We are living in strange times – an economic recession that no-one can seemingly predict with too much certainty and which understandably is impacting on just about every aspect of our lives.

Indeed, one mental health charity in the UK claims a survey of 2,000 adults reveals that 77% find the world more frightening than in 1999.

The Mental Health Foundation describes a “culture of fear” in which the media and politicians fuel a sense of unease and it is now calling for a national campaign to protect our well-being.

Plenty of people are getting very wound up about a high-profile special adviser to our Prime Minister who has provided a classic example of how easy it is to shoot yourself in the foot.

The ill-judged e-mails sent by Damian McBride suggesting ways the Government could use the blogosphere to smear leading Tories has stirred things up during what was heading for a quiet Easter holiday weekend. It has also led some to debate the power of social media and blogging compared to mainstream media.

This is a largely pointless debate – much like the original story itself.

It is nothing more than someone shooting their mouth off – his biggest crime is getting caught.

Another victim of the economic downturn is that other divisive issue – after politics and religion. The wide, wide world of sport is being squeezed on all sides by the lack of available finance and like most big business it is struggling.

From sponsors to the grass roots fans, various sports are seeing their traditional income streams slashed and are trying to identify alternative was of raising money.

A lack of money is not, however, necessarily to blame for some of our lost public art projects.

Instead the UK has missed out on some imaginative projects through a lack of imagination and ambition.

Alas, these days, “wasting” precious money on such frivolities is unthinkable to many – probably the same people getting frothy at the mouth about political smear tactics.

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