Sunday, January 21, 2007


is really exciting me at the moment.

I read Donna Tartt's "The Little Friend" over Christmas and I was bereft when I finished it - I eked out the last few pages as I did not want it to end. The atmosphere totally captivated me - it is one of the best books I have ever read. I seem to have a thing for books written from a young girl's viewpoint - "A Crime In The Neighbourhood" by Suzanne Berne, "Cat's Eye" my favourite Margaret Atwood, L P Hartley's "The Go-Between" and "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee all spring to mind as books I have loved.
22-1-07 Thanks to Alec for reminding me about "Lovely Bones" - a fantastically moving novel in the same category - Alice Sebold.

I am now reading "Alias Grace", one of the last un-read Atwood's in my collection. It's reminiscent of Sarah Waters' "Fingersmith", so far - and that was a brilliant read late last year too. I've yet to read her new book "Nightwatch" set in the second world war, but have heard great reviews.

Issue 2 of Subtext is out, and I read that from cover to cover - better than issue 1 (although quite hard to read sometimes due to the layout/ font) - it stimulated me to think a lot more about trafficking, and I have renewed my membership of Amnesty International on the back of it. It's only £3.50 with no ads - all produced by volunteers. Well worth it.

As far as work goes, I am reading the report of the investigation by the Healthcare Commission into abuse of people with learning disabilities in hospitals and care homes in London (Sutton and Merton) and Hastings - it's distressing and depressing but essential reading. The clear summary here is a quick outline of what went on. I am continually amazed by what humans can do to each other - particularly in the name of "care" - the abuse includes what amounts to imprisonment, torture and violence and would be a total scandal if the report was about children. Because the people affected are adults and find it hard to speak up for themselves, they are ignored by most of us and we allow this appalling treatment to continue. This is the second investigation into abuse of people with learning disabilities in NHS care in the last year - the Cornwall report came out in July 2006 with similar but more serious findings. The clear summary here is a quick outline of what went on in Cornwall - read it - please.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


women in senior positions.

According to the Equal Opportunities Commission publication "Sex and power: who runs Britain? 2007" - at the current rate of progess it will take…

Another 20 years to achieve equality in Civil Service top management.
Another 40 years to achieve an equal number of senior women in the judiciary.
Another 60 years to achieve an equal number of female directors of FTSE 100 companies.
Up to 200 years – another 40 elections – to achieve an equal number of women in Parliament.

"Where are the women missing from our boardrooms and public life?
If we hope to shatter the glass ceiling across the public and private sectors, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has calculated that we would need to find the nearly 6,000 women ‘missing’ from more than 33,000 top spots. The pace of change is painfully slow and in some cases is even going into reverse, so that is quite a challenge. This year, as the EOC publishes the final Sex and Power index before moving into the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) in October 2007, the EOC asks: Where are the women missing from our boardrooms and public life? What’s holding them back? And what price are
we – as a society and as employers – paying for their absence?"

The price is - the continuation of the patriarchy is confirmed.