Before the 2010 General Election, I would sometimes fire off a letter to Gillian Merron explaining that as a Carer for my disabled wife we would struggle for money. That Carers Allowance wasn’t fit for purpose, and was happy when I got a understanding letter back saying that the Government was looking into how to help Carers and Disabled people more, that we did a important job. The closest I got to actually being ‘overtly political’ was arguing that the Iraq War was a unjust war and that ‘we was only helping Georgie to finish Daddys War’
Now in May 2010 I followed the election results on BBC with Jon Snow’s swing-omiter and saw quite quickly that we was going to at least have a hung government (which was predicted by the papers) the moment the Lincoln results came out one of the first things I did was email our new MP Karl McCartney very politely congratulating him, and explained to him that I was a Carer, and that I thought they should get given more money, thinking ‘They claimed to support us during the campaign so I should at least be listened to’ a week or so later, I got a reply, basically saying If I thought I wasn’t getting enough money then call DWP, I didn’t bother calling the DWP as I had already known that I was on all the benefits we was entitled to.
So starts the ConDem Government’s attack on the ‘Scrounger’ which really got me seeing red (No not Labour Red just yet) so I started sending him more letters. Mainly ones trying to explain that just because we are on DLA and Carers Allowance we was not scrounging, we worked and worked hard until my wife’s back gave out (she was in a car accident in 1989) and we was told ‘You’ll be in a wheelchair nothing I can do’ (Exact quote from the Dr, who just ran a finger down her back)
So started the rhetoric, Tax Payer good ‘Scrounger’ or as I call us ‘Tax Payers’ bad, so I kept sending letters one supporting the Fair Fuel Alliance saying as we was on ‘Limited Income’ we are finding it harder and harder to pay for the fuel, and this was back when Diesel was actually ‘affordable’ and all he did was blast off a proforma letter saying the treasury was looking into sorting out the price of fuel. So again I was just ignored. I got involved with the Carers Poverty Alliance (a group of Carers and Former Carers who knew how hard we work and how little we are paid on Facebook) and 38 Degrees.
So I sent him a few letters, and we even sat down and talked our problems with him. Now I’m not a great speaker so I did find it hard to explain in words what I have to go through, but I did come out thinking he understood. Yet when we got our reply about the letter it was just another cop-out. There is no money and its all Labours Fault.
Now I fast forward to Christmas 2011, just before the Spartacus Report was released I found out Sue Marsh was just denied her DLA, luckily I had a letter from Karl, claiming that ‘Any DLA recipient who can prove they require the help WILL NOT LOSE IT so I sent him a letter reminding him of it, and again it was ignored, and was sending irrational tweets about him and that there is two types of citizen in the country a ‘Tax Payer’ and “Scrounger” his words was ‘Benefit Recipient’ but I could feel the word scrounger was typed then deleted.
So I was very upset, yes I might as a close friend of mine says ‘Rant at Karl’ a lot, but as a constituent I feel its my democratic right to rant at him, I haven’t said anything that is untrue, or didn’t come to pass, I often remind people of what he has done for Lincoln, (NOT A LOT) and that his bright idea between 2004 and 2010 was to bring horse racing back to Lincoln. But I don’t consider that I get irrational.
So I believe in fairness, a fair deal for the people who have no choice but to stay at home, to look after their love ones. A fair deal for the Disabled who often through no fault of their own are now unable to work even though they’d love too. I’ve worked about 90% of my working life, I’ve only ever claimed JSA twice. So I’ve paid my National Insurance, Income Tax and still paying through the nose Fuel Duty and VAT. So I’m very much a Tax Payer.
So if you got this far and my ramblings made sense then that’s why 2 weeks ago I sent off my membership form, I’m just waiting for that nice shiny membership card that will sit proudly in my wallet.
You can follow Simon at @Simondraper