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Matt Carr @MattCarr55
, 25 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
I'm going to tell you a story about some things that happened to me this morning. Consider it a kind of political Christmas story. A story of where we're at right now and where we could be. A story that contains reasons for hope, optimism & also anger and sadness.
1) So I had insomnia last night. Spent some time lying awake thinking about the state of the nation and trying not to feel too crushed and agitated by it. Trying to shrug off the kind of despairing thoughts that I know many people are feeling right now. Eventually I succeed.
2) In the morning I wake up feeling a little rough, and head off for a blood test appointment. I walk in and the nurse is sitting there, with a gorgeous wolf fleece hanging from her chair. She's middle-aged. Long grey hair. Wearing trainers. Croaky voice from bronchitis.
3) Now I’m partial to wolves and wolf t-shirts myself, so I compliment her on her choice. She tells me she has about 34 wolf fleeces and dozens more wolf t-shirts. A woman after my own heart, I tell her.
4) So we start talking about wolves, for a LONG TIME. Luckily no one else is waiting. She knows A LOT about wolves.
5) She has stroked them in wildlife parks. She has even gone on walks with them. She knows a guy who lived with wolves - placed raw meat inside a carcass in order to fit in with the pack. She’s even gone on walks with wolves.
6) So she’s taking my blood, telling me about wolf behaviour and how wolves care for their families and other members of the pack. About the wolf Torac in the US that she co-sponsored. It’s clear that this is a woman who LOVES wolves. Wherever they are.
7) She tells me about a wolf that got run over in Canada and the other wolves went out and brought back food for it. We both agree that wolves are a much-maligned animal. She gives me the names of various orgs to find out more about them. I’m thinking ‘what a lovely lady.’
8) I leave the surgery still glowing from this unexpected and touching conversation. I’m walking up the road towards my house when I see three people gathered round a body lying on the pavement.
9) I get closer and see an old man, lying semi-conscious in the recovery position, stick lying near his hand. He's haggard. In tracksuit and slippers. Tattoos all over his arms. A young Roma woman is kneeling over him. She’s been with him for 20 minutes.
10) Turns out he fell backwards and cracked his head. He was on diazepam and other meds. He’d also had a heart operation. The Roma lady has covered him with a coat. Another neighbor (English) has offered a blanket. An Englishwoman has also stopped. Everybody looks anxious.
11) ) I offer to help. I check Richard’s pulse and breathing. He can talk - just. But only barely coherent. The cut in his head is not bleeding. So no bandage necessary. But still. He's barely moving. It's cold.
12) I call the ambulance again. Explain the situation. An old guy lying 20 minutes on the freezing pavement. Please send help. The ambulance says stay on the phone. We do.
13) Time passes. Still no ambulance. The Roma lady is distraught and worried. I try to reassure her. Thinking wtf is the ambulance. It’s now 40 minutes. I’m thinking what kind of country is this when an old guy must lie 40 minutes in the road & no ambulance?
14) I know the reasons. It can be summed up in one word: austerity. OK, add ‘Tory governments’ to that. 5th richest economy. Can’t even get a freaking ambulance to help an old guy who might be freaking dying in the road.
15) The Englishwoman says to me ‘ Better not have a heart attack these days eh? Better just get to the hospital yourself.’ I’m like, yep. And I'm thinking, the NHS is already underfunded. Now we're stopping foreign nurses coming here. And this shit is happening.
16) Nearly 40 minutes now, when suddenly a van pulls up. A young guy jumps out, Chinese-English I think. He’s got good first-aid skills. Immediately jumps in & checks Richard out. Richard is still mumbling. Still breathing.
17) So there we are: two white guys and one white woman. A Chinese-heritage Englishman and a Roma woman. All hoping that Richard will survive. All trying to help a random stranger. A bit like the wolves my nurse was talking about.
18) 45 minutes later the ambulance arrives. Phew! I’m immediately struck by the gentleness and professionalism of the crew as they put Richard on a stretcher. You alright young man?’ they ask. ‘ Sorry it took us so long.' etc
19) Richard sits up on the stretcher. Dried blood on his head. Very much the ghost of Christmas past. Points to the Roma lady. ‘ I want you to come with me!’ he croaks plaintively.
20) Roma lady nods. She’s tearful. She has blood on her anorak. I give her a hug and say ‘well done.’
21) I walk away. Thinking of wolves. And human kindness. And the bonds that still hold us together in spite of everything. And all the good people all over the country who are still able to be human despite the pestilential politics that have been inflicted upon us.
22) People who know that all our lives hang by a thread and that that old guy could have been anyone of us and we need to help each other regardless of who we are or where we come from.
23) And hoping, really hoping that we can find a way to bring that kind of decency back into the public arena and make it the driving force in our society. And sensing that, if we can’t we are lost.

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