Tuesday, 3 January 2012

And a happy 2012

Not much time to blog over the festive period as I was busy having a personal life, seeing friends, contacting family and seeing a friend who had come over from Ireland for the holiday. I did manage to go on a great one day trip to Ely to see the wonderful mediaeval cathedral which I saw for the first time and to visit the historic town, as well as stopping off in Cambridge for a pint or two on the way back to London.

Some of my time over the festive season was spent on considering the past year and what lies ahead in the new one. For a start, with the continuing cuts and austerity, I am not sure if I will have a job after April, as my voluntary sector organisation is at the mercy of the decisions of Lambeth Council, and prior to the Xmas holidays they had not told us what their intentions were for the financial year ahead. The battle against the cuts has been a central issue for me during 2011 and will be in 2012 and I will be continuing to play an active role in the Coalition of Resistance. This also presents me with difficult decisions regarding my political involvement and orientation during this year and I will make an announcement about that soon, following a great deal of soul searching over the New Year period.

I also will be continuing my role as Chair of the London Ambulance Service Patients Forum and we have a meeting next Monday, January 9th, in City Hall to be addresseed by the Deputy Mayor of London on the issue of the London Resilience Plan and how London's emergency services will work together in the event of an emergency - this was included in the coroner's report recommendations from the 2005 bombing inquest. It is also the year in which the London Ambulance Service hopes to become a Foundation Trust and we will have an update on that at the meeting. Clearly this will also have an impact on the Patients Forum.

It is said that everyone has a good novel in them and I did have a go at playwriting in the 80s but have been diverted by various other activities, mainly political and public since. But I have decided to pick up the pen again this year and have a play in mind about my good friends, the Irish Green Party, whose fate I followed closely over the last few years, acting as one of the Cassandras, as they beached their ship on the rocks.

I also had a call just before New Year's Eve that an older friend of mine, who is 75, had been hospitalised and went to visit him. He had been in great pain with his back and was subsequently sent home last Sunday but it has brought home to me again the lack of funding for elderly social care, which is an issue reported in today's news. With an increasing older population, me being among them, this crisis will become more and more important. And finally, this reminds me that in March I will reach the venerable age of 55 and noted in a documentary on my hero Charles Dickens on BBC last night, that he was dead by 58. So time and tide wait for no man and there remains much to be done. I will be writing more about Dickens in this his bicentary year.

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