Phone a friend?

5/25/2008 07:22:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 36 Comments

The thing about being a cripple is that you find yourself in situations you never would have dreamed of. Especially sex related ones. Whilst the world may be obsessed with sex in it's every infinite variety, I've yet to see anything mainstream and vaguely decent relating to crip sex. And no, those fetish sites don't count.

I should've realised this much earlier on in my crippled existence. Perhaps the first time I had to ask for help to shave my own armpit should've been a warning sign, but never one to learn I constantly find myself the victim of misfortune. Mostly my own.

Those who've been reading BSS for a while may remember Freddy. In all his obscenely large glory. Since then in an attempt to move him away from The Great Pretender stage and towards The Love Of My Life I've made a few efforts to get to know Freddy better. I'd like to tell you they were successful and I've been keeping my neighbours up nights screaming with pleasure, but sadly it's not to be. Freddy is still an over sized and over rated let down.

Very annoyingly my favourite toy is once again out of batteries, and does not have Freddy's one redeeming feature of easy to change batteries. And of course I forgot to ask the Captain to change them when he was last home. Which led me to the unenviable situation of having to figure out who to ask to change them for me. I value my friends, but rather suspect the request to put new batteries in my vibrator could be a step too far. So I asked Roland. Knowing full well his response would be to laugh alot and make some comments about how dirty the whole thing is whilst pretending he's not getting off on the idea.

Despite Roland being well up for the idea of battery monitor I then forgot to actually produce the toy and batteries. I plead car sickness as a mitigating factor. 10 minutes of winding lanes at 90+ mph never does much for my stomach. Even after a break wandering barefoot round the police car park I was still staggering when I got home. So that's why I forgot. Honest.

Which leads me to the point of this ramble. I need a new toy. This being where you lot come in. Ahem. It must be latex free and not require an engineer to change the batteries. I liked the idea of a rabbit because it provides penetrative as well as clitoral stimulation, and that combination is vital for me. I'm quite happy to use two toys to do the job, so long as it's not too complicated. The mantra 'do not drive or operate heavy machinery' is a good one to remember.

This is not just for me though, I've also been tasked with toy buying for someone else. A woman in her early 50's with zero experience of sex toys. The only information I've been able to elicit from her is that she is not allergic to latex and that it is all about the penetration. And that once I've bought the toy I am to hide it in her bag and never mention it again.

So there you have it. Rather than make another expensive mistake I'm asking for the benefits of your collective wisdom. What worked, or not for you? Anything you'd really recommend, and just as importantly advise steering well clear of? I'm inclined towards some sort of wand or bullet and vibe combination, but does that require alot of manual dexterity? Will a rabbit be too intimidating for someone completely new to the world of sex toys?

Once all advice is in and I make a decision about what to buy I promise a review will follow. Although, that could take a while...depending on how effective said toy is ;)


Britain on the Sick - Panorama

5/19/2008 10:34:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 17 Comments

Tonight's Panorama, Britain on the sick leaves a rather unpleasant taste in the mouth. Clearly biased and pushing the government agenda of Arbeiht Macht Frei, it focused on various Incapacity Benefit claimants from Merthyr Tydfil an area with particularly high numbers of people in receipt of the benefit.

It would be foolish to deny there is a problem with both benefit fraud and the high levels of people claiming benefit but the focus of the programme was the so called 1 million. Those people receiving Incapacity Benefit whom the government claims to be able to get off benefit and into work by 2015.

Various people in receipt of benefit living in Merthyr Tydfil were interviewed from the single mum with learning difficulties suffering from post natal depression to the shining example couple. Calvin who had not worked since 1988 and his partner Karen who was described as long term unemployed because she'd stayed home to raise her family. (watch out home makers, you're clearly the next to be labelled scum)

The government were described as placing blame on to the GP's for signing people off in the first place, and things like the Pathways project held up as shiny examples of job seeking wonderfulness. Long term readers of this blog (and others more well known) will know just how wonderful the government's much hyped job brokers really are, but there was no mention of that issue or the equally problematic access to work. In fact people with complex adjustment needs were conspicuous by their absence too.

Not for a moment do I deny that benefit fraud is a problem, or that we have too many people receiving benefits, but if the issue is actually to be addressed then it must be done properly. The government need to stop sending out the message to society that those in receipt of benefits are unworthy scum and accept the challenges are more complex than they currently choose to imagine.

Once those who are easy to place in work have been creamed away from the vast majority of claimants who will find it much more difficult if not impossible to enter a workplace ill prepared and unwilling to accept them, whoever is in power will be left with the stark realisation that their Pathways programmes and job brokers have been no more than a phenomenally expensive sticking plaster over a hidden wound of rationed 'care', lack of access to NHS services and equipment and a system so failing to support the most vulnerable it makes work remain an impossible dream.


Day and Night

5/19/2008 07:42:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 4 Comments


Happy Birthday!

5/18/2008 07:40:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 47 Comments

Today is the first birthday of benefit scrounging scum. I started to write all about my laudable, but extremely dull aims in setting up the blog, but frankly it's the same old wank everyone spews out, and I only really want to say this.

Thank you, to every single person who reads this blog. I keep going because of the comments you leave and value them all. Today I'd like to ask every person who reads this post to comment. Just so I know you're there. Thank you.

These are some of my favourite posts.

Never Neverland


The Great Pretender

You smell amazing

I am me

Things can only get better

But you promised

No special treatment- the practical response

A question of chance

I see your true colours


Too sunny to blog!

5/13/2008 01:00:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 12 Comments


Pass the spliff please minister

So despite the advice of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which recommends that cannabis remain a class C drug the government are intending to go ahead and reclassify to a class B. Typical.

There has been concerted action in my area to deal with the problem of cannabis. It's worked too, cannabis is more difficult and expensive to buy. The result? Harder drugs are vastly cheaper and more available. Intelligent policy that one.


Is Labour abolishing illness?

Finally a well reasoned and thought through article on Incapacity benefit which does not label all claimants as scum. Much more like this is needed before we can find any resolution to the problems befalling the benefits system.


Barmy Banking

5/02/2008 08:47:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 6 Comments

Vi is asking about experiences with banks. This is mine.

When I lost my job in 2003 I was, to put it mildly in a bit of a state. Health problems which were blindingly obvious to my employer were still being denied as nothing more than attention seeking by the doctors supposed to be in charge of my care. Diagnosis would come some months down the line, but at the time I had no idea of the underlying cause.

I was left with no option but to apply for benefits. I managed to fight my way through the reams of forms which needed filling in, but in the meantime I had nothing to live on. No wages, no sick pay, no benefits.

To grant my income support, the benefits agency needed certain documents from my employer. They wrote, and then wrote again asking for the relevant items, but there was no response. I phoned my employer (the NHS), they promised to send said documents immediately, but seemed never to get round to it.

n the meantime I had to find some way to pay for the essentials, primarily food and the debt on my car as I was lucky enough to be renting from an old friend prepared to wait for the rent until whenever housing benefit came through. So I went to my bank for advice.

I had limped into the bank with my arm in a sling and fully declared everything I knew about the health issues I had. I was asking for advice on what the best course of action would be between my sick pay finishing and my benefits starting. I had absolutely no income, and as it was the local bank of my branch they had accessed my accounts and had that information in front of them.

I was in such a state both physically and mentally that when the 'personal banker' repeatedly insisted that the best course of action would be to take out a personal loan I believed her. The idea that the advice might be biased towards sales figures and not in my best interests simply never occurred to me.

So, when the advisor repeatedly told me that it would be cheapest for me to take out a £12, 000 loan I believed her. Plus insurance of course. I declared my (very visible) existing health issue and asked if I could be insured. I believed the repeated assurance that as I'd declared my health conditions I would be fully covered by the insurance if for any reason I could not repay the loan. The total, including insurance, turned out to be something like £18, 000 but I would not know that until much later.

It took over four months for my benefits to come through. The irony being that on the day I was diagnosed I found out I was entitled to high rate mobility allowance, back dated to before I took out the loan.

Of course I couldn't pay the loan back. The repayments were around £250 a month. I carried on making the monthly payments for something like a year, having no idea it was possible to access any debt advice. Loan payments meant I literally couldn't afford to eat. So I didn't. I somehow got through a winter where I was quite literally starving and freezing.

It was Star who helped me. She put me in touch with a debt management charity and sent her parents round with a car boot load of food and basic essentials. I am in no doubt that their actions saved my life. The debt management charity were disgusted at what was, of course, a missold loan. Turns out it wasn't unusual for that to happen to people on benefits, particularly those with disabilities. They helped me deal with the bank and set up a token payment each month.

I accept fully that it was my responsibility for taking out the loan and being so stupid. However, I cannot help but blame a bank for pressuring someone so visibly vulnerable into taking such a significant loan whilst fully aware that person had absolutely no income. Oh, and of course the insurance didn't pay out. They refused on the grounds I had a pre-existing condition despite my being able to prove I hadn't known I had the condition at the time.


Things can only get better

5/01/2008 04:52:00 pm BenefitScroungingScum 7 Comments

1997 was the first election I was eligible to vote in. As a young student I attended an election night party and cheered along with everyone else when Michael Portillo lost his seat. Oh the irony. That was the moment we all truly felt things had changed, and like the song said, could only get better. Like many, the only government I could remember was a Tory one and how they were hated. At that time, fit and active despite various health problems caused by a condition I didn't know I had, access meant nothing more to me than the ridiculously steep ramp being built outside my university building.

11 years later times have changed. Radically so. 1998 was the year in which I first had personal internet access, a present from an incredibly thoughtful friend to keep me entertained whilst recovering from the first of many surgeries. A mobile phone was still a year away, my own pc further still, consumer goods being proportionally so much more expensive than today.

Ironically, as I saw my own world shrink through increasing disability, the wider world became smaller and more accessible via developing technology. I found information, support and in time whole communities of people just like myself. The disabled community is diverse and to attempt to view us as all the same would be as ridiculous as the suggestion that all football fans are hooligans.

It is not just technology which has altered over the past 11 years. I do not remember ever hearing the term benefit scrounger when I was at university. I do remember the first time I was given that label though. A family member who was struggling to find work after university would regularly inform me that I was scum. Benefit scrounging scum. It was people like me who were preventing him from gaining employment. Don't ask me how that illogical thought process was supposed to work, but as an unemployed graduate no different to any other, this person had bought in to the belief that if one did as they were told and went to university a well paid and interesting job would fall into their lap. Obviously without having to go through the hassle of applying for one. When it became clear that wouldn't happen, unable to find anyone else to hold responsible, they blamed me, held up to represent all those 'nasty benefit scroungers' so bemoaned for a whole variety of wider social problems.

The current
climate is one where many disabled people are afraid. The Disability Discrimination Act is toothless, hate crimes against disabled people are on the rise yet not given the recognition or status of other hate crimes, access to services is routinely denied by local authorities, and the vital financial support provided in the form of benefits is being attacked by a government determined to demonise the most vulnerable as they turn their backs on the true issues facing the welfare state.

There is just one major commonality I've found within the disabled community. Political engagement. So many aspects of our lives are affected by even the most minor political changes that without exception the disabled people and their carers whom I have met have all had strong political opinions. Voting is important to this group.

So, just who will disabled people be voting for today? Those with learning difficulties are likely to be ruled out by the inaccessibility of the process and lack of suitable information. Those with physical disabilities are also subject to access issues. In the last general election access to my local polling station was via a muddy track. I collapsed when I arrived, had to be given a chair, water and assisted back out. Those helping me told me that earlier that day they had carried someone from the car to the booths as it was impossible for a wheelchair to access. When I arrived to vote today I was, laughingly, informed I was late. The men who register the votes had expected me earlier in the afternoon. Amongst what they expected to be around a 25% turnout some of us are more noticeable than others. Not necessarily for the right reasons. Postal voting has helped, but for those who have issues with their signature it can be a complicated process, and many, like myself want to feel engaged with the process by physically going to register their vote.

I have no idea who the disabled vote will go to. I just know this. I cannot bring myself to vote for a party so desperate to label the most vulnerable as scum. True equality seems very distant today.

Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day. Click here to view the other posts.