The repression of the sick and disabled

11 Feb

Beserk

The story of 0.5% disability cheats and the 99.5% of victims due to the government’s policy which will end up being directed against the most severe of disabled people many of whom depend on that money to pay for contributions for other services and social services help in particular through their local councils and authorities.

One has to stop and wonder how is this a “promise” by the coalition government to help the really disabled for all that seems to happen while using the 0.5% as an excuse is to actually severely cut the help to those who are indeed severely disabled and ill.

The countless number of times the coalition’s and indeed the PM’s hypocrisy has been exposed when the so called tests, cuts, and all the other things have actually been directed at the real disabled while making a huge hue and cry in the media about the “undeserving”!

The lie and it is one of the biggest lie David Cameron, Esther McVey, Mark Hobon and Iain Duncan Smith have made repeatedly was the assurances at each stage how nothing would affect the genuinely sick and disabled. However none of this is true, severely disabled and sick persons will face a cut of £59 per week because the scheme that was launched to provide the extra financial support for obtaining additional support services and additional medications and items is being done away brazenly without a mention and without discussions with anyone as if it never existed and hence no mentions need be made about it.

This has got to be the most wicked and two face government in our living history that has brazenly kicked the most disabled and sick persons to the ground in order to make savings of 3.85 billion while they spend on Royal weddings (2.4 bn), Jubilee celebrations (5 bn) and the Olympics (21 bn) and cut taxes to the rich (1.4 bn) and the rich corporates (5 bn) and spending money in the name of the so called reforms (8bn) but it has come down hardest on the weakest.

Does this make this government a good one or a very cowardly one. How long will the people stand by and watch the slow killing
of the sick and disabled in this country. When are the great hero’s against the villains going to rise up and say enough is enough !

This unelected coalition government of conspiracy with its blinkered attitude will have to be called to the books one day and I hope I live to see that day when they are held responsible for all the countess deaths and misery they have caused in the last 3 years in the name of being “progressive” while being “repressive and retrogressive”!

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A unjust set of laws

20 Jan

Social Chaos Man

The coalition has wrecked havoc on the UK economy for three years and brought in a season of distress for the poor and particularly the working classes trying all kinds of tactics for divisiveness. The truth is this is a coalition of rich brats who neither understand or care for the people of this country. At each and every turn this is a coalition for corporate persons and multi millionaires who are not only growing richer but increasingly accelerated by huge tax cuts. One could akin this to a plate so full of gravy that a person would be swimming in it.

On the one hand we have a blind egotistical half wit of a man as the coalition partnership who seems to have forsworn all his beliefs and claims of being a liberal while certainly showing from his family riches and background where his loyalties lie.David Cameron on the other hand is much the same still behaving like a government that is competing for the elections and popularity while thoroughly messing up the work at hand.

It’s laudable he can put the country’s military on support missions and stops his EU speech for the loss of lives of five persons but he seems completely oblivious to the sad loss of life of hundreds of people during his tenure as Prime Minister. Take heed Mr Cameron this is your watch and Mr Clegg for your role in enabling this season of distress unleashed on the poor by the likes of a right wing extremists known for his nastiness among both the Tories and LibDems alike and still for political purposes refusing to acknowledge the breath of the problem and the huge loss of lives.

When Gandhi stated the following

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, and then fight you before you win” we seem to be on the 2nd stage with the Tories and LibDems not only denying the gravity of matter but indeed mocking and laughing and stating this is all a lie even though it is all based on their own freedom of information data showing that people have indeed been placed in the wrong groups under he governments new reforms for support of very sick people.

History has a habit of repeating itself when ignorant persons are at the helms is that it is the people who win, the more severe the death costs the more severe will be the penalties which will one day follow

Coaltion politics

8 Jan
Unpopular

Next May the rise in benefits for someone getting 71 pounds on JSA will be the generous sum of 0.71 pence to keep up with the economic failings of this coalition and the high inflation of nearly everything from food to basics ! This should put the debate by the coalition into real perspective

It’s intriguing to see the coalition government justify not increasing the rise of benefits to the average job seeker next May from 2.43 pence to that of only 0.71 pence instead. It sort of puts the Tories and their lackeys the LibDems into perspective when you realise that billions they have given away to the rich and the big corporates during this same period and also the amount of money that has been sponsored.

IDS certainly is and was the leader of the Nasty party but David Cameron now and Nick Clegg has also climbed into the same boat along with George Osborne who of course is the ultimate failure of the lot of them for he has not delivered a growing economy and as we see with each passing Tory policy they seem to do more damage to the economy then do good. There is however one are where the Tories seem to do good at along with the deluded LibDems and that is not only to lie to themselves but also all of us who are indeed going to suffer even more then we already are through failed economic policies such as the high inflation rates that have been affecting the poor in nearly every respect from food to transport to utilities and the basics of the cost of living. Always reassuring to know the callous regard this government has for both the strivers and skivers by holding down what little protect the CBI inflation protection does give them compared to the Retail index none of which actually reflect the true cost in the rise of living costs the poor have to face.

I hope every single millionaire in this country who gets a 107,000 pound cheque tax rebate spare a moment for the poor who paid for it !

Politicians, Bankers, Strivers, Skivers, and the Poor

7 Jan

Expenses

 

The trouble with politics is that people debate issues take a pro or anti view towards most things but seldom do they take a wider view and ask themselves what is really good for the public interest alone ! Today’s politicians are more like a cost accountant gone mad, measuring the difference in costs but forgetting to conveniently measure the subsequent rise in wealth in this country.

This is why cost accountants are not left in charge of companies for if they measured the cost in increase for materials and services they would forget to co relate it to their rise in economic fortunes from the income they derive. Economies also are the same way. Politicians all too frequently forget that Britain as a country has gotten more then double in riches since 1990 to 2009 and that the actual spending relative to income has fallen not risen ! This is specially true in key service areas like welfare where as a percentage of the economy the share of the economic pie has gotten smaller not larger.

BY promoting the idea that there is a deficit in the country (which by the way is created by under taxing over a period of time) and causing alarm bells to ring while cutting rich taxes and corporate taxes is libellous to a comparing it all to a lie.

Today Nick Clegg and David Cameron pledged themselves to their 3rd vow in three years to work together over this fictitious lie. What funds that have been cut have actually been wasted in handing funds back to the rich and specially the big corporates at a time when our economy is under such “grave” danger.

I use to think propaganda does not work but it does, it is used to the point where people are dumbed down to think almost anything no matter how incredible like the deficit crisis created by this very coalition all on it’s own for it has not fallen but in fact risen which means those tax cuts and those ill conceived spending in the name of reform are also going on to the great tab called the deficit which you and I and the rest of society in fact foot.

Today instead of the banks blamed, we find politicians who like to believe their own mantra, that the crisis was caused by irresponsible borrowing. In fact it was banks and yet we have  got us a government that is attacking and trying to divide society in the name of its workers the strivers instead. The strivers are the very same people  whom the minute they fall sick or disabled through injuries or illness, or unemployed after many years of striving who are tagged the skivers, meanwhile the whole attention of the media tries to shifts our minds away about the bankers and the politicians who began this crisis in the first place !

THE NI Contributions Big Elephant in the room

26 Dec

Elephant in Room

While reading the news on online I ran across an article in the Guardian series and saw what amounts to the typical lie that has been fermented in this country to cheat people out of their contributions into a system that is now acting in real bad faith and even labelling the users of the system as cheats, scroungers, and a burden to the tax payer.

I feel it is necessary to point out a few facts around this that the public should heed and take note of. The NI contributions they have made over the past 65 years is an “Insurance” fund for the security of people when they are unemployed, sick, or need of help. That is the social contract implied when money changes hands and for me over te past 30 years successive governments have taken around 50% of my wages as contributions for this “premium” and security for myself and my family. That is why I contributed and that is what I expect from the system. An example of a typical right wing message is the one I have quoted below taken from the comments in that news paper which shows the gravity of the issue and the nature of the big elephant in the room when discussing social welfare and benefits or claims which is what they are in fact!

“The sad fact is that over generous benefits in the UK for the last 65 or so years have created a generation of lazy, unmotivated Jeremy Kyle Show participants who have embroiled the genuine Claimants amongst them.”

The really sad fact is that people believe that the poultry amount of money they receive around £69 a week is a sum of money people can live it up on buying not only Sky Superscriptions with it but also limitless quantities of alcohol and cigarettes and drugs. What a distortion of the facts not only of the amount of money concerned but also the mistaken belief that such basic luxuries are even remotely affordable is a joke and is in my opinion a attitude that must be challenged.

Another common right wing attitude is somehow for the past 65 years nobody paid into this like it was a premium and that is cost a lot. The lie here is the spin people IDS and the Tories have manufactured which has created this idea that some how we all live in America paying 8% to 30% tax rates and where they individually buy insurance and we as a nation have collectively bought that together and at rates much higher then most private premiums.

in order to cheat people out the security they have paid for that has been run by successive governments and has been taking money from most of us. If you wish to stop this then consider paying everyone their contributions back with compounded interest otherwise stop peddling your lies. This is not America we have been paying into a common national pool for insurance and it is persons like you who are doing the lying and the misleading yet again and again.

Its in fact an outrage and outrageous attitudes by politicians who have carefully avoided the fact the amount of money we all contribute into the system as compared to so called “capitalist” countries like America and how we have had alternative national insurance we pay into. You are entitled to your claim because you paid for it as did your parents so just because it is a nationally run insurance does not mean the government can do what it likes or change terms on us and we have to make sure this CON is never allowed to happen again. It is theft of our personal investments and assets.

This lie not only should not be ignored but it should be challenged whenever a right wing troll comes along and claims he is paying for your benefits out of his taxes, for he is not. What he or she is doing is paying their own premiums and for their own security. This right wing  lie and deceit must be stopped in its tracks. If these people wish to stop this system then they had better be ready to pay back all the contributions with compounded interest for the majority of us who have paid into the system for our collective security for us and our families !

Paying the price silently

20 Dec

I watched today when David Cameron was asked about the deaths of the many disabled as a result of the wca. He replied about disability and stated his government actually was raising disability payments and yet 500,000 persons are expected to be pushed off from receiving any help by redefining the thresholds and in so doing showing what one could characterise as “behaving in bad faith”.

It is becoming abundantly clear that he and his government regard the so called reforms and the cost in terms of real lives now estimated to be running over seven thousand dead and many more whose healths have actually suffered.

Watching the TV airing of the questions and answers in the commons sickened me as I watched a smooth PR driven prime minister hedge and ignore the actual question put to him which is about the deaths themselves and not to be told that they are a necessary casualty of his and IDS’ reforms.  How can reforms for the better end up costing lives ? Does the Prime Minister of the UK really believe that the public can be fobbed off so easily from raising these questions. I certainly think it is our democratic right to ask why such high casualties to a process that is suppose to help people ?

We live in a country today where it is okay to bail out bankers to the tune of  fourteen hundred billion pounds, give the rich back 4.8 bn,  spend 21 bn on the olympics, and to add insult to injury also lower corporate taxes and spend a further 8 bn in reforms,  and then become so small minded at the same time over the 2 billion we spend in helping those who also need help due to their disabilities.  This government is not only responsible for the deaths and ill healths but I hope one day we all live to see the day when these people are behind the docks being tried for their evil and ruthless methods in seeking so called reforms.

Will there ever be justice and will it take as long as Hillsborough has to account for the hundred who are already dead !

The road to hell leads to the CSJ

18 Dec

Silenced
The pincer movements that were laid down are now obviously clear. A certain think tank in the name of social justice was formed that consisted of cross party members and mps from the three main parties in parliament. This group prepared to devise a method from bring across the ideas of workfare from America where the idea was born during the early 1990s under the patronage of the local Republican Right in that state.

Now of course after a decade we can see the waste laid behind by such and unsuccessful and indeed harmful set of policies that have failed in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and even more disastrously in the UK. Propaganda literature prepared in Milwaukee ended up her with a decidedly Anglicised flavour to it including re identifying new stereo types. The language these social policy reports are written in lack empirical research methods and instead follow a format of debate and argument backed up pick and choose opinions of experts which have become accomplice to supposed expertise.

Either the other party MPs did not fully grasp what they were doing and may have all been indeed well intentioned but given the price, the deaths, the deterioration of health and the penny wise pound foolish approach towards does not even take into account the cost to society in a much longer run over the affects of putting what are essentially sick and disabled person through the hoops to catch the so called “scroungers” and “cheats”. The objectives of helping the disabled and sick are somewhat defeated in the process of killing the patient by administering a cure. The CSJ and the persons associated with it both in and out of power do have much to answer for even if their policies were once well intentioned as it is very clear now with the hundreds of deaths and the worsening of people’s health that this is a pipe dream solution dreamt up by people who can never grasp the economic and social models by them when many others far more able have failed. Playing the mad Frankenstein’s doctor by IDS and his cronies have caused much too much pain already.

Is it not time to admit that this has been a disaster with the lives already lost and the disaster in terms of winnings in tribunals that something is very very wrong with this whole appoach

A white elephant be universal credit !

23 Nov


With each day as stories are reported as the universal credit system is turning out to be the increasingly worrying are the stories are about not only the policy and what it loftily states it aims to achieve a “simpler system of benefits”  the more the alarm bells are ringing how this one size fits all solution is headed for a catastrophe. What is increasingly alarming about it is that will be online requiring a simple but effective security system ( no such thing in the world of IT btw and someone has been missold the lengths criminals will go to take control over large funds online accessible from everyone everywhere across the world wide web) is one of the worst ideas anyone could have ever come up with.

What becomes apparent when these so called political experts on social justice speak is that the miss some of the most basic aspects of the internet even today. There are vast number of people who are not comfortable with online forms or for that matter physically or mentally able to cope with them. Then again there are equally many although able may not have the accessibility to the internet and will not be able to get on line for  variety of reasons from not having a phone line and unable to get a phone line or pc for that matter. I do not know which world these people live in but it is obvious it is not the real one. Sure there are a large number of disabled persons and unemployed persons who have the training to use such systems but you will find there is a group of people mainly over the ages of 45 or over who are not as experienced unless they happen to be within that field of IT or in a modern office environment. However I doubt this is going to be the case for many who are currently unemployed who do not work in white collar jobs but do more so as blue collar ones and this is an expectation being placed on unemployed people that really does not merit another set of realities.

As I hear stories about the IT system and how it is already over shot its budget by 500 million pounds and the programme director and his entire senior managers have left the project I wonder how much more good news we can look forward to that will not only drive up the cost but also the time scale for implementation. This system is also dependent on two sets of outside systems those from the HMRC, and those from ever single council in this country,  that manages housing benefits.  There is already rumours surfacing as of today that nearly 10,000 record backlogs in some councils are being experienced with councils not knowing if they are over paying some people and not paying others at all.

Then there are many political and moral questions about the standards set in these new regulations that have virtually redefined “disabilities” and “chronic” diseases and sicknesses. It is beginning to look this system has been designed by a very bad planner and with political aims set to its timetable, always a recipe for a disaster in any IT project !

Using socio economic variables to identify poverty

15 Nov

Using socio economic variables to identify poverty is not the same as identifying the causes of poverty in society. I have been wondering why is it this sounds more like an attempt to classify poor people rather then classify the reasons that come out of being poor.

Iain Duncan Smith has announced a new method for social classification and my many years working as a statistical and geographical analyst tells me that this is a method to identify a given type of market. There is however a huge problem with this because it is in fact defined on an average based on a geographical area of a census district which contains a minimum of 50 households in what is refereed to as a super output area. Secondly if the data being relied on is in deed from private databases based on neighbourhood classifications then the likelihood is that many people will end up being stereotyped into this pigeon hole. Marketing companies produce such datasets based on sending out questionnaires and they may be luck if out of 1.6 million postcodes in the UK that about 3000 will respond leaving them to using statistical tools to impute the data.

While it is one thing to use marketing techniques to target potential markets to sell your products it is quiet another to suggest that all people in a given area by exactly the same product or services. In other words these broad classifications will end up targeting neighbourhoods and in particular postcodes in much the same way credit rating agencies use with what is after all fairly imperfect data much of imputed.

I have known of may cases where two products aimed at the very same market demographics worked for one product and completely failed for another. Iain Duncan Smith is harbouring under a lot of illusions about the world of Information Technology and Privately collected data by marketing companies that collect and try and classify neighbourhoods

Search for a gimmick

4 Nov

When ever I take time to take a step back and watch what is happening with the coalition government and each of its individual ministers it soon starts sounding like a sounding board for a gaggle of common prejudices often being reinforced by outright lies and misrepresentation of statistics often official ones. What is even more surprising however is when entirely new statistical variables are created that are not based on any coherent methodology of collection across wide samples that are representative of the UK and its population.  However this is not the main input of this blog as that subject alone would lead me into thousands of pages of questionable data.

What I find amazing is that these people for want of a better description although many adjectives do spring to mind, is that they go on sounding more and more like the illiterates then the educations these people are suppose to have achieved.

The coalition parties are engaged in a search for a gimmick that will turn their fortunes around and its sad that they fail to understand it is for the coalition to turn around with its idiotic policies on welfare, the national health services, prison reform,   social care reform, legal aid reform and so on because their attempts to reform is just a cover word for removing responsibility by the government to ensure a society remains fair and equal. Everyday a minister or the other is in controversy over these gimmicks while if these were clever people which I have come seriously to doubt would in fact re-examine their policies and see that it is indeed not very well thought out or very well planned and executed.

If David Cameron if ever needed a gimmick to turn around his fortunes he would actually abolish his so called reforms because they are going to do more damage then good and he may actually be able to claw back some support from people who do not think he has completely lost the plot !

Why a political fitness test is needed

31 Oct

The prophet of welfare reform

Its been a good few weeks I realise that I have not written much here on the blog about things mainly because the news has been hard and fast coming in. Most of the news has been taken up with stories of the conferences and grand statements by the coalition which is determined to stay the course despite the pain and misery their policies are causing with more yet to come.  The NHS is tits up,  the welfare reforms (if one could call them that) are causing consternation as more and more people realise it is also one more of a long list of ill thought out policies  conceived by politicians.

Which brings me of course to the point of why there is a need to have some sort of fitness test for our politicians themselves who by their uttering and pronouncements never fail to amaze me about their sheer stupidity, incredulity, and short sightedness that I have seen being spun from half baked lies and papers purporting to make them all look like experts in every field of science and medicine, and law. Our politicians have changed from those who use to take on board the counsel and advice of experts in their fields of sociology, economics, engineering, and now even medicine to come up with their own ideas and solutions on subjects most know nothing about. Hence there is a need to do both a mental test and that of a political competence test so they realise and prove to people their commitment to the people rather then  the political parties they belong to.

As each politician starts devising education tests  and even medical tests to test the people of their sickness so too I think it is only right these very same people are tested for their competence, commitment, and common sense understanding that just because one is elected does not make them the sole authority in any subject/

Duncan Smith promises “to deliver” and how!!!

21 Sep

Iain Duncan Smith the quiet man has been very loud this week promising to deliver something that is still not clear in the eyes of so many people in the country. Just what is Mr. Smith delivering is becoming anybody’s guess as the “business” plan and risks ledger has been hidden citing commercial reasons. I thought commercial reasons apply only to commercial companies and did not realise we live in the age where commercial reasons apply in a democratic government. But then Mr. Smith’s policies did not come in to government through the normal process of putting up in front of the electoral and actually seek an over whelming support for it. Such niceties of democracy are ignored as people think  just having arrived in government in power is enough to justify rule over a democratic country.  How can this be even happened here in 21st century Britain is also a matter of much concern.

Again and again the experts have set of the alarm bells but it is as if Mr. Smith is knowingly headed for the mother of omni shambles he is doing so with his head placed firmly in the ground and not listening to the growing chorus of concerns.  The way he has been charging up the hill with his much endeared dream of “reform” a very hollow word that comes to mean anything but reform and the double talk language of a confidence trickster to go with it with him insisting everything will be all right on the night of the show.

I have no illusions this is the workings of a mad and highly egotistical individual determined to make a name out of what is going to turn out to be one of the biggest disaster that shall fall the sick, disabled, and poor families in this country leaving a scar not only deep but will end up far more in social costs for decades to come as we all feel the full effect of the trauma people are being put through which is only going to worsen if this welfare reform goes up with some of the most cynical statement to accompany it.

I think after the coal mine pit riots of the 80s, and the poll tax riots of the 90s, this decade is going to be much remembered for the welfare act! This episode of this headlong rush into reforming and fixing what is not really broken will result in much pain and sorrow for many and indeed it will ultimately be IDS’ own undoing. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

The Coop, ATOS, and the Public

18 Sep

Nearly all government services have been using ATOS and a few businesses but this is one that is morally contradictory because of who the COOP is and what ATOS represents. I am just glad members have been made aware of it as it seems to have been well hidden under wraps.  It appears many people are now indeed upset to learn that the COOP has had such a contract in place in 2009 with ATOS’s Occupational team who they say have been doing a wonderful job supporting their workers and disabled workers to adjust and manage at their workplace. I have no doubt the OH division of ATOS provide a very professional care according to Occupational Health principles and use Occupational Therapists to assist their employees.

However ATOS’s involvement in the DWP medical testing process does cause a moral dilemma in many people because from what we have learnt through all the news media is that ATOS do not exactly do Occupational Health work for the DWP when it comes to assessing benefit claimants. Instead they have this bizarre concept of a health care professionals who does everything but actually care for people.

I understand the COOP management have responded and that they will be reviewing the ATOS contract they have with themselves and will put it to a membership vote.  It is a good first step in trying to address an impass here where the public feel anger with this company is now going to over shadow its normal business activity on which they won their contract with the DWP which is of course on their track record in dealing with Occupational Health. Perhaps a loss of contract from the COOP may set some people thinking with ATOS and indeed Siemens who own the whole lot if their involvement in what many people are alleging as underhand practices be put into a context of all their other business operations and reputation. It would make very bad business sense to have won a contact which proves unpopular as this one has and loose their reputation and indeed business profitability in areas where there are neither any controversies or problems to their quality and work they do as a company!

Perhaps this may be the point where good sense may prevail and all the parties reconsider their own personal objectives based on the long run and even for ATOS to think over the type of services they may or should be providing which follows the normal course of occupational health therapy as opposed to no help at work for sick people therapy if the government is really genuine of putting people first and helping them without reservation to costs !

Welfare replaced by charity in the UK

16 Sep

Often times when one reads the social policies that are behind Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron’s visions of a Big society are and for that matter how naive they really are in supposing the conditions that did not even work in the American Mid West, or Canada, or Australia, or New Zealand would somehow work here even though the society that the Wisconsin model is based on is made of a society which has a huge charity sector made up of Churches in sparsely populated states of Wisconsin. I think the fundamental flaws they found in America are going to be repeated here despite all evidence pointing otherwise.

Workfare was invented in 1996 and by 2006 many American social scientists were becoming alarmed by the negative effects and costs the whole programme ended up costing not only in terms of loss of human lives but also a complete social breakdown in many large metropolises. Workfare is driven by purely political ideology and in fact ideology that believes that the market will do great things and solve societies needs miraculously even though this has never happened in the annals of human history or intelligence !

The real truth of the problem is political.  Iain Duncan Smith through the use of his Centre for Social Justice sponsored students (usually young Tories) to put in their argumentative report or debate papers in while selectively choosing evidence upon which papers from the GOP in Wisconsin was soon Anglicised and given a UK spin. There is however a fundamental flaws in this way of trying to transfer such social models here to the UK and somehow hope it will work because there are a significant number of differences and suppositions that have been missed.

There are very big differences in the way welfare is seen by religious communities in America who are often very active in plugging the gap by contributions from the rich as well as tidths that are raised in many US church based communities to plug the hole in social services or welfare which has been a far more recent phenomena in America and it has been in the UK.  In some communities for instance like the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints) LDSSA many Mormons pay 20% of their income as tidths to their Church and this money is used by the church to help community members.  This is fine in many ways where taxes by people are far lower and many people are religious and there has been an abject failure on social services and lack of welfare until recently.

In the UK many of the charity activities Churches were traditionally involved with over time gave way in the rise of the poor tax a period going back to Elizabethan times when the poor was something Elizabethans were ready to deal with and put in place formal laws and procedures where the State rather than the Church protects the poor! This was a fundamental change and one on which the very foundations of our society has been built on. The conditions in Wisconsin and indeed any where in the mid west are literally wildly different and to try and make comparisons or indeed take failed solutions from there to put in place here will do much damage for years before out of desperation the charity sector will have to rise in order to take care of the newly created poor that this awful and ill thought out welfare bill is imposing on our society !

DWP Minister speaks with forked tongue

13 Sep

I do not know what Iain Duncan Smith is doing with his media blitz as I seem to see two completely different stories about the same week over the same events but completely different faces worn by IDS depending on who his audience is and listening to him. On the one hand main stream newspapers carry stories that IDS is the champion for the poor when it comes to fighting doggedly with George Osborne and on the other hand I see the following day in the same main stream newspapers also saying that IDS is about to redefine poverty to the detriment of the poor. If people cannot see that big chief speaks with forked tongue.

Like his social crusade to appear like a champion for the poor he as in fact been spearhead in finding ways to do the reverse for the poor by suggesting they remain and wallow on poverty. The truth most politicians have not actually owned up to is that in order to make a generation of people be socially mobile a lot more in investment is needed not less as IDS keeps coming out with. This cure or bitter medicine that IDS has put the poor into a very desperate situation right here in the UK and if the protests both during the Olympics were not any indicators as to how unpopular his policies are then this really does become a case of a megalomaniac minister out of control by an equally megalomaniac prime minister and cabinet.

I fear this coalition government itself was formed on broken promises and pledges and has at heart been delicious in the way it has treated the people of this country while supposedly championing us as so called tax payers. All we see is one thing being said and something completely different being done unashamedly and adding insult to our common intelligence as well.

The cosa nostra government

11 Sep

Today Britain is in crisis. It is not only in crisis because of the world wide financial collapse caused by the banks but it is also in a crisis over democracy and ultimately over leadership. The public are reeling from one cut to the other and from one “reform” to another that seems to be taking things away from them and the welfare state at a speed faster then light itself!

In 2010 there was a hung parliament and through a back door conspiracy a coalition was formed where the elected MPs of this new government decided to through away their political mandates of the people and become a power of change forced through by their own ideas of democracy which appears to be a set of acts and bills in progress that is steadily eroding away both the rights of the people and the welfare state that many are indeed dependent on created through their tax investments into systems such as the NHS, Education, and Welfare and now Justice.

This government is increasingly reminding me of a a consortium of the Mafia who seem to be covering all legal angles not for the people but in fact against the very same people they are thought to be representing. I do not think the dark clouds forming ahead in this country is going to result in any great success but more a path of sorrows and ultimately tears.

There are some very important questions the people of this country have to ask themselves after this reign of terror by self serving politicians intent on robbing the nation of its resources to create business opportunities for themselves and their friends. These questions are can we as a people allow such powers to be concentrated in the hands of such governments that veer so far from their political mandates and pledges and if they do what to do about them ! It is not a simple case any longer of waiting for elections while the actions and deeds remain unchallenged it is now becoming the moral duty of every citizen to see the backs of these people and punishing them when the time comes but also to set right a situation in our democracy that has gone so lopsided !

The reshuffle of the Jokers !

5 Sep

This is the story of a minority government operating  without any electoral mandate to take it upon itself to bring in wide spread political “reform” by force and undemocratically over our nation. It is the stuff from which one can only say breeds of pure arrogance and contempt for the public.  After a summer long viewing of the Levenson inquiry where Hunt was found to be in contempt of a lot of things and questionable in his impartiality he has been handed the job of NHS secretary to do what ? A continuation of the wrecking of the NHS ? I expect so as Cameron thinks Hunt has a much thicker hide then even Lansley does.  My hope is that the Levenson inquiry does catch up with him and he is suitably punished and then I may even have some faith with the inquiry itself.

Next comes to story of the move away from Disability of Maria Miller but would it be a sensible replacement or another PR position. I could be excused for thinking that a minister of Disabilities and the same for equalities would actually stand up and be fighters for these lofty human values but I can only assume these people will do their best to be as much as a negative impact as they can be to these two more crucial areas for change.

By lurching to the right Cameron is showing his true colours but also equally if he is not then he is showing how hopelessly he is held hostage by his own parties minority right back benches! Within all of this is the usual squeaky LibDem voices pretending they hold the balance of power in the coalition while carefully hanging on to their jobs.  All in all a non impressive set of changes and even deeper digging in of heels by Cameron and Co that will be their end come 2015!

The struggle for the poor, disabled ,  sick, poor, and now the middle classes goes on till that time come when this coalition is history and our society can mend and repair the harm these people have done to the nation and its people.

Bad economic news brings more attacks on the poor

2 Sep

Its a funny old world this is for it always is the same, for it the rich who get richer and the poor that get the blame !

The recent news of Osborne’s utter failure in bringing economic growth is been shored by his propaganda minster Dastardly Smith getting ready to kick the poor harder with each turn of bad news over the economic picture. Today’s latest group were again you guessed it the poor and the desperate who are the ones suffering from the results of such stupid economic policies as we have seen. Dastardly Smith has today announced the very people the system shall let down and betray through official errors are to be punished by taking any means of a life line away from them.

http://dnn.webng.com/newspapers/LinkClick.aspx?link=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thesun.co.uk%2Fsol%2Fhomepage%2Fnews%2Fpolitics%2F4516400%2FHardship-handouts-scrapped.html&tabid=56&mid=370

It is the latest technique of administrative red tape that will now finish off anyone who has not been already through failed WCA tests, and screw ups by administrative design so that the person or persons (families included) will stand no chance of even surviving a weekend.

How can we allow such tyrannical rule in the 21st century born out of 19th century capitalist views towards the poor continue !

Do the rich create jobs ?

29 Aug

Among all the other slogans and mantras of the Conservatives and specially of George Osborne is about not taxing the rich because they are the job creators. This is so often repeated you would think it was a stark truth and given in the economic universe of only George’s mind. The truth could not be farthest.

A passage in an article by Dave Cohen has to be quoted here as his words say it all much better then I can in this instance.

“Everybody knows the rich are the job creators. For example, they create jobs for accountants who count their money. They create jobs for bankers who invest it. They create jobs for staff at non-profits who give some of it away to causes the rich choose. They create jobs for manservants, chauffeurs and maids. They create jobs for hotel staff in exotic locales. They create jobs for makers of luxury sailboats, jet planes and automobiles. They create jobs for the artists whose paintings grace the walls of their mansions. Sometimes, if they are entrepreneurs, which the overwhelming majority are not, they create jobs in start-up companies which later become bigger companies if people buy the goods & services the company offers. Where would we be without the job creators?”

Jobs in a consumer economy are created by the middle classes not the rich who are ultimately the feedback in the creation of industry that creates the investment that creates the products that the people need and that creates the job. Anything else is pure horse pootang !

The rich do not create jobs only a handful of them are entrepreneurial. The rich and those who work for them want you to go on believing that they are the job creators, so they can avoid being taxed a fair share for benefiting from the amount of wealth created by the consumers. Since the 1970s the rich have been taxed lesser and lesser and since the coalition came to power the rich are taxed 11% less then 5 years ago ! In Keynesian economics the middle class are indeed the “job creators” in the same sense described. This is not controversial but it is seldom mentioned as it thwarts the greed of those who wish to pay less taxes!

The Julian Assange deception

29 Aug

When the whole issue of Julian Assange suddenly erupted in our face I was mislead into thinking by the mainstream media in the UK into thinking the case was over rape. I watched as online social communities like Facebook got increasingly chattering about it and I watched males and females and indeed militants and pacifists all muddle into this.

Before long I was decided I would try and find out the actual background to the case rather then what people were debating about over rape and having asked the question I decided to see if there were any news documentaries produced that gave me a better insight into what has gone on. It is interesting how many people believe the case in Sweden is about rape and what the stories here are telling us. A good Australian TV documentary on the subject done in Sweden and dealing with what has been alleged is a real eye opener and should be watched first to get a more informed view of what is going on rather then be led by our tabloids on the subject!

What is amazing is how many people actually believe this is about rape and arguing over a completely hypothetical scenario that did not happen and those people who are really interested in the background to this case should watch this documentary because I guarantee you will realise just how badly mislead most people are over this ! Then after that you will realise that people debating foolishly over a completely different set of circumstances then they think they have been led to believe or indeed debate. Somewhere along the way just think how much the media are manipulating on this one !

Link to a documentary on the subject: http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/110378/Sex_Lies_and_Julian_Assange_Full_Documentary_2012/

Quiet man makes some more noise!

23 Aug

Today I was really taken a back when I spotted the Daily Mail’s headlines stating that “IDS has vowed to stand up to the EU” over 100 million pounds in payments that go to OAPs in Europe. Of course a quick glance down at the comments revealed a few people who thought this had something to do with Europe when it is in fact everything to do with the UK as are many many cases of human rights violations that have to be arbitrated in the ECHR which is not part of the the EU and is part of the European treaty across 54 countries including Russia, Azerbaijan and is an international treaty. Leaving the EU will not stop the ECHR as the final place to take cases of human rights violations by countries to protect individuals.

IDS’ 100 million pound distraction while we should be talking about the 2.8 bn gift to the rich 50p tax group and the 11% reduction in over all corporate tax another 5 bn given back as profits to large companies. OAPs have frozen pensions payment amounts, do not get any help in top up for living, do not claim housing, council tax, or depend on the social services or the nhs and IDS is complaining about 100 million ? It would cost much more if they all decided to come back home

This article is an excellent example of a newspaper and a minister demonising another group in the hope the public will miss the news about the unemployment drops claimed by shifting the stats away from unemployment to being self employed and of creating a diversion from the bad economic news. I keep wondering if IDS is playing the court jester to keep us distracted from his failings or the governments or both!

Daily Mail article : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2192291/Duncan-Smith-vows-fight-ludicrous-Euro-diktat-winter-cash-expats.html

So much for David Cameron’s two week vacation wooing Expat votes in Spain !

Is work good

21 Aug

As a result of reading the only report on the subject that the FOI team has stated the information is derived from I find I must point out the following problems with it and how it is very misleading of any researched evidence long term to show to the contrary. This expression turns up frequently on the DWP web site and I feel it is important to point out how mislead this is and that I would like it to be amended or changed from its current form which is misleading.

1. The statement “work is good for you” is general and it is misleading in suggesting that work is beneficial to health in all circumstances when in fact this is not the case, the claim is therefore misleading. The only evidence to support this claim is a single review which “focused on adults of working age and the common health problems that account for two-thirds of sickness absence and long-term incapacity” [page viii of Is Work Good for your Health and Wellbeing] clearly this means that
the remaining third of the relevant population were not considered in any detail.

2. The report itself acknowledges (on page ix) that “a minority of people may experience contrary health effects from work(lessness);” and that “Beneficial health effects depend on the nature and quality
of work”. The statement “work makes you better” does not include any of the provisos contained in the report itself.

3. It is wrong to suggest there is a large body of evidence when the only supporting evidence the DWP has so far been able to provide is a single report from 2006 which only claims to have focussed on two thirds of the relevant population (see also point 1 above) and when there is no long term researched evidence of the claim.

4. On pg 22 of the report it states

“There is limited evidence about the impact of (return to) work on (people with) mild/moderate mental health problems, despite their epidemiological and social importance.However, there is much more evidence on ‘stress’, which may be the best modern exemplar of common mental health problems.”

5. on pg 23 of the same report it states

“This review did not retrieve any direct evidence on the relative balance of beneficial vs. harmful effects of work (of whatever psychosocial characteristics) on mental health and psychological well-being.”

6. On pg 28 of the same report it states

“CR4 * There is limited evidence that rehabilitation and return to work for workers with cardio-respiratory conditions can be beneficial for general health and well-being and quality of life.”

7. On pg 30 of the same report it states the following which contradicts such misleading statements

“Moving off benefits can have either positive or negative effects on health and well-being, depending mainly on how claimants leave benefits and whether or not they (re)-enter work. Of those claimants who leave benefits voluntarily, the majority (re)-enter work and have increased income, and many report that their health is completely recovered or much better”

It is evident there are a lot of cautions and caveats within the report themselves that appear to disprove the statement “Work makes you better” and I hope the DWP will remove such statements and references to large body of evidences when in fact it is using a report that actually states in detail otherwise when it comes to ill health and diseases as it is very false and misleading.

I have now sent a complaint to the ministers concerned with regards this frequent use of the phrase “Work is good for you” when applying it to people who are in fact sick and where it would worsen their conditions. I wait with baited breath now !

Don’t shoot the messenger

20 Aug

It’s not the first time Iain Duncan Smith has been queried about how in a shrinking economy there is job growth ? It’s also not the first time Iain Duncan Smith has exaggerated statistics to make things look better then the really are. Please don’t shoot the messenger Stephanie Flanders for being the bearer of bad news. Many people have long suspected that numbers were being used to mislead the fact that many persons have been pushed into “self employment” where they are unable to even raise a basic living and have no hope in being able to generate work that new businesses need in a shrinking economy where prices have inflation and money is dear with very few people being able to afford much more than the basics.

There is little point in going into a long list of failed policies here other then to say this week has probably been one of the most unimpressive by the two former leaders of the Conservative party. First came the news that the UK had sent a very diplomatic letter to Ecuador with the belief that such “imperial” styled letters would not curry favours in Quito to seeing Iain Duncan Smith attacking a fairly respected economic news editor in the BBC and accusing the government of bias against his so called claims that the economy is doing well because of an increase in jobs amounting to 200,000 but neglecting to look at the bare facts that more then half off them were formally categorised as Job Seekers who have been encouraged to take on the governments self employed scheme that runs for six month. All they have succeeded in doing is pushing a group off of JSA and with very little support in a difficult economic market hoping that miracles will take place while denying the supply of money and the investment needed to get the wheels of the economy moving.

There are three areas David Cameron has met huge resistance too, the NHS, Schools, and Welfare that are dragging him down to the bottom of the list in terms of popularity and they are the ones that have hurt ordinary people the most with even more to come. What he has shown is a class alliance towards the rich and invested into a market system with the hope that there will be a miraculous number of jobs created in the private sector. The truth is the last four years of recession should show that the neo liberal market economics has failed not only in terms of redistribution of wealth but in a complete financial meltdown. This system needs replacing not patching up.

Given the sheer number of right wing press articles that have been in the newspapers and some even written by IDS, it is a bit rich that he should be complaining about biases, or is it that facts about the economy is now to be censored too!

Bizzare policies

13 Aug

What tonight’s “Dispatches” programme showed me in “Tricks of the Benefit Cheats” is how far from the promise the system itself is in delivering pipe dreams based on a failed government that has been unable to deliver any economic benefit to Britain’s young and old. The truth is the government has been so failing, that with each failure, it stages a more and more desperate attempt to take the heat off its back and in coming up with costly programmes to combat unemployment when it is the economy in their hands that is failing.

If sufficient resources had been devoted to the very front line job centres to be a truly supportive organisation like the old labour exchanges had been it would have been one thing. The set up of the Job Centres chiefly lacks the ability to deliver specialist help to those who do want jobs, with prospects, training, and promotions so they can be independent and feel proud about their achievements. In my own personal experience with 30 years of IT experience and a disability that came on through a series of heart attacks I was faced with no choices in which way I could find a job that was perhaps less intense then I had been doing but nonetheless would help me to cover my bills and my debts while not making my health any worse or my mental state any depressed for the catch 22 I found myself in. Job centres are not supportive they meet out sanctions instead of supporting people to find proper jobs, and how on earth can that be helpful to someone who is desperate and needs real help finding a real job.

The Job centre and the DWP have devoted billions into a work programme that failed to deliver actual jobs. That is the irony if 5 bn from the works programme, 3.6 billion from the 50p tax reduction and the 4 billion lost from giving high end corporates a reduction in taxes and contribution, and a further 3 bn in NHS restructuring bring the total to over 15bn that would have been available in cash injection to get the economy moving again. Instead the cash injection that should have been made a lower scale was hijacked by multi nationals who have profited while ordinary people have not.

Tonight’s dispatches programme also highlights how the front line staff of the Job Centre are being made the scape goats by this government by asking them to conjure up jobs out of thin air in a failed economic policy !

How dare they call tax payers benefit cheats

9 Aug

It really is a joke when you find ministers, politicians, and ignorant right wing nuts call those who have worked hard and paid into the system not only their taxes but also premiums towards the National Insurance scheme in the country and then to be labelled a cheat. In as far as I understood it was a nationally run insurance that would guarantee myself and my family to have protection when unemployed or sick and provide for a pension when I am retired in addition as payments towards a number of other things. Some people pay double of what others do simply because they earn more and I have no issues with that because it gives us a better society when our pooled resources are used in that way.

Today we are constantly told by this coalition government that this is a state handout ! Excuse me its no such thing it is a premium both I and my employers have contributed and matched too that if the scheme had been run by a private assurance company they would be in court for so much as calling me a cheat. This is the state of play here in the UK after nearly 50 years of contributions and premiums into a insurance scheme the state think they have no social contract and that its servants the ministers and leadership alike think they can simply call people cheats and that people would not be upset !

Damn right I am upset, 30 years of contributions on top of a high rate of taxes is a lot of money and according to my estimate on a salary of 50K a year that is nearly 104,000 pounds in premiums. I am not even detailing the taxes paid during that time as I know it will only make me really upset with not only the coalition and the right but also those many organisations who purport to be standing up on behalf of the tax payer.

To me this is a con job and there really is no other word for it. You pay premiums, and when you fall sick or are unemployed the insurance scheme calls you a cheat and devises all manners to deprive you out of what you have paid into not only for yourself but also for your family.

This whole issue over taking our taxes and premiums is not about scrounging but more about a government bent on cheating and breaking its own social contract set in place for over 50 years

A tribute to a brave young lady

7 Aug

Cait Reilly was today ostracised by the right wing newspapers and indeed ministers for standing up against the DWP and for having taken her case to court. The right wing press forgot to mention that the same judgement that did not accept workfare as being slave labour also found that it was unlawful to push people into this by means of sanctions and those who have been sanctioned stood to be repaid and reinstated.

I find it rather strange a government that states its aim is to give British jobs to British citizens would actually treat a young person in this way. For me the fact that a young person has taken a loan and taken the harder route of studying to gain a degree in Geology proves just how motivated she can be if the right job and the right opportunities were indeed created in industries such as mining minerals, oil exploration, gas exploration and civil engineering where her talents would not only be useful but would be in a matter of a few short years in great demand by someone of the biggest operators in their fields world wide.

I think the right wing press and the ministers are seriously flawed in their thinking. Instead of hiring a British citizen and or training her further into her field it has decided that shelf filling is far more appropriate for a graduate thus wasting her talents and of course leaving her with the student loan to contend with.

I think it takes a very brave young person to work hard and study to get her degree and then stand up to the obscenity of the logic at play here. Meanwhile it will be the very same right wing who while criticizing the need to import skilled immigrants are perfectly happy to throw the talents of our young away simply to score political points.

I think and I hope everyone will agree here the real hero is Cait and the many others caught in her situation and we should all applaud her and others for standing up the workfare bullies run by people devoid of any intelligence at all !

New Tory attack on disabled poor

7 Aug

Hundreds of thousands more disabled people will face humiliating assessments that could see their benefits snatched away.

Atos Healthcare already runs work capability assessments on behalf of the government. It won new contracts worth £400 million last week to “assess” people who currently claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

The news came just days after the firm was exposed as setting targets to get people off benefits.

Doctors working for Atos question and test people who receive various disability benefits to see if they are “fit for work”. But they are told they can only rate one in eight people as unfit for work.

Incredibly the other firm in line to win around £200 million worth of contracts is the disgraced G4S.

The Tories plan to replace DLA with a new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) next year. They hope to use the new tests to cut spending on the benefit by 20 percent over the next three years. The plan is to drive people onto lower levels of benefit—or off them altogether.

Last year 32 people died while challenging Atos rulings that they were fit for work. Yet the government’s own figures showed last year that 40 percent of appeals against Atos decisions to remove disability benefits were successful. The figure rose to 70 percent in Scotland.

Peter Reynolds from Cambridgeshire is just one of those who has won an appeal against Atos. Peter has problems with his lungs and his lymphatic system has stopped working after he fell off a fork lift truck.

He uses a wheelchair and needs constant care. After his accident Peter received sickness benefit—but was then assessed as “fit for work” by Atos.

He successfully appealed against the decision. Peter said, “I would sooner be in the workplace doing a decent day’s work than being in the mess I am in.”

Perhaps that’s why employment minister Chris Grayling tried to censor a video that gave advice on how to mount a successful appeal. Grayling complained about the video’s “tone” and “negative comments”. But he doesn’t deny that those sections in dispute are true.

Workers at Atos in the PCS union were set to strike on Monday of next week over pay. They plan a further strike on 28 August.

Media spout lies over ‘benefit scroungers’

The Daily Mail raged against “benefit scroungers” last week. It used figures from August 2011 for claimants of Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance to argue that claimants weren’t really ill.

The paper belittled people with “acne” and “coughs”. It failed to mention that by far the highest diagnosis listed in the figures is “depressive episodes”. This accounted for nearly 20 percent of all claimants.

The Mail claims it’s easy for people to claim benefits. The reality is the opposite. An investigation last year used government statistics to show that “at least” 500,000 people were wrongly denied Incapacity Benefit over the previous 15 years.

Game over for Atos

The Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) campaign has called five days of action against Atos starting on Monday 28 August. It plans to target Atos during the Paralympics. Atos is the main sponsor of the Games.

On the Monday, activists plan to deliver a coffin of messages to Atos to its headquarters. Protests will target local Atos offices on Tuesday while a spoof Paralympic ceremony will hand out medals on Wednesday.

A “disruptive” action is planned for Friday. DPAC is appealing for anti-cuts activists, trade unionists and others to join the events. For more details go to the DPAC website.

Republished from: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=29295

How the newspapers are reporting disability

3 Aug

Inclusion London commissioned the Glasgow Media Group and the Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research to carry out a study to analyse changes in the way the media are reporting disability and how it has impacted on public attitudes towards disabled people. The study highlights the following points: 

There has been a significant increase in the reporting of disability in the print media with 713 disability related articles in 2004‐5 compared to 1015 in a comparable period in 2010‐11. This increase has been accompanied by a shift in the way that disability is being reported and there is now increased politicisation of media coverage of disability in 2010‐11 compared to 2004‐5;

There has been a reduction in the proportion of articles which describe disabled people in sympathetic and deserving terms, and stories that document the ‘real life’ experiences of living as a disabled person have also decreased. Some impairment groups are particularly less likely to receive sympathetic treatment: people with mental health conditions and other ‘hidden’ impairments were more likely to be presented as ‘undeserving’.

 • Articles focusing on disability benefit and fraud increased from 2.8% in 2005/5 to 6.1% in 2010/11. When the focus groups were asked to describe a typical story in the newspapers on disability benefit fraud was the most popular theme mentioned.

 • These articles are impacting on people’s views and perceptions of disability related benefits. The focus groups all claimed that levels of fraud were much higher than they are in reality, with some suggesting that up to 70% of claimants were fraudulent. Participants justified these claims by reference to articles they had read in newspapers.

 • This strength of fraud as a tabloid theme conflicts with the reality of levels of incapacity benefit fraud and focuses public perceptions of responsibility for Incapacity Benefit levels on claimants rather than problems in lack of labour market demand, economic policies or discrimination.

 • There has been an increase in the number of articles documenting the claimed ‘burden’ that disabled people are alleged to place on the economy – with some articles even blaming the recession itself on incapacity benefit claimants;

 • Articles that explore the political and socio-economic context of disability are rare as are articles that explore the impact that the proposed cuts will have on disabled people. There was a decrease in references to discrimination against disabled people or other contextualising issues;

 • There has been a significantly increased use of pejorative language to describe disabled people, including suggestions that life on incapacity benefit had become a ‘Lifestyle Choice’. The use of terms such as ‘scrounger’, ‘cheat’ and ‘skiver’ was found in 18% of tabloid articles in 2010/11 compared to 12% in 2004/5. There were 54 occurrences of these words in 2004/5 compared to 142 in 2010/11. These changes reinforced the idea of disabled claimants as ‘undeserving’.

 • Disabled people are feeling threatened by the changes in the way disability is being reported and by the proposed changes to the their benefits and their benefit entitlements. These two are combining and reinforcing each other.

The study can be downloaded from
http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_214917_en.pdf

A sick joke

2 Aug

ATOS were today rewarded for their incompetence by a new contract by the DWP for the change over to PIP from DLA. The move has received wide spread protest from charities and flies in the face of MPs who have called for a discussion on the company and the WCA it carries out for ESA claimants.

In the same week as when both the BBC’s Panorama and ITV Channel 4’s Dispatches revealed shocking insight into the process and how there are indeed hidden targets in the guise of forecasts and in the announcement that there is to be a parliamentary debate at Westminster on the 4th of September one has to wonder what was Mr. Duncan Smith thinking ?

Two contracts were signed today one with ATOS and the other with the previously inexperienced Capita for a combined contract worth 540 million pounds with 400 million going to ATOS. Of course nobody yet knows the details of the contract or indeed how much of it will be revealed.

In a move that is only going to anger many the government seems determined to pursue its policy of terrorising the disabled and sick while ignoring the banks and tax avoidance schemes recent news has brought to light. As usual this government is not only following double standards but it is chasing the defenceless while the guilty are rewarded in no uncertain terms. In less than two years this government has shown itself to be morally bankrupt group of ruthless businessmen intent on representing the corporates rather then being a true representatives of the people.

A gold medal for hypocrisy

1 Aug

Tory minister who grabbed £100,000 expenses now attacks ‘scroungers’

Chris Grayling, the Tory work and pensions minister, launched fresh attacks on benefit claimants this week, despite his smear that they are fakers being proved wrong.

Grayling says the Tories’ Work Programme has failed to force enough people with long term health problems into work­—because they are “sicker than expected”. This gives the lie to the Tories’ claim that people are feigning illness to avoid work.

But now Grayling, an MP who grabbed thousands in expenses, plans to change the rules. He wants to redesign the scheme so people originally deemed too ill to join it would be forced to do so.

This would hit tens of thousands of disability benefit claimants. Grayling is also set to force unemployed people to work for free for six months—or risk losing their benefits.

He claims this will “help” them. In reality it will help bosses by giving them free labour—and it will particularly help those bosses who happen to be Tory party donors.

John Nash, Ryan Robson and three others set up Sovereign Capital in 2001. It owns the Employment and Skills Group (ESG), which has grabbed £73 million worth of government employment contracts. Nash and his wife Caroline have donated £182,500 to the Tories since 2006. Robson has given them £267,866 since 2003.

Plush

Grayling’s attack is based on the idea that people on benefits are lying “scroungers”. But he’s the real scrounger. Grayling claimed over £100,000 in expenses to renovate a plush Pimlico flat. He says he needed the flat close to parliament to carry out his work—yet he hardly ever uses it.

Grayling’s neighbours certainly don’t seem to see much of him. One said, “There is a light on occasionally, but he is not here very often.” After seeing a picture of the Tory, another said “I have no idea who this man is.”

He’s never there because he has three other flats within the M25. He spread his expense claims over two years to avoid going over the maximum limit. And he used the money to completely refurbish his flat—pushing its value up.

Grayling’s real aim is to throw people off benefits regardless of their circumstances. More evidence of this emerged just last week. The Tories employ private firm Atos to test people with disabilities and get them off benefits.

An investigation revealed that the government have dictated no more than 12 percent should be declared unfit to work.

The Tories want to force people onto lower rates of benefit, or none at all and enrich their mates in the process. They are the real lying scroungers—not people on benefits.


Reprinted with permission from http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=29256

A austere olympics celebration

28 Jul

Yesterday the Olympics were kicked off with full funfare and celebrations. Everyone is in the celebration mood including our politicians who have indulged on their vanity another cost of 15 bn pounds during a recession since 2008. Nobody said in 2010 that due to the “financial crisis” we would stop street parties and wasting money on celebrations such as the wedding, the jubilee (pls pardon me your majesty), and the Olympics!

When China held the Olympics there was a lot to celebrate by them and the surplus that economy has is not something we have. We have been told time and time again that we are all in this together and everyone has to tighten their belt, but alas we are told that leaving people hungry, homeless, or without care is far more important because we can all find solace in celebrating the Olympics even while some of us have to scavenge for the next meal.  In China during the Peking Olympics I found that hosting the Olympics was a celebration of achieving an economic miracle. the same was so for Seoul South Korea, and even Sydney Australia. Not so in Britain, instead of a surplus we have a deficit, instead of reserves, we give tax cuts to the rich by means of a reduction in the rich tax and also a cut in the high end of corporate tax by 5% .

I find it ironical that such a symbol of humanity’s solidarity in the world is also the back drop for such ignorance and apathy to what has befallen the poor, old, sick, disabled, and children in this country and we are expected to not be “Party poppers” or not say a word.   “Get in the spirit” we are told, put our unhappiness to one side and drown your sorrows in this great achievement of mankind and turn your eye away from the realities.

The disabled people next year when PIP is introduced could have done badly with that money if this was indeed an “austerity”, it would have only cost 2.1 bn and yet we a nation are prepared to not only party and celebrate by indulging ourselves by spending more then 14 times the amount. People are left in their homes without getting care and to raise this false sense of concerns and priorities will also endure me to ridiculed by those who do not care.

I am never ceased to be surprised at how often this government has found large chunks of money when it has suited them.

1. Osborne gives Ireland money to bail out British banks
2. Osborne gives EU money
3. Osborne gives the rich money through the cutting of the rich tax
4. Osborne gives the corporates a 5% tax cut,and
5. Osborne has money to spend for the Jubilee, Royal wedding, and of course the Olympics

Yet when it comes to 2.1 bn pounds for the half million disabled people our generosity stops there. The same is true for many who will face the cold winter, some homeless if they aren’t already so, and many hungry children and parents and mothers to go with that. I am sure this is a great time for many but do spare a thought for that substantial poor who are the real sufferers and really the ones paying for this great sporting moment literally.

The trouble with IDS’ workfare

25 Jul

Workfare schemes are of little use if there are no jobs out there for people to do– something which is an issue of wider economic policies Skills employers are really demanding are literacy, numeracy and familiarity with modern information technology, which menial make-work tasks are unlikely to provide the unemployed with.
It would be better to invest into education, training schemes instead and if such skills developed under a government run schemes forcing people into such work will not result in any benefit for either the worker or the employer.

Many long term unemployed are older, made redundant from industries in decline and they do not lack sills but instead suffer from ageist prejudices among employers. The idea that unemployed persons are being offered real jobs that need doing then they should be employed in the normal way earning the right wages. The number of people defrauding the system is in fact very small to the total cost of the benefit system. The majority of persons on benefit are seeking work in an economy that is in recession and without sufficient jobs being created across all industrial sectors.  Instead of applying for work, attending interviews and developing their relevant skills the government’s solutions is a lose lose proposition as they will in fact prolong the length of persons on benefit rather then actually help shorten them.

Workfare have very low standards that produce poor and sometimes unsafe products and services. An individual forced into workfare schemes will lack incentives to work to any high standards and be actively dis-satisfied and disaffected. The work they do is therefore not likely to benefit anyone much raise as many health and safety issues: would you drive across a bridge built by workfare labour? Would you trust your aged parent or pre-school child to a workfare carer? Would you trust them with any job that required the handling of money?

Working for the community and working for businesses are not exactly the same thing. There is a gulf of difference when people volunteer their hours and time to community work as opposed to retail work and it has no benefit for that community except for the profit coffers of employers involved in the scheme. In other words the tax payer is helping subsidise the profits of private companies and it does not benefit the community in any way and rather it may have a negative affect as real volunteers will be placed into workfare programme jobs that serve to make profits for private companies.

Workfare does not break the dependency culture that politicians so lovingly like to label. People do not intentionally seek unemployment and dependency on the state. No one voluntarily likes to live on very low income provided by state benefits and instead they become unemployed through no fault of their own often due to failing economies. Workfare stigmatises them as lazy and needing to be forced into work and the scheme ignores the talents, ambitions, and indeed pre existing skills among those involved. Using skilled people for menial work and tasks and manual labour teaches them no useful skills.

Happiness index

24 Jul

I must say today’s news was one of bemusement for me as I read the headlines that announced the first every measure of David Cameron’s happiness index.  I was over joyed when I saw this piece of news as suddenly I thought David Cameron cares about us and our well being ? But once I started to read the article I soon began to realise that David Cameron is completely out of touch. So out of touch has this man become with the results of his government and its nasty policies based on pure fabrication that this only serves as one more example of an “Emperor who has no clothes on !”

History usually shows that a number of unpopular leaders throughout the world have fallen foul of this when they end up believing their own propaganda and are usually the last to know how unhappy his own countrymen have become with them.  This must indeed be the closing days for Cameron and his high spinning life as a prime minister as he remains completely oblivious that he and his government embark on a set of policies that not only be short lasting for him but indicates how much in denial he really is at the pure misery and hell him and his government have caused.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/first-annual-results-of-david-camerons-happiness-index-published-7972861.html

As he tries to pit one small group against another the public are now completely aware they are being squeezed and cut down to largess the coffers of the rich to go on making windfall profits through tax cuts that would have much better served easing the pain for the poor during a financial crisis.

I for one Mr. Cameron am not happy that you play such divisive games and have created a society for the “haves” and then pretend that we are happy ? Well, Think again ! No amount of happiness indexes will save you from being relegated as one Britain’s worst Prime Minister in over a century !

Immigration – the myths being spread to divide us

23 Jul

Contrary to what tabloid newspapers  say,
immigrants come to Britain to work, not claim benefits.
This graph shows net migration falling as unemployment rises
(Figures: Office for National Statistics)

Politicians and the right wing press have unleashed a torrent of abuse against immigrants. The attacks are accelerating and getting nastier, encouraging people who want to whip up racism. A column by Trevor Kavanagh in the Sun newspaper last week was typical of the way statistics can be manipulated. He wrote that recent immigration “was a grotesque exercise in social engineering which has transformed and in some ways put at risk the way we live.  “So today we see the seething resentment of British voters – including established migrants – towards those they blame for taking their jobs, living off benefits they haven’t paid for… and threatening to harm the very country that provides them with a home.”

Key myths about immigration.

Myth – Immigration leads to unemployment

It’s the booms and slumps in capitalism that cause unemployment, not immigration. Immigrants didn’t demand the closure of the Redcar steel plant or push through tens of thousands of job losses in manufacturing. There are a million more people unemployed in Britain today than there were two years ago. That’s not because of a surge in immigration, it’s because the system across the world went into deep crisis, and bosses and bankers expected workers to pay the price.

The graph on this page shows the number of people unemployed in Britain and net migration. They go in completely opposite directions! When unemployment was at its highest in 1992 more people left the country than came here. Then, as unemployment begins to fall, a few more people are encouraged to come to Britain. But as unemployment rises the level of migration drops off. The worst ever level of unemployment in Britain was in the 1930s. But immigration was only a few tens of thousands a year. The reason for the recent increase in immigration was the entry of several eastern European countries into the European Union (EU) in 2004 – known as the “A8”.

The vast majority of new workers are from these “A8” countries. They came here because there were lots of job opportunities, and many left once these dried up. Last week the press was full of outraged stories about how three English councils – Peterborough, Slough and Boston – were complaining that they could not cope with a flood of immigrants draining their resources. A rather more sober piece in the Financial Times pointed out: “All three councils were at pains to point out that they welcomed immigration, which had boosted local economies.” The councils’ gripe is that they are not getting the share of central government funding due to councils with a changing population demographic. They are not complaining about the immigration itself, which has created wealth. And council services will be far harder hit by the cuts that are coming than any immigration effect.


Myth – Britain is overcrowded

Britain’s population is around 61 million. There are scare stories of it rising to 70 million – with the implication that this would mean we would be “swamped”. In fact from 1971 to 2004, ­population growth in the UK ranks 31 out of 38 European and other large nations for which data are available. In this period the population of Britain grew by about 7 percent. For comparison, in the same period the US grew by 42 percent, Japan by 21 percent, China by 52 percent and the population of India doubled.

There is not a fixed cake of British wealth where less will go to people already resident if new people arrive. It is people working and using their skills that create the wealth. Strangely, many of those who go on about the costs of immigration also say the country cannot afford to give people decent pensions because there aren’t going to be enough people of working age around. Both arguments can’t be true.

The only way for non-EU citizens to get in is as refugees or asylum seekers. The right wing media likes to make a big issue of illegal immigrants coming in via Calais. Every study has shown that this small number of people are coming here to work, and that they tend to come from countries directly affected by British foreign policy. It is not a coincidence that most come from Iraq and Afghanistan.


Myth – Our services are being swamped

Far from being a burden on the welfare state, there are large areas of the health service, and transport that would collapse without workers from abroad. Not long ago councils were complaining about having to close schools and having no one to look after old people as those born between the 1950s and 1960s aged. About a fifth of the people who do the vital job of caring for our older people were born abroad. A quarter of British nurses were born abroad – half in London. Without these people the NHS would fall apart. It’s not true that there would be a sudden surge of “indigenous” workers to fill the gap. And while they staff public services, immigrants are more likely to be single and of working age than the population in general – and consequently depend less on public services such as healthcare.


Myth – Migrants cause the housing crisis

There has never been as much housing in Britain as there is now. There are two bedrooms for every person in this country. The real problem is that the rich have got huge houses – and second and third houses – because housing is distributed according to what people can afford, not what they need. There are nearly a million empty properties in Britain. Most of them are private sector homes that can’t be sold at a profit because of the recession. There are over 650,000 empty homes in England alone (including 1,798 in Barking and Dagenham).

It would cost about £1.5 billion to bring 250,000 homes back into use, which would also create 65,000 jobs. That sum is nothing compared to the amount handed to the bankers, or poured into the bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or the £100 billion for Trident nuclear weapons replacement. The housing problems stem from the control by private developers and landlords of the housing market and the collapse of council house building.


Myth – It’s not racist to be anti-migrant

Immigration rules and the way in which they are implemented are racist. They are directed against black people far more than white people. Half of the Nigerians who overstay their visas are pursued by what is now the UK Borders Agency, but only one in 50 Australians are persued. When the likes of the Daily Express and the Sun run anti-immigrant stories, they always stoke up the image of Britain being “flooded” by people from Africa, Asia or eastern Europe. They never bleat about the thousands of whites from Australia, the US, Canada, South Africa or north western Europe who come to Britain to live and work.  Every group of migrants to Britain have faced racism – from the Irish to the Jews, to people from the Caribbean to Asians and east Europeans.

But even when these groups settle in and are partially accepted, attacks on new immigrants spill over into attacks on all Asian and black people, whether they were born here or not.


Fact – Divisions will weaken us all

Bosses and bankers want working people to squabble among themselves rather than turn their fire on the real enemy – the rich. A recent equalities report shows that a tiny 1 percent of people in Britain take home more than £2,000 a week – and the gap between rich and poor is growing. Working people need unity to fight the attacks now, the avalanche of cuts after the election, and hundreds of thousands more job losses. If our rulers can get us to think that immigrants are the problem, then they will escape with their wealth and power intact. It is true that there is a lack of affordable housing in Britain. Young people do have far too few opportunities. But it’s not the fault of immigrants. The NHS is always stretched and sometimes grossly inadequate. And working people are insecure about their jobs, get too little money and have to work far too hard for the pittance they get.

But it’s not the fault of immigrants.

A united working class has the power to save jobs, win decent pay and conditions, and defend public services. That means rejecting the lies about immigration and the racism and hatred of Muslims which so many politicians and newspapers are now peddling. We shouldn’t let them divide and rule us. We should hit back together.

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=20351


Bit rich when politicians speak of fraud and crime!

21 Jul

This morning as I read postings on line from various people, I could not help notice one of my online friends who is disabled feel very annoyed at how Chris Grayling was demonizing  people on Incapacity benefit as people who are criminals rather then the fact they happen to be people who after being marginalised face all kinds of problems with unpaid debts, bills, country court hearings, and so on.  I could see her point after weeks of being labelled as “scroungers” and “cheats” many disabled people feel increasingly victimized by the government itself that is causing the most harm in perpetuating a stereotype that reminds me of some of the prejudices I have run across while travelling and living in the American Mid West.

So I decided I would look into the background of Chris Grayling whom I know so little about other then the fact he was the shadow home secretary who just before the election caused controversy over the gay couples rights to be allowed to rent a room in a family run hotel.  A quick goggle on the web revealed that Chris Grayling was involved in an expense scandal    over owning 3 houses within the M25 and acquiring another flat in Pimlico worth 675,000 pounds paid for by the public purse even though his nearest home was only 17 miles away.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/shadow-cabinet-expenses/5633897/Chris-Graylings-expenses.html

I then went on to the They work for you site and found there that among the donors to Mr. Grayling there is a controversy over whether he has breached the ministerial code or not over the award of DWP contract to Delolitte who also donated £27,000 to him in the past and the link to article can be found here.

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/04/26/did-chris-grayling-break-code-by-awarding-contract-to-tory-donor/

There are other controversies over inventing or lying about statistics which I won’t go into here as this appears to be well known and tracked by organisations such as Full Facts. Another link to the BBC shows that other donors are Flowidea and KPMG. Flowidea it turns out is linked to Lord Ashcroft while KPMG is a subsidiary of ATOS another DWP contractor.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/representatives/profiles/25172.stm

Of course one has to wonder why Chris Grayling has stated the obvious that 1 in 4 persons have a criminal record. I would not have thought it would be otherwise given that 25% of the total UK population has a criminal record too.

IDS Spins

19 Jul

Iain Duncan Smith and the misuse of statistics is a phenomena I did not think I had thought was real that is not until I started reading his articles and reports he has produced as the self-styled champion of the poor!  On a number of occasions I have been drawn to watching how many of his statements are discredited and yet he still appears to be doing the same in a relentless manner.

The standard of British politics has indeed been lowered by the tone of the articles in the right wing press like the Daily Mail. Daily Telegraph, The Sun, and the Star publish almost simultaneously that would have made Joseph Goebbles proud. The effect of repeating facts and figures that do not bear up to scrutiny however is often published and then discredited while making sure the “lie” or “spin” are believed by many who read dumb down newspapers for their political guidance.

During the last two weeks and since his trip to America to give a speech at the American Heritage Foundation which is an amalgamation of right-wing Republicans and in no time he was back creating a stir this week with simultaneous articles praising his benefits cap programme regulations coming into force with more made up data and statistics a fact that full fact has now done a very good research and assessment over and their article can be found here.

http://fullfact.org/articles/has_benefits_cap_been_success_jobseekers_allowance-27598

This is not the first time Full facts and other independent monitors and journalists have found issues of what is been suggested and what is the truth. I think personally when a minister or politician stoops to playing with statistics and invents them then they should be held answerable to the public specially a minister whose policies over the last six years both in the Labour Right and the Tories have been gaining appeal by setting himself up as a fake expert in social justice again without the education or the skills to do so as we already know when evidenced by his equally faked cv which you can read about on the following BBC link

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2002/12_december/19/newsnight_ids_cv.shtml

Cameron made another infamous pre-election pledge over transparency and accountability and to enable the public to be able to fire an MP let alone a Minister and it is high time the public were allowed to do so and remove ministers who lie. Lies even though they may be re-categorised as “Spin” are lies none the less and in this case the lies are becoming very damaging ones to the vulnerable and the unemployed !

The Feckless Tag

16 Jul

In the dictionary of the Tories using such words to describe the vulnerable and unemployed is not only an insult but it should be questioned and stopped immediately. Very often if you listen to a Tory minister or even their Prime Minister David Cameron and in particular Iain Duncan Smith and Chis Grayling you will hear the work “Feckless” used with increasing number of speeches designed to effect a negative opinion of people and indeed dehumanise them.

As a person interested in the new-speak of this decade I find the use of Feckless is rather an interesting way of recategorising people into synonymously meaning to be of having the following chief characteristics as a method of stereotyping that is not much dissimilar to how marketing databases are created by the use of several characteristics such as pay scales, home size, etc to determine your marketing profile match.

Today a “Feckless” person is thought to have the following attributes:-

hopeless
ineffective,
ineffectual
feeble
meaningless
useless
purposeless
worthless
aimless
careless
reckless
irresponsible

Sometimes I think calling someone feckless, especially to their face is an insult! It’s like calling someone a child, except using a word a feckless person wouldn’t understand, so it’s twice as insulting because then they’re stupid in addition to being lazy.

These characteristics are often used in passing when discussing the vulnerable and the poor and one has to question if these are fair judgemental attributes to use which not only are stereotypes but also a very narrow minded view of people who all have the same qualities and attributes so they can be dehumanized and considered of no consequence at the use of one word.   It is time politicians are also held to the words they use that do and cause hate in societies by targeting small groups of minorities often unable to speak or hit back as easy lame targets. It is time they are held accountable for the hate they cause and are held accountable for the misinformation they sow.

These are not social experts least we forget but politicians whose ethics and integrity is always at question by many of us in society and it is time people stood up and said enough is enough and stop this ever divisive and narrow minded form of politics to take root any further before we really damage our society in many other similar ways. Whole section cannot be simply put into nice easy stereotypes with such negative characteristics and politicians should not be allowed to get away with it either. Is it not time we had an open and positive debate of politicians labelling sections of our society according to their personal prejudices and values ?

The benefit cap spin

16 Jul

After a lull of nearly a fortnight since IDS’ last appearance in the news over work fare’s wonderful progress the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Mail Online, and the Sun have all carried the same news about how 1700 people have been scared into looking for government support to find jobs that will lift them out of their 26K plus benefits dependency. Reading carefully between the lines it actually suggest fully 3.03% of the 58,000 persons identified on benefits above the 26K limit for what ever reasons are now applying in their “thousands” for jobs.

The story is so laughable because it would indeed be a laudable effort on the part of the governments part if they actually were able to create jobs that would give people a take home pay of at least 26K. I know many people who are now “languishing” on their meagre benefits would jump at the chance to be offered a job for 34K plus and indeed it would be a great achievement too if these were common jobs where set as  the minimum living wage at 34K before taxes.

Now if only the government actually created the jobs that would pay such wages then I can see success in creating the conditions of more people not only returning to work but more people willing to have such work both in terms of self respect and pride and feeling like a full and whole person contributing into society.  However this is fantasy land the effect of the DWP and indeed IDS in imposing the benefit cap as there are no such jobs for people to go to that either pay 34K or for that matter 26K ! The truth is by pursuing such policies what the government is indeed ending up doing is punishing the very same persons who are unemployed today for being unemployed and not as a result of a series of bad economic years followed by a series of bad bungling years by this very inept and highly diabolical coalition government that cannot even face up to its own mess ups and mistakes . The have Instead resorted to punishing the unemployed and scapegoat them while hiding  their own incompetence.

Liberal Democrats think they shouldn’t appologise !

13 Jul

The Liberal Democrats do not think they should apologise for the cuts ! Inside the Liberal Democrat party Clegg faithful have started a campaign to try and win over their grass root supporters by stating they have noting to be ashamed of  because they were doing their “national” and “patriotic” duty to support cuts that are based on a premise that the country deficit was so important that it mattered most.

I would like to point out there is something grossly wrong with this statement and it is spin propaganda and does not deserve the contempt to our intelligence to see right through them. What is worse is that instead of admitting they were wrong, they have gone on to pin their colours to the Tory mast and show what an unprogressiveness and lily liveried bunch of politicians they are.

It presumes people are still held in ignorance over the use of the budget deficit to scare people into thinking all has been gloom and doom over the years. If that is so how on Earth do they account for the basic fact that Britain today even compared to 20 years ago or for that matter 10 years ago is a richer society. Its GDP has been growing not falling over the last two decades however what has been faling is the proportionate share of that wealth from the economic growth itself. This the LibDems seem to live in denial over even though they know in their hearts is true not just borne out by the facts and graphs and statistics but also with the use of a little grey matter.

What really has me amused is that Clegg and his cohorts want us to belie this easy explanation and are willing participants in misleading people yet again with the intent of helping the Conservatives to achieve even more cuts in the name of this deep crisis.  Here is the score card the way I see it. The support of the cutting of the rich tax from 50% to 45% returned 2.1 bn of government revenues to the rich. Given that out of the 117 bn that corporate tax should be collecting 69.5 bn of it never is and the 48bn remaining has been also cut down as a revenue by another 3% since the coalition came to power. This put effectively  4 bn and 2.1 bn pounds per year back into the hands of the rich. I am not counting the 1 billion a year being spent on the failed Workfare programme or the failed NHS restructuring with ea ch day passing is a drive to privatisation despite what we were told.

It is even more ironically if one takes a quick look across the channel and we find corporate tax on the high end there is 33% while in the UK it has fallen to 25% and 24% next year! Now tell me again why should the Liberal Democrats not apologise for being either being fools and dummies, or for the fact that they are still complicit in this wrong argument using the so called deficit to scare us with yet again. I think in this circumstances the old American saying applies well,  “Cheat me once shame on you, but cheat me twice shame on me!”

The santimonious prick

12 Jul

Who are you to speak to me about values when it is clear you so lack them yourselves. Who are you to talk about fraud when you are all guilty of fraud yourselves. When will you stop telling people about morality when you yourselves are devoid of any such capacity.

You speak of people as if they are your inferiors and put on them standards that only the rich can afford and you place such high meaning to your opinions that often you undo the very work you set out. I do not know what your mission is apart from being that of a sanctimonious prick.

You speak about the people who have become unemployed as the worklessness. You ridicule their children and say they will be spoilt You blame all of the societies evils on the breakdown of marriage and yet you fail to see what are the causes of all of these and only make things worse.

Marriage does not break down without pressures neither do children suffer without those same pressures and here you are you sanctimonious prick speaking at speeches and at political rallies, newspaper interviews, and tv programmes too and yet you still remain a smug sanctimonious prick wasting the opportunity to really make a difference in a positive way.

You speak about passion and help and yet you have done the opposite and you speak for us when you do and say this is for our good you and here we are again listening to those sermons from one who is a nothing more than a sanctimonious prick

Bankers, workers, politicians, shirkers, and wankers

12 Jul

In Cameron’s world it must be nice to be able to sit from so far above the rest of us and think of all of us as little people if indeed he even sees us. Is it his affluence that causes this disdained view of  “Us and Them” that causes him to come out with jingos like “We are the party of the workers and they the shirker” much similar to the once cynical call of Margaret Thatcher about the need to be the political party of the workers when her much heralded social revolution which turned out to be the creation of a neo-liberal market place that has given the people the widest gap in wealth in living memory all in a few short three decades.

Today’s Bankers sit at the pinnacle of all wealth and their off spring and children  sit in the house of commons and the lords deciding on what the poor and the sick, old, disabled all are. They have even put a magnetised value per head they exterminate as even further efficiency and savings to be had.  This is not a government that stands for the people of the country, it has already proven it a government for a select few privileged who are getting richer and richer while at the same time resenting having to pay a fair share of their income to the running and maintenance of a civilised society.

In simple cold business language of the day anyone not capable of carrying a rifle in Cameron’s war is considered to be a traitor and a shirker as some sort of modern day trench war cowards . Nothing has changed the call is the same one and the fallen have the same end ! It is interesting after the closeness to the phase “Work makes you free” to now hear the Workers and shirker phase as one more German phase borrowed that was used to force injured and wounded soldiers to take up charging to the deaths.

“Worthless” and a drain on resources that is what the poor are seen in the cold world of management and business corporates. The very idea that people who fall sick from working through illnesses and accidents are shirker or those who find themselves to be the unfortunate jobless forced into worklessness by the fact it is Cameron’s government itself that has Shirked its duties to make the economy grow, create jobs. Instead we find we are not only carrying some of the highest unemployment rates in over a decade but our balance of trade is also going against us because the few standing businesses that do create jobs are all being drained of their life blood by a complete lack of credit even though money has now been printed twice each at 50bn each time in less then a year.

I have tried hard to understand in what context could a man use a jingo that was so anti thesis to the political party and creed he belongs to who do not see poor people or destitute people within our society created from the families of workers that are suffering. Does he really think a jingo like that would cause this deep rift in society where the workers will hate the defenceless most of whom are their own kith and kin ! The old are out mothers and fathers, the young are our children, the university students are also our children, and those who are already beginning to suffer the disaster of his social and welfare bill are soon to see just how it is going to be for the benefits for the large corporates all eagerly creating their new divisions and subsidiaries to reap a bonanza of profits much like we saw when the care home boom and bust happened before !

I don’t know if I should feel insulted or astounded that Cameron thinks of workers to be not only production units and human resources but also they be at the required intellect level of a 3 year old child who does or does not know what is good for his families, children, and communities.

Mr Cameron you never cease to amaze us just how out of touch you are but if nobody has told you already I shall do so now “The emperor has no clothes on” ! While the Bankers prosper, politicians embroiled in expenses scandals and choice pensions the workers do understand that you are trying to play us off against each other. The real shirker are not the workers or their families but its the ones responsible for creating the jobs and making the economy move and that according to the last time I checked is you Mr. Cameron !

How the rich get richer and the poor are blamed

9 Jul

We can close the rich poor gap by increasing the taxes to cover the 5% deficit gap and perhaps a bit more to start building a surplus. Once done we can step down as we will be saving in payouts to banks with interest on the deficit itself.

When a person takes out a mortgage he may have a salary of 20K and gets a mortgage of 70K (3.5 times what he earns) However in the UK what we owe in total is in fact 1380 bn and what we earn every year as a nations which is 1680 bn in what we measure as the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).  If we just continued the way we are and as our wealth increases through growth we can put less and less towards this or choose to pay it off entirely which  will have the banks crying, as it is they who buy the governments debt and then take it back through interest payments that goes on and on and on. The real truth is for the past 10 years there has been a trend in under taxing and increasing profits and thereby giving out big bonuses and the money had to come from us the public !

The UK on average (that is until Osborn got his hands on it) was growing between 2.75% to 3% in other words getting richer by around 45 bn each year and then growing again to 48 the following year and so on.

The more you look under the bonnet and the arithmetic involved the more you realise we have been taken for a ride by the rich who simply have not been sharing their increases in wealth with the rest of us, and they want to continue to push it down even further and thereby widening the gap between the haves and have nots even further. Leaving aside the increase in corporate taxes the gap still increases and when you push the rest of the society to manage on a smaller and smaller share of the economic pie the gap increases many folds. There is of course the other issue of under paying corporate taxes which shows that only 48 bn are collected in taxes while 69 bn go through tax avoidance schemes.

The simple truth is that if we concentrate on deficit alone then it looks a very scary picture as it suggests we are living beyond our means. However when we bring our growing wealth into the picture then suddenly you begin to realise this is nothing more then a policy of deprivation of a nation by its own financial institutions

The reason this has happened ? It is because our governments have yielded to the corporate greed of the executives that run such organisations who not only are creating opportunities to profit but are doing so at a time when there is great economic hardship and it is the poor that are getting the blame. They have yielded to the US political lobbying groups of large American mega corporations. and they have done this it appears by setting up institutes that actively promote and lobby politicians through a process where there is no transparency. as to who and what is contributing towards the so called studies, such think tanks and impressively named charities and institutes  put out. The studies more often than not challenge the views of  experts and learned views of academic intelligentsia.

A languishing time

4 Jul
Grim Repear

The Grim Reaper

I have to say I am amazed when politicians use a word and then put such a spin on it that it misleads you into thinking that day is night and night is day. One of my all time favourites is the work “Languishing” and I had to look it up in the dictionary to discover it means “To bee or become weak or feeble; lose strength or vigour”. I first heard this word when I first became aware of a man called Iain Duncan Smith who must have passed me by in the news so unspectacular a fashion, that I had not even realised that before Michael Howard and even Douglas Hague the conservative party had another leader whom even Theresa May when referring to the conservatives referred to it as “the nasty party”.

So when I first heard his statement with reference to the sick people in the DWP whom he was going to help and I presume he meant that was what he was out to do when he said that “thousands are languishing on welfare”! At first I thought this was a man of character eager to help the down trodden and I was even more pleased when I had found out that he had recently rediscovered religion and had gone back to being a practising Christian and even more so a Catholic. These to me are very powerful symbols of what the Christian ministry is about and one can conjure up images of such missionaries helping the really sick with all kinds of diseases, conditions, and illnesses.

Much too my surprise I was soon to learn that the ministry that was being proposed here however was quite the opposite. It was not one of giving help or solace to the sick but of actually coercing people to work despite their ill health and sick conditions. Most accounts I had read up until now was that it was in fact work and particularly bad working conditions that contribute towards the deterioration of ones health both mental and physical resulting in stress that manifests itself in all kinds of diseases including heart failure.

Soon I came to realise these are indeed spin words that are meant to show a genuine affection for the victims but in fact used to punish them. Perhaps Mr. Smith thinks this was a kindness in making sure people did not languish but in fact died.  I would not know what goes on in his complex mind, but dispatching people to their early and untimely deaths is not one of the Christian virtues  I would either be subscribing to or even supporting nor encouraging anyone of sound mind to be supporting.  My research into Mr Smiths own background may not be fully formed yet and I have much to study about this man but the picture I am forming from the results of his actions is that of suffering he is causing and not being very Christian about it.

In response to the PM’s speech

3 Jul
Speech by Prime Minister David Cameron on welfare, at Bluewater, Kent on Monday 25th June, 2012.

We the undersigned make the following reply:

On your first night as Prime Minister, you did say you would look after the elderly and frail. But now 32 disabled people are dying every week as a result of the harsh and punitive Atos assessments.

Yesterday, another one of our community took her life recently because she didn’t get awarded ESA. Her friend said this about Wendy: “Just want to say what a amazing person Wendy was ,she was very shy but you could trust her with anything, very loyal and true ,an amazing friend …she will never leave my heart and will always be remembered for the loving caring person she was , RIP Wendy.”

How is that looking after the vulnerable? Allowing a system that kills people?

When you talk about “a world of fierce competitiveness” – it sounds as if this is something you think is a good thing. We don’t buy that. We believe in ‘amicable co-operation’ not ‘fierce competitiveness’ as you so call it, and a phrase you slip in as if we all have to agree with you. Similarly you talk about “a world where no-one is owed a living”. What do you mean by that glib statement? Do you mean, that as a compassionate society, we don’t help those who are unable to help themselves? That as rich and wealthy people in power, you don’t believe in subsidizing those less fortunate than yourself?

You state that Iain Duncan Smith has driven forward welfare reform on a scale and with a determination not seen since World War Two. But those of us on the receiving end would say that he has driven back Welfare Reform on a scale not seen since the Victorian era, with attacks on people with severe and complex problems such as addictions and reviving the Draconian idea of the deserving and undeserving poor.

You say Duncan Smith is delivering remarkable results and that over 400,000 more people are in work than in 2010; that you’ve established the biggest-ever Work Programme and that you’ve helped tens of thousands of young people find real work experience. But how can this be when unemployment is rising, month by month, public sector jobs have been slashed and youth unemployment has reached a seventeen year high? If you are talking about people on Job Seekers Allowance being forced and bullied onto Mandatory Work Activity to do slave labour at big wealthy firms in return for their meagre benefits then that isn’t work at all.

It is well documented that the Work Programme doesn’t help people into jobs, and may in fact do the reverse. The Mandatory Work Scheme was introduced last year despite the warning of the Social Services Advisory Committee (SSAC) who claimed the scheme could be open to wide scale abuse and leave no time for unemployed people to look for a job. The SSAC, who are an independent body who advise Parliament on welfare, issued a stark warning that the scheme should not go ahead. The DWP’s own research showed that only 22% of long term unemployed had got jobs, many of which are temporary. Officials would have expected 28% of long term unemployed people to have found work without any help at all.

As Johnny Void states in his blog: “This means that the Government’s flagship Work Programme is not just under-performing, it appears to be making the problem of long term unemployment worse…It is entirely possible that being patronised, bullied and lectured at by A4e jobs-worth is damaging people’s self-esteem and confidence. It is also possible that the Job Search facilities offered by the Welfare to Work industry are no better than those available at home or in libraries, the only difference being that in those environments they can be used in peace. It is not unimaginable that people on workfare, or pointless fake training schemes, become not only institutionalised, but stuck in a rut and are less, not more likely to look for an alternative. It is therefore even possible that the Work Programme is increasing, not decreasing, dependence on the state….To further compound the problem, many people currently having their time wasted on the Work Programme may have previously been on courses at local colleges which provided real skills. Depending on which Work Programme shark they are sent to, they may have been forced to leave College to attend A4e…The Welfare to Work industry has de-skilled the training sector in the UK, forcing unemployed people onto ever more pointless ‘jobsearch’ courses and workfare instead of providing real training” (Johnny Void)

You state that tens of thousands of claimants on incapacity benefits are being re-assessed, and found ready for work. But we know that the Work Capability Assessment is fundamentally flawed, that many people found fit for work have the decision overturned on appeal (between 40 and 70 %). This being ‘found ready for work’ is including sick and disabled people being thrown into the Work-Related Group of ESA, in spite of many having serious and/or long-term health problems.

You state that you have reduced the extent of tax credits. And this is a good thing, because ….? Similarly, you state that you have reduced housing allowances and capped benefits, most of which goes to greedy landlords, in the case of the exceptional few who had high housing costs.

Yes, you have laid the foundation for Universal Credit which could have been a great thing – a basic income for all, and every hour of work paying, right? Wrong. People doing part time work or a few hours a week are to be sanctioned, expected to give up part time work for full time work, bullied and harried like never before. The Universal Credit will turn out to be the biggest lost opportunity. So your claim that Universal Credit will “finally making sure that work really pays” is disingenuous.

On pensions, you state that “One very important value should sit at the heart of our pension system…if you have worked hard all your life, then you deserve real dignity and security in your old age.”

Forgive us for drawing the inference that if you have been unable to work hard all of your life, than you are deserving of indignity and insecurity in your old age. You then go on to discuss “disability benefits for those who aren’t receiving a pension, which account for almost £10 billion of the total welfare bill”, qualifying the need for reform on the grounds that “over the past decade, the number claiming Disability Living Allowance as a whole shot up from 2.5 million to 3.2 million.” You further state that “half of new claimants (for DLA) never had to provide medical evidence.” This gives the wrong impression that DLA is simple to receive. It is actually incredibly difficult, requires the filling out in detail of a long booklet and has one of the lowest fraud rates of all benefits (0.5%). So your statement that “On the one hand, it’s not right that someone can get more than £130-a-week DLA simply by filling out a bit of paper…but on the other, it’s not right that those with serious disabilities have nightmare 38-page forms to fill in” is a complete contradiction. There is no bit of paper – you are right that it is a 38 page nightmare, so what is this nonsense about “a bit of paper”? The DLA form is standard for all claimants.

A group of sick and disabled people from our community produced a thorough and well-researched report about ‘Responsible Reform’ otherwise known as ‘The Spartacus Report’ which has earned wide respect and even forced a further consultation period as a result of debate in the House of Lords.

You state that you are “introducing proper, objective assessments, so that money goes to people who truly need it, with more for the severely disabled”. Those of us who took part in the first DLA Consultation heard this being chanted like a mantra, but we read this as meaning “the rest of you who we don’t see as truly disabled can go and rot.” This oft chanted word ‘truly’ and ‘genuinely’ implies that many disabled people are not genuinely disabled and therefore perpetuates the screaming Daily Hate Mail type myth that many disabled people are faking it – a scandalous insinuation. Furthermore, a Freedom Of Information Request, showed that the majority of respondents wanted to keep DLA, and further exposed the DLA Consultation for what it was: a foregone conclusion, a lip-service sham. Finally, you talk about “introducing proper, objective assessments” even when damning new evidence is revealed every day about the debacle that is the Atos Assessment.

You go on to pick out examples of people working and those claiming benefits, comparing extreme cases and ask if it is fair.

Well, while we’re on the subject of fairness, we would like to know how is it fair that the rich and wealthy can get away with huge amounts of money in tax evasion, scot-free. Is it fair that these big fat cats can squirrel away their fortunes in offshore accounts? We would like to know how, in the words of Chris J Ford it is fair “that corporate lobbyists are making ordinary people pay for their excesses by persuading governments to bail them out through governments introducing regressive tax increases and service cuts”.

How is this fair, Mr Cameron?

To further quote, Chris J Ford, how is it fair to “scapegoat minority groups as the cause of the crisis rather than those who actually produced it in the first instance—capitalist bankers and financiers”?

Again, is this really fair?

And then there are firms like Atos and A4e who have received millions in government money (taken from ‘savings’ in the welfare benefits bill) who have made criminally wrong decisions and haven’t had to pay back a penny. How is that fair? That the rich man or woman can get away with it, while the poor man or woman is clobbered, vilified, bullied?

What these examples show is that your government and aggressive market economies have created an income gap in this country between those in the Bullingdon set and those outside it. Those within it grow up with a series of expectations: you can have a home of your own, your cronies will support you whatever decisions you make, you will always be able to take out no matter what.

This has sent out some incredibly damaging signals.

That you are owed something for being born into privilege.

That there is one rule for the rich, and another for the poor.

It created a culture of entitlement for the rich.

And it has led to huge resentment amongst those who pay into the system, because they feel that what they’re having to work hard for, others are getting by tax evasion, stepping on others, cozying up to the press and exaggerating the problems of the welfare system for their own political ends.

You talk about it becoming “acceptable for many people to choose a life on benefits”. It is only recently that governments have started talking about ‘choosing a life on benefits’. But do people really sit down and think this, ignoring all the careers advice and ambitions they’ve ever had? Tell me, Mr Cameron, do you think work is a good thing? From the way you talk it would seem so. That’s why we are struggling with this flaw in your argument: if work is a good and desirable thing, then why would people choose a life on benefits? Because from the way you’re talking it sounds as if you think a life on benefits is a better choice than the one of work.

Is it wrong for governments to want “to give people dignity while they are unemployed”? What ‘wrong places’ that you refer to has it led to? As we see it, the number of unemployed fluctuates with economic policy and global factors. Therefore, it is largely external factors responsible for unemployment. But we fear it is the Tory way to lay blame at the individual, rather than external influences.

You talk of an “assumption of trust at the heart of the system” and “that people would naturally do the right thing …they would use the system when they fell on hard times but then work their way out of it.” Forgive us, but this has always been the case. A single person getting £71 a week on Job Seekers Allowance (less if they are under 25) is hardly the route to a high life. It is not even a living income and we would invite you to live for twelve months on it.

We do agree with you that, “there was a stronger culture of collective responsibility in this country” when the Welfare State was born but to blame the welfare system for the erosion of that culture is both naïve and fatuous. If this were the case, then those countries with far more generous welfare systems, such as the Scandinavian countries, would see the greatest erosion of collective responsibility but this is just not borne out by the facts. Rather it is income equality, the breaking up of old communities and aggressive Capitalism which have contributed to the erosion of collective responsibility. However we would just add, that in spite of your sweeping generalizations, we see nothing but help, kindness and advice given freely by the poorest and sickest in our community, so once again your assumptions are widely out of touch. So we are not quite sure what you mean by people ‘doing the wrong thing’.

We can’t argue with your statement: ‘…if you give more welfare money to those who are higher up the income scale as well as those at the bottom then you iron out the perverse incentives that encouraged people not to work, not to save…’ You say that’s ‘part of the thinking behind Universal Credit – it’s about helping more people to escape the poverty trap and get on in life’.

Who could argue with that?

But then you give away your true agenda: ‘anyone thinking we can just keep endlessly pumping money in is wrong.’

Aha, so it is about money. People would respect a little honesty, if you indeed said, ‘we think you are deserving of welfare but we may have to freeze payments this year’ rather than demonizing welfare recipients in order to justify your pernicious ideological agenda.

You ask what working age welfare is actually for, who should receive it, what the limits of state provision should be and what kind of contribution we should expect from those receiving benefits. You state these are not policy prescriptions; they are questions that as a country we need to ask in a sensible national debate.

Well, we are debating with you, even though you have tried to influence the debate.

We agree that working-age welfare should be about providing a safety net. However this is not happening. People are becoming homeless, the biggest of all threats to safety is to lose your home and this is a direct result of government policy to restrict and reduce housing benefits. New Labour did a lot to eradicate homelessness from the streets. Who could argue that that was a good thing?

How can somebody think about a job when they are having to survive? Food and shelter are basic human needs. People are going hungry, hence the huge increase in food parcels.

You talk about the causes of poverty. Of course, income re-distribution isn’t the only way of tackling poverty. On its own, it won’t always prove effective, but it is an essential part of the package. You don’t then withdraw income because income alone hasn’t always got to the root of deep-rooted problems.

You then go onto to say that ‘we’ve got to recognise that in the end, the only thing that really beats poverty, long-term, is work.’ If by work you mean a person who is able, and of his or her own free choice, uses their time constructively, including pursuits which often do not pay, eg voluntary work, the arts, education, caring for children, caring for the sick etc, then nobody would disagree with you. What people do object to is the stick approach, the bullying, the compulsion, the being drafted onto community service mandatory labour (which is the work usually reserved for criminals – so what sort of message are you giving there?).

So yes, let’s have a sensible and intelligent debate about work. Work is not always good for you. Some people have their health ruined through work. Research has shown the right sort of work at the right sort of pay is right for some of the people, some of the time. But you are trying to prescribe a one-size-fits-all solution, instead of celebrating diversity, and it is doomed to failure.

Yes, aspiration is in everyone but not everyone is going to be lucky or healthy enough to be economically self-reliant – you have to address this, Mr Cameron.
If you want to help the disabled, some of whom can only do small amounts of work and from home, then you need to seriously give financial incentives and help them start and continue their own business. This is where Disabled Working Tax Credits help the long-term disabled but you want to make it more difficult for them by expecting them to be earning a minimum wage, expecting monthly accounts and, as we understand it, offer no help for tools, equipment and other outgoings. And we thought you were the party of enterprise. But disabled people who can only manage a few hours a week from home are rarely going to be financially self-reliant. So where is the safety net for them? Where are the subsidies? How do you propose to help people in these situations where it is more than money, where they want to hold their heads high, maybe in the creative arts, but where they need a permanent safety net unless or until they make enough to live on?

In the words of Chris J Ford “One has to have a grasp of Orwellian language to realize that what governments are actually saying to disabled people is unless they work for a living or seek the support of their family, they will die—period. What right-wing governments are seeking to do is to return industrialized societies to the Victorian, neo-classical values of individual choice, responsibility, and self-reliance. This means that disabled people and other excluded groups will have to increasingly (if they are unemployed or underemployed) rely on charity or the family for survival, as the State will no longer provide anything more than temporary support. Therefore, if Western governments continue on this path, disabled people will begin to experience even shorter life spans. This will be due to unemployed disabled people experiencing more serious health problems. These trends will no doubt be quietly welcomed by right wing governments determined to reduce social security outlays—despite protestations to the contrary on their part. But what is more alarming is that if Europeans become inclined to support far right/neo-fascist parties due to the depressed economic climate, then disabled people (along with other minorities) will be subjected to a second, more ominous threat to their survival—effective mass extermination through so called “passive euthanasia” programs. This is not an in extremis scenario, given that the Nazis established their T4 program for this purpose in the 1930s. And the Nazis softened up public opinion through a mass propaganda campaign claiming that disabled and mentally ill people were a fiscal burden.

One powerful counter-argument is offered by Russell who believed that:
It is discrimination to deny a disabled person who can work an opportunity to do so, but it is not “special” treatment for people who cannot work to be guaranteed a humane standard of living—rather it is a measure of a just civilization that they are decently catered for.”

You talk a lot about the cost of rents/mortgages and living arrangements, but never once do you mention the duty and responsibilities of landlords in setting the rent. Never once do you mention rent control and yet this is clearly one of the key causes of rising housing benefits. Get a handle on this and you will reduce the housing benefits bill, rather than dictating when or in what circumstances a person should leave home and get a house of their own. Another solution is to build and convert more housing and offer more shared ownership opportunities so that homes are affordable.

Again, you cite extreme examples of people getting massive amounts on housing benefit in London (without addressing rent control) but also you act as if people in poor households and on low incomes aren’t eligible for housing benefit. This is a complete fallacy as well you know. Only 1 in 8 people in receipt of housing benefit is, in fact, unemployed. So working people on low incomes have always been eligible to have their rents topped up with housing benefit. So you are, in fact, clobbering and punishing working people on the low end of the income scale, the very people you say you wish to help.

Regarding the ‘limits of state provision’ you cite the US’s time-limiting of benefits, but surely you don’t want to follow in the disasters that we’ve seen occurring in the States? Tent Cities? People queuing through the night for free health care? Food parcels?
You mention that there are ‘1.4 million people in this country who have been out of work for at least nine of the past 10 years’ – but surely you’re conflating people on Incapacity Benefit with people on JSA. People on IB are by the nature of their illness going to be on long-term benefit.

You go onto talk about expectations for benefit claimants. Again, you come with this one-size-fits-all approach which doesn’t recognize the diversity of individuals. You mention CVs, but one of us remembers being on a Restart course years ago, and an unemployed builder stating that if he gave a CV to a foreman he would just screw it up and bin it. Not all jobs are white-collar, pen-pushing jobs. Surely job search and skills need to be tailored to the individual.

You then mention that you have ‘yet to introduce a system whereby after a certain period on benefits, everyone who was physically able to would be expected to do some form of full-time work helping the community, like tidying up the local park.’

We take great exception to this statement. Firstly, the discrimination that people with mental health problems face is evident in your statement by referring to ‘physical ability’. Secondly, why do you think it is a ‘perfectly reasonable thing to expect’ to punish people on benefits in the same way as criminals on community service, by compelling them to do full-time work, especially when in many cases it is a direct result of Coalition policies that people have ended up on the dole? Thirdly, if there are full time jobs to be done in the community, then why not offer them as full salaried jobs instead of ‘punishments’? We fear that these will be jobs that have been slashed as part of the public sector cuts, only to be taken up by private providers who pocket a tidy sum while the unemployed are doing compulsory labour in direct contravention of article 4 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Is this why you hold Human Rights’ matters with such contempt? Because people can resist being exploited?

You state also that “for those on sickness benefits too, it might be reasonable for them to take more steps to improve their health”. This gives the impression that sick people are doing nothing to improve their help. But all of us have tried many forms of treatment, sometimes with no effect, sometimes treatments have made us worse, sometimes we can’t even get treatments when there have been cut backs. You have to recognize that when people are long-term sick and disabled, the last thing they are able to address is the stress of full-time work, when all they are trying to do is feel well. Again, it is in contravention to the declaration of human rights charter to force people into treatment.

You state that ‘before this Government came to office, single parents weren’t required to look for work until their youngest child was seven years old – up to three years after they’ve started primary school’ – but what if a parent chooses to stay at home to bring up her or his child? Do you want to encourage a new generation of latch-key kids? Because this was cited as a cause of family breakdown back in the 70s.

You talk about contribution, and ‘recognising and rewarding those who have paid into the system for years.’ You cite the example of the man who’s never worked being treated in the same way ‘as the guy who’s worked twenty years in the local car plant, lost his job and now needs the safety net.’ But isn’t this what Incapacity Benefit and Contributory-based Job Seekers Allowance were for? People who’ve paid their National Insurance stamps for years? So then, perhaps you could explain to us why people are now losing their Incapacity Benefit for good if they are migrated to ESA-WRAG and their partner earns more than £7500. Yes, we did say that – £7,500 – just in case, with all these high benefit amounts you keep quoting, you forget about those at the pitifully low end.

People like Karen Sherlock. You may have heard her name. She was diabetic. Her symptoms included chronic kidney failure, partial blindness, a heart condition, and unpredictable bouts of severe vomiting. But the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) essentially told her to get back to work. She lost her Contributions- based Incapacity Benefit and recently died of heart failure, scared and abandoned by a government that should have been caring for her. Ironically, she was placed in the Support Group only a couple of weeks before she died.

To expect those with severe, debilitating long-term health issues, like to work the same long hours as their able-bodied peers is unethical.

So, Mr Cameron, you may ask ‘whether your reward for paying in is that you won’t have to face all the tough conditions that we’re imposing on those who haven’t paid anything into the system at all’ but it is too late for Karen and her family. Your words that ‘this is very simply about backing those who work hard and do the right thing’ begs the question – what ever did someone as sick as Karen do wrong?

As for your question about whether we ‘pay the vast majority of welfare benefits in cash, rather than in benefits in kind’. This sounds like the slippery slope towards food coupons.

We were outraged when Lord Freud was quoted as referring to benefit claimants as ‘stock’. But now you have confirmed this totally dehumanizing approach to ‘existing recipients’ or ‘what is called ‘the stock’ as you say. Small wonder that we are being treated in the most degrading and inhumane manner. It little surprises us, since Freud’s background is in banking, that we are reduced to units of monetary items.

In the light of our response to yours, we hope you will consider your actions extremely carefully, Mr Cameron.

Acknowledgements to Johnny Void and Chris J Ford whose work I have quoted here.

Signed Kate Rigby, Ann Rigby, Paula Peters, David Robinson (Chelmsford), Deborah Mahmoudieh, Tim Batchelor, Judith Pettigrew, Sian Roberts, Sandra Roberts, Gail Ward, P J Davis, Caroline Hudson, Sue Taylor, Hilary Cooper, Eric Knight, John McGovern (Edinburgh), Steve Preece , Julie Frid, Adrian Wait, Simone Meiszner, Greg Wait, Jim Moore, Adrianne Sebastian-Scott, Elaine Tilby, Annie Bishop chair Northumberland Disability and Deaf Network, Helen Simms Northumberland Disability and Deaf Network,Marc Campbell-Black, Rosey Carey,Diane Joh,Allan Williamson,Kathy Jagger, Tracy Edwards, Pedro Levi, Diana Foster,  Stephanie King, Jane Young, Erik Zoha, Sue Taylor,The Social Welfare Union, Sarah Law, Yvette Broadhurst.Sam Lee,Ed Parnell, Nerys Davies, Zhivila Agbah, Kat Ward, Jane Burkinshaw, Carol Edgington, Helen Linton Brown, Dave Jones, Jayne Linney, Liz Ward,John Skarp, Anna Lansley, John Skarp, Mike Plevin,Tim Bennett, Jane Clout.Adam Lotun Wda, Louise Moran

Do not come here

2 Jul

Highly skilled immigrants who are offered jobs in the United Kingdom should think twice before they come here. We are no longer interested in your skills and so we have devised a series of hurdles that will prevent you from becoming a British citizen unless you are really very smart and can along with all the other skills to give also have the ability to be an expert historian and expert linguist in the English language. This by the way will also apply to your spouse and your children.

The very idea we should give something back to you while you work in the United Kingdom as a tax payer is delusional because we have put to gather crowd pleasing gladiatorial spectator rules that will have you going around in circles for years to come.

Not only do we want you to contribute 40% of your income in taxes but we also want you not to use any of the public facilities because you do not belong here.

Go to Japan, Germany, even France, or Australia where they will not make such a farce of competing for your skills and treating you badly. Immigrants who think their high skills will be welcome and appreciated in the UK should think again !

After 5 years sorry 7 years now we may consider you to be eligible for citizenship but that was really spin to get you to come here instead of going somewhere else. If after your life time of contribution to British society you think you have earned the right to retire and live here where you and your family have grown roots we will have devised laws and regulations to make sure you are excluded.

The “workfare” agenda

29 Jun

“Workfare” it appears is not a new concept but in fact a programme that was first developed and turned into a social programme in the state of Wisconsin and since then under the encouragement of institutions and legislative lobby groups in America that represent international corporate interests not only in America, but also in Canada, UK, Australia and several other countries.  The great gains of the programme were heralded across America as a Christian middle class American view and solution about their views on poverty, usually biased and based on stereotypes, that have been used along with powers that basically have in effect over ridden civil liberties and constitutional rights of its citizens.

Critics in America have had a long time to study Workfare in Wisconsin and they do not paint as rosy a picture as the “Heritage Foundation” would want Americans to believe or for that matter The Centre of Social Justice in the UK,  who are all funded by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation with an annual budget of over half a billion dollars a year to fund and promote their views on social policies. These are to promote American ideas and values both in the US and throughout the world. These aims are very clearly expressed on the foundations own web site.

In the UK we see the emergence of the Institute of Social Justice emerge under Iain Duncan Smith who has as its founder has  among the many donors whose logos are displayed on the institute’s web site also have Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation which is the very same organisation that also donates to the Heritage Foundation where IDS has bee a recent guest speaker too in America this week.  Perhaps it is an innocent coincidence but it is hard to miss the fact that all of these people share exactly the same centre right views on welfare and in particular the concept of workfare.

Expert critiques of workfare in Wisconsin have researched and studied this for over sixteen years where a wealth of social and research data has been compiled and studies undertaken that think that slams workfare and the very biases it is built upon where it casts black women in America as benefit queens not much unlike the way right-wing media has done towards the poor in the UK and has sought to cast welfare recipients as stereotypes of Chavs, Gypos, Tinkers, and Pikes as well as generous sprinkling of any other minorities, in much the same manner and lumped all the working class, the poor, the unemployed (however recent or not) together and the disabled and sick into one wide group.

The DWP itself commissioned a report that drew a comparative analysis between workfare in the USA, Canada, and Australia and its conclusions were broadly as follows:-

1. Dramatic reductions in welfare caseloads in the US and Canada cannot be attributed to workfare alone
2. There is little evidence that workfare increases the likelihood of finding work.
3.Workfare is least effective for individuals with multiple barriers to work
4. Welfare recipients with multiple barriers often find it difficult to meet obligations to take part in unpaid work

The scheme ignores the welfare recipients and essentially strips them of their pride and the care they should receive as citizens of a a country and side steps the issue that the only people who benefit out of ill thought policies are in fact businesses in the form of profits. This only  discourages them from creating either new jobs or through a bolt of social conscience provide real living wages. Workfare has not just happened in Wisconsin. I read material during my research that pointed to evidence on an Australian government web site that pointed back to the UK which in turn pointed to a site in the US for its evidence.

Sources for information:-

1. Department for Work and Pensions Research Report No 533 “A comparative review of workfare programmes in the United States, Canada and Australia”, Richard Crisp and Del Roy Fletcher, 2008

2.  Department for Work and Pensions Research  “IS WORK GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?”,Gordon Waddell, A Kim Burton, 2006

3. “Research reveals that dissatisfaction at work causes illness” , University of Lancaster School of Management, Published 18 November 2005

4. “Ministers accused of lying about statistics”, 8 June, 2012 – 11:28 — Owen Spottiswoode, http://fullfact.org/articles/ministers_accused_of_lying_to_the_uk_statistics_authority-27387

5. “How US workfare punished minorities and the poor”, False Econmy, January 2012, http://falseeconomy.org.uk/blog/failure-of-workfare-in-the-us

6. ‘Wisconsin works’?: race, gender and accountability,in the workfare era,Bridgette Baldwin. Northeastern University, January 2010

Enemy of the people

26 Jun

Today I decided to bury my own head in the sand and not read the news or find out what else has this coalition government dreamt up over night to attack yet another small minority of people and go about with his divisive politics. I have been trying to keep a score card in my mind as to all the different groups of people in society David Cameron would like to wish away and have the rest of us join in picking apart.

I have spent pretty much the last few months trying to understand Cameron’s vision of the big society and what it means in practice and who will benefit from such a vision.  It is certainly not going to be the following labelled as the “enemy of the people”!

Children from poor families
Poor families
Families with disabled children
Single unwed mothers
University students
Sick
Unemployed
Disabled
Pensioners
Socialists
Unionists
Communists
Doctors
Nurses
Teachers
Public sector workers
Youth

So who does belong to his vision of a big society ? If it is not the workers, or the disabled, or the sick, or the social workers, or the professionals like the teachers, who is exactly left for this big society ?

Mr Cameron has branded almost everyone in this society as parasites and as people who want something for nothing even though most of the people have been contributing through their work and efforts into improving society. I am not sure any longer what Cameron really stands for as if at least he had a big vision of society then I would have thought it was an inclusive one that would reach towards those lofty goals of a modern and civilised state which gave all its citizens the ability to aspire and make themselves better. When I look at British history compared over the last 71 years I can see over all a fairly steady progress. We have more students in schools, colleges, and universities then we had in 1951, and we have far more wealth when compared to the immediate past.  Over the decades sometimes going two steps forwards and other times one step back we seem to have over that period plugged many gaps of poverty when compared to the Victorian times for the majority of people in the UK. God forbid we are not living in an age of famine or of having class less servants in our homes any longer, and over all most people are fed better. This is because to me society invested in itself and that investment manifested itself in improving from the past and moving forward.

Today however I see all those policies that made such great strides for us as a society are being undone by a man with a Victorian vision who thinks all those struggles, strikes, and changes were not worth having and that we should go back to the way it was. I see a man using divisive tactics of singling out one group at a time and then encouraging their dissemination while telling us that this is right !

It is not right, it is not right to see over a hundred years of social progress and improvement and indeed wealth being undone at once with a single set of strokes. It is not right that we have a prime minister who thinks his role is to cane and whip the people in order to conform into his view of what is right and who is socially acceptable. I hope the vast majority of people can see what this man has brought to us, divisiveness at a time when the nation needs unity and a form of nastiness never seen in British politics since the days of feudal rule.

People need to seriously question themselves for how could we have allowed such a man to come into power through a back door conspiracy who does not represent the vast majority of us to do so much damage to our society. Sooner we are rid of this man and his dangerous views the better off we as a society will be !

The 80bn pound question

24 Jun

Last week George Osborne announced that he had suddenly found money from the savings he has already made that allowed him to release the funds to banks in order for us to expect them to again lend this much needed money to small and medium sized businesses that are desperate for credit in order to save their businesses and thereby jobs in the economy.

I thought the country was in such desperate straights as the the Coalition government would have us believe that there was no money and that essential services had to go. In the process they unleashed a reign of terror on the sick, old, disabled, and poor and at the same time said to us that this had to be done in order to save us from the deficit crisis ! I thought we were fighting a financial crisis but somewhere along the way it has turned into a deficit crisis.

Recent studies I have done and published here have shown clearly the deficit itself is an illusion of bad economics or corrupt practices. The truth was that the deficit in fact is the result of under taxing and under earning by government to pay for much needed social services. What we found was that the UK has for some reason not been increasing its share of wealth distribution to the poor and vulnerable in society because of no other reason then the selfishness of those who are getting wealthier and wealthier and have to themselves a large slice of the current economic pie which when compared to 1951 is now over 144 times bigger.

It shows during the last decade and specially during the past four years we have endured a set of policies that has been reducing corporate tax for the corporates even though the overall country and thereby the corporates themselves have been increasingly becoming wealthier and wealthier.

The deficit that is created is financed and we pay for that at a low interest rate of 4.4% as debt interest servicing which then makes 52.8 bn pounds into really a matter of paying yearly an amount of 2.32 bn.

As the government has already borrowed over 159.5 bn this fiscal year which has shown up as the deficit this year making the Coalition the all time leaders my question is has the deficit been increased again by a further 80 bn. I rather get the feeling the so called gains in cuts are not going to the finance the 80bn for the banks to make profit on twice by lending it first and then using it to lend money at 10 times the base rate in the name of helping the economy !

Does work make sick people better ?

20 Jun

You often hear this bizarre phase turned into a jingo by the Tories when they shout out that “Work makes you better” ! You think, I know he must be speaking about certain types of illnesses, but when you realise this phase is applied Carte Blanche to every kind of conceivable and killer diseases that human beings suffer from, one has to really start seriously questioning the wisdom and the intelligence of a person uttering this in a parrot like fashion.

Some conditions in fact  lead to stress as a result of work itself. I could name several killer illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes,  and even asthma (and this is only a handful I could think of as I am no medical professional) that the condition of a person could not only make their health worse but in fact be fatal. There are also many types of mental illnesses where forcing someone could trigger off many types of episodes depending on a variety of phobias, such as agrophobia, social phobias, people with anxiety to name a few, which only cause more harm then good as a result of being forced into work if they are not ready for it. In addition many people forget severe physical illnesses also leads to mental problems for a wide variety of reasons.

When you look at the WCA descriptors it is with this sort of a robotic mind that medical assessors deal with their multiple choice questions which are so funnelled down that they are designed to ignore most serious ailments in favour of something a person can do once and not any more throughout a day because the very fact someone is ill is actually ignored. Ill causes fatigues and tiredness and mental health problems in most people including those who suffer from major traumas such as heart, kidney, and the hundreds of really chronic diseases.

For me it is simply unfathomable how a group of MPs belonging to both the LibDems and Conservatives have over ridden ever intelligent argument that the WCA be revised and re looked at in the interest of the people we are so much in favour of helping!

I think these jingoistic nationalist type slogans aimed at the sick and disabled have to end. They are not the “enemy” they are our children,brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers and it is time to intelligently discuss the real problems that are not only causing so many deaths but also suicides. The MPs in all the parties surely owe that much to the people who have put them in power to represent them.

An independent report commissioned by the DWP entitled “IS WORK GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?”, by Gordon Waddell, A Kim Burton in 2006 shows an attempt to gather evidence in support of this principle by looking at other studies on the subject. A close look at the data researched suggests that for some of the chronic illnesses work is in fact are bad for your health and worsening it specially with Cardio Vesicular Disease (CVD)  and other chronic conditions including mental health placing someone in an environment that is stressful will in fact do more harm then good and places people not only at risk but also in a situation where their health will deteriorate fast. The report states the following :-

“Long Working Hours & Health

Long working hours are associated with adverse health as measured by cardiovascular disease, diabetes, disability retirement, subjectively reported physical health, subjective fatigue; and b) that some evidence exists for an association between long work hours and physiological changes, e.g. cardiovascular and immunological parameters.”

The report also criticizes the goals set by the DWP based on claimed broad census listed below :-

• helps to promote recovery and rehabilitation;
• leads to better health outcomes;
• minimises the deleterious physical, mental and social effects of long-term
sickness absence and worklessness;
• reduces the chances of chronic disability, long-term incapacity for work and
social exclusion;
• promotes full participation in society, independence and human rights;
• reduces poverty;
• improves quality of life and well-being.

“The policy statements and guidance in Table 3 are based upon and reflect the available evidence, yet they are essentially expert opinions. Several refer to the evidence on the health benefits of work and the detrimental effects of unemployment in healthy people. Others discuss in general terms the harmful effects of prolonged sickness absence and avoidable incapacity, and the beneficial effects of work for sick people. However, there is little direct reference or linkage to scientific evidence on the physical or mental health benefits of (early) (return to) work for sick or disabled people.”

The report in conclusion states that with general conditions that work may be good for some but it also points out that much long term study is needed as most data being used for the study have been short term and that all the work must make allowances for periods of illness and ups and downs with a persons conditions and that work places must accommodate for this.  It also states that “Stress” and its effects both mentally and physiologically must be studied in even greater detail.

We can clearly see the DWP’s own commissioned report actually stating that there is no clear link between scientific evidence on the physical and mental benefits for work or disabled persons and yet we go on hearing the DWP periodically in its literature and by its staff as well as ministers that “Work makes you better” when it comes to sick and disabled persons in the first place.  Every time I hear this phase being uttered it is being so uttered in misdirection as it should all be qualified with additional words to the effect that “Work makes you better if you are young, healthy and  in a job that gives you job satisfaction, a good income, and promotional prospects” anything short of this is misleading and ignoring the evidence itself.

Pots, kettles, and glass homes

19 Jun

Politicians calling the poor and vulnerable  “cheats” and “scoungers” just has a pungency to it which sprouts of not only dishonesty but also of diversion and attention away from their own selves. For weeks and months the right wing press, if they can be even politely called that,  and indeed certain ministers and mps within the coalition government have unleashed a tirade of charges against the most vulnerable in society.

Its amazing a man who could claim a salary for his wife and travel expenses of over half a million pounds can today go about brazenly labelling vulnerable people as cheats ! “Further awkward information has become public concerning Mr Duncan Smith’s accounts.

To quote and paraphrase what is is in the article itself the following was stated.

“Paul Tyler, the Liberal Democrat leader of the house, revealed that the Tory leader receives £121,000 as leader of the opposition, and also £548,101 for the running of his office and £83,784 for his travel expenses. The figures will add to pressure for an explanation of why he needed an additional £15,000-worth of assistance from his wife.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/oct/18/uk.conservatives1
http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/s/2050511_surrey_mps_implicated_in_expenses_scandal

Today it is Nadine Dorris who hits the headlines with the latest revelations of paying a near relative a salary for work she did or did not do. If anyone had done the same for their relatives for tax returns the Inland Revenue would investigate further but in this case nothing will happen.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/conservative-mp-nadine-dorries-pays-901399

The more I see this government the more I’m convinced that they not only represent the rich and powerful bankers who put them in power to admonish the people before they cotton on to what is really happening

This really has become a case of not only the very same people protecting themselves as the guilty but at the same time blaming and tyrannising the real innocents !