Thursday, 24 March 2016

Chinese Whispers

WOW.... what a  roller coaster week for the disabled.   we went to bed to the dulcet tones of  George Osborne's budget cutting the disability funding P.I.P. and woke to a resignation and, FINALLY, the fine residents of Britain realising that persecution is alive and well in their supposedly enlightened land.   OK it's taken a LONG time to sink in that the demonisation  of the disabled is an ongoing project instigated by government, fuelled by the  media, and fed by an unthinking population in a manner that makes the  Salem Witch Trials a spring picnic, but maybe.... just maybe the populace have experienced a falling of scales from eyes and have recognised the injustice of removing mobility cars, rationing incontinence care, restricting bathing and loading indignity upon indignity until tragedy is the inevitable outcome.

What i've found fascinating during this debate is the number of people who have heard of somebody, who was related to someone, who was known to be "working the system", "a dodgy dealer", "ripping off the benefits", but NONE knew the supposed felon's name, where he/she lived,  the details of their illness, or who to ask for the full story.

Did you know that over 5 years, 85% of allegations phoned in to the Benefits Fraud Hot Line were false....? EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT !!! don't believe me? click the link above and read it for yourself.   that's a whole lot of suspicious people acting on what they feel rather than what they know.  

Let me tell you a funny story.   not second hand, not hearsay but something i experienced personally some months ago. a lady i know well informed me that her daughter's wealthy friend had rewritten her will and was leaving all her estate to the local cat and dog shelter instead of to her long suffering husband after a disagreement. apparently  she preferred canine company over the human and was carrying this preference to the extreme.   there followed a vociferous denunciation of the wife for her thoughtless, outrageous, selfish, misanthropic behaviour from my scandalised friend.   when asked if this information came first hand from the wife herself i was angrily informed that the daughter knew all about it and wouldn't have got it wrong and my suggestion, that the tale could have been mangled in the telling therefore perhaps it would be wise before spreading misinformation  to verify the facts, wasn't well received.  last  week the wealthy friend died and guess what ??? yep... the puss cats will have to manage without their inheritance.  no upcoming upgrade to Gourmet, Tesco cat food remains on the menu as the husband has been named recipient of her largess and is taking his entire family, parents, grandparents, children, cousins, second cousins three times removed to Disneyland USA.  honestly... i kid ye not... this is a true telling of the sorry story... it's too good to fabricate isn't it?

It takes me back to when we moved onto a  middle class estate when i was a young mum still dressed in full hippie garb, driving a beat up fourth hand estate, and living on poverty wages.   a throw away comment making a joke about our lack of gardening skills led to a petition being passed around the street by perturbed neighbours worried about the goats we were getting to keep the grass cropped !!! southern irony didn't play well in 1980's Newcastle.

Chinese whispers make entertaining stories and might be of no consequence to the parties involved, who may never hear how their privacy has been invaded and their character assassinated by careless chatter. but there is a darker side to this propensity to judge on appearance without a full understanding, or knowledge, of the other. think of the stress and fear inflicted on the 85% who woke to a knock on the front door from the Fraud Squad falsely accused by a neighbour who only sees the strong persona presented to a watching world.   they will have lost their only source of income until proven innocent and be interviewed under police caution.   imagine how that could impact on a person's mental and physical health.  so... check your information before speaking, take pains to learn the story behind the outward show, don't encourage unfounded gossip by listening to the gossiper... and ask yourself how you would feel if you had to exhibit all your weaknesses for the world to see before getting a fair hearing !!!


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