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Showing posts from March, 2012

Programmed - A Quick Sign On

My appointment, as I sit in the library briefly, was at 10 in the am. Fortunately I was seen reasonably promptly although there was some guff about a group meeting that people are meant to have with regard of the Work Programme. This came up because such a meeting was happening as I went in. I have no idea what that was all about.

Really the only change for claimants now on the WP is they get a smart new frontpage for their signing book and they don't have to go through a jobsearch at the JC - that's for the provider to accomplish. So the only thing to report (forgive me, there's nothing else to do in town while I wait for the bus - it's a nice library though) is that the process is more or less the same: you still have to bring in your jobsearch but that search is done via the WP. And, again tediously, the JC don't seem capable of sticking to a regular signing time. Each time I go in they have to book a new time for my next appointment, even though my signing book …

FIRE! some more!

So I've just listened to Gideon Osbourne on the news and I had to quickly post. Not only does he just not understand that he and his gang of maniacs are to blame for the panic at the pumps, but he wants to blame the union!

This is what we're dealing with folks; there's no clearer message. Not only is it absolutely verboten and, more worryingly, antisocial to actually withdraw labour (never mind actually doing so in accordance with rules and regulations and not wildcat action), even the threat of strikes is enough to offend the state.

This is the thick end of the wedge for me, and I have no dog in this race as I don't even drive. If a union cannot discuss it's intention to strike - and of course if it didn't it would be blamed just the same - then where are we? Still think we're living in a democracy? This was clearly calculated action by a wrecking crew hell bent on breaking the backs of the unions some more and getting them under their heel. This cannot be c…


If I worked in a cinema as an usher and shouted "fire run for your lives!" during a busy performance I'd be sacked. Unless my name was Francis Maude, MP, of course.

How in the name of fuck does this man still have a job? Not only does he offer a limp and shameful performance on Monday in response to the cash for Cameron debacle, as the PM couldn't be bothered to attend Parliament, but he's back on the news, yesterday, calling for widespread panic!

I have never seen such a reckless narcissistic government as this. That this utter cretin, this ignorant stupid twit, cannot see past his own nose to the impact of opening such a Pandora's Box beggars belief. How on earth can he continue? The fire service are telling people NOT to stockpile combustible flammable liquids like petrol in their cars, garages and especially homes. But it's too late now, Maude cannot unsay what he has said, and that is why he must immediately go.

But he won't. The Tories live in thei…

Programmed - Tidbit

I just rang the Salvation Army HQ (their number off their website) ostensibly to enquire about the paradox of being in a position to sanction people - push them into poverty - while being a charity that helps people in need. I got through to the Employment Plus section, which wasn't actually my intention. I wanted to ask them as the master organisation because I was under the impression that Employment Plus was a more neutral, less religious, organisation they almost subcontracted to. Interestingly that's not the case. In fact when I asked if Employment Plus was as Christian oriented as the Salvation Army itself I was told 'of course' - in a tone that seemed almost surprised that I would even ask. I didn't push the issue and was told that they don't really like to put people up for sanction unless it's a last resort. Now I have to give them the benefit of the doubt on this, to be fair. Hopefully it's true, but I couldn't speak to anyone directly rel…

Work Programme with Reed

Have a look at this. Here is a link to several provider action plans. Notice that Reed's compels the claimant to sign away his data protection rights. That cannot be right. There's no bloody way I'd sign this. Doesn't the provider guidelines for this scheme allow people the right to retain this? Isn't that a separate requirement? Is this even legal? If Reed are going to argue that it's mandatory to sign the plan (as I'm sure they do, even though it might not be), then can they legally include this as well?

On another note, Goonface Grayling (him again) has decided, in another act of tory hypocrisy, to offshore all the work done for the Universal Credit IT system to India and the like. Read about that here.

And if that's not bad enough, follow the link on this page to The Void to hear just how terrifying this is going to be. I doubt even David Icke could be able to construe something more Orwellian. I want this particular story to be spread as far and wide…

Programmed - Action Plan Pictures (repost)

Someone asked to post images from the aforementioned action plan. Now I don't know why this was included, I'm sure it's intended to get me thinking about what I need to tell them when I attend as presumably that's when all this get's done. Here are the three most important pages. There are a couple more covering all the basic sort of info: name/qualifications, etc.


This had to come into my orbit, who doesn't like knickers! Not only that Mary Portas' latest media vehicle plays to the undercurrents of jingoism and scrounging that the media so desperately loves at the moment. Portas is perfect for television: she's effervescent, bubbly (I loathe that word), peppy and likes whatever is current. That, according to her, includes British manufacturing for British knickers for British bottoms.

There have only been a couple of programmes so far, I watched last night completely and saw very little of the first. I gave up on the first episode because I could see where it was going. That episode concentrated on the issue of worklessness in terms of finding British workers for Mary's British factory to make Mary's British pants, to be called 'Kinky Knickers'. Ooo la la! (Sorry that's French.)

That first episode played to the usual media alarm bells: poor post empire Britain, it's beleaguered post-industrial workforce, unempl…

Programmed - This Is Your Threatening Induction Letter!

I have my appointment for the 3rd of April now. I have just received the letter/induction details including an action plan. Now this is confusing. Firstly the action plan isn't filled in and it's not clear if they want me to fill it in or, if not (and I don't think they do), why this is included at this stage. Is it meant to be a work in progress or something? Along with the usual 'if you don't attend...verboten' warnings it says that they will start an action plan during the first meeting.

However, the agreement, on page 3 (out of 5 painful pages) has a part for me to sign and the adviser to countersign. Again no mention that I should sign this now (like hell!). However it does contain the following text:

"For Mandatory JSA Customers: if you do not undertake the activities required in this notification your benefit will be affected"

The agreement that I'm to sign reads:
"I agree with the content of this plan and the outcomes identified. I will a…

Programmed - This Is Your Wakeup Call!

Just got back after a stroll in the fields on what's almost a lovely spring morning. Something I never take for granted these days, but something so delightfully simple and refreshing. I think I'd go mad without being surrounded by the green and wild hedgerows of rural Britain. It's the simple things in life, but that's me - I'm a simple person and nature is free (though not if Fuhrer Cameron ever got his way I should think).

Anyway, enough Last of the Summer Wine, Jobfit have contacted me to book my Mandatory Work Programme Appointment (or whatever the buzz phrase was, it all washed over me, like splashback from a nasty du - well you get my drift :D

So it's Jobfit that are the overall provider, but, although they didn't say, it's the Sally Army that are running it on the ground. In fact the helpful Eastern European accented call person said the only alternative was another town (between both venues I'm equidistant) which happens to be the only other …

Programmed - Intro Leaflet Breakdown

I really am not looking forward to being conscripted. The worst part is that I have to sit around waiting for the damned phone to ring. That could happen anytime, calling me up for service. I don't deal with that situation well at all. Of course they don't think about things like this, instead you get a referral letter warning you of the consequences of failure. Same old stick no carrot.

On top of that I have a leaflet from the Jobfit people, the standard minimal pre-induction crap. It's worth a closer look because I suspect that, if actually called into question, wouldn't be taken seriously at all.

Firstly it says "Removing Barriers" talking about a professional service tailored to each individual's needs and supporting customers to overcome any personal problems and issues preventing them from working. Good to know, then, that I'll be dealing with trained therapists, counsellors and psychologists (like the person I have been dealing with who tells me …


It's zero hour. I have been referred to the Work Programme. The dreaded Work Programme. The great Jobcentre referral process tombola has sent me to Jobfit whom I have never heard of (but then why would I). The venue is the Salvation Army building directly over the road. Does that sound relatively benign? Who knows, but I'm not a Christian and don't plan to be.

According to Jobfit's website, they work in partnership with (which I take to mean they subcontract to) Salvation Army Employment Plus. So now the good old Sally Army has gotten a seat aboard the Unemployment Gravy Train. I can't say that inspires me, but I can't be sure how all this works, nor do I understand why all these companies subcontract to and from each other. I suppose the obvious answer has the queen's face on it.

I'm not sure how I feel right now. That funk of anxiety blunts everything. The world seems at once too bright in terms of sensory stimuli and yet too dull. My thoughts are engr…

Still Not Much Help

Lean times for people that need help or even just want to do something different. I've managed to prise a letter from my GP as he has now spoken with The Psychologist. Not surprisingly the letter tells me next to nothing. I still have no idea what the test I undertook was actually for; it wasn't to get on the sick, and it wasn't to give a diagnosis. This is the same language used by the Fit Note culture: telling me what the test was not for is not telling me anything. Similarly telling people what a person with disabilities can do is ignoring those disabilities. And to what end? So they can be shuffled into the great queue for jobs. Worse, the queue for the average sort of work (ie the only sort of work) you will find via the DWP. So something like writing from home isn't ever going to come through that system. The letter does acknowledge that, while in principle arbeitmachtfrei - sorry, work cures all (that's what I meant to say of course!), in practical terms I n…

Not Much Help

Just as an epilogue to this week's shenanigans, I get a call from The Psychologist. She suggests helping me write a letter that can be presented to the Work Programme provider, now that Work Choices is out the window, telling them of my needs and issues. This sounds like a good idea until she realises she's actually too busy to do this. Ok, I suggest emailing her a copy of this proposed letter that I will write on my own and she can, most importantly in my view, rubber stamp this: put her name in her official capacity to it. Unfortunately while she's happy for me to do all this, her name won't carry any weight with the provider and so refuses.

It seems these providers are under no obligation to listen to the DWP regarding such issues as the state/health/wellbeing/whatever of a particular client. They can dismiss or ignore everything The Psychologist might say or agree with. So of course the obvious question is why would she think they would take me anymore seriously. We…

Programmes and Choices

So the soap opera continues.

I spoke to The Psychologist this morning and if she didn't get the message then the gods only know what she thinks.

To cut a long story short it seems that again more promises made turn out to be not quite as gold as once they glittered. Pluss is actually subcontracting, locally, for my dear old chums, Working Links! It's a postcode lottery, not much further south the Shaw Trust, whom I've spoken with before, are working on their behalf. What a tangled web they weaves with public money.

Work Choices itself sounds exactly the same as the Work Programme - which itself makes the same kinds of noises about helping people with health/mental health issues. Eight hours of weekly jobsearching was mentioned, which led me then to question how they are going to provide that if they can meet me locally. This was the reason I accepted Work Choices over the Work Programme; the ability to see me in a more convenient less austere location (something that Shaw Tru…

So Helpful


I am not a happy blogger right now. The bloody jobcentre, whom I have told to be 110% discreet when communicating with me (if I must have them contact me by phone at all), have just disregarded that entirely and told the family member I live with that they are from the jobcentre. This is a big deal because I have tried to keep that a secret because I really really do not want to have to deal with the grief of explaining I am a feckless scrounger to someone that will not understand. I know they won't understand.

It is not for the bloody jobcentre to question this. It isn't for them to say 'well they should understand' or whatever. It should be enough for them to respect my wishes, that I have made a thousand times, not to blurt out 'hi is Mr Whistler in, I'm from the JC' - along with whatever else she said (if anything - I have no idea). All that's needed is to ask for me; if I'm available then we can talk. I have a real problem with phones any…

Fit World

I don't think disability is allowed anymore. We all know tolerance of the disabled/the sick is declining. But I think institutionally organisations such as the DWP even acknowledge the reality of such conditions anymore. It all started with Labour - or was it the Tories appropriating their policies in the wake of the election (while blaming labour for creating the problem their policy was set up to 'solve')? The introduction of the 'Fit Note' to replace the traditional sick note. Now the doctor is supposed to say not what ails the patient but what he can do.

Unfortunately in real life what a person can do is not a million miles from what he can't. I also find this revisionism rather iniquitous: I would go so far as to presume that the disabled (if I may be permitted to generalise) take ownership of their conditions. That is, a person's disabilities are not to be denied or something one should be ashamed of; they form part of who they are.

I see this now with …

Dance For Me!

The Telegraph has an odious piece of low rent propaganda.

All these lazy thick illiterate innumerate unpunctual young people that don't want to work suddenly become a hit with employers when they are working for naught!

These are jobs that could have been advertised normally that people could have applied for and been processed for surely?

Only 4 of the 15 'experiencers' were taken on by the company in the piece. That's just over a quarter employed as a result. It's also unsustainable: they can't keep taking people on, not even as work experience.

Companies aren't going to be able to sustain this are they? It's a policy based on a snapshot moment of the current workplace/labour market conditions - in fact it's advertised success (which is nothing of the sort) is dependent on the failure therein.

From the piece: “It’s work experience – the clue is in the name. Nobody is going to give you a job unless you’ve got experience first, and that means working f…

Today at the JC

Having just signed on, fellow travellers, the journey continues. The communication between Psychologist, DA and also GP is slow. Why? Who knows, but at the same time I'm constantly reminded of the JC's urgency in getting me onto the Work Programme or some such. If there are people that think the unemployment service is run well then please tell them to seek medical help. It seems that the DA has the final say in whether Work Choices, a scheme sold to me on the basis of being the best suited for my needs, is indeed suitable.

But the Disability Adviser isn't a doctor; my GP is a doctor, he knows me better and would probably endorse (and how !) my entering this scheme. The Psychologist is a doctor (well you know what I mean), and she suggested it. The DA however isn't, and is more concerned, it seems, how much it might cost the DWP (as opposed to the Work Programme, which of course is free isn't it! Er!).

Anyway I'm repeating what I posted yesterday. Mind you that …

The Insanity of the Jobcentre

I think I'm at my limit. The cup is full, sir. No more can I take of the Jobcentre and their bollocks.

Where do I start? Well when last I signed I had the meeting with The Psychologist to discuss the results of the test. That results seem to say nothing other than I might have ADD/Dyspraxia/Aspergers/all three/something else/'Non Verbal Learning Disability/Anxiety/Depression/Stress - or...? Well who knows. She told me the waiting list for an official diagnosis is around a year so having this test has really not accomplished much, but I presume it's meant as supporting evidence toward that end...if and when a diagnosis slot becomes available. Meanwhile I have to deal with the DWP, including facing the Work Programme. Barring anything else I'm meant to get referred to that tomorrow.

However another choice presents itself, by way of The Psychologist, a scheme called Work Choices. This is sold to me on the basis that a) they can meet me locally (which has worked out well bef…

Small Victories

Embarrassed and shamed - well maybe that's too much to hope for - the government has changed it's stance regarding sanctioning kids who don't participate in 'work experience'. Of course it would be very easy to point out that, given Herr Grayling has claimed all along the scheme is voluntary, they are contradicting themselves. A victory is a victory.

But the work can't end there. Many other work fare schemes exist with many more capitalist supporters; the government has done it's best to wheel them out this week. We still have Mandatory Work Activity (capitalised because it's a component of the Work Programme) as well as the vile Community Action Programme. The pressure must be kept up on these disgraceful schemes. Work experience surely must include the experience of being paid: not just a simple handout of free labour to the supermarkets at busy times of the year. I've been through the arguments against this lunacy before, just to say that it seems…