Conference

I got a little ping from my computer, to tell me that the Greens were broadcasting their conference on Facebook.

So I tuned the TV on to BBC Parliament, because viewing it on my 42″ TV is a bit better than my laptop screen, to see if I could watch it there. Ha ha ha ha ha ha

I hope my Internet stays up this afternoon.

Facebook

I was lucky (well, I thought so!) enough to meet Tony Benn a few years ago, and couldn’t help but notice that he avoided getting into ideological debates with people – I suppose you can dance around fine points, but ultimately, on the big things, you have a certain view of the world and other people either share that view or they don’t. Its not really a popularity contest – you really have to be defined by a set of principles if you want people to take you seriously.

Yesterday, I saw that Billy Bragg had posted something on Facebook. Now, I obviously follow this guy, so I’m normally quite sympathetic to him. But, on this occasion, I thought he was wrong, so posted a comment saying why I thought this.
It was very interesting, as the replies started to flood in. At first, it was a case of clarifying why I thought what I did (including dealing with people who could only really offer that I was an idiot). So I did my best to explain myself. It all took a fair amount of time, though, so evertually I stopped following the post.
I happened to go back there this morning, and was quite plesantly surprised by the tone of the comments. While yesterday they were mostly full-frontal attacks, today they were generally a lot better thought out. Quite open questions, even some comments of support.There was even one woman, (I’m not sure that she was a supporter!), who said that at least my views were well-thought-out, “not like most people”. Er, that was a compliment………wasn’t it?

Renewability

I’ve touched on this elsewhere, but I think lots of resources on this planet are pretty finite, and that I should do my best to use up as few of them as possible.

To that end, I got a bank of solar arrays installed on the roof a few years ago, and I export the energy it generates to the UK grid. They pay me a few pence per unit that I generate, although it’ll take years (far longer than people told me) to recoup the initial investment. But that’s not really the point.

I couple this by buying my extra energy from a supplier who guarantees that it comes from a renewable source.

Of course, gas is a bit different. It’d be pretty hard to get gas from a renewable source! But I tried another tack with this, and that was simply, a few years ago, to replace my old boiler with something new and energy-efficient. I’ve seen my gas usage drop dramatically as a result.

Anyway, I need to read my “generation” meter a couple of times a year, and today was the day.

Remember how I mentioned a while back how I like contrast? Well, I wish someone would tell the meter designers this, save them designing meters full of LCDs!

Nastiness

Whatever people might say about me behind my back, I am very fortunate in that the people I meet in everyday life are generally very nice.

I was abruptly reminded today that there are other types of people. A workman parked his pick up truck on the pavement right in front of me, forcing me to walk into the road around it. I mean, it must be obvious to anybody that I am disabled and struggling. “Thank you for your consideration”, I said. “What’s the matter? You can walk, can’t you?”

Yes, I can walk. I learned to again last year during my month in hospital.

I must admit that I feel that the stroke played with my emotions a bit, but the positive side of these incidents is probably that they invoke the same kind of reaction that I’d have recognised in the “old me”. Grrrrrr.

Disability Rights

Today I found out about the charity Disability Rights UK, liked the look of them, and joined. I was looking at a post on an Internet forum a few days ago, and the author was saying that she’d been discriminated against in her workplace, purely on the grounds that she had once had a stroke. It made me think…..what exactly were their rights?

I thought on about it this morning and asked the Stroke Association if they knew, and ironically they pointed me toward Disability Rights UK. I say ironic, because these people seem more relevant than the Stroke Association themselves, although I suppose that the two do have a different purpose.

But I do find a lot of the stroke stuff has politics at it’s heart, and I have found the Stroke Association to be very wishy-washy in that area. There seems to be an overwhelming intention by the trustees of the charity not to “rock the boat”, and for that reason my support for them has to be qualified. I think you need to feel that you can criticise the government of the day, if they’re making poor decisions about strokes. It’s a big reason why I’ve avoided conferences arranged by the Stroke Association. I mean, you don’t have to be militant, but you should be able to make your point. How much of my own treatment has actually been driven by economics over clinical need?