Emergency on Planet Earth #24

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

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First Minister Mark Drakeford has seemingly justified #SaveWILG campaigners for having such faith in him and supporting his campaign to become leader of Welsh Labour with his pragmatic and sensible approach to coming out of lockdown.

I am proud to be a member of Welsh Labour and continue to be concerned for my friends and comrades in England under the leadership of a clown.

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The following two articles sum up the differences between the Welsh Government approach and the one being rolled out by the Tories across the border in England.

Hospital admissions on day Johnson relaxed lock-down are double what they were when he imposed it – and deaths FIVE times higher  

Why the Welsh Government is only making one major lockdown change

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There was some exciting news this week with the announcement that the Premier League is due to resume on June 17th.   This is good news for anyone who follows football, but as l have fallen out of love with modern game, l am actually more excited for the start of the 1983/84 campaign, which l am due to relive starting at the end of August. I am busy collecting materials – such as programmes and Panini stickers – to give myself an authentic experience. I will also be turning back the cultural clock and enjoying music food and drink from this era. I will be blogging about my experiences, of course.

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We cannot forget or forgive the Dominic Cummings scandal. Below, Jonathan Pie gives a brilliant analysis of the whole episode that I recommend to everyone.

Emergency on Planet Earth #23

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

***

UPDATED: Cummings’s press statement has made his behaviour worse, not better…

Video: C of E Bishops line up to accuse Johnson of lying and call for Cummings to be sacked

Breaking: hospital closes A&E, turn away patients after new spike – 2 weeks to day after Johnson’s back-to-work blunder

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My good friend Julie Adams has written the following letter to the Conservative MP for Wrexham, Sarah Atherton. I fully support every word and I hope Julie gets the reply she deserves. It is exciting to learn that Dominic Cummings is due to give a public statement later today:

Dear Sarah,

I am writing to you as a matter of urgency regarding the actions of Dominic Cummings, as reported in several newspapers over the weekend (at least some of which have already been confirmed as true). As a senior aide to the Prime Minister, and someone who has sat in on COBRA meetings where lockdown regulations have been decided and revised, his position is surely now untenable.

Millions of people across the UK, including those here in Wrexham, have complied completely with the instructions to help minimise the spread of Covid-19, to protect our NHS and to save lives. This has resulted in people not being able to be with critically ill loved ones, not being able to be with loved ones as they lay dying, not being able to attend funerals or receive solace from immediate family members in person when bereaved, and in lengthy separations from family members and friends who don’t live in the same household. It is beyond contempt to ask people to a) continue to comply with regulations and b) not to feel huge frustration, anger, and resentment at there seemingly being a separate rule for Dominic Cummings and another for everyone else in the UK.

As you are aware, MPs, councillors and those who advise them are held to a higher standard of behaviour than members of the public, and are required to abide by the seven principles of public life. I notice that MPs of all political persuasions are demanding the resignation of Dominic Cummings. I believe this to be such a serious matter that it goes beyond accepting his resignation. I urge you to call on the Prime Minister to fulfil his obligation to the principles of public life and to show leadership by removing Mr Cummings from his position at the earliest possible opportunity . If this is not done, any credibility the Prime Minister has will be reduced to a level that may see his position become untenable.

In the middle of a global pandemic, with a very uncertain future and further job losses almost guaranteed for your constituents, they and the country do not need to be plunged into another constitutional crisis. What is needed now is strong leadership and timely, decisive action.

I sincerely hope you will act on the contents of this email, and deem it important enough to respond to during this two-week break. I am more than happy to discuss this with you further and you may contact me by telephone or email should you wish. My details are below.

Yours sincerely,
Julie Adams

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What is the point of a Bank Holiday during a lockdown? Fair enough when people are working flat out, but I highly doubt that anyone wants to spend anymore time cooped up in their house with the imbecile they wrongly thought they could spend the rest of their lives with. #justsaying

I need to write a separate blog about the situation I find myself in at the moment, but this morning I could clearly see the answer to something that has been frustrating me for the last 12 months at least – there is no doubt that I need 2:1 support to be able to function at my creative best.

I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, as it has taken me long enough to secure the 24/7 support that I currently receive. However, if I am to be on a level playing field with the rest of society I feel that I need the support of two people. I spend a lot of time at my laptop but since my dexterity has deteriorated  I can no longer type without support. There is no technology that can help this situation, so the only solution is to dictate to another.

The problem is that the PAs that I employ have other duties to fulfill during a shift – washing, toileting, showering, dressing, eating, drinking, cleaning, cooking and the like. I am often unable to get the thoughts that are locked inside my head on to paper whether it be a blog, poem or a piece of art. This obviously effects my mental health and I feel that I am constantly searching for a escape route from the prison of frustration that I have been sentenced to.

I will write more about this in the future, but for now I have to cut this short because we are perilously close to the end of a shift, and I need to eat as well as all the other jobs I have been putting off in favour of typing.

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Emergency on Planet Earth #22

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

***

I just wanted to make it clear to people, that – for some people – Zoom is not the answer to the worlds communication problems.

On the face of it, l should be welcoming the fact that l can speak to people on the other side of the planet straight from my front room. It is true that all the access issues and costs relating to travel are lifted through the wonders of modern technology. However, it not great if you are hard of hearing, and unable to access a Palantypist.

This week l have had to leave two meetings that l really should have been able to contribute to as one of the most influential disabled activists in Wales. It is so frustrating having to gaze glibly at a variety of faces without being able to understand or interject with a series of pertinent points that would challenge and inspire.  This is not an uncommon problem for me, as l always struggle to hear group discussions in a busy public environment – such as those we used to have in the days before Covid-19.

I suppose a solution would be to buy some headphones and see if that helps, but really l can’t be bothered as l do not have any desire to see the ugly mugs of friends and family who can’t  be arsed  to make a social visit. I know people aren’t supposed make theses visits at the moment,  but l am just worried that some people are accepting that this inaccessible world will become the new reality without trying to find a better ‘new normal’.

The whole Coronavirus crisis really hasn’t  made much difference to my reality as l am still receiving 24/7 support from my extended family of PA’s. Maybe l am blinkered to exactly what is going on in the real world, but l am sadly not surprised that the main tool  that is being used to prevent isolation and loneliness during this episode, is not accessible to everyone.

 ***

From Wikipedia:

Jonathan Pie is a fictional character created and portrayed by English comedian Tom Walker. A political correspondent, Pie appears in a series of online videos in which he rants about the state of both British and American politics,[1][2][3] with the videos being presented as though he were a real reporter speaking his personal opinions to the camera before or after filming a regular news segment.

Emergency on Planet Earth #21

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

***

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To be honest, I am not sure where to start. There is so much going on, and I have a few potential projects to begin, but not enough support to do everything that I want at this present time.

You would have thought that with everyone on lockdown,  I would be able to make the most of not having to attend appointments or meetings. It is true that this has saved me plenty of time, but unfortunately this has been filled by having to step up to my responsibilities as an employer. I have long been a supporter of independent living for disabled people, so I am not complaining about these duties, but it can be frustrating when dealing with employees who are not team-players. As always, I am looking for new members of staff, but trying to find new blood in the current climate of fear is nigh on impossible. 

I recently watched the film, ‘Crip Camp’ on Netflix. This wonderfully empowering film focuses on Camp Jened – a summer camp for teenagers with disabilities – and the crusade for disability rights that was fostered in this environment.

I thoroughly recommend this film to anyone, whether you are disabled or not. It just shows what is possible if people stand together with a common goal in mind. People should be watching this right now and thinking about how they can help shape the future. There is no doubt that when this Coronavirus crisis is over, we will all be faced with a ‘new normal’, so this is our opportunity to  stand up for what we believe in…

Unfortunately, many people don’t have this thirst for change inside their lackadaisical bodies, but I hope that I am proved wrong.

***

One project that I am hoping to start at the end of August is to relive the 1983/84 football season. I could do this via YouTube videos, football programmes, Panini stickers and submerging myself in the news, fashion, food and music of this era. You may be wondering why I would bother to do such a thing, I think it was Xmas 1984 that my Gran gave me a VHS video that I watched religiously throughout my formative years: Race for the Championship 1983/84. It is a fantastic watch, presented by Brian Moore and featuring footballers such as Ian Rush, Kevin Keegan and Eric Gates.

The point is, that I really enjoyed this era in football, as opposed to the dire entertainment that is on offer nowadays. Players receive ridiculous salaries and only the middle classes can afford to regularly attend games.

I need to do a lot of research over the coming months, and I plan on keeping everyone up to date with how my season is going, once it starts in late August. I will also be using the programmes I collect, to create material for the collages that I plan on creating.

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I have tried my hand at Zoom meetings this week. Unfortunately, I find it inaccessible due to my poor hearing. I rely on a Palantypist to allow me access to the words of others. It is very frustrating to be a disabled activist, without a voice, while others contribute freely with impressive looking headphones and accompanying microphones.

All that is left for me to do is poke fun at some of the weird places that people place their cameras. Why on Earth people want to show off their disastrous interior design tastes and skills, is beyond me.  I may not have been able to contribute much to the meetings I have attended, but at least I can take pride in my domestic decor.

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I have put myself forward to become a trustee of Disability Arts Cymru, after being asked to do so. It is an exciting opportunity, and I look forward to discovering if my application has been successful, next month.

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This week, I have been mostly listening to REM.

I love this video, especially the ending when the residents of the bar are mouthing the lyrics of the song. This put me in mind of ‘All Together Now’ by The Farm. I wonder if Michael Stipe or another band member had seen this video and thought, that would be a good idea for them to use.

Anyway, here is my latest earworm:

If any of these videos that I share suddenly refuse to play, please let me know, as I always try to keep this blog as neat and functional as possible. Many thanks.

From Wikipedia:

R.E.M. was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and lead vocalist Michael Stipe. Additionally, many liner notes from the band’s albums list attorney Bertis Downs and manager Jefferson Holt as non-musical members. One of the first alternative rock bands, R.E.M. was noted for Buck’s ringing, arpeggiated guitar style, Stipe’s distinctive vocal quality, unique stage presence and obscure lyrics, Mills’s melodic basslines and backing vocals, and Berry’s tight, economical drumming, and backing vocals of his own. In the early 1990s, other alternative rock acts such as Nirvana and Pavement viewed R.E.M. as a pioneer of the genre. After Berry left the band in 1997, through some changes in musical style to include electronic music and pop rock sounds, the band continued its career in the 2000s with mixed critical and commercial success. The band broke up amicably in 2011 with members devoting time on solo projects despite having sold more than 85 million records worldwide and becoming one of the world’s best-selling music artists.

R.E.M. released its first single, “Radio Free Europe“, in 1981 on the independent record label Hib-Tone. It was followed by the Chronic Town EP in 1982, the band’s first release on I.R.S. Records. In 1983, the group released its critically acclaimed debut album, Murmur, and built its reputation over the next few years through subsequent releases each year from 1984 to 1988: ReckoningFables of the ReconstructionLifes Rich PageantDocument and Green, including an intermittent b-side compilation Dead Letter Office. With constant touring, and the support of college radio, following years of underground success, R.E.M. achieved a mainstream hit with the 1987 single “The One I Love“. The group signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1988, and began to espouse political and environmental concerns while playing large arenas worldwide.

R.E.M.’s most commercially successful albums, Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992), brought it to the vanguard of alternative rock just as it was becoming mainstream. Out of Time received seven nominations at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards, and lead single “Losing My Religion“, was R.E.M.’s highest-charting and best-selling hit. R.E.M.’s 1994 album Monster continued its run of success. The band began its first tour in six years to support the album; the tour was marred by medical emergencies suffered by three of the band members. In 1996, R.E.M. re-signed with Warner Bros. for a reported US$80 million, at the time the most expensive recording contract in history. The tour however was productive and the band recorded the following album mostly on soundchecks. The resulting record, New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996) is hailed as the band’s last great album and members’ favourite one, growing in cult status in the years following its release. Berry left the band the following year, and Stipe, Buck, and Mills continued as a trio.

After the electronic experimental direction of Up (1998) that was commercially unsuccessful, Reveal (2001) was referred as “a conscious return to their classic sound” which received general acclaim. In 2007, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in its first year of eligibility. In order to “redeem themselves” after the lukewarm reception of Around the Sun (2004), the band released the well-received albums Accelerate (2008) and Collapse into Now (2011). R.E.M. disbanded amicably in September 2011, with former members having continued with various musical projects, and several live and archival albums have been released.

Memory Match – 19-03-49

It has been a while since I last wrote a Memory Match column. I spent 2015-2018 writing these articles for the Wrexham AFC matchday programme when we were proud to be a community club.

Unfortunately, the club’s treatment of disabled supporters is nothing short of a disgrace, while the treatment of the proactive Disabled Supporters Association leaves a lot to be desired. I am therefore withdrawing my support of the club until ALL disabled supporters are given adequate and inclusive facilities from which to enjoy the football served up at the Racecourse.

Instead I will go to watch 90 minutes of action, wherever I feel I am welcomed. It goes without saying that I will always have one ear on the Wrexham result as it is not the actual club that I have fallen out with. It is merely the way the club is being run that I have an issue with. I will continue to attend matches when it is my turn on the platform rota and away matches, but I am not wasting any more time at the bottom of the stand with an abysmal view of the action while exposed to the elements. It is a disgrace that disabled supporters are being treated in such a way at the start of the 21st century.

I still want to continue with these Memory Match articles as they proved popular. I also enjoy writing them and remembering a time when it was enjoyable to visit the Racecourse and watch a decent standard of football.

** This was written before the Coronavirus outbreak. But l see no reason why my opinions should change. It goes without saying that l wish everyone associated with the club the very best of health, but I remain convinced that Wrexham AFC will only prosper by being inclusive for ALL supporters. ** 

***

19/03/49

Wrexham v Carlisle United

League Division Three (Northern Section)

Racecourse Ground

Result: 4-0

 Wrexham: Ferguson, Tunney, Jackson, Speed, Spruce, Wilson, Grainger, Beynon, Boothway, Sharp, Tunnicliffe

Goalscorer: Boothway (2), Beynon (2)

 Carlisle United: MacLaren, Simpson, Coupe, Horton, Seed, Twentyman, Turner, Lindsay, Yates, Barkas, Walshaw

Attendance: 7,340

The 1948/49 season saw plenty of changes as one chapter closed, and another began.

Everything seemed to be going to plan, with the Town competing near the top of the Third Division North table. Following a fourth successive victory, against Accrington Stanley (1-0) we found ourselves in sixth position. With everything seemingly going well, it came as a massive shock when Tom Williams was relieved of his duties, even though his contract was due to run until 1950. Two of the club’s directors also retired in protest at the dismissal.

One of these figures, Alderman William Dodman said: “Tom Williams was highly respected everywhere. He always said that his dismissal by Wrexham was an injustice, and I agree with him. If the club had been left in his hands, I think Wrexham would have been a Second Division side long ago. He managed the club during the war, without pay and he got a team together that could, and did hold its own against the best in the country. His heart was always with Wrexham FC, and he once said that he would go back for nothing.”

A committee took over team selection while a new manager was found. This committee had been in charge of the three games prior to this one, and we were still searching for our first victory. We had slid down to ninth position and it was clear that a new manager had to be appointed as soon as possible.

We had lost the reverse fixture at Brunton Park by the odd goal in five. Since that game in October, both clubs had a change of management. Ivor Broadis had been in charge of United, but had since been replaced by Bill Shankly, a man who would become legendary in his own right. This was to be Shankly’s third game in the dug-out, and prior to this game he was undefeated in club management, with a victory against Bradford City (1-2) coming before a goalless draw against Halifax Town.

They would not have everything their own way this afternoon though, as the home side dominated proceedings. Wrexham scored all of their goals in the second half of the contest, but also played some impressive football during the opening period. As ‘Wanderer’ recounts in the Wrexham Leader: “There were periods of delightful movement; there were periods of bad luck in front of goal, and the inevitable periods of erratic shooting. But for the rest it was ninety percent Wrexham’s half”.

With the game goalless at half-time, fans worried that the lads would fall away completely as they had done against Stockport County (1-0) just seven days previously. Any nerves were soon settled when Jack Boothway netted three minutes after the restart. According to Wanderer the goal was a tribute to “Beynon’s fine initiative and individualism” – the Welsh inside forward powered through the visiting defence and his resulting drive beat Jimmy MacLaren. The shot stopper was saved by the crossbar, but Boothway was on hand to nod home the opening goal.

Wrexham were now in the driving seat, much as they had been throughout, but now they had made the all-important breakthrough. After proving that they could be clinical in front of goal, the home side asserted their dominance. On 57 minutes, Billy Tunnicliffe managed to send over an inviting cross which unfortunately eluded Boothway. Thankfully, Eddie Beynon was on hand to send a left-footed drive through a crowd of players that found its way passed an un-sighted MacLaren.

The game was now effectively over as a contest and it came as no surprise when Boothway planted home a header on 73 minutes after a pinpoint cross by Tunnicliffe. Soon after, Beynon latched on to a loose ball and raced forward before dispatching a right-foot drive past the beleaguered figure of MacLaren.

***

 Despite this pleasing victory, we were still without a manager who could provide stability and guidance for the future. We played another couple of games under the committee, in which we continued to show a lack of consistency. A 2-0 defeat at Gateshead was followed by a single-goal victory over Hartlepools United.

Thankfully, prior to our next game against Darlington at Feethams, we appointed Les McDowall as our new manager. The Manchester City wing-half became Wrexham’s first player-manager. It was an inauspicious start to his managerial career, as Wrexham only recorded two victories in the last seven games of the season.

***

It wasn’t a memorable season in the cup competitions. Oldham Athletic dumped us out of the FA Cup at the first round stage. They managed to beat us 0-3 at the Racecourse in front of 15,228 supporters.

It was a similar story in the Welsh Cup, but not before we hammered Chester 0-6 at Sealand Road. Those dreaming of further Welsh Cup glory would be disappointed in the sixth round when Rhyl beat us 1-0 at Belle Vue.

Welsh Government Urged to Recognise ALL Support Staff

I was very excited on May 1st, to read that the Welsh Government were planning on rewarding those working in social care with a £500 bonus.  This is the very least that such hardworking and patient people deserve. Disabled people throughout Wales would not be able to function without the support of this crucial army of front line workers.

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I employ about 8 staff to provide me with the 24/7 support that I need, through the Direct Payment scheme. Straight away, I was wondering if my staff would qualify for such a bonus. There is no doubt that they deserve it. My support workers assist me in every aspect of personal care – such as washing, showering, toileting, dressing, eating and drinking. Without such staff members I would be lost and they help me to achieve so much.

However, four days ago the First Minister further clarified which staff would receive the £500 bonus.  I have since been told that only those people on the care register will be eligible for the bonus. I do not think that my staff are registered to this, but this should not mean that they miss out as the work they do is just as dangerous and valued. All personal assistants that are employed through Direct Payments should be granted access to this bonus.

I decided to write about this issue as it is something I believe passionately in, and having received an email this morning from Plaid Cymru. This can be read below. I fully support this petition, but in my opinion it does not go quite far enough to promote the work and sacrifice of domiciliary staff, employed using Direct Payments. 

It goes without saying, that unpaid carers – often family members looking after those they love – should also receive this important payment. The same applies to cooks and cleaners who are an important part of any team in a residential setting.

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Everyone working in our care sector deserves the government’s £500 bonus.

At the moment, only those on the care register are eligible to receive the £500 bonus payment from our government. Plaid Cymru wants to ensure that all unpaid carers and those not on the care register receive the £500 bonus too.

We therefore call on the Welsh Government to give an equal payment to all staff who work in a care home setting – including cleaners and the catering staff at care homes who put their own safety at risk every day they go to work.

This pandemic has forced us to look at which jobs in our society are essential, and those who look after and support the most vulnerable in our society deserve to be recognised for the incredible contributions they make.

Delyth Jewell MS