Just the other day, I was sitting in the office at a Supported Housing project filling in evidence of the support I'd given a 'client'. I received an email last week from someone in the policy department instructing that from now on I refer to 'residents', as they were formerly known, as 'clients'. If the term resident is somehow now offensive or disempowering they should hear what I call some of the 'clients' when Im down the pub. Have these people nothing better to do than dictate the pedantry of language? Probably not. I can think of so many better uses of taxpayer's money than funding Newspeak officials straight out of Orwell's 1984.
Anyway, as I was recording that I had successfully reminded him to pay his portion of rent and to sign on, one of our less socialised residents came to the office to see if he had any post. For someone with limited literacy skills he is very interested in being written to, but then he has us to read him his letters. As I rummaged in the post box I noticed that the resident's nose was slightly bleeding.
"Jim, do you know that you have a nose bleed?" I asked.
Taking a tissue to his nose, he responded, "Oh yeah, that happens a lot probably from taking ketamine." This is a horse tranquiliser and ironically it never seems to actually sedate Jim who is regularly involved in a variety of forms of anti-social behaviour including aggression, violence and threatening behaviour. Maybe he needs to up his dose?
"Then stop taking ketamine as it's damaging your health and is a dangerous drug," I remarked.
"But Ive been taking it for ages and Im ok," he said whilst blood trickled down his nostrils.
How do you reason with that kind of thinking? It's almost as if Jim is intrinsically incapable of sorting out his life.
I wrote this down as well. Any conversation is deemed as support. The social malaise that is stalking Britain in the twenty first century is being well documented for future historians to read, depending on whether the confidentiality of the dissolute classes will still have to be respected after their death.
If you enjoy reading my blog, if enjoy is the right word, I recommend visiting Monday books. This publisher is at the forefront of giving a platform to the chroniclers of the social demise in Britain and the complicity of government in that process. There is Frank Chalk's both hilarious and distressing dispatches from the frontlines of a crumbling comprehensive secondary school. Then there are several acclaimed books written by police officers that hightlight the absurd regulations and bureaucratic constraints that hinder the police from doing what most people expect them to do: police. Last but not least, there are two titles from Theodore Dalrymple, an inner city hospital consultant who journals the wasted and despairing lives of the inhabitants of slum Britain and who The Guardian described as "a modern master."
My house in the middle of Ed Milibands street
8 hours ago