What a great story in The Observor : "how a little champagne really does lift the heart". Scientists have shown that a couple of glasses a day is good for the heart and blood circulation. Of course we knew this.
As that wise warrior Napoleon observed of champagne , " In victory you deserve it, in defeat you need it ".
And I certainly needed it after Monday when I returned to Tommies for another small op under local to "adjust the stitches" as they put it. Not pleasant. I was fair reeling when I left and as no one had admonished me not to drink I had a reviving Gin. I needed it. We have become somewhat censorious of drink of late, almost as though we are all on the brink of bouts of binge drinking and alcoholism. Not that this is not a problem - indeed I have excellent members working in the area of drink and drug abuse and Alcohol Concern is a splendid body. But that should not blind us (oops unfortunate that) to the glories of wine and champagne.
One of the advantages of time off to recuperate is I get a chance to listen to that National treasure, BBC Radio 4. An interesting programme on Monday on leadership and management and the link with expertise. The question was that if in the arts, for example, no leader at the top would not also be an expert in their subject - orchestras or curating for example. Would the banking crisis have taken a different turn if more people at the top had been experts in banking and come up through the ranks? Should the Civil Service pay more attention to developing expertise in Departmental subjects rather than glorifying generalism.
There is now a trend back to hospitals being run by medics rather than managers imported from other parts of the public sector.
This is a very valid point; how far can you divorce the skills of leadership from th expertise and knowledge of the job itself, say child care or rehabilitation? Many of ACEVO's CEO leaders have come from jobs outside the organisations they have run. Many have come from outside the sector. I suspect a balance is needed. A social worker steeped in the expertise of the profession may not make the best manager or leader?
We are being led a merry dance on Gift Aid. My brilliant Head of Policy reports to me on the meeting with HMT on the recent research on top taxpayers and giving. It is clear that changes to make all tax payers gift aid contributions come to charity will not significantly lower giving. So we now need Government to decide what they will do.
But all we get is an offer of a "forum" to discuss this further. Well chaps, time for talking is over. You are the Government. You decide. Are you going to implement change for higher rate tax payers or not? Simple question. What is the answer please because I, for one, am tired of talking about it. Unless you would like to appoint me to the Treasury team and I'll make the decision for you.
And it is debatable in the absence of any indication we are not being further led around the garden that we will take part. I have decided to ask members for their view.
It may be Christmas and the season of goodwill to all men but there are limits. Two years talking and sweet all and what are we offered. A forum. And I thought Santa would have something better in his sack!
Out of interest, have you tried any other drugs? Where do you stand on the likes of cannabis, LSD and ecstasy, which Prof Nutt argues are much less harmful than alcohol - should they be legalised?
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