Tuesday 20 November 2012

'Elf and Safety

Britain, I’m frightened.

Something dreadful is happening to you and you don’t know.

But you’ll read my blog (indeed, if you ever get to see it at all, jumping up and down and nipping at the ankles of a vast and deafening corporate-press as it is) and conclude I’m just “one of them”

A career protestor or perhaps a selfish lobbyist only interested in maintaining the status quo.

You’ll snort with derision, or maybe give a superior tut and shake your head a little, then go back to school runs and gas bills.

So I’m going to put this as clearly and as simply as I can.

David Cameron wants to compete with India and China.

He believes that the only way we can compete in this global “economic war” is to be more like India and China.

So far, these two vast countries have not been overly concerned with the rights and comforts of their citizens.

No safety net at all for their workers, overwhelming starvation and poverty, sweatshops and near-slave labour keep wages low. Citizens have no rights and no access to justice

All of this means the worker simply has to work as many hours for as little pay as a company sees fit, in any conditions no matter how dangerous or degrading.

But it also means they can churn out cheap CD players for a tenner that we couldn’t make for £30. It means Primark can sell dresses for £4 or Asda can sell cheap fish.

We all know about it. But we like the cheap dresses and trainers, so we turn a blind eye to the near slavery that makes them possible.

David Cameron (I know, this is the bit that sounds hysterical, but bear with me) wants to make the British workforce more like the Chinese or Indian workforce and the only way to do that is to take away your rights.

He believes you must work longer for less money.

He thinks your boss would make more profit if he didn’t have to pay you holiday pay or sick pay or maternity pay or make sure the factory you work in is safe, or if he didn’t have to pay you a minimum wage or if he could force you to work 14 hour days.

Ideally, Cameron would like you to work for free as then, we might be able to produce cheap fridges too.

The first thing Cameron announced after he didn’t-quite-win the election was that the only way you could get rid of him was if the opposition and members of his own party voted for it. Effectively, he could do anything he wanted, and parliament could not throw him out for 5 years. 

He announced that he would fix the boundaries in elections and reduce the number of MPs, both of which would make it easier for him to win the next election.

Since then, he has :

  • ·         Restricted access to legal aid and so, the ability of the poorest to access justice.
  • ·         Restricted your right to go to an employment tribunal
  • ·         Restricted your right to ask a judge to look at government policies or the actions of your boss
  • ·         Reduced the support we give CABs to help you
  • ·         Removed the need for your boss – or his government – to show that they are fair to black people or disabled people, women or any other group.
  • ·         Offered to buy all of your employment rights – pension, pay, safety – everything, in exchange for a few shares.
  • ·         Forced hundreds of thousands of people to work for no pay – some for an unlimited period.
  • ·         Reduced your pension and raised the age you can retire at.
  • ·         Allowed some bosses to make you work as many hours as they like.
  • ·         Slashed support for disabled people because they are a drain on the economy
  • ·         Made it easier for your boss to sack you without a good reason.
  • ·         Suggested that we get rid of the Human Rights Act
  • ·         Limited the ability of single parents to access the Child Support Agency and force partners to pay for their children
  • ·         Scrapped the “Social Fund” that was the very last safety net between poverty and starvation
  • ·         Overseen a 100% rise in people queuing for emergency food at food banks.
  • ·          Closed half of the refuges for women fleeing domestic violence.
  • ·         Denied profoundly disabled children the right to an independent income
  • ·         Ensured that so many people lose their homes, even Boris Johnson referred to it as “social cleansing”
  • ·         Changed the law so that people relying on social housing can no longer enjoy the security of a home for life and can be evicted if they have more bedrooms than they need.
  • ·         Undermined the House of Lords so that effectively, it cannot amend any laws Cameron might wish to pass.
  • *    Reduced or removed the need for government to consult anyone on changes they make.
  • ·         Restricted your right to appeal any wrong decisions
  • ·         Allowed some councils to force disabled people back into institutions on cost grounds
  • ·         Ignored and broken international law
  • ·         Alienated European leaders – our main export market - and isolated himself through extremism.
  • ·         Created new tax loopholes that will save big businesses tens of billions
  • ·          “Re-defined” poverty so that figures will not show a massive rise.
  • ·         Used propaganda and proven lies to vilify the poor, disabled and those seeking work.
  • ·         Removed the safety net if you become too unwell to do your job.
  • ·         Allowed banks to write off all the losses that got us in this mess against tax. Unlike America, who insisted they pay it back.
  • ·         Closed committees designed to keep check on his policies
  • ·         Reduced the number of civil servants (who’s job it is to design safe laws and policies) to lowest ever levels.
  • ·         Politicised the police force
  • ·         Proposed secret courts
  • ·         Attempted to restrict what you say and do on the internet
  • ·         Continually ignored expert advice
  • ·         Announced it will no longer be compulsory to register to vote (the poorest are the least likely to vote and most likely to vote “ABT” – Anything But Tory)
  • ·         Arrested peaceful protesters and influenced sentencing (supposedly independent)
  • ·         Associated intimately with many now facing trial for criminal activity in the media – Coulson, Brookes, James Murdoch etc

Remember, these are not cuts. These are changes to the law or announcements made by this UK coalition government in just over 2 years. A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the futures of a generation. 

They remove or weaken most of the rights and security we’ve won over the last 100 years.

They undermine your right to a secure home, right to a minimum wage, right to justice, right to vote, right to protest, right to a safe workplace and in a growing number of cases, right to life.

They define how long you can be forced to work for, how much pension you get, your right not to be discriminated against and your right to live free from fear or persecution.

How clever then of David Cameron to re-package these rights as “red tape” and “all this extra tickbox stuff” as “bureaucratic rubbish” .

Thank goodness policy makers will be “free to use their judgement.” Thank goodness we have “smart people in Westminster who consider equality issues while they’re making policy” and never discriminate on any grounds.

 How clever of a press run by oligarchs and billionaires to parody fundamental protection as “’elf and safety gone mad” or the unreasonable demands of whingeing wimps.

Our fathers and grandfathers knew what these rights were. They knew what they meant and gave their lives defending them.

I’m becoming truly frightened that my generation has forgotten


  1. I agree with what you say, I feel as though our society is moving backwards.

  2. I've suspected this for a while. Setting the poorly paid workers against the unemployed, using this as an excuse to reduce benefits was the start (imho). Please reassure me that the Labour Party will reverse this!

    1. it's unlikely jan as I've know many mp's in my time and the one thing they all have in common is that they are very detached with everyone including their own families and are very deceptive to a degree that is not human

      i could have become an mp back in the seventies no problem but to have to work with cheats and lier's along with their level of deception would have made my life impossible so i stayed away

      i do regret that thou as I'm now desperately needed by the most of the uk population just to strike some sort of balance and judgement

      but as a good friend told me their is nothing that one man can do on his own and you can be assured that's where i would have ended up on my own but would have made an excellent governor of a small country like in one of the Caribbean countries for example

      we are where we are unfortunately and as I've always said it will be the survival of the fittest only and death to all those to weak to keep up just like in china

    2. All movements start with "one man".

    3. No, the Labour Party has no real alternative, and is split between the squabbling Blue and Purple factions, with Purple still being dominant and unlikely to do anything for us.

  3. Seeing it all listed and bullet-pointed rams it home as to just how fascist and untruthful Dave C is (and all of his "smiling assassin" cronies). I don't like spreading negativity, but what on earth is this country going to be like in another 2 years? When this govt will still have about a year left?? What they don't realise is as the last time they were in, they created massive social problems and this is exactly what is going to happen soon. What will they cut then when they realise it will take money to feed and clothe all the homeless and take people with mental health problems off the street? Or even worse, I hate to say, bodies? Is this what they really want? I guess they do. After all, dead people don't cost them anything.

    Then, when another party FINALLY takes power and has to spend to clean up the mess, they have the fking GALL to blame them for too much spending when they next get in.

    1. *blink* - someone hacked your account...or...maybe someone who usually comments in support forgot the troll account they were logged in with?

      23f890ea-3310-11e2-a9b1-000bcdcb471e20 November 2012 12:48
      Seeing it all listed and bullet-pointed rams it home as to just how fascist and untruthful Dave C is (and all of his "smiling assassin" cronies). I don't like spreading negativity, but what on earth is this country going to be like in another 2 years? When this govt will still have about a year left?? What they don't realise is as the last time they were in, they created massive social problems and this is exactly what is going to happen soon. What will they cut then when they realise it will take money to feed and clothe all the homeless and take people with mental health problems off the street? Or even worse, I hate to say, bodies? Is this what they really want? I guess they do. After all, dead people don't cost them anything.

      Then, when another party FINALLY takes power and has to spend to clean up the mess, they have the fking GALL to blame them for too much spending when they next get in.

      .........either way. Busted.

    2. what? Don't understand. I logged in with an aol im name?? I am not a troll. For some reason the name that displays is gobbledeegook not the Aol IM name. Out of my control I'm afraid. I am just a humble disabled person who is going thru the transition from IB to ESA. Waiting for my WCA - I would not have the energy to troll.

    3. I think you may have been mistaken for a similarly-titled repeat poster, who goes by the alias of c93f60a6-12f9-11e2-a1c3-000bcdcb471e.

      Their petulant whining / tired rhetoric / hate-speech / myth-quoting / uninformed ranting / selective memory / absence of references / refusal to acknowledge repeated debunking of his tragic victimhood myth, etc; have earned them the general recognition as a sub-par troll. They are always going to emigrate, but sadly never quite manage to leave. If only they could apply their persistence to a little "independent thought" and "critical reasoning"; I'd be so happy for them.

      I apologise for any hurt caused unintentionally by the manner of your welcome; I think you are quite welcome here.

  4. Cameron's creating a population increasingly with nothing to lose and everything to gain from open violent rebellion. Unlike the Chinese or the Indians he doesn't have a loyal police force or military to defend him and his class either. I understand there's a global military elite, an international super SAS, who could be called into play to defend the social elites but it strikes me if this force really exists and even if they're motivated to defend shabby spivs like Cameron (I mean, why would they be?) they're going to be stretched very, very thin indeed. Maybe because he's never been punished for anything (and I'm not just thinking of his youthful trashing of restaurants, I'm thinking of the rumours of him helping steal a nuke or three from foreign powers back in Thatcher's day), he thinks that he and his class are invulnerable. If so, he's confused, and he'll soon be finding out. Reality check for David!

    1. The police are not of our class, the military maybe, but police's societal role is to protect capital from labour in times of struggle, that's all.

  5. Everything we value is being burnt by this vile government. The day before Cameron's CBI speech James Patrick wrote this blog about our loss of freedom: http://jamesjpatrick.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/four.html

  6. This man truly terrifies me. He is a raving megalomaniac, and he is tearing this country to shreds. There is no conscience there at all; he's a complete sociopath.

  7. You're dead right, Sue. Your list is even longer than I would have thought - and I knew it was bad. What most frightens me is how quick and easy it has been for the Coalition to undo years and years of democratic progress. They had a secret plan they didn't think was worth sharing with the electorate and, once in power, have gone for broke - along the lines of the "Shock Doctrine".

    What is equally frightening is how they have taken the Lib Dems along with them - and how little noise Labour is making. Politicians must know what is going on, even if the propaganda is working on a lot of people.

    There's more to come, or Cameron would not be saying what he's saying. It puts the whole disability rights issue in context - but I think it is still a weakness for the Coalition - there are decent people still left in our country and we need to join our voice with yours.

  8. Everyday my heart and spirit drops, I want to say that things will improve but doubt I will see that in what remains of my lifetime.

  9. glad there are people like you who can catalogue all the iniquity!

    1. I really do often think of it that way.

      I feel no matter what happens, I will be leaving this record of every last detail for future generations

  10. Shameless plug! But I wrote this last night and just got round to posting it: http://masondixonautistic.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/as-secretary-of-state-sees-fit.html?spref=tw

  11. It is terrifying to see everything written down, a death by a thousand cuts (sorry, I didn't realise the pun until I had finished typing it). Mike is right, politicians must know what is going on - which is even more dispiriting, because in a country in which the media does not report the marching of large numbers of disabled people, politicians are the only ones who can effect change. When I'm feeling really ill, my mother says 'Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before things start to get better'. I'm scared to think she might be right.

  12. I've long been of the view that the increasingly low turnout in elections (which declined under New Labour and has plummeted under Cameron) is by design. During the last national election 5 in 6 voters voluntarily disenfranchised themselves. Universal suffrage led to the introduction of the NHS, the 40 hour week, the minimum wage, the welfare state, and all the other things that Blair, Brown and Cameron have sought to dismantle. We must encourage people to vote - or to put it another way - hold governments to account.

    1. Small point but nearly 70% voted at the GE.

      5 in 6 voters would be about 83.5% not voting?

    2. Sue Marsh, I think you sort of proved Lovejoys point.

      What about the police commissioner polls, that apparently took place last week? That was supposedly a national election (not a general one), with a *very* low turn-out. I believe there was a polling station with 0 voters all day, FFS!

      The government ignored advice to better publicise these, blaming the media for not doing it for free.

      Personally, I joined the 5 in 6 not voting, because:
      1/ I had no information on the candidates. Although, even if I had; there's no guarantee they would actually stick to pre-election promises (eg. the LD tuition fee 'line-in-the-sand' that got kicked away).

      Even relying on party default sterotypes is no use. Conservatives are toxic, LibDem are untrustable, Labour seem Tory-Lite these days, Independents are unknown.

      2/ If anyone tries to oppose actual Conservative policy, they just get overruled or ignored (eg. the way the House of Lords was outrageously bypassed on 'welfare reform'). So what are we voting on exactly?

      3/ The irritatingly-persistent FPTP system warps elections into a multiple-participant gamble. By voting for one of two candidates I might support, I can paradoxically end up helping elect someone I do not support (eg. the last general election).

      4/ Not voting is one of few forms of expressing protest left to people in my situation.

      5/ I'm not well; and there's a fear that participating in democratic activity (even if doing so is a one-off activity and/or risks your health) might be twisted into 'proof' of capability to work; and abused to inflict grosser hardship (eg. during ATOS medicals-that-aren't-a-medical).

      6/ I disagree with the politicisation of the police. It smacks of shifting the future blame for police funding cuts onto scapegoats with no clear role, responsibility, or authority.

      7/ I had a point. Did anyone see where it went? Meh, fill in the rest yourselves. I hope the above makes some sort of sense.

      Take care, all.

  13. I'm disgusted. What did my grandfather fight for, what did I fight for (ex military) because it sure wasn't to be treated like a scrounger. When my employer breaks all the manual handling laws and half the Elf & Safety laws, leaves me disabled and then they call me a scrounger, but did they do anything to him NOPE!

  14. The Guardian has a story today detailing the findings of a study by a University of Kent team looking into misleading coverage of benefits fraud. The media are being misled by government policy and their stories are putting people off claiming essential benefits.

    Here are a couple of the biggest lies started by this Government and reported by the media at large:

    George Osborne – had claimed there were families taking £100,000 a year in housing benefit. In fact there were only five such families in the UK.

    Last year ministers appeared to brief that 1,360 people had been off work for a decade with diarrhoea, when in fact they had severe bowel diseases and cancer.

    Not surprisingly The Sun has the biggest share of dishonest articles!


  15. well you know my views i have said this for sometime and that's David Cameron wont's to align this country and the way it does things with china

    in a nutshell it means that 25% of the workforce will be well off and they will be in charge of running the country while everyone else will be down graded in their pay and condition's with many sick and disabled working for free just like in china

    if your at the top then your do well but most people in the uk will do badly and will be enslaved into a political environment of one of extreme right wing conservatism along with a good measure of communism in where everyone is equal and that means low pay and at the bottom of society

    i know the likes of David Cameron only to well and he'll stop at nothing to change the whole of the uk and it's thinking for good

    can anyone stop him ? not really as the majority in politics across the eu are of the same mind

    the majority of people in the uk will end up if their not already like the Greeks and it may be prudent for those that are able to leave the uk now if they can to do so as it may not be possible in the future as the cost of housing will rise dramatically in the countries that don't go down the Chinese route

    the only reason china is a power house is because of their states stance towards their people with long hours for low wages and that is all as they make only crap short life products which are cheep to purchase and are then disposable each year so you have to go out and buy again

    That's David Cameron's vision will it work here ? the low pay long hours will but as for getting up to the Chinese speed of doing things never

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  17. I live in fear every day , and every day those fears are confirmed as I hear more vitriol spilling from the mouth of Cameron , rights are being removed on a daily basis . There is soon to be no " Great " left in Great Britain .

    In the space of 2 years , this UNELECTED government have taken us back 100 years , causing inequality and division . I really do despair.

    Great article Sue.

  18. I am (almost) speechless. I knew they were bad but not this bad. Its a catalogue of abuses. He's not for the people. He's not even for the State. His agenda is much darker. I like your Gandhi quote but its important to add that his fight was one of peaceful resistance not one of blood and violence.

  19. So true, I had a major mental breakdown at the beginning of this year so severe that I am left with short term memory problems and have lost the ability to do something as simple as make a cup of coffee most days, on top of that I now suffer from severe anxiety at leaving the house and as such my doctor has deemed me unfit for work. I was a self employed, single mother before this happened to me and supported my family through hard work. Now I've lost my business, and my home and my kids have been given to my Mum via court order. I was bringing in between £900-1200 pcm to my family home and still struggled to feed and clothe my family. Now I live on £100 a week E.S.A and that's supposed to cover my basics such as food, clothing, rent top up, enough electric to heat my flat with night storage heaters which run at about £6 a day. I get DLA as well but I'm given the lowest possible amount of £40 a week which doesn't cover the costs of the community care nurse that I need daily to help me during the day. Oh and the mental health system in the South West of England SUCKS. My so called mental health team have been useless. What makes me so angry at the system is that I know there are people out there worse off than I am. Kids who are no older than 8 miss school look after sick parents. This country needs a change but if we don't stand as a nation and say enough is enoough the government are supposed work FOR the people not the other way round then things won't change for the better.

  20. Hi Sue, & everyone who reads this blog; yes, as the items listed above, the world is changing fast, in the most desperate way and in a direction I do not pretend to understand.

    Maybe the world has to change, but it looks a grey, uncaring, and far more dismal future for the people of this country; I can only feel very sorry for the world we are leaving our descendants!

    I also wanted to add that I have received a letter from DWP this morning; my goodness it is threatening in the extreme!

    There is a change in the law, so that if I don't do this they will do that to me, and if I don't do it next week another sanction will be taken, etc. I am sure many of you know the letter but talk about threats with menaces......I suspect that after about three weeks I'll be tarred and feathered, and by week four I will be burnt at the stake.

    Do I file the letter in the bin, the fire, or send it back with a comment such as "I hope you rot in hell!"

    Well that's how I feel right now!

    1. I agree MW that this letter is extremely threatening .

      In case anyone has not yet seen this letter here is the DWP’s PDF copy of the letter that many of us received on Friday.

      The letter concerns sanctions:


      I agree also that this country is an uncaring place to live. I never thought that any UK government even the Conservatives would turn on sick and disabled people including children and even the terminally ill in such a vicious and callous way, or that so many people would believe the government‘s anti disability/benefit “scrounger” propaganda. But then should I be surprised on that point considering the way that much of the public has been drip-fed false and misleading anti-welfare propaganda for years, by the gutter press. However, I think that things are changing to some degree as people are gradually becoming aware of the government’s true agenda concerning welfare reforms. It is a frightening time for us all

  21. It's a disgusting system that feels obliged to impose sanctions on people who are already suffering and in a climate of high unemployment and low paid, mostly part-time work.

    So, the DWP believes that those of us deemed capable of work, through the derisory ATOS "assessments", are going to somehow convince employers to choose us over people with no history of health problems! What sort of dreamworld do this government inhabit?!

    They also believe that work placements, or terms of slave labour, will help people find jobs! The reality is only 3.5% do:


    More and more, I believe the Tories are taking their ideas straight from 1930s Germany. Arbeit Macht Frei! Meanwhile, the population is being drip fed scrounger stories from the right-wing media that would feel at home in a Nazi propaganda exercise.

    There's also the possibility of a coalition forming at the next election that will bring together the Tories with the free-market loving, small state Ukip. That would pave the way for even more attacks on the disabled, the poor and the already disadvantaged!

    Very worrying times!

  22. This week alone two separate people have found fit to interrogate me on my disability and finances. One spewed out the usual "I'm paying for it" and seemed to think everyone was a fraud. I found it difficult to suppress my bitter laughter as I informed her that there is a less than 1% fraud rate on disability benefits being as it's not a case of walking up to the government, saying "this is how I feel" and holding your hand out. Doctors letters, consultant letters, xrays, mri scsns, blood tests and basically your whole medical history has to be provided before you're even considered. She was surprised. She hadn't even considered it. Just believed what she was told.

    When I was a child, and later studying psychology, when looking at what Hitler did to the Jews, I questioned *how*. That a political party could discriminate against people for simply bring what they are, strip them of their rights, freedom, homes and even hope only to later murder them in droves is seemingly inconceivable. Yet it is beginning to happen again.

    Already friends are resenting disabled friends, family members are turning against their weak links and security, rights, freedom and homes are being taken away from people simply because they are what they are.

    I no longer need to ask how this has happened, I can see that gaining the public support, by telling them that the reason they are hard done by is that they are supporting scroungers/frauds/lazies/insert your own derogatory terms here.

    Forget the £1000 bottles of champaign given out like candy at every Tory party shindig, or the £10k spent on fortune cookies with Tory policy messages inside at another. Not to mention bailing out the banks. No, it is the disabled people's fault. Duh!

    I'm somewhat terrified of and somewhat full of pity for the weak minded fools who buy in to Tory spiel and lies.

    Will they be remembered in the same way the Nazis are? Let's hope it doesn't get that far.

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  23. I am terrified of the future, I suffer from anxiety, depression and agrophobia. I have been put on a get back to work scheme even despite being on ESA benefit called ascent to work, and threatened with sanctions if I do not jump through all their hoops.
    It's mad, I hardly ever even leave my home and some days feel too exhausted to get out of bed.
    I am scared of losing everything, my home, my money... I live in council accomodation I moved into with my ex. Cameron now thinks I have one room too many.
    My mental health is getting worse the more I hear of nightmarish things like food stamps and having to fork out a % of council tax from my meagre benefit.
    I am terrified.
    I don't want to have no energy, I don't choose to be unwell, and I feel as though I am on the edge of a precipice.
    Work houses are just around the corner :\

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