Today I have the lurgy. The kids had it last week so it’s not really a surprise that I have it today. I won’t go into any graphic detail – for fear of frightening you, gentle reader. Suffice it to say, that I am not operating on full strength and would not have made it out of the house today without ingesting nearly a whole packet of Imodium.
Fortunately I don’t have to go to work today – I’d be a bit nervous of any long bus or tube journeys – so I can pootle about the house in a fairly lacklustre way until my normal vigour returns. I usually shake bugs off quite quickly and know that plenty of fluid and an early night will probably do the trick.
Feeling this crappy has made me think about how I take my normally robust health for granted – having poorly kids last week made me realise that we as a family are on the whole blessed with strong constitutions. Good health for kids means good attendance at school – we got a certificate from the council for Child no 1 – which in turn means higher grades. Good health means that employers see you as reliable and are more likely to promote you or keep you on in times of recession. Obviously poor health means the opposite, as is all too patently clear here:
In case you can’t be bothered (or can’t bring yourself) to read this article, the jist is simple. The so-called Minister for the Disabled, Maria Miller, is claiming that many unemployed people (some of whom may well be disabled or in poor health) lack the ‘appetite’ to look for for work. Apparently there are tons of jobs out there (really) as long as you’re prepared to get off your fat doley arse (the thrust of her wise words).
Since I read this in The Guardian rather than the Daily Mail, her outpourings are at least taken with the skepticism they deserve. The article comments:
Her comments are likely to provoke anger among those desperately seeking work with little success. The latest official count of unemployed people stands at 2.68 million, while the figures show the number of new workers being sought by employers in the last quarter of 2011 at 463,000. This is equivalent to around six people for every vacancy in the country.
In other words, there are a hell of a lot of unemployed people out there, so why should employers take a risk by hiring someone with a health problem? The reality is that most employers won’t which is why the demonizing of the disabled is not just nasty, it’s actually morally wrong.
The government has pledged to cutting the bill for disability benefits by 20 per cent by 2015/16 – including the non means tested Disability Living Allowance.The result, according to respected charities, such as Scope, Mencap and the RNIB, is an increase in abuse faced by disabled people – itself often the result not just of government policy but a media fuelled narrative about ‘scroungers’.
The narrative is toxic and puts me in mind of the tabloid cliches trotted out to describe the working class (read Owen Jones’ book Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Classes as he says it much better than I can). It’s the worst kind of bullying: picking on people who are vulnerable and need our help and support, not a bloody good kicking.
I could go on and on and make myself feel even worse than I do already. Instead, I’ll leave you with a fantastic clip from one of the latest UKUncut actions, where a group of disabled people chained themselves together to block Oxford Circus.
They are an inspiration and deserve our total respect.