The Third Leader: Energy saving

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The Independent Online

Worrying portents and indications are attracting increasing attention. Our stern Prime Minister declares that he will not rest and neither will we in his quest to maximise our talents. Meanwhile, our students are accused of being the least hard-working in Europe, and another report discloses that the fitness levels of all of us are at an all-time low. In short, it's not looking at all good for anyone who prefers to take things lying down.

Please do not misunderstand me; I recognise the dangers for health, morale and the NHS budget in an exercise deficit. I recognise, too, the benefits of study for students. But, before we all download the theme from Rocky or ask the way to the lecture theatre, I think we should also appreciate that there are serious disadvantages if the work-recline balance becomes too heavily loaded in favour of vigour.

Consider exactly where Archimedes was when he came up with his principle. Watt's mother told him he'd never get anywhere just sitting there watching that kettle. Proust could be a bit of a slouch. And if you believe that necessity is the mother of invention, just have a think about what might have inspired the channel changer.

Or the car. Which reminds us that, as we have argued before, it's difficult to make much of a carbon footprint from a horizontal position. The future prospects of the furniture industry, pizza deliverers, battery manufacturers, and our broadcasters, especially during the daytime, are also at risk. And remember that taking exercise while reading this can be dangerous. We say: take it easy.

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