Why we started this blog

13 Mar

by Michelle La Guilla and Laurie Antitory

I wrote the following post exactly a year ago on my blog trueredaintdead@blogspot.co.uk.  At the time I wished for nothing more than to be proved wrong; I wished with all my heart that my dire predictions were unjustified and things would get better.  Yet things are bleaker and more dystopian than I could even have dreamed. 

That’s why me and Laurie started this blog.  We believe that the only way to survive these frightening times is to love and support each other, and share information and advice.  That’s what we plan to do on this blog.  We’ve already published a template letter we’ve been bombarding MPs with and intend to submit to the national press; posts to follow will contain advice on the bedroom tax, DLA, ESA and workfare, including all the lovely loopholes we know (and if you know anything we don’t, please share it in the comments).

Why Cameron’s looking fat: he’s feasting on the blood of the poor

David Cameron’s government will have blood on their hands before this is over.

In a recession hate crime against the disabled rises.  This has been proven since the Second World War when Adolf Hitler’s less publicised first victims were disabled and chronically sick people condemned to die in the gas chambers for being a burden. 

This “burden” mentality continues to exist and always has, reinforced by such august providers of totally impartial news (yeah, right) as the Daily Mail and your soaraway Sun.  Those who have committed no worse crime than being born with an impairment or developing a mental illness which renders them unable to work have repeatedly been constructed as scroungers, malingerers, a drain on the decent hardworking taxpayer.  While such blue through and through publications have stopped short of advocating wholesale murder of our society’s sick and vulnerable (so far), is current government policy really so much more humane and progressive?

Consider.  Those unable to work are now forced through a punitive means testing process, carrried out by doctors employed by the state, who receive a bonus for every person they unceremoniously throw off benefits.  Yes, you read that right.  Whither impartiality and the Hippocratic Oath, whose first article, lest we forget, is, “First, do no harm”?  It doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to visualise the consequences.  Some of the neediest and most vulnerable people in society already, many of whom have little or no support in place (and whose existing support is very likely to have been CUT) forced through a humiliating and frightening process which reduces human beings to collections of symptoms and strips away all dignity and compassion, with the very real possibility of being left unable to pay for even the basics of life?  Existing mental health conditions will be exacerbated (although, of course, it’s a lot easier to demonise and dehumanise sufferers of conditions which can’t be visually seen – it’s a sad fact that certain sections of society have always found it difficult to make the empathic leap to understanding that people may show no visible signs but still be cripplingly disabled by conditions such as agoraphobia.)  Desperation and fear will be everywhere, and for the most vulnerable and isolated, suicides are a real possibility. 

Of course, if you are disabled and you fail your medical – which seem on the evidence I have seen to be a hollow performance reminiscent of show trials, something which must be seen to be done but whose meaninglessness resides in the fact the outcome is decided before you even step into the room – you can go on jobseeker’s allowance, and be given a pitiful amount in return for applying for a set number of jobs which you are unable to do.  Or you can appeal – a hugely stressful and slow process during which you must accept a forty per cent cut in benefits.  The cynical might suggest that this is so you will be so beaten down, exhausted and disheartened – with mounting debts and the inability to do the basic things, like eating, that we all take for granted – that you will give up in the face of heartless and faceless bureaucracy, an omnipotent system you will never beat.  I wouldn’t dream of such a thing – nonetheless the process would seem to go against the basic tenet of innocent until proven guilty and turn it on its head.  And guilty of what?  Bringing me neatly back to my initial point – guilty of being a burden.

Then there is the issue of those in early recovery from addiction.  Contrary to populist rhetoric casting addicts as granny-mugging demons in our midst, those who have successfully overcome addictions with the help of treatment are usually courageous individuals who have faced down huge socio-economic and personal barriers – empirical research shows a high correlation between childhood abuse and addiction in later life, for example – to turn their lives around.  Now let’s say you are a bastion of true middle England conservatism and still can’t muster an ounce of compassion for such people, let alone the round of applause they deserve.  Well then, there is still an economic argument to be made.  What is the sense in investing thousands in costly treatment programmes only to then turf still vulnerable adults into penury, exacerbating the risk of relapse, depression, and a return to old and possibly criminal behaviours, all of which will cost the taxpayer far more in the long term?  But don’t worry, Cameron’s got the answer – cut funding for drug treatment so drastically there won’t be any recovering addicts!

It’s the same kind of short-sighted false economy which saw the closure of Sure Start children’s centres, which have been shown in longitudinal studies following children in such programmes to adulthood to produce innumerable societal and economic benefits such as stable employment, lack of involvement in criminality, higher literacy, better health and so forth, saving the taxpayer countless sums for every pound spent – even without moral considerations, such a return on investment is a worthy enterprise, surely?  The same holds true for cutting the benefits of the ill and disabled – health care costs in the long run will totally eclipse any short term savings of a paltry few pounds a week. 

The poor, the vulnerable and the disabled didn’t cause this crisis.  We all know who did, and the fact is that regardless, if the superrich who dodge their taxes, greedily hoarding what would be a drop in the ocean in terms of their billions, were all made to pay up, the country’s deficit would be paid and we’d still be £70 billion in credit!  Tax evasion costs the country billions more than the benefits bill, but you won’t read about that in the Daily Mail.

For those of us who still believe that the mark of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members, we live in frightening times indeed. 

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2 Responses to “Why we started this blog”

  1. michelle March 27, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

    DEAR MR CAMERON

    A poem, write me a poem, all about me!!
    How do I act, an when u look at me what do u see?
    Do u find being around me is always a nice place to be?
    Do I annoy you a lot so u can’t wait to break free.

    It’s ok,be honest I wanna know other people see.
    I’ll take on board your input and use it constructively.
    It will help me become a better person, an I’ll listen happily.
    So tell me where I fail or where I behave appropriately.

    Do u understand the pressure in what you’ve just said,
    The power you have put in the words of my head
    Your confidence will grow as compliments your fed,
    Your self esteem could crumble if I hit the nail on the head.

    To write free flowing about a topic that grabs my interest,
    Is what I love to do and in my opinion what I do best
    From start to finish in one go no time for my hand to rest.
    It’s like I’m having my say and getting it all of my chest.

    From benefits, politics and society as a whole,
    When injustice is involved it just grabs at my sole,
    Like the governments unfair treatment of those on the dole,
    In the 21st century how is it possible for child poverty to be their goal

    The government have this knack of being able to avoid any blame,
    They play us against each other and we shud all feel some shame
    Cause at sum point we all enter into their MESSED up game
    They manipulate are minds, and control is in a way that’s so lame.

    They say what they think the majority want to hear,
    Let’s take everyone of benefits cause the bill is far to dear,
    Right ok then mr Cameron what a genius idea,
    But what’s ya next step so the right direction people steer.

    Abolishing benefits altogether or making the pass mark any higher.
    Means many more will suffer, and their circumstances become dire.
    You can’t just light a match and then try and say your not responsible for the fire
    No one believes u anyway your well known to be a liar.

    So really mr Cameron this is a poem all about u.
    I don’t like what u stand for or care for anything that u do.
    When I look at u I see a numpty, with out the very basic clue,
    Of the depredation and embarrassment felt living at the end of the que.

    Although I’ve never spent time around you, I can imagine it’s not much fun.
    Somebody with too much power, dictating rules for everyone.
    You act remotely interested so it seems something’s being done.
    What the hell are you playing at, this is not how a county should be run.

    Accepting Constructive criticism, is clearly not your strongest trait.
    Appropriate behaviour, is something that you thinks gone outta date.
    In your world if your owed money, there’s no way your made to wait.
    No one scrutinises your personal information whilst they try an Adjudicate.

    Who are these actual people who decide how others live?
    Draining the soul outta society like sand passing through a sieve.
    An who is making the decision that it’s overseas are money we give.
    The situations gone to far now it’s too late for anyone to forgive.

    It’s not just you Mr Cameron, your part of a bigger clan.
    The elite who think they know it all, secretly taking while they can.
    If your figures don’t add up, just trace it back to where it all began.
    Don’t dodge the bullet and start to take more money from every other man.

    Why don’t you go to the job centre, get a grasp of what it’s like to sign on.
    Take yaself down to Albert bridge house, where your looked at like your trying to con.
    Pay a visit to a food bank just to make sure all your hopes gone.
    Then back to an unlit freezing home,to try and tell your kids to stay strong.

    Imagine having to send your child to school with no food inside,
    Starving and suffering with no one in which to confide,
    Then when they return from various bailiffs they have to hide.
    Laying in bed at night worried sick because to the baliffs they lied.

    Cant attend school each and every day,
    As bus fare and dinner money, parents just cant pay,
    Penalty notices and fines start to block the doorway.
    You cant get blood outta a stone, try as you may.

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