Office a little bit of paper worth £195, but at least that had added art work by me).
Direct Line - good prices or merely good advertising? As everyone in the post office queue to get their tax discs had car insurance provided by them.
Swimming - good, bad or very, very ugly. Went yesterday - haven't been in ages. You know how people say you don't forget stuff like riding bikes - well it's not true (not the bikes bit - but I don't know, cos mine was stolen ages ago, so I can't test it). Are you supposed to be able to gain absolutely no power from your legs when swimming (regardless of which stroke you're doing)? A. I don't remember my hips rolling as much as that last time, B. Doing crawl legs either causes huge amounts of turbulence, and minimal intentional movement, or they start sinking, C. Doing breaststroke legs - i think I get the power off the wrong bit (but if I try doing it right I stop and plunge underwater), D. The whole concept of synchronising moving arms and legs, and breathing at the same time seems frightfully complicated (ie I swallow lots of water, get confused and flail whilst not moving and trying to cough and breathe). E. But by that time there were kids around, so I had an excuse for not trying to charge up and down (though have their mothers never heard of Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre?), and then started getting bored and discovered that ducking diving works fine, until you clout the heel of one foot into the top of the other foot and try saying "ow" underwater. So I sat on the edge for a bit, and as it was the deep end there's only one way back in. Now this is why I remember liking swimming - it's the way diving allows you to cover half the length of the pool for very little effort. And of the half dozen or so I did I only fluffed it once, and even then it didn't hurt as much as it used to. But then it was only off the side, not the diving board - the use of which I've never got sorted (well it wobbles at the wrong time).

And I really need to start linking to more than one newspaper, but Indy wants paying for the good stuff, the Telegraph doesn't have the same agenda as the Guardian, and the rest are tabloid or Murdoch (or both), which means going to foreign stuff, which coupled with my not so greatness at languages leaves us with American or Australian/Canadian sources (other anglophonic countries are available - they just tend to not have good news sources). So USA boils down to pretty much the NY times, the Washington Post (or the IHT which is 1/2 of each), or CNN, all of which tend to adhere to CNN's meme of "bringing you world news from all round the US". Australian (and to some extent Canadian) sources tend to quite informative, it's just that they largely carry reprints of the UK and US media. And of course there's the whole ubiquity of Murdoch thing, which leaves things like the SMH (aka The Age, Melbourne), or the state broadcasters the ABC and CBC (Oz and Canada's equivalents of the BBC).

Which somehow vaguely reminds me - when did the Arnold Schwarzenegger thing stop being a publicity stunt and start being serious? It just doesn't seem very comforting that power can be so arbitrarily given. But then it is America - it's not like they haven't done it before.
Anyhoo, better go and do proper stuff.

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