Ungrateful houseguests

I feel bad about my remarks yesterday about language and issues I noticed in the UK on my trip last week. Fine guest I am: biting the hand that fed me so well.

You know, the reasons I didn't look at it that way at the time is because:
  • Things in the US are arguably worse or at least equally concerning in different ways
  • Noticing and noting patterns is what writers do
  • Being an ED curmudgeon is what *I* do
  • I didn't think of myself as an outsider
Still, I feel uneasy and remorseful. I've pulled down the post, for the moment, while I re-think it.

POSTSCRIPT: leaving this up to make sense of the comments elsewhere, but I've put the post back up. Lisa, playing the part of Charlotte today, gave me a hiding but good for self-censorship. This blogging thing, my friends, is more complex than you'd think. Yes, I made a few edits to clarify.

Please return to your regularly scheduled activities.


  1. ah - that's why I can't find it! Was blaming my computer. Please don't feel ungrateful. Your post is FINE and it has triggered EricaBH's brilliant reply which will also be lost if it doesn't come back. Our system is terrible. Ideas and language and systems and safeguards are awful. They are just a different kind of awful to others' and ironically, as Erica has pointed out so well, and I have tried to argue on my own blog post to a commentator who asked similar questions, it is often the very strengths of our system, and the good intentions behind it, that cause the problem. Only by dialogue between all the interested parties will progress be made. Many here, and elsewhere, don't want to bother to have that dialogue, but many DO, and you, my friend, have been, and continue to be, one of the best catalysts for it. Keep posting. Keep criticising. Keep telling the emperor when he has no clothes. And, as often as you possibly can, keep visiting us in person.

  2. Laura I loved it; you were honest not ungrateful, and it is important that somebody points out what should be the "bleeding obvious" but somehow has fallen between the cracks of sense. I hope that we might unite more strongly in common purpose than we divide by geography or defer to ideas of "host" or "guest" and unknowable codes of ownership or behaviour that may or may not attach alongside.

    The UK is a country where "service user" is considered by some to be a label conferring dignity on patients in receipt of health care, and the discomfort was palpable as it was used in the room on Saturday afternoon, maybe ultimately more from the speaker using it than from those expected to accept it as referring to them and theirs, the third person "others" of the audience (and if you are interested, Nathan Filer's "Shock of the Fall" is particularly eloquent on the misfire of "meaning well" in this context).

    Language is important, principles are important - if the Emperor is unknowingly naked what is our best approach in order to preserve whatever dignity he has left? I'm all for shouting out so he can hear, and letting him find whatever dignity he may through response to honest truth.


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