What the papers have said at the end of February
There is one main topic for the week, introduced by Sarah Bosely in ‘Austerity linked to life expectancy‘ https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/24/austerity-blamed-for-life-expectancy-stalling-for-first-time-in-century
She and others review the findings and advice from the Marmot Report updated ten years after its first appearance www.health.org.uk/publications/reports/the-marmot-review-10-years-on.
This is a damning observation on the impact of policies which have left the country no longer seeing progressive increases in average life expectancy but shorter lives, ending after years of ill-health and disability amongst poorer people, especially women and with a focus in particular parts of the country. There are powerful, unanswerable messages that improvements can be achieved by fairer shares of the nation’s wealth and opportunities from birth and through the working years. The messages for later life are not featured in the newspaper articles but are clear within the tables and narrative of the report. Poorer older people endure more illness and disability than the better off, live shorter lives and we know they struggle to find necessary help as services have been cut.
There is well-informed compassionate comment from hard-headed correspondents. https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2020/feb/26/the-cruel-cuts-that-curb-life-expectancy. The Churches and other faith communities will surely pick up on this and urge appropriate action
A related article from Mary O’Hara argues that ‘Being poor is not inevitable of due to personal flaws’. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/26/inequality-political-choices-change-narrative. So much is determined by politic al design – It can be corrected
The All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group, asks – not for the first time – that the right of bishops to a place in the House of Lords should cease.
It is not clear that their place and influence is used for anything but good
Following on from last weekend’s articles about management practices within the Alzheimer’s Society, there has been a considerable correspondence. This includes denial of malpractice by people currently employed by the society, balanced by additional revelations – including some from people who had signed Non-Disclosure-Agreements. Letters printed in the Guardian on 25.2.2020 are particularly helpful. The informed, and modest, caring profile of the Alzheimer’s Disease Society as was, played an effective, low cost foil to tensions between services and those in need of help. Time for a return to that model perhaps?
Marmalade continues to inspire valuable and amusing anecdotes – antidotes to puzzlement and despair over the things we feel hardly able to influence.