Hi folks, I’m writing an extra blog in response to feedback given to me on my Facebook page and Twitter account. I put out the question ‘Would anyone like an extra blog per week, something a bit different to the posts about the demos’. The response was unanimous. A big yes, if I have the time so here it is.
One subject that I am constantly reminded about is exclusion.
I know that this will also be familiar to my readers also, but at times it can be blatantly obvious, and at other times not so obvious.
Before I start writing further, I should explain my position to anyone that isn’t aware. I have no magic money tree, I’m just like you, like millions of people living in the uk.
I’m a single parent, I live way below the poverty line and have had first hand experience of the DWP system and illness. LIfe isn’t easy for most of us, but I’m not complaining even though I should complain more. I have a wonderful daughter and amazing friends. At times I must try their patience.
Exclusion comes in many forms, and anyone living in poverty wether it be relative poverty or absolute poverty will experience this, although the severity of it does differ. To put it bluntly the less money that you have, the less you can do.
I hear friends talk about trips out, I’m sure that you do too, it’s lovely to hear about their adventures, but a the same time it serves as a reminder that apart from local free days out in reality its not an option.
The other week I had to pay for a school trip for my daughter. Parents will be familiar with this scenario. The children are excited about the prospect of a day out with their friends, whilst we go into a state of dread and panic worrying about how we are going to pay for this. Many children don’t go, their parents keep them at home. And the school system punishes the child for having time off school. They won’t get their 100% attendance award, a punishment on top of their missed day out.
As an adult being poor also excludes you from trips to the nearest biggest town, clothes shopping, doing what I call ‘big shops’ yes, Peter Kay is correct in stating that we say these things. I also say ‘big light’. I’m a northern lass and proud of it. Bus fare in my area is very expensive, so the only option is to walk unless you are lucky enough to have a bike.
Trips to the Cinema, or ‘Pictures’ as I still call it are totally out of the question, going out for a drink is also and having a meal in a restaurant is the stuff of dreams. And yes we do dream about being able to do these things.
A trip to the Supermarket, if it’s in walking distance becomes an obstacle course in itself. For many people, especially those living in rural areas, there isn’t any choice in where they shop. So they time it for when the yellow stickers go on the food. Believe me it can be a challenge trying to get the bargains that have been reduced, but when you do you hold onto them like they are gold, afterall they can keep a family from hunger for the week.
It’s not just about material things though, although they do matter. Alongside this comes the loneliness, the isolation and the knowledge that you are ‘different’ than others around you. Taking part in something positive to do can stop a person from spiriling down into the depths of depression. But we just have to accept that we can’t do these things even though we would like to. And small things do matter.
Friends become fewer, opportunities become fewer and health often becomes worse.
With a poor diet, illness often accompanies it. It’s no surprise that there has been a return of victorian illnesses such as Rickets in children because children just don’t get access to a varied diet, and the sunlight that’s needed to prevent this.
Adults and children have to deal with illnesses such as depression, anemia, insomnia, hypothermia, malnutrition, anxiety and many more besides. Whilst the government is busy selling off the NHS to the likes of Richard Branson, the demand is getting higher. We won’t be able to afford medical insurance it’s not an option.
Why am I writing this you may ask? Everyone must know all this? The reality is, no not everyone does know this. The Tory Party is aware of this but choose for their selfish reasons to ignore it and make it purposely worse. There’s no use in asking for them to be sympathetic. They re created this cruelty in a very conscious way.
I’m writing this to raise awareness, for people to be a little more understanding of each other.
The next time a child’s parent’s can’t pay a school trip, don’t criticise and moan about it, instead understand the reasons why they can’t pay. No parent actually wants to exclude them from a school trip, and if a child gets a subsidised place, good on them, don’t hold it against that child or parent. It takes a lot to admit to a school that they can’t afford to pay for a school trip.
If a child arrives at school in a less than pristine uniform show compassion instead of criticism. Ask the school if they can start a school uniform clothes bank. Some schools already have these.
If a friend can’t join you for a night out, or a trip to the cinema, don’t show off about it in front of them, nor should you talk about them behind their backs. Instead ask them how they are feeling and be a good friend.
If a person is hungry show them where the nearest food bank is, or offer compassion. Compassion costs nothing. If you can buy them a sandwich then that might just make them feel human again. Giving someone hope will also do this.
People shouldn’t be tossed aside because they supposedly dont ‘fit in’. Everyone is important, and so are their right to a decent standard of living.
More and more people are excluded from housing, vulnerable people left on the streets to beg whilst low funded organisations try and help them, try to keep them safe and feed them. The government has completely absolved themselves from any responsibility, nor do they care about how many people die as a result.
People are made to feel worthless, subhuman and unimportant by the DWP system of sanctioning and failed medicals which are still being conducted by the likes of Atos. People are dying everyday as a result, but the government just shrug their shoulders and look the other way.
A WASPI lady committed suicide after the general election because she felt stressed, unworthy and unwanted. Isolated at a time when she should have been enjoying her retirement. Once again the government don’t care.
On Friday I had to travel to Manchester, something that I don’t do as regularly as I used to. I had to use the public loos and I started a conversation with two young homeless women. They were lovely women, bright, bubbly and friendly. They told me about their life on the streets, and the difficulties they face every day. Both told me that they had been begging all morning and hadn’t got any money, they needed a pound so I gave it to them. They also needed a hairbrush so I gave them mine. I got hugs from them, and smiles that I haven’t seen for a long time. I couldn’t change their situation, but a little bit of kindness gave them hope that people do care. And thats all it takes sometimes.
In an ideal world we would have a society that wouldn’t exclude anyone, where everyone would have a home, money in their pocket, food and have the support that they need. It’s called socialism and this country is crying out for it.
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13 thoughts on “Exclusion and life below the poverty line. ”
Thank you for helping this man and others in similar situations. We do what we can but it’s endless.
Even if someone with health problems manages to get a job the pressure is then on them not to take any time off work. Employers have become brutal in their ‘management’ of employees with health problems. I know several people who are ill but daren’t take time off work for fear of losing their jobs. They go through miserable day after miserable day and because most are low paid they don’t have much to fall back on.
We need a different government and one that actually gives a fxxk about those at the bottom of the pile.
Absolutely correct on all accounts. It shouldn’t be like this should it. We don’t live we exist, and how awful is that. Thank you for your ongoing support it keeps me going.
Thank you for your kind words Charlotte. I’ve been thru an hard time over the last few years but i havent given up hope, i know that all things are subject to change. I may feel at the moment that I’m just existing not living, & often think i don’t know how much more i can take of the Jobcentre & the poverty, but i sometimes visualize the Jobcentre crumbling, empty, abandoned, with ivy & weeds growing all over it & trees growing out the gutter. I’m sure theyll all shut eventually. The present system is unsustainable & an unconditional Universal Income is inevitable eventually. I still have hope. I might not win the lottery but at least one day I’ll be able to retire, & who knows in the meantime i might even find some sort of job thatiI’m capable of doing, you never know. Or maybe I’ll write à book! Ha ha. I might meet new friends in the future, but at the moment i have No idea who, how, where. I’m just biding my time til opportunities arise & trying to keep sane in the meantime.
This applies to me too. I am excluded. Been on JSA for years. Have a couple of health probs. but not bad enough to get on the sick. Just getting by on JSA, got no savings. I’m in my 50s, got no social life whatsoever, got no friends, never go anyway or see anyone, apart from going out to do jobsearch most days at either library or Jobcentre, going out to get food shopping, & going to launderette. That’s it. Wouldnt know where to go if I did venture out. can’t afford pubs, & not really interested in hanging around pubs for the sake of it, can’t drink much anyway due to stomach probs. Where is there to go at my age? Havent had a holiday for 14 years. I’m single, No kids, got a pet cat. All i do is watch tv or read à book now & then. I also have Borderline Personality Disorder & prone to depression/anxiety. Life could be worse tho, could be homeless or in Syria or someplace. At least i have à roof over my head, a bed to sleep in , & some food.
It’s awful no one should have to live like this. But we do and even though we aren’t homeless (yet) or in Syria it is awful. They might not be throwing bombs down on us but they are taking away the very basic necessitys for life and with that comes the feeling of giving up. I’m in total solidarity with you. Keep strong.
Excellent. Very well said. Shared on FB.
Thank you Liz.
Thank you Charlotte 🙂
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