Thursday, 28 February 2013

Pain, DWP, Atos and ukcolumn

So now is the morning.  I get up and my back aches and my stomach feels bloated.  I get coffee and take pain killers and things evolve and I feel as if I need to go to the loo.  My lower back is aching and threatening to hurt and the top of my legs at the front are stinging and aching.  So I go to the loo and my stools are like sheep poop.  And although it is a slightly taboo topic I wonder why it is taboo.  Doctors know these things matter but we are not allowed to talk about them; It does rather brush things under the carpet (Not the sheep poop!).

And then, as I sit here and play Go I feel slightly shaky and quite worn out, I wonder what life is like.  I have nothing to do.  I don't know what to do.  I am browsing old photos from a software convention that I attended as the 'official' photographer some 10 years ago.  Hundreds of enthusiastic software developers' faces and I look at them and wonder what life is like for them.  What are they doing now?  I recall how I felt all those years ago and how rushing around for three days attending talks, taking hundreds of photos, socialising in the evenings and consuming large quantities of alcohol was all done with energy and enthusiasm to spare.  I had ridden over 100 miles to the conference on my motorbike and returned to edit and organise all the photos to put them up on the internet.  All this was done with ease.  But as I sit here and write this diary whilst resting both arms on the table I find that if I need to take the weight of my body with my back in order to lift my arm to hold the mouse to edit a mistake I am tempted to leave it until later because it is a significant effort.

I am not well.  There are 90 year olds who have more energy than me.  I am only 56.  But the significant thing for me is that I know this level of exhaustion is not right for me at the moment.  I don't mind getting old and worn out but I do object to feeling far worse than I might reasonably expect.  And just to put all this in perspective I am devastatingly broke.  It strikes me as interesting that when I mention this other 'taboo' subject people have a strange way of interpreting what is meant by 'broke'.  I know I have interpreted broke as meaning different things at different times in my life.  So how do I simply explain what my financial situation is?  And, perhaps more importantly, how do I convey the incredible negativity of it and the destructive power of my situation.

I look at these revolutions and collapsing economies around the world and although I regard myself as relatively lucky at the moment they are very close to how it is for me.  When I make references to the Holocaust people seem to think I am being extreme and exaggerating.  But for me, although it is an exaggeration, it is not so much of one that it is unreasonable.  There are thousands of people that understand we are doing very similar things in this country right now.  For the record and as supporting evidence there is the frightening case of the DWP and Atos Healthcare.  Currently there is a call for them to be investigated for corporate manslaughter and crimes against humanity.  One set of evidence is the rise of people on sick benefit who have died.  In 2010 310 people who were on sick benefit died.  That might be regarded as the baseline or the norm.  When the DWP introduced their 'medical examinations' carried out by the IT company Atos, masquerading as a healthcare company, in 2011 the death rate rose sharply.  In the first nine months of 2011 10,600 people who were on sick benefit died.  Many people who are involved in this situation are very clear that this is the result of intimidation, stress, and hardship imposed by the DWP.  A very moving illustration of the utter inhumanity and ridiculousness of this scheme is well represented in the image below from Mike Silver's blog.

When you are confronted with the insanity of what is going on it comes as a profound shock and then a frightening realisation that you wouldn't have believed it.  What is frightening is that you know other people simply will not believe it if you tell them.  You begin to understand how the illusion is maintained.  So which way do you turn?  Who can you tell when the very people who are in a position of influence are the very people whose focus of interpretation is on defending the perpetrators of the crime.  You begin to realise how the holocaust happened.  You start to see that the people who make the most noise about how the holocaust was an unacceptable and intolerable crime against humanity are the very people who are enabling it to happen all over again.

Someone once told me that they didn't trust sentimental people.  I wondered about this for many years but over time I certainly began to understand at least 'a' reason for not trusting sentimental people.  It is similar to people who deny something a bit too much.  The suspicion rises that perhaps they have a reason to be denying it.  It seems to me a bit psychological.  It seems a bit Freudian.  They cannot accept that part in them that is 'like' the undesirable attributes of the oppressor.  They actively 'hide' it from themselves and become over emotional and sentimental about the devastation and pain.  But what do these people actually 'do' about this subject that appears to distress them so much?  Very often they do nothing but continue to soak up the opulent substance of their current environment.  They are materially comfortable and psychologically secure and they cling to it compulsively.  To fend off guilt they go to church and give a pittance to charities (who are too often simply offering the service in the style of 'selling indulgences' - that issue that was central to the protestant movement led by Martin Luther in 1517 - for their own benefit).  What they don't do is face the terrible truth.  They don't concern their conscious mind with the evident paradox.  They don't object to the bits of insanity around them.  Why not?  Because to object to these small bits of cruelty and irrationality would disrupt their comfort and would appear to make no difference to the larger picture.  There seems no point in making an issue of things.  And so they carry on.  It is the very same reason why all this shock and horror at the Jimmy Savile affair will do nothing to stop abuse in our culture.  All it will achieve is to brush it further under the carpet and to make it harder to detect.

I cannot write more at the moment because I am in pain and exhausted but I will continue to put these incomplete missives up on the internet in the hope that eventually I will be able to coordinate it all.  In the mean time please set up a standing order to pay me £1 (or $1 if you are a parochial American) a month (If you are serious you can contact me via Toxic Drums contact page :).  It would only take a thousand or so people doing that to afford me a way to live and look after my daughter.  Then, maybe, I would start to get better and get stronger and be able to do something about the terrible situation that is rapidly evolving in this country.  You could also take a look at the ukcolumn which is a very informative organisation pursuing real insight and justice.


  1. I'd love to help if I wasn't in the same sinking boat. All we can do for the moment is persevere. I know that sounds somewhat lame but think of it this way. There's not much left they can take from us. And we know they can't take our education and I'll be damned if they'll take my dignity. Don't let them take yours.

    1. Thank you so much for that. It is very reassuring to know that there are really other people who understand. I also take your point about dignity ;) There has been a very interesting turn of events here which have made the situation significantly worse but I am still pondering that one and hope to clarify it over the next few days. In the mean time I wish you the very best and thank you for your observations and support. (Probably more significant than $1 a month :)