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Friday, 24 November 2017

BEWARE THE GATEKEEPERS !!


                                                                               




                       Beware the Gatekeepers, including people and organizations who say that they are seeking reform, but in reality protect the Establishment against good reforms.In my experience, I include most Scottish mental health charities, the Scottish Mental Health Commission, and


                           HEALTH IMPROVEMENT SCOTLAND (MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM)



                                                                               



                   I also, quite surprisingly include large sections of Amnesty International.

                  Within any particular organization with otherwise outstanding credentials there may be one or two wily Gatekeepers, who sometimes infiltrate from less credible organizations or splinter groups,who try to control their colleagues in less positive ways. It is therefore essential to make all decisions as democratically as possible. In Edinburgh, I am particular scared by members of the so-called 'Magic Circle' of corrupt lawyers and politicians,  by some elements of the Freemasons, and by the upper hierarchies of our hymn-singing Churches.

           When reaching decisions within a group, it is usually possible to REACH A CONSENSUS if all members of the group have commonality of purposes. If the group is heterogeneous, for example if there are a couple of lurking closet gatekeepers in the group, then the decision making process can become quite distorted



           I would describe many people working on behalf of the United Nations as Gatekeepers, just as one example in their statistical assessment of poverty programs, which go beyond belief in achieving extremely little for poor and vulnerable people despite their nobly expressed aspirations: In the following talk, the speaker did not quote a single numerical Statistic as an outcome, even though the internationally acclaimed program started two years ago! I fell asleep during the strange self-congratulatory procrastinations, but was assured that I hadn't missed anything..

Tuesday 7 Nov 2017, Monitoring the World - the sustainable development goals and what they mean to statisticians.
Venue: ICMS
Address: 15 South College Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AA
Date: Tue 7 Nov
Time: Tea & coffee 17:30; talk between 18:00-19:00 
Speaker: Phil Crook 
Affiliation: The secretary of the RSS International Development Section and a consultant development statistician

Abstract: In September 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted seventeen aspirational "Global Goals”, stretching from “No Poverty” and “Zero Hunger” through “Gender Equality” and “Decent work” to “Climate Action” and “Peace, Justice and Strong institutions”.
The goals are associated with 169 targets and 241 global indicators and the annual report on progress towards the targets will cover every country, developed as well as developing. Data disaggregation to ensure that no-one is left behind will be a key feature of reporting. Experience in the UK and globally shows that targets and indicators such as these can have profound effects.
The talk will cover the process and politics leading up to global goals, the experience with the Millennium Development Goals which preceded the SDGs, and then the SDGs themselves and the statistical challenges and opportunities they are throwing up.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

TOM LEONARD AND FRIENDS CHRISTMAS NEWS 2017

                                 TOM LEONARD AND FRIENDS CHRISTMAS NEWS 2017
                                    AND INVITATION TO 70th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

***As of 10th December 2017 I am convalescing at home with an injured leg following eight days in the Western General My friend Penny is also recovering from a bout of ill health. I was visited in hospital by Scott, Julie, James. Lindsay. and three friendly Quakers., and I am indebted to Dr.Michael McKenzie for his outstanding treatment and kindness. I would particularly like to thank Scott for handling the situation****









ALL FRIENDS PLEASE NOTE

I will be celebrating my 70th birthday on 24th March 2018 in Vittoria Restaurant on Brunswick Street, Edinburgh, with my co-hosts Scott, Julie. Penny and James. Would any local or international friends, or surviving pockets of relatives, interested in receiving an invitation to my party and dinner (6pm-12pm) please e-mail me on leonardthomas70@googlemail.com and we will send you a formal invitation. Anyone wishing to visit Edinburgh for the weekend might wish to stay in the Courtyard Marriott Hotel at the top of Leith Walk










 During the year I have totally rebuilt my life following a great deal of my usual sorts of drama after a classic episode with my Toureg-Volkswagen, and I spend most of my time writing and on social media. I attend meetings of the Open Book reading group in the Botanic Cottage, the Edinburgh Writers Club, the South Edinburgh Quakers and the Edinburgh Section of the Royal Statistical Society. I still visit East Lothian and the Borders two or three times a month, with Penny who lives in Dirleton. My mental health campaign is about to enter its sixth year, with the help of my friend James Carter. See for example my Mental Health Discussions Edinburgh Facebook Page. My short story Joe's Mole, which I wrote in late 2011 has recently been widely read around social media:

http://thomashoskynsleonardblog.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/joes-mole-anecdote-concerning-perils-of.html












During late July I attended the week long annual Quakers Meeting on the University of Warwick Campus, a nostalgic return to the campus after 38 years. I also visited the Queen's Castle Inn, near my former house in Kenilworth for a nostalgic dinner with a statistical colleague. The Quakers were wonderful people with important social messages who had extended their notion of all inclusivity into their political structures and individual families. People of disability and all orientations and genders were made particularly welcome, as should befit  EVERY family in Britain.






    



Early in July, Penny and I visited County Durham, and stayed in Hardwick Hall near Sedgefield. On the way back we visited Durham,  including the Cathedral






My long-term flatmate Scott is writing a scholarly 'Radical History of Edinburgh and the Lothians' (1880-1936)' and he is currently investigating the influences of the Boer War on the creation of the Welfare State. Scott is also completing lots of invaluable social advocacy work in Edinburgh, and visits other cities to talk about these issues,





During the year I completed my fourth novel since 2012 (three now self-published and another left unpublished), with the help of James Carter, a well-published poet with scholarly credentials from Oxford
 I

The latest novel  'Reborn on Soutra'  is humorous, Pythonesque historical fiction set in Scotland, York, France and America during the fifteenth century. It may be accessed free of charge on my blog:

https://soutranovels.blogspot.co.uk/







This novel is written in a unique highly humorous and slightly Chaucerian style, and life in the Middle Ages is parodied in a Pythonesque and at times surreal fashion with some serious social messages intended for the present. The Scottish knight Sir Richard de Liddell visits the medieval hospitals on Soutra Hill on a regular basis to deliver herbal remedies from his garden on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. He is forced to seek sanctuary on the Soutra during 1436. He returns to Edinburgh in1462, as Le Chevalier Duncan Le Cottier, after a quarter-century of intrigue in York, France, and Patowmeck (in North America), during England's 100 years war with France and the subsequent dynastic struggles between the Yorkists and Lancastrians in England. 

                 A sequel 'Children of Soutra' is in preparation, and a Soutra trilogy is planned.



                                                                              


        Tom with his literary advisors James L.S. Carter, Scott, and Julie, 

         in the Goblin Ha' Inn, Gifford, East Lothian





Thursday, 26 October 2017

HISTORICAL CHILD ABUSE IN EDINBURGH




                                                                                 


In my 2012 self-published novel In the Shadows of Calton Hill I satirised my attempts, since the year 2000 to confront suspicions of child abuse on the outer fringes of the LGBT Community in Edinburgh. It is dangerous to express ones suspicions too explicitly because of the potential toxic reactions, which appear to come from above, as indeed I experienced myself in 2000 and 2007, and later in 2016 and 2017. I have now left the LGBT community partly because of my well circulated perceptions of this fringe scenario which seems to be linked to the still ongoing 'Magic Circle' of corrupt lawyers and politicians and a more established secretive organization which used to haunt the New Town bar and I no longer attend a hymn singing Church.

I have recently been advised by a highly respectable person in the know that there is a history of child abuse in Churches of all denominations, whether or not the officially approved 'safeguards' have been enacted. The Roman Catholic Church is, in my opinion, at its higher level a criminal organization which by and large seeks to protect the rampant paedophilia in its midst. However, the Church of Scotland has recently also come into scrutiny.

After my adventures with the Piskies, I was briefly a member of the Church of Scotland during 2016. Please see ON CHILD ABUSE IN THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND




Tuesday, 10 October 2017

JOE'S MOLE (an anecdote concerning the perils of Epilim Chrono)




                                                                    


This short story was written during late 2011 and is largely based on the author's own experiences. While his skin cancer has not recurred, he currently suffers from the following side effects: Type 2 diabetes, lymphodema with chronic venal insufficiency, mild tardive dyskinesia, difficulty walking. When hospitalised during 2016 he narrowly survived an arguably medically related bout of cellulitus, His cognition improved greatly when he stopped taking his Epilim (for misdiagnosed bipolar disorder) in October 2011, and he has not taken any toxic psych meds since. He believes that the clinical psychiatrists seriously maltreated him by keeping him in a biochemical straightjacket from 2000 to 2011 at which point he fell into several months of extreme sleepiness upon which he seems to have been largely deserted by his GP.


JOE'S MOLE by Thomas Hoskyns Leonard

The tiny mole on Joe's wrist suddenly expanded and began to change shape.
What miraculous production of nature is this? pondered the part-time plumber. It's like a tiny seashell on a pebbly beach. Our gods move in such wonderfully comical ways. A thing of beauty is a joy forever. May the nightingale's sing! I'll joke about the mole creeping into my armpit during my next comedy act on Berkeley Square.
When did that mole appear?” asked Dr. Fearsome, a quizzical gentleman with a predatory, wolf-like mouth, having decided to take a blood sample from Joe's forearm, just in case he suffered, by sheer chance, from some mysterious condition.
I only noticed it recently,” replied Joe, through his brain fog. “I'm more concerned about my haemorrhoids.”
Maybe the Epilim has got to his enzymes sooner than anticipated, pondered the GP, sniggering behind his mask, but that's not my responsibility. It's the shrink's. And I can't be arsked to check him out for diabetes until I really have to.
The GP licked his lips. “It's extremely unlikely to be harmful, but I'll make an appointment for you with the Skin Clinic, just in case.
Joe googled ‘malignant mole’ on his kleptomaniac sister’s laptop, the one she'd snatched during a riot in the St. Teresa Centre along with several pairs of lace knickers. He learnt to his dismay that suddenly appearing, shape-shifting moles often conceal melanomas, a form of cancer that could prove fatal when allowed to spread. Moreover, itching and hurting were two of the main symptoms.
Joe’s mole certainly itched, and when he pressed it hurt.
I’m under attack,” he shrieked, as two moths whizzed by his ear and disappeared into the carpet under the sofa.
      A malignant mole could spread further deadly cancer inside my body, realised Joe. During the history of humankind, our supposedly worthy God has struck down millions of his own creations in their prime, in this and other equally cruel and undeserved ways. So what is Heaven?  Perhaps it is separation, in the Holy Spirit, from our cynical Creator.
      But how will I actually die? wondered Joe. He remembered the nightmare that had recurred night after night after his early retirement from B&Q. Lying penniless and starving on Balfour St with spiders crawling over his face; the dogs coming to eat him up; Officer Feisty Ginger Beard yelling, “And then I’ll surround your grave with flowers, you big, fat, lazy slob.”
      Yes, perhaps dogs would really come and eat him up.
How stupid, surmised Joe, I will die an artist.
      “I’ve got two moles on my nose, Uncle Joe,” said Griselda, “Are they pretty?”
       “They’re just big freckles, you silly girl,” said Joe. “Though they look rather like the moles on your cheeks.”
      A fortnight later, Joe visited the Dermatology Department in the Gumbleston Building, a decaying concrete block that survived the rest of the old University hospital in the City Centre, which had been converted into an empty shopping mall. He ascended to the fourth floor in an archaic slowly moving elevator, and finally discovered the Skin Clinic at the end of a barren corridor, beyond a sign directing red pox patients down a specially concealed stairwell to the basement.
      Professor Jasmine Juniper, a kindly school-marmish woman, peered through her magnifying glass. “Now that's an interesting mole. When did it appear?”
     “Heaven only knows,” stuttered Joe, swatting a fly on his arm, “but it’s been changing shape. It could be alive. Is it ...er...a lymphoma?”
      “No,” said Professor Juniper, with a learned look and a gleam in her eye. “It's in all likelihood just an awkward mole, but it could be a melanoma though only with the minutest of teeny weeny probabilities. It might be worth taking a sample this afternoon. Dr. Hazel Hashworthy and her team will be in the Dissection Room if you would like to hang around until five. You won’t feel a thing.”
      “Super.”
      The professor glanced at a picture of her rakish husband and four plain children, and smiled grimly.Perfect! Now please take off your clothes so that I can examine all your moles. Wow! Goodness me! What unusual dimples.”
      Joe gulped when Dr. Hashworthy smiled and injected his forearm with local anaesthetic.
The elderly patients sometimes faint now, if not later,” declared a rumbustious nurse, with a chortle, as she turned up the sound on Radio Five Live.
       Several minutes later Dr. Hashworthy declared, “Sample One at the ready”, and Joe was aghast to see her lifting a mass of gooey flesh, presumably including the mole, from his forearm and onto a tray.
     “Don’t look now,” chuckled the nurse.
      After taking a further messy sample, Hazel Hashworthy stitched up the two inch wound.
      “That’s neat isn’t it?” said the nurse, clutching her wobbling belly. “You’re lucky that your skin isn’t old and wrinkled. Now it’ll be best not to worry at all until you’ve heard the results of the biopsy.”
      Two weeks later, Joe felt calm when he arrived in the Skin Clinic, but he became  quite agitated when he was required to wait for over an hour while Professor Juniper rushed gleefully around all over the place. However, she eventually reappeared after an amusing frolic in the Dissection Room, and advised him that, “Our tests show that there was a very, very, very, very, small amount of melanoma under your mole. So we’re going to take off another very, very, very thin layer of skin, just to make sure.”
      Joe felt more and more somnolent as three weeks past slowly by. When he visited the Dissection Room for a second time, the surgeon was Dr. Derek Underling, a benign looking gentleman with a round face and receding ginger hair. The surgery seemed to be much less traumatic than before, and when Joe looked up, Dr. Underling was working studiously at his task and looked as if he was tuning a piano.
       After he had stitched up the wound, Dr. Underling smiled kindly and said, “Now, I needed to stretch your remaining skin more than usual to cover the flesh. So it looks, for the moment at least, as if a dog has taken a bite out of your arm.”
      Joe stared in horror at the injury, and surmised that similar ‘dog bites’ could appear all over his body should cancerous moles recur. He thought that he felt spiders creeping up his neck and tried to slap them away with his left hand, only to see an apparition of Officer Feisty Ginger Beard standing at the foot of his couch.
      “You won’t be eating me up, Officer,” he shrieked. “I’ll try chemotherapy first.”
     “That rarely works,” said Dr. Underling, with a grin.
Within a couple of days, Joe fell into lengthy periods of deep Epilim-induced sleep, and all his friends and relatives, and even his church elders, seemed to have deserted him. 
     "If you stop taking your Epilim then you;ll only become manic again!" shrieked CPN    ,
Sinead O'Seamus, "and Dr. Chipmunk will have to put you on carbamazine.".

Eight weeks later, a couple of worn-out social workers found Joe floundering on his bed covered in lice. They sent him, raving, to the Royal Wessex in Eveningside where he was turned over by two hefty rugby-playing orderlies and coshed with clopixol. He died, quite mercifully, from the heart palpitations.

                                                                       



Friday, 29 September 2017

THE HUNGARIAN RISING OF 1956


                                                                             


                                                           HUNGARIAN RISING 


A history of the Hungarian uprising of 1956, published as a special supplement of Anarchist Worker on the 20th anniversary in 1976
IT IS NOT out of love for nostalgia that we are commemorating the 1956 Hungarian uprising. Hungary '56 was a prime example of the working class itself reaching for power: doubly significant, it took place in one of the mythical 'workers' states'.
It showed for many, throughout the world, a new alternative to the capitalism vs Soviet communism - read state capitalism - polarisation and it galvanised movements towards genuine revolutionary politics.
When the Soviet Army swept into Eastern Europe towards the end of the Second World War, they did not, in fact, liberate the workers and peasants. The same system as before continued to exist, ' with Stalin giving backing to the reactionary governments. In Bulgaria, Colonel Georgiev, who now had the backing of the Communists, and who had in 1934 attacked strikers, killing some, and called striking workers 'fascists'.
Some striking coalminers were labelled 'anarchists' and 'fascists' and imprisoned. Earlier, the Russian military and their Bulgarian stooges dismantled the workers' militias that had been created, and the soldiers' councils that had emerged inside the army. Party members who objected were told by Molotov, "if certain Communists continue their present conduct, we will bring them to reason. Bulgaria will remain with her democratic government and her present order.... you must retain all valuable army officers from before the coup d'État. You should reinstate in the service all officers who have been dismissed for various reasons."
                                                         

                                                             HISTORICAL LEARNING SITE