My two disabled computers

Just before Easter, both my computers were put out of action in retaliation for not keeping my mouth shut about what has been going on locally (the shit coming from local 4chan folks etc).

This sort of thing had happened before.

I removed the batteries and all that to clear any possible shit that way but I had noticed over the years that there is always too much space on my harddisks that I can’t access and for which there’s no reason.

No legitimate reason, that is.

The same people who pick my locks can also simply plug a USB stick into my computers and start them up to do all sorts of shit to them.

Any OS that I download doesn’t have to be clean either, of course, as it may well be provided by these local 4chan and 8chan jokers.

Yesterday, I was suddenly able to reinstall my old OS and that struck me as highly suspicious. With good reason, as it turns out.

I’ll see what I can do.

Portsmouth essentially is one big Mafia organisation. Portsea Island is like Sicily, perhaps? I’ve never been to Sicily.

I know what is in that locked-off bit of HD.

Not having access to clean machines SUCKS! I am not aware of even one clean computer in Portsmouth at the moment. Not one.

(I knew of one, but the pandemic has made it disappear. In the second half of 2016, I discovered 3 that had not been hacked into yet; they then soon were, too, because someone figured out where I had managed to apply for JSA.)

12:13
Installed a different OS, which I first tried two days ago, after I had managed to get it to install via accessing and preparing the harddisk first via another portable OS first. (Yesterday afternoon, I tried my old OS, but that did not leave me happy.) But two days ago, I could update the current one after installation. Now I am told “page not found”.

This time, I had about 17 Gig acting up during the prep, but the second OS seemed to install fine… and I seemed to have the entire hard disk available. So that‘s likely not it.

What this may be is a joker at a provider blocking my access to the updates. Or maybe I made a mistake somewhere. (I did one thing differently. Who knows.)

Whatever it is, I will sort it out.

9.06pm: Yep, nope, the computer won’t connect to updates. This is linked to me having lost the internet connection after I called the police yesterday evening and with private DNS.

I noticed some time ago that the latter was getting messed with and already years ago, messing with my DNS settings was how I ended up on someone else’s network, after which I had open ports when I finally managed to get myself off that person’s network.

So yes, the 4chan/8chan folks are still at it.

What is so immensely mean about it is that they first plunge you into the deepest poverty so that you can no longer defend yourself against these criminals.

Then they make sure that you stay in that poverty and can’t make a dime and can’t move away either… 100% access and control.

Vile.

9:26pm: my phone had been really got for a long time until I typed this bit. Conclusion: hacker wasn’t sure that he had really blocked off this bit of internet access?

Most of this hacking shit tends to coincide with someone else’s presence in this building, just like a lot of other stuff. I’m sure it is merely all a coincidence, each instance of this.

But in a town as hateful towards women as Portsmouth, everyone is okay with this immensely vile shit.

yep, he is back and my phone is getting hot again

What do I do with this? Kill the guy? I may have to. No other options left.

4chan? 8chan? What’s that?

Search the web!

Yes, folks.

I’ve said it before, more or less jokingly. Didn’t really think that it could really be the case, I suppose. Because it would be so utterly stupid.

But I’ve been highly critical of this movement, too. For years. They are nowhere near the benevolent force for good that some people mistake them for.

These are folks who want to be feared.

It’s not an organisation, either. It’s not organised, at all. It’s a very loosely connected mass movement of people who hang out not only online but offline as well.

There are good people in it and there are bad people in it and they sometimes carry out good things but they are also into a lot of really bad sinister shit. I consider them as being mostly about hate. Dumb blind hate.

It explains why over the years I have gotten so many different explanations for what’s been going on, including that it was my business name that had brought this upon me.

It explains it all. Everything.

Every aspect of it.

(Phone gets hot again.)

About a month ago, someone who is tied into this shit too, one way or another, mentioned them. As the solution to my problem. But in a really off way.

Here’s the thing.

This had happened before.

It also explains why years ago, I was suddenly told “You’re actually a really nice woman” after which I thought “No shit, Sherlock!” but that the hate against me continued relentlessly nevertheless.

That’s because that particular person may well have stopped hassling me from that point onward but everyone else continued.

It explains why a Dutch IT person or hacker or whatever suddenly sent me a computer drawing of a train platform with a retractable ramp for users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Came completely out of nowhere. It seemed to be intended to be helpful.

An artwork of dark and light? I’ll say! More dark than light, though. A lot more dark. And more fingers and penises than brain cells?

It explains it all. Everything. Every goddamn aspect of it, of what’s been happening to me, the vicious shit that has been done to me, and why I don’t seem to be able to get rid of this stuff no matter where I go.

Consider this: I didn’t actually know anyone in England! So how else could I have drawn this to me? Why else did I also get really bizarre things in my life like being invited to online professional networks where I then receive lots of messages… For example from… babies. The kind that is literally in diapers.

It may even explain that when I wanted to install OpenBSD, trying to get around the non-stop interference, none of the books about UNIX were on their shelf at the public library, but they had not been checked out. It explains why any OS or anything else I download is potentially already tainted.

In my opinion, what Anonymous does is mostly malicious. They don’t want to be seen as doing good, they want to be seen as powerful, a force to be reckoned with and to be feared.

“anything goes”

The so-called good that they do is too often about attacking things and people on the basis of rumours, without any due diligence, and with very little consideration for possible consequences.

Think attacking a nuclear power plant on a whim because they don’t like the woman – or country – that runs it, wanting to make her – or it – look bad or just put the power plant out of action.

Plant explodes, doing a great deal of damage to several countries. This sort of dumb shit. Oops.

No, they have not literally done this yet, but they’ve done similar stupid shit. Oops, wrong person. Oops, it wasn’t all quite what we thought was going on. Oops, wrong country whose government websites we put out of action. Or right country but the problem isn’t actually its government. Oops.

These are also lots of neonazi’s, QAnon folks and so on in this movement. Incels, too. All thrown together with no real coordinator. Just drivers, gas pedals and fingers.

They’re an uncoordinated crowd. Of people who work at banks, internet providers, power companies and so on and so forth.

And apparently this movement is quite massive?

Here’s something about QAnon that explains how this kind of mass bullshit works:

https://www.independent.co.uk/tech/what-is-qanon-b1790868.html

None of it has anything whatsoever to do with who I am. It’s all happening in the basis of utter bullshit nonsense that gets spread around by these types of movements. Doesn’t matter who you are, has nothing to do with who or what you are. Anyone and anything can grab their attention and the whole thing can then spin totally out of control.

Here is another example of how this stupid bullshit works:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamergate_(harassment_campaign)

In a similar position? Need new lock or spyhole?

In the past, I have asked a local locksmith to advise me regarding the lock-picking.

The first time I went by, I had looked online first. I walked over. There was nobody in the store. I called out a few times, waited 15 minutes, then left again.

The second time I went by, I was able to make an appointment. During this appointment, I was told that I should not be turning my flat into a prison and the information that my locks were being picked all the time was ignored.

I was advised to upgrade one lock. This lock, however, is still fairly easy to pick and I later upgraded its cylinder to a high-security lock.

All locks are pickable, but some take much longer to pick and most lock-pickers are familiar with only a few. They practice on these types of locks at home. There is a lock-picking American lawyer on YouTube. Many hackers are also lock-pickers. You can learn that from watching a few DefCon videos on YouTube. They also often know things like how to walk up to a person from behind without the person noticing it until the last second.

If you need new locks or want a spyhole fitted (or a safe, which I should have had from the day I moved into my current flat), look into the “Hampshire Bobby Scheme”. It’s not cops but volunteers who help for example disabled people and people who are over 65. It’s by the Blue Lamp Trust.

This is part of the information I was given by the CAB yesterday.

You don’t get this kind of information from the police.

Shame on you, Britain…

750,000 cancer patients in Britain can’t afford to live.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/apr/29/cost-of-living-crisis-forces-uk-cancer-patients-to-cut-back-on-food-and-heating

My mother suffered with cancer for many years and I remember going to shops for her to get her foods that she wanted, such as peaches. She wanted them to be still fairly green. And thinly sliced “rosbief” (roast beef) and “rookvlees” (smoked meat) but not from horses but from cows. (I also remember a butcher telling me that I was a cow when I explained this. Not my problem as long as I got what I wanted. One looks darker, btw.)

She died when I was 14 and my sisters 11 and 8.

My mother never ever had to go through anything even remotely approaching England’s immense deep poverty. Both she and my dad had little more than a primary school education.

Shame on you, Britain. One third of your population is living in poverty. 450,000 of those are cancer patients.

Where do you get the gall from to look down your heartless stoic noses at all other countries in the world and assess them as inferior to Britain?

You’re about to vote again, on the fifth. Not all of you but many of you, in England and Wales. For your local councils.

5 May is liberation day in my home country.

Are you going to vote for more of this again, as usual? Are you going to vote for more deprivation for you and your loved ones?

Yes, real smart. Utterly superior.

(I no longer have any photos of my mother, hence the generic cancer patient pic.)

I vote Green Party. The party’s name is very unfortunate. I agree. Everyone thinks that the Green Party stands for beating climate change and nothing else. Think again.

I have no idea what my parents voted but I do think that they voted. I remember them going out to vote.

England isn’t a country. It’s a torture chamber. You have the power to start changing that.

Make 5 May 2022 liberation day for you too. Don’t vote Conservative or Labour or Lib Dem.

Vote Green Party. Vote for the end of massive deep poverty, for cancer patients and millions and millions of other Brits. Because they deserve better.

I can’t fix Britain. You’ll have to do that all by yourselves. But I can give you hints for how to start fixing it.

People!!!

Here we go again. Why focus on selling a stupid story that looks like it was written by a 10-year-old, together with a few more 10-year-old Tories?

While people are starving?

Far too many UK politicians focus on this kind of puerile bullshit rather than on doing their job.

Stop making these stories sell. Stop turning them into cash cows. Because that’s why they are published.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2022/apr/27/mail-on-sunday-editor-rejects-meeting-with-speaker-over-angela-rayner-story

Also, has it occurred to you that this may have been carefully engineered to distract from Partygate?

The PM jumped on this story a little too eagerly. The same PM who just appears to have changed his hairdo in an attempt to look a little more like a grown-up?

Poverty in practice

Yesterday, I was directed towards a page about pensions for self-employed people (on moneyhelper.org.uk).

Among other things, that page includes the following baffling statement:

“If you earn less than £3,600, you can contribute up to £2,880 to a personal pension and still get tax relief.”

(This tax relief is called the “annual allowance”, it says.)

https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/pensions-and-retirement/tax-and-pensions/the-annual-allowance

‘My son hides bread, afraid there won’t be any food’

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-60972642

You know what this reminds me of, Portsmouth? The day that I discovered that my parrot – now deceased – had been hiding food, worried that there wouldn’t be enough. Must have been 2012 or early 2013. She started screaming when I was cleaning the cage, had been hiding food under the papers on the bottom of the cage.

She was with me for 21 years. That’s the only time I have seen her do that.

I explained to her that I would be getting some money from the Netherlands soon. The period running up to when that happened was very rough, but thankfully, you can explain things to intelligent non-human animals. So that’s what I did. They very often get it, get what you are trying to tell them. It helps.

She was getting on in years and her eyesight was going. I didn’t leave in 2013, after I got the money, because I didn’t want to put her through the immense stress it would cause her. But I still had no idea what Portsmouth is really about, back then. I didn’t know yet that the locks to my flat were constantly getting picked, for example.

In Portsmouth, the war is always on. Practically speaking, it’s a different kind of war than Putin’s war against Ukraine, but it certainly is a war and it is fueled by similar sentiments. I was once informed that what I was going through was like hazing. It’s not. Hazing, how despicable it may be, stops at some point. Portsmouth’s invisible war is always on.

The Portsmouth Lib Dems are totally losing the plot and I was just surrounded by four CIA black ops specialists.

18 March 2022: I’ve meanwhile made a video about the subject of this post.

(Yeah, sure, I try to keep laughing in spite of the fact that my life is a nightmare.)

Yesterday, on 16 March, I received a political communication from someone who is campaigning for the local Lib Dems on issues such as the number of flowers in the planters lining the streets (yes, that is my exaggeration but greening the economy is more than just planting a few trees) or on wasting money on a some people’s laughable objection against street art – complete with a Ghost Busters theme song – and other typical Tory issues and Tony Blair peeves.

Complete non-issues, in other words. I can’t believe it! Was it a spoofed communication, something run off someone’s home printer? I do suspect that that is the case as I just went to check out one issue that had gotten my curiosity.

Let’s do a search.

https://www.portsmouthlibdems.org.uk/fratton_ward_david_fuller

I didn’t know that, but … that is THIS GUY:
https://www.portsmouthlibdems.org.uk/fratton_ward_david_fuller

He’s running in two wards, by the looks of it, Cosham and Fratton, and claims to live in Clive Road. So how can his house in the town of Fareham have been used for sex parties? Well, apparently, he does live in Clive Road and co-owns a house in Fareham that he uses for sex parties. Let’s keep Portsmouth clean and green.

Besides a bunch of what strikes me as typical Tory issues such as recycling food waste instead of preventing it and this in a country where far too many millions of people are rummaging through waste bins in search of food, he also mentions the The Bridge Shopping Centre in his campaign pamphlet.

Apparently, the Lib Dems want Portsmouth City Council to purchase The Bridge. (And then what, people? Then what?)

I’ve had a stand there. (That’s “stall”, in English English.)

On the basis of David Fuller’s pamphlet, I assumed that most of the shops there were empty these days. Curious, I just walked over. To my utter surprise, all the spaces are occupied. There is a beer brewing shop and an indoor golf facility, as well as a jewellers and at least one barber. Even the eatery was still open; I had assumed that it had closed by now.

Sure, the centre is in need of some improvements such as better lighting and it would also benefit greatly from the addition of some live plants such as a few potted palm and Ficus trees and perhaps a pizza stand that sells slice of pizza at the door to give the place an inviting smell. The Fratton Road entrance does not entice anyone to go inside unless they were already planning to do so.

Here in Portsmouth, I voted Lib Dem for years. I am utterly embarrassed by them now.

(Full disclosure: I became a member of the Green Party in May last year but because of the constant hacking and other interference that I am exposed to here in Portsmouth, I can’t do a thing for the Green Party. Also, I don’t want to have to toe anyone’s party line and finding myself forced to make too many compromises.)

As I was walking out of The Bridge, I was suddenly surrounded by four security men in black who wanted me to hand over my phone or delete the images. The issue was so laughable that I asked them if I had accidentally photographed a CIA safe house.

They couldn’t give me any reasons either why I should have to do so.

Fact

Rich people can afford to have money sit in an account.

Poor people can’t.

Poor = having less income than what you need to survive.

19:33: I just went to Asda to see what they still had in terms of food discounted because it was going out of date.

Not much left today.

Things like… TWO COOKIES discounted to £1!

Continue reading

Poor in Portsmouth? Listen up…

I am really annoyed that Boris Johnson is trying to deflect attention from his own mistakes by threatening the meagre incomes of jobseekers on benefits against a background of rising food prices, rising rents and rising energy prices.

How do you counter that? Be smart.

Yes, it’s happened to me in the UK that I applied for a manual labour job that I thought I would actually enjoy and the person in question was suspicious of me, thought that I was somehow trying to pull something on him. Odd, really, because he had a law degree and had also decided to do something very different, involving a lot of manual labour, and start a business that had nothing to do with law.

Poor in Portsmouth? Listen up!

In the second video, I explain why I added that bit about buying Cardano at the end of first video. In the third video, I will tell you why I am telling you about these things.

You can do this kind of stuff – open a Coinbase account and scan your ID, and also do any learn and earn videos and quizzes – at the public library, provided you have one of the newer computers (in the new room at the Carnegie library, for example; many websites no longer work on the older computers, but the scanner is still attached to one of the older computers).

If you need help, ask library staff. If you encounter someone who is a bit reluctant or if it is busy, wait till you can get someone else’s help or until it is less busy. A lot of the staff loves helping you but not everyone does.

THIS IS IMPORTANT:
Do not invest more than £5.

See, the biggest problems with these kinds of things are greed (the fear of missing out aka FOMO) and the fear of losing money.

https://www.coinbase.com/

Yes, lol, there is a little hiccup in this second video but I had already spent about 4 hours on it, was not gonna do more editing on this, and hey, the video is fine as it is. You get the message loud and clear and I found the hiccup even relatively entertaining.

In the third video, I explain why I am telling you about putting £5 into Bitcoin or Ethereum or Cardano. The prices of Bitcoin and Ethereum are so high now that putting money into that is going to feel futile whereas putting money into Cardano (at around 80 pence a piece) makes you feel hopeful. It can help kick you out of feeling powerless.

Yes, I have literally wanted to run away screaming from inside a Tesco once when I noticed several people counting their coins to see what they could afford to buy.

Recently, I have seen these NHS posters that admonish people that they need to keep the temperature indoors at a minimum of 18 degrees Celsius. So many people cannot afford that! Even before the pandemic, and now the inflation and the soaring energy prices, EACH WINTER, tens of thousands of people in Britain were dying because of the consequences of not being able to heat their homes properly, which is far more than in countries with colder climates!

So I am looking for every little way in which I can help change the whopping level of poverty in Britain.

You can do this kind of stuff – open a Coinbase account and scan your ID, and also do any learn and earn videos and quizzes – at the public library, provided you have one of the newer computers (in the new room at the Carnegie library, for example; many websites no longer work on the older computers, but the scanner is still attached to one of the older computers). If you need help, ask library staff. If you encounter someone who is a bit reluctant or if it is busy, wait till you can get someone else’s help or until it is less busy. A lot of the staff loves helping you but not everyone does.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: Do not invest more than £5. The biggest problems with these kinds of things are greed (the fear of missing out aka FOMO) and the fear of losing money.

https://www.coinbase.com/

Busting poverty

One of the first things to do when wanting to bus poverty is to drop all exclusive speech. Otherising language. Phrases such as “those people”. Because it suggests “them, not us”.

I repeatedly tried to join the Green Party’s Poverty Buster session at the Policy Fest this evening but because I attended the Wood Biomass meeting before, I couldn’t. (I kept being told something along the lines of “the host has another meeting in progress”. Had something similar with meeting sessions at the Hastings Center last week.)

I heard “those people” mentioned in one of yesterday’s Policy Fest sessions. It is very human to want to try to distance ourselves from other people’s dire situations – it is human vulnerability – and the phrase “those people” does not even necessarily point at the wish to distance oneself in each case.

That said, the first step towards busting poverty in the UK must be inclusivity. In this video below, I try to explain why.

Sideline critics who aren’t in the game (in defence of SSE and Ovo)

(Link to article in the Guardian below.)

The people who are criticising the advice sent out by SSE have never been there!

Besides the cuddle, which is plain silly, and strikes me as typically English, it’s actually sound advice. And I know what I am talking about.

That said, I don’t agree with the tip to “stick to non-alcoholic drinks” as alcohol opens your veins.

Instead, avoid sugary drinks such as hot cocoa. They tend to mess up your metabolism and make you go warm at first but then make you go freezing cold, and tired. Go for hot soup if you can afford it.

That, of course, is a problem. People stuck in fuel poverty can’t afford soup either. And alcohol doesn’t need to be heated. And you only need a little sip if the alcohol percentage is high enough.

A good fleece blanket to wrap yourself in can also make a major difference. I picked one up, a Christmas blanket at a huge discount, five years ago or so. At Asda.

Putting an emergency foil blanket under the sheets on your bed can also help keep you warm overnight.

If you happen to have a long neck – I do – wrap a scarf around it or wear a turtle neck.

Politicians who admonish the energy company’s advice should take a good look at themselves as it’s the government that is at the root of this problem. “Poverty is a political choice.” (Philip Alston)

Poverty is the result of decisions made by politicians.

Energy certificates that have no relation to reality aren’t helpful either.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/jan/10/do-star-jumps-uk-energy-supplier-sse-criticised-over-keep-warm-advice

Photo by Alesia Kozik on Pexels.com

Why I signed the petition for free meds for 60+ people

I didn’t sign it straight away. I generally do not sign petitions if the cause would merely benefit me without any further background.

But there is a lot of deep poverty in the UK and particularly older adults and poor people tend to struggle with their health, also because their healthcare tends to be of lower quality because of bias.

I think that meds should be free for people of all ages, however.

I also think it’s cruel that young people get lower wages and lower benefits. They don’t get their bread, butter, milk and veggies cheaper because of their age and their utilities and rent aren’t cheaper either.

Dutch PPE scandal


For those of you who consider me too critical of England… The Dutch have a PPE scandal too. One guy (former lobbyist/commentator Sywert van Lienden) made over 9 million euros (30 million, with two partners) on the purchase and sales of 40 million face masks. He sold them to the Dutch government for 100 million euros.

(He apparently initially claimed to be providing the masks “for free” or at cost through a non-profit, while he was in fact making good money.)

(They were not even considered still urgently needed by some at the time.)

He asked the Dutch government to pay 2.52 euro (2.28 and 2.78) while others were selling them at 1.50, including transport and import fees. The Dutch government chose to buy from the seller with the high price. He also sold some at 1.50, to others.

The problem may have been that civil servants have no idea of the market, its fluctuations and of what is a reasonable price and what isn’t.

The price difference may also relate to a difference in quality, however.

The Dutch government is launching an external investigation into the matter.

In the UK, such initiatives are rarely taken by the government but usually by organisations like the Good Law Project which have to take the UK government to court over such matters. You will also note a difference in scale between what happened in the Netherlands and what happened in the UK.

We earlier saw that Dutch civil servants acted very passively with regard to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that is being produced in the Netherlands.

(Gleaned from a quick look at Dutch media.)

Continue reading

I repeat, is your GP about to give your data away?

“The Tories have worked out how to pull off an NHS data grab: do it during a pandemic”

Marina Hyde

“Taking data from patients in England was so unpopular in 2014 it had to be shelved. Now it’s happening without the scrutiny”


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/04/tories-nhs-data-grab-pandemic

See also this, and it includes a petition:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ournhs/legal-threat-sharpens-over-uk-government-plans-harvest-patient-data-gps/

Who spoke these words?

“we are starting to hear some bizarre autarkic rhetoric, when barriers are going up, and when there is a risk that new diseases such as coronavirus will trigger a panic and a desire for market segregation that go beyond what is medically rational to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage, then at that moment humanity needs some government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange, some country ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion, of the right of the populations of the earth to buy and sell freely among each other.”

24 May. Documentary about the pandemic. You may want to watch it.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/may/18/nurse-who-cared-for-boris-johnson-resigns-over-lack-of-respect-for-nhs-workers

After you’ve read that article in the Guardian, about how disgusted Jenny McGee from Invercargill became with how Boris Johnson expressed his gratitude in practice, watch this compilation to see what he said at the time.

(20 May 2021: And then read about the latest revelations, by following the link under the video.)

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/uk-government-blocked-release-of-companies-in-vip-covid-lane/

Settled status is highly unsettling

As I’ve said a few times, EU citizens legally residing in the UK – people who have “settled status” – are now probably the world’s only undocumented legal immigrants and there is no guarantee at all that if I were to travel out of the UK, say, a year from now, I would be let in again.

Think I exaggerate?

Think again.

This kind of incident’s already happened.

And it just happened again. It happened to thousands of people who were told by the Home Office that they currently are not officially legally residing EU migrants in the UK and that the time to apply for settled status is running out while they’ve even had the British nationality for decades.

Now imagine that this kind of hiccup occurs when you happen to be abroad. If having the British nationality does not protect you enough, then having settled status surely means zilch. Because you cannot prove your status if the Home Office software has a hiccup and tells the Customs officer to stop you from entering the country.


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/17/immigration-letter-sent-to-long-term-british-citizens-causes-alarm

And this is not funny either:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/17/handcuffed-detained-denied-medicine-eu-citizens-uk-border-ordeals

UK govt, put the health of people and planet first

Shift to a Wellbeing Economy: put the health of people and planet first

We urgently need the Government to prioritise the health and wellbeing of people and planet, by pursuing a Wellbeing Economy approach. To deliver a sustainable and equitable recovery, the Treasury should target social and environmental goals, rather than fixating on short-term profit and growth.

Sign this petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/580646

Turning inclusivity into semantics

Yesterday evening, I was supposed to take part in a Medact reading group to discuss this paper:
Selvarajah S, Deivanayagam TA, Lasco G, et al Categorisation and Minoritisation BMJ Global Health 2020;5:e004508. Accessible via this link: https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/12/e004508   

BIPOC? BAME? Minoritised? White, black, coloured, Asian?

Otherisation – possibly a term coined by Oxford neuroscientist Kathleen Taylor – is much broader than skin tone. Otherisation leads to discrimination and marginalisation and with marginalisation and discrimination come health disparities. While it is good to be aware of that, and perhaps also document it, the solution does not lie in semantics.

The solution lies in inclusivity.

How did I arrive at this conclusion? I am BAME, a minority nationality in the UK, but I am never included as part of BAME because BAME = non-white skin tone, isn’t it? And I am white.

The first GP I encountered in England did not (seem to) believe me when I said I was a scientist. He also wrote in my file that I had an alcohol problem, without ever having discussed alcohol with me, let alone what kind and how much. It was the result of an innocent language hiccup and his bias, towards older women and/or unmarried women, I think, rather than towards migrants. I was 45.

His colleague, the great younger guy I saw next, a week or so later, discovered the problem. He noticed my confusion when he started explaining that alcohol abuse had negative health effects, at the start of the appointment. He ordered a blood test to make sure that my sugar levels were fine.

He also opened and drained a cyst on my back. He gave me his trust and belief in me when I said that I’d be fine in a few minutes and needed nothing and that the best they could do was leave me in peace and not force me to talk so that I could regain my breath after I started hyperventilating. (It’s related to a childhood incident; it was made worse by teachers in my early school years. It’s no big deal and I figured out how to deal with it a long time ago; these days, it’s very rare for me to hyperventilate.)

He’d already noticed it during the treatment, bless him. To him, I was a person, not a label.

Health and healthcare disparities also affect people with mental health issues and physical disabilities. In the UK, people with non-negligible disabilities currently are five times more likely to be food-deprived. Nutrition-deprived. There you have one major cause of health disparities.

Poverty.

As a result of otherisation, discrimination, marginalisation, in a country with excessive inequality.

Older adults, too, just like people who are not white, often receive less good healthcare. People who aren’t white are less likely to be referred to a specialist (called “consultant” in the UK). Or for tests. The hospital.

The solution to healthcare and health disparities is to treat everyone as a human being, not as a label. Education. Unfortunately, in order to do that, we have to convince the powers that be that these health disparities exist (and how they come about, to a large degree, that is, to the extent that they are not caused by for example by the nature of a disability).

In some cultures / countries, that is frowned upon as something to be abolished. Collecting data on skin tone and ethnicity at every medical facility because it is experienced as discriminatory. In others it is seen as something that we must do first in order to be able to remedy the problem.

So we’re back to labels.

It’s not about labels. It’s about acknowledging that we are all human beings and deserve the same basic levels of housing, nutrition and other necessities in order to be in good health.

I hope that the Medact reading group ended up deciding to write and submit a comment to that article in the BMJ.



(I may not have the equipment needed to take part in such online meetings, I’ve discovered. I have some figuring out and possibly some configuring to do. But I also had a sudden bout of sciatica, so I was cranky and occasionally yelping, which would have been an annoying distraction for the other participants anyway. That will pass. And I’ll find a way to solve my equipment problem.)

“Let them eat biscuits” – kids, disabled people and other humans – food deprivation in the UK

This morning, I attended another online meeting about the escalating inequality, poverty and associated misery in England and the rest of the UK. That is, I was 15 minutes late, so I missed a few things.

It was also about how useless the UK government’s response is, as usual.

The only “advantages” coming out of the pandemic are going to the pals of the politicians who get large contracts to supply services and tangible products that they have no previous experience with. (This has led to a lawsuit, as you know, with the court ruling that the UK government is breaking the law through the lack of transparency. The judge wrote: “The Secretary of State spent vast quantities of public money on pandemic-related procurements during 2020. The public were entitled to see who this money was going to, what it was being spent on and how the relevant contracts were awarded. “)

 

 

14 million people in the UK live in poverty, it was said. That’s slightly under one entire quarter of the population.

Severely disabled people are currently five times more likely to be food-insecure.

Some links:

https://covidrealities.org

 

https://www.livingwage.org.uk/sites/default/files/Low%20pay%20in%20the%20supermarket%20sector.%20LWF%20briefing_0.pdf

Comments from food-insecure people have included that they’d much rather have cash or vouchers over parcels. They are much better at stretching money than they are given credit for, getting cash or vouchers enables them to take food allergies into account and also allows them to buy fresh fruit instead of the obligate tinned peaches and mandarins, cereal instead of cornflakes and helps them avoid the cookies – or “the bloody biscuits” as the person in question put it.

From the chat:

“Let them eat biscuits.”

“The global humanitarian sector has been significantly moving away from food parcels to food vouchers. Cant believe in UK we still at food parcels discussion.”

“Most local authorities in Scotland have been providing cash payments to families, food parcels are not the go-to everywhere in the UK.”

Continue reading

UK inequality is like a diamond

So hard that nothing shatters it…

This morning, I filmed this short video below. A few hours later, I spotted this JAW-DROPPING BIT OF BRITISH NEWS in The Guardian. Turns out that there is no pandemic, according to close to 50% of Brits. Because if you lost your job because of the pandemic, that’s on you. Nothing to do with the pandemic, these people say.

“Despite the exceptional circumstances [of Covid], Britons are more likely to think that job losses caused by the crisis are the result of personal failure than chance.”

They also say this:

One in eight Britons think lower earnings and higher unemployment among black people are due to a lack of motivation or willpower. Because most black people have “less in-born ability to learn”.

‘scuse me???!

Britain has something that no other country has. The class system. It makes people believe that they have few options and it makes them overlook opportunities. (This class system also impacted India because it used to be under British rule and it meant that the associated cronyism became applied in India.)

It makes others believe this too. It makes others believe that lower-class people and others who have little income are inherently limited in terms of skills and abilities. But not because of their poverty. These people see the poverty of others as a result of who those others are. They don’t see their poverty as a result of lack of income as a result of massive inequality which also brings low wages with it.

I too became heavily influenced by British class thinking after I moved to the UK so I know very well how heavy its burden can be. But I am still much more aware of it than Brits.

In 2019, there was a day for which I had train tickets to go to London but someone told me that it would be better not to go to London that day. I listened to that advice and did not apply my critical thinking skills.

The person who gave me that advice – I won’t name any names – is the kind of person many people turn to for advice. He is heavily influenced by class ideas and at the same time, has no idea of the extent to which poverty alone can hold people back, because of the many practical implications that poverty has. And he sees these kind of people are powerless, not as people who  seem very different people when empowered. Appearances can be so deceiving.

If I had gone to London that day, I might have returned with a boatload of paid work and if not, then I would not have wasted my train tickets – I did now – and have had a good day out. And in times of stress, such little bits of leisure are very important, particularly if they take you out of your regular environment and habits.

That I did not go to London, that’s fully on me, however.

 

In the video, I mention the CAB. I know that there is a lot of variation among the CABs but their main problem seems to be that they, too, operate with a class system mindset. They see powerlessness. Depending on where you are in the UK, there may be better advice options for you locally.

But… please, try to think from true strength as opposed to from weakness and powerlessness. Because thinking from strength will support you and carry you.

And don’t confuse admitting to feelings of insecurity or fear with weakness. See them and embrace them. Don’t fight them. If you don’t fight unpleasant feelings, they will move on. If you fight them, they will cling to you. 

When I was in my twenties, I bought a book that taught me about this stuff, that you shouldn’t focus on how poor you are – if that is your challenge – but more or less pretend that you already are where you want to be.

Stay well. Be prosperous and resourceful. You deserve it.