There is no help.

17th March 2018.

My attempts to get any sort of help or support have failed. The letter pictured says..

Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership.

Date 9th March

Dictated 23rd February

Dear Mr Gibson

Thank you for attending your assessment appointment at the Charleston Centre on 8th February 2018.

Following discussion with the multidisciplinary team we will be discharging you back to the care of your GP as there appears to be no role for CHMT at this point.

I have written to your GP informing them of this decision.



Community Psychiatric Nurse

Community Mental Health Team.

So, if I want help I’ll probably have to go and commit a crime. Seems to be the only way.

Alcoholics, drug users and all other forms of low life scum and vermin are treated to a higher standard than someone with a lifelong condition.

I’m beyond disgusted at this and I’m going to end up lower and more isolated as a result.

The Scottish NHS isn’t worth a fuck as far as I’m concerned. They’d rather see me dead.


Happy Trains between Edinburgh and Glasgow ?

This is a ‘Happy Train’ or a Class 365 Networker. They date from the mid 1990’s and have been suggested as a solution to Scotrail’s lack of trains available for The Edinburgh and Glasgow mainline (via Falkirk) route.

The ‘Happy Trains’ are coming off lease after replacement by new class 700 units for Thameslink/Great Northern.

They are 4 carriage 20 metre long units.

Scotrail’s lease arrangements for a number of diesel units is up and these are due to move south, some have already been received at Northern.

The Hitachi class 385 units that were to replace them have been held up due to an issue with vision in the drivers cabs through a curved Windscreen.

The Happy Trains are one of the few available electric multiple units that Scotrail might get their hands on.

Some online forums have speculated on a cascade of the existing Siemens Desiro Class 380’s from Inverclyde and Ayrshire to fill in.

These are already used in two sets of seven carriage formations for selected journeys on the E&G.

E&G passengers have already complained about the stub tables on the 380’s for their ‘essential laptop working’, and there’s mutterings on the lack of first class on the units and that’s there’s no particular time benefit from running in a mixed timetable with diesel units also preset on the line.

Conversely, there’s an issue for Inverclyde commuters. At times, a forty minute or longer journey is carried out by Class 314’s that don’t have toilets and the comfort or facilities of the 380’s.

Local press and politicians in Inverclyde have been noisy about the downgrade.

Rumours and speculation are abound and there’s been mention of a wholesale transfer of 380 units as well as more 320/4’s created from class 321’s.

Certainly there’s a plan for more conversions of 321’s but this may only be five units.

Perhaps, a more Simple answer for Scotrail is to procure a replacement fleet for the E&G as all infrastructure on Ayrshire and Inverclyde lines is set for the 380’s.

That’s where the Happy Train and a series of questions comes in.

Firstly, should the 380 fleet transfer over to E & G duties?

It must tempt Scotrail, but the fleet and it’s working diagrams are based out of Shields depot to the West of Glasgow.

The limited transfer of units for use on the E&G was supposed to be temporary.

A long term transfer east of the fleet would give issues and not least in terms of Ayrshire and Inverclyde passengers losing ‘their trains’.

Theres a further question of resourcing suitable units to replace the 380’s and work with the infrastructure and equipment on the Ayrshire and Inverclyde routes.

Secondly, the issue is on the E&G, isn’t it?

Proposed schedules for completion of the EGIP electrification slipped and these delays should have made sure that the introduction of the proposed rolling stock was on time.

At present, not all units are complete and not all units have been delivered.

Therefore, can Scotrail come up with rolling stock for the E&G and stop a knock-on effect on other routes and their usual unit allocations.?

Units intended for EGIP were also meant for the Stirling, Dunblane and Alloa services and for a fleet strengthening to ensure that the class 314’s could be retired in 2018.

So what should happen now?

There’s only so long that a temporary solution can be found and like any other business, Scotrail will have income to derive from its services and will want some certainty.

The question is how long it takes to resolve the issues with the 385’s, and how long to fix a solution to the window issue and have all units ready in service.

There’s a time and familiarity issue for train crew, drivers especially, and even a temporary fix in using another class of train would mean time and expense.

I’m unconvinced that it’s worthwhile for Scotrail to go to the lengths of bringing up a ‘new to Scotland’ class of electric multiple unit and train staff in using it, before converting all E & G route journeys.

The only way this might happen is if the frontages of the class 385’s need entirely replaced and with two windows on each cab end and 70 units total means 140 ‘fixes’ and quite possibly, that issue might take a bit of time and effort.

This image by Thomas Nugent clearly shows the difference in window size when compared to a class 380. Thomas Nugent Geograph

When seen together, it shows the difference in design used by Hitachi.

The original design was without a gangway between units.

The visual was later altered to Scotrail livery before the design with gangway was added.

In overall terms, it’s quite a change and there’s even a difference to the test units as captured above with the Siemens 380.

Hitachi have also had to endure some criticism of their Intercity Express Programme units introduced on the Great Western routes, however, the issue with these units isn’t at a great time and is at a point when rival manufacturers CAF and Siemens are building UK plants and where Bombadier have been introducing their Products to a number of franchises.

As to the ‘Happy Train’ Networker, it doesn’t seem likely that there will be the expense of time and effort to bring them to Scotland especially if a solution to the 385’s problems is months away.

Then again. I’ve been wrong before.

Long Way

I think I finally ‘get help’ this week.

Been struggling since October and kind of ironic that appointment with Community Mental Health is at a point where I’ve had to get through ‘the worst’ myself.

Rather than tell a story to them I’d really much rather try and direct them to what I need.

I think that is formalised Diagnosis of Anxiety and whether I can get that for Generalised Anxiety and Social Anxiety is my first question.

My other is a formal diagnosis of Depression. I’ve lived with it all my life. I need it confirmed and certified.

I’ll have to tell the nurse, presumably, that I can’t follow their script to CBT.

I can accept they’ll follow whatever the GP wrote to say, so I have to think through a polite way to say ‘Stop. This is what I need’ rather than go with the flow of the appointment.

Being Listened to is the thing that I need.

I may need to write cue cards and just show them.

I may need to sink the nurse’s attempt to do a ‘usual first appointment.’ By being awkward and uncooperative.

The risk in that is that I don’t get help as I’ve not did things in the way that they want.

It makes it critical that I get those points in before they start and especially get across that I’m Autistic and not needing a neurotypicals treatment for ‘just’ depression.

So, yeah I worry about ‘getting help’, I can’t just ‘be relieved’ and go with that.

I know I need more than that and I’ll try to ask but if they’re Interviewing as a first appointment I’m scared of a screen and someone at right angles to me.

I’d like to know if other specific medication can help or if I’m trucking along. I don’t need time off or a rest or anything like that.

Help and something to guide and soothe me please.

Obviously I’ll write after Thursday and I can only hope for the moment, but to temper that with a dose of realism too.

Glasgow’s Jigsaw Logo for Autism Friendly City Centre is Wrong and Offensive.

I was aware of Glasgow’s plans to have a more Autism Friendly City Centre environment. I completed some online surveys and read the information that had been posted.

Then the logo was announced.

As you see above it uses a ‘Jigsaw Piece’ or ‘Puzzle Piece’ design.

It’s based on this. The multicoloured jigsaw ribbon that The Autism Society in the United States of America use. A similar blue single piece design is used by the controversial ‘Autism Speaks’ group.

The design of a Jigsaw comes from The UK and the National Autism Society.

The logo was created in 1963 by a parent of an autistic child. It represents the puzzle of autism, the missing piece and a sad confused child.

Ultimately other groups such as the American groups used the design and modified it to their ends.

As an ‘autism parent’ I get the sentiment as my son doesn’t speak and is non verbal.

As a #actuallyautistic person with a diagnosis myself, it gets me angry.

It represents a childish image of autistic conditions. (No-one grows out of it)

It says there’s a mystery to autism and that it’s unfathomable. (Many of the sensory and communication issues aren’t that hard to discern.)

It says autistic people have things missing. (Most of us are complete, in having heads, bodies, arms and legs, our heads are wired differently)

Therefore to me, this choice of symbol by Glasgow is wrong and offensive.

I’m aware that the design is the work of a schoolchild and reports state that the person is autistic too.

I don’t easily want to upset anyone, especially given the context of the idea of having kids design the logo.

It’s also important for ‘Autism Awareness’, sadly that’s not ‘Autism Acceptance’. Minority groups for race, feminism and LGBTI rights seem to get ‘Acceptance’ on the agenda rather than just ‘Awareness’.

The initiative is obviously well meaning, but the criteria given to the children at the schools needs questioned.

What were they told to design?

What were they taught about Autistic People, as child and adults and what were they told was acceptable as symbols?

I visited the exhibition of the children’s art work and the preponderance of the Jigsaw symbol on designs suggests that they were not.

To my eyes 80% of designs included either a single jigsaw piece or the combined pieces ribbon design.

One even had the slogan ‘put the pieces together’

A failure in teaching?

Or a failure in understanding by grown adults that set the children the task.

Was ‘Neurodiversity’ mentioned in any context or any point of setting the task?

My other issue is that Strathclyde University’s affiliated Autism Network Scotland were on the panel that chose the winning design.

Was someone from ASN content to accept such a design having knowledge of Autistic People?

I can’t understand the Council not consulting their Autism Resource Centre on this either, surely someone from there would have queried this design.

A step back for the #actuallyautistic and another example of the jigsaw/puzzle piece being used, despite how people feel over it.

The Autism Journal in the US recently removed the Puzzle Piece as their logo.

Autism Journal abandons Puzzle Piece

“As one would hope for a research journal, what led to this change was research,” said David Mandell, an autism researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who serves as the journal’s editor. “Given that we published that study, we thought we should act on it.”

“I really thought it was time to modernize and get rid of the puzzle piece and go with something more up to date and less offensive,” Brook said in a podcast about the change.

“The puzzle piece is therefore no longer an apt, or even adequate, symbol for autism as we currently understand it,” the journal editors wrote in an editorial announcing the change. “The move away from the puzzle piece here and towards our new design is not only about how we choose to represent autism, but it is also about proving that we represent that broader change itself.”

All in all a good move.

Here’s the research behind it

Participants associated puzzle pieces with imperfection, incompletion, uncertainty, difficulty, the state of being unsolved, and, most poignantly, being missing,” according to findings published online this month from researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Ursinus College and the University of Kentucky

it went on

If an organization’s intention for using puzzle-piece imagery is to evoke negative associations, our results suggest the organization’s use of puzzle-piece imagery is apt,” the study authors wrote. “However, if the organization’s intention is to evoke positive associations, our results suggest that puzzle-piece imagery should probably be avoided.”

Disability Scoop Article

So will Glasgow acknowledge that this logo isn’t progress for Autism Awareness and will the perceptions that are behind the jigsaw piece design be challenged or taught properly to children?

Never be a truth teller.

The closure of the Children’s ward at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital by the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board was approved by Shona Robison, The Scottish Government’s Health Minister.

It was followed by a blizzard of stupidity from SNP supporters defending the decision.

Wings Over Scotland goes off in his typically truculent way.

5 minutes away, 10 minutes away.

They refer to the relocated Glasgow Hospital for Sick Children on the site of the Southern General Hospital with the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

Somehow this one got over excited and threw in photos of the old yorkhill.

Yorkhill is still shown on this map that is shown. There’s one specialist RHSC and it’s at the Govan site.

‘It’s only six miles away.’

Others travel further.

‘Just a ward in an adult hospital.’

‘Are these people for real? ‘

Yes there’s lots that live in Paisley, Renfrewshire and other areas affected by the closure.

My family amongst them as both my sons attend appointments there.


‘It’s only 10 minutes away.’

I don’t routinely drive and use public transport a lot. I know that’s untrue and I challenged that.

By bus a minimum of 33 minutes, from the one hospital to other 52 minutes with a change.

Data from Traveline Scotland, the public transport website.

The QEUH complex is also at other side of Renfrew and Braehead and I’ve been that way by bus too as well as driving at weekends and it’s not brilliant journey either.

Now, of course, I wasn’t supporting an SNP government decision.

‘How many live at the old hospital?’

So.. don’t be a truth teller kids. Don’t use your own mind. Don’t support independence without turning your brain off.

I fully understand the desire to try and shield this decision from Criticism by Scottish Labour politicians, but the defence of the indefensible here is bizarre.

It’s the closure of a Children’s unit in an NHS hospital that has Adult and Maternity services on site.

Paisley had some of Scotland’s poorest statistical postcodes. That poverty extends to car use.

And to finish, very strangely for a self confessed pedant, the ten minute claim stayed in his article online.

Subverting Democracy, a tale of elections, the media and a Tory leader that’s went too far. (Scottish Politics)

In one of my last ‘politics’ blogs, I had a few days of stupidly high numbers and this particular paragraph below, ended up being visible snipped away from the rest of my writing (which to be fair was dull and statistical in the main). I sort of shrugged at seeing it come back to me on my twitter timeline.

It’s tough when the Tories out-bastard you. They certainly did and the good people of the north east of Scotland may need reminded about Free Prescriptions, care for elderly, university tuition etc etc as clearly they’ve taken heed of a distaste for a second referendum but might not know why it’s needed.

I was stunned by that, but my ‘orphan paragraph’ had a real kernel of truth I guess.

On the back of the Election Results, Gerry Hassan produced a piece for that was incisive and spared no punches in terms of looking into the SNP performance at GE 17. I agreed with many of the points that he made and it developed much better points and conclusions than I did.

The SNP have only been in office for ten years. The Labour Party dominated Scottish politics for fifty years. It hasn’t taken long for the sheen to go off the SNP. How it responds will tell whether this becomes a major crisis and retreat, or one which it can manage and bounce back from.

Underlying all of the above is the missing ingredient in the SNP’s politics and independence offer. There is no coherent national project about Scotland’s future. The party has invited us to just trust them and believe everything will be alright the other side of independence. It was never good enough. This is transparent now.

An independence referendum looks extremely unlikely for the next few years. That gives the SNP and Scottish politics a breathing space to develop a different course. It should be one which is based on the principle of ‘Build it and they will come’. Mark out the territory, policies and detail of a self-governing and independent Scotland and start out in its direction of travel. But that requires a different SNP and leadership which has until now shown no interest in a politics of the long-term or of developing a truly ambitious strategy. is the piece and I think it’s a difficult read for anyone supporting or advocating independence for Scotland. There’s much to chew on and much to think about.

The article, though, produced a quite brilliant response in the comments section from Alan Bisset, himself a noted columnist and author.

5. There is a grievous democratic outrage being perpetrated before our eyes which no-one in the media (nor, for that matter, an exhausted SNP) is challenging. 

The mandate for indyref 2 is now cast-iron, having been voted for by the Scottish electorate in 2016, passed by a majority in Holyrood, and now triple-locked by the fact of the SNP winning a majority of Scottish seats.

 If we are being told that is not enough to secure indyref 2 then we are being told that the Scots have no democratic means of bringing about self-determination. 

On what possible basis is Ruth Davidson being allowed to get away with a statement like ‘indyref2 is dead’ when the Unionist parties COMBINED could not reach the SNP’s total of seats and a bill has *already been passed by the Scottish parliament*. Simply because the SNP secured 35/59 seats in a UK election instead of 56/59? Is no-one else alarmed by the grave repercussions here for Scottish democracy?

Now, our ever-reliable Scottish Mainstream Media (by that I mean Anti-SNP) produced a few bits and pieces like this after the General Election results:-

The Scotsman:- ‘She told the BBC: “But there was one big issue in this campaign and it was Nicola Sturgeon trying to run through a second independence referendum in March and the country’s reaction to that,” she said. “I think we have seen the country’s reaction in the number of SNP seat’s falling. Indyref 2 is dead.” Ms Davidson added: “Now it’s time to get back to what matters to the people of Scotland – that’s sorting out our schools, growing our economy and looking at our public services.” 

Here’s how that piece looks

Now, some might say that The Scotsman isn’t as rabid as either the Scottish Daily Mail or the Scottish Daily Express are, but I’m still not much of a fan of it apart from it’s transport correspondent’s work.

Getting back to the point, Ruth Davidson had herself a decent election and with an increase in Tories from 1 to 13 has even been described as ‘winning the election‘ by the BBC Scotland politics correspondent. (It’s a staggeringly inaccurate and obtuse statement in my opinion though)

But with interviews, media attention in both UK and Scottish media, it then looks like this.

The story of a Tory revival is, of course, noteworthy and due attention. 

But.. Indyref2 is dead ?? 

Okay it was 45-55 in Indyref in 2014. 

2015 saw 56/59 seats go SNP at Westminster.

2016 saw the SNP take 59 constituencies at Holyrood

The Brexit Referendum was 62% Remain in EU

2017 General Election 35 seats out of 59.

I’ve been over the factors for that in ‘An Ice Cold Take’, the purpose of reminder is that it’s relevant to Nicola Sturgeon’s Triple Lock on holding a second referendum. 

We have the Holyrood 16 result , 62% Remain in the Brexit vote in Scotland and 35/59 seats at Westminster, as well as a conclusive vote for a second referendum in the Scottish Parliament.

Now, Ruth Davidson may not like it, the mainstream media may not like it, but that’s enough democratic input to have a Referendum on Scottish Independence once Brexit is a known quantity. (Irrespective of Theresa May’s survival)

What Davidson is trying to do is play down Holyrood. 

If [the Tory Party] sometimes seems English to some Scots that is because the Union is inevitably dominated by England by reason of its greater population. The Scots, being an historic nation with a proud past, will inevitably resent some expressions of this fact from time to time. As a nation, they have an undoubted right to national self-determination; thus far they have exercised that right by joining and remaining in the Union. Should they determine on independence no English party or politician would stand in their way, however much we might regret their departure. What the Scots (not indeed the English) cannot do, however, is to insist upon their own terms for remaining in the Union, regardless of the views of the others. Baroness Thatcher – The Downing Street Years. Via Arc of Prosperity 

Immediately above is what I call the Thatcher Doctorine, I wonder if subverting the role of Holyrood and the elected first minister is something that even she would balk at.

Elected MSP’s had a vote and the result is a mandate for a second referendum. No ifs or buts. That is our democratic system through our devolved parliament.

It’s not about winning headlines, it’s not about photo shoots at Stirling Castle with ‘your’ MPs, it’s not about visiting Downing Street for Cabinet, it’s not about being a privy counsellor, it’s not about preaching on rights to Theresa May and the DUP as they create an unholy coalition.

Davidson has even been touted as controlling those thirteen MPs, those saying that have clearly forgotten the legendary ability of the Tories Whips office at Westminster.

So there we are. Democracy subverted. By a Tory of all things.

(It makes sense when you know ‘Ruth Davidson Tank‘ is a Google top hit when you search her name)

Project Vanilla. (Scottish Politics)

I’m at a point where I’m not keen to be wound up in the next political argument, which is shaping to be about a soft Brexit.

I didn’t vote for Brexit. I sure as hell didn’t vote for Tories. I didn’t vote for Tories doing deals with one side in Northern Ireland and I didn’t vote for any bullshit like Austerity, Benefit Sanctions or Motability being taken off disabled people.

So. This. A series of simple messages.

Plain speaking. No graphics, no colours or fancy stuff with layouts or logos. I’m pissed off enough to think about throwing these on Twitter but I’ll mull it over. Just one point per image might work better in big letters.

Anyway. Simplicity would be lovely. Other stuff occupies my mind too.