Monday, April 30, 2012

Medical etc

After a week of diarrhoea, which came to an end yesterday, I was asked to visit haematology outpatients this morning for a checkup.  A blood test showed that platelets were down to 434, within normal range for the first time, but haemoglobin was down to 9.1. The dose of hydroxycarbamide is being maintained pending another blood test next Monday. Evidently its going to be difficult to keep both within tolerable limits and I imagine the time will come when other methods such as a transfusion will have to be adopted.

To the House at quarter to one, where the new Peruvian ambassador Julio Ernesto Muñoz Deacon came to lunch. We had an excellent discussion covering a lot of ground - Peru's rapid growth; the dependence on extractive industries; the problem of water; Peru's relations with the neighbours and particularly Brazil; the problem of inequality, and President Humala's remarkable standing in the polls.

Afterwards, sat in on questions and the first four speeches in the debate on the draft House of Lords Reform Bill. The Labour Party manifesto called for an all-elected upper House, but they see that because no two people agree on what is to be done, the issue is a perfect opportunity for making political mischief. Jan Royall's speech dwelt on the public's lack of interest in reform, particularly when so many are facing serious economic problems. Of course, the time is never right for boring constitutional changes, so we'd better leave the undemocratic appointed Lords alone for another few decades.


Torrential rain and gales led to collapse of massive bush and part of the boundary wall. We need to establish whether the wall is owned by us or the Borough of Lambeth, who own No 24
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With Frances & Ros, Lyulph & Sue, at Eric's memorial, High Elms April 22
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rest of the week

Tuesday: meeting chaired by Martin Horwood MP to launch Christian Aid's report The Scandal of Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean, which has a chapter on Peru. Growth has been vigorous, but concentrated in the extractive industries, which don't create proportionate employment for the poor, or generate proportionate services that benefit the whole population.

Wednesday, meeting with Peruvian visitors to discuss mainly the problems cause by extractive industries, reinforcing the Christian Aid message, Presidentb Humala came into office pledged to support the cause of the poor, and indigenous people in particular, and there is still hope that he will deliver the goods. Its a matter of ensuring that the tax revenues from oil and gas, and mining, are well spent, and that personal taxation is redistributive. As in other Latin American countries, there is a very rich elite.

Thursday, I chaired a very useful meeting of the Department for Education's Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Stakeholder Group. We had the best attendance ever, and got through a substantial agenda in two and a quartr hours.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Back to work

The House met again this week after a 3.week break. Monday the main business was the Commons amendments to the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, which was sent back to the Commons for a send time, with some of our amendments reinstated, including the one that removed the deduction from awards made by the court to claimants suffering from mesothelioma of 'success fees' and After the Event Insurance. After that I attended the Baha'i annual reception but didn't stay very long because my legs hurt if I stand for any length of time.

I've had diarrhoea all week and though I''ve managed to get through all the engagements in the diary its left me feeling washed out. So having had my weekly Skype call to Maurice in Auckland I'm going to bed early, and hope to resume this blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Daniel Thornton speaks. On the right of the picture is Labour peer Paul Boateng, who is travelling to Ghana on behalf of the All-Party Group today to attend the simultaneous launch there of Pneumococcal and Roatvirus vaccines. Together those diseases kill an estimated 1.5 million children a year worldwide. Ghana is the first country in the world to launch the two vaccines together - a great achievement!
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A good audience
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Flo Benjamin speaking. Daniel Thornton, Chief of Staff to the CEO of GAVI on her left

Flo Benjamin, Liberal Democrat peer and children's advocate, meets Dr Sabrina Kitaka, senior lecturer and paediatric and adolescent health specialist at Makerere University, Uganda. With William Heald, organiser of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Childhood Pneumonia
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World Immunisation Week

Glenys Kinnock, Opposition Spokesperson on Intenational Development, addressing the meeting. On her left, Kirsten Mathieson from Save the Children, who gave a preview of their report on the children still to be reached
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Sunday, April 22, 2012


If ants could think, express themselves and communicate ideas to each other, and an ant expressed a disrespectful opinion or used an insulting expression about a human being, she wouldn't turn a hair. The ant's insult would be of no concern to the human, she being so far above the insect in the scale of living things, Similarly if a god or gods exist, they would be so immeasurably superior to humans that blasphemy would be of no importance in their minds. Humans do get angry when another member of the same species insults them, so blasphemy is attribution of human reactions to the gods

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Should EU naval forces help Kenya/Ethiopia joint operation to occupy Kismayo by blockading the port to prevent pirates and terrorists escaping to Yemen?


According to The Guardian, Mr Cameron will identify four groups in the Islamic world that are determined to defeat democracy. First are the authoritarian leaders Muammar Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak, former Tunisian President Zine-al-Abidine Ben Ali and Assad

In each case", he says, the Arab spring has shown that denying people their rights in the name of stability and security actually males countries less stable in the end. Over time the pressure builds up until the people take to the streets and demand their freedoms".

What does Mr Cameron think the people of Bahrain have been doing, and why is the name Hamad al-Khalifa missing from his list of authoritarian leaders?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Somali piracy

When enemy combatants are captured during a war, they are imprisoned without trial until peace returns. Would it be possible for the UN to develop a n analogous legal regime under which Somali (or other) pirates captured under arms could be similarly held without trial in a designated territory until the piracy operations are declared at an end, or for ten years, whichever is the less? See

Saturday, April 07, 2012

My father at Avebury 1909

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Alistair pondering the meaning of life, or just putting on a funny face?

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East Timor

Contrary to John Pilger’s New Statesman article (, silence didn’t envelop  East Timor after the Indonesian annexation of 1975. Carmel Budiardjo’s TAPOL reported in detail on the occupation, and a network of MPs from Japan, Australia and the UK campaigned for East Timor’s liberation.

With Kohee

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Alastair signs the visitors; book'

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A happy reunion

With Mekh Gurung, Indra, and daughter Kohee, 6. She was interested in the cats, and wanted to know if we thought there were cats on other planets. The consensus was that if life evolved elsewhere in the universe to the same extent as it has on earth, the most intelligant species would probably have domestic pets, but they might not look or behave like cats. Kohee is doing very well at school!
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Alastair visits

Dear little Alastair, who was staying overnight April 5/6
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April 6, 2012

Visit from Mohammed Anwar of the Pakistani political party MQM, which has 51 Members in the Provincial Assembly of Sindh, 25 in the National Assembly of Pakstan, and 7 in the Senate. They campaign against feudalism, illiteracy, poverty, religious extremism and obscurantism
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Monday, April 02, 2012

Bone marrow trephine from last August

Date Referral Received: 19/07/2011 13:00:00
Date Referral Sent: 19/07/2011 00:00:00

Additional Clinical Information: MPN

Diagnosis (1): Consistent with Myeloproliferative disorder

Morphology [M]
Lab Accession Number: 11B0906711
Bone Marrow Word Processed:
Eric AVEBURY - DOB: 29/09/28 - D442931
Indication: Previous MALT lymphoma of lung, treated with surgery only. Noted thrombocytosis. MPL on PB positive. BM to assess MPN.
FBC (19/07/11): Hb 10.4, WBC 6.2, neut 3.8, plat 599
Site of Sample : Right posterior iliac crest
Particles : Multiparticulate
Cellularity : Hypercellular particles and trails
Myelogram : ~
BL: 2% Pro: 15% My: 17% Me: 19%
Neut: 31% Ly: 6% PC: 1% Eryth: 9%
M:E Ratio : 9
Erythropoiesis : Relatively decreased, normal maturation
Granulopoiesis : Increased, mildly dysplastic
Blast cells : Not increased
Lymphocytes : Normal numbers and morphology
Plasma cells : Normal numbers and morphology
Megakaryocytes : Increased in number, abnormally large with abnormal hyperchromatic chromatin.
Conclusion : Consistent with MPN.

Reported by : F.Pinto, Haem Registrar
Validating Consultant : R.Ireland

Immunophenotyping [IP]
Lab Accession Number: 11H0003005
Sample Type: Bone Marrow
Lab Comment:
Laboratory Comments
Results from a gate representing approx. 90% of TNC's. No immunophenotypic evidence of excess CD34+ myeloid progenitors.

Consultant Comments
Multiparticulate. Hypercellular particles and trails. Megakaryocytes increased in number and very abnormal - large, with abnormal
hyperchromatic nuclei. No excess of blasts by morphology or immunophenotyping. Consistent with MPN. pp Dr Robin Ireland

Cytogenetics [CY]
Cytogenetics Karyotype: 46,XY [8]
Cytogenetics Result: ONLY eight metaphase cells available for analysis, insufficient for complete analysis. No clonal abnormalities detected.
NB This sample had a low white cell count.

Molecular1 Analysis [MA1]
Report Comment: Whole sample stored. Sample already tested under IOG reference (IOG-11-6033951).

Histology [H]
Lab Accession Number: 11S0010916
Histology Report:
Bone marrow trephine.
A core of bony tissue measuring 10mm in length together with multiple fragments of haemorrhagic material which measure in aggregate
A1 M (1) All levels retic decal
The bone marrow trephine shows increased cellularity (70-80%) with all three haemopoietic cell lines represented. There is increase in number
of myeloid series but there is maturation to neutrophils. There is increased number of pleomorphic megakaryocytes with marked enlargement,
nuclear atypia and clustering around sinusoids and in paratrabecular locations. Few normoblasts are present.
Immunohistochemistry with CD34 shows no blasts. CD61 highlighted the clustered and abnormal megakaryocytes. CD117 is positive in 5% of
the cells including mast cells and erythroblasts. p53 is negative.
The reticulin is increased (grade 2).
The appearances are consistent with myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) although some features would favour myelodysplastic syndrome/
myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPD/MDS).
Bone marrow trephine: Consistent with myelodysplastic syndrome/ myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPD/MDS).

Blood test April 2, 2012, and previous ones


Blood test at 08.30 this morning, followed by a consultation with Dr L, nominally at 10.30 but actually 40 minutes later as usual. The King's appointment system is in need of a review.

Platelets were 564 compared with the previous reading of 532, and I am to take Hydroxycarbamide Monday-Saturday instead of Monday-Friday. Neutrophils were 1.53 compared with 1.73 last time, but over a year they have fluctuated a bit. Dr L isn't too bothered about them. WBC, PLT, Hb and Neutrophils over time see graphs above. You can see them more clearly if you double click on the item.

DEr L hadn't received Dr Claire Harrison's letter of March 20, so I have scanned and emailed it to him. For reasons of data protection, I believe, the NHS don't use email, causing them and their patients unnecessary delay and expense.

I am to have another blood test in two weeks time to check that the platelets are descending with the higher dose of Hydroxycarbamide, and a further appointment with Dr L at 10.10 on May 14.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Torture and murder by police in Rabwah, Pakistan

22 Deer Park Road, London, SW19 3TL, UK
Tel: 0208 544 7678
Web: /
LONDON, 1 April 2012
It is with great sadness that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat confirms that on 30 March 2012 a well-known and much loved Ahmadi Muslim, Mr Master Abdul Qudoos Ahmad (43), died after succumbing to injuries inflicted during brutal torture by local police in Rabwah, Pakistan.
Mr Master Abdul Qudoos Ahmad was taken into police custody without any justification on 10 February 2012. He remained in custody until 26 March 2012 and during this period he was made to endure the most inhuman and depraved forms of torture, which caused internal injuries that were ultimately fatal.
Whilst in custody, Mr Master Abdul Qudoos Ahmad was hung upside down from his ankles for long periods. Furthermore, whilst laid supine, an extremely heavy wooden roller, similar to those used to flatten cricket pitches, was rolled all over his body, as attendants stood at each side of him making sure he could not move. Such inhumane and merciless treatment led to multiple organ failure and crushed his muscles. These are just a few examples of the torture inflicted.
Following such relentless treatment, Mr Master Abdul Qudoos Ahmad was released on 26 March 2012. Despite continuous medical treatment he was unable to recover and thus on 30 March 2012 he passed away as yet another martyr of Ahmadiyyat.
The deceased is survived by his wife, four children and his parents.
Mr Master Abdul Qudoos Ahmad was the President of the Nusrat Abad chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in Rabwah. Thus his arrest, made without any justification, was simply an attempt to try and defame the local Ahmadiyya Muslim administration. The brutal treatment he suffered occurred despite the fact that the police were unable to lay a single charge against him and ultimately was forced to release him.
The spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Abid Khan said:
“It is devastating that a wife has lost her husband and four young children have lost their father in such an inhumane and merciless way. It is absolutely clear that if Mr Master Abdul Qudoos Ahmad had not been a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat then he would never have been subject to such abhorrent torture. Hatred and persecution of any organisation or its members must be condemned by all those who believe in peace and tolerance. Such attacks serve only to destabilise society and to spread discord.”
The International Community, Media and Human Rights organisations are all urged to take action to safeguard the basic human and civil rights of Ahmadi Muslims both in Pakistan and in other countries where they face discrimination. In an era where freedom of religion and belief is accepted as a basic human right throughout the world it is of disbelief that anti-Ahmadiyya legislation is still active and indeed still being enforced in Pakistan.
Further Info: / 0208-5447678

In the garden, late morning

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