Well there's a bonus of keeping waking at 5am recently - I get time to write! Yep, after weighing myself on the Wii ( I find an early morning shock wakes me up good and proper), watching the BBC news (gotta justify that television licence somehow) and making my breakfast of coffee and yogurt mixed with bran (good for the bowels), I make my way up to my study.
I suspect in these early morning hours I have more time than most to watch the news as commuters are bolting down their breakfasts and rushing off on those tedious and often unpleasant journeys into work. As the autumn closes in and thoughts of winter draw nearer these journeys become longer and more stressful. I remember them only too well from my days working in the heart of London. Trains are delayed by anything from "leaves on the track" to passengers having heart attacks - it's no wonder really with the extortionate price of trains fares and you still might be left standing, cooped up like a chicken with elbows in your face and no freedom to move for a good hour or more.... and your day at the office hasn't even begun! Then of course, there's the traffic congestion, ice, rain........
It's a pity we don't invest a little more in infrastructure in the UK. We pay so much in tax and National Insurance but sometimes I wonder where it all goes.Oh, and if you're wondering what National Insurance is - that's a sum of money taken off every salary to pay for our National Health Service and our Social Security system - in addition to the standard tax. In 2006-7 NI contributions raised 90 billion pounds.
Everyone, I believe, has the right to food, warmth, shelter and medical assistance. I'm proud to live in a country that cares so much for the welfare of its people but I do sometimes despair of those who abuse our system; who believe that society owes them a colour television, a microwave...a packet of fags......
And governments too. Where do they prioritize? Making decisions isn't an easy job. Not just here- but all around the world. Last week, I had an email asking me for money to help build wells in the third world to prevent children dying from disease. A good cause indeed but when I read that email for a moment I felt blinding fury....
I know the world is a big place but ever since I was a small child and watched the children's television show Blue Peter, we in the UK have been collecting stamps, postcards, metal, clothes..... in fact anything that might be recycled or somehow sold in order to raise money for impoverished and famine struck countries.
That's 45 years. 45 years, saving, collecting, contributing... and the world seems no better off. Every day I read of more poverty, more starvation, more disease. And if our climate continues to change there will be even more disasters... and more death.
Of course, I know that often in developing countries, a lack of resources, political upheaval and religious intolerance results in civil war and terror which compound natural disasters and already impoverished communities. But how much more agony is caused by sheer unadulterated greed, corruption and the desire for power? Where does a just cause become an unjust action?
But look, I don't want to spend another 45 years reading about children dying through lack of water. I don't want to die knowing the world is just as ugly as when I was born. I just want a fair world. A world where people and governments play fair, respect each other and act in the interests of the whole community.
So Government, take my money - but please for God's sake spend it wisely.
Ps- I was going to write about Breakfast TV - Oh well - another day.