Wednesday, 31 December 2014
If the past few weeks are an indicator for the year ahead, I’m screwed. At the moment I’m awaiting an Access to Work review decision. If negative I’ll have to stop work. Even if positive there is the small matter of payment for October, November and December; a sum amounting to £2,940 – money which I don’t have.
In two weeks HMRC will be expecting in excess of £2,500 from me – money which I don’t have.
Up to now I’ve managed to juggle things around in order that my PA’s are paid. To me the most important thing. However, now my local authority has failed to pay this month’s Direct Payments which means I don’t have enough money in my ‘Care Account’ to pay my PAs in time for the 1st of the month.
So with unemployment a very real possibility in the New Year; HMRC coming for me for their pound of flesh; and bankruptcy a near neighbour, I doubt I’ll be looking forward to two fucking thousand and fucking fif fucking teen.
Sunday, 28 December 2014
Asked to: “Stand up if u hate David Cameron and the Coalition” Helen on Facebook stated: “I don't hate them ,I feel really sorry for them , because they are going to have to carry the burden around with them for the rest of their lives...”
I'd not waste pity on such a shower. To them it's not a burden but a means to an end. The end being the enrichment and hegemony of their class. If they're kicked out in May next year, and I hope they are. They will slide and crawl back to their sponsors who will give them cosy jobs as a way of a thank you for services rendered.
As for hating this coalition, I’d say don’t. Hate is an especially self-devouring emotion. One that too easily hurts the hater over the hated. So, don’t hate; but don’t forget. Our day will come and when it does we should rain down a terrible retribution upon those who are killing disabled people, starving children and making thousands homeless.
This is a class war; our enemy is well aware of this and is fighting to win. We must gain the same determination and fight for our class.
Saturday, 27 December 2014
Can we blame the press for everything that is wrong in our society? Bad government. The promotion of greed above all else. A growing intolerance of anything different. Are these all the fault of a predominantly right-wing press?
Sure many aspects of our press are scum. Indeed the quality and objectivity of the press is about as low as it could ever be. However, we as people must accept some responsibility. The fact is too many of us have lost the ability of individual thought; far too many newspaper readers allow editorial bias to form their opinion.
A newspaper is merely a tool. As cognitive beings we should use the information printed within a newspaper to come to our own conclusions about articles published. If we feel the newspaper is being overly subjective in its presentation of the news, stop buying the rag; use it as chip wrapping or in the Khazi, not as a vital means of information.
The biggest sin in the modern age is the way in which we have surrendered our individual means of reasoning and allowed the media to overly influence almost every part of our lives from what we eat to who we voter for to how we appear.
Thursday, 25 December 2014
White or black, doesn't really matter as James Bond is a fictional character from a novel given another lease of life through film. If people are seriously demanding he has to be white on account of Ian Fleming creating him as a white character, then let's stick with 'reality' and feature a 95-year-old James Bond (because if we're going to be purists that's how old Bond is now) tearing around a retirement home at 2 mph on a mobility scooter in elasticated-waisted jogging pants, a tatty cardigan giving a clue to his culinary choices from the past few weeks and tartan slippers with Velcro fastenings.
Saturday, 13 December 2014
George Santayana said of war, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". Variations and paraphrases such as “Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them.” have all too frequently been invoked as conflict after conflict reap their bloody harvest of children, women and men.
Simply put Santayana and others were saying the study of history is necessary in order to stop mankind endlessly repeating the mistakes of the past. And for years I observed these prophetic words, usually as I read or heard of yet another conflict tearing humans from this life.
In the past few months however I’ve began to revise my views on these quotations. The Gaza onslaught by the IDF this summer saw the relentless bombardment and slaughter of innocent civilians in in this tiny strip of land by the IDF.
It isn’t a matter of Israel not remembering its past. Nor is it a case of Israel being ignorant of history’s mistakes. How would they considering their history of persecution, pogroms and the holocaust.
No, it goes deeper than that. Israel, the US and the UK, countries with bloody pasts, don’t enter into conflict situations misguidedly. They haven’t perused the books of history and somehow misinterpreted the message.
We need only to look at the way the Tories are trying place a revisionist spin on the ‘Great War’. Instead of viewing this war, as generations have, as a bloodbath on a mass industrial scale waged by belligerent Empires vying for power, the Tories are now trying to sell it as a ‘just war’.
In conclusion, people and more particularly countries don’t forget or repeat the mistakes of the past. Instead they set out wilfully to add their own to an already oversubscribed catalogue of wanton death and destruction. So maybe we should begin to regard history and its lessons merely as theoretical abstracts whose only purpose is to hold up the past as a mirror of what will surely happen in the future.
"Only the dead have seen the end of war."
Come next May there is a real need to beat the Conservatives. Another five years of a Tory-led coalition, as I'm guessing the two horse race for No 10 is a thing of the past, will be catastrophic for the country.
As a disabled person I fear for my future under a Conservative-led coalition made up of Tories, UKIP, SNP (??), and assorted Ulster unionists. Depending on how many seats they win, UKIP would push the coalition further to the right. With Duncan-Smith in charge of the DWP there is no hope for a last minute reprieve for ILF, universal credit will be deployed, it will be business as usual with the Work Capability Assessment WCA and Access to Work will see further cuts.
Yet within 5 months to a general election I'm disappointed that people within the disability movement are still screaming ‘Nazi!’ at this government; and deploying concentration camp imagery in support of their disapprobation with the government's disgraceful and inhumane treatment of disabled people and other target groups in our midst.
This country has a government mainly dominated by nasty Tories. The policies this government has put in place, especially the (WCA), benefits’ sanctions and the bedroom tax (with a universal credit to come), are forcing millions into real poverty. It is also criminally responsible for the deaths of thousands of people wrongly assessed by the WCA or taken off benefits through sanctions.
The difference between this Tory led coalition and the Nazi Party in the 1930s and 40s is that the latter had programmes in place specifically to kill people, including the use of euthanasia as part of a wider eugenics programme. This resulted in the legalised killing of up to 200,000 disabled people.
Later the Nazis began the extermination of European Jewry. Again this programme sprang from a policy that deliberately set out to order the annihilation of an entire ethnic/religious grouping.
Are there parallels between the Nazis and the Tory led ConDem government? The answer is obviously ‘yes’ in that both regimes had or have a low esteem of disabled people. Both have used propaganda to demonise and vilify those they wish to attack politically. The policies of both parties have resulted in the deaths of thousands of disabled people.
What we as a movement need to do is to hold up neo-liberalist economics as the malignant force behind this government’s neglect and attacks on sections of the population such as disabled people. In my experience calling this government, or its predecessor, ‘Nazi’ does not resonate with the majority of the country. Much of the public is turned off when they see us using Nazi and concentration camp imagery to get our point across; because they don’t identify the government in those terms.
Nazism was a phenomenon that captured and ensnared great swathes of Europe eighty years ago; and enjoying power in the Iberian Peninsula as recently as the mid-1970s. This doesn't mean we should not remain vigilant and resist the Fascism and Nazism when and where we can.
However, at the same time we must get across to the public the message that neoliberalism is a harmful and hateful ideology. That neoliberal economic policies are to blame for the current deficit; a direct result of casino banking. That disabled and unemployed people did not cause the crisis; but rather an under-regulated banking system operating along neolib lines was responsible.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Arrived home to a letter from DWP Belfast. Confirmation of my A2W payment I guessed. After all A2W owes me over £1100 for October and just below £900 for November.
I guessed wrong. Instead a JCP form telling me that A2W cannot pay me as my funding ran out on 26/09/2014. The date they received the A2W support worker claim was 11/11/2014; yet the date the decided to send me this ‘reminder’ was almost a month later, 08/12/2014.
On September 26 I called A2W to enquire about a late payment and to ask how I would need to go about getting a three-yearly review. In the first instance I was told the late payment should arrive in my account the following week, and that my review had taken place in August and A2W would fund me for a further 3-years.
Today’s letter totally floored me. On calling A2W it was explained that my A2W funding had run out on 26/09/2014. According to A2W they had called my mobile phone twice on 08/10/2014 and once on 09/10/2014.
Yet they left no messages; try me on my landline; leave a message on my landline; phone me at work; leave a message on my work phone; email to either my work or home email addresses both of which they have.
No, instead they waited a further two months and then sent me a letter. Thanks A2W. Your efforts to contact me were absolutely heroic. The pains you went to contact me barely register on the ‘I-can’t-be-fucking-arsed-to-bother-ometer’, which believe me is a takes some fucking stooping to achieve.
The soulless person I spoke to could only inform me that an assessor would contact me sometime up to 22 December. Not a lot of leeway this side of Christmas if they miss the bus into work; or go under with stress.
So, I’m £2K+ short. Come the end of the month I have a wages bill in excess of £2200; by the middle of January HMRC will be sharpening its beak and looking in my direction for the best part of 3 grand!
Looks like I’m up to my chin in the doo-doos; and I can’t feel anything solid underfoot.
Monday, 8 December 2014
So what if poor people can't cook it's no excuse to starve them to death. Equally there is no justification in smashing in the heads of vacuous Tory peers who don't have a scintilla of a Scooby about real life.
It’s not been a good day so far for disabled people. To begin with there was a ruling against wheelchair users having the right to priority over buggies in wheelchair designated areas on buses http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-30376446. This was followed by the decision from the High Court to find the government’s closure of the ILF lawful.
For Duncan-Smith and the coalition this is yet another victory of common sense neo-liberalism against the tyranny of the welfare state. Because that is exactly how they perceive the situation. Thus should we get another Tory-led coalition then the ILF will end.
We must also be aware that Labour is harbouring similar plans for the ILF. Which does not bode well for us, however I think we as disabled people still have some bargaining chips remaining; and I’m not writing us off while there are still five months of campaigning left.
Though not an ideas person, I am willing to get behind the campaign and help spread the message amongst trade unionists. So it looks as though there will be no let-up in 2015…
In the case of Doug Paulley against First Bus the test of reasonableness found that it was not reasonable to expect a bus driver to require that a pushchair vacate the space on a bus ‘reserved’ for wheelchair users. Instead a bus driver could only request a parent with an occupied pushchair to vacate the space; and of course a request can be turned down.
|Buggies versus wheelchairs - is there a middle ground?|
However, the judge attempts to lessen the impact of the decision thus:
"It has to be accepted that our conclusion and reasoning in this case means that wheelchair users will occasionally be prevented by other passengers from using the wheelchair space on the bus.
I do not, however, believe that the fact that some passengers will - albeit rarely - act selfishly and irresponsibly is a sufficient reason for imposing on bus companies a legal responsibility for a situation which is not of their making and which they are not in a position to prevent."
In all respect, your Honour, your ruling will give a green light to the selfish and irresponsible. This I can state from experience as a wheelchair and bus user.
These days I rarely use buses. There are a number of underlying issues that make travel by bus difficult, not least having a neurogenic bladder. Yet on those occasions I use buses I invariably meet with problems, most of which involve other travellers.
In rush hour, bus stops heaving with people in a hurry to get to work are not the best places for a wheelchair user to get a driver’s attention. Even when my PA has alerted the driver, by the time I board the bus the vehicle is so crowded that manoeuvring anywhere is an impossibility.
Forget about trying to claim the wheelchair ‘designated’ area. It isn’t going to happen.
Off peak times while easier to board buses can be equally as fraught for us. Most of the time our ‘reserved’ spot is occupied by a buggy user; and a lot more times than ‘occasionally’ we meet with resistance. That is the other passenger refuses to move.
While this is for the most part pushchair users. I’ve also had other passengers insisting they have a right to use the space as they’ve purchased a ticket; and that I’m travelling free!
If this ruling is the way forward for wheelchair users then there will be a decline in the numbers using buses. Once again we’re becoming marginalised through the findings of the judiciary. While the test of reasonableness may be claimed to underpin the decision arrived at by the judges in the Court of Appeal, I not overly confident that we will be reasonably treated when it comes to competing for space on buses.
As someone has already suggested in a letter to the BBC News site first come first served. Since wheelchair users are often allowed onto buses after all other passengers have boarded and alighted…you get the picture.