29 July, 2005

Finding work when you have a past

Finding work can be daunting enough for anyone who is unemployed, but when you go for interviews and you get the feeling that you have all the skills required to do the job, you find stumbling blocks. I have had lots of interviews. I know I can do the jobs I applied for but my age and my unsavoury past still keep on rearing their ugly heads. We are told to be open and honest at interviews but it seems that is not entirely the best policy. When I tell people I used to be a drug addict and I have a criminal record and try to show them what I have achieved since then. I am told sorry the vacancy has been filled or they'll let me know and they never do. Now, to add to this my age and what you have is another huge stumbling block. The government say there should be no discrimination because of age, but there is. It is hard enough for anyone who has a past like mine to get work. I understand how a company can find it hard to employ someone with my kind of past, but surely when it can be shown that people have lives that have changed for the better. Is it asking too much for someone to take a chance on them? After all the people that have changed took that chance to be better people.

27 July, 2005

On the subject of the non setting jelly it still hadn't set but I will persevere and make another.

Killing with kindness

If you have been following my blog, you will know that I have written little snippets about homeless people and begging.
On city streets not only in London, we see beggars sitting near cash point machines cafes and theatres begging. Some have what would seem to them as incurable habits to maintain. Some just want enough for a meal and some are what we call professional beggars. This is one subject that always seems to come to the fore whenever you mention begging. Professional beggars, how do you tell the difference? The simple answer to that question is you can't unless you talk to them or torture them Spanish inquisition style.
We now have these ad campaigns that say don't give money as your generosity can kill. The exact wording is
killing with kindness. Several times I have been asked to comment about this up till now I have avoided the question. So today I will try to give my honest opinion.
I agree with the sentiments of the ad campaign, but to try and stop people from begging is going to be a long arduous task. Some people simply have to beg to survive. All over the world there are beggars even in the richest countries and they probably have the same ad campaigns.

How it affected me personally well, I suppose you could say people's generosity kept me in my drug habit but the question is if people had not been so generous would I have turned to serious crime to feed my habit? This could have been the case as I was a heroin user for many years and one way or another I would have found the money to feed my habit. I know people say there are places you can go like rehab centers, which are usually full. It's a well known fact that until someone is ready to come off whatever they're on. They will remain addicted. It's the old saying you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. You can produce all the facts and figures about drugs and addicts that you want but how many times have you heard of a person going into rehab or prison and coming out clean but within a few weeks are back using whatever substance they where initially using? When you arrest someone for begging the only real thing you are doing is giving them a criminal record. The cost of treating an addict is escalating every year and at the last count there were an estimated 260.000 addicts. Now some sectors of the society are beginning to ask is it worth it. So I would say begging by addicts is the alternative to crime. Yes there is that chance that the money given generously to users could kill, but more people are killed on the roads than on drugs. I don't see an end in sight. I see beggars as one of the symptoms of the drug culture that has sprung up over the last forty years. I believe the governments we have had should have seen this coming when they stopped doctors prescribing. Governments that cut spending in this area have actually cost the British public more. Its not only addicts that beg, it's people that are hungry and homeless and for whatever reason need to. Should we decriminalise begging I would say yes because I survived in the later stages of my addiction by begging and not committing crime.

26 July, 2005

Legal aid

Legal aid is said to be near breaking point. The legal profession is set for a confrontation and is set to issue a stark warning that the 1.2 billion legal aid scheme is set for collapse. My belief is that legal aid was set up so the poorest could afford legal representation in court. Whether it be criminal or civil. It does seem more and more people are using the legal aid system to their advantage and getting around the legal loop holes that allow them to claim legal aid. To top this off, we now have the legal profession saying that they are under paid and are demanding pay increases for handling legal aid cases. No one has mentioned that in today's climate that we actually do have more crime therefore more criminal cases. The lord chancellor has actually set up a legal aid revue. What comes out of it, no one knows. The legal profession is also worried about this bid for criminal work, it will be like a knife in the wound they say. Neither the legal profession or chancellor would endorse strike action being taken as this would flout the rules on competition. Can you imagine the turmoil if the legal profession went on strike. We already keep thinking up ways of what we think will improve our justice system and to be honest in that department I think we are failing. I believe right at this very minute our justice system is only working at about 60% of its capability. If we still believe in justice for all and that justice is blind then we do have to improve our system, but not at the expense of the individual.

A Jamie day

What's a Jamie day you may well ask? Well it's a day when nothing goes right. Take yesterday for instance. I went all the way down to trafalgar square to do interviews only to be told most of people I went to interview were not there as the classes had been called off. Then when I got home I had guests so decided to make a quick corn beef hash with ice cream and jelly for afters. The jelly I had tried to make the night before, would it set? Would it hell. Then when I went to use my computer to do a few lines on my blog. I got such an electric shock, the hair on my head stood up. I must have looked really stupid. This morning I think I was having another jamie day . My new TV has decided it doesn't like what I'm watching and is turning itself on to other channels.

Spinning the web

After all the meeting and interviews I have done so far on my blog. Someone asked how come I have so sole control and I can write what I want. I told them that was the terms after all it was meant to be a sort of diary. Which I thought was boring. So if I woke up one morning and I wanted to say I think the prime minister leads a double life because I think he's really gay. I could say that, not that I do it's just an example. Sorry Mr Prime Minister, but when I stand with my hands on my hips I get accused of it myself. It's what I call spinning the web. People like Bill Thompson have a different idea of spinning the web. he leans a bit more towards the technical side. Me I want to have fun with my blog as well as being serious. Lynne Featherstone writes for her constituents to tell them what's going on and sometimes about meeting she's had. Its one way to write a blog if you're an MP of which she is. Then you have Boris Johnson he thinks the best way to Islamism is to have a laugh. Boris I hate to tell you this but we can't stop laughing because you're an MP. Now Sandra Gidley I wonder, is she the modern day Guy Fawkes after all she thinks that port cullis house opposite the houses of parliament could with stand 747 crashing into it, are the houses of parliament next? Hmmm that gives me an idea. Then you have me. Just a normal run of the mill bloke with a certain flair for being just me. If you asked a certain someone at the Hansard society if I was normal, he'd just laugh. Sorry Barry. Well I guess this just gives you an idea on how my mind works and how much fun blogging can be.

25 July, 2005

Deja vu

This morning when I woke up. I had the strangest feeling I had done exactly what I was doing before. So I switched on the TV. Low and behold it told me that the Labour government were in power. I wasn't that shocked after all I know that we had had eight years of them already. So that in its self wasn't that strange. As I got dressed I had this feeling that everything was the same. As I started to run through the channels on my TV. I noticed on the parliament channel, we still had these people we called MPs arguing like little children in the house of commons. So no change there then. Then I noticed a change on ITV 1. Trisha had had a sex change she had now become a man and was white. As I went through all the channels nothing had changed except for the news but even that seemed the same, bombs and people being killed the only difference, it wasn't the IRA. I sat down and had a cup of tea and piece of toast. Then it all came back to me Tony Blair rushing around the world. The G8 summit. People being killed by terrorists. Yet I still had this feeling of deja vu.

22 July, 2005

Taking that bus

As I sit writing and listening to what's going on in the news, I can't help but wonder what is the world coming to? Then you hear another tube station is being closed. Then you start to think about things more seriously. It's then that these terrorists start to win the battle of nerves.
I think fear is one of the key elements that make us unique as human beings. If we didn't have this thing called fear we wouldn't strife for the things we do. Things like a better life for our children, a better home, democracy and freedom. I believe it's this fear that keeps us striving for more. Take me for instance, I fear my old life, the drug addict who was homeless and had no future. It's that fear of returning to that way of life that keeps me in line. Terrorists play on fear but in a different way because all human beings no matter who you are fear death. So as they plant their bombs with their inevitable results they bring panic to whatever city they attack and they install their brand of fear in us. Am I afraid? Of course I am, every time I get on a bus. I wouldn't be human if I wasn't, but I am more afraid of letting these terrorists win. I believe we live in the best country in the world even better than America. We have a sense of freedom in this country that is unparalleled in the world. We have a NHS system, although in a bit of trouble, still helps heal people in other countries. We have a partially armed police force and that's only due to the increase of terrorist and armed robbers over the last forty years, but this is why I get on a bus and go to wherever I have to and I'm glad to see the people of Britain do the same.
On the gardening front one member of skylight staff
planning the great eacape when volunteers were needed. Posted by Picasa

Art by homeless people

Today art will be on display at the Fordham gallery in Bethnell Green. The exhibition will contain art from homeless people who attend the skylight activity centre. This exhibition hopes to showcase the talent that homeless people posses when they have the chance to reveal it. It also hopes to show what can be done in centers like skylight. This exhibition is the first to be put on at a private gallery. The space is being provided by the gallery owner for free. He doesn't know it yet, but I aim to put him on the spot by getting a interview.
Well, I did get the interview, and this what the owner said. I went into to the skylight centre just to have quick look at what skylight were doing. I saw the art room and all this art which reminded me of some contemporary artists work and I thought it deserved to be shown to the public. Is this a case of art for art sake?

21 July, 2005

Artist at work Posted by Picasa
Art in its finest form Posted by Picasa
Inspiration comes from anywhere this artist says Posted by Picasa
Little miss green fingers from the crisis office didn't know she had green fingers, meets Charlie Dimock Posted by Picasa

The show garden at Hampton court

Posted by Picasa

From Hampton court to the east end

Hampton court seems a long way to go for a flower show, just to meet Charlie Dimock and friends but that's what crisis did. They had their own flower display at hamton court which sponsored by Oracle was a great success. Now the garden is being moved to Whitechapel in the east end of London. It is still in the process of being rebuilt. The hope is that it will give the local people a lift as they see their run down garden become transformed into a thing of beauty. Oracle who supported crisis said this a great step in the right direction. It's good for us to be involved with something that gives homeless people a chance put something in a national
exhibition. Crisis do need greenfingered volunteers to help with the garden. Come a long and have some fun.

Ready to quit

Yesterday I met Raymond Browning who has been a alcoholic for about twelve years. His drinking started when he left his native Liverpool and found himself in London after a night of drinking in his local pub which was in Liverpool by the way. He made up his mind to stay and try and get a job. So with just a few pounds set about this challenge and as you can guess with no luck. He has had a number of casual jobs in the last twelve years but he says the government has made it hard for someone like him to get casual work. He used to go to a job center near Bond St,London. Because he had no form of ID he couldn't register for a days work. Which you have to by law, for tax purposes and if you're claiming benifit you can only work for a few hours and earn twenty pounds. So he started drinking more and more. He then lost his flat because he couldn't pay the rent because he was literally drinking it. On Monday I did a few hours voluntary work at a night shelter in the West end and Raymond came in worse for wear but he hadn't had a drink that day. So calls were made on his behalf to get him in somewhere. It's funny really because I have been in that same situation. Phone calls after phone calls were made to hostels, most knew the name and most said sorry, but he was kicked out for his behavior and drinking. Phone calls to rehab centers said they were mostly full or that he needed to be assessed and that would need an appointment. Then we had one positive call back from the Salvation Army hostel who took him in. He says he hopes he can stay off the drink because that is his downfall. I explained to him that kicking a habit is not that easy. But I shall keep up with Raymond and let you know his progress. He says I can take a photo of him in a few weeks time when he looks and feels somewhat better.
I feel it's people like Raymond that are forgotten. They are just seen as drunks living on the street with not much hope of improvement. I think sometimes people just forget that they are actually people. If someone had not of seen me as a person maybe I wouldn't be writing this blog today. Maybe you'd still be seeing me begging on the Southbank.

20 July, 2005


Today I want to talk about benefits. Firstly I was wondering whether the new way of getting your income support or sickness benefit was working because as I understand it from agencies I have talked to there are still one million people at least, still receiving giro payments or order book payments. 14 million people are receiving their benefits by the new direct payment method. Everyone on benefit was supposed to switch to the new electronic payment system by January 2005. This date has been and gone. It does appear that the system is benefiting the majority and failing a minority of claimants. 58% of claimants said that it has made the whole process of receiving payments easier. Some claimants said that they do receive the new method and are being penalised if they withdraw all their money one the day it's due. Then by accident lose it or are robbed they being refuse crisis loans. I have been in that situation and I know exactly what they mean. I was told that it was my own fault and that I should not have with drawn the whole amount. I was wondering if this had happened to anyone else? Because people receiving benefit struggle to make needs meet in the first place. I know I do. The thing that struck me as I went along to the DSS or as they liked to be called the department of works and pensions, anyway I went along with a man who had been mugged by a bus stop after with drawing his fortnightly payment, was the attitude of the person that interviewed the man for a crisis loan. It was a kind of bored I've heard it all before, I don't believe you attitude to me this is wrong after making his statement he had to wait for two and half hours only to be given a piece of paper telling him his application had been refused. Asking around, I found that another three people two hadn't even received their giros were being refused crisis loans. One had never lost or reported a giro missing before. If anyone else has had problems with benefit payments please comment. I would like to hear from you.

19 July, 2005

Working and sleeping rough

I thought it was about time that I told people that there are people sleeping rough that do go to work and that not everyone that sleeps rough claims unemployment benefit. There is a small percentage of people over the country that actually sleep rough and go to work the next morning, even after having hardly any sleep the previous night. One of the question that is automatically asked is why do they not get a place to live? The answer is quite simple really. Many places for rent either need one months rent in advance and a substantial deposit or there is the basic two months rent in advance. If you get someone that looks as if they haven't had a good nights sleep in ages the chances are that it will be noticed and the offer of accommodation will be denied just on looks alone. Take someone with a drink problem that works. That smell of alcohol that always lingers is enough to put anyone off. But the real problem is affordability. Imagine sleeping out and working, that means you have to eat out unless you're eating the cheap McDonald's meals you simply can't afford to shell out large sums of money and everyone knows how hard it is for people who do have money to get rented accommodation. There is one person I know that sleeps rough and goes to work in the Westminster area. He says he has two decent nights sleep in a bed and breakfast at the weekend. He simply can't afford a flat. He has been on the council waiting list for some months but the problem is because he sleeps rough the council say its hard to get in touch with him. There has to be a way of helping these people who don't rely on the state benifit system. Plus the fact that these people are not counted in any government statistic. How can they be? They don't claim benifit.

Hard to sleep with the noise

Rough sleeping is still a problem in London. This man has slept in the same place now for about eight months. I asked him if he would like to go into a hostel. His reply was not bloody likely they're all crazy in those places including the people that work there.
The reason why I photographed this man was that here lies a man that would prefer to sleep on the street's because as he puts it he doesn't fit into the hostel system. He's been living on the streets most of his life. He drinks everyday and as he says "sometimes he does whiff a bit because its hard to find somewhere to wash and shave unless he walks miles to a day center. "
I asked him what its like for him living on the streets? he said "it's not that bad in the summer except for when it rains then it can be murder finding somewhere dry to sleep. In the winter it takes all my energy to even get up in the morning as the cold gets to my bones , but I manage it. It's then you know what the word struggle means."

Blogging in a big way

As you know from last weeks blog. We had a meeting last week about blogging being the thing that should be used now rather than later. Well, it seems that our crusade if you can call it that for more bloggers especially homeless bloggers will come to fruition as in the next couple of weeks I will be teaching homeless people how to blog and what a blog is.
Corporate blogging has already started with some major firms directors and executives from Microsoft, general motors, Sun Microsystems and handfuls of other people from different corporations. If they feel it is wise to blog. Then what's wrong with the idea that it can be used as a tool successfully?
I believe blogs can be used by anyone who has something to say. I think the major problem is that people are afraid of being sued for liable and that's one of the major stumbling blocks which seems to becoming more and more prominent.
What are blogs anyway?
Blogs are meant to be on line personal diaries or thoughts of someone who is willing to share them with millions of people on line. Who by the way probably have the same thoughts. If you look at some of the blogs on line. You will see many stray from the normal diary format like my own blog which I believe is quite different to other blogs.
Should you be able to say anything on a blog?
Well, that's what under debate especially with all the laws we have on defamation of character. So does this mean can call your boss a raving gay backward twit? Which isn't so bad. If you'd like to call him more then I think you can but only if you can prove it. What would you put in your normal diary only things you have done or thought about. Your boss might sue anyway or you could go the other way run him down in the worst possible way blatantly without proof that he was what you actually what you said. All I can say is sod it all blogs are personal. I believe you can attack a persons credibility or anything to do with them only if you have the facts to back it up. i do it when talk about the government and homelessness. Newspapers do it all the time and are sometimes wrong and I think this should apply to blogs. the freedom of speech aplies to everyone. Blogs are fast becoming a new source of media publication.
Do blogs have to have a softer image before people in this country realise what a tool blogs can be?
Over the next couple of years we shall see. By then there will be a new forms of web sites and we shall be talking about as well.

Me ranting again

Most people that know me know I can be opinionated at the best of times. But when I hear such things as homelessness is improving and the NHS is now doing better I automatically think to myself yeah, pull the other one leg it's got bells on! It really does annoy me, as this government leave me with the impression that they have done their best and now we can take things a little easier. I admit that the number of homeless actually sleeping on the street has fallen, but now they are in hostels. Some are in B&Bs because councils have nowhere else to put them. As to what councils do with the money they get from selling off housing stock I don't know. I always thought that councils were supposed to sell off houses and with that money build new ones. Well, that's what I thought. In the past we had councils doing expensive surveys on should we ban Bah Bah Black Sheep from schools, talk about politically correct. What a load of w.........s we had then. As far as the NHS goes I know people that live only a hundred yards from their local GP and are refused because they don't come into his catchment area and I know people who just because they are homeless are still being refused to be put on doctors lists. Just for that reason alone, I am begining to wonder why people pay national insurance.
Now on to the subject of holes because I have this strange aversion to them after falling in one a few years ago. Which is neither here nor there. The government make all these policies and then when someone really looks close at them they find gaping great loop holes in the set up of these said policies which costs the government millions of pounds which of course means it costs the tax payer. Me and you. Shouldn't they employ experts like myself to look at them thoroughly and pick up on them before it costs too much to put right. After all they say it takes a thief to catch a thief. Basically what these people who find the loop holes are doing is stealing legally. Well, that's my gripe for today.

18 July, 2005

The rise festival at Burges Park on saturday was a mixture of different cultures. Rasism was put to one side as people enjoyed the music and comedy. The comedy tent was supported by crisis the charity that fights for the empowerment of the homeless. A good day was made even better when the sun shone and people just smiled.

15 July, 2005

Changing life awards

It's nice to hear about Something that actually works when you are talking about homeless people. Crisis the homeless charity started changing lives. A scheme offering help with expenses. Like college fees, tools for work or even starting a small business. It has become what is now known as changing lives awards. Which where supported by Barclay's bank plc. Now in it's forth year. A special award was given to acknowledge someone for his or her achievements. The finalist were picked from all over the country and for their overall achievements. All the recipients of crisis awards have been homeless are now leading what some people would call productive lives, But personally its all the achievements that really count. I can tell you it is not easy to go from rock bottom to the heady heights of normality. All the people that have received awards over the last couple of years. Need to give themselves credit for achieving what I can only describe in most cases as mission impossible. So to all of them I will raise my glass and say better days are definitely ahead.

My change of image

In answer to your email John. I changed my image because people said that I was intelligent articulate and all that. So I thought I'd better look the part and my friends at crisis who I work with as part of the team. Really, I'm there to annoy them on a regular basis ( almost everyday of the week) only joking. I just thought they would like to see a nice clean cut man when they came into the office each day. No that's not true. The truth is I was in a shop with my friend and I had my back turned to the shop assistant when I heard the words "and what size does the lady want?" When I turned round I got enough apologies to last me a few years. So there you have it. That's what finally led me to the barbers chair. Please no more comment on my new image. Its driving me bloody crazy.

An insight into addiction

When someone takes drugs it can be because they mix with a crowd of people that take them and, not to be left out, they follow the leader. These are the people that fall into addiction and are usually undetectable because they learn how to hide it so well. Then you have the other kind of addicts the ones whose lives have problems like being abused, bullied at school etc. These are the kind of addicts that you can see because of their problems. Then you have the ones who take things because they don't see a way out of the no hope situation. It could be as simple as losing their home and that feeling of failure. So they take drink or drugs to black out the feelings. At first it's that getting high feeling. A fun sort of feeling. Then after a while it becomes a feeling of security. As I used to be an addict I can only explain it as a feeling of being wrapped in cotton wool. That's when it has become a habit, but it just doesn't stop there it becomes a deadly habit as you take more and more. You reach a point where you are taking it to be normal. You don't realise that you're not in control of your life anymore or that the drugs are controlling you. How do you find a cure for something you can't really prevent? As you can't see the early signs, as all addicts hide their addiction really well. It's only when they are in trouble or have lasts jobs that you realise they have a problems.

13 July, 2005

Let a thousand blogs bloom

Let blogs bloom was the message myself and Mark Flanagan head of media campaigns for crisis gave last night in the Maggie Thatcher room at Portcullis house opposite the houses of parliament. Sandra Gidley MP for Romsey was also there to give her views on blogging as she is a blogger herself. Some of the staff from the crisis office also attended and they all sat in the seats at the side and to be honest they looked like the come dancing jury you see on a Saturday night. Or if you are old enough to remember juke box jury. I felt sure one of them was going to shout I give it five in a brummie accent. The meeting itself I think went well no one fell asleep and my own presentation went ok although it did start a bit shakily.
Blogs were meant to be sort of on line diaries but they are fast becoming more than that, as politicians in Britain attempt to use them a lot more, to reach wider audiences. I believe blogs can and should be used either by companies or charities as campaign tools. If you can imagine someone telling the whole world about your charity or company. Who it helps and can give exact facts and figures. The before and after scenarios and can also make it interesting to read. It would become priceless, a powerful campaigning tool. When it comes to charities like crisis, who need to show it as a tool of empowerment. Well, say no more after all I am here writing this. Although I think they were worried about it at first, after all I could have said some nasty things. As soon as I was told I had full control. Who knows? I still might.
Microsoft have already seen the way blogs are growing and latched on to there usefulness. So why shouldn't it happened in this country? At crisis we have produce a pamphlet called Weblogs-a powerful voice for campaigns. I think you will find interesting if you require one just email me at www.poetmccoy@hotmail.com. Hurry not many left. I think it would be remiss of me not to tell you that in today's modern society. New technology and innovation are always forth coming and we need to keep pace and use tools that are or will become part of bringing businesses into the twenty first century.

Homelessness still existing

In 1966 homelessness came to the fore and the issue of homelessness was for the first time given priority after the film Cathy come home directed by Ken Loach. It's now 2005 and we still have the same problem with homelessness. I believe we have a worse problem now than we had then. Because we now have a drug culture.
One of the things a drug addict needs is money to buy their drugs and there are several way to get it one is to steal another is to do what I did beg. Come to think of it I did both but there's another a darker more seedier side. Which is to sell ones body as demeaning as it may seem prostitution is being done more often by women and men who have drug habits. From this comes all manner of problem in the later stages of life for these people and I do know, men and women who get their money for drugs this way. Is this just Cathy come home all over again? will it take another film to show just how bad the situation really is?

12 July, 2005

Former homeless addict goes to houses of parliament.

Today my day started just like anyone else's. Full of expectation. It wasn't until about four o'clock when I went into a shop and tried to pay for my shopping that things became a bit difficult.. I had lost my wallet and my day was beginning to go from good to bad. I tried to retrace my steps but to no avail. By the time I did all this I then had to rush because I had to go to the houses of parliament for a e-democracy event. So as you can imagine my mood was not that great. But I have to say the event was a pleasure to be at. Guess what though Bomb scare just as I was leaving and I met Boris Johnson the Hugh Grant of politics. He stopped to say hello.
I bet you're asking yourselves how does one get from begging on the street to being invited to the houses of parliament for a chat and drinks? Simple, write a blog and make it extraordinary reading. I'm joking, make it good reading of course. So everyone wants to read it. I would say tonight's event made up for my disappointing day. Tomorrow I have another thing to attend but this time I have to get up and speak in front of around 100 invited people and I'm peeing my pants. No rest for the used to be wicked is there?

Shakespearean words

Tis good to see thee on this mid summers night. Where passion doth arise. But hence on knobbling hill. tis sight for mine old weary eyes. Just thought it would make a change to open this blog in Shakespearean style. If the The Guardian can do it so can I. The director of the RSC says its like having a year long rock festival, personally I think he's exaggerating. To be quite honest sometimes I find Shakespeare a bit boring. But I do have my favorite plays of his. People seem to think Shakespeare and all the other play writes and poets write for the hob nobs and socialites of this world but they don't. Plays like Shakespears are for everyone now matter if you are homeless or having problems. Everybody has different tastes in this world some people don't like long winded poetry they can't understand. Some just like to hear it. As I said it takes all kinds to make a world.

The couple of days away plan

After all that went on last week. I thought I needed a rest from London. So I decided to go to my sisters in Birmingham last weekend to have a couple of days to relax. Low and behold as soon as I got there, the city centre had to be evacuated. I of course told my sister it had nothing to do with me. But I did have a good weekend and no I haven't been to Leeds lately .

08 July, 2005

Hotels charge over the top rates

London is not the busy hive of business it normally is today but, everyone is trying to get back to some kind of normality after yesterday's awful events. Last night though, hotels and B and B's were accused of hiking up prices. This to me is disgusting as I saw first hand people willing to help complete strangers with injuries they received from yesterday's tragedy. So my question is why did these people who run hotels seem to think that this was an opportunity not to be missed?. When they already charge a fortune for one nights stay in the capital. A spokeswoman for thistle hotels said, we did not raise our prices in response to the tragedy .Thistle maintain their usual strategy of offering the best rates available on the fact that all hotels were full. That was a typical pr comment. I believe that hotels should either have reduced their charges for one night or made rooms available free of charge. This surely would have put them in good stead with the public.

Terrorists bomb London

Today was a sad day in Britain as the threat of terrorism became a reality. Four blasts across London. I was walking towards the St Mungo's hostel just around the corner from where the explosion took place. I heard a loud explosion so did other members of the public. What I saw as I rushed to the corner to find out what was happening was something I will not forget for a long while . There were people screaming and running away, I stood stock still and was speechless for once. I knew something bad had happened but I just couldn't believe it was happening. Within a few minutes there were police and ambulances. Myself and other members of the public asked if we could help but we were told to move on. I then walked up to Holborn station to await for my bus in a total state of shock and was told there were no more buses running. So I walked home. Where I have sat on my sofa in shock most of the day thinking.
Most of my life has been filled with drugs and people around me dying. So why should this shock me? I think it's because all my suffering over the years has been of my own doing and this today was something entirely different. It was the killing of innocent people just going about their daily routine. The is one of blackest days in London has seen for about twenty years. That day being when people where killed in the fire disaster at Kings Cross but that was different as well because that was an accident. This was not. I have been listening to the news and I have heard the experts views and I agree that this is now the new kind of war that's being fought on the home front. As for al qaeda saying this is a holy war. I disagree and always have. No war can ever be called holy. This atrocity was just plain terrorism. I will go about London tomorrow doing my own thing like many others. I will be looking for homeless people I know in that area and making sure that they are OK. It's days like this when people just come together to help each other no matter what. That we see the true colour of humanity.

06 July, 2005

Olympic bid success

Well I guess it had to happen. Britain had to get something right eventually and to be honest I am really glad the Olympics are coming. But, what does it mean to all those that are living on the streets? I believe we are already seeing the effects at this moment and that has only been in the lead up to the selection stage. Having the games can be a good thing for this country I agree with that whole heartedly, but do we really need to hide the fact that we have a problem with homelessness? Every country in the world has the same problem. If you look at all the countries that have held the games in the past you never see a homeless person ( its as if they have been beamed to another planet) What I think is any Olympic committee meeting before the Olympics just agree to make the homelessness disappear for that short period of time. It must cost a fortune to do it every Olympics? It's as if homeless people don't exist.
Why not use these Olympics as an opportunity to show what a great caring nation Britain is?Lets use the talent on the streets now we have the games. Lets use homeless people at the games. as volunteers maybe? Every country will be at these games and they will recognize the problem of homelessness and they will be looking for solutions. Although the Olympics is only for a short period of time the benefits afterwards can be great. Are we going to waste a good opportunity to lead the way?

The internet

I went to the hansard society meeting last night apart from the occasional yawn, I basically understood what was being said. Mind you I was expecting something to go wrong as things were going wrong for me most of the day yesterday. They came out with all these facts and figures of people that were on line during the election. I know the figure of people that use the internet is growing all the time but I was thinking of something Tony Blair had said about wanting to get I think it was sixty percent of the population on line. All I could think was how the hell was this was going to be done or is it just the well off he's targeted again. What about the other forty percent? Are these the low paid workers? People on benefit? Are these the ones that have to miss out again? The cost of using the internet per month is around £17.00 plus line connect £9.00. That's a total of twenty six pounds, which is a lot of money for a person on a low wage on benefit. I think the question that should we should be asking is how do you make the internet available to all? Because as I understand things the future of mail looks to be with computer's. technology is already in schools, offices and cafes. I don't see us sending letters in the future. I could go on and explain that the postal service appalling and is on it's last throws of the dice, but I wont. What I think we should be doing is showing people the advantages of the internet. Things you can do. Then maybe the more people that use it then the cheaper it becomes. Well that's my theory anyway. It just seems to me we are being bombarded with new technology all the time and it's always what I call the second class citizen that gets left behind. What about the people that can't afford a computor? The government have to come up with something that everyone can gain from. It's not just about fairness. It's about the right of someone to better themselves.

05 July, 2005

Locked out

Well it had to happen sooner or later. I forgot my keys and locked myself out of my house. Trying to get in I fell and hurt my leg and head maybe knocked some sense in? I will find out later in the day. Then if that wasn't bad enough police came and accused me of breaking and entering. They told me someone had phoned and told them a suspicious character was trying to get into a flat across the road. So I told them what had happened and they burst out laughing and said I was just plain unlucky. Finally I got in this morning thanks to neighbor's. I was having a cup of tea a minute ago and the bloody handle came away from the cup and I have sort of got red hot private parts. I dread to think of what's in store for me later on today as it's only ten o'clock in the morning. Should I put up signs saying beware Jamie's about? I am having these uneasy feeling and I am beginning to think I'm not normal as something is always happening to me.

04 July, 2005

As I wandered about Trafalgar square and Leicester square on Saturday and was amazed at just how many people there actually were at the gay pride march. On stage you had people talking about how glad they were to be gay( as Tom Robinson would put it). It just made me think that these people are no different to me. I asked a couple of people as I was leaving what they thought of gay people? And some said the usual so long as they keep themselves to themselves they're ok. It was the word they're that stuck in my head. You'd think that earth had been invaded by aliens. It's funny how many people are homophobic yet still went and enjoyed the day. My own feeling are that it doesn't matter what your sexual preferences. There should not be any prejudice against anyone who are gay but as we know there are. People should have the right to live how they want, whatever persuasion.

Lots of people had photos taken with many of the peoplen in costumes Posted by Picasa

it was a good job it was a warm sunny day Posted by Picasa

People just enjoying the day Posted by Picasa

03 July, 2005

A colourful day

Saturday was gay pride day. Gay men and women got together to celebrate the simple fact that they were gay. They also helped to promote make poverty history. Thousands of people gay and straight enjoyed a colourful day. here are some of the pictures people let me take.
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This is the scene in Westminster where police are armed with machine guns, but how long before we see this on the streets of Britain? Gun crime is rising all over the country. We blame it on poor social upbringing, living on deprived estates, we never put it down to just people being plain bad. I am a great believer in people who use guns should go to prison for a very long time and people who kill should get life and life should mean life. People do say to me that everyone deserves a second chance. But If you ask them if it was their son or daughter that had been killed they cannot answer. I used to believe in a life for a life especially when children were involved. My views haven't changed that much but as I have got older, I suppose I have gotten more mature and have begun to think that it is wrong for any one to take a human life, but if someone commits murder then life should mean life. Not ten years or fifteen years. Posted by Picasa

David Haws sole anti war campaigner outside the Houses of Parliament. Has accused the British government of murder and abuse. He felt so strongly about the issues that four years ago he decided to put all his placards and signs and camp outside where all Britain's decisions are made. In the four years he has been camped there, he has been taken to court several times and has always been allowed to return as we in this country believe in freedom of speech. Now he tells me that due to some new laws being passed he will be evicted from where he has been protesting. He has now put up posters on the new laws that says one man can not protest on his own. What I am wondering is where has the freedom of anyone to protest in peace gone? Are the law makers just making laws to suit themselves and will our right to freedom of speech now be curtailed because they don't like where we protest?

01 July, 2005

Tories to host homeless summit

The Tory party have had a summit on homelessness hosted by shadow secretary for local government Caroline Spelman. I think it is about time the Conservatives got their act together and got rid of the we don't really care image it presents to the public, after all wasn't it the Conservatives who ended the right for homeless people to have a permanent home? I just wondering, is this really a new image they are attempting to build? Because years ago it was a couple of Tories that started the homeless charity Crisis.
Still on the subject of homelessness. I am still trying to figure out why all of a sudden the number of homeless have dropped, so dramatically? Have you ever heard the words fixed, rigged manipulated figures? Why do I say this? I know from past experience that councils will find any excuse not to house you. They will say you don't have a connection with the area or you haven't been in the area long enough. Councils will bend the law if they can. Can you blame them? If it was me bending the law I would be put in front of a judge quicker than you could say cheese. So why should councils get away with it. First you have to prove it which could be frustrating but as the homeless sometimes say that's life. Anyway i hope to have some kind of report on the summit soon.

Something to think about

I sent round a little over one thousand questionnaires of what do people in hostels want, if the money was available. I sent it to different hostels around the country. The suprising answers I got were that 45% wanted more use of computers ie; IT training, internet surfing time and web site building. Only 10% said they wanted educational days out and 15% said they wanted to go to theatres and cinemas. A huge 25% said they wanted there hostels to be done up and made livable. 5% wanted better trained staff. The rest really hadn't answered any of my questions. I just thought it was statistic you should know. Most people that have already been educated to a fair level think that homeless people on the street are either lazy or just a bit simple in the head. It does not take a genius to disprove that theory.
I believe and will continue to believe that once a stable environment has been achieved things will follow on from that like someone wanting to learn, from that will follow employment. From that who knows? Although I started to learn to read and write while I was on the streets the only reason I did so was because I needed something to replace drugs. It was not a conscious decision. I did not say to myself I am going to learn to read and write. I was just in the right place at the right time. Now I am looking for work. So what I say is, anyone who is given the chance can become someone. I think giving someone the tools to succeed are the most important steps in any form of rehabilitation.