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Showing posts from April, 2014

Final Assessment

“Reaction time is a factor in this so please pay attention. Answer as quickly as you can.”
On Thursday I had my third, and final (I'm told) diagnostic appointment. This comprised three specific tests/parts:
First 20 questions based on a piece of film were asked. This was a short clip of some people arranging and getting together for a dinner. The questions were asked at various points during the footage, which was paused. The purpose, I guess, was to determine how you can read their feelings and reactions. This seemed to be the function of all three tests, though who knows. It didn't help that the footage was dubbed - really badly; I mean the voicing was really ham fisted and over the top which I don't think really helped. It felt like a mini - and quite predictable - soap vignette. Person A fancies person B who secretly doesn't fancy him, but fancies person C. The end. It just didn't feel representative of real life to me. Perhaps that's the point.
“Maybe you&…

Unregulated Hate

Yesterday a storm erupted. The Mail on Sunday printed an article involving 5 people: Simon Murphy, Sanchez Manning, Ross Slater (the reported mentioned in the article, bravely going undercover in a foodbank), along with Amanda Perthen and Tracey Kandohla, set out to smear the work of foodbanks, specifically the Trussell Trust.

The latter two are credited with ‘additional reporting’ at the bottom of the article. I have no idea who any of them are, but of the fact they are all venal mercenary scum, I am totally convinced. This is one of the nastiest pieces of ‘journalism’ (churnalism) I have ever seen. I am not even convinced it’s honest.
The headline claims that vouchers are given, without checks, for ‘sob stories’; neatly traducing the experiences of those in genuine need. However the third paragraph refutes this utterly; clearly this vain quintet couldn’t even be bothered to do their job properly:
“The woman, called Katherine, who was in her 60s, asked our reporter a series of ques…

“How’s it going?”

That was how I started my last entry, before going off on a complete tangent.
The purpose was to reason through what I expect from my ‘review’ with the GP tomorrow. That got sidetracked so I’m going to try again here because I think it taps into the nature of the relationship between such people and those of us in my position. It seems, regrettably, that there is a disparity between the two positions: the expert and the patient-on-benefits.
The above question is how I believe this appointment will begin. It defines that relationship by putting the responsibility on my, the patient’s, shoulder. I don’t really think that’s fair because looking for support as someone with problems functioning in the society he finds himself; the form of which he had no influence over, it is unreasonable to expect the patient to be the source of his own solutions.
Society likes to put forward notions of self sufficiency. In an age of austerity and hardship and with the pressures of modern living this is …

Confused Rambling of the Day

“How’s it going?”
I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday. As someone with (as yet undiagnosed) learning disabilities (the surgery’s words, not mine) I am called to have a ‘review’ with my GP. I imagine this will be the first thing he will ask, I have no idea what it is meant to mean. What is ‘it’?
I have no idea how to answer? Is it the same as people who greet each other by saying ‘alright’; they don’t really expect an answer. No one wants to hear your life story; it’s not meant as a question. Will he mean “got a job yet?” that sounds more likely?
It’s the assumption that I am playing the game: doing the right thing, without ever having had that explained to me, nor giving me a choice of what game I might like to play. What efforts will I have made, that will satisfy the curiosity of my GP, to improve my lot? What efforts can I make? I don’t live where there is a robust mental health support network, certainly not one without a proper diagnosis. I may never get that either, but I h…

We Have a Religion not a Government

I get the sense, these days, that we are living adrift; that these are times where opinion is up for grabs. No one seems to have a solid claim on what’s right, what’s wrong, or how things should be. Instead there is power and there is the lack thereof. Those who have it enforce their worldview by economic force; those who don’t are being viciously marginalised with increasing fervour.
Maria Miller’s job prior to the culture brief she handed back yesterday was to shut down the Remploy factories her government had decided were no longer worthwhile. With that a swathe of people otherwise not cut out for society as it is through no fault of their own are set adrift. This is a woman with an expression like a waxwork dummy; of all the Tories in the current bitter crop, she always struck me as a particularly stony buttress.
These are ideological times. They are times where people do not seem to know themselves what should be done. Mrs Miller didn’t seem to know what to do while racking up m…

More Terror From the Dark Lord of the Smith

Another day and another offensive in the war against the poor – just as the general election season starts. This article (linked from the excellent Ipswich Unemployed Action) originating in the Torygraph sets out the Dark Lord’s latest vision of a fair society (not):
Welfare cheats will be forced to sell their homes and pay higher fines to reimburse taxpayers for the money they have wrongly claimed, under plans to tackle benefit fraud.
Perhaps this is some belated April Fool’s; a satirical masterstroke in the same week that Maria Miller was caught fiddling. The former minister against the disabled ‘over claimed’ on her expenses by £45000 to cover a mortgage – but, astonishingly, only has to pay back 10% of that amount! So while a ‘welfare cheat’ is to be forced to sell their home (maybe they could quickly sign the deeds over to a spouse, in the way Phillip Green signs his profits over to his missus), Mrs Miller gets to profit to the tune of forty grand for overcharging the taxpayer fo…

Meetings With Remarkable Advisers

As previously mentioned, I was due a Post Work Programme appointment at the jobcentre. However I rang the Work Psychologist to talk this through because I am (and I daresay always will be) apprehensive about dealing with the Jobcentre. Isn’t it sad that its forever a hostile environment and that dealings with its agents have to be guarded?
I didn’t think she was much help. Typically she is, on the face of it, supportive, but ultimately somewhat ineffectual. However she did suggest I ring and speak to the person concerned (dubbed My Adviser) as, according to her, he is a decent bloke.
So I did. Turns out (or so it seems, time will be the ultimate arbiter) he was actually pretty decent. He offered to conduct the interview on the phone, which was a big help. When I told him what I though of the Work Programme (which I am officially no longer enslaved to as of last month) he wasn’t surprised at all. He was genuinely interested in what I had to say and my interest in writing – which is mo…