Friday 18 October 2013

If only I was wrong

I just have to have a rant. The pain is too great. The shame, the disgust, the impotent misery.

Do you remember how hard I fought the 365 day time limit on sickness benefits? (ESA) The government didn't care if people with conditions like cancer or parkinson's or kidney failure got better, they didn't care if they'd found work. They just took every penny of support away after 1 year if they were in the WRAG.

If they had a working partner, the government argued they had "other means of support". Do you know how much that partner had to earn? Just £7,500 per year. Could you support a disabled husband or wife on £7,500 per year?

Do you know how many??? 700,000 people. 700,000 lives, real lives just like yours! Three-quarters of a million people. 7 TIMES this Glastonbury crowd.

And you know what? We won the argument. The Lords agreed with us. They amended the welfare reform bill to say that support should be for "a MINIMUM of 2 years". But this government just ignored it and refused to listen. Effectively, that negates the point of a second chamber in our lawmaking at all and turned this government into a dictatorship. Be very afraid. If you're not, you should be.

And now, today, every day, I get emails or messages from people affected. They are confused. The government don't explain to them this will happen, or if they do, not adequately. They have no idea. They're still sick, they haven't and couldn't find work. But they lose everything. £4,661 per year, 3 TIMES as much as higher earners lose in child support.

They are losing their homes, losing their hope, losing their pride. They cannot understand. "How did this happen?" They ask me. "The doctor said I have 18 months to live, how can this be?" They ask me. I mumble that I watched our politicians, here in the UK, in 2011 argue over HOW terminally ill you had to be to qualify. 6 months. That's it. More than that and off you go to the jobcentre.

Welfare advisors tell me this is the big issue now, as I argued it would be. People are losing their homes. Homes they cherished and worked for and paid off over decades. People are cold for want of heating, hungry for want of food. And they have conditions you would never, ever, ever, wish for your Mum or your Daughter or your Wife.

I want to cry. I want to give up and accept that politicians are just vile, disgusting excuses for human beings. I don't want to be English, I don't want to be right. How much I wished I was wrong.

But here it is, right before us now. And no-one will care because THEY don't have cancer (yet) And no-one will care becasue THEY don't believe this is really happening (yet) . And no-one will care because the Daily Mail and the Tories and even Labour tell them not to listen to "extremists" like me. (yet)

As the quote goes : "All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing" Well bravo England. Bravo. You have done nothing and evil flourishes.

Recent quote : "I used to be a guy who didn't like claiming and once I was in receipt 6 yrs ago never revised it, as I felt guilty getting it anyhow. But having gone through pure hell in this past year, its only the love for and from my family stopping me doing something stupid, or I may not be here right now typing this"

This is how I feel tonight

"There's a pain that can't be spoken. There's a grief goes on and on. Empty chairs and empty tables....How they sang about tomorrow and tomorrow never came....they could see a world reborn and they rose with voices ringing...I can hear them now....Oh my friends, my friends forgive me, that I live and you are gone. There's a grief that can't be spoken, there's a pain goes on and on...empty chairs and empty tables....Oh my firends, my friends don't ask me what your sacrifice was for, empty chairs and empty tables. Now my friends will sing no more." RIP, my friend, Karen Sherlock, RIP Colin Traynor and so many more.


  1. So sorry to read this but very, very sadly I am not in the least bit surprised. :(

  2. Dark, dark days yet you remain a light x

  3. extremist more gullible egotistic loony !

  4. Really? Then there must be many of us

  5. Best of luck to you and your family. *hugs*

  6. This is both heart breaking and absolutely spot on. I would never have thought i'd be saying that about a blog criticising our welfare system but have had to eat a huge slice of humble pie, much of which I've had to give back to the government in humble pie tax. Never give up. We represent those who cannot through no fault of theirs. Whoever spouts "diversity" needs to practice it.

  7. Chris Byatt - Is that true? Did you support the reforms at first? I'd love to think some have changed their minds

  8. I recently won my appeal against being allegedly fit for work, but because the appeal took a year to be heard, I've run out of contribution based ESA so won't get any more. The medical evidence is clear that I am unable to work ever again, but I could not get into the Support Group because I could do some “Work Related Activity” towards a job I am unable ever to get.

    I asked the Judge at the Tribunal what work related activity was. She said she did not know herself! However, she said it could be something like having a phone discussion twice a year with the DWP. Because I could do that on a good day, I don't qualify for any benefit!

    I'm lucky, because our income is enough, but I know other people who are really struggling. Despite winning their appeals, they are being reassessed and made totally depressed by having to go through it all again. And next time, they'll get no benefits while the DWP reassesses their case for however long they want to take. That's another, mean minded, oppressive new rule which we'll no doubt hear about having seriously dire effects over the next few months.

    1. Hi Mike - based on the judge's comments I would suggest there may be grounds to appeal to the Upper Tribunal based on a failure to consider properly the more onerous range of the work-related activity that might be required, rather than merely the least onerous. The problem is that if the appeal is then reheard, you risk losing the whole appeal next time round - but I suppose if it makes no difference anyway it might be worth a shot. It would be worth requesting a statement of reasons, and seeing a welfare rights adviser.

  9. You can count me among those affected. My consultant is explicit, he says he sees no way of getting me back into the workforce, but that means precisely nothing to DWP. There are so many people caught in the Catch 22 of being very long term disabled and unable to work, but falling short of the Support Group boundaries and therefore subject to time-limiting when they haven't had a miracle cure within a year (and two years would be no more realistic), that you have to consider it as being a deliberate element of the ESA system's design.

  10. your blog was the one hope when I recently became much more sick. Just keep on.

  11. I never knew this-Afraid I went down with ME/Lyme disease 26yrs ago and had to fight for nearly 6yrs for DLA-got it in the end and they had to pay me back pay. Only got it because I am a fighter but how many give up?

  12. Without extremists we would all be working as kids up chimneys!!

  13. We are facing similar, my wife has MS and she worries much about what is going to happen. To see her you would know that she cannot work yet given the cases I have read just lately I am beginning to wonder if she has good cause to worry.

    voxpopuli218 Are you having some problems or something?

  14. Here's a European Citizen's Initiative which would help solve this current situation,

  15. I'm struggling right now. I'm having to be careful what I'm reading as my MH is declining. I'm fortunate in that I'm able to work part time - I pay more in tax than I receive in DLA, work 3 days but spend the rest of the week recovering from that work. I have a very flexible, supportive employer who redesigned the job so I could take it after being unemployed and on ESA.
    I read in the Mail today that the new minister against disabled people is blaming the labour govt for moving people onto IB to massage the jobless figures. No, that was Thatcher. The lies they tell, and the lies the Mail prints and gets away with.
    Keep it up, Sue xxxx

  16. Please keep going Sue. I email my MP and District Counsellor, share on facebook everyday the articles I come across that articulate much better than I could the devastation this vile dictatorship are shitting all over us. I'm hoping to keep them informed and aware of the national outcry of disbelief at the evil. It must be incredibly hard to stay positive. But we must NEVER give up!! Thank you Sue for your work on our behalf.

  17. Similarly, I am terrified about the removal of benefit when appealing. I have been on ESA since April waiting for my medical. As we all know, the chances of being put into a group the first time are pretty slim - particularly as I have a rare condition that only has a few specialists in the UK.

    If I get found fit for work and appeal, I will have no income. I don't know what the hell I will do. Starve, I guess. I can't even physically get to my local job centre, so I don't see how I will be able to sign on.