Archive

Monthly Archives: February 2017

I want a job.

I really want a job.

The Government would be so happy if I could come off benefits and get a job.

I would be so happy if I could come off benefits and get  job.

There is only one impediment to this laudable ambition of theirs, and mine – I am severely disabled and stuck in bed most of the time, so, I am not able to go out to work, the work would have to come to me.

And this, apparently, is a major and seemingly insurmountable stumbling block.

But why? What’s the problem? Why can’t the work come to me? In this wonderfully technological day and age, with computers, video conferencing, telephone conferencing, Sype, the internet and even that strange new invention called the telephone, why do I have to go to a specific location, such as an office, city, or even country, in order to work? Is it really necessary for me to leave my home at all?

To be honest, that, as far as I am concerned anyway, is so last century. The experience I have and the roles I am qualified and extremely familiar with in a workplace can easily be done without having to move location at all. I am happy to admit that there are many, many jobs where the employee does have to be in a specific building or town or workplace in order to do what they are trained to do, such as a doctor, a bus driver, a postman, a prison officer, a supermarket cashier, a chef but, equally, there are many, many  roles which can be done from just about anywhere and no-one would know any difference.

Take me, for example. I, like many people, have the transferable skills which would allow me to be able to work, in my chosen profession, from anywhere. I’m not anything special or important or awe-inspiring, I have around twenty-five years experience in providing advice and information, on a variety of subjects, to disabled and older people. I did, or do this, by phone, email or in the form of advice leaflets, information sheets, magazines and current awareness bulletins which I have written, edited and published for national and regional organisations and charities in my area. And that’s it. That’s me. That’s what I do. But for some reason, all the employers who are looking for people who can do what I do, would want me to travel to them to do it.

Why?

In my last paid employment I was taking details of clients’ legal problems and booking them an appointment for a telephone advice session with a lawyer. Either that, or referring them elsewhere that may be more suitable for their needs or sending them an information leaflet that would, hopefully, answer their question. Nothing more complicated than that. So, what was there  which meant I had to travel to the other side of London on a noisy, smelly, crowded bus every day at crack-of-stupid in the morning and then fight my way back home again on the same buses, exhaused and frustrated in the evening? I have no idea. I could have done the exactly the same thing from the comfort of my living room and no-one would have been able to tell unless I felt the need to let them know.

And I’m not just guessing, I know this, from personal experience. At one point during my employment with the company I had to have an operation, which necessitated a lengthy recovery period. Essentially, my brain and abilities were unaffected, I just had to be careful and wait for the wound to heal and for the stitches to be removed. That was it. I wasn’t sick, just incapacitated. So, I had to stay home. And I was so bored and so fed up and I felt so useless. In desperation, I had a chat with my boss and, because he was forward thinking and had also had problems finding someone who could cover for me whilst I recuperated, we implemented a system whereby my office phone was linked to my home phone and the client database and advice rota were linked to my home computer and bingo, I could  continue with my work, uninterrupted. If someone rang in I would take the details of the issue, make notes about their case on our system, check the availability of our legal professionals and book an appointment for the client to get the advice they needed. Not only that, but I was able to undertake research for advice leaflets, write articles for the magazines I was responsible for and send the copy to the printer for publication and distribution. And, I didn’t have to move a muscle.

So why do we still have this preoccupation with having to work from somewhere special? Surely, having employees who work from home is beneficial to both employees and employers alike. Employees can work for anyone, anywhere, and so, can look for the job that is best for them, regardless, without having to move and the employer doesn’t have to pay for premises or heating or lighting or equipment for an expensive office building. Just make sure that employees have the things they may need to be able to work from home such as a computer, internet access and a phone line. Not only that, but they can employ anyone, from anywhere. They can employ the best possible person for the job regardless of where they are.     

It doesn’t sound too complicated to me.

I feel that we need to have a complete rethink about work and what work actually means in this country. We are in the technologically advanced, twenty-first century, not still stuck in the Victorian or Edwardian era. Why can’t employers, next time someone resigns or retires and leaves their business, look at the tasks that need to be done and really consider whether those tasks have to be done from an expensive office or if they can be undertaken by someone working remotely, from their own home? Adverts could be placed online, interviews could conducted by conference call and work could be done from anywhere. Bosses could check work is being done by looking at output and not by staring across their desk at  someone sitting at another desk on the other side of the room. Workers could feel trusted and valued. No-one needs to actually go or be anywhere. Happy employers, happy employees. What’s so bad about that? Telephonists answering the phone in their PJs? What’s the issue? The phone is being ansered regardless. Why not try it and see what happens?

Oh, and, if there are any amazing employers reading this, who would be happy to take a risk and employ a remote Advice and Information Officer, hiya! I’m here and waiting for your call!

Come on Bosses, take a step into the twenty-first century, be brave and go for it, you know it makes sense!

Advertisements

I am angry. I am very angry. I need to get confirmation of what I have just been told but, if it really is the case, then I am very angry indeed.

To cut a long story short, last year, my local authority, Lambeth, decided in it’s infinite wisdom, that it would close my local library, the Carnegie, in Herne Hill, SE London, in order to convert the basement into a gym and have a much reduced library on the ground floor, with no professional library staff available or, at least, only available for a short period every week. On February 8th the Council, in it’s infinite wisdom, approved the plans, which will now be implemented.

As a wheelchair user, access was never amazing but, by dint of ringing a bell at the bottom of the steps to the main entrance, at least a member of the library staff would come out, help you through a side entrance to a lift in the basement and up to the main library area. Not ideal but at it worked. I have just asked what will happen when the basement is converted into a gym. Would we still be able to access the lift. I have been told that wheelchair access will, in future, be via a ‘circuitous stairway route’!

Well friends, what part of ‘stairway’ and ‘wheelchair’ won’t work do we think?

Could it be that, as I am not a dalek with an amazing ability to levitate, I, and other disabled and older people with mobility issues, will NOT BE ABLE TO GET IN AT ALL?

Discrimination anyone?

Of course, I am fully aware of the fact that there are other options available to me, such as a home library service where someone brings my choice of books to me but, and in my opinion, its not the same thing. Whilst, of course, a home delivery scheme has it’s merits for a lot of people, it’s not, in my opinion, the same thing at all.

Half of the fun of going to the library is having the ability to browse the shelves and find new books and authors you never knew about. There is nothing like pulling a book off the shelf, purely because it has an engaging title, reading the blurb on the back and the author’s biog on one of the inner flaps and thinking ‘This looks interesting, maybe I’ll give it a try.’ I really cannot count the number of times, over the years, that this has happened to me. Many of those books now rank amongst my favourite reads of all time and without the ability to browse the library shelves I might never have found them.  

Then there’s another important issue that also needs thinking about, apart from he issue of access for disabled people.

There are already three gyms, with swimming pools, in the immediate area as well as a large park over the road and another, even larger park, fifteen minutes walk away in the centre of Herne Hill itself. Why, exactly, do we need another gym? Has anyone ever given any of us an answer to that? Not only that but, as far as I am aware, Lambeth has not done any form of impact assessment for the people living in the streets surrounding the library building. The library is in a residential area, with two busy primary schools in the immediate vicinity, and the majority of the streets surrounding the building are Controlled Parking Zones with daytime parking restrictions because of those schools. In the evenings these same streets are where residents park their cars after work, outside their own homes. There is no space for gym users to use. There are no car parks nearby and no room for one to be built. So where would Lambeth Council suggest that gym users should park their cars? Any ideas?

And then there is the noise issue. As I have already said, the library building, where the gym will be, is in a residential area where families with young children and older people live. It is a quiet area. The people who live nearby are not going to welcome any disturbance and disruption in the evening caused by the noise made by gym users leaving the building, getting into their cars and driving away after their fitness sessions.   

It is very clear that this plan has still not been properly thought through and that, yet again, Lambeth have jumped in, feet first, without considering the cost and the consequences for local residents.

Let me reiterate. We do not need another gym. You can keep it. We do not need gym users causing noise and disruption. You can keep them too. What we need is our library. We want to keep that. A gym will only make things worse for Council Tax payers and residents in the area. Please Lambeth Council, give us back our much loved and much used library and stop trying to make a fast buck on the side. If you ignore us and our wishes, let me tell you, when the next Council elections come round, we will not forget and we will not forgive.   

Following the vote in the House of Commons yesterday, 8th February 2017, giving the Prime Minister, Mrs May, a mandate to trigger Article 50 to leave the EU with the ‘European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2016-17, I am writing to you to beg you to oppose this Bill when it makes it’s transition to the Upper House.

We are being told by the Prime Minister that Brexit is ‘the will of the people’ but this is not true. 72.2 per cent of registered voters cast a vote in the EU Referendum. This equates to 33.6 million voters. Of those 33.6 million people, only 52% voted for leave whilst 48% voted remain. 52% of 33.6 million voters equates to only around 15 million people who voted to leave the EU, not the fanciful 65 million people Mrs May is relying on.

Please do not vote against the real ‘will of the people’ and drag us out of the EU and into a very uncertain and xenophobic future. If our collective aim is to ‘make Britain great again’, leaving the EU is not the way to do it. Please let us have a future to be proud of and to keep us all safe, for ourselves, our children and for future generations. Please vote against the Brexit Bill and send it back to the Commons defeated.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
Poppy Hasted

Yesterday, I read a letter in the London Evening Standard, written by a friend of mine, concerning the on-going Brexit Saga. In this letter she refered to Brexiteers as ‘Brexit Bullies’ and how Brexit as being cited as the alleged ‘will of the British people’.

According to our Prime Minister, Theresa May, 65 million members of the British public support it. 

Well, as far as I am conerned this is not true.

This is very obviously untrue.

It is another Brexiteer fabrication

Brexit is not the ‘will of the people’. Simple maths shows how, yet again, we are being lied to.

Just looking at the published referendum voting figures, 72.2 per cent of registered voters cast a vote in the EU Referendum. This equates to 33.6 million voters. Of those 33.6 million people, only 52% voted for leave whilst 48% voted remain. 52% of 33.6 million voters equates to only around 15 million people who voted to leave the EU, not the fanciful 65 million people Mrs May is relying on.

So exactly where do her missing 50 million members of the British Public come from? Could she be trying to include the people who will  be the most affected by this decision, namely our children and young people, who never had a vote at all? If you listen to these very astute youngsters, they are largely in favour of remaining within the EU rather than leaving. As far as I am concerned, this is just another instance of adults saying ‘Don’t worry, we know best. We’ll decide for you’ without actually listening to what these people actually want.  

I am fed up with the people that my friend refered to as the ‘Brexit Bullies’ and the bully in chief, Theresa May, feeding us misinformation and lies to further their own cause. When will the Brexiteers finally admit that they are, yet again, bending the truth to suit their own agenda and, ultimately, do what they usually do and line their own pockets.  

When will ‘Remain’ politicians start to challenge the inaccurate figures that are being cited? When will people wake up and start fighting? When will the British Public shout out, ‘But this is not what we voted for’? These are our children’s and grandchildren’s futures they are playing with and we cannot allow it to continue. Britain is just a very little island in a very large world, not the leader of the massive Victorian trading empire we once were. We no longer have the influence we used to have and we are unlikely to ever have it again no matter how much some people want and believe it to be so. People are looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses and are seeing things that are no longer the case. We need to stop listening to the lies of the Brexit Bullies and letting them ruin our futures. If you think things are bad now, just wait and see how fast things will deteriorate if we allow Brexit to go ahead.

For the sake of our children and their children and their children and all of the generations to come, we must end this madness now, before it is too late.

Brexit Bullies begone and stop making things up to suit your own agenda, whatever that might be.

You have lied to us time and time again and we have had enough.

Just stop, it’s not too late if you act now and say ‘No more’. Listen to what we’re saying and end all the fanciful fabrication now, we are, at last, begining to see through all the lies to the disaster that is to come if you don’t pull back, now.