Integration by Stealth: How political union with the EU was achieved without consent

JRwrites

After the British electorate voted to leave the EU in June 2016, many people, particularly on the losing Remain side, searched for someone to blame. David Cameron was a favourite, as he was the one who allowed a vote on the issue. Various politicians on the leave side were also singled out for allegedly misleading the public.

In reality, however, the 2016 referendum result was the natural outcome after decades of massive constitutional change undertaken without the express consent of the British people. When the people got a vote on the issue, they finally decided that enough was enough. So how did it all come to this?

The Accession 

In 1972, the UK, Norway, Ireland and Denmark sought to ratify the Treaty of Accession and formally join the European Community (EC). Norway held a referendum, and upon this being rejected by its electorate, did not ratify the treaty. The United…

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ARE COUNCIL SERVICES IN CHAOS IN TOWER HAMLETS? -UPDATED

 

Just what is happening to care for the elderly and disabled within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets?

 

 

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets

Just after hearing about Tower Hamlets Council stopping it’s funding for nursery services in the borough, resulting in the closure of nurseries in the area, I had occasion to call their support for the elderly and disabled, !st Response.

My need was simple. All I needed was for them to replace the orthopaedic high back chair, which they provided, as the weld supporting the front of the seat had broken. (No comments about my weight please!)

Chair Orthopaedic High Back 1

Yesterday I contacted my usual number, for the Community Equipment Service to arrange a like for like exchange. They told me that they could arrange for my damaged one to be collected, but I would have to call the !st Response Team to arrange a replacement.

As I was going out, I waited until today to give them a call.

I first called them at 12.24pm, and following the usual verbal reminder that calls could be recorded etc, the line was switched to a muzak drone,  and a there was no sign of anyone answering, I assumed that they must be at lunch.

I called them back at 4.05pm, and spoke to a gentleman named Mohammed.

He told me that he couldn’t understand why the CES could not deal with me, so he first said that he would call them and let me know the result.

He soon called me back saying he still couldn’t sort things out, as the person I’d spoken to was not in. He asked if I could call him back tomorrow, around 3.00pm. I asked if it were not more logical for him to call me when he had the information, but he insisted that I should call him, so I could remind him of the problem.

I couldn’t believe my ears then. I asked him to clarify that my problem could so be easily forgotten by him. He confirmed this, adding that he had a lot of work on, so he might forget me. He then suggested that I could purchase an orthopaedic chair myself, or use another chair or settee and he could arrange risers for them. I pointed out that I don’t have any other suitable chair or settee to use. (Which is true, as 1/3 of my living room is a mini-office I use for blogging and my voluntary charity work, ,1/3 a parking and workshop area for my mobility scooter (as the Council have told me that I can’t keep it outside my flat!) and the last third is my living room!) and when I also pointed out that I don’t have the money to buy a replacement, he told me that the Council are no longer providing the elderly and disabled with the standard orthopaedic chair.

At this point I pointed out how bad all of this would look on one of my blog sites, (like this one!)  he then said he’d call me back.

He called me back to let me know that he has passed on the case to his manager, and I will hear from her soon.

I received one more quick call from him to confirm my address! Yes, you heard right, even though I confirmed my address the first time I spoke to him.

I am seriously worried about the capability of those in council employment, and the standards they set.

Within a 12 hour period I have found that they have reduced service to Parents, the Elderly and the Disabled. Who’s next, the Deceased? (Perhaps I shouldn’t have given you that idea!)

The time has come for a service of outside assessors to come into the management  operations of Tower Hamlets Council and Tower Hamlets Homes, in order to assess their various department’s efficiency. And it can’t be done too soon.

I’ll keep you updated of how things develop.

Update: Thursday 30th November 2018

Four weeks have passed, and I have not heard from anyone on this matter.

I am having to use a typing chair in place of my orthopaedic chair, and as it’s definitely not designed for the use it’s getting, it is already creaking badly. But even worse, every day my already severely damaged spine is becoming more painful.

I called 1st Response today to find out what’s happening.

A lady answered the telephone, and I asked what the situation is on my chair, and informed her of the situation I am in.

I was informed that I had been put on a list for re-assessment before they can issue my chair.

I asked how long it would take for this assessment to take place, and she told me that they have no idea. I pointed out that the chair I am having to use is on casters which do not have locks or brakes, and so it moves backwards every time I try to stand or sit, and is definitely not orthopaedic.

I pointed out that as the condition of my spine is deteriorating daily, I am in great pain, and it can’t be much longer before something gives way.  Most likely the spine itself.

I was informed that I would be placed onto a priority list, but they still have no idea how long it would be before I am even re-assessed, let alone to get the chair.

I finally had no option but to leave things with them, and telling them that I would be putting this on the internet, and will call them if I don’t hear from them by Wednesday of next week.

I also made it clear that if anything detrimental happens with my spine, there could now be legal consequences.

I’ll let you know what happens next!

 

THE STRAIN ON MEDICAL SERVICE VOLUNTEERING

JUST HOW MANY VOLUNTEERS ARE AVAILABLE IN ONE AREA?

In my local area (the London Borough of Tower Hamlets) there always seems to be a shortfall in the number of active volunteers, specially in those charity and volunteer groups supporting the medical profession, the G.P.’s, Clinics, Hospitals and the NHS in general.

I have recently been attending meetings of many different charity and voluntary bodies, and I have noticed that all of them are reaching desperation point to find enough voluntary patients to help their causes expand, and grow.

I think I should start by listing just some of those organisations requiring volunteer  patients from a limited Tower Hamlets pool. They are not listed in any particular order.

Amongst others there are:

  • Healthwatch Tower Hamlets
  • Real
  • Local Voices
  • NHS Patient Leadership Board Notrth London (POD)
  • Patient Led Assessment of the Care Environment (PLACE)
  • All local charities which support individual medical conditions.

We then have the Patient Panels at the following hospitals:

  • Newham
  • Mile End
  • Royal London
  • Moorfields
  • St. Bartholomew’s

We need to add to these lists every General Practice Surgery, as most of them have a Patient Participation Group.

Just listing them like this gives you just an insight into the pressures placed on a limited group of people – The local active patient volunteers.

The very description of these people requires them to:

  1. Be Patients
  2. Be Willing to volunteer
  3. Be Mobile
  4. Be Compos Mentis
  5. Have time to spare on a regular basis.

These conditions alone mean that there is a limited pool which is required to support and keep running the ever growing number of organising bodies hunting for their support. These active volunteers are people who genuinly wish to help as many people and organisations as they can, and can often feel that they can’t say no to supporting another group.

As I travel from one meeting to another, I keep bumping into the same few faces at the ‘coalface’ of these organisations.

Now – I know that what I am about to say will not be liked by some charitable and well meaning people and organisations, but – I now feel that there are so many organisations and charities operating in Tower Hamlets alone, that they are now overlapping each other, with the result that in some cases more than one body is carrying out the work already covered by another body.

Let us take one example. The patient input into the Royal London Hospital.

Please don’t think I’m against the support groups in this category (some of which I serve on), or the work of the Hospital itself, where I have been an inpatient a few times, and still am an outpatient. Every body mentioned are playing key roles within the hospital. There is no relevance if one group is listed above another, I am not saying that any one body is more vital than any other.  I am just using this as a clearly visible example.

Royal London Hospital Main Entrance

Main Entrance, The Royal London Hospital

So lets look at just some of the patient input then:

  • Firstly you have the Patients Panel.
  • Then there is the work done by the many individual volunteers around the Hospital.
  • Then there is the annual PLACE assessment.
  • Then there is Tower Hamlets Healthwatch.
  • Then there are the volunteers with the HEMS service

None of these services have much of an idea what the others are trying to do, except those individuals serving on multiple bodies, and so there is a considerable unintentional overlay of organisations, and efforts are frequently repeated.

This is just one example in just one location.

Therefore just how much overlap would there be if we were to look at this problem on a borough-wide, city-wide, county-wide or national level. It would just be phenominal.

Volunteers do so in order to make a difference.

More than one body carrying out the same function belittles the efforts and hopes of the individual volunteer.

I am not saying that the hard work of any of these bodies should be terminated,  or limited, just that there is a requirement for the great work done by these hard working volunteers to be centralised  somehow.

If just the overlays can be identified, and some type of agreement with the bodies concerned made, this could release so many volunteers that the holes in voluntary provision could be filled, and the volunteers themselves, specially those key volunteers, would be able to know the value of their work, and know that no other body would be repeating their hard worked for efforts. It would also let the organisations concerned know that their efforts are valued.

 

DISABLED TRANSPORT PROBLEMS BROUGHT INTO THE OPEN

TRANSPORT FAILURES POINTED OUT AT

TOWER HAMLETS ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORT FORUM

Green Park Station 2

The Real and Local Voices combined their resources and hosted a forum targeted at highlighting the problems local disabled residents had with accessing public transport. And they did a great job!

Accessible Transport Day When  : Thursday 13th September 10:00 – 3:00pm Where : Mile Ends Arts Pavilion, Clinton Road, E3 4QY        The day will feature information stalls and interactive displays, with free refreshments provided

There were representative bodies from almost every transport service in the area, where local disabled residents were able to have a one to one talk to each of the bodies present.

Following a plentiful lunch, the forum itself started.

Image result for accessible transport free images

Once the ball started rolling, there were clearly some questions which required urgent solving. Those subjects that were asked about included:

  • The folding of buggies to make space for wheelchairs.
  • The positioning of wheelchairs, specially powered ones.
  • Why aren’t bus drivers trained properly to deal with those who use wheelchairs?
  • Accessible toilets, their being too small for function, poor upkeep, bad locating, lack of directional signage, their being locked and not being in the Radar key scheme.
  • Difficulties accessing buses at floating bus stops.
  • Train departure details not matching between the platforms and the repeater screens in lobbies and footpaths.

The majority of questions were answered to the best of the officials ability, but too many had the response that if you let them have your details, they will come back to you with an answer, which means we didn’t get one!

Image result for accessible transport free images

I found that most of the answers were either insufficient, or simply that modern facilities can’t be fitted to old stations. How long have we been hearing this old story for? They need to start singing a new tune. This is 2018 not 1820!

Fred Flintstones car.

Is this how we see accessible transport in Tower Hamlets?

As there was limited time for the question and answer session, there were several questions which were not able to be asked, such as:

  • Why are so many lifts breaking down?
  • Why are so many lifts too small to take some mobility scooters?
  • Why is it that every planned lift refit programme over-runs their announced finish dates?
  • In the heat of the summer, with stifling temperatures, why did the air conditioning on so many Overground trains fail, leaving passengers in dangerously high temperatures, and unable to even so much as to open a window, as they are all sealed?
  • Why are so many DLR trains running with fewer carriages?
  • Why is the wheelchair bay always in a different location on different DLR trains?
  • Why are disabled passengers still having problems with the Journey Planner and TfL website?

If anyone from the appropriate services would like to answer any of these questions, please feel free to do so either by using the comment form below, or by contacting me by e-mail on:   mark.mapstone@yahoo.co.uk

I would be delighted to pass the answers to Real and Local Voices for them to disseminate. I would even consider adding them to this article.