Do we need to justify having broadband & TV in 2018?

If you’ve been following my twitter account @RespectIsVital, you may have seen my many trolls in regards to my; Life of a Universal Credit Sufferer thread.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s a series of daily updates where I list my expenditure. See below.

As you can see I list “TV licence” & “Broadband” as part of how that fortnights £92 was spent.

Well, this created some of the most vile and disgusting comments you can imagine.

Pay what you’re due

I’ve always been taught from a young age that you pay what you are due. TV licence is one of those things many people disagree with and, therefore refuse to pay it. I on the other hand do pay it. Why? Because I use the BBC’s services and thus I’m due to pay it. That’s just my opinion. There was plenty of “don’t pay for the state propaganda” comments too.

The BBC does have more than just news, and last time I checked, Blue Planet 2 wasn’t pushing a heavy Tory message in my face.

Attacks on my parenting

When answering the many questions on why I pay the TV licence, I would explain the above but also the main reason I use BBC services.

One of my sons is autistic and relies on TV programs to keep him calm. CBeebies is one channel he uses.

I explained this and was told repeatedly: use YouTube, he can go without, what kind of parent let’s their kids rely TV and, other things I cannot write on here.

This astounded me. People were attacking me for my parenting now. At first this did really upset me but, I have learned to move past it now.

Is broadband a luxury in 2018?

The next thing people would point out is that broadband is a luxury and I’m being selfish to have it.

Firstly, and most importantly, I have to login everyday to my universal credit account or, I will not get paid, I would be sanctioned.

This did not deter them one bit. “Go to the library, use mobile data”, they’d snap.


  • My local library is 15 miles away.
  • My nearest bus stop is 3 miles away along a 60mph road with no footpath.
  • I’m in a wheelchair
  • To do that daily would cost more than the £15 per month broadband.

But they didn’t care. I was selfish and ungrateful. I do have a motability car adapted to my needs but I couldn’t afford to fuel that for a 30 mile round trip daily either.

In 2018 as many pointed out, broadband is a requirement not a luxury. I live in a rural area with no access to many services, mobile coverage is patchy so I rely on internet access via broadband.

How could a job seekers search and apply for jobs in this day and age without it? Not everyone can get to a library and also, libraries are being closed across the country due to public sector cuts.

Is this how our nation treats people now?

Some people would comment and, after I’d explained the situation, they’d apologize.

However mostly the ones who think I was being ungrateful, would just go on and on. Nothing would stop them.

My followers would attempt, (at first anyway), to explain my situation; I’m disabled and only want to raise awareness of a problem with a government service.

But the comments would get worse and the attacks would get more and more personal.

I find it alarming that in 2018 Britain people think it’s a) acceptable to attack someone in need & b) try to justify that as long as you have food, nothing else, you’re doing well.

To some I shouldn’t have even been getting that.

I do not think it is unreasonable to expect someone to have TV and broadband.

Lessons learnt

What this had taught me is that no matter how good your intentions are, how vulnerable, sick or penniless, there is always someone waiting to attack you for it.

I’ve learnt just to mute or block these people now, but also it has made me want to carry on more and prove them wrong.

Until the next time.

Alex @RespectIsVital

Remember the #FoodbankChallenge is still going. If you can spare a little it can make a huge difference.

Please feel free to visit my blog for more information on my story and my fight to raise awareness of Universal Credit failures.

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15 replies »

  1. Thank you Alex for sharing your story, please stay positive and ignore those that know no better. People that do not live in rural areas have no idea how difficult it can be to access services and that can be without entering a disability into the equation. Sadly some people have chosen to forget what living in a community and are happy to be in the bracket of “I’m alright Jack”. I truly look forward to your next article. Keep smiling. Helen

    • Thank you for the positive feedback Helen, it means a lot to me.

      I agree people are so quick to judge even when all the facts are there.

      I look forward to contributing to this wonderful site and helping it grow.

  2. Enjoyed your blog Alex. People have no idea and are too quick to spout rubbish and hate without thinking.Its good to hear you have developed a thick skin and have moved on from allowing these comments to penetrate. Thank you for writing this.

  3. It’s a humbling account. It’s hard not to admire your determination. But yes, I was taken aback when I came here to Orkney and read some of the most appalling vitriolic responses on social media from some people. Thankfully their opinions weren’t well supported, as some voting figures showed.
    Talk is cheap, and I wish you luck and a few rays of sunshine from time to time. We need them.

    • Thank you Eamonn. I appreciate the kind feedback. There will always be people who try to get us down. But with a positive attitude, (and sone sunshine), we can rise above the hate.

      Have a good day

  4. Hello Alex
    I’m catching up with TON, and don’t know where to begin as a response to what you write.
    I’ll randomly throw out thoughts –
    Firstly, it’s brave of you and a good idea, to actually give a description of what it’s like to be a member of the ‘underclass’ in Britain today. Folk see things on the news, read things in the papers, but – that isn’t real. You are a real person, giving a real story of how you are trying to manage without much income, and with other difficulties in your life. You didn’t have to write it, you didn’t have to stick your head above the parapet, but you did so, to try to give a clearer idea of what it is like to struggle to manage, today.
    Those people who are attacking you, should try walking mile in someone else’s shoes sometime – it’s easy when a person is fit, comfortably off etc. etc. , to slam others who aren’t, and say they should do this, and shouldn’t do that. They should try it – that’s what it all comes down to – they should try being you for, not only a week – that wouldn’t let the whole picture become clear, as it is something which is on-going – for, maybe ……6 months. They might then see through your eyes, or….go under – would they be able to hack it?
    I’m getting angry – which can serve a purpose sometimes, but not always.

    I’m not on Facebook and don’t indulge in ‘social media’ stuff – I don’t need to. It appears to be full of Tiresome Twatts, so I don’t do it. I still get the impression that it’s often used for anonymous nastiness – would they say those things to your face? If they did, you would answer them with arguments which they probably would not be able to refute – which is why they use social/anti-social media to throw their vitriol at you. Good for you for not letting it/them get to you.
    I’m ranting – a tendency I have – just to say – keep on keeping on, Alex.
    What it comes down to, the message I send to those attacking you, is……….to quote Bob Dylan “Don’t criticise what you can’t understand”
    We’re each just doing what we can, in this life. We’re each, where we are.

    • Hi Bernie, thank you for the feedback. I felt it’s important to share my story as there’s a misconception that all people on benefits are well off which isn’t the case. It’s partly this that feeds the trolls on social media & also just ignorance.

      I hope to share more as time goes on. Really appreciate you writing me a comment.

  5. Alex,

    As usual Bernie could not have put it better. Alex ignore the unionist gobshites and very best of luck.

  6. Given that the government are insisting on moving everything online (and in some cases complicating things more than they already are) broadband can no longer be considered a luxury. It’s a requirement to function in the 21st century.

  7. Not sure where you live, but if u have children with autism they would be entitled to PIP. If thy don’t live wth u full time, u cld try for a grant/s look at Turn2us website. Also carers Scotland and CarersUK. Scottish Autism, or any organisation that can help.advise on how you can be supported as a parent of chlldren with autism. It’s crucial that you are supported, espcly financially. Look for a local carers charity as well…Even if you r a part time parent, social work should help and advise and do a carers assesment. Make sure to have a benefits check via them or Turn2us. Internet is essential. Might it be worth looking into Netflix, or similar as an option for kids’ programs it might be cheaper?

    There is support out there, it’s just finding it and accessing it. You must get support, it’s hard enough being a parent, but much worse if you have kids with disabilities. They feel it too.

    All the best, H. (carer and parent of 2 grown sons with autism).

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