DISCUSSION NOTES (FOLLOWING MEETING 8th FEBRUARY 2013)
“What should Britain’s future energy policy be”?
A far ranging discussion came to the conclusion that, above all, nuclear power is not the answer, as it is becoming clear that the price, in terms of safety, waste disposal and indeed cost, is far too high a price to pay.
Instead, we considered that Britain’s ever increasing demands for power may best be met by a combination of :
- Experimentation with new fossil fuel solutions (i.e. carbon capture and fracking shale gas extraction)
- The “Green” solution, (solar, wind and above all, tidal/wave power), that we would all wish to see eventually.
Our feelings were that research and development, over the next decade, may well determine how best to proceed in the longer term.
“What’s in our food and how can overproduction be avoided”?
From the start we concluded that there may, in future, be more reliance on fresh food rather than processed food. We questioned why there was so much concern on any risk to health in eating horse meat, rather that what we felt was the real issue of being sold horse when you believe you had bought beef.
In future, we must be able to rely on the food and hygiene authorities to check that all food must not only be as described on the label but fit to eat.
On over production we had no effective answer as it would seem inevitable that food will be produced to satisfy perceived demand by those who sell it to us who have an interest in selling, as much as possible, to meet that demand.
What we felt could be achieved is a reduction in waste by a greater understanding and relaxation of sell-by dates and as a consequence the redirection of food for donation to the third world whilst it was still fit to eat.
“Has the “Arab Spring” been all we hoped? Can we ever hope for peace in the Middle East”?
Our answer to both questions was NO and NO.
It was clear that we all believed that Western intervention was not only ill advised but likely to make matters worse. Our conclusion was that disparate groups of Islamic opinion and such large areas of North Africa and the Middle East cannot be brought under control by any amounts of UN troops.
As your chair, I questioned whether a harder line by the US with Israel to force their hand to achieve what needs to be done to secure a peaceful Palestine may help, but I was clearly in a majority of one in this belief.
Topical item : “The NHS is in a critical state of health, what is the diagnosis and prognosis if “the patient “ is to recover”?
The common view was that there was a need for a root and branch review and a reversal to first principles including:
- A thorough investigation into all aspects of what has gone wrong is essential. Not only the horrors of Stafford Hospital but also, all the questionable mortality rates and financial maladministration in other hospitals must be examined in detail.
- Contrary to the Francis Report heads must roll if necessary and the shortcomings rectified if we are to restore public confidence in the NHS
In the future…
- All services, nursing and consultancy must be “in-house” not “let out” if we are to determine future responsibility when things go wrong.
- Performance targets are fine but money must not be allowed to dictate what needs to be done
- There must be less reliance on degrees and more on the ability to care in the selection and training of nurses.
Items for discussion on the 8th March…
- British banks and their bonus culture. Will the splitting up of retail and investment arms of the banks be the answer.
- Gun control in America.
- Equality of opportunity for men and women in British Society.
- Plus a topical item suggested by yourselves or introduced by your chairman at that time.