One Final Spin

Welfare, care, support. When words are so readily abused it’s hardly surprising what happens to people. ..

Love, Belief and Balls

This is a promise. After 14 blog posts on the subject since September 2012, I hereby promise that this is the last post I’ll ever write about my housing benefit battle. One last thing to get off my chest and you’ll never hear from me on the subject again.

Actually, the core of this post is about “spin”, triggered by the conclusion of the HB saga. On Thursday, I received wads of paperwork from the council detailing how they have worked out the reinstated benefit. I missed it first time but there is a recalculation sheet from 4th June 2012, four months before they stopped the HB. This is where the spin comes in.Hillingdon were interviewed by the BBC, The Guardian, The Times & the Uxbridge Gazette at the time and gave pretty much the same statement to all of them – ” Mr Neary notified us of a change…

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Care Costs

Would anyone round here enable Glasgow’s vulnerable to be manipulated because they are an easy target? Surely not.  We have an elected city council charged with some tricky financial balancing acts in these times; could they become targets themselves by operators who can provide a better service and for less? On the surface it sounds like it would make sense to follow up on such claims but you have to think who are the best con artists you can think of?  The ones you’d least suspect to leave you with no options and call that self direction.

Consider an air of respectability, a worthy aim, a charitable status and demonstrations of justification for public funding, funding from your pocket and from mine. Consider a long history of providing a service for vulnerable adults that was second to none.  I say was because it clearly was back in the day when family members got together to make something better than there was for the vulnerable loved ones in their care.  Their concern for what might happen to them after they were no longer there created something to be proud of and something that did what it was set up for.

Decades later this shifts to the control of a group with the promise of better care, better management and greater financial clout to ensure this continues.  This is the point where care and commerce become very uncomfortable bedfellows.  If you care do you do it for the money?  Aren’t the ones caring enough to do the caring left behind as the money rolls in to benefit the rest who talk about caring? Continue reading

The 50s

You set a great example, Mark. It’s never easy swimming upstream but I understand the compulsion to keep doing so.

Love, Belief and Balls

I’ll be 56 next week. Birthdays are not normally a big deal to me but I keep finding myself reflecting on what this decade in my life has all been about. Not having been 56 before, I can’t work out if the way I feel is the consequence of the last six years or whether its just being 56. For one I’m slower. I notice a bench as I walk down the road and think “Ooh, that looks inviting. I might have a little sit for a few minutes”. But I don’t. Mostly though, its about my mental state and noticing that my reaction to stuff is very different to pre 50s.

I remember my 50th. I was due to start some major dental work the following day, so went out for a slap up meal in case I couldn’t eat properly for weeks. The next day, and seven teeth…

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The Price on Your Head

Rational

Rational

I have to live where I live.  The logistics of life dictate that.  It’s a beautiful place, don’t get me wrong but for a long time I’ve felt that it needs its physical beauty to mask the ugliness that festers from deep within its core. People make a place so its character will reflect them and indeed, the facade of architectural beauty here masks any image of its foundation on slavery and dealing that has damaged much in our world but that didn’t matter as it brought wealth to a few.  We all benefit from that.  And so that became the norm, permeating every level of our society as each became desperate for a slice of the pie.  No mean place.

There have been real examples of altruism throughout time but eventually these just set the benchmark for the perception of goodness to become part of the lie too.  It seems to be genuinely believed that if you say you follow a belief system , then that exempts you from actually having to do so, or to bother with any of its doctrines covering personal behaviour.

A sweeping generalisation, I know, but take a look around, it’s everywhere.  It’s even in the places I’d love to escape to, to get away from here, where the force of the bully has become its reputation more deservedly than anywhere else I know of (yet).  James Christie gave the best description of this place and its people in his book ‘Dear Miss Landau’. Continue reading

Smile Like You Mean It.

Loving you has made me bananas.

Loving you has made me bananas.

This is a guest post from Sarah J about coping with her partner’s late diagnosis.  All sounds very familiar!

The past few months have been a learning curve. Highs and lows coming to terms with my partner’s diagnosis of Aspergers. I couldn’t see it at first. He was 48. How could he have got though life, holding down jobs and relationships without the condition being diagnosed? It seemed too far-fetched, but I went with him through the diagnostic process and it was like a glaze being removed before my eyes. I saw idosyncracies in a different light.

Previous arguments about how to stack the dishwasher, where coats should be hung, not to mix veg or leave shoes behind a door… took on a new meaning. He wasn’t just being ridiculously particular and demanding. It distressed him if things were done in an unexpected way. And it wasn’t that he felt his way was better – he truly couldn’t conceive that anyone would do things differently. Continue reading

So, what are you gonna do about it?

Mark Easton wrote an article on the BBC News website entitled: Savile: How Could This Be Allowed To Happen?’ While today, Prime Minister Cameron unveils new measures that would extend the crime of ‘wilful neglect’ to cover the social care and education of children, with fines for organisations and individuals who can be shown to have let people down.

 

That’s great, even if there is a hint of too little, too late and only then because of an impending election, but cynicism aside, seriously, how could this be allowed to happen?  Well, to go all Al Gore again, the inconvenient truth is the inconvenience of the truth and in the light of this ‘new discovery’ that people in positions of trust abuse that trust and the people who place their trust in them, and continue to get away with it because they continue to hold the balance of power unchecked by any effective regulators, so this continues now. Continue reading

Breaking New Ground

Breaking New Ground

On the 19th of February 2015, Auticulture Network secured its first donation of land thanks to the generosity of Anna and Fiona at Gartnavel Royal Hospital in Glasgow. This significant show of trust and support is the beginning of what is hoped to be a very busy growing space over the year ahead, to be recorded on this site which in turn will become a new hub for inspiration, self discovery and self-empowerment.

Beyond all that we hope to facilitate a means by which all people with an autistic spectrum condition  can enjoy new ways of demonstrating to themselves and the rest of the world just how good life can be and how much we are able to contribute, using our very many special abilities.  We can break down barriers in our own thinking and limitations, social experiences and in the way we express ourselves – just by setting a good example and coming to know the most freely available resource around us – nature.

You never know, someone might just listen!  look here – someone listened to us and we have a set of keys to show what we can achieve.  Next Thursday we should get our next set of keys for our second site where people near to that location can become the next link in our network of discovery and hope.  Improving environmental health for all and changing opinions – think about it…

We even want those close to us to have a go with their own gardening sessions, so they can relax and enjoy a new perspective on life.

Understand nature, understand life

Living the Fenner Brockway

A Man at Peace

A Man at Peace

Fenner Brockway was a man prepared to meet the personal cost of speaking out to uphold personal principles and 2015 will mark 30 years since his death.  In the UK, today, the appalling treatment of NHS whistleblowers is in the news.  I know from personal experience that this is the tip of the iceberg, hiding the much wider scale of staff abuse within the so-called ‘care industry’.

From my own perspective, voicing concerns comes from a conscious willingness to hold to account those who make promises without ever having any honest intention of meeting them, combined with an innate, autistic naive belief that they really want to hear constructive criticism and make things right.

Management teams are often supported by systems designed to help them maintain the pretence that all is as it should be while the vulnerable they are charged with protecting are left bereft at the realisation that those they trusted will silence their concerns.  It can take a while to make that discovery and for the most vulnerable, it may never happen.

So, if these management teams are so proud of their work, they will have no fear of staff approaching them with concerns about common practices and staff will have no fear of fulfilling their duty in reporting these concerns.  Grievance procedures will be followed with integrity and monitored by an independent observer and local politics will play no part in proceedings. Continue reading

Crimes

Love, Belief and Balls

This post is dedicated to Thomas Rawnsley, a decent young chap, who died yesterday after having a heart attack on Sunday evening. Thomas had spent the last two years of his life in ATUs. Both Thomas and his family wanted to live at home, or in his own place near to his family. It never happened.

Has anyone ever met a social care commissioner? I haven’t. Or if I have, I didn’t know they were a commissioner.

Do they have a background in social care?

If I met one, the first question I would ask is: “what do you see as the advantages of removing someone with autism and/or learning difficulties from their home and putting them in an alien, clinical environment for an unspecified (usually very long. The NAO report yesterday said that the average time spent in in-patient settings is 17 years) period?

Then I’d like to ask…

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Sit Down, Stand up.

'A great fighter for liberation of humanity'

‘A great fighter for liberation of humanity’

 

During the last century, when I moved up to ‘big school’ (as it was termed) we had a headmaster who spoke a great deal of setting a personal, good example to others.

He had been orphaned when quite young and, indeed, had done well to reach an esteemed position of trust and influence. The school grew and, accordingly, so did his remuneration. He told us about his big house, lay preaching and general superiority in face of adversity. A very proud man. We didn’t like him but that didn’t matter, he liked himself enough for all of us. Continue reading