I don’t get cross about many things these days but when I see a grown dignified man on the verge of tears, I do.
I got off the ferry tonight on my way home and sitting on the wall was Taff. He’s not much older than my ancient self, ex forces, proud of his service to our country and an impeccable gentleman. He has served in more than one conflict in his career, one of the worst being part of the War Crimes investigations in Kosovo where he served a straight twelve months with no break. He has an admirable and humbling row of medals and in there is the George Medal.
Taff has several injuries and health issues, as most ex forces personnel do. He is blind in one eye that was caused by a bullet. Both his ankles are fused so mobility is painful and awkward. He has an artificial knee that affects the other limb by compensating movement. He has just been diagnosed with Hodgkinson’s Lymphoma.
Today he walked to a Tribunal, which took him two hours to walk one mile. He was exhausted and in pain. The Tribunal consisted of the Judge, a doctor and himself. Taff had his medals in his breast pocket hidden out of sight. He was impeccably dressed, shirt and regimental tie. The Judge told him he wasn’t eligible for disability benefit because he could walk. He told Taff that he had one good eye so that was manageable. He also told him that Hodgkinson’s Lymphoma was survivable. Therefore Taff had to find a job. No acknowledgement was made to his severe depression and blinding headaches, nor his sleepless nights and walking his beloved dog at three in the morning. I say walk, some nights it is excruciating pain. He has been suicidal. I was nearly in tears and when Taff showed me his medals, I had to bite my lip.
The Cameron government needs to get off their arses and come and live in our world, you know the real one. The one where our ex forces personnel live on £70 per week for everything, that’s mortgage/rent, utility bills, heating costs, medical costs before you even get to food. Forget about clothing or footwear, they become a myth instead of a necessity.
Today, in our country, we have a scenario where moneylenders and false prophets, community leaders and judges live in luxury with rich robes and abundant food whilst the poor suffer and the widows starve. What Jesus did when faced with such atrocities was to upturn the tables in the Temple; he sought out the weak and afflicted and the destitute of society. He turned no one away. The question becomes can we we do this and follow His example? Authority will overcome us like the Romans crucified Jesus and later overthrew the Jews. Will anyone become crucified for the destitute and feed and clothe them when the government stops their benefits, I ask myself and would I do this. Taff is just one face in a million, a million destitute and homeless ex forces personnel, a homeless retired nurse, an ex police officer. You know, the ones who put others before themselves. Obviously no destitute politicians then.