Thankyou for forwarding my two previous correspondences to you, the one regarding Chinese medication, and the second regarding internet surveillance/ the snooper's charter. I don't know if you read the messages i got back, and whilst it appears nothing is going to happen with regards to the Chinese meds (apparently the present policy is correct), the response i had regarding the internet surveillance was both well thought out and considered (and ran to three full pages). I haven't actually had time to read the exact legislation put in place, he referenced, but the fact the security minister, presumably himself, took the time to write this full and detailed reply to me, is of great value to me.
There are two issues i would like to raise now. The first is regarding electoral fraud. I don't dispute the results of the election, clearly mr Miliband put up an inadequate platform, as to all extents it seems like my Corbyn is doing at present. But the point remains, that there are a number of key discrepancies in the electoral system, which i would really like to see addressed before we vote again.
The first is regarding voter identification. You have to have id to buy a pint of beer, a packet of cigarrettes, go to a nightclub, and drive. And i don't just mean fake id, they are very strict these days about the id that is accepted, basically a driving licence or a passport. So why is it that people are allowed to vote without this, maybe just by saying their name. Or even providing any old piece or letter. I am even aware that people have been allowed to vote wearing burkhas (full face masks). I understand the importance of respecting religious rights, and also the national franchise, basically allowing as many people as possible the right and ability to vote. But as I already said, i really can't understand why you can't buy a drink without id (and i have been stopped on more than one occasion from doing so, because i look too young, even though i am 35), which will only ever harm myself, but you can vote in a national election, which affects the whole country. This is a ridiculous situation. Please forward this concern to the relevant minister, and i am very much hoping that steps are being put in place, to resolve this concern before the next election.
With regards to the burkha, i also think that this shouldn't be allowed. By all means, get a private voting area, for the identity of the woman who wants to vote, to do so in private, or with female only staff, or something. But the fact is that we have already seen cases in the news of different people, even men, wearing burkhas to disguise their identity, and this isn't the middle east. I respect the religious freedoms of the individuals in this country, of all different believes, and even have some close Muslim friends, but i don't accept the right for burkhas to be worn in the voting booth. As i said already, by all means provide extra female staff and areas, if this is necessary, but given how close the votes have been, for Brexit for example, the ballot was only decided by a few thousand, this is also an issue which needs serious attention. I am fairly sure that burkhas can no longer be worn in court. The same needs to be ensured for voting.
Sorry if i have droned on. There is a second issue which i also want to raise, albeit, less important than the first. And that is regarding the rights representation, and also franchise for psychiatric patients. In 2010 i was in secure psychiatric detention, and despite my efforts to secure my right to vote a long time in advance, they kept on putting me off, then when it came to the time, i was told that i would be unable to vote, because i was of no fixed abode. I am not sure of the rights of prisoners to vote, i seem to remember hearing that they can, although i don't see how, because prison is in regards to living quarters, also kind of temporary.But you know i wanted to vote, and unlike most of the other patients, had a keen political eye, and kept attention on the news, even though i was in 24 hour lockup. So this is another point i would like you to address, and i suppose to some degree also concerns giving prisoners the right to vote, perhaps if they are deemed mentally able to do so, i don't know.
Also with regards to psychiatric patients, there seems to be inadequate representation/advocacy for those of us unfortunate to fall victim to this, at some parts of our lives. I understand that the welfare and safeguards, of not just the individual, but also the family and general public have to be paramount. But if someone is sectioned, on a holding section, then a section 3 (6 months renewed every six months, depending on the psychiatric reports), it ceases to be an independent affair, and the responsibilty of the individual's freedom basically falls on the nursing/psychiatric team.I have spent 7 months in 2005 7 months in 2007 9 weeks in 2008 (in kenya which cost me over £35 k private medical bills), and 28 months in 2009-2012, in secure British psychiatric lock up.I then went on to complete a degree, with a 2.1. And this basically proved them all wrong. And my mindset whilst doing the degree, was that if i could survive being on a section for all of these years, then a degree, should be like a walk in the park. And basically this analysis was correct.But the thing is, i know how easy it is to become 'trapped' by the system. Every time i get admitted, i go down hill within a matter of days. I don't know if it is something to do with something they put in the air, or just the feel of the place, the memories might trigger something in me. So then i end up doing years there.I don't consider it reasonable that i have had to waste three of the best years of my life in these hospitals. And neither should you.
So what can we do about this, to make sure that other people don't go through the same thing? Well i think there are two things we need to look at. Advocacy and procedure. With regards to advocacy, the fact that over the past few years, the government has worked in partnership with h uk, to provide an independent and fair representation for the service user, can only be a good thing. Perhaps send such advocates in to the mental health hospitals, to provide extra support. I understand that mind are supposed to do this as present, but when i was detained at c D in 2010-2011, i was not allowed by mind to see the mind representative who i had worked with, and had built up a relationship in the past (R S), instead allocated an incompetent individual, who i did't see eye to eye with, and quite frankly was of no use to me. Mind is still a good support for some people, just it wasn't for me. Perhaps address this issue to H uk, and see if the two organisations can work together?Finally regarding the legislation, too much power is given to consultants.
The last time i had a mental health act assesment was about a year ago, when two consultants (mine and a so called independent one), my communtiy nurse and an independent nurse who i had never seen before, piled in to my house. And they were all ready to sign me off and send me to hospital again, apart from i was able to make a last desperate appeal to my consultant doctor S D, (derby) and explain that if he put me in hospital again, he would be in affect throwing away my degree, which i had been working so hard over the last 7 years to achieve.
Cut a long story short, he agreed not to sign the paperwork, and thus i escaped hospital then. But the fact is that it is so easy to detain a 'mentally ill' person with just those few signatures, is quite frankly appalling, and this is the final point i wanted to raise with you Amanda. I don't know who the health minister is, you can forward this to, but if you would do so, i would also be very grateful.I understand that there has already been a lot of mental health legislation, and that a hell of a lot of initiatives and money has been pumped in to both the NHS and the mental health services in particular. But we are still not there yet, and much more work needs to be done.Thanks again for your time.(and sorry for the long email, i just had a lot to discuss!)