One Small Step

Raven’s 12 received a poem from afar, outside of Wales: a poem carried on the Wings of a Dove and passed to one of our number before being delivered into the embrace of Gallybloggers.

We are most grateful to receive this poem: it is one of several handed to us in recent months highlighting the inadequacy and tragic consequences of a failing UK Social Security System that is no longer fit for purpose in this modern age. It is not wholly inclusive in its ability to assess an individual for benefit fairly, it is a system that diminishes the impact and challenge of Mental Health disorders affecting the lives of Benefit claimants and blatantly encourages desperation when eligibility criteria removes opportunity for benefit from very vulnerable people. It is a Social Security System that fails miserably to recognise Mental Health disorders, and actively seeks to diminish the opportunity for those needing to claim who are restricted in their daily lives and mobility due to recognised, diagnosed, mental health disorders. Specifically, Work Capability Assessments for those claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) who are deemed fit for work, and those denied proper full awards on claims for Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

There are numerous articles published by UK National newspapers, both broad-sheet and red-top, and also commentary presented on BBC News website that highlight the suffering imposed on Benefit claimants through the rigid application of severe Government policies that have potential consequences of ending in extreme hardship, un-necessary anxiety, distress, exacerbation of underlying mental health disorders, anti-social behaviour, petty crime, and suicides.

The UK Labour Party have said before how studies carried out by several leading UK Universities indicate a clear and distinct correlation between suffering/suicide and those deemed ineligible for benefit.  The UK Labour Party have said such studies raised “serious questions” about how the Conservative Government’s approach to getting people into work and how this was impacting on their mental health. Indeed, shadow Mental Health Minister Luciana Berger said on the BBC News site (1),

“It is unacceptable to have a system that causes vulnerable people anxiety, putting their health at further risk.”

“When only a small proportion of people with mental health problems are moving into employment, the government must accept that their approach is deeply flawed.”

The BBC include a statement issued by a Department for Work and Pensions spokesman who said: “This report is wholly misleading, and the authors themselves caution that no conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect.”

“In addition, it is concerning that they provide no evidence that the people with mental health problems highlighted in the report even underwent a Work Capability Assessment.”

A further study conducted by academics at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt and Napier universities, and reported in The Independent on Monday 13/03/2017 (2) under the heading: DWP’s fit-to-work tests ‘cause permanent damage to mental health’, study finds’ includes a response from Mental Health Charity, Mind:

“The findings of this report are concerning but sadly not surprising, as they reflect what we hear from people every day,” Ayaz Manji, the charity’s policy and campaigns officer, said.

“People with mental health problems tell us that the current fit-for-work test causes a great deal of additional anxiety. We know the assessors rarely have sufficient knowledge or expertise in mental health, meaning many people don’t get the right outcome and then have to go through a lengthy and costly appeals process.”

“The current approach is not fit for purpose and needs to be replaced by an open and honest conversation based on each person’s individual needs.”

Debbie Abrahams, the Labour work and pensions spokeswoman, said the study was more proof that the WCA “is not only unfit for purpose, but is causing harm to some disabled people.”

She added: “That’s why I have committed Labour to scrapping these assessments completely and replacing them with a holistic, person-centred approach.”

Ravens’s 12 and Gallybloggers support the Homeless who find entitlement to benefit difficult and problematic without further ignorance and restriction being placed upon them by Policy that seeks to differentiate between those who have ‘visible’ disability and those whose disability is centred around Mental Health. The Social Security System in the UK must become fully inclusive and treat with the same regard Mental Health in the same way as it does physical disability. It must provide equal opportunity for fair, reasonable and adequate support for ALL who require help and assistance to exist, persist, and resist further suffering and death. The UK Social Security System was designed to alleviate suffering in times of hardship, intended to provide support for the most vulnerable in society, to effectively sustain the will for life where the will might otherwise fail, and to demonstrate through compassionate leadership and humanitarian socialist principles, that the UK Government understand the true sanctity of all life: that Love and Life has a worth far, far greater than any perceived fiscal ‘value’ given to it by any ephemeral being here on Earth.

The UK Charity Mind state quite clearly on their website:

‘Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year [1].’

It is inevitable therefore that those claiming benefits will also be representative of this statistic if not perhaps higher due to the anxiety of being initially displaced from normalcy. Raven’s 12 would applaud an incoming Labour Government that delivered on its ideas of equality, inclusivity, and offered fair supportive opportunity for eligibility through Benefit Assessments that take a holistic person-centred approach to final reporting. It is the presentation of this final report that delivers to a Decision Maker justification and qualification for the decision made on applications for benefit, and indeed decisions made on continuation of benefit entitlement as well. If the Assessment is not fair, reasonable, inclusive, and sincere, the claimant will automatically be restricted in eligibility criteria. A person-centred approach offers inclusivity and demonstrates acceptance that Mental Health disorders can be equally as disabling as physical restrictions both in society and in the work-place. If it is not recognised by the UK Government and treated in the same way as other restrictive disorders, then suffering will continue through deliberate, wilful ignorance.


~ One Small Step ~ By ~ Weeping Willow ~


“I was shit-faced and flying, Homeless, desperate and crying”

“Having been told, ‘You’re mental, you’re lying’, I was penniless, destitute.”

“Entitlements stolen, long gone, benefit-less, close to dying.”

“I know my rightful place, I’d shouted in furious haste.”

“Fucking laid to waste in shite, rack and ruin!”

“Never escaping the shit always brew-in. Fucking Policy!”

“Hypocrites! Torturers! Harbingers of Poverty, Persecutors of the Poor!”

“You’ll learn all about pain after I hit the floor.”


“Do you know just what the fuck I mean!”

“Can you even hear me scream!”

“My life will be over, fucking ending!”

“I’m suffering! Near starving! A family your harming! Children your denying!”

“For God’s sake, do you have no heart!”


“The wind of despair always bawled, always squalled, always billowed.”

“Always bellowed. She never mellowed.”

“She blew through walls, through all my dark squalid halls,”

“Blew large holes in my sleeping bag.”

“It’s more a fucking colander than it is a kipping bag!”

“It a filthy old piece of filthy old rag. Like shitty little me in this fucked-up society!”

“There is no pity, only everyday shitty.”


“It’s just as well, the bag’s getting old, I use it to beg and bed.”

“But it’s found another use as its fraying thin, I can twist it into thread.”

“Then double it over, tie a loop at the top,”

“Eh Voila! You got enough rope and the suffering can stop.”


“Filthy foul and fetid these stinking blood-sucking Policies!”

“Bringing misery, death, poverty! Please God help me!”

“They did not listen, they did not hear God’s melody: now how sweet and fine and fresh and free.”

“The breeze that blows and billows in me: is my last wind this side of eternity.”

“Maybe she knew when she blew I was blue too?”

“Blown here to my favourite spot, a dot, more a mark in the park I found after dark.”

“After passers-by had all long gone: gone on home, journeyed on.”

“To leave me be silently stepping one last path deep in prayer, quietly.”


“I can’t walk anywhere, not anymore, my backpack is aching.”

“My feet rubbed raw, there’s not much left for god forsaking!”

“My life is of so little worth, another statistic brought to suicide,”

“On eve’n tide, another denied, cut loose untied, by Government Policy!”

“Multi-millionaires whose honesty is honestly that they don’t give a damn.”

“Who lie through their teeth to fatten their girth, who know only value,”

“Never worth or the sanctity of one human life, hanging in strife.”

“It’s a pitiful sham I can no longer abide, all my hopes are faded, long gone,”

“My flower withered and died, I’ve no will to carry on venturing life’s ride,”

“I’ve nothing left not even my pride, even that is all gone, already died,”

“What little else is left to follow, will end up on the curb-side,”

“One small step begins a downward ride, one never-ending until last loop tied,”

“In threads of my sleeping-bag hanging off the bridge side,”

“Calling me by my name, A.N Other, ‘Homeless suicide.”


~ – Benefits – An A-Z Guide ~ ~

~ Guardian Newspaper – ‘Suicides of benefit claimants reveal DWP flaws, says inquiry’ ~

~ Guardian Newspaper ~ ‘Pushing people to the brink of suicide: the reality of benefit assessments’ ~

~ Guardian Newspaper ~ ‘How many benefits claimants have to kill themselves before something is done?’ ~

~ The Independent ~ ‘Benefit sanctions lead claimants to suicide, crime and destitution, warns damning report’ ~

~ The Independent ~ ‘DWP’s fit-to-work tests ‘cause permanent damage to mental health’, study finds’ ~

~ The Daily Mirror ~ ‘Figures show link between benefit re-assessments and suicides, MP says’ ~

~ The Huffington Post ~ July 2017 – ‘Almost 600 Suicides Could Be Related To DWP Work Assessments, Claims New Research’ ~

~ Joint Public Issues Team ~ April 2016 ~ ‘590 Suicides: Disability tests damage mental health’ ~

(1) ~ BBC News ~ 17 November 2015 ~ ”More suicides’ in government disability test areas’ ~

(2) ~ The Independent ~ 13 March 2017 ~ ‘DWP’s fit-to-work tests ‘cause permanent damage to mental health’, study finds’ ~  ~

(3) ~ Mind ~ ‘Mental health facts and statistics’ ~

Notification was received by word of mouth here at Gallybloggers that the poem received was from Scotland. With our sincere respect and regards, we have offered an alternative version of Amazing Grace. Our initial choice of music was at request of the poet, but our information not quite complete.

Love and Peace.

God Bless. Namaste 🙂

DN and Raven’s 12




14 thoughts on “One Small Step

    1. Sir John, Namaste 🙂

      Once more into the breach my dear friend standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Scarecrows on behalf of the Homeless! We are indeed strengthened by your camaraderie, driven in fact to stand firm in the face of adversity and walk our path standing tall until the very end!

      Yes indeed John, a despairing poem balanced on the precarious, slippery edge of extinction. Whether physical or psychological the sentiment expresses deep angst and turmoil…suicide being one of the potential consequences of ‘Benefit Withdrawal’, which sadly isn’t yet recognised as a Mental Health condition itself, but certainly needs to be considered as such. Methods of application for Social Security are subject to severe uncompromising eligibility criteria seeking to compartmentalise the totality of someone’s life into a set of numbers delivered by an assessment inconsiderate of mental health disorders. Awards issued on the back of medical assessment criteria that do not fairly support those with mental health conditions can never deliver a fair result for those claimants affected. Government policy is not inclusive of all medical conditions that either affect ability for work, or require provision to be made on awards for personal care needs and mobility.

      Those who are Homeless in the UK are thwarted in their application for benefits mainly because they do not have a fixed abode and/or are deemed Homeless. Realistically it shouldn’t be a question of semantics, the conditions that a person lives in, the availability of choice they actually have and the provision they can make for themselves is far better indication of their ‘domestic stability’: for example if one is Homeless there is zero stability and zero provision one an make for oneself legally outside of the kindness and goodwill of the public…and begging is a crime in the UK even if you are literally starving. Social Security entitlement is often not made available because individuals have no stability in their life. If there are mechanisms in place to permit those without homes to claim social security then either they need to be broadcast more loudly and more often, or provision must be made to permit eligibility by the Homeless through more embracing and inclusive criteria: denial of benefit has potential to be critically impacting in lives.

      The figures reported by the National newspapers are very concerning and highlights inadequacy in the Social Security System, that method and assessments used in qualification for Benefit is not fit for purpose, and has potential to be destructive to those applying as much those disallowed or denied continuity in awarded payments. The effects can be devastating for someone living totally hand-to-mouth to have social security payments stopped or even paused.

      Gallybloggers meet numerous Homeless who advise the State cannot support them, assist them, provide basic living expenses to them. It is despairing that so many tell the same sorry tale of refusal or denial when their situation tells a totally different story. The causes of Homelessness are complex and varied, but the reasons for it are academic to the fact that it exists and must be considered as a real issue, and in so doing means for State support to be given to the Homelessness made a priority with equal precedence given to eradication of Child Poverty. 3.7 million children in the UK alone live in poverty and a majority of those households derive an income. It is obscene.

      We very much appreciate you re-blogging this post on your side of the puddle. Understandably the perspective of those outside of the UK will be different to the feelings experienced here, but there is no denying the ferocity of sentiment expressed here, nor indeed the evidence to support the poem globally. It exists in America and Canada. It is a tragedy that human life can be so poorly considered by any government least of all the UK Government, one of the top ten richest countries in the world that once professed ownership of the best Social Security System in the world. The UK led the way. It’s current state might suggest that human life plays second fiddle to the godless god of money.

      With gratitude and sincere thanks. Our kindest regards and best wishes Good Sir Knight 🙂

      God Bless. Namaste 🙂

      DN and Raven’s 12

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Greetings Good Sir Opher of the North, Namaste 🙂

      As you know only too well yourself Sir, the pen is always mightier than the sword, for the truth is revealed in words, often disguised in speech, and Poets can never lie. They witness life as shock and awe, their reactions and responses are immediate raw and always powerful. This poem moved us all very deeply: the sentiment, the anger, the sense of hopelessness in the face of perverse oppression and immorality is overwhelming. There is no reason on God’s fair earth why someone could be assisted to suicide by a failed discriminating and unfit Social Security System that legally cheats people out of Benefit payments to ‘protect the public purse’.

      The statement included by the DWP spokesperson is itself reprehensible and dire: it expresses nothing but differentiation and contempt for disability, and obvious agreement with government policy. The DWP are a Disability Service who pride themselves on quality of service delivery and impartiality when the reality is that they deliver front-line services to the public, including the most vulnerable, and are actually very well placed to witness the consequence of heinous inhumane policies that cause suffering, depression, anxiety and contribute to suicide. There are articles presented online that quote DWP response to investigations into suicides amongst Benefit Claimants that have been commissioned by the government. DWP return a response that exonerates them from all wrong doing. By this I imagine they mean the integrity of their staffs duties are unquestionable, but that the DWP themselves have no comment whatsoever due to a policy of impartiality about the contents of their own report. Does this not raise serious questions about the legitimacy and effectiveness of an ideology called impartiality that reports trends but does nothing to challenge the outcome of their report? Some may suggest that remaining impartial is to remain complicit in exacerbating Mental Health disorders and promoting suffering, hence Homelessness, by administration of immoral, unethical, and non-inclusive policies to the most vulnerable members of the public: those Homeless, and those with Disability and Mental Health disorders.

      Gallybloggers are led to believe that the Civil Service operate a Code of Conduct that acts in a similar way to a silencing order for civil servants who might otherwise wish to come forward and express themselves with regards to their feelings and experiences of government policy and its administration through the DWP. In this modern age of highly accessible information, and freedom of information, media and independent reporting, and all freely available and widely published from a plethora of valid, qualified and convincing primary sources, Gallybloggers cannot understand how this Code of Conduct can be maintained with any degree of convincing credibility at all! The truth is that the UK government needs a delivery mechanism for policy that is serving and supporting, not challenging and directive: a service that is compliant even when it is shown by investigative research time and time again to be a service delivering highly dubious and inequitable policy for those with Mental Health conditions and those who are Homeless and of no fixed abode: the UK government needs a system that doe not challenge but accepts brutality suffering and suicide without raising any challenge whatsoever…it is why disability such as Mental Health is not supported as it should be within the Social Security System, simply because it is not wholly supported by government policy.

      Gallybloggers would support any campaign for effective change that delivers transparency in Government, its processes and its decision making methods and permits all civil servants to express themselves with freedom of speech in exactly the same way as every other citizen in the UK has freedom of speech and legitimacy for doing so under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act. Fundamental change to internal laws governing all civil servants are required: their governance is not equitable, fair or reasonable, and nor is it suitable for this modern information rich age. Denial of personal expression and removal of the freedom of speech through censorship is draconian, antiquated, ineffective, redundant and discriminating.

      Gallybloggers have sourced relevant sections of the Civil Service Code of Conduct that are available to read in the public domain, presented here in support of our comments above. This taken from Civil Services Values (1) –

      The statutory basis for the management of the Civil Service is set out in Part 1 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

      ‘The Civil Service is an integral and key part of the government of the United Kingdom. It supports the government of the day in developing and implementing its policies, and in delivering public services. Civil servants are accountable to ministers, who in turn are accountable to Parliament.’

      ‘As a civil servant, you are appointed on merit on the basis of fair and open competition and are expected to carry out your role with dedication and a commitment to the Civil Service and its core values: integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality. In this code:

      •‘integrity’ is putting the obligations of public service above your own personal interests
      •‘honesty’ is being truthful and open
      •‘objectivity’ is basing your advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence
      •‘impartiality’ is acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving equally well governments of different political persuasions.’

      ‘These core values support good government and ensure the achievement of the highest possible standards in all that the Civil Service does. This in turn helps the Civil Service to gain and retain the respect of ministers, Parliament, the public and its customers.’

      The suggestions put forward by Gallybloggers are in absolute accordance with all of these Civil Service core values but focus primarily on ‘Honesty’. A quality sorely lacking within any government of the day. The keywords highlighted also add further justification to the statements Gallybloggers make. The Homeless view life from street-level where the principle core values are staying alive. If Government policy was inspired from this level upwards the world would indeed be a very different place in which to live.

      Thank you for your comment Sir Opher. As a Head Teacher of some regard what comments do you have regarding the core values presented here? Where you so oppressed and suppressed in your own employment within the teaching profession as civil servants appear to be?

      Hoping all is well in all ways. Take care good friend of Scarecrows.

      God Bless. Namaste 🙂

      DN and Raven’s 12

      (1) ~ Civil Service Values ~
      (2) ~ The Civil Service Code ~

      Liked by 1 person

      1. P.S: Notification was received by word of mouth here at Gallybloggers that the poem received was from Scotland. With our sincere respect and regards, we have offered an alternative version of Amazing Grace. Our initial choice of music was at request of the poet, but our information not quite complete.

        Love and Peace Sir Opher of the North

        God Bless. Namaste

        DN and Raven’s 12

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Good Sir Opher, Namaste 🙂

      Once again four words from you and we are lost for words more powerful than your own. Thank you delivering a mighty positive punch in an emotive and energising response to despair and angst found in the heart of another. Indeed, the poem is very raw, frayed like the sleeping bag at its edges and also hanging by threads of life.

      Gallybloggers identify very readily with the failures of the UK Social Security System because we are the consequences or products of it. Our perspectives are really the only valid ones to accept simply because we are the outcasts, the socially undesirable, those displaced by society and kept at the fringes of life: by definition we are not part of the illusion of what is deemed normal living. We are the true prophets, the artists, the poets, the street-wise redeemers who lead others through expression at the will of their quill. Gallybloggers see everything, feel the true heart of the streets of the UK, feel the pain and sorrow that exists as well. But we believe we also feel the Love that exists as well in the spaces in-between people’s busy lives and the person they actually are when pretence and schizophrenic engagement with constructed life ends for them each day. Ours may be a displaced life on all levels but at least we are consistently human in how we feel and act: we have no ‘guise’ to wear as a ‘disguise’.

      Suicide is not painless, and it does come with many changes to those it leaves grieving prisoners behind, and sometimes people get no choice if they can take it or leave it as a final option if they please.

      Our privilege as always good Sir Knight, Defender of the Homeless to have you bless us with your presence. Thank you indeed for the re-blog: a show of support for which we are most grateful. Thank you 🙂

      Love and Peace dude 🙂 God Bless. Namaste

      DN and Raven’s 12

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Powerfull essay and powerful poem. My heart bleeds – both for those who have too little and those who have too much, disinclined to share. Midas mistakes that blacken their souls. Karma’s a bitch!
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Greetings Madelyn, Namaste 🙂

      Once again you do us proud sharing a sentimental and heart-felt response that is punchy, purposeful and pitched perfectly with panache and powerful feeling. Thank you indeed for such support and show of strength.

      You speak of Karma, and indeed that would be a wonderful mechanism to educate and instil sense of humanity in souls hollow unscrupulous and blinkered. Karma should resolve negative cyclical behaviour yet it appears our governments are immune from such spiritual education and leadership. The policies they present are no different than the time before, it is that the wording used changes not the consequences of their policies, which can have a devastating impact on people’s lives and all to often do as the reports highlighted here clearly evidence despite the lack of moral and ethical support from either the government or the Department For Work and Pensions who deliver social security to the public.

      Gallybloggers believe what is needed are policies that effectively support all vulnerable individuals in society who are reliant for whatever reason on social security to exist. We would be wholly welcome to a Socialist Government hell-bent on wealth redistribution in the UK and the administration of a Social Security System that is inclusive, equitable, fair, reasonable and just. These virtues are sorely missing from the current system in place. There will come a time very shortly when non-violent social revolution forces change at the fundamental level of government to actually embrace the virtues of Love when considering their duty, responsibility and democratic obligation to the public who are their sole reason for being. Indeed Madelyn, Karma will prove to be a real bitch when she bites down hard.

      ‘It takes a village to transform a World’. That is a most elegant and eloquent phrase: simplistic, poignant, socially centred. Gallybloggers are one such virtual village: we should make your statement our mantra! 🙂

      Thank you so much once again for Love and Attention. We are blessed.

      God Bless. Namaste 🙂

      DN and Raven’s 12

      P.S: Placing your credentials below your commenting signature is a super idea. I wonder why more authorities in the Medial Industry, and elsewhere, do not do the same. Yours especially is a profession to be sincerely proud to be a part of. Thank you very much for bringing that level of expertise here with you in support of Gallybloggers intentions and objectives, and in compassionate personal support of the poetic scarecrows themselves. Thank you.

      God Bless. Namaste 🙂

      DN and Raven’s 12

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your thoughtful and supportive response. I use a lot of “mantras” but there are a couple of auto-signatures I use most commonly. The one in the header of my blog is “You can’t let what you can’t do determine what you CAN,” encouraging my readership to focus on strengths vs. challenges.

        Here in America it is especially frightening these days, with the dogged focus of the GOP on Corporate Capitalism and almost total disregard of the lives impacted negatively by their proposed policies — pretty much across the board. Even my own field seems to be moving in that direction of profits vs. people, which breaks my heart.

        I believe that it is important for those of us with humanist beliefs to speak up and speak out. One of my favorite quotes is this one:
        “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”
        ~Winston Churchill

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe governments (UK and others) should disperse suicide kits — pills and instructions for body pick-up. It would probably be cost-effective, certainly much kinder. There needs to be an end to the denial of cause and effect: greed kills.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a great informative piece of writing. So important. Yet this subject so often gets pushed under the carpet..

    What always seems unjust, is that those who genuinely need help often fail to get it.. While there are obviously others who claim benefits who know how to play the system.

    Mental health as you know is a subject close to my heart not only in that I was privileged to supporting those with mental health issues in the latter half of my support work years in getting back into the community those who had been ‘locked away’ and almost forgotten..
    But in the fact that through my own experiences back in the 90’s I too suffered a total nervous breakdown. And know all to too well the stigma that is associated with it.

    Weeping Willow.. I love your heartfelt poem my friend..

    “Do you know just what the fuck I mean!”

    “Can you even hear me scream!”

    “My life will be over, fucking ending!”

    “I’m suffering! Near starving! A family your harming! Children your denying!”

    “For God’s sake, do you have no heart!”

    I hear your screams.. I hope those in Westminster do..
    Excellent words Weeping Willow

    Sending well wishes..
    Sue 💚

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Weeping Willow, your poem clawed at my heart ~ your beautiful soul is masked by its raw candor, an honesty desperately needed to be heard by deaf ears. My heart is with you. You are not alone. Do not resign your life to the ignorance of others, to those who sit in relative comfort blinded by greed. You are important. Shine your light into the world with purpose. And always come from your heart, for you will receive the heart of millions in return. The human condition is temporary. Love reigns forever. My heart to your heart, dear Willow 💜💜

    Liked by 2 people

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