Unless you have been on Planet Mars for the last 18 months, you can’t have failed to learn from the press, media and our esteemed Government, that England – nay Britain – is at the mercy of a large group of dangerous subversives who are systematically draining its life-blood. I refer, of course, to the recipients of state benefits.
You cannot open a newspaper, hear/see the news or watch a TV ‘infotainment’ show without seeing evidence of how “scroungers” and “benefit cheats” are living the high life at the honest tax-payer’s expense. Indeed, so widespread now is the belief that anyone unable to work must be a feckless, dishonest ne’er-do-well, that when employees of the French company, hired by the Department for Work and Pensions [DWP] to “screen” claimants of the new Employment Support Allowance [ESA], recently referred to those claimants as “down and outs” and “parasitic wankers” on a well-known social networking site, no-one turned a hair. Atos – the French company in question – were not even reprimanded by the DWP. The government, whose first duty under the law is to protect and defend British subjects, smirked, sniggered behind its hands, and did nothing.
But should we be surprised by this? No – I don’t think we should. It seems to me that this wave of hateful invective against some of the most vulnerable people in Society is actually what the Government want. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that they actively incite this kind of witch-hunt. After all, what could serve their purpose better than turning the working population against those who, for whatever reason, are unable to work? If the working population of this country felt or demonstrated sympathy with the sick and disabled, the appalling cuts to services and benefits would cause a huge outcry which might force a Government change of policy – and in the Government’s view that cannot be allowed to happen at any price! So, the DWP drip-feed inflammatory statistics to the press and media and encourage the nationwide reporting of those minority of cases where benefits are claimed illegally. This makes the working population angry and indignant and successfully nips any sympathy they may feel for real sufferers in the bud. A truly elegant piece of political manipulation by propaganda which would have made Herr Goebbels very proud! What next for the sick and disabled – Concentration Camps?
Well, now that you know where I am coming from, perhaps it’s time to tell you a little about myself. I am 58 years old and suffer from what are known in these enlightened times as “mental health issues”. I’ve been variously diagnosed over the years (47 of them, to be precise) as suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder II, and chronic clinical depression and anxiety. I made my first suicide bid when I was 11 years old and was self-harming on a regular basis from 1964 until 2004, when I was finally lucky enough to come under the care of a really excellent Clinical Psychologist. Thanks to her, I haven’t self-harmed for nearly 7 years, although the urge to do so is ever-present and has been very hard to resist in recent months.
Some of the most significant symptoms of my illness are an inability to cope with unfamiliar people, places or circumstances “in the flesh”. I can talk for England via the internet – but ask me to do the same thing in a face-to-face environment and I become anxious to the point of paranoia. I can’t travel alone because in the past, when faced with any kind of conflict or difficulty, I have experienced “fugue” states, whereby I lose whole chunks of time and find myself in places with no knowledge of how I have got there or what I have been doing in the meantime. The slightest perceived conflict triggers wholly disproportionate responses in me, likewise any perceived criticism is apt to either send me flying off the handle or into floods of tears. [Past workplace appraisals have been known to make me ill for days!]
One of the few activities in which I can safely take part outside the safe “bubble” of my home and garden has been 1940s re-enactments – a recent discovery in that when “dressed-up” in 40s clothing I am in disguise, not actually myself, and find I can interact almost normally with the people I meet. But only if my husband or a close friend is with me at the time. The thought of going anywhere alone is enough to make me run off screaming into the jungle! Other than that, I have to remain in the safe place I have created for myself – my home and garden – and share it ONLY with the people I know and love best, and who I am confident will treat me with kindness and consideration.
I have not been able to go out to work since 2004, and my husband is 72 years old and in spite of having served in the Royal Navy for almost 10 years, receives only the basic State Pension. [When he joined up you had to sign-on for 12 years or more to qualify for a Royal Navy pension!] I have been receiving Incapacity Benefit since 2005 and I am now undergoing the transition process from IB to the new Employment Support Allowance [ESA]. Hence the title of this blog – I am one of the “parasitic wankers” whose capability for work or work-related activity is currently being “assessed” by Atos Healthcare UK on behalf of the DWP.
So that’s me, gentle readers. If you would like to know what it’s like to be a “welfare scrounger” in the 21st Century, on a day-to-day basis, then follow my blog from now on. I may miss days – my illness does still get the better of me at times and some days are harder to deal with than others – but I am going to do my best to blog regularly and share the good and bad days, as well as my random musings on the politics of the day! Talk more tomorrow?