Chronically sick and disabled? It’s now, more than ever, time to fight back…

(Previously published June 2011 and more relevant than ever now.)

Great Britain is diminished by its leaders, and we have to take a stand against the tide of prejudice and bigotry that is set to overwhelm us.

And this, among many other reasons, is why – Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson’s horrendous account of  abuse in the Daily Mail Continue reading

Another £10bn welfare budget cut. Could this be how?

Since the cuts currently in the system will reduce many people to penury, just where is that dishonest fuck Osborne going to find another £10 billion to strip out of the benefits system?

Short of having disabled people put down – a solution which no doubt appeals to his boss, whose obsession with and hatred of the disabled is positively insane  – I can see only one possibility. As well as ESA making it almost impossible for a disabled person to get into the support group – if you’re terminally ill you can work to you snuff it, stop whinging! – I suspect that the entire system – or perhaps DLA/PIP – will be closed to new applicants.

Further, if Cameron Continue reading

The future of the chronically sick and disabled after 2015…

It’s my feeling, especially if Cameron gets a majority at the next election in 2015 – and there’s a good chance he will unless things change dramatically (an effective leader of the opposition might help) – that there is a very strong likelihood of the sick and disabled being stripped of their benefits and housed in workhouses and camps, fed, clothed, medicated, but that’s all. And even that much might be marginal, if some genius decides our drugs cost too much.

Why? Because, Continue reading

Chronically sick and disabled? It’s time to fight back…

Great Britain is diminished by its leaders, and we have to take a stand against the tide of prejudice and bigotry that is set to overwhelm us.

And in case you’ve been living in a cave, this is why. It’s because of those apologies for human beings, Cameron, Clegg, Osborne, IDS, Grayling, and anyone else you’d like to tack on the end – disseminating their catalogue of lies, disinformation and malice about sick and disabled people, seemingly without any end in sight. Every week sees these fuckers slopping out a new bucket of shite over a population all-too-willing to swallow their bile and venom.

If we were Continue reading

Further persecution of the sick and disabled…

. . . which, really, seems to be unending, with every week seeming to introduce some new element.

This time, if you make an honest mistake on your benefit claim form, the DWP will fine you £50, according to the Telegraph.

The fine is described as a “civil penalty” but hang on a minute – doesn’t a civil penalty need to be imposed by a court, not by Continue reading

Which benefit entitles you to what?

What benefits does DLA entitle you to?

Poor grammar apart (if you’re wondering – To which benefit does DLA entitle you?), this question from my search engine section represents  a typical misunderstanding of the benefits system – in essence, there is no entitlement, per se, to anything.

For example, if you have Continue reading

Sick & Disabled? You’re screwed…

James Purnell, fuckwit, er, Work & Pensions Secretary, said, on the Today program this morning, that a white paper being published today will create a system where “virtually everyone has to do something in return for their benefits”. Only the most severely disabled will not have to do some kind of work for their money. The plans, if they survive parliament, will come into force in 2010. This is, they say, putting an end to the “money for nothing culture”. Are they insane? My Incapacity Benefit is way below the official poverty level, at £95.90 a week – who would live on that if they really didn’t have to? It is NOT money for nothing – it’s money because I am not able to work and earn my own money – if I was able to, and earn a lot more money, even on the minimum wage, do they seriously think I wouldn’t?

Purnell, revealing how insanely out of touch with the real world he is, said “These reforms will transform peoples’ lives.” Bloody right they will – very much for the worse. Just watch the suicide rate soar. Bankers get billions of of pounds of taxpayers money, and still pay themselves huge bonuses, while the most vulnerable members of society are persecuted. Where’s the justice in that? He also went on to say “…our reforms put the individual, and their needs, at the heart of the welfare system.” No, they won’t. Do not believe for one moment that this is for your benefit. Purnell is motivated by one thing, and one thing only – reducing the Incapacity Benefit bill. Most people forced into work will end up on the dole, and that, for someone with no hope of being able to work, is totally unacceptable.

This is the killer, though:-

“We will give people the support they need and in return we will have higher expectations on people to take up that support. I believe it is wrong to have a welfare system which doesn’t encourage people to prepare for or get back to work. In future virtually everyone will be expected to do something in return for their benefits.”

How is forcing people, too ill or disabled to work, into some sort of make-work scheme – because, let’s face it, that’s all there’s going to be – in any way whatsoever “support”. If we were able to work we wouldn’t be on fucking benefit in the first place – what part of this does this asshole Purnell have trouble understanding?

Disregarding the insanity and immorality of such a policy – not to mention the sheer impossibility of it – where’s the work? We’re deep in recession, there simply aren’t enough jobs for the able-bodied, thousands more jobs are lost every week, so what are the sick and disabled supposed to do, and who, in their right mind, would employ someone, like me, who hasn’t been able to work in any meaningful way since 1982, and at all since 1986?

Let’s not forget, either, that single parents are also going to be forced into non-existent jobs, yet childcare is either ruinously expensive or simply unavailable – how the hell is that going to work?

Let’s consider my situation, because that’s what I know about – I’m sitting here, starting to type this at 09.00, in my jim-jams, waiting to feel well enough to get washed, shaved and dressed, which may happen in the next hour; I’m taking a course of Amoxyl for respiratory and intestinal infections, and I feel like shit – and this is a good day.

I spend a couple of hours each day blogging, but that’s not work, and despite a reasonable typing speed, other factors mean it can take me a couple of hours to type, say, 1,000 words, but one thing I can’t do is go out to work.

On the days I’m able to get out (and, until I get out of bed in the morning, I have no idea what I’m going to be capable of, so making any sort of plans is impossible), I’m not ready to leave home until around 11.00 – anyone expecting me to start work at 08.00 or 09.00 is going to be gravely disappointed. Using public transport is something I only do in exceptional circumstances, like when I have no money for taxis (going to the doctor, 5 minutes away, is a £7 return trip – taxis are ferociously expensive). There are several reasons for this – I’m not able to stand for extended periods, so having to wait for a bus isn’t possible. If I do get a bus – the local service actually stops right outside – it’s fraught with danger. Since its inception the bus route has been extended twice, but the permitted time hasn’t been changed. The result, despite notices exhorting passengers to remain seated until the bus has stopped, is that drivers drive like maniacs, hurtling away from stops when the passengers are barely onboard, never mind seated – using buses is dangerous for those of us who use crutches, as I do, due to a lack of spare hands to hang on with.

Taxis are out – unless an employer pays. Yeah, like that’s going to happen. If I used taxis for everything I have to do – instead of scrounging lifts – my taxi bill would be around £60 a week. If I had to use them every day, that would probably triple. Who pays, because it’s sure as hell not going to be me.

Then there’s the killer – I am not able to go out to work, not ever, not under any circumstances – it’s physically impossible, and yet I am not what this poxy government would class as severely disabled. No, scratch that – I am severely disabled, and with an illness with only one prognosis, an early and painful death, but I work very hard, at considerable physical cost, at trying to live as normal a life as possible which, to be fair, isn’t very normal, but it’s way better than just giving up and waiting to die. If push comes to shove, though, I’ll simply stop trying, because there will be absolutely no point.

Ok, that’s the practicalities out of the way – what about the morality? It is actually against the law for a disability benefit claimant to undertake any activity that may make them worse – that’s a condition of the benefit claim. How, then, will making the sick and disabled work for their poverty-level benefits not make them worse? It’d certainly make me a hell of a lot worse.

And what work would we do? Breaking rocks? Picking oakum? What? Any job worth having already has an incumbent, not to mention a queue of able-bodied workers, many with families, who want that job and who in any sane society would take precedence. Sweeping the streets, then? Nope, someone already does that. Whatever jobs the sick & disabled are capable of doing (my skills are considerable, but out of date and physically impossible, for the most part) – and they, realistically, are few – someone is already doing them, and the growing roster of the unemployed has first dibs.

Then there’s pay. If I were able to work, the minimum wage would get me about £240 a week for a full-time job, before deductions. No fucking way am I going to do that – even if I could – for £95.90 a week in Incapacity Benefit (the government’s avowed aim is that almost no-one gets benefits for nothing), and to expect me to do so is insane and utterly immoral.

DLA mobility, by the way, is payable whether you work or not, it’s money for transportation.

Of course, many people unable to work because of illness or disability do have the ability to do a job – but no-one will employ them because they have poor sick leave records, which was, initially, the case with me – before I developed ME and was signed off permanently, I’d never worked a full year in my life, and in my final working year, 1981, I had 6 months sick leave for the second year in succession because of my COPD. I was unemployable, which angered me at the time but, with hindsight, I wouldn’t have employed someone like me, no matter how good they were. And I was very good at my job, which was why I survived for so long, but there are limits.

A GP, interviewed on Radio 2 a short while ago, said that the government’s pernicious scheme was a good thing, as it would enable sick and disabled people who wanted to work to do so. Maybe, but how will it work? And how many such people are there, really?

Wanting to work if someone will have you is one thing, being able to work effectively is something else – I’d love to work for an employer who would pay me, say, £12,000 a year for working 3 hours a day (my travel costs would be the same for a few hours or a whole day), allow me to take off the entire flu season – a time when I simply will not, on medical advice, use public transport (did I mention that my immune system sucks?) – and allow me, perhaps, another month or two sick leave over what remains of the year. A ludicrous idea, obviously, and but that’s the only way I’d be able to work,

Will the government bribe employers to take on these people? Possibly, but that would be highly unethical while there is a single unemployed person available who can do that job without bribery. And wouldn’t such bribery, whether in cash or tax breaks, simply ramp up the costs they claim to want to reduce?

Of course, I think we all know who the first victims of this scheme are going to be – the mentally ill, because (a) they’re a soft target, and (b) they are at least physically able to work – and that’s all that will matter to the DWP storm troopers. That their mental health will be wrecked, possibly beyond all hope of recovery, will count for nothing.

These are just proposals right now, and have to go through the parliamentary process (though Labour have sidestepped this system in the past, and may well do so again – cast you mind back, and remember, over the past 11 years, how many new laws have been announced while parliament wasn’t in session – there are a few). But let’s assume they’ll put this abortion of a bill to parliament, then that’s when it can be killed in the Commons. I urge all of you to write to your MP, expressing your displeasure at these proposals, and urging him/her to vote against this appalling bill. Do it now.

Oh, and it goes without saying that Jeremy Vine, twat extraordinaire, is going to give us all a kicking during his show today. You think it’ll be a balanced debate? Don’t know why you’d think that – Vine is the BBC’s Daily Mail equivalent.

Persecution of the sick and disabled continues…

Unemployed people, it has been announced, should do a 9 to 5 day looking for work or undertake community service style duties such as digging gardens under moves to tackle the hardcore of joblessness, the author of a Government-commissioned report, Professor Paul Gregg, said (and I have no idea at all who this clown is, other than he’s from Bristol University, or how he’s qualified to make such pronouncements).

Gregg, severely out of touch with life on benefits and, it seems, with the real world in general, said that virtually everyone on benefits – and that includes the chronically sick and disabled, on Incapacity Benefit, whom Gregg specifically targets – should be required to take steps towards finding a job and should face having their benefits stopped for up to four weeks if they repeatedly refuse to co-operate with attempts to find them work, it was suggested.

Rarely have I read such egregious bullshit in my life. What planet this bugger’s brain is on, I really have no idea.

Unsurprisingly, Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell said he “strongly welcomed” the report, adding: “The direction of travel is the right way.,” and “The approach that virtually everyone should be doing something in return for benefits is the right one.”

What the hell is wrong with this government? If you were to substitute “black people” for “Incapacity Benefit claimants” these people would be in court so fast their feet wouldn’t touch. I just hope that there is somebody out there with the financial resources to drag these bastards into the court of human rights, because this is a massive infringement of our basic rights to food, shelter (if our benefits are stopped how do we pay our way?), and the fundamental right not to be persecuted. Because this is nothing less than persecution of the sick and disabled, a minority group almost incapable of defending itself because there is no umbrella organisation. (OK, parents with young children were also mentioned, but they, at least, are physically capable of work – we are not.)

Mark that “virtually everyone” and ask yourself who that excludes, and I think, in practice, that will be nobody at all. And to think I voted for these assholes. Never again. Just what do they expect people to live on if their benefits are stopped for 4 weeks? Are we expected to starve, and not pay any of our bills? And, of course, we’d never get the lost benefits back, so there would be no way of making good any arrears in rent or utilities, or the money we’d probably have to borrow just to eat – assuming we have anyone to borrow from…

Most days – and I can only write about myself – I’m doing well if I’m out of bed before 8.30, and I would have no idea how well I’m going to be able to function at that time. Going to work would be quite impossible unless the start time was around midday, and even then the journey to wherever it might be would exhaust me so much that, once there, I would be able to do nothing beyond husband my physical resources for the journey home. As for digging gardens, in your dreams, sunshine!

Consider this, too “Unemployed people should do a 9 to 5 day looking for work…” What bloody work? Unemployment is rising daily, the country is in recession, there is no work to look for. Mark my words, this is not a way to get people back into work – that is a flat-out lie – it’s yet another ruse by this most despicable of governments to cut the benefits bill, by targeting the most vulnerable.

How these pricks can sleep at night, let alone consider themselves socialists, is utterly beyond me, and the least I can wish for is that the family of each and every one of them is visited by some long-running, disabling illness that would give them a taste of what we have to go through. Mind you, does anyone really think that any relative of an MP or minister would ever be hauled up before the DWP inquisitors? I sure as hell don’t.

Angry, me? Bloody right!

See also this post.