Why I think Iain Duncan Smith is an idiot

So Cait Reilly has won her Court of Appeal claim that being made to work for free at Poundland was unlawful.

As Grumpy Cat would say; GOOD.

If you don’t know the story, then let me summarise for you. Cait Reilly, finished her degree, couldn’t find work, went onto Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and was told she had to do this work placement or face losing her jobseekers allowance. The work placement was basically unpaid. After all, minimum wage for over 21s is £6.19. JSA for up to 24 year olds is a maximum of £56.25 a week.

If Ms Reilly worked for 2 weeks, at 35 hours a week, then she should have been paid a minimum of £6.19 per hour worked, which works out roughly £216.65 (gross payment) per week, instead she received JSA. Let’s say she got the top £56.25 a week that is a difference of £160.40, that’s £320.80 for 2 weeks work she did. That’s actually quite a lot of money.

Iain Duncan Smith has hit back at the ruling calling it “utter madness” and that he has no intentions of paying compensation to any claimant who declined to join such a scheme and instead have their benefit payments docked as a result.

My response to IDS? You sir, are a raging *insert expletive of your choice* idiot.

I fail to see how Politicians can implement such schemes, having never experienced the utter humiliation that millions face at the Job Centre each week. They’ve never NOT had a job, or not had any money. They’ve (most likely) never wondered how they would put food on the tables for their families, or pay the household bills. Never stressed or worried and looked into bankruptcy as an option to survive.

This time four years ago, I was ushered into an office with about 20 other people and given notice that we were all facing redundancy. A few weeks later, I was made redundant. I was fuming. I was upset. I was worried. I was stressed. I was a mixed bag of feelings and my emotions were ALL over the place. We had just put down all the deposits for our wedding which was 7 months away, The Husband has just gotten a job (after 7 months of looking after his degree was completed), it was only £6 an hour, but it was a job and meant that we could finally go ahead with it all and not struggle financially. We were lucky; our joint income would have been around £44k. Yes, we had saved and scrimped to get our deposits together, and now we were looking like we’d have to (at best) really cut down or (at worst) cancel and lose our money. We cut down. Our income went from £44k a year to just £12k a year.

Yes I got a redundancy payout, but that was rationed to cover my bills (thank GOD for PPI, which after 3 months of being unemployed kicked in). I had to go to the Job Centre and “sign on”. Every week I had to fill in my book with jobs I’d applied for and the outcome, I had to take it to my JSA Advisor who 3 our of 4 weeks was rude, patronising and encouraged me to apply for menial jobs that I couldn’t have survived on after paying to travel to work. One job cost more money for me to get to, than it actually paid!

After 2 weeks of signing on, I asked for another book to record my job applications and was asked why I needed a new one. (Some of them are not very clever!) Obviously because the old one is FULL, which I pointed out and was met with “why have you applied for so many jobs, you only need to do 3 a week”. Each week it was the same. I’d turn up 15 minutes before my allocated appointment time, wait an hour to be seen and then be spoken to rudely, patronised and often in tears by the end. For £47 each week. Was it worth it? NO. Did I have to do it? YES. Why? Because they were the ones who signed my monthly insurance claim forms to continue paying my bills.

It got to August and I informed my advisor that I was getting married and moving. I did everything in writing. Confirmed the date I was getting married, and they sorted it all out and moved my claim to another Job Centre, which unbelievably turned out to be worse than my own Job Centre. Waiting up to 2 hours to be seen, shouted at on occasion, rudeness, being patronised to name a few things. My mental health suffered.

I got married, a small ceremony, small reception, all done on the cheap. I gave copies of my marriage certificate to the advisor, the Job Centre manager, it was all put on my “file” and I sent off my marriage certificate to the Job Centre “head office” in Belfast with all the necessary documentation and changed my name, then I received a letter 7 weeks after I sent everything through stating that I was no longer entitled to any JSA as I was now the sole responsibility of my husband. I appealed and asked them how I was expected to survive, my husband was on a minimum wage job and was told “not our problem quite frankly”. I still had to sign on (now every 2 weeks) to get my insurance forms filled in so my PPI would continue to pay my financial products. It was degrading and humiliating the way I was treated.

About a month after, I received a letter stating that I had been overpaid £101 because I had failed to inform them of my change of circumstances. I went ballistic and my complaint letter was 3 pages long (in size 10 font) and it was sent to the Job Centre Manager, the Appeals process, the head of the DWP at the time, and for good measure I sent a copy to the Prime Minister. It was 3 pages of facts based on how I was treated, how paperwork was lost, how rude staff were, how much it cost me to keep calling Belfast to chase things. I went to town. A week later I received a letter from the DWP saying that I didn’t have to return the overpayment and apologising, and a letter from the Job Centre Manager apologising and promising to investigate.

Throughout this whole ordeal, I still had to go every 2 weeks to be humiliated and demoralised. I applied for almost 700 jobs, anything paying more than £7 an hour, I applied for. However in the height of an economic recession, I was turned down for most of them. In 7 months I got invited to 11 interviews. 11 out of almost 700. Yet every 2 weeks I was constantly asked “why haven’t you found a job yet”

At the end of October I was told I had to attend a compulsory week course on how to get back into work. I wasn’t sure how this was going to help me, simply because hardly anyone was hiring. More people were being sent in droves to the Job Centre thanks to redundancies. Ironically I’d applied for a job as a Job Centre Advisor. I thought that if some of the trained monkeys who humiliated me every week could do it, then I sure as hell could too! I was turned down, ironically being told “you’re over-qualified for this role”.

I failed to see how this course was going to help me. I had to pay to travel to get to the course, pay for my own lunch and not get anything out of it.

Thankfully someone called to offer me a job. It was a basic job. I sat in a call centre and answered phone calls for 8 hours a day. It only paid £6 and after paying my bills and transport there was no money left over for food or household bills. We applied for Working Tax Credits (which eventually shafted us, but that’s another story!) just so we could pay The Husbands father some rent and utilities and also so we could eat each week.

I took the job so I didn’t have to be humiliated each week. I could continue looking for a better paying job in the meantime and the shift work meant I could go to interviews.

I remember sitting in some dingy training room with some other people, I was the only one smartly dressed. The course instructor came in and set up, as I got the call. The moment he started to introduce himself, I stood up and said “sorry, I’m not doing this. No offence, but its crap, and I’ve just been offered a job which I accepted and I start in an hour. Bye!” and I literally ran from the room. It was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done in my life. I remember it was snowing and I remember calling The Husband and screaming down the phone that I had a job!

3 months later I got a new job, which paid more money, still only half my salary before I was made redundant, but better in so many ways than £6 an hour. It had great benefits and the money increased after training and I was guaranteed a pay increase every year thanks to the industry being heavily unionised. 3 years later I’m still here, only £7k off my old pre-redundancy salary. The Husband is still at his job and has worked his way up, and whilst we are not flush with cash, we manage each month.

So Iain Duncan Smith, I challenge you, to perhaps do an undercover boss series. Go undercover for 2 months, in disguise and sign on; experience this awful system that you seem to think is acceptable. I’d be interested to see if you changed your views.

In the meantime, I applaud Cait Reilly. Good for you!

The current system doesn’t work for the people who genuinely need it and is abused by others who make no effort at all. You put in ridiculous systems, make ridiculous cuts that actually don’t make any sense (don’t get me started on the Child Benefit capping) and then complain when the legal system rules it unlawful and paves the way for people to claim compensation from you.

So much for saving the country money! These cost cutting / money saving schemes you’ve implemented could end up costing the country up to £40m!

It needs to change and Iain Duncan Smith and his government cronies need to sit up and take notice.

mrs flams on politics

As a general rule, I don’t get too involved in politics, I look at party politics, make myself aware and then choose who I’m going to vote for.  Unfortunately most (if not all) politicians are lying sacks of flaming poo and can’t be trusted to carry out their party promises for one reason or another.  After all, I voted for Mr Clegg in the last election and he screwed over his voting constituents. I’m pretty sure that David Cameron has his hand wiggling up Mr Cleggs backside and is using him as a puppet. Maybe one day Mr Clegg will become a “real boy”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American politics is a whole other ball game; it’s much more interesting than British politics. In the last UK general election we (the UK) had televised political debates and the most interesting part was Gordon Browns mouth breathing, it was however also disgusting, but something that you just could not stop watching. In the US, politics are dynamic and exciting and everybody gets riled up, not just in the US of A, but in other countries across the globe. It also brings out the bigots, the hypocrites, the radicals, the fundamentalists, and it gets pretty dirty. So dirty and underhand on occasion, that it’d probably be a real money spinner to have each presidential candidate mud wrestling whilst wearing teeny tiny mankinis. I bet that would bring in the party donations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There has been a lot of talk about the Republican and Democratic Party policy. I’ve looked at each and I’ve read each parties manifesto (which can be found online) and I find myself firmly rooting for Obama.  I’m not an American, and I can’t vote, but I can still express my opinion.  I can’t support a party that wants to send women’s rights back to the 1950’s. I can’t support a party where men and women can’t have equal rights when it comes to marriage. I can’t support a party who will make sick and vulnerable people bankrupt and destitute because they’re struggling to pay for treatment.

Recently I made a comment on a family member’s Facebook status. The basic gist of the Facebook status was that if Americans didn’t vote for Romney and his Republican party then the rest of the world will continue to be in recession for another 4 years.

I commend both parties for looking at the economy and trying to save money to bring America out of the recession, but I hardly doubt that it will be done in 4 years, and I don’t think it will make a huge impact on the rest of the world. It is unlikely that America will solve its deficit in the next 4 years and improve the world’s economy, not when countries like Greece, Ireland and Spain are practically bankrupt.  After all, it’s not like America will suddenly be miles in the black (financially) and will be sending out cheques to other countries.  Fixing the debt problem will take a lot longer than 4 years. I’m not an economist or a politician, but I’m not stupid either.

I made my points clear about what part of the policies I couldn’t support, and was met by Republican friends of my family member stating they were “glad I was not an American” and “glad I cannot vote” and basically being very “un-Christian” for supposedly Christian people. Yes, I get it; you don’t like Obama or his policies, but calling him derogatory names? That’s such a great Christian trait you have going there. Don’t forget to ask God for forgiveness though, otherwise he won’t let you into Heaven, and I’m pretty sure that some of the stuff you’ve come out with can be classed as a sin; after all, there are almost 700 of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before you read on any further, Yes, I am about to go “there”.

Again, I’m entitled to my opinion, and this is my blog and if you don’t like it, then it’s just tough.

Based on some of the comments directed at me, it seems that quite a lot of people care more about Mitt Romney being the next POTUS because he is a Mormon, funnily enough, that’s because all the people have made these comments are all Mormons.  So far I have seen no one make a comment about the policies I raised concerns about (except the gay marriage one). Whilst I have no qualms with any persons choice of religion or faith, I really feel that politics and religion should not mix. America is a country with approximately 314 million inhabitants. America does not have 314 million Christians. Pushing government policy based on your religious beliefs is not fair to the entire population, and in many of the Republican policies, that it exactly what is happening.

Government policies affect every single citizen and therefore should be made with the very best interests, in mind of the people you plan to subject those policies on. They should not be made to satisfy your own opinion that everyone is doing what YOU as an INDIVIDUAL think is right.

Disability : A Comedy

It’s not often that I post twice in one day, but I honestly felt that this couldn’t wait.
Tonight, I sat on the sofa next to hubs. He is playing some strange game on his laptop, and I’m tweeting/facebooking/pinteresting as usual, telly on in the background as usual, neither of us paying much attention to it.
All of a sudden I hear a man slurring about not being drunk but having cerebral palsy. Wait. What?!?

I look up and there’s a line up of obviously physically disabled men in a line up on the tv, all saying in turn “I’m not drunk, I have cerebral palsy” and I turned to my husband and said “what on earth is this?!?”
I am so appalled by it, that I don’t remember what his response was and instead grab the remote, hit the information button and up pops the display “I’m Spazticus” a new comedy show by channel 4 using disabled people to run pranks. Most of the dialogue comes across as a right piss take out of people with disabilities.
Unbelievable considering that in just over a week, channel 4 will be broadcasting the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Channel 4 is the “official broadcaster” of said Games.
How unbelievable! And absolute bad taste!

Who’s clever idea was it to allow such a programme to air?!? Because quite frankly the executives who approved this show need a couple of good swift kicks up the arse! And the producers? They should be ashamed of themselves. And don’t get me started on the creators and writers!

Because people with disabilities? Yeah, they’re so funny! Har Har Har! Oh look! That blind guy going into a blind shop asking if they’re a dating service is oh so funny.

Good grief Channel 4, way to make the UK look insensitive to those with disabilities, JUST before you broadcast the Paralympic Games to billions of people worldwide.

Shame on you!

I like comedy as much as the next person and yes, I can laugh at myself, but outright taking the piss out of people with disabilities? That’s real douchey of you.

Epic Fail Channel 4.
Epic.
Fail.

No Gays Allowed

Flicking through the news online, I came across a story about the Boy Scouts of America.  The headline? “Boy Scouts of America keep gay ban

I thought that perhaps it was just a sensationalised headline, you know how the media can be sometimes, but it wasn’t. Holy batman. What a stupid ban.

Why on earth would you ban gay people from joining your organisation BSoA? Are you aware that being gay isn’t actually contagious?  Worried that if you have a gay man as a scout leader he is going to encourage these young boys to all become gays so that he can spread his gayness and contaminate your entire organisation and make it one big gay event?

It’s rather unbelivable that in this day and age, things like this are still happening.  Although I am pleased to see that “some” board members support internal change and gay members members should be allowed to join.

Boy Scouts chief executive Bob Mazzuca said. “We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.” – wait, what?!?  What about a policy that states we welcome any person to join the scouts regardless of their race, religion or sexuality?  I’m pretty sure a policy that treats every person equally is something that can accomodate the many “diverse” views among your membership or society. Or wait, do you mean “homophobic” views.  I can see how you could get those two things confused.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found the Boy Scouts of Americas 12 core values (see photo below).  Not quite sure how these values that Scouts should live by go hand in hand with the organisations decision to ban gay people from joining.

Take value #2 for example “Compassion: being kind and considerate and showing concern for the well-being of others” – how is banning gay people from joining teaching your scouts “compassion”. You’re basically saying “hey, you’re gay, we don’t want you or your gay family to interact with us in our non-gay ways”, I can’t totally see how that is being “kind” and “considerate” and “showing concern for the well-being of others”.

Then there is number #11, Respect: showing regard for the worth of something or someone. Personally I think it is pretty disrespectful to discriminate against someone because of their sexuality.

Boy Scouts of America, if you’re going to ban gay people, then you need to update your core values.  I think #13 should read “Awareness : Make sure that your group is free of gays and report anyone who is gay or doing gay things to your leader so we can kick them out and ban them”

 

I sincerely hope that the Boy Scouts of America rethink their decision to ban gays from joining. In a world where we are fighting for the right for gays to have the same rights as straight people and be allowed to marry, to be treated equally, this decision is disgusting.

I’m glad I don’t live in the US, because if I did, then my kids wouldn’t be allowed to join the Boy Scouts of America and I wouldn’t donate to them either.

Shame on you Boy Scouts of America. Shame. On. You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview : Carl Tilson

Back in May I wrote THIS post.  About a guy I have the pleasure of knowing.  Carl Tilson.  Carl has been nice enough to answer a few questions for me.

Here’s my interview with him.

Carl getting ready to be a torch bearer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becca:  What’s a typical day in the life of Carl?

Carl : Not an ordinary day the amount of things I have to do to get ready for the day. I have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy a muscle wasting condition. I have to be hoisted out of bed into my wheelchair go into the bathroom, get washed, have my clothes changed then come back into my bedroom to get fed something. I used to be able to do however because of DMD I now have to be fed by tube but I can take liquids orally. I also have to wear a ventilator which must shock some people, I use it to help expand my lungs. So yeah that’s my typical everyday routine.

Becca:  What makes you tick?

Carl : That’s a question I get asked many of times and I hate answering this question because I’d like to give people a definite answer but can’t I guess I’m still working on that one.

Becca:  How well known are you in the DMD community?

Carl : I would say yeah I think I’m quite well known in the community. I’ve got myself out there when every opportunity has presented itself. The more my profile rises the more publicity it brings to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Carl at the Action Duchenne Lobby in 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becca: Apart from raising money and awareness for people with DMD, do you have any other charities that you actively support?

Carl : Even though there are other good causes out there, I only have time for the one closest to home and the cause that’s most important to me which affects my everyday life. I have in the past gave money to other charities if I attend an event or something with hope they would return that favour to a charity I support.

Becca: How can people help?

Carl : There are many ways people can help the charity Action Duchenne www.actionduchenne.org they are always looking for volunteers who would like to put on any particular event or events to help. I have my own website where anyone can donate www.adtilson.com I also support other Duchenne charities Joining Jack http://joiningjack.org and Duchenne Now http://duchennenow.org.

Becca: How do you maintain your enthusiasm?

Carl : I have always been a highly motivated person, that’s just who I am and I’m quite a determined person that never gives up no matter how hard it becomes. I know Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a terrible condition but I don’t let it define the person that I am. You have to be mentally strong and believe anything is possible. The condition doesn’t like positivity it feeds off negativity so you must try to see the positive in everything you do.

Becca: What are your favourite hobbies?

Carl : I love watching football and professional wrestling. I support Manchester City because I come from a football mad family and my grandfather Fred Tilson played for Manchester City in the 30’s. I enjoy listening to all types of music my favourite genre is Rock music. Going out meeting people is another of my hobbies.

Becca:  If you could meet just one person, either dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Carl : I would choose my granddad because he would be so proud of the goals I’ve achieved in my life, the determination I have shown living through adversity and how I believe in myself. My granddad was a striker so he knows that you have to take your chances.

Becca: Do you have any personal heros?

Carl : Let me tell you a short story about Muhammad Ali. I was at Ricky Hatton’s gym in Manchester when Muhammad Ali came over to the UK to visit. Even though he had Parkinson’s disease you could tell the same guy, who was the greatest boxer of all time, he was still the same person. There were lots of people who came to see him. I was at the back in the corner and when he was leaving he made his way towards me, his physical movements were very slow but still he was determined to go out of his way just to shake my hand. So he is my personal hero.

Becca: What challenges do you face every day?

Carl : Everything is a challenge from walking up every morning to going to sleep at night. Socialising and relationships, the way society see disability. Making others understand about the condition I have and how it affects my life. Emotions run wild, depression and anxiety. Its lots of pressure, however I battle on regardless, it won’t define who I am.

Becca: How did it feel to be nominated to be an Olympic Torch Bearer?

Carl : This to me was a real dream come true I felt honoured to be chosen for such a prestigious event. The opportunity allowed me the chance to give Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy awareness while representing the Olympic Games.

Carl and the Olympic Torch in Manchester

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Becca: What was the atmosphere like when you were carrying the torch?

Carl : It was electric everyone was buzzing and when I was lighting the cauldron outside the Manchester Town Hall on the stage in front of 10 thousand people they were going crazy. What a moment it was and I almost felt like a king.

Becca: What’s next for you?

Carl : A cure hopefully which we are hoping will come sooner rather than later. I will carry on battling Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and if any events come up I will keep you all posted until then watch this space.

People can keep up with me by following me on twitter @actiontilson

Thank you for the interview it’s been a pleasure.

 

I want to thank Carl for taking the time out of his very busy life to answer my questions. He is real inspiration to me.

The R Word

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The other day my husband said something to me that made me very happy.
No, it wasn’t “course you can buy those Jimmy Choos darling” but rather “I’m going to stop using the R-word.”

I always used to use the R-word, then one day I read a really amazing blog post by Tanis (also known as Canada’s The Redneck Mommy).

From that moment, I stopped.

Now, whenever someone uses that word in front of me it causes my blood to boil, and it makes me ashamed.

Ashamed because someone I know thinks it’s appropriate to use it. Ashamed of myself because clearly my voice isn’t being heard or if it is, then it’s not being effective.

So many people justify it by saying “it’s just an expression”. Well I’ve got news for you. You know what else is “just an expression”?
The phrase “tar baby” and “Jew them down”.
You wouldn’t use those “expressions” so why use the word “retarded”?

Do you even know what it means?

Would you go up to a woman in your local park who has a small child with Downs Syndrome and ask her how “retarded” her child is?
I didn’t think so.

Words are powerful. You can’t unsay something. So if you’re one of those people who uses the R-word as an “expression” for something you think is stupid, then perhaps you should engage your brain and think before you open your mouth.

Spread the word.
Spread the word to end the word.

Fatal Effects

This evening someone felt the need to end their life. Underneath the wheels of a train.
I don’t know what was happening in that persons life that made them feel like there was no other option but suicide, but whatever it was, it causes my heart to ache.
I understand depression all too well. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing the battle, sometimes I feel like I’ve conquered it, but mostly I feel like I’m doing ok. I’m very lucky to have a very supportive husband and doctor, unfortunately that’s not the case for some people.
But this post isn’t about that.

Tonight someone in my twitter feed asked this question.

 

 

 

Majority of people (myself included) responded. The common answer from everyone that responded was pretty much this – “No, it’s disrespectful

I REALLY do not understand WHY someone would do such a thing. Normally when an incident such as this occurs there are a lot of unhappy people because they have been delayed through no fault of their own. Some people are so unhappy that they tweet things like this;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have purposefully removed the user names from these tweets, although really I should have left them in and let you all descend on them like a pack of rabid wolves with a deer carcass, for obvious reasons.

Why? Are these people really that selfish and uncompassionate? Whatever happened to being empathetic?

I’m issuing you a challenge. The next time your train is delayed because of a fatality, before you complain about being delayed, or having to be squashed on to a train, or not having a seat, or being stuck on a train or for whatever reason, THINK.

Think about that person being your mother, father, sister, brother, child, best friend. Think about the people who were minding their own business and then witnessing something such as that. Think about the driver of that train, think about what he or she see’s when that person jumps or falls and is killed. Think about the fact that someone, somewhere will shortly be opening the door to two police officers asking if they can “come in” and then being told that their loved one has been killed.

Just for 1 minute THINK. Just for 1 minute of YOUR life have some COMPASSION for a fellow human being who has just DIED.

Suicide doesn’t just affect your journey home or your journey to meet friends for a night out. Look at the bigger picture. It affects the driver of that train. It affects the people who witnessed it. It affects the police officers and the emergency services workers who have to attend the scene. It affects that persons friends and family and co-workers.

I’m going to leave you with a story, told to me by a friend, who just so happens to be a train driver.

One day he was driving his train when all of a sudden there was a huge bang and a sudden splatter of blood on his windscreen. He hadn’t been driving trains on his own all that long and his heart hammered away in his throat for a millesecond before he realised he had hit a pigeon and that was what had exploded on the front of his train.

A pigeon weighs approximately 1lb. An adult human being weighs between 130lbs and 220 lbs (on average). Now image what would happen if you threw something of that weight in front of a moving train.

The next time you’re delayed because someone didn’t think they had any other option in life but to die under a train, think of that story.

 

If you are having suicidal thoughts, please do not think there isn’t another option. There is. It may not seem like there is help out there or that there are people willing to help, to listen or to lend a hand, but there is. Please get in touch with the Samaritans or with Mind. Please don’t end your life. There are people in this world who care.

 

 

UPDATED – Shattered Olympic Dreams

I know a guy called Carl. He’s a great guy. He does a lot of charity work and raising awareness about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He’s a really nice guy. He’s friendly, funny, charming. He also has DMD.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a serious condition that causes progressive muscle weakness. In Duchenne muscular dystrophy muscle fibres break down and are replaced by fibrous and or fatty tissue causing the muscle to gradually weaken.“**

Carl was recently chosen to be a torch bearer for the London 2012 Olympic games. He was excited and proud. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and a dream come true.

I want to bring your attention to this video.

For the last few days I’ve been following Carl’s tweets and his Facebook statuses.

The organisers of the London 2012 torch relay changed his route, making it impossible for him to take part. His condition means that a 6am torch relay start, in an area further away from him than his original route, isn’t possible.

Despite his pleads with the organisers, they refuse to change him back to his original route, and on one occasion the person he was speaking to on the phone hung up on him.

Understandably he is upset and also angry. Wouldn’t you be if you were in his position?

Carl is my friend and he deserves this chance. I am deeply disappointed for him.

I’m asking you to share this story. On Facebook, on Twitter, on your own blog. Tell your friends and your colleagues. Send the organisers an email or a tweet or even a letter.

Let’s see if we can’t persuade them to change to Carl’s route back to what it was, so that he can be part of this once in a lifetime experience.

Let’s make his dream come true.

He deserves this.

**taken from http://www.muscular-dystrophy.org/

UPDATE
Carl was contacted today by the organisers of the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. They have changed his time and route. He will be carrying the Olympic Flame on June 23rd at 7pm in Manchester!
So pleased for Carl!

It’s Not OK

Today I watched a video. It’s was horrifying and upsetting and it broke my heart.

It was posted by fellow blogger and acquaintance Jane Devlin. Her original post can be found here.

Jane is someone I connected with via Twitter and she is someone that I have a great deal of respect and admiration for.  Her life has had its ups, downs and topsy-turveys.  She has also written a book, which if you follow me on twitter you would have seen a while back that I recommended it. Her book is called Elephant Girl: A Human Story.  It took me 2 days to read and when I was finished I had even more respect and admiration for Jane. Her strength and determination is amazing.  I would highly recommend you read her book.

I watched the video 1 and a half times.  The first time, I got about 45 seconds in and I couldn’t watch anymore.  I re-read Jane’s post and her last sentence really struck a chord with me.

“Do not turn away from this. Thousands of children suffer this kind of abuse and worse every single day. If they can bear the pain and trauma, then you — and here I am speaking to the ones who are so quick to criticize survivors and write them off as perpetual victims, chronic whiners, or people who just need to “get over it” — should at least have the backbone to watch four minutes of what an abused child suffers for years.”

I went back and I watched the whole video, horrified at what I saw.  I know that child abuse happens, every day to thousands of children, and I often wonder what I can do to prevent it.  I’d love to adopt and love and nurture and support every child who is abused.  Unfortunatley I can’t do that, but I CAN raise awareness.  It is NOT OK. it will NEVER BE OK.

I’m posting the video link here and asking you to read Jane’s post.

This video is NOT OK.  The way this child is being treated is NOT OK.  Child abuse is NOT OK.

If you suspect that a child is in danger of abuse or is being abused then speak up. DO NOT stand aside and do nothing. If you do, then you are just as bad as the person doing the abuse.

Strong

Sometimes you experience moments that bring out a range of emotions. Anger, sadness, disbelief, rage, pity, upset, etc.
Something happens that makes you so angry that you cry in frustration. Or that you cry because it’s hurtful. Or you just cry because you’ve no other emotion left to feel.

There have been many of these moments in my life. Moments where I despaired, cried, raged, ranted in anger, expressed disbelief, or shook my head in pity, and even all done each one within a 15 minute timeframe!

Life is hard sometimes, but I’ve learnt that I am stronger than I think I am and indeed stronger than other people think I am.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

This is one of my favourite quotes and to be honest it’s easier said than done. I’ve come across it so many times, but most memorable is from Joe in The Princess Diaries movie. Joe is a wise man, that said, so is Eleanor Roosevelt (a wise woman that is!).

Whilst searching for that quote, I came across this one. Another quote by Eleanor Roosevelt.

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

My point is that I’m not going to let these emotions rule me. I refuse to let people create these types of emotions in me. I am strong. I will be strong.

My kettle has boiled and I’m pouring the tea. I refuse to be weak. I refuse to be an inferior.

I am strong. I am successful.

I am me.