WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND

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A few months ago it was announced that, for the first time in a long time, life expectancy in Scotland had stagnated. Mr Tomkins was quick to imply that blame lay with the Scottish government.

Photo of Adam TomkinsAdam Tomkins Conservative

5. To ask the Deputy First Minister for what reason life expectancy is no longer increasing in Scotland. (S5F-00982)

The Deputy First Minister will know that life expectancy levels in the east end of Glasgow are dramatically lower than those in other, more affluent parts of the city. The Commonwealth games offered an unparalleled opportunity to take specific action to reduce health inequalities and mortality rates in the neighbourhoods that hosted the games, yet it seems that no targets were set to achieve that. The London boroughs that hosted the 2012 Olympics set themselves the explicit target of narrowing the gap between male and female life expectancies in the east end and those in the rest of London. Does the Deputy First Minister agree that Glasgow should follow London’s lead on that? What actions will the Scottish ministers take to address the health inequalities that persist in Glasgow?

 

afrankie
Glasgow

Today, we note that the same observation has been made about life expectancy in England.

 

Rising rates of life expectancy are grinding to a halt in England after more than 100 years of continuous progress, says a leading health expert.

University College London expert Sir Michael Marmot said he was “deeply concerned” by the situation, calling it “historically highly unusual”.

He said it was “entirely possible” austerity was to blame and said the issue needed looking at urgently.

But the government said its policies were not responsible.

The Department of Health said ministers were providing the necessary support and funding to ensure life expectancy “continues to increase”.

 

A!
London

 

Going back to Mr Tomkins’ query, I’m a little bemused as to why he thinks we would have seen an increase in life expectancy so soon after the Olympics or the Commonwealth games. The “healthy” legacy in terms of increase in sporting participation was not designed, in either London or Glasgow, for those who might be in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Rather, it was directed towards the young.

We won’t be able to tell for many a year whether this has worked to lengthen life, the main benefactors of the sporting legacy being likely still to be in their teens and 20s. However, the Scottish professor might like to note that (according to Wikipedia) :

Criticisms and concerns:

Criticism of the London 2012 legacy includes the legacy not meeting its original ambitions with a decrease in 2014/15 in the number of people playing sport for at least half an hour a week of 125,100.[29]

 

England Fans
It would, I suppose, be fair to mention that an interest in sport is not always as much of an advantage as we might at first assume.

 

A report on the legacy of the Commonwealth games (dated 2015) shows an increase in some sporting participation. Does anyone know if that has been maintained? It could well be that Scotland has followed the English legacy, despite the spending of a considerable amount to try to encourage young people into sport. At the end of the day regardless of nationality, no matter how many facilities you provide, if young people prefer video games to actual physical exercise, there is not a lot anyone can do about about it.

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It also seems appropriate to point out that as we helped to pay for the Olympics in London, we should also have been on the receiving end of the legacy from the English games.

I’d like to suggest that in all probability, the reasons for the levelling out of life expectancy   are far more complex than could be covered in this post, but that one of the many contributing factors might be austerity which has been forced upon people from the four nations of the UK by the Conservative government in London.

Whatcha say Mr Tomkins?

53 thoughts on “WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND”

  1. Trispw,

    I’d have thought that a rising life expectancy, is a bit of a dream. Sure, early death could be avoided, through decent medical interventions, but I not at all convinced that life extension is practical. We still appear to be stuck with the century as a typical limit.

    There was however an ‘interesting’ article in New Scientist that suggested that vampires were not entirely stupid – I paraphrase:

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2133311-human-tests-suggest-young-blood-cuts-cancer-and-alzheimers-risk/

    Make of that what you will.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I reckon that makes sense.

      I’m not sure I could be bothered with doing it, but healthy teenage blood has to be purer than the blood of someone in their 40s, 50’s or 60s…you’d think

      Like

  2. The probable causes for the levelling off / reduction in life expectancy in Scotland and England (Wales? Norniron? Ignored again?) are likely to be environmental in the broadest sense, encompassing not just the physical but also the economic, social and political contexts in which we live.

    Anything that exacerbates poverty and worsens living conditions will play a part, as will purely physical phenomena – and the increasing levels of material inequality and xenophobia / racism that we are seeing won’t help either on the psychological plane.

    So: benefits caps, benefits sanctions, State-sponsored abuse of disabled and other vulnerable people, deliberate discrimination against poor people, cuts in social care spending, financial stress in all its forms… then there are the physical environmental effects of rising levels of air pollution causing excess deaths, a crumbling stock of social housing that is inadequate in terms of both quality and quantity – has there been anything the current Westminster regime has done that is actually good for public health? Oh, I forgot to mention the NHS being hacked to death down south too.

    Whatever the reasons may be for any differences between Scotland and England – and the headline figures may not actually be statistically significant, for a start – we’re not going to find out what they are from Adam Tomkins, unless he’s been concealing from all of us that he’s a top-notch specialist in public health, not public law, and has excellent mathematical abilities in the areas of medical statistics, and the science of epidemiology.

    As he doesn’t have those, I’m pretty sure that my own views on the subject are at least as valid as his, and unlike the good Perfesser, I would read and listen to the experts before opening my trap to quack ESSEMPEE BAD!!!

    Like

  3. The probable causes for the levelling off / reduction in life expectancy in Scotland and England (Wales? Norniron? Ignored again?) are likely to be environmental in the broadest sense, encompassing not just the physical but also the economic, social and political contexts in which we live.

    Anything that exacerbates poverty and worsens living conditions will play a part, as will purely physical phenomena – and the increasing levels of material inequality and xenophobia / racism that we are seeing won’t help either on the psychological plane.

    So: benefits caps, benefits sanctions, State-sponsored abuse of disabled and other vulnerable people, deliberate discrimination against poor people, cuts in social care spending, financial stress in all its forms… then there are the physical environmental effects of rising levels of air pollution causing excess deaths, a crumbling stock of social housing that is inadequate in terms of both quality and quantity – has there been anything the current Westminster regime has done that is actually good for public health? Oh, I forgot to mention the NHS being hacked to death down south too.

    Whatever the reasons may be for any differences between Scotland and England – and the headline figures may not actually be statistically significant, for a start – we’re not going to find out what they are from Adam Tomkins, unless he’s been concealing from all of us that he’s a top-notch specialist in public health, not public law, and has excellent mathematical abilities in the areas of medical statistics, and the science of epidemiology.

    As he doesn’t have those, I’m pretty sure that my own views on the subject are at least as valid as his, and unlike the good Perfesser, I would read and listen to the experts before opening my trap to quack ESSEMPEE BAD!!!

    Like

  4. As every Nat knows high levels of stress can cause
    Many illnesses leading to lower life expectancy .
    And given the snp/nats have for many years even
    After being thrashed in thier own referendum.

    Used fear and intimidation on both the Scottish
    People as well as the rest of the UK by relentlessly
    Pursuing a course of action to destroy a nation.
    Conceived in an act of Union which has endured for
    Hundreds of years.

    Placing intolerable and health threatening anxiety
    On the peoples of this United Kingdom causing
    Early deaths from the heart break in the evil attempt to
    Rend our family of nations under one glorious crown asunder.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Though ‘asunder’ is a pretty good word and suggests a realization that whilst the user of the aforesaid word is no Frankie Boyle he has looked in a book, dictionary or thesaurus. Perhaps he could join up the ideas into a coherent idea?

        What say you Niko?

        You could always try.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. snpBAD snpEVIL snpTHEDEVIL

          VOTE NO

          VOTE LABOUR

          VOTE FOR THE UNION always !!!

          seems pretty coherent to me but then I am not
          an extremist Scottish nationalist and am considered
          NORMAL by right minded folk

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Niko, an “act of union” could be seen as a euphemism for the act of human procreation and, to be fair, at the Act of Union, Scotland was well and truly f***ed – or as we big people say, fucked.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. This taken with a large pinch of salt, the tories are hell bent in getting the sick and disabled done away with, austerity cuts, sanctions, wages decreasing, living standards dropping.. what a normal household spends on food the millionaire row in the Tory party would spend that on one meal out with their wine and then have the cheek to charge the tax payer for it… an ill conceived world, but shrouds have no pockets and death comes to us all, only one thing is it heaven or hell for them..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tris, looking at the pic of the English chappies, they seem to have fully embraced the spirit of London 2012 – they seem to be practising javelin, discus and shot putt. Or maybe just doing their usual English sports – throwing the tantrum, throwing your weight around – anyway, they’re clearly a wonderful example of a bunch of tossers.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Once the longbow was the favoured weapon of English thugs terrorising Europe. Now it’s a plastic garden chair. Tossed, obviously.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Yep, healthy living and exercise is something we are told we should all aspire to, but
    you know, this life expectancy thing is not all it’s cracked up to be. As a carer of a deeply unhappy 86 year old who’s life if you can call it that is being prolonged by repeat prescriptions and shed loads of care, I would say to you all. Go forth from your place of residence and buy 20 Regal and a big cairey oot.

    Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You have a point.

      There comes a point (at different ages, depending on the person) when getting any older is probably not something you’d wish for.

      I’m a bit pragmatic about death and I get a bit fed up with people who shake their heads and tut at my glib acceptance of the reality of life. We all die and nothing we do will change that. We must accept it and hope that it happens before things get really hard for us and those who have to care for us.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I take back the 20 regal, that was the last dying remnant of a long since dealt with nicotine addiction talking and was just stupid. Fags make you feel shit even when your healthy, you just don’t notice until you’ve been stopped for a while.

      Just have some extra drink instead Heh! Heh!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Its not the width its the quality. No point living to 100 with incontinence pants and a plastic tube up your nose. Conservatives arguably make more people more miserable than any other form of government. Whether you are disabled, a student with a ton of debt, a soldier injured fighting for bugger all in the middle east. The list of misery they inflict is as long as your arm

    A society which indulges in substance abuse, lives in darkness for much of the winter, then endures our “summer”, eats the diet we enjoy and is as macho as ours is likely going to suffer in health. Our government does what it can – resisted by the Tory buffoons – to tackle all of the aforementioned issues. From restrictions on weapons, alcohol pricing, free school meals, baby boxes etc to the construction of better quality housing. We try. But if we really want to make a difference we need to be independent. Liberated from a get rich quick neoliberal mindset imported from the south. And we need hope in our lives.

    If the Professor and others have constructive suggestions to make which might help the problem then we are open to them. If all he can do is cheap sniping from the sidelines with no better idea than “no referendum” then I’d suggest he just stays quiet and sticks to areas more in keeping with his specialist subjects.

    I am so sick of negativity from the opposition. It is not helpful to anyone.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I hope I haven’t offended, Tris, as my earlier comment has somehow disappeardified! Never mind, other folk have said everything I said in it. Moving smartly along…

    Niko – you are a silly article. Have a hug from me.

    I hadn’t thought of having an SNP government in Scotland as causing Unionists health problems – as far as I can see, it’s the Unionists at Westminster who’re responsible for many avoidable deaths and needless suffering. Also, I cannot see that it’s ever been SNP policy to punish the poor and reward the rich, and the fear and stress caused to Scottish Unionists by the very thought of independence is self-inflicted. It’s far to easy to provoke their fury by writing or broadcasting some piece of pish or other in our fragrant Scottish meeja. I suspect most of us are far more upset about what the Brexit we did not vote for is going to do to us, and if we’re not, we should be.

    By the way, Adam Tomkins is a Professor of Public Law, not public health, so let him opine all he wants but I’d rather hear from experts in the field of medical statistics and epidemiology.

    Like

  9. I hope I haven’t offended, Tris, as my earlier comment has somehow disappeardified! Never mind, other folk have said everything I said in it. Moving smartly along…

    Niko – you are a silly article. Have a hug from me.

    I hadn’t thought of having an SNP government in Scotland as causing Unionists health problems – as far as I can see, it’s the Unionists at Westminster who’re responsible for many avoidable deaths and needless suffering. Also, I cannot see that it’s ever been SNP policy to punish the poor and reward the rich, and the fear and stress caused to Scottish Unionists by the very thought of independence is self-inflicted. It’s far to easy to provoke their fury by writing or broadcasting some piece of pish or other in our fragrant Scottish meeja. I suspect most of us are far more upset about what the Brexit we did not vote for is going to do to us, and if we’re not, we should be.

    By the way, Adam Tomkins is a Professor of Public Law, not public health, so let him opine all he wants but I’d rather hear from experts in the field of medical statistics and epidemiology.

    Like

  10. It’s a measure of social and political progress that we even have a Tory willing to acknowledge that health inequalities exist and that Governments can and should do something about it. This wasn’t always the case as this obituary for Professor Black shows.

    http://www.bmj.com/content/325/7365/661.1

    Frankly though, the UK Governments response to the Marmot Report is disappointing …they still seem to be in denial and until that changes and they, and Adam Tomkins, acknowledge that powers reserved to Westminster, and austerity driven UK policy do impact on health outcomes I see little prospect of the current trend being reversed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point Jake. He was obviously trying to embarrass the government, but he has highlighted what seem to be inadequacies both north and south of the border.

      Like

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