Unusually short…and I’m not talking about Tom Cruise.

One of the better things about my life is that I frequently find myself in a room with intelligent, articulate, interesting people. This evening has been one of those occasions and has contributed hugely to my quality of life, especially as I’m feeling grim and a little intellectual exercise is a fine distraction. Here’s a hint, if you’re feeling a little down, ditch the fuckwits and exercise your brain – it will probably do you more good than the latest Daily Mail diet fad (pan fried quinoa and minced immigrants lower cholesterol and raise property values!)

It’s nice to have your ideas tested and challenged. Here’s one that, at least in my mind, has made it through the evening unscathed. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re part of a democracy. If you’re angry or in reasonable disagreement with a principle of law or governance, it is your right, nay, your responsibility, to write to your nominated representative about it. If you’re here in the UK, at least, it’s your representative’s responsibility to respond to your concerns. I’ve been fobbed off a number of times by my MP but, as a friend of mine observed once, if you’ve managed to get a Tory land owner to write a letter, you’ve achieved something.

If even 5% of an electorate could be arsed to word even a moderately intelligent e-mail about, say, the NHS, it would start to have a significant influence on policy. If you’re looking for a focus for a letter about the NHS this week, may I again commend Ben Goldacre’s book, ‘Bad Pharma’ which, as well as being well-written, easily readable and scrupulously researched and referenced, also contains constructive and achievable suggestions for saving the NHS billions of pounds per year whilst improving patient care and taking money from the pockets of wealthy pharma plutocrats. Win win win.

Now wasn’t that nice and short?

Neil out.

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