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Showing posts from 2013

A Universal Christmas Jobmatch

It’s Christmas Morning, 9am, what better time than this to check what’s on Universal Jobmatch.
Yes, I suppose this is a bit sad, but Christmas doesn’t mean much to me so I won’t be doing anything different today other than eat a roast dinner (something I do too little off all year round). I thought it might be amusing to run a wee experiment into the veracity of this god-awful site on the most unlikely day to apply for jobs. I shall log on early and check back during the day to see how much stuff gets uploaded (or appears to) and what the quality of these jobs seems to be. I read someone got sanctioned for not applying for jobs on Christmas so I thought, what better day to test the site.
Unfortunately we’re off to a rather depressing start as there seem to be 12 pages of jobs within 10 miles of me (if you set it any further it will be unmanageable) and dated (i.e. uploaded) today. By way of comparison yesterday was 3 pages at this time and the average seems to be about 5.
From the …

Larry and Tarquin

This is the tale of two boys. We will call them Tarquin and Larry.
Tarquin and Larry never used to be friends; their families came from either side of the tracks, so to speak. But over the years they managed to find common ground. As the world got smaller they both began to recognise similar interests in acquiring as much pocket money as possible. It was a case of mutual self interest, rather than anything deeper or nobler. Over the years they became greedy.
Then, in 2008, they got caught stealing from a sweet shop. Both boys were culpable but Tarquin was lucky in that he was stood behind Larry when the shopkeeper came into the front of the shop from his office out back. Consequently he was able to pocket his candy without being noticed. At the same time as the shopkeeper saw what Larry was holding, catching him red handed, Tarquin stepped back and flung out his arm, finger pointing straight toward his friend: “it was him, sir!”
Larry, chastised and burning, confessed and set about …


The day before an acquaintance I hadn’t seen for a while was telling me that his tribunal was successful. He has been placed into the support group for two years, which is a great result. I told him I was waiting to hear and that I could hear today, tomorrow the next few months. Turns out it was tomorrow; the next day I got my tribunal date through. I’m to be seen at the local magistrates court (apparently in one of the rooms within as the regular venue in Briustol is chock a block) on the 30th. To say that I am apprehensive is to put it midlly.
A few weeks before I made a last ditch attempt to persuade my GP to write a letter supporting the problems I have. All he needed to do was write confirming what I’d told the CAB in respect of the WCA descriptors. This is the only language the system, and thus the appeal, will understand. He said that he would, after, again, another episde of me having to explain to him how it all works. What I got back was not what I consider to be particular…

The World According To Amazon

Amazon online; it all seemed so great.
A few years ago I wanted to use my Amazon account to try and make a living. I’d seen a few people in the unemployment support industry including the Shaw Trust, and a group called First Step (they are all called ‘step’ or something ‘step’). Nothing came of it other than vague promises of moral support, but no actual help getting anything off the ground (i.e. money, since stock doesn’t come free – unlike said moral support).
Perhaps that’s just as well as recent journalistic incursions into the secret world of Amazon’s elves paints a very grim picture. I still have my Amazon account and I had used it quite recently to sell a DVD. Unfortunately it’s the only game in town; like the big supermarket chains it has been allowed – even financially assisted – to creep into and take over our lives. In fact one o the reasons I liked using them was because I didn’t have to take my credit card details to other internet sites and increase the risk of fraud (t…

The Gathering of Evidence

I’ve struggled for things to discuss recently. Not least of all because I have had a dodgy stomach for the best part of a weak and it’s rather knocked me for six. No doubt some bug that’s doing the rounds. I don’t cope with illnesses very well, no matter if they aren’t serious. But that’s just me.
Certainly there are things I could discuss, though other blogs are better at investigation than I; you can check some of them out from the links on the right. It seems a week doesn’t go by these days without some DWP legal challenge going awry (for them or us). How Duncan Smith remains in his job I simply do not know.
I have another appointment with my (other) doctor tomorrow; yet another attempt to explain what I need. I don’t know how many times I can go back and forth with people that seem almost institutionally unwilling to grasp the reality of the situation. Not only that but they also seem to believe that government policy, directly or indirectly, cannot be counted as a reason to exp…

Aha, mm hmm, ahuh, yes, hmmm.

I think it’s fair to say, now, that the poor have been completely disenfranchised from the system and thus from society. This was made clear, in my opinion, with the appointment of Rachel Reeves as shadow work and pensions secretary. Her opening statement clearly laid out Labour’s desire to distance themselves from the lower classes and to fight IDS at his own game, which is, in my view, a race to the bottom.
This was also further reinforced this morning, amid the monsoon we appear to have moved beneath, in another appointment with my GP. To her credit she has agreed to support me with sick notes, but at the same time isn’t really helping me at all. Not to be ungrateful but facilitating survival rations is hardly the support one should expect from a civilised rich post industrial nation. Yet we are lucky to get even that.
I say ‘expect’ because she raised the point that I was sounding ‘entitled’. This has become a dirty word these days. It is capitalism’s code for “expecting things …

Pride And Benefits

There was a programme called ‘On Benefits and Proud’ on, it should come as no surprise, Channel 5 this past Monday. I didn’t watch it. I didn’t have the stomach. Judging by the twitter feed, it was probably a wise decision. That of course will not stop me from commenting – much like facts and evidence do not stop the right wing trolls from braying.
The programme apparently focussed on a mother of 11 children, which, in the style of Chris Huhne, exceeds the legal limit for scrounger progeny. Unemployed people aren’t allowed to have children and the authorities should have the ability to travel backwards through time and, using knowledge of the future, enforce some kind of Philip K Dick dystopian prevention. Easy target number one. The other two case studies were a pair of single mothers who have the audacity to live in a high rent area, and a long term unemployed pair of Liverpudlians; those well known itinerants.
This is ridiculous; it seems, at the risk of sexism, very easy to pick…

Into The Nightmare; the return of Workfare

I’m not really sure what to say here. I’m not entirely sure what I can add to the blogosphere that has already commented on the recent Tory onslaught. I suppose I could attempt to hint at possible division between Osbourne and IDS because of the former announcing welfare policy ahead of the latter. Maybe I could speculate on the reason for this hard shift further (as if that were possible) to the right as an attempt to win over UKIP voters who are at the swivel eyed edge of social policy.
So again the spectre of workfare haunts the unemployed. Thanks to the likes of the Policy Exchange and their odious attitude toward work and unemployment, it is back on the agenda, and how. Apparently from next April workfare will be part of a brutal and thus ineffectual package of measures aimed at the unemployed, again focussing on them as the composers of their own misfortune. Again avoiding blame for the failings of policy and an economic system that rewards the Tories and rejects the poor.

The Ignorance of GP's

A phone call appointment with my GP confirms they simply do not understand the benefit system, specifically with regard to ESA. My GP is absolutely adamant that, even if I fail a tribunal she can somehow intervene so that I don’t end up with nothing. Oh how I tried; tried to explain that if you fail a tribunal that’s it. At least that’s my understanding. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps the medical community does have some power in this situation but the tribunal is the last port of call; appeals do not get a further chance. This is the highest authority.
You see the CAB had asked the GP to write a simple letter (wouldn’t even take 2 pages) underlining what I had told them. My GP had previously said she can’t verify those issues and so couldn’t write a letter. I tried again today to explain this is what is necessary – because this is what is necessary. Unfortunately she doesn’t want to write a letter. Ironically she had no problem digging up a ton of information, none of it particularly he…


The CAB wrote to me the other day; a bundle of letters with a covering note explaining that this, what the GP has written, isn’t really going to help my appeal by and large. There may be something within that tangentially helps, this being the response to my GP writing to the JC last year. This was a na├»ve attempt by him (now her thanks to the difficulty of seeing a regular doctor, which I’m sure doesn’t help) to ask them how they are helping me. Of course they weren’t helping me, and neither were the Salvation Army whose own bullshit response was solicited; because of that bullshit quotient I’m reluctant to use that letter so I’m forced to try the GP again.
What the CAB need is for the doctor to verify how and which of the ESA descriptors affect me. Her response was to tell me that she couldn’t do that. Now I have to try again otherwise my appeal may be compromised. It certainly would benefit from a concrete diagnosis. The problem is that because mental health is invisible and becau…

Grant Shapps vs The UN

Raquel Rolnik may resemble the thinking man’s Su Pollard, but she is actually the UN’s housing ‘rapporteur’. You can tell this means something, because the word is all fancy sounding, like. A bit like the word ‘compftroller’. I don’t really know what either word means. She’s come to Shite Britain to assess the impact of the ludicrous bedroom tax, also known, variously, as the spare room subsidy, or the under occupancy charge. No matter how the scum attempt to rebrand this hated and hateful policy, its true nature shines through.
In a supreme act of straight-faced irony her preliminary findings have been thoroughly rebuked; a distraught DWP spokes-toad claims Ms Rolnik ignored the numbers settling instead for anecdote. Wasn’t it Duncan Smith himself who relied on ‘cosmic ordering’ a few months back when faced with the facts about his policies? Didn’t he argue that, despite what the numbers actually said, he believed he was right and that’s all that mattered?
What must stick in his cr…

Capitalism Has Failed Us

What are they doing?
Our future is sold from under our noses; repossessed by people with no legitimate claim to it in the first place. This is the biggest and most insidious betrayal of our society – and people are blind to what is happening.
Recently, on Question Time, George Galloway advocated the ‘beatification’ of workfare hero Cait Reilly. She’s a hero because she stood up to the full weight of this disgusting system and helped expose the incompetence and lies at the heart of Mandatory Workfare.
This was the scheme, if you’ll remember, that saw Cait forced to abandon the work she had arranged herself to go and stack shelves in Poundland, a highly profitable group of austerity shitehawks. She was already doing what the DWP wanted her to do and that still wasn’t enough. Better, in their beady eyes, she make Mr Poundland a few more of those lovely pounds.
This week, those odious spongers and fantasists at the Taxpayers Alliance tried again to resurrect the idea of workfare, unawar…


Summer fades and as it does so there is a hint of melancholy on the wind that makes all the days seem more precious. Soon the sunshine, that we have been blessed (or cursed, I suppose!) with this year, will be cold and the warmth gone. Accompanying this is a breeze that blows through the trees making the light hazy and yellow. It is times like these that tell us who we are. There is a connection between a person, what some might call his soul, and the living world; the world away from buildings, electricity, jobcentres and chemical weapons.
I am not religious. I abhor organised religions as systems of control that instil subservience and fear into people. We should not be afraid, though often we are. However I acknowledge the presence of what some might, in fluffy terms, call spirituality. I do not believe in new age philosophies; much of these beliefs are a kludge of older systems that now exist in syncretism; forms whose true natures are ignored by those that practice them. What m…

Verifying Mental Health on ESA

When it comes to mental health, trying to get onto ESA is uniquely difficult. Of course it’s difficult, period. But I think, and I’ve seen, that mental health is peculiar in this.
The CAB needs me to get a letter from my GP to underline how my conditions affect me. Specifically this has to pertain to what the ESA descriptors require to qualify for the points awarded. It’s like a terrifying game show. Turns out, however, that my GP received a letter from the CAB asking for this already and she has responded – but, I fear, not in the way the CAB and I need. I tried to explain that the process requires she verify my explanation in response to these descriptors. Here’s an example:
ESA Brucey Forsythe: “Now for 6 points, can you tell me whether or not you can cope with small unexpected changes to your daily routine.”
This is the specific requirement for the descriptor ‘coping with changes’; in other words this is what the ESA system needs to know about in order to qualify.
Contestant Ghos…