Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Amputations, Victim Culture and Gang Warfare

Our phones don't stop ringing all day today, so I still don't get a chance to find out what Greg's planning. It pains me to admit it, but one of the legacies of 13 years of a Labour Government seems to have been a huge increase in victim culture. Honestly, the amount of complaining I hear today from people with minor problems is incredible.

First thing in the morning, Mr Franklin phones to tell me that it's my job to get him his emergency benefit payment "asap," as he's going on holiday tomorrow and needs to buy his holiday wardrobe. He takes the opportunity to remind me several times that he is "severely disabled."

I can't remember the last time Max and I could afford a holiday, but it must be more than ten years ago. And yet here's Mr Franklin off on yet another bloody jaunt. I wouldn't mind so much, but the only thing wrong with him is that he's hugely fat.

When I've finally got rid of Mr F by agreeing to phone the Benefits Agency this afternoon and plead his case for emergency funds to buy a collection of outsized Hawaiian shirts, the lovely Mr Bradley phones.

He starts by apologising profusely for "bothering" his MP, but wonders if there is anything we can do to help him as he's getting nowhere by himself. It turns out, after he had his leg amputated months ago, the hospital forgot to arrange ambulance transport to take him to his follow-up appointments. Which means that he still hasn't been able to get his prosthetic leg fitted.

"It's not all bad," he says. "The grandchildren love it when I fall over, but it is making caring for my wife  a little tricky."

Mrs Bradley has severe Alzheimers, and yet Mr B sounds embarrassed to have to ask for help! Sometimes I think the world is going mad.

The Boss isn't suffering from any such reluctance to complain today, though. He's phoning every few minutes to moan about everything: having to sit on the "wrong" side of the House; John Bercow still being Speaker, and the fact that he hasn't managed to persuade the Commons authorities to move his office out of Portcullis House, and back into the HOC* itself.

He's even complaining that the girls in the London office take up too much room and that their legs get in his way. As far as I can remember, it was primarily the length (and shape) of their legs that persuaded him to employ them in the first place, so I don't exactly have much sympathy with his point of view. Now it seems as if he'd like them to get their legs amputated to avoid causing him further inconvenience.

When I tell him that I think he's lucky that his office hasn't been moved into a broom cupboard, given the election result, he just says,

"Well, that's where that bloody idiot Gordy's new office should be."

Then he adds that he has a cunning plan to disrupt the work of the Coalition. When he explains that this involves nothing more than giving disorientated new MPs misleading directions to the Commons Chamber, I congratulate him on his maturity and he hangs up on me.

It seems that The Boss isn't the only one causing trouble today, though. At lunchtime, I get a call from Josh's tutor, saying that Josh is to be in detention this afternoon for "leaving class mid-lesson for no reason, and being obstreperous when told off."

When I get home from work, I demand an explanation from Josh. He informs me that the teacher is a "f*ckwit who doesn't understand the meaning of the word emergency."

Apparently, Josh "had no choice" but to rush out of the classroom, due to his having suddenly noticed the words, Josh Bennett is gay, written in large letters on the wall outside the window. He obviously considers this slight on his heterosexuality to have more than justified his impromptu exit, and is incredulous than anyone should have objected.

"When I'd painted it out, I went straight back to class, anyway," he says. Painted it out? Am I raising a  member of the underclass? Why would Josh even possess a can of spray-paint, let along keep one in his rucksack for so-called emergencies?

On this evidence, my son could be a vandal, or involved in a gang war, so I ask Max to deal with Josh. His attempt at parental discipline seems to involve no more than laughing and then patting Josh on the shoulder. As a result, things are rather frosty between us until Max falls asleep on the sofa.

Just before bed, Greg sends me an email containing a link to an old article about the cost of air-lifting an extremely obese man from his home, to enable him to attend a hospital appointment. Greg says:

"This'll be Mr Franklin next, Molly - and we taxpayers will be the ones paying for it!"

Oh, good God. Are Greg and I becoming fascists, or worse, Tories? It's all very worrying.

*HOC: House of Commons, for those of you lucky enough not to be involved in the world of UK politics.


  1. Brilliant, keep it up.

    Yours devotedly

    A Tory

  2. Oh God, I am appealing to Tories. What am I doing? Maybe I AM becoming one - but thanks for the kind words anyway...

  3. This is the kind of thing which has made me feel a Tory/Lib Dem govt is probably safer for disabled ppl. So far anyway. They've got 13 years to catch up to the shameful levels of benefit scrounger bashing put out by New Labour
    Great blog though!