Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

David Cameron – Child Abuser

Yes, the title is a bit “sensationalist” but I think it’s merited today since the shiny-faced buffoon took time away from his 5 year plan of stuffing his face to use my children (and everyone else’s) as a an attempted tug on the heartstrings.

Let’s just recap.

This is a man who will stop at nothing for a photo shoot, be it a shot of his best side beside a war grave or a staged “family man” shot of him with his own disabled son.

This is a man who, when going to the pub for an afternoon, rather than leave something of transient value like an umbrella behind, he left his irreplaceable daughter.

He has used one child (sadly no longer with us) in an opportunistic photo shoot while completely forgetting another, which, were he Mick (not Michael) Philpott, would see him strung up. However, the forgiving of the wealthy for matters that would see others hock-deep in social workers is not the drift of this article.

That the man has form for using and abusing his children is. And today, he told you that

“”How can it possibly be right for our children’s education to be disrupted by trade unions acting in that way? It is time to legislate and it will be in the Conservative manifesto.”

Excuse me, Eton?  “Our children”?  Given the frankly terrifying and stultifying failure of a human being you have as Education Minister, do not ever lump my children in with yours.  Unlike you, I underwent the best state education that money does not need to buy; sadly, my children will not get the same privilege as I was educated when the class gap in society was at its narrowest.  I was educated to degree level on the state’s penny and would not have had that education had I had to pay for it as you do now.  The problem there is too many uppity paupers were becoming literate, and that just wouldn’t do.  We had grammar school Prime Ministers.  No, really, we did.

My children’s education will not suffer because of the industrial action of dedicated citizens who perform the sterling role of nurturing them throughout their formative years.  It will suffer, however, from the tinkering of no end of self-serving political ideologues trying to drive the profession, nay the vocation, into the ground.

It will suffer if they grow up in a society where, when the mistreated come up against injustice and respond democratically, peaceably and as a group of people with similar interests in their vocation – a union, if you will – they are prevented from using the protest most apposite because of increasing obstacles put in place by undemocratically elected mandarins.

Cameron is a thug.  Unhappy with ballot results, he now intends to impose riders on ballots which are not his concern because they make him look bad, because they are the will of the nation’s citizens and let’s face it, he does not give two figs for the will of the nation’s citizens unless they vote for him.

Essentially, he intends to disavow my vote.  He’ll maintain his own position despite his government being propped up by only one in five of the electorate.  It’s worse again for the city mayors and the police and crime commissioners.  However, as a poor man being made poorer, if I wish to register a protest, he will ignore the basis of the first-past-the-post system that is used across the board in UK elections to the point that two-thirds of the parliament you get to choose once every five years will not change because those seats are termed “safe”.

Seems Ol’ Shiny-Face doesn’t like an electoral machine he doesn’t control; so now he wants to control it.  This is despite the electoral impossibility that a union ballot already is.   I had no personal opinion towards the man other than I would not trust him with my kids before but I actively despise him now – that he derides my right to protest and removes my access to the one democratic process I have earmarks him as the vermin Nye Bevan referred to over 60 years ago.

If he wants a turnout in a union ballot, then I challenge you, you dish-faced thug, to reinstitute workplace ballots.  I’ll get you a 90% turnout, no bother.  You won’t do that, though, because that gives people direct access to democracy.

The fact is, Eton, you want to remove the right to strike by putting so many blocks in the way that it is impossible to strike.  That’s mirrored in this quote

“The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”

You know who said that?  Hitler.  He wasn’t exactly pro-strike either.

My children’s education will only ever be disrupted by the likes of you removing their future right to peaceful protest, removing their voice, removing their liberty to the point that they are enslaved by your privileged cant and are not given the opportunity to think and express freely.

If you wanted to obviate a strike of one, two, three million workers, there’s a way you could do it.  But as you want force primary legislation like some sort of societal rapist, I don’t think negotiating with the very people on whom you wish to impose your will isn’t going to cut it, is it, Eton?

My children’s education isn’t threatened by the teachers who are doing a sterling job in spite of you.  It’s threatened by you as you continue to ask for more for less and wonder why it’s all going wrong when no-one is motivated to do it any more.

I will ensure that their education doesn’t falter in that respect – you are the enemy of the state, of the children, of the education for which you claim to speak.

Forty-Six Years On – Part Two

“Here is the clock.The Trumpton clock.  Telling the time, steadily, sensibly, never too quickly, never too slowly.  Telling the time for Trumpton”

So Camberwick Green appears to have been laid waste by the advance of modern society, crushed by the homogenising of standards that took place when artisanry was removed from the picture under a welter burden of mass-produced, functionally satisfactory items.  Standards slipped, we accepted this as a society for reduced cost.  We truly became the peanut payer and we got out monkeys by return.   Has the county town of Trumptonshire suffered the same fate?  Well, let’s have a look… 

  • The Mayor, Philby and Mr Troop – The combined “staff ” at the town hall, the mayor was forever in ceremonial garb and this was a state of affairs that couldn’t last.  Successive councils ultimately abolished the role – there was talk of an elected mayor but they took one look at the buffoon in London and the county voted all but unanimously “no” to that.  The role is now filled at ceremonies by the head of the council – the chain is now a museum piece.  Philby drove the mayor’s car.  Redundant, he ultimately took to cabbing after various driving jobs.  Mr Troop the town clerk is still at the Town Hall.  He is now respectfully called “Mr Troop” rather than the peremptory “Troop” the mayor used so frequently.  The mayor, redundant, left the area.  He is believed to have retired on a ridiculous pension after seeing a couple of years out at the Cabinet Office in a sinecure arranged by an old school chum.
  • Chippy Minton – His name gave away the fact that he was the town carpenter.  His son, Nibbs, was apprentice to him.  As one of the few artisan roles that couldn’t really be undercut, Chippy has made a living over the years, both in intricate woodworking and sitework as his bread and butter.  Nibbs has taken to the family trade well and the Mintons are if not wealthy, at least confident of a stream of work that keeps the wolf a fair way away from the door. 
  • Mrs Cobbit – The flower seller who hadn’t missed a day in forty years (Sunday excepted) is a mere wrinkle in the history of the town now.  The demand for fresh-cut flowers, barring fabricated holidays, funerals and weddings, disappeared completely.  Even linking with the flower cartels that cover the entire country was not enough and shortly after achieving 50 years of not missing a day, succumbed to market forces and retired.
  • Miss Lovelace – Millinery died in the same way flower selling did only quicker again.  Miss Lovelace changed her business over to a genteel tea room and made a living out of that until the coffee revolution came along and, in a cutthroat market, removed her completely from the fray.  She still keeps Pekingese dogs, her window to the outside world.  She doesn’t see as many people as before on her travels but at least she has some contact.
  • Mr Munnings – One of the great artisan trades for five hundred years that had its Armageddon in the 1980s, Mr Munnings was also a victim of the government assault on the print industry.  The advent of desktop publishing saw the demise of typesetting, photogravure and other aspects of the hot metal and plate-based shop.  Mr Munnings sold up, left the area and his present whereabouts are unknown.  His shop is now a tanning salon.
  • Mr Platt – Again, a man whose trade suffered for the advent of the digital age, Mr Platt did, however, manage to survive some lean times where others did not.  A clockmaker by trade, his work diminished in the face of digital timepieces but he maintained a living out of batteries, analogue repairs and the occasional curiosity piece.  A revival in the fortunes of the quality timepiece along with some horse trading in antiques kept Mr Platt afloat.  But then his work was also his hobby
  • Mr Clamp – Mr Clamp, the greengrocer, went the way of the grocer.  The latter is now known only by approximation in the entity that is known as the general store/corner shop and even then that image doesn’t quite sit right.  The greengrocer, despite his local, fresh, high quality produce, lasted longer but also went to the wall in the face of cheap, vacuum-sealed, all-year-round global produce that because of preserving measures outlasted local produce and became cheaper.   Mr Clamp runs a stall twice a week at a local market but is for all intents and purposes out of the trade. His shop became a betting shop and after that traded up to bigger premises, a letting agent.
  • Mr Craddock – The park keeper, he has spent a career dodging removal from his job.  Council services were deregulated but he survived the cull.  Some of the land was sold off, he hung on again.  Redundancy and further reductions in service mean that he is one of the lucky ones – he is in a small, overworked team whose budget will be cut again next year and his job, finally, looks as if it will be going.  He’ll now retire on a pension that is far too small for the years he put in and yet people will abuse him for his loyalty and efforts over time.
  • Fire Brigade – Cuthbert has gone, BarneyMcGrew took a package during the last round of voluntary redundancy and the twins are entirely disillusioned with the job.  Dibble is off long-term sick after a serious injury that has been clearly attributed to understaffing and undermanning and Grubb is holding on because the service is his life.   The station is continuing in the face of a closures campaign even though it puts Trumpton’s safety under dire threat.  Captain Flack remains, but he has never seen morale so low.
  • Mr Wantage and his assistant Fred – Telephone engineer and engineer’s mate, they have gone from the GPO to BT, from BT to O2, never leaving the job but being subject to the misery of increased privatisation that would be so much worse but for their stalwart defence of position by the efforts of the CWU.  The days of the local exchanges might be gone and the personal touch as well as they work for an international behemoth, but they will at least get to retire in comfort.  Small comfort.
  • Nick Fisher, Mr Robinson, Walter Harkin – A bill poster, a window cleaner and a painter and decorator respectively, all three were tangential characters and managed to tick over through the years by the very nature of their specialist skills.  Sole traders all, they would probably be looked upon as somewhere between self-employed and franchisees. Work ebbed and flowed but never dried up; Nick indeed has never been so busy as advertising became one of the genuine growth industries over the interceding years.  And everyone has windows and walls..
  • Antonio – Ice cream man.  Survived various turf wars and thrived as increased population meant that his round expanded without becoming geographically larger.  Sales of crisps, drinks and sweets effectively door-to-door helped too.  Frequently racially abused despite his English roots and accent because his name isn’t “effnickly” British.
  • Raggy Dan – Disappeared years back when the local council arranged individual homeowners to recycle their rubbish for free.  When the council finally latched on to the adage “where there’s muck, there’s brass”, the totter’s number was up.  Current whereabouts unknown.
  • Constable Potter – Redundant.  Job ceased to exist through cuts and the amalgamation of the two stations in Trumpton and Camberwick Green.  PC McGarry already retained a role at the reduced station at Camberwick Green.  Potter ended up in private security on a fraction of the wage at yet another out-of-town supermarket.  Former station is now a wine bar

So that’s Trumpton.  Once again the concertinaing of services and the acceptance of  “good enough” over “excellent” shows an overall decline in fortunes but as a small glimmer of hope, at least some of the individual semi-skilled/skilled workers made good for themselves, even if the community appears to have suffered a structural collapse not unlike Camberwick Green.  Let’s not forget that in the interceding period, Trumpton suffered the most awful riots, documented here.  Even in the most idyllic setting, social deprivation can lead to discontent and unrest.

Next – Chigley

Forty-Six Years On… Part One

Here is a box, a musical box, wound up and ready to play. But this box can hide a secret inside. Can you guess what is in it today?
 

In 1966, Gordon Murray created a stop-start motion series that it is said ostensibly mirrored the triangle of towns in East Sussex that are Wivelsfield Green, Plumpton and Chailey.  It entered the national psyche as something that the nation’s children would grow up alongside.  Those children are now in their forties or (yes) fifties.  The voice of the Trumptonshire Trilogy, Brian Cant, legendary much-loved children’s presenter, is now in his eightieth year.  We all age.

The characters in the series, however, never did. Gordon Murray (a nonagenarian now) destroyed the puppets from Camberwick Green (1966), Trumpton (1967) and Chigley (1969) in the 1980s as they were not built to last and were  in an increasing state of disrepair.  The shows remain but in an appalling lack of wisdom by the BBC, the masters were lost.  They were recovered after prompting by the animator and his son-in-law and remastered in 2012.  Are they important?  Well, if I typed the two words “Pugh, Pugh…” the odds are that the reader will have recited the next four names before they finished this sentence and will be now grinning at what they just did.  They were much loved and they will be again.

So the shows are remastered and have a new lease of life in the twenty-first century.  Would the characters be in the same position?  They hark back to the age of Wilson’s first government, filmed in colour when colour was not yet a broadcast option and television ran to two channels and for a part of the day only.  Would they still have the same stories to tell today?  Let’s see…

Camberwick Green started the ball rolling

  • Mickey Murphy – Mickey was an artisan baker.  The days of the independent baker were sadly numbered by the 1980s with the increased demand for pre-sliced bread in polythene that lasted a week and Mickey’s lot was no different.  He left his specialist skills behind (although he still bakes authentically for pleasure) to man an oven at an out-of-town supermarket, finishing off no end of part-baked loaves delivered by truck.
  • Windy Miller – Windy if anything was more anachronistic that Mickey.  He owns a windmill and the demand for the grains he formerly ground for specialist flour dried up through cheap imports and lack of demand for quality over cost.  He converted the mill to wind power and now faces the opposition of any number of small-minded idiots who now suddenly have decided that his ancient self-powered home is in fact an eyesore.
  • Jonathan Bell – Farmer.  Barely surviving as through intensive increases in milk yield over time, he now has to produce more than twice the milk as forty years ago to just stand still in the face of the handful of large milk companies that took hold of the deregulated market on the demise of the Milk Marketing Board in the 1990s.  Considering turning his land to tourism over farming.
  • PC McGarry – The local bobby on the beat, affectionately know by his number (“number 452”) no longer has a beat in Camberwick Green.  His station is now manned on Tuesday and Thursday only (11am – 3pm) with a telephone access to leave a message outside those hours.  Successive governments have devalued his work and he hopes to retire while he still has a pension for which it would be worth retiring.
  • Mr Carraway – A fishmonger in a country that no longer values fresh fish.  Mr Carraway’s business was in steep decline from the mid ’70s onwards and he sold his shop to sell from a van.  This stayed the execution for quite a while – there was enough business to take the fish to the people and he thrived in relative terms.  Sadly, the decline continued and he sold up completely.  Works part-time on a supermarket fish counter (see Mickey Murphy) that ironically imitates his old shop layout.
  • Peter – A postman, he found his round and working practices under attack time and again.  The GPO has changed name (or “brand”) on several occasions but ultimately he still delivers letters and he is still a postman.  Lives in perennial fear of privatisation and intends to retire within the next twelve months or so before the organisation is sold off from under him.
  • Mr Crockett – Owned the garage.  However, the car maintenance business dropped off as cars became more mechanically sound over time.  Although MOT certification kept him working, alone it was not enough to sustain him.  Sadly, selling petrol tailed off as he was priced out of the trade by high volume, low profit supermarket chains.  Works part-time from home in semi-retirement.  Garage site sold to fast food chain.
  • Doctor Mopp – Left medicine the minute the idiotic hand of government told him to become an administrator rather than tending to and treating sick people.  Sold his practice and retired on the proceeds.  Misses the patients, does not miss the interference of authority.  Not a fan of Andrew Lansley nor of his successor.  Recently seen at several anti-privatisation protests.
  • Thomas Tripp – The milkman, his role has changed somewhat over time.  No longer a sole trader, his round was bought by one of the large milk concerns after deregulation when he would have been forced out through competition. Retains his old round but his round and range of products has expanded while his orders are more likely to be submitted online.  Few nowadays know him by name.
  • Roger Varley – A chimney sweep.  Central heating obviously saw his work tail off over the years.  Retained his motorbike and sidecar which serve him well as a delivery man of various stripes, as well as retaining his chimney sweep paraphernalia for use on demand as the traditional symbol of luck for church weddings in the area.
  • Mr Dagenham – A salesman, the only real change in his business was the advent of mail order, allowing him less time on the road and more in managing orders.  Transnational internet-based behemoths ate into his business to the extent that he was muscled out of the “sales on demand” game and has returned to personal representations.  He is back selling on the road. 
  • Captain Snort and Sergeant Major Grout – The stalwarts at Pippin Fort saw their regiment dissolved as it was merged with another regiment in the area.  It is now a field hospital rather than a training centre for cadets and now is home to any number of military and medical uses.  The historic red uniforms have been discarded for modern-day fatigues.
  • Mrs Honeyman – The chemist’s wife and local gossip, she works part-time and blames immigrants, benefit scroungers and people faking disability for her needing to work despite Camberwick Green having full employment, a 100% White British community make-up and anyone there who actually has a disability is working.  At least some things never change…

The fabric of Middle England appears to have been sacrificed on the altars of big business, standardised mediocrity and the acceptance of convenience over personal touch.  Or am I being cynical.  If only there were more examples I could review…

Next – Trumpton

“Statistically Improbable”

This is short one.

Statistics rarely throw up an “impossible”.  You merely have an “extremely improbable”.

Now, consider this.  There are four high profile disability campaigner/bloggers who I follow on the web.  Three use wheelchairs, one campaigns essentially through their family circumstances.  This oversimplifies the matter and for that I apologise but it is sufficient for them to be able to identify themselves.  Their work is exemplary, an education to read and digest and not only a source of wisdom, but of wit also.

Now, in the last month or so, be it the Paralympic honeymoon period that non-disabled people had or the increased effects of substantial campaigning on disability-related issues, but these four campaigners suddenly have the stage, front and centre and are more publicly showing themselves to be a thorn in the powers-that-be’s side.  Dispatches, even the increasingly Squealer BBC to the Napoleon of government put out a Panorama that didn’t do the Eton Mess of government too many favours.  The tide of anti-disability sentiment is suddenly spotlighted and it’s making for uncomfortable feelings in rarified circles.  And the pressure continues.

And then suddenly, all four find themselves under attack on blogs, Twitter, they find themselves being stalked, reviled, abused and their young family even been thrown into the mix.

Statistically, this is extremely improbable.  Nuisance to government and increased personal attacks.  There appears to be a correlation.  It isn’t “impossible”, statistically it cannot be,of course.  Merely “extremely improbable”. 

I don’t believe in conspiracy and I don’t believe in coincidence.  I do believe there’s a smear afoot.  Draw your own conclusions, I’m reconciled with mine.

Cameron’s Leveson Floor Show plan – not for circulation

10.30 Couple of one-liners, make a pun or two at the expense of aspiring backbench (backMensch? LotsOfLove) toadies. Warm up, ask the crowd where they’re from, hope it wasn’t somewhere where I destroyed SureStart or Remploy

11.00 Sing “I Will Survive”. Solo, A capella, ensure Mrs Cameron (my stage name for Sammy) is nearby in case change mind and want to do it accompanied by karaoke track loaded on to MP3 and docking unit.  I’m hip, me

11.15 Answer a question or two, respond to one or two with comedy Jamaican accent, mon.  Bound to get a laugh, especially if there are a few colonials in the crowd.

11.30  Check I haven’t gone bright purple as I do when rattled or lying or rattled, lying.  Try and deflect if I do – pretend I am a Geordie holidaymaker or something – why aye’ll have a bagga chips.  Mon.  That’s right, isn’t it?

11.45  Pretend chair is a wheelchair and have everyone laughing at my comic interpretations about how all those in wheelchairs can walk perfectly well, they’re just putting it on.  My Lazarus act, I call it.  I plan to put it to a wider audience at the opening of the Paralympics.  Successfully deflect from asking how many times I’ve seen Sideshow Bob nude

12.00  Chas and Bex to come in and sing “I Got You Babe” to each other, professing their love and making people think we don’t go in for fourway bondage.  Remember to sing it under my breath only and not put on those authentic slacks previously owned by Sonny Bono that I bought off eBay.  Must remember to tell B to not bring the Cher wig.  We are in this together.

After lunch

I’ll have had a grog or two so I’ll just do a few accents, lighten the atmosphere.  Likelies – Australian, Spanish (qué?), French shoulder shrugging, Eastern European, grubby northern accents from that high up county, what is it, Scott Land?  Save the German accent for when I meet Angela next – I haven’t borrowed the uniform from Aiden Burley yet.

Song list for the afternoon

Would I Lie To You? – Charles and Eddie

Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson

Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

The Last Waltz – Engelbert Humperdinck

Hang on, who put the last one in?  Doesn’t matter, they all love me and if they don’t, I’ll just make fun of their accents and their paper clothes and their health problems and that they’re poor… and

Goodnight Britain, there’s no more time!  I’ve got a supper appointment!

Related Contingencies

Those of you unaware what a related contingency is, stay with me.  This isn’t a sports/betting matter but you’ll see why it comes up.

England to win 1-0 – 9/1

Rooney to score the first goal – 9/1

Ignore the prices, basically if either lands, you return ten for your one.  However, what if you wanted to bet on England to win 1-0 with Rooney the scorer?  Well, you just multiply out the 10 by the ten and get…

Stop there.  At this point you have related contingencies.  For England to win 1-0, there is a factor that only one team will score, for example.  Rooney’s odds will include the impact of anyone on the pitch, including the opposition, being able to score.

The opposition can’t score if they’re “nil”.  You have to discount them in your two-event selection.  That’s a reduction on the grounds that the one event has a clear impact on the other.  That is what is termed, in betting parlance, as a related contingency.

Now, here’s seven factors.

a) no parent in work
b) poor quality housing,
c) no parent with qualifications,
d) mother with mental health problems
e) one parent with longstanding disability/illness
f) family has low income,
g) Family cannot afford some food/clothing items

D and E have huge scope for related contingency.  You can tie A, F and G together as a related contingency.  Given the disparity in UK society, there’s clear scope to tie all five together in a cycle of self-perpetuation that government seeks to address by making worse, not better.  Having not yet mentioned B and C, even then you can see the clear crossover in them and the five factors already listed that can be attributed on many occasions to the mistreatment of the sick, the disabled and the poor.

“The sick, the disabled and the poor” is of course dehumanising those three swathes of humanity into an amorphous one-word blob, language used to marginalise, depersonalise and ultimately, demonise.  However, in terms of efficiency, “The sick, the disabled and the poor” should be noted that society will use three words when that set of terms will frequently be one person.

Another related contingency.

Why this seven terms?  Well, if you have five, you’re one of Cameron’s “neighbours from hell”.  Yes, he said “the media” will say that but since the government is very publicly telling the media what to say, from the plinth in Downing Street to the clear suppression of news items on the NHS or on WorkFare slavery by the BBC, media and government are now one and the same.

Another related contingency.

Cameron’s edict is that the country is in the thrall of these offensively sick, disabled paupers.  Those who are too ill to work are apparently the criminal masterminds of the UK?  No, clearly not.  Cameron doesn’t believe that but this government has realised there is a massive lobby of disadvantaged people in this country and the sterling work of certain high-profile campaigners is waking this sleeping giant.  The physical confines of the home, the historical “cupboard under the stairs” has been reduced by the virtual world.  Conservatism now approaches fascism as it seeks where possible to limit elements such as social networks.  Liberty is fine as long as you don’t practise it.

I’d be worried were I government.  The voice of disadvantaged people who previously couldn’t be heard is now front, centre and asking questions.  It isn’t beholden to party politics, it isn’t going to go away and if you try to move it invariably the horror story will be revisited in a press that despite being tame, can’t avoid a groundswell of 12 million disabled people asking questions about one of their own.

It isn’t a fight they can win because they can’t fight dirty.  The blog posts in response to Cameron’s dirty bomb already show that.  And they’ll happen every time he tries to peddle his abominable agenda.

Because that’s a related contingency.

Routine Lost

It’s been a month.  I’ve been a bit bent out of shape as my routine has took a couple of administrative whacks.

Normal service to resume shortly but I have to add this.

Grayling never answered over Workfare.  I’m going to assume that he thought I was trying to hack his account, that he didn’t like me because I reminded him of Polly Toynbee and that he doesn’t respond to anyone who will call him for being the hypocritical bullying despot that he is because his response will be nothing save for personal abuse.

He would kill us all and dance on our corpses.  I assume his life is missing something of radical importance or someone did such a number on him when he was smaller that he wants to make us all suffer.

See, that response over his closeted misery and hatred is far more refined than his Socialist Worker and Polly Toynbee bigotry and nonsense.

A Good Friend Of Mine

I have had this friend essentially all my life.  We go back a long way, I’m a bit younger.  We both have Welsh roots.  Our paths have crossed in a variety of ways over the years but we’ve never for example worked together.

In my early years, my friend was always there for me, even on occasions when I wasn’t aware of the fact.  As I grew older, went through school, ‘O’ levels, ‘A’ levels, moved away for my degree, I did as every teenager did – became more independent, more self-absorbed and took things for granted.  My friend didn’t mind.  Still there in the wings, Mum and Dad and my friend got together frequently as my friend was eminently suited to bridging the generation gap.

I started off in work and visited my friend more frequently.  I became more reliant on my friend, suffering a loss of confidence and culture shock that my friend guided me through, supported me and was ultimately responsible for my improvement.  I am aware of that reliance, of the support I was given and of the unstinting loyalty of my friend throughout that period.

In the last decade, my friend and I have spent a lot of time together.  I have two children and both have been introduced to my friend, blissfully unaware of how much they actually owe my friend.  I hope that one day they get to know my friend, not in the way I did, but in a way that although my friend is there, my friend is a friend to them as well and that they need a friend like that from cradle to grave, free at point of contact and according to need.

My friend is the NHS and I would be lying if I were to say that I am not in tears once again at the thought of what my friend, my NHS, has done for me and mine, older, younger, in need or not.

My friend, my NHS now needs our support and help.  Under attack from the self-interest and greed of millionaires who think we should have different friends and we should pay them for the introduction and privilege, the knives are out to see off my friend, my NHS.

We can’t let that happen.  Everyone needs that friend, even when they don’t.

Going Back To Bevan

I’m not going to go into this in depth.  For one, I might be the only one reading and it’s familiar ground…

On the Attlee landslide after the Second World War, despite a rebuilding programme where we stood shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world in pulling ourselves out of global austerity – now that sounds a bit familiar – he went ahead with his promises.

Social reform ahead of Churchill’s ill-conceived campaign on personality meant Clement Attlee got in with a free hand and proceeded to nationalise industry and utility, build houses and reform services.  He kept inflation low, unemployment was practically non-existent (labour shortages were frequently a problem) and legislation for secondary education becoming a right was ensured.

There weren’t materials to build houses but where they could, they did.  This Ministry was under the auspices of Aneurin Bevan and in the time they had, he still built over 1 million houses and rehoused millions as a result.  The nonpareil provision they made, though, is what should be the pride of every citizen on this country – the National Health Service.

You are born in this country, you die in this country and from cradle to grave, you have access to universal health care free at point of use and according to need.  It’s a simple concept – Bevan himself indicated that “no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means”.

That today is under threat.  Bevan created the NHS in 1948.  He resigned a ministry in 1951 when charges were introduced for prescriptions as it violated that principle.  That’s 3 years.  It has taken 60 years (yes, 60 years) for the successive inferior showers to dismantle what he wrought.

Why so long?  Because it’s right.  It’s just.  It’s fair.  And it’s ours.  It isn’t a political football, it’s a matter much more important than that; it’s life and death.  However, for the power-hungry people-hating politico, it is as Bevan states:

A free health service is pure Socialism and as such it is opposed to the hedonism of capitalist society

As a millionaire in the Cabinet, having sold off everything this country has and seeing the only source of further finance as the Soylent Green of the electorate who doesn’t want them, it’s up for grabs.

We have to stop them.  The only way to do that is to go back to the purity of the original idea, the 1948 beginnings.

We need another Bevan.

DWP, I Don’t Think You Have The Right

There was a partial victory when out of the government’s three slavery programmes, one had its policy rewritten one Friday so that it would drop mentions of how it skirted around Minimum Wage Legislation.  That wasn’t enough, though, and it was dropped within a couple of days.

The 16-24 year olds of this country could breathe easier – their first taste of work would not be slavery at a quarter of the going rate or losing that paltry quarter if they didn’t take it.

The 25s and upwards didn’t have the same luxury and remarkably, the disabled people of this country, that massive minority of people who are less likely to be in gainful employment, who work for less on average when they do and whose promotion prospects are less likely, they got to wear not the 8-week programme that the over-25s still had and the under-24s were out of, no.  They got to wear INDEFINITE slavery for what are ironically termed “benefit” (there is no benefit in being a pauper).

Now it is one thing to get these policies overturned but let’s move into the policy for a second.  Walk a mile in the shoes of someone who may not be well enough to walk that mile.  Let’s pretend we are one such “claimant” or “customer” or whatever the DWP calls “the great unwashed” these days.

You are mandated to work, you get sent to Workhouse A.  So does the thirty-year old non-disabled person next to you.

When you go there, you have a right, an inalienable right, to reasonable adjustments in the workplace.  Reasonable adjustments mean that an employer has a duty, with precious little by way of justification to be exempt, to ensure that the Spoonie (see previous blog post) is able to work with the same opportunity as a non-disabled worker or in this case, slave sent alongside him.  Any obstacle or disadvantage that can be offset and isn’t lends itself to a claim of discrimination on the grounds of disability that could end up at a disability tribunal.  There is no ceiling to what such a tribunal could award.

Now, the issue of reasonable adjustments only apply when you are aware that a worker has a disability.  If of course a worker has a disability and chooses not to disclose it, or disclose it in a limited fashion, then that is their prerogative.  Confused?  It’s a minefield, I know.  Here’s the example’s nub, though.

The DWP’s own internal policies will work on the premise that if you disclose to the DWP, it cannot extend nor pass on that disclosure without your permission.  The Data Protection Act of 1998 prevents public bodies from hawking sensitive information about you around.  There is no tacit disclosure, it is not something the body can assume; the disclosure is yours and yours only to make and you can choose as wide or as narrow as you see fit.  You need give no justification.  In terms of “sensitive information” it doesn’t come more sensitive than disability.  Furthermore, Article 4 and Article 8 of the Human Rights Act of 1998 may also come into play.

Article 4 relates to slavery and forced labour.  In the forced labour element, you cannot be forced to work under the threat of punishment that you have not agreed to accept.  I think sanctioning someone for declining the misery of unending workfare fits that bill.  Now, let’s add Article 8.

Article 8 is the right to private and family life.  Essentially you have the right to carry on your life privately without government interference.  That can be interpreted to encompass race, religion, sexuality but above all (yes, there is an overarching obligation) disability.  Your disability is yours.  The government doesn’t have a right to intervene in it, talk about it to its neighbours or pass it on to an employer determined to work you into the ground forever for pennies.  See the crossover with Article 4?

Now, Workfare.  The non-disabled 30-year-old can be sent on a finite scheme and suffer no sanction at the end.  At the same company, the disabled person can be sent on the same scheme forever and suffer sanction should they ever choose to leave or fail to discharge their “duty”.

That’s clearly unfair – indeed, I would say that opens up the floor to the fact that by demanding more out of someone with a disability, this scenario is clearly discriminatory – but what you should ask is this:

How did Workhouse A find out the disabled candidate had a disability?  If they didn’t find out from the disabled worker, who, given the choice of servitude/slavery forever or for 8 weeks, is not going to admit the condition that doesn’t  allow parole.  It can only be from a disclosure from the referring body, the DWP.

DWP, I don’t think you have the right.  I’d like to see the rationale that circumvents the legislation above because DPA98, HRA98 and EA2010 aren’t optional.  They’d better have a good answer.