When Moira gets scared, she cuts herself. “It’s my way of taking control.”
Right now she’s very scared. In a few days she faces a tribunal that will judge whether she is entitled to her disability benefit.
A normal part of any benefit system. Why shouldn’t it be?
Now in her late 40s, Moira was raised in care, went to jail and has been repeatedly cheated of her benefits. Part of her life story is of being let down and punished by authority…
Yes, society has it in for poor Moira! In her country of origin (because of course, Moira isn’t a white woman who can trace her Anglo-Saxon history back to 1201, this is the Guardian!) she’d be lucky to get anything.
She’s lucky to be here, and Aditya knows this…
After the examination, she lost her personal independence payment.
I have seen a copy of the report by the nurse employed by a private firm, which notes that Moira “has a bath mostly every day”.
Wrong, she tells Pike. Her depression means that she needs to be “motivated” to bathe – or else “I’ll run a bath and it’ll sit there for four days.” More tears, this time of shame.
We have to pay taxes so that people are employed to tell others to have a bath. Is it me, or..?
The nurse says she has three meals a day. “Lying ass,” shouts Moira, who says she doesn’t eat more than once a day.
The report claims: “She is able to get on and off the toilet without difficulty.”
Moira’s own form says, “I have great difficulty getting up off the toilet as the joint in my right hip gets stuck.”
But since the interview is private, who knows what Moira (who is mentally ill, remember) said during it to have the nurse draw this conclusion? Of course, Aditya thinks this is obvious proof that the nurse has lied.
But then, he’s a moron.
The nurse concludes: “Since her last assessment two years ago, this lady’s restrictions have considerably improved.” Yet Moira’s own GP has written to the tribunal, “I would feel that her general overall condition has got worse.”
Those two things are not the same, are they, Aditya? The nurse is focusing on mobility, the GP on the overall picture.
Moira herself was wrongly denied housing benefit, which led to her landlord almost evicting her. She was put in the wrong universal credit group, which mandated her to look for work. She lost money under a mistakenly imposed benefit cap. Each time, her protests were ignored, Pike had to file an official complaint. Without a representative, Pike believes, “Moira would have been forced to go out and look for a job.”
Oh, horrors! How terrible!
And yes, granted, who’d want to employ a black mentally-ill woman who cuts herself when she gets ‘stressed’, but that’s not the point, is it? Why should others have to work to keep her in comfort without a single effort on her part?
By the time Moira goes in for her appeal, she has been crying and dry-retching. She sits in the hearing room, a black woman in an Adidas tracksuit and on crutches facing three white people with their laptops and thick handbooks.
The soft bigotry of low expectations, Aditya? Or just another ‘Look! The system’s stacked against her!’ dog-whistle to your crowd of SJW supporters?
It goes well, until the doctor asks about her limited mobility, and Moira makes a passing remark about an elbow getting “dislocated”. The doctor pounces: what does she mean? It seems an obvious slip; she simply means her elbow pops out of its socket…
Yes, Aditya. That’s what ‘dislocation’ means.
We’re sent out of the room, as Pike mutters that the elbow has nothing to do with her claim for PIP. On coming back in, the chair announces the hearing has been adjourned while the panel awaits more medical evidence. Moira’s case will drag on well into 2018.
So you were whinging that no-one took note of her medical history, now when someone does – because new information has come to light – it’s suddenly a bad thing?
Make up your mind!
The chair drones calmly on – but Moira cries out “I’ve got to go” and grabs her crutches. Once outside the room, she starts vomiting and bawling, “These people have ruled my life since the day I was born.” She bangs on doors, as if giving back some of the violence that has been done to her.
No-one’s done any ‘violence’ to her. And if this is how she reacts to any kind of challenge, maybe she shouldn’t be at large in the community?
Finally, Pike gets her into a taxi. She goes home, crying, humiliated and with just over £140 a week to live on through Christmas and New Year.
Which is not too much less than some working families. So pretty good scratch for a mentally ill ex-crim, some might say?
Just before leaving, she says in a low, flat voice: “I’m going to cut so good tonight.”
And I can’t help wishing, as a taxpayer, she cuts a bit too deep this time. Because I’m sick of paying for her, frankly.
And I’m sick of ‘Guardian’ articles that seek to use her to extort more tax from me and others like me.