I haven’t written in a while again, no excuses I just haven’t felt in the right mood, so why write something now? Well all the news of cuts to benefits has been going on for a while, but I see many working people struggling so don’t like to make a fuss, don’t get me wrong I rant and moan to my friends like everyone else but just get on with life, I’m not starving, I have a roof over my head, life isn’t perfect, but then is it for anyone, except maybe the one per centers?
But this week there have been rumours of benefits being given on pre-pay cards in the future, this is worrying, my initial thoughts were of the privacy implications, why should the government be able to track what I buy and where I buy it? Will they sell this information on too third party companies? How will they maintain security of the database? Even if you accept the government should be able to track you (which I strongly disagree with), what about selling the data? You may think they won’t but this is a goldmine for advertisers and market research companies, the government will not turn down that kind of money. They will anonymise it no doubt to calm the masses, but anyone should realise this doesn’t work, internet browsers are a prime example, you can turn on ‘do not track’ and turn off cookies but the big companies still know who you are and pretty much where you live too.
Then I realised it was much worse than this, they want to stop you buying ‘luxuries’ with your benefit money, in principle this sounds reasonable, but when you think about it it becomes pretty scary, can you buy Birthday or Christmas presents for friends or family, is this a luxury? If you only like a certain brand of food but another is cheaper is that a luxury? Alcohol is obviously a luxury (I don’t actually drink myself), but alcohol is also part of socialising for most people, should they not be able to meet friends and have a drink at the local pub? Are holidays a luxury too? Buying music? You may think I’m being over the top but mentioned in the proposal is pet food, so can we not own pets? I have pets which I care for very much, they offer companionship, love, something to make the effort to get out of bed for, one of the main reasons I fought so hard to get a wheelchair (which had to be paid for by donations and charity) was so I could take my dog Kara for a walk. Pets have also been shown to reduce stress, surely it’s cheaper buying pet food than for the NHS to buy extra anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication isn’t it?
The list of reasons why this is a bad idea could fill a book, but I really don’t want to write it, so I’ll mention bedroom tax instead, I don’t have to pay it as there are two people here and we have a two bedroom flat (although we were ‘accidentally’ sent a letter from the council saying we would have our benefits cut), but say I had three bedrooms, why can’t I have this, shouldn’t I be allowed to have friends and family visit and stay with me? What if I wanted an extra room for my carers to stay in, I don’t particularly like having to let them sit and sleep in my living room, I’d like some privacy, but I’m pretty sure that as they don’t live here I’d have my benefits reduced.
It seems like the government want us to sit in a room day in day out with no reason to go outside, no socialising and no real quality of life, what’s the point of living like that? You may say get a job then, that’s another issue entirely though, I can’t get a job, no one would ever employ me it’s just not practical, so my options will be have no quality of life or….well I don’t really see any other option.
I don’t like complaining, the state and taxpayer’s money supports me and keeps me alive, I truly am grateful for this, I also feel guilty and it hurts my pride that I can’t pay my own way, but I can’t and there is nothing I, or medical science can do about it. Despite this I do still feel I deserve to have a life, I give back where I can offering friends, neighbours and family computer advice, volunteering with projects such as NASA World Wind and the SBTF when I can, or even helping friends children pass their GCSE’s, it may not make up for what I suck out of society but I do try. Then there’s the rest of my family, I’m the only one with a medical condition that stops me working, they all pay taxes, surely that counts for something.
This isn’t just about me being worried about my future though, I’ve spoken to others with medical conditions that mean they rely on benefits, they are good kind people, why should they be treated like this? Yes there are scroungers, I even know some, but the majority of people on benefits do need them, even government figures put benefit fraud at less than 1%.