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Day: April 1, 2015

On sometimes forgetting about my disability…

I don’t talk about this much because it is really not much of a big issue in my life any more. When I was young the doctors, they weren’t sure that I’d ever really you know, walk. Yet I did and whilst I may have fallen over a whole lot I could walk and run (and fall over a lot) and I got on with things. I didn’t know any better or any different. My arm was just as bad as the leg but you can get by with one working arm far easier than one working leg.

In 1991 I had an operation to straighten up my foot by doing something to my Achilles tendon. I can honestly say I’m not entirely sure what they did but it worked. I didn’t drag my foot as much and my foot was straighter than it used to be. I would trip and fall over far less. The doctors called it hemiplegia but I’ve always thought of it as hemiparesis, which is a milder condition. I never liked to think of it as a serious condition when in fact it really is.

As I got older I became stronger and whilst my right leg was still dominant, my left leg was gaining some strength. With regards to the arms then my right arm is strong but the left is still pretty duff. If someone was sitting here watching me as I type this, they would be stunned by how quickly I type with just one hand whilst the left just hangs there doing nothing.

I’m writing about this today because a couple of weeks ago I caned my legs, not in a workout on the exercise bike way, which it is used to but the fact that I was on my feet for many many hours in a day. I must have walked 10+ miles in a day and whilst that doesn’t sound like a lot, for my legs that is an issue. I didn’t really think about it but for the next week I was going to bed hours earlier than normal just to stretch the legs out because they were aching and the ache was in both legs.

You see, when I walk I slam down on my right foot instead of walking evenly on both feet (woe betide me if I ever wear high heels – dang that would be dangerous) and so whilst my left leg is the weak one, the right overcompensates and if I overwork that then the right leg starts having issues as well. Having one bad leg is fine but if they are both causing me issues then sad times.

Sometimes I need to remember my limitations in a physical sense. When I put myself in a situation where I am having to lay in bed for several hours a day just to rest my aching legs then I’ve taken it too far. In the past few days my legs have come back to me and I can feel my right leg in its entirety and as for my left – well I’ve never been able to feel that but I get moments of feeling every so often, usually shooting pain or dull ache but still.

I’m all for pushing the limits of our bodies and minds, that is how we grow and develop as people but on a personal level sometimes I need to remind myself that my physical limitations are real and that I need to remember that. This has been the second time in the past year where I’ve spent the best part of a week without any feeling below the knees and just walked on instinct and muscle memory and its not good. Its not good at all.

Still as I sit here I can feel pain in my left foot. Pain means feeling and feeling isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to that limb…

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On Lord Ashcroft Polling, Iain Dale’s Predictions & Odds – Sheffield Hallam Special Edition

STOP THE PRESSES. The Big Cheese is going down. After a dramatic new poll Nick Clegg’s defeat in Sheffield Hallam is all but certain. Yes in the biggest shock since me going through a whole Marks & Spencer food shop without anyone looking down on me, Clegg is going down in one of the most affluent constituencies in the country to a Labour Party who aren’t even campaigning, are generally hated in that part of the country and aren’t trusted to run the economy. You’d have thought well-off people would care about this kind of thing but apparently not. Go unknown guy whose standing for Labour, your dreams are coming true.

This though relies on a poll of 1001 people and takes into account some ‘interesting’ findings the closer you look into it. I have looked deep into the Lord Ashcroft polling several times in recent weeks and I find that the deeper you look, the more information you get that doesn’t back-up the headline numbers.

For example, they are using the understanding that 23% of the electorate will be over 65 compared to 17% in the 18-24 age-range. We all know that the retired age range vote far more than younger people and of course they have a much large expanse of ages to come from. The likelihood that the 18-24 age range provides 75% of the votes compared to over 65 is low. It is much more likely that the retired generation will at least double the amount of votes that the 18-24 age range provides. Why is this important?

Well the 65+ age range is the best for Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems, 47% of 65+ year-olds in this poll say that will vote for the Lib Dems compared to 23% who say this will vote for Labour. This isn’t a surprise as the older generation will remember the days when Labour were really disliked in these parts. The 18-24 age range has Labour up big (49-17) and if you look at that data list, you’ll see that the older you are, the more likely it is you’ll vote LD and the less likely it is you’ll vote Labour. This is very good news for the big cheese.

Another surprise in the polling is that men are more likely to vote Labour than women. This goes against the popular theory that women are more likely to lean Labour than men but actually backs up Lib Dem internal polling that says that women are coming back into the fold at a faster rate than men. This is thought to be because women look more logically at where to place their vote and less emotionally. Men feel betrayed by Clegg and the Lib Dems and refuse to consider them more than women, who whilst feeling betrayed are more willing to give them a second chance.

One last thing to note from this poll – the vast majority of respondents believe that the economy is on the right track at the moment. 75% of people believe the economy will do very well or quite well over the course of the next year for them and their families. This again looks good for Clegg as he’s part of the reason the economy is going the way it is.

So whilst the politicos and the twitterati and of course journalists are all looking at the headline number and getting a little bit too excited, not all the facts support the headline results.

Lets look at what Iain Dale has to say on Sheffield Hallam…

Sitting MP: Nick Clegg (LibDem)
Prediction: LibDem hold

This used to be a Tory seat, but it would take a political earthquake for them to take it off Nick Clegg. Interestingly the Labour vote has started to rise, but not enough to cause the LibDems to panic. Yet. If the LibDems are obliterated, then Clegg will probably be obliterated too, but if they retain around half their seats, this ought to be one of them. Or will there be a Clegg effect, which means the LibDems will fare worse here than elsewhere.

So Iain is sticking with the Lib Dem hold line and that seems to be a constant throughout most people who are actually predicting the seat. I did read a post earlier that was dated just a couple of weeks back that said this was a genuine three-way marginal and the Tories were in play. Boy and some people think I have tinted specs…

Betfair still have the Lib Dems as the favourite at a 60% chance to win the seat with Labour on 37%. This is a high number for Labour and takes into account very much the headline numbers from the latest LA poll. However when it comes to the actual odds, the Lib Dems and Clegg are still sitting at shorter than 1/2 at most places with Labour edging in towards 6/4. I have to say there are far better 6/4 shots around in this election than putting your money down on a Labour win here. I remember Julian Huppert at 9/2 to hold in Cambridge and you can’t even get him at evens any more…

All the talk on the front line is that Nick is looking good. Labour are putting up a skeleton campaign and the Tories aren’t going hard after Clegg believing that their time and money are best used in genuine marginals. Nick is having to work harder than many expected and his margin of victory will drop considerably. Yet still the polling and those who get excited about Nick’s potential defeat in Hallam keeps this story in the news. I genuinely wonder why. If you are looking for a big wig to go down then look at Danny Alexander, Caroline Lucas, Alex Salmond, Nigel Farage, they are all a far better chance at losing than Nick Clegg.

Still I could be wrong and the affluent people of Sheffield Hallam are going to vote for a party that wants to crush well-off people just to spite Nick Clegg. It could happen but I could also open a packet of M&S Triple Chocolate Cookies and not eat the whole packet in one sitting. Both are as likely as each other.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.