I may have to stop reading news for a while.
That may sound drastic but as a person with mental health issues, the current position of my country continues to affect me deeply.
Today, we learn the minority government won a vote in Parliament last night which was calling for an amendment to the Queen’s Speech (the schedule for the next session) which would give pay rises to public sector workers at least in line with inflation. This includes police, NHS workers, firefighters, armed services.
These workers who have been under immense pressure due to cuts over the last seven years have have faced wage rises over this period of time of less than inflation, which in real terms means that they have had a pay cut, potentially a reduction in living standards for them, adjustments being made.
All this in a climate where there have been significant incidents on a large scale to which they respond magnificently, doing their jobs above and beyond the call of duty and to some personal cost to individuals.
A police officer who faced the recent London Bridge attackers and was stabbed repeatedly, kept fighting and was left to die, with his only thought being that if he didn’t put himself in front of them armed with his baton, others would be hurt, possibly killed. He may lose sight in one eye and may never work again as a result of his injuries.
There was Grenfell Tower fire, which has seismic implications due to the materials used in refurbishment of the property. The fire service battled this blaze relentlessly and put themselves forward to save lives of those trapped. After events like this, there is counselling available for those involved but the number of retained therapists is two. This covers thousands of firefighters in London Fire Service.
And then we have the armed personnel returning from war zones with horrific and debilitating injuries. What future do they face? Who will give them the specialist care needed? By that, I mean people who truly understand the horror they faced and the resultant trauma and PTSD they will continue to experience, maybe for the rest of their lives.
Through all this, the NHS staff care for the injured from these incidents and more. They also care for the emergency services personnel who were either injured or affected by their ordeal resulting in emotional trauma. They do their best under a difficult time with more work and less resources, plus an uncertain future for the NHS.
While they do this, their budgets have been cut over the past seven years in the austerity measures gripping the country. There are fewer workers to do more work and there are more than cracks showing. More like chasms, which these people keep going and try to bridge in the face of constant onslaught.
These are people who run into the chaos when everyone is going in the opposite direction. These are the people who keep us safe and care for those who are injured.
What can these people who serve their country, their area and public expect? A reduced salary & pension, disability payments with constant health assessments by a private company paid to reduce benefit claimants, to be forgotten and put in a system straining at the seams to do the standard job it is there to do.
At the vote last night, which the minority government won with the help of a bought support to the tune of £1bn, the government MPs cheered in putting down the amendment which would give public workers wage increases at least in line with inflation.
They actually cheered.
Now, it may be a response to winning the first test of their alliance after the election but surely they must understand how this looks and sounds. Callous and uncaring.
Personally, I can’t see this alliance and government lasting long due to the precarious nature of the relationships within parties and externally. The public pressure is ramping up. People are angry and becoming angrier by the day, with our emergency and armed services being treated so badly, with money being made available for MP wage rises, alliance with DUP to stay in power, maintenance of Buckingham Palace.
I’m keeping away from news for a while for the sake of my mental health. I hope you now understand why.
Thanks to all those who work in the public sector for their continued professionalism. This is dedicated to you.