‘Britain, a country that works for everyone’
- Theresa May, Prime Minister, July 13 2016
threw himself at mercy’s door
and found it was locked.
Stephen Smith, seriously ill,
applied for help to pay the bills,
Stephen Smith, human being,
went searching for some fellow feeling,
but found himself knocked
back, by the officer, the supervisor,
the system, and more,
DWP tribunals that
worked out a score
and told him, while agony seeped through his joints,
and his breathing got worse, that he hadn’t the points,
the points to prove that his life was at risk
cos the score is what matters, it’s the number of ticks;
not the starvation weight,
it’s the score on the paper that sealed his fate,
fit, they said, to find work with pay,
and don’t let reality get in the way.
So, who’s to blame for the mess?
Esther McVey? Or I.D.S.?
Or some lawmaker who came before,
who made the rules, devised the tests,
but didn’t see the plan would worsen
when applied to a real live person.
on the day elected,
told the nation
to fight against
to make the country
work for all,
a promise which soon
became a myth.
And to find out how,
ask Stephen Smith.
© Charlie Lambert
Charlie is a former sports journalist who worked for the Liverpool Echo and the BBC. He began writing poetry in 2016. He lives in Liverpool.