We talk a lot about hidden carers, but the truth is they weren't hidden. They were right there. They probably don't call themselves carers, they're just looking after Uncle John.
The British Government spends an estimated £800 million a year on what it calls "addiction treatment" but less than 2% of this is used to fund people to go into residential rehab. Most of the budget is spent on "revolving door" treatments such as home detoxes, community interventions and replacement drugs such as methadone.
Please spare a thought for one group of vulnerable people who will be hit especially hard by the effects of the Health and Social Care bill that has just been hustled through parliament. Lonely, confused, and often delusional, these people are comedy writers.
The Health Bill was one of the most hated and ridiculed Bill in living memory and will do great damage to the NHS. Longer waiting times, restrictions to services and a postcode lottery where we will see real differential standards applied.
Just as this government is committed to dealing with the deficit now, so that future generations will not be burdened with debts racked up yesterday, so we must be committed to reforming the NHS so that future generations can enjoy an NHS free at the point of delivery, regardless of the ability to pay.
Slactivism is someone who jumps from cause to cause - each cause being, to the slactivist, as worthy as the next. The term could, at its least dangerous, be given to those who loosely link causes together and change focus regularly.
Amidst the general dismay among real experts and ordinary people alike that has followed the parliamentary passage of Andrew Lansley's vicious legislation to traduce the NHS, there is one vested interest that will no doubt give a quiet cheer.
I've been one of the NHS's most loyal customers most of my life. Growing up with brittle bones I spent so much of my childhood waiting for X-rays that I could spell "danger" and "radiation" from reading the signs on the door at about the same age that most of my peers were getting to grips with "cat" and "dog."
On Wednesday Osborne is set to announce cutting the 50p tax rate, allowing those who earn most to pay less tax in a move that once again proves he either suffers from dyspraxia or is unwittingly elitist.
Come on Mr. Cameron, the Health and Social Care bill is bad; there are better ways to reform the NHS, listen to the health professionals. Abandon the bill; it is a good U-turn that is also likely to improve your party's chances of re-election.
We are often told that we should learn from history, but this pedagogy usually deals in only the moral lessons associated with human and civic progress. However, much like an innocent child imitating his swearing older brother, I thought it would be much more fun to compile a short list of totally useless and inappropriate lessons from history that would undo all of our good work as a society. So, here for your ironic consumption are some terrible, horrible, idiotic ideas for improving our nation...
Almost two years ago I struggled to see the upside of a five year coalition deal for the Lib Dems and as the coalition government stands ready to pass the NHS reform bill and strong rumours abound about a cut in the 50p top rate of tax, today I fear for the future of the Lib Dem party.
If the public knew how self-serving some elements of the NHS were they would have a great deal more sympathy for the government's efforts to reform the service.
I spent this weekend at a rock festival in Butlins. Odd, I know, but probably less so than spending it in Gateshead at Lib Dem spring conference.
"Doesn't it also demonstrate that however well you may be on top of your brief, you are a hopeless communicator?" This was question posed to the health secretary by Jeremy Paxman during an interview and one senses this is indicative of the thoughts of many politicians.
It must be hard being in the Liberal Democrats. Yes, I said it. I went there. But before you assume that I've donned a yellow tie, let me assure you that my favourite way of describing them is as not so much a political party, but more a terrible surprise party.