Saying What You Mean and Meaning What You Say – (The one about PIP)

I’m a big fan of words. Bloody useful things they are. I particularly like the English Language because it’s full of under-used words that are bloody lovely to say and write and because they are under-used it’s quite easy to select one of these words, whack it into a sentence and make your statement that little bit more interesting, distinctive, or unique.

I think it’s really important to read as much as you can and always ask somebody when they use a word you’re unfamiliar with, what that word means if you don’t know. Increasing your vocabulary increases your ability to better express yourself, it’s as simple as that. There is no shame in not knowing what a word means when you hear it, only in not bothering your arse enough to make the effort to find out for yourself so you know the next time. It’s impossible to say how many words even exist in the English Language so it’s unreasonable to expect us to know the meaning of every word knocking about the place. It’s a bit like asking an MP to recall a list of all the times they’ve deliberately told a whopping pie of the pork variety or Russell Brand the first name of all his dalliances. You can’t do it, it’d be ridiculous.

Whenever I write, if the opportunity arises, I will endeavour to use a more interesting word in place of a boring word, to hopefully increase the enjoyment the person reading, gets from my ramblings. It’s important to make sure, of course, that I make sure the replacement word means the same as the original word I used, and that the entire sentiment of the sentence it is in, is improved or at least preserved. Massive problems occur when word bandits, presumably in effort to make themselves appear more intelligent go about firing words out willy nilly when they have no sodding clue what they mean. It’s important to say that efficient use of long or unusual words is not necessarily an indication of intelligence. Lots of very silly people, in possession of rather absurd logic use big words, and some very insightful and particularly emotionally intelligent people struggle to express themselves. What it is, indisputably, is fecking problematic when people say things they don’t mean or mean things they don’t say because they haven’t correctly considered the word they have used and the meaning of it.

I like the word discombobulating. It’s lovely to say, wonderfully camp and theatrical in my opinion but I can’t just shove it in any old place I fancy, just because it sounds good. I can’t say I’ve gone out without a coat or brolly whilst it’s discombobulating outside so I am now drenched through to my bones. It sounds nicer, BUT IT’S NOT RIGHT! The bleeding rain has pissed all over me, not fecking confusion, perplexity or bewilderment, the bleeding effing rain. It is not appropriate to replace raining, with discombobulating. It is not ok, ok? If I were to do this, it would be incredibly discombobulating.

Most of the time, of course, the odd incorrect use of a word has no great consequence, it is annoying, but nobody dies. Usually. However it is important for people providing goods and services to express themselves clearly when they are advertising those goods and services in exchange for money. That is why bodies such as The Advertising Standards Authority exist, to make sure essentially, that people can’t pedal utter bollocks to you and con you out of your money. You can buy Just for Men and if you use it properly it will get rid of your grey hairs. It will not make your immediately more handsome and irresistible to women or discombobulate women into mistaking you with George Clooney. The advert can discombobulate you into assuming that will happen but they can’t SAY it will do that. You might still be just an unfortunate looking bastard and an A grade tool but you will be one without grey hairs. Your hair is all they will be able to claim they can help you address, they can’t claim it will make you better in bed, lengthen the size of your man hose, improve your earning capabilities or make you more charismatic. If they said that it would do that stuff, they would be lying and that, my friends, is really really naughty.

Our government don’t have to answer to the ASA but they do have to answer to us, the general public, tax payers (yes disabled tax payers do exist and are not in fact extinct like dildos, dodos!) the people they serve, the people they debate and legislate on behalf of. We are entitled to know what the hell it is we are paying for, voting for, supporting and using. If Dave and friends decided to use public money to say fund a weekly paint balling session with their best buddies, but told us it was actually necessary for ensuring the country’s safety from invasion or attack, that would be wrong. You would never get the defence secretary using tax payers or voters money to fund holidays or imaginary job roles for his best pal. That would never happen. (Oh wait a second, the rules for us and the rules for them are so discombobulating, I lose track)

So why then, lots of disabled people are asking, are they allowed to replace Disability Living Allowance with something they call Personal Independence Payments?

Disability Living Allowance, in acknowledging the massive extra costs a disabled person is likely to incur whilst managing their disability, has assessed people’s extra needs in regards to their care or mobility limitations, provided them with financial support and given them the freedom to use that money how they see fit. Trusting the people with such conditions (and those who help them deal with them) to make, incredibly, the right decisions necessary for managing and obtaining the care that they feel they need. It gave them options and choices and freedom and respect. Things, most able-bodied people are guilty sometimes of taking for granted but conversely that most disabled people value above all else and often risk their health to defend.

Personal Independence payments will assess people’s eligibility for them based on their ability to;

Plan and buy food and drink, prepare and cook food, take nutrition, manage medication and monitor health conditions, manage prescribed therapies other than medication, wash, bath and groom, manage their toilet needs and incontinence, dress and undress, communicate with others plan and follow a journey and get around.

Apparently.

The format of the assessment doesn’t take into account a disabled person’s environment, it doesn’t take into account how difficult or impossible it often is for a disabled person to access public transport. It doesn’t take into account how important socialising with others is to the mental health of all human beings, let alone disabled ones. It doesn’t consider that a disabled person may need to eat food of a high nutritional value, in order to stay healthy; it doesn’t consider that sometimes non-prescribed, non-essential treatments may benefit an individual more than those deemed more conventional methods of pain management. It doesn’t consider additional responsibilities many disabled people have on top of merely staying alive and functional, such as children, jobs, bills, mortgages. It doesn’t recognise that disabled people often need mental health support even when their disability is physical. It doesn’t consider that disabled people need to have clean clothes, clean bedding, a clean environment and appearance, confidence and social skills in order to even consider themselves in a position to look for employment and that they may have great difficulty in ensuring they possess and maintain such things.

It doesn’t give them options and choices and freedom and respect. It provides the basic minimum requirements for survival, not independence. However they want to call it a Personal Independence Payment. They want to have the general public, taxpayers the people they serve, and the people they debate and legislate on behalf of believe they are improving people’s ability to take better care of themselves and obtain employment. They want to have us believe that the people who don’t meet their strict rigid formulaic criteria for it, don’t need it. That they don’t need help or support, that they should be able to live independently and maintain employment without any support.

If the economy can’t afford to help disabled people live more independent lives then please don’t tell everyone that that is what you are aiming to do. If, as a country, we can’t afford to equip disabled people with the means by which to break down their own, individual barriers to equality, don’t pretend that is what you are going to do.

I imagine that many MPs, in order to perform their jobs, maintain a manageable work/social life balance, take care of themselves and their loved ones and ensure their own sanity, require the assistance of others.

Personal assistants, nannies, housekeepers, cleaners, chauffeurs, masseurs, personal advisors, spokespeople, accountants, therapists. Are there many MPs who cope all the time, without any of this sort of assistance? Do any of them have debilitating physical or mental impairment?

Don’t insult, patronise and disrespect people by pretending that disabled people don’t need some, all of that assistance and other really important services that are being cut left right and centre, in order to manage their lives.

Otherwise shall we just do away with the meaning of words and send people kettles when they pay us for cars? Shall we not call Just For Men, Just For Men and instead call it Looks Enhancing, Sexy Man Hair Juice?

No, let’s say what we mean and mean what we say.

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