"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Westminster 'uniform'

There was an unpleasant little exchange between David Cameron & Jeremy Corbyn in PMQs in the House of Commons yesterday, when the former lambasted the latter about his choice of apparel. [To see a video of this via the BBC please click here]

Jeremy Corbyn suggested what one is working for [he cited the NHS] is more important than what one is wearing. I happen to agree with him. In this respect Jeremy Corbyn is reminscent of Keir Hardie, first Labour MP, who was also jeered at for his apparel in Westminster:
On taking his seat on 3 August 1892 Hardie refused to wear the "parliamentary uniform" of black frock coat, black silk top hat and starched wing collar that other working class MPs wore. Instead, Hardie wore a plain tweed suit, a red tie and a deerstalker. Although the deerstalker hat was the correct and matching apparel for his suit, he was nevertheless lambasted in the press, and was accused of wearing a flat cap, headgear associated with the common working man – "cloth cap in Parliament". [Wikipedia]

I have been on demos which Corbyn has also attended and yes he wears 'ordinary' clothes. As one of the organisers of some of these demos and therefore responsible for inviting Mr Corbyn and other MPs to these occasions, I can confirm that he will often turn up to such demos to support unobstrusively and not self advertise. I have tremendous respect for him - whatever he is wearing!

Margaret Thatcher was legendary in her care for her clothes, make-up and hair. Not a problem. We do what we think important to ourselves. My only basis for judgement is that a person is clean and decent. Everything else is personal choice, surely?

Corbyn and I are of an age. I probably wear clothes which others think are inappropriate for my age and status, I don't really know. I have promised my podiatrist I will try to wear shoes more often - especially when gardening - after last year's poisoned foot. I hope I don't get judged by what I wear although my new neighours, when I move in the coming weeks, will probably have to get used to me appearing in my plaid pyjamas first thing in the morning but they are respectable and cover me up!

So, please, can we keep to important things in PMQs like what is going on in the economy and how to settle the junior doctors' strike? Looking at the picture of the two protagonists in the tiff yesterday, does it really matter who wears what? They both look OK to me!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Zika Virus, Guillaine-Barre and Life with PollyAnna

You may have noticed I haven't been around much lately. I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself as a few personal problems have been rearing their heads and on top of that moving from my rambling home of nearly 40 years to a more 'compact' one [Estate Agent's speak!] one is becoming a bit of a pain. I do try to face all life's challenges as a bit of an adventure but my PollyAnna side has been hidden a lot lately.

But politics and world news are still high on my attention agenda and I will get back to blogging regularly soon. You have been warned! Although I still haven't found a comfortable home for the 'IT station' in the new abode there is a cupboard in the kitchen which I have my eye on. There are only so many saucepans I can use and it could easily be adapted into a media hub.......

The Zika virus epidemic in South America is truly frightening and the potential for complications to pregnant women and their unborn children are horrific. But another complication talked about in the news today is that it may also cause the additional illness Guillain-Barre syndrome. This little known condition affects many world wide every year and too often claims lives and leaves survivors badly affected yet they get little recognition or allowance made by society [sadly like many others affected by ill health] My eldest son contracted Guillian-Barre in 2011 and we are so lucky that he survived. Yet he has been left with quite bad 'left over' damage. But he often says it was the best thing that happened to him because it has given him the appreciation of what is important in life [his son, quality of life remaining and so much more] And so I realise even more how we should always be grateful for what we have, not harp on about what we have not whilst trying to remember the important things. And endeavour to do what we can do to make things easier for others. I know I can be as bad as everyone in taking things for granted and complaining about what I may have lost. That's when I have to get PollyAnna out of her hideyhole and look and work for the good things that are around and in return what I can still do to help others, even if they are only little things. Like raising awareness of a cause.

Just sayin'.

A few helpful links:

Welcome to the Guillain-Barré & Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies website:

Independent article on the Zika Virus and Guillain-Barre (contains further links):

For those of you who have not read the book or are not old enough to remember the Pollyanna film and the 'Glad Game', here is the low down on the whole thing: