One thing which the ongoing spat between Gary Lineker and the BBC has proved is that televised football can still be entertaining without the commentary and the chitchat. If it is on the screen in front of us, why do we need someone to talk us through it? And then tell us what we have already seen? Recently, Match of the Day had seemed more about the presenters than the football which is being shown.
Don’t get me wrong. I think Lineker is a great football presenter. He’s someone who is at the top of his game. He’s easy to watch. Engaging. Knows his stuff. And very likeable. But at an annual cost of £1.3 million? And what about the rest?
Speaking for myself, I’m over the Moon watching back-to-back football without interruptions for pundit opinion. It’s fast-moving and packs so much more in than the tired old film-footage/pundit format which has existed since the days of radio. So, let’s try something new.
If Lineker’s co-presenters have proved anything, it’s that televised football can exist without them. And think of the savings. Let’s hope that the Match of the Day producers can hold their nerve and work with the new format. It’s so much better.
I celebrated Matt Hancock’s resignation as health minister on 26 June 2021. Not just the fact of his departure but more the disgraceful way in which he went. Because it felt to me to be so fitting. Because so much damage had already been caused to so many people by politically expedient lockdown policies not backed up by hard scientific data. The closing down of livelihoods. Stopping young people from going to school or university. The finger-wagging. The heartbreak of not being able to sit with someone who is dying or to attend their funeral. The pretence that stopping people from working and printing money to pay them to stay at home would not cause permanent damage to an already fragile UK economy. We are all paying for it now.
So government policy was to “scare the pants off everyone”. I’m sorry but it did not fool me. Maybe I’m in the minority. How could a flu-variant which, half a century ago would not have even been noticed, be in any way compared with the pandemics of old? What scared me was how quickly people bought into the fear agenda as if it was the great plague. It frightened me that government propaganda could so easily be used to manage public opinion and mobilise behaviour, such as the weekly public clapping session for the NHS. As if that compensated for cancelled operations. Even now, so many people are reluctant to let go of covid restrictions. It is impossible to walk down the street, or get on a bus or train, without seeing someone still wearing a mask. What are they frightened of?
The other thing which frightened me was the way in which any contrary opinion was quickly shut down as being ‘dangerous. In fact, the only real parliamentary opposition was from another political party which wanted even stricter lockdown restrictions. How sad!
Here is a link to Coronovirus: Keeping Business Open – published late 2020 at the height of the pandemic.
When life changes, it does so suddenly. There is no lead-in. One day life is powering along. You get up, go to work, come home, have something to eat, watch the telly, and perhaps go out together to a restaurant or plan your next holiday. And then. Bang! Something happens to disrupt that daily routine. Whoopee! You’ve won the lottery. For most of us, life isn’t like that. More likely, it is something you don’t want, like an accident in the family. It happened to us a week before Christmas, when Farida, my partner, tumbled in the hallway as she was trying to get to the front door. It was a soft fall in which she landed on carpet but was the latest in a series of falls both in and outside the house, which had meant that she was already unsteady on her feet. But this time, she couldn’t get up and has since been unable to walk. Farida is currently awaiting an operation at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, which we will hope will put matters right. But in the meantime, I have become a full-time carer. Because there is no one else to do it. Just the two of us. So it’s about learning quickly how to cope with this new situation and deal with issues relating to personal care and transport. How do you get to and from hospital appointments, if you can’t get into a car? How can I even go to the shops, unless there is someone, whom we can trust, to provide care whilst I am out of the house? I have also had to cancel my own dental appointments because there was no one to cover whilst I am away. Let’s start with transport.
Getting about now means finding a motor vehicle capable of accommodating someone sitting in a wheelchair. Fortunately, there are specialist wheelchair taxis and minicabs. These are sophisticated pieces of equipment, with either a ramp or an electric lift to get Farida and her wheelchair inside the vehicle. At around £24 one-way for the short journey between our home and West Middlesex Hospital, wheelchair transport is surprisingly affordable. The problem is one of availability, as there are so few wheelchair cabs around, so it is first come, first served. They are particularly busy during the school run. It is easy enough to book in advance for a wheelchair cab to take you to the hospital. But what do you do, when you want to come home? You can’t pre-book because you don’t know when the hospital appointment and any associated tests, will finish. On one occasion we were kept waiting 3 hours because there was nothing available to take us home from West Middlesex Hospital.
The next issue is finding some paid help in the house to free up some of my time and help me cope. If I can’t do my job, I can’t earn any money to pay for the care. Like many of us, I am lucky that I am now able to work from home. So thank you Microsoft Teams. No more traipsing up to London for meetings. So how do you go about finding paid help?
It would seem to me that there are three ways of finding paid help: through the local authority; through a private agency; or by finding someone yourself. I prefer the last. It is about finding a female carer with whom we are both comfortable in placing our trust. That person will also have to come with us to hospital appointments to help with personal care. It is about trusting our own personal judgment and feelings about a particular person. It means that the money I pay goes straight to the carer instead of to an agency. It means that we get the person we choose and not someone who is sent to us by someone else. It also offers flexibility, because we can call the person whenever we need them. Just hoping that life changes for the better once Farida has had her operation. Just a final word.
Although the NHS has recently had a very bad press, I have never complained about the care and support we have received from medical staff over the years. They have always been there to look after me.
We are asked to recommend books for anyone considering the UK legal profession as a career option. We have provided a link to our recommended list. Even if you have already made that leap, you will find practical tips to help you make the most of your chosen career. It is about the human side of becoming a lawyer.
As a published legal writer it is always encouraging to receive positive editorial feedback. Here is something I received January 24th 2023 from Jamie Lennox, the Editor of Today’s Conveyancer. I also enclose a link to the article which generated that feedback.
I hope you’re well. Just wanted to drop you a note regarding your recently published piece on Leaseholder Deeds of Certificate. It’s been incredibly popular with our readership: the data shows it’s been read more than any other piece over the last 7 days, and we’ve heard it’s been shared on social media and Rob Hailstone’s Bold Legal Forum too. Thus, a big thank you is in order from me!
I think it’s particularly relevant to the current discourse surrounding the ever-increasing complexity of conveyancing. I’ve heard one conveyancer suggest a separate law degree is required for the BSA 2022 alone! With climate change guidance just around the corner from the Law Soc, I imagine a similar conversation will take place.
Should you want to follow up this piece with any more guidance/best practice, we’d bite your hand off. Let me know your thoughts.