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Had a good day today. Met [ profile] valkyriekaren for lunch, which was great - although we've kept up contact via LJ, we hadn't met in person for almost 8 years! Sorry if I spoke too fast or too much btw, I was a bit overexcited at seeing you again after so long!

Decent day at work, then no gym, as I am now only going to the gym twice during the week to pace myself. Had a proper dinner (I am getting very good with this one) and then spodding. Facebook Block is turning into my new usenet killfile. It just saves so much aggravation dealing with people on others' statuses you'd rather not hear from.

Went in to Monsoon on the way home and they removed the inactive security tag from the dress I bought last week. Seemingly it's one of their old tags, so they must have left it on, but deactivated, when switching over to the new ones.

The email saying "your tickets to see Peter Gabriel are in the post" has also arrived! I find it highly amusing that about 6 of my Edinburgh friends are all going to the same performance of Yes Prime Minister at the Kings' Theatre this weekend. All independently booked. I think my new year's resolution to go to more gigs and things is working out well.

The Irish program for govt is out. Mostly centrist. Some offensive sops to the middle classes (well off people do not need mortgage interest relief) BUT they are finally implementing the Vision for CHange - the plan to move Mental Health to be community based. Close down the last few old asylums (adios, the rotting hulk of St Brendan's in Grangegorman). Actually you may not know this but an aswful lot of long term mentally ill people were kept in hospital long term in Ireland - we stopped doing that here in the 80s. Y'see, there are a very small number of ill people who must live in a hospital most of the time, or on rehab wards as they are known. Then, there are people who can manage out in the community most of the time, with the odd admission now and then. However in between there are loads of people who can only cope outside hospital if they get a certain amount of support.

In the UK we take the availability of CPNs, support workers, social workers, OTs etc for granted - this just isn't available in Ireland. Same goes for supported accomodation - there isn't much of it. What you then end up with is a large group of people permanently institutionalised who could actually have their own flats with the right support. The care in the community option, despite being a reviled phrase, is pretty good when it's done properly, as is in Edinburgh. And cheaper. Ireland got around the expense of having all these people in hospital by last refurbishing their psych hospitals in 1953. My local hospital's ward is fine, being reasonably modern, but if you were long term, physically challenging or over 65, you got shipped off to St Finians, a mouldering Victorian asylum where the isolation room had a foam mattress on the floor, and nothing else, and wooden louvred windows instead of glass.

Why was this allowed to continue? Mainly because Fianna Fail only cared about measures that would win votes. And there are no votes in mental health - especially not in Ireland where public perceptions are about 20 years behind the UK. Many members of the public would have even objected to "their" money being spent on "those" people.

Luckily things have advanced by light years in the past decade in terms of attitudes. And now, at least, they are going to get their finger out and do something. About bloody time too. Suddenly, I have time for Enda Kenny, although this bit is almost certainly Labour's doing. Actually, FG, although right wing, are not the Tories, eing quite centrist, band are also a bit more forward looking - dare I say it, an actual modern political party - so I wouldn't expect them to have the neanderthal attitudes to mental illness that many FFers would have.

For those of you from outside Ireland, at some stage, the endless series of ranty posts about people and parties you have never heard off will ease off. I promise.

However, for all you ever need to know about why people voted for FF in the past and 80 years of Irish politics, view this 14-second long clip from satirical show The Savage Eye:

The Courtroom Opera is good too:
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April 2011

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