The Unorthodox Website Blog

Mum in the Summerland


Mum passed to Spirit in the early hours of December 2nd, 2015. She lingered in her room in the Nursing Home for a bit, confused. It seemed familiar with all her things around, but when she saw her lifeless body on the bed she thought of me, and, without knowing how, found herself briefly in my bedroom. I saw her for a second as a bright ball of light right above the area where George had passed to Spirit over 24 years before.

She then passed over to the Summerland where her family welcomed her, including the son who was stillborn, now grown in Spirit to ‘a fine young man… very attractive and of a good nature’. She didn’t need much rest at first and was ready to go almost immediately. She asked for a cup of tea and a fag, but after having these, later on she didn’t desire them anymore. She found much to see and do and is living with her parents in a place with a lovely garden. It’s in a kind of village.

She met her former husband, my father, ‘Herky’, and he apologized to her for the way he treated her during their shortish marriage. She was pleased to see him and his sister Athena and brother Filaktis. She met my best schoolfriend, who passed to Spirit at the age of 14 on my 15th birthday, Michael Zacek. She said he’s now a fine young man too. She mentioned my paternal grandmother Ellen (or Eleni/Helen) who sent her love to me, though we only met once on Earth and didn’t speak each other’s language.

Mum keeps her eye on me and knows what’s happening. With help she acted to stop me going around places we went together almost daily a few days after she passed over. She was concerned not only was it too soon, but the weather was too cold and windy. She saw me making a stew the weekend after she passed. She was with me over a month later, January 20th, 2016, when I visited Battersea Park for the first time since she passed over, which was a bit traumatic for me.

She finds it marvelous to feel light as a feather, free from any pain and able to go wherever she wants, not confined to bed or a wheelchair as in her last few months on Earth. Food made her feel sick those last few weeks, she said, which is why she stopped eating. She said she’ll always be near me, allowing me my moments of privacy of course, and she loves the memorial to her I’ve made of the corner cupboard which was a Great Aunt’s and was in all mum’s homes since I was born. She liked the lilies behind her picture a neighbor gave me, but says flowers weren’t necessary for her funeral apart from the token arrangement my brother and I had ordered, and even that wasn’t necessary (she later made sure it didn’t get delivered!)

She told me it’s beautiful over there with so much to see and do. She wonders why she lingered on so long on Earth in that miserable condition, unable to do anything for herself the last few months in the Nursing Home because of her mobility problems. She hung on as she didn’t want to leave me alone, but when I said on that last day before she passed that I’d be OK, she felt free to move on.

She continues to send signs that she’s still around and watching – certain significant pictures falling from the collage wall which conveyed a message, an apport of a friend’s missing ring which suddenly appeared on my carpet at a very significant time (it had been lost months earlier, not known whereabouts).

My partner said she is safe in the bosom of her family, having a whale of a time, and looks in on me often. After her initial excitement, she needed a rest to recuperate from her long years of increasing immobility and occasional dementia on Earth. My maternal grandmother told me she was resting, but happy to be back with her family and free from the restrictions which affected her during her last years on Earth.

Although she refused to rest at first, she felt she needed it later – in a little cottage surrounded by cornfields and with a big avenue of elm trees, like Trinity Manor in Jersey when she worked as a nursemaid many decades ago. She said it is very peaceful. She has met many old friends, including ones she knew from before she came to Earth.  She has no objection to her ashes being kept in a sealed tube in the corner cupboard memorial to her, and says to do with her ashes whatever I am comfortable with.

She apologized to me for being awkward at times and stubborn, and says in her last years she knew she could get away with things she wouldn’t have done earlier in her life. She thanked me for looking after her all those years and said that’s why she stayed longer than she should have. In fact my grandmother said they called her to come over as she’d overstayed her allotted time.

My mother said it is so much brighter and happier where she is now, and when she visits Earth is seems such a dark, dismal place by comparison.

(Most of the above came via various direct telepathic messages to me, either from my mother, George, or my maternal grandmother. The bit about seeing me make a stew came from a medium at a local Spiritualist center. There are several things which were surprising to me, which indicate these are real messages from her, not my imagination. I wouldn’t have expected any sort of reconciliation with her ex-husband – I wasn’t even sure if he was on her plane of existence, probably in a Greek-Cypriot part but able to visit. I was surprised she needed rest after being very active when she first went over there. The cottage surrounded by cornfields and with an avenue of elm trees was not something I’d have immediately thought of myself, I’d have expected recuperation to take place in a special hospital kind of building with a lot of others. It seems the cottage was created personally for her in surroundings she once knew and loved, so does not appear to be the cottage she was living in with her parents in a village. A kind of occasional rest home perhaps, whether permanent or temporary. Like a ‘weekend cottage’ or ‘holiday home’ when she needs to get away on her own perhaps. I would not have expected the meeting with my father’s sister and one of his brothers, and his mother. It is just something I wouldn’t really have thought of. Also I thought she stopped eating because she’d had enough of life here totally dependent on carers, etc., but she insisted food made her feel sick in those last few weeks. It is these unexpected things that validate messages like this as being not just my imagination. I had a similar message about his transition from George. Neither he nor my mother mentioned a tunnel, nor a Life Review, though when asked George said this came later in a special building. He said he saw not a tunnel but a red mist when he first passed over, and heard wonderful classical music.)





Cyprus situation


In July 1974 Cyprus was invaded. Almost 42 years later huge areas of the country are still under foreign occupation. In these areas Cypriot law does not apply, and people are tried by a foreign court.

Cyprus was invaded by Greece in July 1974. The fascist Colonels in Athens arranged a coup against the Cypriot government and imposed a new leader, Nicos Sampson, with the purpose of ethnically cleansing the whole island of Turkish-Cypriots and annexing the island to Greece. The palace of Archbishop Makarios, President of Cyprus, was bombed, but he escaped, went to the UN General Assembly in New York and in a speech which has been forgotten by all but Turkey, it seems, pleaded for help saying: ‘Greece has invaded my country’.

The island is still partly occupied, and has been since so-called ‘independence’. Britain maintains two huge ‘sovereign bases’ on the island. These are, in effect, two huge areas of colonial rule; areas of Cyprus under permanent British occupation. It includes villages, and public roads, and any Cypriot arrested in these areas comes under the authority of British law and courts, not Cypriot ones.

Yet with thousands of troops permanently stationed on the island in these occupied areas, Britain refused to enact its role as guarantor of the independence of the rest of Cyprus when Greece invaded by means of the Nicos Sampson coup. Turkey appealed to Britain to act to save the Turkish-Cypriot population, but Britain did not respond. Turkey then had no option other than to send troops to the island to create a safe haven for Turkish-Cypriots in the northern part of the island.

In the South the Sampson coup collapsed, the junta in Athens was eventually overthrown. Makarios returned as President of the largely Greek-Cypriot Republic of Cyprus in the south (ethnically cleansed of Turkish-Cypriots), but died in 1977, some may say rather conveniently. My own view is that the Sampson coup was organized by NATO to rid the island of Makarios who was thought to be too pro-Soviet. I suspect they felt he might allow Soviet military ships access to Cypriot ports and therefore to the Mediterranean. My father, a Greek-Cypriot who was in Cyprus at the time of the coup, came back to UK afterwards, removed a picture of Makarios from his mantelpiece and declared: ‘Makarios is a Communist’. My father seemed to know quite a lot of secrets , so this is perhaps an insight into how those who supported the Sampson coup saw Makarios. My father also said nuclear weapons were stored in Cyprus under a green hill in one of the British occupied areas (so-called ‘sovereign bases’).

In the northern part of Cyprus the Turkish Federative State of Cyprus was established under Denktash with the long-term goal of achieving a federal solution to the eternal Cyprus problem of accommodating both Greek and Turkish-Cypriots. Even before the fascist Sampson coup to annex the island to Greece (Enosis) the power-sharing agreement between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities had broken down.  Denktash had been Vice President in name only, as the Turkish-Cypriots had been marginalized.

When it became apparent that the Greek-Cypriots had no intention of forming a federation with the Turkish-Cypriot state, the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus was declared. However when years later the Kofi Annan plan to re-unite the island under a federal solution was put to the electorates of the two Cypriot republics, the majority of Turkish-Cypriots voted in favor of the plan, while the Greek-Cypriots rejected it. So we now have the ironic situation whereby the Greek-Cypriots are responsible for the continued division of the island, yet have been rewarded with EU membership. The Turkish-Cypriots, who voted for reunification, are denied EU membership and their Republic is unrecognized by any state except Turkey.

Of course not all the blame can be put on Greece, the Greek-Cypriots or the British. Atrocities were carried out by both Turkish and Greek Cypriots before, during and after the tragic events of July 1974. Greek-Cypriots fled for their lives to the Southern part of the island, and the Turkish-Cypriots fled North for the same reason. Turkish mainland troops remain on the island 41 years later, and many mainland Turkish settlers live in the TRNC, as do many British settlers in both Cypriot republics. Famagusta is a particularly sore point, with the tourist area in mothballs since 1974. I suspect this area was taken by the Turkish army as a bargaining chip in the event of any settlement of the Cyprus question. It has never been developed as a tourist center of the TRNC, though the rest of Famagusta is a Turkish-Cypriot town.

Some progress has been made since 1974. For years the ‘Attilla Line’ divided the island completely. A no-man’s land policed by the UN, which ran right through the capital Nicosia, and which only foreign tourists could cross. A ‘Berlin Wall’ ran across Nicosia, and fences separated the rural borders between the two Cypriot states. In recent years, however, the border has been opened and Greek and Turkish Cypriots can now cross the line and visit the other parts of the island.

There remains one village in the UN buffer zone where Greek and Turkish Cypriots still live together, though when I visited they lived largely apart, with their own clubs and cafes, etc., and of course the Greek-Cypriot Orthodox church and the Turkish-Cypriot mosque. Despite the differences in language and religion, the two Cypriot communities are remarkably alike in their culture, the men spending much of their time in the coffee shops drinking Turkish/Greek coffee and playing backgammon while the women seem to do most of the work. A foreigner would be hard pressed to differentiate between a Greek and Turkish Cypriot. What saddened me in 1977 when I first visited the troubled island, was a Greek-Cypriot boy in my father’s village, who had just done his national service, said the only Turkish-Cypriots he had ever seen had been through the eyesights of his military rifle. In divided Nicosia, however, I saw Turkish and Greek Cypriots waving to each other across the line that divided the two communities, the Turkish-Cypriots high up on the ancient walls of the city by one of the gates. Now at least they can visit each other.

The tragedy of Cyprus may never be resolved, since it seems to suit both Cypriot states to maintain the status quo, particularly for the Greek-Cypriot Republic of Cyprus which has international recognition and EU membership. They have little to gain from a federation with the TRNC. Nevertheless they should reach out to their Turkish-Cypriot fellow-countrymen and women and come to a mutually acceptable formula for a federation, and the British areas of occupation (‘sovereign bases’) which did nothing to protect Cypriot independence during the events of July 1974 should be kicked out.

Mum’s transition to Spirit



Mum with cake at her 100th birthday party in 2014

Mum had a good Summer as I took her out, weather permitting, most days in her wheelchair to parks, commons, shops, etc. in and around where we lived. She seemed to get used to the Nursing Home, where she had a big room with some items of her own furniture, pictures, books, photo albums and ornaments around her. She started referring to it as ‘home’.

Come November, however, when the nights started getting dark earlier and the windy, damp weather set in she seemed to give up. She stopped eating, even when I took her to the Lunch Club. She then, of course, got weaker. She came to one of our amateur Drama Group rehearsals week after week, saying she enjoyed them. She was once a member of the Drama Group. She came as a spectator to a rehearsal just 6 days before her transition. She also had her last cigarets then, throwing the last one away almost unsmoked.

Next day she was sitting up in her wheelchair in the Lounge of the Nursing Home, but couldn’t pick up a cup or glass to drink as her hands were shaking so badly.  The next day someone was giving her assistance to drink through a straw.

By the following day she was bed-ridden, and she transited to Spirit in the early hours of December 2nd, three days after retiring to bed on November 29th.

Frankly it was a release for her and me as well. Though of course I miss her physical presence, at 101 and totally dependent on others for everything, it was a miserable existence for her. I took her out and visited at least 6 days a week, but she’d lost interest over the years in almost everything apart from going out and smoking. She couldn’t smoke in the Nursing Home of course, unless we went out into the garden. She wouldn’t watch TV, stopped reading and doing puzzle books. Even most of her singing to herself stopped when in the Nursing Home.

Since she transited I have had messages from her via a medium and also direct. In fact the night she transited I saw her briefly in my bedroom as a bright orb. She later confirmed it was her, saying she hovered above her body in her room confused for while, then thought of me and was immediately transported to my room. Then she transited to the Spirit world where her siblings, parents, etc. greeted her. She even said her ex-husband, who treated her badly, apologized to her, so some kind of reconciliation. She is so happy to be with her friends, parents and siblings again, and to be ‘light as a feather’ and able to do everything she could before and more.

The medium’s message confirmed she had seen me make a stew, like I often made for both of us, the weekend after she transited and serve it up with a ladle, like I did when I cooked for her. The medium assured me everything would be OK as I got into a new routine. I’ve never had so much free time before in my adult life, as I was working till retirement 8 years ago and then looking after my mother most days.

The funeral is on Monday, a Christian one as she was C. of E. and also went to a Methodist church at one time. The vicar is a Methodist, but the emphasis in the two songs will be on surviving death, as is a poem she wrote ‘There Is No Death’ which I’ve printed on the leaflet with the Order of Service to be handed out at the ceremony, though the poem won’t be read out. I will read out a Eulogy to a wonderful mother. We shared a sense of humor, and I have on this computer and memory sticks her singing many of the songs, though it is too soon to watch them now.

What was also too soon was visiting the places nearby where I took my mother several times a week. I did this a day or so after she transited, taking a cassette player with me, which was working although very old. It was a windy day, and when I got home I put new batteries in the cassette player as the old ones were running down. The cassette player then wouldn’t work. Even without a cassette in it the spindle wouldn’t turn. I then got a spare cassette player out of its original packing. It had never been used or unwrapped; I’d bought it as a spare. The same thing happened: new batteries and the spindle wouldn’t turn. I knew instantly what had happened: either my mother, my partner in Spirit or someone else the Other Side had stopped the two cassette players working as they didn’t want me going out in the cold, damp, windy weather around places I’d been so recently with my mother playing music. It was too soon, and the weather wasn’t suitable either. Weeks later I got a replacement cassette player from a local store, but won’t be playing it outside till the weather gets warmer.

So good to know my mum has passed to Spirit, is healthy and fit again, is with those who went on before her and, as she said when still here some time ago, that she is never far away from me. The message from the medium confirms this, she knows what I am doing, and the cassette player incident also confirms this.

Truly there is no death. It is the biggest lie ever believed by human kind. There is merely a transition from one form of existence to another. As with my partner in Spirit, I will look upon the anniversary of her transition each year as a cause for celebration – her return home and re-birth into a new, eternal and much more rewarding existence.

War Memorials, etc.


There has been a lot of controversy in the United States lately over Confederate War monuments and statues to former Confederacy figures. All war monuments are controversial if they are erected to remember one side only, usually ignoring not only the ‘enemy’ but civilians and animals who died in wars.

Surely it would be better to erect monuments and memorials to ALL casualties of war on ALL sides, both military, civilian and animals?

Some war memorials are more controversial than others, as with many statues. The current U.S. controversy was stirred up following the Confederate Battle Flag rumpus, often called the Rebel Flag. The controversy then spread to Confederate War monuments which have stood in place for over a century.

It should be possible to convert all war monuments into memorials for all who died in that particular war.  Another particularly controversial memorial is the recent elaborate one to RAF Bomber Command near Hyde Park Corner, though according to Wikipedia it is also supposed to commemorate all the civilians killed in air raids. That is not obvious from looking at it.

Then there is the controversial statue to ‘Bomber’ Harris erected a some years ago outside the RAF church St Clement-Danes in The Strand, London. It attracted demonstrations, and red paint has been thrown over the monument. Churchill’s statue has been vandalized too, he authorized the bombing of civilians. They dare not put a statue of Margaret Thatcher in a public place in London or that too would be vandalized, so it is inside the Houses of Parliament.

Abroad statues are torn down as dictators are overthrown or fall from favor, such as Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Lenin or Josef Stalin. Many controversial ones remain which could be seen as offensive to certain people as they are of military and political people. Even statues to humanitarians like Fenner Brockway might be regarded by some as too political.

With statues, there is not much that can be done. They will be erected and demolished as the political climate changes. However war memorials could so easily be adapted to commemorate all who died in all wars. Like the white peace poppy, they would then be non-discriminatory and really bring home to people the horror of war.

Immigration, Emigration and Refugees


These are three controversial but closely connected issues. Firstly, refugees. There is an international obligation to provide refuge for people in danger of gross human rights violations. This is hopefully a temporary situation, though how temporary depends on the exact circumstances in their home countries.

There are two ways of providing refuge. One is for safe countries around the world to take in a quota of refugees. Obviously some countries are more able than others. Russia, Australia, the USA and other big countries have a lot of empty space so could be expected to take a much larger quota than smaller, relatively overcrowded countries. The other way of providing refuge is to create safe havens nearer to their country of origin, protected by UN security forces. The disastrous ‘safe haven’ in Srebenica in Bosnia, supposedly ‘protected’ by the UN peacekeepers who left the inhabitants of the haven to their fate, has done very serious damage to the ‘safe haven’ option. The UN peacekeepers MUST be prepared to fulfil their obligations to protect the safe havens and their inhabitants with their lives, and sufficient UN peacekeepers must be provided to keep the havens safe. If possible ‘safe corridors’ or air transport need to be provided in order to establish safe havens well away from the area of conflict and danger.

We then come to the issue of emigration and immigration. Ideally, in a world with a more or less level playing field, emigration and immigration is not a problem. There is an exchange of populations as people move from one country to another, so it is swings and roundabouts. Where it becomes problematic is when there is a large flow of population from poorer countries to richer ones, so-called ‘economic migration’. Or when one country’s problems are dumped on another (an example being Britain sending convicts to Australia). When one country poaches on another’s skilled or educated labor (West Germany enticing professionals educated and trained in East Germany for instance, or possibly Britain enticing nurses and other valuable people from West Indian countries).

Mass emigration/immigration is not just a problem for the receiving countries, but also for the countries experiencing mass emigration. East Germany regarded mass emigration by people from the country which fed them, educated them, trained them and looked after them from the cradle to the grave as treachery. The grass looked greener on the ‘other side’ and GDR citizens were offered automatic FRG citizenship. Even so millions decided to stay in East Germany long before the Wall and border installations were erected. They visited West Germany but returned to the GDR.

The West Indies provided many valuable workers to Britain in the 1950s and later, but what effect did this have on the countries they came from? After the fall of Socialism in Poland so many of their menfolk emigrated to Western countries that there were not enough left to run the Polish fire brigade. Surely people have an obligation not to leave their country so impoverished that it cannot raise its living standards or even maintain them?

Another factor is that it tends to be the better off part of the population that is able to emigrate. This is true even of refugees, who often have to bribe smugglers to get them out of the country. This means the poorer people are left to either suffer gross human rights abuses, or a lower standard of living.

The whole question of emigration/immigration needs to be addressed in the much wider context of the global situation. Richer countries need to help raise the living standards in the poorer countries as that is the only long-term solution. It is perfectly obvious that there has to be a limit to both emigration and immigration if it is one-way traffic, that is to say, if it is not a more or less equal exchange of populations from one country to another. Instead of exploiting the cheap labor of poorer countries, investors there should pay a decent living wage or, much more likely, the workers there should be encouraged to form their own cooperatives and not rely on multinational corporations to provide work in often slave labor conditions. It all boils down to the fact that capitalism and the market economy, which seeks low labor costs and maximum profits, causes and maintains inequality and therefore mass emigration and immigration. The only way to create a world where resources are shared fairly is worldwide Socialism, with the richer countries helping the poorer ones to develop without exploiting them.

We then come to the related question of the European Union and the guarantee of free movement within it. Unless the EU becomes a federal union, with central control over the economy and a roughly uniform level of wages/prices and living standards thruout the Union, then poorer countries should not be accepted as full members of the EU. They can be given associate membership until their economies and living standards are compatible with EU membership, and the EU can provide investment to bring this about. During associate membership there should not be the automatic right of free movement to full EU member states.

Once migrants are in the country they have emigrated to, they have an obligation to learn the language fluently, to integrate into the local culture and to abide by the laws of the country they are in. So Britons demanding British culture when they emigrate to Spain, for instance, is just not on. They should not be expecting all the local restaurants to provide full English breakfasts, or for their locality to be full of British-style pubs. Those Britons working in or emigrating to Muslim countries cannot expect or demand off-licences or pubs. Muslims emigrating to European countries, Australia, USA, Canada, etc. cannot demand Sharia law to replace the national laws of those countries. What can be provided is limited access to alcohol, pork, etc. for Britons and other Westerners in Muslim countries, and limited access for Jewish people and Muslims to kosher/hal-al meat in Western countries.  Problems occur when whole areas of Spain are swamped by British culture, for instance, or when in certain areas of London it is impossible to find a non-hal-al butcher or take-away outlet. Most Western countries have introduced humane stunning legislation for slaughterhouses, so hal-al or kosher ones where stunning is not allowed have to be strictly limited. The wearing of facial coverings, such as the burka/hajib, or for that matter balaclavas or face masks, is not acceptable in public places in this day and age of terrorism, gun and knife crime, gang warfare and CCTV footage to combat these. What people wear in private or in places of worship is entirely up to them of course.

This is a very controversial and sensitive subject, but the Left and liberals need to seriously address these issues. At the moment many on the Left hold private thoughts about these issues that they dare not discuss for fear of being accused of ‘racism’ or ‘political incorrectness’. However the alternative to the Left/liberals openly and seriously addressing these issues is to seriously risk a far-right backlash, racial conflict and even the rise of full-scale Fascism.

Marriage – what’s in a name?


Quite a lot, it seems. Traditional marriage is between one adult man and one adult woman, ostensibly for life, and in most cases with the desire to beget and raise a family. In addition to traditional marriage there are many other types of relationships, including polygamy, communes, two women or two men in an exclusive relationship, menages de trois (or more), open relationships, or just co-habiting (sometimes called ‘common-law marriage’).

Gay marriage is now legal in many countries, but has caused a lot of controversy particularly from religious groups who regard marriage as being between a man and a woman. It seems to me that the terminology is what is upsetting people more than the fact that two people of the same gender are living together as sexual partners and soul-mates.

Personally I could see nothing wrong in civil partnerships when UK brought them in for LGBT people. My life-partner and I would have been overjoyed to have a civil partnership and put everything on a legal footing, and have our relationship (which lasted 21 years on Earth till he passed to Spirit in 1991) recognized. I never looked on him as my ‘husband’ or ‘wife’, and he never referred to me in that way either as far as I am aware. Again, terminology is important. He was my life-partner or spouse. I now feel I am his widower, and this term seems suitable for any man whose life-partner has passed on whether they were legally married or not, while a woman would be a widow.

I don’t think civil partnerships made LGBT people ‘second class citizens’. Two men or two women in a relationship are of equal status to a man and a woman who are together, but the relationship is different. For a start, provided both man and woman are fertile, there is the possibility to have children between them. This is not possible with two people of the same gender, though they can adopt, each can begat children with a partner of the opposite sex, or they can use surrogacy/IVF.  Many in same-sex relationships have no interest in raising a family.

I really see no problem in having different terminology for different types of relationships, so long as all have equal status. If people want open relationships or polygamous ones, that’s fine by me, but don’t call them ‘marriage’. As for LGBT partnerships, calling them ‘marriages’ seems inappropriate to me. The alternative, of course, is to qualify the type of marriage, thus you could have a ‘traditional marriage’, a ‘gay marriage’, a ‘polygamous marriage’, an ‘open marriage’ (open relationships with two main partners).

Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but it seems just using the word ‘marriage’ unqualified when it is not a traditional one between a man and a woman is bound to cause resentment.

Jeremy Corbyn – new Labour Leader?


The capitalist press, many on the Right in the Labour Party and many other people are saying the Party will  become unelectable if Corbyn becomes leader. I think they are making a big mistake. The SNP just swept the board north of the border on a leftwing agenda, Greece has just elected a leftwing government. Other countries in Europe are on the verge of a big leftwing swing. People in the former Soviet bloc are realizing they threw out the baby with the bathwater now they have lost the full employment and security which Socialism brought them for decades.

At the last General Election people in England had to choose between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Both main parties were for austerity, replacing Trident, maintaining the capitalist system more or less as it is. Who’s to say if they had a real alternative people would not have voted for it? Yes, they could have voted Green, and over a million people did. What did they get – one MP elected. Our unfair electoral system means voting for any of the minor parties in most constituencies is a wasted vote, so in practical terms most voters had to choose between Labour and Tory, and only those in marginal seats had any chance of influencing what the next government would be. In fact the majority of the electorate were effectively disenfranchised, since whoever they voted for would make no difference whatsoever as to which Party would form the next government.

There  are two ways of changing this situation. One is to reform the electoral system so it truly reflects how people voted, but the other first step is to break the cozy set-up where nothing ever changes. Corbyn could do this if he becomes Labour leader. Don’t make the mistake of comparing him to Labour’s last leftwing leader, Michael Foot. Though a brilliant speaker in his heyday, by the time he became leader Michael was past his sell-by date and appeared doddery and confused, like his Spitting Image puppet. Also the SDP stabbed Labour in the back by splitting the left-of-center vote when the Gang of Four left Labour to form the short-lived Party, which soon disappeared almost without trace in the Liberals (now officially the Liberal Democrats).

Many more people would have voted Green if they thought they had any chance of forming a government, and many more will vote Labour if they think it provides a real alternative to the Tory policies of the past few years. Or indeed the past few decades, as the Blairite Labour Party has continued with the legacy left to them by Thatcherism.

Now it is ripe for a change, and that is why people are flocking to the Labour Party and registering as supporters to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, who stands head-and-shoulders above the rest of the leadership candidates. Just as Tony Blair changed the Party in his image, so Corbyn could do the same according to his leftwing agenda.

I’m not saying this will happen, that Corbyn will win, that Labour will swing Left and be voted in at the next General Election, but don’t be too sure if Corbyn does win it will mean certain defeat for Labour. At the very least it will mean a leader of the Opposition who can really attack Tory policies on public spending cuts, Trident replacement, etc. and this in turn will win Labour more support in the ballot boxes at future elections.

The image of a doddery old man shuffling to the Cenotaph in a duffel coat has stuck in people’s minds as the image of Foot’s Labour Party. Corbyn is much more dynamic and could give Cameron a run for his money. He carries the torch for Tony Benn in keeping the true soul of Labour alive, and in this day and age of Tory attacks on the poor it would indeed be foolish to write a Corbyn-led Labour Party off as ‘unelectable’.

I have registered as a Labour supporter in order to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the leadership election. I’m sure many Tory supporters have done the same as they think this will insure them a further five years of Tory government, but their plan may well backfire. At least I did vote Labour in the last General Election as my constituency was a Tory marginal, though I swopped votes with a safe Labour seat where someone voted Green for me. If Corbyn wins, I’ll rejoin the Labour Party I left long ago, but if he loses, I’ll think about joining the Green Party. Whatever happens we need an alternative to the Tory/New Labour policies of the past few decades.

Left Unity being hijacked by militant feminists


I have today resigned from the Left Unity Party, launched by film director Ken Loach in late 2013. It is clearly going nowhere fast, and has not united the Left. At the last General Election the Green Party was the most successful party of the Left in England, and the SNP in Scotland. Left Unity has failed to attract any substantial number of supporters from the Labor Party, the British Communist Party, or any of the major leftist parties in the country.

My local group of LU, Wandsworth and Merton, has been taken over by militant feminists who are determined to set the agenda and stifle all debate. If anyone tries to debate, they are told to desist and offered workshops to re-educate them. All points the militant feminists find don’t suit their agenda, they ignore. For instance, when they proposed a motion to ban prostitution (an impossible task anyway), they ignored completely the question of mature Male Escorts serving the gay male community of their own free will (and charging high prices for their services). They insist all escorting/prostitution/sex work amounts to degradation and rape of women. Of course they also deny the right of adult women to enter the sex industry of their own free will. This strikes me as not so much Socialism as Fascism; dictating what people should do and should not do, and stifling all democratic debate.

A very sad end to Ken Loach’s initiative. I remain outside all political parties at the moment, though the Green Party is looking quite attractive. If only we had a democratic (i.e. fully PR) voting system, their million plus votes could result in many seats in Parliament, and attract even more voters.

Mum’s last days


Whichever way you look at it, my mother, who reached her 100th birthday last September, is now living her last days (possibly years) on Earth. Until March this year she was in sheltered housing, a misnomer if ever there was one as there is virtually no support whatsoever. There is a warden or Scheme Manager, but she’s now only supposed to be there 9-5 Monday to Friday, not weekends or Bank Holidays. In actual fact she rarely does a full week due to covering other schemes or because of annual leave. Even when she is on duty, if the alarms are activated by my mother because she can’t get up from her armchair, for instance, the warden is not allowed to lift her, similarly if she has a fall. So an ambulance is called to take her to hospital.

If the alarm is activated when the Scheme Manager is not on site it is monitored in Chester, many miles away from Battersea in London. So they would ring me, sometimes after midnight. I got to unplugging my landlines and turning my mobile on to silent so I could guarantee a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, of course, I would not be home when they rung but maybe miles away. So if I couldn’t go and check up on my mother, they’d just call an ambulance. How is that sheltered housing? How is that any different to someone in their own home ringing an ambulance, or pressing a neck alarm to call an ambulance? Yet when she moved in there in 2001 there was a warden and an assistant both living on site. In council sheltered housing (my mother’s was a housing association) there are people in the area who respond when alarms are activated, so they’ll be with the resident within half an hour or so.

My mother has had increasing mobility issues, and had difficulty getting up from armchairs and her wheelchair without assistance. Arthritis in her left shoulder due to an earlier stumble and refusal to wear a sling after the injury made matters worse, as she couldn’t put any pressure on that arm to help herself up. So the warden and her carer rang for an ambulance and sent her to hospital. She hadn’t had a fall, she just couldn’t get up without assistance, and had difficulty walking.

The hospital did tests and found nothing, except a urinary infection which cleared up within days with antibiotics. She was transferred to a Rehabilitation Unit, and was making slow but good progress with regular physiotherapy, but kept wanting to discharge herself. The Occupational Therapist gave her a ‘risky discharge’ but put in extra equipment in her flat, including a commode to be put by her bed at night, and a rail to help her get into and out of bed. Also a table was moved from the center of the living room to give her more space to move. My mother came home and demanded the table be put back in the middle of the room, refused to use the commode (and the carer piled clothes on top of it so it couldn’t be used anyway), and swore at the rail at the head of the bed saying: ‘Take this bloody thing away!’

A week after returning home she got up to get a cup of tea and a sandwich, or bread and fish paste, from the kitchen, tripped over something and fell. She activated the alarm, and paramedics were called. They checked her over, but she refused to go to hospital. Later that day she walked with her trolley from the bedroom to the living-room where a photographer was taking some photos for a magazine article. However her foot had swelled up and I couldn’t get her shoe on. Later that day she couldn’t get up from her armchair, and so when the carer came and couldn’t help her up either, we called an ambulance. She ended up in another hospital for 5 weeks. This time she had a hairline fracture in her little toe, but this healed without treatment in days and the swelling went down. She was getting regular physiotherapy in hospital, but couldn’t return home because someone had made allegations and an investigation was ongoing. I wasn’t told the details, but suspect a former carer with whom I’d had an argument because she was telling lies to me and my mother.

The hospital needed the bed, so she was finally discharged to a nursing home on an interim basis. Before her last hospitalization there was talk of her going to an extra care facility, where she’d have her own flat, but there would be carers on site 24/7. This sounded ideal, but she couldn’t go there straight from hospital because it would mean moving all her furniture, so a permanent move, and this wasn’t allowed due to the investigation. She moved into the nursing home, but wasn’t happy with it at all, although she has a big room, the staff are very friendly and helpful, and there’s a nice garden. It is also very near me and near her Luncheon Club and our favorite little park and place by the River Thames.

Eventually we were told the investigation had been dropped, evidently they were satisfied it was based on unfounded allegations, and yesterday my mother was given the opportunity to view a flat in the extra care facility. She took an instant dislike to it because the entrance to the facility was very narrow, the lift was very small (just took her wheelchair), and the show flat didn’t impress her either. The bedroom was tiny, though the living-room was a fair size. There was a small kitchen, a wet room with a sit-down shower and toilet, and two storage cupboards. I thought it was ideal, but mum didn’t like it at all.

So she now has to spend the rest of her days in the nursing home. There’s no question of her going back to her old flat as whenever she can’t get up they’ll just send her back to hospital. In the nursing home they put residents in wheelchairs all day and there is no physiotherapy (she would have got this in the extra care facility to get her mobile again).  The nursing home put incontinence pads on residents, and they get all their meals there. My mother won’t eat them when I’m present, but I’m told she eats when I’m not there, so I make myself scarce at mealtimes.

I visit most days and take her out when it’s not raining. We go to the Lunch Club once or twice a week and sometimes have lunch in a cafĂ© or pub. However due to her refusing the extra care facility and medical problems (the hospital detected a heart murmur, and after 80 or more years heavy smoking her lungs are not in good condition) it is likely she will deteriorate as she no longer walks about and needs assistance getting up from her chair, getting to bed, washing/dressing, etc.

I have, of course, had to cancel holidays to a hotel in the Isle of Wight where we went in recent years. I couldn’t give her the care she needs, it wouldn’t be appropriate for a son anyway, and she is incontinent either because of her immobility or because of the pills they give her in the nursing home to make her regular. No hotel would tolerate that, and no way could she manage to get to the toilet in the night by herself.

I now realize her options are strictly limited. I can really only take her around the local parks, etc. Then back to the nursing home where they will change her pads. I tried to get her to use a disabled toilet the other day while out (very few around in London) but she couldn’t manage it, or was afraid to try without two people to assist her.

It is not all gloom and doom. There is a lovely garden in the nursing home, and although she can’t smoke inside they will, if she asks them, take her out in the garden and give her a cigaret (the nurses hold a packet or two for her). My brother bought her an e-cigaret, though she hasn’t tried it yet. Other ones I bought her disappeared from her room, as did some money and other little things. If she’d accepted the extra care facility she’d have had her own front door, but she’s now made her decision and her home will be dispersed. A few things can go to her room in the nursing home, the rest will have to come to my place or be cleared away.

it is sad she’s lost her home, but I’ve done everything I can, and in the final instance it was her choice not to take the flat in the extra care facility. It might be best after all, as she has people around her in the nursing home, and she might get lonely in a strange flat especially if she felt it was claustrophobic, despite my visiting almost every day, cooking her main meal, taking her out, and carers popping in and out.

We must make the best of it, and when she does transit to Spirit she’ll be with her siblings and her parents, and she’ll be free from all her disabilities. Most people choose to go back to their prime. I guess she’ll even be allowed her fags over there until she realizes she really doesn’t need them. Meanwhile I will visit most days, not every day as I need a break and she needs to get used to the environment. Days when she’s very grumpy I just have to leave and not visit the next day. I plan at the moment to visit and take her out (weather permitting) most days. Perhaps have two or three days a week when I don’t visit.

Thinking of myself and my own future needs, I live in a large council flat which I shared with my partner till he transited to Spirit 24 years ago next September. There are 14 stairs up to my flat, one reason mum couldn’t come to live here as she couldn’t manage the stairs nor could I get her wheelchair up and down with its motor on, and I couldn’t risk her smoking in my flat and causing a fire (the sheltered accommodation did have alarms linked to the fire station, so if they were set off firemen were there within minutes. Apparently there’s no truth in the rumor she set the smoke alarms off because she liked to see men in uniform arrive!)

Maybe, if I start to get more decepit (I’m 70 now but still fairly fit apart from a few aches and pains) I’ll book myself into the extra care facility. I won’t be able to take all the stuff I’ve accumulated over the years, but I find I don’t use most of it anyway. Just what I need.

Mum may have weeks, months or years ahead of her, who knows? However although she still pines for a home of her own she has made her choice – she was offered one and rejected it. There really is nothing else available which would be suitable in the area, so it means she’ll have to get used to the nursing home which, as I say, has friendly staff, a lovely garden, she is well looked after by nurses and carers, and she has a very large room with some of her things around her. I think she’s been moved around so much in the past few months she doesn’t want to move to another strange environment. She would like to return to her old home, but this just isn’t practical as she’d be back in hospital within hours due to her immobility and the lack of any care facility there. In fact I think they have changed the name to ‘independent living’.  It was sheltered housing when she moved in 14 years ago.


Prostitution and Left Unity


I am probably going to resign from the Left Unity Party, launched in 2013 by Ken Loach and others as a leftwing alternative to Labor. The Party is clearly not going anywhere, and the Green Party has surged ahead with over 1 million votes in the last General Election (but only one MP due to our unfair electoral system). I may well join the Greens, or remain outside all political parties.

I have had two run-ins with LU members over the question of prostitution.  One on Facebook, and the other this week by email. My local Party, Wandsworth, has decided to discuss prostitution at a meeting on Thursday, and it seems militant feminists are completely in control and will present a paper calling for the oldest profession to be banned. Apart from being totally impractical and likely to just push it further underground, increasing trafficking of women and minors, it impinges on the rights of consenting adults to earn a living by providing a useful service, and on the rights of their clients to purchase these services.

Accusations were thrown about saying contributions to the debate by email were ‘inappropriate’ and ‘intimidating’. The only intimidation is by the militant feminists who insist all prostitution constitutes rape and degradation of women, even apparently when talking about male escorts catering mainly for gay and bisexual men. In fact they don’t want to talk about male sex workers at all, insisting it is just a matter of men degrading women.

I happen to believe sex workers of both genders provide a valuable social service, preventing many rapes and child molestations. They are often willing to act out fantasy role play, and indeed many of these don’t even involve sex. Full penetrative sex is not necessarily part of all encounters with sex workers. Of course my idea that sex workers should be available on the NHS to give hand jobs to elderly men to prevent prostate cancer, and save the NHS money in the long run, was no doubt deemed one of the ‘inappropriate’ and ‘intimidating’ remarks, but I make no apologies for being decades ahead of current thinking.

My life-partner and most of his friends were sex workers in the past, and he held the same views as I do about the valuable social service they provide. Similarly for the pornographic industry, and Peter Tatchell has said that it can help stimulate masturbation in older men and so help to prevent prostate cancer. Militant feminists no doubt are not preoccupied with male health issues such as this.

State run brothels with proper controls and regular health checks are, in my view, the answer, to provide safe spaces for sex workers and their clients, and to insure no minors or trafficked women/men/children are involved. If State run brothels were set up, all other forms of prostitution could be if not eliminated at least more regulated, and unauthorized brothels closed down. Whether independent consenting adults could operate on their own is a moot point, I see no objection but they might need to agree to regular inspections to insure they were within the law and to conduct health checks.

It is plain stupid to try to outlaw the oldest profession. Surely the experience of Prohibition in the USA taught us that if you ban something people want it goes underground and in control of criminal organizations like the Mafia.

I await a reply from Left Unity head office before deciding whether to cancel my membership, but if I don’t hear from them I will resign anyway. Only if they ask me to stay a member will I possible reconsider.

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