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Showing posts from February, 2013

ESA Appeals Change

Anyone here not know about Lord Fraud's latest wheeze? That's right, he plans to insert a further hurdle into the process of claiming ESA: anyone wanting to appeal their WCA decision (from either April or October, it's not entirely clear which) must first go through another decision maker. There are two major problems here: first, there is no time limit on how long this DM can take to make the decision, secondly, you cannot claim ESA during this period. It remains unclear, if you make it past this phase, whether you can claim or have your assessment phase ESA reinstated pending an appeal - assuming of course they aren't scrapped altogether. 
This means that one will have to claim JSA or go without in the interim; I'm not entirely sure you can claim JSA while an ESA claim is in some form active, which it would have to be surely, even if you aren't getting any money from it. Consequently, as soon as people fail their ESA, and that still seems the most likely out…

Is It Right?

Has anyone failed to notice this phrase, used by almost all politicians, particularly the government, over the last few years: "it is right..". It is right that we do this, that, or the other. It's almost religious language - as if the speaker is carrying out some divine command. As if they themselves aren't responsible. As if to say, "we aren't to blame (naturally) for the situation at hand and therefore circumstance dictates we put it right". Three words used to justify horrible and incompetent government policies.
Witness Esther - Cruella - McVey, current Minister against the Disabled, on last night's Dispatches (channel 4, 8pm) using this excuse to justify forcing people with lifelong conditions to undergo the infamous ATOS Tests. People including a polio victim, a soldier whose leg no longer exists, and an gold medallist with cerebral palsy. Apparently it is right to see if these people have demonstrated something unprecedented and experienced…

Discretion, What's That?

There's a woman dead in South Africa because her boyfriend mistook her for a burglar, there's kids being shot up in American schools, and there's dead horse being flogged in ready meals.
And still the bloody Work Programme continue their tedious incompetence!
I return home from lugging heavy bags from Tesco (where I nearly lost the plot, carrying around baskets of poorly packaged muck in a busy hellhole) to find Mrs Adviser has left a message. Naturally these people only ever manage to ring me when I'm out (which isn't often, actually), and yet never manage to pick up the phone when I ring them (I've rung 4 times as often as they have since they were supposed to - for those keeping count). 
Now I don't mind them leaving a message to say 'hi Mrs adviser here, just letting you know I'm trying to get in touch, I'll call back later (which she didn't say)'. What I do object to, having explained this to them after the last fucking time, is: &…

Still No New Message

I've been on tenterhooks ('coz that's how i roll!) all day waiting for the Salvation Army to call me back. Nothing. I've tried calling them, twice. Nothing. Can't get through. I'm fucking fed up with this. I've half a mind to leave a message saying 'don't bother calling me back, we are through!' but I suspect it won't do any good. I can't operate like this. I've been staring at the phone all day, waiting for the call I was promised (which was meant to happen on Thursday). This is ridiculous; these people have no idea at all. Not a fucking clue. I thought Working Links were bad, but this lot are giving them a serious run for their money. 
I had telephone appointments with them, and they promised to call - even notarising a specific time. When they didn't bother either I called back. All I got for my trouble was a load of attitude, as if I was inconveniencing them! Same old bullshit. Nothing ever changes in this 'industry'…

No New Message

Sometimes, I think, one of the most fraught aspects of ESA is guilt. Certainly in my case, where it isn't apparent that I have problems. Obviously there are other cases, plenty of them despite the likes of our vile mainstream media, where the right to support is unquestionable. My problem is that, there are moments, where one feels a fleeting moment of peace and quiet, or calm; usually assisted with a cup of peppermint tea and some nice warm sunshine. These moments don't last and life isn't so simple that one feels one's problems at a constant and consistent rate, like a regular oscillation. Problems come and go; symptoms or issues wax and wane, often unpredictably. Or sometimes with dismal and depressing predictability. But when I'm feeling more at ease with life (relatively speaking - I've never been comfortable in life) I start to feel guilty that I'm claiming. Something that, no doubt, would please the Duncan Smith's of this world. But what's t…


I had previously stated that the letter promised by my Work Programme adviser hadn't arrived. This is not the case. They actually have furnished me with a letter, which I only discovered amongst all the other bumph sent, including the photocopy of the Provider Guidance I had mistaken for that letter. It would be remiss and irresponsible of me not to correct this. It would be dishonest of me to misrepresent my experiences of the Work Programme since that does me, them, and you, dear reader, no favours at all - and defeats the point of this blog entirely!
That said the letter isn't as committal as I'd like. That might sound a bit mealy mouthed, but this lack of commitment is one of the great problems the unemployed/poor/sick face. Doctors for example don't like to commit to writing sick notes or to accepting people might have problems dealing with work. It's the same on the Work Programme: advisers aren't that keen on sticking their neck out. I guess I can under…

Another Workfare Analysis By Me

A couple of days ago, Matthew Oakley of the Policy Exchange attempted to defend the government’s position regarding its beleaguered and immoral workfare policy in the Guardian. He’s the head of a right wing think tank and a member of the government’s welfare reform fold, thanks to ‘Lord’ Freud. I will again make it clear I resent that position held by David Freud: I believe him unprincipled and inexperienced. He’s a former banker now living in a large multi-room mansion paid hundreds of pounds a day just to be a Lord who has the right to tell the poor how and where they should (or, more accurately, shouldn’t) live. No one elected him; he represents no democratic constituency and has no mandate. There are people that have served the electorate, rightly or wrongly, for years that still haven’t ascended to the Lords. Not so for David Freud of course.
Many of the arguments against workfare have been made countless times and by far more competent speakers than I. While these argum…


Aside from angry posts to the Guardian venting my ire about the government's slave labour scheme I am facing my next Work Programme appointment, number 4 in fact. This time it will be conducted over the phone tomorrow. I have no idea when that will be, typically, which is why I'm not a huge fan of telephones, but it's better than turning up at the cold cramped and utterly unsuitable church hall.
Now that I think about it, I'm, of course, beginning to dread it. Naturally. This is because they have nothing to offer, have no experience or ability to deal with people that have the problems I have (god forbid if they have to deal with more serious cases - but then that's why they expect you to have a carer), and yet expect to get results, so they can get paid. It's a mess. So I anticipate an expectation of progress in some form. The only progress has been in the severity of my anxiety, something they of course can't help with. I'm still waiting for the supp…

Small Victories

Today Cait Reilly and Jamieson Wilson won their case against the government, but I'm not sure it's the victory we'd been hoping for. However, that said, any chance to stick it to the fascists in charge should be welcomed. I just think the battle is far from over. As we speak, this afternoon, the government are working to introduce 'emergency' legislation to amend the situation. As far as they are concerned it's business as usual and these schemes are necessary. In fact they are emboldened by the apparent fall in unemployment even though there's no such thing, partly because of these schemes.
On Radio 4 this afternoon, Mark Hoban was on hand to give his response to the ruling which seems to indicate that the failing is merely one of administration, rather than due to any intrinsic immorality in the scheme. Workfare is immoral, make no mistake. It's unethical and illogical and even the government agree it has no bearing on improving anyone's chances …

On It Goes

I've been feeling really anxious these last few weeks. My sleep is troubled; I wake up around 3-4am and can't get back to sleep for hours. When I do finally wake (around 7-8am - I've never been a late sleeper) I'm 'hanging', as the cool kids might say. 
On the plus side, late night radio is actually quite interesting; the world service is more interesting than regular stuffy old Hobbiton-centric Radio 4 during the day.
I'm on edge all the time. It's not good. Unfortunately there's no help or support at all locally. Chasing up Positive Step hasn't done much good, though I did get a letter from them saying they think I have severe anxiety/depression. Whether their partners ATOS will take any notice...well that's another question entirely. Either they do or they don't.
Speaking of ATOS I've yet to hear when my appointment will be (it could well be coming through the letterbox today, tomorrow, or...). Waiting is not my strong suit, and …

These Are a Few of my Favourite Things

Isn't it amusing, the hypocrisy of the right wing. Goods and services that are acceptable to everyone else, part and parcel of a healthy economy apparently, are somehow immediately verboten to claimants. The notion that a bottle of beer in the hand of a welfare recipient becomes a dangerous weapon: the key to personal ruin or family destruction. Or, perhaps more insidiously, the idea that a scratchcard in such a person's paws might mean they get even more free money! 
That's what Shelbrooke's bizarre list of unacceptable items really means; it would be an affront to him to see someone on benefits suddenly be elevated to financial stability. Those are rewards only for the deserving - hard working taxpayers. Only those people are allowed to have lottery cards, and of course the rich, as there's nothing stopping a millionaire from buying a lottery ticket and having the same chance to win as a pauper. The lottery doesn't recognise class divisions: it's equally…