Tag Archives: Disability

Capita – The New Punishers of the Poor


Image5

As Atos desperately try to extricate themselves from the Work Capability Assessment contract. Capita stands ready to take up the reins. The coalition government, and IDS in particular, must think that, as Atos have made such a mess of the job, Capita will give them some breathing space, and any difficulties would be described as “teething trouble”.

The problem is, Capita have already blotted their copybook in their dealings with people on benefits. This is the company that’s responsible for Voice Analysis Tests, which several councils are eagerly spending millions of (taxpayer’s) pounds buying.

Lie detectors aren’t noted for their reliability when they’re used in controlled circumstances, but these are telephone tests. They supposedly detect stress in a callers voice but, even if they work, they won’t be able to tell what causes the stress. It might be that the caller is lying, as Capita claim on their website, but people on benefits, at whom this pseudo-scientific technology is aimed, have many other reasons to be stressed and, when you throw illness and disability into the mix, there are even more.

Whether Capita is as bad as Atos, time will tell. There’ll be a lot of us watching.

BBC Capitulation


Tory Press

The WoW petition has smashed though the 100,000 signature barrier, so tomorrow, at 4.30pm, Iain Duncan Sith will be hauled over the coals by the Work and Pensions Select Committee  to answer for his lies and brutality. It could be very embarrassing for him, especially if the proceedings are shown on the BBC Parliament channel.

Which, it seems, it won’t be.

Instead, there’ll be a tribute to Nelson Mandela.

When complaints were made, the BBC had this to say:

We have received complaints from viewers and listeners who felt there was too much coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela. Some audience members felt there was not enough coverage of the storm affecting the UK.

We also received complaints from viewers unhappy about the disruption to the BBC One schedule on 5 December.

Response from BBC News

Nelson Mandela was one of the most important world leaders of the 20th century whose long and complex life story represents a moment of historical change for people in South Africa and around the world. His death was something we regarded as sufficiently significant both to break into our scheduled coverage and extend our news programmes. His political and cultural influence was global and as both a UK and international broadcaster it is important that we reflected that, and the range of reactions to his death, to all our audiences.

BBC One viewers received updates on the storm in their area during regional bulletins broadcast at 2250 and in a weather forecast at 0030, on the BBC News website and on BBC local radio stations throughout the night. We are continuing to report on the aftermath of the storm.

Response from BBC Scheduling

Interruptions to programmes are rare but we regard the death of Nelson Mandela to be of significant public interest.

The BBC

“…we regard the death of Nelson Mandela to be of significant public interest.”

Well so do I, but why does a tribute to him need to be shown at such a specific time. The select committee hearing is important to millions of people, and deserves to be shown live. There are plenty of slots on the Parliament channel, that are usually padded with recordings of sessions in the Commons, often from several months earlier.

And the BBC assertion that the complaints were of ” too much coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela” may be true in some cases, but not at all true of every complainant.

The BBC seem intent on continuing their cover up on behalf of the government, and will even slander the public they’re supposed to serve to do it.

Yet Another Daily Mail Assault on the Disabled


George "Gideon" Osborne flouting the law. Again.

George “Gideon” Osborne flouting the law. Again.

Remember that Facebook campaign against disabled people, attacking their “privilege” of having parking spaces reserved for them?

Well now the Daily Mail has stepped up that campaign.

After the Chancer of the Exchequer (and no, that’s not a typo) was photographed getting into his car which was parked in a bay reserved for disabled people, Liz Jones, a harridan of ill repute, wrote an article yesterday, in which she bragged of deliberately parking in those reserved spaces, despite not possessing a Blue Badge, the permit required to park in the specially marked parking bays.

Ironically, she is deaf, and so entitled to get a Blue Badge, but finds it too much of a bother, claiming that her mother once had one but “the red tape required to get the sticker required a PhD, beaten only by the fact it had to be renewed every year, just in case she was miraculously able to walk again.”

So, rather than “doing the right thing”, to borrow a phrase from the government front bench, she chooses to park illegally, even parking at “at a crazy angle“, so it’s likely her Land Rover takes up more than one space.

Of course, what she’s really doing is trying to encourage other people to park illegally. Disabled people, to her and her ilk, should be kept indoors unless, like hers, the disability is invisible.

It all helps the right-wing crusade against the most vulnerable people in our society.

After Jones called  Holly Willoughby’s lack of make-up in public a  “betrayal to women”, Willoughby’s “This Morning” co-presenter, Phillip Schofield, said “I swear there can be no greater force against all womankind than Liz Jones. She is inconsistent, bitter, nasty and unhinged.”

I quite agree.

Why the #Wowpetition Matters So Much


Eugenicist The original of the picture above showed Colin Brewer, an independent member of Cornwall Council, holding a pamphlet titled “The Code of Conduct”. He should have read it before making the comment, at a Disability Cornwall stall at County Hall in Truro in 2011, “disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down”. He has apologised.

So remorseful was he that it took until very recently to apologise.

So contrite was he that he didn’t apologise until the Standards Committee demanded that he should.

So penitent is he that he has refused to resign, in spite of the widespread demand, even claiming that there haven’t been any calls for him to do so. He has even said “I have no intention of resigning. I don’t think I have done anything wrong. I have apologised.” If he thinks he hasn’t done anything wrong, then the apology is insincere and worthless.

The WOW Petition calls, very precisely, for “a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform, and a New Deal for sick & disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions”, but it is more than that.

Making people aware of the problems faced by sick and disabled people is just as important, and bigots like Councillor Brewer are a huge part of that problem, especially when they are in positions of responsibility.

The Standards Committee haven’t the power to sack or suspend Brewer, as many people have asked for. That decision will be in the hands of the voters of Wadebridge East, who he purports to represent.

 

UPDATE: After some pressure from many people on-line, Brewer has resigned, and he has even admitted that he was in the wrong. What a pity he took so long to realise that.

Some Petitions – Please Sign


Via Wowpetition.com on Twitter:

“Thanks for following us and already signing Francesca Martinez’s epetitionhttp://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154

We have a NEW THUNDERCLAP which we are very keen that you authorize on twitter by clicking “Support” here: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/1066-wowpetition-com This enables the site to trigger an automatic 500-strong tweet on 31st January. It only works if we get 500 people by then though. We need to let Government know – we aren’t going away.”

There is an upcoming Panorama documentary on Monday 28th January at 20:30http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgk9h dealing with the companies who have been paid billions by Government to find Disabled and Sick people work.
We ask that you are ready on internet forums, Twitter, Facebook, etc to apprise newly concerned people of WOWpetition.com during and after during media coverage of the programme. This is so important that people know there is a place they can express their concerns about the situation.

We also ask that you continue to sign other petitions:

Lynn’s #SignSaveLives Petition to exclude people with severe mental health sufferers from DLA assessments epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35092

Sometimes we need to amplify people’s individual experiences and concerns about Welfare Reform. It is not just about principle, but because of SPECIFIC reasons and cases that the WCAs are problematic.

“Stop the intrusive black and white ATOS medical questioning for survivors of assault”
@ohdearyme has a petition asking for better support and facilites for victims/survivors of abuse/sexual abuse http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44718 More info http://ohdearyme.com/

Set up after WWII for injured veterans to find work, Remploy was the UK’s biggest employer of Disabled People until the Coalition tore it asunder and put great numbers of Disabled People out of work.
Save Remploy Factories saveremployfactories.co.uk and Innovate to Stop Closurehttp://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31056 #saveremploy

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant”

We know we ask a lot, but we believe that the petition system is growing all the time and more of a difference can be made. Make Government listen by continuing to raise awareness of these issues. The tide is turning.”

WOWsig

I’m using this image in forum signatures to link to this page – feel free to download it for your own use.

#WowPetition – Please Keep It Going!


Who's been at the communion wine?

Who’s been at the communion wine?

When I started this blog, I intended to write, for the most part, about religion, and my continued opposition to it. I seem now to write, almost exclusively, about social justice and, lately, the ConDem government’s War on Welfare.

I suppose I could shoehorn religion in, by mentioning Iain “Duncan” Smith’s devout Roman Catholicism, and noting that his faith does not, contrary to the many claims of religious apologists, make him a good person. To emphasise this point would, however, be to ignore the many people who are religious who stand firmly against all that Smith stands for. It would be wrong, as well, to ignore atheists in government, like the Quisling Nick Clegg who, at the very least, stand idly by while Smith hounds sick and disabled people, sometimes to death.

So, just as members of the government, religious and non-religious alike, can join together to persecute the poor, so I will happily stand with my religious friends to fight them. Some people, on either side of the religious divide, will call me opportunistic, but I don’t see it that way. Sometimes, one principle has to make way for another.

Of course, the government side has the best armaments, having better access to the mainstream media than us, and it has been suggested that on-line petitions and social media aren’t going to help so “why bother?”

This defeatist argument often comes from people who are well aware of the role of social media in the “Arab Spring“, so I don’t understand why they’re so sure it can’t work here.

In any case, it’s worth a try, and it’s better than just rolling over and accepting defeat so, if you haven’t already signed the Wow Petition, please head over to http://wowpetition.com/ and do so and, whether or not you’ve signed, you could also help by passing the message along to your friends.

Atos Fraud


 

When Atos tendered their bid for the contract to assess disabled people for the forthcoming “Personal Independence Payment”, which is to replace disability living allowance, they claimed they would be working closely with disabled people’s organisations. The organisations they named, including Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People, Disability Cornwall and ecdp, say they know nothing of this.

As this claim was instrumental in Atos’s success in winning the bid, worth £540 million, it represents an enormous fraud. That figure, by the way, is greater than the DWP’s own estimate of disability benefit fraud.

Atos have claimed that they made a mistake.If claimants makes mistakes, they  will be penalised.

What’s the betting we’ll see a double standard here, with Cameron & co standing up for their rich buddies, while disabled people continue to suffer and die at Atos’s hands?

 

Source: click here.

 

Tesco Cruelty – Not Just for Chickens


If someone breaks something in a shop, particularly a large shop with a big turnover, it is common practice to clean the mess up and write off the loss. If it’s something like wine or spirits, the customer might be charged for the broken item. If the customer appears to be drunk, they may be ordered to leave the store.

Unless they become violent, that is all that the shop staff, including security guards, are permitted to do. Even if the customer is belligerent, any unwanted contact is assault, and in such circumstances the police should be called. Even the police have to be careful about using force as, if it is determined that it is unwarranted, that is also assault.

Very little of this applies to disabled campaigner Jules Clarke who, on Wednesday, was forcibly ejected from his local Tesco store in Manchester, by security guards too stupid to understand the limits of their powers of arrest. (They are the same as those of anyone else who doesn’t carry a warrant card, only valid if you are absolutely certain of a conviction.)

I’m not exactly sure of Jules’ condition, and in any case I’m not medically qualified. Suffice it to say it involves extreme tiredness, which looks, to the wilfully uninformed, a little like drunkenness.

At the till, before paying, Jules dropped a bottle of wine. He was then physically thrown out of the store, in part because one of the security guards could smell booze. After a bottle of wine was broken. Such stupidity must take a special effort.

Jules was left bruised and battered, not just physically, but mentally too. If such an attack can happen in a famous store like Tesco, what place could be safe?

Tesco have a remarkable talent for courting bad publicity, from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall‘s campaign about cruelty to chickens to Tesco’s involvement in the government’s workfare scam. Tesco like to ignore such complaints, presumably hoping the fuss will just die down, and this seems, so far, to be the approach they are taking with Jules.

They have relayed an apology of sorts, via Twitter, but they didn’t seem very sincere to me. They also replied to someone commenting on Jules’ plight with these words:

Please be assured that everyone is welcome to Tesco and we take fair treatment of all of our customers seriously

Fine words, but that was their position before the attack on Jules, so why should anyone believe them now?

The trouble is (from their point of view) people, including disabled people, are much better connected these days, and news that would once be tucked away in local papers now spreads like wildfire.

I found out about this on Twitter. So will all my friends. And their friends. And their friends. And so on…..

Some of them are Tesco customers. For now.

Iain Duncan Smith – The Quiet Bigot


When Iain Duncan Smith announced plans to close Remploy factories and put 1,518 disabled people out of work, that was bad enough.

When it became clear that the decision was at least partly based on malicious gossip, that the Remploy employees just sat around all day drinking coffee, that was worse. Any fool, even a politician, could see what a stupid thing that was to say, even if it had been true, which it wasn’t. A decent human being would, at the very least, apologise.

Liam Byrne, Yesterday the shadow work and pensions secretary, Liam Byrne, called on Smith to do just that, but there was not a hint of remorse.

The government’s attack on the most vulnerable in society continues apace and Iain Duncan Smith, for the time being, is its mascot.

 

BMA to ballot on Work Capability Assessments


Shamelessly stolen from Social Welfare Union on Twitter:

BREAKING !!! BMA to ballot on Work Capability Assessments !!! #WCA #Atos #DWP

103 HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT: That conference, in respect of work capability assessments (WCA) as performed
by ATOS Healthcare, believes that the:
(i) inadequate computer based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons
(ii) WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause
avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.

103a SCOTTISH CONFERENCE OF LMCs: That conference, in respect of work capability assessments (WCA) as performed
by ATOS Healthcare, believes that:
(i) the inadequate computer based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons
(ii) the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not
cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.

The GMC will be forced to institute a full investigation and under an obligation to take action to halt the assessments by revoking “Approved Medical Status” to testing centres. The motions were submitted by the Scottish LMC Conference and Hampshire and Isle of Wight LMC. Motions 103 & 103a can be viewed here:

http://www.bma.org.uk/images/lmcconfagenda2012_tcm41-212632.pdf

I wonder if the BBC will report this.

The Social Welfare Union, together with our partners, are very pleased to announce that the United Kingdom Local Medical Committees Conference of the British Medical Association (BMA) has voted today to carry the following motion in relation to Atos Healthcare conducted Work Capability Assessments:

103 HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT & 103a SCOTTISH CONFERENCE OF LMCs

That conference, in respect of work capability assessments (WCA) as performed by ATOS Healthcare, believes that the:

(i) inadequate computer based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons

(ii) WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.

The motion was carried UNANIMOUSLY.