I, Daniel Blake
I, Daniel Blake.
I am a survivor of domestic violence. A mother of three. A carer for my son. Exhausted most days and always struggling for money. I’d like to work. Aside from having children, I have the added responsibility of caring for a disabled child whom I love dearly. Working in a paid job simply isn’t an option for me. It may never be.
Until late 2014 I was also caring for my dad. He died in April 2014. A mere 12 hours before I had a jobcentre appointment, which I attended, for fear of being sanctioned. I cried like a baby, snotted all over the desk and was told to go home. I was called back in 2 weeks later to hand in a CV!! I was told my son would ‘grow out of it’ and that even though I don’t have to look for work I should. Cheers. I already care every moment I’m awake. Anyone know of a job I can do while I’m sleeping?
I’ve been accused of fraud. I’ve been berated. I’ve been harassed. I’ve starved myself to feed my children. I’ve carried my disabled son to school when the car broke down and I had no money to fix it. He’s heavy. I’m no weight lifter. But the likes of me shouldn’t have cars, should we? We shouldn’t have anything apparently.
Advisors have pried into my personal life, asking if I socialise, if I am ‘seeing anyone’, if I want to. Excuse me? I’ve been dragged in for an interrogation for being in a car with a man! (My brother). I’ve jumped through hoops. I’ve filled the endless forms in. Bit my lip and sat on my hands to stop me jumping over that fucking desk and headbutting the pompous Twat telling me all about her holidays abroad. I took my kids camping in a fucking field for 4 days!!
I don’t have to attend their interviews anymore. I don’t claim the benefit that triggers the appointment of absurdity. I’m free from a work focused waste of time. I’m still poor. I couldn’t afford the bus fare to get my oldest to college today. I can’t afford it tomorrow either.
All my experiences pale in comparison to the image of my parents sobbing because they were petrified of an atos assessment when dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. A man who had worked his entire adult life, made to feel like a scrounger because the social security system is now simply a tool to punish anyone who needs help. God forbid human beings be provided with food and shelter. Barbaric! People who have paid their taxes into the pot. People who are vulnerable. People who contributed to society in ways that cannot be measured in money.
I am Daniel Blake, and I am sick to death of this fucking shit!!
“I am not a client, a customer, nor a service user.
I am not a shirker, a scrounger, a beggar, nor a thief.
I am not a national insurance number, nor a blip on a screen.
I paid my dues, never a penny short and proud to do so.
I don’t tug the forelock, but look my neighbour in the eye.
I don’t accept or seek charity.
My name is Daniel Blake, I am a man, not a dog.
As such, I demand my rights. I demand you treat me with respect.
I, Daniel Blake, am a citizen, nothing more, nothing less. Thank you.”