Wednesday 15 February 2012

What did that all mean then?

This post is a sort of prequel.

Lots of people have already asked me "But what did yesterday mean and I'm afraid it will be a while before anyone can properly answer that.

The House of Lords scrutinises a bill "line-by-line". They are there to go through every last detail of policy and amend it where they find fault. There are no big-bangs, no fireworks, just lots and lots and lots of technical details. They get harder and harder to report and harder still to explain. The "nuts and bolts" of yesterday were fascinating, but definitely for another day.

What I can tell you is what it meant politically.

Let's go back a year. The Broken of Britain were in the last days of their "One Month Before Heartbreak" campaign. The DLA/PIP consultation was just about to close and they had successfully inspired thousands to make a submission in a first blaze of social media activity.

We had nothing and no-one. Welfare reform was the one rock solid area for the Government. The media were eagerly whipping the public into the full throes of rabid scrounger hating. The "opposition" were, erm, not opposing. At all. In fact they were actively supporting both the Government and the stigma.

We couldn't get a journalist anywhere to report welfare, they practically held  lavender hankies to their noses at the thought. No-one cared about the details of the bill and it marched on, seemingly unstoppably, towards becoming law.

That's what we won. That's what we changed. Step by step, tiny victory by tiny victory, we chipped away relentlessly. Like Andy Dufresne in the Shawshank Redemption. Chip chip! A story here, a journalist there, a politician persuaded, a peer convinced. Chip, chip! Exposing their mistakes and their fibs, speaking at this conference, speaking on that radio show. Chip, chip! An email or a letter or a blog post or an article.

And somehow, magically, the tiny chips became a dent and the dent became a hole and the hole became a tunnel, right through to Grayling and Miller and Freud. Right through to the Daily Mail. Right through to Newsnight and the Spartacus Report and the ESA defeats in the Lords and our DLA amendment. We had an amendment!!! In the House of Lords!! Lord Freud had to answer our report!!

What's that got to do with yesterday?


Without it, as we all know so very well, you have nothing. But by yesterday, we held some cards. By yesterday, the Government were unsure. By yesterday, they had to compromise.

I know that compromise is a boring word. We all wanted explosives, heavy artillery and preferably, for Freud, Miller, Grayling and IDS to be permanently exiled to somewhere in Afghanistan with a lot of bandits.

But compromise is what the Lords are there to ensure and finally, dragged kicking and screaming towards the naughty-step-of-honesty, Freud had to suck it up.

Yesterday, I said we would know where we stood as soon as the debate started. It was all about tone. It was all about how many peers turned up to moan a bit about financial privilege. It was about how much momentum we had built up and just how worried the Government were. Another round of humiliating defeats would have been a disaster. If we had no chance of inflicting any, then it was game over.

If, however, peers were as cross as we felt they were, if they were as concerned for us as they were for democratic process, then they could make things very sticky indeed. If they chose to. And it was a choice. The amendments themselves barely mattered yesterday - we didn't even have time to work out what they all meant. They were symbolic "If you don't compromise now, we will test you" Sort of the parliamentary equivalent of your Mum shouting down the stairs "Don't make me come down there!!!"

Ohhhhhh they did us proud. First an almighty slap-down from every corner of the House over the misuse of financial privilege. Oh, it was brutal. Freud, checking over his shoulder, looking nervously about for friendly supporters or grim faced opponents. When peers call the commons "bullies" and one peer calls another "sneaky" in oh-so-courteous Lords speak that's like your Nan calling her bridge team the c word.

The gloves were off and from the first few minutes it was clear that peers were up for a fight. Process had been pushed too far, convention stretched to its limits and that was the best possible scene we could expect to see.

The first amendment saw Freud compromise. Bns Meacher, who had taken no prisoners at all seemed content enough to withdraw it. A win.

Then, over forcing people in social housing to move to imaginary homes if they have a spare room, more passionate speeches, more forensic slapdowns and Freud was squirming. Peers pushed it to a vote and we won! Message? "If you insist, we will defeat you." That was all we needed. Just that one.

We won the Crossbenchers, we won 9 Lib Dems, and even a few Tories seemed to stay at home. Freud knew then - if he pushed any more votes, he would lose them.

And so the offers started to come in thick and fast. To avoid any further votes, he pretty much accepted all of the "Amendments in Lieu". He got flustered, forgot which amendment came next, and at one point he even admitted (to my great geeky satisfaction) that they had not fully understood the "youth condition" amendment that meant profoundly disabled children would no longer qualify for NI contributions. Freud! Admitting he was wrong!! In the Lords! *sigh* I liked that bit. I do believe he actually used the word grovel!!!! (I shall be checking Hansard for that one....)

Remember, as per previous posts, amendments can be - and as we've seen - will be, overturned in the Commons. The pledges Freud makes before any vote, however, are binding. The more he makes, the more we "won". The more he compromises, the more worried he is.

By yesterday afternoon he was so worried - about the future of the entire bill - that he took a few blows to avoid a knockout in the second round of Ping Pong.

So when I can tell you what the "Amendments in Lieu" actually gained us, I will, but don't expect fireworks

The amazing, almost miraculous part was that yesterday, we gained much, much more than the sum of a few watered-down amendments of watered-down amendments.

We pushed the Government further than they - or indeed we - ever imagined possible. We opposed. We informed, we had them on the ropes. The public started to wake up, a few journalists came blinking into the light and the entire welfare debate has changed forever. We have a voice, we have made our case and when it starts to become clear that we were right all along, the world will be waiting to notice - not blindly stumbling towards disaster.

We still have a filthy bill, crammed with awful policies. We still have a mountain to climb. But we have shaken the Government out of their arrogant complacency in a way they never imagined.

I can't say what will happen to the bill now. But I can say that from now on, it will be a much, much more equal fight. And that is something the Government never, ever expected in their worst nightmares.


  1. Just a shame abt DLA sue, that for me was key.
    and a great job done by the crew.

  2. Good comments Sue, now if only 38 Degrees would get 40,000 odd signatures on Pat's Petition like they did on the Health Bill yesterday then we may yet get it to 100,000 and have a FULL debate not just Lords amendments.

    1. I have been emailing & posting Pats petition,& asking by email 38Degrees about putting the email campaign to MP's already running a move further on first to make it Lords then yesterday to ask the membership if they would like to run with the petition. As democratic is what they keep quoting, they tell me I should try to get members interested by putting the idea up on blog/facebook. I've tried only a few respond, it needs lots of members. I read about the mess up/loss of faith a lot who posted/voted for DLA not to be abolished suggested campaign. My thought is this petition has to reach as many as possible quickly, so I will keep posting, hoping to catch signatures, if any one would like to boost support & post asking for it to be the next move then that would be great & I'm not holding my breath, but if it happened the petition may just fly. I'm bemused by how things really succeed at running on the site.

  3. Thanks for that political perspective, Sue. In the middle of the debate I discovered my freezer had broken down, and had to drag myself away to mount a rescue operation. So I missed most of the debate, including the successful division. I did manage to notice, when I got back, that Freud was flustered enough to be fluffing around in his papers and losing his way - not for the first time.

    Very well done indeed, to all involved. I think Spartacus is making history here.

    How's the money holding up? Don't hesitate to ask again if you need to.

    1. Hi Sue and all involved, I was thinking about the money too how are you doing?

      It was quite obvious in the HoL and HoC that many of them making laws had NO idea what they were talking about and yet they were there voting for something that would have such dreadful consequences for other human beings Angela

  4. Sue can you imagine what would have happened if you hadn't done the Spartacus Report - doesn't bear thinking about - So from me and Millions of people that are affected by the WRB Thank You from the bottom of our hearts - that also extends to everyone involved as I am sure there are plenty of others that unfortunately I don't know their names :(

    1. Look at the front page of the Responsible Reform report. Many names there.

      As to the Spartacus Report happening or not, the real crunch time was 3 hours on the afternoon of December 6th when I, who eventually unexpectedly became the main author, wrestled with myself deciding whether to go ahead, knowing what the health cost would be.

      It was a close call.

    2. your effort has been so appreciated. Giving articulation and a voice to many who couldn't. Thank you. My family appreciate someone standing up for us. xx

    3. I suppose i wrote that wrong - due to my condition at the time couldn't remember the name of the report or other names involved :(
      But well done to
      Anon, ME; Sue Marsh BA (Hons); Kaliya Franklin LLB(Hons); Declan Gaffney; Anon; Mason Dixon, autistic;

      Leigh James; Sam Barnett-Cormack BSc MSc; Rhydian Fon-James BSc MSc; Dawn Willis; Anon

  5. Thank you all, for all your work to get heard... It's great as a long term sick person to see our community coming together with a clear voice now, I sure we will continue to use it... for the long haul... Dxxx

  6. Jan O'Malley (Tanith777)15 February 2012 at 09:43

    From a tiny acorn a great oak is growing - thanks Sue for watering & nurturing it! I know it has cost you loads in health. It would have been wishful thinking to believe that the whole thing was going to crumble now. I love your chip chipping, that's how great sculptures are made! It may take a long while yet but the Sparatuci will show the ConDems up for what they are in the end!

  7. Freud was flustered that's what you get when you poke your nose in when you don't know what your talking about and that applies worldwide to anyone

  8. Sue, thanks so much for this - you have given us such a boost, on top of all your other fabulous Spartacus Report efforts.

    Two key elements for me:

    (1) Freud's concessions stand, whatever happens when the Bill ping-pongs back to the Commons, and

    (2) we aren't a voiceless bunch of people any more - our shouting will continue to be heard, no matter what the impact of this or other legislation on us. Sick & disabled people who will inevitably suffer because of this Government's draconian legislation won't have to suffer in silence - we will be making lots of noise on the streets, in the media and in Government, shaming the bastards who decided we're "worthless". We will not be ignored.

    We are Spartacus. x

  9. Adrian Wait: Shawshank speech...

    "I find I'm so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope."

  10. Thanks a million to all of us who made a chip, and especially Sue and co who got the dent going!!
    It was quite remarkable to witness the turnarounds last night, small as they may have been, but the feeling and support behind those who pushed for them was palpable & very welcoming. Lord Patel was wonderful in getting those with cancer back into the support group, and the continuing consultation with Macmillan is encouraging.
    May it pave the way for future collaboration with the disability charities and all the many other stretched organisations, such as CAB and Shelter, who have to deal with the fallout of a flawed welfare system on a daily basis.

    We are being heard, and we will win!
    We are Spartacus

  11. Sue do you know how freud come about to represent us in the lords in the first place he should by rights have been our servant and vowed to and fight our corner ?

    And why wasn't this picked up by the other lords
    They should have said and spoke up "you don't like the sick and disabled so why the hell are you representing them "

    He should then have stepped down there is no point having a upper chamber if this type of thing in future continues

    Having a witch hunt on the sick and disabled is morally and ethically wrong and needs further looking into by the upper house

    The Baroness Campbell of Surbiton DBE should have been the correct choice of lady to represent us as she is the most qualified she of coarse agrees with me and rightly so

    As does my tory mp on welfare reform

    It's a most bizarre state of affairs when the likes of yourself who is ill have to take a lead or me in my case because my mp says i know best

    The whole thing is to bizarre for words and we must get the right lord or lady to take control in future

  12. I think you've hit the nail on the head, Sue. They thought no-one was watching, but we are. And, thanks in no small part to you and a core of other brave souls, we are organised. This isn't over, and everything they do will be scrutinised to breaking point. And, preferably, beyond that point.

  13. What more can I say but thanks from the bottom of my heart! It gives us a voice at last!!!

  14. Lord Freud is taking the Bill through the Lords as he is the PUSS at DWP. Only a Governemnt Minister can take a bill through either of the two houses.

  15. Fantastically written. I loved the lavender hankied journalists and the naughty step of honesty. Very well done, I love it. XXX

  16. My hair is standing up all over reading the above quote & then I burst into desolate tears..
    The last comment sums up my fears as well as my hopes.. Even more than desperately needed money it is my freedom that I feel has been stolen.
    I expect to be hunted & abused now for the rest of my life. I am 50 & don't expext to live to the new retirement age. That's fine, not a problem. With acknowledgement & support continuing I would have continued to grow with some peace & pride.
    I now expect to spend the last part of my life as I spent the beginning ie. Neglected, abandoned, abused & used. I am not mine now unless I choose to give in & request nothing, accepting the consequences as the only way to keep my pride.
    I am asking advice here on how I can face the constant biased assessments, conditions & sanctions & still feel I belong to myself. If I am unable to break this 24/7 fear I will have no happy time or hope.. So how do I seperate what they are doing to me with who I am?!
    Best wishes to all... Nita

    1. [QUOTE]Anonymous has left a new comment on the post "What did that all mean then?":

      My hair is standing up all over reading the above quote & then I burst into desolate tears..
      The last comment sums up my fears as well as my hopes.. Even more than desperately needed money it is my freedom that I feel has been stolen.
      I expect to be hunted & abused now for the rest of my life. I am 50 & don't expext to live to the new retirement age. That's fine, not a problem. With acknowledgement & support continuing I would have continued to grow with some peace & pride.
      I now expect to spend the last part of my life as I spent the beginning ie. Neglected, abandoned, abused & used. I am not mine now unless I choose to give in & request nothing, accepting the consequences as the only way to keep my pride.
      I am asking advice here on how I can face the constant biased assessments, conditions & sanctions & still feel I belong to myself. If I am unable to break this 24/7 fear I will have no happy time or hope.. So how do I seperate what they are doing to me with who I am?!
      Best wishes to all... Nita[/QUOTE]

      i have been abused off and on for 31 years by the DWP the only time i have had help is either by the police or my mp which is very slow and things are as you can imagine are still on going
      my mind is week as is my frail body and have to sleep or rest for 18 hours a day just to stay alive
      There is no advice i can give you i have a church very local to me and when I'm in there just me and Jesus on the cross i feel his presence and walk away up lifted until David Cameron and the DWP come after me again

      I may at some point just spend my waking hours in the church only and feel this will be my only way out for whatever remains the rest of my life

      At least i will die in the lords presence which will be very peaceful no doubt i have no fear of the end game but until then the good lord will guide me and look after me as only he knows how and when he feels i have had enough he will take me in to his house for everlasting peace and for someone like myself who has had very little piece over the past 31 years i would say that was a blessing

    2. Nita,

      I agree with you 100%.
      Just before this lot came into power I had just got my DLA renewed for 5 years at the high rate for care and mobility. The first time without having to have a tribunal. The first time for 5 whole years before review.

      I wasn't due for another work test for 3 years. (The last one I had, the doctor said I must be very strong as most people simply
      couldn't cope with everything I'd been through)

      For the first time in many years, I had financial security. I had been accepted as definitely not able to work. So I had plans.
      Plans to move somehwere more manageable. Somewhere with better treatment for my condition. The ability to pay for treatments I couldn't get on the NHS. For the first time I had hope that I could improve my conndition and begin to live a very small life. Then this lot came in to power and by June I knew everything was gone. The few years of life I had left stolen from me. I began to fight in the little ways I could and that became my life. I got sicker and iller and more desperate. I heard the vile rhetoric in the media and didn't dare go out, even tho' mostly too unwell to anyway. But sitting in the park looking "unemployed" once in a while, who would judge me, knowing nothing of the truth?
      They stole my life. They stole who I could have been, given time and peace and better help. Now my identity is secret to all who know me. They don't understand my illness. I can't tell them what little energy I have I use to fight welfare reform, when I should be in bed, or doing my "treatments" or getting some fresh air. They cannot understand the stress of living every day, not knowing if you will be classed as fit to work, yet unable even to sign on. If you will lose your DLA, yet be barely able to function. Day in and day out, this causes stress and sleepless nights and the fear the public want you dead. Like you, I don't know what identity to hold on to. It has been stolen.

  17. Thank you, thank you, thank you. xxx

  18. Thank you - to everyone who has been working hard to make this happen. At the end of the day, all the people who are actually paid to help others - the MPs, even some charities at the beginning, the ministers etc., they abandoned the sick and disabled to their fate. But what they forgot is that the 'sick and disabled' comprises many individuals. We are not a faceless, spineless 'they.' We have a voice. And thanks to Sue and the others who made this happen (in the face of blinding apathy from those who should have helped but didn't) the powers that be now realise we have a voice. And that having pushed us so far, they are discovering the truth of the saying that the most dangerous creation is the man (or woman!) with nothing to lose.

  19. I am still checking but at one point, I think when they were discussing benefit tourism, freud seemed to say that there was no part of the welfare system that was safe.

    Threaten, bully, bluster, sputter, collapse - the bahaviour of a thug confronted.

  20. ==============
    ..........(¯`v´¯) I don’t know dear it walks like a duck
    ...........`•.¸.•´and it talks like a duck
    .......(●_•̃)..(●_•̃) Mom are politicians kind people?
    ......... /█\ ♥/█\

  21. I am devastated. Disability Living Allowance has not been saved. PIP will be introduced under 'their' terms. No notice will be taken of the up-coming 'Consultation' as none was taken of the previous one.

    14 Feb 2012 : Column 693 Hansard
    "We need to learn from the introduction of PIP for those aged 16 to 64, which will start in April 2013 and continue through to 2016 as people switch over. We need to build learning from that process. We are also looking at moving towards a single assessment process for children's social care, health and special education needs. By the start of 2015, we should have gathered sufficient evidence to be able to consider our future approach."

    I have a 'disability' caused by my medical condition, not social, enviromental etc and can never be 'independant', PIP has the potential to cause the loss of many benefits associated with DLA including Social Care packages, as in my area that is based around your DLA entitlement. DLA is a 'gateway' to wheelchair services for permanent and semi-permanent users along with OT's and Phsiotherapy, DLA actually does a very good job of ensuring the correct support is offered by Services for those on the highest rates, the PIP criteria could lead to a loss when looked at 'holistically' which would necessitate moving into residential or Nursing Care Fascilities for many.

    I cannot find the reference but Jane Campbell said this week that she fears that by 2020 PIP will be no more as well, the funding will be consumed by the S.S., looking at Hansard for yesterday and the stated aims for children from 2015 I very much fear Adults will receive the same assessment after 2016 after they have managed to re-assess all current claimants plus the new caseload in the space of 3 years.

    This has now become the worst case scenario IMO, they will make sure as time goes on those descriptors are 'tweaked' as with ESA to deny disability benefits to all, but there again the word 'DISABILITY' no longer exists, even an alternative name was not approved by the HoL. The government and Miller have won

    1. No they haven't won. And the worse case scenario has not yet come to pass.

      DLA was not saved but it was never going to be. The best we could hope for was to mitigate the damage.

      We got concessions that we didn't think possible. There will be reviews, a live trial, graded transitions and consultations.

      We have got consultations and although many think they won't be listened to my own belief is that the government is not going to want risking a "Spartacus 2". One thing we can try to force is a meaningful dialogue so that whatever DLA is replaced by, it will harm as few people as possible.

      This is why now more than ever we need to engage with the government. We will need to respond to the consultation and make sure that PIP is fit for purpose.

      One thing is for sure. The government now knows that we are watching and what we are capable of. I very much doubt that they will try to pull the same tricks they did last time.

    2. Exactly right SpoonyDoc

      I know we want fireworks like I said in the post, but they were NEVER going to happen. Sadly, and utterly predictably, not over the welfare bill.

      These nuts and bolts I keep going on about really are as important as I try to explain. I'm not just putting a happy spin on it.

      They WILL ensure that PIP is fairer, but we have to be vigilant to hold them to it all.

  22. Thanks to all team who have worked on 'responsible reform' one the government has at least sat up and realised what a complete mess and disarray it was putting the country in and has made them think. The basics of it are taking£25 a week from somebody or 20% of a small income is catastrophic. Lord Freud looked out of his depth and clueless really, it showed up the complications the Spartacus report has addressed and many sick or disabled see and worry about.
    Yesterday was a remarkable day. Thank-you and we will be watching this space.

  23. The record is here of the fear the government has put into the sick/ disabled / elderly/ children ie.....anyone who needs a little care or a lot are so worried about their future.

  24. What freud has in a nut shell said is that in future the sick and disabled wont be allowed out the home and will have to eat bread and cheese in future as our income will be very small
    That is my full interpretation of his words and i doubt very much if anyone will be able to say I'm wrong

    The welfare benefits will be available to all says David Cameron but you will have to fight for them and fight hard and yes i would agree with that statement

    1. Lord Fraud, like most politicians, exists in his own little world. Ignorant of the facts and with contempt for truth.

      He was interviewed on the news today after the lastest unemployment figures were announced. Employers are sheddding jobs and there are more applicants than vacancies. Part time work is the highest since records began. Everyone here understands how that affects us.

      Lord Fraud's conclusion though, is that there is positive news because there is more employment as a result of more people coming off sickness benefits!

      Give me strength!

  25. May God bless you, Sue Marsh.

  26. Well, I'm confused. But I deal with the effects on the ground.

    However the reforms and the cut and thrust of opposition are portrayed, they are going to go through, despite our best efforts. Are they not ? So aren't we looking at limitation, rather than rah, rah?

  27. You have only to believe if you wish to achieve

    I wish that where true,'ve made me believe again Sue. So maybe we will achieve again, thanks to you.

    Thank you, Thank you soooooo much

  28. Fraud's reassurances that DLA will be phased in and "trialled" and adjustments made as we go along is no different to the Work Capability Assessment. Over 3 years in and people are still being hounded, being found fit for work when they are half dead and people are still dying. I don't trust him. How many people will end up in Care Homes, hospitalised, live in fear or worse, die in despair, before anyone takes any notice that PIP assesments don't work either? When will the media and the public notice or start to care? Who hasn't already been made worse by all of this? The battle has only just begun. In my opinion we need to collect our stories and contact the UN. The government's response to them recently was that everything was tickety boo in disabled land in the UK. It is not and they should most definitely hear about it.

    1. Samuel Miller

      Is talking with the UN.

    2. I emailed them over a week ago and have heard nothing so i would be interested to see just what has been said there..

  29. It was great to be heard.
    And to hear people in an apparent seat of power not just speak up for you but get angry on your behalf is inspirational, empowering, and for most, I imagine, a first.

    However, I feel it is shortsighted to think that dismay, from some quarters, over what is happening to disabled people, who were only, before this and the last government, at the very

    beginning of the historical path to equitable treatment, amounts to acceptance in even the most minor sense, or guarantees a place in any real discussion about our future.

    It is obvious that no-one in power wants to allow themselves to be recorded giving the disabled an ideological throat punch, and the recent campaign did catch quite a few of them with their

    fists clenched and one or two halfway to a strike.

    The cruelest rhetoric, from the government side, was sucked in, a little, and by proxy, in the Lords, but the overwhelming message is that the level and type of, just about adequate,

    support disabled people, across the spectrum, have had access to, in recent years, is more than under review, as the whole post war social system we built is up for recycling into something

    that better fits the declining fortunes of the west and the world at large.

    I have an uneasy feeling that we think we are more useful than they do.

    The masters of the universe, making the real decisions, in boardrooms, at Davos, in private clubs behind closed doors, are far removed from the publicity exercise that politics and, dare I

    say it, law have become.

    A small apology in the House of Lords, for expressing the watered down message that has floated down stream from where real power lies, should be a warning not a cause for celebration.

    What we have just seen is damage limitation, after catching the government lying during consultion phase of the bill.

    They won't make the same mistake again.

    The disabled, poor, sick, weak, are under attack.

    We must to protect ourselves.

    Negotiating concessions, in the Welfare Reform Bill, for the economically viable is fine.

    But I think the war for our very existence has only just begun.

    And we all need to become as active in the resistance as we can.

  30. Wow, easy peeps. What's all this dead bit? Some of us may be somewhat knacked, but dead isn't on the agenda. Point taken, but, hey, have some respect please?

    1. With all due respect death is on the agenda for some: Previous sites to list those who have died directly as a result of the WCA have mysteriously been "vanished". This one exists, for now....

  31. Death & living death is on the agenda. I am in it...

  32. Sneaked out last night, another hindrance to citizens

    Freedom of Information may possibly no longer be free.

  33. JUST heard freud on the news saying that although unemployment is up there is also more people in work as a result of people coming off sickness benefits....WHAT f8888in planet is this man on.
    HE has the bloody cheek to spout this bullshit when he knows that people FORCED off do not return to work.Its beyond belief that this bloody fool really thinks this.

  34. I was air punching and yelling 2-0 etc, and giggling with glee as Freud admitted his failings, and lost his paperwork etc. we had him on the run and lord Patel had him in a neck hold on the ropes at one point. I had a picture in my head of IDS and Greyling turning grey in the face and waiting for a hole in the floor to swallow them up.
    We won a lot yesterday, some didnt understand it, but we created a little bit of political history and proved the people can use their power over the house.
    Now we await the committes and the consultations again, and the ping pong back to the other place.

  35. i would like to thank all of you each and everyone for giving us that voice,i found immense pleasure watching lord freud squirm yesterday his humiliation was pleasurable rather than his usual arrogant self.

    1. trouble is the fraudster aint finished yet and he may have had a bad day but who gets the blame for that ,no prizes for guessing, and beware the man with power and a grudge...

  36. By "we" I assume you mean the entire disabled community? Its not very clear, to be honest it reads as if you have single-handed taken down the Government.
    Perhaps admiting that you have legions of people assisting you, and that tiny organisations such as day centres, as well as huge organisations such as Macmillan have all played their part would go some way to giving a realistic portrayal of your true contribution.
    Some people have put you on a pedestal, and will have expectations that, as a normal, and very ill human being, you probably can't fulfill.

    1. YOU read what you bloody want sunshine and dont come back with anymore nasty crap...WHAT have you done to help then eh.....

    2. whats your problem then anon above...the fact is yes sue and kaliya maybe did have help but the report they put together did deliver and yes ok there may have been LARGE organisations involved in there too on thier own but so what. Are you saying that sue and the others efforts were somehow worth LESS than the efforts of any of those very patronising of you....sounds like a government stance to me and maybe its your attitude that needs changing. OUR portrayal of sue and co's contributions is spot on mate and we dont need to be told and dont care what you may think ..

    3. This is the problem Sarcboy and the second anonymous, you have put Sue and Kaliya on a pedestal.
      Do you think that they can live with the pressures of your expectations? Do you think that if they fall ill the entire disability movements cease to exist?
      Sue and Kaliya rely on help from others, they didn't write the Responsible Reform report alone, it was written by a group of people.
      As for the second anonymous, then all contributions are equally valid, if it is the maximum that people can give. Sue and Kaliya are using their talents in writing blogs and being approachable and friendly, and people give generously of their time and information - each is equally valid. However taking individual credit for team efforts is unfair, and in a similar manner, believing that Sue and Kaliya do all this work on their own is a naive assumption.
      This naivety and the subsequent adoration is neither fair nor necessary - I am sure Sue and Kaliya would be as happy to do it anonymously, but unfortunately they can't.
      Lets just have some respect for those who support in the background, and recognise that others are also as effective in their campaigning.

    4. NO the problem is you mate.WHAT HAVE you done to help then eh??
      You are making assumptions on our behalf that you should not be making.Nobody has put anyone on a pedestal and if some people want to express thier gratitude for what sue ,kaliya and YES the team of people helping has done then why do you think you have to belittle that.You have no right to do so.NOBODY is claiming on here that such work was done by sue and kaliya alone and you should actually read what has been acheieved by these people before you cast aspertions
      IF as you now state that ALL contibutions to the wrb campaign are equally valid why did you come on here alluding to the opposite.
      I could very well go on but i will say this you talk about respect well you should bloody show some but i expect you wont because as with the other commentator called whizjet or whatever i dont think you know what that means but you should know this...all of us are gratefull for not only sue.kaliya and YES the teams efforts on our behalf BUT for anyone including the other organisations big or small who have also done thier part in trying to rid us all of the beast that is the wrb.One other thing is this if you had said to me face to face that i am naive then you might have very well have got a rather more robust response and i doubt very much you would be so disrespectful but hiding behind anonymouse,yes i did spell that right in this context,is saying more about you than it does anyone else so i will assume hopefully you will just foxtrot off back to where you came from and let the real people get on with the task in hand or is that a NAIVE ASSUMPTION .Respect what the f***k would you know about that eh!!
      I have more respect in my little finger for people like sue and kaliya and the rest on here than i would ever have for someone like you and if you dont like that sunshine well tough...DONT assume for me or anyone else on here ever..GOT THAT...

    5. I am utterly confident that those who matter - DPAC, Black Triangle, WTB and all the others, charities included know exactly who I mean by "We".

      I have always been utterly clear that as a movement we are only as strong as our parts.

      Anyone who misses that point, has no idea of the work I've done with all of those groups to bring people together, to acknowledge every contribution, to GIVE AWAY the Spartacus Report the day it was launched, to NOT put my name as a lead writer on the report, to ALWAYS encourage others to pull together.

      If you've read my blog even once, you will know that my "We" refers to everyone.

      And yes, on a personal note, I risked my security, my finances, my health, my future, my benefits, my identity, everything and I have never, ever asked anyone to give me any acclaim for that.

      I put my own DLA appeal on hold, my phones are tapped, my children and husband put their lives under scrutiny,I nearly became homeless in the middle of campaigning, I refused to get the treatment I needed, I neglected my friendships, I get emails from people so scary you probably wouldn't believe me.

      And NEVER - not once, did I take advertising on my site, funding from the many "official sources" that offered. Never did I defend the party I love when they were wrong. Never did I criticise another campaign or feel envy when they achieved success. Why would I? We are all fighting for the same thing. We are all on the same side, every word I've every written confirms that.

      And NEVER have I said all of this, because I don't want ANYONE using my life as a reason not to do this.

      But if people want to thank me, here on my own blog for those things - friends who have been here through every painful twist and turn, allies, supporters, donors, colleagues, then I am grateful for it and it helps me to keep doing what I have.

    6. Sue you and kaliya and the team have and will ALWAYS gave my deepest gratitude for what you and... lets face it here ...your familys and friends have done and had to sacrifice to help us all and unlike mr bloody anonymous i think i can safely assume that this is what we all feel.
      I for one will not have if someone comes on here and tries for whatever reason to undermine and belittle any of that.
      There is only one way to get respect and thats to earn it.You have to talk the talk and walk the walk.You and the other do and thats why you have respect because you and the others have bloody earned it.Take no notice of the naysayers they contribute nothing and gain even less... Enough said i think....

  37. Sue and Kaliya have worked flat out it doesn't matter who is in the background helping them. The only thing they have to remember is to be on their guard so not to get sucked in with bad advice

    Lord Fraud' is a very powerful man in many ways so he is no means down and out far from it a quick word to the DWP to say give the sick and disabled hell and yes he has power to do that and with a very willing DWP this battle of wits is far from over by a long shot so it's vital someone keeps tabs on his next move

    Should Sue and Kaliya fall ill and can't continue for whatever reason then yes this project will fall down. The people helping them in the background are not i feel up to the level needed for a long run of ongoing battles of 5 years or more which would be needed for any type of successful outcome

    The truth be told this battle will last until the death of all those in the government involved or a court case in which a claimant won and even then you still wouldn't be sitting pretty as you have those in the labour party with the same agenda to destroy the lives of the sick and disabled

    This reform bill will i believe take 10 years before it draws to a conclusion and in that time depending on the health of the government team we will see first hand much hardship to many if they stay fit

    If the team has to reshuffle at ant time then yes things could then be more favourable not everyone in the government is out to destroy us don't forget although most are

    One thing is certain however most of us here reading this blog wont be around that's for sure so we will need help from as many younger people for the long term future if we are to be successful in securing long term stability and hope for generations to come

  38. having spent 4 weeks complaning about the way I was treated when going for a blood test I have now been told that they can't do anything because they are only liason staff or something. I have to follow up my original complaint as if from the beginning again - whilst ill

    WTF service is this then? With the new Welfare Reform things will get much tighter. It will be like a Stalinist enclave - everyone is wrong except then - the organisational fascists. its too scary to think about and makes me so angry i want to ......

    Who won the war again?

  39. I am sadly still amazed but not surprised how many who receive benefits have no idea what has happened and what's coming. Then again with a media that has lagely ignored this story should I be...this affects many but the media lead in recent days with Whitney Houston and the problems at Rangers football club.

    Radio 5 did a special from its new base in Salford about being unemployed and the difficulties of finding work/living on was mostly like all these specials and in the end never really got anywhere. But why have they not produced a special about the welfare changes or looked at the elderly, disabled and sick who will be affected now and in the future?

    No offence but its always easy to do the topic of Unemployment and it does get covered quite a lot.

    I'm not saying that it is wrong but it would be nice for others to be featured.

    Also worrying(either because they really don't have anything to fear)or don't realise its surprising how many who are getting welfare think the changes are needed and back IDS and Sunny Dave and think their benefits are safe and will not be touched.

    I think that they are in for a rude awakening...You and Yours(Radio 4)did some stories about ESA and Work assesments and they highlighted the case of a man who was told he was not capable of working...then was reassessed and told that he was and three weeks later he was dead.

    Even then a few e-mails came in praising the new schemes...

    1. " ...the case of a man who was told he was not capable of working...then was reassessed and told that he was and three weeks later he was dead..."

      that's what they want - can't you see the parralels with the nazis and the gas chambers ....??

  40. The problem is this goverment has a majority in parliment and presures its peers to vote for its policys.

    Did you see the story about the Tory MP, some woman who didn't vote at all in this reform? Her fellow peers wanted her sacked for not going along with the rest of the gang.

    It would be great to see a vote where MPs can vote for what they ACTUALLY believe in.

    1. actually it's not about what they believe in - it's aboout them representing the people in their constituencies - I think it's called democracy

    2. Very poor understanding of parliamentary process, MP's are representative of no-one or are you suggesting that disabled people are not 'people' in constituencies?

  41. What did that all mean then?

    Job No:BSD/27442


    Hours TBC

    Location EAST ANGLIA IP32

    Date posted 09 February 2012

    Pension details No details held

    Interviews as part of SBWA, dates and times to be arranged by the store.Contact Amanda Evans at Tesco.

    1. There's a huge backlash against Tesco

    2. E petition against Workfare:

    3. E petition against Workfare:

  42. There's the truth...

    Lets have people work for even less than the minimum wage and why would a company want to pay full wages if they can have people coming in for good or temporary for so little in the way of cash?

    They obviously need the extra help or if they don't they'll take the help if its offered.
    They'll say well, its to give the applicant skills and to do something for their benefit...yeah, right!

  43. This govt is a bunch of lying bastards who will get away with anything they want if we let them.We didnt see this in the lords debate as far as i know so maybe its schadenefruads revenge and it was held back from any debate as they knew it would not help thier case.
    Of course big companys are going to use people on workfare schemes as much as possible to reduce thier wage bill and the govt will encourage them to do so and take the donations to thier coffers from these bastards.
    But just how the sick/disabled are suppossed to cope with this bollocks is beyond me but nobody in govt cares about that.Its all spin to take away attention from thier failings on the economy.
    Of course the daily jail readers will snort and spit that all sick/disabled are fuckin cheating bastards and should be made to work for notthing and flogged in the street (Rod Liddle etc etc)or marched off to the new a4444e g44444 workhouses for life...Dont laugh you never know with these guffawing bullingdon nazis.
    Their latest wheeze is the new apprenticeship schemes for young adults which the above sort of job is advertised as elsewhere only its dressed up as precisely that a modern apprenticeship...the only difference is the job i have seen is for a warehouse coordinator and its for 2.60 an hour (open to other age groups too besides 16 to 20 yrs) so again far below the LEGALLLY set mimimum wage and allowed because its a modern apprenticeship....yeah right...legally mandated slave labour and remember this job is NOT dependent on the applicant being on jsa to be elligible to apply its a so called proper job.SO there is the direction this govt wants to take us right disposable labour at the most basic level.Even tonight on newsnight there was some gobshite from the Policy Unit spouting how MOST people on sickness benefits were in fact not sick and able to work so this is the sort of think tank that dictates govt policy and its put out on such programmes and bolsteres it up with he emotive phrase that it is right that people on benefits should work for them as after 1 year they...and i quote here...go rusty and have a large gap in thier cv...THIS is how they use the bbc to brief out this bloody rubbish and now we know this was always thier plan.NOBODY IS and never was genuinley sick/disabled because they say so and according to these think tankers 80 percent of people agree....THERE you have it official government policy leaked out by way of a slot on newsnight.......NOW do you all see why i said we should have our own union....or election candidates.THis fight is not a fight it is a war and we are in grave danger..ALL OF US..

  44. Here is the website on
    Seems this little govt wheeze aint going as well as the bullingdon bullys think.....

  45. "Disabled face unlimited unpaid work or cuts in benefit"

    If you are on Twitter here is a list of companies using workfare to ask to leave the scheme.
    Or write to their head office.
    Or boycott Tesco, Argos, Boots, Asda, Primark ,Topshop, Burton, McDonalds. Hit them where it hurts - money talks. Three million unemployed plus however many disabled is a lot of customers money to lose. This means REAL jobs are not being created for those who can work.

  46. Many good points being made and as mentioned and probably forgotten by most, if you take on people who work for their benefits, it actually alienates those who do work(don't claim)and don't claim because those being paid much less will be taken on. It also is another way around employers having to pay the minimum wage.

    They are trying to back track on the vacancy featured earlier regarding Tesco's(not sure where or who set that away)but I think I heard that someone at Job Centre Plus has been blamed(is that because the story got out to the wider public?)

    Its said the idea was that it is temporary, offering training with an interview for a possible job at the end of a certain period.

  47. what did that all mean?


    Welcome to the FASCIST STATE of the UK

  48. Of course many jobs need some coaching and some people will need more hand holding than others. Even shelf stacking in a supermarket might involve some such as training how to lift heavy items or use some kind of equipment(if it was something like a fork lift truck)in a warehouse but in general the day to day stuff can be done quickly and doesn't take months. Much is commonsense. Just as talking to the public if you are in the front line should be something natural.

    Some things can't be taught.

    Using retail a lot of that has been madeinto something more than it needs to be with all the courses they make employees do(I know, I used to work in retail)I have been a customer too like everyone on here too.

    When I went around the local supermarket earlier than normal a few days ago, I watched what goes on and it wouldn't take much instruction.

    Being so early most of the assistants had time to talk to customers and wanted to talk.

    What's become big business is many of the companies that make their money out of what would be seen as "silly" ideas.

    Many of the work programmes that the Government have rolled out for those out of work often fall into this category as they often treat you as school children not adults. And the parody of such courses as shown in the tv series the League of Gentlemen is too close for comfort. One of the writers must of been on such a course to have been able to write what he did.

  49. Sue, I think this shows that the 99% do have power, and are beginning to realise that. Awful report yesterday on the disabled and "Workfare" or whatever they call it. I suppose at least it is getting in the News. There is so much still to be done, but you have proved how persistence pays off. the establishment cannot ignore the people's voice, however hard they try.
    Perhaps they never calculated on there being a Sue Marsh. I know you can't do it all yourself, probably you have done too much already, but you have shown what can be done and inspired others. Well done, and thanks for all you do. dave must be so proud.

  50. What the Guardian report highlights is what I consider to be the new definition of disability.

    That is - if you are unfit for work because you have only 6 months left to live - then you are disabled. Everybody else is okay.

    This means no benefit payouts, no adaptions, no blue badges - the government can save all the money to continually bomb and murder people in other countries too now!

    proving you are human on this site is becoming pretty impossible too

  51. Right, so all pretence gone, they actually are *evil* ?

    I wonder about someone like me under this system. I'm healthier than many people reading this blog, but have a lifetime history of mental health problems (OCD/Depression/Anxiety/Borderline etc). Until 6y ago I was in work but it became impossible. Since then I've been through circumstances that would make the sanest person seriously unwell. Despite universal agreement from everyone who's assessed me that I need long term intensive support, I have effectively, on the word of one psychotorturist, been banned from having any therapy on the NHS because it might make me worse), and can't get any assessments because I've been assessed already!

    So not only can't I get any help other than benefits (thank you, they really have helped) but also now have no-one other than my GP who will certify me, which the government wants to stop).

    Actually in the meantime I've done a masters and half a phd part time and am within two years I would say of being able to go into a job that allows randomly timetabled functionality. This is conditional on me finishing my PhD.

    As such, I work but I presume there is no way in hell my situation will be counted as anything other than sitting at home scrounging and I will have to go and work at Tesco, who will be thrilled to have an employee (albeit unpaid) who may or may not turn up, who may wander into traffic on the way in or may just not get off the bus (assuming I managed to get on one), or who may have found themself in another country having *had* to get away (from what, noone knows), who may or may not be able to communicate with anyone, or stare at the shelf all shift or take 8 hours to leave the bathroom even after my shift is done. Meanwhile, all plans out of the window.

    Of course, my plan for gradually getting through the PhD and into academic research work was discussed with and much approved of when I went on to incapacity benefit. I've pointed this out, but that's apparently irrelevant.

    And the sad thing is I really *am* one of the lucky ones. I have family and friends who can help, I've got an eventually more or less manageable non-terminal condition (despite various bits of my body not working particularly well, enough that IF I could get a diagnosis (rather than a description of symptoms, because of course we all know without a name it isn't real!) I would qualify on physical grounds, let alone mental), and miracle of miracles I have actually managed to qualify for IB/DLA despite having a largely invisible mental condition and physical symptoms which don't operate on a timetable.

    So I don't feel I'm particularly badly off. I'm certainly better off than many. Yet *I* find this terrifying to a debilitating degree.

    What chance has someone got who doesn't have the lucid periods, or who can't quite convince the numpty at ATOS/whoever that just because they can walk a few feet today when they had no choice but to come to the assessment doesn't mean they won't pay for it with 3 weeks of pain and immobility?

    I suppose it's OK. Working for free at Tesco (which you are of course magically able to do) will no doubt fix everything.

    Oh, and my PhD - that would be on contemporary forms of slavery and how the state tries to "rescue" people from them.

    Irony much?

  52. I dont knowm ifany of you saw the panorama programme called Poor America that has been on over the last few days but it gives us a stark and frightening look at just how it will become here.Do not underestimate the power and influence of US companies such as Unum and those like it as they lobby in this country to gain a bigger and bigger hold on the health insurance market and link this in with Landsleys Health reform fiasco,which by the way on question time Clarke stated that he tried the exact same thing 20 years ago so this is not anything new its just the tory party and thier warped view of society and class at the bottom and them at the top,and its plainly clear this is as much an ideoligical war as it is a struggle against a debt crisis.
    Who created the debt crisis is obvious and we know it is being used,as much as you wonder if it indeed it was planned,by the torys to once and forever fix the lower classes firmly in thier place.
    Look at Newt Gingrich in the States who is on record as saying children of the poor should work as assistant janitors mopping floors and cleaning up thier s**t and you know just how international and endemic this attitude to people who are sick or disabled or for one reason or another out of work and OR poor.On that Poor America prog there people living in tent citys in the woods outside Detroit cos thet is no help at healthcare or anything and they are reffered to the tent city by other agencys that cant help...FFS sake is this what we are going to become .IS THIS ALL we are worth in the eyes of the very people we put in power??? WELL we need to rid ourselves of them and thier elitist bullshit and the more we stick together and organise and fight the better.
    Remember this it is easier to slide downhill than it is to climb and if those at the top are pushing people down then the only option left is to fight back...Fuck tesco and thier ilk..dont use em and let em know WHY you are not going to do so..(the list of workfare companies is on the boycott workfare site) money is power and we may not have very much power individually but together we have more than we think.WE just have to learn that we CAN use it

  53. It looks like we no longer have a Prime Minister, we have now got a Fuhrer. All hail Fuhrer Cameron!

    We disabled might have to dust up on our Nazi marches so the Torys don't have us rounded up and gassed like the party they aspire to be.

  54. Well, it looks like the power of the net and social media is having an effect:, consumer power has unnerved corporations using slave labour/workfare and many are now withdrawing or questioning the scheme. it has also been wonderful to see so many young people up in arms about the disgusting nature of these crimes. I think we have many many more allies now than we did a year back..

    I would suggest that months of protesting, lobbying, of the Govt, etc would not have the same effect, maybe not go for the hydras head but its snake arms...

  55. Will the disabled be forced to wear black triangles on their uniforms for their workfare placements like what the Nazis did to the mentally ill amongst others in their concentration camps?

    See here

    Honest question

  56. Thanks for this interesting and facts revealing post.

    Hardship letter

    1. Apart from the studies, the kids need to be proficient in extracurricular activities so that it helps in giving them an all round development.

      IB Residential School