Votes For Cats

Ginger Cat

I confess that I am afraid.  The Tories, I feel, have nothing to say to me or my kind.  But neither, frankly, do any of the other main stream parties.  At the moment it looks as though there will be a hung parliament.  This situation is not unprecedented.  But last time it was disastrous.  We are facing chaos, according to some commentators.  We are facing electoral reform, according to others.  And according to others, whichever party triumphs, we are heading for financial meltdown. We are doomed, I tell you, doomed.

I remember 1997.  I remember staying up all night with my friend Paul, champagne glasses in hand, waiting for the dawn to break, waiting for the inevitable.  ‘Things can only get better’ Can they?  Can they really?  Well, yes, they really did get better for a while.  This was the honeymoon period.  Every newly elected government has one.  Alas, it does not last for long.

I know that many in the ‘mentalist’ community are afraid of welfare reforms, especially so because it looks like the Tories are going to run the show.  Let me launch into a pertinent anecdote.  When I was at university I had a breakdown that led to my being hospitalised for six months.  When I was released into the care of my parents I was determined to get a job, to pay my way.  So I went to what was then called the DSS and applied for benefits – for the short term until I found gainful employment.  So far, so good.

A few weeks later I received a letter stating that I was not only entitled to income support but a whole collection of other benefits too.  ‘Because,’ according to the letter ‘I was disabled’  It was true in a sense -officially, at least.  I have a long and enduring mental illness.  But I still have difficulties with this, like I’m straying onto someone else’s territory.  Now there is something wrong with this scenario: I never applied for disability benefits.  I can’t get over the feeling that I was being shunted off the job figures in order to enhance employment statistics.  I did actually find a job as a library assistant (best job I have ever had.)

So when did all this occur?  In nineteen ninety four.  Now, who was in power at that time?

It is important to remember also that the Tories were the ones who introduced Disability Living Allowance, a benefit designed to enable people with long-term mental and physical illness live in ‘the  community’, to re-engage with society. I’m sure that some were well-intentioned but I’m also sure that others were partly motivated by the knowledge that care in the community costs a fraction of hospitalisation .  Cynical?  Moi?


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3 Responses to “Votes For Cats”

  1. Cassie Says:

    Pity it wasn’t an option


  2. This Week in Mentalists: Scabrous Edition « Mental Nurse Says:

    […] Sick of Drowning worries that the election results will have a scabrous effect on benefits. I know that many in the ‘mentalist’ community are afraid of welfare reforms, especially so […]


  3. Davy Says:

    Thanks this made for intresting reading. I really like your wordpress theme, i often come back here and i dont know why. I just really like your website lol…


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