Thursday 12 September 2013

Public start to Wake Up

So much news, so little time.

Most of you will know I've been a teensy weensy bit bit busy these last few weeks.

But on Tuesday, the BBC reported on the latest British Social Attitudes Report. This is no one-off YouGov poll, the survey tracks the nation's attitudes over time, interviewing 3000 people in 2012 for more than an hour.

The latest report showed that attitudes towards welfare payments have softened considerably over the last 12 months. Whilst 51% still felt that benefits were too high, this figure had fallen from 62% in the previous year. The proportion of people who felt that benefit cuts would damage too many people's lives rose 5% from 42% last year to 47% this year.

With UN special raconteurs calling for the Bedroom Tax to be scrapped, and official government reports showing that IDS has lied yet again about the rollout of Universal Credit, this might seem like a small point to blog about.

But In my opinion it is almost all that really matters. The only way ministers have been able to do what they've done is by misleading the public. As a TUC report showed last year, the gulf between what people think social security payments do and what they actually do is vast. The convenient myth that out of work benefits are crippling our country was shown to be just that - a myth with just 3% of the entire social security budget going towards Jobseekers Allowance whilst a whopping 47% is spent on pensions.

Since the day I typed my first word on this blog, all that has mattered to me is breaking down these mis-conceptions. Until the public really understand what benefits are for, who they are paid to and why they are so fundamentally important, MPs could create a false dialogue that was almost impossible to challenge.

Campaigners such as myself have spent long hours convincing MPs - in this case, particularly Labour MPs, that by 2015, disability cuts would be the most toxic issue in the country. We used evidence, we showed them just how many people would be affected by various changes. We told our stories, we showed the country what happens when real people, real lives are affected.

Sometimes, it has seemed as though no-one wanted to listen. Sure, we can persuade some MPs, some journalists, but until there is a sea change in public opinion, as an election hoves into view, MPs would still feel secure to "go hard on Welfare", to use us as political pawns in a muscle-flexing-fest of toughness.

This survey gives us the clearest indication so far, that whilst we may still lose too many battles, we are winning the war. As people up and down the country begin to know someone who has been unfairly affected by the coalition welfare changes - a brother with cancer told he is fit for work, a Gran left in her own mess as her carer hours are slashed, a daughter forced to move away with her disabled child due to the Bedroom Tax - we inch slowly closer, every day, to breaking through.

There are two more years to go. This survey actually reflects opinion from 2012. Between then and now barely a day has gone by without someone exposing a new failure at the DWP or a new life destroyed by unfair cuts. I'd be astonished if the next survey didn't show even sharper increases in support.

This awful battle can be demoralising. It's hard to bear the onslaught of misery, fear and suffering. But studies like this one show us as clearly as possible that it is worth it. We are winning and every day brings us closer to the end of these dark, dark, days.


  1. Well done for highlighting this. I have had a bad time with Workfare and The Work Program. They ie DWP tried to stop my benefits. But I had someone fighting my corner for me. I WON My Case. The public need to be awakening to all the cruelty towards disabled people. And The Public need to awaken up to us Aspies and Auties. We have a hidden disability. But it also makes us unique.

  2. Your an inspiration to us all Sue, keep on knocking down the lies!

  3. The fella i wrote about has serious heart/ bloods condition , > Even some of the hardest around the area rallied to help. All solved now, but certainly here, Im seein a sea of change. Albeit i'm in a poor area with shoddy demographics anyway. Still, the change is more visible than people actually will often admit. Yes, its the cascade of JESUS, thats my mate, going through THAT. etc a good point made by Sue. The effects ARE cascading now and visibility is increasing.

  4. Hi Sue. Excellent work underlining just how important the fact of government lying is. There's a continuum of this running from the warm and slithery words of the last labour government in their policy promises - the use of rhetoric to mislead the public, to IDS's frank lies; seemingly based on his narrow beliefs (delusions?).

    And I'm not anti-labour (except in the sense that I'm a Clause 4 supporter) but don't forget workfare is a product of labour policy development (taking it up from Mansell's and UNUM's engagement of the Tory government in 1993/4).

  5. Hi Sue, I'm so grateful for what you are doing and I really admire your fighting spirit. You are living proof that the Government cannot walk all over the sick and disabled.

  6. Bedroom tax update
    Rooms under 50 sq foot is not a bedroom
    Rooms under 70 sq feet are only fit for kids under 10 years old
    A guy from Fife won the appeal on this basis

  7. My neighbour is typical old working class tory.
    He is now saying things like
    "I thought Irritable Drone Smith was a decent christian, but he's a ****"
    "We need a revolution to get rid of these ****"

  8. excellent news just in that all of those that died in Hillsborough: Organisations could face manslaughter charges as i expected and the same will happen to IDS and co at a later date for all of the sick and disabled that have died in their hundreds by the negligence of the DWP/ATOS

    All of their names of those that have died need to be processed and a remembrance day to be announced so that the many thousands of relatives and friends can come together once a years to pay there respects for the loved ones they've lost

    more can be found here on the Hillsborough enquiry

  9. sue will love this

    the artist taxi driver calls ian duncan smith by mrsuperbafrango

    1. Yes! yes! yes! what a joy! Ha Ha Ha! Thanks Nick. X

    2. IDS (I Believe)
      this clip is very true at the end as I've always believed that this is the government's master plan

      in that by killing off all of the long term sick and disabled it' gets the population down to a level of long term stability for the rest of the country as well as getting rid of vast costs of money

      secondly it frees up all the housing the young need for the future saving a vast sum of money in the rebuilding of one million new homes

      At this time the overall deaths of the sick and disabled are rising and will continue to do so for years to come

      by the year 2025 i predict that half of all sick and disabled alive today will have died and by the year 2040 all will have died and only those left alive will be the likes of Tanni Grey-Thompson who are self sufficient

    3. Nick, as much as i can see your thought process, i think you are painting the wrong picture. I know you care immensely and i respect your knowledge in this area of life, but i sense a deep sadness in your words. We have to give disabled people more hope. I am not saying lie, but sometimes we have to ignore some of the worse case scenarios, they may never happen, l hope! You must have more faith mate, otherwise the battle is already lost. I hope i don't seem to be patronizing you, as i say, you know an awful lot more than me, but please remember not everyone believes the government shit and the general public love disabled people and don't want them 'killed off'. I wish someone would kill the evil politicians off, they really bore the crap out of me. Keep the faith Nick, we are all better than them.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Thanks martin for your wise input.

      If i had not known the politicians that i have down the years i to would say that i was mad but the grim reality is that IDS has started on a path that is possible of killing thousands of sick and disabled over many years with the public being kept in the dark with the many deaths of the sick and disabled going unnoticed by the public at large with their lives carrying on as normal as if everything is OK

      Even with the thousands of the relatives of those that have died there again we don't here from any of them and that in itself is a very worrying trend

      Now it could be the DWP have paid them compensation money along with a gagging order hence their quietness.

      We are starting to see that the bedroom tax victims are starting to speak out albeit not many for this group it's vital they speak louder otherwise they to will suffer from all types of ills from downsizing mainly mental/ divorce ones which then in turn will end up as homelessness and invariably death

      Most sick and disabled people in the country are like myself and can go out but we do so always in a worry that were being watched

      Only those sick and disabled who cannot go out at all are at this time in the support group everyone else like me is under the watch of the DWP/ATOS and constant reporting

      I myself have been under one for years so i have vast experiences of the system and how it works

      i have a Tory mp who is not bad but refuses to talk about those that have died which is not a normal thing for a mp to say to a constituent

      If I am reading him correctly, he believes only in the survival of the fittest

      The only long-term solution is for a complete new intake of MP’s like me who have always put others first and only then will the country become united and all things that come from that mainly prosperity for all with a deep sense of belonging

      All of the ills today murders theft arson etc all stem from a bad government, which breeds destitution young people growing up without any moral values many not even being able to read or write born into households where they have not known any security

      The government even avoids any care for children in need saying that is for the BBC and public to determine not us

      All the time the likes of David Cameron are around with IDS no one vulnerable is safe at all, everyone needs to be very mindful of that fact, and with so many deaths attributed to the welfare reform bill I rest my case

      I very rarely if ever paint the wrong picture, as my qualification is one of interpretation and the end game

      Sues skill set however is one of writing a skill i wish i had we all have skills but mine is very transparent as my mp would tell you and always direct and to the point

      When the welfare reform bill first saw light not one of the 650 MP’s or lords saw the danger ahead where i saw it in minutes and that's the difference between myself and a MP

      Always crystal clear in my eyes what IDS was about but what you have to remember is that most mp's are on his side and should he still be in power after 2015 then like the twin towers it will be game over of that i can assure you and cant at this time bring myself to have a different thought on IDS having studied his game plan so far

      as i have said in my post above IDS overall game plan is to save money and without the sick and disabled to fund he gets the housing balance shortfall fixed for the younger generations for the first time in history and comes out a hero at the sick and disabled expense

      What I try to do here is to keep the focus on WHAT is happening to the sick and disabled so that sue can concentrate her thoughts’ on how best to proceed with her discussions with those in government

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. if and When things pick up then you will be the first to know from where I live but until that day comes I need to stay focused and do what I do best and that’s keeping the welfare deaths up to date and in the forefront of everyone’s mind across not only the country but the world also

    8. Thanks Nick, that was a very intelligent explanation. I now understand the points you were making and why you were making them. The whole saga is so sad isn't it. Oppressive government will (in my eyes) never win. Until everyone, disabled and abled alike live safely together, with no worry of financial and personal welfare, we must be aware of the bad things government are continuing to make happen. The picture you paint is real life for many and we need to see that. I am sorry, i stand corrected.

    9. all the time martin the likes of yourself can see my way and train of thought there will be at least some hope

      Foreign people whoever they are have always seen and understood my thought process i grew up in a inner city of London in the fifties packed with people from all over the world

      my wife from Eritrea is a case in point and all her friends from the middle east all understand me crystal clear hence my many happy holidays there down the years

      Being a natural leader is what I've always been when growing up cubs/scouts/st johns/if you put others first you always end up on your own but number one you cant go wrong in life and prior to my illness the middle east was where i was most comfortable knowing that when ever i spoke i was fully understood what joy as that is the ultimate in life when just a few words is all that's needed to light up someone's life

      IDS and David Cameron will never ever get to my level of understanding the needs of the middle east be it for Peace or anything else mainly because they've never ever visited as a guest

      they have always had things easy and played the easy cards in life going on holidays which have been expensive where as i had no choice but to go to counties like Tunisia .Egypt.Morocco etc where the costs have been a fraction of other countries with the quality overall excellent

      as i said above we need to get rid of all the current mp's as none of them are or have ever been shown that they are putting their constituents first as they neither look or sound the part they speak with no conviction they talk as if they were talking about animals not humans at all' there all vague never to the point never on topic despite the tax payer paying out huge sums of money to there families in high wages

      untill the people of the uk understand what leadership is we as a country can never go forward

      a leaders role is very simple he leads by example when he talks he comes across as understanding as he will have all of life skills to draw on and to who he's talking to he give encouragement and belief so their in no doubt that they will be alight not only themselves but their families as well

      A good leader will also have a commending style so that if he needs something he will ask the public for it and they in turn will deliver it

      my very good friend the other week Paul rose is a case in which he asked on his twitter account for volunteers to dive down where he lives in the lake district to pick up the litter that had been checked in the lake there over the years

      A week later he got his 247 or so volunteers for the dive why how ?

      well that's Paul rose for you a natural leader one of life's only leaders and that's the case in point there are great leader in the country albeit only very small in numbers

      IDS and David Cameron are not leaders at all in any circumstances they only follow power and money they have no values or morels and send a very bad signal to all the young people in society and leave them feeling very isolated

      Paul is one of the very few people i have ever met that looks like your going to be in good hands and a great day was had by all that's the sort of person we need to run the country someone with some sense and above all a decent human being

    10. To be honest Nick, this government is just plain annoying on so many levels, not just disability issues. I think it relies on money in most of it's policies and that can run against positive fair representation of the public. The frustrating thing is they fool so many people into voting for them, but then change things to suit themselves. The public really don't want much in life, just a bit of equality and care, but the politicians seem intent on creating a country in perpetual flux, merely to keep themselves in government, as peace to a politician means they won't make money from warmongering and corporation domination.

  10. I hate being a smart arse and all that, but i feel the headline "The public wakes up" could be better phrased. I think it should read "Government and media pre-meditated nonsense that tried to fool the public into thinking disabled people were all benefit scroungers is totally false and the government and media are the real evil f**kers, if the truth be told". I just don't know how i never got that job with the Daily mail, Ha ha!

  11. in order to get our message across it would be wise to post to Sir-Kurt Alleyne facebook page any problems with welfare reform as he is a good friend of mine plus the fact he has the RIGHT contacts outside of the uk with direct access to the UN

  12. Thank you Sue, for as always bringing your generous optimism and long sighted view to this.
    It is horribly, tragically ironic that in order for the public to begin to understand the cruelty of this system it has been necessary for individuals to see someone they love or care about suffering through it. Therefore it seems that it was always going to be necessary for very high numbers of people to suffer...
    So gut-wrenchingly sad.

  13. Letter to Raquel Rolnik, UN Special Housing Rapporteur

    Posted on September 17, 2013 by pawprintsofthesoul


    The information and detail regarding the background to this letter can be found here.

    Dear Ms. Rolnik,

    United Kingdom: Coalition Government Welfare ‘Reform’

    This is in response to your request for feedback on the above, with particular regard to the Employment Support Allowance and the Work Capability Assessment as I have direct personal experience of both.

    May I first express my gratitude to you for enabling this formal communication. The present inability of the ordinary people of the UK to affect any real understanding within Government concerning the human impact of their present policies is a source of considerable alarm and to finally be invited to share the detail of our experiences is a rare source of hope for me. May I also express my sincere regret at the deeply disrespectful and aggressive behaviour of UK Government representatives towards you personally. I hope you will understand, however, if I also say that this behaviour is quite typical towards those who disagree with the coalition’s viewpoint, particularly when this disagreement is expressed by women. Whilst I would not wish anyone to be treated in such a manner, that you now have direct personal experience of this can only underpin the emotional intelligence of the situation that I and so many British women now find ourselves in.

    I have been a recipient of Employment Support Allowance/Incapacity Benefit since 2001 when first my physical health deteriorated so badly I was unable to work. This was followed by a severe deterioration in my mental health from which I have yet to recover. Prior to this I had worked my entire adult life with the exception of a year, in 1984 (when I suffered a similar psychological breakdown), up to and including running my own business for twelve years.

    Following my mental health deterioration, in 2003 I committed a crime (my first) so serious that it resulted in a seven year sentence which included nearly five years of prison. I mention this because any and all decisions made regarding my ESA claims included this information and inevitably would have informed the decision-makers involved. It would be reasonable to conclude, in these circumstances, that any standards against which I was measured were likely to be more strictly enforced, with particular attention being paid to potential fraud on my part. It is the UK coalition government’s contention that ESA applicants are seeking to defraud the public and it is therefore useful to know that some decisions will have been made using stricter standards that might otherwise have been applied. Between 2008 and 2012, all my ESA applications were based on mental health issues up to and including active suicidal ideation.

    Sometime in 2006, I experienced my first Work Capability Assessment via Atos with a male GP. The assessment, as structured, took little or no account of my mental health issues, focussing mainly on physical impairment. Since my claim was due to mental health impairment, needless to say I failed my assessment. I appealed and my appeal was upheld at Tribunal. During this hearing, my legal representative drew the panel’s attention to the WCA GP said “He would certify a chair fit for work”.

    In 2007/8, I was called to a second WCA by Atos. On this occasion, my mental health had deteriorated so severely that, with the support of my GP, this assessment occurred at my home. The outcome is unknown because I was recalled to prison by the Probation Service soon after.

    -continued at source

    Yours sincerely

    Dylanie Wilde-Walker

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