Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Hostiles Environments… not by Error or Accident


This is 100% political and personal – I make no apologies for exercising my democratic right to have my say…
Do NOT dare tell me this is British patriotism and tell me I should be proud of waving a flag. I am utterly ashamed and distraught. Inhumanity, racism, bigotry and intolerance are the most anti-British acts possible…well… that and not paying your taxes, choosing instead to stash money in offshore accounts!!
Windrush is the tip of the iceberg… this is not isolated, nor an error or accident. This is part of a cynical, ideologically driven right-wing Tory project creating divisions and hostility towards selected sectors of our communities.  IT WAS NEVER IN A MANIFESTO TO TRY AND DEPORT BRITISH CITIZENS, WAS IT???

Let’s be totally honest as a nation… all this started back in 1979 with an attack on our communities and trade unions. We have not “accidentally” or “incompetently” ended up in the situation we are in. The divisions in our communities and our society have been systematically and cynically created by successive governments since Thatcher. When she killed northern communities, she had no intention of rebuilding the areas. She knew by decimating the labour heartlands and crushing the ties between Labour, the trade unions and local citizens, she could pave the way to the transfer of power to the elite and corporations, creating a faux democracy based on the US republic.

Since these attacks left a weak opposition and no real accountability, the Tories have built their strategies based on divide and rule, blaming the unemployed, the disabled, the immigrants for all the failings of their past policies AND people were sucked into it. The banking crisis gave the Tories the perfect back drop for their ideologically driven shrinking of the state, duping and guilt tripping people into believing that the government had no money even though the very people they were duping are the key contributors to the public purse. Until 2015, we did not have an effective opposition holding the Government to account.
It is not anti-British to
-       oppose Government policy.
-       hold OUR elected members to account
-       fight for justice and basic human rights for EVERYONE
-       promote education, jobs and homes for EVERYONE

It IS anti-British… for a Government to pull the rug from under its own citizens’ lives to follow ideologically driven right-wing policies. ITS OWN CITIZENS!! People who have paid taxes, who ARE BRITISH!!! Disabled (PIP, universal credit) young people (loss of housing benefit), students (loans, interest charges, academies), single parents, rape victims (appalling rape clause), pensioners (Social care costs), domestic abuse victims (universal credit). The list goes on and on. Even more cynical is their act now and deal with appeals later. They have no interest or care for individual lives, whether policies ruin or kill. The policy is like this:
1.    Take away rights of appeal or justice. Implement additional policies to further disenfranchise people – require voter ID knowing a large proportion of the population in the trial areas won’t have ID!!
2.    Orchestrate a very public condemnation and vicious attack, which will leave those targeted feeling guilty and ashamed. Sadly, there are people in our society that are happy to attack people due to ignorant prejudices.
3.    take away any State assistance and hope we are NOT challenged
4.    Claim we have succeeded in making peoples’ lives better by forcing them into personal debt, homelessness or premature death!
5.    On appeal… we will just apologise, blame the civil servants or the lack of opposition and get on with the same policy until the next appeal.
However uncomfortable the conversation, we must have that conversation. We must ensure food banks, rape clauses, “grave and systematic violations of human rights” (United Nations Committee of Rights of Disabilities (UNCRPD)) are not allowed to go unchallenged. If that makes me an enemy of the state… then so be it. I would rather be hated by the State than allow decent people to suffer because of the warped perception of an elite, supreme race.
How much money has been wasted putting right the wrongs of this Government?
When we look back on the period of our social history from 1979 to now, we will see the social injustices, the ridiculous and outrageous misuse of public money.
Please ask why we are allowing the misappropriation of public funds for a universal credit system that has cost more to implement than it has saved and has brought poverty to countless people; how much has the Government paid out in legal costs fighting the cases of injustices of their policies against the very citizens the Government is there to serve? Funny how its public money yet the true cost is kept secret. So much for transparency.
Brexit and taking back control is nothing more than an elite power grab with minimal protection for us citizens. How can a Government be allowed to waste public funds and damage our economy? Since when did it become unpatriotic to stand up for jobs and workers’ rights? More worrying now, though, is you can blatantly see where the Government are going with EU citizens’ rights even those children who were born here. It’s repulsive, along with this Government’s hypocrisy of bombing Syria but refusing to let refugees in. No compassion, no humanity!
And the biggest con of all – bailing out failed academies; Carillion, Capita, railway networks?? This magic money tree is growing bigger every day!!  All this wasted money… could be funding our infrastructure, schools, NHS, social care.
PLEASE, PLEASE start asking questions. There are SO many questions and challenges we MUST make.

FAIRNESS, EQUALITY, HUMANITY – ARE VERY BRITISH!!!

What can YOU do?
It is much easier to do nothing… go with the flow BUT that is exactly what these politicians hope for.
  1. Casting your vote is not enough… it is a start but not enough. It is time for change. It is time each one of us exercised our democratic right, our patriotic right. It is NOT unpatriotic to disagree with a Government, to stand up for other human beings. That may be the Tory way, but it IS NOT the British way. It is not political correctness… it is basic humanity.
  2. Hold them to account - Question them; Keep them to their promises
  3. Take an active role in ensuring key principles are met and hopefully exceeded
  4. Do NOT take anything, especially your basic human rights, for granted.
  5. We need to stop secrecy and have an open Government – Cameron campaigned on that yet this Government is the most secretive ever known!
  6. Fight for the right for our children to be educated not just in tolerance and humanity but in understanding how they can play an active role in the way the country is governed.  
  7. Take a moment... to think how much your life would be affected if your income was taken away, if you was detained as a criminal for doing nothing other than living in your own country. Think how you would feel if you suddenly became the target of a hate campaign because of something you have no control over - a disability; colour of your skin; a certain accent or religious belief. Think of how it will affect your family members... once you can understand... you can empathise and see the injustices.
The more we exercise our democratic right and what I see as our civic duty, the less likely they are to get away with the secrecy, duplicity, hypocrisy and inhumanity.

That is why I will be voting for Labour under Jeremy Corbyn. He is not the Messiah, he is not perfect – none of us are… but he will pave the way for a future Britain that will restore my faith and pride. More importantly, it will be a country that leads the way in Education, healthcare, manufacturing and industry and human rights, restoring the very fabric of our communities and society. Don’t be fooled into thinking, business do not like Labour – good, ethical businesses rely on educated workforces, good infrastructure, workforce/ trade union cooperation and public services to keep their costs down. It’s the unpatriotic and greedy that don’t!!
Immigrants, different races, gender, disabled, students, pensioners, trade unions, opposition party members are not our enemies - our true enemies are the abusers of power. Let us redress the balance and start valuing and treating every single human being equally with respect and dignity and display our true British values.
Be the change you want to see!! I am tired of listening to lies...
Much love






Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Life with Meniere's Disease




This will be a long one… please bear with me. I receive lots of criticism for raising Meniere's disease. My prime motive is and always will be raising awareness. I don't want sympathy… understanding would be progress. Honestly… hands up all those who knew what Meniere's disease was prior to it being raised? I did not even know what it was when I was diagnosed. I was told I had it, it wasn't cancer and I would have to learn to live with it! I still do not fully understand it.

Over the years, I have discovered some of the weird symptoms I have suffered, can be attributed to Meniere's disease. These light bulb moments tend to follow discussions with fellow sufferers and not from the professionals, who struggle to fully understand or appreciate the difficulties of dealing with it daily.

The most difficult aspect for me… its unpredictability. One day I am feeling well, energised, invincible and "normal" (although I'm not sure I have ever been normal, nor would I want to be!); the next day, I am totally laid up with the room spinning unable to control any element of my body.

The "IFFY" Days

 It’s the "IFFY" days that get to me the most.  Sadly, these days are frequent. I am not laid up with vertigo but deal with symptoms that make it very difficult to carry on day to day activities without making serious adjustments. These include – having vice like pressure across my ears and the back of my head; brain fog making it difficult to string a sentence together; trying to spend most of your energy masking the pain from loved ones; the constant swaying of the floor; complete sickly exhaustion where my whole-body aches.

but… the biggest daily fear – at any point, wherever I am, I could be struck with vertigo causing a drop attack. I have been so lucky up until now. I have only fallen three times outside – the first was pre-diagnosis, walking home with my son who was six at the time; the second when I was leafleting in the general election of 2015 and recently, in a car park. I have fallen in the house lots of times, thankfully the worst I have suffered is bruising to my arm, leg and lower back. No broken bones… yet!

All this leads to a huge lack of self-confidence and serious bouts of self-doubt. I never appreciated how hard life was with a disability or lifelong illness until it happened to me. We all think we are invincible. The mental strength that is required to get through a full day should never be underestimated.





The Hidden Pains of Meniere's

The incidental consequences of this disease:

1.    Lack of understanding from professionals, employers and people in general

2.    Feeling isolated – not just physically on days when I can not leave the house but in crowded rooms where I cannot hear conversations properly due to the tinnitus and background noise.

3.    Having to miss out on events because I can not commit in case I am ill and can not make it.

4.    Tired through explaining to people who say insensitive crap like "well you don't look ill!" Only my close family see me on my worst days.

5.    Sensory overload – making mundane tasks – shopping – almost impossible without worrying or panicking. Oh, and the restaurants, hotels and supermarkets using patterned carpets and flooring!! DON'T!! The patterns move when I walk on them!

6.    I have no patience for petty people and petty squabbles – life is to hard and way too short.

IT IS NOT ALL BAD.

There are positive aspects to Meniere's… well to living with it.

1.    The brain fog and mixing up of my words gives us some huge laughs. Yoda has nothing on me! When I forget the word… it turns into a family guessing game!

2.    I look like a cross between Bambi and Captain Jack Sparrow some days!

3.    I appreciate every single day of my life and can categorically say, I took lots of days for granted before I became ill.

4.    I am so thankful for my boys and how they handle our lives. They never put excessive expectations or pressure on me.

5.    I can work at home. It's not conventional – I don't do conventional! It's tough, demoralising at times but it is my life and me – perfectly imperfect. I refuse to give in or give up hope. I may not be super talented, but I work hard and try even harder. If I can achieve my PhD and keep publishing work… I will have achieved my goals.

COPING WITH MENIERE'S

I am always asked… how do you cope? The short answer is… I have no choice. The easiest life would be to give up and let the Meniere's eat away at me. I am a fighter. I was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck with a knot in it. It was touch and go whether I would survive. I did, probably disappointing to some!

I want to prove to the boys… and to myself… I can have a life with Meniere's. It took me a long time to accept what I lost, and to embrace what I gained. I wish to leave a legacy my boys can be proud of and if I can inspire one person to not give up and follow their dreams, I will have done a good job.

So how do I cope?

Coping Mechanisms

1.    Accept on the bad days to go with the Meniere's flow.

2.    Know when you can and can NOT exceed your limits.

3.    Don't let professionals and the illness defeat you.

4.    Surround yourself with inspirational people.

5.    Laugh… a lot… usually at the disease's expense.

6.    Low salt diet

7.    Drink litres… and litres… and litres of water.

8.    Exercise – it really does help me.

9.    Don't hide away … its very tempting at times

10. Be as strong as YOU can be.

11. MUSIC… I love my music

12. I've learned I am strong, resilient and adaptable – I can even type with my eyes shut!! New party trick.

13. NEVER GIVE UP HOPE

WRITING

Beyond the Lies is being proof read at present. I will confirm the publication date shortly. I am revisiting much of my drafts and early works. I have learned so much over the last few years especially self evaluation and improvement. Never stop learning.






We moved to a new house recently. The whole experience was highly traumatic but with sheer will, determination and bloody mindedness we got through it. I could not have done it without my amazing sons and adopted daughter. Now I need to rebalance my body… no pun intended!

Whilst we celebrate Liverpool FC emphatically booking their place in the semi final of the Champions League, we remember the lives that were taken and changed forever at Hillsborough. Still waiting for justice. #JFT96. Always remembered.

Thank you for all your continued support. Messages are always welcome. If I can help, I will. Stay safe everyone

Much love