I was getting mad at myself for being a butt so I decided to do something different to break out of it. I’ve been meaning to do a screenshot study for ages and this was supposed to be a speed paint but I got into it so I have no idea how long I spent on it (far too long at any rate oops). All done with the Ultimate Pastel brush from this amazing photoshop brush set.

Screenshot taken from Endeavour Season 2 Episode 4 'Neverland'. The composition and lighting in this show is ridiculously beautiful and I kind of really related to this character okay. Anyway who wouldn’t love a ventriloquist and their spooky-as-hell dummy.

Details because why not;

Empowered to Fail

A story in the Guardian today looks at some immediate effects of the plan to turn NHS budgeting decisions over to front-line GPs. This has been a mantra of Lansley and Cameron: “empower the GP”. They tout it as an axiomatic good. But is it?

What is so desirable about transferring budgeting decisions to the hands of people who trained to practice medicine? After all, these are specialised management and accountancy activities you’d presume could be handled more effectively by centralised bodies of experts right? Well here’s Lansley’s justification for this wingnut scheme, try it on for size: GPs sit right at the apex of a pyramid of health care. Lots of complicated and expensive health care interventions may happen as a result of a GP’s interaction with a patient (an operation for example), but GPs currently don’t care about those cost implications. They just want the patient to get better so they’ll refer a patient for treatment, regardless of what that does to the overall regional or national health budget. “So,”, reasons Lansley, “what if we made GPs responsible for the entire budget? Then they’d think twice about sending patients for treatment! If a GP is responsible for every last penny of their budget and has the possibility of running out of cash half way through the year, they’ll make damn sure they pick the cheapest suppliers of everything and only dole out treatment when they absolutely have to. What’s more, these GPs know their patients inside out, so they’re best placed to make budgeting decisions that best fit the demographic of the folk they serve. Even better: we can do away with a whole bloated layer of accountancy and management civil servants now we’ve got our GPs to do that stuff . Massive savings eh? Ker-ching! Knighthoods all round?”

Well, no. To highlight the strangeness of this idea let’s apply the same thinking to another large organisation: Tesco is a similarly monolithic entity, operates stores all over the uk, has to make lots of complicated purchasing decisions about its supply chain etc. Let’s imagine Tesco decided to make its operations more efficient by proposing the following to all its local stores: “Here’s your budget for the year. You’re on your own. You’re now in charge of negotiating the best prices with the thousands of multi-national corporations whose products stock your shelves, contracting haulage, ensuring health and safety, maintaining your own building, attracting customers. The whole kaboodle. That’s all up to you now. You know your customers best, do whatever you need to do to be profitable. You’ll probably need to retrain some of your check-out staff and trolley-boys to be accountants and marketing executives and whatnot, but that’s your call. Yeah, we know it sounds scary but we’re certain the prospect of going bankrupt will focus your mind nicely. Also: you’ll be competing against all the other Tesco stores in the area now, so you’d better hit the ground running.”

Is Tesco likely to do this? No, absolutely not. They know that to run a large organisation efficiently you need a) collaboration not competition b) some centralised planning c) specialists to handle specialised tasks. Now I’m no particular fan of a corporate monster like Tesco but that’s how they got to be a market leader: by consolidating function, applying global strategies and taking advantage of economies of scale. It’d be a cold day in hell before Tesco announced a strategy of making its two thousand stores autonomous. It’d be seen as a move of jaw-dropping commercial lunacy.

So why is Lansley proposing this for the NHS then? Either a) he’s dangerously incompetent or b) he actually wants it fragmented and primed to fail. I suggest it’s the latter. This is an intentional strategy that covertly lays the groundwork for an ultimate goal. Think about it: if Tesco engaged in the suicidal scheme I outlined, how long would it be before the stores started individually going bankrupt? No time at all. What would happen then? They’d start getting bought up and bailed out by a variety of opportunistic corporations (in fact some of the more canny stores would invite in the big-boys pre-emptively, from the outset even). This will be exactly the case with GP commissioning groups in the aftermath of the NHS “reforms”. The private health care mega-corporations who helped draft this legislation are waiting in the wings, salivating at prospect of the killing they can make. They know this “giving power to the GPs” plan is a plan destined to fail and one they can profit richly from. What’s more, the GPs know this too. Thats why they, the very people supposedly “empowered” by this plan, are actively opposed to it. They know it’s a stitch-up. They’re being set up to fail, and they know they’ll be blamed when the greedy corporations swoop in to pick up the pieces. This is what Lansley wants: to carve up the NHS and hand it over to the private health care companies that have so richly funded his party. He can’t tell us that though. Privatising the NHS, whilst desirable to a minority of small-state idealogues, would be seen as a toxically treacherous act by the majority this country. Hence this convoluted scheme to “empower the GP”.

This might be the biggest privatization of state function the country has ever seen. We’re being told it simply isn’t happening, that we’re being alarmist, but yet here it is, unfolding slow-motion, right before our very eyes.

Save Our NHS

I don’t know if you’ve seen, but the NHS Trust in South London has gone bust. NHS South London runs the Princess Royal (my local hospital in Farnborough), Queen Mary in Sidcup and the Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich.

This is the first time an NHS Trust has been allowed to go bust - normally the government would step in before this point is reached. This time, they’ve been put into financial administration under the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley’s rules.

It’s all rather convenient timing after the recent ‘Health and Social Care Bill’ which allows ‘any willing provider’ to run NHS services, tacitly giving the nod to companies such as SERCO and Virgin to step in and cream some juicy profit off the NHS budget. The predicted result will be closures, privatisation of services, and job losses, as this is the only way many hospitals can turn a profit.

Let’s not forget that it is privatisation in the form of PFI that has caused most NHS Trusts to get into their current mess. This really seems like the final piece in the jigsaw of privatisation of the NHS, shamefully constructed by the last Labour government as well as the current bunch of crooks.

Many more trusts are likely to go into administration, and will then have their services cut or privatised to ‘balance the books’. The result? A two-tier health system, where basic care is free but more advanced operations are paid for by the patient.

Having said all that, signing a petition probably seems a bit of a hollow act, but at least it’s something. The problem is that most people don’t even know that the NHS is under attack. It may feel a bit like wailing in the wind, but if enough people wake up then we might yet save universal healthcare from the corporate vultures. Here’s the petition: - please pass it around.

I’ll leave you with some words from the man who founded the NHS back in 1948, Nye Bevan, a politician who towers above the pretenders who ply their trade in Parliament today:

The NHS will survive as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it

Bevan never believed that politicians and their corporate friends could be trusted with the health of the nation. Despite his instrumental role, it was massive public pressure for decent healthcare that really got the NHS started. The only way we’ll save it is if history repeats itself. It’s our NHS, not theirs.

BRITAIN: Get this question out! Tweet it!

I have someone very close to me who is involved in healthcare in quite a big way. He has been to see Lansley and argued against the NHS Bill. He has also presented to the Health Select Committee and has a lot of info on why the NHS Bill is a terrible, horrible idea. 

He believes the reason they are refusing to publish the Risk Register is because it contains the closure of possibly 50+ hospitals.

This is a big deal and we need to be talking about it: 

Is the non-publication of the risk register because it contains the closure of 50+ hospitals? 


I’ve managed to visualise my understanding of the mythical “colour wheel” that I have been recently introduced to.

I’m beginning to understand “how” things might clash (or not clash) but have not yet received a satisfactory “why” it is a good or bad thing. Apparently fashion has a dirty hand in whether something that clashes is good or not, but fashion (from what I can tell) is a constantly changing co-efficient that is modulated by a third factor (“style”) in order for you to put together a sociably acceptable outfit.

As you can see from above I have been starting to put another equation together. If there is an “average” dress protocol to be followed, then this must be factored against a chosen colour combination (there’s a table of values to be made for supplying this number) and the ‘style’ inversely proportional to some - currently unknown - ‘fashion’ factor.

There’s also shade to consider, but I’m going to leave that particular variable alone for the time being…

My warrior, Charles, just remembering that he left the kettle on 8 hours ago.

I’ll clean him up and color him when I have some extra time, but for now, I’m just happy that the scan turned out pretty good, and I didn’t have to edit it too much to get to this point.

Why I am leaving party politics

nb Anyone intending to publish excerpts of this statement must obtain written permission from the author and agree to provide a clearly marked link to the complete text within their article.

Today I am leaving the world of party politics in order to see out my term as an independent councillor in the ward of St Paul’s, Cheltenham. It is my intention to continue to serve my community until the end of my term as councillor in 2016 and until then will answer only to them.

For the last two years I have tried to reconcile my own personal political beliefs with operating within our current political system. I feel I can no longer continue and this is the only motivation for this decision. 

This conclusion has been reached following conversations with family, friends, neighbours and a number of residents in St Paul’s – all of whom have been very understanding and supportive of my decision.

As an independent councillor I hope I can provide a different perspective on Cheltenham Borough Council and those who serve this town. With no greater political agenda to be associated with, I hope I will be able to answer my residents and town with only myself to hold to account.

In this sense I hope everyone will understand that I am not just leaving the Liberal Democrats, I am leaving the system of organised political groups that exist in our council chambers and indeed the UK. In the simplest terms I feel that much of what is wrong with the party system is caused by the conflict of interests created by those serving both their parties and the people they have been elected to represent. This is a personal belief that includes every party, everywhere and is exclusive to no one. It is also one of the reasons I have found it difficult to engage with our current political structure. I can appreciate why this might be difficult to understand for some people operating within this system.

With this move I hope to highlight something I feel is positive about our town – that our council is actually rather well run on the whole (by both councillors and officers) and that Cheltenham benefits from many caring people who want the best for a place they truly love. Again, an ethic I think prevails from all corners of our council chamber.

I hope moving to an independent position will not be cause for political point scoring by either the other political groups or press. After seeking advice from my community I have had conversations with both the leader of the council and our MP to explain why I have made my decision. I will continue to support the good work of those who wish to help Cheltenham and will continue to work closely with Cllr Jon Walklett in representing St Paul’s.

If you want to speak to me about this decision please get in touch directly – I am happy to discuss this with any resident of the town. Anything else you may read/hear/see about this decision in any context is idle conjecture - and should be treated as such.

I can only hope this message is received with the sincerity and honesty with which it was intended.

Cllr Andrew Lansley


DAY 16

Averaged dressed male in average work day clothes. Nothing original about today again, starting to see my dress code is a bit one dimensional. This is starting to illustrate the effect of buying similar clothes in multiples. Is this lazy or economical buying? Do people think I wear the same clothes everyday and don’t wash them? Does anyone actually notice at all?

Who knows, but I’m certainly wondering if I’ll dress differently at the weekend.


T-shirt: Next, £6 (2 for £10)

Trousers: Blue Inc

Shoes: Onitsuka Tigers £40

Jacket: H&M, £15

superwomanjonahyusufandtheman said: oh yes! as an outsider to the UK at the moment I’m not sure about Nick’s politics and agenda but definitely, national health policy IS about national values and national identity. In the meantime take charge of your health and wellness responsibly!

RIP Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrats - 12th May 2010. 

On that date, Nick Clegg had managed to drive his party to their coffin for the next 10 years, at least. Since the creation of the coalition he has become something of a protegé in breaking promises. Yet NHS reforms, however, are not one of these promises.

During the election of 2010, he was also pro dismantling of NHS, so to speak. He wanted a more “European style of health service” which esssentially meant a move towards free-market health. Nick Clegg and David Cameron are both completely and utterly out of touch from reality with regards to the NHS service.

The most incredible system in this country of ours is health system. It’s what I consider to be arguably the most substantial weight over the United States, and other developed countries which succumb to capitalist ideals and force their civilians to pay obscene amounts of healthcare. 

Healthcare is absolutely a right that we all have, and it should be readily available at the point of use for free.