Tag Archives: human rights

Please Speak to Me (Not my Non-Disabled Companion)

As those of you who follow/read this blog will know, the primary purpose of my site is to share my poetry. I do, however sometimes blog about more personal matters and today is one of those rare occasions on which I shall do so.


Yesterday (Saturday 24 September) I went for my 4th Covid jab (booster). Being blind, and the vaccination centre being some distance away, a friend kindly took me in her car.


The centre was offering both the Covid booster and a flue jab for those entitled to receive one.


When it came to my turn to be vaccinated, the person giving the vaccinations asked my sighted friend  why I was entitled to receive the flu jab. I answered that I am diabetic (people with diabetes are entitled to free flu jabs in the UK), and the vaccination against Covid and Flu was given.


The above incident reminded me of another case where a member of station staff asked a sighted work colleague with whom I was traveling “does he need any help?”.


In both cases the people putting the question to my companions where assuming that I was unable to speak for myself. This is a highly patronising and erroneous assumption as I and the vast majority of other disabled people are perfectly able to answer for ourselves.


Both incidents are ironic as had I been unaccompanied the individuals putting the questions would have had no alternative other than to address me directly, which is, of course as it should be.


Having visited both China and Sri Lanka, I am aware that those nations (and many other countries) do not have the facilities for people with disabilities which are available in the United Kingdom. However, this fact in no way excuses the patronising attitudes adopted by a minority of individuals. This is particularly the case in the NHS where all staff should be provided with disability awareness training.


The vast majority of those employed in the NHS do an excellent job (often under extremely difficult circumstances). However, the minority who adopt patronising attitudes needs to be addressed.


Disabled people are human beings and deserve to be treated with the same respect as are non-disabled fellow citizens.


Sex with someone who is not part of your household to be made a criminal offence in the United Kingdom as part of new lockdown measures

The UK’s “Daily Mirror reports that:

“Sex in your house with someone from outside of your household is set to become illegal today.

The government is introducing new lockdown measures that prevent people from socialising (or gathering) with one person from outside of their household in a private space.

Up until now the person visiting a house for sex would have been the one in breach of the measures”. (See https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/sex-your-house-person-another-22117105).

As a libertarian, (with a small l) I find this deeply disturbing. What consenting adults do (behind closed doors) should be no concern of the state or of society. And this legislation strikes me as being something one would expect in a dictatorship rather than a democracy like the United Kingdom.

Yes COVID-19 is a serious problem and I am concerned about the pandemic. However I am more concerned (in this particular instance) about unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of consenting adults. Just how many people are going to become infected with the Corona virus as a consequence of having sex with a person who is not part of their household? I would be astounded if anyone has carried out any research into this issue.

For what its worth, my own (non-scientific view) is that very few people will become infected as a consequence of indulging in sexual relations with a person who is not part of their household.

Apart from the massive impact on civil liberties, I honestly can’t see this law being enforceable. A few nasty neighbours may report someone they suspect of breaking this law, but the vast majority will, I believe mind their own business (as, indeed they should do).

This (proposed) law contrasts sharply with the sensible and liberal policy of the Netherlands where single people are encouraged (should they wish to do so) to find a “sex buddy”, (see https://kmorrispoet.com/2020/05/16/the-netherlands-advises-single-people-to-find-corona-sex-buddies/).

I never thought that I would see the day in a country I love where such draconian laws where even being considered.

The Netherlands Advises Single People to Find Corona Sex Buddies

The BBC reports that:

“The Dutch government has issued new guidance to single people seeking intimacy during the pandemic, advising them to find a “sex buddy”.

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) says singletons should come to an arrangement with one other person.

But pairings should avoid sex if one of them suspects they have coronavirus, the advice says.

The guidance comes after critics said there was no sex advice for singles”. (See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-52685773).

This advice strikes me as humane and eminently sensible. It is unknown how long the COVID-19 (the Corona Virus epidemic) will persist, with many believing that there will be periodic outbreaks until a vaccine is available and widely distributed.

Some scientists remain sceptical that a vaccine will be discovered in the near future. Whilst others point out that no vaccine for the common cold has ever been found and that this may be the case with COVID-19.

Here in the United Kingdom those in relationships where advised (when the Lockdown was introduced) to choose one place of abode and move in together rather than moving between different houses/flats. However social distancing rules mean that those not currently in a relationship should not be entering into one.

Whilst individuals (both single and those in relationships) have differing sex drives, and some have very little desire for sex, sex is (for most people) an inate (and frequently) strong drive. Denying those who happened to be single at the time of lockdown the right to find intimacy with a willing partner strikes me as cruel, as it denies a section of humanity the right to indulge their desire for sex with a willing adult with the same desire.

There are, of course risks with contact of any kind during the COVID-19 situation. However these need, in my view to be balanced against the psychological damage which may, I believe be caused if those single people (who wish to) are not given an outlet for their healthy desire to express themselves sexually.

It simply is not reasonable to say to people wait until a vaccine (which may never be found), is in place before you find a long (or short-term) sexual partner.

China Bans George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”

On reading that the Chinese government has banned George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “Animal Farm”, (https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/china-bans-the-letter-n-and-george-orwells-animal-farm-as-president-xi-jinping-extends-grip-on-power-a3777686.html), I was reminded of Lord Acton’s remark that:

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are
almost always bad men,…”. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dalberg-Acton,_1st_Baron_Acton).

The Acton quote, jostled in my mind with that famous quotation:
“Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad”, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whom_the_gods_would_destroy).

I have visited mainland china or, to give that country it’s full title, The People’s Republic of China (PRC). While there, I found the people whom I came into contact with both friendly and helpful. I did, however feel an underlying sense of unease, a feeling which I can best describe as a sense of being observed.

Today’s China is not that of the country which suffered under the dictatorship of Mao and which is so chillingly described in Jung Chang’s “Wild Swans”, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_Swans). It is, however a society which, on the on the one hand wishes to embrace the market economy while, at the same time shying away from the values of individual freedom which (at it’s best) distinguish liberal societies from authoritarian ones.

There will, no doubt be those who say what do values of individual freedom matter when, at bottom people are concerned with their own material comfort? Sitting here, writing this with no fear of the midnight knock Ion the door, I, for one know the answer to that question.

Enough To Make A Cat Laugh

Mugabe goes to Singapore
For his medication
While the poor
Of Zimbabwe’s nation
Must seek treatment in their own country.
I ask you who can disagree
With the decision
Of the World Health Organisation
To appoint Mugabe as an ambassador? So feline
Cease your derision,
But perhaps you may be allowed one final smile
As there can be no denial
That all flesh is dust.


Norway’s Success Purchase Ban, A Success?

I posted yesterday (11 August) regarding the publication of a study into the effectiveness of Norway’s sex purchase ban. The study found that the ban has, overall been a success. In that earlier post I said that others would, no doubt dispute the findings of the study and, sure enough the International Union Of Sex Workers has a piece on their website doing precisely that, http://swop-nyc.org/wpress/2014/08/12/nordic-model-redefines-success-as-no-results-all-collateral-damage. As I noted on 11 August this debate is sure to run and run.

Study Finds Norway’s Ban On Paying For Sex Works

A study conducted on behalf of Norway’s government found that the prohibition on paying for sex with prostitutes works. According to the study the ban has not seen an increase in violence against prostitutes and has led to a reduction in the number of those paying for sex. The ruling Coalition had favoured repealing the ban on paying for sex, introduced in 2009 but stated that this was dependent on the findings of the independent study. For the article please visit http://www.firstpost.com/world/norways-closely-watched-prostitution-ban-works-study-finds-1659951.html.

A number of prostitutes organisations and individual prostitutes argue that the ban on paying for sex (clients are criminalised but not the prostitutes) makes the lives of sex workers more dangerous as clients are more nervous, are less inclined to provide personal details and wish to meet in out of the way places to avoid detection by the authorities. Some human rights activists also believe that banning paying for sex runs counter to human rights as adults have a right to freely buy and sell sexual services. Thus far I can find no reaction to the report sighted above but there will, over the coming days be those who will dispute it’s findings.

Of the Nordic countries Iceland, Sweden and Norway operate total bans while Finland makes it an offence to pay for sex with a person who was forced into prostitution irrespective of whether the person paying was aware that coercion had taken place. There have been calls for the UK to adopt the so-called Nordic Model, however governments have been reluctant to introduce a ban although various laws do restrict the buying and selling of sex. In the UK prostitutes organisations such as the English Collective of Prostitutes oppose a ban while the All Party Parliamentary Group On Prostitution recently called for the adoption of the Nordic Model as did the European Parliament. Many sex worker activists say that their opposition to the Nordic Model is being disregarded putting lives at risk while proponents of a ban counter by saying that many sex worker organisations are controlled by “pimps” and are not representative of what they term “prostituted” people. This debate is sure to run and run.

I’m Not Good In The Morning

“Hello” he said. Of course I don’t answer. Perhaps you will think me rude as a greeting should illicit a response. But look at things from my perspective. There I am relaxing in my bed, minding my own business and he breezes in and says “hello”! What you still think that I’m lacking in social graces do you? Well how would you like to be disturbed at a little after 6 am by a cheery fool saying “hello?” I thought not, you wouldn’t be thrilled either so you can, I think understand why I totally blanked my friend’s attempt to engage me in conversation.

Not content with disturbing my beauty sleep he will humiliate me later today by expecting me to wear a harness. Not just in private in our home. No that would be bad enough, he expects me to wear it in public. Surely there is a law against such things and, if there isn’t then I’d urge you to lobby your MPs to bring one in urgently! Does anyone know whether making a guide dog wear a harness breeches my human rights?”