There must be another way out of here.
The Twitter feeds are buzzing — fingers are busy jabbing at keyboards — filling those little comment boxes on those ‘Have Your Say Pages’ that no self-respecting on-line media outlet would be without.
All furthering the polemic of your belief in your side — maintaining your status quo — maintaining and feeding that particular system. Praising those that share your belief — Flaming those that don’t — Digital Hatred without seeing the whites of each other’s eyes!
Depending on your view it is either ‘Agitprop Stuff’ or a damming indictment on the lack of ‘Social Justice’.
For once can we not set aside our Educational/Politico/Religious/Cultural/System thoughts and look at this situation purely as Human Beings?
This is not a Red — Blue — Orange — Yellow — Purple or Green Issue — it matters not if you are Christian — Jew — Moslem — Buddhist or Agnostic. This THING cares not if you are High or Low born and it does not give a hoot if you made it past secondary education or have learned degrees. And, more importantly, no one is truly immune to its reach nor the pain and devastation it will cause if it catches you.
At this point I could be talking about anyone of a number of extant issues in our society today and that it itself is worrying — how we the great British unwashed are so polarised on a number of critical issues — Migration — Asylum Seekers — Settling Child Refugees — or I, Daniel Blake! — Issues a cynic might say are drawing up lines of a great divide which threatens the very heart of our way of life.
Coming clean — I am talking about the issues reflected by the film ‘I, Daniel Blake’. Another wide angled mirror held up by Ken Loach.
In a nutshell it shows daily events within the machinery of The Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) and how RULES effect the lives of people. It shows that those who are honest to the bone are disadvantaged and implies that those who are happy to cheat are more likely to get a positive result. It shows inequality at its worst.
As a front line Support Worker — I live and breathe the environment this film reflects every working day — I never enquire of the Person I am trying to help of their of Their Education — Their Political leanings — Their Background & Cultural norms etc. I just try and help them navigate the system. Try and produce a positive outcome.
Neither do I judge those that operate the system.
When we suddenly see that things could be wrong — we all too quickly try and find someone to blame — we unconditionally believe that someone must be responsible — we convince ourselves that if we find them — then hang them out to dry — all will be well and we can go back to our tea and biscuits in peace.
In truth — no one is to blame! This is a system that has become self-sustaining — just too big: the machinations of which are beyond the scope of anyone to truly hold within their grey matter and look at it and say ‘Yes I understand how it all works and how it all fits together!’
The sheer size and scope of this system had made it difficult to manage and constant attempts to fix it and bring it back in line to match its intended purpose have failed and have tended only to make the situation worse.
I have long held this belief about quite a few of our societal systems.
The case of the DWP system failures was further exemplified when the Secretary and Minister of State were publicly accused of misleading parliament. This time on the issue of the true effect that the new Personal Independence Payment is having on the Motability Scheme. A leading Disability Charity called the responses given to parliamentary questions utter rubbish and lies. The Secretary and Minister reiterated the truthfulness of their responses.
Looking at both arguments and the stone cold figures you can see that both are correct! — How can this be? How can the same question produce two difference answers? [Remember Erwin’s cat is simultaneously both alive and dead].
Clearly then the worst part of this system is how it distorts perspective — depending on your viewpoint you see only what you want to see — it hides its problems — errors — unfairness and inequalities — everyone is so wrapped up in the operational imperatives that a true vision of what is happening is lost — perhaps even beyond all comprehension.
If you really want to see this distorted perspective in action — look at the DWP internal rules for dealing with possible Fraud — where ‘they’ have been forced to admit — if only to themselves — that mostly frauds are unintentional and caused by any number of system failures.
I do not believe that we can correct this state of affairs by any other means other than taking the politics out of it. I believe that it is time to let the humanity of what is needed determine what should be done to provide the solution.
There any number of approaches on how this might be achieved.
Perhaps we could start by redefining what its true purpose is.
The current system evolved out of The National Assistance Act 1948 (Replaced by a lot of subsequent legislation).
But I believe is imbued in the heart of this its great grandchild system; is still the original intent of that Act:
An Act to terminate the existing poor law and to provide in lieu thereof for the assistance of persons in need by the National Assistance Board and by local authorities; to make further provision for the welfare of disabled, sick, aged and other persons and for regulating homes for disabled and aged persons and charities for disabled persons; to amend the law relating to non-contributory old age pensions; to make provision as to the burial or cremation of deceased persons; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid. [13th May 1948]