On day 4 of  NaPoWriMo My topic is probably my most controversial to date as Ive written on the Benefits Assessment process. I’ve given it the title Inquisition and anyone who has ever been through it will know why.  If this doesn’t scare you as to what Brexit Britain is really going to be like then I really don’t know what will I hope you’ll enjoy what will be a challenging and thought provoking read. 

Good morning 

my inquisitor speaks 

inviting me 

to walk this way 

well you did that with aplomb 

he says  

so let me tick this box 

can walk unaided 

please miss take a seat 

I do as requested 

he suggests I dont look  like 

what he calls one of them 

I ask if he means disabled

well I don’t like to label 

he replies

he lies his job depends on ticking boxes 

marked deserving and undeversing poor

to see who qualifies 

for the ever generous handouts

to be given in the caring conservative UK

where everyone has a stake 

in how the country is run 

well everyone who went to private schools 

where they learn the rules

they will obey without question 

and be taught to look down on anyone 

who is not the same as them 

doesn’t conform to the norms and values 

which fit their way of thinking 

if Charles Dickens could see us now 

he would despair and ask 

has nobody read my novels 

I warned you that the powers that be 

want you to grovel for crumbs from their table. 

disabled people are still seen as a burden on resources 

not fit for purpose 

my inquisitor asks if I can ride a bike 

seems offended when I tell him I can’t

switching the line of enquiry 

he asks how far can I walk without pain 

I say this depends on the weather conditions 

too much sun can restrict the vision 

of someone with a visual impairment 

whilst the snow and ice

 could mean my balance issues 

kick in 

he seems distracted by my answers 

I’m not rolling over in fear 

not reading the script he wants to hear 

I’m standing my ground 

I flirt 

he comments on the length of my skirt  

that it sits on the knee

and I appear well dressed 

I try my best I reply 

though there are things I can’t wear 

like that nice cream blouse

your colleague has on 

it’s smart and I have one in my wardrobe 

but I need help fastening the buttons 

it’s the same with suspenders

I can’t do the hooks 

you should see the look on his face 

it’s priceless the way he’s blushing 

his face is as pink

 as the lipstick I applied in the ladies room 

just before I was called in for interview 

he doesn’t know what to do 

or how to cope 

with a fifty something woman 

who has him on the ropes 

I watched boxing in my teens 

so this girl from the schemes 

knows how to fight 

it’s all about getting your tactics right 

so I listen to the questions 

then take them apart 

I inform my inquisitor 

that medical conditions vary 

he finds this scary

it makes him nervous that he can’t do his box ticking task 

I say that some of the questions he asks

are loaded and value laden 

then offer him an explanation as to why 

he seems nervous, perplexed even a little vexed 

that someone questions his authority 

I tell him not to worry 

reassure him it’s nothing personal 

I just need the money I receive 

to meet my most basic needs 

I do not bleed money from the welfare system 

nor will I ever 

I am clever and talented 

shouldn’t have to put up with platitudes or labels 

he is correct to say

 you can’t tell if someone is disabled just by looking 

but if he asked me to prepare and cook a meal 

he would soon see where my problems lay 

and if he had to taste it 

he would rue the day 

his mask slips 

there are no quips 

except my parting shot 

which I deliver by  saying 

this country needs to start 

putting people before profit 

and caring for those disadvantaged 

by circumstances not of their making 

eventually it’s over

the inquisitor gets up from his seat 

I rise from my chair

I sense his despair 

kñow he has ticked the right boxes 

and think I have shaken  

more than just his hand 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 


2 thoughts on “Inquisition 

  1. This is so true and it hits hard. I have been for a Disabled benefit assessment, and it felt like I was being interrogated, my inquisitor mocked my mental health, made jokes about me not engaging with eye contact (my autism) and smirked when I cried. It is so awful and disabled people are treated like they are nothing. We are all equal!!

    • Hey Chloe-Rose. These people have no souls, no compassion, and no empathy. They don’t understand what it’s like to be a disabled person and be written off by society not prepared to give you a chance nor do they want to Believe me the UK is moving disturbingly to the right and if it isn’t stopped soon we’ll be looking at UK 2017 in the same way historians look at Germany 1933. Thank god I’m a Scot at least we’ll eventually bolt. We have to, we have no other choice.

      Love And Best Wishes
      Gayle X

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