Regular readers will have quickly identified that there are recurrent themes in my posts. Two of the most common are the incompetence of petty officialdom, and the after effects of active service on those who return. We attempt to address some of these issues with our little charity, holidays4heroes which many of you generously support.
It's unsurprising then, given that petty officialdom has spread through the country like a bad virus that these two themes should come together now and again in one post. Some make me irritated, some upset........ this one just makes me bloody angry and we're going to fix it.
A former soldier who served in NI, the first Gulf War and was one of the unfortunate group sent to clear up after Lockerbie has had his share of bad luck.
He contracted TB four years ago which was undiagnosed for a year. In that time he lost 40% of his lung capacity and now has the lungs of an 80 year old. He was in receipt of a disability living allowance but that has been taken away from him, "he can cook a meal and walk more than 5 metres"
He goes on to say, "I used the Mobility allowance to get me to Tescos and back. Now I'm a prisoner in my home unless a friend is free to drive me. It was also used for my heating, now I get inside a sleeping bag in my chair. " What in the screaming fvck is he supposed to do..... get two teenagers on a YOP scheme to knock up an iron-lung in remedial metalwork?
Just for fun and giggles he has been diagnosed as suffering from severe PTSD and to really make it a full house he was burgled two weeks ago. Yep, I'm pretty pissed off about it too.
Just to give you a wee bit of perspective, just a few years after Lockerbie, most of the emergency services who attended retired on disability pensions and I have no issue with that. It was a traumatic event of some magnitude for those present. The soldiers were sent away from their families to Belize afterwards, no doubt some bright spark thought that keeping them busy was the right idea.
With the help of the specialist agencies out there we will absolutely fix this and if I can track down the jobsworth responsible for making this guy a prisoner in his home I will and I'll let as many people know about it as I can.
The important thing for you though, is simply to be aware that these cases exist, that it's not acceptable and to be supportive. We have many more thousands coming down the pipeline.. we sent them and we have a collective duty of care to do the right thing.