Calling bluffs by Susan Grimsdell

No jab no job There are places where you can find true information, based on well-designed impartial research, rather than fake, so-called information, based on people’s opinions and gut reactions.  For example, we hear a lot of people yelling that they would quit their jobs if the “no jab no job” policy goes ahead.  When it comes to the crunch however, people seem to have second thoughts, most of them take a closer look at their household budgets alongside their pay packets, and lo – their carefully contrived objections to the vaccine… Read More

Man’s inhumanity to man by Angela Caldin

The images of those refugees on the border between Belarus and Poland are haunting me. Thousands of them are braving the cold along with extreme hardship in an attempt to get into Europe. Young people, old people, families with young children, people in need of medical treatment, all huddled and herded together with little shelter, food, water or medical attention. At least twelve have died because of the dreadful conditions. At first I thought they must be fleeing the harsh regime in Belarus, but now I understand that they are migrants and… Read More

Fairy tales by Trevor Plumbly

Once upon a time On arrival in NZ in 1971, my first impression was that of a country a bit like England in low gear, or if you ventured far enough afield, in reverse. ‘She’ll be right’ was more a statement of disinterest than reassurance while emotion was generally reserved to sporting matters. In short, we were a pretty placid, albeit boring, mob. These days we’re more in touch with the world and we can panic along with the best of them. What we used to call ‘eccentrics’ are now bona fide… Read More

To worry or not to worry by Angela Caldin

Case numbers of Covid-19 are rising again in the UK, but many people are going about their daily lives as though this was not a cause for concern. There’s a recent photo of the Conservative benches in the UK House of Commons in which the MPs sit squashed together shoulder to shoulder while their leader speaks at the despatch box. They look rather bored by whatever it is he is saying and you can see this from their facial expressions which are visible because the great majority are not wearing a mask…. Read More

Being a good bloke by Susan Grimsdell

There’s a programme on BBC called the Kindness Test designed to show the level of kindness in the general population.  The questions are along the lines of “Would you go to someone’s aid if you could see they needed help?” or “Do you hold doors open for other people?” “Do you give to charity?” “Do you volunteer?” and so on.  Now I grant that kindness is a difficult thing to measure, but I contacted the researchers to suggest that superficial small acts of kindness are not really an indication of the underlying… Read More