I made a decision in May, to stop being a voyeur of society, by keeping my discontent to my close circle of friends. Instead I felt ready to actually do something. It’s all very well being an armchair politician, complaining about the ills that are cast upon you, but does it achieve anything? That said it is actually pretty tough to put yourself out there.
I began with sharing things I felt strongly about on social media. Then came this blog, where my thoughts spilled out into cyberspace, gradually reaching people in far flung places that I will never meet.
Today I felt it was time for physical action.
I decided to leave the house armed with my strong opinions, and face the general public for the first time. I took my story to the streets, deliberately passing the conservative office. I have been advised recently to ‘Just contact your MP love, they’ll sort this out, it’s obviously a mistake.’ Hmmmmmmm.
Well people I have got news for you, by all means write to your MP and ask them for help, but they have no real individual power, even if you are lucky enough to have one that cares. Mine is some kind of minion, or party whip and is rarely seen in Cornwall. I write to her regularly in a polite and respectful way, and receive nothing other than standard responses.
She can and will do nothing to help me.
In fact she voted strongly for a lot of the measures that are punishing the most vulnerable in our society. We live in Cornwall, recently disclosed as the poorest county in all of Europe, we need her help, but instead she has turned her back on the majority of us. So what choice am I left with? Giving up? No. I am spreading my tale, listening to others, and fighting for myself and my children.
Nobody else will do it for me.
It was with some trepidation, that I travelled to Truro with the children to attend my first anti austerity March. I haven’t been feeling great, and knew I would physically find it hard and painful. I expected there would be a small group of us, and our aim would be to spread our story, and pay our respects to those who have died directly due to welfare cuts and assessments.
We were predominantly employed people who care and have loved ones who are effected, or work with the vulnerable themselves. Tax payers. Parents. Men. Women. Children. Grandparents. A few of our number were disabled. We hobbled stopping and starting (in my case) in a short circuit , doing what peaceful protesters do, chanting, talking to people, spreading our discontent in an orderly and respectful manner.
A man in his fifties in a new estate car pulled alongside me, and rolled down his window. I was towards the back of the small group with my four children, holding my two year old, and struggling along with my walking stick, in heaps of pain, but adamant I needed to be ‘seen’. I’m sick of hiding away from others judgement. I assumed he was checking I was ok, as others walking with me had on numerous occasions.
I’m such a naive fool.
He had actually stopped to shout at me: ‘Get a fucking job you bunch of fucking hippies‘
In front of my children 2, 9, 14 and 16.
While I was struggling to walk with my stick.
I think that moment just about sums up the biggest challenge we face as human beings. The complete and utter disregard by some, for those less fortunate than themselves.
The assumption was made by that man, that we are all in control of our own fate or destiny. To him and others like him I wish no harm, but he should know this; you are one job loss. One bereavement. One diagnosis away from your world collapsing around you.
Do you have enough to ensure you and yours will be ok?
Most people will be lucky enough not to need it, but they can sleep safe knowing that their tax and national insurance provides a safety net, that will catch them should their world fall apart. This net is currently being ripped apart and people, actual real people, are dying because of it.
49 sick or disabled people have died since 2012 directly as a result of welfare cuts. For many, the stress tribunals and appeals had on their existing health conditions lead to their deaths, often just before the decision was overturned in their favour.
Some died destitute, cold and hungry having got themselves into so much debt, due to their benefit being cut. Some poor souls couldn’t take it anymore. A young family expecting another child were sanctioned and left this world together. A few were deemed fit for work and died weeks into employment due to existing health conditions.
These are real people.
49 people, we know of that should still be alive.
The true number is likely much higher.
This was no terrorist attack. This was our own country. Our own government, elected by the British people. It was their actions and decisions, that directly caused these deaths.
Today every person on that list had their name, age, and story read out to the small crowd.
The number 49, became human beings with desperately sad stories, and it was utterly horrific.All of us including the children present fell silent throughout.
We held a Minutes silence for those lives lost once all their names had been read, thinking of how maybe they could have been saved if more people cared, what else could be done to protect people in the future, and our own personal journeys.
For me, I unexpectedly became overwhelmed once the silence was complete. I know how it feels to be utterly desperate, and to see no way out of the situation you find yourself in.
I was there, living it a few weeks ago.
I looked up from where I sat and I saw my children’s faces, and those of a great friend and family, and felt so incredibly grateful to be here, supported, cared for, smart, able to speak out, fighting, able to keep telling people about my life, and hoping that I can get the apathetic to care about this stuff.
I could so easily have been one of those 49.
14 thoughts on “Get a f**king job”
Your best yet. It was heartbreaking today. Truly. But also amazing to be with people who understand, and care whether they have experienced similar or luckily haven’t, but still just care for others who have.
We shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
And we shall never surrender…
😉 Sleep well dear one, with love.
Thank you for sharing. I wish I could do more from Berlin where I live now. The situation back home breaks my heart.
Hearing these words and having seen your lovely polite, friendly and considerate children I can honestly say I am really proud and pleased you all came today. It’s scary and hard to put yourself in the thick of it all especially when you know you will face ridicule and personal attacks for speaking out.
Thanks again for making your voice heard.
Will be following your writing with much interest X
Bernie. Cornwalls PAAA
AMAZING. Keep fighting… You may not always see it straight away but you are making a difference. I’m fighting alongside you, just in a different squadron xx
Really good keep it up i think blogging cant be ignored when you getting the Hits you are, and on some level it will help. xx
Please keep blogging, it helps me, and surely others too.
Very well said, great blog site as well. have we met?
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I’m not sure 😄 I do keep coming across people in the lefty world who say to me, oh you are that lady with the blog 😄
I hope you dont mind but this moved and inspired me to write this little piece of satire on FB:
T’was a lovely day. A really lovely day. Just the sort of day to pop in to town for a crisp chablis and some oysters. Lovely.
I’d recently traded in the old merc, a bit too sporty in any case and was now nearing 20,000 on the clock. Best move I’ve made in a while, apart from that investment in a couple of cottages in ‘Downalong’ St Ives. That bonus came in at just the right time, and as you know London can be quite a bore and dreadfully hot in the summer. The cottage in Padstow was bringing in the dosh nicely, and so St Ives seemed the perfect match. Padstow is getting a bit ‘council’ recently, what with the ‘Rick Stein show’ in town, but hey ho it still turns a bob or two. If you avoid the harbour front and of course the locals’ pubs, then you won’t have to put up with the whinging about being priced out of ‘the community they were brought up in’. Bloody nerve I call it. Its thanks to us that the house prices are up at decent level, and of course now fit to live in instead of the damp hovels with ‘ducks on the wall’ that they would otherwise have been. I’ve brought a damn lot of money into town, so now you can get a decent Ribera del Duero, a whole variety of olives and several sorts of artisan breads at half the price of the shops in Islington. Never grateful the locals. Now that St Ives has got rid of its undesirables (in the main…I still see a few scruffy examples sat outside in the sunshine at the Sloop with their cold Guinness, crisps and envy), and has as yet has no Steinian influences to ruin the place, it is a perfect location for investment in housing. Rents are enormous I’m glad to say.
Anyway, I pootled into Truro for the aforementioned victuals and refreshment stop. Imagine my surprise to come across a small group of people standing around in some sort of demonstration. They were a right old motley bunch, however one person stood out.
At the back of the group was a woman with 4 children, holding what looked like a walking stick while carrying her youngest child. She looked in some discomfort and not a little pain. The group was holding up the traffic in the heat. As we inched nearer I could see it really was some sort of demo against ‘the government’. The woman was trying to marshall her children while holding some sort of banner. It was hot, it must have been really uncomfortable, while a stream of cars and pedestrians passed by, hardly noticing.
As I drew level with her, I could see her pained but determined expression.
I wound down the window, as I approached her.
“Get a fucking job you fucking hippy”.
God, that felt good. First I have to put up with moaning locals in Padstow, and now as my chablis is probably getting too warm, I have my drive blocked by a bunch of work shy, benefit scrounging crusties who would not know a day’s work if it shat on them. It really pisses me off these people. She had 4 children with her, yes 4! Had she not heard of contraception? Does she not know how to cross her legs? I pay for everything she has, she should be bloody grateful to even be allowed to demonstrate in public. I pay for the police who may have to deal with this group, and the CCTV on the lampposts watching their every move, I pay for the court system that no doubt has to collect fines from the activities the underclass engage in. I pay for the useless social workers who soak up government money faster than a rat in a barrel of cider. Christ, I even put food into her children’s mouths, ungrateful cow. If she put half as much effort into finding a job than she does opening her gob, and her legs, I’d get to me chablis quicker and she’d be able to pay the rent. I wonder if she rents in Padstow?
addendum: Note: for those not gifted with a sense of irony. This is IRONY!
This is a fictional account based on a real encounter. I know where my sympathies lie. Also, I have a flat in Carbis Bay which I rent out for the summer, just so you know. And if I have to spell it out for you, so that your petty little mind can grasp the subtleties and traps the politically naive fall into when they spout Daily Mail headlines, then I’m sorry. Try reading more.
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the satire was pretty accurate benny, very good.
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Yes it was 😄 anyone reading it, know I am ok with it.
For the purpose of information is power….
I am pro choice, an atheist but spiritual. I personally wouldn’t be able live with termination, I know myself too well.
I conceived two children on the pill, and found out re one of them about 4 days before we lost the house and a few weeks into my initial 12 month sick leave. My husband has now gone for the op 😉
I have a degree, two post graduate degrees, and was working professionally towards professorship and ultimately doctorate when I became too sick.
I wouldn’t change my kids for anything, they give me a sense of purpose, a reason to live and I am dedicated to them getting an excellent education and be empowered enough to achieve wonderful things. They all get top marks for attitude and effort, and are highly valued by their schools, as fantastic kids.
They will more than pay their debt to society off as adults. These kids will go far, mark my words.
I also am extremely lucky to have supportive parents and siblings who enable us to get away sometimes as a family, and celebrate their birthdays etc with their loan/ repayment options 😄
We are not a benefit trap family.
We are not scroungers.
We were just dealt a crappy hand.
Ishmael, your father is Lindsey? If so I’d like to meet up. Lancegoodman@mac.com
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I’m currently a lecturer in nursing based in Truro. Your blog is a great example of living with a long term condition(s) and should be required reading for my students. I’ll pass this on.
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Amazing! Thanks so much 😄I appreciate your kindness