If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you'll know it's just taken me a little over an hour to stop gasping and saying "Oh My God" to everything.
If you look a little to the right, my red Wikio button just changed to 23. 23!!!! That means (though I'm finding it a little hard to believe) that last month, my blog was the 23rd most read, linked and shared political blog in the country!!
I started Diary of a Benefit Scrounger one weekend just three and a bit months ago on a whim. I didn't really know what a blog was. In the last three months, I've probably embarrassed myself many times over by nagging for support or ranting when I should have stayed quiet or staying quiet when I should have known better.
The one thing I did know was that I had a LOT to write about. The NHS is an incredible facility, but in lots of ways it's broken and patient care is often woefully inadequate or terrifyingly dangerous. I've written about it my whole life, but I always had the sneaking suspicion that people didn't really believe that things could honestly be as bad as they often are.
The changes to disability benefits that started under Labour and are accelerating out of control under the coalition are the most shameful policies I've ever seen in the UK. When taken together (as in this post I wrote called Nowhere to Turn for Vulnerable ) they constitute an attack so sickening, so callous, that writing about them was all I could think to do to expose (and hopefully defeat) them. That post is almost certainly what put my blog into the top 50 - it is still read by over 100 people every day. I'm humbled and thrilled all at once to think that what I've written might have occasionally helped to expose a terrible wrong.
I've had incredible support from so many people - particularly those of you who read and share my posts day in and day out. I know that you Retweet and share on Facebook and send to friends until your fingers blister, so THANK YOU, THANK YOU THANK YOU. From top Labour bloggers like Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy and Mark Ferguson at LabourList to political figures, CiF at the Guardian, disability groups, nurses and campaigners, I've had an overwhelming few months. I've written all my life, but without you all reading and sharing, linking and commissioning I'd still be talking to myself.
And that's why I'm writing this post. Yes, I'm having a lovely afternoon. Yes, I feel pleased and excited, but the only reason I'm writing like this, exposing myself, inviting judgement from trolls and the DWP, is to change things. Sick and disabled people need a voice - a loud clarion call that shouts into every home "Hey!! Look what's being done to these people! You didn't vote for this - you never would. If we stop anything at all we must stop this." That little red button and its number "23" starts to give me that voice and lights a tiny glimmer of hope in me that the BBC and SKY and the Times and the Telegraph and all the others might soon start to care too.
Please do keep linking, sharing tweeting and posting. Most importantly, send to your able bodied friends, sit and chat over coffee, write to your MPs and lets try to explain to the country exactly what these cuts mean to disabled people. Let's explain that it can come to any one of us at any time and some things are just too important to lose.