This week’s guru column
• Last week we reported on an NHS trust providing squeezy balls to staff to relieve pressure. Now we hear Essex Police is looking into alternative therapies to help its stress-prone officers.
It is currently assessing the benefits of providing stress-packs to its bobbies, including vouchers for treatments such as acupuncture and counselling.
The enquiry was triggered by a report revealing the force was losing over a million pounds a year in lost working days.
A spokeswoman for the force brusquely denied reports that aromatherapy was an intended part of the programme. But even if it was, I think it's time to applaud the police for bringing its policies up to date. Many UK employers in far less stressful sectors have offered such treatments for years. So I think Essex Police should go the whole hog and offer yoga, massage, reflexology; anything to keep their coppers calm.
Perhaps they should consider such therapies for road/air rage victims as well. Now that would be alternative, man.
Striking while the issue's hot
• The Government is suddenly desperate for good news.
There are reports of a crisis in NHS, gridlock in the transport system and an embarrassing Department of Trade & Industry inquiry into the business affairs of former Labour minister Geoffrey Robinson.
Step forward Alan Johnson, Parliamentary under-secretary for employee relations. In his brief, union relations - once the poison in the offering that Labour put to the electorate - peace seems to have broken out.
Industrial action figures are down; partnership agreements are up. Johnson must have been pleased to have the podium at the annual "partnership" do - the Anuman conference - held last week.
Surely this is one area where government rhetoric is matching reality. Well, almost.
Sadly, despite having risen at the crack of dawn, Guru was unable to reach the conference centre in time for the minister's speech. There was a train strike.
Complaints on sorry situation
• Howard Potter had a rip-roaring start to the new millennium. But since then his year has been a disaster of Millennium Wheel proportions.
Potter, you may have read, is the man who apologised in a £150 local paper advert for his New Year romp through Cardiff town centre. "The entire staff of the Cardiff Hilton Hotel, se