Well I did it. I managed to convince my GP to sign me off. I explained just how the Work Programme were not interested in helping me, despite the vaunted covenant of the scheme, unless I was on the 'right' benefit. In the end he wrote a 3 month note. Now all I have to do is find some way to apply for ESA during the busiest time of year for the postal service (you can't apply online, so much for the IT systems).
To be fair, I have been quite critical of my GP, but today I think he finally started realising just how out of whack, out of touch and fucking ridiculous the welfare system is. In fact he was sounding quite emphatic about it and wanted to write to the local MP (a tory, sadly) to tell him just how ridiculous, as a GP, it is to have to operate this way. I'm not sure about that and wanted to wait until the claim is processed at least - one thing at a time.
I think part of it is having other patients with similar tales of woe. Certainly that's what he hinted at; I've no idea who else locally is having to deal with this insane system. Let's hope they don't have to deal with the likes of these privateers on the Work Programme!
Hopefully the claim will be processed in time for my appointment on the 14th of January with the Work Programme. I'm told there's a 2-3 weeks turnaround time, I should just about be ok financially, but of course there's no guarantee. So while I'm glad that I can sign off (and my JSA payment should go out tomorrow as it needs to clear in time for the Christmas holidays), I can't help wondering if it's a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire. I'd like to believe that the Work Programme might be more helpful on ESA, but that kind of schizoid about face doesn't exactly put these people in a good light.
Sadly, in other news the Tories have launched a new offencive in their great crusade against scroungers. This is a link to a questionnaire on a Tory website asking if people think more money should go to either: 'hard working families' or 'people who won't work'. Not people that can't, or don't (because of conditions out of their control, such as recession), but people who 'won't; lazy scroungers in other words. Like me! It's all under the guise of 'fairness'. This is just the Tories starting to realise the wind is shifting; they are now trying to play divide and rule even more to shore up support for the changes incoming next year: is it fair that you, having just been made redundant from your job in the public sector (boo hiss!) should take a hit when these other people won't work? Bollocks!
Ironically one of the good things about unemployment is how it teaches you to see through all the urban myths and the bullshit propagated by the status quo. It broadens the mind. It's an education in its own right!