Friday, 26 September 2008

No links, no pictures

They say part of the success of successful blogging is in regular posting, the very nowness of news etc but I take if not practice a slightly different view. Some blogposts on the blogs I read are just useful in that they distill stuff from a wider time perspective and hang there for posterity. Debate and history does seem to go in cycles and circles and have timeless themes. So don't anybody with half a brain cell stop blogging unless its to spend more time with your family. I suppose what I am saying is self-justifying guff about not having posted anything for a few days, don't come here for any cutting-edge gossipy breaking news type stuff.

If the personal is the political, I suppose the central political message from my absence is that caring responsibilities often prevent one from having a public voice to add to the cacophony via blogging and it reinforces the fact that the most vulnerable aren't always heard by dint of the fact they are busy being vulnerable.

However, have been well busy with carer related stuff locally. Caring in the sense of 'Caring' with a 'Capital C' is about so much more than Caring/caring for our individual loved one.

I will say this about national politics and the reporting of it. Having been in some fairly heavy carer/disability related meetings recently which am sure are replicated across the country I have at the same time been utterly disgusted at the time and prominence accorded to purely party political non-stories in the mainstreammedia ie all this style/leadership/Miliband overheard remark stuff.

Imagine, for example, if the same amount of time and prominence had been spent actually looking at the substance of the things in Gordon Brown's speech. His re-affirmation of commitment to SureStart Children's Centres could have afforded a whole debate around these places/idea of such places as the crucible in which the next generation of human beings is forged.Imagine the more relevant policy outcomes which might ensue on a whole range of issues if as a society we could become more engaged with 'serious' and 'detail' Gordon Brown mentioned in his speech.

This whole disability/caring related stuff I am spouting is by no means a minority sport. There is a great deal in common between those born disabled and in need of care and those who become disabled through the, at present, degenerative nature of longevity of which such numbers are predicted to rise.

I would be the first in a probably inappropriately didactic way to encourage my fellow citizens to watch/read the more serious news outlets but I have to say some elements of the News in Newsnight gives somewhat distasteful prominence to the narrow interpretation of news as party political news.

C'mon there's more to news than party politics and party political process.

This week a small child died on account of her mother being ashamed of her disability. Did not that warrant a wider debate?


Saturday, 20 September 2008

Soul Man

If a week is a long time in politics what of economics timeframes? How weird does it feel to suddenly be talking about a 'crisis of capitalism'. The notion of 'capitalism' as a criticism was a defunct Marxist conspiracy theory as in fact capitalism is just what human beings 'naturally' do. Since it is regarded these days as such a natural and inevitable backdrop as much as the sky, the trees and the fields, seeing/hearing the word capitalism being mentioned in the MSM is quite surreal indeed.

At this critical time we must be concerned for the Soul of Man under Capitalism.



(*Britney Spears)
...shan't be going to the ball.


Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Spot the difference

I take as much interest in the process of news creation as in the news itself. Having already commented on how watching/reading the news often feels like journalists inhabit a parallel universe where they hear an entirely different language and therefore politicians mean something other than the words they actually speak, two articles written recently confirmed my suspicions.

You couldn't slip a page of free supplement paper between Brian Cathcart's 'Reading the political codes' in the New Statesman and Peter Wilby's 'Catch of the day' in the Guardian.

They both dealt with journalists' tendency to read all kinds of fanciful imaginings into whatever politicians say and both manage to weave Pifflegate into their articles. However, there was nothing coded about Boris Johnson's rubbishing of the notion of 'broken Britain', one of his own leader's key slogans though it undoubtedly stems from Boris's off-messageness and the fact that it is simply a slogan rather than a true characterisation of the nature of modern Britain.

If they had wanted the media could have developed Boris's remark and David Davis resignation into a wider narrative about splits and divisions within the Conservative Party but they didn't. Instead, they continue to insert meaning into every gap, pause and ommission in government ministers' utterances.

Are they simply decoding dissembling politicians or creating the news?


Sleepy Jean

(NB to quote the Ting Tings that's not my name - just couldn't think of a title because of sleep deprivation)

I desperately want to go to sleep (carers often get very tired) but with such intermittent internet over the last few days I really should catch up on some reading/'working' and blogging while the internet connection is good to go. The Lib Dem conference is on... maybe just a quick fortywinks....


Tuesday, 16 September 2008

End of the Pier

Just before my troubles with the internet (which aren't over yet and which is why I'm only just posting this now) Fleetwood pier went up in flames. Not for the first time either. A couple of days previously I had been strolling past the delapidated pier with relatives discussing what should be done with it. I did subsequently query it with them but they can vouch for their whereabouts.

Predictable I know, but I suggested it should go all olde worlde and be restored to its original Edwardian glory and that much more should be made of Fleetwood's history and fine old buildings. Visit Fleetwood Museum.

There was an application to build some flats on it. Although the view would have been nice on a sunny day am not sure I would fancy being lashed by a stormy sea. Now there's not much left but a tangled wreckage.

Some locals are of the view that it was a mixed blessing; a sad end but that it was an eyesore.

Here's how it used to look.


Sunday, 14 September 2008


So we weren't sucked into a black hole and my birthday happened after all. Well it did a bit. It was slightly ruined by a series of minor irritations and one big domestic catastrophe. A flavour of the minor irritations can be illustrated by this: I had 10 quid nicked out of the envelope left out for the milkman. I know, I Know slightly foolish payment arrangement but for a number of reasons and lack of headspace to think through a better one it was for the moment the one which was semi-decided upon.

The major catastrophe is my internet connection is down. Have spent the weekend (when I should have been out having birthday fun!) trying to diagnose the problem swapping cables etc before I get onto the ISP. Again for various reasons it wasn't thought to be a service failure with the ISP (the ISP website reports no problems in the area). Heavily leaning towards the theory that the modem is busted. The proof of this is this post which is brought to you from my laptop and via the relatively free (I felt morally obliged to buy some food and a coffee but the staff keep looking at me) wifi at McDonald's which almost certainly means its a hardware problem back home.

I was about to try this connecting to wifi at McDonald's test last night. It was a test of the same magnitude of the firing up of the Large Hadron Collider but the laptop battery died on me so I was sat there faced with some food I didn't really want a potential internet connection and a dead laptop.

My loss of internet is a catastrophe. A number of things I do at the moment are heavily dependent on internet access. Also being often housebound by caring responsibilities accessing contacts and information online is essential, paradoxically, to 'having a life'. I once read somewhere a survey that found that a significant percentage of people were more anxious about the loss of their internet than the loss of a partner. No doubt we could pick holes in a survey which found such a thing but I would not argue with the idea that being connected is an essential part of modern life, especially for people such as myself. It is not a frivolous luxury.

My Autistic son will also be devastated at the loss of it and while he is very competent with google and youtube he cannot understand the basics nor the complexities of getting the internet fixed; his solution to everything is sellotape. A devastated Autistic young person repetitively chanting 'fix it, fix it' for as long as it takes will add an extra layer of stress to the whole event.

On a positive note though some friends who were away for the weekend bothered to send me a text wishing me happy birthday which was nice and my elder son who lives away from home remembered independently that it was my birthday and brought me a clothes voucher for one of my favourite shops.

I know there's loads of stuff going on in the world not least the interesting political stuff here and in America and I have things to say about it but for now I will be tangled up in the pressing problems of getting back online and hope that the plight of the poor carer with the additional burden of trying to maintain networks and opportunities by other more labour intensive methods is as newsworthy in its own way as what royalty has for breakfast or indeed the leadership squabbles of the Labour Party. Get a grip Labour, some of us have real problems out here.

There done it. Blogging from McDonald's wifi. My battery life and the staff's patience maybe about to run out. 17 mins left. Just enough time to download some stuff on the Mental Capacity Act -not for me for 'work'- though I may well be needing it very soon!


Tuesday, 9 September 2008

From Bury to Mercury

Well done Lancashire lads! Check out their Northerness and their music.

They also support the National Autistic Society and will be raising money for the charity on their forthcoming tour.


Big change

In September's issue of Total Politics, Tim Shipman, Washington correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph writes about Barack Obama's effective organisation in mobilising volunteers and supporters. I don't know whether it was deliberately written this way or not but this paragraph did raise a particular image in my mind:

"To tackle McCain he is now assembling what will be the largest field operation in the history of American politics. During the South Carolina primary Clinton supporters in the state capital Colombia dined nightly on fast food. There were so many Obama volunteers that they roasted and consumed an entire pig every night.

By June, the Obama campaign staff was more than twice the size of the Bush re-election campaign staff in 2004 and nearly three times the size of McCain's..."

That'll be all the roasted pig!


Monday, 8 September 2008


A very happy Eleanor Simmonds

The paralympic cycling team are continuing Britain's recent Olympic gold medal success in the Equally Splendid Paralympic Games. They too have benefited from increased funding and integration with the Olympic team. Chris Hoy provided inspiration and handlebars to members of the British Paralympic Cycling Team.

In swimming, watch Britain's 13 year-old Eleanor Simmonds win gold in the 100m freestyle S6 category becoming the youngest-ever individual Paralympic gold medal winner and tell the BBC how she feels about it. Share her joy.

Paralympics coverage here and Paralympics medal table here.

He doesn't 'get' sport or competition but his dedicated teachers got my Autistic son to win these medals at his special school's sports day.

Another set of Handlebars currently riding at number 35 in the UK singles chart. Visit for social change through music.


Sunday, 7 September 2008

State guaranteed Freddie

Sorry, couldn't resist the post title.

Fannie, and oh yes, Freddie, rescued by federal state.


Saturday, 6 September 2008


Never give up

I dearly wanted to post something about the recent report from the UN about the state of gender inequality in the UK. Unfortunately, domestic and caring duties have meant I have not been able to read nor think around it.'Nuff said!

I'm wondering if there might not be a humanitarian role for the UN troops here, I mean in my particular house.

FleetwoodToday, all day, I am necessitated to visit family in historic Fleetwood so I won't be able to do the things I really want to do although perhaps it will be jolly edifying on account of the town's layout being designed by Decimus Burton of Kew Gardens, St Leonards-on-Sea and Tunbridge Wells fame and perhaps I will marvel at the works of prolific builder of Fleetwood, Thomas Atkinson Drummond, and pay homage to him in the Wetherspoon's Thomas Drummond pub. Oh the sheer self-sacrifice of it all.

Instead follow the links provided by the far superior Dale, Alice Dale and check out the website of Jacky Fleming, the creator of the cartoon illustration above.


Thursday, 4 September 2008

Vice Pick

Boyfriend of gun-toting Palin's daughter agrees to do the honourable thing.

Also, feminist or anti-feminist?


Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Its my party and I'll cry if I want to

The other day when completing that history meme thing I quite selfishly complained that major world events ...usually bad ones have a habit of spoiling my birthday. Its not actually my birthday for just over a week yet. But just to top off all the other spoiled birthdays ...this year it seems my birthday might not happen at all as the entire world, universe and my cake could get eaten by a black hole on September 10th :o At least I'll go out with a bang!