Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Charity Fuck-ups, Dugongs, Stigma, and Queer Marching.

I am so angry. It seems that thousands of the Make Poverty History wristbands were manufactured in conditions that breach international ethical standards.
Chinese companies responsible for wristbands worn by thousand of charity supporters [...] have been accused of indulging in forced labour and of paying less than the official minimum wage. An audit also discovered breaches of health and safety regulations.


An audit report on Fuzhou Xing Chun Trade Company, in Fujian province, said workers were paid below the local minimum hourly wage of 2.39 yuan (16p), to as low as 1.39 yuan (9p). They were insufficiently rewarded for overtime work, had no paid annual leave and suffered pay deductions for disciplinary reasons.

Paid nine pence an hour... for fuck's sake. This is an organisation whose purpose is supposed to be to rid the world of poverty, and they are selling junk which was made in horrific and exploitative conditions, to make their point? They didn't think it was worth bothering to find this out before placing the orders? Or what?? How on earth did this happen, because I for one am angry and really, really disillusioned.

On another issue, we need to save the dugongs. Really. Do it.

The Archers has won an award, the Mind Champions of the Year award in fact, for the person or group making the biggest contribution to challenging the stigma surrounding mental health problems. Yey for Ambridge!

The Mayor of Warsaw has banned their gay Pride march. Apparently the same happened last year. Local members of the gay community have decided to march regardless, and you can offer them your support, and protest the ban here. I mean, for goodness' sake, a load of gay people walking down a street? That shouldn't be banned, no more than a load of people with brown hair, or a load of people who are wearing jeans, or a load of people who can speak 3 languages, or any such random gang of people should be. I am fully aware I'm not making much sense, but let us march!

I'm tired and haven't been online til now for almost a week, so that's it for now.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I've been 28 for a week.

Chesney's back!! That's right, the one-hit wonder who you may remember being The One and Only is coming to my lovely city of Sheffield to sing. I shall be sure to stay as far away as possible.

I had the joy of a Roman Catholic education. This meant occasionally going on retreats, during one of which we had to meditate for several hours on the lyrics of that song... I am the one and only. There's nobody I'd rather be and so on. Profound stuff, you can see... Hmm.

Who is the Piano Man? It is such a sad story, and so evocative.

I am not doing very well lately, it's all a struggle. Trying to keep on top of things, including hippie blog.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Crisis, Crass, Clue.

Radio Four Faces Strike Chaos. Crisis time! It seems that on Monday, there may be no Today Programme, World at One, Start the Week, Woman's Hour, Front Row... and the list goes on! Live programmes basically, as many of the producers, researchers and editors will be striking. What on earth will I do? And they may even be blacked out rather than replaced by something pre-recorded. A big radio 4 shaped hole... :(

The French for self-harm seems to be automutilation. The verb, s'auto-mutiler. I had wondered before and generally settled on se couper while knowing while it wouldn't be the proper term, it would work. S'auto-mutiler and automutilation though, are awful terms! Yack!

I will cheer myself up by listening to an old Clue.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Smear Smears.

The NHS has recently changed their guidelines for frequency of cervical smear tests. They have decided it is adequate to invite women to have their first pap smear at 25, followed by a test every 3 years, until the age of 49. Then, between the ages of 50 and 64, women will be invited to have a smear test every 5 years.

That's all fine, their reasoning sounds, well, reasonable.

I learned all this while in the waiting room at my GP practice last week, and picked up the leaflet for something to do.

Then when I had read all that, I started looking at the various translations of the vital information which the leaflet also contained.

My gluey collage which you can see above contains the chart in English explaining the new system, and its translation into French. If you know any French, click on the image to look in more detail, and go mistake-spotting.

Because it's actually a huge, huge mistake. French-speaking people in South Yorkshire will be very, very scared.

They are being told that between the ages of 25 and 49, they will need three smear tests every year, and then between 50 and 64 they will require five smear tests every year. My own experience of the evil tests are that the results wouldn't even be back before the next one was due!

So, a big oops for whoever the French translator for that leaflet was. I dread to think what they may have mangled in the many other languages on there which I can't read or speak.

I called the Cervical Smear Screening Programme that morning and informed them of the error, and the woman I spoke to sounded stunned, as I was, that that had somehow gone out, and said that she would contact the South Yorkshire programme which had put out the leaflet.

So, Hippie saved the day. Or something! Look out for new leaflets! Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

Germaine - Splendiforous. Blunkett - Scary as Fuck.

Germaine Greer on Any Questions last week, on ID cards:
Valerie Black. There's a rumour that the ID card is dead, do the panellists mourn its potential demise?
DIMBLEBYGermaine Greer.

GREERWell now I'm the sort of person who loses things like ID cards [LAUGHTER]. It has occurred to me several times to want to ask why do I have to have all these bits of paper with pictures of my face on them when this is my face. Could you not put a stamp on me like an egg that says registered authentic image or person number and then they could put my concentration camp number after that. I don't - girls clothes have no pockets - have you noticed that - where are we going to put the bloody thing? I'm already carrying all kinds of credit cards and driving licences and god knows what in my bra, I'm going to end up with a library. [LAUGHTER AND CLAPPING] Now tell me that for all my bits of paper I would now have one bit of paper and they would stable that to my hide so I couldn't lose it, it would be waterproof, then it would be fine but failing that all I see is chaos and despair. I will never know where the bloody thing is. And the other thing about this country, I don't know if you've noticed, but people are always asking to see documents that they're not entitled to see - they want you to put your address on the back of cheques and all this kind of thing, they're not happy with your credit card, you've got to give them something else. Every Tom, Dick and Harry's going to ask to see your bloody ID card. And if it's a certain petrol station in East London they're going to run away, forge it and then bring it back to you saying thank you very much.

DAVIESI think we could help you with this problem Germaine. For visiting Australians or long term resident Australians we could have sort of boomerang shaped ones. [LAUGHTER]

GREERListen ...

DAVIESEasier to secrete around your person.

GREERDon't you joke about that, I mean at this moment it looks as if my permission to stay here indefinitely is about to be rescinded by this wonderful government, for the simple reason that I have a new passport and I'm going to have to bribe someone with £250 in order to get the stamp that is mine by right. Don't trust this government, I mean if they can think of a way of milking you for the ID card, we haven't talked about how much it's going to cost, then you'll be paying through the nose, it will be a blood stained little object. And if you're very, very poor you won't be able to afford to have one anyway.

DIMBLEBYSo to summarise you're against ID cards? [LAUGHTER AND CLAPPING

For the person who found hippie blog by googling pcos radio bbc 2005, there was an interesting segment on polycystic ovarian syndrome on Woman's Hour today. You can listen to it here.

Damon Rose's column in this week's ouch newsletter is all about David Blunkett having been made Work and Pensions Secretary, and thus essentially in charge of disability benefits. I, like him, am rather scared at this prospect. He has been vicious in many ways in his other roles in the government and there's no evidence to suggest this one will be any different. And what's more, I have wondered what Damon wonders:
Will the fact that he is disabled allow him to put the boot in? Or rather, make bold changes that will confuse the now reduced number of back-benchers sufficiently enough to allow reforms through? Though Alistair Darling may have seemed politically incorrect with an attack on disabled people, and caused what some saw as a kneejerk rebellion, will it seem so bad if done by a disabled man?

Yikes [holding disability benefits behind my back and reversing to keep them safe and existent...].

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A gift for you. Unlimited refills available. :) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Heterosexuality Questionnaire.

  • What do you think has caused you to be heterosexual?

  • When and how did you first decide you were a heterosexual?

  • Is it possible your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of people of the same sex?

  • If you've never slept with a person of the same sex, how do you know you wouldn't prefer it?

  • Isn't it possible your heterosexuality is just a phase you may grow out of?

  • Isn't it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?

  • If heterosexuality is normal, why are a disproportionate number of mental patients heterosexual?

  • To whom have you disclosed your heterosexual tendencies? How did they react?

  • Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex? Why are they so promiscuous?

  • Do heterosexuals hate and/or distrust others of their own sex? Is that what makes them heterosexual?

  • If you were to have children, would you want them to be heterosexual knowing the problems they'd face?

  • Your heterosexuality doesn't offend me as long as you don't try to force it on me. Why do you feel compelled to seduce others into your sexual orientation?

  • The great majority of child molesters are heterosexuals. Do you really consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexual teachers?

  • Why do you insist on being so obvious, and making a public spectacle of your heterosexuality? Can't you just be who you are and keep it quiet?

  • How can you ever hope to become a whole person if you limit yourself to a compulsive, exclusively heterosexual lifestyle, and remain unwilling to explore and develop your homosexual potential?

  • Heterosexuals are noted for assigning themselves and each other to narrowly restricted, stereotyped sex-roles. Why do you cling to such unhealthy role playing?

  • Even with all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiralling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?

  • How could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual like you, considering the menace of overpopulation?

  • There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that could help you change if you really wanted to. Have you considered trying psychotherapy or even aversion therapy?

  • Could you really trust a heterosexual therapist/counsellor to be objective and unbiased? Don't you fear he/she might be inclined to influence you in the direction of his/her own preferences?

  • How can you enjoy a full, satisfying sexual experience or deep emotional rapport with a person of the opposite sex when the differences are so vast? How can a man understand what pleases a woman, or vice-versa?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Time for Democracy in the UK? I hope so.

I'm maybe coming round to the idea that the election results aren't as shit as I'd thought.

Ok so warmongering Labour won, but with their much smaller majority, the President Dictator Blair won't be able to make as many presumptions, won't be able to get away with as much, won't be able to be so prescriptive without caring about what his other party members think.

He may, then, need to start consulting his party and his MPs, and producing policies which his MPs will vote for. As that will be important now, without the huge number of 'spare' MPs to guarantee a result, even if there were a number who didn't agree.

So I'm hoping that their smaller majority may restore some democracy to this country's government.

Time will tell.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Random, Relevant or Representative?

This may at first glance appear to be a random post, made up of completely unrelated nonsense. But, it is fairly representative of how my life works, how my surfing goes, and the kinds of stuff I like to read or do. So, disability, freebies, funny stuff, money saving ideas, environmental campaigning, health issues... Welcome to a few hours of my life!

Brilliant article written by a woman talking about her experiences as a single disabled women, and the way she was treated by men who can be roughly split into groups: the stalker; the bottler and the healer. It's a great read once again from the marvellous Ouch.

You can get free ringtones for your mobile here.

You can giggle a lot here, or here, or this. But most definitely the first one.

You also must, must, must listen to Ian McMillan's poem / song about living in a marginal constituency, as commissioned by the Today Programme. I adore and love Ian McM!

I'm in one of those weeks where I cannot permit myself to spend any money. And even if I did, the bank wouldn't permit it to come out of my account. But even when things aren't totally dire financially, it's always good to consider Great Ways to Cut Back. It's a great thread on the MoneySavingExpert.com Forums at the moment. A few favourites of mine are:

Also worth seeing is the thread of Slow Cooker Recipes which is making me lust after a slow cooker... Overall, the MoneySavingExpert site is really a great resource and I recommend it wholeheartedly!

Sign a Friends of the Earth petition against a US petition (filed after much lobbying from Monsanto types) with the World Trade Organisation, stating that EU reluctance to take GM foods is a illegal barrier to free trade.

Friends of the Earth believes that it's just the latest Bush government-led attempt to bulldoze over other countries' rights to protect their people and the environment.

So, sign here!

It is currently Deaf Awareness Week, apparently.

Friday, May 06, 2005

050505 - the morning after.

Voting. General Election. 05.05.05.

What on earth to do?

I couldn't vote Labour because under them, the conviction rate for reported rapes has reduced to 5.6%.
I couldn't vote Labour because they started a vicious war against Afghanistan and another against Iraq.
I couldn't vote Labour because they introduced tuition fees and top-up fees and abolished grants for University students.
I couldn't vote Labour because they have treated asylum seekers and refugees in this country in an appalling, dehumanising, unethical and racist manner.
I couldn't vote Labour because my (Labour) MP is awful.
I couldn't vote Labour because if I never hear Tony Blair's smugness again it will be too soon.
I couldn't vote Labour because they have made life much harder for many people on benefits.
I couldn't vote Labour because their proposed Mental Health Bill is draconian, discriminatory, unreasonable, and is designed to increase fear and prejudice against people with mental health problems.

I couldn't vote Conservative because they are even more racist and appalling with regards to asylum seekers and refugees than Labour are.
I couldn't vote Conservative because they have brought women's rights to abortion back onto the political agenda with a view to reducing access, or banning it altogether.
I couldn't vote Conservative because they have appalling views on women.
I couldn't vote Conservative because they supported the wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.
I couldn't vote Conservative because their politics and actions bear no relation to my own politics and actions.
I couldn't vote Conservative because when they were in power (most of my life) they caused catastrophes everywhere you looked.

I couldn't vote Liberal Democrats because much as they seem to say the right things, when they took over Sheffield Council in 1999 they started a scheme of privatisation and they unaffiliated Sheffield from having 'Nuclear-Free City' status, and described protests against this as gesture politics of yesteryear (I haven't forgotten), amongst other things.
I couldn't vote Liberal Democrats because they opposed the war in Iraq until it got too difficult, and then they backed down once it had started.
I couldn't vote Liberal Democrats because they are pro-pornography and pro-prostitution.
I couldn't vote Liberal Democrats because their biggest corporate donor is McDonalds.

I couldn't vote UK Independence Party because they are outdated.
I couldn't vote UK Independence Party because they are fairly single issue, and I disagree with them on that one issue.
I couldn't vote UK Independence Party because they have racist policies.
I couldn't vote UK Independence Party because for a brief period, Robert Kilroy-Silk was one of their MEPs.

I couldn't vote Veritas because there were no candidates in my constituency. Thank fuck. Cos they're awful.

I couldn't vote British National Party because they are racist shitheads.

I couldn't vote Respect Coalition because it is run by the SWP.
I couldn't vote Respect Coalition because George Galloway is anti-abortion.

Looking at the Sheffield Central election page, I can see that my least favourite Richard Caborn has kept the seat. This isn't surprising in such a Labour stronghold, but I am glad to see that his majority has reduced with a 9.1% swing from Labour to Lib Dem. He still got 14,950 votes though, which is obscene! And apparently in this constituency the turnout was just over 38%, which is ridiculously small. I think it clearly reflects the disillusionment people felt about all the parties, and about voting at all, especially in an area where there was little doubt as to the outcome.

Ali Qadar for the Liberal Democrats came second, with 26.3% of the votes (compared to 19.7% in 91). Then Tory, Green, Respect. The British National Party got 539 votes (spit) and 1.8%, and UKIP came last, with 415 votes.

The BNP in the Sheffield Hillsborough constituency got a terrifying 2010 votes, making up 4.4%.

I'm not happy about any of the results really, but I never expected to be. Labour have won, as expected, with a smaller majority, as expected. Tories have only gone up 1% in terms of total votes, but have gained seats. Lib Dems also got more votes but haven't made much progress in terms of actual seats. Greens have done better than before, which is promising, but so have the BNP, who stood a record number of candidates. Kilroy did so badly he almost lost his deposit. HA.

From Disillusioned in Sheffield, or should I now be known as 福田 菜摘?

My japanese name is 福田 (happy rice field) 菜摘 Natsumi (picks vegetables).
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