Friday 1 February 2013

David 1, Goliath 0

It's been a long road eh?

Remember when we heard about PIP? That DLA would be abolished, despite nothing in the Tory manifesto? Remember how we sat, open mouthed at the disgusting proposals? "Bathing" reclassified as a wipe with a flannel FROM THE WAIST UP? Paraplegics "fully mobile" if they used their wheelchairs TOO WELL? The day we heard 500,000 people would lose out entirely? Half a million of the "most vulnerable" cut adrift?

Remember the enormous thrill as Spartacus Report blazed around the world, the report WE wrote, WE funded exposing the government as liars and cheats?

Well my friends, a few weeks ago, this stubborn intractable government finally admitted defeat. The fingers I have in various pies started singing an astonishing tune. The government were frightened. They no longer had the stomach for a fight with the very people the public see ( rightly or wrongly) as the "real disabled". The private Tory polling was atrocious, the public had been rallying to our cause for longer than the Tories were admitting. Backbenchers were getting twitchy, ministers weren't sure a daily diet of abandoned cancer patients and cruelly cut off Parkinson's grannies were a good idea in the run up to an election.

Crucially, IDS beloved Universal Credit was falling apart. They finally admitted what we'd been telling them all along. Too much reform, too quickly, with too little evidence. Something had to give, and they decided it would be PIP.

Remember our pause clause? When I went to the Lords and asked them to pause PIP til they got it right, then only roll it out in a small pilot followed by an independent enquiry before it was rolled out nationally? They suddenly gave us all that and more. As a cherry on the top the size of Manchester, they announced they wouldn't even make people with lifetime awards go through the transfer until after the next election. Translation? We'll leave this mess for Labour, or we'll take it on when we've won a second term and we can be as foul as we like again.

But campaigners weren't satisfied. We wanted the phrase "reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely fashion added to the legal regulations, meaning people with fluctuating conditions would be as well covered as everyone else. Yesterday, they agreed to that too. I'm having to write my blogs from a hospital bed with nothing but my iPhone, so can't attach links, but perhaps others will be good enough to post them in the comments section.

Official government figures, say some will still be pushed through the test before 2015 - those who don't have lifetime awards, around 30% of the total. However, the terribly accur little birdies who got me this far, tell me there may well be just a fizzle. A long pilot, a longer review, a quiet little sigh of defeat.

Now, hard as it is, let's not gloat. We'd hate to goad them back into shafting us, but go get your favourite treat and sit in utter satisfaction revelling in the knowledge that we won. They gave up. We were just too effective, too noisy, too clever, too dangerous.

You did it. You never gave up, you trusted me when I said there was always hope and you won.

Spartacus warriors you are stronger than mountains.

and you won.

You did it. You never gave up, you trusted me when I said there was always hope and you won

Sparta us warriors, you are stronger than mountains.. It does that