Saturday, September 30, 2006

A journey of memories and ridiculously big boots

I bought a ridiculously expensive pair of jeans on Thursday. This morning, as I woke, I decided it was only right that they should be accompanied by a ridiculously expensive pair of boots. Sporting the aforementioned jeans I set off into town heading for the ridiculously big shoe shop. (The shop is not large in itself but the shoes it sells are.)

Transport at the week end is always a quandary. I don’t do the tube on work free days, but taxi fares accumulate and mini cabs never turn up on time. I had been going to cycle, but the inclement weather and soggy tyres put an end to that. So, set to a random iPod soundtrack, I strode off through the park. Approaching the bus stop I passed a bar. A bar where I had delivered some ridiculously bad news to a short fling of mine (the fling was short, not the man), some 6 months ago. He has not been seen since.

I boarded a bus heading to Euston planning to walk from there. As it trundled down Essex Road we passed the Outreach Centre (a ‘care in the community’ kind of place). Six long years ago I had sat in there with my friend as his doctor told him he thought, after 10 years of being well on a bi weekly injection (known as a depot in the trade), he could be trusted to medicate himself with pills. Armed with his capsules my friend set off on a 2 year, unsupervised journey, which was to end in the Old Bailey and 4 years in a secure psychiatric unit.

Along we rode, past the fishmongers which always has a queue spilling out of its door, and through Angel, my old familiar home. We headed down Pentonville Road and up loomed Kings Cross. The hole through which I had emerged from the ground, that smoke filled day in July last year, has been filled with rubble and sealed with concrete. A scar on my life, erased from sight but never from my mind.

The driver dimmed the lights at Euston and off I hopped. I glanced at the gate house bar which is sometimes open (today it was). Months ago I was sent to check whether the padlock was in place. ‘You go’ someone had said ‘you’re the runner’. As I sprinted across the road my heart had skipped a beat, I was overwhelmed with guilt, as I thought of the girl I had only just met. Another passenger from that tube standing on the pavement on her prosthetic legs watching, waiting and perhaps remembering when she could run too.

I strolled past St. Pancras Church, where we had laid flowers at the foot of ‘The Fallen Angel’ on the 6 month anniversary of the bombings. Where I had wept uncontrollably at the first anniversary this summer as the local school choir had sung ‘Make me a channel for your peace’.

I took shelter from the smog filled road and cut through a new development by the Euston tower. I stopped and looked up, with awe, at a giant glowing artwork plastered across the raw end of a building. I wandered over to the plaque we had designed:

Michael Craig-Martin
The Fan

I remembered that gloomy November morning when, shuddering with cold and nerves, I had watched the crane hoist it onto place. Would it fit? Would it stick? Would it work? Had I messed something up? It was still there today, vibrant with colour, Michael’s fan for all to see, with me (who had played a part in its creation) standing below it and taking it in with pride.

Great Portland Street was next, past the pub where we had all congregated, that summer evening, after the anniversary memorial service in Regents Park. Determined to get hammered but too emotionally drained to drink. We all flopped home early and slept for a week.

By now I was getting warm, my jacket was too heavy and I needed a drink. I bought some water from a newsagent and tried to squeeze it in my bag. My bag was too small to hold it and I needed to go to the loo. Jacket flung over my shoulder, hand bag bursting open I concentrated on the medley playing in my ears. 2Pac, Johnny Cash, Eminem, The Carpenters, Jimmy Cliff, Air, Eminem, Nightmares on Wax, Novelle Vague, Neil Diamond, Eminem. My iPod random setting is not random at all. I imagine one of the programmers thought it was funny and installed a little bug. It wanders through my collection, but every few songs, without fail, it returns to Eminem. He is a bit of a hero, I’ve seen 8 Mile 8 times, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

An old red routemaster passed me, decorated with wedding ribbons. ‘Andy and Mandy, just married’ it declared, where the destination should be. I couldn’t help a smile.

I strolled past the hidden mews of this sprawling city and peered into havens of peace where people live protected from the hustle. I rounded a corner, and there I was, the street of the big shoe shops. Women of all shapes and sizes grace this street with excitement and glee. Most are tall, but some are not, all have a comment bond of bearing larger feet that the norm. We laugh and chat and exclaim how we have never had so much choice. Decisions, decisions, we squeal, we are so used to buying the only pair that fits. I tried on nearly every pair in the street, settled on three, close my eyes and paid the bill. I left the shop with the ridiculously expensive boots already on and decided I needed a drink.

I skirted along the back of Oxford Street to avoid the crowds. The rear side of Selfridges loomed and I walked past the reception of their offices. I had been through that door, fired up with adrenolin, more times than I could remember. Each time, coming back to meet someone else to pitch for the job again. A job we lost, even though everyone wanted us to win. Everyone, that is, but the Director of Design, Alannah Weston, whose dad just happens to own the joint.

And then to the bar, a haven from the crowds, the bar where I had my first date with my ex some 4 years ago. An early evening vodka and a call from a documentary researcher. We talked about forgiveness, PTSD and recovery and about how, amongst the chaos of it all, blogging somehow helps.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bully boyz unite

If anyone is going to ‘confront muslim bullies’ Dr Reid is the man to do it.

Nick Robinson
'It was once said of Ken Clarke that he was the sort of man who would see a fight starting on the other side of the road and cross it to join in.
John Reid is just such a politician.'

Liberal Dissenter
'he started his political life at Strathclyde University as the Student Communists (yes this was when the British Communists thought that Uncle Joe Stalin was just misunderstood) political enforcer - the political & physical heavy who 'persuaded' recalcitrant party members to toe the line. '

A Big Stick and a Small Carrot
'The thing is, John Reid really does scare me silly. No joke. '

Time Magazine
'John Reid (8 to 1 against), a former Communist turned right-wing Blairite, has long disliked Brown and would relish a grudge match'

Iran Daily
'Defense Secretary John Reid rejected the report’s conclusions, arguing that terrorism was a global problem that the whole international community had to confront.
“One of the lessons of history is that if you run away from this it doesn’t actually get better,“ Reid told the BBC.
“Every child in the playground knows the idea that if you just avoid the bully, the bully will not come for you is refuted by every piece of historical experience,“ he added. '

Dave's Part
'Reid is an unpopular bully boy with a distinctly dodgy past.'

No wonder I'm feeling crazy!

If only they had told me this when I started to take the bloody things. Although, to be honest, I was so desperate at the time I think I would have taken them anyway. Still, this information is kind of crucial to know up front, don't you think?.....

Withdrawal symptoms for tricyclic antidepressants include:
excessive anxiety, restlessness, hyperactivity, insomnia, disturbing
dreams and nightmares, flu-like symptoms (headache, sweating,
diarrhoea, stomach ache, bowel discomfort, nausea, vomiting,
hot and cold flushes, goosebumps), fast or irregular heart beat,
low blood pressure, and increased libido. Psychiatric effects include
hypomania and mania, apathy, social withdrawal, depressed
mood, panic attacks, aggression, delirium and psychoses.
When describing the symptoms of withdrawal from SSRI
antidepressants, David Healy breaks them down into two groups:
• symptoms ‘unlike anything you have had before’
• symptoms that ‘may lead you or your physician to think that
all you have are features of your original problem’.
The first group include: dizziness (when you turn your head you
feel your brain gets left behind); ‘electric head’ (strange brain
sensations which have been likened to goose bumps in the brain);
electric shock-like sensations, other strange tingling or painful
sensations; nausea, diarrhoea and flatulence; headache; muscle
spasms and tremor; agitated and vivid dreams; agitation; hearing
or seeing things others can’t.

The second group include: mood swings; irritability; confusion;
fatigue, malaise and flu-like symptoms; insomnia or drowsiness;
sweating; feelings of unreality; disturbed temperature sensations;
change in personality.
Many people taking SSRIs, especially paroxetine (Seroxat) and
fluoxetine (Prozac), have reported uncharacteristic feelings of
violence and suicidal thoughts and actions, and these seem to
be particularly associated with changes in dose.
Withdrawal symptoms for Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
are less well known than for other antidepressants, because they
are less commonly prescribed. There are conflicting reports on
the frequency and severity of withdrawal problems. Reported
symptoms include: anxiety, agitation, paranoia, being unusually
talkative, headaches, low blood pressure when standing, muscle
weakness, shivering and tingling, burning sensations, and mania.
Catatonic states have also been reported.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Misplaced pride

Superb post by Clare Allan (whose book has been nominated for the Guardian's first novel award) on CiF today and an extraordinarily sensible and intelligent thread of comments for once.

I love the fact that a post about nutters is the first I have seen which the usual 'nutters' haven't responded to!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bright lights on Sky

I largely ducked out of the media glare when the report was published last Friday. I can’t take any more time off work, every time I so much as breathe the numbers seven and seven another day mysteriously vanishes from my annual leave. Suddenly I only have 3 days left, so Friday had to be spent at work.

Sky News however, assured me they could interview me live in the morning and still get me to the office on time. So bright and early they picked me up and whisked me to their Millbank studio. As I peered through the door of the largely empty office space a few heads popped up, checked me out and went back to their screens. Who am I after all? I walked into the room and as I looked down (for she is far more diminished in stature than me) I saw Tessa Jowell, flanked by an entourage, walking towards me. She threw me a slightly more frosty smile than her usual caring look of sympathy. No wonder, I was hot on her heels and she knows I am not their greatest fan. But still, she managed a smile and said ‘hello’, I returned the look with a cheery ‘Hi’. Almost instantaneously those heads which had previously ignored me, sprang up from their desks, greeted me warmly, offered me coffee, a seat and a stack of newspapers.

As I wandered over to the seats by the studio door, I noticed an elderly looking man sitting by the window and waiting. He leant over as I approached and welcomed me like an old friend. ‘So what are you here to bang on about then?’ he asked. I stumbled with my words and muttered ‘Oh the 7th July’. It was Tony Benn!

He opened the window, sparked up his pipe and said ‘Ah yes, Tessa Jowell was just here’. ‘Yes’ I replied ‘I saw her as I came in. So what did she have to say for herself?’ ‘Oh God knows’ he said ‘I didn’t listen to a word!’

No. 5 and counting

Apologies for being a bit late to the party with this one. I have been busy cutting down on my anti D’s and fighting the affects. I wouldn’t say I was winning but I’m fighting a damn hard battle and I ain’t gonna be beat.

So ‘the report’ is out. Report No. 5 in the grand scheme of looking back at what happened on 7th July last year. They have told us what they have learnt, and although, as predicted, it is nothing new it is one small victory for a random group of survivors and bereaved families. Without blowing our own trumpets, this report wouldn’t have happened had we all sat back and shut up as they wished. The ball was kicked off back in March by the London Assembly. They were the first people who had the brainwave that the people who might be able to teach the public more than anyone else about what happened that day and what could be learnt for the future were the people who were there. Not politicians and people in power but the people who had been through it.

They were forward thinking enough to do this publicly. Nervous as we all were, the words and stories flowed and the minor rumblings of a storm were first heard. The Government were quick to act & Tessa Jowell wrote to us the next day. They had no excuses not to do the same although our meetings with them were held in private. Still they met us, we talked, and talked, with dignity, courage and emotion and they couldn’t help but listen. The stories they heard could not be ignored and hence this report was born.

Last Friday Tessa Jowell admitted their failings. Failings she would never have known about had she not listened to the survivors and the bereaved. That in its self is a lesson to be learnt and a small success to be celebrated by everyone who spoke out.

But it is just the beginning and the tip of the iceberg. What was said so eloquently by many last week was that it’s all very well looking at the affects but you cannot keep ignoring the causes. It is a political game that is going on here. The Government would rather be lambasted for refusing an independent inquiry and looking at why this happened than having to admit that its foreign policy is putting its citizens at risk. Earlier today Blair brayed to his party ‘terrorism is not our fault’. For pity’s sake, it is not about fault, it’s about stopping it happening again. I am almost past caring whose fault it is. I am certainly not interested in seeing the reactions of the poor emergency services trawled through over and over and their failings highlighted again and again. If we are playing the schoolyard blame game then it is most definitely, with out a doubt, not their fault either. So leave the people who risked their lives to save us alone, stop talking about blame and lets grow up, pull together and stop stop stop this from happening to anyone in this country again.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Not another bloody report into 7/7

I don’t tend to talk about 7/7 much any more, apart from with my KCU friends (fellow passengers from the train). Interest is dying, from all but those directly involved, and I cannot say I am surprised. I would probably be the same if I hadn’t stepped onto that fateful train over a year ago.

I can imagine if I mentioned to anyone I know that the government is due to publish its ‘Lessons Learnt’ report this week their response would be largely along the lines of the title of this post, ‘Not another bloody report’. And I agree, wholeheartedly!

‘Haven’t there already been loads published?’ they might ask.

‘Yes’ I would reply ‘but this one is different?’


“Well, it’s about lessons learnt’

‘But weren’t the others?’

‘Well the first one, published by the London Assembly was, kind of, but it had a very narrow remit. It only focused on communications both on the day and afterwards’

‘Ah, so this one’s about everything? Everything related to the bombings?’

‘Well not really, I don’t think it’s going to talk about security failings or the lead up to the bombings’

‘So has anyone looked at that?’

‘Yes, the Prime Minister appointed a group to look into it; The Intelligence and Security Committee. They published a report back in May’

‘So it wasn’t an independent group then?’

‘Not at all’

‘So what was the point of that? They weren’t really going to tell us anything they didn’t want to were they’

‘Exactly’ I would say. (What was the point? I have no idea. To shut us up maybe?)

‘Haven’t there been others?’

‘Yes, there was the Government ‘narrative’’

‘Another one by the Government?”


‘So what did that one tell us?’

‘What happened on the day and a bit about the lead up’

‘Didn’t we know that already?’

‘Pretty much, yup’

‘So how do you know there’s going to be another one published this week? Do you know when? I know Tessa Jowell’s your great mate now, did she tell you?’

‘Well, no actually, I found out from the press. She told the Telegraph on Sunday that it’s coming out this week. I think it’s going to be Friday, but that’s just come from journalists’

‘How are people supposed to make head or tail of all these different reports? Isn’t it confusing?”

‘It’s totally befuddling. They all contradict each other, it’s a mess’

‘Wouldn’t it be better to have an independent party compile one single document that covers everything?’

‘Eureka! It’s not exactly rocket science is it?!’

‘So is this one going to tell us anything new?’

‘I doubt it’

‘So what’s the point then?’

‘Beats me’

Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive

I am shaking with emotion and exhausted. I have watched too many powerful documentaries over the last year, I thought this would just be another. Stephen Fry tonight was astonishing. I wept, I laughed and I nodded my head, incessantly. When he asked a woman, suffering despairingly from Manic Depression, how she saw the future I said out loud, before she could answer ‘I don’t’. I knew that would be her response. I have been there in the depths of my PTSD. ‘Future’ is not a word you consider. You are lucky if you can contemplate the next 5 minutes.

Admiration does not come close to describing what I feel for that man tonight. He has admitted his weaknesses, his failings and his illness all in the name of helping others. There are very few people in the world with his qualities and I cannot thank him enough. He is successful, he is famous, he is in a position to make programmes like this. Many other sufferers are not so lucky, they are desperate and penniless. A large percentage of the nations homeless suffer from mental health problems. But he has touched upon topics which are usually only whispered about. He has brought it into people’s living rooms and made them listen.

My emotions were split between myself and my friend. My friend was diagnosed as Bipolar for years, but more recently has been told he is Schizophrenic instead. I think that sometimes labels are too simplistic for mental illness. Surely you can have a combination? The description, tonight, of people suffering from delusions of grandeur were all too familiar to me. My friend has told me many times how he has spoken at the United Nations.

But oh how refreshing to see both familiar faces and strangers, spilling their guts and telling the nation the deepest secrets of their mind. Stephen Fry has done an insurmountable service to sufferers of mental health problems tonight. I look forward to part 2.

Monday, September 18, 2006

'We failed victims of 7 July' admits Jowell

I wonder why she chose The Telegraph as the place to make this admission? I am heartened but not surprised by her comments in the interview published today. I have never been sure whether to trust her during the two meetings I have had with her. The first was with Ms Jowell alone, the second with old bull dog Reid.

She has a slightly mumsey air about her. She looks you directly in the eye, remembers your name and frowns pitifully as she listens intently to your recollections of pain and her department’s failings. She seems like a decent human being and, rarely for a politician, her heart is very much in evidence. She has told us many times how affected she has been by her meetings with us and the stories she has heard, in this for once I believe her. I have often wondered, however, how genuine she is. It is clear why she was the minister charged with coordinating the support for those affected by the bombings last year. She is the right person for the job, a job in which she excels. There is no argument, no defence whilst in discussion with her. She listens intently, nods sympathetically, she apologises fluently and is even brave enough to admit mistakes. All this in stark contrast to her colleague from the Home Office.

This aside she has constantly failed us. Our first communication from her was dated 22 March 2006, it was sent second class and arrived the day after I and other survivors, had given evidence to the London Assembly about the failings of communication both on and since the 7 July. The irony of this timing was not lost on us.

She then wrote again in a letter dated only May 2006. She was writing, she said, on behalf of John Reid (why couldn’t he write himself? Is she his PA?) to let us know that the government would ‘publish an Official Account of the events leading up to 7 July very shortly’. By the time we received this letter the ‘narrative’ had already been made public and the media was buzzing with it.

We first met with her on 16 May. She didn’t answer many questions directly and promised to issue us with meeting notes. She said these would address any issues she had not been able to deal with at the meeting. She sent these notes on 20 July (I would lose my job if I issued records of meetings over 2 months after they took place!) 5 days before we were due to meet with her and John Reid. The notes were scantily written and told us nothing new.

At the meeting on 25 July we bantered with the Home Secretary , he fought back and argued his corner like a Pit Bull. We were, however promised, that they would always notify us is something they knew to be false was published in the press about the bombings, and would also give us warning before they published any documents. Today I read in The Telegraph that the ‘Lessons learnt’ report is to be published next week. I look forward to a letter from Tessa the day after.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

It could be you

This article in the Observer today , highlights a subject which spends most of its life brushed under a dusty carpet, only seeing the light of day on rare occasions like this. There are people who work tirelessly to bring the scandal of the mental health services in this country into the public eye. There are others who do everything they can to break the stigma of mental health and try to make us aware of how common it is. 1 in 4 is a statistic which pops up again and again. 1 in 4 of us, at some time in our lives will suffer from some kind of mental illness. This powerful statistic should, I always think, start to wake people up to the fact that it could be them. But, as always in this world, it is the fear of the unknown which terrifies people most. Victorian asylums with darkened corridors and unkempt nutters is a vision which appears in people's minds, ‘that will never be me’ they think.

I, on the other hand, am fully aware that it could easily be me. Only 2 nights ago I had a dream that I was sectioned. I have had a terrible week. A combination of the 9/11 anniversary and halving my does of anti depressants (for a month now). The reduced dose is beginning to kick in, and I feel like I am losing my mind. My dream was both upsetting and disturbing, but rarely for a dream, it was probably surprisingly accurate. I remember arriving at a grimy hospital, the airlock security doors closing behind me, and being left. I was given no introduction, no explanation, not even a room. I was left to wander, confused and helpless through the corridors of the ward, without even being told when I would eat. I remember thinking that surely I was coming here to get better. How was I going to get better if no-one even spoke to me? I fear that my dream was not too far off the mark. Too many people are locked up, drugged up and forgotten about. Friends, relatives, police and health professionals send people to these places trusting they are doing the right thing. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.

After many disastrous stays in hospital, my friend has finally found somewhere which has actually treated him . After 4 years of being locked up he spent his first night out, in a supervised hostel on Thursday. He will spend every Thursday there for the next few weeks and on 6 November he will permanently move in. It’s a fantastic step forward for him and I am so proud of how far he has come . On Thursday we went for a drink, ate burger and chips and spectacularly lost (despite my best attempts at cheating) the local pub quiz. I could already sense a new confidence about him, a sense that he was soon to be free. He would not have got here without his current doctor and psychologist, but it has been a rocky road and it is only the luck of the draw.

When he was sectioned and arrested 4 years ago, he was unrecognisable as the man you see today. He had been let down from every corner, each blaming the other. He spent a day in a cell at the police station, haunted and injured. I have never seen a man so vulnerable, and mad. They searched high and low for a hospital bed, but not a single one was to be found. That night he was shipped off to Pentonville Prison, there was no where else with any space. He spent 4 weeks there over Christmas, he was given no treatment, no medication, he was a very sick man in need of urgent help and he was left to deteriorate in prison for a month before a bed became available. It was a disgraceful way to treat a human being, I remember never having felt such despair.

It is time that this stopped, time that more, not less, money was given to the departments to treat these people who are as deserving as cancer sufferers. It is time that we all woke up to the fact that it really could be you. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, but the way we live our lives these days, we are all on the edge, all as likely as the next to go at any moment. My money is on Tony Blair being next.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Good for the Syrians...

....protecting the yanks. Enjoyed watching Condi's squirming message of thanks tonight. The Americans would do well to learn from them. Remember how they stormed into the devastated American embassy in Nairobi and only looked after their own? When your 'enemy' gains the moral high ground you are really on the slippery slope.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sad and sickened

There is a sickening feeling of despair with the world in the pit of my stomach today. I am discovering that a natural empathy seems to exist between victims and survivors of terrorist attacks. When I read the papers, watch the news or immerse myself in the plethora of documentaries which have been shown in the run up to this anniversary, there is, this year, a personal connection.

I am angry and sad and I cannot concentrate on a thing, I wasn’t expecting to be so affected by today. I know no-one directly affected in the attacks of 9/11, however my experiences over this past year make me feel as if I do. I may not know the people but I can start to feel their pain. I think it is having an understanding off the suffering which adds to the anger. I cannot begin to imagine what many have been through but I know better than I did a year ago. It is that knowledge which brings tears to my eyes as I listen to and watch the individual stories of courage and pain.

I feel angry at the wasted lives and those lived in terror and mourning around the world. I am sick with the powers that be who thought they knew better than the men on the street. Osama Bin Laden is sitting pretty as the west does his work for him. Meanwhile there is suffering and death around the world on a scale which fills me with shame.

Today it is hitting me hard, the anger, the sorrow and the helplessness to do anything about it. I do not like this world today, I feel scared and sick and I want to run away from it all.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Anniversary mania

As September has crept upon us, my mind has been on a different anniversary from the one which haunts the rest of the world. I have been keenly aware that it was this month last year when I first broke down after the bombings in July. For me this was the beginning of a journey which is yet to be concluded.

As the balmy summer days wrapped themselves up I thought about marking that day with a post on my blog. I knew it was a milestone to remember and recollecting it in words seemed the only way to honour it.

I wanted to remind myself how far I had come, that my shrink had been right when he told me it would be ‘at least a year’ until I felt like my old self. I didn’t believe him at the time, it seemed incomprehensible that it should take so long. I am still not there, but I have travelled the rocky road and, as someone told me the other day, I have begun to find the joy in life again.

I wanted to recall the night it all began. The night my brain was finally unable to contain the fear. The night I was no longer able to protect my consciousness from the horrors hidden deep inside my head. The night I fell into a fitful sleep and shrank into my mattress as a black cloud of faceless evil surrounded my flat and crept in beneath the ill fitting front door. As it slid towards my sleeping form I recoiled in terror unable to escape its growing mass. There was no escape from this engulfing cloud. As I prepared myself for its final onslaught something came from deep within, there was a way, a chance of survival. The darkening cloud was all too real, but something inside my unconscious head reminded me that I was, in fact, asleep. ‘Wake up’ it told me ‘you have to wake up’, that is the only chance you have. I gathered all the strength I could find and put every last effort into beating this force. I sat bolt upright, my eyes still closed, and hollered with all my might. My eyes shot open as I heard the sound, what was this curdling cry? It was seconds before I realised it was coming from my throat, that I was the one screaming into the night. Where was the evil? Had I killed it with my shout? My whole body was consumed by a shuddering fit and I fought to inhale the surrounding air into my tightening chest. I dragged off the covers and staggered across the room, I had to kill the darkness with light. I found the switch and shakily pushed it in, there was a crack and a flash and the system was blown. For a moment I wondered if it had really been a dream. Darkness had invaded my home and now the fuse was blown. I felt my way along the wall until I came across the ladder. I hauled it across the hall and, shakily, climbed it until my fingers rested on the fuse box. I found the big red switch and as I pushed it down I was enveloped with a warm blanket of light. It was over, I was safe.

Little did I know as I fixed the fuse, that this was just the beginning. The beginning of a voyage where I was to discover the weakness of the human soul and my inability to put mind over matter and beat this bloody thing.

As I pondered that day and mentally prepared this post, I realised I had better find out the date. Last week, as I sat in front my desk, I leafed through my diary of the year that has passed. I counted backwards until I found that day, the date was September 11.

I shook as my eyes fell upon those numbers. How could it be that I had never known? It was natural that the anniversary of 9/11 should have been the trigger to awaken my terror, but not if I hadn’t been aware. I have no recollection at all of the significance of that Sunday. I had friends for lunch which occupied my whole day. Perhaps I had heard a snippet on the radio or caught a headline in the paper. You would have thought that over the next few days the penny would have dropped when I asked myself why. ‘Why has this happened and why now? Oh it’s September 11, of course.’ Perhaps I was too mentally broken to know or care, or perhaps I really didn’t know. Either way tomorrow is going to be tough. The 5 year hype is upon us and as I turn off my lights tomorrow night I will be praying that the darkness doesn’t return.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Not sure I earn more but I'm definitely smarter!

Tallies rock...check this out!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Humble pie?

Well, Blair has spoken. Not much has been said, but he has uttered the ’12 month’ words that the ‘rebels’ within his party and the media have been braying for. Whether this will be enough to quell the boiling pot I am not entirely sure. I should think, in reality, that there is more to come.

We heard an apology (of sorts) today, and that is the very least that we deserve for the debacle which has played itself out in front of our eyes. He said he would have preferred to do this in his ‘own way’. I imagine there are very few times during his reign that things have not been carried out as he would please. It is refreshing, at least, to see him pushed into a corner from which he cannot escape. But there is something rather tragic about witnessing this once fine party crumbling before our eyes. I fear it cannot be saved and Brown most certainly is not the man to try. Blair has lied and lied, stood by Bush through his reign of terror and consistently ignored his public and their views. He is managing his swansong about as well as he managed to convince us about the existence of WMD. The dirty washing is being aired in public and that is never a pleasant sight to witness whoever the laundry belongs to. The least he could do for his voters and his party is manage his exit with efficiency and dignity. He has even failed in that. There is no point in that man being in office any more, tomorrow would be too late for him to stand down in my eyes.

As Blair frowned and twitched before us, his comrade across the Atlantic delivered his own painful confession. Secret CIA prisons have indeed existed he admits at last. He obviously thinks the gamble will pay off. Admit he's told a porky (tactically in the lead up to the 5th anniversary of 9/11 when the whole world, myself included, is jittering in their sleep) in order to bring these 14 men back out of the wilderness so he can use them to justify his continuing war on human rights.

Are these two indominatable pals crumbling simultaneously? I have to admit to enjoying watching them squirm upon our screens. Where is their cocky bravado when their power is whipped from beneath their feet and they are forced to publicly admit that they have lied. I would like to see them both held to account for the chaos they have caused with their foreign policies. That, I fear is a pipe dream, so we must cherish these moments of seeing these statesmen humbled. They are few and far between, but they are truly sweet.

'It's up to Tony'...

...says Brown. Thing is, he doesn't mean a word of that. He wants it to be up to him & he wants Tony to go now. So do we all. Stop insulting the public & trying to hoodwink us with your political games. We know what's going on. Brown wants in & wants Blair out. What is the point of pretending otherwise?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

There is change in the air tonight

I am full of admiration for those MP’s who today sacrificed their jobs for what they believe is right. I wish that many more had taken such a stand when Blair urged them to support him in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. I hope they are not pawns to the Brown camp, and I am not sure whether ‘B’ with a ‘row’ is any better than ‘B’ with a ‘lair’. But it is undoubtedly time for Blair to go and I hope it is before this month is out.

I haven’t witnessed such a shambolic fiasco amongst a group of, supposedly intelligent, men (there are few women in sight at these days) who are charged with leading this country since Thatcher was ousted by the grey man. It is an embarrassing saga of leaks, whispers and lies. Blair has lost control. He wants to go out on top but it is too late for that and he should scarper before he drags his party into the dust.

My problem, through all of this, is Iraq. They all supported it and each is as guilty as the other so I will not feel joy when I see the next man take the stage. None of them hold the moral high ground any more. Still, Blair must go and the sooner the better, he has too much blood on his hands and I hope he is contemplating that as the sun sets before him.

He cannot fight the ebbing tide. No man, whatever their charisma, is strong enough to beat that. He would do well to gracefully admit his time has come in parliament, even though he has been unable to admit that on the world stage.

I would like to see him forced to admit his many mistakes before he leaves, but that he will never do. It is like a bad relationship, you hang on, destructively hoping that the magic that was there at the start will somehow surface again. In fact it is dead and gone and will never show its face again. Better to cut your losses and get rid of the dead wood before anyone else gets hurt.

I don't subscibe to much that occurs across the pond these days. However they do, at least, understand that there is a limit to the amount of time that you can place such power in the hands of one man before it goes to his head and destroys it.

Blair lost the support of his country when he started sacrificing our young men and thousands of Iraqis for the sake of his own personal goals. Thankfully he is finally, publicly, losing the support of his last crutch, his party. Go now Blair, with a last semblance of dignity, before you are unceremoniously pushed.