Ian Duncan Smith

Jan Leeming

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 20th March 2016

What a huge shame that Ian Duncan Smith has resigned.  I met him once during my newsreading days and felt that he and John Major were men of principle - somewhat of a rarity among politicians don't you think.  "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely'.

Ian Duncan Smith got a tough press over his work in attempting to reform our outdated Benefits system which has gone well above the purpose for which it was created.   And I'm sure many of us would not object to a slightly higher tax to help the genuinely disabled.  Although even this benefit is abused by some while others do not get the help they need.  (And I could give examples but won't as I am now aware that the press look at my blogs, copy them with their own deletions - and then I get flak)

The person who needs to resign is George Osborne.  How can he think it correct to cut disabled benefit but give those on over £40,000 a higher allowance.  Surely the small amount of benefit to the latter is like a flea bite and is not going to drastically alter their take home salary after tax. Mind you, although I don't quality I still don't think £40,000 is a massive sum these days on which to raise a family.

I have to laugh every year when I get a letter informing me of the increase in my State Pension which is minimal anyway.  The couple of pounds extra per month makes little difference to my life style but what it must have cost in administration is eye watering.  Now, what would make a difference is a big hike in the Personal Allowance.  I would like to see any member of parliament trying to exist on £11,000 a year.

And as for the Sugar Tax - where do these people live - in cloud cuckoo land?  Putting a tax on sugary drinks will probably result in a hike in price but just like addiction to tobacco, those who are 'addicted' to sugar will continue paying the price.  What is needed is grass roots education at the start of life as to what is good for our bodies and what amounts to 'slow drip' poisoning. 

You can't 're-invent' the wheel but I would also like to see a curbing and cutting back of the Fast Food Industry.

The food lobby is incredibly powerful so all the government does is 'tinker' with the problem instead of sending out a clear message that obesity is bad for your health; damaging to families; immensely costly to the NHS and to the UK in general.

I was in London yesterday and as I left South Kensington Tube Station my eyes popped at a relatively large stall totally crammed with Sweet produce - nothing else, not a newspaper - nothing just a multi coloured array of every sweet bar you could ever imagine.

I do get annoyed when people say 'It's alright for you, you are naturally slim'.  When I was in my mid twenties and on tour in Australia I left Sydney weighing 8 stones and returned 7 months later just under 10 stones.  Too much milky coffee and cakes as we wiled away our time in between performances and took no exercise.

I am not good at remembering names but will never forget the name of the producer in Sydney who saw me with regard to the possibility of a part in 'The Recruiting Officer'.  I walked into the office and his first words were ' You 'ave put on weight' in his delightful French accent.  I didnt even get an audition!  It took me several years to get that weight off and I vowed I would never put it back on.  Apart from the birth of my son, I have remained around 8 stones ever since then.  In fact I trained my palate so that I rarely eat sweet things and would far rather have savoury.  I eat healthily (with the occasional lapse of course!) and I weigh myself every morning - if there has been a bit of indulgence (a birthday party or a weekend with friends) then I go onto salads until I've lost the few extra pounds.  Even if you don't weigh yourself, once your skirts and trousers begin to feel a trifle less than comfortable, you've put on weight!  And don't pile food onto your plate - the stomach is a balloon and the more you give it, the more it wants.

Most diets are a waste of time and money.  The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to do it gradually (rather disheartening when you have a lot to lose and the scales aren't your friend!) and to retrain your palate in both directions i.e.  giving up what is not good for you and making yourself eat good things you don't like.  I loathed spinach and it took me a long time to get to like it but it is now a very staple part of my eating regime.

Enough for now.  Off to do my usual Sunday duty at the Cathedral.  I love the history of the Cathedral and the interaction with visitors.  It is great to share one's knowledge and add to the enjoyment of their visits.

What do you think? Send your feedback to contact@jan-leeming.com.