Tag Archives: Another

Why I dread yet another cancer confessional | Mike Addelman

We live in the age of the confessional. In the not too distant past, private and intimate thoughts remained just that – and if we felt we needed to talk, a frank discussion with friends and loved ones often did the trick. But especially when it comes to cancer, this reticence now seems to be dissipating. Social media has turned the private into public and for many, that’s a very good thing. But for my family – and I suspect for others too – it can be difficult, upsetting and sometimes downright damaging.

My wife, and I don’t want to name her or talk very much about what she’s going through because that would defeat the object of this article, has terminal cancer. The physical symptoms are the least of her problems. It’s the associated anxiety and depression that makes coping with life so difficult. So imagine what it feels like when, out of the blue, the radio or the television reminds you that you are very poorly, and you and your family are going to suffer terribly.

Memorable and personal broadcasts about cancer seem to have proliferated in recent months. Steve Hewlett’s story, which ran on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme every week before his death, rightly received plaudits and awards. Tony Livesey, the Radio 5 Live presenter who lost his mother to cancer, recently ran a special series, Losing Mum. Clive Coleman, the BBC’s legal correspondent whose sister died of lung cancer, recounted his experience across the BBC network in February.

These broadcasts are often worthy and important. But they can inadvertently ride roughshod over the mental health of fragile and vulnerable people. It was Coleman’s story that lit the touchpaper in me after my wife inadvertently strayed upon the coverage. His story highlighted the urgent need for more funding for lung cancer research – a good thing – but its effect on my wife was devastating. I came home to find her in a state. She was crying, terribly anxious and scared, and I was left to pick up the pieces for a week.

It got me thinking about how we should talk about terminal illness, and the responsibilities of broadcasters to do this carefully. Does cancer somehow excuse journalists from the long-held belief that they shouldn’t be the story and that their job is to dispassionately report the news? Do famous people have special dispensation to bare their souls in public? Maybe even a more fundamental question should be asked too: what does this sort of coverage really achieve? It’s so hard to find the right answers. Anyone, famous people included, has the right and need to find solace and strength in the face of the terrible adversity that cancer forces upon us. These programmes certainly can raise awareness, help attract research funding, and educate the public so they might be able to spot the signs of cancer before its ravages take hold.

But broadcasters need to stay sensitive to those who are suffering now, and to honestly assess the impact of telling their own stories. They need to be more careful about an issue that affects a voiceless and vulnerable group who often are not in a position to make their feelings known.

I live in dread of one these stories coming on air. It’s not as simple as changing channels: by the time you have run to the radio to switch it off, it’s usually too late and too upsetting.

Mike Addelman is a former journalist and now works as a communications professional in higher education

Why I dread yet another cancer confessional | Mike Addelman

We live in the age of the confessional. In the not too distant past, private and intimate thoughts remained just that – and if we felt we needed to talk, a frank discussion with friends and loved ones often did the trick. But especially when it comes to cancer, this reticence now seems to be dissipating. Social media has turned the private into public and for many, that’s a very good thing. But for my family – and I suspect for others too – it can be difficult, upsetting and sometimes downright damaging.

My wife, and I don’t want to name her or talk very much about what she’s going through because that would defeat the object of this article, has terminal cancer. The physical symptoms are the least of her problems. It’s the associated anxiety and depression that makes coping with life so difficult. So imagine what it feels like when, out of the blue, the radio or the television reminds you that you are very poorly, and you and your family are going to suffer terribly.

Memorable and personal broadcasts about cancer seem to have proliferated in recent months. Steve Hewlett’s story, which ran on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme every week before his death, rightly received plaudits and awards. Tony Livesey, the Radio 5 Live presenter who lost his mother to cancer, recently ran a special series, Losing Mum. Clive Coleman, the BBC’s legal correspondent whose sister died of lung cancer, recounted his experience across the BBC network in February.

These broadcasts are often worthy and important. But they can inadvertently ride roughshod over the mental health of fragile and vulnerable people. It was Coleman’s story that lit the touchpaper in me after my wife inadvertently strayed upon the coverage. His story highlighted the urgent need for more funding for lung cancer research – a good thing – but its effect on my wife was devastating. I came home to find her in a state. She was crying, terribly anxious and scared, and I was left to pick up the pieces for a week.

It got me thinking about how we should talk about terminal illness, and the responsibilities of broadcasters to do this carefully. Does cancer somehow excuse journalists from the long-held belief that they shouldn’t be the story and that their job is to dispassionately report the news? Do famous people have special dispensation to bare their souls in public? Maybe even a more fundamental question should be asked too: what does this sort of coverage really achieve? It’s so hard to find the right answers. Anyone, famous people included, has the right and need to find solace and strength in the face of the terrible adversity that cancer forces upon us. These programmes certainly can raise awareness, help attract research funding, and educate the public so they might be able to spot the signs of cancer before its ravages take hold.

But broadcasters need to stay sensitive to those who are suffering now, and to honestly assess the impact of telling their own stories. They need to be more careful about an issue that affects a voiceless and vulnerable group who often are not in a position to make their feelings known.

I live in dread of one these stories coming on air. It’s not as simple as changing channels: by the time you have run to the radio to switch it off, it’s usually too late and too upsetting.

Mike Addelman is a former journalist and now works as a communications professional in higher education

Why I dread yet another cancer confessional | Mike Addelman

We live in the age of the confessional. In the not too distant past, private and intimate thoughts remained just that – and if we felt we needed to talk, a frank discussion with friends and loved ones often did the trick. But especially when it comes to cancer, this reticence now seems to be dissipating. Social media has turned the private into public and for many, that’s a very good thing. But for my family – and I suspect for others too – it can be difficult, upsetting and sometimes downright damaging.

My wife, and I don’t want to name her or talk very much about what she’s going through because that would defeat the object of this article, has terminal cancer. The physical symptoms are the least of her problems. It’s the associated anxiety and depression that makes coping with life so difficult. So imagine what it feels like when, out of the blue, the radio or the television reminds you that you are very poorly, and you and your family are going to suffer terribly.

Memorable and personal broadcasts about cancer seem to have proliferated in recent months. Steve Hewlett’s story, which ran on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme every week before his death, rightly received plaudits and awards. Tony Livesey, the Radio 5 Live presenter who lost his mother to cancer, recently ran a special series, Losing Mum. Clive Coleman, the BBC’s legal correspondent whose sister died of lung cancer, recounted his experience across the BBC network in February.

These broadcasts are often worthy and important. But they can inadvertently ride roughshod over the mental health of fragile and vulnerable people. It was Coleman’s story that lit the touchpaper in me after my wife inadvertently strayed upon the coverage. His story highlighted the urgent need for more funding for lung cancer research – a good thing – but its effect on my wife was devastating. I came home to find her in a state. She was crying, terribly anxious and scared, and I was left to pick up the pieces for a week.

It got me thinking about how we should talk about terminal illness, and the responsibilities of broadcasters to do this carefully. Does cancer somehow excuse journalists from the long-held belief that they shouldn’t be the story and that their job is to dispassionately report the news? Do famous people have special dispensation to bare their souls in public? Maybe even a more fundamental question should be asked too: what does this sort of coverage really achieve? It’s so hard to find the right answers. Anyone, famous people included, has the right and need to find solace and strength in the face of the terrible adversity that cancer forces upon us. These programmes certainly can raise awareness, help attract research funding, and educate the public so they might be able to spot the signs of cancer before its ravages take hold.

But broadcasters need to stay sensitive to those who are suffering now, and to honestly assess the impact of telling their own stories. They need to be more careful about an issue that affects a voiceless and vulnerable group who often are not in a position to make their feelings known.

I live in dread of one these stories coming on air. It’s not as simple as changing channels: by the time you have run to the radio to switch it off, it’s usually too late and too upsetting.

Mike Addelman is a former journalist and now works as a communications professional in higher education

Why I dread yet another cancer confessional | Mike Addelman

We live in the age of the confessional. In the not too distant past, private and intimate thoughts remained just that – and if we felt we needed to talk, a frank discussion with friends and loved ones often did the trick. But especially when it comes to cancer, this reticence now seems to be dissipating. Social media has turned the private into public and for many, that’s a very good thing. But for my family – and I suspect for others too – it can be difficult, upsetting and sometimes downright damaging.

My wife, and I don’t want to name her or talk very much about what she’s going through because that would defeat the object of this article, has terminal cancer. The physical symptoms are the least of her problems. It’s the associated anxiety and depression that makes coping with life so difficult. So imagine what it feels like when, out of the blue, the radio or the television reminds you that you are very poorly, and you and your family are going to suffer terribly.

Memorable and personal broadcasts about cancer seem to have proliferated in recent months. Steve Hewlett’s story, which ran on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme every week before his death, rightly received plaudits and awards. Tony Livesey, the Radio 5 Live presenter who lost his mother to cancer, recently ran a special series, Losing Mum. Clive Coleman, the BBC’s legal correspondent whose sister died of lung cancer, recounted his experience across the BBC network in February.

These broadcasts are often worthy and important. But they can inadvertently ride roughshod over the mental health of fragile and vulnerable people. It was Coleman’s story that lit the touchpaper in me after my wife inadvertently strayed upon the coverage. His story highlighted the urgent need for more funding for lung cancer research – a good thing – but its effect on my wife was devastating. I came home to find her in a state. She was crying, terribly anxious and scared, and I was left to pick up the pieces for a week.

It got me thinking about how we should talk about terminal illness, and the responsibilities of broadcasters to do this carefully. Does cancer somehow excuse journalists from the long-held belief that they shouldn’t be the story and that their job is to dispassionately report the news? Do famous people have special dispensation to bare their souls in public? Maybe even a more fundamental question should be asked too: what does this sort of coverage really achieve? It’s so hard to find the right answers. Anyone, famous people included, has the right and need to find solace and strength in the face of the terrible adversity that cancer forces upon us. These programmes certainly can raise awareness, help attract research funding, and educate the public so they might be able to spot the signs of cancer before its ravages take hold.

But broadcasters need to stay sensitive to those who are suffering now, and to honestly assess the impact of telling their own stories. They need to be more careful about an issue that affects a voiceless and vulnerable group who often are not in a position to make their feelings known.

I live in dread of one these stories coming on air. It’s not as simple as changing channels: by the time you have run to the radio to switch it off, it’s usually too late and too upsetting.

Mike Addelman is a former journalist and now works as a communications professional in higher education

Why I dread yet another cancer confessional | Mike Addelman

We live in the age of the confessional. In the not too distant past, private and intimate thoughts remained just that – and if we felt we needed to talk, a frank discussion with friends and loved ones often did the trick. But especially when it comes to cancer, this reticence now seems to be dissipating. Social media has turned the private into public and for many, that’s a very good thing. But for my family – and I suspect for others too – it can be difficult, upsetting and sometimes downright damaging.

My wife, and I don’t want to name her or talk very much about what she’s going through because that would defeat the object of this article, has terminal cancer. The physical symptoms are the least of her problems. It’s the associated anxiety and depression that makes coping with life so difficult. So imagine what it feels like when, out of the blue, the radio or the television reminds you that you are very poorly, and you and your family are going to suffer terribly.

Memorable and personal broadcasts about cancer seem to have proliferated in recent months. Steve Hewlett’s story, which ran on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme every week before his death, rightly received plaudits and awards. Tony Livesey, the Radio 5 Live presenter who lost his mother to cancer, recently ran a special series, Losing Mum. Clive Coleman, the BBC’s legal correspondent whose sister died of lung cancer, recounted his experience across the BBC network in February.

These broadcasts are often worthy and important. But they can inadvertently ride roughshod over the mental health of fragile and vulnerable people. It was Coleman’s story that lit the touchpaper in me after my wife inadvertently strayed upon the coverage. His story highlighted the urgent need for more funding for lung cancer research – a good thing – but its effect on my wife was devastating. I came home to find her in a state. She was crying, terribly anxious and scared, and I was left to pick up the pieces for a week.

It got me thinking about how we should talk about terminal illness, and the responsibilities of broadcasters to do this carefully. Does cancer somehow excuse journalists from the long-held belief that they shouldn’t be the story and that their job is to dispassionately report the news? Do famous people have special dispensation to bare their souls in public? Maybe even a more fundamental question should be asked too: what does this sort of coverage really achieve? It’s so hard to find the right answers. Anyone, famous people included, has the right and need to find solace and strength in the face of the terrible adversity that cancer forces upon us. These programmes certainly can raise awareness, help attract research funding, and educate the public so they might be able to spot the signs of cancer before its ravages take hold.

But broadcasters need to stay sensitive to those who are suffering now, and to honestly assess the impact of telling their own stories. They need to be more careful about an issue that affects a voiceless and vulnerable group who often are not in a position to make their feelings known.

I live in dread of one these stories coming on air. It’s not as simple as changing channels: by the time you have run to the radio to switch it off, it’s usually too late and too upsetting.

Mike Addelman is a former journalist and now works as a communications professional in higher education

Why I dread yet another cancer confessional | Mike Addelman

We live in the age of the confessional. In the not too distant past, private and intimate thoughts remained just that – and if we felt we needed to talk, a frank discussion with friends and loved ones often did the trick. But especially when it comes to cancer, this reticence now seems to be dissipating. Social media has turned the private into public and for many, that’s a very good thing. But for my family – and I suspect for others too – it can be difficult, upsetting and sometimes downright damaging.

My wife, and I don’t want to name her or talk very much about what she’s going through because that would defeat the object of this article, has terminal cancer. The physical symptoms are the least of her problems. It’s the associated anxiety and depression that makes coping with life so difficult. So imagine what it feels like when, out of the blue, the radio or the television reminds you that you are very poorly, and you and your family are going to suffer terribly.

Memorable and personal broadcasts about cancer seem to have proliferated in recent months. Steve Hewlett’s story, which ran on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme every week before his death, rightly received plaudits and awards. Tony Livesey, the Radio 5 Live presenter who lost his mother to cancer, recently ran a special series, Losing Mum. Clive Coleman, the BBC’s legal correspondent whose sister died of lung cancer, recounted his experience across the BBC network in February.

These broadcasts are often worthy and important. But they can inadvertently ride roughshod over the mental health of fragile and vulnerable people. It was Coleman’s story that lit the touchpaper in me after my wife inadvertently strayed upon the coverage. His story highlighted the urgent need for more funding for lung cancer research – a good thing – but its effect on my wife was devastating. I came home to find her in a state. She was crying, terribly anxious and scared, and I was left to pick up the pieces for a week.

It got me thinking about how we should talk about terminal illness, and the responsibilities of broadcasters to do this carefully. Does cancer somehow excuse journalists from the long-held belief that they shouldn’t be the story and that their job is to dispassionately report the news? Do famous people have special dispensation to bare their souls in public? Maybe even a more fundamental question should be asked too: what does this sort of coverage really achieve? It’s so hard to find the right answers. Anyone, famous people included, has the right and need to find solace and strength in the face of the terrible adversity that cancer forces upon us. These programmes certainly can raise awareness, help attract research funding, and educate the public so they might be able to spot the signs of cancer before its ravages take hold.

But broadcasters need to stay sensitive to those who are suffering now, and to honestly assess the impact of telling their own stories. They need to be more careful about an issue that affects a voiceless and vulnerable group who often are not in a position to make their feelings known.

I live in dread of one these stories coming on air. It’s not as simple as changing channels: by the time you have run to the radio to switch it off, it’s usually too late and too upsetting.

Mike Addelman is a former journalist and now works as a communications professional in higher education

Why I dread yet another cancer confessional | Mike Addelman

We live in the age of the confessional. In the not too distant past, private and intimate thoughts remained just that – and if we felt we needed to talk, a frank discussion with friends and loved ones often did the trick. But especially when it comes to cancer, this reticence now seems to be dissipating. Social media has turned the private into public and for many, that’s a very good thing. But for my family – and I suspect for others too – it can be difficult, upsetting and sometimes downright damaging.

My wife, and I don’t want to name her or talk very much about what she’s going through because that would defeat the object of this article, has terminal cancer. The physical symptoms are the least of her problems. It’s the associated anxiety and depression that makes coping with life so difficult. So imagine what it feels like when, out of the blue, the radio or the television reminds you that you are very poorly, and you and your family are going to suffer terribly.

Memorable and personal broadcasts about cancer seem to have proliferated in recent months. Steve Hewlett’s story, which ran on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme every week before his death, rightly received plaudits and awards. Tony Livesey, the Radio 5 Live presenter who lost his mother to cancer, recently ran a special series, Losing Mum. Clive Coleman, the BBC’s legal correspondent whose sister died of lung cancer, recounted his experience across the BBC network in February.

These broadcasts are often worthy and important. But they can inadvertently ride roughshod over the mental health of fragile and vulnerable people. It was Coleman’s story that lit the touchpaper in me after my wife inadvertently strayed upon the coverage. His story highlighted the urgent need for more funding for lung cancer research – a good thing – but its effect on my wife was devastating. I came home to find her in a state. She was crying, terribly anxious and scared, and I was left to pick up the pieces for a week.

It got me thinking about how we should talk about terminal illness, and the responsibilities of broadcasters to do this carefully. Does cancer somehow excuse journalists from the long-held belief that they shouldn’t be the story and that their job is to dispassionately report the news? Do famous people have special dispensation to bare their souls in public? Maybe even a more fundamental question should be asked too: what does this sort of coverage really achieve? It’s so hard to find the right answers. Anyone, famous people included, has the right and need to find solace and strength in the face of the terrible adversity that cancer forces upon us. These programmes certainly can raise awareness, help attract research funding, and educate the public so they might be able to spot the signs of cancer before its ravages take hold.

But broadcasters need to stay sensitive to those who are suffering now, and to honestly assess the impact of telling their own stories. They need to be more careful about an issue that affects a voiceless and vulnerable group who often are not in a position to make their feelings known.

I live in dread of one these stories coming on air. It’s not as simple as changing channels: by the time you have run to the radio to switch it off, it’s usually too late and too upsetting.

Mike Addelman is a former journalist and now works as a communications professional in higher education

The NHS pay deal is just another cut, and an insult to overworked staff | Owen Jones

Take a moment to absorb the innovative ways the government has found to undermine, demoralise, and attack NHS workers.

There’s the never-ending real terms pay cut which, by last year, had left the average health worker nearly £2,000 poorer in real terms than 2010. Ambulance crew are £5,286 worse off. There’s the starving of resources, even as an ageing population imposes greater demand – this has been the longest squeeze in spending as a proportion of GDP since its foundation. There’s the determination to privatise swaths of the service by stealth, and a chaotic top-down reorganisation which has fragmented the service.


This isn’t just about the public sector, of course. Today it was revealed that 179 employers have been failing to pay the legal minimum wage

Throw in the scrapping of NHS bursaries, too, which has led to a collapse in nursery and midwifery applications by nearly a quarter. Then there’s the demonisation of workers when they stand up for themselves, those who dedicate their lives to caring for those in need: take the junior doctors’ strike for example. And now the government is offering NHS staff a three-year pay deal which, in real terms, is yet another cut – and funded by slashing the holidays of the already overworked.

It is an insult to those who dedicate their lives to caring for an entire nation. And of course we all suffer for it. It means falling numbers of nurses, even as the population grows. It means vacancies in other critical posts across the NHS. It means falling morale, which could drive away the talented and decrease the standard of care. And all this because a political party bankrolled by the financial sector that caused the crash decided to make anyone but their benefactors pay for it.

This isn’t just about the public sector, of course. Today it was revealed that 179 employers have been failing to pay the legal minimum wage to thousands of staff: this is sure to be the tip of an extremely underpaid iceberg. This is a country, after all, where politicians extol work as the route from poverty, and yet most Britons languishing in poverty are in work. Both private and public sector workers are under attack – it’s important to make that point.

The Tory party and their media outriders excel at the politics of divide and rule. They say to struggling workers in the private sector: don’t resent your bosses for not paying you properly, instead turn on these pampered overpaid public sector types living in luxury with their gold-plated pensions. They’re like highway robbers who tell those they have stolen from to be angry that other victims may not have been robbed as much as they have.

A Labour government that can use the leverages of power to eliminate these injustices may be more than four years away. In the meantime, the answer is to struggle. At the moment, university workers – many in precarious situations – are on strike to defend their pensions. They have their employers on the run. They are an example to all workers in a society that is systematically rigged against them, whether they’re in the public or private sector.

It is worth noting, too, a day after International Women’s Day, that this is a war on women: those in public sector or low-paid private sector jobs are disproportionately likely to be women who have borne the brunt of government cuts. What most scares the vested interests and the political party who represents them are workers joining the dots: realising that their own struggles cannot be divorced from the injustices suffered by others.

Unity between private and public sector workers, from NHS staff and university workers to supermarket shelf-stackers to call centre operators: that is what poses the greatest threat to Britain’s unjust, crumbling order.

Owen Jones is a Guardian columnist

For the poor, it’s just one thing on top of another | Letters

Visitors to foodbanks are often in distress, so Heidi Allen MP is right to cry (Tory MP cries at universal credit impact speech from Frank Field, 5 December). The most distressed person I’ve seen as a foodbank volunteer was a man making his first visit ever after Christmas. After spending on rent, fuel and food, he and his partner had no present for their four-year-old daughter on Christmas Day. He told me between tears: “She kept on asking if she had been naughty. We reassured her, but she just asked again and again. She doesn’t realise about money and could not understand.” (In the Salvation Army we had a suitable book and another toy for her, donated by the public.)
Robert Holland
Keighley, West Yorkshire

Frank Field is right to highlight the very unreasonable state-imposed stress that leads to suicidal thoughts among benefit claimants. “It’s just one thing on top of another,” was the cry from a 50-year-old single adult in London trying to pay off rent and council tax arrears, which had piled up when he had no income as a result of a three-month benefit sanction, out of £73.10 a week jobseekers’ allowance. He was then forced by the jobcentre into a zero-hours contract and moved on to universal credit, both leaving him without income again for weeks at a time. Then the bailiff called at 7.30am demanding £400 for a TV licence fine, and his fees, to be paid the next morning.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers against Poverty

Your upsetting headline (4 December) about the rise in child poverty links with recent reports of the need for improved therapeutic provision for the increasing number of children experiencing anxiety and depression. The connection between psychological disturbance in childhood and poverty is well established. Having retired after 30 years in the NHS working as a clinical psychologist with children and their families, I knew that our best therapeutic efforts were often of limited effect in the face of the destructive force of poverty and its associated personal and social disadvantage for many of the families we saw. Alleviation of their poverty would have been the more powerful therapeutic instrument.
Steven Dorner
London

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

For the poor, it’s just one thing on top of another | Letters

Visitors to foodbanks are often in distress, so Heidi Allen MP is right to cry (Tory MP cries at universal credit impact speech from Frank Field, 5 December). The most distressed person I’ve seen as a foodbank volunteer was a man making his first visit ever after Christmas. After spending on rent, fuel and food, he and his partner had no present for their four-year-old daughter on Christmas Day. He told me between tears: “She kept on asking if she had been naughty. We reassured her, but she just asked again and again. She doesn’t realise about money and could not understand.” (In the Salvation Army we had a suitable book and another toy for her, donated by the public.)
Robert Holland
Keighley, West Yorkshire

Frank Field is right to highlight the very unreasonable state-imposed stress that leads to suicidal thoughts among benefit claimants. “It’s just one thing on top of another,” was the cry from a 50-year-old single adult in London trying to pay off rent and council tax arrears, which had piled up when he had no income as a result of a three-month benefit sanction, out of £73.10 a week jobseekers’ allowance. He was then forced by the jobcentre into a zero-hours contract and moved on to universal credit, both leaving him without income again for weeks at a time. Then the bailiff called at 7.30am demanding £400 for a TV licence fine, and his fees, to be paid the next morning.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers against Poverty

Your upsetting headline (4 December) about the rise in child poverty links with recent reports of the need for improved therapeutic provision for the increasing number of children experiencing anxiety and depression. The connection between psychological disturbance in childhood and poverty is well established. Having retired after 30 years in the NHS working as a clinical psychologist with children and their families, I knew that our best therapeutic efforts were often of limited effect in the face of the destructive force of poverty and its associated personal and social disadvantage for many of the families we saw. Alleviation of their poverty would have been the more powerful therapeutic instrument.
Steven Dorner
London

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters