I'm suffering a life crisis: For the majority of my life, I've been doing the stuff I do with the best of intentions. I've had kids, brought them up to be respectable, strive well at education (even my autistic son got a fistfull of GCSE passes), I've stayed within the law (mostly), and respected the rights of others.
But the crisis I'm having is that I've lived my life all wrong. I've taken the middle path, which leads nowhere. I'm currently unemployed and fed up of filling in endless booklets (they are not "forms") justifying why I should be helped by the state. Last month I was told I no longer qualify for jobseekers allowance because although I am actively seeking a job, I have not found one within 6 months. So jobseekers stops.
Because I took the middle path, I'm having trouble getting my autistic son supported accommodation, now he is 18. Because I worked and supported him myself, he didn't get a transitions worker to help him from inside the system. So I'm battering on the door from outside and getting not much in the way of reply.
If I took the path of crime, I would be better off. Whilst doing crime, I would be making money from the misery of others. If I was caught for my crimes, I would be put in prison where I could expect to be fed and heated, my clothes washed, etc. My wife and children would be supported by the state and probably have a social worker on tap to help out. My son would be in supported accommodation and the rest of the family in a council house, benefit would be paid by the state, council tax and rent would be reduced. Ok, life wouldn't be great, but it would be easy.
I once tried the path of hard work, becoming self employed, working long hours and days away from home, earning lots and contributing to the economy. I paid reduced tax because of loopholes that my accountant exploited, but they were legal and moral. But then Labour came in and changed the rules for self-employed contractors, they increased taxes and the amount of red tape for small businesses, so that it became less and less economically viable to run as a one-man business. I pity anyone starting in business now, because in order to be viable, you either have to make large profits in order to cover costs, or you have to bend the rules and sail close to working illegally or immorally. In the end my family collapsed due to the strain.
If I took the path of unashamed greed, I would have identified the way to make real money really easy: work in government. I would have been a councillor or by now an MP, firmly seated at the trough of expense accounts, junkets and quango salaries. I would have friends in high places. I would be able to afford expensive legal help should any of my misdenmeanours be discovered, I would be able to change the rules if some of my expenses were described as immoral, I would be able to change history if it was proven I'd taken the wrong path, I would have two houses, fully paid for by the state.
No, I took the middle way, the decent honest way, I now know I lived my life the wrong way.
Who do you think you are kidding, Mr COBRA? - Forty years ago, in October 1974, five people were killed in an explosion that ripped through a pub in Guildford; just over a month later, twenty-one were ...
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