Monday, 11 January 2010

Dancing on Ice!


This looming (blooming) Friday, I will sign on for the first time since just before Christmas, it will be nice to be in that specialized, familiar and very well known environment of the dole office. I always look forward to the fortnightly chat with my personal adviser, although he is on to my case and probably thinks that I should do more too secure game full employment of a respectful nature.

I am what you could call a challenge; first I do not really want a low paid job or even any employment that makes me the slave to the master. I have no family commitments to speck of and no need for disposable income. I am not work shy or a shirker in fact in my time; I’ve grafted and worked long hours in many different jobs and industries. But things aren’t the same as they were 30 years and more ago when I arrived in London; you could walk around the corner and find a job, or jack a job in one day and start anew the next. But time and the tide have changed much on the beach, and although I feel like a small crap hiding in a rocky pool of water from the nosey searching seagulls up above I’m content with my lot. You have to get your head around a lot of things when you have to live on and manage a monthly budget of £257.20.

This is no easy task, but not imposable, and it brings with it a new discipline. Paying and keeping bills under control is the hardest especially with the winter we are experiencing, fortunately for me I invested in a halogen heater before winters onset and for only £12.50 my rooms are warm and Jack Frost and the gas bill are kept at bay. I only use the gas for cooking and heating hot water. Last winters the costs of gas was crippling and let’s remember that single unemployed persons such as me; don’t receive government winter fuel payments, even when it’s below freezing, but we still have to stay warm.

In many respects, I feel much like a prisoner, very limited, confined in the solitary confinement of the area or neighbourhood in which I live. I consider it to be my good fortune, to own a pushbike, and therefore able to get around London whenever I like or need too, but many of my friends and neighbours are trapped and never get away for years on end. It’s ironic that in Canning Town we are able to watch the aircraft come and go with passengers travailing all over Europe on business or holiday flights without giving them underneath (us) a single thought. However there is one good thing about the location of the city airport though, a monastery tucked away in a very poor rundown housing estate on the other side of the A13 receives every day the sandwiches, pies and cakes that are unsold to distribute with soup amongst those of us with little or no money.

Anybody reading my blog could be forgiven for thinking that I have an obsession with poverty and writing about it. Poverty is all around; it’s never been far away wherever we live in the world, the richest the poorest from one to ten degree’s to zero it’s global. They say that about 22 people have lost their lives here in Britain due to the whether conditions, but spare a thought for fellow workers in the US were a protracted cold spell of freezing temperatures has spelled misery for many, especially in areas unaccustomed and ill-prepared for the frigid conditions. The arctic blast began last weekend and has been blamed for a least seven confirmed deaths. The number is likely far higher, and confirmed deaths can be expected to climb as packed shelters turn away people seeking refuge and communities struggle to provide a warm place for the growing ranks of the homeless.

The freezing weather has placed in sharp relief the devastating social impact of mass unemployment and growing poverty for the US victims of the economic crisis. Households may have a roof over their heads, but have had their utilities shut off due to non-payment. The use of space heaters, fires, candles and other unsafe sources of heating and electricity leaves families vulnerable to house fires, according to the New York Times.

In Kansas City, Missouri, police found the frozen body of a homeless person in an underpass. It is likely the man had been there for days. The Salvation Army and other shelters and charities in the area report a desperate need for donations of hats, gloves and socks for the homeless. What can I say; the supper power that has spent whatever on landing man on the Moon cannot or will not prevent a human being freezing to depth, what an obscenity. In Germany which is nearer home At least 10 homeless people have died as the freezing winter conditions take their toll on the vulnerable. Those who perished were mostly older men sleeping in the open, under bridges, in doorways, and the remains of demolished houses according to the Federal Association for Aid for the Homeless, BAGW. There are fears that more may have died but have not yet been discovered.

2 comments:

earwicga said...

I guess you've seen the news about Jean and Derek Randall? http://news.google.com/news/story?cf=all&ned=uk&hl=en&ncl=dUlj9dhatr18WXMZG637LSiqJ7PPM

I have no idea why they are undertaking an inquiry to see if services failed. The very fact that the Randalls are dead shows that yes there was utter failure.

This is the face of New Labour.

Norbert said...

Hi Comrade,

I was told about this preventable tragedy this morning by a comrade in Scunthorpe.

My TV being back in the spare room now that xmas is out the way and thank the gods, all of them.

This is not the first time this has happened and it pains me to say that it may not be the last. About two years ago an elderly couple died when the gas was disconected.

But what about Age Concern telling the helping neighbour that the case of the Randalls was none of her business because she was not a relative?

And I do agree the face of New Labour in mean and ugly.

The Socialist Way

Blog Archive