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Tomorrow is General Election day in United Kingdom when people will vote to elect their parliament for the next 5 years. My mind goes back to the early eighties when I was part of a group that used to meet weekly in “The Brit” (long gone) for political discourse. It was a congenial group that discussed serious political matters of the day.

One day we had a visitor from the USA who was astounded at the degree and depth of political discussion he heard. He said he had never come across anything similar in the USA where politics had been (and still is) reduced to sound bites and who can tell the biggest lie.

How far down this slippery slope we ourselves have descended! The past few weeks the agenda has been mainly set by powerful people, newspapers owned by magnates and conglomerates that pay very little taxes and yet influence a lot of the national so called “debate”. Of course it suits these vested interests to maintain the status quo as it is a very effective way of silencing ordinary people and distracting from serious issues.

The most important issue facing ordinary people is the state of the public services, namely the National Health Service, Education, Law and Order, the state of the infrastructure and peoples’ living standards. And yet all this has been swept aside under the guise of austerity. Austerity which only has meaning when it comes to ordinary people and not the 1% who have seen their wealth double in the last five years!

At the turn of the last century – 115 years ago, it took great courage by a US Republican President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt to sense the danger of the powerful companies that were sucking wealth upwards. He brought in the “square deal” not just for economic sense but morality.

Such a scenario exists in Britain at the moment and it pains me that many people are disillusioned not only with politicians but politics too, forgetting that democracy is the reason why we live in largely peaceful countries and that it affects every part of our lives. It beholds us all to get out tomorrow and vote and put our faith back in democracy. If you don’t use your vote you will lose it as it already seems to be happening.

One may wonder what am I doing writing about politics in a blog meant to be about a cycling challenge? It is because the challenge is to raise awareness and education about cancer research, prevention, treatment and survival – all issues that can be under serious threat from poor education, a crumbling health service and multinationals practically force feeding the populace junk, sugar and salt laden food. The closure of local leisure amenities and selling off of school playing fields along with burgeoning private health clubs assure that the concept and access to exercise and health is increasingly concentrated amongst the rich. Is it any wonder that national obesity levels are rising along with child poverty, food banks, depression and suicide, not to mention cardiovascular disease, diabetes and kidney failure.

So the message is simple – don’t get taken in by lies, mundane messages and an appeal to people’s most base instincts. Go out and vote.

Onto my challenge. The past week has been very productive for me. Most importantly I have lost another pound and now altogether I have lost 18 pounds – another 10 to go. People are already beginning to notice a difference and soon I shall be downsizing in the clothes department.

My training has also gone very well. Last Bank Holiday Monday I managed to ride a 52 mile hilly route involving over 3000 ft of climbing including the infamous Breedon Hill! Hills that previously I struggled on are now getting relatively easier.

Breedon Priory on Breedon Hill

Breedon Priory on Breedon Hill

I am also delighted to announce that Pedal Power in Loughborough have agreed to sponsor me and apart from supplying my bike are at hand to support and advise. A massive thanks to Glenn and Lucie Coltman, Tom and Guy. As I am technologically illiterate their endorsement has been a massive fillip.

Glenn and Lucie Coltman from Pedal Power in Loughborough

– Glenn and Lucie Coltman from Pedal Power in Loughborough

Next Sunday is another group ride around Rutland and South Leicester about 70 miles of hard riding. Pretty similar to the previous Rutland ride but this time in reverse – allegedly the hills are steeper! Next week is going to be a recovery week, so just some gentle pedalling, stretching and working on core strength and stability.

For donations towards my challenge please go to

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Hopesitalianjob