Advice from the Department for Stating The Bleedin’ Obvious

Casually listening to Radio 4’s Today program whilst driving to work, they were interviewing some worthy sounding talking-head with the name of Professor Virginia Murray, head of extreme events at Public Health England . She was expressing GREAT CONCERN over the implications to the populace after the Met Office Level 3 Heatwave Warning was issued yesterday. When the interviewer inquired what the purpose of this warning was for, she babbled at great length how it raised awareness for the public and those in Care Agencies about the risks of so much heat. “A Level 3 heatwave means that we have to take action”. Apparently, these warnings were first issued during the 2003 ‘heatwave’ (was there one??) and the ‘terribly high’ temperatures in Europe that year. Even last year, when I can’t remember a single day that could have been graced with the word ‘heatwave’, they issued such a warning for 10 hours!!

Now forgive me, but I pretty well know what to do if its hot, and so do I suspect, most people. If you don’t like it hot don’t go out and drink plenty of fluids. Fairly simple really and you would think those people in charge of Care Homes etc would know the same and treat those in their care accordingly. And indeed, they interviewed a person from a care home in Plymouth who explained all the provisions they were making for the people in their care.

And why on earth does the cash-strapped Health Service pay a, no doubt, exorbitant salary to said Professor Murray for the sole purpose of telling us what we already know. Digging a little further I find this about her from the Centre for Science and Policy website.

“On 1 January 2011, she was appointed as Head of HPA’s Extreme Events and Health Protection section (since April 1 2013 this was transferred to Public Health England). She is taking forward work on evidence base information and advice on flooding, heat, cold, volcanic ash, and other extreme weather and natural hazards events.”

Dunno about you but I can’t remember the last time I was affected by volcanic ash. It may have caused a bit of disturbance in air travel, but here in the UK it’s kind of rare to experience any problem from it on the ground. I suspect this post is all tied in with the ‘what-do-we-do-when-the-earth-heats-up-so-musch-we-can’t-cope’ scenario.

Also, I have never heard Professor Murray spout with the same intensity when it was so bloody cold, both this winter and the last. I would have thought that someone of Professor Murray’s esteemed intellect would know that more people die from ‘extreme’ cold than ‘extreme heat’. With this and previous governments pushing us all into fuel poverty, and especially the old and infirm, extreme cold is of much more concern than the odd couple of weeks of hot weather. And I do wish they would stop talking about this current weather as ‘extreme’. During my lifetime, there have been several summers where the temperature has been in the late 20’s for several weeks, summer 1976 being notable. Nobody thought then that we needed some highly paid wonk to do public service announcements on something so obvious. Clearly Professor Murray’s Alma Mater was the University of Stating the Bleedin’ Obvious!!


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