The Naked Mole Rat

On the whole, I prefer the future: it’s where I intend to spend the coming years.

However, I do understand a perfectly natural sense of yearning nostalgia. I suspect that’s why most people voted for Brexit. The good old days were pretty good for most people.

Even people who weren’t alive then know, from their parents, that it was decent time to be starting out. You just have to ask about your dad’s free degree or the full-pay 2 year apprenticeship that led to his job for life; or look around the big family home your mum somehow managed to move into as the owner aged only 22. These things show, unequivocally, that things were – and still should be – better.

Like all economists, trade bodies, corporate leaders and non-UKIP or Tory politicians in the entire world, I think Brexit will make things worse. But I know those who…

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The poor side of life

I’ve just returned home from our weekly demo feeling a bit elated instead of deflated. That makes a change these days.

To start with the weather was wonderful, not raining and a bit sunny which always makes things easier. Not only for us, but for the people having to use the Jobcentre. There’s nothing worse than the rain and cold weather, and we get lots of both.

Roy arrived early with the food parcels, which was fab because it’s nice not to be standing alone, and because they are needed straight away. People are waiting for them which is a sad indictment of the governments attitude towards the poor.

As we were setting up, I spotted a lady and her young child stood at the corner of the Jobcentre. She was looking at the food parcels, and she looked a bit lost. I walked over to her, handed her a…

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The poor side of life

I made my way to our weekly demo after dropping my daughter off at school. I like to have a cheap cuppa beforehand and people know that they can find me there.

I was excited at the prospect of good weather, yesterday had been roasting hot. Today was sadly different. It didn’t rain though, although the breeze was cold. I sometimes think that we are destined to have bad weather.

Roy had met me at the café and we walked over together. As we arrived we noticed the queue for food parcels, but it isn’t your typical queue. Many people needing help often feel embarrassed, so they don’t line up. Instead they wait around in various areas near the Jobcentre. Some are also scared that their Jobcentre advisor will see them.

The food parcels arrived, delivered by Gordon and the queue moved towards the car. To say that it’s awful…

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The poor side of life

I arrived at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre as usual, and placed my bag in its usual place. I use it to carry our leaflets and anything else that might be required for the morning. I looked up and I must have been spotted from afar, because our usual recipients of the food parcels were waiting.

We spent a few minutes chatting, catching up with things and seeing if anything has progressed. Like last week, nothing much has, but they have taken our advice so  now it’s a waiting game.

It’s hard to describe the atmosphere outside the Jobcentre, but anyone who has joined us will tell you its hard work. Today we were battling with wind and heavy rain at one point. I’m not complaining but I’m highlighting this because many of the people that we speak to really can’t dress appropriately for the weather, nor can they afford to. The weather also affects…

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It could be you

To fully understand what I write about and why, it is useful to understand where I have come from. What path has brought me here.

“Here” is a man in his mid-forties who suffers from recurring mental health issues in the form of deep and debilitating depression. I have suffered this in various, but ever worsening forms since my teens. The recurring bouts can be triggered by various things, but primarily these have been stress, especially prolonged periods of stress.

I have found that I cannot make sense of the world around me, I don’t understand why people are the way they are and do the things that they do. I fear almost everybody I don’t know and suspect the worst of everybody. Ah, some may be thinking, he’s paranoid. If only it were that simple.

Add to this that I have a deep self-loathing, no self-confidence and little self-esteem…

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The poor side of life

Today’s demo felt a bit strange. It’s the Manchester Mayoral elections today and everyone is so busy campaigning for that. Also it’s one of those weeks where members are called away. It’s important that they deal with their personal issues. As a result numbers were expected to be low.

I arrived and the lady delivering the food parcels was waiting for me. I walked over with her to collect them. As I did I noticed a gang of people gathered across the road waiting for food parcels. We make no judgement, but we do make sure that they are accessing the local help available to them. They can get a tad aggressive so I’m so glad that I wasn’t on my own. It was a clear reminder that Jobcentre demos shouldn’t be done alone. We gave them all the help that we could and a sympathetic ear.

The three regular…

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