“Come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.”William Shakespeare

Bill S was occasionally inclined to get a bit carried away about these things, but on New Year’s Eve you can see what he was getting at.

Won’t be doing much of the drinking tonight – duty calls – but will raise a glass to kindness, certainly.

It has been, as many people have noted, a year.

On the personal front…nah. Won’t go too much into that, at least not directly. Things I’ve learned, though, include the discovery that few things can be nastier than the backlash you get from people who are paid to care for the disabled when you point out their performance does not match what they claim.

You do get a “how DARE you?!” attitude. The disabled, and their carers, are supposed to be grateful for what they get. We’ve had a couple of years of this, from education and health providers. We’re articulate and we can be bolshie, and its left us cleaned out.

What the hell it must be like for those less well equipped I can only imagine.

Was discussing this with a fellow parent, who has been at this longer than us and who has multiple family disability issues, and who commented, “There’s always a payback,” when you complain. In this particular case, it is a realization which has come hard, and reluctantly, given this individual’s strong personal faith.

I’ll write more on this, another day, and perhaps elsewhere.

Professionally 2017 was a fascinating year. Loved it.

And the coming year will be 21 years in the press gallery. Nowhere near as long as many venerable veterans, but enough to make me think I should have a 21st party.

Just don’t expect me to do a yardie or a down trou.

Anyway, happy new year, all. Let us drink down all unkindness. Life is too short to do otherwise.


I normally have a fairly strong stomach for some of the games and hypocrisies of politics, and it takes a lot to make the needle on my personal Outrage-ometer move.

But the political response to the court decision which says carers of disabled can be paid the minimum wage for sleepovers sticks in my craw.

National can find the money for BMWs for ministers but can’t find the money to pay carers for the disabled the minimum wage for sleepovers.

That’s not a cheap shot.  Ministers have made noises about how their hands are tied on the issue of the luxury cars –  but they clearly didn’t try very hard to free their hands.

On the issue of minimum wage to pay carers for the disabled?  Wriggle wriggle, desperate wriggle.  They’re even talking a law change.

Labour are no better.  In office, they fought the carers tooth and nail on this issue.  They didn’t give a damn about them.

Yesterday Labour MPs’ nauseating glee at the decision turned my stomach. The callous and nasty political games being played on this are absolutely despicable.

‘Sleepover’ care for disabled people usually involves broken sleep.  (one outfit I know just calls them ‘wakeovers’ – but then that outfit also pays above the minimum wage.  A number of providers do, in fact -but the largest, IHC, does not).

It is hardly glamorous work, it often involves cleaning up shit and piss and trying to calm down frightened and anxious people who cannot communicate, or be communicated with, very easily.

They deserve better than to be politicians’ playthings.