Tag Archives: George Osborne

Austerity

Austerity’s a mystery plan
It’s full of holes and flaws
It works out best for wealthy folks who can avoid tax laws
It causes bafflement to the sensible
Economists’ despair
For when they reach the quarter’s end, Recovery’s not there! 
Austerity, austerity, there’s nothing like austerity
It’s broken many people’s homes
Hurts people with impunity
Osborne’s powers of calculation would make the World Bank stare
And when you reach the quarter’s end, Recovery’s not there! 
You may seek it in the High Street
You may look up stocks and shares
But I tell you once and once again, Recovery’s not there! 
Austerity owns a ginger prat
He’s very dull and dim
He does his master’s dirty work and mimics dear old Gid
Says we can pay for HS2
But can’t repair the roads
And if you’re on any benefits
Who cares if you lose your home?
They say they’ll save us money on our heating bills this year
But don’t believe a word of it: the Big Six just don’t care
Corporations avoid their taxes
While people take payday loans
Buildings dusty with neglect
We’re all being bought and sold
Austerity, austerity, there’s nothing like austerity
Better hope that you don’t break a bone
They’ve closed Accident & Emergency
VAT goes up but millionaires get breaks
You really have to wonder how much more pain we can take
You may walk a ghostly High Street
No living wage, no spending
Zero hours are all the rage; when’s austerity ending?
We’re “all in this together”
Building homes most can’t afford
An aspiration nation for precious few of those who work hard
And when the NHS is looted
Or inflation keeps on rising
Or education gets you nowhere
Or when compassion’s missing
Or employment rights are stifled
Or wages are suppressed, infrastructure past repair
There’s the wonder of the thing: Recovery’s not there! 
Austerity, austerity, there’s nothing like austerity
Even cutting firemen ’cause we can’t afford the salaries
He always has an answer and one or two to spare
“If anyone is suffering
They’re shirkers, so who cares?”
And they say that all the MPs whose wicked deeds are widely known
(I might mention Eric Pickles, Duncan Smith, Cameron)
Are nothing more than agents for the one who all the time
Just controls the operations
The Chancellor of Crime! 
Austerity, austerity, there’s nothing like austerity
He’s a fiend in human shape
Shocking in his audacity
For he won’t bat an eyelid
At anyone’s despair
When inflation outstrips wages and Recovery’s not there! 

Window dressing politik

I became unable to work just a few months after moving to my current home. I remained off work for three years and was on incapacity benefit for two and a half of them. I have been back at work for longer than I was away now. I’m prompted by more recent events to share my story. I read George Osborne’s last conference speech with revulsion. I watched him repeat his divisive message in his Autumn Statement with dismay. His message couldn’t be further from my experience.

When I became unable to work, I felt guilty and ashamed. There were those who found it expedient to encourage those feelings but they weren’t my neighbours. I live in an area mixed with private and housing association homes. Before and after surgery I spent a lot of time walking around the area, trying to keep moving and get stronger. My neighbours were unfailingly kind and supportive. They offered practical help and were my cheerleaders. They kept me going and made me feel less of a failure for my inability to work. I lost count of the jokey words of support I had from total strangers as I hobbled along (metacarpel jokes were the order of the day, thanks to Wayne Rooney).

I also had a lot of support from elderly people at my local pool. They dubbed me “mermaid” because my swimming was strong and elegant (albeit very painful!), even though I could barely walk on dry land.

Along the way, I also met other people with similar disabilities and one thing I discovered was that, for all the support I had from able bodied people (or people with different disabilities), it was important both to me and to them to have someone to talk to every now and then who understood all of the challenges, including failings in the healthcare and benefits sytems.

Local shopkeepers were friendly and concerned and one shop even offered to deliver bits and pieces to me (I refused because it was necessary for my health to keep walking the quarter of a mile to his shop). Outside my direct neighbourhood, I encountered more kindness. In the supermarket, staff were helpful when I let them be (I’m pretty stubborn about wanting to do things myself, even when it’s obvious I shouldn’t).

You could argue that I had it easier than some. I’m blatently middle class and it’s true that people might react differently to me than, say, a couple of the men I know locally with similar disabilities. One elderly man I met one day said “It seems so unfair that someone so young, slim and pretty should have a problem like yours.” He meant well and I thanked him but it did make me wonder whether he would have felt the same sympathy for some other people I know.

Six months after surgery, I decided that enough was enough. I wanted to buy my Christmas cards myself and damn the distance I would have to walk (a half mile each way) to do it. I made it. I bought two packs of cards but, by then, I was wiped out. I felt like the packs of cards were a full bucket of water in my hand and felt tears of frustration at my own infirmity well up. Two men, both complete strangers, each separately attempted to help me. One even offered to go up to the train station to get a taxi for me. They didn’t know me. They just wanted to help a fellow human being. So many people do.

Any unpleasant incidents which occurred were always thoughtless bullying connected with the disability itself, not whether I was working. I never heard a word about that.

All of the kindness I experienced mattered to me. It really did. I felt less alone. I don’t know what George Osbone and his ilk experience in their daily lives, but I certainly don’t recognise their picture of resentment driven griping from mine. Not everyone will have the same experience as me. I know that but I hope that more recognise my story than his. If you would have treated me the way everyone else did, I’d appreciate it if you would read and sign the WOW Petition calling for a full impact assessment on proposed changes to benefits for sick and disabled people.