Self Esteem

We've Never Had It So Good!

I ought to be delighted. Self esteem and self worth boosted into the stratosphere. Despite my deteriorating eyesight, our government has decided I’m fit to work.

As far as I can gather, one of their criteria for reaching this decision is I can bend down and crawl about a floor. No matter that, en route to the Axminster, I could dunt my skull off any intervening piece of furniture or find part of a house plant embedded in a nostril. And, even if I reach ground level safely, it’ll be quite a while before finding whatever is down there.

Actually, it’s their mendacity which riles. This government isn’t interested in finding the right career for me. Not one bit! Their only concern is depriving me of any disability benefit to which I’ve been entitled and for which I have contributed, and still contribute, through my taxes. Despite what you can read in their, so called, “information leaflets”, they have no interest in settling me into a career reflecting my abilities. Not me nor any other disabled person. They haven’t the nerve to admit as part of their policy of cutting Government spending, the easiest solution is to deprive the disabled of their benefits. apparently, there are now too many of us; or rather, too many claiming benefits.

But back to my prowess in bending and crawling. Which careers, exactly, open up? I suppose, if enough disabled folk can be gathered together, we could provide an ecologically friendly street cleaning service. Serried ranks, like velociraptors; the first row gathering rubbish and detritus into little heaps; the row behind sweeping these into wee buckets. All done by touch. No overalls. They’d muffle our tactile abilities, saving even more public money. That would put all us scroungers publicly in their place. Down at the bottom of things. Which is, after all, another of this Government’s aims.

Many disabled people do work; some even have careers, which is not necessarily the same thing. By now, Scotland must have produced its first blind brain surgeon, taxi driver, Olympic level badminton player or even one person who can do all of these. Fine. Grand. But it isnae me. Over the last sixteen years, I’ve gradually developed skills which allow me, almost, to function within my own narrow parameters. Expanding these would take a great amount of trouble and fash and, honestly, wouldn’t be worth it. Only last week with Miss Pupkin’s help, I delivered two talks. Enjoyable experiences, for both of us and, I think, my audiences. As always, these experiences emphasised to me my limitations. I could not return to my former profession. Even with assistance, whether human or technological, I could not work on the same playing field as the able bodied.

In these days of inclusion and political correctness, I’ve just written what ought not to have been written so I might as well continue. My poor eyesight, never mind various other health foibles, means I cannot function as well as an able bodied person. Yes, I cook and, if I may say so, rather well, but it takes a while and my clearing up is dreadful. I garden, but I’ve a husband ready to repair any mistakes. Even writing this article relies on the screen reader behaving himself; for all I know, these lines are scrunched into a corner or scattered down several pages, purple text against orange.

In Galloway, welfare reform will deprive three thousand people of disability benefit. I doubt if there are even three hundred jobs available here and that’s assuming these are suitable. However, kicking these folk onto the mercy of their families for support frees up at least 1.2 million quid. Multiply that across the UK and, heigh ho!, you’ve propped up the odd financial institution, covered the short fall created by those avoiding paying stamp duty on their expensive homes, and even put a bit towards the Olympics. Now, surely that has to be congratulated!


© Charlotte Bennie 2011