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Britain: callous indifference to the disabled – or deadly antagonism?

Ian Birrell lists all the ways in which ‘Britain is callously indifferent to disabled people’, from neglect of those families caring for disabled members during the Covid pandemic, to a ‘collapsing care system’ in which ‘people with autism and learning disabilities’ are ‘locked up, abused and drugged in psychiatric units instead of supported in their communities’; and while there is ‘endless fury over health “cuts”’, there is ‘largely silence’ over the state of cash-starved social care, ‘despite dire staff shortages, dreadful front-line pay and corporate fat cats stealthily milking the shat

A sign of the times? Inn signs cancelled for (possibly) giving offence

The UK’s biggest pub retailer is to ‘rebrand four pubs with names “linked with racism” after revelations of historical ties to slavery’ emerged ‘through a University College London database of slave profiteers’; despite the company admitting that ‘there is no consensus on the racial origins of the pub names’, those to be renamed are three called ‘The Black Boy’ and one called ‘Black’s Head’ (‘Greene King to rename “offensive” Black Boy pubs’, Telegraph, January 16, 2021).

Population shrinking: don’t call the midwife - call the anti-ageing clinic

According to a study by the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence, ‘in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic’ the UK’s population ‘may have fallen by as much as 1.3 million’; labour data – ‘more reliable than migration statistics’ – ‘suggest a drop of more than half a million in the number of foreign-born residents in the year to last September’, and academic authors Michael O’Connor and Jonathan Portes attribute this fall to an ‘“unprecedented exodus” of foreign-born workers’ following the Coronavirus outbreak.

Humane dying laws – or inhumane killing laws?

All three letters in this week’s Sunday Telegraph favour ‘assisted dying’; two cite free choice and the wish for a dignified death, while a lady with terminal metastatic breast cancer says she is ‘stable and in minimal pain, thanks to superb hospital staff and sheer luck’, but fears ‘[s]uffering prolonged agony because Britain has only a partial palliative care system’, and knows ‘that towards the end it will fail me’, as it has her ‘uncle and two other relatives similarly failed by their hospitals, despite the compassion of their nurses’.

The BBC, fake news and feminist health provider Marie Stopes

Emma Barnett, the new presenter of BBC Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour, read out ‘a rare and personal’ message from the Queen to mark the beginning of the programme’s 75th year; the 94-year-old monarch, ‘understood to be a long time listener of the programme’ sent the ‘warm message of celebration and continued success’, praising the programme for being ‘“a friend, guide and advocate to women everywhere”’, and hailing the ‘“significant” part the BBC show had played in the “evolvi

BPAS: fertility advice from an infertility service?

With pressure on the health services from the Coronavirus pandemic meaning that women in their 40s are being ‘denied IVF treatment’, leaving ‘some women in limbo, not knowing if their fertility treatment will be continued’, Steve McCabe, Labour MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, has tabled an early day motion on the issue; he commented: ‘“Infertility is a medical condition recognised by the World Health Organisation but for too long treatment has been rationed by accountants seeking to trim CCG budgets”’.

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