I have moved to a new website

Hi all.  I have moved my blog to www.megabitch.org.uk – my old domain, back in use again – so if you’ve been following me here, please head there and follow for new posts. I will be removing this site in a couple of weeks.


Give the public a say before selling off the NHS, demands Burnham

Cameron's 2010 NHS promises

“Once again Labour shows us that there is no depth to which the Cameron administration will not stoop. This time they are using the summer Parliamentary recess to sign contracts intended to prevent any future government from restoring our health service and reversing the appalling damage they have done so that they and their friends can profit from the suffering and sickness of the poor.”

via Give the public a say before selling off the NHS, demands Burnham.

Thanks a bunch “Little Britain”

I have a whole new fun thing to look forward to (courtesy of the twits from Little Britain). I have purchased a self-propelled wheelchair, it’s red and needs Go Faster Stripes, so that I can get around more easily without exhausting myself. So that when I get somewhere, I can actually stand up and walk around a bit instead of collapsing in agony as soon as I get there. But people see a person in a wheelchair and assume “confined” is the correct word to use about them, that the only people who use wheelchairs are totally unable to walk or to move independently. Standing up from a wheelchair triggers thoughts (if not cries) of “fake” from some people. I half expect to be called “Andy” (the character in LB that is in a wheelchair). This is going to be so much fun. Not.

I used to find these sketches amusing, now they just irritate me.

Control of the People becomes Law

We must not let this happen. Write to members of the House of Lords. Sign the petition linked in this article.


Quite simply a law to remove the soul from the non Elite – Social Control at its highest

Tomorrow in The Lords the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill reaches its report stage, the penultimate phase before before it gains Royal Assent, enacting it as law.

I understand how it’s got so far without a major discussion it has some powers which on the surface appear to “protect the public“; including forced marriage, sexual harm and illegal firearms used by gangs, what’s to argue with there?

But scratch the surface ever so lightly and you find the new  ipnas (injunctions to prevent nuisance and annoyance) can impose this new ‘community service order‘ on people who have committed no crime; it will allow tenants to be evicted for deemed anti social behaviour, it will allow the police, under the  dispersal power  to remove people from an area where…

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I’ve been around council estates and all the houses have Sky dishes!

Because, of course, the presence of a satellite dish is absolute proof of a Sky subscription. And people on benefits have always been on benefits, never had a period of work when things like a satellite installation may have been paid for. Sky don ‘t come and take the satellite away when you cancel your sub, you know? You own the dish and the box so you can access the FreeSat channels. The same goes for TVs or cars or anything that someone might own. It doesn’t magically disappear if you become disabled/lose your job!

Did you know that with the changes the government want to make it will be essential to anyone claiming benefits to have internet access, every day? I’m afraid that internet access is rapidly becoming an essential part of life in this century. Though most of the poorest will never have it and will have to rely on the libraries (the ones this government and the last are continually closing) for access. A pay as you go mobile phone is cheaper than a landline and the DWP pretty much demand that you are contactable all the time (and how does a potential employer contact you if you have no phone?)

Did you know that an average family with *earnings* equal to the £26,000 benefits cap are also entitled to benefits that push their income up by around another £5K? So, in order to be paid enough to not get benefits at all, yeah, that friend who said he’d need to be paid more than £500 a week wouldn’t be far wrong! JSA is only a very small amount of the total Social Security bill, approx 3% of the total, in 2010 that was £5 billion. Pensions is by far the largest proportion of the bill at 36% or £67 billion with another 6% or £11 billion as “other pensioner benefits”. About 15% goes on various child related benefits; Employment Support Allowance – paid to people unable to work because of chronic illness or disability – & Income Support total about 8% – add that to the JSA and you have just over one tenth of the Social Security bill going to support people out of work. One tenth.

Do you know what the estimated amount of “benefit fraud” is? Out of a Social Security bill which ran at £194.3bn in 2011/12, fraud cost us £2bn and error, genuine mistakes made by claimants (have you seen the forms?) or official screw-up,cost £3.4bn last year – error costs us more than fraud! And that fraud amount is across ALL benefits, not just the out of work ones. DWP themselves estimate that around £7 to £12 billion is unclaimed by people entitled to it across all benefits (that’s often because many benefits are not advertised and if you’ve never claimed anything you really don’t know what you might be entitled to – especially if you, or your partner, have a job and simply assume you wouldn’t be eligible for anything).

In the greater scheme of government finances, fraud in the Social Security sphere is around 2% of the total monies the government is losing to fraud of various kinds.

Everybody “knows a bloke/girl” who they believe is “scamming” benefits. The thing is, that’s not a one for one figure when you count them up. A single person can be the same “fraudster” known by 50 people, the same “friend of a friend” or similar for another 100 or so. Those stories the media like to show are the outliers, the odd ones out, but the government and their mouthpieces in the media would like us to believe that they are representative of the whole. They aren’t.

If you don’t know why Unum should she shunned by all politicians, read this.

Mo Stewart

via Here's why Labour needs to go a lot further to win back our trust.

I’ve been saying this about Unum in various places for a few years. The mass media are deliberately ignoring them. So most people will go “who the hell are Unum?” A company that has been declared rogue in several US states; a company that has been banned from operating in at least one country (New Sealand); a company that uses an unproven and discredited “model” of sickness and disability in order to deny health insurance payouts by declaring some as “all in the mind” and therefore not “real”. Labour still consorting with them despite their recent promises to change things. They can sack ATOS, but that says nothing about changing the WCA & associated policies as dreamt up by Unum (who appear to have a revolving door system of senior executives with Atos anyway).

Review: The Steel Remains – Richard Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Audiobook, narrated by Simon Vance.

Ringil Eskiath, wielder of The Raven’s Friend, noble, warrior, hero, legend, pervert, degenerate, twisted abomination, outcaste, drunkard all true depending on who you ask. All he asked was to be left alone. He’d done his bit. He’d saved his people, and been rejected by them once the cheering died down. He certainly didn’t want to go off on some stupid search for a missing cousin, sold into slavery and abandoned by her immediate family, simply because his mother felt guilty about it. He would have been even more vehement in his refusal if he had known exactly where the search would take him. But mothers always know what levers will move their recalcitrant children. And so begin his first steps into a world where myths and gods of ages past walk the streets.

I usually listen to audiobooks while doing other things, but this one kept dragging me away from the mundane world and into Ringil’s. I’d find myself staring blankly at whatever I had been doing and realise that I’d just lost another half hour to the tale. I suspect that reading the book would be one of those times when I start reading in the evening and realise that the sun is coming up just as I finish it. The sequel, The Cold Commands, is calling to me now and I wonder if I can resist the call until my next Audible credits arrive!

View all my reviews