The Prime Minister's policies force millions of people to deal with stress and exhaustion
The Prime Minister is ‘battling for Britain’ at the EU summit, and he’s not about to let us forget it. “I was here until five am but there’s still no deal”, he told reporters this morning. They dutifully generated a flurry of coverage of how tired and stressed he must be.
Admittedly, the PM is looking rough in images from the summit, and many understandably question why major international negotiations are conducted by the sleep-deprived.
But before we start feeling too sorry for Cameron, let’s consider who else in Britain is struggling with stress and exhaustion.
Working people who can’t make ends meet
New research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that the number of people in Britain below the minimum acceptable standard of living increased by a third to 28 per cent between 2008 and 2014. Families with children represent more than half of the total.
And while the Prime Minister would have us believe that the poor live restful lives on benefits, in 2.6 million households whose total income is below the minimum standard there is at least one working adult, while in 600,000 of those households every adult works full time.
Survivors of domestic violence
Living with an abusive partner is exhausting, as is trying to achieve justice in a legal system that all too often stacks the decks against survivors. That didn’t stop the compassionate Conservatives from placing a two-year limit on survivors’ eligibility for legal aid, or completely excluding those who suffer financial abuse.
Thankfully, the Court of Appeal has forced yet another government backtrack, finding that its changes to the system were “legally flawed”.
People waiting for NHS treatment
The King’s Funds quarterly assessment of NHS performance was released this week, and shows that as of December 2015, 8.2 per cent of patients (268,900 people) had spent more than 18 weeks on waiting lists for treatment.
The same research shows that 53 per cent of NHS trust financial directors feel patient care has declined in the last year, while official figures suggest the deficit could reach £2.8bn by the end of the financial year.
Asylum-seekers living in cockroach-infested accommodation
Fleeing war, persecution and sexual violence is probably more tiring than spending a long weekend in Brussels, but the ordeal doesn’t end once asylum-seekers reach the UK.
The Times reported this week that asylum seekers in Glasgow have reported being house in dirty and dangerous homes, as well as feeling humiliated by the staff of private companies contracted by the government to provide housing services.
In other words, over the next hours or days, as Cameron continues to not-so-subtly emphasise his temporary summit-induced fatigue, the millions of British people emotionally, physically and psychologically exhausted by his policies will surely struggle to sympathise.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.