You’ve all done very well!


Dear Young Mr Grace

Thank you. It’s been hard going, but now after eight years of being told it was someone else fault and nothing to do with you and your friends, we are so thankful that, finally, with your wonderful and caring leadership, we’ve all managed to come through this recent money problem unscathed. All that tightening of the belts, that weary trudging through dark streets looking for food, that sinking feeling in your stomach when we’ve been waiting in line for a bit of surgery. It’s all been worth it: we’ve worked hard and we have come through to the sunlit uplands of capitalist virtue and protestant work ethic. What matters most of all to us lowly folk is that you’ve noticed. You’ve been keeping a close eye on us all as we struggled in and out of the food banks, more and more of us each week. Carrying out tatty bags filled with all that scrummy value food. Jam, biscuits, tins of beans, soup, sliced peaches, pasta and spaghetti hoops. Goes down a treat in the cold rooms we are lucky to call home.

Just so you know (you probably already do), we’ve held out, in all the dampness and hopelessness, when we’ve had to worry about whether our money would come through, and hoping in the hopelessness that your caring government would do right for us. You’d see us through, when the disability payments we had because we can’t really walk anywhere and can’t take our autistic son to the youth group were removed or redesigned into a new benefit. PIP they called it. Sounds ever so cheerful, doesn’t it? But it wasn’t. Don’t let them trick you, those nasty people at the DWP. They have been trying to stop us getting the basics we were guaranteed back in 2007 by that other lot, not you, you lovely caring people. They said, “you can have this benefit for ever!” and it was great while forever lasted, but then a few years ago the DWP said, “forever is now over”. So, we asked for PIP and they said they couldn’t because we’d gone into the assessment on two sticks rather than a wheelchair, and so clearly we could go to work, even if we couldn’t walk to work.

But it was all sorted out. The appeals all seemed to go through on the nod, like there was never a problem in the first place. Still, we made a day of it at the county court. All dressed up and looking anxious. But again, you came up trumps. You gave us the PIP and now our son can get to his youth group and we can get into town to the food bank. Happy days.

So, this austerity is now over, in the same way that forever has come to an end. That’s good news indeed, and clearly it’s all down to the likes of us little people who you have noticed and have been so kind and encouraging about. It was worth the scramble to keep on the grubby pile, even if we weren’t at the top of it, and even when it seemed that everyone above us didn’t know we were there. With all that muck bearing down on us we knew that the day would come when we’d be able to hold up our hands in joy and say we saved the country from whatever was wrong with the country.

We know (because you told us) the country was well on its way along the road in a handcart and that unless we all tightened our belts then we’d never be able to hold up our heads again on the world stage. “We’re all in this together,” I recall one posh young chap telling us all. And I thought, that’s so encouraging. Even those posh people are going to have to stand alongside the rest of us and get their food from a food bank, have to wait a few weeks too see the doctor, and when they are told their benefits are being changed around that they’ll have to wait a few weeks before the next payment comes through. It was so reassuring that that happened. That nice young man and his shiny friend: they struggled like the rest of us. What a strong and uplifting story to be able to tell our grandchildren, that in the dark days after the money ran out we all stood side by side and gave up on the important things like new shoes (or even second hand ones), clothes, luxuries like good food and a warm house. Such a good feeling that even the nobles were properly respectful of the desperate times, after the other lot had spent all the money. That was what you said wasn’t it? I only ask because I’d heard that the money wasn’t really the problem. I can’t believe it because you are so kind and generous and affirming even when you had to tell us to stop living as decent human beings, but I have heard an awful rumour that this austerity thing was made up. Imagine that! The whole thing was a fabrication, and that actually it’s all been a pointless exercise in ensuring that people who have very little are used as the guinea pigs in a dreadful experiment. That’s such a joke!

Imagine, if this need for austerity had been just a side issue, and that the problem was all to do with how the really rich people had made a big foul up. How on earth would that happen? Those people are so smart, otherwise how would they have got all that money. Apparently, they got into all kinds of trouble with lying about how they forced the less well off to spend money they didn’t have, and then when they ran out of money their friends in high places helped bail them out. And then, to make sure nobody knew, the blame was reshuffled onto the guy with the funny eye and weird smile, and the one with the oddly coloured eye brows. Dodgy pair, not at all like the young lad and his shiny friend who were prepared to drown with us if the need arose. That’s real dedication and compassion. They had all the money they could want and, apparently (I have heard) they are now doing quite well for themselves. I gather they were encouraged to take some time off since they’d done such an amazing job with the economy and then the Brexit thing. I hear that one is going all around America telling people how to all be in it together and the other one is selling newspapers. Sounds like they’re both having a good rest. Well done. After all, now the problem is all over and you are now able to tell us all we’ve been doing so well in it all together, there’s no need for us to be in it all together now, is there?

You rich people can go back to eating and drinking all that good stuff, in your warm homes, and also in your homes in other places. I hope you have a really lovely time carrying on doing whatever you’ve managed to do at the same time as being in it all together for the past eight years. You must be worn out with having to pick up the food from the bank and then take a trip to Waitrose to get the rest of your shopping. All that fine wine doesn’t just drink itself, either, does it?

But, what am I thinking! It’s just occurred to me that you must be ever so busy making sure that we’re all in it together when we leave the EU. That’s going to be fun isn’t it, spending all that money that we’ll have left over, that £350 million each week. I worked out that that is a fiver a week for each of us, man, woman, child, every week. Great news. And extra £260 a year. I’ll spend mine on making sure the kids have got new shoes in the winter and then perhaps we can have a week in Butlin’s. And all because we’ve left the EU. You’re doing great, all of you! Just goes to show what can happen when we’re all in it together. everyone gets an equal share of everything. You get your foreign holidays and I get a roof over my head all year round. Great deal, I’d say.

Anyway, now that it’s all done with and the end of austerity is on the horizon, I bet you’re wanting to get on with making the benefit system work a bit better. Just so you know, I’m waiting for a few weeks (six) until I can get my next cheque. Something to do with a problem with me missing a meeting. I bet that happens to you all the time, you miss a meeting and the Prime Minister cuts your salary. When that happens I know I can just nip down to the for bank, and they’ll give me a parcel. I expect your bank is just like mine. Makes you feel proud to be British, eh?

And I can’t tell you how chuffed everyone is that you’ve even found a bit of the old readies to give our kids a bit of a sparkle at school. Such a gracious act. Amongst all the difficulty, all the times there have been questions about whether you really cared, suddenly there you are with a little extra for the little loves. Goodness knows no bounds.

Please pass on my thanks to the funny lady who always seems to look so troubled. Tell her it’ll all be fine in the end: just as long as we’re all in it together.

Bless you all.