BBC can’t see Green

Edinburgh Eye

Voting GreenWhy can’t the BBC see Green?

The BBC has decided that UKIP is, in Scotland, now electorally equivalent to the Scottish Greens, and should receive similar election coverage for the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections on 5th May 2016.

In doing so, the BBC Trust doubtless hope that pretending in advance that UKIP is a major party in Scottish politics will make them so.

I am a member of the Scottish Green party, since June last year. What follows, however, is an unexciting post full of statistics on the relative support of UKIP in Scotland versus the Scottish Greens.

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Falling Down Charges

I’ve just seen Charging old people for falling down in the Grauniad, by Jack Monroe.

I’m kind of surprised by it. Most councils, if not all,  provide some sort of telecare service. They differ by supplier, but they’re much of a muchness. The vulnerable person has an alarm pendant, bracelet or button-clipped-onto-their-waistband, and if they fall or have an emergency, they press the button to summon help through a radio-controlled unit linked into their phone line and connected to the control centre. The control centre might be part of council services, or it might be run by a private operator. Additional services can be added, such as falls detectors which trigger if the person falls without them having to press anything, heat/smoke/unburnt gas detectors, flood detectors, inactivity detectors (if the person hasn’t got out of bed by a set time, the alarm is triggered), or bed occupancy detectors (if the person gets out of bed in the night and doesn’t get back in within a set time, the alarm is triggered). There are also seizure detectors, intruder detectors, door sensors which trigger if the person goes out, and lots of other things, collectively known as telecare.

My own employer charges a basic charge for the unit and a bit more for every additional add-on. If all the control centre has to do is ring round the person’s nominated responders and notify them, the monthly charge is less. If the control centre has to send its own staff out to respond, the monthly charge is more. People on income support don’t pay.

Councils have charged for social care services for decades. Care in your own home, care home places, telecare – if you need it, you’re financially assessed and you make a contribution. I’m not sure why charging for an alarm & response service is so much morally worse than charging for help to get someone out of bed, or feed them, or change their stoma bag. If, as a society, we accept that it’s ok to charge for social care, then why would alarm services be exempt? If the people of Essex have had that service for free until now, they’ve been a lucky minority.

If you’re going to get angry about this, then get angry about the charges for all social care services. They’re not any better, or any more justifiable. And if you’re in Scotland, get angry about the free personal care for over 65s, which means that millionaires aged 65+ don’t pay, but ordinary people under 65 do pay.

And Jack, I think you’re great, but “Elderly people, save your pennies and buy a £10 mobile phone. Stick it in your pocket, and if you should find yourself needing to be picked up and nobody else can get into your home, 999 is – and will always be – free to call” is naive. If the emergency services get called out to pick the same person up over and over again, they eventually phone the social work office to request an assessment for an alarm service. And if the vulnerable person says they don’t want the alarm service, and continues to phone 999, the emergency services will continue to pressure social work, and depending how bolshie they’re feeling, they will even talk to the person about wasting emergency services’ time. Believe me, I’ve seen it.

ETA: of course, what we should be encouraging is more use of exercise and falls prevention classes. Edinburgh has seen great results with the Steady Steps programme.

http://www.edinburghleisure.co.uk/activities/older-adult-activities/older-adult-sportexercise-activities/steady-steps

http://evaluationsupportscotland.org.uk/media/uploads/resources/edinburgh_leisure_-_model.pdf

http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2014/jul/12/steady-steps-exercise-class-older-people

When I  worked in Edinburgh, I referred many many people to Steady Steps. One woman was registered blind, diabetic and had serious mental health problems. She had gained a lot of weight and needed gall bladder surgery, but the surgeons didn’t want to operate because she was a poor anaesthetic risk. Within a few weeks of attending Steady Steps, she had regained so much confidence that she was walking up and down the stairs in her house several times a day, and going out and walking up and down the street. She lost so much weight and was so much healthier that she no longer required the gall bladder surgery, and because she was more confident in moving around the house, she was less dependent on her husband, who was coping much better as a result.

The first person I referred to Steady Steps had contacted us because she wanted a stairlift. She had been very independent, managing everything for herself and line-dancing a few times a week, but had a bad fall on ice one winter and completely lost her confidence. Rather than go straight to putting in a stairlift, she agreed to a Steady Steps referral. Within a few weeks she was completely confident and safe on the stairs, and by the end of the programme she was going out independently, was line-dancing again and had joined the gym.

My most recent Steady Steps success was an 84 year old lady who has a lifelong history of depression. She had recently moved to Edinburgh after being widowed, in order to be near her family, and the upheaval of the move had reduced her confidence. She and her family were worried that if she remained lacking in confidence, she would stop going out, become more isolated, develop depression and possibly attempt suicide again. She’s now attending Steady Steps, getting there independently, enjoying it very much, and at the age of 84, is now learning to swim.

Preventative and health promotion/maintenance services are incredibly important, but when money is tight they’re often the first to go. They generally pay for themselves many times over in terms of reduced dependency on other services.

So yes, complain that councils charge for important services. But don’t forget to complain that there aren’t enough preventative services too.

 

 

I’m making sourdough with my vaginal yeast

This is fascinating – can’t wait to see how the bread turns out

Another angry woman

Content warning: This post discusses food and contains embedded tweets containing misogynistic and disablist language.

I am making sourdough. I started the starter on Saturday afternoon, and it’s reached the point where it smells kind of yeasty, and now it’s looking like this:

IMAG0617

It’s caused quite a lot of visceral horror, because I bunged something a little bit unconventional in the starter: yeast from my vagina. Here’s my recipe, so you know:

Ingredients:

1 small Greek coffee-sized cup of plain flour
1/2 small Greek coffee-sized cup of water
As much vaginal yeast as I could scrape off a dildo I put in my vagina–my estimate is that there was about as much of it as would lightly coat a single tine of a fork, and no more.

Method: 

  • Mix the ingredients together.
  • Cover in foil, leave
  • The next day, “feed” it 1 small Greek coffee-sized cup of flour, 1/2 small Greek…

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The Smell of Bullshit, part 68: Why You Should Join A Union

Stronger Unions have done a post listing 8 surprising facts about trade union membership. The post quotes a report from the National Office of Statistics, which is worth a read if you’ve got a bit more time. Meanwhile, the 8 facts are

1. There are 6.4 million trade union members in the UK

That’s 25% of all employees. It’s down from previous decades, but it’s still a huge number and makes trade unions Britain’s biggest social movement.

2. There are more and more private sector union members

For the fourth year in a row, the levels of union members in the private sector has increased. There are 200,000 more since 2010. The numbers are still far too low (14% of the private sector is unionised, compared to 54% for the public sector), but it’s great to see progress being made. It’s definitive proof of the value of organising.

3. Private sector union members earn 8% more than non-members

The average hourly wage for non-unionised workers in the private sector is £12.64. For union members, it’s £13.67. The “union premium” is even bigger for young workers from ages 16 -24, who earn 39% more than their non-unionised colleagues (that’s £7.84 to £10.18).

4. Public sector union members earn more too

21% more. Not all of that can be put down to being a union member, but it’s clear that a union does deliver on fairer, better pay for its members – in the private or public sector. Being a union member also gives you a say on what happens in your workplace.

5. Women who are in a union earn 30% more

The wages of women union members are on average 30% higher than those of non-unionised women.

6. And women make up the majority of union members

For the 13th year in a row, women are more likely to be trade union members than men.  55% of union members are women. This somewhat dispels the myth that unions have male-dominated memberships, especially considering that women form a minority of the workforce.

7. The highest rates of union membership are among black workers

The proportion of employees who are union members was highest among “Black or Black British” workers . Union are often described as “male and pale” – but the latest figures dispel that.

8. 40% of UK employees work in a workplace with a union, but only 25% are union members

The figures show that there are significant number of workers who we can reach easily because the already work where a union is present. This is a massive opportunity. The benefits for union members are clear, and the government’s attacks on trade unions only show that they still fear the impact of organised workers demanding fair pay, proper rights, and a decent society.

Why not join your appropriate union today?

To some cunt on twitter

Awesome

Idelology - against a single narrative.

TW: rape, ablism, mass murder of povvos and cripples

some protestors paintbombed a cereal cafe
and I don’t know why
they don’t just shop at costco instead
gentrification, evictions, state violence
£5 for a bowl of cereal while the homeless starve
and I don’t know why they don’t
vote with their money (they have none) and their feet
those that have them, haha, bants
and I don’t know why they don’t
violence is wrong, you see
paint is more grotesque than blood
cripples are dying alone in empty bedsits, but
I don’t know why they don’t
theyre smashing windows like fascists
because it was the anarchos that led to hitler, you see
not a decade of starving, humiliated poor
violence leads to fascism
I learned that at eton, you see
(just bants)
I don’t know why they don’t
when I saw those old people, there
in wandsworth, eating from bins

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New group for writers aged 16 – 25

Tales of One City

Craigmillar Library are starting an ‪#‎artcore‬ Creative Writing group for young people aged 16-25 in collaboration with The Out of the Blue Drill Hall.

You’ll get advice on how to write, edit, design and publish your own material and even look ways to perform or have your work performed.

Interested? The big launch is at 6pm on Wednesday 7th October at Craigmillar Library.

For more information email craigmillar.library@edinburgh.gov.uk or ask for Ioannis on 0131 529 5597.

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How to be a super-borrower

Tales of One City

Five tips to help you save time choosing, ordering and collecting your books from the library. Leaving you more time to READ!

Choosing made easy

Out of the many book recommendation sites out there, two of our favourites are WhichBook, which has a really unique way of finding the right book for you, and if you have a favourite author or genre Who Else Writes Like? makes finding new authors you’ll love a piece of cake.

Reserve and collect

So you’ve found the books you want to read. Next step is to reserve them on the library catalogue to be delivered to your nearest library.

reserve

We’ll email you when your books are ready for collection. So simple!

Make a reading wishlist. Or two. Or three.

But what if your to-read list is so long that it’s just not practical to reserve everything at once? Log in to your account…

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Access To Work Cuts Show The True Nature Of This Pig-Fucking Government

the void

access-to-work-marchCuts to the Access To Work scheme – which pays for adaptations, equipment and support for disabled people in the workplace – shows the true nature of this pig-fucking Government.

Whilst Iain Duncan Smith rants at disabled people to get a job, the changes being made to Access To Work will make this impossible for many.  That won’t stop people’s benefits being slashed however.  Some sick and disabled people are now being plunged into desperate poverty, with no way out.  It is little wonder that benefit claimants and disabled people are now openly calling Iain Duncan Smith a murderer.

A march is taking place in London on Saturday (26th Sept) to protest against the cuts to the Access To Work scheme.  According to the organisers:

“Changes to Access to Work mean that Deaf, Deaf blind and hard of hearing and disabled people are being restricted to unrealistic budgets for support…

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