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Don't Blame the Victims

In 1979, a new political era began. There was to follow the first major recession of three in my lifetime so far. Those of us who were about to leave school were totally unprepared for its consequences.

Had I left school then, just before it tightened its grip, I might have stood a chance of getting a job. Instead, without the benefit of hindsight, I stayed at school for another two years, which proved disastrous in a number of ways. Not only did I have to endure a further two years of poverty whilst studying, but when I did finish my A-levels, my home life and state of mind were so unsettled that I failed them and emerged into a full-blown recession with no hope of a job.

After enduring hardships such as having to study by candlelight because the electricity was cut off, going to school with holes in my shoes and having £3 a week pocket money at the age of eighteen, this seemed an unjust reward for my sacrifices. My father had his own problems and we often argued. My mother had left years' ago and I have no siblings. Such a miserable homelife resulted in me coming several times to within a hair's breadth of taking my own life. I couldn't move out as I had no money. I felt trapped. I even envied the birds for their freedom.

In between the years of signing on that followed, I drifted from one useless government scheme to another. Each time result was the same: back on the dole at the end of it, no matter how hard I tried. Nobody took an interest in hard workers. They weren't designed for that.

This continued until 1990, when I gained an H.N.C. on another government-run course. Just as I finished it, another recession came along.

So things continued into the Millennium, though I now had a flat to live in. Hearing there was a shortage of computer programmers to cure the Millennium Bug, I retrained as one, but by the time I had qualified, the market had evaporated because the Dot.Com bubble burst and a third recession came along.

It is now recognized that driving down wages by mass unemployment and its consequent concealment by shovelling its victims onto Incapacity Benefit were no mere accidents, but deliberate governemnt policies. It's still going on today, with training being the new Incapacity Benefit.

People on benefits are often blamed as contributing to a problem which is not of their making. Since when was it right to blame the victims?

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