Friday, 24 March 2017

On the attacks on London

I suppose I might as well start by saying this was not a post I was expecting to make today by both topic and also by virtue of not being in the twice monthly publishing cycle of this blog.
It also is is by grim coincidence almost exactly a year on from one of the pre-paused posts on here where I talked about the Brussels terrorist attacks and the impact on us all.
On Tuesday March 22 at approximately 14:40 hours GMT, two people drove a 4x4 vehicle down Westminster Bridge, London into the sidewalk killing three people and injuries scores of others, some very seriously. 
Having realized they couldn't continue, they crashed into a railing near Parliament, killing one police officer before one dashed toward Parliament itself, stabbing to death a security person before being shot dead by police
That takes us to five persons currently dead from this incident which is clearly terrorist related.
The affected are of many nationalities, not just Britishers, but include French schoolchildren, an American tourist and so on so it has touched many people around the world and we know that the people of Canada, Australia, New Zealand with the reminder of the Commonwealth, the leaders of our European neighbours such as France, Belgium and Germany, our great ally, the United States of America and many others are thinking of us and are together as one at this terrible time.
Five dead and scores injured can never be be justified and are 'too many' but it has to be said we have a lot to thankful of such as the speed the police, emergency services were on the deal keeping people safe and treating those who could.
Parliament wasn't stormed. Politicians, staff and visitors including children were kept safe.
We owe them all a lot including the two who were killed.
Going forward, we have all resolved to carry on our lives even with more vigilance presently than before getting on with our lives,going to work, Parliament doing its job democracy and freedom upheld for all.
Terrorism WILL NOT prevail over Liberty and Freedom.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Leaving minus part of ones country

Harder, more old school posting today that between the everyday fluff this blog was more noted for that that other one never goes into brought about this weeks Current Affairs.
Getting on for nearly nine months back, we had here in the United Kingdom, a referendum that asked us if we wished to remain in the European Union or if we wished to leave.
Very much a simple tick which of the two boxes you agree with thing although nobody would say the propositions themselves don't have complexities and for some people the final outcome was more a finely balanced judgement than just a straightforward Yes.
Well the one thing we do know know is our Prime Minister will start the formal process of leaving with its discussions by months end having gotten Royal assent Thursday with much arguing around the legality of Government just starting the process and what if any approval by Parliament is required upon the completion of negations by both the United Kingdom's and the European Union's negotiators.
Going back some two and half years ago however Scotland held a referendum of its own about remaining  a member of the United Kingdom or establishing itself as a fully independent state to which the outcome was to remain a part of the United Kingdom by a majority of ten percent.
Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the majority SNP party and First Minister of the Scottish Parliament however has decided  that although it was said to be decided for a generation, the UK exiting the European Union including leaving the Single Market and Customs Union to control migration and make own trading agreements so undermines Scotland that another be held between the Fall of 2018 and Spring 2019 and is pushing a bill through institution to cause it to be considered by the UK House of Commons.
The problem with this is it would be right in the middle of the negotiations for the whole of the UK to leave the EU including any terms that would effect Scottish Interests and these would be helped by the best brains of the Civil Service so not only does this add extra layers on for Scotland, the nature of what may even be agreed under Independence may alter it plus these same 'brains' would not be available for those talks.
Even if all of this were to happen, upon the UK leaving the EU, that would take Scotland out and so it would need to wait in line to apply as itself (there would be no question of 'taking' the UK's place) so for a period Scotland would be outside the EU anyway.
Then, many Scots who do favour independence don't like the EU whose popularity has dropped a lot so mixing the idea of Independence with joining an unliked institution that does usurp some sovereignty may not play out too well.
As well some four-fifths of Scotland's business is with the remainder of the UK and that upon Scotland joining the EU would be effected by the terms  agreed between the remainder of the UK and the EU plus they'd be expected to work toward or adopt outright the Euro as currency that would complicate life for individuals crossing the border and business.
Then the border itself may need fortification being a EU/England+Wales+Northern Ireland one that may require checkpoints, guards and travel documents.
Who is going to pay for that if Scotland votes for independence? The English taxpayer who will be no doubt livid???
 If this question really needs re-examining, on grounds of practicality and giving everyone an informed basis of what life post Brexit would impact everyone including Scots, this really is best left until at least 2020. Maybe as former Prime Minister Brown is suggesting a more overtly federal structure for the whole UK including Scotland is a more realistic option for all of us?
It just smacks of political opportunism rather than a serious attempt to deal with real issues.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Musical gifts

I don't usually make do two consecutive editions on this blog anymore but the timing would be off if I left this until next Saturday so here goes.
I had a birthday recently which was marked on two sites by birthday wishes by friends and did have a few presents that included two cds.
This is a five cd set in the low rent card sleeve in box sort that is very common now in the UK and Europe that has the first five albums this pioneering Sheffield, England "New Romantic" band issued where the card sleeve is an exact replica of the original lp sleeve right down to marking side one and two!
Unlike the remastered editions of the first three from 2006, these discs are just the original lp program with no bonus tracks and having listened to them they have preserved much of the original dynamics in the mastering which is something I was concerned about  ever since my copy of Pleasure One developed 'sticky top' and my copies of the others were downloads of so-so quality.
A worse fate came to my original 1991 copy of this album by the Scottish Band, Big Country, where the disc itself had started to go rusty due to so-called CD Rot and nearly every copy had it!
This edition is the 2016 Deluxe one where you have the whole album plus bonus tracks across two discs and that'll be replacing it.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Let's redefine disability away!

This fortnights edition will be more old school Daytime Office Girl Crisis than what I have published more in the last ten and bit month but inspiration is at hand as the expression might go.
Ever since its introduction, Personal Independence Payments, otherwise called P.I.P.s the gradual replacement for 1992's  Disability Living Allowance, a payment made regardless of employment status to help with costs of maintaining independence and personal dignity has been dogged by controversy from the designed in to lose 20% of existing DLA claimants element, movements in who gains what levels of payment, reducing the unable or virtually unable to walk criteria for around 200 yards to under 50 and so on.
The consensus among disabled people and many in charity sector has been that this while potentially offering a higher payout to a few was rather more about reducing the total claimant bill fitting in with more the idea of medical adaptions and technology reducing the disabling impact to those of us who are disabled while rather ignoring how this was to be funded by the individual in an era of reduced grants and local government provided support.
Well the proverbial hit the fan this weekend when a assistant of the Prime Minister started to talk about keeping P.I.Ps for "genuine disabled" not people sitting at home taking pills.
What he was alluding to were to court decision against the governments criteria that said they needed to consider conditions such as social anxiety where a person may be unable to go say to a doctors appointment or get the shopping in so that a person may go with them on on their behalf as say a carer that was estimated to increase the bill somewhat.
Part of the problem was his wording which as a someone who has invisible disabilities such as memory issues and social anxiety as well as learning and physical ones is offensive implying that what we have isn't interfering in regular everyday life to the point it disables us taking us back the days of only physical  or sensory disabilities being accepted and all else not visible being treated with suspicion  or widespread ridicule.
The other is many physical conditions may be part managed by pills at home such as painkillers, some many not manage weight issues that make things worse for themselves but they're exempted from any similar consideration. And why the rush to shut down this widening of the criteria?
Many us feel the buzz word "sustainability" in the context of sustainable disability welfare payments really means paying the least to the fewest consistent with relatively low taxation plans.
The minister tried to suggest care packages as delivered by Care Trusts would provide what these people need but there's no indication how many of these people would get anything like the same care and how  with shrinking health and council budgets with a political imperative to deal with the frail elderly to avoid so-called "bed blocking" at hospitals how much of these funds would be spend on people of working age requiring considerable support.
That policy measure doesn't actually justify in itself the attempt to reduce the type of disabilities P.I.Ps are supposed to help promote personal independence for.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Eleven years of blogging

Eleven years today, blogging began here on what became Daytime Office Girl Crisis when indeed I was working as that office girl trying to balance  parts of my life while living in a social media free environment where Angels and a Music Forum were pretty much the only online essentials in my life with anything else bookmarked, more looked at  if I had a spare moment.
Home computing for me was in its infancy, having only just gotten DSL broadband, the computer itself was big, warm and really not that good for using for hours at a stretch so I'd only look between forum posts for clues on why I felt different than most people and  some sites just were uncomfortable so you skip past the hopping from link to link.
Early posts tended to reflect that site preference as I posted about fashion, odd topics that came up on the Angels site, what femininity meant and then take a swing toward posting about movies, anime and yes music  cos music did and still does mean a lot to me apart from being a cross-site unifying thing.
It wasn't too long before things got more complicated as I started to look at topics like what it means when you are younger than your years , that you enjoy some of those experiences because they help you deal with life.
All of which would be fine other than some people get totally the wrong idea about or feel in some way uncomfortable with you for just being you in their spot as if having a condition that places my functioning in more that area anyway I had any real choice only to hide it away.
But then that came at point of huge emotional turmoil and more burying bones wasn't going to help as part of those problems stemmed from the mis-match between my functioning age and perceived more adult sophistication.  I had to slowly come out at Angels, hoping people their could at least try to understand and accept it as much as I avoided pushing it in their faces, still trying to fit in as best I could.
Over that period I found more of that side of me, exploring it, finding a place that was more calm backwater off the beaten track talk more about it and finally came out face to face with people letting the whole me out so I felt more complete, having fun.
That took us around to the question of what this blog was about as so much of my life slotted in my more littles one which in some ways a place to talk about some more adult topics from time to time and how my other side slots in although it won't be published quite as often as it used to.
I did think at one point last year that this blog while not being removed was going to be more parked for posterity but events have shown a need, albeit a reduced one instead for it and with that we mark it's eleventh year of publication.
We're celebrating that with a change of avatar that reflects the whole me, the one that mixed an interest in current affairs and more serious matters with play together with the likes as I had then as one whole package.
Thanks Angels.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

That boarding school girl - a critique


I suppose the very first thing to say is writing a critique is not something I am accustomed to, not being a skill taught at my boarding school but having read That Boarding School Girl, I am able to make some comment upon the story and the style used by Dorita Fairlie Bruce.
One aspect of her writing style in this story and that of her Nancy at St.Brides is the way she describes the relationships in more full, personal way of the Sixth form, from whom the prefects are selected to that of the girls in form Vb and the maintenance of personal friendships.
There is a strong element of Protestant Christian morality running in terms how they girls behaviour is judged, the work ethic where Nancy raises the average of the form and also in the redemption of her moral character following her leaving St Brides after a number of serious incidents and of breaches of school rules.
In many ways, the message one gets is that honest hardworking endeavour as explorfied in her putting aside personal pleasure to ensure she is at the top of her subjects, that she does not let down herself, her Aunt and Grandmother.She redeems herself though hard work even if stubborn over not revealing just why she feels she has to work so hard and why St. Brides and her departed company even if it would of been better understood for being open about it.
Dorita touches on inter school feuds, a not uncommon fact of school life, and how the one between Maudsley, Nancy’s  school and of neighbouring  Larkiston while seen by some as tradition worth preserving had become both increasingly out of control with children being hurt and also losing any real meaning. Toward the end of of the book where the Head is able to bring a inter school cricket match between the two, you can see establishing a proper arena for such matters to be settled works.
Connected with this the idea of the moral and physical improvement through Guildry - the setting and in specting of  standards, of teaching first aid and nutrition and moral education is shown as a guild is established at Maudsley but off the premises and it is open to Larkiston children. Part of the aim was to bring together both sets of children and build bridges helping to end the feud.
Nancy through this term comes on from the unsocialized impulsive and immature for her age girl that was asked to leave St Brides to one who is beginning to mature, becoming an asset not least in the final pages where Charity Sheringham, whose hand was cut and strapped up unable to compete in the inter school cricket, is replaced by Nancy who leads the team to a memorable draw.
What makes these stories different and the more important in the canon of Girls Only fiction, having read Nancy at St. Brides too, is her use of biblical and literary  allusions together with more stretching vocabulary than many, being almost a junior fiction for the advanced reader that makes for a most rewarding read.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Reflections on a away visit

I've been away for a number of days in connection with that all encumbering part of my life that I don't really need to write a large account of here other than it's so very much the me I've been talking about for the  last ten months or so about here.
There are some reflections I do feel the need to talk about about on here one is learning to be grateful for what people freely do for you such as seeing I was struggling at one railway station a couple kindly offered to help carry my luggage and even checked when I got to the end of the stairwell I was all right who I no idea of.
There's the people who kept an eye on me as I was feeling a little homesick where I stayed, spending time with and the friend who knowing the sort of fiction I like, gave me a cherished book from their collection.
Then there is a friend of mine who kindly put me up, offering a cooked meal and a lift to the train coming back completely out of the blue, seeing I was on the right platform for my train to come in.
These acts of kindness really moved me but whereas in the past I'd of blocked out my emotions I thanked them properly for all those things they did not have to do,that I have no right to expect nor demand expressing my gratitude, revealing my sense of being humbled openly.