Beating the Government

The Bedroom Tax. What did you argue? He argued that the “spare bedroom” was nothing of the kind, that it was a room to store his own equipment which he needed because of his disability. That a room is just a room, not a “bedroom” or “living room”; that it may be a store room. It had never been used as a bedroom, because even though he lived in a Housing Association house, he had paid for the extension himself. The council had opposed the appeal, yet when he went before the tribunal judge, the lawyer took on board everything he said.

Then the Government had wanted to appeal, to add itself as a party to the proceedings, to get the detailed reasons for the judgment, and there had been some delay in implementing it; they had decided in the event not to appeal, and he was disappointed because had he won in the upper tribunal he would have set a precedent.

As he tells me, his passion about the case begins to show. His voice gets harder, he speaks more quickly, he will brook no disagreement. It is time to go into Meeting.

The one who introduced me, said Abigail is also a lawyer.
-Solicitor?
-Yes, a very long time ago.
He had trained as a barrister.
And immediately my shame had started up. With all the advantages I have had, look where I am now! I am without my wig, because I have cycled here, am overheated, and the heating is on. I cannot bear to put on my jeans and am self-conscious in my shorts. I wished she had not said.

And I feel so vulnerable, and threatened.

A friend has made me a necklace, of chunky Unakite beads, said to bring grounding, gentleness and calm, and to balance emotions with spirituality. It is pretty, but at the centre is a disc, three circles of tiny hearts. At this I feel intense emotion. Really intense- what happened? I think-

she recognised, valued and celebrated my Softness, and my Softness answered, which is joyous; and I fear that softness and vulnerability because I need to be harder,

and as we leave I start to babble, because I have to justify myself- I have played my cards as best I could, we all have good and bad luck, character, choices- I have not “ended up” like this because there is always possibility- phrases I have come up with, trying to reassure myself

it is alright, really
I am alright, really

I honestly did not think until later- a barrister, pleading his own housing benefit case? I had said, “I can sort of understand prejudice against immigrants, or sexual minorities, but prejudice against disabled people, I just can’t get my head around that.”

He said, people think you’re worthless, they can look down on you. And Hindus judge you on how you must have been bad in some fictional past life in their own heads. How horrible, to see this wonderful man, and judge him on the one thing he can’t do!

Millais, Portia- Kate Dolan

3 thoughts on “Beating the Government

  1. I’m sorry you felt vulnerable in those circumstances. You do not have to feel tough all the time. There are so many things I want to add, to reassure you, that you are well to have arrived where you are, and that your route, the road you have travelled is, of itself, a sign of your success. Perhaps you have always been cerebral, and have used that part of yourself in excess, to overcompensate and to berate and to be logical and unkind against yourself, etc etc.

    We all do this.

    It is one of the ironies of the situation with ‘disability’ rights that we self identify as the one thing we wish we were not, and we try to find common ground in an aspect of ourselves that others view as being excluding. Much better that we were not excluded and then could identify as scrabble geeks, or liverpool supporters. 🙂 Much love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vulnerable, there, was good. With a friend of exceptional both emotional and ratiocinating intelligence, in a Meeting-house, seeing a trigger work so seeing how it works, and finding that trigger may be a key to something beautiful rather than to be feared. Vulnerable, there, was wonderful.

      We get there, by our fifties…

      Liked by 1 person

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