Category Archives: Choices

Thoughts on a summer evening . . .

I begin to despair that any political party is interested in helping the people of this country who, through no fault of their own, are chronically ill, or disabled.

I totally support Labour’s fight against the tories, but see little in their manifesto to help people in my position – house-bound, mostly bed-bound, without social care, and with a husband who, although he is actually my full-time carer, is also having to cope with his own worsening health problems, with no respite, and only my encouragement keeping him going.

We have become a mutual support system, but our supports are getting more and more unstable, more threadbare, more tenuous, as time goes by and, frankly, the only thing keeping me going up to now, had been the hope that Labour would come into power, become our Government, and start making changes for the better for us all – but I read, recently that, even as a government, they are planning on keeping similar kinds of assessments, or checks and measures, in place to cope with the benefits system, that every other party seems to think is a good thing – measures that every ounce of me rejects with loathing!

I wrote about what happened in late December, 2016 – early January this year, when my Mum died, just as I was facing a changeover from my Indefinite DLA award, to the new PIP – which this government deliberately designed to be as hard as possible to be awarded.

I was fortunate to have passed my assessment – mostly because it’s pretty obvious to any medical professional that I’m never getting better, but also because I had a lot of help from other disabled people, who were able to advise me through this awful process – and I was awarded the new PIP for 10 years, which I’m very grateful for, believe me!

After seeing what hoops my friends are having to jump through, while fighting to retain anything, I’ll never be able to express the relief of actually passing this awful thing. But the award is really not fit for purpose, as  I’ll still have all of the same thing facing me, at a time when I’ll be even more disabled by my health problems, and whenever the government decide that they’d like to put me through it all again – you see, what the government don’t tell the public, is that they can call me back for another assessment whenever it pleases them to!

This means that, even though they have awarded me ten years of financial help, I’ll not know if, or when I’ll have to face the torture of another assessment within that time, and it’s affecting my mental health in a way I never figured it would. Even now, in July, I am still suffering the after-effects of all I was put through, and what I might have to face at any time in the future.

My physical health has worsened to the point that I haven’t even been able to do any of my beloved crochet since the assessment; I’ve been unable to do much of anything physically but, a lot worse for me, my mental health has been, and continues to be, badly affected.

During that whole process of assessment, I was made to feel bad. I was made to feel as though my life was totally and utterly unimportant – a waste of breath, a waste of time, a waste of important resources.

I was asked why I hadn’t killed myself yet and, as a typical British person, I did what we all do, and put a brave face on it, a stiff upper lip, and told the assessor that my husband and daughter are my preventitives – while tears fell down my face at the shock of her question, and at the realisation that I was actually too near to those feelings to want to examine them, let alone talk about them to a total stranger!

My answer was very true, though – but for how long, I can’t honestly say, as I try to heal myself of the wounds given to me, just because I inherited health problems that are slowly getting worse, and have no cure, and so needed financial help to live!

. . . and this has made me so angry!

It’s an anger that just keeps bubbling away inside me, and I find it hard to let go of it, especially when I see ever more draconian rights being allowed to those who govern whether any of us can have financial help, when things go bad in our lives.

I have been using the politics that I got interested in, as a way to get past the bad times in my mental health, and it has helped to a certain extent, as I can use up some of the anger that I feel, about the way we are all being treated, through this blog, and on social media

But, as the days go past, every new law, or refining of the law, seems to be aimed at making the situations of everyone in the country, who needs a helping hand, even worse and, when even nurses – those wonderfully caring men and women who have trained hard, for long years, to keep the people of this country well – have had to turn to food banks to survive, then I truly wonder what we have become as a Nation!

And now the Tories are trying to take away our Human Rights under Law, and put in it’s place a watered-down version that looks good on paper, but will be as strong as a wet tissue, if we try to use it.

I’ve read about, and watched, so many protests over the last year or so – although not on TV or in the papers, as these are all controlled by the very people who have brought in Austerity, to weaken the poor, and strengthen the Rich and powerful – and there are many more being organised for over the summer break of Parliament.

But I wonder if the powerful will sit in the sun, clinking their glasses of champagne, while laughing at us ‘plebs’ as we protest their taking away of all our rights under the law!

I have seen, over these last three to four decades, the way that Thatcher’s government broke the power of the unions – the only thing really protecting the ordinary working man and woman – and then the Neoliberal, New Labour, Blairite, government, and then the Tory government again, totally ignoring the plight of those who are having to go through these so-called health assessments, and who award the companies putting them through these useless, atrocious, offensively degrading trials, as if they were doing something wonderful for the country, instead of being the means of hurting too many thousands of vulnerable people – and to make matters even worse, these companies have cost the UK taxpayers even more to run than they will ever save, financially!

These assessments are where the ill/disabled person is lied about, treated like scum, and then ridiculed; where the painfully written, in-depth, descriptions of their daily lives are able to be read by those who shouldn’t be anywhere near them; where the ill/disabled are mocked, sneered at, laughed at, and vilified by both the – mostly – unqualified people who actually do these assessments; and then by the tory MP’s, who have been filmed doing so in Parliament, while they dismantled the laws that were supposed to defend us; or brokered the laws that will make life more unbearable for us all, and are a hell we are having to endure, in order to survive.

Those people who are too ill to fight the stopping of their only means of support – and in the last 2 years there have been at least 10,000 of them – have ended up being put into the position of either starving, or committing suicide.

Meanwhile, the companies that did this to them are awarded ever larger bonuses, and ever-longer contracts – and I wonder how much longer we will be able to survive, and what happened to the caring society that we were, when I was young, and before Thatcher came into power!

There are things happening to the disabled in this country that goes against everything I was brought up to believe in. Hard-won laws are being repealed, or flouted, and there are now working aged disabled people finding themselve immured into nursing homes, due to the cuts in their support – cuts caused by the government deliberately starving the NHS and Social Services of the money they need to go on.

It took the disabled many decades, and huge protests, to have the protections put into place by law, that meant we could live within our communities, near friends and family, and live our lives the way everyone else is able to – and now this government is slowly taking away everything that was fought so hard for – and using the same lies and excuses, that were used during the second world war, to relieve a certain nation of their disabled peoples.

The only hope I have now, is a Labour government, who will listen to it’s people, and stop this cruel torture; who will give the vulnerable of society a place where they can stand proud, and have a belief in themselves as being worthy people once again.

Is it really too much to ask for?

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Carers, Choices, Democracy, Disability, Disability Issues, DLA, Health Issues, Human Rights, Ideology, Mental Health Issues, PIP, Politics, Social Security, Welfare

Happy Anniversary To Me . . . and Postal Votes!

I had a notice from WordPress today and, apparently, it’s been 4 years today, since I started Blogging on here.

It actually amazes me that I’m still doing it 4 years on, especially when I think of all the times when I just wasn’t well enough to come on here and whitter away, as is my habit!

The irony that today is the anniversary hit me when I saw it as, apart from checking my emails, I’ve been avoiding any kind of media today that I can, as I can’t bear the suspense with all the general election furore going on. Not because I don’t care, but because I care too much, and the results mean far too much to me, and many thousands of other disabled people.

Talking of which, I spoke to my daughter on the phone earlier on. She lives in Bristol, and we live in west Wales, and so we spend a lot of time either on the phone, or chatting through Facebook, especially when she works abroad.

Anyway, she was telling me of the hoopla she had to go through today, in order to vote – and that she was very nearly tempted not to do so, but for her strong sense of fair play, and even stronger stubborness of character – which she insists she inherited from me – as if!

My daughter works all over the place as a fire performer, and she also helps to manage and direct other stage performances, with other performers, too, and so she travels a huge amount, all over the UK, and the EU, with the occasional trip to the USA and, as she wasn’t sure where she’d be at the time of voting, she had applied for a postal vote. She was accepted for this, but her voting pack hadn’t turned up by the time she had to go off to another festival, and so she assumed this meant that she wouldn”t be able to vote that way.

As as it happened, she ended up back in Bristol a couple of days ago and so, after catching up on everything, and everyone, she needed to, she decided to stroll down to her local voting station, with plenty of ID to prove who she was, to ask if she could do her vote that way.

She arrived, and spoke to one of the helpers, who checked her ID, then checked for her name on the list, and was told she couldn’t vote, because she had a postal vote. My daughter explained that she hadn’t received it in the time needed before she had left for her work at a festival, and that it still hadn’t been there when she checked her post on returning home. She also had to explain that she hadn’t been informed by anyone that this precluded her from voting in person. The lady asked her to wait while she found out what my daughter needed to do to be able to vote.

A few minutes later, she was told that, in order to do be able to vote today, she would have to travel right across Bristol, opposite to her present location, and go to a particular building, and register to vote with them. As it happens, my daughter had a friend with her, who had a car, and her friend offered to take her to the place – an hour and a half away by foot, 30-40 minutes by public transport, or 20-30 minutes by taxi – always supposing she had the money spare for a taxi, of course.

They managed to find the building, and my daughter went to the office she was supposed to, then explained the situation to the people working there, who were puzzled that she was sent there in the first place, as it was the wrong building, and also puzzled that nobody had rung them up to check with them, before my daughter started out to them. They then told my daughter where she should actually have been sent – and it was, once again, right across the other side of Bristol!

My daughter’s friend offered to take her there, too as, by now, even she was angry at the runaround my daughter was being given, and was determined she’d be able to have her vote, and so they set off again, and eventually got to the proper place where, once again, my daughter had to explain why she was there.

Fortunately for everyone, this was the correct place at last, but my daughter then had to fill in all the same forms she had filled in when she first applied for a postal vote then, once they were signed, she was handed a printed-out postal voter’s form, which they then asked her to fill in, fold, and put into the sealed envelope, and then to place in the ballot box.

All-in-all, what had started out as her idea to take a leisurely walk down to her local polling station to vote, actually took her over 3 hours, a lot of petrol and miles, and a couple of arguements – in fact, the final lady to speak to her, thanked her for persevering in the face of everything being put in her way to trying to vote!

If my daughter wasn’t the determined woman she is, she might have given up in the face of all these obstacles in her way and, as we chatted on the phone, and I congratulated her for her perseverance, she was sat in a cafe, having something desperately needed to eat and drink, as she’d had nothing since her morning toast, and we both wondered how many more people were put off voting today,  by the same kinds of things happening to them?

To be fair, it probably was just a concatination of events, totally out of everyone’s control but, with so many postal votes not turning up where they should be in this election, we did have to wonder whether my daugher’s postal vote was one of these, or not?

Neither of us knows who it is, in charge of the postal voting system, nor how partisan they may be with one party or another but, for people like me, who are disabled and unable to leave the house to vote, or people like my daughter, who work all over the place, and can’t guarantee getting to their local polling stations, that postal vote is a necessary thing for us to be able to express our decision on who we want to represent us in Government, so to have it being abused, or even just not being correctly used, is an attack on our very democracy!

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Filed under Anniversaries, Changes, Choices, Daughters, Democracy, Disability Issues, Family, Ideology, Politics, Postal Voting, Proportional Representation, Self-interest, Travelling

Friday. A bottle of cordial and Gills tin of beans.  

At this time when there are too many people out there who consider a bottle of juice, or even a tin of beans, a luxury, everyone needs to examine what they want in the future, for our society.
Hopefully, a majority will think of the suffering happening every day, here in the UK, before they tick their box on the 8th of June!

The poor side of life

This is somewhat different to the usual weekly blog that I write. I don’t often write about events outside the weekly demo, to be honest I wasn’t sure that my readers would want to read it. But I thought I’d tell you anyway. Some might want to listen.

I was awoken quite early by a crank call, made by someone for reasons known only to themselves. They appeared to find it humorous to make fun of what we do, and the help that we give to people. Some people are very strange, and sadly this isn’t unusual its become par of the course. I don’t take it to heart and I did report it.

You see, in the over 3 1/2 years that I’ve been doing this I have encountered many negative things. Name calling, swearing, being told by G4S that they were going to knock myself and a friend…

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Budgets, Choices, Economy, Impoverishment, Politics, Welfare

AAV: 10 Economic fairy stories that people need to stop believing in . . .

I’ve just been reading Another Angry Voice’s post today, and it has so many points to consider when listening to all the Tory b******t about our economy!
I had to agree with every point made, so why don’t you follow the link below, and read it for yourselves – and do let me know what you think? 🙂

10 Economic Fairy Tales . . .

 

 

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Filed under Austerity, Benefits, Budgets, Choices, Economy, Government Spending, House Prices, Impoverishment, Inflation, Low Wages, Overseas Investors, Private Sector, Self-interest

And the DWP seem to be up to their hidden tricks again . . .

I was just reading today’s post by The Poor Side of Life, and wasn’t really surprised when she spoke of a tender being put out by the DWP, here: Provision of Research Facilities for the DWP, where they have recruited an agency for research facilities, to help them take part in what could only be described as interrogation tactics.

As she points out, they are already interfering in more and more intolerable ways for those who are unfortunate enough to be ill or disabled – but now it seems like they’ll be trialing even more awful ways to make people feel as though they are worthless.

Follow the link, and read what she says, and let’s see what you think about this:

The DWP takes a rather sinister stance on Disabled and Non-disabled Clients . . .

 

 

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Filed under Carers, Choices, Disability Issues, DWP, ESA, Health Issues, Human Rights

Are we all asking ourselves the right questions? . . . . . .

I was catching up on my Blog reading this evening (I get emails from the Blogs I follow, whenever they post anything), and I read yesterday’s post by Kitty S. Jones, in her Politics and Insights Blog.

She was asking the questions to all of her readers, that I’ve been asking myself for the past few weeks and, what she says, is so very relevant to us all, if we don’t want to lose sight of the bigger picture, politics-wise!

At the moment, the Media are going crazy over the Labour Leadership challenge, which would be okay, if they had also become angered, and then let the world know this, at the way the Right-wing Labour PLP had disenfranchised thousands of new Labour Party members (myself included), after promising them on joining, that they would be able to vote in the leadership challenge!

They then went on to charge £25 each for those who still wanted to vote – throught the registered supporters ticket – and then, after the money was paid, managed to get a court ruling that the new members, and the supporters who had paid for the privilege to vote, could not now vote either – a fraudulent, and totally undemocratic, use of members fees!

Despite the anger I, and so many others feel, though, it behoves us all to start thinking more about what’s being done on the quiet, where the Conservatives are concerned!

These are the ones we should be fighting, not each other and, if you don’t believe me, maybe you should follow the link below, and read what Kitty says, and what will happen if we continue to ignore the important stuff. I know that, after reading her post, I’m more concerned than ever over the way Labour’s split is leaving the Conservatives the freedom to take away both our civil liberties, and our Human Rights!

 

Dead Cat Conditioning, Attention Deficit, andThe Social Order

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Filed under Changes, Choices, Disability Issues, Disasters, Divide and Rule, History, Human Rights, Ideology, Politics, Reading, Rhetoric

. . . and this really IS a new Me!

I’m quite shocked at myself today.

For the first time since I was 18 years old, and working in a factory where Labour Party Membership was obligatory, I’ve voluntarily joined a political party!

Yes, it’s the Labour Party!

I’ve been thinking about this for some weeks now, but kept hesitating, and then deciding to leave it for a little bit more.

But then, today, I realized that procrastination is okay if there’s nothing at stake – but if I want to have my say as to who runs this country, then I’ll have to commit to a decision.

And so I decided to let my voting power do my talking, and joined the only party I can see who, if they can all get behind Jeremy Corbyn, will make a true Opposition party to the Tories.

In some ways, I like Lib-Dem’s policies, but they’ve only ever really come into any sort of power position by joining with the first party I ever voted for, but with whom I wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole today, or with anyone else’s barge-pole, come to that!

The year I turned 18, and was able to vote for the first time, Margaret Thatcher came into power, and I voted for her, rather than the party she represented – and came to regret it very quickly.

It may seem that I’m making the same mistake again, voting for the leader, rather than the party, but I truly feel that the Labour Party, by following the policies that Jeremy Corbyn is trying to push through, will bring back power to the people who actually pay the wages, and everything else, for the MP’s that are supposed to represent them.

Whatever happens, I feel that, as a woman, I should do my part, and use the freedom to vote that was so very hard-won by many brave, and resourceful, women before me.

I’m now trying my best to understand what I can about British politics, and how each decision made will affect me and mine, as well as everyone else – that’s probably something I’ll be forever trying to understand, but I’ll do my part, as long as MPs, like Jeremy Corbyn, are doing theirs 🙂

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Filed under Choices, History, Ideology, Learning, Politics