And so the great benefits/disability , lost for a word to put in here, war seems too strong but issue is too wishy washy to describe the depth of feeling there is surrounding this debate. But however you would describe it still it rolls on.
Initially I was panicked by it all, read everything I could lay my hands on, talked to everyone I could about it and made it my business to follow developments closely.
I couldn't keep up this level of stress for too long without suffering even more than I normally do so I tried to take a step back and find a calmer approach.
You see it seems obvious to me that there are people on both sides of this debate that are purely out for sensationalism, certainly several of the ( and I hesitate to call them this) newspapers are clearly after a reaction with the sort of headlines they scream on a regular basis, a few of them even raised a comment out of me until I realised I was doing just what they and the 'trolls' that wait for a bandwagon to jump on wanted, I was reacting.
But also on twitter and other social networks some on the other side were putting out similar frightening and often unproven information which was causing a similar reaction in me, again I was reacting.
So I wised up, I checked the information I was getting before I reacted at all, I chose carefully what I would ingest and what I wouldn't even bother looking at, that's not to say I didn't still react, mostly I believe appropriately but still occasionally immediately as in a previous blog when I read something that appalled me so much I had to write down what I felt straight away.
I consider myself quite a calm and balanced person, dare say there are some that would disagree!
So I have tried to come at this calmly and with a balanced view, difficult when it is such an emotive subject and twice as difficult when I myself am being affected by it.
So this week in my calm and educated way this is what has happened regarding the benefits/disability issues.
There has been a significant turn in this saga this week, it seems MPs and even some of the papers have woken up to the fact that all is not rosy in the ATOS garden, assessments have gone horribly wrong for a significant number of claimants costing large amounts in appeals and raising the question of how qualified this French company are to be carrying out these tests. A committee has also raised concerns regarding the language used in certain newspapers in describing sick/disabled people and the hatred and harm to them this is inciting.
This was heartwarming to those of us that had watched the destruction being caused and I became quite hopeful that things may be turning around at last.
What didn't quite make sense to me was after the months of the RTing, shouting and abuse on the social sites every time one of the sensational headlines declared we were all scroungers etc how very quiet those people were now.
The government released statistics that once again screamed 'cheats' and were quickly taken to task by a professor who had helped design the ATOS medical and a well respected newspaper showing how the figures they had released had Been misrepresented. Not so much as a RT.... Hey guys this was in our favour!
I can only assume the loud, indignant people who had been so vocal about 'cheats' were now having a pang of conscience, or sitting with their heads in their hands wondering how they could have been so mean! No?
Or is it that true facts are no good as ammunition with which to bully and frighten vulnerable people? True facts are nowhere near as scary are they? Hhhmmm
I asked this question on twitter and it was suggested I was too embroiled in the whole thing, maybe I am but I am trying really hard to stay calm and reasoned...honestly.
I also commented on another persons blog this week, I often do to support or let someone know I enjoyed reading their blog but this for me was negative and that is unusual for me. A well educated man was suggesting that benefits should be taxed by 5% so we could all 'be in this together' apart from the obvious flaws in this it again begs the question of why should we be punished any more than we already are by being on the meagre amount that is benefits and if like me you have worked and paid in for a good many years you have already paid your taxes haven't you?
The author stated that he hadn't meant sick/disabled people and had purposely not mentioned them in his blog.....people on benefits should be taxed? That's me Sir, disabled and ON benefits.
Finally I had a very interesting meeting with my local MP, a kind and caring man whom I have met before. The discussion was calm and very reasoned with both of us putting our points succinctly, we debated, we listened and we shared our views.
He has gone away to get me some answers and will contact me again when he has them. I felt the meeting had been a positive experience for me and was grateful for the opportunity to discuss my fears.
And so my friends and readers this calm and reasoned Penny is currently battling to stay stress free and deal with things in a sensible considered way and it is working......until???
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