Monday, 24 June 2013

The Pick-Up

Chapter 1
In which Piglet has an existential crisis and meets a new Forever Friend
Hi! I'm Piglet!

In 2007 my life was not going too well. I was living in a old boat on the River Great Ouse.

implausibly named

I'd had a couple of not very productive meetings with the implausibly named Dr Astrid Ingeborg Waterdrinker from the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT).

They weren't very productive because I wasn't mentally ill

absolutely batty child psychologist

I have autism, you see. I was first diagnosed by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen in 1999.

However, Dr Bradley, a kindly but absolutely batty child psychologist, told my mother in 1970 that I wasn't going to be a normal child.

They sent me off to a Special School... ...
I was surfing the mobile web one evening when I came across the now defunct website

“I saw my Social Worker who had another gentleman with her called Gareth Hancock who deals with people who have Asperger Syndrome in Hospital in Bedfordshire”.

Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism

Asperger Syndrome is a form of autism and Bedfordshire was just down the river from where my old boat was moored. I read on,

“Gareth Hancock and Jenny Cutler a Consultant Forensic Psychologist came to visit me at home to take me for the day to see the Asperger Hospital and Residential Homes”.

Wait a Mo!? Could they be related?
Chapter 2
In which help arrives just in the nick of time
The first time I met my new Forever Friend
I called Brookdale Care, the owners of the hospital, told them I had autism and wasn't getting along too well.

They arranged for my new friend, the grandly titled 'nurse consultant' Gareth Hancock, to come and see me.

saying his name makes me feel sick

Because saying his name repeatedly makes me feel sick, I'm going to call him Winnie the Pooh or Pooh Bear or just plain Pooh, from now on.

that makes him so dangerous

This is because he looks and acts just like Pooh Bear. It's one of the things that makes him so dangerous.

I'd met someone who understood
Pooh told me all about the 'help' he could get me and how he could get the NHS to pay for it.

I was so relieved. Finally, I'd met someone who understood. 

Unfortunately, the yukky old NHS wasn't very keen on paying for a posh private hospital to look after Piglet.

told me to fuck off

The not-very-nice, and rather over-assertive Dr Thirza Pieters from the CMHT told me to fuck off.

he would become my 'Carer'

I was very upset. But Pooh told me not to worry he would become my 'Carer' and 'help' me get things sorted out.

he busied himself 'helping' me

There were a lot of things I didn't realise about Pooh, at first, as he busied himself 'helping' me.

how wrong this was

I didn't realise at the time how wrong this was. But then people with autism are notoriously naive and easily led...

Chapter 3
In which Piglet realises his life isn't going quite right but can't work out why...
Quick, quick! It's the Healthcare Commission Inspectors!
What did result from my visits to Brookdale Care and the CMHT that was that it was recognized that I was very disabled and needed help.

Unfortunately autism is not a mental illness so the mental health people weren't interested.

Cambridgeshire Learning Disability Partnership

Autism is a mental disability, eventually Cambridgeshire Learning Disability Partnership (LDP) were forced to take responsibility for me.

they left Pooh to get on and help me

Taking responsibility didn't actually include providing me with any help. As I had a self-declared 'Carer' they left Pooh to get on and help me.

didn't do a very good job

Pooh Bear didn't do a very good job. Perhaps it was because he was busy at work.

Pooh's day job was Hospital Manager at Milton Park Hospital. It doesn't seem he was very good at that either,

Sad Pooh is Sad

“The hospital has a poor history of compliance with the National Minimum Standards.

During 2008 following receipt of a range of concerning information the Healthcare Commission... carried out six inspections in line with identified risks which resulted in three statutory notices being served”.

Concerning Information in this case, included a suicide of a patient.

It is most unusual for a single hospital to undergo 6 inspections in one year.

Of the 38 items inspected, the required standards were only met in 8 areas.

They managed to have 73 of the 75 beds they should've had. That gets a green tick; as does having at least on nurse on duty for a 75 bed hospital.

weren't too good on suicide prevention

They weren't too good on suicide prevention, handling controlled drugs, risk assessment, or managing disturbed behaviour.

The food on the other hand was wonderful, and the newly built hospital buildings also got the thumbs up (apart from all the ligature points).

Chapter 4
In which Piglet attempts to regain control of his life
Actually, I'd rather get wet, get a chill and die.

After having offered me so much help over what turned into several years, Pooh then started asking me if I could help him.

if I could help him

Amongst other things he asked me to look after a dog. He told me it was a Staffordshire and belonged to one of the hospital's patients.

£50 for 40 hours work

When it arrived it was not the best behaved Poochie.

And it was more of a Bull Mastiff.

And wasn't toilet trained.

It just used to shit and piss in the house. It injured both my dogs. I had it for more than a month.

injured both my dogs

It took me more than two weeks of asking for him to take it away again. He paid me £50 for over 40 hours work. And saved about £600 on kennel fees.
a criminal offence 

I was a bit stupid, I admit. I didn't realise until much later that it's a criminal offence to get someone to work for less than the minimum wage.
Poochie used to shit massive shits in the house and run them over the kitchen and hall
I didn't realise at the time how wrong this was. But then people with autism are notoriously naive and easily led...

I did some other work for him as well that he did pay me for.

He'd also taken my claim form for Disability Living Allowance from me, saying he'd sort it out. He didn't.
he blanked me

When I complained to the LDP about this, they said it was Pooh's responsibility. When I complained to him, he blanked me.
Pooh gets angry when Piglet tells him it's over
After a couple of years it became obvious that the LDP were using his 'help' as an excuse not to 'help' me themselves.

didn't like having Pooh's help

I didn't like having Pooh's help from the beginning, it was the condescending way he treated me.

courage to tell him to leave me alone

I finally summoned up the courage to tell him to leave me alone. I told him I was angry about the way he'd lied and not paid me properly for looking after the dog.

I said I was angry

I told him I was angry about him taking my DLA form and then forgetting about it.

I said I was angry about the other work I'd done for him, and not been paid for.

I didn't realise at the time how wrong this was. But then people with autism are notoriously naive and easily led...
You know I get grumpy when my honey runs out
Chapter 5
In which Pooh decides to do a final bit of caring
But I told you, I don't want you to care for me any more
It was quite a while before I discovered what happened next.

In fact it was my solicitor Caroline Jelves from Fisher Meredith in London who discovered what had happened.

In response to my actually very polite request for him to leave me alone, he rang my social worker at the LDP.
by-the-way, he owed me some money

He gave a long description of what he said was undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenia...

but I'd told him I didn't want it

And by-the-way, he owed me some money but I'd told him I didn't want it.
If I can't care for you – no-one will!
The LDP closed my case file.

*sniffle* he didn't love me either

Chapter 6
In which Piglet realises all too late just what kind of man he's dealing with...
Ninja Bear is Deadly Bear
Pooh first qualified way back in the dark ages of mental health nursing – 1982.

And in more than 30 years of professional practice, Winnie has never managed to register any further qualifications with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Forged in the University of Life
And they didn't do undergraduate entry into nursing in the 80's. Pooh doesn't even seem to have a Bachelor's degree...

This is quite strange, given that for many years he was declaring himself as Brookdale Care's Nurse Consultant.

And these days he's Nurse Specialist in Assessment & Therapeutic Programmes for the Jeesal Akman Care Corporation Limited.

Let's have a look at what Qualifications the University of Life has awarded our Hero Helper:

Short, Sharp, Shock

It's not clear what he did in the 14 years after qualifying, but Pooh first hit the Big Time in about 1996.

He was involved in the setting up of the new youth wing of the Colchester Military Corrective Training Centre with Lt Col. Julian Crowe OBE.

“...ministers felt there was still a need for a regime more overtly disciplinarian in nature.

the military regime

The Colchester regime was designed so that suitable young offenders would experience, as closely as possible, the military regime and ethos at the Military Corrective Training Centre (MCTC) at Colchester.

Lovely Bear is Lovely
[Inmates] would wear army uniforms

6 months hard labour for pulling a girl's pigtails

expertise developed by the army

The Prison Service was asked to look at ways in which it might learn from the skills and expertise developed by the army in dealing with young men.

Home Office and Ministry of Defence

Following negotiations between the Home Office and Ministry of Defence, the army made a separate building available at Colchester which could accommodate up to 32 young offenders...

Staff, who volunteered for the work

Staff, who volunteered for the work, were drawn from both the MCTC and the Prison Service.

The Commandant of the MCTC was appointed as the governor of the YOI”.

Inspection! Everything ship-shape and shiny!?
That's right, Pooh was involved in setting up an institution that subjected naughty children to the full might of a military prison regime.

didn't make the children nicer

When this (literal) experiment was evaluated, it was discovered (surprisingly) that it didn't make the children nicer, less violent, or less prone to offending.

“those at Colchester were more likely to go on and commit violent offences... [but] 'liked receiving paternalistic advice from masculine role models'”.

Pooh Bear and his colleagues responded to this criticism by saying that “the kids love it, so we'd better give it a another year, just to make sure it doesn't work”.

absolutely super at the Borstal

Despite the self-evident failure of the experiment, nurse Pooh produced a report attesting to the excellence of staff/inmate relations and how everything was absolutely super at the Borstal.
Everyday - music in the air and dancing in the barracks
The Government weren't impressed and closed the place down.

Proofed ***** *****
Another experiment was to take place

Pooh Bear was out of a job. But not for long. Another experiment was to take place. This time with people said to have “Dangerous and Serious Personality Disorders”.

The venue for this particular adventure was to be HMP Whitemoor, a Category A prison in Cambridgeshire.
They weren't very good

Amongst other things, Pooh was involved with setting up nurse training courses at the DSPD Unit. They weren't very good. They didn't so much fail the validation process as to be so mal-formed as to be incapable of validation.

didn't make the inmates nicer

When this (literal) experiment was evaluated, it was discovered that it didn't make the inmates nicer, less violent, or less prone to offending.

absolutely super at the Prison

Despite the self-evident failure of the experiment, nurse Pooh produced a report attesting to the excellence of staff/inmate relations and how everything was absolutely super at the Prison.

Umm... Ahh..?

It seems shortly after both Pooh, and his sister Jenny Cutler (who had been working at the prison too), decided to move on to Brookdale Care's new Milton Park Hospital.

Ahh... Umm..?

Pooh became Nurse Consultant and Hospital Manager and his sister, Chief Clinical Forensic Psychologist. This may seem like something of a potential conflict of interest.

Particularly in a mental institution where inmates can be deprived of their freedom and rights on the say so of staff. Is that a kerfufal of umbridge, I hear from you?

Chapter 3 dropped the dope on this particular episode.

Chapter 7
In which Piglet realises just what has actually happened and gets scared...
Dr Asif Zia from the Specialist Learning Disability Partnership offers Pooh some feedback

Caroline, my first solicitor from Fisher Meredith worked hard to find out what was happening and why the LDP were refusing to help me.

After trawling through many hundreds of pages of documents, the record of Pooh's phone call to my social worker was uncovered.

I think it was her combination of politeness and pigtails that scared the LDP into begrudgingly reopening my case and offering me a new community care assessment.

They found that I was a bit disabled,

Pooh Bear has Pooh-Fu Powers

The problem was though, Pooh Bear has Pooh-Fu Powers...

non-threatening, warm, reassuring figure

Pooh Bear is the non-threatening, warm, reassuring figure that many of the junior staff in the prison, mental health and social care systems need when dealing with loud, shouty and often rather smelly, mad people.

a very, very nice bear

He's superficially a very, very nice bear. A former children's mental health nurse (ah, I mean Screw at military prison for kids), married to a special needs teacher. A good neighbour. Always, just always, willing to help out. Ever eager to please

Nice bear is Nice

He's a reliable pair of hands. Always supportive of his colleagues. Never challenging. Ever eager to please.

dazzled by his little brain

The local nurses, junior doctors, social workers and care workers have been dazzled by his little brain, and enormous heart.

a pot of narcissistic supply

They love him for his happy, helpful nature and straightforward reactions to the challenges that each day brings. Good company and a pot of narcissistic supply are all it takes to make Pooh's day!

Chapter 8
In which the shit hits the fan...

It's been more than 2 years since the events of the last chapter.

Unfortunately, for me the story continues; has continued for every single day since then.

lost control and blurted out

A couple of weeks ago I was reading the latest posts in the ACT NOW For Autism Forum. I kind of all of a suddenly lost control and blurted out:

Something really, really bad has happened to me. It's being going on for years. I did realise how wrong it was at the time. Now that it's all come crashing home to me I feel so stupid
this man's one phone call has absolutely wrecked my life
This 'nurse-consultant' spent most of his career hanging off the arse-end of the mental health system, in prisons and borstals
without even learning the first rule of mental health nursing - don't pick-up patients at work.

I'm absolutely fucked”.
Kay Sheldon had similar problems

The solicitor mentioned had the benefit of another distressed email from me the other day too. I reminded her of just one of the many consequences of Pooh Bear's 'Caring'

aggressively digging for symptoms of psychosis

...My mother was apparently dying, I needed help to go see her and the LDP sent Dr Will Bratby whom spent nearly an hour aggressively digging for symptoms of psychosis and delusions”

The problem is, is when one upsets a Pooh-Fu Bear, the consequences can be Very Serious Indeed.

find oneself in a Lunatic Asylum

One might even find oneself in a Lunatic Asylum, and it's very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad

Explaining why you're mad, even if you're not mad is very, very difficult when you are a good doctor.

I had two good doctors, Dr Saravanan Balasubramanian and Dr Asif Zia. They didn't manage it.

he did not have psychosis

I asked Dr Asif Zia, Consultant Psychiatrist, Learning Disability Team to review his mental state... he did not have psychosis... We did not observe any bizarre or odd behaviours suggestive of an ongoing psychotic illness... there are no ongoing concerns related to his mental health...”

no ongoing concerns related to mental health

When asked by the LDP how to manage my “challenging behaviour” Dr Saravanan Balasubramanian replied

We have not noticed any of these problems”

My neighbours had been trying to bully me to death. I complained to the LDP, they said "Look! There's proof! He is a paranoid psychotic!" The challenging behaviour that so distressed them, was me demanding for months that they do something to help me to stop the bullying.

Pooh-Fu is Powerful Fu

Nothing in that last sentence has been exaggerated for comic effect. Pooh-Fu is Powerful Fu. I've been fighting the effects of this nurses 'help' for 5 years now.

He entered into a wholly improper relationship with a vulnerable man he had clinical responsibilities to.

deliberate, malicious slander

He entered into financial and work arrangements that broke down acrimoniously. Then made a deliberate, malicious slander, to cover up his own misconduct. This is serious abuse by a mental health professional committed against a patient.

deserves to answer for his actions

This mental nurse deserves to answer for his actions and these allegations of misconduct at a fitness to practice hearing. The Nursing and Midwifery Council though, were of a different mind.
NMC: Ah, it all happened a long time ago... Let's forget it

what Pooh-Fu, Winnie deployed to Alter this Case

Who knows what Pooh-Fu, Winnie deployed to Alter this particular Case, but from his time working with young offenders in Borstals, his mental health nursing at Whitemoor...

...and the accumulated mendacity of a lifetime working in 'the System', we can be sure that Piglet doesn't stand a chance of getting a fair hearing.
Game, set, and match zu der lustig klein Dorf Mann

Evaluation of Intensive Regimes For Young Offenders - David Farrington ; Gareth Hancock ; Mark Livingston ; Kate Painter ; Graham Towl. 2000. Index Term(s): Shock incarceration programs.

Evaluation of two intensive regimes for young offenders - David P. Farrington, John Ditchfield, Gareth Hancock, Philip Howard, Darrick Jolliffe, Mark S. Livingston and Kate A. Painter. 2002. Index Term(s): Wankers.

Army jail plan for young offenders - The Independent 24.8.1995.

"wholly positive for those young offenders sent there" - Lord Ramsbotham -25 July 2012

'Boot camp' name change call - BBC News 12.1.1999

When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Friday, 14 September 2012


It helps the pain.
Too much, just way too much: a copy of a 3100 word letter from my solicitor to the Learning Disability Partnership.
July 2008 - September 2012 - Cambridgeshire LDP still ain't got it together
Staring down the double-barrel of an ESA50, broken foot, broken brain.

Broken cutters
broken saws
Broken buckles
broken laws
Broken bodies
broken bones
Broken voices on broken phones
Take a deep breath
feel like you're chokin'
Everything is broken.

Thursday, 13 September 2012


I think I'll need a stiff one.
Sur le sable, face à la mer
Se dresse là, un cimetière
Où les cyprès comme des lances
Sont les gardiens de son silence.

Sur le sable, des lits de fer
Sont plantés là, face à la mer
Mon ami, la mort t'a emmené
En son bateau pour l'éternité.

Si on allait au cimetière
Voir mon nom gravé sur la pierre,
Saluer les morts face à la mer,
Ivres de vie dans la lumiere.

Dans la chaleur, le silence
A l'heure où les cyprès se balancent
Les morts reposent au cimetière
Sous le sable, face à la mer.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Stolen Voices - Silent Lies

An Open Letter to Brandon Trust Ambassador, Kaliya Franklin.

Bennie and the Jets - Number 1 on TNR's Top 10 Transport Hit List 

Dear Kaliya,

I’m sorry if you found my report of the Brandon Trust’s second, “100 Voices" conference, published on The New Republic, a little brusque and unkind.

It’s just that I’m autistic and don’t always understand how I come across.

Sometimes it’s not always obvious online, that I’m a seriously disabled client of the local Learning Disability Partnership.
It's true, I'm a sick puppy...
In fact, I’m exactly the sort of person that the Brandon Trust provides services for. (Co-incidentally, I know someone just like me, who actually gets help from Brandon).

my teachers had very high aspirations for me

The problem is my teachers had very high aspirations for me and taught me lots of big words, but unfortunately I don’t have the social skills and social understanding to go with them.

I’m going use quite a lot of big words in this letter...

The Mixtures - The Pushbike Song - Number 2 on TNR's poptastic Top 10

I’m writing to you to ask you to consider resigning your position as Ambassador for the Brandon Trust.

I have a problem with not just some of the content of your speech at the conference, but also the manner in which it was delivered.

 the “learning disabilities voice”

At the start of it, you were doing the “learning disabilities voice” - not quite as intense as seen, say in Little Britain, but you displayed a definite awww-does-he-take-sugar? tang to your words. (Too kind for sure: you were doing a Silly Voice).

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t use this affected kind of speech when you are talking to people with learning disabilities. I’ll go through a some:

Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell

Firstly, there is no scientific data nor clinical experience that suggests using juvenile diction aids comprehension. I would like to suggest that for the cognitively challenged, in some circumstances, it can actually make comprehension more difficult.

an adult with a learning disability is not a child

Secondly, an adult with a learning disability is not a child. Not legally; not morally. It is not  appropriate to address an adult in the same manner as a 2 year old child (for whom this kind of voice is normally reserved).

retain good social cognition

Thirdly, some people, even with significant intellectual disabilities, retain good social cognition and engagement. Even though they may not even be able to mentalize the idea of “condescending eejit”, trust me, they still know when someone is doing a silly voice, and because of it, they will think less of them.

Probably Number 1 on @BendyGirl's Top 10 personal hits.

What worries me personally about silly voices, is that over the last four decades of being reliant on learning disability services, I’ve learned that the silly voice usually indicates that the speaker’s brain has ceased normal functioning. All the normal rules and modes of behaviour go straight out the window as we touch down on Planet Slow-boy.

behaved and acted entirely conventionally

Let me give you an example, once upon a time I hurt my back really quite badly. I’d seen the doctor at home about 3 days before - he had behaved and acted entirely conventionally and he had given me a prescription for a huge bag of painkillers.

Now, how can weeeee heeeeeelp yooooou, Georgieeeee...?”

I rang the surgery. Before I had a chance to say anything, the doc has obviously spotted “Learning Disabilities Partnership” in my medical notes and begins “Now, how can weeeee heeeeeelp yooooou, Georgieeeee...?

It threw me completely. I had some difficult things to say to him, and I find speaking a chore at the best of times.

Leaving on a Jet Plane - John DEnver

I needed to say “Look doc, my back is so bad and I am in so much pain that I couldn’t sit down on the toilet and so attempted to take a shit on the floor... and I need a painkilling shot and an enema... and I need to be in hospital until my back is better because I haven’t got anyone to look after me... and I can’t cope on my own


All I managed was, “UrrghArrrghUrrrrrrrrgh!... I can’t cope! Hospital!

He said nothing about my bad back, which 3 days before had had him struggling to lift my 10 stone off the kitchen floor as I screamed non-stop in pain; nothing about how the painkillers were working.

put me in the nuthouse

He just said he was going to put me in the nuthouse.

I put the phone down. Perhaps I should’ve been put in the nuthouse - after all by the time I’d finished talking to him, I did want to kill myself, but I’m sure it was mainly because of the humiliation and the pain that had kept me awake for two nights and grown so large as to fill the entire known universe.

Sailing - Rod Stewart

But getting back to the point, I was so distracted by the tone of your voice and the sight of what to me looked like a security guard standing behind you, that I literally don’t remember anything until you announced we were going to have a “musical quiz”.

we were to shout out the names

And we were to shout out the names of the forms of transport mentioned in the songs to be played.

Foolishly I expected a selection of tunes like Ferry Across the Mersey, Leaving on a Jet Plane and perhaps even one of Queen’s hits (whom I know you’re fond of) like Bicycle Race.

“The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round”

What we got, amongst others, was a Noddy song and “The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round”. Children’s songs - for children. You were not addressing an audience of children. You were addressing an audience of adults, some of whom had learning disabilities.

these are subversive choices in the ld world

You later spoke about your DJ’ing, saying “Trust me, these are subversive choices in the ld world”. No they are not. They are just crass, juvenile and inappropriate.

Cat Stevens - Longer Boats

I’d like to offer you two examples of people who are both effectively non-verbal, and have significant mental and physical disabilities.

The first is Titan. He lives in Australia with his partner and writes eloquently about his life.

The second is Kingdom of Rats, who lives in an English care home, and has a rich and full,  albeit seldom easy, life.

sex life of whips, chains and bondage

Titan and his partner Nate, are unlikely to favour Noddy or the Wheels on the Bus as a soundtrack to their quite mouth-puckering sex life of whips, chains and bondage. And I understand Kingdom of Rats is more of a death-metal fan.

Queen - Bicycle Race

However what concerns me most and the part of your speech that I found most personally hurtful, was when you suggested that our own mal-attitudes are partly responsible for the level of abuse we suffer in public.

spanking-good coves

You gave as single example of how you as a physically disabled person were accosted late one night by a gang of youths... Who all turned out to be spanking-good coves and not the crack-smoking muggers you first took them for.

shocking level of disability hate crime

The shocking level of disability hate crime and (of particular importance to the learning disabled) “mate crime” is testament to the reality of life for people like me in the community.

no place in the public discourse

Your crassly-stated, psycho-babble fallacy supported by single anecdote, has absolutely no place in the public discourse surrounding disability hate crime

The Cars - Drive

Recently I saw the venerable and now sadly retired Dr Zaman from the Specialist Learning Disability Department at the Big Hospital. I was there because of an incident that led to the police being called. After four years of bullying and harassment, I finally snapped:

or the man that left broken glass

I'm not going to go out now. It's too dangerous. I'm almost certainly going to bump into one of the neighbours, the woman that conned me out of hundreds of pounds, the nonce I caught videoing me, the guy that left the dog shit on my door-step, the woman that put the poison pen letter through my door, or the man that left broken glass. Then there was when they tried to rip the car-port down. Burgle the house. Threaten me in the street...

You’ve got to learn to be less open

Dr Zaman said to me (not at all unkindly - for he was a wonderfully straight-talking man), and I quote him word-for-word

“You’ve got to learn to be less open and give less information away about yourself. That’s how this woman has managed to cause you so many problems”

Being friendly is what got me into this mess in the first place

First rule of disability hate crime (both of you): Don’t Blame The Victim!

an apple is not an orange.

And I’m sorry, I just don’t accept your assertion of some kind of equivalence in our respective mental and physical disabilities. I don’t believe that one exists, in the same way that an apple is not an orange.

magisteria of equal magnitude

Non-overlapping magisteria of equal magnitude, perhaps. But there is no equivalence.

You don’t have a mental disability nor are you the parent or a carer of someone with one. You seem to have very little idea of the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of mental disabilities.

the Brothers and Sisters have got a Black Power Thning

Anyone got an 8 ball?
Look, to put it another way, me and the Brothers and Sisters have got a Black Power thing going on here - you’re the New York, gay-pride activist that’s turned-up and decided to fight our race war for us.

barged us out of the way

You’ve barged us out of the way, and you’re now doing Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, while we’re all out on the sidewalk, getting brutalised by Officer Krupke.

something else that bothers

But there’s something else that bothers me. It’s how you and your friends treat me and people like me. You see, there’s two layers of “The Campaign” that don’t mix. At the top is yourself and as far as I can tell, just two or three other people calling all the shots. Then there’s the lumpenproletariat.

a baseless ad hominem attack

Your response to wholly legitimate and justified criticism is to describe it as “constant sniping”, or your colleague claiming an “axe to grind” and “a chip on his shoulder”. You made a baseless ad hominem attack, claiming I’m not in the target audience (without knowing anything about me) as a way of discrediting my criticism.

no right to ignore the message

Just because you don’t like the medium (or largely in this case, you’ve failed to accommodate your critic’s disabilities and consequent lack of social nous), you have no right to ignore the message.
Nothing About Us, Without Us! LARM

I don’t need you to speak for me. I can speak for myself.

So can most of us, if we’re given the chance.

It’s just neurologically advantaged people like you are hogging the limelight, and in this case actively encouraging people to ignore the messenger.

The Brandon trust currently have two “Ambassadors”, yourself and a folk band called Fisherman’s Friend.

doesn’t make you an instant expert 

I understand the idea of a charity having high profile celebrities to promote their cause, but becoming one doesn’t make you an instant expert on learning disabilities.
ATOS Killa Fish - a Fisherman's Friend?

It doesn’t mean your experiences with physical disabilities can be translated into or made relevant to our experiences with mental disabilities.


It doesn’t give you the right to offer, what seems to me, dangerous and inappropriate advice on how people with learning disabilities should live their lives.

Alan Partridge-style

I’d like to contrast the Brandon Trust’s Alan Partridge-style event on Saturday, to the slick and respectful handling of such events and promotional activities involving people with mental disabilities, by the National Autistic Society (NAS).

NAS Autistic Babes, smokin!
I don’t think your the right sort of person at the moment to represent the views and interests of people like me to the staff at the Brandon Trust and to the outside world.

appropriate training

If you must remain in this post, then I think I have the right to ask that you take undertake the appropriate training.

If the Brandon Trust can afford a chauffeur driven car, to carry you from up-north and an hotel room for the night, then they can afford to send you on an NAS training course.

the elephant-in-the-room

(I’m trying to ignore the elephant-in-the-room of Fisherman’s Friend - I have no problem with them as long as they stick to wassailing and getting drunk).

I’d have no problem with you, if you didn’t do silly voices and didn’t treat people like me at best like we are toddlers, or at worse as ‘trolls’ or ‘radicals’ to be blocked, de-friended and privately slated in discrete girly chats. From here, it looks like you’ve sold out to a cheesy nibble in a hotel bar and the prospect of a go on Newsnight.

That is all.

I sign off with, as is customary in our community,

Nothing about us without us!

Fritz V.

Further criticism and mention of TNR here in the comments.