Friday, 6 December 2013

Necessity is the mother of underpants....

Necessity is the mother of invention?

Here we go again.  I've heard a few people say recently that hard times force us to innovate.  There's truth in that - but hard times also tempt us to turn on each other.  I've heard people say, "it's not fair, we need to bring the learning disability spend in line with older people" - yeah go on there's progress...look how shit it is over there, let's make this as shit as that!

For years people have been talking of people's gifts and building stronger communities - in times of plenty those conversations were sometimes ignored.

Now times are tough and the voices who largely ignored the 'community' call are couching the vicious cuts in the language of opportunity.

Technology to assist people to take control is being used to justify the cuts. Dressed up in 'assistive' language.  We are clothing cuts in the language of plenty.

Not so much 'Emperor's New Clothes' more 'Emperor's Weekend Underpants' - you know the one's that you only use in an emergency...saggy elastic, washed out colour, perhaps a little hole starting, even perhaps some mysterious stains......everybody's got a pair.

I'm going to carry my emergency underpants around with me - and whenever anyone disguises a cut with bullshit - I'm going to put them on my head.

I urge you to do the same.  A movement.  We've got to do something.  Underpants is as good a place to start as any.

I know that the my use of 'emperor's new clothes' doesn't really fit this situation - but I can't think clearly with these underpants on my head....


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

There's Another Rabbit Off!

The cartoon above is pretty close to a current reality - the names have been omitted to protect the innocent.

Only in Serviceland could people's clearly stated - and well planned wishes be so absurdly skewed. 

It's not often I can't see a way forward, OK I might moan and whinge for a bit but I usually find a way.  And I'm sure a way will open up - right now it feels like 'Everything is Broken'

The Housing and Support Alliance Conference this week should give me a fix.....

Bob Dylan always does it - even when it's unremittingly negative!

"Broken lines, broken strings.
Broken threads, broken springs.
Broken idols, broken heads.
People sleeping in broken beds.
Ain't no use jiving.
Ain't no use joking.
Everything is broken.

Broken bottles, broken plates.
Broken switches, broken gates.
Broken dishes, broken parts.
Streets are filled with broken hearts.
Broken words never meant to be spoken,
Everything is broken.

Seems like every time you stop and turn around,
Something else just hits the ground.
Broken cutters, broken saws.
Broken buckles, broken laws.
Broken bodies, broken bones.
Broken voices on broken phones.
Take a deep breath feels like you're chokin'
Everything is broken.

Everytime you leave and go off someplace,
Things fall to pieces in my face.
Broken hands on broken ploughs.
Broken treaties, broken vows.
Broken pipes, broken tools.
People bending broken rules.
Hound dog howling bullfrog croaking
Everything is broken."

Bob Dylan

Friday, 4 October 2013

Partnership Board Bingo

I think this cartoon was one of Mark (The Shadow Cutter) Conlin's, I'm sure he won't mind me using it.  We made them in spare moments at Skills for People years ago.

At a time when cuts are very much with us, but with some more than others, these cartoons seem even more scary.  When resources seem scarce there's a tendency to draw more people into the decisions about how to spend those scarce resources.  Panels we call them.

I used to play Partnership Board Bingo - going around the room and estimating people's salary (including my own) - creating a rough hourly rate then adding it all up, adding some complex algorithms to account for travel and preparation time, factoring in the percentages of heating bills and pondering how much of a percentage of the mayor's car to add in so I could come up with a fairly accurate cost of the Partnership Board.

The answer was  a lot.

Try it at the next meeting you are at.

Just try not to shout HOUSE.

There's a different panel for them.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Driving Forward Personalisation

I almost forgot I did this blog. I haven't done one for ages.  Then I remembered why - this picture was made in the 'white heat' of personalisation and was so brutally true that I sat on it for a while.  

I spent a canny bit of time as an advocate and there's a phrase which always brought the red mist down - when people say "What you don't understand is........" I inwardly, and occasionally outwardly, GO OFF IT!  Guaranteed to make me GO OFF IT BIG STYLE is if the "What you don't understand..." is preceded  by "With all due respect" 

So in relation to the cartoon above I now understand that the approach of selling people's lives off to the lowest bidder is something to do with 'provider development' or 'stimulating the marketplace' something like that.

And I also understand that a Thatcherite free market is the way to drive up choice and quality but only if it is aligned with 'frameworks' hinting at some Stalinist state control.

I understand that I should become accustomed to phrases uttered by a pinstriped, cuff-linked, bronzed provider rep such as "We'll have a punt at £12 per hour" even though it is the most gut-wrenchingly putrid phrase I've heard. 

Now I understand.

And before some smart arse says, 'Why didn't you do something about it?'

With all due respect - I did, or at least I tried really hard to.

Next time; deregulationprivatisationandcompetitioncertainlyworkedformyelectricitygastelephoneandtrainservicesdoyourememberhowawfulelectricitywasbeforeyouwerehoundedtochangesuppliereverythreemonthsitwasreallybadelectricitywasntit?notliketheelectricitywehavenowadays

Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Elegant Simplicity of Total Transformation

When people ask me what I do for a living I say I'm a social worker, I am a social worker and proud of it.  This cartoon pretty much echoes a conversation I was part of the other day. Poor social workers!

When I was registering the birth of my son I wrote Social Worker in the 'occupation' box.   I left the registry office and kicked myself, I thought of future generations of Keiltys researching the family tree and wished I had written 'Renegade Priest' 'Gold Miner' or 'International Man of Mystery' something exotic.

I hope when future generations stumble upon the 2010 census they are amazed that their ancestor was a social worker during the 'golden age' of social work..........hmm..

Next week inkybinkybonkdaddyboughtadonkey
donkeydieddaddycriedinkybinkybonky or something equally puerile.

Friday, 25 January 2013

It's family allowance day!

We're all middle class now....I used to joke that my mam spent our family allowance on gin and cigarettes, she didn't she spent it on bibles and Val Doonican records.  Thankfully we do still have a tiny trace of universal benefits to spend on gin - and we still place so many conditions on the money that people need for support to get them to the gin shop.....
Next week - whydoesn'tvaldoonicanstandup?becausehe'lljustvaldoonican or something slightly less funny than that.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Chocolate Fireguards

It's a right laugh making these tales from serviceland.  The process for me is - what absurdities have I carried out as a result of the clutches of serviceland? Do I think other people might do it as well? Is it vaguely amusing? 

I've done some useless stuff, not what people wanted or needed.

Hopefully, this process is reversed for the reader - Ha Ha Ha.....Hang on that's true.......shit I've done that.......

Next week chocolate teapots or something like that.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Insidious Genius of Capitalism

I don't really remember how the title fits; but the insidious genius of capitalism and partnership boards are inextricably linked in my memory from one of the the very early Valuing People conferences. I remember talking to a fantastic woman called Simone Aspis who said that Valuing People and it's associated 'involvement' was just a 'mechanism to control a movement' - her fear being that instead of a strong self advocacy movement taking what ever action they saw fit, people were being welcomed in to become part of the excuses.  Something good enters the big clunky sausage machine of government and comes out looking and feeling very different.  

I reckon there is a lot of truth in that prediction, when I supported a People First Group I remember making banners and trooping off to the Civic Centre uninvited, we felt liberated, powerful, active.  At the partnership board, I recall feeling important - seduced by the gleaming stainless steel of the sausage machine. What a load of old shit, you silly man.

I've been part of a few Partnership Boards and seen a few Powerpoints and colluded with  some discussions like this;

"What do you think of this decision we've made?"  

"Ooh that's a good point we'll take it to the executive board who make the decisions" 

"Who wants to join the Impenetrable PowerPoint Slide Accessibilty Forum?" 

"We need some volunteers to join our Emploment Workstream Stategic Plan Development Forum Sub Group (EWSPDFSG) - what? No we can't pay you, it'll mess up your benefits....."

Happy Health and Wellbeing Board and all the best for a co-produced New Year.

Next week some more self-righteous codswallop.