Only Human 

After the recent attacks in Manchester and London the Prime Minister has pulled out her dog whistle and is blowing as loud as she can about the Human Rights Act. Again. The idea of changing the law to make it easier to prosecute suspected terrorists is tempting. But when it’s introduced by a government that has been challenged multiple times on its human rights violations against the most vulnerable people in society, I worry.

Let’s look at the concept of human rights for a second. These are the basic rights that we as a society agree that ALL people are entitled to. By planning to deny basic human rights to anyone we are basically saying that a subsection of society aren’t going to be treated as human beings. In fact, the Human Rights Act covers a few basic precepts.

Continue reading “Only Human “

The A-Team (WYASO Day 4)

feature_NASSAward_2016I talk a lot about getting the right team to support you. I’ve been seriously lucky since my diagnosis as my local NHS put me with a fantastic rheumatologist, who in turn arranged for me to see an amazing Specialist Nurse. (She’s so amazing that she even won a national award!)

I was referred to hydrotherapy (the best treatment I’ve found to date – if it’s available then I highly recommend it) and physiotherapy. My GP listens to me and takes on board my opinions, providing options and keeping me involved in everything including medication.

I know that I’m lucky, and I really appreciate everything that my care team does for me. I also know that not everyone is so lucky. If you find that you aren’t getting the support you need, tell them! Continue reading “The A-Team (WYASO Day 4)”

An Exercise in Mobility (WYASO Day 3)

wp-1464075596781.jpgAlmost every source on information for AS stresses the importance of exercise in helping to improve the symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis. In fact the NASS website has a whole section dedicated to it. They also went out and made an app that you can download. The thing that I love about the NASS approach is that it doesn’t specify one individual exercise, unlike some newspaper articles that I’ve seen.

(I saw one a couple of years ago that described a famous Ankylosaur and said that he ran 9/10 miles a day and did 1,000 sit ups, just to prevent him from ending up in a wheelchair. It did the rounds again in March when he moved to a new TV show and needed a dramatic tagline. Who said the Daily Express, Mirror, Daily Star, and the Sun weren’t quality newspapers?)

Running is a great form of exercise. Although it’s not for everybody, and in particular it *could* be dangerous for some people with AS. I know that we have people in various NASS member groups who run marathons, triathlons and the like. But that’s with medical advice. Running is a high-impact exercise and so might actually make things worse for you. Speak to your doctor, specialist – or the very best advice will be from your physiotherapist and find the best exercise for you. 

Continue reading “An Exercise in Mobility (WYASO Day 3)”

That’s not a challenge! (WYASO Day 2)

30 Day Song ChallengeThere are a lot of challenges out there around the internet. Squats, Ice Buckets, Planking and some really scary ones that I don’t even want to get into! But one of the first that I can remember was the 30 Day Song Challenge. There are various iterations of this but I think I’ve chosen one that should give us some variation and hopefully keep people guessing! Yesterday, I added an extra in (as May has 31 days). But this is the version that I’m going to be using this year.

This means that Day 1 is today (2 May, just to confuse you all) and so I need a song with a colour in the title. The team colour for the Orange Apples is (not surprisingly) orange, because that’s the colour used by the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society. But I didn’t want to be so obvious so today I’ve opted for The Presidents of the United States of America and Peaches…

Continue reading “That’s not a challenge! (WYASO Day 2)”

WYASO 2017

It’s that time of year again, it’s 1st May and Walk Your AS Off has started. This means that you can expect to hear me bleating on about Ankylosing Spondylitis a bit more regularly than usual, as well as keeping tally of my Steps to add to my team’s total.

 

Walk Your AS Off is an annual event for Ankylosing Spondylitis. Although the official AS Awareness Month is April, I mostly conflate WYASO and AS Awareness, rather than stretching it into two months. As well as raising awareness we compete in teams, against teams all over the world. It’s a friendly competition, but still, it’s there.

And as if that wasn’t enough – we also try to raise funds. I’m a member of a group called the Orange Apples who raise money for NASS (the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society). So, if at any point this month you’re feeling a bit flush and you want to help out a small charity that’s doing a shed load of good work, feel free to go to the JustGiving page or straight to the NASS Shop and make a purchase or donation. Continue reading “WYASO 2017”

An Open Email.

Earlier this week I wrote about the situation in Chechnya. Even considering the fact that there has been more information coming to light, the government has still failed to respond. Hillary Clinton has roundly condemned President Trump for failing to comment, and yet there has not been a response or any sort of recognition from the UK Government.

So I wrote this email and sent it to the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and Equalities Minister. I copied in Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron as well as my own MP. PinkNews also has suggestions for people who also want to know how we can all help.

Ramzan-Kadyrov-Chechnya-concentration-camps

Subject: Government silence on the torture of homosexuals in Chechnya.

Mrs May, Mr Johnson, Ms Greening,

As I am sure you will have heard, reports are coming from Chechnya about the existence of “concentration camps” for Gay people. The stories speak of torture reminiscent of 1930s Germany. This isn’t liberal hyperbole. People are being tortured, beaten, and raped.

Continue reading “An Open Email.”

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Wreaths Of Poppies On A British 2nd World War MemorialThe Holocaust was one of the most disgusting and evil things to happen in the history of mankind. I think that it’s probably the most horrendous thing to happen in the 20th Century. We hold Remembrance Day services and have 2 minutes silence every year. The key phrase that’s used is “Never Forget”.

But we have forgotten. When we remember, we think about the soldiers who gave their lives. Not just in the World Wars, but in wars that have been, and are being, fought before and since. They sacrificed their lives to save others, dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

But what about the others? When we speak of the Nazi Holocaust, we think of the Jews. Millions of Jews were murdered in cold blood, experimented on and used as slave labour. It was truly awful. But the Nazis didn’t just stop at the Jews. They wanted a Master Race. Continue reading “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Good Christian Values 

The other day I wrote about the upcoming snap election. I’m now going to start nailing my colours to the mast. Your vote is your own personal choice, and what you do in the polling booth is between you and the ballot paper.

conservative-party-hard workingI would however like you to look at the party that’s currently in government. The Conservative Party touts itself as the party that represents “traditional British values”. They claim to be the party that represents the “hard working” families. They believe that the government interferes with business and should back off. They talk about balancing the budget and how much the Labour party screw the economy.

So far, so good. Do you know what? If I didn’t watch their actions, but just listened to their words, I might vote for them myself. But their actions belie the words. There’s a reason why the demographic for the Conservative Party is generally older people. I discussed a bit about this last year when I wrote about the generation gap in the referendum. As a generalisation, the Baby Boomer generation is (in my opinion) the most selfish and entitled currently alive. Continue reading “Good Christian Values “