Todays tweet duly posted, I will ponder on the Sunday bonus. In truth I don't feel well; I think Poor Alan, of whom I wrote in School Days (No2) has visited revenge upon me by calling down the 'Mucus Demon' to fill my nose, throat and chest. I may need to be more careful in future...this may turn into a 'Tales From The Crypt' style story of unforseen consequences...
Here's a dilemma. The government seem to have backed down on their proposal to sell off areas of the national forests. It is reported that the minister concerned, Caroline Spelman, has admitted to making 'a mistake'. However, I have a letter from my MP, Paul Uppal, explaining at length that the sale of the forests would be A GOOD THING, giving them more protection than they have at present, and urging me to trust the government to get it right. PLEASE TELL ME THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Should I bin the letter and forget it, or write to my esteemed MP and explain that his letter was so convincing that I would like him to explain why the government are making the terrible mistake of not going through with the proposals. Will he now, I would ask, be pressing the government to tell him, and me, why what he thought was such a good idea is now a dead duck.Do you think that it would be kind of me to point out to him that his own government appear to have made a fool of him? I wouldn't dream of poking a wounded creature with a pointy stick but poking politicians is such fun- shall I? Please help me with a comment.
A very short poem can't begin to express my anger and contempt for this government. Read this one out loud, slowly, with emphasis, spit out the words if you will and please feel free to alter the words ‘back off’ to whatever you see fit, if it helps.
Big hearts in our community, Big souls Big ideas smashed on the rocks of poverty. Back off Mr C. There’s no place for you in OUR Big society
....is dedicated to Atos Origin, the company employed by the government to throw sick people off benefits. This may seem a stark 'assessment' of their role, but as they get paid a bonus for each person found 'fit to work' it is the plain truth. The fact that most of these people, if they have the energy and nerve to appeal, get their benefit reinstated barely gets reported. Nor does the anecdotal evidence from GPs that they have had terminally ill patients declared 'fit to work'. My concern is that the tests used in these assessments are uniquely unfair to people with mental illness, as they may well be physically able to lift a full kettle and walk 20 yards but are not able to work and are also unable to state their case because of their illness. Please contact you MP and ask for a government rethink about the way these assessments are carried out, an investigation into the terms of the Atos contract and special measures to protect the mentally ill from unfair treatment.
We’ve decided that you’re fit enough to work.
We’ve decided to increase your medication
We’ve decided that you’ve started to self harm
We’ve decided that you need an intervention
We’ve decided you’re a danger to yourself
We’ve decided that you really should be sectioned.
I wanted to put a buffer between the last poem, which is very serious, and the next, which is very silly, so I thought that I would tell you about a strange thing that happened yesterday. First, some background: Pauline, to whom the last poem was dedicated, had already had a difficult life. Just before Christmas her daughter first killed her two young children (Pauline's grandsons) then killed herself. The word tragedy is undoubtedly overused but this was without doubt tragic, and Pauline was left to cope with it. Having already had heart surgery last year, Pauline died last week; the Daily Mail reported that she died 'of a broken heart'. So what made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck? While I was typing yesterday's poem 'For Pauline' into the blog, my phone whistled to tell me that I had a new text message. When I'd finished at the computer I went to the phone and the screen showed me that I had one new text- from Pauline. It took me a few minutes to regain my equilibrium but when I opened it it was the details of her funeral arrangements. No doubt her surviving daughter, loath to repeat the conversation many times, sent the message from her mother's phone to 'all contacts'. So that's it....