NURSING - the normalisation of cruelty?

One of the few taboos left in our modern society is one that makes it difficult to criticise other people's expressions of grief. Because of that it is difficult to criticise Ann Clwyd Roberts' recent attack on the nursing profession, made in the context of the death of her husband.

Of course I sympathise with Ann in her loss, I met her late husband Owen on a few occasions and I would be horrified to think that his last days were blighted by lack of care in Wales' flagship hospital, but I'm sorry Ann, I doubt that it is true.

Because professional health care workers expect to be at the butt end of anger as an expression of grief, being insouciant about such attacks is an element of being a caring health care worker.

When my eldest son was a little boy, about 4 years old, he was rushed into hospital with a very severe ear infection. A doctor told me that if the infection spread to his brain that he would die and that the severity of his condition suggested that that was the most likely outcome, his chances of survival were very low indeed!

I hated that doctor with a level of hatred that you cannot imagine – I wanted to do worse than "shoot the messenger".

I see him occasionally in the aisles of the local Tesco store and every time I see him I feel my stomach churning 12 years after the event! Did he break the news gently and with compassion or was he brusk and clinical? I don't know. All I can remember of the event is the horror of some ****** telling me that my lovely little baby was likely to die. Thankfully my son survived, but I still hate that doctor despite the fact that he saved my son's life.

When our loved ones are in hospital it is difficult to be rational, they are the most important people in the world to us we are very emotionally involved with their care, anybody who shows less emotion in such a crisis can appear "callous". But the nurse on that ward may have thirty other patients to deal with s/he has other relatives and friends who are as demanding of her / his attention for their loved ones as I am for mine. S/he can only give one thirtieth of the time that I feel my nearest and dearest deserves, because s/he has to care for the other 29 patients too.

Having a child, a parent, a spouse a grandparent in hospital coming to the end of their lives is probably one of the most traumatic experiences any of us can have. Dealing with the expression of that trauma is an everyday occurrence for health care professionals; If they become emotionally involved they will burn out! A caring professional must be able to share professional empathy with all patients and clients but they cannot give personal sympathy (which is what most of us want from them) and carry on working.

Indeed professional standards and even basic empathy can often conflict. Refuse to tell an 82 year old granny how her granddaughter and prospective great-grandchild are doing and you will be accused of being a callous "jobs worth"; give that information, unintentionally, to hacks and you have breached patient confidentiality and are the butt of a radio hoax and at the arse end of a Professional Conduct Enquiry!

What annoys me most about Ann's intervention on this issue is that she, as a Labour MP, has allowed Jeremy Cunt to respond to her grief by claiming that nursing has descended into the normalisation of cruelty! A means of blaming nurses, rather than government, for failings in the NHS

Ann - Is that sick lie about dedicated public servants what you want Owen to be remembered for?


Do I take Sugar?

Whenever there is a news item about people who live with a disability a representative pops up on the telly to speak on their behalf!

Where do these representatives come from?

Who elects them?

Who selects them?

I am very hard of hearing and I have up to 50 absence epileptic fits a day, but I have never, ever, been approached by any organisation purporting to represent my disabilities before they give evidence on my behalf to the National Assembly or Westminster Committees. When I see these people representing me on BBC Democracy Live I wonder how on earth they were selected to speak for me because they haven't got a fucking clue about the realities of living with hearing loss or epilepsy in rural north Wales.

Who are Epilepsy Wales/Epilepsi Cymru? I have lived with epilepsy for 40 years without this organisation ever aproaching me or asking my opinion about epeleptic issues! Apparently Wales Council for the Deaf is a lead organistaion in informing the Assembly about hearing loss issues - sorry for the pun, but as a deaf person, I've never heard from them!

Today's news about the closure of another two Remploy factories in Wales is apparently supported by SCOPE a charity that has grand ideas about some disability utopia, but doesn't have a realistic clue about the realities of living with a disability!

How many people who live with a disability voted for the Scope Representative to "speak for them" in support of a Tory attack on real people whose only chance of a job is in a Remploy factory?

I agree with IDS, most people with a disability can work! Disabled people should have work. Working is a good therapy, but the idea that I can compete in an open jobs market is a total fallacy. Be honest – given the choice of employing a healthy young 17 year old or 50+ deaf epileptic – who would you give the job to?

Sorry SCOPE, but your trendy lefty lovey attitude towards disability doesn't help me!

The only way that I can get a job is if I can get an employer that discriminates in my favour – like Remploy!

The only way that I can be represented is if I am consulted as a disabled person -rather than be represented by the wheelchair pusher who is asked does he take sugar and answers, wrongly, on my behalf - like Scope!


Is the government reducing benefits costs by killing claimants?

This is a press release from Disabled People Against Cuts Caerdydd which will be holding a memorial protest today for those who have died as the result of the Westminster Government's draconian treatment of disabled and chronically sick people as part of their benefits cuts policies.

Disabled People Against Cuts Caerdydd and supporters will gather at the Aneurin Bevan Statue, Queen Street at 5 pm on Monday 3rd December. The event will include the lighting of 1000 candles to remember welsh disabled and sick people who died last year shortly after being told that they were fit for work and having benefits cut by an Atos 'work capability assessment. It may also include 'direct action' such as blocking roads.

The National Day of Remembrance for those killed by ATOS has been supported by disability campaigning organisations including Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle and others. 29 MPs signed an Early Day Motion in support off the day including Welsh MPs, Martin Caton, Anne Clwyd, Jonathan Edwards and Albert Owen.

According to an FOI (Freedom of Information) response publicised by the Daily Mail journalist Sonia Poulton on October 7, the current weekly average Atos/DWP death toll of people found fit for work after an ESA work capability assessment now stands at 73 people per week.

A FOI in April revealed in 2011 an average of 32 dying a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit. More than a thousand ­sickness benefit claimants died last year after being told to get a job.

There have been numerous horror stories in the media of people with terminal illnesses (in one infamous case even someone in a coma) being declared fit for work by ATOS and having their benefits cut.

Recent Stories:

'A GRIEVING boy of 13 has accused Atos of killing his disabled dad. Kieran McArdle told the Daily Record in a harrowing letter how his father Brian, 57, collapsed and died the day after his disability benefits were stopped. He had been assessed by Atos and deemed “fit for work”'


'A cancer sufferer, who had her benefits cut by government officials who said she was fit to work, has died'.

'I sought this debate in order to raise the case of one of my constituents, Colin Traynor, who was epileptic. He was assessed as fit for work, yet died less than four months later' (Michael Meacher MP)


The Evolution of Devolution project has Failed

I canvassed in favour of a Yes vote in the 1979 Devolution Referendum. At the beginning of the campaign there was a considerable amount of enthusiasm for the proposal in Merioneth. As the campaign progressed I saw that enthusiasm wane into indifference and even into outright hostility. As the likes of Neil Kinnock, Leo Abse and Donald Anderson made their tirades against the Welsh language, Welsh culture and the dreaded monsters that lived to the north of the Beacons the opposition to devolution grew stronger. The starting message of the 1979 campaign was that Wales was being ignored by Westminster so we needed a parliament of our own. As the campaign went on fervent Nationalists were telling me that they would prefer Welsh issues to be ignored by Westminster rather than be oppressed by the likes of Kinnock etc in a Welsh parliament.

One of the arguments made by Plaid Cymru in favour of campaigning for enhanced devolution rather than ought right independence is that if devolution works well for Wales, then the people of Wales will embrace the process and demand more and more powers for Wales. Opinion Polls suggest that there is an element of truth to Plaid's theory and as time has gone by support for devolution has increased substantially, but every attempt to move the process of devolution on is stymied by the same old opponents of Welsh self determination – the Labour Party.

In the four years prior to the 2011 referendum all of the talk was about parity with Scotland which seemed to have massive support amongst the electorate. It was only in the statuary period three weeks before the vote, that honesty entered the campaign and we were told that the actual referendum would be on a cosmetic issue!

The first volume of the Silk Report suggests another referendum on another cosmetic issue that won't be held for at least another 10 years, I'm sure that the second volume will contain even further obstacles to attaining what many thought they were voting for a year and a half ago.

In the meantime the Labour Government in Cardiff is doing what the cynics of 1979 were predicting: Ruling Wales poorly in order to prove that Wales can't run its own affairs. We have had a Labour Government since the beginning of Devolution and in that time it has lowered Wales' economic performance, worsened the health of the nation, inflicted poorer education on our kids and encouraged maximum immigration of non Welsh speakers into the Welsh Language Heartlands.

Broadcasting has been administratively devolved to Wales since the 1950's. Before the creation of the Assembly we had Teledu Cymru, TWW, HTV Wales, BBC Wales, BBC Cymru, The Welsh Light Programme, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, S4C and a number of regional broadcasters. Local broadcasting within Wales is likely to expand over the next few years. As the media has been practically devolved for so many years, one would think that the governance of broadcasting should naturally be devolved – but Labour is opposed to devolving broadcasting!

Some have laughed at the unfortunate timing of the Welsh Labour Government asking to pull an episode of a soap opera on the day that Lord Levison published his report on statutory control of the press. I don't think it's funny, unfortunate nor an accident. It is another case of the Labour Party deliberately creating a situation which proves that Wales shouldn't have broadcasting devolved, because Wales can't be trusted, even in the case of the editorial independence of Soap Operas. Labour attitude through and through.

The Evolution of Devolution project has failed, and failed miserably, it's high time that all of us who support the National Cause - Left or Right- In Plaid or anti-Plaid – Cultural, Political, Economic and every other sort of Nationalist to give up on the Devo project and go four square for independence, because at the current rate Wales will become extinct before it evolves or devolves much further.