Where I’m At

21 Oct

I’ve been considering writing this blog post for quite some time (at least 6 months off & on). I’m still not sure if it’s wise or not. However having watched my father need residential care in a Church run facility & his gradual decline into death & followed the various debates around suicide, assisted dying & mental health I’ve decided to commit my thoughts, feelings, rants & considered opinion to record.

I have a history of physical abuse as a child, alcohol & other substance abuse throughout my life & subsequent treatment. I have always had an inquiring mind & a degree of introspection & self-criticism/analysis coupled with a belief in truth & honesty inculcated(brainwashed/punished) into me from a young age. These factors have had a profound effect on my development, my ability (or otherwise) to form healthy (whatever the hell that means given our societal propensity for producing damaged adults) relationships & my ability to have a stable inner personal landscape.

So this blog is intended to be a truthful missive based on where I’m at recently (& possibly now). I don’t intend to edit it, although I will correct spelling mistakes & punctuation.

I’m in my early 60s & live alone. I much prefer to live alone, in my own space. I find it more relaxing & it induces less difficulties presenting a ‘stable’ face to the world. Am I lonely? No. Hardly ever. Certainly l find it less painful to keep my own company than to have to adjust to others on a regular, possibly daily basis ‘in the flesh’.

I cannot say whether I was always prone to mood swings, depression, euphoric episodes & paranoia as a child or adolescent or whether they are a consequence of my drug use. In either case the end result is where I am now. As I age I am fully aware of my changing physical, mental & psychological states. As a functioning & habitual drug user one has to monitor where one’s at on the particular hit in order to figure out when to take the next one. Therefore I KNOW that my physical fitness, suppleness & stamina are deteriorating. I know that my mental faculties are nowhere near as good as they used to be (memory for example), my energy levels & stamina are much less and that this awareness feeds into my insecurities & mood swings to exacerbate depressive episodes. It is an interesting process to experience & I’m not convinced that ‘fighting ‘ it is a wise, productive or efficient use of my time & resources. That said I really am NOT yet ready to lie down & die.

I am at heart a selfish personality although I am/have been loving, supportive & generous with my time & heart in my life. But underneath it all I am who I am & I do what I do & really & truly am answerable only to my maker. I am, as may well be obvious, a product of a Western, Protestant, Christian, UK Public School education, and was, & indeed still am a 60s/70s hippy at heart. I do not believe that the world we live in has been improved since the era of my teens. Indeed the return of racism, the misogyny & blatant disregard for all life appalls me. But I have a spiritual life. I enjoy being alive & take responsibility for my life, my actions & my opinions.

I’m not sure how I came to be (yeah yeah I KNOW the biology). Consciousness fascinates me & my life is MINE. It is a gift given to ME. Therefore it follows (in my logic) that I can end it as I lived it by my choice.

I do not want to end up in a home like so many of my fellow citizens no matter how comfortable it may be. I do not want to be a drain on medical resources. If I have a prayer it is that I die quickly and that the ‘caring’ medical profession does not resuscitate  or prolong my life.

I repeat again I am NOT suicidal, nor am I particularly depressed tonight. I just decided to share these thoughts.







Assisted Suicide …what’s in a word.

28 Jul

This post is really a set of connected musings that wander in & out of my consciousness, sometimes seemingly at random & sometimes triggered by predictable events. Sometimes prompted by (on the surface) unrelated media articles etc.

It was a media headline (for an article I didn’t have time to read) about the worrying rise in suicide among the mid-fifties & upwards male population (my demographic). This headline started me thinking (unconsciously at first).

The first set of musings were around why suicide? Possible drivers/motives? To me the most obvious (from experience with suicidal thinking) is depression/no way out. Why would this age group possibly be depressed?
1) Realisation that they’ve got as far they can career/health wise? Frustration.
2) Family grown up & gone + spouse has developed their own interests & relationship isn’t what it was? Lonliness.
3) Given the ongoing austerity pension either non-existent, not available till later date or much reduced? Despair/frustration.
4) Having to care for (or organise care for) elderly/ill relative & realising just how mind-numbingly tedious being house-bound/confined to a home or bed-bound actually is & how deoressed said relative rightly is with their own powerlessness? Dread/fear.

The first thing to say is that these are my own thoughts & feelings but I long ago realised that I am not so terribly unique so there must be many others in my situation to a greater or lesser degree. I have several supports/coping mechanisms & whilst I do experience down swings & sometimes depressed phases so far I have passed thru them.

But having witnessed my dad’s deterioration from active, healthy elderly man (he’s now approaching his 90th birthday) to a bed ridden person trapped in a physical shell in a very good quality residential home I am increasingly convinced that I do NOT want this to be my fate.
Indeed if this is the end which most people foresee is in store for their elderly relatives & by extension themselves then I for one can understand their depression & desire to choose to die with some dignity & before they have become a burden to the society & to their children.

Which brings me to my final point the term “assisted suicide” is a deeply offensive term loaded as it is with all the societal stigma attached to suicide.
Surely the right to die when one chooses is as fundamental as the right to live as one chooses? Many cultures have permitted the old & infirm to walk away & die. Indeed one of the most quintessentially “heroic” of English stories is of Capt Oates of Scott of the Antarctic fame. Not to mention the crucifixion myth at the heart of our Christian religious belief where Christ goes willingly to his death for OUR SINS.
To deny others the choice of dying with dignity or clinging on till the bitter end seems at best hypocritical & at worst sadistic to me. I fail to understand the reasoning behind it unless of course its partly driven by the profits of the “elderly care industry”.
On a related note I have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) letter in my wallet but here in Ireland the “caring” medical profession will blithely ignore my express wishes. This is my biggest fear that despite my expressed desire to NOT BE RESUSCITATED I will regain consciousness to find my self bed-bound & therefore incapable of escaping the long slow lingering death as experienced by my father & MOST IMPORTANTLY be a burden on my kids & take resources from my grandkids.

I have lived my life by and large on my own terms I DO NOT hold to the major religions, although I do pray & my thinking is grounded in Scottish Christian traditions. I have a daily relationship with a God of my understanding & if/when He decides that I die then that’s when I die hopefully quickly & of natural causes NOT prolonged by human interference. I DO REALISE there are contradictions in this position as there are with every religious doctrine I have studied.

I have made my choice it is NOT up to you to judge. If my God is displeased then we can discuss that in the hereafter (in which I most certainly do not believe).

Scotland decides the future of the United Kingdom

10 Sep

Thanks for this piece. I find the lack of consultation with the English, Welsh & Northern Irish electorates indicative of the absolute arrogance of the Westminster parties & the dismissive patronizing which characterizes their interaction with their fellow subjects. note we are not citizens because we live in a democracy which may be part of the problem.

Sundry Times

I am writing from an English British perspective about the debate and referendum on Scottish Independence. Like most of my fellow Englishmen and women, who have expressed an opinion, my initial reaction was something like: “You can be independent if you like – that’s up to you”. We live, after all, in a democracy and while opposing sides have said rude things to and about each other, there has been no rioting in the streets and the troops have not been sent in. All sides have declared their intention to accept the outcome of the vote (I just hope it is not too close. 51% may be a mandate but will hardly inspire confidence).

Much has been argued about the economic and social benefits of independence/staying in the UK. The fact is that after the result it will be confidence that affects business and finance. The short-term investors will likely…

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Yes David, Ed and Nick the referendum is a big deal

10 Sep

The panic in the Westminster elite & their City of London puppet masters amply demonstrates their main concern isn’t democracy or even what’s best for the UK. No they only became “engaged” with the democratic process, in this case the Scottish independence referendum, when they realised a) it might affect their wealth, b) lessen their influence & c) affect their ability to tell those foreign johnies how to behave without everyone falling about laughing

Couch Potato

It’ll never cease to amaze me how inept and incompetent the Westminster leaders are these days. For months they’ve basically ignored the Scottish referendum whether this was because they didn’t feel it was that important or because they assumed they’d win, i don’t know but I suspect the latter and the people that are campaigning have ran a pretty awful one, instead of highlighting the numerous benefits of the union they have simply reverted to trying to scaremonger the Scottish people.  Worst of all in my eyes Cameron even prevented the Civil Service from making contingency plans in the event of a yes vote, I mean that’s what they’re there for, to prepare for worst case scenarios.  Even better than this complete ignorance of the referendum was the announcement earlier this week that all 3 of the them, yes dishface, he who can’t eat bacon butties and even the one that’s sorry…

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Hacking trial: what did Cameron really know?

26 Jun


In British criminal law, one is deemed innocent until proven guilty; in British criminal law one can only be found guilty if there is irrefutable evidence proving one’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

However, Parliament is not a court of law and the wider public tend to decide issues of guilt on a balance of probabilities.

So, did Cameron know or suspect Coulson had acted illegally with regard to ‘phone hacking as editor of News of the World?

I have no irrefutable evidence to that effect and cannot prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. However, I am not constrained by the niceties of the law and on a balance of probabilities, I believe yes he knew and may well have employed Coulson as his director of communications because he knew this and thought it might be an advantageous skill for a person in that position.

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Just what are “Western Values” & what price do we set on them?

26 Jun

Given the recent “destabilization” events in two sovereign states, one European, but not a client-state or ally (Ukraine) & one a client-state but not European, but undoubtedly a European construct (Iraq) where we have seen markedly similar events unfolding i.e. a democratically elected government undermined & in one case overthrown by the use of violent disorder & the events being funded & orchestrated by a regional neighbour (although in the case of Ukraine the West is one of the parties funding violent overthrow of democratically elected government) namely Russia in the case of Ukraine & Saudi Arabia in the case of Iraq (now it is claimed that the jihadists of ISIS/ISIL are not supported by the Saudi state but by certain wealthy actors within it. Please keep this distinction in mind later).
In the Ukraine scenario a Non-NATO member gets land, sea & air military “exercises” including harrassment of Russian military assets in international spaces, pledges of support & financial sanctions of NON-STATE Russian actors who are close to President Putin (but who are not accused of funding the pro-Russian seperatists).
In the Iraq scenario we have a Western client state (set up by our military, cash & blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent people) which was, so we were assured crucial to the stability of the region & to our own security, being actively destabilized by seperatists funded by Saudi Arabian wealth. Now bear in mind that the same Saudi wealth funded those who planned & executed 9/11 (of whom the majority were Saudis) & is it not hypocritical that there are no financial sanctions in place against the wealthy Saudis (who are NOT connected to the Saudi government, again so we are assured) who fund these terrorists?
It is inconceivable that the Western Intelligence Services do not know who these people are & are not aware of all the links in the money trail given that the same Western Intelligence Services & Saudi actors have been cooperating for years against Iran, Syria & Hezbollah. Furthermore a NATO member, Turkey, has seen its consulate attacked & staff kidnapper. Under international protocols this is tantamount to an attack on its sovereign territory. Therefore ALL NATO members are treaty-bound to defend Turkey from such aggression. Have we seen any media, political or governmental shows of condemnation or support similar to those for Ukraine?
So it would appear that our much proclaimed “Western values” & “support for democracy” are up for sale … preferably to those who are prepared to spend billions of $ US on our weaponry.
So the next time aBush, Blair or Obama want your sons & daughters to put their lives on the line in defence of our freedom & our values remember whose money is paying the pipers.
#politics #democracy #Iraq #Ukraine #media.

Policing, the rule of law & political interference.

4 May

As the furore grows over the behaviour of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (#PSNI) & it’s treatment of the President of Sinn Fein, Gerry #Adams a few points occur to me.
1) during the #gardagate, #penaltypoints & #shattergate controversies here in ‘The South’ the undercurrent was that the close relationship between politicians & our police force was unacceptable & that a police force ‘bending’ the rules to what it saw as the wishes of the political powers that be & politicians seeking/expecting special treatment from the police were equally reprehensible.

2) the police force should be free from interference to carry out investigations as they see fit & that for persons from the outside to pressure the police force in order to affect the conduct & direction of an investigation was unacceptable & a relic of a servile past.

3) the PSNI & its oversight set-up were the example for us to follow in overhauling/modernizing An Garda Siochana. Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald & Pearse Doherty were among the foremost advocates of this approach.

4) fast forward two weeks & because the police force in question, the PSNI, have behaved in a perfectly legal manner in performing it duties with respect to a notorious murder case by arresting the President of Sinn Fein various senior figures within Sinn Fein have gone on the media to denigrate & influence the behaviour of the PSNI, claiming dark deeds & dodgy conspiricies. The threats made have included a return to the previous state of affairs pre-Good Friday Agreement & a withdrawal of consent.

It must also be pointed out that the PSNI has an independent policing board to which it is fully accountable & Sinn Fein has seats on the board & the deputy leader of Sinn Fein is the Justice Minister in the Northern Assembly. Thus one assumes that not only does Sinn Fein have avenues to hold the PSNI to account for its conduct, presumably the PSNI is aware of this also. However Sinn Fein have chosen NOT to follow the legal route & support the system. Instead they have reacted emotionally, in a manner guaranteed to inflame passions in the North & increase the likelihood of civil unrest rather than seeking be a force of moderation & Democratic processes.

Also one assumes, unless some members of  the PSNI have a “death wish”, the inclusion of Gerry Adams in their investigation & indeed the conduct of all investigations into such sensitive topics would be scrupulously conducted within the rules set down.

It would appear that what we are witnessing is quite simply a belief in the old “exempt from the rule of law” system of certain people within Irish society & casts very real doubt on the acceptance of certain sectors of the “Republican” tradition to a free & fair system of policing & justice and casts significant doubt on just how deeply Sinn Fein are committed to power sharing & normal Democratic legal systems.