In a nutshell, science has proven that ME is a real disease, and this tripe peddled in Oxford is purely politically motivated pseudoscience.
In other words, it’s just part of a general pseudoscientific model of illness that claims that somehow it’s all imaginary because this fits with Tory and Blairite attitudes to unemployment and those off sick through disability, in the same way that Stalinist policies corrupted science in the Soviet Union.
Painful deformities of the skeleton such as bowed legs: The return of rickets is another sign that the Conservative Government is regressing Britain to conditions during the primitive Victorian era – or even earlier.
Social security researcher and commenter Samuel Miller thinks they are.
He wants health authorities in the UK to investigate whether the return of diseases linked to poverty – and to the Victorian era – such as gout, TB, measles, scurvy, rickets and whooping cough.
This Writer flagged up the possibility as long ago as October 2013, after the UK’s chief medical officer formally announced the return of rickets.
I wrote: “Can there be any doubt that this rise in cases has been brought about, not just by children sitting at home playing video games rather than going out in the sunlight, as some would have us believe, but because increasing numbers of children are having to make do with increasingly poor food, as Cameron’s policies hammer down on wages and benefits and force working class people and the unemployed to buy cheaper groceries with lower nutritinal value?”
Despite Tory claims that the UK is in better shape than it has been in years, it seems clear that these health issues are getting worse.
Mr Miller writes: “There’s an urgent need for health authorities to investigate whether Ian Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms, and cuts to social services, are responsible for the alarming rise in cases of malnutrition and the return of Victorian diseases.
“There is growing evidence that the draconian welfare reforms are irreparably damaging the mental and physical health of benefit claimants. Health figures recently revealed a 50% increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with malnutrition over the past four years, and a return of Victorian diseases linked to poverty such as gout, TB, measles, scurvy, rickets, and whooping cough are a barometer of failure and neglect.”
If this is right, then the Telegraph piece I quoted in a previous article isn’t just scaremongering but disparages the integrity of the mainstream press.
Newspaper articles are expected to be fair and accurate. If this Zelo Street piece is accurate, then the Telegraph article was neither.
And where does that leave us, with regard to the concerns it raised about the EU?
After two and a half weeks had passed with no Government in place, Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva has invited Passos Coelho to continue as Prime Minister. He has ten days to put his party’s programme to Parliament and pass a budget – something that is now more than a week overdue. Should the new Government’s budget be voted down, the most likely outcome is that PS leader António Costa will have a go.
This has been spun by Evans Pritchard as “For the first time since the creation of Europe’s monetary union, a member state has taken the explicit step of forbidding eurosceptic parties from taking office on the grounds of national interest … [Cavaco Silva] has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime”.
Whatever the reasons for Cavaco Silva’s decision, the reality is all to do with Portugal’s internal politics, than anything coming out of Brussels.
The Conservatives have since claimed to make welfare provision “fair” by introducing substantial cuts to benefits and introducing severe conditionality requirements regarding eligibility to social security, including the frequent use of extremely punitive benefit sanctions as a means of “changing behaviours,” highlighting plainly that the Conservatives regard unemployment and disability as some kind of personal deficit on the part of those who are in reality simply casualities of bad political decision-making and subsequent policy-shaped socio-economic circumstances.
There is a major inconsistency in the Conservative Government’s thinking right there.
“The Conservatives regard unemployment and disability as some kind of personal deficit” – basically, they say that each individual chooses to be unemployed or disabled… to under-achieve, if you like. That it is a character issue, not one that is related to their health or environment.
They point at people who manage to overcome disability or personal circumstances, and actually manage to make a living for themselves in spite of their infirmity or the economic situation in which they have been placed, and try to tell us that anybody can do it if they can.
The inconsistency is that, if some people can choose to be unemployed or disabled because that is part of their character, then it follows that some people can over-achieve – managing to make something of their lives despite any disability or whatever else might be affecting them.
They manage this, not because they are the norm, but because they are exceptional.
If the Tories aren’t taking that into account, then they are persecuting people on an entirely false premise.
Sure, some people might be playing the system, and some might be malingerers who only think they’re ill – but the vast majority are likely to be people of average abilities who need help to get out of a bad situation.
Instead of helping, the Tories have been punishing them. They are “casualties of policy-shaped socio-economic circumstances”.
Everybody with spina bifida can’t be Tanni Grey-Thompson. If only it were as simple as that.
Everybody with cerebral palsy can’t be Francesca Martinez.
Pick another celebrity who is known to have a health problem, be in physical or mental. Everybody with that health problem can’t be them.
Mostly, they’re just ordinary people who’ve been saddled with an extra issue to handle every day.
That’s why, when a government proposes changing the rules affecting them, it makes sense to check how they will be affected, in order to avoid discrimination.
The fact that the Conservatives have dismantled the mechanism for doing so – they are now claiming they cannot perform the cumulative impact assessment that has been requested, even though other organisations like NIESR and Landman Economics have done so and made recommendations to help the government follow suit – shows that the Conservatives are quite happy to discriminate against minority groups.
In fact, discrimination against minorities is their bread and butter; their mantra: Divide and rule.
ESA sanctions ranked by disability: Notice that mental illness attracts by far the largest number of sanctions. Aren’t these the people who are most likely to commit suicide in such circumstances?
Yet again, the Department of Work and Pensions has been revealed as an organ of monstrous bureaucratic cruelty this week, with a report from the charity Mind showing that the DWP is three times more likely to sanction someone with mental health problems than to help them find work.
The report states that 250,000 people with mental health issues are receiving Employment and Support Allowance, and of these, 19,259 were sanctioned last year while only 6,340 were helped into work in the same time frame.
Employment and Support Allowance is supposed to act as a safety net, to prevent Britain’s most vulnerable citizens from extreme levels of poverty.
If you’re suffering from a mental illness, the safety net is filled with holes and suspended over a pit of sharks, each with Iain Duncan Smith’s face. The analogy is flippant, but the facts are anything but.
The levels of distress that arbitrary sanctions can bring to people suffering from severe depression, anxiety, and eating and personality disorders are huge.
To inflict this kind of stress on someone already struggling with a mental health problem is nothing short of barbaric, and yet the DWP continues to trample those who need help beneath its great, crushing wheel of incompetence and cruelty.
Another stellar idea from the Department of Work and Pensions has been to station DWP employees in food banks, ostensibly help those seeking emergency food supplies to find work.
Ironically, this is clear proof that Iain Duncan Smith is aware of the effects of his punitive measures. He knows that sanctions have forced more than a million people to rely on emergency food, and by placing DWP advisors in food banks, he is essentially making food banks an accepted part of social security in Britain.
Portugal’s president: ‘This is the worst moment for a radical change to the foundations of our democracy’
As the United Kingdom prepares for a referendum on its own membership of the European Union, this is chilling.
Eurosceptics will warn that the Union is now a threat to the democracy of individual nation-states, and with Portugal’s behaviour as an example, there will be no answer.
With this, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and other assaults on democracy blotting its record, EU membership is looking increasingly unwise.
Against that, we have the suggestion that the United Kingdom could split if we leave the EU, with the SNP suggesting this might be the cause for another independence referendum.
What’s the best thing to do? It’s looking like an increasingly impossible decision to make.
Portugal has entered dangerous political waters. For the first time since the creation of Europe’s monetary union, a member state has taken the explicit step of forbidding eurosceptic parties from taking office on the grounds of national interest.
Anibal Cavaco Silva, Portugal’s constitutional president, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime bequeathed by the EU-IMF Troika.
He deemed it too risky to let the Left Bloc or the Communists come close to power, insisting that conservatives should soldier on as a minority in order to satisfy Brussels and appease foreign financial markets.
Democracy must take second place to the higher imperative of euro rules and membership.
These are very interesting arguments, from the Pertinent Problems blog. Comments are, as always, welcomed. As this is about Scotland/the SNP, This Writer is duty-bound to request that any contributions be rational and polite.
Although the SNP now have 56 of the 59 seats, their push for independence is weaker than you might think.
The North Sea rigs mean that oil would make up the vast majority of an independent Scotland’s exports and account for thousands of jobs. With the recent plummet in the price per barrel it is no surprise that Mrs Sturgeon is biding her time for a referendum.
This should be good for Scotland; I personally believe that it is much stronger in the union (though that is a discussion for another time) and hopefully nationalism and the sizeable support for independence (it was 45% in the referendum in September last year) will die down significantly before a viable opportunity for a referendum presents itself.
But Mrs Sturgeon has another, more cunning, reason for waiting.
With the debate on Britain’s membership of the EU beginning to heat up and opinion polls shifting from just 27% favouring an exit in June 2015 to 38% earlier this month, the possibility of a Brexit is becoming increasingly likely.
If Britain does vote to leave, Mrs Sturgeon’s party has said they she would push for a referendum and it seems likely that she’d win it.
Hopefully for the sake of the Union and the people of Britain neither of those things will happen.
And a hypocrite too: Filibustering Philip Davies MP pledged his support to carers as part of the national Carers Week 2015 awareness campaign, in June. Photograph: Carers Week
Philip Davies was aided in his filibuster by fellow Tories Christopher Chope and David Nuttall. Commenting on their behaviour in a Twitter chat, This Writer suggested that they were the kind of people only a mother could love – although one suspects such love would come exclusively from mothers who didn’t have to pay to park at maternity.
A Conservative MP has blocked a proposed law to introduce free hospital parking for carers by speaking in the House of Commons for 93 minutes in order to use up the time allocated for the debate.
A private member’s bill brought forward by Julie Cooper, Labour MP for Burnley, set out a proposed exemption to hospital parking charges for carers. At the moment hospitals have discretionary powers to grant exemptions to parking charges.
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