Friday 28 October 2011

Watch Out, There's a Humphreys About!

Well, I sat with gritted teeth through the Humphreys "documentary" on BBC 2 last night.

Live tweeting it using the show's hashtag was extraordinarily successful. My whole timeline was filled with shock and disgust at the almost comically biased nature of the programme. If you want to go back over the comments they are here If you want to read the article we were posting to counter the Beeb's lazy journalism, it's here

He rolled out sick people with a sense of entitlement, single Mums with 7 kids, Housing benefit claimants in Islington, Immigrants - did I forget anyone? Who else do we hate, let me think......

There was no mention at all of these people being statistical anomalies, rarer than chicken's teeth. Nope, everyone on benefits has a mansion in Islington or 7 kids and a nicotine habit.

I won't waste much more energy on it. Just because the Daily Mail suddenly came alive for one painful hour of totally unsubstantiated, kneejerk, nonsense, there' no point being downhearted.

If you want to complain to the BBC you can find the details by clicking here

Many of you were also bitterly disappointed by the lack of coverage of the Hardest Hit protests too, so why not combine the two issues?

I know it feels like no-one listens. I know some of you will ask me "What's the point?" You'll almost certainly be fobbed off with a standard letter.

Well the point is, that last night social media was awash with our right to reply. We created it for ourselves, and when I wake up in he morning to find my in-boxes full of indignant trolls, then I know we broke through our usual audience. 100s say they will complain on twitter and my Facebook Pages, so let's make it thousands.

Every time we make ourselves heard, every time we challenge mis-information with EVIDENCE, every time we find that last bit of strength to challenge smug, complacent, middle class men who think that starvation and homelessness are a price worth paying to keep CEOs in 55% pay rises, we DO make a difference.

One of the very few pieces of evidence Humphreys DID refer to was a poll by Ipsos-Mori. He did his best to smother it with some outrageously unrepresentative, follow-up scrounger questions, but the first question on the poll found that

"92% agree that we must have a benefits system that provides a safety net for everyone who needs it."

That is an extraordinarily high positive response - almost unheard of. People don't hate us, no matter how hard governments and newspapers try to make sure that they do. There is no appetite to send amputees to the job centre or take away the safety net that we will ALL rely on at times. 


  1. I thought the most interesting thing about it was that Atos wouldn't even let him in. Perhaps they were concerned even someone as biased as Humphreys couldn't make what goes on at Atos look justifiable!


  2. Yeah, that was very funny wasn't it.

  3. Interesting, love this.

    Top bosses wages of the top FT's company £30 million.

    Top directors wage rise this year 49% to £2.7 million bonus payments are up from £600,000 to 750,0000

    My top man in my local council gets £196,000 with a pay rise of £16,000

    Average pay rise in the private sector 3%

    Average pay rise in the public sector will be 1% to 2.6%

    Martin Sorral stated the recession is over pay must rise in line with profits.

    We are all in this together

  4. Even Humphreys was forced to admit that the American welfare system has failed very badly indeed and yet that is what they want to implement here. He did not show you the huge horror tent cities of the homeless he instead showed the more affluent “unemployed” of New York. It’s as if he looked only for people to fit the agenda of the documentary script rather than the factual situation.
    See this for real facts

  5. Any "journalist" who uses only the Daily Mail and the Express and his own bias as his sources to report on a vital issue, is not worth my licence fee that paid him to spout such innacurate garbage. Upset me so much I was up all night feeling society would rather I was dead - again.

    Complaint to BBC duly sent.

  6. I do not feel a South African GP is the best qualified to give an “opinion” on the factual situation of the whole of the UK with regard to welfare. She should be helping her own people who need her medical services very badly back in South Africa.

  7. I didn't watch it I've been bashed around for the past 30 years by the DWP and to watch a program like that would do nothing at all for my mental state
    You need program's like that like you need a hole in the head

    John if your reading this blog come over to see me if you've then got the guts to deal with the REAL situation ?

    You cant film ATOS as they have the power to destroy the life of anyone they see fit surely John a educated man like yourself knows this so why ask ?

    There are very few qualified GP's coming out of south Africa so you should take what that doctor said with a pinch of sort

    South Africa and it's government haven't a clue about anything and never have had and never will do it's a lawless state built around a conservative way of repression

    As a journalist John a piece of advice do your own research you must have known of this blog ? for a good starting point for the programme to be based on in the first place ?

    Now your trying to say i have never heard of sue's blog ?

    If you haven't heard of it John your just a fool your like the people when asked do they watch EastEnders and always say no i dont watch that rubbish when of course they do that's why it's number one for viewing

    I think you should retire John get out while the goings good

    Your job is to get to the heart of the matter and get stuck in not just tinker on the outside like so very often journalists do

  8. I would agree with the first sentence by @fourbanks
    "I didn't watch it I've been bashed around for the past 30 years by the DWP and to watch a program like that would do nothing at all for my mental state
    You need program's like that like you need a hole in the head"
    Except that in my case it is only 25years!
    A certain BBC Vine programme is turned off on a regular basis, news programmes avoided, etc.
    If you watch you scream more than usual, & as one is depressed enough already why add to it!

  9. I've just watched it and submitted a complaint straight away. I hope many others do the same. It was a ridiculously biased piece, masking the truth by simple omission as others have already said. I don't expect the BBC to apologise but at least we can clamour.

  10. I cringed all the way through the programme, especially when he was talking (down to) the family in Islington. They'd obviously gone out of their way to make him welcome, dressed up for the occasion, welcomed him into their home, to find themselves being harrangued and having to justify why they stayed in this country. I felt embarrassed on the BBC's bahalf that this sort of behaviour is condoned.
    what really freaked me out were the disablist comments 'shiftless scroungers'...etc Daily Mail speak on some websites (Radio Times for one) BEFORE THE ACTUAL PROGRAMME WAS AIRED! I know Halloween's coming up but that was spooky.

  11. Isnt Humphreys also a farmer as well as broadcaster ? If so perhaps we should find out by the FOI just how much he gets in EU subsidy ...sorry spell that TAX payers funded benefit.They get fortunes for doing sweet F.A from the EU ..spell that again ALL OF US and moan all the time about being skint.Bloody hypocritcal bastards

  12. See that's a problem I spent a life time helping farmers who did not know the regulations farmers do not get fortunes, nor do disabled people.

  13. See the problem here is WHAT exactly.Farmers dont get fortunes robert so come on then put us right about how much an acre they get for set aside then.I bet you its a lot bloody MORE than any sick/disabled benefits.What about other subsidies then ..Which ARE benefits payed to them through the EU by tax payers.MY point is a benefits is a benefit. Its not our fault that some of them dont know the regs so dont play the sorry for farmers card mate.YOU are missing the bloody point if Humphreys is a farmer and takes the subsidy...benefit ...then he has no mporal right to attack the sick and disabled in a sick biased piece of tripe journalism.How many of em are tory voters then eh....

  14. What's an average price for a farm these days?

  15. One TORY mp ( a minister at defra no less)who is also a farmer got 2MILLION in subsidys over a ten year period and tried to have his department cover this up and he isnt the only mp to avail himself of EU subsidys and more than 100,000 farmers recieved between them most of the £3 BILLION available is subsidys for last year alone so NO they aint poor and if indeed as anon above says Mr Humphreys has stuck his snout in this tax payer funded benefit trough then he really has no right to abuse his tax payer funded position at the supposedley fair and impartial BBC and attack the sick and disabled with such a biased pile of drivel.A subsidy IS a benefit. Sack him now and let him get back to his farm.

  16. Hang on - there is no way that JH could be described as a right wing commentator. What he was seeking to illustrate was the way that the benefit system has morphed from a refuge in a time of need, to a cradle to grave entitlement to state support if you simply don't feel like working.

    The Labour architects of the welfare state would be horrified to see their project abused in the way it currently is. I live in a town that is blighted by some of the attitudes displayed last night.

    As to the racist comments about the South African GP, I can say that my own brother a senior GP of 30 years, is in complete agreement with her.

    How can it be that a highly developed country like the UK with a free at point of use health care system, can have the highest level of invalidity in the developed world? Why did this level of invalidity suddenly leap when invalidity benefit began to pay more than unemployment benefit? Why is our level of invalidity nearly double that of Germany? Three times the level of Poland?

    You lot simply don't want to face the truth, indeed are terrified of the truth.

  17. I found the link to your blog and your link to the documentary - I have spent all day and have come up with my response. I hope that it represents your blog fairly. My comments are too long to place here, so the link to it is:

  18. What do you mean YOU LOT you bloody troll ...

  19. John Humphreys like the government ministers haven't a clue on these subjects of the sick and disabled and are found very much wonting it's hard to believe that any of them have any sort of education at all and what does that say about the public no offence intended to us but to watch such bad journalism makes me wonder did anyone get any education at all

    I along with lord sugar had no education but at lease we both know fools when we see them and it sounds like i said above John played the fool in that broadcast but then as i also said journalism isn't what it was

  20. ONE OF US LOT NOT YOU LOT.28 October 2011 at 19:36

    Does your brother work for unum or atos then or maybe he supports the wholesale destruction by way of privatisation of the nhs.By saying you lot you are not only insulting but rather do give away your position on people with sickness or disability problems.Does it not make the point that a free at point of use system such as ours WOULD actually show up more people with sickness/disability than a less accesible system and that is not the fault of anyone who is sick.disabled.YOU seem to be one of those who needs to face the truth here.Keep your you lot insults to yourself troll.

  21. Anon @19:15,

    I agree that the GP being from South Africa has nothing to do with her qualifications to speak on the subject. However, it is the fact that she is a GP rather than statistician that means she is not qualified to speak authoritatively on the subject she was asked about.

    I am not a statistician, nor do I pretend to be an authority but I welcome appraisal of my work and the claims I make in regards to figures. Humphrys incorrectly stated to the audience that a GP has the final say on whether someone gets 'sickness benefit'. This is not true now under ESA and wasn't true under the system for Incapacity Benefit either, which required a Personal Capability Assessment carried out by a doctor chosen by the DWP, not the claimant's GP. A sick-note from their GP would have only one piece of evidence in determining that a claim is eligible, now they are not considered at all in the ESA system.

    In regards to our levels of invalidity, we have a high rate of short and medium-term illnesses because the population is over-worked, has some of the worst employment rights in the OECD, a huge amount of stress and depression and a powerful consumer culture which wages have not kept up with meaning debt has had to pile up to stop demand slumping.

    For lifelong and long-term disability and illness which make up about 52% of claims for IB and ESA, many of these are for severe psychiatric disorders, learning difficulties or Autism. Others are conditions which would have killed decades ago but because of medical advances and a first-rate health system life expectancies for all except heart disease have gone up. These people are surviving and claiming.

    How many cures for big widespread conditions have you heard about in the last decade? The answer if you are honest about it will be: absolutely none that are grounds for an IB or ESA claim. So why use such a paper-thin tabloid-promoted argument?

    Regarding other countries and their employment rates; Britain adopted the neo-liberal economic policy on employment which stated that there was a 'natural level of unemployment' that the state shouldn't interfere with. Full employment as an economic policy was abandoned. Other countries have not gone so far. Look at national employment policy rather than the social security policy.

  22. Complaint made.

    @Mason Dixon

    Excellent points re rates of disability, thank you. I'll take a note of those to use in future.

  23. A free national health system may reveal higher rates of illness but it would also give a much higher rate of recovery.

    If you want to go down the route of ever increasing numbers of people on invalidity benefit, then you also have to explain how a dwindling number of workers would be expected to bear the burden of paying for the non workers. Last night a perfectly fit and healthy man said that he didn't want to work, because he wouldn't be able to spend his time with his children. If 90% of the working population decided to take this option - ie live happily from cradle to grave, without ever working, how would you expect the remaining 10% to fund such a lifestyle?

    I repeat - the Labour government that introduced the welfare state would be horrified to see how so many people have decided to live entirely off the hard work of others. Not only that, but many of those non workers seem to be highly indignant that their choice of non working lifestyle is questioned by those who are required to fund them.

    Germany is a country with the latest retirement age, the longest working hours, many more people working in manufacturing and the same working rights as us (governed by the same EU rules), and yet their rate of invalidity is half ours, why is that?

    As to the `you lot' comment - it seems that this site has a coterie of individuals who are self righteous in what they want to take, but have little regard for the rest of us who are working long hours, paying our way through taxes, and knuckling down to trying to ensure this country doesn't go the way of Greece.

    There is significant abuse of the welfare state, and whatever poll you care to mention reveals that most of the country are aware of this and want action to be taken.

  24. Here are another “lot” that take considerably more

  25. Humphreys was disappointingly if predictably 'orthodox'. The modern history of welfare, particularly in the post-war era is more complex. Beveridge's package of national insurance went in tandom with highly interventionist industrial and labour market policies, the government undertaking a commmitment to full employment with Keynesian demand management. And it worked remarkably well for 30 or so years. The Beveridge settlement would have been (as it now is) totally scuppered without this full package. Beveridge won't work in a neoliberal context - nothing to do with the spurious notions of an 'entitlement culture'.

    As for public attitudes to welfare, well, they hardly congeal of their own spontaneous volition. Rather they are subject to massive ideological shaping by the vocarious forces of capitalism and entrenched privilege. Thus the concept of welfare has been rendered 'toxic'.

    As Gore Vidal says:

    "As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests."

    All the best Sue.

  26. [QUOTE]How can it be that a highly developed country like the UK with a free at point of use health care system, can have the highest level of invalidity in the developed world? Why did this level of invalidity suddenly leap when invalidity benefit began to pay more than unemployment benefit? Why is our level of invalidity nearly double that of Germany? Three times the level of Poland?

    You lot simply don't want to face the truth, indeed are terrified of the truth.[/QUOTE]

    There are a lot of scroungers no one ever denied that fact and they will be punished fact but you need as a government when implementing changes that you don't cause unnecessary stress to those who are ill or disabled you need to have the right educated staff in place that can see the woods from the trees it's very simple and if the staff cant do that job in a professional manor they should have the integrity to step down from that job as playing with peoples lives is the most difficult job of all any surgeon will tell you that

    Playing with peoples lives in which a wrong decision can cause their death needs very careful attention to detail as getting it wrong along with a death is not on for the family left behind as they mourn their loved one over the grave

  27. Another thing you need to remember in that the likes of john if and when they become long term ill invariably commit suicide and that has always been the norm from their type of background journalists /actors etc.

  28. Anon at 21:09, are you the same as Anon as 19:15?

    Exactly what conditions do you think should have higher rates of recovery? The ones I can think of would be those for which people claim sick-pay from their employers, not those that continue beyond the eligible period for sick-pay and require a claim for IB/ESA to be made to have an income while off work.

    You are using the term 'Invalidity Benefit' which hasn't existed since 1995, when it was replaced by Incapacity Benefit. Incapacity Benefit over the period that it accepted new claims between 1995 and 2008 *did not rise*. It peaked in 2005 after having rose as slow as it's predecessors did in the 70s. It then began dropping and by the time new claims were closed in August 2008 it was already at it's 1997 level.

    So how do you make your claim that numbers have been increasing stand up? Even without Labour bringing in the Work Capability Assessment and ESA, the claims for IB were making an unprecedented drop. It doesn't matter if you poll the country and find a lot of people think otherwise; the actual data says different. The population who are asked for their opinion on the subject get their information mainly from the same media outlets that fail to report the actual data on social security.

    That someone has a poor work ethic is bad, but you aren't going to catch anyone seriously disagreeing with that here. But it doesn't matter as you have already skimmed over the real problem: what if the number of people with this attitude and acting on it was unsustainable or simply just a problem so widespread that it's unjustifiable that we tolerate it? Well rather than asking 'what if', look at 'what is'. Is the stereotype that this man and others on the programme came across as widespread and prevalent across the country? That seems to be what the programme wanted us to believe, it's what politicians want us to believe and what virtually what every news outlet wants us to believe.

    So of course it doesn't stand up to five minutes of scrutiny. Such a prevalent pattern of behaviour can not fail to produce a statistical signature and they know it, so they are almost constantly implying such signatures without actually demonstrating them. Chris Grayling has his quarterly DWP press releases on ESA results, which he has been criticised by the National Statistics Authority over but which isn't reported by the fellow-traveller media. Maria Miller has outright unchallenged lies like addicts claiming more DLA than Blind and Deaf people or DLA overspend being £600 million. Iain Duncan-Smith has his '120,000 households where no one has ever worked'. All this and many more reported by a media not interested in the truth. I have certainly never seen anything on make it into the news.

  29. (continued)

    For all the accusations about those on the fiddle, these supposed signatures of a 'benefit culture' are sleights of hand that are over-rebutted and under-reported. You can see from the DWP tables they try to hide on a dark corner of their website that Incapacity Benefit didn't rise has not been on the up. DLA has risen mainly because of artificial pensioner inflation (it siphons off claimants from Attendance Allowance beforehand) and it's historically under-claimed. Jobseekers Allowance was falling right up until the recession whilst long-term claimants of over 5 years fell from over 50,000 to near 4,000. Income Support claims dropped pretty damn fast too even if you take account of Pension Credit replacing it for pensioners; it seems in the years leading up to that change it was only rising at all because of pensioners. People claiming Income Support because they're lone parents fell by a third over the last decade.

    Those are the only out-of-work benefits, excluding DLA which is available to any long-term sick or disabled person. None of the out-of-work benefits went up in the decade leading up to the recession. That is a strong statistical signature against the claim that there is a 'benefit culture' in Britain that is widespread and a significant national problem.

    What is your evidence of there being such a culture?

    If your issue instead is unemployment, look at national employment policy and economic policy, not social security, unless you have good evidence that social security policy is what is responsible.

  30. I'm glad you highlighted the Ipos Mori because when I took a look at it it didn't seem to live up to the spin the program put on it. Though I didn't watch the program itself, I knew it would make me too angry and upset.

  31. Now why would a greater rate of recovery follow a greater detection rate.What utter bloody rubbish.A greater detection rate could never be matched by that as a lot of detected illness would be chronic with little or no hope of recovery so the detection rate would outweigh the recovery rate.You also seem to be under the impression that people who become ill have never worked and payed in the system which again is utter rubbish
    READ again what the excellent mason dixon is posting.....properly researched and factual unlike you who seems to basing his posts on the utterance of one man on a biased program.
    You obviously know little of what it means to be sick or disabled and your terminology is so very outdated so maybe you should count yourself lucky that you have not needed any help in that respect because ,as the whole point of blogs like this are trying to point out but you dont want to listen,it wont be there for much longer FOR YOU or anyone else.BUT here is a suggestion if germany is so good why dont YOU go live there....

  32. Argh! I'm Confucius! People, please get some usernames. Too many anons.

  33. Is this good or bad for the sick and disabled?
    Mr Cameron’s attack is the latest escalation in the tension over Europe since this week’s record rebellion by Conservative MPs demanding a referendum on the EU. Ministers at the Foreign Office are privately backing plans by back-bench MPs and peers to set out a “menu” of demands from the EU, including repatriating powers on employment regulations and human rights legislation.
    Sources said that the review draws on previously secret Whitehall reports drawn up before the last election as Civil Service “scenario-planning” for a possible Conservative government.
    Because the Conservatives failed to win an outright majority those papers have not been shown to Coalition ministers but they will inform the current urgent review.
    It includes social and employment law, financial regulation, the EU budget, policing, crime and immigration. Other areas include the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies, environmental legislation and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

    Angry Butterfly

  34. [QUOTE]Anonymous said...

    Is this good or bad for the sick and disabled?
    Mr Cameron’s attack is the latest escalation in the tension over Europe since this week’s record rebellion by Conservative MPs demanding a referendum on the EU. Ministers at the Foreign Office are privately backing plans by back-bench MPs and peers to set out a “menu” of demands from the EU, including repatriating powers on employment regulations and human rights legislation.
    Sources said that the review draws on previously secret Whitehall reports drawn up before the last election as Civil Service “scenario-planning” for a possible Conservative government.
    Because the Conservatives failed to win an outright majority those papers have not been shown to Coalition ministers but they will inform the current urgent review.
    It includes social and employment law, financial regulation, the EU budget, policing, crime and immigration. Other areas include the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies, environmental legislation and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

    Angry Butterfly[/QUOTE]

    A complete disaster for the UK and the sick and disabled if we were not in the EU WE WOULD THEN BE LIVING A LIFE WHAT THEY HAVE JUST BEEN LIVING IN LIBYA
    It's no wonder the conservatives wont to get the powers back from the EU
    They could then repress us on a scale never seen before you have to remember i have been very much repressed over the past 30 years with a body to match and I'm in the UK who needs gaddafi when i have David Cameron and co to deal with please give me a break i would say we have to stay in at all costs otherwise it would be full steam ahead for a middle eastern style of brutality and as i am already a victim i would not wish it on anyone else so therefore I'm out

  35. And yet it was the Tories that gave us DLA it was the Tories that picked us up off the floor by offering higher benefits rises. The car system we have now within Mobility comes from the Tories, before that we had the invalidity vehicle.

    And do not forget the EU have stated welfare reforms are a priority for the whole of the EU.

    So that nonsense about us being like Libya

    It was Labour that put all this in to practise not the Tories.

  36. You have not had the difficulties that i have had Robert over the years like both physical and mental abuse
    We saw it briefly in a panorama program Care home 'abuse' caught on film a few weeks ago

    Yes well i have had the DWP abuse and like the many young children in the uk they get their parents abuse

    The only thing with me is i speak out no one is listening as they never do but our time will come just like we have just seen in the middle east

    this is a taste of what's to come and you can be sure of that

  37. Where do you people come up with this stuff from? Seriously, where?

    We do not have the "highest rate of invalidity in the developed world" - in fact we're somewhere in
    the middle - no worse and no better than most.

    Germany also does NOT have half the number of sick/disabled that we do. They order their system entirely differently to us but the overall numbers are actually broadly the same as ours.

  38. I have to say something about the "entitlement" issue too.

    The man who "chose" not to work did so because he wouldn't earn anything. Because pay and jobs were so eroded that he had a simple choice - go out to work all day every day, pay childminders and earn nothing.

    EVERYTHING about this programme pointed to the minimum wage being too low, salaries too eroded and living standards falling.

    Yet ctitics, prompted by Humphreys blame the man who surely only made a rational choice to see his children grow up. They don't blame business for not paying enough, or for training people to do interesting, skilled work.

    No they blame the man who no matter what he tries will work for nothing.

    Odd world.

  39. Germany treats it's disabled in the same many as other EU countries, first of all if you have insurance the government tends to not bother with you, well why would they your not a burden to the tax payer. If your disabled by birth or do not have insurance then the German Government has rules in place, every employer who has more then twenty employees must employ at least two disabled people by law.

    Employer with 100 must employ twenty people, but the biggest employers of the disabled in Germany are the local councils. MY Uncle lost his legs in a mining accident, he cuts the grass he has a mower which has been adapted, in the winter he works in the local office in the council.

    My cousin was born with spina bifida she is a nursing helper in a hospital gets the same pay as everyone else, she also get benefits and a car.

    here we are expected to find a job within the normal work, filling shelves or being a painter and decorator even if cannot do it, in the UK this is about not getting people back to work it's getting people onto Lower benefit.

    The fact is we do have a nation of people who will not give us work and a government which is unwilling to give the firms and the companies the tax breaks to employ us.

    New Deal pathways to work and work fare are all taken from America, but they removed the bits that made them work in America.

    Any company that employs a disabled person gets a massive tax break, the disabled person keeps 50% of the benefit, a person with a disability who leaves a job for what ever reason will go back onto benefits no question asked, a person will revive 50% of their benefit for eleven years, labour took all that out.

    I and all other disabled people are expected to go out into the work place and do the same work at the same rates and do the same task as everyone else, if I could do that I'd not be disabled. as the WCA will prove most of us are not disabled.

    The bloody government has no interest what so ever about mental health, or if you lost your legs in a bomb blast in Iraq what they are interested in of course is ensuring according to Blair the work-shy work.

  40. Hush now nanny knows best O_o
    The nanny diaries
    Neoliberals wanted to limit government, but the upshot of their policies has been a huge expansion in the power of the state. Deregulating the financial system left banks free to speculate, and they did so with reckless enthusiasm. The result was a build-up of toxic assets that threatened the entire banking system. The government was forced to step in to save the system from self-destruction, but only at the cost of becoming itself hugely indebted. As a result, the state has a greater stake in the financial system than it did in the time of Clement Attlee. Yet the government is reluctant to use its power, even to curb the gross bonuses that bankers are awarding themselves from public funds. The neoliberal financial regime may have collapsed, but politicians continue to defer to the authority of the market.

    Hardcore Thatcherites, and their fellow-travellers in New Labour, sometimes question whether there was ever a time when neoliberal ideas shaped policy. Has public spending not continued to rise over recent decades? Is the state not bigger than it has ever been? In practice, however, neoliberalism has created a market state rather than a small state. Shrinking the state has proved politically impossible, so neoliberals have turned instead to using the state to reshape social institutions on the model of the market - a task that cannot be carried out by a small state.

  41. If i could i would rather live in the EU than the uk
    i dont like the UK's history of picking on people like when i was in hospital many years ago for 3 months they sent the DWP round to find out where i was as i was supposed to be at home and you guess it a loss of benefit and a lot of verbal abuse when i got out they said then you lazy bastard and gave me a good wack on the head

    Yes it's no wonder i cant sleep and I'll tell you something else i dont forget

  42. This is why the sick and disabled are being targeted BBC agenda documentaries are just a small part of it. You need to study up on the bigger picture.
    UK The Neo-Corporate State At a national and international level, neoliberal policies have led to a massive transfer of resources and power away from public institutions towards private ones, whittling away the means and ability of ordinary citizens to define, protect and promote the public interest. Consider, for example, the benefits that have accrued to the private sector and in particular transnational corporations through the four related processes of:
    Privatisation; Deregulation; The reallocation of subsidies; and The pooling of national sovereignty to form new trading blocks.
    In Britain, the French multinational Generale des Eaux now: "operates water companies; hospitals; refuse collection services; waste-to-energy plants; housing management; financial administration; road and bridge building; car parks; cable television; mobile phones; and is bidding for a railway franchise."
    Control over a wide range of key services have thus become increasingly concentrated in the hands of companies over which the public has no control. In the process, the ability of nation states to protect and promote the public interest has been significantly undermined, and the authority of their citizens has been usurped. Indeed, the most significant shift in power occurring as a result of the privatisation of state assets and services has not been from public to private, nor from state to market, but from local and national political agencies to global concentrations of economic power, unchecked by any of the principles or processes of democratic government.

  43. I should also point out that not all of the DWP/ATOS staff are wicked and brutal
    The carers team and DVLA teams have always been helpful and kind to me but the main area office job centre plus buildings etc horrendous i cant even go into my town on that side of the town i have to stay in the central part only
    Doesn't worry me to much as there is nothing over that way apart from the railway station and as i dont use that things aren't to bad

    But none the less vast experience has taught me that these DWP people can be brutal and you need to be on your guard at all times and under any circumstances never ever go in to their buildings unattended you must be accompanied at all times as if anything untoward happens the police cant help you so remember that

  44. Limitations on the free movement of capital between countries have been
    stripped away through international agreements and governments have sought to attract inward investment
    by creating as attractive a "policy environment" for business as possible. To do so they have dismantled
    The Neoliberal State
    many social and environmental controls that might add to business costs. Britain’s national economic
    policy, as outlined by the 1992-1997 Conservative administration, for example, was to promote the
    country to foreign investors as a low wage, deregulated "enterprise zone" with relatively pliant workforces.
    In a 1995 brochure the government’s Invest in Britain Bureau (IBB) highlighted the country’s "pro-business
    environment" specifying "labour costs significantly below other European countries" and assuring potential
    investors that "no new laws or regulations may be introduced without ascertaining and minimising the costs
    to business." It continues:
    "The UK has the least onerous labour regulations in Europe, with few restrictions on
    working hours, overtime and holidays... There is no legal requirement to recognise a
    trade union. Many industries operate shift work, and 24-hour, seven days-a-week
    production for both men and women.

  45. In Britain, the deregulation of labour markets a policy intended to make the market rather than income policies determine wage levels has meant "an unprecedented level of state intervention in the internal administration of trades unions and a tighter proscription of their lawful actions". It has also entailed "an ever tighter regulatory regime for those who are unemployed and/or in receipt of state benefits" and led to the introduction of "a stronger statutory framework into the management of government training

  46. I've found Maria Miller's source for her recent claim that DLA overpayments are £600 million. It's a report from 2005 which has been superseded by five to six annual reports since then which put the figure as much lower.

    Funny that she would cherry pick *the oldest available and out-of-date paper* simply because it gives her the figure she wants.

  47. In the process, a range of new quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations QUANGOS
    staffed largely by political appointees, has been set up to administer whole areas of public life, such as housing, education and hospitals; areas which were previously under the control of local or national government. Accountable, albeit often inefficient, public bodies have been replaced by new, often secretive,
    usually technocratic and generally unaccountable agencies. The result has been not the elimination of
    corruption and inefficiency (as neoliberals have argued) but the creation of new patronage networks that
    encourage their own form of political corruption.45 In 1996, it was estimated that 7,700 quangos existed in
    the UK, giving government ministers discretion over 70,000 public appointments.

  48. There is plenty more but by now you should see exactly why we are in this horror situation today. It is much bigger than any political party or country or whatever it is global.
    Public Money, Private gain
    Public funds for social and environmental programmes and departments have been cut as a result of structural adjustment according to a 1996 World Bank report, from 1980 to 1993 social spending declined as a proportion of GDP in half the countries studied, with per capital social spending falling in two-thirds of them. Yet state resources have been made available to foreign companies which have been offered extraordinarily generous terms to set up production facilities or extractive industries. The agreements reached are normally kept secret.

  49. This gives you most of what you need to know. All you are experiencing today and will in the future is in this PDF file.

  50. Very true

    I have warned of this for at least 10 years and am probably one of only a handful of people in the uk who know the outcome

  51. Mason Dixon, Autistic said...

    I've found Maria Miller's source for her recent claim that DLA overpayments are £600 million. It's a report from 2005 which has been superseded by five to six annual reports since then which put the figure as much lower.

    Funny that she would cherry pick *the oldest available and out-of-date paper* simply because it gives her the figure she wants.

    Maria miller comes across as a very sinister person they bred quite few like her in her age group in the middle upper classes of the sixties and i have met many in my lifetime there very easy to spot though if you came across them they sound very much like there on the ball but in reality they a very backwood group as you would expect with a background in
    Advertising and marketing in other words their spives

  52. I find em all a sinister and self serving species.Like has been said the subsidy one mp/minister gets is STILL a benefit by another name and a bankers bonus...whats that but a benifit paid by people who put money in thier banks.IT aint thier money is it...they didnt put it in.
    The whole welfare fight is now so much a part of the wider financial crisis question ,and non know this more than the people on the recieving end of the cuts and media witchunt,and people can come on this blog and spout thier tory 'you all want something for nothing' drivel but this makes no differnce to us really unless they are all mps and gvt ministers out trolling in which case .....well you know the answer to that.
    I will say again as i have done before to all those who call the sick/disabled AND unemployed...BEWARE as what you say now will come back to haunt more and more of you when your jobs have gone ,as a lot lot more will, and most people are only a few pay packets away from being skint and defaulting on thier mortgages and THEN when you need the help you all so loudly shout against..THEN you will realise just how it is and how bloody true it is that nobody is getting rich being sick/disabled and countless numbers of YOU LOT as one smart arse called us will be in a position you NEVER EVER thought possible in the 21st century whilst those mps and bankers you all so much love and support will be laughing at YOU with thier trust funds EU sub..sorry tax payer benefits and BIG salarys and bonus payments.

  53. And don't forget the new political party emerging Blue Labour quietly in the background with the likes of James parnell the former labour works and pensions minister on board

    He was just a dishonest man a cheat but i had his cards marked i flashed him out
    The blue labour party so i have been told will just be a clone to the BNP party with a dislike for the sick and disabled shock i am surprised "not"

  54. In his meticulous comparison of eugenic measures in the 1920s, compulsory work camps in the 1930s, and workfare schemes in the 1990s in the
    United Kingdom and the United States, Desmond King (1999:26) has shown that ‘‘illiberal social policies’’ that seek to direct citizens’ conduct coercively are ‘‘intrinsic to liberal democratic politics’’ and reflective of their internal
    contradictions. Even as they contravene standards of equality and personal liberty, such programs are periodically pursued because they are ideally suited to highlighting and enforcing the boundaries of membership in times of turmoil;
    they are fleet vehicles for broadcasting the new found resolve of state elites to tackle offensive conditions and assuage popular resentment toward derelict or deviant categories; and they diffuse conceptions of otherness that materialize the symbolic opposition anchoring the social order.

    If you never read anything else please read this from cover to cover.

  55. bluelabour....NO29 October 2011 at 19:38

    Yeah BLUE labour eh...doesnt really matter what colour they are these days they all come out the wash a rather dirty murky colour.P**rnell well like the quiet man that is IDS he is a dangerous odious little man with his own agenda.HE needs bloody watching.

  56. Sarcboy your right the unemployment will go sky high if David Cameron sticks around Gordon brown was know better however as he had to apologize many times to the public because of the abuse handed out by the DWP HAS HE FAILED TO REALIZE
    Yes the government determines a policy but at the end of the day it is administered by the civil service with no legal redress when things are wrong

    If you have money for a lawyer to intervene all will be well i have known many people use a lawyer to great effect over the years and all has been perfect for them and none have been told they have to work

    But for everyone else you will do battle until heads roll and if you win one month or to you will have to do it all again the next month and so on and so until you give up exhausted on the floor as that is where you'll end up I've been there and yes it can get draughty

    The only plus is you could end up like me as a leading expert in the workings of the DWP which is completely useless as no one will ever benefit from your knowledge

    The workings of the DWP are a nightmare of confusion the team who dreamed them up were all like the bankers in doing deals in the very extreme as even a leading judge once said what the hell is this

    It's not only a nightmare but also the facts and figures are just so mind blowing with contradiction from benefit to benefit and with what hours one could or couldn't work to get X but if you did Y hours you could get Z

    At least David Cameron and i agree on this point

    With David Cameron marginalised in world politics in going forward things are going to get very bad for most of us here

    He has nothing to bring to the table for the way forward and the rest of the worlds leaders know that and on that basis he has declared ourselves out

  57. Well the old adage is true when you got nothing you got nothing to lose.Its rapidly getting to that point for millions( a couple of paydays away from default etc) but most of them dont realise it yet but when they do then the only redress against the present system is rebellion.
    It is not that capitalism is wrong per se ..its not as we all need the flow around of capital..its the application of it or more precisely the missapplication of it by those who control the flow. All systems must exist in equilibrium or fail and we see everyday that those who rob from positions of privelege and power fail to see this and in the end the balance must be tipped.The trouble then is that we may not get the system of social balance that we really need and that is the big scare.
    Equilibrium is only another word for fairness and we are nowhere near that at present.

  58. Now, come on folks. Have a little sympathy for Welsh boyo John Humphreys. He has to struggle to get by on £350,000 a year from the BBC and other sources. Who better to make a documentary about all those awful people who could work if they wanted to but chose not to because they were better off? Nice guy. Thanks John. Give Mr. Daker a call. Cheers.

  59. very true sackboy
    Every time that you see or hear anyone speak about the sick and disabled on the tv or radio irrespective of what's it about you can be sure of one thing in that there all very comfortably off and always have been
    This happens the world over and has never been any different and never will be

    Had i made that program i wouldn't have needed to have done any research as i know all about sickness i would have interviewed some people from this blog and then interviewed some wealthy claimants along with those that hadn't got much. I would then have brought to the public's attention of those like myself that have had a very hard time over many years with the DWP

    I would have delivered a hard hitting broadcast god knows what time it would have had to have gone out with my body probably past midnight on the freesats horror channel that even today alarm bells would be still ringing in government circles

  60. Ah so it matters he's Welsh, with silly Boyo.
    So Tomorrow's Panorama made in England by the English. called Life on the fiddle. Life on benefits.

    I have already seen a bit it's about JSA and people who are obviously not sick because the WCA say so.

  61. I don't think I can watch another one. May have to just stick my fingers in my social media ears and shout la-la-la-la

  62. sicksicksickofemall30 October 2011 at 20:33

    here we bloody go again....more govt hatepropoganda no doubt.I am bloody sick of it..maybe we now have to ALL complain en masse and let the people who make these programmes know just how we are all affected by hatefull broadcasting....its just a thought but why not its only using what we have...we the undersigned etc etc....delivered by hand to these bloody people....

  63. WHY not Occupy the tv and newspaper buildings.After all they report on protests so lets play em at thier own game....the only one(ok i know its not a newspaper but...) worth reading in the uk is Private Eye so maybe get them there to cover it

  64. Mahatma Gandhi

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

    I only just noticed that sue at the bottom of your blog but with my body and looks i would say that Mahatma Gandhi was my brother so there's hope for us yet ?

  65. [QUOTE]Sue Marsh said...

    I don't think I can watch another one. May have to just stick my fingers in my social media ears and shout la-la-la-la[/QUOTE]

    Same here sue >:( >:( it's like Jackanory all over again week on week i tell you if i get lucky I'll be dancing on their graves in a few years time I'll find out their names and attend their funerals now some may say that's sick but i tell you it's not as sick as having year in year out putting up with the propaganda that we the sick and disabled have to put up with by this scum of so called broadcasters

  66. we dont have to watch it as we already know it will be hate filled biased rubbish but we cant ignore it we must fight back everytime.

  67. There schedules for these programmes have been screwy. Panorama: Britain On The Fiddle is definitely confirmed for this Thursday. I can't find any similar programme on tomorrow.

    However, the webpage for BOTF states:

    "It is estimated that £22billion of taxpayers' money is effectively stolen or lost every year through fraud and error - more than the government's planned spending cuts each year. And the cost of fraud has risen by a third during this recession, money that could end up being taken out of genuine claimants' pockets."

    This is a repeat of an episode which unlike every other Panorama episode was not archived, nor is there ANY information anywhere about it. Yet even in the synopsis it has three falsehoods.

    £22 billion in fraud and error? I'm less interested in what the presenter has to say and more interested in his source.

  68. hi sue im feedup with the bbc and newpapers attack on the sick and disabled i have been disabled since i was ten ' i am blind and life is hard i cant go out on my own .but i have worked very hard working from home and payed tax in the past. how is the bbc funded tv liesence so what if we did not pay it .what would the headlines be i mean every one who is disabled. cuts we can't pay for them thanks to the gov. i asked son to right this for me

  69. yes it is Thursday I keep forgetting most are in England.

    That Anon was me of course, but it's not for us these program are for the public not the disabled, they the government be it labour or Tory use the media to inform the public we are in the main cheats.

    The sad part the public believe it.....

  70. Madam we are all in this together if a law offends you veto it.
    Prince Charles has the right to veto government legislation that affects his private interests, according to documents released under freedom of information laws.

  71. Aunty BBC is way past its sell by date time to scrap it along with its forced licence fee and agenda. Spend the money saved on faster broad band than you can view anything you want worldwide.

  72. the panorama program tonight has been cancelled I'm not sure why but i did speak with one their team and told her what i thought and that's to come to see me forget everyone else I'll give you a hard hitting program like no other

  73. Hi All

    Just discovered the site through Twitter and have had a skim through the discussion.

    You won't like this, but I largely agreed with the standpoint of the programme. Of course, a decent welfare system is the hallmark of a civilised society and we can be proud of the beliefs that drove its inception.

    Pretty much everyone STILL cherishes the notion that the severely disadvantaged should be helped and supported.

    But it is undeniable that it has become socially acceptable for the able-bodied to choose to spend their entire lives on welfare, as evidenced by the chap in Middlesboro who proclaimed that his preference had been to stay at home and watch his kids grow up.

    I don't for one moment think that all welfare claimants are like him, but you are blinkered beyond hope if you don't think that he represents a massive slab of welfare addicts. And yes, I have known personally many people like this is my time.

    The family from Ecuador seem to have struck many people here as delightful and charming (and to be fair, even Humphrys lavished compliments on their charmingness), but for me they represent a massive problem with the UK. They have clearly come here to milk the system, and are doing precisely that. The father claimed to be some sort of skilled engineer but had come to the UK with his family without being able to speak a word of English, hoping to be offered a responsible job with a UK company? Do me a favour. Why not stay in Spain where at least he can speak the language?

    He is, frankly, conning us in order to enjoy the sort of living conditions that they will have only dreamed about in Ecuador. At least he is aspirational, unlike the Middlesboro bloke and the millions like him, but he wants the UK taxpayer to finance the rise in his family's living standards. And most people here seem to think that's OK.

    What I have in common with most commentators here is that the programme 'made my blood boil', though for different reasons.

    Stop speaking up for those people who really are 'welfare scroungers'. The danger is that people with a real need for support are being swallowed up by the morass of those who are driving the country into moral and social oblivion. These types are no better than the bankers.

    Defend your corner. I'll defend it with you. But if you align yourselves with the 'scroungers' you are heading for disaster.

  74. Sent my complaint in by post the very next day after watching it. Hunphreys boasted that making Mastermind was "money for old rope",well after these two programmes hopefully he has enough rope to hang himself,though lynching would be acceptable.

  75. Response from BBC regarding my complaint:
    Thanks for contacting us regarding BBC Two’s ‘The Future State Of Welfare With John Humphrys’ on 27 October.

    I understand you felt the programme was biased against the welfare state.

    We believe that 'The Future State of Welfare' was a balanced look at the benefits debate in the UK. The programme dealt with a difficult and important subject - and the strong opinions held about the issues raised by the current proposals for reform. The impact of current policy and proposed reforms was shown through John's interviews with individuals who have experience of the system both here in the UK and in the USA. The programme featured interviews with various individuals who claim different types of benefits, and gave them an opportunity to set out their views on the proposed reforms. John conducted these interviews with sympathy and sensitivity and enabling those affected to show how they felt the proposed reforms would impact upon their individual situations.

    Both the BBC and John Humphrys consider the programme to be a success - it challenged preconceptions while remaining a balanced and accurate analysis of both emerging policy and public opinion in this highly contentious area.

    We’ve registered your comments on our audience log for the benefit of programme makers, commissioning executives, and senior management within the BBC. The audience logs are important documents that can help shape future decisions and they ensure that your points, and all other comments we receive, are made available to BBC staff across the Corporation.

    Thanks again for contacting us.

    Kind Regards

    Stuart Webb
    BBC Complaints

  76. The reply above was typical and from any type of business that's the standard reply which means nothing