What Is Happening To Our Society?

Where have the Good Old Days Gone?

We often will reflect, no matter what generation, on where have the good old days gone? Even generations in the future, [as much as it is hard to believe for us now] will harp on in their thirties and forties on “when they were young”. And once they reach old age, they will harp on as our grandparents have done and our parents will do, about the “Good Old Days”.

But I seriously think the younger generations now, lack respect, and the ability to behave in society. I am currently sitting in the local library, where I come to read and write in peace and quiet and its like I’ve been placed in the middle of a social youth group get together. The individuals I’m referring two are in their middle teens, probably not yet left high school, and are swearing like sailors, talking about sex openly and talking extremely loudly while completely messing about. I must check on the way out, that I didn’t get lost and walk into one of our local public high schools.

I know at that age, I’d be terrified of making a sound in a library and if asked to be quiet or calm it down by an adult, I’d do it. When I was growing up, I was taught a library was a place of quiet, where people worked or read in peace. But during these Easter holidays, it seems it’s transformed into a local youth centre.

I used to dread coming in here because of young children running about, screaming and shouting but seriously, I would prefer such behaviour. This is so disrespectful, to not only the patrons but the librarians.

It makes you wonder what kind of society we live in that makes this behaviour acceptable. I question the lack of morals that have been instilled into these young hooligans. And what frightens me more is they are the Goddamned future. If they indeed, represent a mere fraction of the population, then boy, are we, as a nation in trouble!

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Ignorance is Bliss; for the Government

Many knew that when the conservatives took over power, those on the lower end of the income bracket would get screwed over. Others knew that the vulnerable in society, despite repeated promises from said government would be left even more vulnerable and up the creek without a paddle. While few knew that some necessary changes would need to be put into place for the economy to recover but also knew that those who cannot help themselves would bear the brunt of these changes. Wherever you stood within these three areas, you were right.

Anyone who has picked up a newspaper, read an online article from any leading British media outlets, watched the national and local news programmes within the last year know that this country is in financial disarray. Back in October when the chancellor made his budget speech, there was a promise to protect the elderly and the disabled. This promise has recently been shown for what it truly is; a glossy lie.

We all are aware cuts need to be made, no one is actually arguing that fact but the level of which this coalition government is stampeding its path is only going to end in misery for many.

I, like many others agree there are abusers of the benefits system but it is safe to say that these benefits sustain a good quality of life for many. The new assessments being brought in for those on incapacity, while weeding out those “fakers” will put many disabled people An on the breadline and B in a severe state of vulnerability. And that’s not even taking into consideration the future preposed changes to Disability Living Allowance. And why? Because this government has not thought through how the assessments will affect a wide range of individuals with varying levels of disabilities and illnesses.

Already the assessment was reevaluated because it deemed terminally ill individuals fit for work. And even after these changes to the assessment process, many disabled organisations say the assessment is too harsh and not detailed enough to assess accurately.

For example, a lady on the national news today who suffered with a brain haemorrhage 10 months ago, who lost feeling in her right side and has limited vision has been deemed fit to work. What this government has not taken into consideration, are the many barriers that a disability will bring up for not only the individual but the organisation that will employ them.

For an abled bodied person, reading, writing, moving around unaided, being alerted to dangers or alerting others to danger are natural abilities. For someone with a hearing impairment, sight impairment or physical impairment, this is not always possible. For example, one of the questions on the test is can you pull a pen from your pocket with both hands. Many people could do this, even wheel chair bound individuals, depending on their condition. Someone with a visual impairment could pull the pen from their pocket but would not be able to use it in many situations. For those visually impaired people, many would use other formats to write and read with compared to the majority of individuals. For someone who is deaf, they may not hear the suggestion. In an assessment environment, their focus is likely to be on the assessor but in the work place, other tasks could distract and they may not hear a command to take a note.

Another aspect of the criteria to receive the new employment support allowance is if you have a guide dog. Apparently, the government foresee a blind individual capable of employment if they have a guide dog. I’m absolutely uncertain how my guide dog makes me more employable than someone who is a cane user or someone who uses neither. Your choice of mobility aid has little bearing on how you perform in a job. My guide dog will not assist my work. He’ll help me get to and from and around the work place, providing I’ve learnt the route prior, as would a cane user. Clearly, someone in government has not explained to these individuals what a guide dog does and does not do. The same apparently applies to an individual using an electronic wheel chair. So, guide dog owners, electric wheel chair users, you should know that your dog and chair clearly help you do a job. And because of these reasons, we are deemed fit to work immediately and would be put instantly on job seekers allowance.

If anyone has dealt with the job centre and has been disabled and has had a great result, I.E., got into employment that you’ve maintained, congratulations, you have to be in the minority and very lucky. Many disability employment officers, like the government, have no idea what a disabled person’s needs and abilities potentially can be.

And for one moment, put aside the assessment, the criteria and walk with me into the work place. Many, and the RNIB estimate, 92% of employers would find it difficult or mere impossible to employ a visually impaired individual. OK, government, please consider the fact you tell us a million jobs have been created in the past three months and now tell us how many of those jobs are going to be doable from a disabled person’s point of view. And not even that, how many of those prospective employers, would employ someone who is visually impaired, deaf or a wheel chair user. And not necessarily because of their own ignorance, lets face it, they’re also dealing with the economy right now. And does the government know that anyone who is disabled automatically has an increase on a risk assessment for any work place or public building? If they’re not aware of this, they should be. Because, risk assessments lead to insurance and higher risks means a higher premium. Can many companies afford a higher premium?

As much as I don’t think this to be a valid reason for a company not to employ a disabled individual, I understand it in the current economic climate.

Thus far, we’ve only talked about the physical disabilities. Does this assessment take into consideration those individuals who have mental disabilities? I’m sure someone with a learning difficulty could indeed pull a pen from their pocket when asked in a calm, controlled environment. Would that be possible in a stressful work place? Highly doubtful.

In short, the changes to incapacity benefit, although necessary to a degree are being done with such ignorance that not only is this government putting people in more vulnerable situations, they’re not helping everyone into a secure job. I do not mean secure as in financial, I mean in the practicality sense of the word. Someone who is visually impaired would struggle working in a visual environment. Likewise, someone who is deaf would find it challenging to the point of stressfulness in an auditory environment. The government want people into work, but realistically what are they going to do to ensure that happens? Many disabled individuals of working age, want to work and would give anything to work. But is putting them on the poverty line with virtually little, specialised assistance into work the right way to go? And this is before I get to disability living allowance.

Many disabled organisations understand the people they work with. Research shows getting work is not as easy as the government would have everyone else believe. Putting this aside, living with a disability, regardless of work or not is a costly affair. Again, some individuals may use little of their disability living allowance, while others may fluctuate over the months and many others depend solely on it to live day to day with their disability.

I cannot speak for someone in a wheel chair, or a deaf person but I as a visually impaired individual rely a lot on my disability living allowance to buy computer equipment so I can read emails, search for jobs, shop independently, read letters and books accessibly. I also use the mobility component to get to places I’m unfamiliar with. Despite what our oh so wise government believes, my guide dog does not have a map inside of his head and I cannot type a post code and he’ll take me there. He only works from my commands. So if I don’t know an area, he won’t know it either and we could become lost and vulnerable. So, taxis are often a way to get around. I attempt to use public transportation where possible and of the do but there are times taxis are necessary and sometimes my only option. They are expensive and on occasion I have to pay someone to assist me somewhere. For example, shopping for clothes items. I need someone to help me around the store and although shop assistants can be helpful, it is not always the case.

A minister recently said that after three years you shouldn’t need any further financial support when it comes to your disability, I’d like to see him try. You have to replace equipment, I.E., colour detectors/scales or bigger things like computers or washing machines even. People do not realise that using a launderette is not a task for the faint hearted disabled individuals. For a wheel chair user, I’d imagine it troublesome getting to the place, with all of your laundry, then many machines are probably not designed for wheel chair access. For someone who is blind, using the machines at all would be impossible without tactile access or someone helping never mind actually getting there with your laundry.

For anyone to say that living with a disability can be got used to after so many years is an ignorant and cruel statement. Without living with one, how would you know?

I’m not expecting everything to be given to me on a plate, I never would. But I want this government and any future ones to not just penalise individuals and put them on the breadline with no hope out. They need to change people’s attitudes, change legislation for insurers and companies. Make public buildings accessible to all. Put the disability discrimination act into practice and enforce it because right now, disabled people still have no rights. David Cameron talked about the happiness and quality of life for the citizens of this country, I see nothing but misery ahead for many disabled individuals. Some have said without their DLA, their lives would not be worth living. Without help into work, without changing people’s attitudes, without punishing disabled people and actually help through work experience in practical jobs and having an assessment process that was realistic for the individuals being tested and not just convenient to down the governments numbers, I don’t see life in this country worth living either. It’s a bleak future for anyone suffering with a disability right now.

The government do need to save money, they do need to get disabled people into work but not without support and not at the expense of those people’s rights. A right to live. This could be done correctly and competently but as this new system stands, they will be putting their disabled exactly where many suspected they would, at the bottom of a pile of trash.

New Story, 1ST chapter

Hey guys,
I know it has been a while. I’m working on a few different projects at the moment. My fictional writing is taking up quite a bit of my time. I was hoping to get your feedback on my first chapter of my new project. It’s called Shining Star. All feedback will be awesome and I hope you enjoy it.

Chapter 1: Starlet

Chapter 1
Starlet

Leah Collins was your average, middle class, all American young woman, in a secure job, with good prospects and a happy, social life, until one night, when her life changed forever.

“Leah, photo call is in five,” Jenna Townsend, her manager who was in her mid 30s, a failed model stood with her bushy red head poking around the trailer door. Leah, twenty-five, five foot five inches tall, with long, summer, blonde hair, with ample breasts, rounded ass and a thick waist sat at her dressing table, applying light make up to her deeply tanned skin. Leah had baby blue eyes and long dark eyelashes and took more of her father’s Caucasian features than her mother’s African American features. The only blessing her mother had bestowed upon her were the ample breasts and decent ass. Placing an eye liner on the tray she turned to Jenna and smiled with white teeth showing. This was so knew to her. Like she was still unwrapping the gifts on Christmas morning. Sitting in an LA photo studio, with people running around after her every whim, she wasn’t sure how long this dream would last.

It had all happened six months ago, as she partied with her best friends, Letitia and Marina. They had been waiting for their other friend Ella but she had been running late. So they had waited in Micos, a local karaoke bar in Santa Monica and the girls, as usual, pushed Leah to sing.
“Come on girl, you got such a beautiful voice!” Letitia grinned playfully as she pushed her friend toward the guy with the thick book with the song choices. Letitia was so beautiful and outgoing. Her thick, sexy, black body shimmered with the amount of glitter she plastered onto her skin. Her chocolate eyes continually danced with life. She’d grown up in Compton but had got a scholarship to UCLA in Fashion. Leah had met her at a sorority party in their sophomore year and they’d been tight ever since. Letitia was down to earth as they came and Leah loved her straight talking, often blunt attitude toward life. They called her their ghetto queen. All of the girls adored Letitia. She was as ghetto as the hood rats but had a level of class most girls would never aspire to.

Marina was hispanic and they had met her going to a coffee shop in the hills. She was married to a studio manager in Hollywood but still worked so he could never throw the fact that he was rich and provided for her in her face. Marina was strikingly beautiful standing at six foot, she had long black, straight hair and eyes of emerald green. Her skin was a perfect olive complexion and her figure was to die for. All the girls hated on her in secret for the beautiful figure Marina possessed. She was quieter but smarter than Letitia academically, unlike Letitia who had street smarts and an eye for fashion the others only wished they’d had.

Ella was the only pure white girl in their group. She had had a safe and quite sheltered up bringing but had rebelled terribly during her college years. She had learnt about boys, and was now a single mom working two jobs to take care of her little boy, Danny. He was three and Ella had given birth during her sophomore year while her college friends were partying and studying. Ella had been disinherited by her lawyer mother and actor father but she loved Danny and wouldn’t exchange him for the world.

“What song then?” Leah asked, flipping to the page she knew several of her favourite songs were located. She hoped ella wasn’t having baby daddy drama again. Arturo could be an ass when he wanted to be and tonight he was meant to be taking care of his son but Leah suspected Ella’s late entrance was due to him much preferring to fuck his recent squeeze as opposed to take care of his little boy. Sighing, Leah chose and handed the DJ her slip of paper.
“Which one?” Letitia enthused, grabbing Leah’s arm excitedly as they headed to the bar.
“It’s a surprise,” Leah smiled broadly at her friend as they headed into the bar area and ordered cocktails.
“Leah!” A male voice shouted as they chatted to the bar tender they had known for a few months. He had the hots for Marina but she was married. Not exactly happily but she would tell everyone, including her friends that she was.
“You’re up!” Letitia’s face got excited as they rushed back to the crowd watching the singers. This was a hot joint on a Friday night. People loved coming to Mico’s.
“Alright,” The tall biracial guy grinned a toothless grin at her as she picked up the mic and waited for the intro to finish. as she stood looking out at all the faces, a rush of excitement overcame her. She was, for a few moments in her life, in the spotlight. sure, it was only a small time Karaoke bar in LA but it was good enough for her to keep her going back to her nine to five. She opened her mouth and as her best friends always expected, beautiful notes and words came flowing out of her.
“That’s my girl!” Letitia bellowed as Leah hit a high note. She grinned as she finished as the crowd gave her an awesome applause.

“See girl!” Letitia hugged her tightly as the crowd anticipated the next singer. “You always make our night with your beautiful music. You should so be signed!” Leah laughed and Marina smiled noncommittally. Letitia had always pushed for Leah to pursue a career in music but marina had always warned her of the “Bad side” of the industry which she saw through her husband.
“You always say that,” Leah laughed, pulling her two best friends toward the bar, ordering them all some crazy cocktails.
“You was hot girl!” Christian, a overtly homosexual guy they often bumped into around LA complimented. “And girl, that dress makes you look smoking! If I wasn’t taken,” he thumbed toward the tall figure they all knew to be Mario, the hot Italian model Christian had been off and on with for two years now, “I’d so be yours, honey!”
“Of course you would,” Leah laughed, playing along for his amusement.
“Excuse me,” A black guy was pushing his way through and Letitia squealed something incoherently as Leah turned and stared up into the face of a handsome man, with chiselled features and eyes of a smokey brown that would draw you in instantly.
“Hi,” She smiled nervously, making to move away from the bar to let him through. He screamed presence and status as he stood before her. He was around five, ten, not very tall but still so striking that Leah may have considered him. He was chunky but not overweight as such, stocky, as her mother would have put it. “That boy has been eating some good soul food,” she would have said. Leah could hear her words in her ears as she stood, staring at this good looking man.
“No, ma, it’s cool, it’s you I want to talk too,” His eyes fixated on hers and she felt a tingling down her spine as he touched her arm, keeping her where he wanted her.
“Oh?” She smiled gently, hoping she didn’t have the goofy look on her face which she often had when good looking men spoke to her. Despite her natural beauty, Leah hardly ever attracted the guys she deemed good looking. They were looking for girls who gave it up, not girls who “wanted to get to know them”.
“Yeah, that’s some voice you have,” He smiled, displaying a beautiful mouth. “I’m sorry,” He looked slightly embarrassed now and she hoped beyond hope she wasn’t doing the goofy look thing. “I didn’t introduce myself. I’m Nate Reikman. I’m a producer and run a small time record label, Cali-Soul Records?” He raised his eyebrows inquisitively to see if she acknowledged his status. She merely smiled and waited. “Well, I’d like to invite you to our studios up in Hawthorne to do a demo. I really think you got something girl. You’re what this industry needs.” She stared, shelled shocked. Had he just offered her a record deal? She could hear Letitia whispering enthusiastically with Marina to her right and the sounds of the bar seem to rise as the blood pumped around her ears furiously.
“Wow. That’s an incredible offer. What’s the catch?” She asked, feeling the hotness rise in her cheeks. Surely there was a catch! Money, sex?
“No catch,” He smiled openly, rising his palms upward. “No cash, no strings. I wanna hear how you sound and if I can get you a deal with a bigger company, we can come to some arrangement then. If not, then it will cost you nothing.”
“So nothing ventured, nothing gained?” She asked smiling, feeling the nerves wrack her. He nodded compliantly.
“Here’s my card,” He pulled a manilla card from his jeans and handed it to her, brushing her hand with his own briefly. “Call me if you wanna give it a shot.” And with that, Nate reikman disappeared into the crowd and Leah was left dumbfounded.

“Oh, my God!” Letitia squealed with glee as she hugged her. Leah was astounded by what just happened. “See, I told you!” Letitia babbled on about outfits and what she should sing and all kinds of other things for the next few hours. Leah couldn’t quite take any of this in. Had he really offered her a chance? An opportunity to record and possibly be signed? This wasn’t her life, was it?

Leah awoke the next morning in her airy studio apartment to the sounds of LA buzzing. Despite it being Saturday, and she didn’t have to work, she was awake. In truth, she had hardly slept all night. Nate Reikman and his offer had been on her mind all night. Rolling over in her queen sized bed, she glared at the clock that read seven forty-five and stretched her legs. Sitting up, she grabbed her iPhone and checked her messages. Marina had texted, along with Letitia three times and Ella apologising for missing their girls night. She’d been kept home by Danny being sick. Leah nodded and stood up, stretching once more and headed to her small, white bathroom to shower. The sun streamed through the frosted glass, splintering rays of sunlight onto her body as the water cascaded all around her. Her long, summery blond hair was washed and wrapped into a towel as she switched off the shower and stepped out, wrapping a huge white, fluffy towel around her body. Her apartment phone began to ring. As she hurried into the living room area, she saw caller ID and resisted to answer. It was Letitia! She knew she’d be hounding her for a decision on Nate Reikman’s offer and Leah still didn’t know how she was going to make that decision. So instead, she wandered to the coffee machine and started brewing a pot of coffee while making some breakfast and listening to Power 106 on her cute DAB radio her parents had given her for her birthday.

An hour later she was riding the bus down to Venice Beach where she promised to relax, enjoy a craft fair and take in some of the sights of the hot guys on the beach. The day was warming up considerably. April was already at an average of eighty degrees and at ten that morning, it was already seventy-five. Leah was dressed in jeans and a tank top with her timberland sandals. She hired a bike and took off down the beach path, past all the venders selling to tourists and the usual amateur rappers selling their CDs.

“Sup,ma?” An ugly, flat nosed guy with no teeth hollered at her. His dark complexion plagued by acne. Smiling, she nodded and continued past, not even planning on stopping to hear what crap he had to offer. Some of the guys who hustled down on Venice were talented, some even signed, but the majority were wannabees and would never be anyone to reckon with in the rap game. Leah adorned her iPod headphones and blasted some west coast hip-hop as she rode for a few more miles before returning the bike and grabbing lunch at Olive Garden.

The waiter attempted to flirt with her but she was too preoccupied with the business card in her hand to even notice. Finally, after her soup and salad, she took a deep breath, ignored the squirming of the snakes in her stomach and dialled the number into her phone. Waiting patiently as the ringing continued and continued, she was about to hang up when a smooth, seductive voice answered.
“Nate Reikman,” His voice was thick with weed smoke and she shivered involuntarily at the sound.
“Hi, it’s Leah, from last night? The singer?” Wow! Had she just called herself that? Never had Leah Collins ever imagined herself saying, “Hi, my name’s leah, I’m a singer” and yet here she was, saying it as though it was already her occupation.

“Hi, Leah, nice to hear from you,” He knew who she was. He hadn’t been drunk and flinging his business card around. That had been one of her scenarios in her head as she rode around Venice. Why else would a producer give her his business card? But he hadn’t seemed drunk. And obviously he hadn’t been, he seemed to know exactly who she was and what she wanted. “So, wanna try this?”
“And no strings?” She checked, her mouth dry with nerves.
“You have my word,” He said gently down the phone. “I’ll be here until late so if you wanna do this today? I’m guessing you have a nine to five?”
“Erm, yeah, that soon?” She panicked. What was she going to wear? What was she going to sing? But this may be her only opportunity to do this so she couldn’t say no.
“Sure, why not? Strike while the iron is hot, my mama always said. You need a ride?”
“Erm, I’ll be fine, thanks,” She was so cautious about giving out her address to strangers and he didn’t argue so that made her feel more comfortable. He gave her the address and they arranged for her to be there around seven. Hanging up, she realised a trip to the mall was definitely in order.

Normally, she would have enlisted Letitia’s help but she just needed to be alone on this one. Just for now. Standing up, leaving the money for the check, she left Venice Beach and headed toward the Santa Monica mall and hunted high and low for a classy but sexy outfit.

Once she’d found it, she returned home, ate a quick snack, dinner was too much to expect her stomach to take and showered, changed and called her brother Damian. He lived not far from the studios so she begged him to drive her.
“Is this coasher?” He asked her as she could hear him grabbing his keys and heading out of the door. Leah sighed heavily.
“Yes, Damian, it is,” She waited impatiently and soon his Lexis’s horn honked and she was locking up the apartment, heading down the stairs and seating herself by her brother’s side. He lectured her all about safety on the way but Leah was too nervous to take any notice. She still had no idea what she was going to sing. But what the hell, she was doing this! One way or another, it had to work out, or why else was she doing it?

Celebrities, where’s the line?

This week saw the premier of a movie about a sixteen year old who has had a relatively successful career in the past two years, but my question is, does this child deserve to have a movie made about his short life so far when all he has done is sing?

 

What worries me is that there is so much of a presence of this celebrity culture that reality is becoming more and more distorted. Do we truly hold sixteen year old boys in higher regards than a child of the same age who has overcome a major disease despite the obstacles or has done something amazing for his/her community? Are we at such a point that celebrity news is bigger than regular people in need? Have we been exposed to so much of this celebrity culture with it being forced upon us from all kinds of media with the added precedence of reality TV that we no longer can differentiate between stars and celebrity, real and fantasy?

 

To have a movie made on a 16 year old who hasn’t accomplished more than a singing career, like others before him seems like a complete slap in the face to culture and history and those who have overcome. Why are we not recognising soldiers, fire fighters, real heroes for their sacrifices instead of a teenager who has yes, gained a career in music but that’s nothing special nowadays? Wouldn’t it has been more fitting to make a movie about stevie Wonder? A true childhood superstar. Seems life time achievement awards or recognition means nothing anymore because a two year career is all you need to be a superstar and a legend.

 

Why are we recognising people for their achievements to such high heights way before they should be recognised? There are people in the music industry that have been around for twenty, thirty, fifty years and more and still haven’t been recognised either by an award or a movie in their honour for their efforts. What kind of a kick in the teeth must that feel like?

 

Beaver’s not my cup of tea, that is true but even if I’d liked someone and they’d had a movie about them, that would have still made me angry.

 

How many reality contestants are we now seeing in the spotlight and being treated like celebrities? It’s almost like no one has to work for a career or fame or fortune any more to gain recognition and respect from the industry. This makes me both sad and angry. It’s no wonder this is being reflected in our societies. Everything is so attainable and nothing is hard to get. Recognition for good and hard work is given far too easily. And all in the name of money.

 

It’s obvious that Beaver’s record label saw a golden money making opportunity as they will know millions of teenage girls will flock to the cinema to see the movie about their pin up boy. But where is the substance in our society today? There apparently is very little of that to go around. True legendary stars are being pushed aside in the recognition category because they won’t pull in as much in regard to merchandise and ticket sales. How sad is our world when money making is a driving force to give someone recognition?

 

 

Message to a Friend

Losing a friend is a sad moment in time,
When they’d been there through the ups and downs,
To walk away for whatever reason,
As though they never cared.
It’s hard for me to believe,
That the time we spent as friends,
You didn’t want to be there,
You didn’t want to lend
Your ear and heart to care,
To comfort in times of distress,
And now you’re gone from my corner,
I’m forced to think much less
Of an old friend,
Someone I held so dear,
And each moment I try to forget you,
You seem to be just there.
You’re in my mind,
Things you’ve said,
Kindness you’ve showed,
Happy moments we’ve shared and
Some hard ones,
but were they real?
Or was it all for show?
Was I just the pick you up friend,
You used until you had to go?
Even through our fights,
I thought we’d always withstand,
But now I’m almost certain you’ve done,
And no longer will hold out your hand,
And that makes me sad inside,
And has taken me a moment to digest,
The thought of not being friends with you,
Makes me feel a little of unrest.
Despite the hurt that has passed,
The sorrow that has been felt,
The confusion and incomprehension that remains,
And issues that remain undealt,
I can’t imagine you not being there,
To share those joys and cries,
And if this is the end of a friendship,
I’m truly sorry that it has died.
I’ll hold up my hands and show my blame,
And I know you’ve done the same,
And just to talk things out,
Get the air much more clear,
But the challenges that lie ahead,
I feel you wo’t deal and so I fear,
That there’s no going back,
No moving forward,
And so the friendship remains,
Shattered and broken.
I want you to know,
I treasure the good points,
I’m thankful for the times you seemed real,
And I’m sorry that you feel
That my friendship is not wanted or needed anymore,
But just so you know,
I’m not closing the door,
It shall remain and if you want to take the steps,
Nothing is truly lost unless,
You don’t want it to exist no longer,
And for that,
I’m sorry our friendship wasn’t stronger.

I’ll hold the 5 years or so we were friends,
Close in my heart,
And somehow I’ll learn to live without you
But in my heart,
There will always be a spot with your name,
Because I can’t just turn my care off
No matter who’s to blame,
My corner will feel empty without you on my team,
And I will miss you and so I deem,
a sad moment of my life,
And here is the truth,
I cherished you as a mi amiga,
Always, through and through.
And although I know,
Or so it seems to be,
You’ve washed your hands of this friendship,
You’ve washed your hands of me.
And as your choice,
I can respect that, i know,
But respecting and liking what has passed,
Are two different things, you know?
So as long as you know the door remains open,
And the journey will be uphill,
But if its what you want,
I’m here for you still.

Disabled Britain in the Workforce

With this week’s Vision conference being held in the UK, many questions about equality and access to various areas of society are being asked. Various organisations, including the RNIB and the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association are two of the main blind charities who are involved in many campaigns to better the lives of the blind and partially sighted people around the UK.

Some of the campaigns have included, transportation with the AV addition to the bus network and shared surfaces along with improvement to access of many services.

One of the questions raised on the social network twitter by the guide dogs account was are the government policies hindering or helping people into work? I know personally, the schemes seem very helpful once you can get them but it’s the attitudes of employers and the lack of implementation of the disability discrimination act that are preventing visually impaired and other disability groups from gaining full employment.

67 percent of visually impaired people of working age are not employed, the same figure that this country saw during the 70s So why? It’s very unlikely that 67 percent of working age visually impaired individuals don’t want to work, so what is the reason? From my own experience, it’s a lack of work experience on the individuals, not having the same opportunities of many of their peers during their younger years. Working with money is not possible and some other environments are unrealistic for visually impaired people to work. But above all, it’s the attitudes of potential employers. Many times, most can gain an interview and still are not able to gain employment. Continued rejection can lead to a psychological barrier and the added fight to gain equal access can make it harder for disabled individuals to keep on fighting.

Finding a job is hard for anyone in this economic climate, but for disabled individuals it is much harder. Employers, despite sometimes having the fats will not want to deal with the process of access to work programme which can take weeks and months to implement. They would possibly sometimes be more interested in hiring someone who can instantly start work without any adaptations than to wait for a perfectly capable disabled candidate take the position because of the support that would be required.

It would be interesting to know tho many of those employed are employed in the disability realm or assistive tech area? My guess would be a fair few. And the stereotypical jobs of call centres and such would be high on the check list I have no doubt. However, why should we as disabled individuals be restricted to these areas when sometimes, we may have the intelligence and the ability to do so much more. It sometimes seems, that either if you are outstandingly brilliant in an area, such as law, or you are willing to work in a demoralising position such as call centres, then there is very little support for disabled individuals to get into a job.

I’m not saying that this is true in all circumstances but it seems to be the norm. The attitude of, it’s a job, take it and be thankful should not even be relevant. The same argument is said about the tax dodgers but why should it be any different? most of those, can work in any job, but with retail and most base line jobs being out of question for most severely visually impaired people, why should they be imprisoned by their disability?

The truth is, once a visually impaired person gets into work, they are more likely to continue to come across accessibility barriers. When computer systems change, they are not always designed to work with people’s screen reading technology and then again they may struggle to work. In a lot of situations, it can work well and most disabled individuals can continue to move up the employment ladder. But with the percentage of the unemployed being so high in the visually impaired community, it is a small celebration to have.

Until the country actively acts on the disability discrimination act and actively promotes employing from all sectors of disabled groups while providing simple access to support for those individuals in work, the figure will continue to remain stagnant or increase because with the many cuts, more support will being pulled and the focus on disabled individuals is becoming very blurred. The government, with its new strange views on disabilities could be leaving millions of individuals in very difficult positions. They want to get people into work and create this “big society”, well I suggest they remember who is actually included in their society!

Goodbye Dear Friend, Rest In Peace

As I sit and watch the starry sky,
I know you’re looking down on us tonight,
Taken to be with the angels dear,
We can still think of you near,
Although your soul has gone to a better place,
We really wished you’d been able to stay,
But God had bigger plans for you,
He needed an angel today.

And as you leave this earth and fly up high,
We know you’re amongst the stars,
And wherever we can see the midnight blue,
We know you’ll never be far.

So left behind are the ones you loved,
The ones who cared so dearly for you,
And they’ll be strong because they know,
You’ll always be standing by to see them through,
Every bad moment and time of need,
A warm hand will rest on their shoulder,
and when they shed their tears for you,
You’ll hug them even closer.

So goodbye dear friend and good luck too,
Because you were a joy to know,
And although you’ll never be far away,
I just want you to know,
Here on earth we’ll continue to love,
Those ones you left behind,
And when we watch the stars at night,
We will never say goodbye.
It’s farewell for now,
And rest in peace,
For now you’re home at last,
Be the angel we know you can be,
And thank you for all the laughs,
The joy you gave and love too,
And the gifts to the world, you did bring,
A mother, a daughter and a sister too,
You did all to be asked and gave them everything.

And so you’re an angel with those gone before,
And at night we can see your glow,
So goodnight dear one and watch on down,
You’ll always be treasured and loved.

In memory of Maureen, a angel gone to the stars

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