Thursday, 5 March 2009

Poor Daniel Gonzalez, let down by our 'caring society'

Another day, another tragedy. Another young man, seriously, terminally ill with schizophrenia is callously let down by our 'caring community.'

How many more times am I going to write these lines? How many more investigations will there be into our mental health services? How many more times will the various heads of various trusts piously write: "We offer our profound condolences to..."

I'm actually pretty sick of it. Daniel Gonzalez, whose mother wrote to the Surrey mental health trust 'responsible' for him over 100 times. Yes, ONE HUNDRED times. She knew he was ill. HE tried to get himself sectioned. His case worker described him as being "like a wild animal in a cage" and no one, NO ONE was willing to take responsibility for helping him.

So, of course, the corollory was that Daniel, in a fevered state of mind, murdered four people. Then, while he was at Broadmoor, he slashed his wrists with a CD and killed himself.

It made me want to cry. Cry with the most profound pity for this poor boy. For the frustration his mother must have felt and, of course, for the innocent victims caught up in the horror because of the sheer inadequacy of the NHS.

It's a disgrace and it's one that will be repeated ad infinitum until someone takes the initiative and decides that the money that is discarded by this government on so many irrelvant projects is spent on the most needy of society. They can't do it themselves.

How many more deaths? How many more investigations? How many more tears will be shed by parents, patients and victims until something is done here to rectify these preventable killings?

I only wish I knew.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Of Slumdogs, squalor and Julie Myerson's 'unoriginal' memoir

Gosh, it's March already. Where does the time fly to? You'll look around and it will be summer (we hope) again and then the Christmas decorations will be in the shops.

Just a couple of things that took my attention recently.

The first thing was Slumdog Millionaire. When they were embarking on this film and seeking out the actors, did it never occur to the producers that life would be just a little easier if they acquired them from an acting school? How could they possibly have been so callous as to take children literally from the slums, use them in the film and then return them to the filth and squalor from whence they came?

I ask this because of the reports that have come to life after the two small stars, Azharuddin Ismail and Rubina Ali, who were feted, flown, wined (well, maybe not) and dined (I'm sure that they were, quite lavishly) in Hollywood, and then returned to their families. Obviously, having seen that life outside of their slum bears no resemblence to their daily grind, they no longer wish to remain under a corrugated metal roofs among the rats and dog droppings. Who, in their right mind (and having been paid) would?

It's a simply appalling lack of judgement and one which will, I am sure, come back to haunt Danny Boyle and his band of blind idiots over the years to come. At least, I HOPE it will...

And another thing: Julie Myerson as just written a book about her son, Jake. It's called, not very originally, 'The Lost Son' and it's about his problems with drugs and behaviour, so she threw him out of the house. She describes her time with him as being 'absolutely awful'. She says that "I still suspect that a lot of parents who haven't had the experience of drugs will find it hard to read that part and sympathise with us. People need to know this happens to families like ours."

Hardly groundbreaking stuff, when you consider that I've already done that! Of course she'll get pages and pages of newspaper coverage and will sell thousands of copies. That's life...

However, what really startled me was the fact that Jake was not consulted. He's livid, apparently. He's labelled his mother 'insane for saying he's a drug addict.' Is it really possible that she could have written a book about him and that her publishers would not have asked for his permission? When you consider the hoops that I had to jump through when editing my book so that no one would have any capacity for suing me, especially 'Zach', then this is preposperous and I quite understand how livid he is. But his mother is famous, so presumably she feels that she can ride roughshod over everyone in order to bring her 'story' to the fore. More fool her.