To Tweet Or Not To Tweet, THAT Is The Question

That IS the question. There was a time when I would tweet anything and everything I was thinking about. Nowadays, conscious that I am being watched, I am being far more careful. I am still stacking up an incredible amount of tweets to my name (my bad) but these are mostly replies to people now. I reply to everyone. I hate being ignored when I tweet to someone so always do my best to answer, even the #knobs. Occasionally I will miss a reply, usually because I have had so many answers to a tweet Ive sent out that they get a bit lost in my Tweetdeck mentions… dont take it personally!
I love tweeting, its conversation to me. My average “twonversation” is probably 4 or 5 tweets long but some last – on and off, all day. Each take mere seconds *hard stare at a certain person* .
I love writing, being able to compress a paragraph into 140 characters ( less if you want it to be retweeted ) its like a sport. A test of writing ability and when I make the perfect tweet I feel as though I have really achieved something, yeah I know how sad that sounds!  Many years ago, more than I care to admit to.. I entered my first and only writing competition, it was for Woman’s Weekly (beat me on the bottom), a Fiction special and the challenge was to write a teeny tiny short story, in 60 words or less.  I loved it and knocked out 6 or so entries and sent them off. The next month I bought the magazine to see what sort of entries they had received. To my shock, I had made it into the mag, one of just five stories taken from thousands and I won the princely sum of £10!
I’d forgotten about that until today, laying sleeplessly in bed, mind recalling a conversation I had yesterday with a reporter, about what I will do when I lose my job. And lose my job I will. I am not going to get better, even after I finally have my feet repaired. I saw my GP on Tuesday as I was suffering from severe stress (quelle surprise *hard stare at two people* you know who you are, *thwack* ).  It is apparent that I have so much damage in my neck that I cannot possibly return to caring……….    But I CAN make home visits to the elderly and disabled in my village, which I am really looking forward to starting.  My little village is lovely, it’s a real community and we have band of volunteers (David Cameron will love this) who offer support and help to other villagers. Should you need a lift to the doctor or similar appointment, if you cant cut your own grass (me) , need taking to the shops and just want some companionship you simply have to pick up the phone… So, that will be my “day job”, volunteering to sit and chat with “real” people, instead of you lot.. Why don’t I do it now? I am not allowed to. There is a Social Services ruling that bans me from visiting my “service users”… horrible term, unless I am scheduled to be there.  It has been a long 5 months not being able to see them and I know they miss me as much as I miss them.
That wont pay the rent though so what to do? I will be pretty unemployable tbh and so I have decided to throw my hat into the ring and will try my hand at writing again. I think I’m pretty versatile and can write in a number of styles on any given topic.. (believe it or not I have even written some smutty things.. who knew?  Although on reflection, take them away from the Word Ejaculation website and they are only as racy as the works of Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins, hardly what you would call “porn” Nadine!)  So, that’s my plan Batman.. thanks for listening, like you had a choice, right? ; )
Oh, almost forgot.. this is my winning story.. the first “tweet” I ever made, 16 years ago..
Labour of Love
“Puusssshh, Carol, you ‘re nearly there”
  “I can’t – can’t do any more.”
She was drenched in sweat and exhausted. She could hear voices urging her on and the sound of a heartbeat. Machines bleeped around her and pain was making her nauseous. One more push…… then, suddenly, a shout rang out! She’d done it – beaten the record on the step machine!

Three O’Clock in the Morning….

And it looks like it’s gonna be another sleepless night..  This is the third night in a row I havent slept. I last had insomnia during the election and the agonising days after it while the nation awaited its fate. During that time myself and several others tweeted to each other via @tchee ‘s #1amclub . We passed the time sharing music, “passing drinks” and @tchee would  “hand round a plate of Ferrero Rocher”.  One night we danced on the bar and I even got @tim_mullen to dance with me : )

I digress.. the reason for my being awake in the not so small hours has a name, that name is Nadine Dorries.  Since her vicious comments seemingly aimed at me but taking a swipe at all disabled and unemployed, I have been filled with what I can only describe as poison. It makes me shake.  I can feel it in my blood, churning in my stomach, it is of course stress.  Stress has also tensed up my back and neck muscles leaving me in tremendous pain but also giving me headaches and vertigo.  My feet have been up all day but they hurt too.  I would take some medicine to relieve the muscles but I know they will make me dopey tomorrow.  Therefore I sacrifice my sleep in order to be alert as I know that there is still work for me to do. 

Right now though, I want to thank you Twitter, all of you. Whether you RTd a link, wrote a blog post, tweeted a comment or commented on a blog post, even if you simply read one of them.. thank you.  I have had the most amazing support this week. I have not been able to confide in family or friends about this, they wouldn’t understand and would be frustrated and upset on my behalf, they also have their own problems to deal with. Thank you for being there for me and for listening.

Now, about this blog. Please believe me when I say that I am not showing off , I didn’t make this happen   – YOU  did.. There have been over 6000 views of the blog in just 2 days. * That is incredible. So many people have been affected by this issue, the blog statistics are testament to that.  Could I ask you to help me again though? Please support the vulnerable, help their voices be heard. Fight to stamp out ignorance, discrimination and bullying. Keep this topic trending until the media finally take notice.  Together we are formidable as Ms Dorries must by now be aware.  Her brag of only 50 or so constituents hearing about this must now sound foolish, even to her closed ears. 

Nobody interested?

Tonight, as I lay awake thinking about Nadine Dorries and the effect she has had on my life this week, I wonder if she too is laying awake thinking the same about me?

*Since I posted this article, the blog stats went crazy as you can see.. now over 12.000 in less than one week.. thank you so much Twitter for taking notice!

Dorries Law – The 140 Character Commandments

Since the news first broke on Twitter on Thursday, “Dorries” has been a trending topic.. a very long time for one person to trend (with the exception of the Bieber boy) .  There has been absolute outrage, lots of swearing, serious debates, nasty racist jibes from the BNP crowd at one lovely tweter and most recently mirth..

#DorriesLaw  is a lighthearted dig at the “Honourable Member”.. here are her 140 Character Commandments..

** This is SATIRE, written mostly by disabled tweeters and if offence is caused, it is completely unintentional.. **


  • Deaf people with sign language can work as human traffic lights if     suspended from posts
  • People in wheelchairs could easily play Daleks in Doctor Who
  • There’s nothing more depressing than working in a call centre, so make depressed people work in call centres
  • Blind people can work in coalmines where you can’t really see anything anyway
  • People with multiple personality disorders can easily take on more than one job
  • People on mobility scooters could work as more localised grocery delivery service
  • If these homless types can sell The Big Issue then can get jobs running a newsagents
  • Unemployed? Get your parents to become an MP then they can employ you
  • Are you a midget? Instead of waiting for Xmas to come along to work as a pantomime dwarf, you could clean out some chimneys?
  • Disabled people in wheelchairs to be dropped on Afghanistan as tanks
  • Know what’s happening in twitter and the media – then you should get a job as a political commentator. It’s that easy!
  • On a ventilator? Get a job as a humidifer and stop scrounging from the state you feckless, idle waster
  • The short-sighted can write for The Daily mail
  • Too depressed to move? Get a job as a speed bump!
  • Disabled? Sad? Isolated? Be a sprinkler in the summer! no more hose pipe bans
  • Useless, bigoted, intolerant, prejudiced and offensive to right thinking people? Get a job as Nadine Dorries
  • Severe Dermatitis? You could be putting the flaky into flaky pastry at Greggs
  • Pile undeserving poor up across ports of entry, make it harder for foreigners to get in.
  • The deaf to be employed in all customer contact services for the DWP
  • Disabled by paranoia? Yet another great qualification for writing for the Daily Mail.
  • Dead? Plenty of acting jobs for corpses if you’d just get up off your decomposing arse and look for one.
  • Paraplegic? People will need draught excluders in these coming winter months…
  • Tourettes ? Court stenographer in chav land (Swindon) You probably swear less and it would brighten court..
  • Got epilepsy? Clearly “Fit” For work.
  • That deaf, dumb and blind kid who plays a mean pin ball. If he can do that, he can do a proper job.
  • Trouble communicating? Prone to deranged outbursts? Stop scrounging benefits, become a Tory MP and scrounge expenses instead.
  • Lost our satelite signal….thats how rainy it was – anybody with a plate in their head who fancies an evenings work ring me
  • Stephen hawking has a job and can use a computer… He is our benchmark to which we gauge…
  • If you can pick up your Giro you can pick up litter, now get on with it shnell shnell. 
  • Chronic fatigue sufferers! The DWP will employ you to deal with benefits claims. The less able you are, the better!
  • Strong enough to deal with chemo? Strong enough to empty our bins!
  • Got a heroin problem? Start taking speed as well to perk you up. You’ll soon be working 12 hour shifts to aid the recovery
  • Suffering with severe depression? Don’t bother with Prozac, slap on some face paint and become a sad clown mime.
  • Got a sharp knife & a chopping board? Slice cabbages & carrots for money. Yes, you can make Coleslaw under
  • Unemployed? Answer your emails, Nigerian businessmen will offer you money, just give him your bank details & get off benefits
  • The Thing works for the Addams Family and he’s just a detached hand! If he can do it, so can you!
  • Quadruple amputee? Get out there & get a job as a sandbag you lazy shirker. Don’t u know it’s flood season
  • Sale of PCs to the disabled banned. If you can use it, you’re not sick enough for benefits
  • Passed away? Rigor mortis set in? Assume the position and take a job as a coat rack
  • Dyscalculia? Good you’re the ideal person to help me with my expenses.. you’re hired!
  • Multiple personality disorder? Become a libdem mp
  • Stay at home mums deserve respect and a voice!! Unless they’re single mothers on benefits. Then they should STFU.
  • Insomnia? That’s not a proper illness! Get two jobs you work shy scrounger. Haven’t you seen Fight Club?
  • To make the new benefits system even more efficient maybe claimants could also wear a yellow star.
  • VolgaTV. Tory MP admits obsessive new media use, signs off sick, shops herself as benefit fraud & forces self back to work as MP
  • Vertically challenged? Get down your local theatre for a job. It’s nearly panto season again.
  • Drastic cuts for the disabled are needed, because unlike tax evaders, the disabled don’t contribute to my election fund!
  • Disabled folk could easily get work as extras on Holby City or Casualty
  • Newly graduated but unemployed? Get your shameless MP mum to give you a £28K job at the tax payers expense


  • “Chilean miners, you have a lot to learn. I’m in a hole and I didn’t stop digging.” Nadine Dorries on #dorrieslaw


Gonna leave it there, the last one says it all…


Disclaimer: The views expressed above are not necessarily those of Ms Cushion although she giggled all night reading them.

BTW, sorry for not tagging each entry by name.. Humph is very tired 😦   its been a long few days xx

A message from a friend…

Yet again, I’ve been moved to tears by a fellow tweeter with a hidden illness. Tonight, I received this message…

Humph, hello x

I know you’re a bit snowed under, so I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I’ve just (about 2 hours ago) popped on to Twitter for the first time since Weds and I was so shocked to see what’s been going on! It looks like you’re handling the whole sorry situation *amazingly*. I hope you are okay, it must be a little overwhelming, but I am chuffed that you are getting so much support.

It’s funny, because one of the reasons that I haven’t been on there or FB for a few days is that I’ve been off sick for 8 weeks & a ‘colleague’ commented that I seem to be managing to keep up with Twitter & FB okay. Silly cow. She doesn’t get that most of the time I Tweet laying down because I’m in too much pain to move. And I don’t mention being poorly, because I don’t want to moan. It happened to coincide with me going to stay at a friend’s to get some more fun times for (childs name removed) while I rest, so I thought I’d stay off for a while anyway, but I’ll be back & adding my name to the #TeamHumph campaign soon.

Anyway, my time at home has been made immeasurably more pleasant by Twitter – and that includes your brilliantly entertaining Tweets & pics. So not only is your Twitter use helping you through a difficult time, you are helping me too.

Have got to wait till November to see my consultant (it’s a chronic thing, my last ‘flare’ was 10 years ago – I was seen & operated on within 3 weeks back then, so this wait has been a bit of a shock). Anyway, just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you & I think this is going to work out great for you. So sorry you’ve been the focal point of such ignorance. Take care. Team Humph FTW!



( The reason I havent published her name is that she wishes to remain hidden.. )

Twitter, Autism and Me.. A Guest Post

I am autistic. I have known this since I was 20 when I was tested for Dyslexia and Dyspraxia while I was at University. I also am Dyslexic and Dyspraxic but I have all three marginally. This is how I was ‘undiscovered’ for so long.

I haven’t told many people, the only people that know is the Doctor and medical team that tested me and a few very close friends. I haven’t even told my family.

I’m not ashamed of my autism but I am scared that people will treat me differently. The people I have told have shrugged it off with a comment such as “I always knew you were special.” Always the same joke but then the seriousness of “I didn’t know” or “I’m sorry”. Of course they didn’t know, I didn’t always know! But I do hide it and cope well in order to hide it. However, I don’t know why they are sorry as I’m not. It hasn’t changed my life, just given more clarity to it.

I’ve always been independent, segregated, for want of a better word, from ‘society’ because I like it like that and I struggle to cope in many social situations. I often find myself confused which leads to frustration as I don’t know why I am confused and then I get upset. Not visibly so, but I often cry when I’m alone because I can’t cope.

I have friends, lots of them, but I only have two friends I can rely on and have seen me hit the bottom and have helped me back up. These two I have had before I found out.

I’ve never had, what one would call, a relationship. I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’ve had sexual encounters but because I haven’t been able to relate to the other person the experiences have been unsatisfactory, almost worthless. However, I’m not actively looking for a girlfriend as I’m desperately trying to navigate the relationships I already have.

Autism, at times, can be lonely other times it doesn’t affect how I operate. However I would not want not to be autistic because then I wouldn’t be me. Twitter helps overcome the social awkwardness as I am dealing in the written language and no one has to see me and I don’t have to see them either. I don’t consider myself disabled, but I do have difficulties and Twitter helps overcome them. Twitter is a lifeline to anyone regardless of ability because sometimes only strangers can comfort because they don’t come with preconceptions. Some judge, but the majority don’t.

You have heard my story of how autism affects me and how Twitter helps. What’s your story?

**If you are affected by this issue or are just concerned, please take a moment to sign this petition against disibility hate crime.

The Gob of Nadine Dorries MP…

Nadine Dorries’ discriminatory remarks on her blog yesterday Twitter Obsession  and Guido Expose  were not only mis-informed and inflammatory but extremely offensive to the people they were aimed at. Here are a selection of blog-posts and other articles written in response to the “Honourable Lady” (Freeze pages courtesy of @dnotice )

Post by @charonqc Nadine Dorries MP – a sufferer of *kneejerkitis*, *callousitis* or just *stupiditis*?

  @Nadine Dorries  via @bellacat

 Nadine Dorries on “Nutters”    via @serialinsomniac

 @Mr Neurosceptic

 On Dorries, Harris, Cushion and Japanese Prisoners of War…….. via @lindylooz

 I’m Close To Despair Is It Just Me!?! via @DisabilityXpe

The displeasure is all mine (and the thousands of others) via @Joanne_C

Future notes

@Hellsbells265  “Why is Nadine Dorries so belligerent? “

 @credo “It’s time for Nadine Dorries to stop saying things, in public”

Nadine Dorries Takes Revenge on Twitter Critic: Uses Paul Staines to Push Smear by Richard Bartholomew

Another crack of the whip from an ignorant Tory  by Cathy Reay

Why Nadine Dorries posts about Twitter were worse than you think by Dick Mandrake

Ms Cushion’s Misfortune  by Richard Lyle

Frequent tweeting doesn’t make one a benefit cheat, Nadine Dorries Guardian article by Lucy Glennon

The Honourable Member Should Know Better.. by @Splottdad

Twitter, Disabled People, and Benefit Fraud? on Disability Voices by Writer in a wheelchair

And In Other News  by Mr Plug a fellow constituent

Sit in the corner and keep quiet. Lessons disabled people can learn from Nadine Dorries.  by @mindinflux

Why Nadine Dorries is wrong – aka Twitter saved my sanity by Caron

She simply doesnt know when to stop  by @thespiderplant

@Nadine Dorries  by Seaneen

How I let Nadine Dorries get me down  by  @bridgetorr

Dorries, Disability and Benefit from Journal of Medical Ethics blog

Threats and Fear. by Incurable Hippie

What do you think Mr Cameron? by @samedifference1

Wrestling Emily Dickinson  via @adamfishpoet

Just mind your own damn business Nadine Dorries by @HarpyMarx

Tory MP: Disabled shouldnt tweet or go to the pub by the real daae

Nadine Norries and the perils of saying too much by Beatrice Bray

Please let me know if I have missed any…

Who let the gobs out? A follow-up

She’s off again.. 
Guido Expose
Posted Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 19:55
So, Guido found one!
Apparently, I trended on Twitter all day. Not that I have a clue what that means. Of my 80,000 constituents, I would bet I’m being generous if I say 50 of them noticed
The left wing Twitterati have apparently gone into overdrive today, and so they should. Guido informs me that his expose claims to be a Labour activist web site organiser for Bedfordshire – or something similar, AND she writes porn
Nice lady.

For the purpose of clarity, let me point out the following.

If you are genuinely disabled, or like my mum, retired and love to use the internet to chat to friends etc (she makes me look like a luddite) then that is fantastic and I wish you many hours of pleasure. 

If you Twitter all day, every day about claiming disability benefit in one tweet whist arranging a night out in the pub in the next. If you tweet about claiming six months rent from the social fund whilst tweeting how bad your hangover is and if you stride into political meetings and shout the odds with energy and enthusiasm with no sign of any physical disability and if you claim to work for the Labour party and write porn at the same time as claiming your disability benefit – then don’t expect someone like me not to a) inform the authorities and b) tell you to get of your Twitter and get a job.  

Striding at all and shouting with enthusiasm would be lovely.. hangovers equally so, I wonder where this “information” came from? 
I do not now, nor ever have received disability or any other “health” related benefits. However does claiming disability benefit mean you are not entitled to enjoy a night in the pub? Shall we lock all the disabled away nice and quietly, out of sight – they really don’t deserve treats do they?
Nor have I ever attempted to ask for a loan from the Social Fund.  A tweeter suggested that I should ask for one this week as I couldn’t pay 8 months rent as a deposit on a house I had viewed.  The reason I was asked for this extortionate amount is because I am a part-time employee.  The same rule applies to people on incapacity benefits and the unemployed.  I was incandescent with rage and so tweeted about it this week.  It is a disgraceful way to treat the poor and vulnerable in our society and the agent told me it was directly in response to the Coalition’s hard-line on benefits.
But erm, yes.. I do write some smutty stuff… #sobiteme ; )
*Picture via @Andrew_Taylor     
Taken from this Guardian article by @LucyTweeting
Guido Expose
Posted Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 19:55
So, Guido found one!

Apparently, I trended on Twitter all day. Not that I have a clue what that means. Of my 80,000 constituents, I would bet I’m being generous if I say 50 of them noticed

The left wing Twitterati have apparently gone into overdrive today, and so they should. Guido informs me that his expose claims to be a Labour activist web site organiser for Bedfordshire – or something similar, AND she writes  **   adult entertainment ** – nice lady.

For the purpose of clarity, let me point out the following.

If you are genuinely disabled, or like my mum, retired and love to use the internet to chat to friends etc (she makes me look like a luddite) then that is fantastic and I wish you many hours of pleasure.

If you Twitter all day, every day about claiming disability benefit in one tweet whist arranging a night out in the pub in the next. If you tweet about claiming six months rent from the social fund whilst tweeting how bad your hangover is and if you stride into political meetings and shout the odds with energy and enthusiasm with no sign of any physical disability and if you claim to work for the Labour party and write porn at the same time as claiming your disability benefit – then don’t expect someone like me not to a) inform the authorities and b) tell you to get of your Twitter and get a job. 

*This page updated on 5th October..

Ms Cushion replies…

Today as been quite eventful. It all started when I saw a tweet that Tony Curtis had died RIP. In his honour I asked Twitter which avatar I should wear for a “tweetalongasomelikeithot” in the afternoon..  My Gangster, Captain or the Drag Act one I made for #altff (alternative follow friday).? Twitter chose the Drag Act.. Ivana S Uckuoff as she is fondly known ; )

I never got to have the tweet-a-long in the end sadly as I was distracted rather by Nadine Dorries’ latest blog post… here it is in full:

Twitter Obsession

Posted Thursday, 30 September 2010 at 10:57
I will post my article in Iain Dale’s book shortly, with his permission. In the article, in which I very clearly define the reasons why MPs should not blog or Twitter (yes, I know ) I mention someone who has posted 22,000 tweets in four months.
Today, someone has emailed my office with the details of a political/personal Tweeter who has posted 35,000 tweets in a similar amount of time.
I’m going to have to set up a Twitter account again so that I can check this out for myself!… Not.
Dorries didn’t name me as the “scrounger” but I have a feeling she would have had she gone ahead and published the Iain Dale blog post.  That is not the point I want to address however. 
As you know, I am currently awaiting 2 operations on my feet as arthritis has crippled them.  I have waited since March for these operations, sadly the hospital has been relieved of its “18 week guarantee”, thanks Coalition. I struggle to stand and walk, I also have arthritis in my neck.  I am a home carer. I love my job although the pay is dreadful and working with dementia clients can be as distressing as it is joyful.  My company are holdng my job open for me, I wish I could work from my chair at home but sadly the clients cant come to me!
I miss working.  I also miss walking. I miss days out with my kids. I miss going to their sports days and plays.  I miss having the life I took for granted just a year ago.  But I have Twitter and I thank God for Twitter every day.
Twitter gives me a social life, every morning without fail @Ivan_Jelical wishes me good morning, then it begins.. I struggle to talk on the phone as my grip is bad and my neck hurts so I “chat” on Twitter to pass the time. I also raise awareness for issues I feel are important, make daft avatars and terrible jokes, write blog posts, proof read for friends and manage other blogs for friends and communities.  You could say, I get by with a little help from my friends….  they are my rocks and I would be lost and lonely without them. 
Twitter has even given me a “real” social life. I’ve found some locals online and we meet up every few weeks for “tweet-ups”. Sometimes a “twandoori”, other times for Steak Night in my local.  I love these nights as for a few hours I feel relatively normal, although I have to sit with my head propped up and feet on a chair!  I stagger home afterwards with a big grin on my face, not from alcohol but that’s just how I walk these days!
I am deeply saddened by Nadine’s comments about tweeters.  I know many people to whom Twitter is a lifeline, a distraction from pain /depression /generally shitty lives..  
I look forward to reading the post she blogged about, the one that will appear in Iain Dale’s book about why MPs shouldn’t tweet nor blog..  I feel she has answered that question herself quite succinctly today though…
Back to Dorries’

Is there such a thing as Twitter addiction? How can anyone live a normal life who can do that? Surely these people cannot be in employment because if they are, how can they work? if they aren’t then it’s time they got a job which involves being sat at a key board because there’s nothing much up with their fingers, brain or attention span!!

I wonder if very soon someone is going to identify a Twitter syndrome and we get to read about people who have become compulsive Tweeters. Will we hear stories of people who Tweet, oh I don’t know, say 50 times a day and need to go into re-hab?

I will put money on that being a Daily Mail story one day. In the meantime, do you know of anyone else who has Tweeted more than 35,000 times in less than six months? If so, email my office and let me know. Or, better still, if it’s someone you know is on benefits, contact the DWP.

For a laugh, I tweeted that oopsie, she’s caught me..  what followed is in equal measure hilarious and disturbing..

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