What can we do?

            

Hello Dear Reader,

I could have waited for the film to be on TV but I couldn’t wait. 

I’ve been an unemployed single mum on benefits and it really was the depths of hell but it was a bed of roses compared to the punitive sanctions imposed on people in the current system. I was young, living in the affluent south, where there was work that I got within six months. I wasn’t sanctioned if I was too sick to make it to an appointment, I wasn’t penalised for renting a two bedroom house, I was never given a food bank referral and I wasn’t unemployed in the times of media orchestrated social humiliation of the poor. 

I, Daniel Blake could be any one of us in the current economic climate. Families have no savings and wouldn’t make it beyond three months of unemployment before losing their home or tenancy. Bailiffs would take possessions when bills can’t be paid, debts would swamp families if they didn’t already and we’d all be at the mercy of the benefits system. If you had school age children, whether you had child care for them or not, you’d have to have proof of thirty five hours a week of job seeking even if there was no work where you and if you couldn’t prove it then you could be sanctioned. In short, you and your kids would lose enough of a percentage of their benefits that you’d go hungry. 

The film was visceral.

I left a silent cinema of a shaken audience.

It was not easy viewing.

I’m home now in my warm cottage, with my bills paid and we’ve eaten well three times today. 

What difference can any of us make?

This time of the year sees The Trussell Trust getting a lot of donations but they need them all year, our local food bank currently needs tinned meat, fish, fruit juice. Normally they just give food but people also need toiletries, sanitary products, disposable nappies, pet food, loo rolls. 

Our local clothing bank will get coats, trousers but families also need socks, underwear, bras and socks and underwear for children. They also need bedding, duvets, school uniform and the children need stationery for school along with school bags, PE kit and pencil cases. Children needs books, toys, babies need baby equipment. If you’re unemployed for months and months on end and you can’t afford to keep up with your growing children and one beaurocratic nightmare after the next can mean you can’t keep them warm and clothed. 

Animal shelters sadly have to take in pets when people lose their jobs or can’t afford them but the PDSA have always been there to treat pets when families fall in hard times. You can consider donating or purchasing from their charity shops.

There are a whole load of charities who support families who don’t have enough to eat, but they need a whole more than sympathy. Whilst they walk the breadline they don’t need cheap poverty porn TV using them as a source of humorous derision, they don’t need far right press using them as a scapegoat and calling them dole scroungers. What everyone needs to remember is that over thirteen million Britons live in poverty and not one of them chose it.

Any of us could be unemployed and on benefits, both DB and I have been in the past and both of us count our blessings at our current comforts. We weren’t scroungers, we didn’t expect hand outs and we just needed help! 

Plenty of people need help and respect in difficult times.

Daniel Blake could be any of us.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

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25 thoughts on “What can we do?

  1. i couldn’t agree more. I Daniel Blake should be compulsory viewing for everyone; we should be ashamed that a country as rich as ours should treat people in this way

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just hope and pray that we never end up without a warm home, no food and loving family. I have seen despair on faces of folk who are faced with hardship it breaks families. With winter coming on now, dark nights and perishing cold days to come lets all do and spare a thought for others less fortunate.

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  3. Well said.I never thought I would see such punitive measures against the unfortunate people who have no means to provide necessities for their families. When did it become acceptable to make fun of the poor and sick? This country is not the one that welcomed me as a child after the war. I could weep.

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  4. I remember as a child in the sixties the TV film ‘Cathy Come Home’. Ken Loach saying it as it was then, and is saying the same now. Has anything changed since then? What a dreadful world we live in.

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  5. I agree this should be compulsory viewing for everyone, especially the people in government who make these policies. They need to understand the effect of these policies on real people and families. I work in social housing and see the effect of these policies every week. This is a very important film and I hope that the message won’t be forgotten any time soon.

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  6. Today I was thinking about this exact topic. Here in the US like the UK all of our manufacturing has been moved overseas, and so many jobs are just gone. Grown men here are working at businesses like McDonalds because proper jobs are gone. To make it worse, because of the healthcare law, businesses have made many jobs part time in order not to pay health benefits. It’s a mess here. Like you, we are so thankful for our business/job, and our good customers.

    I get overwhelmed trying to think of a way to help others with what I have. I have time, so volunteering could help, and I have a huge closet full of my 35 year fabric/quilting stash. I’ve been feeling the need to use it up, & you’ve inspired me. I’m going to start sewing kids clothes and donating them to charity. I will also make twin size quilts. If each of us just used our God given gifts in a way to help, perhaps the problem wouldn’t be so big. Teaching classes similar to your cooking/shipping lessons is another thing that is badly needed. So many people lack basic skills just to take care of a family…… especially if the Mom is working long hours out of the home. Perhaps if people got to know their neighbors, and started there if there were a need. Hopefully I can see the film here online soon. p.s. the tv/films from the UK are so much better than ours. I listen to bbc, masterpiece, your talk radio. etc while sewing everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dear Froogs,
    I have only read the synopsis of the film but I do hope this will be a wake-up call for British society as a whole about the true madness of the current British benefit system. Yes taking personal responsibility is important but everyone knows that life can be a nasty b*tch sometimes; people then need genuine, non-judgemental help and not disguised punishment and contempt.

    I agree that you can help food banks, animal shelters and charities supporting families, but you aren’t really aiming at the cause of the situation, which is that the current benefit system is just not fit for its purpose. All of you can also lobby the British authorities to push them into action to reform the benefit system. This may not work but if you don’t make your voice heard you’re guaranteed that nothing will change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What people need to do is vote Labour,but I have to leave that to individuals to decide. The Labour Party now, with a left wing leader has returned to its values that puts people before money. We also need parliamentary reform. However, I repeat, I leave the choice to individuals.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. People “higher” up during their fancy so called well deserved breaks from Parliament should try reading Robert tressell .. The ragged trousered philanthropists’ and … If they have time between sun beds .. Queen coal by triona Holden x shame on you all in government think of your own people!!! Then let them tell their own people … To get off their back sides and get jobs that j u st aren’t there x god help us all in our old age. Sorry .. Rant over with!!!

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  9. If when ,,we that can afford, go shopping we each bought at least one thing for the food bank, it would be an enormous help.We made the decision years ago to stop sending Christmas cards but using that money as a donation to Dogs Trust,Our friends don’t mind at all and those that live near know that at Christmas ours is an open house to come and have a mince pie with a hot drink and wish each other seasons greetings. When we move home soon. i hope to become involved in voluntary work of some kind, your post has given me an idea as to where my puny efforts can be used, having two sons on benefits due to health problems this hits home with a wallop!

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  10. Hi, I intend as a mother of a 16.yr old, to take her to see this film, not to frighten her but to become more socially aware we as parents know what it is like to be with out no food, needing nappies and formula for a children.I remember scraping around for pennies for some sort of food, not being able to go to family because they would find it impossible to comprehend that we were so desperate. I do think that a film like this should be shown in secondary education, the amount of children who have know idea of what the real world is like need to be educated, apart from lobbying parliament this is a good place to start social awareness at its grass roots, if we teach our children from an early age change can happen it becomes the norm so eventually the poor,suffering and the like will not be made to feel like the unwashed, and those who think it’s a right to be on benefits should be made to help these people, benefits are there for those who need help not for those who think it’s a career choice! We need to educate theses people in being responsible for their place in society.
    Sorry it seems to be rant week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Kate, I’ve had days where the day before payday, I’ve had no electricity, no wood for the fire, one wheatabix and watered down milk for my son’s breakfast. I’ve queued for my cheque to cash and eaten that day when I hadn’t for 48 hours. It’s hell

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  11. I keep hearing about this film, I live in the US, and I want to see it, even though I know I will be extremely annoyed at another broken system that punishes the have-nots.
    It’s funny how citizens of my Nation always talk about jobs going overseas, we are a global economy after all, as if that is the only thing that causes issues. What it also comes down to is there are no offerings to help someone who was a factory worker catch up with the times. Where is the training? How can we make redundant workers, non-redundant? How do we get people to be educated in fields that need workers like healthcare, without huge loans or end up in a shit paying job? Certified Home Health Aides only make $10 an hour in some states. That is no living wage if you are in New Jersey or California.
    There are so many issues and not many voices in Congress fighting for a one of them. The poor and under-educated need lobbyists just like Wal Mart, Google, Exxon and many other major corporations have. Maybe then they could get just as good a leg up.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Fear seems to make usually sound minded people take on Darwinian habits. Vilify those worse than you-that will solve the economy-behaviors.Most people were raised to take care of people that have less, to ne kind amd gemerous, but as a collective group the poor have been made the scapegoat. There is enough resources and collectively, through social policy, we need to do what individuals know is right.

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  13. I think we aer very lucky here in Germany with good health insurance, unemployment insurance and a very low unemployment rate. But there are still enough – or too many – people who need help. I intend to watch this film as soon as it is in our cinemas, in mid-November I think. The money will have to come from our food budget.

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  14. Pingback: Debt news - 30 October · Debt Camel

  15. A search on the web for the movie led me to the sad mood. Ma be we are all just a few steps away from being in that state. The same system that supposed to support us can become so damaging and destroying. It explains why the poor become poorer and it becomes all an all swallowing blackhole. Thanks for writing about it.

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  16. Hiya were recently had to go on benefits for the first time ever it’s been six weeks since my husband’s collapse leading to him loosing his licence and job. Six weeks of having to go to the council to try to get them to process our claim each time having to take three small children with us why we queue for hrs on end as they tell us they lost our paperwork all financially sensitive. When you have this fight coupled with I’ll health that’s being investigated for an answer it makes life hard work.

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