Tuesday 19 June 2012

Winds of Change


Oh Spartaci, I have good news! I know it's rare and I know how hard it is to believe good news when it finally comes.

I know how hurt we all are, how abandoned we've been, how self sufficient we had to become.

But the battle was always about changing all of that. Sometimes I think we as campaigners forget that the point is to win. To change things. Not to fight the fight for the sake of it or become so entrenched we can never solve any of our problems.

When I started my blog I had one aim : to break the political consensus that assured the public we were all worthless scroungers. 2 years ago, every main party and nearly all of the mainstream media agreed. We had no-one and nothing.

I didn't want to half kill myself opposing the welfare reform bill, but we had no choice did we?

A few weeks ago, Ed Miliband replaced Liam Byrne as the head of Labour's policy review with Jon Cruddas. Jon had been involved in discussions about welfare - with campaigners and others - for a long time and back in June last year, wrote this amazing article with Jonathan Rutherford.**

It says everything that we had wanted to hear from a Labour party genuinely interested in changing. I could quote it all, but these snippets are the ones I think it was most important for sick and disabled people to hear.

"We need to address some home truths about the Labour government's welfare changes because they did not make a proper distinction between the unemployed and the sick. As a consequence, they have seriously eroded the protection of disabled people and those with limiting long-term illness. The methodologies that underpinned much of our argument are questionable."

"The conditionality built into Labour's welfare changes failed to take into account the high numbers of people with limiting long-term illness. It treated them as if they were simply unemployed and so made a serious misjudgment about the levels of incapacity that actually exist. It informed the design of the work capability assessment (WCA) introduced in the 2009 act. The WCA is not fit for purpose. It is a source of fear and deep anxiety for people who are mentally ill, parents of adult children with an autism spectrum condition, and literally hundreds of thousands of others with complex and intermittent illnesses who want to work but know that they cannot in the way expected of them by the government and employers."

"Labour has to come out fighting in exposing the cruelties, injustices and humiliation being inflicted by this government on the most vulnerable of our society. It means owning up to its own past mistakes. So be it, let Labour be its own best critic."

This man is now in charge of the policy direction of the Labour party. We may not have won the war, but this must be a significant battle. Jon has just confirmed to me that he stands by the article. No wriggling, no qualifying, just a confirmation that he meant what he said a year ago and that he means it now.  

This isn't an isolated event. A few weeks ago, we heard this speech from Liam Byrne : http://www.demos.co.uk/files/LiamByrneBeveridge.pdf

and tomorrow I believe there will be a debate in the house of commons that we will enjoy. As soon as I get confirmation that I can, I will post the details here - please check back throughout the day.

To give Ed Miliband the credit he must surely be due (at least today ;) he did phone Kaliya after we put him on the spot at Labour conference last year. He did listen. He did appoint Anne MacGuire to the shadow disability role, did change the tone on disability after that and now, he has appointed Jon Cruddas to head up the policy review.

Politics is fluid, those "winning" today may not be those winning tomorrow. But as things stand, I am finally convinced that Labour mean to change their attitudes and policies on disability and illness. The first step in re-building our trust was always to admit they made mistakes, and the article above does just that.

It makes me very, very happy indeed.


Liam Byrne joins in the Labour sickness and disability love-fest with this motion on sickness and disability. Labour have given one of their Opposition day debates to a debate on Disability and Social Care tomorrow after PMQs http://liambyrne.co.uk/?p=3477

Here is the full text of the Labour motion to be debated.

That this House believes that cuts to support for disabled people and carers poses a potential  risk to their dignity and independence and will have wider social and economic costs; 
regrets that the Department for Work and Pensions has dropped the aim of achieving disability equality; 
whilst recognising that Disability Living Allowance (DLA) needs to be reformed, expresses concern that taking DLA from 500,000 disabled people and contributory Employment Support Allowance from 280,000 former workers will take vital financial support from families under pressure; 
expresses further concern at the Work Programme’s failure to help disabled people and the mismanaged closure of Remploy factories; 
notes the pressing need for continuing reform to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) to reduce the human cost of wrong decisions; 
agrees with the eight Carers’ Week charities on the importance of recognising the huge contribution made by the UK’s 6.4 million carers and the need to support carers to prevent caring responsibilities pushing them into ill-health, poverty and isolation; 
and calls on the Government to ensure reform promotes work, independence, quality of life and opportunities for disabled people and their families, 
restore the commitment to disability equality in the Department for Work and Pensions’ business plan, 
conduct a full impact assessment of the combined effect of benefit and social care cuts on disabled people and carers, 
reform the WCA descriptors as suggested by charities for mental health, fluctuating conditions and sensory impairment 
and re-run the consultation of the future of Remploy factories.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. im scott i have fibromyalgia- you can join me on twitter at scottspeirs3 i will fight untill my last breath against these unfair benfefits assessments-folow me there hope you are all having a pain free day if not my heart goes out to all of you- scott

  2. winning the war one battle at a time

  3. It makes a change to hear people with power listening to the pain and distress. Bit by bit. Thank you Sue.

  4. Well done the Spartacus team, Labour were the only credible chance for those with disabilities to be represented, let's hope and trust that this will continue into the next government which must be Labour for all our sakes.

  5. Wow. xxx


  6. It gives us hope yes well done xx

  7. Yay!!! Serious step in the right direction! Keep going that way Labour Party & I might not mind paying my sub this year! ;0)

  8. Although this is positive I could not trust parties who have sailed disabled people down the river PLEASE remember they are now opposition and will sAY AND DO WHAT THEY NEED TO GET VOTES Yes Anne McGuire is a good person and has our worked hard for us in the past but also remember the CABINET is shuffled and we loose continuety with the disability minister and lets not forget they party whips who make sure it's what they want NOT WHAT WE NEED.
    Also only 32% - 48% actually voted so DEMOCRACY won as people have stopped voting because there is no change and they have been promised things from different parties but once they get in they are all the same and do very little for the people they are SUPPOSED to represent JUST voting Labour to get the Torry's out CAN'T BE THE ANSWER AS WE SERIOUSLY NEED A PARTY THAT FULLY SUPPORTS ALL THE THINGS WE NEED AND none OF THEM DO THAT.

    1. Susan, i too wont be taken in by Labours words in opposition, 13 years of their misrule have taught me that.

    2. Sure they did not get everything right but here is a list of what they did do in case people forget......
      ?6th largest economy in the world
      4th largest GDP per person in the world
      Longest period of fiscal stability since World War 2
      Longest period of sustained growth for 200 years
      A rising National Minimum Wage - the annual uprating benefits 1 mil...lion people a year.
      Shortest waiting times since NHS records began.
      Three million more operations carried out each year than in 1997, with more than double the number of heart operations.
      Over 44,000 more doctors
      Over 89,000 more nurses
      All prescriptions free for people being treated for cancer or the effects of cancer
      Teenage girls are offered a vaccination against cervical cancer.
      The NHS guarantees that you will see a cancer specialist within two weeks if your GP suspects you may have cancer: you will not have to wait more than 18 weeks from GP referral to the start of hospital treatment – and most waits are much shorter than this.
      22 million people are benefiting from real tax cuts to boost their income this year.
      12 million pensioners benefiting from increased Winter Fuel Payments
      900,000 pensioners lifted out of poverty
      500,000 children lifted out of relative poverty and measures already in train will lift around a further 500,000 children out of poverty.
      Free TV licences for over-75s
      The New Deal has helped over 2 million people into work
      Over 3 million Child Trust Funds have been started
      Nearly 3,000 Sure Start Children’s Centres opened, reaching 2 million children and their families
      Over 42,400 more teachers and 123,000 more teaching assistants than in 1997
      Approximately 3,700 rebuilt and significantly refurbished schools
      A free nursery place for every 3 and 4 year old.
      Doubled the number of registered childcare places to more than 1.5 million, one for every four children under eight years old
      More young people attending university than ever before
      Double the number of apprenticeships starts, with figures for 2008/9 showing 234,000 started an apprenticeship this year compared to 75,000 in 1997
      In 1997 more than half of all schools saw less that 30% of their pupils fail to get 5 good GCSEs including English and Maths~Now only 270 schools fail this benchmark and we are guaranteeing that no school should fail this mark after 2011
      Between 1997-98 and 2009-10, total funding per pupil has more than doubled from £3,030 in 1997-98 to £6,350 in 2009-10 in real terms, an increase of 110%
      The Northern Ireland peace process
      The UK is now smokefree, with no smoking in most enclosed public places.
      The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are now 21% below 1990 levels, beating our Kyoto target.
      Over £20 billion invested in bringing social housing to decent standards
      Rough sleeping has dropped by two thirds and homelessness is at its lowest level since the early 1980s
      Free off-peak travel on buses anywhere in England for over-60s and disabled people..

    3. you're mad

    4. are you Gordon Brown???

    5. I would love to see a list next to that showing how much has already been undone by the Tories!

  9. Thanks Sue. We have to believe we will win...

  10. Good on Cruddas. Just tell him that if Purnell comes anywhere near this, any faith will be lost. Or if Liam Byrne goes back to his old rhetoric, the disabled will desert Labour as much as they have the Tories.

    Cruddas seems a decent bloke and has made a good start but we need action now. Standing by an article he wrote a year ago is not enough. Say it again NOW!

    The WCA must end NOW - even the GPs say so.


    1. Cruddas is all talk

    2. We will have to see what the new NHA party will come up with?

  11. I'm sorry Sue but I'll believe it when I see it and hear it, I haven't heard Miliband come out and admit the Labour party made mistakes over their Welfare Reforms Policies?

    How about the Labour Party coming out and telling the public that If they win the next election they'll end the Atos WCA process? Surely that would be the least they could do as it was them who introduced the torture in the first place?

    As for you using Liam Byrne, I wouldn't trust the man, wasn't it he who was closely involved with Purnell before he went and sold his soul to the highest bidder?

    Your faith in Politics is wonderful but I no longer have any faith in any of the parties, they only do what's beneficial to them personally and politically.

    People keep on mentioning Beveridge as some Godlike figure, people seem to forget he was a vociferous supporter of Eugenics, he also proposed?

    "In 1909, he proposed that men who could not work should be supported by the state "but with complete and permanent loss of all citizen rights — including not only the franchise but civil freedom and fatherhood.

    Any politician quoting Beveridge is on very dangerous ground as far as I'm concerned.

    The disabled and sick will continue to suffer, the politicians will argue how to assess their needs, abuse, suicide, poverty, it continues, the Labour Party are not our saviours.


  12. Thanks sue this is starting to look like a step in the right direction and perhaps one day the demonization will change for the good

  13. Jon's comments were just common sense even i myself have said this from day one and i cant for the life of me how David Cameron and co along with ed could not see this very simple fact

    And people say that the EU doesn't function properly well I'm not surprised if the level of overall education is so low and if the public continue to vote for people not only badly educated but also lack common sense along with basic people's skills

  14. I don't expect anyone to fall at Labour's feet and forget the past, I certainly won't be.

    But if you don't believe anything can ever change why bother campaigning? If you can never trust in anything, stay in bed!!

    As I keep saying, politicians aren't your friends, you don't need to trust then, they're not ex lovers who broke your heart.

    Different politicians, different rules, a different time - we have something they want know - a voice - and they will follow the votes.

    Cynicism is good, but if u can never believe you can force change, you might as well give up.

    1. Thanks Sue.It matters that Labour are able to apologise and i don't mind a u-turn in attiude. I am happy to hear good news for a change, but i still find salt on the wound pain as i don't know how long it will take for Labour to become influential enough to make a change, or if this will become impossible once the full damage of cuts manifests itself, with PIP etc..

    2. There key word at the end for me Sue is 'force'. The fact that the Opposition has to be 'forced' to consider a change of position based on the overwhelming evidence. It means that the overwhelming evidence didn't sway them, just politics.

      We don't have to trust them, but we should be able to and yes I damn well think we should take what they say and do *personally* because of the way it affects us. Holding a grudge against them is not only just, it's right. Faith in politics and politicians wasn't this low when they were being executed by angry mobs, they have no one else to blame for their unwillingness to stand for any principles.

    3. There you go again Mason, expecting them to be human, lol

    4. WEll yes sue you are right if we dont believe we can change anything then we never will.To bring down a wall you have to start somewhere.One chip becomes a many,a crack becomes bigger and becomes a gap,a gap becomes a hole and weakens the wall.
      Nobody really thinks Byrne will keep to his word (he is linked in with Purnell the toad ) but maybe one of the others will and the more we keep at em the more chance we have so lets keep going and we just might get what we want.
      You just never know and in this life politics is about what we want and what they want and the deals therein.
      They will need our votes if we make it clear that the millions of us will not give em over without getting what we want.They cant win without us IF we could just remember that and all stick together.WE will only ever get one chance at this cos if the nationaltoryists get in again we are all back to the victorian era for good.ONE CHANCE .......remember that.Stand together or FALL alone..

  15. Sorry, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    Next Thursday morning between 9.00 and 9.45 am the British Medical Association will be having their Annual Representative Meeting for all doctors of every discipline.

    The motions put forward by Black Triangle and carried unanimously by both the Scottish and then the UK Local Medical Committees (the voice of General Practitioners in the BMA) are due to be voted on again and, if passed, will become official BMA policy:

    BMA Annual Representative Meeting in Bournemouth Sunday 24th - Thursday 28th June (See agenda)
    Thursday 09.30 – 09.45
    Receive: Report by the Chairman of the Occupational Medicine Committee (Paul Nicholson) 480 Motion by LEWISHAM DIVISION: That this Meeting in respect of Work Capability Assessments (WCA) as performed by Atos Healthcare, believes that:-
    i) the inadequate computer-based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons;

    ii) calls on the BMA to demand that the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.
    Motion by SCOTTISH CONFERENCE OF LMCS: That this Meeting in respect of work capability assessments
    (WCA) as performed by Atos Healthcare, believes that:-

    i) the inadequate computer based assessments that are used have little regard to the nature or complexity of the needs of long term sick and disabled persons;
    ii) the WCA should end with immediate effect and be replaced with a rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm to some of the weakest and most vulnerable in society.


    Thus far, the Labour Party have refused to respect the decision, with Stephen Timms having told Disability News Service and Paul Smith of Atos Victims Group that he did not agree with our doctors and that the WCA could still be 'reformed' through the discredited sham of the Harrington Reports (Paul Farmer CEO of Mind resigned around 8 weeks ago from the WCA advisory Committee after 2 years stating that nothing had changed, the govt was not listening and that the assessments were inhumane, remember!)see:



    Next Thursday's ratification by the BMA of the above motion presents a fresh opportunity for Labour to listen and ACT!

    We at Black Triangle are not moved, nor are we taken in by gracious words and flowery, impassioned speeches. We've all heard them before and seen politicians do absolutely nothing or worse; the opposite!

    Cruddas and Co. must put their money where their mouths are and make a public statement accepting the BMA motion in full, without any prevarication.

    Each passing day that goes by the injustices, suffering and despair increases exponentially.

    While the obscenity on the WCA continues unabated and with the complicity of Labour there is NO CAUSE FOR REJOICING.

    Fine words do not save nor sustain life. They do not guarantee social justice. They do not give hope and light to people who are crying out from the depths of despair.

    It is for these reasons that you wiull have to forgive us here at Black Triangle if we don't open the poor man's Champagne just yet.

    Mr. Cruddas's' words offer some grounds for optimism, but that is all.


    John McArdle
    The Black Triangle Campaign

  16. I wasn't attacking you Sue, far from it, I have been a huge supporter of the majority of the things you have done, maybe I should stay in bed as you say and leave campaigning to professionals like yourself?

    I'm sorry to have bothered you, I won't bother you with my uneducated drivel and opinions anymore.

    Good luck with whatever you do Sue....

    1. well this is to John and Paul here.As i said in my reply to sue in a comment above WE only get one chance here and we have to believe we can bring about the change in attitude that will get us what we want.Now we will only get that if we all stick together.If we get one ot two MPs to listen and take up the fight then great we then have to keep on and on and on until more do so.
      If we dont believe it can be done it WILL not be done and we fail.
      WE cant let that happen or we are all back to doffing our caps and i for one doff my cap to no man so come on Paul dont throw the toys out the pram mate it serves nothing except to make the bastards think we are divided and John the word you are looking for is YET ...you may think that this word applies here well maybe but we must never give up.STAND together or Fall alone is as true now as it has ever been and why dont we all join our forces and fight on together.
      WE will only ever get one chance at this and like i said we have millions of voters now affected and we need to make these voters realise we have a power here and once we do that the Labour party HAS to listen..they cant get in again without us otherwise they wouldnt have lost last time and even if they had done we must remeber it was they who started us down this road and they must reverse this evil policy if they wont then THEY too lose.WE can only do this together.Now is the time to keep momentum and maybe as i have said many times before we need to join up as a real alternative ....a new party even.WHY not you all have the expertise anyway you sue paul...fourbanks etc...ONE CHANCE REMEMBER.YOU WANT CHANGE...MAKE IT HAPPEN TOGETHER....cos it wont happen if we are divided..lets get together somewhere and make it happen

  17. Beveridge was deeply floored in parts and it's never wise to put out that he was some god he was not

    If Jon came to my house you could be sure that within a few hours we would have a full accurate accountable benefit system up and running that everyone could understand taking in to account all the needs and those with odd condition's leaving if I'm having a good day no stone left unturned

    my door is always open and has been throughout my life and i intend to keep it that way

  18. [QUOTE]Mr. Cruddas's' words offer some grounds for optimism, but that is all.


    John McArdle
    The Black Triangle Campaig[/QUOTE]

    You stand correct John only someone like myself who is visually ill in body features and if allowed on the bbc would shock the country along with a mental unseen condition but not classed as disabled could make the correct case for change many people are disabled that's true but with many running around as if they were fit it can be difficult to see the wood through the tree's sometimes and therefore they play right into the hands of politician's and the public who don't care a jot and then class everyone as fit which is completely absurd

    If i were a marine fish i would be called Regal Angel - pygopllites diacnthus, as that fish sums me up very well (needs very careful handling ) ::)

  19. I meant that Timms did not agree that the WCA should be scrapped - but rather that it can still be reformed! Of course!

  20. I was also not attacking you hen and seriously think we can change things or I would not be doing what I am doing either WOULD I Love yeh to bits hen was only saying be WEARY Best news todat is Johns from Black Triangle as no parties can sway the votes of BMA tyhis is the kind of changes that will make all PARTIES sit up and listen x there are loads of good people in every party hEN XX and we are all out fighting the fight xxxx Soladarity my Sister xxx

  21. Good news, but for someone like me who's claim is in the process and expecting my your fit to work letter any day I can't keep waiting for action! For those of us going through it we need something to be done, we finally have groups al standing around looking on saying this isn't right, fair and is damaging and yet everyday hundreds more people get thrown off the cliff.

  22. well it sounds good sue lets hope they follow through. thanks for all your hard work and hope your feeling better. have put link to this blog on my forum:)

  23. Sue, I guess if I had just spoken to Jon Cruddas personally and heard his assurances myself, I would be over the moon too. But please remember that we do not all have your contacts and we can only go on what we hear in the media or secondhand.

    People have the right to express their cynicism. To resort to criticising people who do not unquestionally share your unbridled joy (and not for the first time) is a little churlish and unkind when we are the people who support you, in many ways, often unseen.

    Black triangle have got the motions passed for the GPs against WCA and another for the BMA coming up. Atos vitctims Group has done sterling work in supporting many frightened people. They have not given up and gone to bed. Nor have many others. We continue to fight because we DO believe we can bring about change. We do not intend to give up. But we also know that is more effective if all campigners support each other.

    We all WANT to trust Cruddas and that Labour is rethinking - of course we do. While as you say, they are not a lover who has broken our heart, neither are we whores who will jump into bed at first bidding.

    Progress is progress and gives us hope. But cynicism is healthy too. Fine words are fine words but as with Cameron we have heard them before.

    When Milliband stands up at PMQ's and asks Cameron why he is forcing the sick and disabled through a WCA that is leading to deaths and suicide, I will start to believe. When he tells the media that people are living in fear for their lives I will applaud.When he condemns the WCA and the criteria for PIP, I will dance (sort of)

    Labour may have time for a "policy review" and that's great - but in the meantime real people out here are attempting suicide, committing suicide and dying of their illness in poverty, having been found fit for work. An article endorsed from last year is great. But please do not criticse the cynicism of people who are living in terror and hear nothing that tells them it will end today - or even tomorrow.

    1. hear hear!!

    2. I don't think that's entirely fair.

      I accept that a lot of the work I've done on this hasn't been written about, but no-one's been a fiercer critic than me.

      I don't think my comment was critical at all, just realistic. There is plenty of cynicism in my post but I will celebrate the good news and the steps towards progress.

      As for my contacts, I can only laugh at that bit. I've been lobbying, imploring, nagging, attending conference, blogging to get those contacts and believe me, they came from blood sweat and tears.

      All I ever see politics as is a game of chess. You make a move when it's right or you blow it. You play the game but only if you're getting somewhere.

      We had to give Labour something they wanted - I'm not naive and don't believe any steps will come purely from the goodness of their hearts.

      Labour don't want to be seen as the haters of the disabled and I do believe we can build on that. Pragmatically, they are our only realistic hope politically, so I'll keep campaigning til I'm sure - long after they win back power.

    3. I was a top chess player sue years ago on the international scene and played for the bank
      you have done well overall far better than i i have never received any feedback from an mp apart from my own and never not once anything from the press or the bbc so you can take it from me your doing well

      As for and feedback or help from the royal family you can forget that even you yourself sue would be blanked that i do know
      I am to hot a potato so my mp tells me and will have to suffer in silence like i always have done thankfully my mp keeps an eye on me of sorts just in case i die he will tie up any loose ends so he says

      I guess i have to thankful for small mercy's from him

    4. Actually reading it again, I think your post was unnecessarily nasty. And anonymous.

      Always the way.

  24. Aung San Suu Kyi pays BBC tribute what great news
    however what about the many sick and disabled people who like me have been left to think that if you go out your benefits will be stopped and implied to your face in your home in a way that you believed in what about these people
    Maybe theirs hope for us all i myself am very ill most of the time so don't go out anyhow but when i do I've often found that I'm being followed imaginary or not

    well i sincerely hope Aung San Suu Kyi enjoys her freedom but for those that are ill in the UK going out is very risky indeed especially if someone reports you or if someone from the DWP is following you

    sure Aung San Suu Kyi was not free in Burma but i tell you something in order to keep my benefits I've run her a close second

  25. sue that is great if it is true. the next step for milliband is to declare it in parliament. take the hit that the condoms will spout, what with atos being employed by labour, may be he could start by saying that when thatcher ,developed such high unemployment she, hid the fact by making the disability benefit more then easy to claim, with added incentives ie more money .may be that was the something for nothing culture that was trying to be eradicated? tho the condom party has ideologically, systematically, cruelly victimised and have run a campaign of oppression against the most challenged in society to the point of people now taking there lives and with the lady pussy, and her family making sure her last year or so of the ladies life left in absolute abject misery ,worry and upset. words fail me. milliband, should also be shouting that the reason the numbers have gone up is that especially with in mental health. the massive victorian asylum styled hospitals were closed down. and more emphases was put in to care in the community. grow a pair edd start shouting what this condom party is doing. l look forward with bated breath, we all know the story how his father escaped the nazi party and how well every thing turned out. change the record and start defending the rights of another set of oppressed people in society. all the best steve.

  26. [QUOTE]When Milliband stands up at PMQ's and asks Cameron why he is forcing the sick and disabled through a WCA that is leading to deaths and suicide, I will start to believe. When he tells the media that people are living in fear for their lives I will applaud.When he condemns the WCA and the criteria for PIP, I will dance (sort of)[/QUOTE]

    They are indeed the very words that the sick and disabled people of the uk wish to hear. Burma's Aung Suu Kyi's has won her freedom so we must hold out hope for ourselves and continue to keep in our minds the many that have died and those at this time in mental anguish about taking their own lives as not to be a burden on their families through their illness or disability

    1. im with you fourbanks steve

  27. Sorry...I'll believe it when I see it ...if the past few years have taught me anything,it's that there's not one politician out there worth a curse!

  28. Like many of you I became disenchanted with Labour's attitude, rhetoric and decisions towards sickness and disability. Jon's article analyses their mistakes reasonably well. I welcomed Jon Cruddas's appointment as Policy Lead and I really hope it does signal a change of direction, they have my attention now, (cautiously sceptical/optimistic as it is)

    I believe that what is happening to sick and disabled people in this country is now the civil rights issue of our time. The issues we're facing now; about what kind of society we want to be and how we support chronically sick, disabled and vulnerable people to live independent and fulfilling lives without subjecting us to a constant cycle of tests, ever tightening criteria, reducing budgets, abusive language and public scorn, are the issues that should inspire politicians in the first place to enter politics and change things.

    The last decade has seen a growing class of "professional" politicians, the James Purnells, Liam Byrne's, David Cameron, George Osbornes etc and I believe this has contributed to the attitudes that have led to bad policies and legislation on welfare. We need politicians or special advisers who have directly experienced sickness, disability and/or poverty to be making policy and leading on developing it. It's good that Anne Maguire is shadow minister, but it's small numbers overall.

    I'm a latecomer to this and other similar blogs, (only came across it recently. I'm reading several each day catching up on the last 2 years, the journey of grass-roots campaigning by disabled people is remarkable, a book in there somewhere I think!). I've been really impressed by the knowledge and ability, not only of bloggers but also commentators. I think that Labour could signal their intentions about disability reform by appointing a small number of respected disabled people as advisor's, part time, job share, research etc.

    1. Hi Lorna - It's great to hear you're going through the blog, what a compliment!

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment

    2. You're welcome. It's a powerful story i.e. how Spartacus was put together. I suspect that the campaign, the report itself, plus its influence and legacy will be (if not already) studied by university academics. e.g. disability studies, politics and media students for years to come.

    3. professional" politicians,should be barred from service the country should be run at government level by only those world versed in the qualifications that they have along with much experience in dealings with the public only so that every time a policy comes about it make sense and is fully workable from the off

  29. Well, Sue, I'm sceptical too, but willing to embrace hope.

    I'll embrace it because it is all I have. Consigned to the 'will be fit to work in the next 365 days group', having little influence, I take hope that I might be able to see a glimmer of hope.
    Your work is much - very much - appreciated, and I stand in awe of you and those like you. I'm going to have to have something very much more solid and public to make me believe that in three years' time, I can vote with confidence in Labour.

    Only radical measures, plainly stated, can give full hope.

    But, for now, thank you for relaying this first important glimmer, this first acknowledgement of the disabled as people; and I look forward all the time to a day when people such as I only have to deal with the pain of illness and disability, not that generated by those who seek to govern us.

    Thank you.


  30. Fuckin' hell Sue. That update contains everything we could possibly have asked for. It sounds like you wrote it! Ema

  31. Labour remind me of those men during the riots who pretended they were helping that injured Malaysian student when their real intention was to rob him.

  32. While this sounds like great news, I'd just like to point out that Labour spent £80k of our money for a QC to argue in court that we have no right to expect politicians to keep election promises. And won. And not a single politician spoke out against them.

    And while, barring a vote of no confidence, the next election isn't for 3 years, Labour know that now is the time to start garnering votes. If they actually change this, and other welfare reforms, I'll start to believe them again. Sorry for my cynicism, but too many lies.

  33. Sue,this is good news,and applaud your campaigning efforts..
    Jon Cruddas seems to have consistant political princples,and his recent Guardian interview was very encouraging too.
    It may be a bit of light at the end of the tunnel,speaking from the point of view of someone who is shitting it because he's in the middle of the ESA assessment process.

  34. I'm in a difficult position, I have never liked the Labour party or the unions. Some of my first memories around politics were formed during the original winter of discontent. I also have terrible memories of innocent truck drivers being attacked, for having the nerve to work for good people who paid them well and looked after them.

    Every time I've had anything to do with Labour or the unions, it's been a negative experience. The icing on the cake was seeing Lord Freud brought in by Purnell, The bidding war on how hard to beat the sick and disabled at the last election, and Ed M and his, "I saw a man..." moment.

    I'm no fan of the Tories either, I used to be, but never again. This government is an utter disgrace. As for the lib dems, what a waste of time.

    So I have no political affiliation and I will vote purely on the issues now.

    Labour have done nothing to make me trust them. So far we've had a few words, and there will be an opposition debate. If I see an apology for the WCA, and for failing to hold the current government to account on the WRB, I might listen to them. Otherwise it will be pure opposition rhetoric, all bark and no bite to impress those people watching, while knowing they don't have to actually do a thing.

    I will fight in whatever ways I can, and I will hope that someone can do something to reign in the corrupt bunch in charge of us now, but I have no reason to believe it will be the Labour party based on their past record.

  35. I have read the blog (as I always do) and all the comments and find myself swaying one way and then another, I agree it is a step in the right direction, I agree we need to nurture this small spark of hope and keep the pressure on to get more and more politicians supporting us and our rights. Maybe they see us as a group of voters, maybe they see us as a force to be reckoned with, the fact they see us at all is certainly a move in the right direction. I am going with hope, why? Because I have to, I need to and I desperately want to. Without hope I have nothing at all.

    1. I have "Hope" too Penny Mead...

  36. It's highly significant and laudable that politicians in opposition now realise there's a disabled vote to court. They're politicians though, they'll say anything to get into power. They're under the thumb of the banks just as much as the Tories and LibDems are. They'll do what they're told by the banks just like the others do too. If there's hope, it's in revolution, not in politics. I don't necessarily mean violent revolution. When we changed from using tally sticks to using debt for currency, that was a revolution. We need something along the same lines but in the other direction.

  37. (All of the above skepticism) but also (this is still progress and it deserves to be celebrated by those who have the heart, energy, will, optimism to do so) and finally (I have my fingers and toes crossed as never before that this heralds REAL ACTION on the part of Labour, particular Ed M)

  38. If you have not seen this see the complete set before its gone

  39. Frankly I don't really care now who started it. If Labour accept responsibility and understand now the need to change then perhaps we can all move on and move forward towards a better future. We have had no one to represent us in any of the main political parties. If the change in attitude is genuine and leads to a change in policy then this is hopeful. We need hope. If this is down to the persistence of these wonderful ladies and the collective of spartacus supporters then a very well done to us all! We must continue to write to our MPs with our stories and update them about our ESA and DLA rejections and appeals. Keep them informed, keep going, and never ever give up until we can say for certain that Labour fully supports the rights of sick and disabled people and a fair deal for us all.

    Good news is always welcome :)

    1. I've written to Tanny Grey and have NOT received an acknowledgement never mind a reply

    2. Tanni GT is normally pretty damn busy, give it some time, I don't think she has a staff and yet deals with huge amounts of correspondence.

    3. Tony if she's to be taken seriously she needs to find time for the likes of myself from the establishment as failure to do so will make her like any other lord or lady and that is their not interested

      sure there'll be on the tv with words of nothing trying to convince that there being listened to but there not the CONSERVATIVES run the country and IDS welfare and that my friend is how things will stay with regret

  40. #Cruddas #BMA #WCA @dis_ppl_protest ‘Welfare reform: pain but no gain?’ ~ British Medical Association http://wp.me/p1B02C-f1J

  41. Labour are doing just the right thing.Thank goodness for labour.Ed has done a splendid job.Thank Labour for this small mercy.They listened to the party members that asked for reform.The party has reformed, today we see the fruits of a new direction full of the right things. Labour can take full credit for trying to change Welfare Reform, nobody else.

    1. [QUOTE]Anonymous has left a new comment on the post "Winds of Change":

      Labour are doing just the right thing.Thank goodness for labour.Ed has done a splendid job.Thank Labour for this small mercy.They listened to the party members that asked for reform.The party has reformed, today we see the fruits of a new direction full of the right things. Labour can take full credit for trying to change Welfare Reform, nobody else.[/QUOTE]

      were talking way to premature here Ed has not responded to me at any time via email and with myself retired from the bank of england that is considered by the establishment as very bad manners especially as my family go back to 1918 at the bank
      As i have said many times before i have known many mp's in my time and none of them have ever been credible or to a level with those at the bank at governor level

      If at any time I detect a change which is my professional expertise then i will indeed inform this blog as to what it is and why it is different from the past in words that you all can understand
      I don't detect anything at this time other then what's been said before other then Jon has stated it. To which my question is who is Jon yes i know him very well he is Ph.D. in Philosophy and with the right help and support could do well for us but that is all at this time and it would be most foolish to think otherwise

      He is not the labour leader and never will be

    2. Keep talking anon and I'll be sure not to vote for them.

    3. On second thoughts, perhaps that's exactly what you want, unless it was just to provoke for the sake of it? You know full well that any potential change of heart (should it ever come to fruition) is a result of the dedication of Sue and other campaigners. Almost had me there. Well done.

  42. More Good News of sorts..posted today on the Liam Byrne MP website

    Emergency delay in Universal Credit as Ministers don’t seem to know how their own multi-billion pound programme will work


  43. Labour may not be trusted, but there comes a time when you just have to; as other people commenting have said, we don't have any hope without their support now, so as far as I'm concerned, it's 'well done Sue', and of course the other campaigners who are lobbying other professional bodies for change. All doing a great job.

    I hope that Labour can be trusted on housing too. So many of us affected by the 'bedroom tax' are worried sick about how we'll manage: there is nowhere else for us to move to as the private sector is more expensive, and with Local Housing Allowance there is still a shortfall between rent allowance and rent. I will just about manage as they may reduce the amount I pay for care by the same amount, but nothing is guaranteed.

    Other sick people who I know of who were forced onto JSA will not be so lucky. I know of a woman in her 50s who has worked all her life and lives in social housing (but under occupying) She became ill last year, and she thought she would be ok managing on her husband's wage (they wouldn't grant her disability), but then her husband died a few months later.

    There is something 'fishy' going on with the 'bedroom tax' and the amounts the government said people would pay. I live in an area which is one of the cheapest areas to live in the country, yet we have just learned from the housing association that the maximum tax will be over £32. Our rent is slightly double of that by a few quid. I thought the tax for an extra 2 bedrooms or above was supposed to be 25% of housing benefit, but it's obviously nearer 50%!! The woman I mentioned couldn't possibly afford that out of her JSA, so she'll be evicted very soon after the tax is brought in. The housing association also do not have enough smaller properties, so most will be forced into the private sector.

    And people ought to be very concerned about Universal Credit which will replace ESA and almost every out of work benefit and disability premium. Whilst there are promises that at the point of migration no disabled person will receive less, we are yet to discover just how disabled persons' allowances will taper downward after the transitional period. So, yes Toggleuk, good news if it is delayed for a little while to allow us more time to adjust (that being if those on ESA remain classed as disabled at all!).

    All in all, and just to say, as ever Sue, thank you for all of your continued work carried out at much cost to you. There are so many of us that could not possibly achieve what you have.

    Clarebelz x

    1. They have already said universal credit will take an income support top up for people like me who get mid or high rate care but no one claiming careers allowance, so that's around £30 a week I will be worse of, whilst paying out more and more of my dal to the council for a handful of care hours. So I for one am glad we get a few extra months delay.

  44. Cruddas says my friend Purnell would be ideal working on the review of where labour is going. anyone like me to place on here what Purnell has said about the Tories welfare reforms.

    says everything I want to know. sadly

  45. Shudder!! Yawn. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose....

    Wasn't that Tory chap in the middle of the most-recent No 10 cash for cabinet encounters scandal called Cruddas as well?

    Small world isn't it?

  46. Compare and contrast:

    New Labour began the changes to Welfare, introduced the WCA as Incapacity Benefit was changed.

    The Coalition continue the changes in a 'more rudimentary' manner - killing people along the way.

    Now Labour want to make a noise about it.

    Shits the lot of them

  47. I think it's a good sign if Labour isn't trying to out-hard the Coalition on benefits.

    And I had wondered how long it would take for the opposition to revive - and make political capital of - the notion of the "deserving poor" because that seems the only sensible way to go strategically.

    As to whether it's "sincere" or not, I'm not sure I understand the term as it applies to politics. It's less bad to have Cruddas in charge of policy than to have Liam Byrne, but Byrne has also got himself a new policy suit recently as well.

  48. congratulations on the results of your **very** hard work and selfless endeavor to raise the profile disabled peoples rights onto the mainstream news & political agenda.

    this is an extraordinary achievement of which you should be very, very proud.

    hope you are able to relax a bit, take some time to enjoy the fleeting sunshine and best wishes for the next step of the campaign.

  49. We can only change things through politics and the political process.
    If Labour are offering,at least some hope,we would be foolish to throw it back in their face.
    New Labour is not the Labour Party I support.But the ConDems are going to continue to oppress us.
    Apart from minority parties and the odd independent.We need someone who could command a majority.To change the things from what they are.

  50. I don't trust Labour for obvious reasons and suspect as others have said above, that they will say lots of nice pretty reassuring things in opposition to get your vote and then shamelessly stab you in the back when in power and return to groveling before The Sun, Daily Mail and other right-wing propaganda papers.

    I am not convinced that Miliband is not still in thrall to the right-wing hate rags. I think he is a child of privilege who has never known any hardship and my impression of him as a man, is that he is a timid wishy-washy person without any strong convictions, who doesn't have the fortitude to go against the prevailing consensus and is liable to get swept along with what is popular at that moment; who has already shown a willingness to join in with the hate rhetoric against the sick and disabled.

    However, to fight a war like this I think you do need to have a multi-pronged strategy and fight on multiple fronts, so I think it is worthwhile to engage in the political process and lobby the politicians as part of a wider strategy. It would be completely futile to engage with the Tories since they subscribe to a sociopathic social Darwinist survival of the fittest ideology, enjoy hurting people and are enthusiastically and completely committed to barbarism.

    So I think concentrating on Labour is a good tactic, but I think it would be a mistake to solely concentrate on just politics. I think it is integral that pressure is put on Labour from outside the political process like they did during the civil-rights struggle in the United States.

  51. Very cautiously optimistic about what Jon Cruddas has said. Surely we are allowed to hope..but I also take on board what very experienced campaigners like Black Triangle have said. On balance, I think we should believe what Cruddas has said, but constantly keep the pressure on so that Labour follow through with policies that dramatically improve the terrible current state of affairs, if and when they are elected, of course.

  52. Same Old Story...Cruddas comments..two steps forward : Sheepish ineffctive Baa's and Bleatings in the Disability Debate as outlined in Sue's latest diary post today...One Step Backwards.

    Much as my MP Mr Paul Goggins continues to make appropriate comments to me about his opposition to the Rethuglicans Welfare Reforms and the WCA...I leave him in no doubt that without serious engaging to make the system more humane...The Labour Party can no longer count on my vote...'Actions Speak Louder than Words'

  53. we are all UNREPRESENTED now