Saturday, 1 June 2013

MPs plan to increase their salaries by a further £20,000 per year - because they're worth it? Meanwhile increasing number of the rest of us, live off food bank hand-outs and suffer depression.

Anyone who works in the mental health field will tell you times are incredibly tough right now.  Not only are the number of clients needing support with depression heavily up, on times gone by, but morale throughout MH services seems to be at an all-time low.  Cut backs to vital budgets and constant government meddling with the NHS, mean there are less services and less supporting professionals to go round, despite what ministers claim.  Workloads are greater, yet paid hours are being reduced, resulting in an increasing number of staff having to take time off due to their own stress and depression.

But stress and depression are by no means limited to those who are regular mental health service users. 

Around one in four of us will experience an episode of clinical depression, severe enough for us to seek treatment.  That's just the ones who actually find the courage to go along to their doctor, for there will be many more people just struggling on alone, maybe self-medicating with drink and drugs; eating disorders and self-harm are some of the other increasingly common ways people deal with depression.

The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2030, more people will be suffering from depression than any other health problem.  More than cancer, or respiratory disease, more than stroke or heart disease.

Without a doubt, here in the UK, the government's brutal cuts have had a devastating, often deadly impact on those most vulnerable in our communities.  Added to this, we have an opposition, who more often than not, agrees with and supports the government, rather than standing up for people's basic human rights.  Paranoia runs rampant among those in power with their own mental disorders.  This is behind the frequent verbal attacks on migrant workers, and actually, contrary to what ministers and shadow ministers say, going on about immigration all the time, does sound quite racist to most decent people. 

At a time when we're constantly being told by MPs of all three main parties that welfare must be cut, and food banks are a better way making sure children are fed than providing proper jobs and decent wages, these same MPs are expected to grant themselves a £20,000 annual pay increase, and no I didn't write too many noughts there, that extra 20 grand will take an MPs annual salary up to £75,000 and this is just for their regular work as an MP.  They get additional payments  for sitting on select committees and then they get those generous expenses of course. So for a five year parliament term now, the MPs' wage bill will be £243,750,000. No wonder they're all millionaires.

That's £243,750,000 we pay them, to tell us we need to accept a living standards cut, with over half a million people reliant on food bank hand-outs to try to keep their families fed.

And that sense of injustice, and the widening gap between those who have a gross excess of wealth and those struggling to just pay their gas bill, will continue to increase while we elect these wealthy, privileged people to run the country, who, even with good intentions, can never be in touch with how life is for the rest of us.

Surely there has to be a better, fairer, more humane way to run a prosperous country like ours?

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