Why Trump Will Win

The words ‘President Trump’ are some of the most repulsive and terrifying ones imaginable. Nonetheless, I think it will happen. If you haughtily cock your head and allow the merest hint of a Billy Idol sneer then you are one of the reasons why.

In my earliest days of selling I remember the old adage that you never called someone else’s baby ugly. It can have a face that looks  like it has been chasing parked cars, but it is still beautiful to its mother.

Trump appeals to the masses. That mass of people that we, in our intellectual bubble (that is you, you can read, you’re reading this ergo you are intellectual to them, plus you know what ergo means) simply don’t understand.

These people  lack identity and Trump’s message resonates with them. He knows this and he assures them that they can identify as American again and that he will make America great again. They will be great. Many have never been great, feel overlooked, neglected, passed over, victims. Well, no more. With ‘The Donald’ at the helm America will be great and they will be great once more.

Whether that can be intellectualised away means nothing to them. Donald has told them what the problem is and has promised to fix it. A nice and clean message from a guy that talks their language.

The intellectuals think that this is stupid. I agree. There is no sense in the demented ramblings of this egotistical sociopath. However, what I think Does. Not. Matter. Whatsmore, I and my ilk are not the gun-totin’, immigrant blamin’, downtrodden minority . This not so small minority votes too and they are voting Trump.

Hilary isn’t peddling a heady cocktail of freedom, identity, God and whiteness. Oh no, she is a criminal elite that sucked the fine United States into this mess. Her and that pseudo Kenyan guy that made it into the White House. They are the people to blame according to Trump.

If there are more who swallow the rousing ‘yee-hah’ chorus of identity, greatness and blame, than us thoughtful folks then tough shit, common sense loses. In the meantime we can wrap ourselves in our intellect, make snide remarks about egomaniacal racists etc and write articles in magazines that the Trump voters never read, and cometh the day we’ll all be wringing our hands and setting the Internet on fire asking how it could have all gone so wrong.

The answer is you. You sneered at ‘those people’ who couldn’t think like you can. You called the dang baby ugly. It is more than scary: it is quite possible. Brexit anyone?


Not Much Then

My ambition is to win a funded PhD. Simple, low-level, not much. Just the hardest thing I have ever done.

It is easy to say it and sometimes hearing myself commit is an appropriate spur to action. I have now publicly nailed my colours to the proverbial mast. To this end I was going back and forth with a soon to be tutor and they kindly produced this simple guide for me:


A PhD proposal should look along the lines of:


• What’s the problem

• Why is it problematic

• What, therefore, is your Central Research Question

Aims and Objectives

• How will you answer this question 

• What are your sub-research questions

• What is your interesting angle

Research Context

• What is currently said in the literature?

• Where is the hole?

• How will you fill it


• What methodological strategy will you employ?

• Why is that the most appropriate way of conducting this type of research

• What is it you will get out of doing this and why is this the most appropriate way to answer this question?

• How will you limit risk?

Personal Impetus (optional)

• Why this project?

• How will your UG diss and MA build into this project?


So, nothing much really. And I need to have this all nailed by Christmas. Which is why I intend to move to Sheffield in a rented room and become slightly monkish.

Up All Night

I can’t be the only one that snaps awake in the middle of the night and then can’t get back to sleep for worrying? It never seems as bad in the morning, which begs the question why it feels so worrying at 0200h? It is sometimes hard to tell if it is just bad dreams or actually lying awake. Am I being glibly dismissive now when I ought to be worrying more?

I got bad news yesterday regarding a scholarship I had applied for. I am not bitter, it was hard fought and I didn’t get it. Move on. Still, I can’t help but think what 10k would have meant to me. I wonder if that was what pinged me awake. I can’t remember.

Why, after the obligatory visit to the loo (Over 40 so it is always a good tactical move) I expect to lie down and just zonk out. That is how it used to happen. Someone has changed the script; I didn’t get the memo.


PS: I love nature. But birds, 0314h to start chirping? Wtf? Part of my irrational thoughts were devoted to devising a silent  toxic mist making machine to gas you little fuckers. Just saying.

PPS: If a prospective employer comes digging about, and surely they will, then this is how I roll.

No Plan?

The narrative all morning has been about the somewhat surprising news that there is no plan. None, Nada, Nil, Nyet, Non, Nein, Nope etc .

The self-centred arrogant idiots that led us  into the biggest crisis of economics and sovereignty faced by the UK since WW2 are all merrily fronting up to the major news outlets and cheerfully proclaiming that they don’t have a post-Brexit plan, never had one and, oh, by the way, the assurances about extra money and a reduction in the tide, nay hordes, of job-stealing and benefit grubbing immigrants  are hollow.

As a friend observed and history has shown to be true: When a revolution happens, the revolutionaries are united by a single aim. Afterwards they tend to descend into disunity and chaos.

Oh, hooray. It is just the most breathtaking arrogance to engender this massive trauma and then stand around vacant-faced with shock when regular voters expect you to have, you know, considered a few post-vote scenarios.

You know it is bad and there has been a huge paradigm shift when George Osbourne becomes the voice of reason, common sense and stability.


It Is ‘All About Me’, All The Time

In the oft-repeated words of Mae West, “Enough about me, let’s talk about me.” This, primarily UK, MS support group has had one post about the most momentous thing to happen to our country since WW2. It is from a Norwegian who drops by. They were obliquely expressing condolences. So, as you may have gathered, I was back on the MS support group today. Trying to think how to phrase this so it doesn’t knock the group as a whole. If any admins read this then I expect to be banned as being bad for team morale.

Not. One. Person. has discussed current affairs in the general chat area. Brexit stands to seriously impact the care that can be given to MS sufferers. It is a very complex and individual condition that requires a host of multi-disciplinary skilled professionals and some pretty pricey drugs to treat it. I am concerned that the funds will reduce, the isolation from research will kick in etc etc. The Brexit impact extends far beyond the care of one chronic condition.

The digital inhabitants of the forum seem to be so incredibly wrapped up in their own condition that it must be, at turns, both incredibly tiring and hugely depressing. For one’s own illness to trump the momentous national state of affairs is something. I have dug through and can’t find posts about family, children, education, schools/universities, access to healthcare, how to get things done regarding directing letters appropriately, etc etc etc. I can go on, but I think you get the idea. It really is ‘all about me’, all the time.

There are so many people from such a range of backgrounds that we must bring more to the party – and the general chat area of the forum? – than our wretched MS? It is part of our lives, not everything about us. This is a question of identity. Look in the mirror and see yourself or see someone with MS who resembles you? Please, it mustn’t be everything about you or you’ll go stark staring mad. MS is part of you, not all of you. If you allow yourself to be defined by your MS you become dull. You are ‘that guy’ who just bangs on and on about it. The only other people who’ll listen are of a similar ilk, and they are only listening to you in order to time their interjection about them and their MS.

No matter how bad it gets the actual you is in there. Never, ever, give up. #sigh

Was Common Sense Ever There?

Whilst feeling bereft over the EU Referendum result, I get it. Every possible angle has been pored over on social media, by me and many more qualified and vociferous people. Lots of regret, poorly handled etc. C’est la vie. Stiff upper lip, move on and if it all gets too bad I have a Canadian passport. Back to the land of moose knuckle.

No, what is really taxing me is the MS community. Well a small part of it that I imagine is similar to the rest. I am trying to re-engage on a very popular MS site but it is full of thoughtlessness. Who goes to a support site to get their medical advice from other similarly unqualified people?  If you break a bone the medics can say: based on age, weight, activity levels etc etc, how long it will take to heal. MS is not like that. What I feel and someone else feels is very different. What drugs work for me don’t necessarily work for another. It is not that simple.

Asking in a forum post what side effects to expect (read the data sheet, take it and see?) are all pointless. We all react differently to drugs. I suspect and hope people ask because they want affirmation and reassurance, rather than expecting concrete answers. If they do take an answer without a pinch of salt – a big one – then it is little wonder that they get progressively frustrated and confused. (Addendum July 2nd 2016 – It seems that common sense, nuance and irony aren’t as common as I imagined. There is a gulf of difference between asking for advice on what to do from strangers on the Internet on how to proceed, versus their experiences of something. Fwiw… #sigh)

I have fought back the urge to run their questions through the Let Me Google That For You site. They have enough issues without me coming across as snide and nasty; even if I just want someone to learn and grow… I mean, really, it cannot be beyond the whit of man to use the Googles? If you look and don’t understand the results then it is a great use of a forum post to seek clarification. Anything that indicates a small bit of effort makes me want to jump in and help if I can.

A phrase that sticks in my head is, ‘seeking an external locus for approval.’ This is something I do by looking at the stats on this and replying to messages. Guilty.

Although, I take great  pride in trying to help myself first and feel pitiful when I ask the dumbest questions. Support sites: places to laugh, cry, moan about referendum results, big up the professionals that work so hard for us, give tips, share recipes, favourite wine etc. To get help with your condition? No: go to your doctor. Trust them, they went to school for far longer than most of us and actually care about you. Strangers on the web spouting their hare-brained ideas…nope.

The thing about Common Sense? It ain’t that common.



Why Is Suicide So Bad?

It feels odd that something so subjective and personal, such as my life, is something that others feel that they have the right to tell me how I can manage. Assuming that I am not mentally ill and can make my own decisions then why do others know better than me?

I have had MS for twenty or so years and have been very fortunate, in so far as I have been very lightly touched by it. It hasn’t stopped me living life how I want to. Lately though, it is making itself a little more present and annoying. Recent events have had – for me – an impact out of all proportion to their apparent seriousness to an outside observer. I imagine MS is like many other disabilities as the outward ‘I’m disabled’ signs don’t always correlate with the feeling. It’d be easier to sport a cast. People get that.

For me it means I can’t pursue my only hobby – cycling – like I did. I was never much cop but I enjoyed longer rides, riding harder with others who are better and I have a perverse love of hill-climbing. I’m not fast but I keep going. Actually, the past tense is now more accurate. My mind is willing but my body won’t play. I have disassembled my nice bike and the frame is being collected today. It is bittersweet. Money, yay. Waving goodbye to something that was a part of me for so long is more poignant than just trading in bikes.

Worse yet is my mind. I have made it a point not to live in my condition. There are more important things to worry about IMHO. But now, oh fuck, brain melt. Seriously: I am coming out of a fatigue attack that floored me. Not only physically but mentally. I had no idea that it can scramble your brain. I tried so hard to keep up with my final year university assignments, but found myself staring at my PC with the ability to think a mere memory. Mild panic ensued and I suddenly found myself with extensions on all my work until the end of June. I suppose this post is a good sign as I am finally distracting myself and avoiding doing the work I need to in a far more traditional procrasitantory (is that even a word?) manner.

BUT, and it is a big but, MS doesn’t get better and nor does it ever stop. I am on a slope and the only thing up for debate is the angle of the slope. When will this brain fog happen again? Am I condemned to getting fat and out of shape because I can’t ride anymore? Go swimming, do lighter exercise will come the reply. My response: I enjoy cycling. Swimming is dull, I know as I have done a lot of swimming. Lighter exercise is no fun. Cycling is a leisure activity with many elements. The gear, the people, the club, the fact there are people better to look up to, the scenery changes, it’s outside etc etc. Doing Tai-Chi with a bunch of old people in a church hall because it is ‘gentle’ makes me shiver with dread.

Back to the title though. I reserve the right to determine when the balance is such that in my opinion the weight of existence outweighs the pleasure I take or that I can give to others. All those people that swear up and down that they get satisfaction from wiping someone else’s bottom. I don’t believe you. Surely a better memory to leave is that the now deceased person made you feel good about yourself and not the smell of their Tena pad?

I think tip-toeing off and doing yourself in in secret is cowardly. What is a lot stronger is facing this topic, talking to the people you love, communicating your wishes such as the sort of ceremony you wish, what they mean to you, recounting nice shared memories and lessons and the like.

Whilst I am not booking my one-way ticket to Switzerland quite yet I want to know that it is an option. Like sex, it should not be a taboo subject. Only by keeping it in a dark closet and discussing it in hushed tones can it flourish as some nasty and secret desire Planned suicide is something that ought to be discussed and not brushed under the carpet.