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May 2017

The Labour Party’s Manifesto – The Most Exciting & Inspiring Vision for Britain

By PoliticalNo Comments

The Labour Party’s Manifesto is the most exciting and inspiring vision for Britain that I have ever seen.

The Labour Party’s Manifesto is the most exciting and inspiring vision for Britain that I have ever seen.

The Manifesto is comprehensive (128 pages), well thought out and addresses all of the key issues in our society.

There’s so many great policies, ideas and promises in this Manifesto including:

  • Increase NHS funding by £30 billion over the next parliament.
  • Increase Social Care funding by £8 billion over the next parliament.
  • Give Local Authorities extra funding next year.
  • The creation of The National Care Service.
  • The creation of a National Education Service (NES) for England.
  • A £160 million annual investment cultural activities in schools.
  • Give mental health the same priority as physical health.
  • Recruit 10,000 more Police Officers.
  • Recruit 3,000 Fire Fighters.
  • Recruit 3,000 Prison Officers.
  • Spend at least 2% of GDP on defence.
  • Bring prisons & probation services back into public ownership.
  • Keep the NHS in public ownership.
  • £1 billion culture spending via a Cultural Capital Fund.
  • Reduce the voting age to 16 years old.
  • Stop NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans,’ which plan to close local A&E Departments and create Super Specialist Centres.
  • Increase capital funding in the NHS.
  • Free parking in NHS hospitals for patients, staff and visitors across England.
  • Reinstate bursaries for health-related degrees, including those for Nurses.
  • Increase funding for GPs and a halt to Pharmacy cuts.
  • More resources for NHS ambulance services.
  • An end to rationing of services and medicines across England.
  • Guaranteeing access to medical treatment within 18 weeks across England.
  • Guaranteeing 4 hour see and treat target in A&E Departments across England.
  • Investing in public health for children including increasing the numbers of Health Visitors and School Nurses. A £250 million Children’s Health Fund.
  • A strategy for the children of alcoholics.
  • Keep the BBC as a public broadcasting service and keep Channel 4 in public ownership.
  • Build over a million new homes, including at lease 100,000 social homes per year.
  • Create a Department for Housing.
  • End Right to Buy schemes for social housing, to keep the levels of social housing stable.
  • Back home owners who have leasehold and ground rent properties. To stop rip off management fees and ground rents.
  • Make 3 year tenancies the norm.
  • Set out a strategy to end rough sleeping within the next parliament. Part of this strategy will target the root causes of homelessness.
  • 4 new Bank Holidays.
  • Raise the minimum wage to £10 by 2020.
  • Give all workers equal rights from day one.
  • Ban zero hour contracts.
  • Guarantee to ‘triple lock’ the state pension.
  • Keep Winter Fuel Allowance and bus passes for all pensioners.
  • Repeal the Trade Union Act and role out sectoral collective bargaining.
  • Promise trade union access to all workplaces.
  • Ensure schools are properly funded. Including putting an additional £150 million into schools.
  • Give £90 million per year for school-based counselling services.
  • Abolition of tuition fees, investment in college and higher education.
  • Give anybody the opportunity to upskill or retrain at any point in their life.
  • Renationalise the railway to deliver a better service and cheaper rail fares.
  • Electrification of rail throughout all of Britain.
  • Renationalise buses that are run for passengers and not for profit.
  • Renationalise the energy industry to give fairer energy prices.
  • Cap energy costs.
  • Renationalise water.
  • Renationalise the privatisation of Royal Mail.
  • A ban on fracking.
  • Public and local council services to deliver public services.
  • End the public sector pay cap.
  • End the pay cap on NHS Staff.
  • Trial PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) treatment for those who have been exposed HIV.
  • Investment in NHS and Social Care Staff.
  • A promise to tackle tax avoidance and close tax loopholes.
  • Introduce an Excessive Pay Levy on companies with staff on very high pay.
  • Roll out a maximum pay ratio of 20:1.
  • A guarantee that 95% of taxpayers will have no increase in their tax contributions.
  • A guarantee that everyone will be protected from any increase in National Insurance contributions and VAT.
  • A target to eliminate the day-to-day spending deficit.
  • A National Transformation Fund and National Investment Bank that will invest £250 billion (over 10 years) into infrastructure.
  • Stop further cuts of youth services.
  • Tougher sentences for those convicted of committing animal cruelty.
  • Introduce a total ban on ivory trading, support the ban on wild animals in circuses, ban the sale of third-party puppies, cease the badger cull, maintain the bans on fox, deer and hare hunting.
  • Require companies to have plans in place to protect workers and pensioners when a company is taken over.
  • Make companies responsible not just to shareholders but to employees, customers, the environment and wider public.
  • Improve careers advice.
  • Stop closures of bank branches were there is a local need, putting customers first.
  • Ensure appropriate support for victims of crime.
  • Stop closures of libraries and Post Office branches.
  • Continue to keep museums and galleries free and funded.
  • Review of the Prevent programme.
  • Maintain security cooperation with other countries.
  • Ban unpaid internships.
  • Abolish employment tribunal fees.
  • Scrap punitive benefit sanctions and the bedroom tax.
  • Scrap cuts to the Bereavement Support Payment.
  • Increase Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) benefit by £30 per week.
  • Increase Carer’s Allowance benefit by £11 to the level of Jobseekers benefit.
  • End the parity of PIP (Personal Independence Payment) benefits between those with physical and mental health conditions.
  • End to pointless stress of reassessments for people with severe long-term conditions.
  • Guarantee the rights of EU Staff working in health and social care services.
  • Improve sexual health services, including those HIV specialist services.
  • Reinstate housing benefit for under 21 year olds.
  • Deliver of universal superfast broadband by 2022.
  • Free public wi-fi in city centres and on public transport.
  • Increased 4G and 5G coverage.
  • Halt the closures of Sure Start Centres.
  • A Child Poverty Strategy.
  • Extend 30 free hours of childcare to all two year olds.
  • Move towards making some childcare available for one year olds.
  • Extending maternity pay for 12 months.
  • Reduce class sizes to less than 30 for all five, six and seven year olds.
  • Free school meals for all primary school children.
  • Fully support veterans.
  • Actions to tackle loneliness.
  • A strategy for children with educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
  • Restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18 years olds from lower and middle income backgrounds.
  • Make free at the point of use further education courses, including English for Speakers of Other Languages.
  • Double the number of apprenticeships at NVQ Level 3 by 2022.
  • Prohibit courts from raising monies to provide services.
  • Introduction of no-fault divorce procedure.
  • Scrap quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover of under £85,000.
  • Homeowners will be offered interest-free loans to improve their property.
  • Peace at the heart of foreign policy.
  • A vote for parliament on the Brexit deal.
  • Reinstate the Migration Impact Fund.
  • Fair immigration rules.
  • Building Human Rights and Social Justice into international trade policy.
  • Extend support for looked after children until they are aged 21 years old.
  • Fund child burial fees for bereaved parents.
  • Legislate to make terminal illness a protected characteristic under The Equality Act.
  • Changes to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.
  • Building Crossrail 2 in London.
  • Creating safer roads and having a vision for 0 road deaths.
  • Give British Sign Language full recognition as a recognised language.
  • Creation of a Clean Air Act.
  • Renewal of Trident nuclear deterrent.

There has been some damaging and essentially untrue rhetoric that The Labour Party are fiscally irresponsible.

Labour have responded to this narrative by fully costing their spending commitments and how they will fund these commitments through tax measures. But don’t take my word for it, see the images below:


Labour’s Spending Commitments have been fully costed. Click on image for full size readable version.


Labour’s Spending Commitments will be paid for by Tax Measures for the highest earning people and companies. Click on image for full size readable version.

With the general election, we have a chance to change our society. I want it to be changed for better.

The policies, ideas and promises in this Manifesto are exciting, inspiring and will change Britain for the better. The society set out in this Manifesto is a society I would be proud to be part of and to live in.

How do we get all of the listed above? How do we change society for the better? By going out and voting Labour on Thursday 8th June 2017.

Blog soon,


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What’s New: Things, Candle Creation, Support & Medication

By Health, Home, LifeNo Comments

What’s new? Lots. In this blog post I’ll be telling you all about new things I’ve bought (or been treated to by others), my latest batch of homemade and handmade candles, my experience of using Bipolar UK’s eCommunity, attending my local Bipolar Support Group and dealing with a change to my medication.

I’ve got quite a number of new things recently. I saved up and bought-in-bulk the following Dorothy Morrison candles and oils from The Angry Cauldron:


Photo above is of my candle collection.


Photo above is of my oils chest. Included are Dorothy Morrison limited edition oils and other essential oils.

My old hoover started making sounds like it was going to explode and takeout half of the town with it. So I bought a new one:


My New Hoover bought on Amazon: VYTRONIX VTBC01 1400w Compact Cyclonic Bagless Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner HEPA Hoover

Around the same time I treated myself to three Yankee candles (large) and one Woodwick candle (large). I bought Midsummer’s Night, Turquoise Sky and Flowers in the Sun Yankee fragrances. Patchouli was the Woodwick fragrance.

My mum recently got a new sofa. She kindly gifted me her old sofa. It was really appreciated as my old sofas were knackered. To protect the leather from scratches by my cats, I bought throws and rubbed lemongrass essential oil on the sofa in places they would be tempted to scratch. Cats don’t like lemongrass essential oil or at least mine don’t. I also dug out some old cushions to match the throws.

Here are the results, a lovely sofa and chair, which are both like new:


New sofa with brown throw and red & gold cushions.


New sofa chair with red throw and red & gold cushion.

My birthday came and went without any real celebration. Lots of people gave me money, which I am going to save for when I go away for a night in June.

But for the May full moon I’d burned one of my Dorothy Morrison Hot Damn candles. I had a load of wax remains on my altar and then came up with an idea: What if I bought a Wax Melter and burned the remains? I saw this gorgeous Yankee Candle Wax Melter on ebay and couldn’t resist:


This gorgeous Yankee Candle Wax Melter was what I bought with some of the money I got for my birthday. The orange wax burning is the remains of a Dorothy Morrison Hot Damn candle (purchased from The Angry Cauldron).

A good friend of mine got married yesterday. I needed a suit for her Wedding and I picked up this stylish and absolutely bargain priced suit:


I bought this Charcoal Grey suit from ASDA for a bargain price of £50 (£35 for the jacket and £15 for the pants) for a friend’s Wedding. It looks exactly like a Next suit but was probably around one third of the price.

Candle Creation
In January I made a batch of homemade and handmade White Champagne & Strawberry candles. I couldn’t blog about them at the time because a number were reserved as gifts for people. I gave one to my mum for Mother’s Day, one to my Grandma for her 75th birthday, one to Simon and two to my friend for her Wedding. Here is a photo of one of my candles:


My latest batch of handmade and homemade candles. They are White Champagne & Strawberry Candles in a 500ML mason jars.

I’ve completely run out of wax and fragrance. I’m hoping to do a batch of orange Pumpkin Spice candles and possibly repeat the red Hot Cinnamon candles.

I’ve been accessing Bipolar UK’s eCommunity and attending my local Bipolar Support Group for the last few months.

The eCommunity is an active forum/message board where users (who can be people with bipolar or friends or relatives of someone with bipolar) can ask one another questions, share experiences and share helpful information. It’s free to use, open 24 hours and 7 days a week, and goes a long way to reduce isolation people with bipolar can experience.

I regularly check the forum and have posted there and replied to the posts of others. You can access Bipolar UK’s eCommunity here.

My local support group meets once a month. It took a lot for me to go along to a meeting, but I’m so glad I did. Nobody can understand bipolar or a mood disorder as much as someone who lives with it.

The facilitator and all participants of the group that I have met have been really friendly. I have found conversations there to be very useful and learned a lot just by listening and talking to others.

My group isn’t well attended and I think Community Mental Health Teams could do more to promote these local support groups (both in terms of posters/leaflets in waiting rooms and speaking to patients about them). These groups are free to access and go along way to reduce isolation. You can find your local Bipolar Support Group here.



I’ve recently started on Venlafaxine (antidepressant).

I’ve been in a depressive episode since at least last November. So I’m currently in the process of cross tapering, off Mirtazapine and on to Venlafaxine (NHS). So far the side effects of Venlafaxine have been quite severe. My side effects have included:

  • Dilated (large) pupils.
  • Daily headaches.
  • Being tired but wired.
  • Waves of nausea & dizziness.
  • Decreased appetite (not always a bad side effect).
  • Huge yawns.

Apparently Venlafaxine withdrawal is very severe. So I have two hopes for this medication. One that it improves my mood. Two that it is several years before my brain develops a tolerance and I have to be weaned off it and on to something else.

Blog soon,



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The Next General Election – Why I’ll Be Voting For Labour

By PoliticalNo Comments

So the next General Election has been announced and will take place on Thursday 8th June 2017. Neither of the two main political parties have released their manifestos yet. But Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of The Labour Party has released his 10 Pledges To Transform Britain.

The Labour Party are doing a few interesting things at the moment. Firstly they’re reaching out to people through the use of social media. Social media’s influence on politics was recently shown in the USA election and if the results are anything to go by (Donald Trump used social media and got elected to The White House) it’s a good move.

The mainstream media has been at best barely mentioning The Labour Party and worst highly critical of them. The mainstream media has become like reading a Conservative party pamphlet. The same lies and bogus phrases repeated again and again.

Secondly The Labour Party is reaching out to people and encouraging them to register to vote. In particular young people. This is clever as it recognises that Labour must reach out to disenfranchised young people who wouldn’t normally vote at all. This isn’t a new Labour idea, it was tried before the last General Election, it just wasn’t done very well then. Hopefully it will be done better this time. But it is also part of a larger vision for Labour to broaden its appeal to all.

Thirdly The Labour Party is doing something unique (at least to UK politics), fascinating and potentially election winning. The Labour Party is running an online National Policy Forum Consultation 2017, where everybody – both members of the public and Labour party members are invited to give their thoughts, opinions, ideas and views in 8 policy areas covering every part of Government.


The Labour Party are already doing things differently than the political norm. They’re running an online National Policy Forum Consultation, where everybody – both members of the public and Labour party members are invited to give their thoughts, opinions, ideas and views in 8 policy areas covering every part of Government.

The 8 policy areas are: Economy, Business and Trade; International; Health and Social Care; Early Years, Education and Skills; Justice and Home Affairs; Housing, Local Government and Transport; Work, Pensions and Equality; and Environment, Energy and Culture.

For each area you read a short policy document (around 7-8 pages with plenty of spacing) and then can submit your thoughts, opinions, ideas and views. You can also read what others have wrote and comment on their input.

National Policy Forum Consultation 2017 comments are then fed in Policy Commission meetings. These meetings will likely decide what Labour policy is and form The Labour Party’s manifesto. This is a way to involve and empower people who usually don’t feel listened to by Politicians. A genius idea.

I’m voting for Jeremy Corbyn and The Labour Party in this upcoming election. Why? Because I think and feel that Labour Government will:

  • Tackle the growing inequality in our society. At the moment the rich are getting much more richer than ever before, while the poor are becoming destitute.
  • Properly fund and resource our National Health Service (NHS), Social Care and Public Services – all of which feel like they are so close to shattering right now.
  • Deal with decreasing opportunities for young people.
  • Build more affordable homes and address homelessness which is now visually evident in every town and city in the UK.
  • Get control of the rapidly rising cost of living (including fair energy prices and reduced public transport costs).
  • Increase worker’s rights and protections.
  • Keep The Human Rights Act (1998).

Some people say that they aren’t keen on Jeremy Corbyn. Sometimes with poor or no reasons for their dislike. I can only put that down to the power of the mainstream media.

My impression of Jeremy Corbyn is that he’s honest (refreshing for a politician), he’s passionate, he genuinely cares about people, he’s got a lot of experience (both as a politician and working within Trade Unions), he’s been on the right side of history (check out his voting history here), he listens and he wants to empower people. He wants a country that works for the many and not the few. All good qualities for the next Prime Minister.

Still unsure about Jeremy Corbyn? Read this article: Here are 16 reasons to vote for Jeremy Corbyn by The Independent.

Write soon,


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Health Tech Review: TEE2 Glucose Meter by Spirit Healthcare

By Health, Reviews2 Comments

Image of the TEE2 Glucose Meter by Spirit Healthcare. Image From & Copyright © Spirit Healthcare.

I’ve been a Type 1 diabetic for a decade. You can read my story of how I was diagnosed with diabetes here.

I’ve used various glucose meters, but they’ve all essentially done the same job. Around 6 months ago I was switched TEE2 Glucose Meter by Spirit Healthcare by my GP. Here are the Pros and Cons of the TEE2 Glucose Meter:


  • It’s easy to use.
  • It meets the latest coding standards.
  • No coding is required.
  • The customer support is brilliant and really responsive. You can telephone a freephone number: 0800 881 5423 or email
  • The meter shows trends data.
  • Apparently the testing strips are cheaper for the NHS to buy.


  • The meter and its accessories look and feel cheap. For example the zip off the pouch came off in my hand during my first week of use.
  • It’s around the average size of other meters on the market. But my previous meter was much smaller, making it feel big to me.
  • The screen isn’t colour like my previous meter.
  • The date is set in the American-style format: Month-Date, with no option to switch to UK formatting.
  • No automatic changing of time. You have to manually change time on the meter when clocks go forwards and backwards.
  • The meter has no connectivity to smartphones. It would have been great to have Bluetooth connectivity that put meter readings into a smartphone App.
  • The desktop software just wouldn’t work on my iMac. This meant that I would have to go back to recording results using pen and paper in a logbook. No logbook was provided. This again felt like going backwards, as my previous meter did connect to my computer and download test results and trends data to my iMac.

Although the pros and cons for this meter are equal in number, overall this meter has felt like going backwards for me. The TEE2 Glucose Meter feels really limited when compared to my previous meter and other meters on the market right now.

I really wanted to like the TEE2 Glucose Meter and for it to improve my diabetic self-care. But it hasn’t done this. Instead it’s given me more to remember to do (writing results in logbook).

If you have a choice on which Glucose Meter you use, my advice would be to do your research and choose one that is more sophisticated than the TEE2 Glucose Meter. If you don’t have a choice and have been put on the TEE2 Glucose Meter by your GP or Diabetic Specialist Consultant/Nurse my advice would be not to have too high hopes or expectations for it.

Blog soon,


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