GROWING UP TODAY IS NO CHILD’S PLAY

There really are times when I fear for the future generations.  The lives of children nowadays seem so detached from what I experienced as a kid.  For a start I spent a great deal of time outdoors and I took lots and lots of exercise.  Most kids were the same.  On Wednesday in Manchester the head of the N.H.S. Simon Stevens said that British children were being hit by a “double epidemic” of mental illness and obesity.  Then he said something very graphic.  “The average person in this country spends twice as long on the toilet as they do exercising”.

Nearly every day of the year I walk at least two miles.  My primary motivation is for health reasons but I also enjoy the experience.  It gives me a great opportunity to think and clear the head.  With kids, exercise should be a major part of their life and where possible sports should be actively encouraged.  Too often children are seen bent over a mobile device.  They weren’t there when we were growing up and to be honest I feel we are all the better for it.  The problem with all of this is how deeply addictive it can become.  For example, one of the latest crazes is the video game Fortnite, which made £220 million for its creators in April alone.  Experts have shown that games like this used to excess can have a similar effect as drug abuse or alcoholism.  This is literally mind blowing stuff and needs to be taken seriously.  Governments, including ours, need to put pressure on the tech companies to have a duty of care to our children and, most importantly, parents beware.

Now from the health of our youth to the well-being of the State.  It seems Leo the Lion is sharpening up his troops for a snap election just in case his new pals the Shinners put down a motion of no confidence in Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy.  This would put Fianna Fail in an awkward position as it is widely known they are unhappy with the manner in which the government is handling the housing crisis.  Under the terms of the Confidence and Supply Agreement, they would be obliged to abstain if a vote was called.  In which case, in the Taoiseach’s own words, they would get “ a kicking”.  What has got everybody very jumpy about is the widespread impression that the Minister is not on top of his brief.  Fianna Fail know it and the public know it too, so going through the lobby to support the hapless Murphy would be all the more galling.  The Soldiers of Destiny are in a difficult place here.  Housing is a critical issue for them, particularly in Dublin, which will be a crucial battleground come the next election.

Working against the possibility of going to the polls is the fact that we are facing into the budget and Fianna Fail signed up to support the government for three.  Secondly, the summer holidays are soon and even Mary Lou needs a break.  Finally, last but not least, could Leo the Pussy Cat whisper into the ears of his new Shinner friends and cut a deal.  He will have to get practice for the one after the next election.