depends on who you believe

You know the truth is a funny thing. I’m sure we have all heard reports that china executed a British man for smuggling drugs into their country; of this there can be no doubt. But from that point on matters start to get rather vague: was it 4kg, or 20 he was carrying? Did the man have a mental disorder or not? According to a report I saw on the bbc yesterday, there was strong circumstantial evidence that he did, yet the Chinese authorities did not allow a psychologist to examine the guy. In this case, British condemnation of china’s actions is well founded. Foreign Office Minister Ivan Lewis told the chinese ambassador ”China had failed in its basic human rights responsibilities”. Yet the Chinese maintain they have done nothing but act according to their own laws, as is their right. To the Chinese, British criticism of this case is ”unreasonable”, and have urged the British to correct our mistake, lest it strain anglo-chinese relations. So, depending on who you believe, either a criminal got his due punishment yesterday, or a mentally ill man was murdered after a deeply flawed and unfair ‘trial’. I know who I’m siding with.

eye of the storm

The house is quiet again. Both my brothers are still here, as is Yan, but most people have gone home. Let me say, before I say anything else, how impressed I am with my mum: having to contend with fourteen people around the place, cooking for them and cleaning up, must not have been easy. Yet my mum has taken it in her stride, preparing some truly delicious food and making sure everyone was happy.

It’s a little weird, though, having so many people around. Now, you know how I love a good party, but having a house full for several days was a bit of a strain for me, although not as much as I thought it would be. At times I didn’t know the best place to put myself, and I was very glad to be able to come up to my room for a break. That’s why I much prefer having such big family holidays at home. I think I’d have been far more tense and agitated if I couldn’t have come up here and chatted to Lyn for a while. As it happens, though, I could, and I was rather sorry to see half the family leave this morning. Mind you, I still have new years eve with my brother(s?) to look forward to, and pretty soon after that a trip to Lyn’s, so it’s still all go.

1 short

It has been a cool couple of days. The place has been packed; at mealtimes we have 12 people round the table, and tonight there’ll be 13, or even 14 if grandma joins us. It’s been really cool to see everyone, and I especially appreciate having the chance to catch up with my brothers. Mark and I have had some much needed chats – I needed the wisdom that only an older brother can impart. Luke, in his greatness, set up skype yesterday so I could chat to Lyn. It was bloody great to be able to talk face to face with my girlfriend.

I miss her quite a bit. Our house is not a place for wheelchairs, as I’ve been able to walk since I was little, so we didn’t need to move or adapt. This suits us, but it does mean that I can’t have Lyn come to stay, which is sad. Mark has Kat with him, and Luke has Yan of course, but my Lyn is not here. On the other hand, my cousins Cyril and Christina are here, but without Tom and Saran, so they’re probably feeling the same. Nevertheless, I could really do with a cuddle from Lyn right now, yet she and those deep, lovely eyes of her seem so far away.

I suppose I’ll see her soon, and in the mean time there are things to get on with round here, but every now and again it strikes me that there’s this extraordinary person who I love dearly, but who I can’t see or hold. And that thought hurts almost physically.

echo of the past

Something happened here last night which I don’t think has happened here in almost a decade. My brothers have come home for Christmas, but Kat and Yan were both aat their parents, so it was just the five of us. Since mark left for oxford back in 2000, each time he’s come home he’s had a girlfriend with him; I think the same more or less applies to Luke. So just having the five of us round our kitchen table is extremely rare.

But last night it happened. It felt so good to see my brothers there again, where they always sat when we were growing up. It gave me a warm, christmassey feeling, although the beer could have helped that. In a strange way, it felt like nothing had changed in all those years, although, of course, almost everything has. We’ve grown up; we each have beautiful partners, and our own lives. Yet what strikes me as special is that we are still a very close family; we still love each other deeply. Last night was something of an echo of the past, of my childhood, yet it reminded me that my family will always be there for me/

My future lies in south London. I think next year will be one of great change for me – it is time. Yet I am quite sure that I’ll always be welcome at the table down in the kitchen, as Mark and Luke are. Realising that last night has given m great strength.

falling out of contact

I just waved goodbye to Charlie. She popped over from Chester for the afternoon; she was going to stay longer, but the weather has taken a severe turn for the worse., so she needed to get going. It was great to see her though. She came at Christmas last year, so we may have started something of a tradition, although it will hopefully be Lyn’s she’ll be visiting next year. It was great to see her though.

I realised, however, that Charlie is the only person I see from uni, pretty much. She’s the only person I’m in more or less regular contact with from uni, apart from

Esther. I used to have a large cohort of friends, but it now appears the links of friendship are slowly fading. I know two or three read this site, like Chris, Steve and Ricardio, but it strikes me as a great shame that, aside from charlotte, I’m slowly falling out of contact with many of my best friends. I have resolved, therefore to put that right. To start with, if you’re reading this and you know me from uni, please leave a comment or email me.

we must even debate things we do not agree with

Yesterday I was surprised to find that some people made a group on facebook criticising the bbc for opening up a forum in which people could debate the Ugandan law to execute gay people. it’s bizarre how some people, mostly on the right, use every opportunity to attack the bbc, but completely miss the point at the same time. Of course, any law to execute gay people anywhere is abhorrent*, and anyone supporting such a law must be short of a brain, but surely everything must be fair game for debate. Otherwise, things become absolute truths, beyond debate, something which I see as very unhealthy. Nothing in science is a fact: things like evolution, the idea that the world is round (like an orange!) or global warming are still theories and open to debate, although the evidence for each of these is so great that they’re very unlikely to be disproved. Nevertheless, none of these things are beyond debate, and nor should anything else be seen as such. Hence you cannot criticise the beeb for opening up debate.

What can be criticised, however, is the underlying issue. We all know, of course, that being gay is noot an abnormality, but something quite natural. Nor is it something you choose to be, but you’re either born gay or straight or bi. During the course of my googling, I found that the Ugandans are being funded by the American right, including at least two senators and several fundamentalist organisations. They are, in part, basing their biggortry on the work of an American, Richard cohen, cohen argues that gay people can be ‘cured’, that they chose to be straight if they so whish. This, of course, goes against all the psychological evidence on the subject, and indeed in 2002 cohen was expelled from the American Counseling Association for, among other things, ” seek[ing] to meet [his] personal needs at the expense of clients”. In other words, he was trying to manipulate the data to meet his own agenda. From this, and from the way in which Cohen thereafter termed the ACA a ”gay-affirming club”, we can see that this man is no scientists and is acting out of motives other than the search for truth.

Indeed, Cohen describes himself as Ex-Gay; he speaks of wanting to give people the choice to be heterosexual if they so whish. In an article entitled ”born gay? No way” in the New Statesman, Cohen states that ” I am pro-choice regarding homosexuality. If someone wants to live a gay life, that needs to be respected. If someone wants to change and come out straight, that too needs to be respected. Let us practice true tolerance, real diversity, and equality for all.” Yet beneath this message is the presumption that homosexuality is wrong, and something to be corrected. In other words, it’s fascism masquerading as liberalism, belief masquerading as science.

It doesnn’t end there. The Ugandan law is being funded and supported by American right-wing senators. Both the Ugandan ptesident and vice-president are members of a secretive American religious organisation known as ‘the family’, which has very conservative (read fascist) views on gay people. it boasts at least two US senators as members who were instrumental in steering American money to fight AIDS in ugannda into funding abstinence-only schemes. Moreover, several American churches are involved, to whom cohen is a cause celebre.

Does this not strike you as absurd? We have these crackpots in the states claiming that homosexuality is a choice, coaxing Uganda to pass an utterly biggoted law, justifying their beliefs through a mixture of quack-science and religion, and refusing to listen to anyone who tells them they’re wrong. I have many gay friends; indeed, my own relationship wilt Lyn isn’t exactly straight, is it? I am very concerned, with the most powerful state on the Earth influencing others in such an illogical, bigoted way, about where this will all end.

So of course such things must be debated, if only so we go beyond the headlines. Debate leads to research; and only through research can you find the truth. * capital punishment is barbaric for whatever reason

back for xmas

I used to aim to blog every day, but these days it seems I’m away from my computer so much that I can no longer do that. I guess it’s a good thing – I used to post just for the sake of it, and the result was meaningless prattle. Now I post when I have something to say.

Anyway, guess where I’ve been. I got back from Lyn’s this morning, having spent a week or so down there. Her place is becoming to feel like home, although I need to take stuff like my neater-eater down there. As it is, Lyn’s PA has to feed us both, which makes meals slow. Hopefully I’ll start moving stuff down after Christmas, including my pc so I can blog from hers.

Talking about Christmas, it seems my parents are planning on having pretty much all the family here. The house will be packed, and I have to sleep in the conservatory. I whish Lyn could come too, but the house isn’t really suited for a full-time wheelchair user: there are too many steps,, narrow pathways and too much clutter. I think I’ll have problems with so many people around here as it is. Yet it is a shame she won’t be here – I always go to hers; it’s time she saw the old Goodsell family house. Ho hum; I’m planning to go to hers for New Years Eve anyway.

Osbourne is a liar

I just tried to watch George osbournes reply to the chancellor, but after 5 minutes I felt so angry that I gave up. I felt sickened by his lies and insults; by the way he pretended that brown had made the recession worse, or had even caused it, rather than saving Britain from the worst of it. I’m appalled by how the Tories claim we are now the sick man of Europe when the fact is Britain has one of it’s strongest economies. We’re certainly doing a damn sight better than we were in 97, and, under the Tories, this recession would have hit us all much harder.

While it is by no means perfect, I love what Britain has become since New Labour came to power. It is more multicultural and tolerant than ever before. It is a place where we crips can live independently, rather than being shoved into homes; it is a place where more and more disabled kids are being included so that they get a decent education. I daresay that it is only in such a liberal, tolerant society that people like my wonderful girlfriend can live exactly on their own terms and flourish. Since 97, more and more people are going to university; it is only through the initiatives of labour that I was able to get my degree. Higher education is no longer the sole province of the rich.

The Tories, with their moronic talk of austerity, would undo all this. they would cut spending and lower taxes. They would return power to the upper class, and widen the socioeconomic devide. They believe the rich should rule over the poor, as if they were somehow born to rule. The argument is that, when society is left to it’s own devices, the fittest rise to the top, and so government should get out of the way. Anyone with more than half a brain knows that to be bollocks – it is an excuse to maintain wealth in the hands of the few, as it advantages the greediest rather than the fittest. That’s why I almost felt physically sick when Osbourne attacked Labour for attacking tax cuts for the rich. The Tories want to give their selves and their friends a tax cut.

I’m also wondering how the Tories have the gall to accuse labour of being obsessed with spin and appearance when they have CaMoron trying to pretend that he’s a nice regular guy, and their backbenchers trying to pretend they aren’t a bunch of closet racists and eurosceptics. The blatant hypocrisy is sickening. The Tories aren’t regular people – they see themselves as superior, born to rule; they want to impose their views on all of us. I hope with every fibre of my being that they aren’t elected next yeat/

the wedding

It is my great pleasure to announce the wedding of Luke Spencer Goodsell to Yan Chen. On Saturday, my brother married his partner, Yan, in a beautiful wedding. It was just a small event, with mostly family there. Four or five of their uni mates came. Mark and I acted as best men, which was quite cool, although I never can stand still however hard I try.

Then we went for the reception at a Greek restaurant. This seemed to last most of the afternoon, and I forget how much I had to eat or drink. I got talking to Luke’s friends, who seem hyperintelegent. Mark gave the best best-man’s speech ever – concise but very funny, embarrassing to just the right degree.

So, now my little brother is married, and the family has grown. You know, we’re quite an international bunch: Yan’s from China; Cyril’s girlfriend Saran is from guinea; we have family in brazil, the states, all over the place. How cool is that?

incredible

Today, we’re off to London for Luke and yan’s wedding. I dunno what to put here – I’m kind of lost for words. My little brother’s getting hitched. It’s just incredible.