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IDS' ideology is bizarre - assuming he isn't dangerously psychotic. This is penny pinching of the most venal and odious kind: kicking people off ESA to save a few quid a week and forcing them to claim JSA. Of course it's more than a few quid, it's all the associated benefits that might be claimed as well. These are all immediately curtailed once ESA is stopped. At best the claimant then has to initiate a brand new claim, for JSA at least, and wait until all that is sorted out, putting further strain on the system. At least until Universal Credit takes over, which I'm sure will be even worse.

His rhetoric seems to suggest that what people need is to have their benefits stripped. As if there is some causal link between having no income and getting a job, when in all likelihood having even less (ie zero) money will impede the ability to find work even more. This is convenient of course because it allows the government to save money. How fortunate!

The right wing argument is based around the idea that people need to be encouraged to work, never mind that there is no work, and that the best way to do this is to cut their money. Even a child could destroy such a failed argument. So it's all about cutting costs. Forcing people to join the dole queue and compete for work against able bodied people, or people with way more experience, is nonsensical. But that's what the Work Programme is for, and so charities will be hit by the double whammy of cuts and being made the scapegoat for the failing of a scheme that was never going to work.

But the support isn't there. I'm still waiting, a week (snow notwithstanding) for the Work Programme adviser I now have to send me the information regarding creative writing courses she promised. This information isn't really going to help me get a job of course, the Salvation Army, like the rest of the WP, doesn't have that power. I was also promised, when I first spoke to her, that she could refer me to people that could help me with the problems I have, as they didn't have that training themselves. That has yet to happen, and I doubt it ever will.

People are being left, quite literally, out in the cold.

Universal Jobmatch is a disaster. It's a site that is even more disorganised than the previous incarnation. I have to routinely wade through twice as many pages due to it's failed filtering system. The jobs are just a collection of random crap culled from Monster's competitors that leave you having to google the full details (only to find out that the job is not just part time but only 10 hours a week which would cost you more than you'd earn due to bus fares for example). This won't get changed. In fact it's likely to be a staple of any Universal Credit claim. Unemployed people claiming UC, which is meant to be online, will of course have their claims checked not by their jobsearch booklet but how much they can show they've done online, ostensibly via Universal Jobmatch. If registration isn't mandatory now, it soon will be and there won't be a thing we can do.

Recently there was a shitstorm on Twitter in response to this article. Another mainstream hit piece against the disabled claiming benefits. I abhor this kind of 'churnalism'. It's the most wretched kind of prostitution: a media hack paid to print nothing more than flame bait. That's all this is. Facts dont' matter these days, just the ability of the writer to stir up shit and then, pathetically, claim that the shit he provokes is the nasty end of public discourse. This is bollocks; if you can't stand the heat Mr Hensher, stay the fuck out of the kitchen. I don't condone abuse, but if you wind someone up and they give you a smack on the nose...well that's your own fault. This is the new political correctness: witness another media hack, climate change denial fantasist James Delingpole: "My bad. I mistook you for someone who was disabled but not part of the shrill victim lobby." in response to criticism garnered for also traducing the issue of disability and benefits; his twitter feed is full of equally ignorant hurtful nonsense. He is another right wing crutch kicker happy to play the victim card when it suits him, but ridiculing others who have a legitimate claim to being oppressed.

These people seem incapable of accepting the reality that a growing section of society and activists are discussing - and have been for years. They cannot understand that a 'legitimate' organisation like the DWP or a company like ATOS can be so callous, yet they themselves behave no better. They resort to quoting figures, out of context, as if 'here's a big number' or 'here's a big percentage' means 'bad'! If a lot of public money is going to supporting people that is something to be championed in my opinion. But of course they never mention that half the welfare budget goes toward the pensions of the elderly who these cowards won't dare criticise (I'm sure that some will).

Then there are strawmen arguments such as conflating criticism of the system with criticism of the need to be assessed at all: 

But is it not reasonable to say that someone who can cycle the equivalent of a bus journey of more than 15 minutes should have their fitness to work examined?

Noone says that people should just be given sick notes without question. Not once. Not ever. Not even I have said this. What should happen is that their doctors and specialists - trained NHS personnel (whose expertise the public has paid for in their education) - should be all that's required. What reason is there for paying an IT company to do a redundant job if not to fulfill particular targets and an obvious government agenda. 

Again it's the just world fallacy, so beloved of the Tories, that makes up the bulk of their logic: if the process could be done properly then there'd be no reason for these tests. Well duh! So why traduce activists complaining that the system isn't done properly (to put it mildly)? The answer: so hacks like this can whore themselves out in the press, appealing the UKIP types, curtain twitchers and the terminally ignorant.

Is this person going to be hired to ride his bike for 15 minutes a day? That's a job i've yet to see appear on Universal Jobmatch.

It might, too, cut down on the unconscionable numbers now claiming these benefits. It’s not so long since doctors felt quite capable of saying “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with you” to their patients, not “There’s no space for that on the form”. A little more robustness, and a little more flexible inquiry than a questionnaire permits, would have some very positive outcomes.
Unconscionable? If people are sick, and the evidence says they are in almost all cases, then what is unconscionable is the lack of support and the tendency toward biased hyperbole from churnalists like this. Why assume that a given situation, itself a simple objective fact taken out of the greater context (that of austerity, hate, division and cuts), is worthy of subjective judgement? That there are x people claiming is simply a fact. Yet it's treated as a personal slight - ostensibly against the 'strivers'. This is tosh, complete fucking tosh.

Doctors are still quite capable of saying 'there's absolutely nothing wrong with you'. They still, in the majority I believe (most least of all because they've been told to by the DWP), assume this. It's taken me about a year to persuade my GP to write a sick note. He isn't happy about it, but the problem isn't just my own issues, but the process by which I can access help. If I'm to fully avail myself of what the Work PRogramme claims it can offer, I have to claim ESA - their words! 

But if someone has problems, all the stiff upper lip stoicism and rhetoric in the world will not make the better, nor will government ideology, nor will wishful thinking nor pining for some yesteryear where everyone knew their place and worked. Even then, those that 'could' do something are treated as if they can do everything, and are forced to compete with those that have no periods of ill health and more experience that are already able bodied and compus mentus. Yet that is ignored; as if the will to work is enough to change the plainly obvious fact there, are, no, jobs!

This is beyond lazy journalism and it's beyond the point to call time on these lazy churnalist wankers. They need to be called out at every opportunity, and if they get a few insults on Twitter, well too fucking bad!


  1. I agree entirely - and it's obvious that if there's one thing the Tories hate it's the thought of the poor, the sick and the vulnerable having some measure of security. The whole new benefits system is designed to destroy security for people who use it, summed up in Lord Freud's pronouncement that "the poor need to take more risks because they have the least to lose". He doesn't understand the poor take risks - calculated risks - every single day: whether to heat or eat, whether to buy a lotto ticket, whether to treat their children at Christmas. The old system, flawed as it was, at least provided some small measure of security, but now all prople who use it are to be forced to be ever anxious, and ever searching for "more and better paid work". And so with Universal Credit we'll see part time workers forced to attend JCP interviews to explain why they haven't yet secured more hours, and we'll see disabled claimants being constantly cycled through a constant process of assesment, re-assesments, appeals, and reclaims. No security, no comfort, and no promise you'll be able to keep the heating on next winter.

    The Tories, ultimately, want to forge a society of compliant, over-worked, under-paid (or unpaid) drones, whos only thought from morning till dusk is work and the search for work - even if there is no work.

    1. What on earth does he mean by the word 'risk'? It's not like gambling on the horses! Anyone with computer access could apply for a job - but that doesn't take into account whether the sick person could do the job, whether they even have a chance of getting it, whether they could attend an interview, or whether there are any jobs in the first place worth the bother. This is absurd. Fraud is a merchant banker; he claerly doesn't understand the subject he's been tasked with fixing, so to him it's like a gambling on food prices or corporate shares. The man is dangerous and incompetent and so is in good company.

  2. But the Data Protection Act 1998 states that personal data can only be stored and processed with the consent of its owner (hence all those terms and conditions statements and tick boxes on websites and similar). So how can the DWP ever force a British citizen to upload their data to Universal Jobmatch for storing and processing if they don't want to? Does welfare legislation trump European wide data protection legislation?

    1. I don't know. I don't really understand it all - worse, it's likely the DWP doesn't. Maybe even the grand architect, IDS, doesn't understand it. All he wants is people to do as they are told, rights be damned.

      This will come to a head this year as Universal Credit will require, as I udnerstand it, signing up to Universal Jobmatch. of course the DWP will hold all the keys, legally or otherwise. This means that someone will have to go thorugh the courts, even the ECHR. That will take a long time, meanwhile if you don't do as you're told then you get no money.

  3. Information Protection Act 1998 declares that personal information can only be saved and prepared with the approval of its owner (hence all those conditions claims and check containers on websites and similar). So how can the DWP ever power
    rs gold
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