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One Size Fits All Until It Has Been Shrunk Beyond The Point Of Usefulness (Or - The Impossible Question Of Asking The Police To Do More With Less Of Everything)
8/5/2015 8:55:35 PM
Usually I try to put some kind of jokey twist on even the most serious of subjects in an attempt to make them more "appetising" for you to read.  The subject of this post is much too serious for that sort of treatment.  It doesn't just affect me but it affects everybody - and nobody appears to realise how serious the consequences will be.

What do you get when you combine a hostage negotiator, a finder of children who have absconded from Care Homes, a (mostly) untrained Mental Health worker, a Security Guard, an Investigator (and cleaning operative) of Road Traffic Accidents, a Deliverer of Bad News, A Repository for All Kinds Of Abuse (physical and verbal), and pour it all into a blue (or black uniform) - and that is only a few of the current functions they fulfil???

Or to put it another way - which Emergency Service gets called out when other Agencies either fail to do their jobs properly or refuse to work over their "allotted hours"???

I wish the above two paragraphs had a funny punchline to them - believe me, you have no idea how much I wish that was true.

Unfortunately, the answer to them is not a punchline to a joke.

As you probably know by now I follow quite a few "Twittercops" - and one in particular gave me the idea for this blog post when he tweeted that there should be a discussion between the Police and the public about exactly what the Police do.

First the Dogs were in Danger - then the Helicopters got grounded - now the Officers themselves are in danger of being deleted from the payroll.

I fear there are two sources of attack which are being usefully operated right now.

You could say that the most obvious attack is coming from the Government - and you would be half correct in my opinion.

The other obvious attack is coming from the Media.  Just today I watched a news report stating that my local Force (Leicestershire) had run an experiment where they only sent Forensic Officers (the CSI people) to houses which had been subject to an attempted break in if the houses had odd numbers in their address.

Luckily my Twitter timeline had exploded with tweets from indignant Twittercops on this subject when the news broke earlier today.  (That old saying about asking a Police Officer if you want to know the time seems to work for Twittercops and the truth behind news stories as well.)

However, I feel the biggest attack is coming from within the Police Service itself as far as the public information is concerned at least.

Allow me to explain -

The only ranks who have actually put statements out to the media about the impact of the forthcoming cuts are the Chief Constables who have given general descriptions of what will be lost.  One Police and Crime Commissioner seems to have decided that the Police are a waste of space anyway (immediately angering the rank and file Constables).

If you ask me (and I know nobody is but I will tell you anyway) - the best people to scream about the effects which the cuts to the numbers of Police Officers will have are - you guessed it - the rank and file officers you find on the streets.

Yes - the ones who can lose rest days at a moment's notice in order to cover understaffing on a particular shift, the ones who are sent in single-crewed cars to dangerous disturbances, the ones who put themselves in the way of that crazed killer (and have been known to get killed or at least seriously injured as a result), the ones who witness scenes of horrific devastation after a Terrorist attack and still work through it, the ones who talk down the suicidal person from the bridge one minute and have to tell someone else's relatives and loved ones that they have died in an accident the next.

The rank and file Superheroes who all deserve a medal for their bravery and committment to keeping the peace are the ones who should be allowed to go on TV and radio to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, about the cuts and their consequences.

One Twittercop remarked on the sudden appearance of so many Police "reality TV" shows being a sign of how interested the Public are in what the Police do.

I only hope the Public will be as understanding when someone points out that there are not enough Officers to do half of the work in future???

All Aboard The Musical Merry-Go-Round (Or - How One Song Can Have A Thousand Meanings)
8/1/2015 2:34:14 AM
Music can pull people together yet it can also highlight exactly how different we are.  For example - the only way you are ever going to get me to listen to "Sweet Child Of Mine" by Guns & Roses is if you play me a version which does not include Axl Rose singing on it.  (My two favourite versions are both what you might call "classical" instrumental versions - one on a piano and the other on four violins.)

But there are some songs which have a special meaning for me (two of which I dare not even bother dreaming of covering - even if the person who sang one of them says I have got a nice voice) which is probably not the meaning the author intended them to have.

If you want to know what I think is the darkest - and most borderline disturbed - song I have ever heard you may be surprised to learn that it is not "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter" by Iron Maiden, or "Paradise City" by Guns & Roses.  Nope - for me that title goes to "Wanted (Dead or Alive)" by Bon Jovi.  To be honest I have never liked the full band version as it sounds too happy - my favourite version is Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi singing it acoustically with a couple of guitars and nothing else.  That sends the cold shivers running down my spine as it reminds me a lot of my time at Secondary School.  Especially the lyric "Sometimes I sleep, sometimes its not for days.  The people I meet, come and go their separate ways".  That is a little too close to the truth of bullying for my liking.

The other song - if you haven't guessed it by now - is "Someone" by Kristyna Myles.  It is one of those songs I find it totally and utterly impossible to sing so it sounds like the original - probably because I put my own meaning into the lyrics (even though I keep the tune the same as well as the lyrics).  Pretty difficult not to put your own meaning into a song when it feels like you have literally lived through it.

I never thought I would agree with a word that Bono from U2 says but I think he has got a point when he says that the audience never applaud the version of a song which the singer sings but they are applauding their own personal version (compete with the memories they have attached to it).

I am going to leave you with the theme tune to my alltime favourite children's cartoon.  I remember watching the programme when I was a little girl and we went to visit my Oma.  Even when I couldn't understand the lyrics I absolutely loved the tune - it is so chirpy.

"De Fabeltjeskrant" was a cartoon where Mijnheer de Uil (or Mr Owl) decided to spread wisdom to the other creatures in the woodland.  In fact - the theme tune asks Mr Owl what brings him to us and if he is going to read from the "Fabeltjeskrant" (or "Fables Newspaper").  The spoken bit gets a little bit weird but the general gist of it is that Mr Owl thinks that Animals are like Humans with the same wishes as humans.

Of course you can just enjoy the tune.


Why Being A Yo-Yo Can Be More Educational Than You Might Think (Or - Maybe We Ask The Wrong People To Teach Us Life Skills???)
8/1/2015 12:56:10 AM
Before I begin tonight's ramblings I would like you to watch a video which is kind of linked to the title (and subject) of this blog post - I will explain as we go on;


Have you ever had two separate conversations with two people (who know each other and know you) which end up sounding like one continuous conversation when you replay them in your brain later on???

That happened to me today!  The connection can be found in the lyric "We all got memories, tales to tell", from the video.

I hope you will excuse me for not identifying the friends I was talking to (as I don't believe their identities are relevant - apart from which I have not got personal permission to quote one of them).

Given a choice between saying I keep turning up like a bad penny or saying I keep turning up like a yo-yo - I was pretty surprised when the person I put the choice to decided to tell me I keep turning up like a "positive" yo-yo.

Surprised because it kind of tied in with a conversation I had had with a mutial friend of ours a few minutes earlier where we were talking about the best people to educate other people.  (One of the words this particular friend used is one I wish could be banned from the English language - "empower".  I am sorry but every time I hear that word in connection with humans I immediately think of them being plugged directly into Hinckley Point - a nuclear power station - and switched on - electrocution optional!!!)

Apart from yo-yo's always coming back to the same place (once you have mastered how to operate them) they are actually useful educational tools.  Put it this way - I remember sitting in a Science Lesson (I think it was Physics) and being taught about kinetic energy with a yo-yo being used as an example.

However, I digress.

Have you ever had the feeling that you share a strange connection with someone even though you have only just been introduced to them???  That is exactly how I felt when I was introduced to the first person who inspired this blog post (I was introduced to them quite some time ago by the second person who inspired it).

Turned out that my senses were correct in more ways than I would have been able to guess at when I first met them.

We both passionately believe that the people who are "educating" people today are (in some cases) the wrong people for the job.

I am not strictly talking about the subjects you learn at school (although - as we get a bit further on you may learn something interesting about my opinion about that) - more the "helping" subjects which you find yourself (if you are unlucky) needing to learn to find your way out of.

This "yo-yo" is ashamed to say that I seem to spend most of my life as an untapped resource.  I have a lot of experience which some people should find really useful (RNIB, Vista, etc, as well as children who are seriously shortsighted and going through Mainstream "Education" now).

Put it this way - would you ask someone who has never seen or played a piano in their life to coach you for your Grade 9 Piano exam???  No - if you are any kind of intelligent human and you actually want to pass your Grade 9 exam - you will find a teacher who has proven experience of playing a piano to a high enough standard to pass the exam themself.

So why are we relying on people who have had absolutely no experience of things like Domestic Violence, Mental Health issues, Disabilities, etc, to set the agenda and attempt to impose "textbook solutions" to problems for which no textbook actually exists???

I was hoping to do some work in partnership with a charity a few years ago.  The charity was either the RNIB or Vista.  Now - both of these were set up to help blind and Partially Sighted people (Vista is the Leicestershire branch of the RNIB).  So you can imagine (hopefully) my total astonishment when one of their employees told me that nobody who works for the organisations is either blind or registered Partially Sighted.

Call me crazy if you want to (trust me - I have been called a lot worse) but - surely the best person to help someone who is going through any kind of situation is someone who has been through a similar situation themself and come out the other side (providing - of course - there is another side) or has learned to cope with whatever situation they face???

I will let you into a secret - the thing which I had the worst experience with at school wasn't the bullying, or teaching myself how to act like everybody else.  It was the reason why I felt I had to teach myself how to be more "acceptable" to everybody (no matter how much it cost me in terms of Mental and physical energy).

I only had a handful of teachers who actually wore glasses.  Now - based on their behaviour - I could make an "educated" (excuse the pun) guess which told me that their sight was nowhere near as bad as mine.

This meant that their teaching methods were not designed for my level of sight.  (Not only that but I can still name at least three teachers who had "handwriting" which was actually worse than mine to read - and that is saying something.)

Apart from the paragraph above - the worst thing was that I didn't feel comfortable enough or safe enough to ask for the help which would have been most useful to me.

That was a double-edged sword in a way - on the one hand the teachers didn't have a clue that I really should have been judged by a different set of standards to everybody else (hence my school reports all having variations of "Could try harder" written on them - and me asking to be transferred during my first term of secondary school, as well as almost having a breakdown (hidden) during my fourth year of secondary school.  On the other hand I ended up being so good at teaching myself to be a "performing seal" that I sailed through a sight test when I was 16 which lead a Consultant at the Leicester Royal Infirmary to turn round to my Mum in my earshot and say "get her out of here - she is wasting my time" (this was after everybody at the Secondary School I was at had - very - belatedly realised how bad my sight was and started snowing me under with different aids and implements which would have been useful when I first started Primary School).

You can read all the textbooks you want to on whatever subject you are interested in - and pass exams until you have got PhD's coming out of your ears.  However, if you honestly want me to take you seriously when you try to help or advise me I would respectfully make one request.  You will either need proveable experience of the situation I am in (paper certificates are not accepted - you cannot get NVQs in things like Having A Sight Problem, Having a Mental Health Issue, Surviving Domestic Violence, etc) or you will need patience and a willingness to listen when I tell you your suggestion is not likely to work, as well as a desire to help me achieve a satisfactory outcome for both of us - whether or not you agree with my thoughts.  My hardwon experience may not seem to be on the same level as paper qualifications but I wonder how many paper qualifications actually have an overall activities basis???

You respect ,y achievements and I will respect yours.

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