Sunday, May 16, 2010

Good prospects and bad communications?

Parole Board hearing

I finally have some news of a sort. I have received the draft of the representations to the Parole Board, which my solicitor is submitting on my behalf. I have to say that he has done a good job considering what little he has to work with. The fact that I have made my own reps to be included would seem to have taken a fair amount of the wind out of his sails in that I have said a lot of the things he would have said. However, I don't suppose it matters where the details come from as long as they are represented.

My solicitor is requesting several things, the first being an oral hearing because of the complexity of the matter brought about by the intransigent innaccuracies included in the dossier. He is also informing the board that he intends to seek my release, or failing that a transfer to open prison. My probation officer - The Wallace as we call her, in memory of William Wallace - has also asked for open prison for me and her recommendatlons should carry weight.

I have asked my solicitor to ask the board to allow either witnesses or observers. Andrew wants to attend, but I'm not entirely sure whether he wants input into the hearing or just wants to see if there is fair play.

[Andrew - I have let Frank's solicitor know that I shall certainly speak on Frank's behalf if asked to do so.]

In addition, there are several private individuals who have taken the decision to write to the Parole Board on my behalf and have said good things about me. (At least I hope they have said good and sensible things about me, but seeing as one of them is the world famous Lesley, she of the bad temper, blonde hair and proclivity to ineffective bullying, she might have said just about anything.) I don't know what friends have written about me. I thought it best that I shouldn't know really, that way there can be no suggestion of collusion or attempts to manipulate anyone's decisions. Let's be straight, the Prison Service would just love a good conspiracy theory - they make them up as they go along to brighten up rainy afternoons. 

[Andrew - Several people have written very helpful letters to the Parole Board making representations on Frank's behalf about how he has helped them or their relatives in some way while in prison. These letters paint a very different picture of Frank from the dry, impersonal official reports that make up the bulk of the dossier that is presented to the panel. Unfortunately, the Parole Board has said that it cannot accept representations directly from individuals in this way. They have suggested that any such representations should be sent to Frank's solicitor. I would suggest that they be sent to Frank so he can decide how best to use them at the hearing.]

Lesley only wants me to be released so that she can put her cold feet on me anyway - she says it's cheaper than running up large heating bills. Lesley has pets - a blackbird, several pigeons and recently a robin has been added to the little feeding frenzy on or near her washing line. She has gone all Mystic Meg lately, but that's okay - just do like I do and ignore her insanity.

Her latest complaint (about me) is that I have been giving her a bad name as a bully to all the world and she is insisting that I correct it, so that's what I'm doing, putting it right. With the greatest of sincerity and humility - and in the interests of my personal well-being, which includes the unreasonable desire to keep my head on my shoulders - I wish to say the following:

Lesley - the blonde version of Bodicea in a strop - has given up bullying me now and is being nice. (Actually she has always been nice, her bullying is pretty much useless - she ain't no good at it.)

Well, I think that just about covers that little contretemps. I am now going to make a cuppa - I'm as dry as a funeral drum.

A hung parliament?

We've had a General Election. Apparently, the country has been waiting for this event for years. If you listen to David Cameron - or as his friends lovingly refer to him, "I'll say anything for money" Cameron - the country has wanted rid of the Labour Party for a long time, or so we were told.

And what about the Lib Dems, the "Er, let me see", "I don't want to upset anyone" party under a fellow called Clegg? (There's a good, solid, working class, Yorkshire name for you - Clegg. It conjures up pictures of Yorkshire dales, closed coal mines and "The Last of the Summer Wine" - Clegg, Nick Clegg, Cleggie.) Everyone thought that he would be the kingmaker, so to speak, in that he would, or at least his party would, get many more seats around the trough than they had previously and might even beat Labour into third place.

As for Labour, they did surprisingly well considering how much the electorate dislike Gordon "Does this smile look creepy" Brown. The country has been desperate to get rid of him ever since Tony "Just call me Smarmy" Blair legged it for greener pastures.

Say what you like about Blair, he knew how to handle people. He had a certain charisma that the others simply do not have. It has nothing to do with popularity, it is more to do with perceptions. Blair, rightly or wrongly, was seen as a charismatic figure; Brown is seen as a disater area. He should have stayed at the Treasury where he was a success - or perceived to be a success - but he allowed his ambitions not only to ruin his own standing but in the process to drag the Labour Party down with him.

The country quite simply did not want Brown, yet has been extremely reluctant to hand the power to Cameron! So we've ended up with a hung parliament, and some unkind people would probably think that is a great idea - hang the lot of them! Now we've got all manner of creeping about and whispering behind closed doors as they conspire to get their hands on the keys to the safe. Promises will be made, and they won't be the promises which are aired publicly - oh no, not a bit of it. Dirty dealing will be going on, wait and see. It would come as no surprise to find that we have another General Election in a relatively short time.

In the meanwhile, what does it mean to prisoners and those who make up the class from which prisoners generally come, the working class? The working class my arse! There is no working class anymore, the Conservatives saw to that in the eighties. There is no work anymore, not what is generally seen as work. Steel has gone, shipbuilding, coal, heavy industry - gone. The Conservatives did that and it seems to have been forgotten by the country. The cry is, "But we had to curb the unions!" - the unions could have been dealt with without destroying the country's industry.

Back to prisoners - what will the election mean to prisoners? Not much apart from new austerity measures which will make life that little bit worse, as it will be made worse for pensioners, the sick, children's education and all the rest of it. This austerity won't affect the politicos as they gronff and snuffle at the trough that is the public purse of course, certainly not.

So we have now got a hung parliament - it's a pity we haven't got one literally!

(Right then, that is my rant over, most of it designed just to get up people's noses and get reactions for the sake of a good argument, but how many will realise that? I wonder...)

Gone missing?

Once again there is nothing to report this week, beyond the fact that I managed to get into a fight with my typewriter in the middle of the week - a fight which I lost. The story of my life really.

In one of her letters during the week, Lesley told me that there had been some information on the internet or facebook or some other engine (I'm not entirely clear where) that someone called Maria Jansson had sent me an email. The email was sent on May 1st but I have not received it.

There is a service running under the title of "Email a prisoner" which apparently is a good deal quicker and cheaper than surface mail, or Snail Mail as Andrew calls it. What it amounts to on balance is that people can send emails to prisoners and they are delivered the same day. That's the theory. However it seems that, like everything else to do with the Prison Service, it is not working properly. Maria Jansson's email is not the first one that has not reached me because Lesley's sister sent me one from Gran Canaria and I haven't had that yet. She sent it at the start of April I think. In fact Christine has come across from Gran Canaria and arrived in this country last night, so she has got here quicker than the same-day delivery email which still hasn't turned up!
[Andrew - Actually, Maria sent her email directly to me and not through "Email a prisoner". I just haven't forwarded it to Frank yet, so its non-delivery is entirely my fault. Personally, I have always found the "Email a prisoner" service very dependable - all 21 emails I've sent to Frank so far have arrived with him safely and quickly.]

How many other emails have been sent to me by well-meaning folk on the internet? I have no way of knowing the answer to that of course, but I think I could make an educated guess that there are SOME. So, given that, I thought I would take the opportunity to thank anyone who may have tried to contact me. If I had received the letters or emails then I would have responded. I answer everything I get without exception, because if someone is kind enough to take the time and trouble to write or contact me then good manners alone dictate that they deserve a written "thank you". Let's face it, it's not as though I have anything else to do all day but correspond with people.

If I had the people to correspond with - strange to think that while my circle of friends on the internet expands, my circle of actual correspondents contracts! How do we explain that? Is there someone somewhere meddling? Well, going from past experience, I wouldn't be surprised. I have lost count of letters that have been sent to me which have never reached me and which I have only found out about when someone writes to complain about me not answering their letter or I write asking why they haven't written. These are the ones I know about. What about those one-offs which I have no idea about and no way of knowing of?

So, if anyone has sent me a letter or an email at any time which hasn't had a response from me, I am ever so sorry but I simply haven't had it to answer. I answer every letter I get on the same day that I get it and post it the following day. I LIKE writing to new people. I LIKE people. People are great, even those I may not agree with - they are still interesting and let's face it, I need interesting in this place, not to mention all the friends I can get.

Finally, let me mention the coming June, next month in fact. There are several prospects for June - it will be an interesting month I hope. The CCRC hope to have completed their examination of the case in June, but may run over. I have a manuscript entered into the Koestler's, and that could be judged in June, although that may run over too. Then of course there is the Parole Board hearing/paper-reading in June too! However, since my solicitor has applied for an oral hearing of the case which I fully expect to be granted, that will probably get put back or postponed for a couple of months.

All of that notwithstanding, it is all happening in June, or at least it is starting to happen in June. So as I say, it could well be an interesting month. All I have to do is to keep out of fights with my typewriter. I think I can manage that. (Oh yes, and to stop accusing Lesley of being a bully. She's not really, she's just got a mind of her own and is nobody's fool, which isn't a bad thing at all.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's not easy being me. :)

The Voice In The Wilderness


Anonymous said...

Labour destroyed the Steel industry by selling it to foreigners who then closed the factories and moved production abroad. Laboru destroyed the wealth of the country our nest egg our savings pensions, Labour were criminals in office NOTHING else. The conservatives let the working class loose, better education kids at Uni their own homes and the chance to choose the job you wanted - not just the local factory as our parents and grandparents did. Blair - joke but then so is the electorate, they voted for him - NOW THEY PAY cos of him, you me everyone, cos he and Labour spent BILLIONS they didnt have didnt own had no right to spend - CRIMINALS

Andrew said...

Anonymous - I'll forward your comments on to Frank who, I've no doubt, will be delighted to have got a good argument going!