#Yesterday… Lament of an #unemployed Steel Worker

Posted on May 27, 2015


Yesterday I was one of the thousands of victims of Thatcherism when the pits and the steelworks closed or a casualty of globalisation when my factory closed to be relocated in Malaysia. I might have been called another statistic of one or other of the recessions that occur whenever the Tories are in power. I felt powerless, sometimes victimised, frequently angry but at the end of the day I was “redundant”‘ “out of work” or simply “unemployed”.

Yesterday I had influenza and unable to work for several week or spent some months bedridden and consequently off work after a serious car accident or involved in some mishap at work. Worse; I might have been forced to give up work because of some progressive disease which saw my muscles weaken and my bones crumble. Officially and generally, it was recognised that I was unable to work because of sickness or injury.

Yesterday I was in a wheelchair with one of a number of physically disabling conditions. I could be paraplegic or even quadriplegic due to spinal cord injury or any one of a variety of crippling conditions. Unless I had really special abilities such as being able to work out how the universe works, it was accepted that I could not be regarded as ” fit for work ” by anyone other than the most altruistic of employers although I would have loved to be able to given some task which exploited whatever abilities I retained. I had to accept that for the vast majority of jobs, my disability was too severe to overcome my ambitions.

Yesterday I was dying of cancer. I was given special benefits which enabled me to spend my remaining days with my family as the final days of pain, drugs and darkness approached. Today, although my doctor has certified that I had less than six months to live (he had, with sorrow in his eyes, tried to sell me the line “I have been wrong before” and “these things are not 100% predictable!”; the Government, in its wisdom decided that I should be assessed for my fitness for work by ATOS. I am still unable to work but I do not receive the enhanced benefits and I know, as the doctor steps up the medication, that there is insufficient time for the appeal to make a difference.

Yesterday I was a widow with young children or I had been deserted by my husband or boyfriend (we can’t all make the right choices). I received no contribution from my former partner following this change in circumstances. I felt guilty about taking even a part time job when the children were so young. My situation meant that childcare was prohibitively expensive, wiping out most of any earnings working on the tills at the nearby supermarket but with help from my mother, who lived locally, I made a difference to the family income. Now of course my mother, widowed herself, is unable to pay the “bedroom tax” and will be rehoused in another borough some miles away.

My question is when it was exactly that I became a parasite sucking the blood from “hard working families”?

The Queen, who, I assume, must be regarded as one of the “better of pensioners” I have heard about tells me today at the opening of Parliament that “Her Government will work hard for hard working families”

My question here is “if I am unable to work because of circumstances such as disease or disability or personal situation; why do I not have a Government for me?”