Tuesday, 17 October 2017

My modem's lost its mojo

Just spent another interminable chunk of my finite life span on the phone to BT. Once again the BB is moving at the speed of a dead snail; or it's simply given up the ghost and done a moody into the ether, or wherever dead bandwidth goes after curling up its toes.

After hanging on the phone for what seemed like a mini-eternity I finally made contact with a live voice. I then answered the compulsory fuck-me-cor-blimey-O'Reilly obvious questions, you know...is you modem switched on? What browser are you using? Have you tried unplugging the modem while singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in the style of a Gregorian chant while holding your breath for an hour?

So, my BT techie having now eliminated the impossible, decides whatever remains, no matter how whacky, must be the problem.

"Where is you modem?" she asks.

"On my desk" I respond wondering where this is going.

"Do you have any other electrical nearby, such as monitors, mobile phones or landlines?" She warily poses.

"Yes" I say. "All of those things. Is this a problem? I mean they're all on my desk. Isn't it usual to have a modem connected to your computer as well as having phones nearby?" I ask in a somewhat incredulous voice.

"That's the problem. You need to move the modem away from those pieces of equipment as they all emit conflicting signals" said said techie, with more than a soupçon of triumphalism in her trilling voice.

"OK, point taken." I grudgingly retort. "Where would be the best place to site the modem?" I tentatively posed.

"Right, keep away from you monitor, tablet, laptop, mobile phone, but especially away from your cordless phone. Oh, and walls and windows can be a problem." Came back with all the authority of BT techie of the month.

"So, keep away from my monitor, tablet, laptop, mobile phone, cordless phone, walls and windows? Hmm, quite difficult that, as my home is full of all those gadgets, and just to be bloody awkward it is enveloped in walls, which just to put the cherry on the cake, have windows placed within them. Do you think moving into a field would solve the problem?" I concluded, in a somewhat, some might think unreasonable, sarcastic tone.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Not so smart phones

In line with my exercise routine I thought I'd buy a smart watch to register stuff such as mileage cycled (I've got a mini bike peddle machine that I use in tandem with my wheelchair), calories lost, etc. The watch could also act as a SatNav, text messenger, etc.

I looked on line and noticed PC World/Curry's sold a Samsung watch, which would link nicely with my Samsung Galaxy android. Great, I schlepped over to the Old Kent Road of said store. After looking around at the smart watches on offer, I couldn't see any Galaxy watches. On asking a staff member I was told that PC World didn't carry this model in the shop.

Just as a matter of interest I then asked if I could try one of the Apple smart watches. "No Sir, we don't allow customers to try this product on.""Oh, so how do I know if the watch fits?" I asked."You buy the watch, then try it on, of course." Replied the shop assistant in a matter-of-fact-what-are-you-like-you-daft-twat-DOH, as though I was Mr Fuckingstupid asking the most daft of questions.

"OK, I see. Tell me, my friend. You're wearing an expensive pair of trainers. What were they, £150?"

"Yes??" he responded guardedly.

"What are you, size 9.5, 10?" I enquired.

"Yeh, 10, in these trainers. Sometimes size 9 or 9.5, depends on the trainers. Nike usually comes up a bit bigger."

"Bet they comfortable? They look really comfy to me." I added.

"They're good, geez. Need to be in this job, on me feet all day." he griped.

"So, I'm looking to buy a £300+ to £400+ watch, and you think I'm being pushy asking to try it on?" I queried. "Don't you think it's reasonable for me to make this request?"

"Well nobody else has asked me to try one on. And anyway, they're not that popular as we don't sell many." Was his rejoinder.

Oh well, it's good to know that irony lessons weren't wasted on this bloke.

Some small crimes no longer investigated by our broken police forces

As the police are now so stretched for resources they will no longer be investigating small crimes. The question being asked, of course, is what constitutes a 'small crime'? 

How about these, for starters? 

  • Billion pound fraud committed in the City of London? 
  • Ex-prime ministers, Tory grandees, and Lords buggering children? 
  • Thousands of disabled people dying as a result of flawed health assessments? 
  • Politicians taking us to war on the say so of doctored reports? 
  • Political parties cheating on election expenses thus getting an advantage over their opponents? 
  • MPs cheating on their expenses and hiding behind ignorance of the very rules they put in place?

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

National Disabled People's Summit on the 4th November

The National Disabled People's Summit on the 4th November. See below for details of the Summit and the Agenda and Timetable for the day.

Please click on this link:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/national-disabled-peoples-summit-tickets-38706991654 to complete the eventbrite form so we can plan for your access needs, dietary requirements and which workshops you would like to attend.

Since 2010 Disabled people have been subject to brutal attacks in every area of our lives caused by the disproportionate impact of austerity measures and the dismantling of the welfare system. In August the United Nations disability committee publicly declared that they are now more worried about the UK than any other country in the entire history of the committee and that UK Government “social cuts” have led to “human catastrophe”. This followed publication at the end of last year of the Committee’s investigation into the UK which found evidence of “grave and systematic violations” of Disabled people’s rights due to welfare reform.

Yet the Tory Government continues to deny there is a problem.

This summit will bring together Deaf and Disabled people from the trade union movement, Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations and grassroots campaigns to explore how we can more effectively co-ordinate our resistance and organise joint campaigning in identified areas.

The event will be largely workshop based with the aim of each workshop to come up with and agree a campaigns plan that participants will go away and work together to put into action. The idea of the Summit is to inspire concrete activity that will lead to real change.

The venue is wheelchair accessible, BSL interpretation will be provided and there will be a quiet room. Lunch will be provided (with thanks to the National Education Union). Please click 'register' to complete the booking form with your access and dietary requirments if you wish to attend the day. Please pick one workshop from session one, and one workshop from session two. 

Session 1 - Campaign priorities

Independent living

Social security

Accessible transport

Inclusive education

Mental Health


Session 2 – Organising

Protest and direct action

Legal challenges/using the law

Art and protest

Using the media


Trade union organising

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Let's sort out the class struggle in our own party first

There is most definitely a class war being waged. Sadly, that war is also being fought out within the Labour Party where the right is still controlling the mechanisms of power, and holding on tenaciously.

So, when people flippantly dismiss the struggle between right and left within the party as a distraction, I advise caution. Of course, the two wings of the party should be united against our real class enemy, the Conservatives. But sadly, this isn’t the case. No instead of a party unified, bound in common cause, pressing all its resources into action against Tory austerity, we are divided.

The Blairite right, including Progress, has for the past two years undermined the Corbyn leadership. It is only since Corbyn took over as leader of the party that disabled people are at last being listened to. The Labour Manifesto from the election this year is a million miles removed from that of 2015 when Rachel Reeves and Kate Green were the leading figures in the shadow DWP and disability arena.

Let's not forget, in March 2015, weeks before the general election, Rachel Reeves famously stated in the Guardian that the Labour Party was not the party of benefit claimants. 

At an earlier meeting I had with Rachel and Kate where I was pushing for Labour to come out in support of the ILF, Kate wondered why a scheme that helped only 19,000 people with complex care and support needs was being supported so many. When I said, “It’s called Solidarity, Kate. You know, the basic building blocks of Socialism?” She looked at me as though I was Satan himself.

We need to wrest the levers of power from those few who are stubbornly holding onto the controls of the Labour Party. Let’s remember who introduced the Work Capability Assessment, and during whose term of office the first attacks on disability benefits and services began. Then we might talk about dismissing left and right politics from our struggle. For I say that we need to win the class struggle in our own party before we can properly face the Conservatives.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Disabled people are the collateral damage in the 'friendly fire' of Tory government austerity

This Tory government has no compunction about allowing disabled people to exist in social isolation and exclusion. The fact that disabled people are dying through suicide or enforced poverty means nothing to May's Conservative Party or its followers. Disabled people have become the collateral damage in the 'friendly fire' of Tory government austerity.

Friday, 29 September 2017

We need rent control now!

Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to Conference yesterday elicited a sharp reaction from capitalists when he branded capitalism as “broken”. “The same dogmatic mantra”, summed up Corbyn, only served to “deregulate, privatise, cut taxes for the wealthy, weaken rights at work, delivering profits for a few, and debt for the many”.

Responding speedily Ms May declared, “A free market economy, operating under the right rules and regulations, is the greatest agent of collective human progress ever created. It is unquestionably the best, and indeed the only sustainable, means of increasing the living standards of everyone in a country.”

Except Ms May, neoliberalist capitalism has forced masses of deregulation. Deregulation that is driving down the living standards of millions in our countries. Zero hour contracts, false self-employment and the lifting of rent controls to name a few.

Indeed, last year the Conservatives voted down a proposal that required private landlords to make their rented housing “fit for human habitation” by a vote of 312 to 219. But then 72 MPs on the Tory benches are private landlords, so why would they make vote to make their rented properties fit for human dwelling?

Yet, the Residential Landlords Association still bleated “Rent controls are an attack on landlords”. Yes, Mr hard-done-by Landlord, just as penicillin was an attack on syphilis.

The housing crisis in the UK, particularly in London, the South East and some of our bigger cities is out of control. In London house prices are being overinflated by non-domiciled people buying up properties, which are often unlived in, left empty. Cheap mortgages are encouraging buy-to-let landlords to hoover up properties.

These factors put a block on first-time-buyers getting onto the property ladder. Thus, we have a group of citizens who would ordinarily be predisposed to home ownership forced onto the private rented market, a market highly populated by buy-to-let landlords, the very group who are outpricing first-time-buyers. This is exactly how the unregulated free market economy impoverishes ordinary people.

Allowing private landlords the freedom to set rents at whatever level that they’re able to squeeze from renters cannot continue. Allowing private landlords to throw people out of their properties in order to jack up their rents must stop. Precarious tenure should be legislated against, and security of tenancy made a human right.

From 1915 to 1980 rent controls were in operation in the UK. Rent controls are employed in Canada, Germany and some American states, including New York City. The UK is in dire need to return to a fair and just rent control system.