Originally posted by a CarerWatch founder member (BlackFlag) on June 13th 2009 – even more apt today.
When one is classified as being a member of the Underclass (1 in 4 near to/ below the accepted Poverty Line), his/her view of daily life in this Sad New World (SNW) is remarkably simple…. especially if he/she were elderly and/or disabled and/or a carer … for some, perm any 2, for a few, all 3.
Any hope of ever being able to relax in the certain knowledge that their day could be shattered by the arrival of a bill for a basic essential to be able to exist in this SNW that would force him/her to drastically cut back (even go without) another basic essential could happen. In fact, his/her very existence demands largely one factor, the Government, and the politicians within the majority party that make the decisions on how to allocate resources to those in society.
Beyond housing/food/utilities and possibly transport (whenever mobility is required), that person has no real interest in life beyond the few hours spent in leisure activities…. which could be as basic as reading/writing to friends/ watching TV/walking (depending on mobility) or, for a fortunate minority, surfing over the internet.
Any thoughts of a holiday having long past as the costs of basic utilities have eroded any savings, and with the Local Authority cutbacks, even visits to a day centre are now out of reach financially, or said day centre having been closed.
For the elderly and the less mobile, contact with anyone in the outside world is now minimal, only the occasional visit from a neighbour/a member of the now widely dispersed family/the nurse/the doctor etc. being the only visitors. Some may have the companionship of a 24/7 carer, a family member, who is now caught up in the social isolation …. he/she no longer able to do much in life other than to look after the elderly parent/disabled relative.
From this perspective of life, politics is meaningless… red/white/blue/yellow /green… it makes no difference…. no one out there is proposing anything radical which could make a real change to this person’s life.
The costs of the basic essentials continues to be governed by what the politicians tell him/her are ” market forces “…. in turn, nobody is willing to explain why he/she cannot afford them…. after all, he/she should be grateful that they are at least providing a pension/disability living allowance/carers allowance etc. etc.
For him/her, politicians and those who advise them, appear to be totally out of touch with reality when it comes to life for a minimum of 1 in 4 of the population. Why should any of them care? They don’t have to struggle to make ends meet on £ 50-£ 75-£100-£125-£150 per week… even another £10 per week for some could mean a second meal per day, or the thermostat turned up by five degrees.
No, until such time when politicians/academics start to address the REAL issues faced daily by 1 in 4 of the population, there will always be millions excluded economically and socially from what the majority call “living in this Sad New World”, wherein the rich continue to get rich fast, and the poor left to fester in obscurity.