This was obviously meant to be posted the other day and wasn't...
Let's get this out of the way quickly: I have made some leeway regarding my back. I'm going to be referred back to the consultant and my doctor - perhaps aided by my sardonic yet level headed approach - agreed that there is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed. I actually spent a good 20 minutes with her and was surprised that I got so much support and affirmative action. I shouldn't be and it all may come to nothing, but it was good to be able to unload to someone who could give measured and expert advice.
The thing is I'm not disabled, I accept that and to be honest I'm very glad. Being disabled in 2011 isn't much better than it has ever been. My doc accepts that nearly 200 days sick since 2009 is indicative of an underlying problem that isn't really being addressed; she also accepts that, currently, I am unable to do specific tasks. She also accepts that I'm not angling for DLA or whatever InCap is now. As I pointed out, I want a job and need one, for at least the next ten years, to be able to pay off the mortgage - benefits don't do that. So, I suppose I'm going to have to consider becoming a desk jockey and the vast array of jobs that comes with that description make me want to throw myself off of a shortish building, repeatedly...
We'll see what comes of this attempt at doing something to sort out my crappy spine.
I won't dwell on this next point as much as I'd love to, but let's just say if you work hard, pay your taxes, NI and follow all the rules, if and when you lose your job - probably through redundancy - you qualify for Contributions Based JSA. This entitles you to... fuck all. It entitles you to £67 a week. That's it. As far as supporting you anywhere else - forget it. You are not entitled to free prescriptions, free dental treatment, you're not entitled to anything free.
If however, you've never worked; have never contributed to society in any way whatsoever, apart from maybe deposit little kids around the firmament. If you're a foreign national, have dependants who have also not contributed anything to the IRS or if you are a long term unemployed person who has no intention of ever getting a job - you are entitled to a list of free stuff that would make the average person's mind boggle.
It's fucking disgusting.
Several years ago, I attended the funeral of a work colleague who had died suddenly at the age of 42. After the funeral, the small team of people I worked with went to one of our colleagues favourite pubs, in Wellingborough, to toast her one last time. We'd been in the pub for about twenty minutes when four 'Travellers' walked into the pub.
The atmosphere changed almost immediately. The bar staff went on edge; people perched at the bar slunk off into corners and buried their heads in newspapers and the four of them stood at the bar, drinking strong cider and jabbering away in their own Irish tinged language. In all the years I'd lived in Wellingborough, I'd never had any form of encounter with these kind of people before, although I had heard stories that would make your hair curl. I thought it was quite ironic that now I'd moved I was having my first full blown example of them.
It was time for another round of drinks; my boss went to the bar with one of my colleagues; I disappeared into the men's room, leaving three female colleagues sitting alone in the lounge. When I emerged from the loo there was some kind of confrontation going on. The four Travellers were making unwanted and unpleasant advances to the three women. One of them made it quite clear they were neither interested in being bought drinks, not in having the attention of these people. These simple social rules were completely ignored and two of the men sat down where my boss and I had been sitting. Tension rose and my boss, walked from the bar and nicely and without any sense of confrontation said, "Look lads, we've all just been to a funeral; can you leave us alone please?" The men ignored my boss and went back to trying to get the girls to accept a drink from them. One of the woman said quite firmly to a man making very unwanted advances to her that she wanted him to go away and he turned quite nasty, threatening to 'beat the fuck out of her' if you talked to him like that. My boss looked at the landlord, who shrugged his shoulders and disappeared out the back.
Eventually, the four young men, now joined by me and my other colleague, sensed that it wasn't going to be their day, so they retreated to the bar, where they hurled abuse in our direction until they left. As they were leaving, the most mouthy of the group stopped at the door, turned to my boss and said something about it being his funeral next if they ever ran into him again.
The landlord reappeared shortly after and apologised, but also said he wouldn't call the police, because the police didn't respond to calls regarding Travellers and if he had managed to get them to attend, he would have felt retribution from the Travellers, either through taking over the pub with hordes of them on busy nights or damage. We were all slightly horrified, but most of us lived in Wellingborough and realised that what the landlord said was very true; Wellingborough police rarely, if ever, responded to complaints about Travellers - it was literally too much trouble and fraught with danger.
During the 12 or so years I lived in Wellingborough or Taxi Town as we often referred to it as, I'd seen the damage left by Travellers. There was a place we took the dogs to, just down the road from where I lived. It was called Dale End and was a large field used by the local scouts and sat adjacent to a local primary school's playing field. Until 1996, it had never been closed to vehicles, but then a group of caravans and expensive cars turned up and made the field look like some mad cross between a car boot sale and a gypsy village. They were there for five days before they were moved on and during those five days, 14 houses were burgled; thousands of pounds worth of damage had been down to the surrounding landscape and when we could finally take the dogs back down there, all the little copses of trees and wooded areas were awash with human shit, bags of rubbish, empty cans of lager and broken glass. The field looked like the aftermath of a violent Glastonbury.
The local paper ran a feature on it and asked the local council and the police what they were doing about it and the best answer they got was to say that bollards would be erected at Dale End to prevent it from being occupied again. But what about all the burglaries and damage? Asked the local reporter. The police issued a large number of crime numbers for insurance purposes; the council were conspicuous in their absence.
I retell this because of the business at Dale Farm in Essex. Arguably, Travellers contribute nothing but misery and bad feeling to society; they abide by their own laws; trample over the laws of the land, use their ill-gotten gains to attempt legal fights for rights they don't recognise 360 days a year and revert to type when they lose. They are the worst elements of society and when violence flared in Essex yesterday, you could have set your watch by it. I'm sure they love each other, are reasonably kind to something and feel they are oppressed; but they give no evidence whatsoever of being anything more than retarded and violent thugs with a wanton disregard for anything they disagree with. They have cost tax payers enormous amounts of money and while you could criticise Basildon Council for their handling of it; as I said many weeks ago, if I'd decided to build something in my back garden that contravened planning rules, I'd be made to take it down. What makes these scumbags any different from the rest of us?
They're called Travellers; they should travel, preferably back to Ireland or some other country, preferably one that is considerably less tolerant than us.
I have to say that the Labour MEP for that region, Richard Howitt, presumably doesn't want his career to be a long one. He came across as ignorant, ill-informed and slightly ridiculous - just the kind of twat Labour could do with getting rid of if they ever want to stand a chance of being elected anywhere ever again.