Are EU citizens in the UK the only officially undocumented legal migrants in the world now?

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/sep/26/eu-citizens-uk-brexit-settled-status-jobs-banking-healthcare

The entire thing, the application, the status and the many empty promises made and reneged on, it means zilch.

We’re still vermin.

So far, at least one person was blocked from boarding a flight for the same reason as why the people in the above article in The Guardian ran into hurdles. The status means zilch. You have no legal proof of it. 

But what else can people do other than either go through the farcical rigmarole or leave?

I contacted Cygnet Healthcare this morning

This is what I wrote:

“Hello,

Yesterday, I ran into the following article about Yew Trees hospital in Essex and I learned that you used to operate another hospital that had similar challenges.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/sep/24/essex-hospital-where-staff-abused-patients-was-warned-by-cqc

I wonder if I could help you address such issues, for example, by visiting your facilities and talking with staff about what happened to me after I moved from Amsterdam to England.

To my utter bafflement, I became bullied in England. I suspect that this may have had something to do with some people around me assuming that I was learning-disabled in some way and on disability benefits because they didn’t see me go to work every day and noticed that I was living on my own (which also seems to carry a stigma here).

I am – or was – a geologist and marine biogeochemist working from home. Remember the attack with flour etc on Janice Morris who was sitting on a bench? That photo went viral; I heard about it from the US, where I have also lived for a while. Well, something like that happened to me too, for example, except that I got stones, sand and water thrown at me and two stones hit my head.

Please forward and discuss my offer. Let me know what you think of it.”

I am also in the middle of editing a new video.

Both were sparked by this:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/sep/24/essex-hospital-where-staff-abused-patients-was-warned-by-cqc

This is the video I made:

How is workplace bullying affecting your business?

(image from the NY Post)

Do you know?

I am aware of two cases in England in which employees were set on fire at work and Landrover / Jaguar has just experienced a landmark case of constructive dismissal to do with workplace bullying.

In the UK, the incidence of workplace bullying is around 30% (2015, Trades Union Congress), with 71% of disabled women reporting some form of abuse and 91% of workers stating that bullying in the workplace wasn’t being dealt with appropriately.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (HR professionals) found a percentage of 15 for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 yet added that more than half did not report bullying.

  • Most bullying at work in the UK appears to take place in London and the southeast.
  • Most bullying is carried out by someone higher in the hierarchy.

In a study by Kew Law (employment law), 71% of the employees at 131 companies in the UK stated that they had either been bullied or witnessed bullying.

Workplace bullying is very costly. Are you sticking your head in the sand over it, conveniently closing your eyes? Well then, with most staff still working from home, NOW may be the perfect time to wake up and address it. Workplace bullying. Don’t pretend it isn’t happening.

 

Another case of “not workplace bullying”?

Landrover / Jaguar:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/17/gender-fluid-engineer-wins-landmark-uk-discrimination-case

Constructive dismissal. Thank you, Judge Hughes.

All people who suffer from workplace bullying, certainly if it concerns the extreme kind of workplace bullying that George Cheese and Harry Hayward suffered from, should document what is happening, then leave and sue their employers. 

Mr Hayward was set on fire at his place of work. Although it was an accident, it was an accident waiting to happen.

Mr Cheese was locked into a trunk (boot), punched, verbally abused and deliberately set on fire. The abuse of Mr Cheese continued after his death. His colleagues / manager(s) continued to scapegoat him when they said that what had been done to Mr Cheese was not bullying but horseplay and the coroner who ruled in George Cheese’s case was a coward.

I wrote about both cases in my latest book.

Horseplay is like sex. It requires consenting partners. 

Without consent, it is rape or bullying. Period.

Setting someone on fire is not horseplay. It’s sadism. Cruelty.

https://www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk/ (=employment law specialists and tips)

Information for employers:
https://www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk/employers.html

 

And now, for a good laugh,

read this:

Article in the Guardian.

Sounds like more people should learn how to “go floppy”. (It’s good to see police officers finally wearing masks too, by the way.)

Meanwhile, Priti Patel continues to be devoid of any semblance of a healthy perspective:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/sep/08/extinction-rebellion-criminals-threaten-uks-way-of-life-says-priti-patel

Here we go again

I had signed up for an online network event by DowSocial, via LinkedIn, organised from London.

It does look genuine – and I had to register for it via Eventbrite – but my hacker appears to have kept the joining information from me just like he stops lots of my own e-mails from reaching people and lots of other e-mails from reaching me (partly thanks to a break-in on 19 July 2020, he now also has full control over my new computer).

Just in case I am wrong about this, I have also reported it to LinkedIn as a fake event, but it fits the pattern of a lot of what has been going on the entire year. I also got invitations to a women’s network, other networking events and so on. The ones that sound meaningful are spoofs or prevented and the ones that are useless for me are genuine or accessible.

The day before yesterday, I had both 3 views and 36 views on a video that I had posted. That changed to 38. Then it dropped to 10 (now 12 or so) after I wrote about this in the video’s description. (I think that this has to do with whether I am actually accessing the internet when I look at the screen or not getting beyond my hacker’s computer network.) 

 

She Speaks (by Debbie Cameron)

Reposted!

language: a feminist guide

Three years ago, to mark the political party conference season, I wrote a post about Great Political Speeches—or rather, Great Male Political Speeches. On most Anglophone lists of the best speeches of all time you will find just one token woman, or if you’re really lucky, two. British list compilers typically select from a field consisting of Elizabeth I, Emmeline Pankhurst and Margaret Thatcher; their US counterparts, who (still) can’t choose a female president, tend to go for Susan B. Anthony or Sojourner Truth.

Of course, it’s not surprising if the female speechmakers of the past can’t compete with the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. In addition to being gifted orators, these men were leaders of global stature, speaking at key historical moments on subjects of grave import. Until recently very few women, however gifted, were in a position to tick…

View original post 1,513 more words

When is it time to leave?

A father said to his daughter “You graduated with honors, here is a car I acquired many years ago. It is several years old. But before I give it to you, take it to the used car lot downtown and tell them I want to sell it and see how much they offer you. The daughter went to the used car lot, returned to her father and said, “They offered me $1,000 because it looks very worn out.” The father said, ”Take it to the pawn shop.” The daughter went to the pawn shop, returned to her father and said, ”The pawn shop offered $100 because it was a very old car.” The father asked his daughter to go to a car club and show them the car. The daughter took the car to the club, returned and told her father,” Some people in the club offered $100,000 for it since it’s a Nissan Skyline R34, an iconic car and sought out after by many.” The father said to his daughter, ”The right place values you the right way,” If you are not valued, do not be angry, it means you are in the wrong place. Those who know your value are those who appreciate you. Never stay in a place where no one sees your value.

 

 

I so agree with this headline by George Monbiot: “If you think the UK isn’t corrupt, you haven’t looked hard enough”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/10/uk-corrupt-nation-earth-brexit-money-laundering

But it does not happen only in London and only on a large scale. It happens everywhere, also here where I live, and on all kinds of scales.

DVLA update

Regarding this post: https://angelinasouren.com/2020/06/30/dvla-chaos/.
I sent a letter by special delivery, haven’t heard back.

I just rang them again and now at least their automated voice system says that because of social distancing, they are experiencing delays and that they cannot give any updates on when we will receive our documents.

It just so happens that I met Gareth Llewellyn and that he’s one of my LinkedIn connections, but he runs the DVSA, not the DVLA (and he is leaving).

By the way, the delay is about four months, according to a Royal Mail staff member I spoke with in July.

Impostor syndrome

In England, perceived “impostor syndrome” among women (as perceived by men) likely has more to do with a woman having to wonder whether someone peed into her tea or coffee when she turned her back or whether that client meeting will end up with her walking into a sex shop because her male colleagues believe that this will prove how incompetent women professionals are.

(How that works? Tell her that you’re about to meet a client at a restaurant, keep talking with her and distract her, then lead her into the sex shop. If the men surround the woman, obscuring her view, that’s likely easy enough to do. Happened to a top accountant in London. Ha ha.)

If you are asking yourself if your company or department might be like that too, let me know. I can help you figure it out and if needed, help you resolve it.

Personally, I have never met a woman with impostor syndrome, to my knowledge, but many men seem to be obsessed with it as “something that women suffer from”. 

Yes, “impostor” can also be spelled “imposter”.

The break-ins continue

The anonymous break-ins that have plagued my life since I moved into my current flat at the beginning of 2011 continue.

There was one on 19 July, which included vandalism, business sabotage and theft.

There was another one today. (I suspect that it happened when I went to the post office. It appears to have been aimed at making me feel unsafe in my own bed as I found out about it late at night.)

I expect there to be another one on 13 September.

If you want to know more about how something like this comes about (otherisation), read my latest book, “Is cruelty cool?”:

 

Continue reading

Some thoughts on policing

One “but” regarding my final remark. We need their input, but we should take great care to sever connections with the existing structures and cultures.

We should create specialized units – as I have argued before – and do away with the one-stop shop setup we have now, with most cops considering themselves or needing to be experts at literally everything (cyber crime, mental health, people’s trustworthiness, business reliability, stalking, money-laundering, relationships, housing, drug use) while in practice they often know very little about these areas.

 

How to keep people poor

Take their control away by forcing them onto prepaid power (and/or gas) and paying any housing benefits to their landlords.

It teaches them that they have no control over anything and even takes the overview away of what gets paid when to who.

They become powerless pingpong balls that way.

It’s treating adults as if they are fiver-year-olds.

Alternative? UBI  or  pay everyone’s rent/housing and everyone’s energy and fix the rent amount (per person?) to stop its often predatory nature from making people homeless and/or poor.

What happened on 21 May

I got a message out of the blue from someone in Florida that day. It appeared to be a response to an e-mail from me, but I had not written to him and I had not tried to call him either. Last year, he let me know that he no longer has a landline. In a later e-mail, at the start of this year, however, he wrote something that indicated that he does still have a landline. Strange. I don’t think I have his mobile number. Nobody rang me, according to my mobile. (I have no land line, haven’t had one for several years.)

Yesterday, I finally decided to mention it (in an e-mail, granted, but I am currently unable to call him and Zoom/Skype calls often don’t work out with this person; he usually ends up wanting to connect when I am not at my desk). Apparently, his landline had indicated, back in May, that I had called him but left no message. Again, I didn’t call him.

Apparently, he then called me. Again, my phone did not receive any calls.

Also, at the end of last year, one of his e-mails said that he no longer had a landline, but a few months later, he referred to his landline. Has now confirmed that he still has a landline. Okay, let’s assume that his e-mail last year only said that he was contemplating ditching his landline and that I’ve simply remembered it wrong. Still does not explain the call he claims he received and the call he claims he made.

I am not entirely sure what the nature of the issue is in this case.

I also received direct messages on Twitter since the start of March from someone claiming to be a friend of this person. The account no longer exists and on LinkedIn, that person mentions a different Twitter handle as a way of contacting her. The account that contacted me on Twitter at the time had the look and feel of her LinkedIn account and I had been told by e-mail that she was going to contact me.

What I found odd at the time was that when I asked her about her work, she gave me an excuse for not answering and said she would get back to me. (The reason why she contacted me was supposedly for professional reasons! Well, if I don’t know what someone does…)

Excuses for not answering questions about one’s professional activities and excuses for not wanting to make an appointment for a video call are often good indicators for an account being fake.

Here is the second contact attempt made from that Twitter account.

Very weird, certainly in view of the fact that she had previously “disappeared”. This is not a person I’ve ever met or talked with. She did not reply when I responded to this. 

And then there is the issue of me not being able to reach certain sites in the Netherlands from time to time (such as pension-related) and possibly the issue of my missing driving licence, not to mention the rest.

However, I certainly can’t rule out that the real issue is the person in Florida, with regard to that side of the strange things that continue to happen in my life. He’s done a few really weird things over the years off and on, granted. And after all, his Facebook account is also in the name of his friend. Okay, let’s assume that, for clarity’s sake. Okay, this does have the right feel to it. It’s also the application of Occam’s razor with regard to this. So I am dealing with more than one issue, one local and one Florida-based. Okay. Knowing that really helps.

(He may have gotten stuck a bit, to do with very specific high-level professional training he received in the past. That alone might explain it. It happens sometimes, when you are in that kind of profession. If not, then it is who he is.)

Now I still need to solve the rest. (Unless he’s flown over in the past and is paying local people to complicate my life, lol, which is a little too far-fetched, I think that the rest really is genuinely locally driven stuff, “as usual” for the locals.)

 

Amazon and the new book: Not working out…?

Here is a raw file for the interior of the paperback: pdf. It’s for Amazon, which for some reason refuses to update the cover and is now actively selling the book with a textually flawed cover (the back cover, in terms of layout and one weird typo) that I uploaded last week to see if the design would work out. They okayed it. They’re selling it with an interior file that is not up-to-date either.

If Amazon keeps refusing to update the cover and the interior file, I will pull the book, of course. 

Strange. Only a few days ago, I had to shut down my PayPal business account because of security breaches there.

Also, Amazon’s KDP account on Twitter then started pestering my timeline with ads but refused to respond. 

 

Obesity. Why Boris Johnson has got it wrong.

A brief off-the-cuff analysis

Boris Johnson on obesity

What CNN said

“Boris Johnson’s latest strategy to fight coronavirus aims to make Britain healthier”.

“Johnson’s government launched its Better Health strategy in an effort to combat the country’s high obesity levels amid the pandemic.”

What Johnson said

On 11 August, he posted a video of himself on Twitter.

“I was too fat.” 

“I’ve always wanted to lose weight for ages and ages”

“And like […] many people, I struggle with my weight.”

“If you can get your weight down a bit […] and protect your health, you’ll also be protecting the NHS”.

“We want […] to understand the difficulties that people face (with their weight).”

Why Johnson said that

COVID-19 attacks people who are in less than optimal health more fiercely. This includes obesity, but obesity is more complicated than carrying excess baggage. It is also about existing health disparities in society, disparities that became exacerbated by the first wave. That means that it is about poverty and air pollution, about racial discrimination and marginalisation, too, so it is about the whopping level of inequality Johnson’s country suffers from. 

With the second wave of COVID-19 likely ahead of us and many people having gained weight during the lockdown, Johnson is keen on raising his finger and tell the subjects what they must do to protect the NHS, the NHS about which so many people are worried that he will sell it off to the highest corporate bidder with no concern for the people who work there and the people who receive care there.

Food availability forgotten

Abundance

People like Boris Johnson live in abundance. They can order any kind of food in and they will get it, avocados and all. The rest of us, well, we aren’t all so lucky.

The lockdown

The stockpiling caught many people by surprise. Has Johnson seen the disappointment and quiet desperation on the faces of the people who wanted a tin of tuna or two or some sardines and found that they were all gone? So was all the salmon in the coolers.

Has he any idea how many people were eating lots of rice and tortilla chips and pasta and cheap cookies during the first weeks of the lockdown because they had no choice? They can’t build up food supplies at home. They had to cope.

Food deserts and poverty

There are areas in which predominantly poor people live. They have fewer options for food-shopping and the food in such food deserts tends to be more expensive. Because people have no choice, the supermarkets know that they’ll buy it anyway.

Has Johnson any idea how many people consume lots of rice and pasta and bread and cheap cookies and instant potato mash all the time because they have to?

It is often said that poor people do not have pots and pans or poor people don’t know how to cook. Poor people can have all the pots and pans in the world and may be former chefs but it will not help them if they do not have access to good food.

They get tins from food banks, too. Tinned sugared peaches, tinned sugared rice puddings and custard, instant noodles, cheap rice, tinned tomatoes, baked white beans in tomato sauce, tinned sausages or spam (or tuna), tinned spaghetti, orange juice, some cookies or chocolates. No leeks, no cheese, no salmon, no broccoli, no mackerel and no apples or grapes. No nuts. No avocados or pizzas or lasagnes or sushi or quesadillas. No vitamin and mineral supplements to make up for any deficiencies.

Corporate greed forgotten

The need for proteins

We all need a certain amount of protein in our daily food. This is not a weakness of poor people, but it is human biology. How much protein you need depends on your age and on whether you are for example pregnant.

Rich versus poor

Rich people’s diets can be a little too rich in proteins. It is a different story for poor people. Good protein sources tend to be more expensive foods.

The protein leverage hypothesis

It says that humans will keep eating, eating and eating to reach that minimum percentage of protein that they must have in their food. This theory was developed by David Raubenheimer and Stephen Simpson at the Charles Perkins Centre of the University of Sydney, Australia.

Corporate greed

If the human leverage hypothesis holds up — and as it makes sense, it likely does – this human requirement for sufficient protein and the urge to keep eating to obtain it creates great opportunities for greedy food manufacturers.

But Johnson did not mention the food industry. He wags his finger at the people and tells them that they are hurting the NHS. His government’s proposals to curb the food industry only appear to concern advertising and may well remain mere proposals.

UK government failing its people

When does Johnson start pointing the finger at the people who cause poverty and malnutrition instead? Obesity is often essentially a form of malnutrition and as Philip Alston has said, poverty is a political choice. Philip Alston was the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty who found the UK government unresponsive and in denial in 2019 when he told it what it was doing to millions and millions of Brits. The UK government shut its ears for Alston’s words and diverted its eyes.

Pollution effects and other health disparities

Air pollution

COVID-19 also disproportionately affects people who live in areas with high levels of air pollution. That — living with pollution — also tends to go hand in hand with poverty. Has Boris Johnson ever said a word about that so far? Not to my knowledge.

Discrimination

Health disparities that seem to affect people of certain ethnicities and with tinted skins more are, to a large degree, the effect of their discrimination and marginalisation.

Discrimination causes stress. Prolonged negative stress can affect health, including lowering one’s immune response. The chronic stress of racism can lead to chronic inflammation.

Discrimination, marginalisation and poverty also affect access to health care. Did you know that physicians are less likely to refer black people for testing, for example?

You do not need to have hate or even dislike in a society before groups of people become disadvantaged and marginalised. All you need is to have separate groups of people and a power imbalance from the beginning.

The groups that hold most of the power will prosper more and more while the people in the other groups have the low-paying, front-facing jobs in which they are at the highest risk for diseases like COVID-19. They are the ones whose bosses tell them to come to work even when they are ill. They live in the areas with the highest pollution, the dusty and mouldy homes with sometimes a lot of noise disrupting their sleep, the food deserts with the expensive supermarkets. They are also the ones who face the longest waiting lists to get medical care.

And they are the ones whose landlords may change the locks on their doors because of the high-risk jobs they have and the fear that they may bring COVID-19 home with them.

Investing in women and learning to listen

Who prepares food and who shops?

Often, it is still the woman in the household. It’s also women who hold the lowest-paying jobs. Investing in women and in eradicating gender inequality — in addition to working to eradicate racial and other inequalities — therefore should also help diminish health disparities.

Cooperation needed

The fact alone that Britain expected to have to stockpile foods and medications in view of Brexit is a strong indication that the UK government needs to learn how to cooperate better with others as well as organise itself better. That requires listening to people, also to those with dissident opinions, instead of conveniently dismissing them as an excuse to carry on business as usual.

To sum it up

Boris Johnson appears to be unaware of the social determinants of health and the health disparities that existed before COVID-19 came along. Whether people are poor, disabled, elderly, migrants or non-whites affects the chance that they are in optimal health and obesity can be part of that. The extra weight of people like Boris Johnson is a different story.

Further reading

Bouie, Jamelle. 2020. Why Coronavirus Is Killing African-Americans More Than Others. Higher rates of infection and death among minorities demonstrate the racial character of inequality in America. New York Times.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/14/opinion/sunday/coronavirus-racism-african-americans.html

Kumar S, Quinn SC, Kim KH, Daniel LH, Freimuth VS. 2012. The impact of workplace policies and other social factors on self-reported influenza-like illness incidence during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Am J Public Health 2012;102(1):134-140. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3490553/

Quinn SC, Kumar S, Freimuth VS, Musa D, Casteneda-Angarita N, Kidwell K. 2011. Racial disparities in exposure, susceptibility, and access to health care in the US H1N1 influenza pandemic. Am J Public Health. 2011;101(2):285-293. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.188029. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21164098/

Villarosa, Linda. 2020. ‘A terrible price’: The deadly racial disparities of Covid-19 in America. New York Times Magazine. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/29/magazine/racial-disparities-covid-19.html

There is also ample literature on the health effects of pollution, the association between poverty and health as well as between poverty and pollution and on the lack of attention for the good health of older adults. That race is a social construct and that racial disparities generally have more to do with discrimination and marginalisation than with genetics both appear much less well known. In itself, it tells the story of all disadvantaged groups of people, including for example the elderly, the poor and the disabled in the UK. The health disparities of these groups should not be seen as separate, just like pay differences for men and women and gender roles also have to be addressed if we want to make the world a healthier place for everyone.

You can watch the video by Boris Johnson here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtwFoTzVdZs

Survivors of Covid-19 show increased rate of psychiatric disorders

Here you have it. The bridge that may finally make people see that “mental” conditions are in fact physical and that it’s the mental health stigma that is bonkers.

(Also, could we be trying too hard to stamp out the human aspects of what it means to be human – to be alive – and turning people into perfect little robots? What would life be like if we never had ups and downs? At all? Btw, one guy – I won’t mention his name; he is a geologist – once told me that when he smoked cigarettes – not weed, but cigarettes – his ups were less high and his downs less low.)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/03/survivors-of-covid-19-show-increased-rate-of-psychiatric-disorders-study-finds

(31% of COVID-19 survivors suffer from depression. Read the article in The Guardian to find out what else plagues them. We already knew that psychosis is linked to COVID-19 as well. Psychosis is also linked to the recovering from physical brain trauma.)