It’s my great pleasure to have as my upcoming guest on the Crime Cafe podcast the crime author L.A. Sykes. As such, he’s provided the following guest post and book giveaway.
The author will give away a copy of his novella The Hard Cold Shoulder to a randomly-chosen winner. I’m currently reading his short story collection Noir Medley, and, frankly, it’s awesome.
In any case, if you’d like to enter the giveaway for a copy of his novella, just leave a comment on this blog before Tues., Nov. 27, 2018.
Plus, L.A. has written a great guest post — a must-read.
And with that, I’ll turn things over to my guest blogger!
There is a small scene in the novella The Hard Cold Shoulder that touches on the suicide of a disabled person. The cab driver in the book asks if we have money for the funeral of a politician why are disabled people being driven to suicide by having their money cut. I believe it was either three or four years later that politicians got a payrise.
This particular scene was based on not one but many incidents which have come to light in the real world.
The sickening truth is that the Department for Work and Pensions, in conjunction with private businesses, are conniving to snidely swindle people with both physical and mental health problems out of money, leaving them essentially destitute.
That novella was written back in 2013 and every year since more suicides have been reported. There are other reports of dying and dead people being found fit for work by the bogus assessments they carry out.
That’s the personification of human evil to me. You can forget your ghosts and your zombies and giant monsters. You can put aside your thuggish criminals, none of them scare me to be honest. But deliberately starving disabled people and condemning them to a life of misery and isolation with full knowledge and malice aforethought is truly chilling. Human evil.
Where I come from, if a disabled person had collapsed in the street, they’d be helped. They certainly wouldn’t have their purses ransacked.
It’s an old but apt phrase, but I repeat it any way: when the people are afraid of their own governments that isn’t democracy, it’s tyranny. Disabled people were being tyrannised when I wrote that book – and it’s still going on today. In my view it is a harrowing stain on British politics.
In 2010 I was working in a disability centre and a man with cerebral palsy asked me if his money would be cut. He was scared. Why should this guy be afraid for his welfare from a government in the United Kingdom? I thought, naively, he was worrying about nothing – how wrong I was.
I spent almost ten years working in a psychiatric hospital with great teams trying to keep people alive. But same story. People under acute psychological stress of all different kinds panicking about rent arrears, bills piling up, leading them to contemplate suicide, and at times sadly taking their own lives. People with serious mental health problems made homeless by the magistrates. Nothing short of persecution.
The novella touches on other issues which I could discuss here, but it was that one little scene that to this day still resonates and haunts me, because I’d have hoped by now the powers that be would have seen the lives lost and the genuine despair and moved to stop it with alacrity but they haven’t – they lie and obfuscate and it’s still going on.
How many more dead people will it take for them to stop this persecution? If there is one thing they must not ever be allowed to do it is to hide the truth of what they’ve done and what they are still doing to this day.
L.A. Sykes is from Atherton, Greater Manchester, U.K.
His fiction has appeared in places like Shotgun Honey, Spelk Fiction, Blink Ink, Nightmare Illustrated, Bones Anthology, punkPunk Anthology and others and most of it is collected in Noir Medley, published by Near To The Knuckle along with his novella The Hard Cold Shoulder.
He studied psychology and criminology at UCLAN before working in acute psychiatry.
He is currently working on his first novel and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org