Friday 30 September 2011

Ed M Handbagged by Sickness & Disability campaigner at #Lab11

At last, we have a YouTube of the question we wrote to #AskEdM !!!! You have to admit, it's an awesome question!!!! And didn't she engage him well?

Th first time we get Labour top table to clearly distinguish between "scroungers" and sick/disabled. He apologises for not making it clearer in his speeches and so he should!!!

CAN I ASK YOU TO RT, SHARE AND GENERALLY HELP US TO SEND THIS VIRAL? Even when presented with a pretty, eloquent woman in a mobility scooter, providing them with most interesting moment of conference, disability was STILL too "yucky" for the media to report. We will just have to do online what they failed to do in their "reports"


  1. Did he keep calling her Harriet?

    What he actually said sounds better (mostly) than what the Guardian summarised it as. He didn't keep throwing around the 'genuine' word, which the Guardian blog suggested he did.

    The thing to followup on from that, to me, would be the idea that there's no problem saying you'll be tough on cheats. If you say you'll be tough on cheats in the same context as you talk about disability benefits, it creates (or reinforces) the false impression that there's a lot of cheating with regards to sickness and disability benefits.

  2. Harriet indeed! It is a tricky name to catch I suppose to be fair.

    You're right. It was much better than the media reported and now you can see why we were utterly non-plussed by the lack of media coverage.

    Kaliya was eloquent, she debate with him for a good few minutes and got enormous applause from the floor.

  3. Awesome! Had heard about this by word of mouth (and Twitter) but hadn't seen it. Fab question, beautifully posed by Kaliya.

  4. So, so sad that the microphone did not remain close at hand for the duration of this excellent discourse. Hear the loud genuine support clapping for Harriet oO? I do not think any political party or media for that matter realises or understands that there are many millions of disenfranchised sick and disabled voters and their families and carers and friends and supporters hanging on to every word to make the decision on who to vote for in the next election. Less than 1% of sick and disabled are “scroungers” with the draconian tests and subsistence award payments I think this is even less now if any yet 99% of politician and media time is devoted to them. I can assure them that no “scrounger” will vote for them they are wasting their time on them.

  5. All that Ed needs to have said is very simple "if your genuine then no problem we will look after you 100% make no mistake whatsoever about that" That's all he need have said nothing more

    Just by using those words only would get him into power at the next election

    As for the Conservatives they will never use those words and we now have a Benefits legal warning to UK over cash for EU nationals
    And yes the commission should issue this warning to the government the benefit system is a European one not a UK one

    I can go to any European country and receive my benefits and i expect to be treated with respect and rightly so

    Just because conservative people don't need benefits that does not mean to say that other political party's and their members don't

    I would much rather live in a country with no conservative people in it at all such is their destruction give me overseas foreigners any day of the week

    If we could get rid of all of conservatives out of this country then this country would boom. The conservatives and their supporters are the most selfish and greedy bunch of people that you could ever meat worldwide and that my friends is the main problem that this country faces "selfishness and greed of the highest order by the conservatives of this country

  6. "All that Ed needs to have said is very simple "if your genuine then no problem we will look after you 100% make no mistake whatsoever about that" That's all he need have said nothing more"

    The problem with that approach is, how is "genuine" determined? It was Labour that welcomed ATOS in to test how "genuine" claimants are.

  7. It is sad that in 2011 being disabled we will be persecuted.

    Milibands words this week.

    "Welfare, Ya well Welfare has to be cut due to the Banking crises." SO Welfare is a target not because we are cheats but in fact of the debts of the banking crises.

    But if you look at the press and the media which was used well by labour, for example each of the three Green papers on welfare Labour produced on the following day the BBC came up with a program on benefits cheats of scroungers, coincidence I think not.

    I've been around Labour for 48 years a life time, I've been around my Union the GMB who had to back track like hell last year after signing a deal to help a workfare company get the sick back to work

    Another one of Milibands speeches came out like this.

    Labour did not go far enough or fast enough on welfare the people of this country expected this of us, yep another hit at us we are without doubt being a problem for society we are now like the disabled people under Hitler's regime, we are taking up tax money labour and the Tories could use to repay the debt of the banking crises, when in fact Non Dom's and people who send vast amounts of money off shore like Lord Sainsbury should be the target of all parties £125 billion a year is lost in tax aviodence due to lax tax law.

    We should all go down get our arms tattooed with our national insurance numbers and get the real press involved.

  8. If it is possible. Cd there be a written text of what she was saying inbetween the microphone being taken away from her. I cd see her getting frustrated and that Ed was not taking this on or even hearing it. If there cd be a written subtext to what she was saying that wd be good. NB: Ed MIliband said he would meet me after a meeting to discuss his party members and rep disgusting attitude and even prejudice and abuse of disabled and women. He did not he buggered out the back door as quickly as possible.

    After Atos

  9. Unfortunately Ed Miliband just doesn't get it. When you encounter ill-informed prejudiced public opinion a good leader challenges it. A bad leader follows it. From Miliband's response and his constant qualifications he definitely sounds like the latter.

  10. There is a transcript in several bits, but we're just too exhausted to get it on. As soon as someone offers to do it, I'll post it here :)

  11. Well said Robert. This policy of blurring boundaries between worklessness and sickness/disability was created and fostered by Labour and he knows it

  12. Why can't he see that he is exactly what is wrong with welfare policy? He met someone one time and has made an arbitrary judgement about what he should be doing with his life, one that may well affect the whole of his life. I feel sick hearing him Talking about the system not making enough demands? ARGH! The WHOLE point is that it isn't demands that are needed - society stigmatises people who don't have work, we don't need more expectations and demands, we need support; sometimes medical, sometimes physical, fair working conditions, fair pay and a sea change in attitudes towards what is expected of an employee and how employers are allowed to behave. I don't like this exempting of disabled people partly because it plays into the disabled people good, everyone else bad thing which causes people to seek disability and disables the disabled. Also because I don't believe in the requirement that a person should work in order to demonstrate their worth. All human lives are valuable. There will always be people who set out to defraud the system. In the benefits system this is a tiny minority and they will defraud the system whatever system there is. This is a fact of life. The recent welfare reforms (since 1993) and media hate campaign have lead to fewer of the unemployed and entitled claiming out of work benefits a recently this number outweighed the numbers claiming. The only thing which should qualify you for the pathetic pittance you get on JSA is being out of work. It is a mistake to assume that the disabled cannot work or that the able-bodied don't had barriers to work and I do not believe that most people would be happier on benefits than in a workplace unless the workplace is awful and humiliating - which I think it is. And I think this is the problem no-one wants to speak about - that actually, yes, in some parts of the country the jobsmarket has been obliterated and yes everywhere jobs are thin on the ground because of capitalism but at the end of the day there are serious problems with the way workplaces and employers exploit their employees these need to be sorted out if we are going to expect people to work.

  13. Left Foot Forward has an article about it - with Kaliya asking the question and a transcript below.

    ALSO - if you go to wiko here- you can vote for the Left Foot Forward article and get it to the top of the Wiko news

    It's currently number 4!

    There is a little blue bird on the left hand side of the title -

    Miliband quizzed on disability reforms, apologises for omission from speech.

    Under the blue bird is a number - hover your mouse over the number and you'll see a PLUS sign - click on that to vote and get it to the top so that more people read it!!

  14. Thanks all.

    I've posted on a Guardian CIF blog from Daniel at Leftfootforward - it's astonishing how few people realise exactly what an Atos wca entails.

    Many people are labouring (no pun intended) under the illusion that we are assessed properly - whatever that's supposed to mean.

    Sue - feel free to re-post my CIF stuff whenever you like and consider this my informed consent (and we know all about that, don't we?)

    I said that it would require a climbdown of heroic proportions for Labour to admit that they'd got it wrong with Atos. Andrew Rawnsley asked Yvette Cooper what she thought about it, and her response was that it's a good system but it needs keeping an eye on.

    The front benches, and I include the opposition, are filled with people who went to Oxbridge, got a PPE, worked as interns or SPADS at Westminster, were put up for safe seats, and have never done a real days work in the way I understand it (ex-nurse).

    They just don't have any experience of life as it's lived by ordinary people - let alone extraordinary people like those of us who live with sickness and disability.

    My DLA (lower rate care) has been stopped as a result of "failing" a WCA - I was put in the WRAG group which means I no longer need £18 a week for help with bathing, shopping, transport, etc.etc.

    When you come off IB (and you will) the rules change. DLA is not looked at in isolation any more; decision makers can use the outcome of a WCA to reassess your claim, so be prepared. and this is happening now, long before the PIP comes in.

    If Labur thought there'd be any votes in it for them, they'd support us; they'd much rather worry about how to engage with the "ordinary hardworking taxpayer" who reads the Sun or the Mail.

    Just so you know, it's not just the ConDems who are trying to convince the public that benefit scroungers are the root cause of the deficit.

    Not the banks, deregulation, foreign wars, etc.etc. but us. It's all our fault, and as long as the media put out the lies, the politicians will go along with it.


    We'll just have to fight on without them.

  15. Here is a transcript of the exchange:Left footward

    KF: “Evidence is overwhelmingly pointed to sick and disabled people being the hardest hit by the cuts, but this issue has been airbrushed almost entirely from conference. Are you reluctant to use the word disabled because the public has been so effectively convinced that we’re all scroungers and that the Labour party are not willing to challenge that stereotype on our behalf?”

    EM: “I am absolutely not afraid to use the word disability and I am determined to say that disabled people need support and help and compassion and that’s why I want to protect the welfare state and you’ve got to seperate out ill health and disability from worklessness and the decision not to work, and I know about the concerns about the tests that are being done by Atos Origin, I know about those concerns, it’s something that Liam Byrne and I have talked about.

    “And it’s not that I’m trying to sweep it under the carpet, at the same time Harriet I ahve to say to you it’s the people from my own constituency in Doncaster North who have made this clear to me more loudly and clearly than any other, than anyone else, they say, look, unless you address the issue of people who could work but don’t, I’m not talking about disabled people.”

    KF: “When you gave the example of having met a man on incapacity benefit who you said could work if he just tried harded.

    “You’re reinforcing the destructive rhetoric that is coming from the coalition government at a time where sick and disabled people desperately need a champion to stand up for us and had you been putting out the messgae you’ve just given here about separating out sickness and disability from employment we’d have been cheering you months ago.”

    EM: “Ok, that’s important what you’ve just said but let me pick you up on this point about the chap I met, I don’t want to go into the detail but let me just be honest with you, because it was a door where I knocked on and I have to give you my impression which is that he was somebody who had lost his job, I think ten years ago, right, and I’m not questioning the fact that he was genuinely, had an ailment, I’m not gonna go into the details of that, but I just have to say to you, that, the system didn’t sort of demand that he go back to work, the system sort of wrote him off, and the system sort of said, well, look, he was, he had incapacity, he couldn’t work for a bit, and that’s it.

    “And the problem is, I met his next door neighbours, and they, genuinely, this is a story, I met his next door neighbours and they didn’t actually refer to him but they said ‘look, our problem is we’re working incredibly hard and we’re worried for we’re paying for people who can’t work’, so, I mean, look, I think, I take your point that I didn’t say in the speech yesterday, and I should have said it, fair point, that you’ve got to defend people who are with disability, ill health, and say that they shouldn’t be under attack, but let me just say this to you, that I don’t think, I genuinely don’t think that saying you’re tough on abuse of the benefits system is a non-Labour thing to do, I think it is fundamentally a Labour thing to do.”

    Miliband later said he would like to meet up with Kaliya to discuss the issue further. It is vital he does, and it is vital both he and shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne rethink Labour’s approach to welfare reform, maintaining their tough stance on actual abusers for sure and, unequivocally, standing up for those who do not abuse the system but are actually abused by it, defending the genuine and moving the debate, and the language of the debate, on. On every level it would be the right thing, the only thing, the Labour thing to do.

  16. I have to say and I'd say it to Ed to his face and if he wishes to take me to court for libel then lets go.

    So lets me say here and now I think Mr Miliband you went to a house made an assumption without even asking the person what's wrong, he could have bowel cancer, and I can tell you now my next door neighbour has no idea how I had my accident or what is wrong with me.

    On the other hand Mr Miliband I think your a lier mate.

  17. Okay, we need some clarity here. I've read the rules, and I've seen mentions of it in benefit letters so I can see where the misunderstandings come from, but here's what they are officially allowed to do in terms of referring to WCA for deciding DLA.

    They are NOT allowed to use the 'outcome' (which group you're in). This is because the tests have different purposes. They ARE allowed to use the precise findings, which is why it is VITAL to ensure that the ATOS report gets corrected when it's wrong.

    I've been wondering if it would be possible to use the DPA to fight against an incorrect WCA report, as you have a right to ensure that data held about you is correct... it would be possible in theory to bring a civil suit, with your own expert witnesses, to challenge the contents of the WCA report, and when it is corrected all parts of the DWP would have to use the corrected one for decision making. It's all theoretical, but it could be done, I think.

  18. I meet a disabled man who "looks ok".
    I meet some jealous neighbours who complain about working hard when other people don't.

    Without any further input from any doctors or talking to the disabled man himself I deduce that he shouldn't be on his benefits and could work if he tried. After all, he became disabled 10 years ago. No one stays ill that long, right?

    This is the new welfare state.

  19. I live in Doncaster. We've had mass unemployment since the 80s with the closure of traditional industries. There's hundreds, often thousands, of applicants for any little job vacancy that comes along.

    Ian Duncan Smith says there are 5 million out of work including people on other benefits or not claiming. There are 1.5 milllion people working part time who want full time work. There are less than half a million vacancies, mostly agencies and part time, temporary.

    How dare Ed Milliband associate disability with 'scrounging'?

    How dare Ed Milliband associate the mass unemployment created by the Tories and his Government when they were in office with 'scrounging'?

    The man is a disgrace to the Labour Movement.

  20. Here's Ed Milliband being tough on Atos by visiting them and congratulating them on the great job they're doing.


  21. Problem is when you are sick and disabled you cannot do things normal people would do. Everything you do is an effort and exhausting its hard even to think properly though the pain and confusion and brain fog. The stress and strain and workload alone to ensure things “gets corrected when it's wrong” is overwhelming and can and does make you even more ill and exhausted. So if very lucky you may “win the battle but lose the war”.

  22. Sam this is about the life blood of the welfare movement, does labour back welfare state, if not how can we trust it with the NHS.

    I mean Blair and Brown had so many secret meetings with the Tories/ATOS to ensure welfare goes through, not forgetting it was only this week Miliband said we have to fight welfare, but this is more about trying to break up the coalition then actually about sickness or disability.

    But if you read the formation of the Labour party in 1900 you will note it says Labour is not a socialist movement, it a movement with socialist in it. It was Beveridge and Bevan that pushed through the welfare state, and it was Blair that ended it.

    This is from a Labour party retired hack :

    New Labour came to office welfare reform has been seen not as a means of extending and improving social provision against the hazards of life, deprivation and poverty in retirement but as a way of saving money. Means-testing is being extended and the way is being prepared for an ever-increasing role for insurance companies and other private organisations.

    Miliband said it himself:

    Welfare has to be cut, because of the Banking crises.

    says everything.

  23. I was reading this month the true number of people out of work, these are people who care for the disabled, people who are claiming IB ESA, people who do not claim any benefits because somebody in the family maybe working. You'd be surprised how many

    Unemployment in the UK is actually 12.5 million

  24. I was very concerned that Ed suggested that the neighbour who spoke about people who *can't8 work was quoted by Ed as an example of where his own thinking is coming from.

    There is a very big difference between 'can;t' - ie. unable to and 'won't ' - ie. perfectly capable but fiddles the system.

    Where was the mention of the scarcity of jobs ?

    I am far from convinced that Labour are on the side of disabled people.

  25. Is this what they proposing to do here? Do they live in the real world?
    The cost to buy basic private health insurance in the US rose the most this year since 2005 and will reach $32,175 for a family in 2021. Note – this does not include insurance, unemployment contributions etc.

  26. No need to see a medical specialist just see your local neighbour and /or politician for an instant diagnoses!

  27. Kaliya - did you get the meeting that Ed promised, or is that yet another broken promise?

    I did email you a transcript of the Q&A video, but I see you've already got both video and transcript up and running, which is great :-)

    In relation to Ed's reply, I notice he was very concerned about the 'neighbours' who said they worked incredibly hard but were paying for people who can't work. Doesn't he, and those neighbours, understand that that is exactly how taxation works? Disagree with Trident? Tough, you're paying for it. Have no elderly relatives? Tough, you're paying for others' treatments and care. Never have a day off sick so you never use the NHS? Tough, you're paying for it. Don't have a car so never need to use the road system? Tough, you're paying for it.
    Yet it's noticeable that the 'disability moaners' never quote Trident, care of the elderly, the NHS, or roads, in their "we work incredibly hard..." complaints. The disabled are an easy target.

  28. Ah yes but we only have Miliband's word he spoke to the neighbour, but anyway he should not be using this type of argument unless of course he's able to back it up with the disabled person who can argue his point or the neighbour. it's hear say.

  29. What happens if your neighbour says you ARE sick and disabled?

  30. MY GOD he angers me so much.

    He barely addressed what he was being asked, and brought into it the tired rhetoric of 'disability scroungers' and those who are actually fit for work but living a lifestyle on benefits. Ahem, NOTHING to do with the f*cking question or actual disabled people and their struggles. The question was about disabled people, he should have focused on that alone.

    He's worsening the problem by associating disabled people with 'benefit scroungers' once again. And how dare he stand there and pass judgments upon someone who had claimed Incapacity Benefits for 10 years - is he a medically trained doctor or know their mental/physical struggles (he certainly never included any information about this in his answer), or was he just passing a very ignorant judgment upon someone he wanted to use in his 'bad case scenario'?

    He makes me sick. This country makes me sick and the general public consciousness of smearing everyone on welfare benefits at the moment. I'm sure this very much adds to disabled peoples anxieties/struggles/depressions/coping with the outside world tremendously. What a cruel world...

  31. I'd also like to know where Mr know-it-all Miliband thinks people with complex disabilities fall into all of this? The hardest to categorise - people with mental disabilities or illnesses with invisible and fluctuating symptoms? (I.E Fibromyalgia)

    A VERY hard time for these vulnerable people indeed... Having to try everything they can to prove themselves at the mercy of such evil and a barricade of disregard/belief. Sigh.

    Please can John McDonnell be the Labour Party leader?

  32. My neighbour is a tree. Should it be involved in writing Labour party policy?

  33. As you know trees do not lower their branches to that level but since the tree too is under threat of being cut down I think it has just cause to complain! ;)

  34. I think the main problem is that, even for those sick and disabled who genuinely want to work - there are no jobs which pay well enough (especially in parity with the 'able-bodied') to make work either 'fair' or'sufficient.' The lies which have dropped from the lips of ALL the Political Parties, at one stage or another are endemic in today's society. ATOS is just ONE symptom of a growing assault on the ability for disabled/mentally ill people to return to the world of work without ending up with less than the Minimum Wage. The ESA is a joke and there is no protection from Government (ie IDS) stupidity!

  35. They need to be challenged from this so called middle England view which is non existent if you ask me and does constitute the majority of people and for the party to drop its ideals in order to appeal to middle England is shameful

  36. Boy have you been to a conference in a wheelchair it's an eye opener, I can tell you now, first time I went when Blair came to power I was pushed to the back out of the way so TV could not see me, as Blair did his magic talk about welfare and getting people back to work being they are work shy, and the poor old tax payers.

    The following conference I went to the side shows with the Union, so did not bother with conference.

    The following meeting I had an invite went and was put in the front in which I saw how hard labour people worked to control the conference we were even invited to clap or not clap.

    Then I decided I'd rather go to fringe meeting to talk about disability, I could not get into the first one because they had it up a stairs.
    I then started to lose interest in politics.

    MY wife who has spina bifida was born in the Rhodda Valleys in the miners hospital, in 1948 she was rushed to the Hospital in Cardiff to under go major surgery on her spine, but they had to wait until the clock struck the right time, because at that moment the NHS came into being, she is the first person to under go a spinal operation under the NHS in Wales.

    Nye Bevan came to see her in Hospital because they come from the same Town and knew her family, how that for being political

  37. @Bullfinch

    Excellent comments. I'd like to say "what about the 99% of claimants who are genuine?". Why not concentrate on them? Why not have a conversation about disability benefits without mentioning fraud even once? If 99% of claimants are genuine, at a time when the system is being changed, they should be talking about actual disabled people 99% of the time. Only one speech in a hundred should refer to fraud.

  38. I have a name similar to kalia and often get called many different names. What a slimy git he is but well done to @bendygirl for having her say. She does so much campaigning for disabled people and REALLY deserves an award and huge national recognition for all her hard work.

  39. I don't like Ed, nor do I like Labour, that video did not change my mind!


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