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    international markets I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I should write this entry or not. A small number of people already know the details, there will probably be a number of people who will change their views about me, but I think it’s worth writing this post because I hope that it may inform other people, and hopefully change attitudes.For at least the last eighteen months I’ve been leading a dual life, there has been the the facade, and there has been the person underneath.

    On the outside I’ve looked like my usual confident self, and to a degree at munches, clubs and when people have been to my home, or we’ve met up elsewhere, the facade has been similar to the “me” of old as those places are within my comfort zone.

    The reality has been somewhat different.

    Since at least as early as June 2005 I have mentally been in a slow downward spiral as, bit by bit, life has got on top of me. This has been getting serious since about September / October 2006 when I started finding myself unable to cope with various things in day to day life. I’m not going into details, but some of the things I failed to keep on top of have been quite serious and I still haven’t been able to sort them out as of yet.

    Things came to a head on Boxing day, in some ways it felt like I’d lost the will to live, I wasn’t suicidal, I didn’t have any desire to die, I just lost interest in life. I could still appear to be perfectly normal on the phone, but I didn’t want to meet anyone.

    My personal hygiene went out of the window as did sleep patterns and I spent the next fortnight in the same clothes, unshowered and unwashed, I didn’t use my bed in that time and just slept stinking in an armchair. The only things I was still doing were going online, blogging and posting, I could deal with that as it was at arms length from reality.

    financial instruments About four weeks ago I had a minor breakthrough, after sitting staring at the fire for hours something surfaced in some recess of my mind telling me that I needed to ask for help, I was lucky to get an emergency appointment from the doctors. I think that if I hadn’t got the emergency appointment I would have just sunk back into whatever place my mind was occupying.

    I saw the doctor, I was still stinking, still wearing those disgusting clothes and she teased the details out of me. I was exhibiting every classic symptom of a major depression, plus a few of the more obscure ones.

    My doctor prescribed an SSRI called Citalopram, it affects the Seratonin re-uptake system in the brain. I can’t pretend that the first three weeks weren’t difficult, my emotions went on a roller coaster ride, I suffered extreme paranoia and my sleep patterns got even worse. The dosage was upped and things started to settle down, at first it felt like a chemical cosh and I couldn’t concentrate on anything, but I’m now coming out of that stage. My emotions are levelling off now and while I’m not “better” I have taken the first baby steps towards that goal.

    The next step is counselling, my doctor feels that I have been burying things for a long time, maybe even years, and that I need to explore those things. I have a low opinion of counselling but if it helps me I’ll try it and put everything into it that I can. I want get well again and I will get well again.

    financial risk This post isn’t a cry for help, I am not looking for sympathy or pity, I was probably just as surprised as many other people are to find out that they have a mental illness, and probably just as surprised to find out that it isn’t the end of the world.

    Just like thousands of others in the same boat I will take the tablets, go for counselling and do my best to improve. Just like thousands of other people I am not going to start dribbling, my mental illness isn’t visible and I’m not going to start acting like some mad axeman. And just like for thousands of others, my mental illness doesn’t mean I can’t have a meaningful relationship.

    The sad thing is that there are people who have a stereotypical image of mental illness, people who ignore the reality, they view mental illness as somehow different from a physical illness. The reality is that mental illness is no different to a physical illness and most mental illness has a physical component, in my case it’s a Seratonin imbalance which affects the brain chemistry. Yet those same people would happily accept that a hormone imbalance, or the insulin imbalance of diabetes, is fine, yet they both have the potential to affect the cognitive processes.

    So, I’m suffering from a mental illness, it’s not the end of the world for me, so it shouldn’t make any difference to anyone else.

    Now that I’m starting to regain my ability to concentrate I will try to post more frequently, the problem is my frustration when I lose track of what I’m trying to say. If I can’t say it first go I have been giving up.

    I’ve been catching up with some TV that I recorded, one of the programmes was on tornadoes.

    One section covered a tornado that hit a church, I wasn’t surprised to hear the usual religious crap about prayer and how it saved them, what did surprise me was watching a young woman claim that the effects of the tornado were being caused by demons and that it was only the intervention of angels that saved them.

    I can’t believe that young people are being indoctrinated to such a degree that they ignore the science and are happy to proclaim that demons are responsible for the damage caused by a tornado. I think it’s worrying that this sort of thinking is being promoted by any church in this day and age.

    You can look at the scientific discoveries and technical achievements that have come out of the USA like space exploration and it’s by products, and yet there are religious communities that seem to be going backwards and heading for the mediaeval period when it comes to their thinking.

    What is going on? Is the science too difficult? Or is it just easier to ascribe supernatural reasons to anything you can’t be bothered to learn about?

    Bird Flu Hits Again

    The BBC are reporting that the latest outbreak is of the H5N1 strain, now this flock is a commercial one that hasn’t been imported, in around three days they lost over 2,000 birds to this disease.

    We have to ask how it got into the flock, what the chances are of the disease being passed on to other wild birds by the carrier and if there are other carriers now, will it have already spread beyond the 10km surveillance zone?

    I really hope we don’t see another complete debacle from this government like we saw over foot and mouth.

    Martin has posted an article at CiF which is a rip off, it’s titled, “Why Yates of the Yard will have to put up or shut up.”.

    The problem starts with him ripping it off from Question Time on Thursday, it was the answer given by Tristram Hunt, a New Labour apologist and obviously spinning the party line by making idiotic points which didn’t stand up to scrutiny.

    Now the article is seriously flawed, just as Tristrams answer was, let’s start off by asking what has the length of the investigation into the death of Alexander Litvinenko got to do with how long it takes to investigate cash for peerages? The answer is, nothing at all, but I think it is meant to imply that the investigation has no evidence, and that the police are trying to embarrass Blair.

    Next Kettle makes this brilliant statement, “A long police inquiry is neither illegal nor uncommon.”, why? Why is he saying that a long enquiry is not illegal? What was the point of saying that? And if long enquiries are not uncommon why is he complaining about the length of this one?

    Well he goes on to say:

    But this inquiry is also profoundly sensitive in a way that cannot be dismissed as irrelevant. This case involves the elected government of the land - as well, do not forget, as the financing of all the major parties and the legislature of the nation. It is therefore a challenge not merely to Tony Blair - of whom we may or may not approve - but to the general polity. There is more than one public interest at stake. If crimes have been committed then those who are charged must of course answer for them. But there is also a public interest in the maintenance of our system of government - a system that is generally good, not bad. The longer the investigation goes on, the more the question of proportionality comes into play. That is why it is time for the police to put up or shut up.

    Kettle you have the intelligence of a flump, you know, those marshmallow sweets, if a crime is believed to have been committed then it should be fully investigated. If it takes a year to investigate then it takes a year, if it takes two years then we wait two years, we can only have trust in the political system if we know it is not above the law, I notice you don’t mention the abrupt termination of the SFO enquiry into BAE, that’s a great precedent for shutting up before inquiries have been completed.

    Even the limited information in the public domain makes clear that the most recent police interrogations have little connection with the original investigation under the 1925 Honours Act. Indeed, to describe this any longer as a loans-for-honours inquiry may be misleading. In recent weeks, the police’s questioning of witnesses has been largely about issues of process. Currently we are watching an attempt to shake the tree over a possible conspiracy to obstruct the earlier investigation. Whatever this is about, it is not about sleaze.

    So if the police find other evidence of wrong doing during an investigation you think they should ignore it? Perhaps most of the evidence for original investigation has been destroyed, do you really think that they should not follow up that destruction of evidence?

    The Liberal Democrat MP Ed Davey recklessly compared the current crisis to Watergate this week. It was absolutely the wrong comparison. Watergate started with an unambiguous crime, a break-in and burglary of Democratic party offices. The political scandal that followed was about the linking of the crime to the Nixon administration - and about Nixon’s attempts to conceal that link. But it cannot be said too often that in the loans-for-honours probe there is, as yet, no crime of any kind. Of all parties, the Lib Dems should not be indifferent to due process.

    Why is it the wrong comparison? We have had people arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice, isn’t that covering up or concealing links and evidence? A crime may well have been committed in the first place but we need to wait for the investigation to finish first. So tell me again how this shouldn’t be compared to Watergate?

    A much better American comparison is a more recent one. Remember Kenneth Starr? The prurient rightwing special prosecutor was originally appointed to investigate allegations about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s business dealings in Arkansas. But he found no case to answer. Instead, he investigated Bill Clinton’s sex life and, fully four years after his appointment, ended up recommending that Clinton be impeached for the procedural offences of perjury and obstructing justice. As a result, America got George Bush. And so did we.

    I’m confused here, didn’t Watergate start off with an investigation into a break in and end up investigating and exposing a cover up? You’re using smoke and mirrors Martin Kettle, you can’t pick and choose what evidence fits your viewpoint.

    But Martins delusions are laid bare in the rest of the article where he talks about a “still masterly Today programme performance”, masterly only in the scope of its delusional qualities.

    He also makes this peach of a comment, “Blair may be getting his final push from a disreputable alliance of an overmighty media and an overzealous investigator. Those who care about our political system should not cheer that, but tremble.” how can you have an overzealous investigator? If the media is overmighty whose fault is that? Or don’t you like the very free speech that allows you to post such bollocks? I also don’t see why we should tremble, if Blair is brought down it means that politicians will be reminded that they are not above the law, and we should cheer that, while at the same time we should feel upset that it was necessary.

    I sincerely hope that Marin Kettle isn’t being paid for articles of such low quality as this, and if he has been paid I hope he sends the fee to Tristram Hunt, unless both of them were doing nothing more than regurgitating New Labours latest approved line of spin.

    I’ve been trying to blog about things all day, I keep typing away and then thinking about what I’m trying to do here, then I go back and wipe the lot.

    Yes I have my own problems which probably don’t help, but I think today it started with Blair, he is dragging the country down and can’t see it, he is so blinded by his messianic complex. Then you look at the rest of the government, so bound up in damage control, spin and jockeying for position that they have lost sight of what is going on outside the Westminster village, except where it impacts on their own ability to get re-elected.

    We are not being served by our MPs any longer, they serve themselves and their parties, the voter only matters at election time. We cannot allow any more money to be siphoned off our taxes to fund these parties, if a party can’t survive financially then it should go to the wall, we don’t need political parties if an MPs first loyalty is to the party, an MPs first loyalty should be to the people who elected them.

    This is reflected in my feelings about the reform of the house of lords, if it is going to be an elected chamber we just end up with more of the same. There should be a wholly independent appointments committee, independent of any political party, nominating the best candidates, from anyone who wishes to apply, to serve. They would then get a maximum of 15 years in the house and retain their title when they leave. We should also repeal the Parliament act, if a bill gets bounced back and forward 4 times we should have a referendum.

    I’m fed up of reading story after story which shows New Labour tinkering as the country goes up in flames and I wonder when it will end, when will we get a government that serves the people and not it’s own interests?

    I’ve just heard that Des Browne has announced that an extra 800 soldiers will be deployed to southern Afghanistan, 300 from the UK and 500 from Kabul.

    There was also a mention of the troops and equipment being there until 2009 including the Harrier GR7 / 9.

    This is effectively the deployment of the extra battalion that I’ve posted about in the past and it may well have an impact on tour intervals.

    I’ve just heard about this on the news, and I’m wondering if there is any connection with Levy’s arrest earlier this week.

    Blair was apparently interviewed as a witness again last Friday, but I’m wondering whether this really means he is as much in the clear as some people think. If Blair’s inner circle are being arrested and questioned about perverting the course of justice, you have to wonder what has been done that they are hiding in the act of perverting the course of justice.

    Can you pervert the course of justice if you have done nothing wrong?

    I’m also sure I heard a mention of the police having proof of discussions between the inner circle about peerages and honours.

    I’ll have to watch the news and have a look at the MSM websites later to find out more.

    It’s good to see yet another judge making sense as this report in the Telegraph shows.

    You have to wonder what is going on in the police when they will take a member of the public to court for kidnapping, when they catch a criminal and detain them until the police arrive. Or is this just another pointer to the malaise which seems to have overcome the police now.

    Minor burglaries and other crimes don’t seem to command a police presence any more, I can’t think of a police station that is open 24 hours a day in this area, and as this report shows, far too often the rights of the criminal take precedence over the rights of the law abiding.

    There have been so many cases of children taking advantage of the law that it isn’t funny any longer. A couple of years ago someone living near here caught a kid who had been vandalising his house, he called the police and when they arrived they threatened him with a CS spray until he let the vandal go. No charges were brought against the vandal even though there was evidence that he had caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage, the homeowner waited three months to find out if he would have to go to court, even then he had to ring the police, only to find out they had dropped any plans to take him to court six weeks earlier, and hadn’t told him.

    We need to bring common sense back into the law, a police officer should have one simple form to fill in after arresting someone, the rights of the victim should take precedence over the rights of the accused to a reasonable degree, and it should be accepted that if someone is caught after committing a criminal act, the person who has caught them should be allowed to use reasonable force to detain them for as long as it takes for the police to arrive.

    The current news of an alleged plot to kidnap, taunt, threaten and then finally behead a 20 year old Muslim British soldier, for publication on the internet, indicates a major change in terrorist tactics in the UK.

    Suicide bombings and IED’s are impersonal to a degree, while they may be a threat they are a random one, those people using them pick a time and place not a specific person. It’s indiscriminate.

    Kidnapping is personal, the victim is chosen for a reason and to deliver a message. If the allegations are correct, this plot was primarily a message for the Muslim community. A message that, in the eyes of those carrying it out, there is a distinction between being Muslim and being British, that if you are a Muslim and you become a part of the British establishment you are now a target for retribution. In some respects it is like a charge of apostasy, the implication is that if you become a British soldier you are deserting Islam.

    This is a worrying development, especially in this case if the allegations are correct, it’s calculated to drive a wedge between Muslims and the rest of the country. If this plot is designed to bring an undertone of apostasy into the muslim religious discussion then it is also bringing the spectre of Sharia Law along with it. We also have to question what is happening within the mosques of the UK that Muslims can consider a plot such as this.

    I don’t know, you take a break for a few hours and a member of Blair’s inner circle is arrested for the second time, what’s more he’s arrested and questioned on perverting the course of justice, just like Ruth Turner.

    Must be a bugger, you go out collecting money for Blair, offer a few peerages thinking that Blair will look after you and then you get shafted when people find out about secret email systems and missing documents. Must be even worse when the person you work for has lost the plot and thinks he can bring world peace, fix the NHS, Education and the MoD when you know he’s delusional.

    I wonder who is next?

    Manchester according to Sky News

    This is a sad story from the Telegraph, I remember the first desktop PC I used, it was in school in 1980, I was year too old to take the course but we could use the pc’s in our lunchtimes.

    There were five of them I think, four Apples and one other, they used the 5.25″ floppy discs.

    They looked something like this

    Then I joined the Army and the next computer I saw was a HP9830A

    We used this beast for Survey and Sound Ranging, I’ll never forget the sound of the tape drive clunking away.

    The HP9830A finally gave way to another machine, the microscribe.

    This was preloaded with the Artillery Software we needed, to be honest it wasn’t fit for purpose and eventually total stations and GPS came in.

    I changed jobs within the unit and ended up with a pc on my desk, an old windows 3.1 machine with only a 3,5″ floppy disc drive, loading the software took for ever, especially MS Office when that came in.

    Just after I got married years ago I got my own first desktop, that came with a cd rom drive but any saves still went to the 3.5″ floppy.

    Years later I have to computers, a laptop and a desktop, both have floppy drives and I still use them, installing Linux on the laptop saw me using floppies to copy small files across just a week ago. It makes more sense than using a whole cd rom for about 120kb.

    So 27 years after I first used a floppy disc they are taking their final bow, the next generation of computer users are not going to know that clunk and whirring sound as you save a document.

    I suppose I should really get myself a USB flashdrive, but you know where you are with floppies…

    Both the Independent and the Telegraph cover this story.

    I have every sympathy with Alice Mahon, but she is sat there with a gold plated MP’s pension and can afford to go private, many of those suffering from Macular Degeneration do not have the pension, or the income, to go private.

    I’m afraid Alice that you are yet another victim of New Labours dismal attempts to run the NHS, the government you were a part of has failed you, like it has failed so many others in the past and is failing now with Blair still clinging on to power.

    It is also people like Patricia Hewitt, who you have probably spent many hours with in your career as a Labour MP that have failed you, the people who you went to conferences with, the people who you voted with in your 8 years in power.

    Alice, you ask why you should go private, the answer is easy, Labour has ruined the NHS. The sad thing is, you were a part of it and between 1997 and 2005 you only voted against the government on health issues when it came to NHS Trusts and a lords amendment to the duties of the regulator. Your voting record is here.

    The BBC are reporting that the initial analysis of the flight data recorders on the helicopter, which crashed in the Morecambe Bay gas field, show no mechanical faults.

    The phrase, “…no helicopter manoeuvres have been identified which were not in response to flight control inputs.”, implies that it is likely that pilot error will be given as the cause of the accident.

    It appears that the flight crew decided that the approach to the platform wasn’t right and they had aborted the landing, at which point the helicopter pitched forward and banked to the right, before going into the sea. The pitch forward and bank would suggest they were going to pick up speed to go around and reattempt the landing
    An acquaintance, who knows about these things, told me at the time of the accident that he wondered if the pilots had over-controlled the helicopter, he based that on the initial reports of the helicopter pitching over to the right, which, depending on the forward speed, altitude and collective pitch setting may have dumped the cushion of air from under the rotor. He was also concerned that the helicopter had dropped below the speed at which you get translational lift, no I’m not sure what that is either, I’ll take his word for it that it means something.

    Air crash investigation is important, but, especially since the Chinook crash on the Mull of Kintyre, I’ve felt that it’s a double edged sword. If pilot error is judged to be the cause of a crash it means that the family of the pilots have to deal with the person they have lost also being responsible for the deaths of others, which must be hard to take at such an emotional time.

    Perhaps because we so often put our trust in pilots I think we have a tendency to hope that the machinery is at fault, rather than the pilot being proved to be fallible.

    Panorama On Seroxat

    I’m watching this tonight because I went out with someone not that long ago who was prescribed Seroxat.

    She used to self harm on a regular basis and still does now.

    Tonight’s programme is about children using Seroxat, but I have my suspicions that it isn’t just children who are having problems with Seroxat. Watching some of the evidence I find it chilling, I’ve seen the results of self harming, I’ve seen the mood swings when someone is taking it and I can understand more about my ex’s behaviour.

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