First of all, Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fantastic time and that 2012 is a good year all round. If it doesn’t end in apocalyptic destruction around about December, so much the better!
The unwanted present refers to the gift I was given by Karma a week before Xmas; another nasty winter bug. I’ve been a slave to these bugs since November, never managing to stay virus-free long enough to book a flu jab at my local GP. I had already decided I’m getting a jab in September next year, purely because my parents, both of whom are in the ‘vulnerable’ group and easily qualified for the free jabs, have been sitting on the sidelines murmuring sympathetically every time I caught a new bug, while hardly getting a sniffle themselves. A wonderful advert for the jab if ever there was one. I digress.
I was getting better, I really was. Until I drove a round trip of about 350 miles to a family gathering (lovely to see them all, honestly, haven’t seen them for ages, good to catch up, lovely lunch, even if the lunch-table conversation was as incomprehensible as ever. And the little ones are so cute! With little, high, squeaky voices that defy my hearing-aids to pick any words out, but still cute. And possibly on drugs. But I used to be a bit of a hyper kid myself, so I’m not really in a position to comment. Lovely to see them all, lovely) and the day after was a big downslide. By Xmas Day, I was coughing uncontrollably and had completely lost my voice. Thanks, Santa!
Here began the social experiment. Usually, I communicate with my parents with a mixture of speech and ‘home-sign’ gestures that would be laughed at by any serious student of BSL. Now I couldn’t talk to them at all. A new situation for all of us, and my parents surprised me by how well they adapted. Of course, it helps that we had a grounding in ‘home-signs’ anyway, but it’s still impressive that we managed to make up – and understand - new ‘home-signs’ pretty much on the spot, understand what I meant when I pointed to various things and willingness to be patient while I texted longer-winded thoughts. They signed more to me as well, and communication generally became more visual. Credit where it’s due; I think we’ve acquitted ourselves in this particular social experiment rather well. The downside is that I spent the festive period strung out on Benylin and various painkillers before eventually seeking medical advice a couple of days ago, where I was told I have a little crackle in my lungs and here are some antibiotics that should sort it out. Oh, joy.
So I saw in the New Year high on Benylin and Amoxicillin chasers, wishing everyone well, trying not to scratch the antibiotic rash (an unfortunate side-effect that I hope buggers off when I finish the course) and comforting myself with the thought that from here on in, 2012 can only get better.
Until I read today that Ed Miliband would like to start another social experiment, the kind where ‘the evil of benefit scroungers’ is finally slain, and the twitching corpse of the bloated, overfunded, black-hole sucking welfare system bothers the noble, hard-working, bonus-paying capitalist City no more.
Sigh. It’s not enough that the rate of fraud in the welfare system is less than 0.3% (the DWP’s own figures), it’s not enough that disability hate crime has gone up, no doubt in part thanks to ‘benefit scrounging’ rhetoric, and it’s not enough that the Welfare Reform Bill may actually be in breach of the Human Rights Act.
A couple of points. First, the government is saying that elderly, disabled people blocking beds in hospitals is bad, and they should be looked after in the community. Then they introduce such sweeping cuts to funding that councils ‘are forced’ to slash community care budgets, at the same time as cutting the money that individual people use to live independently (such as DLA for example). Am I the only one who sees the logical fallacy / oncoming social welfare train wreck here?
Second, I would have more faith (read: any) in the DWP’s ability to target the actual scroungers instead of actual deserving cases if this hadn’t happened: http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/2011/12/very-definition-of-irony.html
Seriously, this woman gets a chemo shot every two weeks just to keep her condition in check. She’s had seizures, life-saving surgeries, a stroke, and has flirted with death more than Evel Knievel. And they took all of her support away? All of it?
This is a social experiment I want no part of.