Politics of Fear

While listening to the radio last week I learned that I am a member of the paranoid liberal bourgeoisie. Well there you go. News to me. Maybe I should be wearing a PLB badge to alert others to my sensitivities.

Apparently I am so designated because I do not think the UK parliament should be ditching the Human Rights Act in favour of a British Bill of Rights. I prefer to live in a country that respects humna rights of all people, and makes it as easy as possible for anyone whose human rights are infringed to be heard here at home rather than having to head for Strasbourg, with all the expense that entails.

And repealing one act, and replacing it with an another will not be cheap either. I thought the government wanted to save money, not profligately spend it because David Cameron doesn’t agree that prisoners should have the right to vote. Apparently the thought makes him feel physically sick. There are any number of things Dave and his chums get up to that make me fell physically sick, but I don’t expect the Exchequer to fork out to stop them. If only it would.

So for those of you confused about the HRA, this might help. It does not, as misreported in a certain paper mean that a man who held police at bay could demand KFC and the police had to supply it or his rights would have been breached. When the day dawns, as I hope it will, when animals have to be raised in humane environments, KFC will probably cease to exist. While I am on the animal bit, how many of you have signed the petition to stop the puppy farm breeding Beagles for experimentation that Dave has approved? Come on now. It’s not that hard. Or opposed the relaxation on hunting with hounds (also Beagles) meaning foxes will now be legally chased to exhaustion and torn apart in the name of sport. For all we hear that hunting is about controlling foxes, if you grew up in the country as I did, you learn that foxes are often nurtured just so that the local hunt can have the pleasure of killing them.
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Saying Thank-You

The motto of Guy’s Hospital near London Bridge is Dare Quam Accipere – It is Better to Give than to Receive. At a future date I might get around to explaining how Guy’s, and that motto, came about, but right now I want to talk about how, the other day, I had the chance to put the motto into sort of practice at another hospital in the trust – St Thomas’.

I was discharged from Tommy’s a while back. It started with my broken wrist, and the wonderful folk in A&E;  post surgery, I met the equally wonderful team at the fracture clinic; when they were done with me, I moved on to hand therapy.

My wrist continues to improve, though the cold weather, as the physiotherapist warned me, has brought new aches. Still, it’s an amazing outcome when you look at my x-rays.

So I wrote cards and bought fancy biscuits and headed back to the hospital. At A&E, I was hardly through the door before someone looked up and asked if they could help me. When I explained my mission and handed over card and biscuits, her stunned expression told me how rarely patients make that return journey to this department to thank the staff for their care at a critical moment.

It was a similar story in the fracture clinic. Hand therapy seemed more familiar with the idea, which made me reflect on how that was the only department of the three where I had an idea of when I would be discharged.

I left and walked onto Westminster Bridge filled with a warm fuzzy glow. On the bridge, I met these folk:


Mitford International: Nancy Amnesty

It was Nancy Mitford who led me to join Amnesty International. Not personally; she didn’t grasp my hand and suggest, in that cut glass Mitford accent, that I should check it out.

I read her novels and that led to reading about the Mitfords and Jessica Mitford’s autobiographical books, Hons and Rebels, and A Fine Old Conflict. After that, it wa a step to The American Prison Business. This was shelved in Guildford library with other books about penal systems, so I moved on to accounts of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment, and Diary of A Chilean Concentration Camp. This last book described the horrors of the author’s incarceration in a matter-of-fact way that did more than any emotionally charged reports to appall and shock me. Continue reading

Troy Davis Executed

“The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace.” Troy Davis

I didn’t hear the news until mid-morning, and I was staggered to learn that this man had been executed, despite the doubts around his conviction.

Troy Davis’ last words were dignified and hopeful. That is more than can be said of the manner of his execution, or the authorities who sanctioned it.