Posts filed under ‘News’

For once, I agree with Cameron?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I am not as political as many. I know that I don’t like extremes, be they left or right wing. I would define myself as a liberal, not the Liberals in the current Government who have been diluted, their policies corrupted by constant compromise for (what appears to me to be) very little return.

I am not a huge fan of David Cameron. The economic policies of cut, cut, cut will, I feel, snip away at the infrastructure of our society. Before everyone starts howling at me I know there need to be cuts but there is surely a balance? I don’t believe that depending on the rich to generate all the wealth will work. There must be investment to allow small business to keep going, to keep schools thriving to provide us with a future workforce that is educated and motivated.

I will go no further than this. I am not an economist, I am not a politician. I am sure the paragraph above will annoy enough people so I should to move on to the point of this blog….

David Cameron appeared on the This Morning programme yesterday. He was interviewed by Phillip Schofield, someone I normally admire for his integrity. However, it appears Mr Schofield had a rush of blood to the head. He lifted a list of names of politicians/public figures from the Internet; people who had supposedly been embroiled in the abuse of children in previous decades. He presented the list to David Cameron and wanted his comments on it. Cameron sensibly left the paper without looking and talked about what needs to happen. What was Mr Schofield thinking?

My thoughts?

The Internet is a wonderful thing. Full of useful information, opinion and fun. I love doing research, reading blogs and sprouting nonsense on Twitter and Facebook. However, it is also full of opinion being presented as fact; it promotes conspiracy  theory as ‘the real truth’. When you read anything you need to assume that fact-checking will be required, either using your own common sense or actual fact checking.

I assume Philip Schofield considers himself a smart man, a responsible broadcaster, I know I have always thought so. He comes across as caring and sensible. I consider lifting a list from the Internet to be a dumb thing to do. It is a cheap trick. If you want to be considered a serious broadcaster, even in a magazine programme, then don’t resort to tabloid tricks. He may as well have worn a redtop bandana when he tried this. I am quite angry with him for doing this and reckon he knows he messed up. People will believe him to be right because it was Phillip Schofield, I hope he takes the time to put them straight.

With all the furore over the Savile scandal and repercussions rippling through Government and media now is the time for serious investigation. There are so many people out there who are living with the legacy of abuse. Why would we endanger getting to the facts by stirring up public opinion which may impact any future prosecutions? I understand that we need answers, I want them myself. However, I am prepared to be patient to allow the facts to be uncovered and allow the Justice system to work.

What we need now is not cheap sensationalism. I know this may be hard for people to accept but now is the time to be calm and wait. I expect there to be proper and diligent examination of facts and statements. I expect there to be arrests and charges made where the facts support this. I then expect there to be full and frank disclosure. I don’t think this is too much to ask but I know that this may take time. We need to stop the emotional stunts, this will do no favours to those who have suffered abuse. Give this horrendous situation the seriousness it deserves.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading,

Lesley

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November 9, 2012 at 11:24 am 1 comment

Locked In.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Watching the news this morning I saw an interview with Jane Nicklinson. Mrs Nicklinson is the widow of Tony, who lost his right to die court battle two weeks ago. The devastation he felt hastened his end and he passed away last week. Mr Nicklinson suffered from locked-in syndrome after suffering a stroke seven years ago. The link below has the news report from this court battle. It is hard to watch, seeing Mr. Nicklinson’s distress but it is what he wanted people to see.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19400411

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines locked-in syndrome as a rare neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles in all parts of the body except for those that control eye movement. It may result from traumatic brain injury, diseases of the circulatory system, diseases that destroy the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells, or medication overdose. Individuals with locked-in syndrome are conscious and can think and reason, but are unable to speak or move. The disorder leaves individuals completely mute and paralyzed. Communication may be possible with blinking eye movements.

Gruesome.

Mr. Nicklinson had been an active and vibrant man before the stroke left him completely dependent. He felt the deprivations of his condition deeply and was frustrated by it and the burdens he felt he imposed on his wife and family. Jane Nicklinson epitomises in sickness and in health. She cared for her husband because she knew the mind of the man she loved was still there even when everything else had let him down. However, she was practical too. In the interview this morning she said it had been harder seven years ago when her life as well as Tony’s changed forever. During those years she left the house once a week to do the weekly shop, the rest of the time she cared for her husband. I doubt many of us would be as brave as she.

For his sake and hers, I am glad Tony Nicklinson has passed. I admire him for his determination to fight for a change in the law. I admire Mrs. Nicklinson for her love and dedication to the care of her husband. I hope that she will allow herself to smile, travel, enjoy life once she has finished grieving.

It has made me think. Most of us muddle through, balancing work and family. We blithely trip through life and consider our woes as mountains instead of the molehills they often are. It is when I see stories of real sacrifice and love that I stop and pause. We all have worries but it may do us good to put them into a larger context. Then we might find our own burdens a little lighter; allow ourselves to see others whose burdens are heavy and perhaps offer a helping hand?

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

August 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm Leave a comment

Neil Armstrong – When I Was Eight

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

When I was eight Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. I, like everyone I knew, watched. It is difficult to state how important it was at the time. All the adults talked about it in whispers, as if they were in church. It was so beyond our lives that we found it hard to comprehend. At a time when air-travel was still rare for many flying to the moon was terrifying and wonderful. I still wanted to be a nurse when I was eight but remember how many 8 year-olds changed their minds and wanted to be an astronaut.

I was very small when the first US manned flights were televised. Grainy pictures in black and white of the take-offs. I still experience a shiver when we watch countdowns and blasters spewing flames for miles before, it seems ever so slowly, we see the rocket/shuttle rise up into the sky and beyond. I have often wondered what the astronauts felt when they went into this brave new world. Fear? Excitement? If it were me I think the predominate feeling would be panic-filled nausea:)

The death of Neil Armstrong does close a chapter in some way. They chose well when they selected him as the first person to walk on the moon. He was a man of principle, shy but with a strong belief, in God, man and his family. He was honourable and brave and had no truck with ‘celebrity’. I wonder what he thought about those who assume that status by virtue of appearing in a reality television show. He had a strong sense of humour in any interview I saw, I think he would have smiled at how the world had changed in the fifty years since he hung up his spacesuit. Wouldn’t it be good if some ‘celebs’ took a moment to think how their achievements stack up against those of Neil Armstrong? I doubt it will happen but one can always hope.

I have written about space travel and its cost before here. I stand by that opinion, to me the cost of space travel is too high when many parts of the Earth struggle against hunger and disease. However, I do not decry the achievements of those who have taken that route, it is man’s instinct to challenge and explore and that I applaud. Science and scientists are necessary but it is always my hope that they turn their minds to making our world better too.

I admire the man Neil Armstrong, he carried his life well. I am sure his family mourn him deeply but will smile when they think of him and his goodness. I wish them well, they will suffer his absence. He has left a legacy for the rest of us, we know his name. When we think of space we will always think of him. Goodbye and rest well Mr. Armstrong.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

August 26, 2012 at 9:32 am 2 comments

News Hour?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I was glued to the Olympics. I love sport and the Olympics holds a very special place in my heart. I remember watching as a young child, one spectacular memory being David Hemery at the 1968 Mexico games. I am from a large family and I remember all of us watching the race and seeing my father getting quite excited as he shouted him to the line. I thought at the time if athletes could hear the cheers of the television audience they would break stadium/country/world records every time.

London 2012 was therefore a thing of joy for me. I cheered every medal I saw, jumping in my living room as Mo, Sir Chris, Jessica, Charlotte, Laura, Alistair and all the other winning athletes lifted Team GB and NI to third in the Medal table. Like many others I shed a few tears as all the hard work paid off. I was irritated by the oft-used term ‘only a silver’ and ‘only a bronze’. Those who apologised for not winning gold? Please don’t apologise to me or anyone else, your achievements are amazing.

I love the thought of many children watching and being inspired to want to do the same. That for me is the legacy of the games. It is not an easy path to take. Many will struggle to hit the heights but it will give them discipline and work ethic to take through life.

However, there is one issue I had through the entire Games, news coverage. Not the coverage of the Olympics itself, I applaud the BBC for their broadcasting throughout. I salute Clare Balding and Michael Johnson in particular, common sense and knowledge make for great commentary. My issue was the limited coverage given to other news during news broadcasts.

The real world doesn’t go away when we have a huge event like the Olympics. Real life in all its glory and horror still goes on but it would have been difficult to get enough information when more than ten minutes of a fifteen minute broadcast was taken up by the Olympics. The only item I saw take the ‘top spot’ for the entire period was the search for Tia Sharp and then the sad, sad news of her death. My thoughts go to those who loved her.

I suggest to everyone that they search for Syria on their local news site. The resignation of Kofi Annan was in my opinion a huge blow to making progress. News from the 12th August tells us that the Arab League had postponed a planned meeting to discuss the crisis in Syria. No reason was given for the postponement. The US and Turkey are working together to assist the opposition to the current regime. William Hague also pledged assistance without weapons to the rebel forces in Syria. However, the Government in situ has firm support from other Governments. I don’t know if we are heading for some kind of stand-off but worry that the people being attacked are stuck in the middle. Talk of chemical weapons and mass bombings are frightening.

I don’t shout ‘invade’, that is a dangerous path that has been stepped on before. But what is the best path? I live in a country that has been badly affected by tribalism, I see the same threading through the news stories. Are our origins so important that those who do not share them become nothing? Are those who do not share our beliefs mere collateral? Are power and religion the only things that matter to people? I believe in freedom to live and worship but believe the right to do so is based on allowing all others to do the same without fear or penalty. I am now in a quandary. I am scunnered hearing about diplomacy and want to see action. However, the action only takes us down that same road again. Where do we go from here, I would love someone wiser than me to tell me. Is there an answer? I don’t like the thought of this being the only solution

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

August 15, 2012 at 11:03 am Leave a comment

Rambling, Ranting and a bit of Sport Relief.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Pre-read warning, this post has a few tangents. Please stick with it, I will have a point, promise…..

I watched most of the BBC’s Sport Relief programme on Friday night. I smiled, laughed and cried in the same measure. I donated, of course I did, I can’t really blog about giving without taking action myself. It was always my intention to donate but I do leave it until near the end every time, perhaps to focus on the watching first, I am not altogether sure.

One  thing that struck me as painful was a new slant I see on programmes of this type. In years gone by there were segments where we we would see a child near death through starvation, pneumonia or malaria. Through the ‘power of television’ we would then see the same child a couple of days/weeks later; they would be on the mend and a smiling presenter would tell us how our donations had made a direct impact on this child’s life.

The same thing happened when we were presented with the children living on streets, working from the age of two to help support their families with no hope of education or a change in circumstances. The next ‘cut to camera’ shot would be those children smiling in classrooms learning their way out of poverty with their families benefiting from some small sum to enable this. Cue happy smiles all around. Our guilt assuaged, we were able to smile too and move on.

Now? The ‘fluffy’ picture has gone. We see the sad and ill children but we do not cut to them getting an education or getting better.  We see other children benefiting from the classroom and other children starting to heal. The children working on rubbish dumps or making bricks were left there to work themselves quite literally to the bone. As for the children who were ill, we were shown shots of resustitation. Frantic efforts made by staff who saw too much death, they brought some children back from the brink but only temporarily. It was a powerful picture, the face of a devastated and exhausted health worker with a glimpse of the body of a small dead child. It was harsh to watch, we moved from the laboured breathing to no breath at all. I cried. I am sure many people cried. However, my tears do no good in this situation, I just hope my money does make a difference to some other mother’s child, I couldn’t help the mothers of those children we saw.

I know why they have moved away from the ‘cute’ shots. Society is ever-changing, the power of the internet means that we can see almost anything we want. Depends what we want to see. I have no desire to see an execution, no desire to see a child die. Are we now so jaded by multi-media that this needs to be the case? The celebrities are still there, they still cry too. Many people feel this is a poor use of celebrity (notoriety even?), that these are crocdile tears furthering a career and not a cause. I disagree to a large extent but have one comment. I don’t need to see a celebrity doing this to make me want to give, a reporter can have the same impact for me. But then we get to my next point –  are there some who enjoy seeing the celebs sadness watching the harsh lives or deaths of others? I would really hate to believe that, if that is how people think then we are in a sorry state as a race, the human race. For myself, it can be reporters, it can be celebrities, they all bring attention to the cause and that is what must be important.

So now, a not so smooth segue to words, specifically the words in the media. There is a link to the rest of this post, I will get to it. A young Welshman was jailed today for posting racist tweets about the footballer Patrice Muamba after he collapsed on the field of play last week. When challenged by other Twitter users he compounded his previous utterances.

I disagree with what he said, this doesn’t go without saying because it needs to be said again and again. I will add though that in my opinion he was drunk and stupid. And here is my point – my warning about social media. In the days before Facebook, Twitter and all those other sites you would be with friends. When you are drunk and stupid with friends they tell you to ‘wind your neck in’ (that is what they would tell you in Northern Ireland anyway) and you would stop. If you carried on, your mates would take you home and leave you there until you sobered up and apologised to them. You do not get the chance to be sorted out so quickly on social media. Your words are out there and all it takes is a couple of retweets or shares and millions will see your crass stupidity. Those millions will screen-scrape and save that stupidity and it will get reposted out there, you can never forget it.

The court case has made some cheer and some frown. There is much debate about the difference between free speech and incitement. I would like to think this young man was not trying to incite hatred but his words were racist and that is against the law. If his words have allowed someone else to justify their bigoted ways then damage has been done.  He will have to live with his actions for a long long time.The horrible truth is that there are many people who post this kind of drivel every day but they do not catch the attention of enough people. I make no excuses for this young man or anyone else, I only know I would never want to cause offense to others with my tweets. Even live phone-ins have a slight delay so that we can filter what goes out on the airwaves. I know the point of social media is not to censor but wouldn’t it be helpful if they had an ‘Are you Sure You Want to Make a Complete Eejit of Yourself’ button that stupidity wouldn’t get out there so easily?

Please do not think I make light of either topic here but I will close with one last point. Would all social media users like to focus their words on changing this world to be a more caring and careful place? Can we have one day where you post only about how you can help one person? Why don’t we have a #changethisworld hashtag, is it too much fun to challenge?

I leave you with the BBC Sport relief website in case you want to check it for yourself – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sportrelief/

Thank You BBC and Sport Relief!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

March 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm 2 comments

I Want!

You know what I want, please donate to a childrens charity and write to me! More details on the About Lesley page….

I had an exchange on Twitter last week about my long-held longing for an Audi. I haven’t got one but one day perhaps. It got me thinking about our ‘I want’ culture. We all want, fact. Be it stuff, feelings, opportunities, change, we all want that ‘one’ thing or many things, if we get those things then perhaps life will be perfect? We assuage any guilt by telling ourselves we need to ‘want’ to be able to strive. That is true to some extent but I ask you, when do we reach ‘enough’?

When children are small they do not recognise anything beyond their own wants and feelings. When they cry they are lifted, fed, cuddled, changed and their crying stops. As they become toddlers they want to explore, touch, possess and see no barriers to having what they want. I do love this stage in children, they have total freedom and happiness in believing that everything is theirs. Of course we must teach them otherwise. We teach our children the word ‘No’, we teach them to share, a lesson hard-learned but a lesson that must be learned. It is all necessary to allow a child to develop but I do remember the sheer disappointment on my own children’s faces as this became painfully clear.

We are in a consumer culture and are continually bombarded with the next best thing. Adverts, product placement, even the news broadcasting the top twenty toys for children. Is it any wonder that our kids feel deprived if they don’t have those trainers, that game, this burger? When we combine this with the immediacy of a credit-driven economy it is too easy to say yes when we should be saying no. I have tried to raise my children to save before spending but it is tough. I know I am not immune to the charms of the advertisers either. If I am out ‘browsing’ I inevitably find myself drawn to admire handbags, a weakness I am very aware of. I contain and control it; I can admire and walk away but every now and then I succumb. My friends are very aware of this character flaw and steer me gently away from the pretty, pretty bags:)

However, there is more than one definition for want, I thought this summed it up for me –

1: to be needy or destitute
2: to have or feel need
3: to be necessary or needed
4: to desire to come, go, or be
The first definition is to me the most important. It is that which makes me keep my love of handbags and Audis in check. You know I hate to sound ‘goody-goody’, that is not my way but do I really need more when so many don’t have enough? I will continue to ask myself this when the handbag pangs get too strong. However, I won’t stop saying ‘Hello Baby’ to every beautiful Audi I see……
In the meantime, I can always look, can’t I?

Oh my, isn't it pretty!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 31, 2011 at 11:07 pm 4 comments

Support Needed….

If you don’t know why I do this please read the About Lesley page….

The basis for this post it is a feature story on the BBC News website this week – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15288865. I state up front that this is not a pop at the Americans but it is a follow-up to my last post on poverty. Please also read the Expert Analysis section of the story. Michael Petit has provided the information on the conditions and fiscal policies that have allowed this situation to come about, it is compelling reading.

For me, this is a difficult post. I struggle with cruelty and violence towards those who can’t defend themselves. There have been some cases over the years that remain with me and give me nightmares. I, perhaps selfishly, don’t often post on the topic but the facts need to be talked about. Poverty, poor education and a lack of support often leads to neglect and cruelty. There are many who raise their children well in difficult circumstances and make great sacrifices to do so. I applaud them.

This is the bald truth – in the last 10 years over 20,000 children in the US have been killed in their homes. Imagine a short, pain-filled life. No joy, no happiness. Imagine that just for one minute. The minute will tick by slowly. It is difficult to make yourself think of unpleasant things but sometimes you just should. This happens everywhere, in the UK, in the US and all other ‘developed’ countries. It isn’t right is it?

We need to provide support for struggling families. It is easy to give social workers, health visitors, charities, the caring professions a hard time. We see the cases in the news when they fail but we should remember all those cases where it works, there are no headlines when it works.

It is hard to be a parent but children should be a joy not a burden. Please think about donating to a charity that will help parents learn and children grow up. The alternative is too much to bear.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

October 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm 2 comments

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