Ouch Too

Forum => Talk => Topic started by: Sunny Clouds on 16 Mar 2021 07:42PM

Title: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 16 Mar 2021 07:42PM
Although I haven't been posting, I have been thinking of you all and hoping you're ok.

I still don't quite understand the not secure stuff or whatever it is with the padlock warning, but I don't use the same password here as anywhere else, so maybe that's ok?

Anyway, lots of love to you all.

I'm struggling with stuff at the moment, both on the personal front, trying to sort out stuff to do with family and probate, and doing my usual doom-and-gloom about politics, but I've some lovely neighbours, which cheers me up. 

As I've said to various people in shops, I've been missing my barn dancing but 'socially distanced shopping' is almost as good as we swirl round one another in the aisles and doorways, a sort of 1.5m do-si-do.

:big_hugs:
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: JLR2 on 16 Mar 2021 07:52PM
:big_hugs:
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunshine Meadows on 17 Mar 2021 12:44PM
Sunny Clouds,

It is lovely to see you here and posting. 

I hope you are able to find a way through your current struggles. Family and probate can be so tough to deal with, it is important that you stand up for yourself whenever possible.

He he we did country dancing at school when I was 11 there was something about having a partner holding me and knowing the steps we were going to be doing that meant CP did not stop me 'floating' through the air.  I have not been out and about so not been part of the social distancing do-si-do. It might be similar to the one that people do when there is a wheelchair in the cereal aisle at Tesco's.

The Ouch Too website did not have a SSL Certificate for a while but the recent Go Fund me has meant the certificate is now affordable so we have one. The padlock indicates that the website is secure and means that security software won't be flagging it up as maybe unsafe. The rules and aims for the site have become more relaxed and people are just going with the flow. Maybe like the family people find when their own family is less than hmmm good.

:big_hugs:
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 17 Mar 2021 06:55PM
Wotcha Sunny, been wondering where you were...


Quote
....'socially distanced shopping' is almost as good as we swirl round one another in the aisles and doorways, a sort of 1.5m do-si-do.
:f_laugh:  yeah, it's just like that!
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 17 Mar 2021 10:02PM
The barn dancing I went to for a year before lockdown is very flexible and so long as you have a certain amount of  movement, you can do it.  There was one man with dementia and we used to sort of steer him round between us.

Early in lockdown, I was going out once a week to the shops and/or pharmacy, then once to near a neighbour's house where he was doing a weekly gig on some open space.  Lots of neighbours, all socially spaced.  Then in the autumn, he moved it to zoom.

I've been going out more over the winter, not least because I still haven't got it together to buy a new washing machine, which broke down about a year ago now, so in the colder months, I started using the local launderette once a fortnight.  I also started eating biscuits, which I'd previously given up, and sometimes went out in the evening to buy more.

I've got so much stuff I haven't done.  So much time spent on my computer, blotting out the depression by playing games (easy ones like sudoku, codewords, jigsaws) vaguely listening to news or music on Youtube.  I eat biscuits and pick my skin (my dermatillomania goes back to childhood and is currently attacking my hands, or rather I'm currently attacking them).

I've been posting on an Archers messageboard I go on, where there's a general discussion area, but it gets too politically stressful for me and three times in the last year I've taken a break from the board. 

I think I should be going out in the fresh air more and I'm not.  I feel for all those that are not going out, either because they can't or because they'd be unwise to.  At least for me, it's a choice, albeit because of not coping mentally.

I wonder whether you all realise how much difference you've collectively made to my life over the years.  I'd  never have coped with the worst of my ataxia before it went into remission without you lot.  Even seemingly little things like telling me about double tap falls (i.e. what was happening to me didn't just happen to me and had a name), and before that, when my vision got appalling, telling me about ambutec canes with rover wheels and pointing me to the RNIB who helped me.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: ditchdwellers on 18 Mar 2021 09:30AM
Hi Sunny,

It's lovely to see you again. I've been away for a long time and just found my way recently to this wonderful community. 
I always remember your solid, thoughtful advice and contributions to discussions. You talk about how much you gained from being part of this community,  however I always remember you giving far more than taking. 

Dancing in all it's forms, is just brilliant!  I met my husband Morris dancing. Our eyes met over a slurp of ale and a jingle of bells, and the rest is history   :heart:
Sadly we both gave up dancing after my final dance ended up with me dislocating my knee cap (again) down a rabbit hole on top of a hill at sundown one summer solstice. Typical  :biggrin:
We do miss it though. Still got all our kit.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: JLR2 on 19 Mar 2021 08:23AM
Good morning everyone, Sunny regarding your washing machine being replaced I can only think to suggest you contact your energy supplier to ask if they are part of the 'White goods scheme'  where energy suppliers provide (at no cost) things like fridges/freezers, cookers and washing machines to qualifying customers. This is a scheme I've mentioned before here on Ouch and recently ended up with a new under-counter freezer and a fridge.

DD, I'm sorry to hear about your knee cap dislocating again, I know just how painful this dislocation can be. Is it something that has been happening to you regularly and do you like me get no warning of it being about to happen?
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 19 Mar 2021 09:37PM
My problem isn't being able to afford a machine thanks to my father dying, it's choosing one, plus a series of silly events. 

(Scroll on by the details if you're not in the mood for a washing machine saga.)

I dithered, then finally chose one but wanted to look in the shop, but lockdown happened.  So I dithered then thought maybe buy secondhand and found a cheap one as a stop-gap then spare, only to realise I needed transport and I didn't know how to buy off gumtree...

I kept dithering then thought how I love my old machine and called a local, very long-established repair company who sent someone out for £60.  It took him maybe 5 min at most to tell me the machine couldn't be repaired.  If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have realised that a replacement motor for that model would no longer be available because the machine is around 15 years old, and that he'd have known that before coming out.  He told me if I bought a machine from his shop, I'd get free delivery and they price-match.

I went to the shop and got very uncomfortable hard-sell for a machine for £450.  I noted the number of the machine I was being pushed to buy, went home and checked online the prices in various shops.  None were selling that model for more than £299.  That includes shops that sell in-store, not just online shops like AO.

I dithered then thought I'd buy the one I'd first chosen.  Nope, sold out, couldn't find it elsewhere.  Settle for a similar model?  Hang on, credit card expired, why no new one?  Reported it lost.  Bank sent out replacement signed for, Royal Mail returned it marked 'no longer at this address'.  What?!

Finally, after several weeks, I got a new credit card but I'd run out of emotional strength.

The problem is that I want a machine that's white (no big black ring round the front) and one I can use without being able to see the digital display, just the knobs and buttons.  I don't mind if it's freestanding or integrated (i.e. with hinges for cupboard doors).  There are some brands I won't touch.

I've decided to ask neighbours to search for me and come up with a list of about 8-12. 

The display thing may seem daft, but my 'night vision' is fading a bit again.  I think it may be to do with my cataracts, which seem to be growing fast, although the clouds of debris from my vitreous detachments don't help.  So I might be able to see a display now, but I don't want a machine that could be useless in two or three years.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: JLR2 on 20 Mar 2021 07:13AM
Morning sunny, I have an idea of what you are going through regarding choosing a washing machine. I was going to recommend the machine I have, a Spanish built Bosch, but thought I'd have a quick look on the web to see what the current prices are for the one I have. Having done my search I ended up reading about some of the experiences of others who have bought the same machine as me and to be honest had I read these experiences before I bought my machine I would probably not have bought it.

That said my machine has been and is working fine with no issues that I have noticed but, and yes I guess there's always a but, I fear this might be down to my not using my machine as much as many who perhaps have a family wash to do every week so it might be that the regular washing I have done have not been straining the machine, particularly the drum bearings which appear to be one of the main problems other owners have mentioned. The weight capacity of my machine is 8kg and with my being one my own it's not likely for me to be needing to use that capacity, certainly not on a weekly basis.

The washing machine I miss most is the old Hoover twin tub I had, just filled it from my hot water tap and off it went. My old twin tub was from the era of metal based bodies for twin tubs rather than what I found was available when I was looking for a new machine. All the twin tubs I managed to find were plastic bodied and intended, it seems, for camping motor home/caravan type settings.

I'm sorry I can't be of much help with your search for a new machine, on the bright side today here in the Highlands it's now raining......yet :f_smiley:
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 20 Mar 2021 09:02PM
That's cheating using rain instead of a washing machine.   :f_whistle:
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: JLR2 on 21 Mar 2021 07:47AM
Awe come oan, it save using the rinse feature :f_laugh:
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Fiz on 22 Mar 2021 06:01AM
Lovely to see you Sunny! 

I could probably count on one hand the amount of happy memories in my childhood but one of them was of going to a barn dance with my Mum. It was in a large barn on a farm and we sat on hay bales around the edge of the barn when resting between dances. I must have been about 10, I absolutely loved it. 

Sorry to hear about the washing machine saga the most unpleasant bit is the local dealer taking you for a ride especially. If ever I buy an appliance I buy from John Lewis and get them to install it. With them their reputation matters and they have on a few occasions repaired appliances free of charge despite them being officially out of warranty. Twice they replaced things with brand new items despite being out of warranty. As a not very hands on female I feel reassured that they have my back. If they could just pop out and clean my oven for me that'd be great!
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 22 Mar 2021 08:00PM
It was a machine in John Lewis that I liked and that they sold out of.  It was expensive, but it was a Bosch.  The one I've got that died was a Bosch. 

I'm dithering horribly about so much.

As for being taken for a ride, I've got a big emotional crisis these days over trusting professionals, tradesmen, utility companies, public services etc.

Over the years, I have been ripped off, cheated, let down, lied to or whatever by...

...solicitors, plumbers, builders, roofers, joiners, gutter & window cleaners, boiler/heating service people, alarm companies, fuel companies, cable/telephone companies, electrical repairmen, landlords, police, some council departments, DWP & contractors, HMRC etc.

I had a right royal saga with banks and building societies using my power of attorney when Dad had dementia, then after he died.  Banks in a pickle, banks doing daft things, banks losing documents etc.  I have just plucked up courage to open another account at a different bank (to deal with more of Dad's estate) and had a telephone appointment for today.  I didn't receive the call.  After an hour or so, I telephoned the call centre who said they'd send an internal email.  Still nothing.  I'm still intermittently crying.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: lankou on 22 Mar 2021 08:05PM
That's cheating using rain instead of a washing machine.  :f_whistle:
Extreme clothes washing (Youtube link.)


How Nordic people do the laundry - YouTube



<iframe width="725" height="408" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IBkOOYbPrAo" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBkOOYbPrAo&t=5s)
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 22 Mar 2021 09:41PM
That's cheered me up no end.

Incidentally, for most of last year, I was hand-washing before starting to use a local launderette.  Each week, I grumbled a bit as I squeezed the water out of my laundry.  Not having a washing machine is one thing, but oh for a mangle!  Things dry so quickly when they've been put through the mangle, and with a bit of practice, they come out almost as if you'd ironed them as well.

Being without a machine but being able to afford a launderette reminds me of the days when if you were on the dole or on the sick and you were getting income support, you could get a laundry allowance if you didn't have a bath or big sink to wash sheets etc.  Could you imagine the last few governments, New Labour, Coalition, Tory providing that?  I'm going to the launderette once a fortnight with two batches, one pale and one dark, £4 each batch for washing.  That doesn't include soap or drying.  If you've enough money, it's nothing and I'm ok for it these days.  There were times when I wasn't and I know that all around me there are people that aren't.  With every trip to the launderette I tell myself to remember how lucky I am.  A lot of the time, I'm too depressed to hold onto the thought, so things like that help.

Incidentally, sorry I'm still long-winded as ever, but you all know it's ok to scroll on by.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: JLR2 on 24 Mar 2021 06:58AM
I've been wondering if anyone makes suits like that worn by Cary Grant in the movie North by North West, you know the one that you can wash whilst having a shower?

Reading the pages of the Guardian there and for whatever reason it just dawned on me it wasn't Charade but North by North West that Grant had the shower scene in :f_doh:
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunshine Meadows on 24 Mar 2021 09:39AM
I love the way this thread meanders  :thumbsup:

The mentioning of a laundry allowance reminded me that I used to get a shoe allowance I think it was less than £2.00 a week.

A suit that can be washed in the shower hmm now I am thinking of the film The Man in the White Suit starring Alec Guinness. If memory serves correct the suit unravels at the end and the people chasing the main character no longer see the suit material as a threat to capitalism. I have polyester fleeces that seem to be wearing well, but I do worry some about how the washing machine can cause particles of fleece to end up polluting the sea. There is no way I could hand wash them though way too heavy when wet. I remember the old twin tubs, being the youngest and poorest in the family I ended up with a hand me down one. The dials did not work properly so it had to be switched on and off at the wall plug. The spinner also kept spinning when I open the lid so getting the washing done was quite an event. Back then I was more able and getting the washing done and on the whirly gig drier was satisfying. Using a automatic front loader can feel like every day is wash day.

Sunny,

https://www.rnib.org.uk/connect-community/connect-technology/rnib-and-miele-launch-washing-machine-designed-people-sight-loss

:f_smiley:
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 24 Mar 2021 02:41PM
That's an interesting washing machine. More dithering!

As for clothes, I'm not sure if I've mentioned (and I'm too lazy to scroll) how handwashing, then launderette, made me think about how often I wash things.

I suddenly realised after I'd been handwashing for a while how much needs washing far less often than I did, although a couple of things need washing more often.  With experimenting, I've realised I can wear the same long-sleeved T-shirt all day plus overnight for two days in a row.  I'm not sure if that will work in summer, but I'll see.   On the other hand, a shower-towel used 2-3 times a week can last over two months in warm weather if hung over the bannisters where it dries fast.

I suppose it maps onto housework.  I've got sloppy with housework, but again I ask myself, how often does a kitchen or bathroom floor actually need mopping?  How often does a carpet actually need vacuuming?  On the other hand, a neighbour came round the other day to sort out something practical for me and afterwards I looked at how much dust there is on surfaces in my study.  Eek.

I've just taken time out from typing to open all my windows for a spring house-airing.  There's a window I'd stopped using because the allen-key lock is jammed.  I've a spare lock but no confidence to fix it.  Daft.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: KizzyKazaer on 25 Mar 2021 11:53AM
Quote
Being without a machine but being able to afford a launderette reminds me of the days when if you were on the dole or on the sick and you were getting income support, you could get a laundry allowance if you didn't have a bath or big sink to wash sheets etc.
Ah,that was in the good old days - pre-April 1988 - of Supplementary Benefit, which Income Support replaced.  One used to be able to get various 'add-ons' to that, like the laundry allowance you mention.  There were a few others, not that I can remember them now! (the shoe allowance is a new one on me)  Also there were actual grants, not 'Social Fund' loans, and they were even available to people signing on, as opposed to the Community Care Grant which only a relative few could claim.  And the DWP was the DHSS, which personally I thought was a much better name.... Now I'm really going down Memory Lane :f_wah:



As for washing clothes, doing it by hand really sucks when it comes to wringing out the water - certainly a good old-fashioned mangle would be helpful there and I've often wished for a mini-version on the occasions where I  handwash my smalls!
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 25 Mar 2021 01:33PM
Supplementary benefit?  How could I have forgotten?

As for DHSS, I should know that as well, and that's prompting something else - wasn't it DSS before that?  A close relative of mine (now deceased) was an appeal tribunal chair.  They probably insist on being called judges now, but his 'qualification' to do it was as a magistrate and having sat on other tribunals like the rent tribunal.  Gosh, more memories - a time when there were limits to how far landlords were allowed to rip you off.

Meandering, but it's the entwining of that and benefits and disability...(doom and gloom followed by a little non-gloom)...

Where I live, as in various other large urban areas in England (don't know about rest of UK), there's an issue with 'exempt housing'.  If anyone reading this doesn't know (and I only do because of news stories about it) the situation is that if a landlord wants to bung loads of people in a house, turning it into a house of multiple occupancy (HMO) he finds he's subject to loads of regulations; but if he fills it with people who need some support and says he's providing it, he avoids most of the regulations relating to HMOs and his tenants, who are on benefits, get a higher rate of money for their rent and it gets paid direct to their landlord, who doesn't have to be vetted or prove he's actually providing any real support.

In some cities, there are thousands or even tens of thousands of such tenants crammed into properties, sometimes several properties in a single road.  This results in places where neighbours are having to deal with behaviour prompted by various sorts of severe mental illness, drug/alcohol misuse/addiction, aftermath of trauma from domestic abuse or sudden loss of home & job etc. 

Care in the community had its failings, but at the outset DLA wasn't a nightmare to get,  and local authorities and the NHS still had enough funding to provide a fair bit of support. We've seen how that's deteriorated and the informal term Don't care in the community's been around for a good few years now.  But whereas some of us still call being in a psychiatric unit being in the 'bin', metaphorically this exempt housing isn't even dustbins, they're just roadside tipping.

Never mind, make people whose lives fall apart visibly undesirable and they can be blamed or more to the point victim-blamed.  Oh look, problems in our society aren't caused by politicians (so we don't need to argue whether they're malicious or incompetent or not-bothered or whatever) they're caused by these visible 'parasites'.  Well, treat someone like rats, they'll soon be like hungry rats, eating the food others abandon and being smelly for want of somewhere nice & clean to live. 

Gosh, I'm ranty, ranty about that sort of thing still.  Be thankful I'm resisting the temptation to go into wider political issues.

Well anyway whilst there may have been cuts to social security, people do donate free 'kindness'.   The 'kindness banks' in communities can be a bit stretched, but I'm still getting free 'kindness parcels' from my neighbours.  

I seem to have some 'hugs' left over from the 'parcel' my neighbour gave me the other day.  Have some...

:f_hug: :f_hug: :f_hug:

Oh, and this was in with them as well...

:f_peacedove:
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: lankou on 25 Mar 2021 03:03PM
Supplementary benefit?  How could I have forgotten?

As for DHSS, I should know that as well, and that's prompting something else - wasn't it DSS before that? 
The Department of Stealth and Total Obscurity.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 25 Mar 2021 05:18PM
Supplementary benefit?  How could I have forgotten?

As for DHSS, I should know that as well, and that's prompting something else - wasn't it DSS before that?
The Department of Stealth and Total Obscurity.
There's a phrase I'd forgotten.  It's those little phrases that make things more manageable.

I read Private Eye and in the midst of the gloom and corruption exposés that rarely seem to bother the people they're about, there are those plays on words, like referring to Capita as Crapita.  I wish I could think up an alternative name for Maximus to recommend to them.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunshine Meadows on 25 Mar 2021 08:17PM
:big_hugs: :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Fiz on 26 Mar 2021 10:09AM
Gosh I claimed income support in February 1989 I had no idea then that it was such a new benefit. I remember it was £75 per week which when you compare it to either IR ESA or JSA basic rate was a King's ransome! They also paid the interest on your mortgage from day one of your claim.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 26 Mar 2021 10:25AM
The psychology of the changes is hideous and the more I've thought about this sort of thing over the years, the more aware I've become how affected we are by what I'll call automatic underlying assumptions and beliefs.

This is the one where high flyers see themselves as being motivated by rewards but poor people motivated by penalties.  Ironically, I can see a semi-logic there.  After all, they were motivated by rewards and were successful, but the other people weren't successful, therefore rewards didn't motivate them, so try penalties instead.  Hmm.  Like that dreadful thing they tell children that "You can be anything you want to be."  For a few years now, I've been challenging people who tell children that "What if thirty children nationally each year want to be prime minister, and five hundred want to win an olympic gold?"

Am I allowed to mention my favourite incentive absurdity that I doubt will never be understood by the majority of politicians?  It's to do with prison sentences.  It's common practice in a range of countries to have more than one length of sentence for the same person.  It's described in different ways.  Let's take a simple version and use a non-standard way of describing it.  "Five or ten."

It works this way.  If you go to prison and you behave well and seem to be reformed, you get out after five years, but if you don't do what you're supposed to, you serve ten years.

If you call it something like "ten years with five off for good behaviour" (which is the sort of description we use in this country) then the tabloids and Priti Patels of this world will kick up a fuss saying prisoners should serve their full sentence.  It makes good headlines.

But actually the 'full' sentence is five years.  Ok, so why not say "Five years, but if you don't behave, we'll give you another five"?

Because if saying that if they don't behave they'll get a punishment of five years in prison worked, they wouldn't be there in the first place, would they?  So for the sake of society and the safety of prison guards and other prisoners, you turn it upside down, tell them the sentence is twice as long and offer them a 'reward' for good behaviour.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 26 Mar 2021 10:43AM
Which is the same as benefits.

Offer lots of punishments.

I wonder whether the people in government that introduce and maintain the sort of benefits systems we have now have ever actually been hungry or known anyone that has been.

The irony is that I don't think the previous, kinder levels of social security were intended to be 'generous'.  I think they were intended to be practical.  It's just that certain politicians bought into their own rhetoric.  I doubt, though, that those same politicians would hire a constituency office worker, even one in a job they'd consider menial like a cleaner, if that person turned up looking a bit grubby and scruffy, maybe even a bit smelly. 

Not because the applicant doesn't care, but because they can't afford enough soap powder, shampoo, sanitary towels etc.  They can't afford a haircut but no one's taught them to cut their hair. 

And maybe they need a bit of disability kit they can't afford because either their PIP is too low or they don't get it at all.  Maybe they can't concentrate because they're hungry.

Then there are people like me.  Got in the psychiatric system after a breakdown.  Got back into work.  So many blasted appointments, endlessly changing, leaving me distraught for days that I couldn't cope with my full-time job as well.  I'd call a team meeting then my nurse would call and I'd have to cancel.  Yes, I was a berk not to say no, I can't come, but I wasn't brought up that way.

So I dropped down to part-time but it still wasn't sustainable, so I gave up and just focussed on voluntary work and studying.

However, the benefits system got nastier and I got more scared. Terrified as each bit of voluntary work ended that if I took on more, someone trying to hit targets would say it's a change of circumstances and reassess everything.

I oscillate between feeling ashamed of my cowardice and reminding myself that it's a logical response.  I'm not arguing others shouldn't do voluntary work.  I'm just saying that personally, I don't feel able to take the risk.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: JLR2 on 26 Mar 2021 01:19PM
A few thoughts. Volunteering is a non starter on disability benefits, volunteer and the DWP can end disability benefits in an instant the idea being if you're fit enough to volunteer you're fit enough to work. A few years back I asked my MP during a local constituency party meeting if were I to volunteer to either do leaflet drops or drive would be voters to polling stations would this affect my disability benefit entitlements and she came back to me, having looked into my question, to tell me yes it would, so for me no volunteering.

Regarding prison sentences, the early release resulting from "good behaviour" to my mind is a nonsense as for example someone convicted of burglary being released early because recently they have not broken into anyone's house, the rapist who has not committed rape since being jailed or the paedophile who has not abused any children whilst in prison is plain daft for the simple reason they were in prison.

With a very strenuous link to what I was just saying about one type of prisoner there I was curious following the news reporting of Prince Charlie's visit to Greece the other day and so did a wee search about Prince Philip's family and learnt a couple of things that were something of a surprise to me. One was the fact that a cousin of Prince Philip served with the SS during the Second World War and another died fighting for the Nazi's in Russia. however The biggest surprise to me was when I read of how when at the age of eighteen Prince Philip began writing to a Miss Elizabeth Windsor (HRH Princess Elisabeth) who at the time was a whole thirteen years old. Now this new knowledge had me thinking of a situation a SNP MSP found himself in when it was revealed he had been corresponding with a sixteen year old boy through the internet, the MSP lost his position as a minister in the Scottish government and I think has now left the party which given all the changes in society under the gay rights changes seems odd. Though it was a different period that Prince Philip was writing to a thirteen year old I cannot imagine such writings being tolerated nowadays without an odour of grooming emanating from it.
Title: Re: Thinking of you all
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 26 Mar 2021 06:34PM
Quote
Regarding prison sentences, the early release resulting from "good behaviour" to my mind is a nonsense as for example someone convicted of burglary being released early because recently they have not broken into anyone's house, the rapist who has not committed rape since being jailed or the paedophile who has not abused any children whilst in prison is plain daft for the simple reason they were in prison.


The point is, though, that the 'real' sentence is the shorter one, not the longer one.  The issue is how we describe it.  If you describe it differently, it's still the same sentence.  But the possibility of an extra period of time in prison acts to keep warders and other staff safe, and acts as an incentive to reform.

It's not about changing the sentence length.

Let's say that you're drafting legislation and you think that the fair sentence for committing a particular crime is 5 years.  Let's say that you think a fair sentence for what I'll call 'misbehaving' in prison is 5 years.

You have three main options to legislate for when sentencing such a prisoner.

1.  Sentence him to five years then prosecute him for a further offence if he misbehaves, with a sentence of five years, so that if he's good, he gets out after his original five years, and if he's not, he gets out after ten years (i.e. two five year sentences).

2.  Sentence him to five years basic sentence plus and extra five years (determined at time of original sentencing) if he misbehaves.

3.  Sentence him to ten years with the possibility of five years off for good behaviour. 

The way you do it makes no difference to how long he serves.   His punishment for the original crime is five years and he does another five if he's not good.  

What changes is how you describe it.

That's the problem in this country.  If someone in those circumstance is sentenced to ten years and can get five off for good behaviour, people conceptualise the real sentence as ten years.  It's not, it's five.  Either way there's an extra five years hanging over their head.

People used to understand this, but the media have gone to great lengths to distort it over the years.  It doesn't help safety in prisons or reform of prisoners to describe it as a sentence of five years then re-sentence later.  If that worked, they probably wouldn't have committed the offence in the first place.

Slightly better is where a sentence like that is described as something like a 'five to ten' but that can still be portrayed as people getting out early if they only do five. 

Yet the likes of Priti Patel and big news editors probably didn't get to where they are on the basis of incentives phrased as a lack of penalties.  It was almost certainly bonuses dangled under their noses that did the trick. 

Look at job ads for jobs with a range of pay.  They don't offer them as the higher salary but docking some if you don't do your job properly, they offer them as a lower salary but adding some if you do your job extra well.  Same salaries presented as carrots not sticks.  Having a salary range of £50k - £100k is the same whichever way you describe it, but the effect on motivation and sense of fairness is different.

But politicians and media moguls, don't do it the same turned upside down. When it's prison sentences not payscales, they use sticks not carrots, even though what motivates them is carrots, and it makes no difference to the actual figures.

So they play to their audience and pretend that someone sentenced to ten years with the possibility of five years off for good behaviour is 'really' being sentenced for ten years, not five years with an extra five years dangling over them.  This maps onto their rarely mentioning that many, many offences have a range of penalties that can be imposed.

So then they do that with benefits.  Dangling the threat of sanctions over people.  The difference there is that the basic benefits are so low that the penalties become absurd.

Think of a different aspect.  The old saying "Might as well be hanged for a sheep as for a lamb."  Because we don't live in an era where people in most of the world would be hanged for stealing a lamb, we take it as metaphorical.  But it was real.  When you could be hanged for stealing a lamb and you felt you needed or wanted to steal food, you had nothing to lose by stealing a sheep instead.

And when the likes of Priti Patel work on the basis of how people must serve their notional 'full sentence' (which is twice the existing 'real' sentence), they create an incentive to 'steal a sheep instead of a lamb'.  Vindictiveness wins over a safer society.