Springingtiger's Blog


April

April: https://youtu.be/vJPR6NxUSOg
NaPoWriMo has started and so here is my first serious poem of the month. This morning I flippantly posted one of my Twitterverses also called ‘April’ so I’ll give you both. One thing I notice from reading my poems out loud is that I have a slight speech impediment evident on my ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ sounds. I hope you don’t find it too annoying.

April (Twitterverse)
April begins today.
Until the start of May,
Every day I shall write
A poem, possibly shite,
For this #NaPoWriMo
And for a YouTube show.

April
April lies before me like a blank page
From which I look up unto the grey hills;
Where from, if I could, I would take the rocks
And cover my paper with cold brown soil,
And the bare claws of winter trees that snag
The softly weeping clouds that heavy hang,
Over shivering, slowly birthing, Spring.
Without my window spring signs of new life
Shyly in my winter ravaged garden.
Daffodils blossoming and new shoots show
Where last year’s bulbs have slept out the winter.
Cautiously returning with steady step,
Ere exuberant onrush of summer
Fills the beds with a chaos of colour.
But the hills do not whisper to me, words;
Nor to thought do trees give punctuation.
Poems cannot write themselves and so
April lies before me, still a blank page.

https://youtu.be/vJPR6NxUSOg



Selma and Scotland

Recently I went to the cinema to see ‘Selma’ the story of the 1965 campaign to allow African Americans to register to vote in the State of Georgia and of the march from Selma to Montgomery. This was not a campaign for the legal right to vote, Black people had already won that, but to prevent African Americans from unfairly being prevented from registering to vote. Some people today belittle the vote, however without being registered to vote one cannot be empannelled on a jury and so, in the courtrooms of the American South, Blacks were denied a jury of their peers because only Whites could sit on a jury, there being few registered Black voters. As we have seen in this country on women’s rights legislation is one thing, enforcement another.

Watching the discussion of the obstacles that local authorities placed in the way of Black voter registration showed how easily people of ill will can frustrate justice. The scene where Oprah Winfrey’s character was prevented ,yet again, from registering reminded me of the pettiness and maliciousness of the DWP and ATOS staff who enact Con/Dem coalition policies that target the poor and disabled, imposing sanctions and driving people to depend on foodbanks or resort to suicide. In LB Johnson we saw how politicians can frustrate progress from a desire not to upset voters, and in George Wallace, chillingly portrayed by Tim Roth, we saw the deliberate manipulation of legal loopholes to further personal prejudice. I found the scene in which J Edgar Hoover proposed to LBJ that they could kill Martin Luther King before they decided instead to try and destroy his marriage morally abhorrent. The Kings were subject for years to surveillance and harassment and then to cap it all Coretta Scott King was sent tapes of her husbands affairs. Perhaps my favourite moment of the film was when despite the despicable activities of the FBI she chose to forgive King and stand beside him in his hour of need, a more appropriate film for Valentine’s Day than ’50 Shades of Grey’!

In Selma people were prepared to be beaten and jailed for the right to vote, people were killed by racists both before and after the march to Montgomery, people put the right to be fully human before the right merely to survive. I remember after Nelson Mandela’s release when Black South Africans were allowed to vote for the first time watching old people, some in their nineties, queing for days to cast their vote for the first time. It is less than a century since we won universal suffrage in the United Kingdom and people struggled, fought and died for the vote, in the Twentieth Century women were beaten, jailed, force fed, and even killed campaigning for the right to vote. Our vote allows us to be fully members of our society. To people like Russell Brand, who belittle the vote, I say, “How dare you, people died for this vote? People suffered, people without your comfortable wealth suffered and fought for this vote. People struggled so that in 1945, just seventy years ago, the working people of Britain could return a government that established the welfare state and the NHS. It is by voting that we can hope to return a government that will prevent the destruction of the Welfare state and inaugurate a fairer electoral system, although that will entail ensuring the alliance of SNP, PC and Greens hold the balance of power in Westminster. It should also be remembered that the alternative to reform won peacefully through the ballot box is revolution.Your right to vote matters, your vote matters, don’t piss away what has been so dearly won, vote in May!



I Choose Not To Be Depressed

Why would I now find myself on the verge of sinking into another depression? It seems to have been started by last Sunday’s meltdown. I firmly believed I got my life under control, Kinetic Chain Release had broken my susceptibility to loud noises and my blue glasses, to photosensitivity; they also help me read pages without jumping backwards and forward and recognise faces as a whole rather than as a collection of pieces. I was in control and my meltdown stripped away any illusion of control.

I like to feel in control, I may know it’s really an illusion, but as long as I’m not reminded of that reality I am happy. I have invested so much energy to construct the illusion of control, that when it’s stripped away I find myself wondering why I bothered. The other big problem is that, because the illusion was constructed to prevent depression, when the illusion goes, the possibility of sinking into depression returns and so does the memory of being depressed. It is the memory of depression that makes suicide attractive.

However I must also accept that every time I have been depressed I have come through it. I know I have a pattern of recovery from depression. It occurs to me the language of depression is the language of powerlessness. If I say ‘I have been depressed’ I am saying SOMETHING depressed me. When the dread of powerlessness is so poignant it is little wonder depression is so dreadful! I am reminded of the Richard Bandler question, ‘How do you do being depressed?’ It turns the language of depression on its head and tells me I can only be depressed because I am doing ‘being depressed’. But I feel depressed. However 5 Banks would stay that those feelings just indicate that there is something wrong with my thinking. The most important thing is that I am still in a place where I can take action and I have the tools to do so. I choose not to do being depressed!



Bracken’s Response (to a Labour Party that has lost its people)

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A friend of mine who lives in England received a request from the Labour Party for help or donations to win the Scots from Independence. I copied her reply because it is a powerful response from an English Labour supporter, and former member of many years, who opposes her former party’s stance on Scottish independence. It puts a lie to the myth that Labour is united in its opposition to Scottish independence, and she speaks with the voice of the Labour left who feel excluded and betrayed by the party they love. Labour was once the party of ordinary people made extraordinary by their solidarity and passion for justice, this letter shows that passion is still alive; it also shows that in England, as in Scotland, the traditional supporters of Labour are divided from a Labour leadership that has lost touch, not only with its own supporters, but with the principles upon which it was
founded.

“I read your correspondence and hope you will read my response.

I support the right of the people of Scotland to express their preferences about the future governance of their country  in a referendum. Living in England and having an interest in politics I have formed my own view of the forthcoming referendum. However, I believe in self determination – and it is up to Scotland to make the choice.

I have heard Labour Party spokespeople comparing a possible yes outcome to a divorce. Perhaps Scotland will vote to leave the union because they have been treated so poorly within the union. The Labour Party must take some responsibility for that.

I note that polls have indicated that many people who voted Labour in the last general election intend to vote Yes in the referendum. I wonder, given this fact, why  Labour Party MPs  arrive in Scotland to campaign for a NO vote rather than having the humility to listen to the concerns of the people in an impartial manner.

I do not think people are impressed by MPs absenting themselves from Westminster and neglecting to hold the Prime Minister to account on our behalf in order to lecture the Scots on how they should vote.

I  feel badly let down by the Labour Party, when in power they took us into an illegal war and in the run up to the forthcoming general election the leadership have promised to retain spending cuts.

I oppose further nuclear power stations and want to see the country acting to implement their obligation to nuclear disarmament from the treaty we signed. It seems clear to me that Labour is wedded to the retention and so the consequent cost of maintaining Trident- this will be a major fact in my decision when casting my vote next year.

I look at the way the Party responds to US demands for action over ISIS and sanctions over the situation in the Ukraine and the slow and inadequate response to the ongoing situation in Palestine.

I wondered if the photo of Ed with the Sun was photo shopped- but no, it was real – what an insult to the families of the Hillsborough victims who are still fighting for justice.

Almost every week the leadership, or sometimes the lack of it, gives me another reason to look for a different party or candidate to vote for.

I couldn’t help but compare the  influx of English Labour  MPs into Scotland with their relative lack of presence in supporting marchers who walked 300 miles to raise their concerns about the NHS.

I have a lot of respect and time for a small but  dwindling number of Labour Party MPs who do their best to represent and help their electorate whilst  staying  true to those who first established the party and the values and principles they held.

A UDA camp has been established outside the police station in Rotherham and today our region witnessed the spectacle of rival far right groups coming to blows in Rotherham; a town which has been pretty solidly Labour for all of my lifetime.

Labour representative have failed young people there for decades. The vacuum left by disillusionment  with the Labour Party has produced an alarming and dangerous situation which will lead to further alienation from the political process and serious tensions between different groups in the town.

I see little evidence of any sense of urgency from the Labour Party to tackle the situation.

So no – I don’t wish to donate to your work on the Scottish referendum but I will continue to make donations to assist people and organisations here and overseas who strive to defend services  like the NHS and who provide humanitarian help to those who are suffering as a result of military action and the failure of the international community to defend them for example in Gaza.”

I hope that when you read this it will remind you that the working people of England are not our enemies and their struggles are ours. Our freedom from English rule should not separate us from the English working class, or indeed the workers of any nation, but should rather be a pledge to stand beside them their struggles, as they have stood beside us.

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Ninety Seven Percent (thoughts inspired by the Tony Benn film)

Ninety Seven percent, 97%!
In Scotland, in the run up to the independence referendum we have got ninety seven percent of those eligible to vote registered on the electoral roll, experts are predicting a turnout of over eighty percent for the first time since 1951. However Scotland votes on the eighteenth of September we have an almost unprecedented opportunity to promote popular engagement in the political process, or to put it another way, get ordinary folk involved.

Last night I went to see the Tony Benn film, “Will and Testament” which was followed by a question and answer session. Needless to say a member of the No campaign tried to cheapen Tony’s legacy by reducing the evening to “would Tony vote no?” and ignoring the lessons the film contains about democracy, public ownership, misuse of resources, nuclear weapons, colonialism, capitalism. I squashed the attempt by saying, “The point is not whether we vote Yes or no, but whether we put power back into the hands of the ordinary people of Scotland!” I personally believe that it does matter that we vote Yes, and that a Yes vote will best increase democratic engagement among Scots, but I have too much respect for Tony Benn to misuse an occasion like the screening of his film.

I must admit I was annoyed to see the No camp trying to co-opt Tony Benn to their cause when they are, in many ways, opposed to his views.
Tony stood against nuclear weapons the no campaign wants to keep them and continue to squander resources on them.
Tony set up an oil fund to use North Sea oil for the benefit of the people, but the Unionist parties of Westminster plundered the oil to support financial misbehaviour and to subsidise banks. The YES campaign supports an oil fund. The NO campaign does not.
The YES campaign wants finances to be managed responsibly, whereas No campaign parties are opposing European legislation to cap bankers bonuses to fifty percent of their salary.
Tony Benn stood for social justice, the Yes campaign is committed to preserving the European Community Human Rights legislation and the Court of Justice; No campaign parties have announced they intend to repeal the Human Rights Act and withdraw as a signatory of ECHR. Why? Because the Human Rights legislation provides protections to workers, refugees and minority groups from abuse and exploitation.
Tony stood for social justice and equality, the United Kingdom is more socially and economically divided today than it has been for half a century and the Unionist parties are committed to perpetuating this inequality, even the Labour Party has promised continue the Tory austerity measures and so we will see queues outside food banks some time to come of we allow them to continue.

Tony Benn would be delighted by the level of political involvement in Scotland at the moment, across all levels of society. I was leafleting for YES in Springburn when a little afro-caribbean boy said he’d take one into his house, he stood halfway into his house and read the leaflet. As I came back past his house he asked me, “How old do you need to be to vote?”, sadly I replied, “sixteen, sorry.” and his little face fell. It reminded me of news reports of black South Africans queuing to vote for the first time and of just how precious a privilege it is to have a vote. However the vote may go, NOW is the time to to build democracy in Scotland! The people of Scotland have tasted the possibility of power; whichever side wins the vote, if they fail to move government closer to the people they will be guilty of a terrible betrayal. There is no evidence that a No vote will bring power to the ordinary people, indeed yesterday we saw William Hague assuring Conservative MPs that the promises of more powers for the Scottish Parliament, made by the party leaders, carried no more weight than election promises and are not policies. A YES vote begins a process of democratic involvement such as these islands have never seen, as we build a new country, with a new constitution, enshrining human rights and bringing government close to the people neglected for too long by a distant parliament in another country.



Crystal Jigsaw: PSHE – The Lesson They Should Ban
June 28, 2014, 16:44
Filed under: autism, disability, Parenting, Politics | Tags: , ,

http://crystaljigsaw.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/pshe-lesson-they-should-ban.html?m=1

I don’t often reblog other people’s posts, but this is a real problem. The school appears, in my opinion, not only to be encouraging promiscuity, but making girls with special needs vulnerable to exploitation.



Lego and Free Thought

When, yesterday, I shared my Lego Brick Planner, a system to introduce structured flexibility into scheduling, a friend told me to patent it. However as I said to her I will not. I don’t believe in the ownership of ideas, but in sharing them. It may be argued that by publishing I have established intellectual ownership; if I own the idea I can do with it what I will and I will share it.

Despite all the infighting and arguments I still like to think of those affected by autism spectrum disorders as a community and communities share. There are too many people who seek to profit from the misfortunes of others, who exploit the desperation of parents; there are too many who see autism as a source of income rather than an opportunity to serve people. I have received help and support from the community, I chose to give back. If someone uses my. Lego system to help people and earns money by doing so, I will not begrudge it, but no one owns this, it is a free idea, an Open Source thought.

Lego, quite rightly, owns the copyright on Lego products. However what they do not, nor do they try, is to own the creativity Lego inspires. I use a kitchen timer to divide my day, the timer only goes up to an hour. I use My Daily Greatness Journal, it has a daily planner that divides a day into half hours, as do most paper schedulers. Can I help it if I saw these regular units of time as Lego bricks, and if, when they became bricks, they became interchangeable. Lego is about creativity, you can use the colours of the bricks, you can move a mini figure from day to day as your week progresses to keep track of the days (Batman is good),. You might want to go to the Lego store and make mini figures to represent significant people you  meet regularly and put them on the days you are going to meet them. Lego is about creativity, the Lego Brick Planner is about creating a visual tool to plan your day and to accommodate changes to your schedule less painfully. It works for me because it is visual and kinesthetic, it won’t work for everyone, but everyone is free to try it. Me, I’m going to develop it further because that’s the NLP way, “What else can I do with this?” as Richard Bandler would ask.

I have to say I am delighted with the response from the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (if you haven’t already, buy the book, it’s very useful). This is what community is about, sharing, and Lego, and Dr. Who, and the National Railway Museum in York and it can all be plotted with colored (American spelling in honor of TPGA) bricks. I’m in an awfully good mood today happy, happy, happy…that gives me another idea for my colored bricks!




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