Recently a very old friend was in hospital for a period and during that time she developed, on three occasions, MRSA or some other awful, unpronounceable, disease expressed in letters. One reads about these cases in the press, and it is only when someone you know is infected that you realise the size of the problem and the fact that it is on your doorstep. We, the old ones, are always bleating on about the hospitals of our day, the inflexible rigidity of the discipline meted out by the matrons, and the quality of service that we received. Of course in those days there was no penicillin, the cure-all that is now blamed for these new diseases so virulent that they have the ability to mutate and defeat the penicillin that spawned them.
Recently the number of people incarcerated in jail has risen to an unprecedented level, and this fact led me to wonder why, with so much humanity in close proximity, there were not outbreaks in jails of diseases similar to our MRSA. It is not that I wish them on our prisoners, merely that I wonder how or why it has been avoided. Is a lesson to be learned here?
I know about scrubbing floors, I have scrubbed many in my day, and I know I’m totally out of date when it comes to cleaning-machines. My mother was a cleanliness freak, we lived by carbolic soap and scrubbing brushes. So the other day when I saw on television an article about MRSA and hospital cleanliness, they were showing a cleaner swishing a very large, soft mop-type device that my mother would have condemned. She objected strongly to the use of those mops made of linen and a bit like dreadlocks, she said they never cleaned completely, they only moved the dirt and germs elsewhere. I just mention this in passing.
If reports in the press are to be believed, when the uninitiated go to prison there are other ills that they are open to, drugs and a criminal education. If the present prison population has risen to such an incredible extent, and presupposing that the ills referred to above are indeed as serious as expressed, this would raise two questions. The first is why the insouciant has to be lumped with the recidivist; and secondly, why has the breakdown of society increased to such an extent, without having been tackled, so we are now arriving at a point where it is clearly out of control?
I believe that the fear of prison is so mild as to place no restraint on those perpetrating the crimes we are hearing about, such as stabbings, gang warfare, house incursion with brutality, shoplifting and protection rackets. The cost .to the country of criminality, coupled with the penal system, must be crippling. One of the reasons of course is obvious, as I’ve said previously, it is lack of respect for others, for authority, mainly brought about, I believe, by lack of parental control in the early years. It is time that the parents were forced to take the responsibility for the the crimes of their children, at least up to the age of 16, and have to pay a penalty accordingly. Crime will never be eradicated, obviously, but the eradication of entry into crime must be a national priority. First-time offenders should be segregated, and care taken, as I believe it already is, to ensure that the penalty fits the crime, and that rehabilitation is a priority.
Sight and Convenience. Pre-WW2 large conurbations poorly served by public transport and without shops, did not exist. There were villages, towns and cities, with shops and markets within walking distance that satisfied the everyday needs of most. A few years ago we moved house to an area where the nearest shops are about a mile or more away, and they only provide essentials as they see them, and there is no localised competition. This situation has arisen of course, because everyone has access to a car. Recently I discovered that my sight had diminished to the extent that my vision was less than required by law as a driver, and now I am dependent upon others. I still use phrases like ,I must take you.’ or ‘tomorrow I have to go.’and then I realise that I will not be taking or going as an individual, but being taken, which places me in a situation where I am dependent, and I don’t like it.
With all this publicity of saving fossil fuels, the carbon footprints, and all the other heinous ways in which we are damaging the environment, I can envisage a time when the motor car will become unpopular, especially for two-car families, with the result that hundreds of thousands of houses will be stranded, shop-less and dependent upon public transport, and if it is as complicated, or as impossible as it is where I live, to get from A to B, God help ’em.