Day Three: ‘I saw lots of claimants with serious health conditions, I’ve been thinking about them a lot in the last few days’

Contributor: Tony:

“So, Prince Charles, pictured, heir to the throne has tested positive for Coronavirus.

But it does bring it home that this virus is no respecter of class, economic status, sex or any other status in society. 

There are those who believe that the current panic over contracting Covid-19 is all to do with the fact that rich people can succumb to it as much as the poor.

The truth is that for years the poor have been dying of all sorts of conditions, very often the affect of austerity, and it has attracted very little interest outside the non-mainstream left media.

But now princes can contract something horrible, we are being made to sit up and take notice and our neo-liberal leaning government is being forced to move arguably far more left than Jeremy Corbyn wanted to at the 2019 general election.  

It is a sight when a Tory chancellor talks very easily about borrowing substantial amounts of money, as if he was addressing a congress of a ruling socialist (or god forbid for Tories, a communist) party in a country like (say) Cuba. 

In my final year of work, I was a work coach in a jobcentre.

I saw lots of claimants with serious underlying health conditions; many of them I knew wouldn’t live to a fine old age.

I’ve been thinking about them a lot in the last few days. 

One stands out for me. 

He was a gentleman in his forties who probably due to being a refugee from a part of the world where war was a fact of life had contracted Hepatitis-C.  

I was at first nervous of seeing him, but I read up on his condition and found that as long as I wasn’t sharing blood with him, I was safe. 

In any event, he had suffered with the virus and wasn’t suffering with it when I saw him. 

But the point of this is that when I talked with him about his health, including his Hepatitis, he thanked me and said I was the only person outside of medical professionals who had ever shown any interest in him.

He then said something that has stuck with me all these months since leaving work at DWP. 

“You know mister Tony, no-one cares about the health of poor people like me. 

We are just the same as livestock [he had once been a farmer] and if one dies, so long as the rest of the herd is still there no-one takes any notice. 

But mister Tony, if I was a prince in my country then everyone would be forced to take notice and pay homage, showering me with gifts.”

His words have a tremendous resonance with me today.

I hope my former claimant is presently well and remains so during the current crisis.”    

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