Friday 18 March 2011

Quote of the week - Eating is optional

"Nobody will send the bailiffs round just because I don't buy food"

I'm not telling you who said this, but I will tell you about her.

She is a close friend of ours who was invalided from the army after receiving terrible injuries in Desert Storm. She was a seargeant with a distinguished career - up to then. That was a long time ago, but she is still living out the reality of what happened every day. Abandoned by the army, her injuries, both physical and mental, make her un-employable.

She is a good person. She is one of the most generous spirited people I have ever met, and she is tireless in supporting charities that raise money for needy people. She hates owing money, and does everything in her power to pay her way, losing sleep over any debt she incurs.

She has a tiny pension from the army and that is topped up by pitifully inadequate social security. Every time she eats she has to figure out how she will pay for it, and much of the time she simply doesn't eat, because there's not enough money to pay for food, and she'd rather pay her bills. She is in debt, with no hope of paying it off. The debt was incurred paying for necessities, not for luxuries such as food.

The British Government is doing a great job of cutting back on spending. They are doing this, they say, to cut the national debt - legacy of the previous spendthrift government.

Laudable, and we all support fiscal caution, but billions are being spent on the 2012 Olympics, and millions of pounds of public money are being spent a year on ex-prime minister Blair so that he can live it up in his luxury role as... what is it he does? The government has a wine cellar that would be the envy of any connoisseur, and they are still spending a small fortune keeping it stocked. The government is spending our hard-earned money hand over fist everywhere you look.

In their wisdom our Government have reduced the social security paymets to my friend, and by doing so they have reduced her from poverty to extreme poverty. She has gone from woefully inadequate income to less.

What makes all this harder to watch is that she is normally so upbeat about it. Sometimes she gets depressed, sometimes angry, sometimes afraid, but most of the time she's cheerful - as she was when she said to me

"Nobody will send the bailiffs round just because I don't buy food"


  1. What a sad story - I really feel for your friend. She sounds lovely. Is there a local church or other community or something that she can get involved with? It sounds like she spends a lot of time along.

  2. D U Okonkwo; Thank you. She has quite a large network of friends who are very supportive, but her friends' generosity can never be a substitute for income. She is a very special person, much loved by those who meet her.

  3. This is a sad story. I don't have much faith in our Government, I've watched my friends be abandoned from the army and my grandmother had her social security cut and she is the guardian of two small great grand kids, the only person who helps her is me- because the state, the government are too tight. I wont go much further than that- as I have a foul mouth sometimes.

  4. Summer; Under such circumstances a foul mouth seems quite appropriate. I feel for her when she displays so much pride in the army that turned its back on her. We owe her more, as we do your grandmother and many others.

    The frustrating thing is that most of us would cheerfully have our tax money spent to support those people who need it, but they won't do it. They prefer to stock the government wine cellars instead.

  5. Well said Tony. There's too much greed in the world in my opinion. The human race is for the most part a cesspool that begins with the richest in our society.

  6. Michael; I think most people are kind hearted and generous, but whatever floats to the top of the cesspool seems to end up taking power over us.

  7. How unfair. I only wish it was the only time I heard such a story...I'm sorry I can't offer anything more than that.

  8. i'm so sorry to hear about your friend :( It really SUCKS the way the govt treats its citizens sometimes.

  9. That is a sad story. I hope her luck changes soon.

  10. My thoughts are with your friend. How can the govt' turn their back on someone who had put their life on the line for this country.... It makes me so cross when others done nothing and get handouts. I have a poem written in the First World War. It was printed on a card which the disabled Soldiers sold for 2 pence. At the top of the card it saids: Can you give this Ex-service Man a Job or help him by buying this card.

    The Disabled Soliers Appeal.
    I did hear my country calling
    In her hour of darkest strife
    And was ready then to help her
    Ready, ay, to give my life

    Caring not for home or pleasure,
    Parents, wife, children small,
    Thinking how I best could serve her,
    Answering only duty’s call.

    I have served my country faithfully,
    And have given of my best,
    In this war for right and Freedom,
    Facing death… ay, and worse with jest.

    I have seen my comrades falling,
    Midst the storm of shot and shell,
    And have laughed and sung while standing
    At the very gates of hell.

    On the cliffs of Gallipoli,
    Or the stricken fields of France,
    ‘Neath the scorching sun of Asia.
    Taking every risk and chance

    Risking limb and life whilst “Slackers”
    ‘Neath the precious War Badge hide;
    Why should they not take their chances
    In the Roll of battle’s tide!

    Yet in spite of sacrifices,
    I am told that once again
    Both my King and Country need me
    Shall I let them call in Vain?

    No! I’m ready and I’m willing
    Now the danger’s at its worse;
    But in justice, I demand that
    All the ‘Slackers should go first!

    I bet you it would be against our modern day human rights to send the 'Slackers' off
    to war

    Best wishes to your friend and I'm very grateful for her and people like her for the freedom my family and I have.

  11. oh!!!!

    Wow!! Moved for her bro!! Whoever it is, may god bless her and let her keep moving!!

    with warm regards

  12. I am so sorry for her. We have many military families and individuals here in the USA in the same situation. If young people could see what their sacrifice would bring them, our countries would have a tough time getting people to join the military. I am in dire straits myself or I would offer some money.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

  13. JEFritz; Yes, there's little we can do when there are so many people in her situation. Even voting doesn't seem to help. I vote for compassion and this is what we get.

    Trisha; I think the problem stems from the fact that most politicians come from wealthy families. They have no idea.

    Kangaroobee; I too hope for her luck to get better, but I'm not sure that I hold out too high an expectation for it.

    Jarmara; The government seems to only care about what they can get from people, not what they can give back. The military are a great illustration of that. The poem is heartfelt, and I can quite understand that the soldiers feel that way.

    AllMyPosts; Thank you. She's an inspiring person.

    Nancy; When I lived in San Diego there were always vets begging on the streets. So many people don't understand why work is difficult for them, because the mental injuries don't look as bad as the physical ones. I wasn't pitching for contributions - just wanted to tell the tale.

  14. Wow...sending prayers and well-wishes to her and all of you.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  15. Sarah; Thank you. She appreciates all the warm thoughts and blessings people have been sending to her.

  16. This is just awful. It beggars belief that our government, and in truth the people of the UK for not doing more to speak up, would allow her to be in this terrible position. I'm just glad she has friends in you and Margo.

  17. Ellie; People in general are much more generous than the government who is supposed to represent them. Our friend has considerable support from the community, despite the fact that she is abandoned by the army and the government.

    She's one of the lucky ones, in that her mental injuries don't stop her from being an intelligent, very sharp person, they just make her suffer a lot of emotional distress, but it's much easier for her to make friends than for many. Sadly her physical injuries are going to take her to an early demise.