Together We ‘Minorities’ CAN beat the Uphill Struggle for Equality

A new report from the uni of Sheffield has found Welfare reform reinforces growing class prejudice reminiscent of Victorian era -

” many people now attribute unemployment and poverty to the failings of individuals, rather than to structural weaknesses in the British economy and entrenched socio-economic inequalities. Worryingly, negative views around welfare were also extended to the physically disabled and mentally ill. The research therefore suggests that, in the aftermath of the recession, there has been a decline in empathy and understanding for some of the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups in our society

Today the Guardian have turned over comment is free to black contributors, this is fantastic and exactly what we need more of as according to FleetStreetFox  “it’s 2014 and we’re speaking about foreigners in much the same way we did 100 years ago, with just as much nastiness, stupidity and flawed logic“. Other reports have arrived at similar conclusions, both the British Social Attitude survey and the Archbishop of Canterbury have shared concerns about the rise in racism. As a white woman I can’t speak on what this means in everyday day, but I empathise from the perspective of being disabled; I also accept it is my responsibility to challenge any racist attitudes wherever I find them.

I can’t help thinking this decline in empathy and understanding has something to do with the lack of challenge from the Country’s’ leaders towards prejudice, instead the current Political discussion is full of ‘blame culture’. When comments such as “we’re like under siege’ from ‘huge numbers’ of migrants“,  “some” disabled people are “not worth the full wage”, “Women ‘to blame’ for being raped” or  ‘people getting really good benefits are going to charity food banks; not only go with out challenge but are also regularly justified by skewed statistics pulled from the ether, we as a nation, are  in trouble.

The ease with which we can find comments like the above, and blogs and posts from people experiencing not only an increase in prejudice, but also discrimination, is terrifying;  further it is hard evidence of the reality of life in Britain for many of us from the ‘minority’ sectors of society. Continuing to to accept our problems are the fault of other minority group members, and, or choosing to believe the bigoted hype of the elite ran main stream media, can only result in the continuing collapse of the society we’ve grown up with. Acknowledging our own prejudices and electing to view them from the other side  is the way we individually fight back.

The really crazy thing about this, is we the ‘minorities’ actually  form a ‘majority’, and the only thing holding us back, are our individual fears of difference and of change. As a long time community activist I believe in people, not in a notion that all people are good, but in the belief we are better when we come together. As a collective sharing our strengths, skills knowledge and experiences we individually grow more powerful; but together we become formidable and through utilising the diversity, we can create change.

It is only by using our collective strengths we can challenge the structural weaknesses and demand the changes to the existing socio-economic inequalities that encourages prejudice to grow, thus ensuring our children and grandchildren benefit from a fairer and more equal society.

Together We Are STARS shining in the  dark and fighting against the Capitalist Light Pollution

 

 

Mr Bigot’s Halloween….

jaynel62:

I could not resist sharing this piece of sheer Genius – THANK YOU Paul xx

Originally posted on Paul Bernal's Blog:

MR BIGOTs Halloween cover

Mr Bigot liked Halloween.

It was one of his favourite celebrations. Mr Bigot liked scaring people – it was one of his favourite activities. Only that morning he’d tried to scare all the listeners to a radio programme about how all those nasty immigrants were coming over here to take their jobs, to claim huge amounts of money in benefits, to destroy their health service, fill their schools, and much, much more. Just like every other morning.

Oh yes, Mr Bigot liked Halloween a lot. And this Halloween was going to be particularly special. UKIP had organised a very special party. Mr Bigot was really looking forward to it.

He didn’t really need a costume. He was scary enough as it was – and he knew it. Just a set of fangs and a cloak would do. He could put on a Romanian accent – everyone knew Romanians were scary…

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Here We Go Again – DWP to Repeat the ATOS Disaster ?

I’m sure I’m not alone in being totally unsurprised, albeit sick to my stomach at the latest revelation to be leaked from Tory proposals for Benefits, the drastic cutting of  ESA; it appears that new claimants placed in  WRAG will only receive 50 pence a week more than JSA. This has led me to wonder if this extreme reduction has anything to do with the increase in the number of people claiming out of work sickness or disability benefits?

The fact the cut was ‘leaked’ on the same day, and to the same source as the claim, Maximus will be the company taking over the contract from ATOS, also leaves me unsurprised. I can imagine the key players from DWP and Maximus sitting around the table and plotting this decimation of ESA as a part of the contract. The key aim of Welfare Reform has always been to slash Benefits, irrespective of need, and now seemingly wants to privatise all out of work benefits; therefore given Maximus’ existing  involvement in running the Work Programme, and the new Health and Work programme  this pairing seems a perfect match.

However when John Pring initially suggested, Maximus was the preferred bidder to replace ATOS, he also revealed the company’s “chilling” record of incompetence, discrimination and alleged fraud“. Thinking back to when ATOS was initially awarded the contract for WCAs, there were similar concerns around the unsuitability of ATOS, and we all know the outcome of that appointment.

It appears the DWP have completely failed to learn from the ATOS debacle and is planning to enter into another disastrous contract with a seemingly corrupt company, all for Corporate Greed.  Further the DWP seems to be continuing the rhetoric of  blaming us being ill; refusing to acknowledge their attacks on poorest and most vulnerable people through both the continuing  scapegoating and their discriminatory Policies, are in any way responsible.

The ‘leaking’ of these two announcements today suggest the DWP are maintaining their insidious behaviour, softly ensuring their plans emerge into the public psyche in an attempt to build public support:

‘the poorest people are choosing the higher paying benefit to avoid looking for work, because  they are lazy, the DWP are doing the majority a favour by stopping these idlers take the easy option, and are bringing in a company who will stamp this out’

What can we can fight back against this? Johnny Void suggests we gather the information necessary to take Maximus out of the picture and I agree; but I also believe we need to demonstrate WHY sick and disable people need the extra money to survive, lets collect your stories that demonstrates precisely what we do with the difference between JSA and ESA, because if we don’t – We Will Lose it!

 

Could claimants choose the next government?

jaynel62:

Interesting post on the likelihood of we ‘Skiving’ lot determining the next Government? Over to you

Originally posted on Still Oaks:

Working age claimants hold the balance of power in enough marginal seats to potentially decide who governs Britain at the next election, and yet they are treated by politicians with such contempt that you might imagine they had no vote at all.  Could that all be about to change?

As the tables at the bottom of this article show, if just one in four more working age claimants had voted Labour at the last election, Labour would have been elected with an outright majority.

It would have taken an even smaller increase in support from claimants for the Conservatives to win outright victory.

So why don’t politicians worry about deriding sick and disabled claimants or threatening huge cuts to working age benefits?

Most people believe that the reasons pensioners benefits remain untouched in the current austerity programme are because, firstly, there…

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If Labour did this one thing they would walk the next election

jaynel62:

I personally share tom’s thinking on the EU…. but agree – any genuine movement to make democracy real by offering a free vote has to be a winner ?

Originally posted on Pride's Purge:

(not satire – it’s Labour!) 

For some strange reason being anti-EU is seen as right-wing.

Personally I would vote for the UK to stay in the EU, but some of the most left-wing people I know – and I know a few – believe the UK should leave the EU.

We should never forget that it was a Tory government which signed the accession agreement for the UK to join the EEC, and it was Tory Prime Ministers who signed the Single European Act and Maastricht.

And in 1975 it was a Labour government which held a referendum on EU membership.

If Ed Miliband and Labour were brave enough they would offer a no-conditions promise to the electorate that if they win the next election they will hold an in-out referendum on EU membership.

And if they did that, they would walk the next election.

 .

Please feel free to comment. And share. Thanks:

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Apparently, David Cameron looks like a Prime Minister…

jaynel62:

The Wonderful Juli @juxtaposed, has written an excellent analytical piece on the weird workings of the media as the relate to the reporting of Politics – This time The PM

A MUST

Originally posted on juxtaposed:

Apparently David Cameron looks like a Prime Minister – which must surely be based on the fact that he is the Prime Minister rather than on any notion that he’s actually any good at it. Not that I’m claiming that Ed Miliband necessarily would be a good Prime Minister either but, really: Call-me-Dave is no leader, is he, not by any measurable means. He can’t command the loyalty of his troops, he’s really terrible at negotiating, he’s crap at strategy and he thinks in puddle-deep box sets. And as for his policies: they are ridiculous, petty, ignorant, cruel and extortionate. What Dave is good at, though, is insisting on the validity of tosh, pretending that he has had a coherent plan all along and reverting to the mob mentality of jeering and bullying when cornered. What he is good at is whipping out his serious face and reddening it on…

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blue chip narcissists

jaynel62:

As always @Juxtaposed hits the mark with this latest poem – Excellent

Originally posted on juxtaposed:

Solutions?
Don’t be stupid!

They take time
And will and wit
And wisdom
Built on knowledge
And informed consent.

Common sense?
Don’t hold your breath!
Have you seen your screen
Or read the nonsense in the Press?

Integrity?
Keep wishing
While you’re witnessing
The dark heart of Establishment

This isn’t just a crony prism:
This is blue chip narcissism
We’re undone by nigh on everyone
Who’d touch the hem of government.

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What are the Parties real plans for benefit claimants post 2015?

The people responsible for the excellent Benefits and Work site ask “What do the parties really have planned for claimants after the next election?” for their November newsletter; as inspiration they offer their findings – the Ministry of Justice  are refusing to release how much they have raised  charging benefits claimants to appeal to tribunal as apparently it would cost too much to collect and collate the data. They also ponder how long before ESA and JSA claimants are also forced to use prepayment cards, to prevent them spending their benefits on anything other than “essential” items?

This got me thinking and I can’t help feel that short of a miracle, all benefit claimants will lose the right to full Housing benefits for anything other than a room/s in shared accommodation; this will be an extension on the existing rule for single people under 35?

Disabled people will continue to lose benefits until we are all forced to become house/room bound and with free limited internet only to DWP/official websites?

Hospital beds will be rented out by the hour, with benefit claimants being treated separately?

Benefits claimants who work less than full time will lose the right to vote?

I know these ideas are extreme but – we’re witnessing our rights to freedom being removed when we protest, we already pay to put our cases when we’re wrongly treated by civil servants, and our hospital are being privatised day by day, what is to stop Politicians furthering the aim of social control?

As you’ve no doubt guessed my mood is currently dark, so over to you readers, let me have your ideas or even better post them to benefitsandwork.co.uk, tweet them to @benefitsandwork  or leave them at: https://www.facebook.com/BenefitsandWorkPublishing?fref=ts.

Please copy me in – I’m intrigued :-) either leave as comments below,

Tweet @JayneLinney  / on Facebook

 

 

 

Lets Talk about #Inequality – The Core Tool of Oppression

As a tutor of Inequality issues, if there one thing I’ve learnt over the years (In)Equalities is one of the topics that impacts on every Policy, everyone, everyday. If this sounds improbable it’s possibly because Equality is generally only attached to Human Resources in employment, Finance in Politics and rarely in schools and at home; however I would argue Equalities should be at the core of everything we learn, say and do.

I write this from the presumption that everyone suffers from Inequality in some way, whether that be via the labelling resulting from the ‘isms’, from one of the countless strands of financial inequality, or even from the (lack of) capacity for empathy.  This supposition is one that often causes conflict, with many people unable to recognise how, those in the 1% group controlling the worlds wealth, can experience inequality. My counter is, without experiencing or recognising the lifestyle of others, we lose compassion, and without this we cannot adapt our opinions, nor access the tools we need to positively challenge inequalities.

I fully understand the difficulties in this, as a blogger I usually write about current issues experienced by disabled people as a result of Welfare Reform and I use the blogging experience as a way of sounding off; thus I rarely write from the position I’m advocating today. However there is a vast difference between passing on tales of discriminatory polices and making a constructive argument for change, hence my option to use today, as my professional contribution to discuss what I consider to be, the greatest challenge the majority of us face today.

In order for regular people to be in a position to make a real difference, we need to collectively influence current Politics; and we can only do this if the majority of us make the same argument to our Politicians. Imagine if you will, every candidate for MP next year meeting/receiving communications on a daily basis, from numerous constituents; all offering similar constructive reasons why the Austerity measures don’t work and comparable equitable cases for the way forward.  Would they then be so keen to ignore their voters, particularly as then they would be subject to Recall?

This is the process required to champion for Equalities across the board, people naturally fear what we don’t understand, and fear is the greatest reason for attitudes of inequality. It is this lack of understanding and knowledge that allows the likes of UKIP spread untrue statistics around immigration, it underpins the rhetoric for scrounger agenda driven by the Tories for Welfare Reform and it is fear of big business owners, the 1% that results in yesterdays announcements that the UK is the only  country in the G7 where inequality has grown!

Trends in inequality

The majority of us irrespective of personal differences are scraping by, whilst the 1% are accumulating more wealth than the can ever use; this if nothing else ought to be enough for us for us to recognise where the real Inequality lies?

History has taught us that knowledge and learning is the key to challenging Inequality, and when we do we are in a position of power;  I consider  it is a fear of this power of majority, that drives the 1% to insist upon the continuation of Unequal Policies and Laws, Inequality is the core tool of oppression. Perhaps when we agree precisely who, benefits from Inequality, we will be ready to demonstrate our desire for Equity in all areas? And remember what the people demand is often what the people get

 

For Blog Action Day 

 

Blog action day 2014

 

Disabled and becoming Self Employed – A Case Study

This is my  first official post for Deaeper, the blog site for DEAEP  (Disability Enabling And Empowerment Project), and wearing my professional hat, I wanted to share my experience of  working with 3 other disabled people, collectively utilising our skills and experience to become financially viably self employed.  The following has been adapted from a letter I sent to Kate Green MP in response to Labour’s plan to turn around £8 billion overspend on disability benefits, and the suggestions at the end are specifically aimed at Government.

DEAEP is a charitable social enterprise that offers training and support to sick and disabled people, unemployed, and other vulnerable individuals. Our training experience enables participants to, knowledgeably and confidently, actively support others during times of extreme stress; this could be attending ATOS assessments and, or to participate in social and community engagement.

Our training programme has been specifically designed by sick & disabled people to enable others develop necessary the skills, ability and confidence, to actively empower others to self advocate when needed. We can also offer the opportunity for participants to train as a skill sharer, thus enabling them to impart this learning to others. Alternatively participants might utilise this programme to go onto other further education or into employment. There is a the supervised practice element of the programme wherein participants will provide supervised advocacy for others.

This year we have supported over a dozen users through their varying claims, and issues with the DWP, we have helped people write successfully ESA & PIP applications, supported others with mandatory reconsiderations and represented people at tribunal, we have also enabled people manage their issues with job related training programmes. We have piloted out training programme and from this gained five volunteers skilled to offer this type of support to their peers.  All of the which has been at personal cost to ourselves both financially and in terms of health.

Our overall aim is to enable chronically sick and disabled people participate in society through the provision of an appropriate range of training opportunities, which allows participants to either enrol on Further & Higher Education, gain the necessary skills to confidently enter Community Engagement enter employment or, fully re-engage in Society; and to enable those too ill to work access the social security the are rightly entitled to.

We are experiencing several primary issues :

Our target group have no access to finances to pay for this essential  service

There is no money to help us ‘sell’ our corporate training to the people who want/need it; despite having hard evidence of demand from Unite the Union and several solicitors offices.

We have no way of paying for the administration costs of running the course.

The fact we are all disabled creates problems for us personally with the DWP

An acknowledgement by DWP that disabled people often require more time to complete tasks and their energy levels are low due to fatigue.

We believe the following would make a huge difference

A loosening of the earning on benefits regulations would allow people to continue receiving ESA/JSA until such time they become financially independent

Access for small companies to government grants/contracts which offer direct provision to disabled people

A government funded grant programme  enabling disabled people develop the confidence and self awareness to allow them access further opportunities

Changes to access to FE opportunities specifically aimed at disabled adults thus removing the current barriers

This is a précis of our experience to date and I would welcome positive feedback and comments from others on this post.

Thanks for reading – Jayne x