The curse of James Purnell…

Listening to Yesterday in Parliament (Radio 4), this morning, to no-one’s surprise James Purnell’s farrago of oppression and persecution of the chronically sick and disabled community was ushered through the Commons with minimum impediment yesterday. The only hope now is that the Lords will have the sense, and the balls, to kill it, or modify substantially (though the Parliament Act means that the Lords can be over-ruled).When the general election rolls around, people, I hope you all remember this day, and demonstrate your anger at the ballot box (though bearing in mind that the Tories are just as bad, and the Lib Dems a lost cause, we’re pretty much screwed – still, it would give me pleasure to see Purnell dumped from office, if nothing else).

Incidentally, I’ve searched today’s papers online, and there is not mention of the bill at all – why is that, I wonder? Even the Daily Mail, which never passes up a chance to put the boot into the sick and disabled, is silent.

Chief Fuckwit Purnell was heard to say that absolutely nobody should expect to get benefits while doing nothing for them. Doing nothing?!WTF?

It is not money for nothing, it’s for being unable to work – it’s for being in severe, intransigent pain 24/7/365 since 1983, when I was struck by lightning; it’s for suffering the interminable horrors. pain and profound disability of ME/CFS in the face of almost universal disbelief; it’s for having no immune system to speak of; it’s for being unable to breath properly due to severe COPD (I’ve never smoked; I suffered from the precursors to my COPD all my life); it’s for life in a wheelchair, and for a great deal more.

This is not free money, Purnell, you dumb bastard – I pay for it every moment of my life. As do many thousands of chronically sick and disabled people.

(Yes, I know I’ve said that before – it’s something that bears repeating, especially for Daily Mail readers!)

One thing that got right up my nose, though, was that in a move to sooth opponents of this deeply damaging bill – what’s next, a return to the workhouse? – there was an agreement to pay increased DLA to 26,000 blind people (or 20,000 – estimates vary). That’s all I know right now, but whatever the details, it simply isn’t acceptable.

DLA is a national benefit, and everyone gets the same rates (they don’t always get the same components, but that’s another issue). There is no justification in breaking the rules for a relatively few people. If this 26,000 need more money – and I have no problem with that – then create a new benefit to provide it, one which, if we meet the conditions, we can all have a chance to access.

It is entirely improper to create an elite class of DLA claimants in this way. Still, when has Purnell ever cared about what is proper?

Addendum:- Apparently, the blind people aren’t going to get a special, higher DLA payment as was reported, they’re going to be awarded the higher mobility rate. That’s still wrong in my book, as to get the higher rate your walking ability has to be seriously impaired. Being blind generally doesn’t affect a person’s ability to walk at all. Check out this post’s comments – a guy with no legs, COPD and a stoma, LOST his higher mobility rate when he applied to try and get an increase in his DLA care component. Where’s the justice here, people? Are blind people, by some mysterious alchemy, somehow more deserving, in this context, than someone with no bloody legs? WTF is going on?

2 thoughts on “The curse of James Purnell…

  1. I could not have said it better myself, time to be afraid for everyone who is on disability benefits and JSA for that matter.

    Time for everyone to go through the the same old crap trying to prove that you have a genuine illness or disability while be forced to take some sort of crap job or go down blind alleys via the pathways to nowhere.

    I also don’t want to go on another f***ing course to update my computer skills or practise writing my cv while somebody can make some money out of me while I am doing it. There is too much of that going on giving people false hope.

    keep up the good work on your blog.

    • It gets better. Those of us with ME who have put faith in the WHO’s declaration that it IS physical are screwed.

      I haven’t forgotten about JSA claimants, it’s just that I don’t see their plight as anywhere near as severe (if forced to work for their benefits, they are at least able to). Likewise single parents, for whom the threat is less immediate.

      I said it somewhere here before, but given that Gordon Brown is, himself disabled (partially-sighted, which puts an interesting, if slightly paranoid, spin on that DLA deal), and has a disabled son, his antipathy towards the sick and disabled really is hard to understand. Maybe it accounts for why he’s such a miserable bugger?

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