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

 

 

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

 

 

 

In Memory of My Pop a WWI Soldier, who Fought for Honesty and Freedom

As a child of the Sixties I absorbed the new ‘freedoms’  of that era like a sponge; I watched the development of  the sexual revolution which, to me was everyday women finding a voice, previously before only accessible to the middle class and above.  I read about the Civil Rights movement, and became sickened by the Racial prejudice and discrimination; particularly as I was friends with many children whose families had come to the UK as refugees from Uganda. These struggles instilled me with a personal power, no longer did I have to defer to my ‘betters’, I could and should, question and challenge my elders.

Having said this, my strongest influence at home at this time was my granddad (Pop), he was born in 1899 and lied about his age to serve his country in WW,  only for him to be the victim of a rogue grenade. This resulted in him spending his life in and out of hospital undergoing surgery after surgery, as the countless pieces of shrapnel he carried in him moved towards his vital organs. I adored him, but he was a man of his time born when Victoria was still Queen, and we had endless discussions about right and wrong. I like to think he really heard me when I argued for Equality, but maybe he indulged me as his only grandchild, either way he listened, and even when we disagreed he never shot me down, he taught me to debate and for this, and everything else he was to me, I adored him .

With today being the Centenary of  WWI, these memories of my pop are more emotive than ever, his desire for honesty was I believe, born from his experience of soldiering, he was sold a story of  ‘Britain needing him’  how he was fighting for freedom and this would be “The War to end All wars”; in return he was damaged, physically and emotionally. He never spoke to me (or any other family members) about his experience, but we lived with its effects.  Today I’m convinced he would have been diagnosed with PTSD, he certainly suffered from brain damage, being blown up does that, and this revealed itself in his occasional outbursts of rage. However, despite the pain he lived with for the next 70 years, he always demanded Truth; whether this be because he lived with the fact he suffered as a result of the Lies sold by the ruling classes I can’t say, but knowing him I can’t help but think this is so.

These experiences laid the blueprint for who I am today, I remain committed to Equality, I fail to understand how prejudice and discrimination are anything but destructive, and I believe wholeheartedly in Truth. In this week as I especially remember Pop, I read that  Lord Freud  has been proven to have Lied AGAIN,  joining Mark Hoban, Esther McVey and Mike Penning  to become the Fourth DWP Minster to have Made the SAME LIE – Impact Assessment are Impossible.

This default position of Lying when proven incorrect is unacceptable, the reality is the Lies Politicians spew out today, are resulting in pain as those told 100 years did; and albeit in much lesser numbers, people are still Dying  as a result of the Policies they Lie about.

I can’t help but think it must be common knowledge that Politicians Lie, they’ve been doing it for at least a Century now, and maybe this is the reason people don’t feel the need to demand it should End and End Now?

I can’t and won’t accept this, to do so would not only dishonour my Pop, but I would feel  in collusion with these Lying Ministers, and this I will not do. For these reasons and because I feel if We don’t scrutinise this unelected Government No one will; I continue to urge you all to please share our petition demanding TRUTH from Parliament; the House of Commons has responded to the Recommendations of the Select by basically informing us the DWP is doing a great job!

If you share my belief , this response is yet another example of Government Spin – please Sign, Share and talk to everyone about the NEED for The TRUTH Campaign.

 

#NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

The Government Denies DWP Lies…YET…here are MORE “Lies and Damn Lies”

The Government has responded to the W&P Select Committee’s investigation of performance of the Department for Work and Pensions in 2012-13 – and as we expected the Government’s response is full of rhetoric of how well the DWP is doing and focus on the range of processes to ensure their Statistics are always good.

These include

Select Recommendation –  needs to exercise care in the language used in accompanying press releases and ministerial comments in the media. 2013 saw heightened and quite widespread concern—including from the UK Statistics Authority and organisations representing disabled people—about the DWP commentary accompanying releases of benefits statistics

Response – DWP is : is very careful about the language used when referring to benefit claimants, making clear that it is the system itself that has for too long trapped people into a life of welfare dependency. That is why this Government is making such a radical overhaul of the benefits system, to restore integrity and ensure that everyone who needs help and support receives it….statistical releases are produced and published separately to and independently from other Departmental comment or publications. Great care is taken by our statisticians to ensure the statistical releases are easy to read and understand, and are balanced and impartial….Training courses have also been run for Press Office staff, together with guidance having been issued on the use of statistics… ensure ministerial and official public statements are accompanied, whenever possible, by the released data and/or a link to the statistical release to which the press release refers. These statements are cleared with the relevant analysts for their statistical integrity.

And on it goes, defended the DWP and denying its ministers ever use inaccurate or false statistics.

The day after despite all the hype we learnt IDS & McVey are staying in control of the DWP, we witness another set of “Lies, damn lies and failing DWP bedroom tax report“.  Joe Halewood  in this excellent post, which I strongly suggest you read points out “On the same day as the cabinet reshuffle the DWP released a 163-page interim report into the bedroom tax.  Unfortunately this deliberate burial of a report is the best that can be said for it as it really is that bad“. He continues to identify major errors both in the writing of the report and a number of lies contained within it

For me this situation demonstrates precisely WHY we must continue to demand this Government deal with this situation, as despite the official response to the Select…the position remains the same. People from minority and oppressed communities are increasingly being blamed for the state of the nation; whilst Government continues to not only perpetuate this with their Lies but also through denying any responsibility or fault.

For thiese reasons, please keep sharing the #NOWPetition and show the Government WE the People WILL scrutinise them and we WILL Demand our RIGHTS to the TRUTH

Thanks all

 TRUTHCampaign #NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

Another Government ‘Fag packet’ proposal for Benefit Sanctions & Cuts ?

Rarely do I come across a Tory Policy proposal that makes me both Smile (albeit at the irony) and Shudder (with fear); but today’s report in the Telegraph does exactly this; “Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants face being stripped of their state allowances if they refuse to undergo treatment for anxiety and depression“, this worries me on several levels.

The article quotes their source as saying “We know that depression and anxiety are treatable conditions. Cognitive behavioural therapies work and they get people stable again but you can’t mandate people to take that treatment“; I totally agree with the closing proviso but the apparent claim CBT works for depression and anxiety is False.

Firstly Depression is not a ‘one size fits all’ disorder, there are different types of this debilitating illness, and a notion it can be conveniently summed up to enforce potentially damaging treatment is downright dangerous as well as being futile.  This position applies equally to Anxiety, again there are different types of Anxiety disorders which require different specialist treatments; therefore this all embracing decision, being discussed by Politicians based upon saving money is, to me, terrifying.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy works to enable people understand the relationships between their feelings, thinking, behaviours and environment, and to identify ways in which these can become problems; ergo CBT only works when depression and, or anxiety arises from internal conflict. Personally I have found CBT to be of little or no use when clinical issues, i.e. schizophrenia, is  the primary causes of the disorder; further where external factors are reinforcing the disorders, I personally have found CBT only has limited benefits.  I am not purporting CBT has no use in supporting depressive or anxiety sufferers, but it is not the only form of treatment necessary for enabling improved mental health. Given the mandate for this scheme is the ” loads of people who claim ESA (for Depression and Anxiety) who undergo no treatment whatsoever“, it is difficult to understand how the Government is to utilise fully trained CBT workers anyway?

Minsters are already piloting different ways of implementing this scheme, four JobCentres are currently “combining “talking therapies” with employment support“; soon we will witness  “group work” to help build the “resilience” of individuals who are out of work and suffering with poor mental health” the “hiring specialist private organisations outside the NHS and welfare system to take control of providing a combination of psychological and employment support to claimants” and finally “online tests and therapies at improving individuals’ health and job prospects“. These four trials will then be assessed, presumably with cost effectiveness, being the primary focus’ so no prizes for guessing which ‘approach’ the Government will adopt – more work for the nudge unit coming up?

These trials are a joint effort between the DWP & Dept of Health, and emerge from the report Talking Therapies: a four year plan of action  and initially was targeted at people 18-65  as an “economic case on which it was based showed that providing therapy could benefit not only the individual but also the nation, by helping people come off sick pay and benefits and stay in or return to work“. There we have it another quick fix based on Finance First and presumably will form the basis of yet another area of Cuts in Welfare; but once again aimed at sick and disabled people

As I acknowledge at the beginning of this post, the Government Ministers making these decisions about how mental health sufferers should be treated, deny participation in these trials will be mandatory, seeming to recognise willingness to participate is central any talking treatment working. However the Telegraph states “Conservatives could include the proposal for mandatory treatments in the party manifesto next year as part of the next phase of reforms to the welfare state” and I can’t help but think they are probably accurate in this.

Will this turn out to be yet another example of how the Government says one thing and then does another? If you agree with me in this Join the TRUTH campaign

#NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

The Tory Party’s dodgy use of stats

 

It is precisely examples such as those from alittlecon below which unpin the TRUTH Campaign

READ THESE AND…

The Tory Party’s dodgy use of stats.

1. Grant Shapps claims that “nearly a million people” (878,300) on incapacity benefit had dropped their claims, rather than face a new medical assessment for its successor, the employment and support allowance.

2. David Cameron falsely states in a Conservative Party political broadcast that the coalition “was paying down Britain’s debts”.

3. David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt rebuked by the Government’s own statistics watchdog yesterday for claiming that spending on the NHS had risen in real terms in recent years.

4. Boris Johnson rebuked over use of dodgy crime statistics

5. Iain Duncan Smith rebuked over immigration statistics

6. Statistics head Andrew Dilnot says a Treasury graph on infrastructure left readers with “a false impression of the relative size of investment between sectors”

7. Iain Duncan Smith rebuked for falsely claiming the coalition’s controversial benefits cap had already caused 8,000 people to move into jobs.

HAD ENOUGH ??

SIGN & SHARE  our 2nd Petition TODAY Stage 2 – “Lies,Damn Lies, IDS and The DWP; STOP Spinning Statistics” #ImpeachDWP #NOWPetition

 http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/david-cameron-lies-damn-lies-ids-and-the-dwp-stop-spinning-statistics-impeachdwp-nowpetition

TELL the Tories NO MORE LIES

Government Policies are Bad for our Health – Time for Challenge #NowPetition

The latest group to be hard hit by Government Policies are women employees, Female workers hit hardest by Austerity Agenda & associated Cuts, this won’t be a surprise to anyone not fortunate to earn enough; but for most of us, this is another example of how Government Policies are penalising the majority of people – simply because they are not rich.

The past four years are strewn with evidence demonstrating precisely how, outcomes of Government Reforms have been detrimental to the general public; Welfare Reform has brought about WorkfareBenefit CapBedroom TaxPIP, and  changes to ESA, JSA sanctions  & Tax Credits, to cite a few of the programmes. All of the above, have been criticised by numerous independent groups, charities, think tanks and across social media, as not only being prejudicial but as being incongruous. Similar criticism applies to Policies in Justice Reform, the Home Office, the Health ServiceTax & Revenue etc. Further we’ve been subjected to a series of inconsistencies from various Minsters & MPs across Parliament, from expense claims to downright untruths; and this behaviour in the main goes unchallenged, or worse is defended.

These Policies and Programmes have had a negative effect on  disabled people, older people, black & minority ethnic people, low paid people, jobless people, children and women, and  the articles used in the above links, are merely examples of the plethora of  evidence available. This leads me to one conclusion; current Government Policies, particularly when based upon such questionable, data are damaging the health and well-being of the majority of people in the UK.

It is for this reason we are challenging Parliament to STOP the SPIN, we want Government to ensure  their Laws and Policies, are fair and based upon Fact; further we are  dissatisfied with Political attempts at psychological coercion, with MPs persistently misusing statistics to justify prejudicial Polices.

For these reasons we believe the TRUTH Campaign will positively challenge Government; and as people afflicted by the current raft of unjust Policies, we demand change.

If you, your family, friends, colleagues etc are negatively affected by any Government Policies – Join the TRUTH Campaign – sign our petition, join our Time For Truth Thunderclap, tweet #NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP, share on Social Media; and Spread the word Government Policies are Bad for our Health