I slept so much yesterday, after they increased the Ketamine and Midazolam, that by midnight I was wide awake and contemplating the world and all its meaning. As you do.
I spent a fair amount of time debating with myself the meaning of the word ‘friend’. To me, someone like ‘Old Holborn’, David Rose, James Gillespie or ‘Blocked Dwarf’ is a friend. Neither have asked anything of me; I have never had to lend them money, or been asked to lie on their behalf. They have just been there, quietly in the background of my life, ready to share in the good moments, supportive in the bad moments. I trust I have been the same for them. We have met in real life; shared a coffee or two. Met each other’s partners, been welcome in each other’s homes. Neither have run away squealing ‘don’t include me’ when it looked as though being ‘friends’ with me might be inconvenient. That is my definition of a friend.
The Internet, it seems, has a different definition of a ‘friend’. To the Internet, someone is a ‘friend’ if they ‘follow’ you by ticking on a box. This is a strange definition. It has no tangible content. An anonymous stranger ticks on a box – an act you play no part in – and henceforth they are your ‘friend’. You never meet. You do not speak. There is no mutual exchange of goodwill, in fact it would appear that the only part you can play in this game is to be punished for having this person as a ‘friend’. The Internet friends have lots of different names. Janette Scharenbourg is apparently a ‘friend’ of mine because she phoned me on Facetime and talked about her illness. Then people appeared on my timeline saying that ‘the welsh woman’ was my friend, or the ‘tulip lady’ or ‘the dutch lady’. I’m supposed to know who this is. Not only know who this is, but hang my head in shame for this person being my ‘friend’. You start getting DMs explaining that that ‘tulip lady’ is Janette Scharenbourg and that she has been trolling someone called Sonia Poulton who you also have never heard of, along with Simon Just who works with Barbara Hewson and who hates Old Holborn. Then you start getting DMs saying that someone else you have never heard of is never going to speak to you again because you are friends with the ‘tulip lady’.
It’s an odd world. For days I got DMs from someone called addeybob. He was very helpful. Obviously knew a lot about palliative care. Gave me reams of advice about cannabis liquids I think they were, and how they could help me manage the pain. Ever so friendly and helpful. Then suddenly one night he said it made him sick to see me ‘bigging up’ Old Holborn’ (I hadn’t mentioned Old Holborn at all!) and told me to ‘sort it’ – then blocked me so whatever I was supposed to sort, I couldn’t have sorted anyway! I have no idea what that is all about. Has ‘addeybob’ ticked a box somewhere saying I am a friend of his? Will someone else come along and hurl abuse across the cyber waves at me for being a ‘friend’ of ‘addeybobs’? Because if Janette manages to be a ‘friend’ of mine for phoning me once, then surely he is a ‘friend’ of mine for DMing me a dozen times?
Both Blocked Dwarf and Old Holborn, and indeed David Rose and James Gillespie, have opinions on some subject that I don’t agree with, but it is just one opinion on one subject, such a small part of the whole person, that it doesn’t impinge on the friendship and warmth I feel towards them. I am sure I hold views on some subjects that they don’t agree with – I have always been anti-abortion, and I know that at least one of them would disagree profoundly with me on that subject, but because we know each other ‘in the round’ as it were, in real life, we manage to stay friends, friends with diverging views. It seems that in cyber land, you must hold identical views or be shunned forever. A strange world with strange consequences if you fall foul of its rules.
Truth is another issue in cyberworld. I believe in the truth.
If I didn’t believe in the truth I would never have written the original posts on Duncroft. I couldn’t just write ‘Bebe Roberts is lying, Savile wasn’t at Duncroft in 1965′ – I had to write the whole story, how I came to be there, how I knew she was lying’. That cost me dear, because many people were embarrassed at me revealing my background. They didn’t want to be associated with someone who had such an ‘awkward’ family background. It didn’t fit in with their social milieu; they would have preferred that I lied. My family are embarrassed to be seen in a photograph with me because I didn’t go to the right schools, and didn’t follow the right career path. I didn’t have their choices. I did the best that I could with what I had. I’m embarrassed to be seen in photograph with them actually – I know how many lies they conceal. They are still my family, so their photograph stays on my profile. They are the best I have.
Amanda Savile wanted me to lie. She has turned her back on me because I told the truth. She says the truth has embarrassed her and her family. That hurt me greatly because I have supported her for five years. Listened to all her worries and concerns, tried to offer advice that might help her, tried to be a friend, albeit a cyber friend, for we have only met once when she wanted me to take part in a programme to be made by Louis Theroux – then she found out that Louis was planning to tell the truth and she didn’t want to take part in that programme any longer. It was never made.
Then there was Sister Frances. A friend of hers wrote to me asking me to write about her because the main stream media were not writing her story of why she had been banned from the hospice she founded. So I did a lot of research and wrote the story. I linked back to all the documents and newspaper stories I had found so everyone could check out what I said and make their own mind up. As soon as it was published I had Ros Burnett on the phone to me saying Sister Frances wanted the article taken down. Why? Had I got something wrong, left something out? I said if I had, I would issue an apology and a correction straight away. No, I hadn’t got anything wrong, nor left anything out – I had written the truth, and she didn’t like seeing the truth in print. Now Sister Frances is in charge of FACT, the organisation for the falsely accused, and I am in the dog house for writing the truth.
I thought Gloria Smudd was my friend. I have known her for ten years. Originally when I left Anorak, she and I were going to write a blog together, but she had huge family problems, and I spent hours listening to her on the phone trying to sort things out for her. There are some subjects that I have never written about for fear it would upset her, even though they were subjects I should have been writing about. Eventually they were sorted but another huge family problem arose and I spent another five years or so listening to her tears and trying to help her through it. Eventually that was sorted, and Lo! another family family problem arose. Again I would spend hours listening to her. Ten years had gone by and she had never contributed more than a couple of articles to the blog – but by that time I had become immersed in false allegations – and she decided that she didn’t even want to comment on the blog in case anyone realised who Gloria Smudd was in real life. That hurt. Someone else who can’t face the truth, wants it hidden away behind lies.
I won’t lie for these people.
I won’t pretend that Old Holborn isn’t a friend of mind to please someone hiding behind a false name that I have never met.
I never made any pretence of the fact that the media were welcome to use my ‘story’ in anyway that would publicise the NHS Litigation Fund issue. I didn’t put any restrictions on what they were allowed to say about me, or not say. My only request was that the faces of my grandchildren be pixellated.
The things Barbara Hewson has been saying are beyond offensive. To suggest that Andrew Rosthorne ‘couldn’t be arsed’ to come down to London for the count is simply untrue. It was going to cost him £600 to stay in London overnight. I told him it wasn’t necessary. Then Barbara asked him if she could be his deputy. I thought it was a great idea, she said she wanted to write an article for the Spectator. It seemed a wonderful opportunity for her to meet Jeremy Corbyn. I am shocked that she is mixed up with these people – people who have run vicious trolling campaigns against numerous people.
My inbox is filled with screenshots going back years from people who thought they were alone, frighted people, people with panic alarms fitted in their homes, because they have been cyber bullied for holding the wrong opinion, or being friends with the wrong people. Frankly if the Internet closed down tomorrow I shouldn’t mourn its loss. It was a great idea, but one that has played into the hands of the wrong people.
I shall continue to write. Perhaps not every day. Today I slept most of today, including thorugh most of a visit from some dear friends on their way to Cyprus – I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. After the week-end I shall be moved to one of the several community hospitals in this area. I shall be sad to leave this room, but unfortunately, other people have seen Ms Hewson’s Tweets and more phone calls have been made to my local health authority – whether by Ms Hewson, or by others who thought they would help her campaign along by joining in, I don’t know; they have all been anonymous – but the sum effect is that my Doctor is concerned about the situation and wants me moved somewhere where I can have peace and quiet and write to my hearts content, without worrying about who might be coming to the door next. She is as angry as Mr G is now.
I am lucky in having had the same palliative care Doctor for some years now, and she is well aware of what a beneficial effect writing has on me, and is determined that I am able to continue to do what I can, for as long as I can, in peace and quiet. I want to tackle the area of Elder abuse, and also the situation regarding GPs leaving in their droves because they cannot afford the new insurance rates for working part time. I want to look at Grenfell Towers and the Corbynistsa move for a revolution in the streets to depose Theresa May and her government – but with the dead still uncounted, it doesn’t seem decent to start apportioning blame. I shall continue to engage politely on Twitter – I seem to have acquired several new cyber friends on Twitter and so long as they wish to debate politely, then I shall continue to converse with them. I will not be drawn into taking ‘sides’ with anyone. I don’t so ‘sides’. I do truth.
That is me. I am what I am. Don’t read me if you don’t like it.
To those of my commentators who have found me here – welcome. The virtual pub is open and will be as long as I have breath in my body. Your familiar faces are a welcome boost to me.