At one time, upon hearing the word ‘spice’, you’d think of something to flavour your food, the Spice Girls or Old Spice shaving lotion.
Now it’s an image of people slumped in shop doorways or passed out cold on the street.
Once you’ve seen a sight like that, even if it’s just in the papers or on TV, there’s no going back.
It’s a gut-wrenching, flesh-creeping sight, and, what’s more, it’s very sad that people can be reduced to literally lying in the gutter.
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Emergency services are already chock-a-block and when they’re not around, the onus is on passers-by who aren’t equipped to deal with such casualties and don’t know what to do for the best.
One thing is clear, it’s got to stop, but where do you start?
In my, (admittedly inexpert), view, there doesn’t need to be a big awareness campaign.
No, there needs to be a massive one, particularly focused on those likely to succumb, such as the homeless and those with unresolved mental health and stress-related issues.
Co-ordinated efforts by the NHS, police force, social services, the council and charities that are already in place need to, unfortunately, be ramped up even further and be more evenly distributed, if at all feasible.
In an ideal world, we could make 1,001 suggestions, but we don’t live in an ideal world, so we can only do our best.
It’s going to require a lot of money, a lot of hard work and the wisdom of Solomon to get on top of it after all.
At the very least, pedestrians can do their bit by refraining from giving money to, for example, the guy who approaches you pleading starvation and asking if you could give him some cash to buy a bag of chips.
Chances are, it’s not the chip shop he’s heading for.
No deal’ better than bad deal
So the year rolls on and yet we seem to be no nearer to reaching decisions about out future after Brexit.
However, a blueprint, to be unveiled next month, has been drawn up by Tory Eurosceptics for a no-deal Brexit as an alternative to Theresa May’s Chequers agreement.
Apparently it argues for a Canadian-style free trade deal with the EU as long as they back down over the Irish border situation.
The arrogant EU is not given to backing down and negotiation in their book equates to getting their own way, so I won’t hold my breath over that coming into fruition.
But there is undoubtedly a growing feeling among
the public that a ‘no deal’ Brexit is actually the way to go.
They are realising what I and my colleagues have long argued – the EU needs us much more than we need them.
We actually hold all the aces but the way the talks have hiccuped along, you wouldn’t think so.
A ‘no deal’ is not perfect but it is better than a bad deal.
Theresa May needs to get in touch with the public’s mood and fight for our independence.
Paul Nuttall, North West MEP
UK Independence Party
Unacceptable and tasteless
If I wrote in and made tasteless jokes about the hats and long hair worn by some ultra-orthodox male Jews, you would probably not print it. If I added that the wearers looked like criminals, this would be anti-semitic. If a Tory MP deliberately writes in this way about some Muslim women, how can he be acceptable within his party?
Bob Holland via email
Internet killing the high street
I work in retail and it is incredibly tough as we all know.
Branded goods on the internet are killing the high street. It’s the same old story – see a product online, find a shop selling it, go to see it, then buy online it at the cheapest possible price.
We are all guilty of it.