2011 has been, for me, a very dull year which all I have done is to be clinically depressed which non-activity affords little note or even blog worthy. Before I make myself more miserable by dwelling on misery, I’ll luxuriate in the memory of the high point which was the honour of giving m daughter’s hand in marriage at her wedding to Alex Othold , 5th September in Bromham, Wiltshire. You had to have been there of course but pictures do tell a story. As is the modern way, Becca and Alex have published their photographs for all to see at their website http://otholdedwards.co.uk/photos.aspx. Alex is in the business – he is one of the four creators and owners of http://www.adido-digital.co.uk/, a company which flourishes despite the dire economic conditions. Becca continues her academic career at Southampton University as Research Fellow at http://www.tsrc.ac.uk/, research needed evermore as the UK goes through a cynical phase of knee-jerk reaction to public opinion from rags such as The Daily Fail which has always been right-wing in a sort putrid snivelling “ain’t it awful?” sort of way but has become downright nasty since Cameron became Prime Minster of a coalition government that behaves as it has been mandated to make the rich richer and the poor even poorer.
Apart from the wedding of the year/decade/lifetime there is little to report beyond a litany of trials with all sorts of anti-depressants. I was involved with the creation of a new charity called 5 Quid for Life http://5quidforlife.org.uk/ which aims to provide emergency funds for those mentalists hammered into the poverty trap with no food or heating, a source of help that will become ever more necessary as the full effects of the Government’s cuts is felt. Mental health services, despite a guarantee of ring-fencing, are once again the very poor relation of the NHS which is particularly cruel at a time when policies are increasing rather than generating demands for help. Housing is in a dreadful state and the New Year will bring more homelessness as the buy-to-let market becomes ever more greedy. Does anyone really believe the assertion that forcing down Housing Benefit and sentencing the young to bedsits will somehow make anything better. The new Peter Rahmans are already with us and will be lauded as entrepreneurs except perhaps any that are found to be of foreign and, dare I say it, Jewish origin. Anyone living in the Bournemouth area will be well aware of
Dave Wells, such an entrepreneur will surely be regard as the sort of business the government promotes as a solution to all social ills.
Apart from that I’ve done little apart from pratt around with elderly confusers and trial all sorts of operating systems The current favourite by a mile is something called Pear OS Linux Panther v3.0 from http://pear-os-linux.fr/ , the other light OS I’ve found is Lubuntu a cut down version of Ubuntu. The names don’t matter, I am not nerdily dogmatic about anything – I just want something that works without imposing itself between me and my life. Windows 7 Professional upwards (Windows anything Home is best avoided or upgraded) is perhaps the best Microsoft OS to date but it demands more hardware than I can afford.
so what’s new?
About time to do some more blogging but nothing much to write about: the world has not ended despite te predictions emanating from http://www.familyradio.com/ and pushed around the world by the twitter sphere, https://www.facebook.com/ and most of the other chaterati sites. The major news broadcasters used Donald Camping‘s earnest predictions as the joke item to close their weekend bulletins, spending their bulletins telling us all they they could not say that Ryan Giggs has had his super injunction outed by https://twitter.com/ with the secondary story that the Spanish are revolting.
Tsk tsk David for not writing and spending the the year so far being a passive mostly non-reactive watcher of TV and browser of websites – perhaps the inability to engage with Angry Birds could be considered symptomatic of something or other? Nothing much has changed; the Greeks are revolting now amid predictions of the end of the Euro. Don’t really see the reintroduction of the punt and the drachma and the other obsolete currencies: one of the surely intended consequences of the second Gulf War was to have Iraqi oil priced in USD rather EUR.
Now the government is asserting that unemployment has fallen yet those claiming has increased: how does that work? (distracts off to http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/has-unemployment-gone-up-or-down/2902).
Haven’t been completely idle – the workhorse PC is now running Windows 7 Enterprise quite nicely after some trial and error. It’s certainly quicker and more resilient then it ever was with XP Pro. At last a version of Windows that runs (better1) with no trace of Internet Explorer! Have lost track of the number of times that I have reformatted this disk, an action that horrified a visiting mental health worker who took some convincing that such an action was not that of a confused mentalist but rather a completely sane way of maximising limited resource. Grrr, running gripe convincing people that although I might be officially mad, there are occasions when I do know what I’m talking about. The “does s/he take sugar?” syndrome seems to apply everywhere; any kind of disability seems to need an unending sense of humour 😦
DLA (Disability Living Allowance) seems to be a specific target fro the ConDem cutting machine, little to add that has not been said except that Mentalists are goibg to be harder hit than those with a more obvious disability such as blindness or missing limbs. Kaliya Franklin of The Broken of Britain has produced a very clear explanation here: http://benefitscroungingscum.blogspot.com/search/label/disability%20living%20allowance and http://onemonthbeforeheartbreak.blogspot.com/2011/01/welcome.html to learn directly about the effects this will have.
There is of course much misinformation flying around as the UK government and its supporters are performing the sleight of medium that seeks to bracket the disabled with the “undeserving poor”, producing pictures (posed by an actor) of a typical benefit claimant and his Royle Family or Shameless lifestyle. The government, using the fall guys Eric Pickles and Iain Duncan-Smith (never of whom has a chance for higher office), is embarking on what is the dismantling of the UK’s welfare state. The disabled are a soft target as a group, those with a mental disability even softer especially since they are not understood by society as a whole.
The impact on the mentally ill is already being voiced in the blogosphere and major support organisations such as Mind, Rethink and the MDF (Manic Depression Fellowship) are sounding the alarm and assessing the likely impacts on the mentally ill of the redefining and withdrawal of DLA. To the distress of many, the government is embarking on an expensive exercise of fitness for wi work assessments to be conducted by outside (and definitely for profit) companies such as Atos who are using a variety of simplistic mechanisms for declaring people to be fit for limited work and removing or reducing benefit accordingly. The only recourse for those impacted is of course to appeal, appeal and appeal. Perhaps I am being a little cynical but it’s difficult not to wonder if the ultimate goal is not to remove the mentally ill from the books completely and to wonder whether the government actuaries are already including an increase in the suicide rate in their calculations. Long time ago now but Margaret Thatcher was apparently discomfited by the fact that successive mild winters in the eighties meant that the benefit bill was unexpectedly high as not as many old people had died as predicted.