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What have I got to be miserable about?

Believe it or not, I'm happy. Imagine that: little old spastic me, barely able to walk and talk, happy! What have I got to be happy about? Well, when you think about it, is it so hard to believe? I have a wonderful partner, a great home, a loving, supportive family, and live in the greatest, most exciting city on earth. What have I got to be sad about? Yet according to this excellent article by Tom Shakespeare, many people still assume that people with disabilities must be miserable; they associate disability with sadness. That baffles me, I must say. Certainly, having CP can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but that is most often due to external factors:* I'm not miserable because I use a straw to drink, but I'm miserable when a restaurant doesn't have any straws. I'm not miserable because I use a wheelchair, but I am when I can't go to places because there are no ramps or lifts. The situation is therefore much more nuanced than many people seem to assume. I do not lounge about all day feeling sorry for myself, just because I can't physically do some of the things others can. I enjoy life: I write (using my special extended keyboard); I go for walks (in my wheelchair); I go to pubs (armed with straws). I have done so many incredible things in my life, I genuinely don't get why people would assume I'm miserable, or that I live a less satisfactory life than anyone else.

*This is, of course, leaving aside the experience of going to special school. Watching one's classmates pass away one by one is certainly not a happy aspect of being disabled.


[Edited Yesterday at 10:38:11 - added footnote]

TTIP is no threat to the NHS, and nor is the EU

I can't claim I know much about TTIP. I know it's a huge trade deal with america, and much is currently being said about it. It's rules apparently state that a government body cannot get in the way of business, so some people think it's a threat to the NHS. Outers are using the issue to scare people into voting to leave the EU. Of course, if it was true, I would be concerned too: the NHS is an issue which outranks all others, and if I thought our continued membership of the EU threatened it, I'd vote out. But it doesn't. I just found this article on Labour list, explaining that health is one of the areas exempt from TTIP.

Rachel Reeves

As a US-EU joint declaration last month made clear, TTIP will not ''prevent governments, at any level, from providing or supporting services in areas such as water, education, health, and social services.'' EU officials have been at pains to ensure that health services will not be covered by the deal. Cecilia Malmstrom, the Swede who runs the EU's trade policy, has categorically said that ''health services will not be affected in any way by TTIP.''

Thus the outers are using an issue we all care about to fool people into leaving the EU. It's baffling when you think about it. Why would the EU suddenly want to destroy the NHS, when in the past they have supported it? And why would people who ordinarily want the NHS privatised such a Boris Johnson suddenly want to defend it? It's a sickeningly cynical ploy on behalf of the outers: they are trying to play on people's fears, pretending to champion a national institution at the very moment that, according to this Guardian article, the tories have embarked on a ''conscious strategy to run the service down to a point where privatisation can be sold to the public as a way of improving things.'' TTIP is no threat to the NHS, and nor is the EU. For the outers to say it is, to pretend to suddenly care about something most of them want broken up, perfectly demonstrates the type of people we are dealing with. While I have a few concerns about TTIP, and, as explained here, one cannot be absolutely sure what will be effected until everything is worked out, in all probability the NHS will be safeguarded. For the outers to use an issue they wouldn't ordinarily care about to try to fool people into siding with them, is utterly contemptible.


[Edited 28/04/2016 at 10:56:38 - added a bit]

Lyn's new powerchair

wonderful news! Lyn has a new electric wheelchair. We just got home from the hospital, and L is testing it out. I've never seen her like this: she looks so happy and confident, the change in her is amazing. It's as if getting this chair has turned something on in her which was not quite there before. It's a shame she had to wait so long for it - Lyn required some quite specialized adaptations - but now she has her own powerchair, I think this is the start of a thrilling new chapter in our lives.

Diaries and blogs 2

It might be a few months old, but I just came across this interesting Youtube vid by Michael Palin about keeping a diary again. Having kept a blog for thirteen years, I can certainly understand the urge to record: something just compels one to write, every day or so, as if it makes time more concrete. What pricked my attention, though, were Palin's comments on going back an editing an entry after you write it. An entry, he suggests, can only record one's thoughts and feelings on a certain day; to go back and change it after it is written is somehow dishonest. I know what he means, and used to impose such a rule on myself, but the urge to edit or add to an entry after I'd posted it got to much, especially if it was about something I cared about. I suppose that just highlights the difference between blogs and diaries: whereas a diary is a very personal, static record of one's thoughts in time, a blog is public, meant to be read by others, so if something changes, or you think of something you want to add, you can. Maybe the shift from one to the other shows how public our lives have now all become. I know I've written about this before, but it occurs to me that this is a symptom of our changed relationship with time: in this postmodern era, the past is no longer fixed; we can rewrite it, altering history. Perhaps some would call that dishonest, but it just shows just how intangible ideas like 'the past', 'truth' and 'reality' really are.


[Edited 27/04/2016 at 12:51:52 - added a bit]

If Hunt had any honour, he would resign

Where the fuck is Jeremy Hunt's resignation this morning? The guy is a disgrace. The NHS is the most wonderful institution ever created; the medical professionals who work in it all deserve our respect. Instead, the p'tahk Hunt treats them like shit, thinking he can bully them into accepting a contract we all know will put patients in danger. Nobody is against the concept of a seven-day NHS. In fact, it already functions 24/7. This dispute is about how that is funded: to do so properly, the doctors argue more resources need to be put into the NHS, something the tories refuse to do. That's where the problem lies.

Rather than listening to their concerns, the tories are blatantly trying to manipulate the public into turning against the NHS. The issue could easily be resolved, but the tories don't want to - they'd rather make political capital. It's sickeningly cynical. They say they value the NHS while treating it with utter contempt; no doubt this is part of their overall plan to eventually beak it up. If Hunt had any honour, he would resign; but he's a tory, and none of those arrogant insults to humanity has any. They want to push the NHS so hard that it crumbles and the public start to turn against it, at which time they can foist an American-style free market system on us. The tories would welcome that: they hate everything fair and equal, and loathe paying taxes into a system which helps others. But where will it leave 'ordinary' people, or those with disabilities? Lyn and I try to avoid going to the hospital whenever possible, but it's reassuring to know it's there should we need it. The tories think that that safety net should only be there for those who can afford private health insurance, and to hell with the rest of us. That's why they are trying to destroy the NHS, and why it is imperative we stop them. They're pushing it and pushing it, hoping it will crumble. They are trying to cast the doctors as the bad guys, hoping that the public will turn against them. Thus I support the doctors' strike and demand Hunt's resignation: our greatest institution must be maintained, for the good of all.


[Edited 26/04/2016 at 13:10:29 - added a bit]