As I limp my way towards the end of this here social work course, wrecked and knackered like Sarah and other Connors after a rumble with a Terminator or two, there remains the small matter of my dissertation. I hadn’t paid much attention to the ‘S’ or the ‘c’ in the MSc, particularly the ‘c’ as it’s lower case and less obtrusive than the somewhat swaggering ‘S’. Turns out I’d signed up for a Masters in Science and now they’re wanting me to do some sort of empirical research study. Slowly, gradually, I’m getting it together, having now looked up the word ‘empirical’.

While it’s tempting to just bash out something half assed that’ll scrape past the fairly low pass mark, I do try to use my whole ass wherever possible. I figured I should do something Zeroistic and ranty, something that had at least half a chance of being slightly useful to someone possibly. It’s another example of how anything in life can be turned to goodness if you give it some effort and thought and you’re a self-promoting twat. I’m looking into how social work helps asylum seekers when they’re destitute and vulnerable, with an emphasis on how it doesn’t really.

Asylum law is fairly horrific, based on the casual racism and xenophobia and fear of others from which the editor of the Daily Mail draws his strength, plotting his return to bodily form as he rests patiently on the back of Margaret Thatcher’s turbaned head. Asylum seekers have been kicked out of the welfare system, told to live on the equivalent of 70 percent of Income Support as if life is cheaper for them, and put into housing so manky it’d be pulled down if it they hadn’t been shoved in there. Their lives are made so hard by the asylum system they’d be strong candidates for a bit of the old social work if social work wasn’t prevented from getting stuck in.

My plan here is to look at the system and social work’s part in it and give both a right good slagging. It’s a difficult balance, being as how I’m loyal to asylum seekers but also loyal to social work. I’m aiming firmly for the system that says social work can’t get involved, figuring if it could it would. We’re talking here about people going through horrific things in their home countries, undergoing horrific journeys to escape, and getting horrific service when they arrive here and ask for help. I’m aiming to interview asylum seekers, see how they feel about the help they need that isn’t on offer and see how well it matches up to social work’s official ethics and values, the point being that it doesn’t even slightly.

But I’m looking to effect change here. Writing this thing and showing a teacher and putting it in an attic until my futuristic space-kids clear it out after my assassination isn’t going to do much of anything. It needs to be seen by people if it’s going to be useful so I’m aiming to get the thing published when I’m done. I’m not suggesting I’ll convince racist politicians to rework the system or racist voters to demand they do, but maybe a worker or two will read it and sneak around the system to give help where they can, or tell their union to make an issue of it, or figure where to point people to get the help they need.

The real issue is how to get this thing published without blowing my anonymity now I’ve blogged about doing it. Obviously a pseudonym is in order, something intelligent and classy but something that’ll throw people off the scent, maybe something a bit showbiz to help the thing get read. I’m thinking something along the lines of Jordan Dickens. Maybe DH Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen. Keep an eye out.

Photo credit: The Zero