I woke up thinking I should write about “un calor envolvente”. The house I find myself in has underfloor heating. 15 degrees Celsius is all that is needed on the thermostat to keep the rooms lovely and warm. The heat rises directly from underneath one rather than heating up cold air coming in the windows. No grand convection currents here.
Just an embracing heat.
But I was drawn, like many others, to Sue’s blog “Diary of a Benefit Scrounger”. In particular, this most recent post, which surely must break anyone’s heart:
I have severe crohn’s disease. Probably one of the most severe cases in the country.
I have had 7 major life saving operations to remove over 30 obstructions (blockages) from my bowel.
I take chemo-shots every two weeks that suppress my immune system, ensuring that I regularly have to fight infections. Exhaustion, pain and nausea plague every single day of my life.
I have osteoprosis and malnutrition.
I have had major seizures and a stroke.
Nonetheless, I have just heard from my own Disability Living Allowance application, that it has been rejected. Completely. I will receive no support at all from DLA. Despite claiming successfully in the past, despite only getting weaker and more frail and less able to live independently, my reconsideration was rejected.
Yesterday, coincidentally, I came across this passage in a book I have been meaning to read for ages but which has sat on my coffee table, glaring at me with barely self-contained fury – Andrew Marr’s “A History of Modern Britain”:
[...] Britain had had a system of voluntary hospitals, raising their own cash, which varied wildly in size, efficiency and cleanliness. Later, it also had municipal hospitals, many growing out of the original workhouses. Some of these, in go-ahead cities like London, Birmingham or Nottingham, were efficient, modern places whose beds were generally kept for the poor. Others were squalid. Money for the voluntary hospitals came from investments, gifts, charity events, payments and a hotchpotch of insurance schemes. Today we think of ward closures and hospitals on the edge of bankruptcy as diseases of the NHS. The pre-war system was much less certain and wards closed for lack of funds then too. [...]
Now don’t you think, in these two pieces quoted above, the first from Sue, the second from Marr, we have both the result of Tory-led Coalition policy and a roadmap for where they want to go in the future?
The Tory plan for the NHS is nothing more nor less than to roll back Britain’s history to the past Marr describes so succinctly in the paragraph I quote. For as he goes on to explain:
[...] GPs depended on private fees, though most of them also took poor patients through some kind of health insurance scheme. When not working from home or a surgery, they would often double up operating in municipal hospitals where, as non-specialists, they sometimes hacked away incompetently. And the insurance system excluded many elderly people, housewives and children, who were therefore put off visiting the doctor at all, unless they were in the greatest pain or gravest danger. [...]
The idea and concept is clear: re-engineer the nation’s mindset so that future generations focus on the need to gather together mountains of money to protect themselves from the vicissitudes of life. The endurably and necessarily poor and infirm? Let the philosophy of survival of the fittest deal with them.
Sue says she doesn’t want the world – she only wants to survive. The truth of the matter is that the Tory-led Coalition barely cares for her to survive – as it wants the world entirely for itself.