I just happened to be digging this out for something else, and thought I could include it here:

It is obviously from my pre-stroke days, but only by a few years. I was a keen cyclist back then – I still have that shirt and it was an XS! It was taken on the Dutch island of Texel (I didn’t cycle there, but I cycled while I was there), really close to a memorial (a mangled propeller) of a Lancaster bomber, which crashed there during the war.

UK General Election (More)

This idea of opposition parties uniting and fielding a single pro-EU (or soft Brexit) candidate in each constituency is quite amusing, but I see two problems:

  1. Could the parties ever agree on a candidate?
  2. After you’re elected, where do you go from there? I mean, fine, you do what you can over EU membership, but in  the background there is a country that needs running.

UK General Election

This announcement of a general election, the timing is interesting. Already, the Conservatives appear to be framing it as a Brexit “Let’s get on with it” vote, which of course deflects attention from the cuts being made in public services. It will be interesting to see if this succeeds or not – I suspect given the largely-Tory media that it will.

It is funny, they have used this tactic before – as a facade that they are a party of low taxation – with people either not realizing that low taxes is code for reduced public services, or realizing it and willfully being complicit in it. And this in the face of data which showed that these middle-managers were no more competent at managing deficits than middle managers before or since.

I don’t pretend that my own situation has changed my overall view, but my experience is that somebody spends their whole life contributing to the system, and then a single event happens which makes them glad that some kind of safety net exists. In my case, a ballpark estimate is that this event (the stroke) cost something like £20k, plus taxes that I never paid because I was convalescing rather than working (probably the same amount or more). I’d venture to suggest that, without support from public services, this would be beyond the means of many people.

Labour, or indeed any opposition party, will do well to focus people on these cuts rather than on Brexit. Back in the days when common sense ruled, Europe was rightly seen as a nothing more than single issue which divided parties.

As an aside, if this goes through, it makes a mockery of fixed-term parliaments. Perhaps this means that legislation which attempts to bind the hands of future parliaments is doomed to failure?

Incidentally, my main issue is that I would like to see parliament with as much democracy as possible. I don’t really see this in the first-past-the-post system, so any party which wants my support would need to be committed to change this.


They played Starman on the radio yesterday, and I was reminded of that wonderful performance of Space Oddity on the International Space Station:

Even more confused…

Following on briefly from the previous post, I have already mentioned my blood sugar values as I was admitted to hospital. I conveniently blame my stroke on diabetes – certainly I am far better controlled now than I was then – although my blood sugar values on admission don’t really support this. I can only assume that a prolonged high blood sugar can account for this.

The other inconsistency, and I mentioned this to the nurse when she started accusing me of not having taken care of myself, is that I had been taking tablets for several years, both for my diabetes and for high blood pressure. Yet the first thing the doctors did when I arrived in hospital was to change my meds, to both insulin and new blood pressure drugs. So I feel it is only rational to say “You changed my drugs. Fine. But does that mean I was on the wrong drugs beforehand?”
I mean, my doctor was always a lovely chap, but I have to ask the question.
I hasten to add that I know the answer to these questions is “we’ll never know”, since we understand so little about the complexities that comprise the human body, and also the NHS’s desire to look after its own. But a valid question nevertheless. One that shut this nurse up.