Terminal Absurdity - British Welfare Reform.

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Adam, Jul 11, 2013.

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  1. Adam

    Adam SF Supporter

    You are a police officer and have been for a good thirty years. You have served with distinction and all is going well. Unfortunately reforms have come into effect to get as many people off work as possible in the interests of the economy and 'helping' more people move into the world of watching Jeremy Kyle and drinking beer. This task is farmed out to a private contractor. A brown envelope hits the mat with a form. You fill it out aware the questions seem somewhat vague in allowing you to explain how you are a police officer and should remain as one. You send the evidence of your working contract which highlights your thirty years of service. There done, all should be right with the world. Who can refute direct incontrovertible evidence... Oh dear it got lost and never arrived, you spend an hour waiting on the phone and finally speak to some one they, are obviously very stressed and speak to you in a hostile and less than professional tone. You fax over the evidence and they tell you they have received it. Later you will find out they have lost it again and it went in some one else’s file..

    A new letter arrives asking you to attend an assessment centre that is fifty miles away. You somewhat wonder why that is as you should have demonstrated sufficient evidence.

    You go and meet with your Workshy Assessor. Dressed in your police uniform and take along with you a senior ranked officer who can categorically state you are indeed a police officer. He should know as he is approaching retirement and deals with police officers all day every day. He is that seasoned and knowledgeable who could possibly question this power house of expertise the very person that watched you rise up through the ranks and has first hand experience of you being a mighty fine Hardworker.

    Unfortunately the assessor has some top down pressure to find as many Hardworkers as Workshy. There are even rumours going round they are given financial incentive to do so. Welcome to your 'fair' assessment process.

    You ask the name of the assessor and they snap, 'I don't have to answer that.' You ask their qualifications to make the assessment, they seem to go all nervous and do not at all answer and side step the question. Not wanting to let this go as you categorically know you are a police officer and have the evidence to prove it you push the issue eventually finding out they are a parking attendant with six weeks training in Workshy assessment. You decide to note this down. Taking out a notepad seems to be viewed as a hostile action, you are discouraged from taking notes. You take out a camera and are told that it is intimidating you have no right to record or film your assessment. If you do not put the camera away you will be noted down as 'Failing to attend and will be found to be Workshy.

    Not wanting that to happen you put away the camera. You hand the Workshy assessor your evidence, your distinguished career laid out in plain black and white. They take a millisecond to look at it. Your superior chips in and relays how you first joined the force and all the amazing Hardworking things you have done.

    The Workshy assessor has a vacant look and responds with, 'I am not here to assess if you are a Hardworker but if you are Workshy. It is not about what you can productively do but what you can't do at all.' The Workshy assessor then takes out their Hardworker denial software that has been successfully sued against in another country as being criminal.

    Thus the questions begin. You are starting to however wonder how any of these questions are relevant. Where is the question asking if you have collared any bad guys. Do you turn on flashing lights? Engage in high-speed pursuits or fill out reams of paperwork to the point you think you may get carpal tunnel? Instead you are asked if you sleep? You simply answer yes. You are asked if you drink beer? You sure do after work with buddies, but responsibly of course. You are asked if you sit on sofas. This seems like somewhat of a bizarre question, who does not sit on a sofa, Hardworker or Workshy.

    The assessment ends. Your superior protests that the evidence was ignored and that his professional opinion also went ignored by a parking attendant of all things and the questions took no account of anything useful. The Assessor repeats, 'I am not here to assess if you are a Hardworker but if you are Workshy. It is not about what you can productively do but what you can't do at all, we must think of the public purse.' Then leaves. The whole thing took twenty minutes.

    After some time a brown letter hits the mat. It detail that you have scored 6 points to being a Hardworker which falls short of the required 15. As such you have been found unfit to be a Hardworker and are now deemed Workshy. You are removed from your job as a result. You do have an option to appeal the decision but that could take up to five months.

    Five months later of living flat out drunk watching T.V and people scream at each other you can only liken the whole thing as some form of terrible unproductive torture you don't deserve. It seems like the whole world does not believe in Hardworkers at all and you find you are constantly berated to be a Workshy and should be getting more drunk, loud and abusive and seem to be failing to help yourself to do so. It all makes no sense and you find you are not alone. Paramedics, Firemen are all being found Workshy and by the end of the year this will be rolled out to engineers and factory workers and even the armed forces. They angrily rant on forums and create Blogs to expose the insanity but get hit by libel take down notices by the very people tasked with administering this system. There is one terrible story where a C.E.O of a fortune five hundred company leapt out his corporate headquarters as a result of being found Workshy. The fact he had a corporate headquarters should surely have weighed in his favour as evidence of being a Hardworker! Demonstrations emerge all over the country. The powers that be seem to demonstrate a fondness of side stepping the discussion or resorting to tired sound bites that address nothing.

    You get a copy of the Workshy Assessors report and can't believe what has been written down. There is no mention at all of you quite visibly wearing a police uniform. No mention of your senior officer and the things he had to say. No mention of the evidence your presented. All your answers have been somewhat twisted. Do you Sleep? 'Regularly engages in slovenly behaviours.' Do you Drink? 'Has admitted to significant alcoholic intake.' Totally disregarding you drink after work responsibly. Do you sit on Sofas? 'Consistently lounges around doing nothing.' Unfortunately for you as you were not allowed to take a name, or even record the assessment you have no proof that what has been written is outright fabrication. You have no leg to stand on and face a Tribunal.

    Finally the Tribunal date arrives. You walk in dressed smart in your uniform accompanied by your senior officer. The two appointed members of the tribunal see you and immediately roll their eyes and sigh. Your senior officer speaks out on your behalf and presents proof you are a police officer and have been for thirty years. Then hell freezes over it rains margarine and a llama founds it own country and declares itself president. They actually take the time to look at it all, ask relevant questions then think on it in an impartial manner, as they are not driven by any targets. Which does not take long. You are awarded 15 points. You are found to indeed be a Hardworker and are certainly owed an apology. They make the recommendation you are put in the Hardworker category and can remain a police officer for a year until being tested again. You do point out you wont be retiring for some time yet. They simply shrug and tell you they don't make the rules and wish you well.

    Victory! The world is right once more and you are back to collaring criminals turning on sirens, soaking up verbal abuse, being vomited on all with the added joy of being buried in paper.

    Until three months later a brown envelope hits the mat. You react to this with a terrible sort of dread what is this all about? It is another form. You ring up and try and get clarification you were meant to have a year at least. You are told you must fill out the form or you will be found Workshy. You point out you just won at appeal. It is explained as it has been nearly a year since you put your claim in you must be reassessed. Failure to comply will result in you being deemed Workshy.

    Not this insanity again. You look at the test noting the questions have changed. The minefield of it all becomes apparent. You need help with it and contact certain agencies, but all of them are overwhelmed as their funding has been cut severely and so many Hardworkers are in need of their services. You resign yourself to doing it on your own and go online and follow guides. You go the extra mile and pose in front your squad car with a known rapist in cuffs. You are filmed on active duty trying to stop a demonstration turning into a riot. As well as exposing a massive drug dealing operation.

    You send the carefully complete form in along with all your evidence and footage. You are informed that you must attend a Workshy Assessment centre. Once more you see a Workshy Assessor sadly your superior is too busy to come with you this time and has said if you want a letter of support he will have to charge you for it and if you want a more in depth letter of support you will be charged extortionately. You go in full riot gear showing up in a police riot van that can be seen out the window. The assessors eyes narrow on you with a look you have seen before. That seems to exude a complete tone of scorn as if you are the worst pile of scum to be laid eyes upon. You present your evidence, they look at it for milisecond and disregard it. A horrible sinking feeling starts to eat away at your thoughts of how truly pointless this all is. You point out the window at the riot van. But get the response. 'I am not here to assess if you have a riot van or not. But if you are Workshy too many of you Hardworkers are bringing down the economy, we have to get tough. I bet you have never been so drunk in your life you have had near fatal alcohol poisoning and made yourself a complete burden to A&E, you are a disgrace. It is not about what you can productively do but what you can't do. There must be something you can't do.'

    You are mauled by a barrage of questions that come at you like a bullet storm so you can barely think. You recognise this as a pressure tactic and wince mentally when you realise you just contradicted yourself. You muse upon any one with mental health issues, autism or learning disability may see this as an outright assault resulting in mental breakdown. Fortunately for you your mind is a concrete bunker although even that is starting to shown signs of cracking.

    Seems like the questions have been changed. 'Do you Sleep has become, do you lay down? You can think of no possible way to answer that which wont look like you are Workshy. In fact all the questions seem that way, you answer them glibly aware this whole process is pointless. The ordeal is over and you decide to clear your head and walk home.

    However walking is a horrific sign you are a Hardworker but you are clearly trying it on. Just walking makes you stand out as every one else is on a mobility scooters clutching bottles of booze and puffing away at twelve cigarettes simultaneously as that is the normal in this society. You are mocked for having legs and having the audacity to use them in public. Some one takes offence to your riot gear they don't think it is real and cuss you out for a while. Then to test this they try and pull it off you, but then have a look of shock and guilt when it does not come off. They run away. A mobility scooter zips past and some one decides to throw the remnants of a half eaten burger at the side of your head and finds this all very funny. You get ketchup in your ear.

    You make it home feeling a little uneasy. Some people watched you come home. A few of them have gathered out front and can be heard talking about how you have two legs and use them instead of a mobility scooter like every one else. You are aware you are now being mocked and people are telling you to stop washing that it is utterly disgusting you are meant to stay in the same clothes for months and smell of body odour like normal people. Some one shouts they are going to report you to the Hardworker Fraud Agency. Later on you find one of your windows has had a brick thrown through it. The window is replaced.

    The unease stays especially as the news shows some alarming stories of growing violence towards Genuine Hardworkers. But simultaneously paints All Hardworkers as a plague and a rampant uncontrollable epidemic that is ever growing worse. You watch with dismay as statistics that have no bearing on reality or are simply misrepresented are used. Somewhat fearful you stay in and hide and order in as you may suffer more abuse from having the audacity to breathe and walk to the shops with legs.

    You get your assessors report no mention of riot gear or your van or any sort of evidence... and as you thought. 'Admits to lying down constantly.' Zero Points.' Once more you are removed from work plunged into the depths of hell unlike any other where you must force yourself to get blindingly drunk and shout angry phrases at the T.V. If you fail to keep up this behaviour you will be punitively sanctioned. You have the utmost joy of being sent on courses like, Learning to maximise wasting your time and courses on how to replace every second or third word with a swear. You can appeal the decision but it is now a twelve month wait. For the briefest moment you consider your gun in a less than desirable way. But no you will fight this injustice! You actively campaign and wage war with words. There is comfort in finding you are not alone, but also deep sadness at the unashamed amount of suffering going quietly ignored.

    Twelve months pass. There are more stories now building of Hardworkers, even top level bankers being forced to become Workshy even though it is obvious to any one with eyes and some semblance of a brain that they are not. The MP you contacted gets back to you and tells you, yours is not an isolated case and they are looking into it. This is of small comfort.

    It is the day of the tribunal you show up in riot gear and with your evidence. They take one look at your images of handcuffing a rapist, policing a near riot and a drugs haul. In five minutes they come to their decision. Shake their head, express utter incredulity and make mention the back log of appeals is now starting to get hard to handle and the other reforms have not even come in yet. You are awarded 30 points and they make the recommendation you return to active duty and not be retested for two years!

    Victory! With much delight you return to your life, no longer harassed all that much to lay about and drink and wear unwashed clothes. All is great what could possibly go wrong... The thrill of chasing down the bad guy is back. But you have nightmares about brown envelopes, questions involving laying down and scornful Workshy assessors.

    A month later. A brown envelope lands on your mat. You think you might be having a heart attack at the sight of it. No it appears to be an anxiety attack, with trembling hands you open the envelope. Not the form again! You ring for clarification but instead devolve into a fit of rage at the way you are being spoken to like this is somehow all your fault can't you just go away already. You have absolutely had enough. They hang up on you. You smash up your apartment and then are reduced to blubbering tears. You ring the crisis team but they are all busy with other Hardworkers in mental breakdown and all beds are full.

    Your concrete mind bunker turns to mushy paper in that moment.

    Sisyphus rolling a boulder up a hill comes to mind.

    So it is sadly you are later found dead from suicide clutching an ESA50 form in your hand.

    Congratulations you have just made it onto Calum's list. Just the tip of the iceberg. ((Warning, Deeply Disturbing))
  2. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Chat Pro SF Author SF Supporter

    The re-assessment process... Same thing will happen here in the Netherlands I fear.

    If you're a young adult, are handicapped and receive benefits you will be re-examined in the coming years.

    The state secretary of Social Affairs says so. Only people who are permanently disabled may keep their benefits.

    We're talking about a number of 230.000 people, it's expected that 40.000 people will be able to continue receiving benefits.

    The work that young disabled/handicapped adults do now at social work places, they will have to do it at regular companies/work places in the future.

    And this is where I go crazy,.. for obvious reasons. Employees are supposed to hire people who are disabled (labor wise) and create new jobs for that group of people coming into the business.

    Or so says the state secretary.

    Excuse me madame, I just couldn't help becoming psychotic three times in the past 6 years, being born with autism, having chronic headaches and nausea... etcetera. Because of it I wasn't even able to finish my high school.

    And now you want me to be re-assessed/reviewed? By who? Who in the world can possibly judge me over my life?


    I'll write some more later Adam.
  3. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I am confused and unfamiliar with the program. If somebody is working full time presumably they are not receiving benefits - so what assessment ? For what reason?

    edit - googled to try to figure out- found articles like this - http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/397016/Workshy-hot-spots-of-Britain-revealed

    but no clue as to what type of paper or journalism it is as I suspect they have very slanted papers there as they do here.... but every article I found was referencing people on benefits - not people working?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2013
  4. Adam

    Adam SF Supporter

    Lol Ben, it is an inversion of what the disabled in England face that cannot work. I am somewhat bothered that the satire was not obvious. It covers disability abuse and the hostility generated towards you just for existing. But also the constantly being berated to work even when you are in pain or mental distress to the point some just choose suicide. That is my own likely course. As medical evidence is ignored as is your specialist. In my case my Psychiatrist of ten years was over ruled by a midwife with no mental health training and her LiMa software. This person has more weight than your treating physicians and gets to decide if you get to live in your home and eat. THAT IS THE ABSURDITY.
  5. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    That is in fact absurd

    I did first think it was satirical analogy then became unsure. The lack of familiarity the UK system made me unable to decide....
  6. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Chat Pro SF Author SF Supporter

    It's a double-edged sword now. One side being that the "help" for people who suffer from mental illness is still severely underdeveloped. From medication to the actual different ("advanced") forms of therapy, in my opinion, is not even close to how it's supposed to look.

    I said it before, when I suffered from a certain mental illness/disorder and I needed all the help I could get... I got so little actually, absolutely nothing almost and I live in the Netherlands (AAA society).

    I can say this with confidence now, this ever changing world, besides the technology, is not modern at all. I don't think we live in a so called modern world at all. That's just BS to me.

    The other side of the sword is that the government, and also reading what happens in the country that Adam lives in, is beyond ignorant now or has a severe lack of mirror neurons in the brain.

    Mirror neurons being the brain being able to form a picture of what another person might or might not be feeling inside. It's still all about the ego in society. Only a few individuals have the insight to change what they think of that and become part of the bigger picture.

    The government has to be clueless about what the hell is that they think they are doing. I sometimes wish that the sons and daughters of every politician has a personality disorder or a mental illness. Maybe then would they understand that what they are doing now is... destroying lives of a lot of individuals.

    You see now, if the prime minister in my country had a son with autism, he would be able to sympathise with those folk (yeah, I have autism as well).

    Fact is though, if you never faced a mental illness before or other mental disorders then... sadly you just can't begin to understand it not even for 50 percent.

    All they think about is how to save more money. Pretty much everything that you save money on is going to affect people obviously. But now, it's beyond ridiculous. Those who really need the (extra) money and/or care just don't receive it.

    Be right back. :(
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