Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Vote out the Inhuman Tories - Vote Labour

Another 5-years of Tory austerity will kill thousands of disabled people. The Tories see disabled people as a burden. They see us as valueless.

There are scores of thousands of people who can't move around their own homes safely; and hundreds of thousands without the care and support they need to leave their homes. This leads to social exclusion and isolation.

Imagine your horizons being limited to a few feet away, the walls in your home the extent of your world. Imagine your only social interaction is with agency workers, who with the best will in the world cannot sit and chat with you as they tear around your home doing their work. Imagine this day by day by week by week by month by month.

Human connectivity and the warmth of love are life-affirming interactions. Without these our lives are diminished. Disabled people are sentient; we respond positively to human intercourse and love. Deny us these relations and our mental health becomes endangered.

Decent care and support packages can, and do, act as a preventative resource. Adequate care and support can stabilise both the physical and mental health of the recipient. This is both a benefit to the disabled person, the NHS (less reliance on by disabled people) and the economy. Care and support packages act as a multiplier effect as well as creating social capital.

Next week vote Labour. Vote for a party that values all citizens. Vote for a party that understands disabled people and recognises their right to equality.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Scenes from Heathrow and Gatwick are not carnage

We all work hard and are entitled to go on holiday. Sometimes our holiday plans are thwarted. Today was such a day. Scores of thousands of BA passengers at Heathrow and Gatwick found their journeys cancelled due to problems with IT systems.

The unions warned BA of the dangers of outsourcing hundreds of of IT jobs to India last year. Yet, in its quest to maximise profits the BA went ahead.

Listening to failed passengers today I sympathised with families with very elderly relatives who received no assistance from BA. People who had saved up for years for a once in a life-time holiday are entitled to feel aggrieved as they are left stranded without receiving information or reassurance from either their carriers, BA; or indeed from airport staff.

However, listening to these frustrated would-be holiday makers sweltering in the snaking queues around Heathrow and Gatwick, one passenger seriously pissed me off.

The passenger in question was questioned. Her response was as expected, she was unhappy with the fact that she had been left in the lurch. She was unable to receive appropriate information from BA staff; nor was she offered food vouchers or accommodation. 

Letting off steam the woman complained that thousands and thousands of people were stranded, parents with young fractious children, elderly people and disabled people left in discomfort. All good reasons to be angry with BA.

Then, to end it all the woman described the scenes at the airport as carnage! Well, this set me to roaring at the radio. What is wrong with people? Where are their sensitivities? Earlier this week a man exploded a bomb in a crowded public space in Manchester. His action caused the deaths of 22 men women and children, as well as seriously injuring dozens of people.

Having your holiday arrangements messed around is a pain; it can even be upsetting. However, carnage it is not. The bombing in Manchester on Monday night, the awful bombardment of Aleppo and the Israeli's periodical attacks on Gaza create carnage. 

People, lets please keep things in perspective. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Dear Comrade

There are still 7 million unregistered voters out there. We know some are disillusioned by the system, but there are also those who are not familiar with the registration process. 

Many of this 7 million would probably lean towards Labour, and could be the difference between a Labour victory and another term of the Nasty Party. 

If you know anyone who hasn't registered could you inform them that the closing date for registration is tomorrow, 22nd May. The link to register online is below:



Mental Health Session at the 2017 TUC Disabled Workers' Conference

The photo shows me Chairing the session on Mental Health at this year's TUC Disabled Workers' Conference. On my right (looking at the photo) is Catherine Scarlett, an NUT delegate and on my left are two ex-footballers, representing the PFA on the day, Michael Bennett and Jason Brown.
It is no exaggeration to admit I was privileged to chair this session of the conference. Each guest speaker gave their personal testimony of how a mental health had impacted them and their lives. While these stories were stark and harrowing, there telling managed to expose them as exactly for what they were, very human and lived experiences.
The more such stories are told; and the greater currency they garner so, we can hope, that mental health conditions are better understood and accepted by the public in general and employers specifically.

Friday, 12 May 2017

In Honour of National Limerick Day

In Honour of National Limerick Day
A nasty politician called May
Knelt one night to pray To the God of the Tories She told untrue stories And now we have the Devil to pay.

A partisan journalist on the BBC
Treated Corbynites very crappy
Until Gardiner came along
Showed him up to be wrong
Now Robinson isn’t so beastly.

Expecting an anti-European Union barrage
LBC’s right-wing Ukipper, Nigel Farage
Was caught totally unaware
That his callers didn’t share
The xenophobia of Nigel and his entourage.

The Tories are dragging us back to the 1930s

Critics of Labour’s manifesto claim it is a throwback to the 1970s. From memory, I recall the 1970s as a time of plenty. As a teenager during this period hunger was never an issue. People could afford to pay their rent; and buying a home was not the struggle it is today.

Working-class families managed to go away on holidays, albeit a week by the coast somewhere in the UK. My family had holidays in Ireland every summer. Decently paid jobs were to be had in abundance. Our NHS and GPs managed to mend and cure us. Schools could afford books and the equipment to teach children. Young people, including increasingly larger numbers from comprehensive schools, could receive a free university education, with a generous maintenance grant thrown in. 

But we’ve moved on from those dark, stark times. Yes, we’ve moved into the second decade of the 21 century. A new century. A new millennium. A digital age very different to 40 years ago. Over these years there has been great strides in areas such medicine; technology has changed the workplace beyond recognition; more people are going on to university; greater numbers of us manage to take foreign holidays; and many more of us are living a lot longer.

Yet with all the advancements we’ve made in these areas, we’re going backwards in so many others.

One growth area is food banks. Today more than a million people a year are forced to use foodbanks. Children are going to school hungry. Young people are leaving university armed with good degrees while saddled with debts running into scores of thousands of pounds. These same people then find the doors to housing tightly locked on them. Not only are mortgages out of their reach, but they can’t even afford to rent in the private sector; and a dearth of social housing closes this avenue.

Housing is in crisis with house prices spinning out of control as rents in the private sector of many of our cities and towns are beyond the reach of millions of citizens. Much of the new built properties in London are out of reach of first time buyers as Russian oligarchs and wealthy Chinese businessmen are hoovering up properties thus inflating house prices.

While employment may be at its highest level ever. These figures are inflated by people who are underemployed, on zero hours contracts, and those forced into self-employment as a last, desperate attempt to earn some money. The future bodes for an increase in precarious employment with the advent of the ‘gig economy’.

So, when I hear right-wing commentators trying to use the 1970s as a doomsday threat, I look at the regressive state that the Nasty Party has created today. The Tory dismantling of the welfare state, its privatising of the NHS, precarious employment, sanctioning of benefits, treatment of disabled people and food banks are more reflective of a Britain in the 1930s.

Given the choice between the 1970s and 1930s I know for which I’d choose.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Fuck off Fuhrer Farage

Over the past couple of months, the arch Kipper, Fuhrer Farage, has been extolling the virtues of French fascist Marine Le Pen. In Farage’s opinion, Le Pen and her Front National party are not racist. No, they are the true voice of France; a voice that wants France returned to the hands of the French from the big-bad-wolf of the EU.

Farage predicted that his Brexit victory would send such a strong message to like-minded French citizens they in turn would sweep Le Pen to victory in the presidential election; and then go on to win a Frexit vote in a referendum in the near future. A Frexit outcome would sound the death knell of the European experiment, Fuhrer Farage’s 20-year personal crusade.

Tonight, Nigel Farage’s dedicated his programme to rubbishing Macron’s victory. He attempted to convince his audience that Macron had somehow hoodwinked the French voting public, whose political heart and soul were opposed to the EU.

He spoke as though Emmanuel Macron’s victory was somehow diminished because the new president had never served in a government, indeed he ridiculed the novelty of En Marche. His attitude smacked of, how dare this Jean-come-lately gain an election result that flew in the face of Nigel Farage’s prediction.

Farage, you won Brexit by a 3.8% majority, and you crow that this is the voice of the people. You maintain that British people have wrested its democracy from an undemocratic EU. OK Nige, you won. However, Macron’s majority was a whopping 32.2%. Farage, Macron won his election by a landslide. Emmanuel Macron truly has a mandate from the French electorate; and that mandate includes France remaining in the EU.

Farage’s parting shots from this evening’s programme pathetically sums up this sad little Englander. He stated the French election wasn’t really the big one. No, the really big general election that will shake the EU to its foundations is that to be held in Italy later this month.

Nigel Farage, why not just fuck off into the sunset. Get a hobby. Surely the bunker is in dire need of a makeover.