Monday, 27 April 2009

Cover your mouth please sir....

First of all for those that ran the London Marathon yesterday, congratulations! I'm proud to say that I've been in your shoes, but happy that I wasn't sweating it out with you this year!

Moving on...

With fear of swine flu running rampant, I was really pleased to be crammed into my train car like battery hen on my commute home from work today. Surrounded by men a foot taller than me with my arms pinned to my side, I couldn't even turn the pages of my newspaper. Ideal. Even more so, when the kind gentleman behind me began to cough unceremoniously without covering his mouth!

Come on man - it's common courteously to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. (My mom taught me a great little song about this - maybe I should have burst into song on the train to teach him a lesson). This is particularly in order in our current climate, where the first confirmed cases of swine flu were made in Scotland today, adding to the spattering of confirmed cases of swine flu across the globe since its initial outbreak in Mexico.

Fortunately swine flu, the H1N1 flu strain doesn't seem to be as mutatable or grave as the H5N1 avian flu, however in today's mobile society the prospect of flu outbreaks and pandemics are daunting. People are already out buying face masks - in fact, cunning Google was already cashing in on face mask advertising alongside flu related searches - however I propose reining in initial hysteria in exchange for everyone agreeing to cover their mouths when they cough on the train! Common colds are often considered collateral damage of such careless behavior; changing this mindset could help stem worse disease in future, and could keep us a little healthier in the here and now!

And for those that want to learn a little more on the risks of the recent flu outbreak, check out

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

G20 Summit: Let's See Some Action!

Yes, I want to see some action, and not the rioting, violent, “I’m scared to walk my normal route home from work for fear of being caught in the crossfire” action. Many Londoners went into work in jeans today, buying in to a ubiquitous dress down policy enforced through fear of attack from the protesters. Fortunately I have seen limited aggression so far; in fact, it pretty much seems business as normal to me from my vantage point in the City.

But I digress. I want to see action in the form of cooperation and progress at this summit. I’m not looking for mighty, unrealistic plans of grandeur but practical, cooperative strategy that addresses our current grim economic reality. Obama speaks of cooperation with the UK and Gordon Brown reasserts that the UK and USA will renew their special relationship through a “partnership of peace.”

This is all fine in principle but talk is cheap without show. There have been many rumblings of disagreement between the USA’s stimulus approach to economic reform versus the more regulatory approach favored in Europe. This debate will need to be had.

Economic upturn won’t come overnight but international cooperation may bring it one step closer. So I wait with the world for some first steps and positive actions.