Monday, 29 December 2008

Raised Up – A Little

After the desperate lowness of the last few days I’ve been lifted somewhat by the help of a wonderful friend.  I found this track and listened over and over.

Not the most powerful version, but must be one of the most beautiful, of “You Raise Me Up”.  Enjoy Celtic Woman.

You Raise Me Up

“When I am down, and oh my soul so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me.


You raise me up so I can stand on mountains.
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on your shoulders.
You raise me up to more than I can be.”

Lyrics:  Brendan Graham

God, how I wish I had written these simple but magical words.

Friday, 19 December 2008

The Old Garden Seat

Too long grows the grass round the old garden seat
Once high and proud in the green field of man's power now gone
Wild grow the shrubs on pathways long lost
Rolling hills, valley wide, reflective river no more


Only the sky remains still blue, white or grey now pock-marked by slim birches' tips
Rich with life's vibrant colours, flyers and flowers abound
Safe in the haven within where balance surrounds
Life as nature intended. No hands fighting forces unseen.


Once more, once more ere life's breath fades away
Let me see  long ago's beauty through eyes of the young
My seat and my view from the power of my hands
And I give myself up happily to God's golden lands

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

ZZZIIPP-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

 

Zip a dee doo-dah, zip a dee ay
All my snails have gone away.
I got broadband in today
Zip a dee doo-dah, zip a dee ay

All the slowness it has gone now
Music, video I'm here                   
Now I am right at the frontier                 

Zip a dee doo-dah, zip a dee ay
Wonderful feelin'.
Wonderful day.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Last Day in the Slow Lane?

No more, after tonight, should I have to twiddle my thumbs, make a cup of coffee, untwiddle and drink while waiting for blogs to load.

No more should I have to skip every youtube  posting. 

No more should I have to put off downloading software because it will take 5h.

Tuesday morning the cable-man comes to call and, soon thereafter, I should be whizzing around at "up to20Mb/s" or somewhere thereabouts.

Let's hope I'm not here tomorrow cursing that I'm still left on snail-paced dial-up.

 

We shall see.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Baby 'P' and Suicide

As the Baby 'P' case slips slowly from the headlines you may think it strange to raise it here linked to suicide but there is reason in my apparent madness.

Baby 'P' was a wee innocent baby whose life was snuffed out by his mother and her partner in an horrendous and obscene murder.  All must have been horrified at the pain and suffering inflicted on this little boy. 

How can there possibly be a link between a suicide victim and this innocent wee baby?

Much of the outrage, both public and political, felt at Baby P's death has moved from those directly responsible to those services  - police, NHS, social services - who knew of the family, who had suspicions but yet failed to save him. An inquiry has been held already, heads have rolled, and the government has parachuted in a new head of Haringey's Childrens Services.

In yesterday's mini-post I quoted two Liberal Democrats who were happy at the sacking of the head of Children's Services:

Councillor Robert Gorrie, leader of Haringey Liberal Democrat opposition, said: "This is the right decision. No one should be rewarded for failure in public service. .....  Those in top jobs in public service should be put on notice - there is no hiding place for incompetence and deceit for those charged with looking after the vulnerable children in our society."

Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, welcomed Shoesmith's departure. "I very much welcome her departure without a single penny. Hopefully it marks a break with the culture of secrecy, failure and deceit that failed Baby P."

The murder of one baby - however horrific - and the failure of the caring services, who were aware of the family, to protect the child has led to massive public interest, personnel changes in the Council department responsible and demands for changes in the way that such cases are handled.

 

What of a suicide victim?

A suicide doesn't normally generate much publicity.  There are those, and Mrs Carr is one, who are known to the NHS and other services as suffering from mental ill-health and as having attempted suicide, who receive minimal, if any, treatment for their mental health problems.

People struggle - often for years - self-harm, overdose, commit suicide because they are left helpless, distraught, despairing.  Suicide is not an irrational action but rather it is the rational outcome to a hopeless and intolerable life.

There is sympathy for those with terminal illnesses or severe paralysis who bring an end to their suffering by ending their life.  Unfortunately, such sympathy rarely extends to the mentally ill who can take no more.  They are seen as ill, irrational, weak, "it's their fault", "if only they would buck up their ideas", "we're well rid of them".  There is prejudice, stigma, stereotyping, ignorance, incompetence, neglect - yes, neglect! 

Lives become hopeless and intolerable because the caring services don't care, they neglect to look after these patients properly.  The ill are non-people.  If children were neglected by the services as are these adults there would be, justifiably, a massive outcry, questions raised in parliament, change would happen but for these unfortunate adults there is utter shameful neglect, left to live or die by an uncaring service. 

Many don't start out wanting to die but that is where they end up because the NHS either ignores them or offers inadequate treatment for their severe needs and social services unable to provide proper support. 

Why are the needy, the desperate left to cope with no, or totally inadequate, support?

Why can the so-called caring services not see the the real situation? Why do they not realise that massive support is required just to keep some functioning at the most basic level?  Christ, it's not rocket science!  Just proper diagnosis, no stigmatising labels, correct treatment, identify needs and supply care.

We've seen the outcry when a child is allowed to die of neglect but adults are allowed to die of neglect, not of their parents but of the state and there is shameful silence. 

Correctly we would never criticise a baby. Likewise those adults who commit suicide shouldn't be criticised. 

Their deaths are a flag to the uncaring services we have in this country.

Their deaths shame our politicians!

Their deaths shame the NHS!

Their deaths shame all of us!

Their deaths are a national scandal!

What are we as a society that we tolerate this?

 

I finish with Councillor Gorrie's quote with one word removed to make it more apposite for the care of potential suicide victims:

"No one should be rewarded for failure in public service. .....  Those in top jobs in public service should be put on notice - there is no hiding place for incompetence and deceit for those charged with looking after the vulnerable children in our society."

Most of us with direct and indirect experience of mental health services know that for far too long incompetence and deceit have gone unchallenged and that unnecessary deaths have gone unremarked and unmissed.

 

NO MORE!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Prelude to "Baby 'P' and Suicide"

 

Tomorrow, hopefully, I'll publish a full post on "Baby 'P' and Suicide".  [UPDATE: Full post published here]

This mini-post acts as wee advert for that post.  Given that  recently I have posted only on the odd occasion advertising is necessary.

 

I noted that the Guardian website mentioned that Sharon Shoesmith, head of Children's Services at Haringey Council was sacked with immediate effect and without without compensation.

Two Liberal Democrats are quoted in the article:

Councillor Robert Gorrie, leader of Haringey Liberal Democrat opposition, said: "This is the right decision. No one should be rewarded for failure in public service. .....  Those in top jobs in public service should be put on notice - there is no hiding place for incompetence and deceit for those charged with looking after the vulnerable children in our society."

Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, welcomed Shoesmith's departure. "I very much welcome her departure without a single penny. Hopefully it marks a break with the culture of secrecy, failure and deceit that failed Baby P."

If only failure in public service, incompetence, deceit and secrecy among those charged with looking after vulnerable adults suffering from mental illness were treated in the same way.

More tomorrow ......

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Iain Dale and Calum

Yesterday's Guardian diary, by Hugh Muir, carried a snippet about Iain Dale which I append in its entirety:

"Why would Labour types be championing the prospects of Tory blogger extraordinaire Iain Dale, you might ask. Is it because of his ill-fated campaign in Norfolk North in 2005, when he lost by 10,500 votes, or his failure to win the nomination for Maidstone, when he didn't make it past the first interview? Or his stewardship of the unsuccessful David Davis leadership campaign? Or is it because his two-year stint as a columnist at the Daily Telegraph seems to have come to an end? It is all of them, and though it might be tempting fate, he is, they say, someone they would like to see at the heart of David Cameron's operation. They'll provide references and everything."

Mildly amusing was my initial thought, and it is, but then I realised that if one were daft enough to do the same about me it would be much much worse.  A version on me might appear as follows:

"Why would Conservative types be championing the prospects of left-wing mental health campaigner unextraordinaire Calum Carr, you might ask.  Is it because his 20 month stint as a pico-blogger has often appeared close to collapse?  Is it because.............. er, is it because ................... er?  Is there any more?    No, he really has had this little impact, and though it might be tempting fate, he is, they say, someone they would like to see at the heart of The Guardian's operation because he has achieved nothing and is even more useless than Gordon Brown. They'll provide the references and everything."

Even in apparent failure - the Guardian's view - Iain has achieved much more than I.  Sad but true and, I guess, I'll just have to live with that thought.

 

 

.........no.........no .........no........no.........no!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Reader and Broadband

I am in the process of adding my blogrolls to Google Reader.  This will make it much easier for me to read blogs but might make my visits less visible although I'll do my best to leave a little mark.

Before Christmas we should have broadband installed - years late - but those blogs that currently don't load will be accessible.

 

UPDATE:  SATURDAY 6 DEC

Why on earth did I wait so long before using Reader?  Day in, day out I struggled with my dial-up connection waiting for blog after blog to load painfully slowly only to find that many had no new posts.  Hours I have wasted, probably days wasted, at this pointless exercise.  Now I can whizz through the posts.  It's brill.

Of course, as usual, I get little long term benefit because in about 10 days we'll have broadband.  I'm sure I'll keep using Reader because it is just so convenient.

I'm a plonker for waiting so long!