DWP tries again to stop release of Universal Credit reports

“The reports could show, without ambiguity, that the DWP misled Parliament in 2012 and 2013 by saying the UC programme was progressing successfully when officials knew this was not the case.”

via DWP tries again to stop release of Universal Credit reports.

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An email to authoritarian Tory MPs Charlie Elphicke, Priti Patel and Conor Burns

The Tories use the old tactic of “If You Have No Defence, Attack” against Oxfam.

Kittyjones shares her email to Tory MPs castigating them for their behaviour.

via An email to authoritarian Tory MPs Charlie Elphicke, Priti Patel and Conor Burns.

The Truth and Statistics Campaign – Petition 2

Jayne says :-

Last year over 100,006 people said Hold Iain Duncan Smith to account for his misuse of Statistics, both The Work & Pensions Select 3rd Report Monitoring the Perfomance of DWP 2012/13 and the Public Administration Committee 1st Report Agreed.

We demand The House accepts these Recommendation and Ensures Minsters and others present statistics in a way that is fair, accurate and “unspun”.

Read more:

via The Truth and Statistics Campaign – Petition 2.

The French view of Welfare Reform

French readers of Le Monde get to read an interview with three disabled people regarding the Work Capability Assessments by Atos and the fear it engenders in those who are at risk of being forced to attend them. I think the translation of the article into English has been done with one of the online text translation tools but, as Jayne says in her intro, it is still readable and understandable even if a little difficult to parse because of grammar and pronoun irregularities.

via The French view of Welfare Reform.

Labour’s buried treasure

What does Labour think is the point of this? They commission a report but when it is released they ignore it and treat it as an unsolicited submission?

When FREE assistance is offered to translate the report into Easy Read formats for people with disabilities, they refused.

Labour, WTF are you playing at?

via Labour’s buried treasure.

Techniques of neutralisation: Cameron says keep calm and carry on climbing Allport’s ladder

As ever, an excellent piece of writing. If you’re not reading her blog, why not?

via Techniques of neutralisation: Cameron says keep calm and carry on climbing Allport's ladder.

Marks and Spencers’ Leading Ladies. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Dear “Leading Ladies” (Annie Lennox, Emma Thompson, Rita Ora, Rachel Khoo, Lulu Kennedy, Baroness Lawrence, Alek Wek & Roma Agrawal),
Let me ask you, is your contract with Marks and Spencer on Workfare conditions? Or are you getting paid? Are M&S actually able to pay you because they are getting free labour? Did you know that Workfare is NOT voluntary? Unless you deem loss of any income at all and your family starving to death as a valid alternative. Did you know that Workfare is indefinite for sick and disabled people who the DWP deem “may” be fit for work in under a year (“may” be fit by then but are being sent on Workfare schemes anyway). Would YOU accept a position paying under £2 per hour (for 35 hrs/week, with all the extra expenses employment brings & also complying with DWP rules to look for paid employment for another 35 hours per week)?

Dear Marks & Spencer, How many paid, entry-level, positions have you made “redundant” because you’re filling them with unpaid “slave” labour via the Workfare scheme and others like it? Voluntary “work experience” in an appropriate employment sector for a couple of weeks is one thing, but this? This is so close to slave labour you could barely get a fag paper between them. Taxpayers’ money going to fund corporate wages.

Leading Ladies, you should be ashamed of yourselves for promoting a corporation that participates in this scheme.

Marks & Spencer, I refuse to shop with you until you stop, completely and utterly falling in with these scheme to exploit the unemployed, sick and disabled.

When we have half a million vacancies and 2.5 million unemployed (and that’s after the DWP faff with the figures and hide those on sanctions and Workfare schemes from the stats) surely it would make more sense to actually employ people than to throw more onto the job queue. If you want to “do the right thing” and encourage unemployed into work, why not offer more traineeships at (or preferably above) minimum wage with a guaranteed job at the end if certain tests/assessments are acceptable. If you can take on free labour you have the capacity to take on paid.

This goes for all large corporations who are benefiting from public funds instead of paying their staff.

Dominic Raab on BBC Question Time on Foodbanks

Of course Raab knew he was misquoting the Trussell Trust (aka lying). It’s a pity there’s never anyone on the panel (including the presenter) with either the knowledge or the guts to challenge him and his ilk when they spout rubbish. I’ve given up on watching Question Time or listening to Any Questions on R4 now, both given me an unwanted increase in blood pressure and put me in a bad temper.

via Dominic Raab on BBC Question Time on Foodbanks.

Polite Petitions and Subsequent Dismay is this the new British Way?

Well, I watch as yet another petition goes nowhere, taking the hopes and expectations of so many with it. Perhaps some of those will be less naive the next time. But there’s already another half dozen new petitions on the same subject. I’ll sign them, as usual, but without any hope at all that they will make a difference.

We have seen the seriousness with which those in power in the UK treat petitions. We have seen just how effective those petitions have been. The result is always the same “We have looked into the matter and considered things very carefully but find no case to answer. Don’t hit the door with your arse on the way out or I might have you arrested for vandalism.” The only thing that will ever get through to any of these particular barstewards would be to lose everything, to find themselves with nothing at all and no way to get it back.  It’s a nice thought, but everso unlikely, unfortunately.

What these Public Enemies are doing is very well orchestrated, carefully planned and stealthily perpetrated so that most won’t notice (or believe) it is happening, regardless how much evidence is shoved in their faces, until it directly affects them – even having a family member’s health and life destroyed by Atos isn’t enough for some, they’d rather blame a relative than get out of their comfy chair and pay attention.

Everyone should know the poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller that starts… First they came for the Socialists,  and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Socialist... by the time they come for the petit bourgeois it will be too late to change without a full blown revolution.

There’s a sentence I learned the truth of when I worked doing tech support “people are stupid”. Everyone is stupid about some thing or other, often many things. One thing most people stupidly believe is that politics isn’t important to them. “I don’t do politics.” Well, politics certainly “does” you. 

Now, what’s the phrase? Man up, open your eyes, turn off the bloody television and pay attention to what is being done to you and your country.   It’s not the poor, the sick, the disabled, the immigrants or any of the favourite scapegoats that will be to blame*. It’ll be those who aren’t paying attention, who aren’t building awareness, who aren’t trying to DO something.

* you do know that none of those are to blame for the cuurent state of the economy, right? If you think they are, please put down the fucking comc masquerading as a newspaper and educate yourself about the banks and the sub prime mortgage scam etc.

“But if you can sit at a computer to type, you can do a job!”

“If you can sit at a computer to play a game or read/respond to an article, you can do a job!” I want to be paid for the number of times I hear that or some variation on it – more if it is from someone who I believe “should know better”.

Who will employ someone who not only cannot do a full day, who would be too tired to actually do anything after commuting to work, but also cannot guarantee which days (if any) they could work? Who will employ someone who might get to work only to collapse & need to be sent/taken home? Who will employ someone who might suddenly have a “brain full of cotton wool” and be unable to remember things even from only a few minutes previously? Who will employ someone who might manage two days one week and none the next? Who will provide a private office with a sofa or bed for their employee to take the necessary naps to get them through the day? Who will employ someone who is taking Tramadol or morphine every couple of hours for the pain? Pretty sure that last, and possibly some of the others, would contravene workplace safety laws.

Imagine having flu, not a bit of a sniffly cold, FLU. Deep bone aches, joints stiffen, everything hurts, brain is fogged, body shakes, exhaustion not helped by sleep, constant headache. Now imagine living with that ALL THE TIME. With no real help from medication other than to “take the edge off”.

None of these not-yet-disabled that I see every day on twitter, on various comments sections to blogs or newspaper articles making nasty comments about others. They must be absolute medical geniuses to be able to diagnose from a newspaper or blog comment whether someone is fit for work. They should be working for ATOS.

Perhaps they should remember that it only takes a split second for their life to change. Most people who are disabled or chronically sick were not born that way. We had lives. We had careers. Then something happened and we were suddenly useless. Unable to do the work we trained for. Some of us successfully retrain, become self-employed, but it’s difficult and requires a lot of support… financial support to allow us to adapt our way of doing things, to get going as a start-up. Then sometimes Our condition worsens and that gets ripped away from us as well and we’re back to square one. All the time being judged by people who simply haven’t got a clue and, truth be told, haven’t even stopped to think about what they are saying or writing beyond regurgitating what they last read from their favourite comic tabloid.

“Those Paralympians are disabled and they can work!” “What about Stephen Hawking? He’s able to do amazing things.” These comments piss me off beyond belief.

You can run like Usain Bolt? No? Oh, perhaps you are a Nobel prize candidate in a scientific field? Still no? Maybe you are an award-winning author or composer? A celebrated artist? No? Why not? Other non-disabled people do these things. Why can’t you?

That’s precisely what those unthinking idiots are saying to anyone with a disability.

And when they start using terms like “drain on resources”? Oh dear, now we’re one step away from calling disabled people “useless eaters” or “useless consumers”. Perhaps all people who have an accident or fall ill should be given a “Deliverance Machine” with a list of “correct” answers in case your idea of society deems them to be too much of a burden.

I used to say that I would never wish my combination of illnesses & medical conditions on anyone. I changed my mind and the list grows longer. I’d like to put an ever larger number of people into modified “arthritis suits” for a few weeks to see how they manage a life of constant pain & restriction.  It’s not cruel and unusual… that would be if I suggested they have a hip & knee replacement, a few rounds of ECT, a go on an acceleration high G simulator and then be put in the suits.  But I shall, womanfully, restrain my natural aggressive tendencies.