Daily Archives: October 9, 2015

Beware! The Dark Tories have come to JUDGE you!

151009darktoryjudges

This one will probably appeal only to comics fans, but it made This Writer giggle.

Certain commentators have taken an interest in the posture adopted by certain of the entities inhabiting the Conservative Party conference this year.

It seems they look like the four Dark Judges from the hit 2000AD comic series Judge Dredd.

According to the above image, this would make George Osborne improbably equivalent to Judge Fire, and Theresa May would be – perhaps more appropriately – Judge Fear.

The other two Dark Judges are left as they appeared in the original image, but we can have fun imagining who would take their place, among the current crop of Tories.

As Judge Mortis, whose touch brings decay, perhaps we could substitute Jeremy Hunt?

Of course there can be no doubt who should take the crown as Judge Death, for whom everybody is guilty of “the crime of life”.

It can only be Iain Duncan Smith.

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The Hunt file: doctors’ dossier of patients ‘put at risk’ by health secretary

Doctors are compiling a dossier of patients whose health they say has been endangered because the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has misled the public into thinking that hospitals do not provide 24/7 care.

They claim to have details of at least 14 cases in which patients who needed urgent medical attention delayed going to see a doctor at the weekend because statements by the health secretary made them believe the care would be inadequate due to a lack of senior medics on duty.

In one case a cancer patient in London was left paralysed after failing to attend emergency services last weekend because he believed government rhetoric about doctors not working anti-social hours. He finally sought help on Monday, they say.

The doctors behind the dossier said such cases are the result of what they called “the Hunt effect”, namely that some patients are holding off seeking treatment at a weekend – including women who are about to give birth – because they think they will not be well cared for or even die as a result.

Source: The Hunt file: doctors’ dossier of patients ‘put at risk’ by health secretary | Global | The Guardian

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Jeremy Hunt’s Chinese workout will inspire you to toil harder | The Poke

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, wants the British to work more like the Chinese, so in case cutting tax credits doesn’t inspire you enough, he’s put together a new DVD. Thanks Jez!

Source: Jeremy Hunt’s Chinese workout will inspire you to toil harder | The Poke

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Why should a young person at the start of their life feel like they want to end it?  | The poor side of life

Ashton-Under-Lyne Job Centre Plus.

Ashton-Under-Lyne Job Centre Plus.

I received a telephone call. It was from a claimant at Ashton Jobcentre. They were panicking and I could hear them crying. I asked what was wrong and they said that they had received a letter stating that they had to attend a work programme course in a different town too far away to walk and they didn’t have enough bus fare to get there.

The claimant sat down and said that they couldn’t do this anymore. They wanted to end their life. It was too hard. How many things are they going to be asked to do, they said.

This [person] is very vulnerable with health issues. They were found fit by the gods of Atos and were now being put into situations that they are finding very difficult to deal with.

Comrades took them to a safe place and provided the compassion that they needed. Made sure that they had enough food etc and a list of things to do – one of them being to be put back on ESA.

The stress of the Jobcentre is literally killing them.

Source: Why should a young person at the start of their life feel like they want to end it?  | The poor side of life

Man speaks out after job centre computer row

A MAN whose behaviour resulted in ambulance and police officers being called to Redruth Job Centre has claimed that the government’s failure to pay him job seekers allowance has left him starving.

Last Wednesday police were alerted to an incident at the job centre where a man became aggressive at staff in the building.

The man, 59-year-old former lorry driver Phillip Heath, says his frustrations were born out of the fact that he was told by staff that he had to use a computer to claim job seekers allowance.

“I’ve spoken to the Redruth job centre several times and each time I was told that to claim job seekers allowance I have to have the internet and an email address.

“As far as I’m concerned you might as well go and throw a computer in Stithians Dam as I have no interest whatsoever in learning to use one.

“They aren’t listening to me, all I hear is computer, computer, computer and I haven’t been paid since September 4. I can fix a car and am a very hands-on guy, but don’t even know how to turn on a computer.

“I’ve barely had anything to eat for 12 days. If a person has a pet they get prosecuted if they don’t look after it but the government are starving me and doing nothing about it.

“Redruth Job Centre has nothing in writing saying that I have to use a computer.”

Mr Heath was originally signed off sick following a heart attack 12 months ago, but despite a note from his doctor saying that he shouldn’t be allowed back to work, a Department of Work and Pensions medical assessment declared him fit to work and as a result made him turn to applying for jobseekers’ allowance to get by.

Source: Man speaks out after job centre computer row | West Briton

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James McEnaney: An open letter to Iain Duncan Smith – meet Michael, my brother

I read your speech when I got home and, to be honest, the premise seemed fairly straightforward: you believe that it is not the role of the state to lift, or keep, people out of poverty; the only appropriate tool to ensure a good life is individual hard work.

With that in mind I’d like you to meet Michael, a 27-year-old man with severe autism.

Michael cannot read, write or speak and, although he is capable of communicating with those who know him (at least on a basic level), he spends a great deal of his time frustrated at his inability to express himself.

Michael lives in a residential care centre in Ayrshire, 40 miles away from his family. He has a bedroom with an ensuite, and shares a kitchen and lounge with other service users who also live in the unit (it would be an insult to call it a home).

Though he used to enjoy a range of educational activities which improved his quality of life these have been discontinued due to funding problems rooted in your government’s austerity agenda.

Michael cannot read, write or speak and, although he is capable of communicating with those who know him (at least on a basic level), he spends a great deal of his time frustrated at his inability to express himself.

Sometimes, depending on a range of largely uncontrollable factors, this frustration manifests itself in violent outbursts during which Michael may injure himself or his staff.

In addition to his autism, Michael also suffers from a number of health problems including epilepsy – as a consequence he has little, if any, privacy.

To be clear, no amount of ‘support’ will ever change these simple facts.

Having read your speech on Tuesday I spent much of the evening trying to imagine the sort of job that Michael could do in order to deserve a life free from poverty and its associated consequences (such as an earlier death).

Reduced to a statistic, Michael is simply a problem; to you, it would be better if he didn’t exist at all.

Eventually, just when I was about to give up, it hit me – there is something that Michael could do, a role perfectly suited to both his abilities and his situation.

Michael, it turns out, would make an excellent scapegoat.

Source: Common Space – James McEnaney: An open letter to Iain Duncan Smith – meet Michael, my brother

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Fear and Loathing in Great Britain: The Real Legacy of David Cameron | stephenpaulblanchard

David Cameron’s legacy as British Prime Minister will be one of scaremongering, manipulation and segregation (and to a certain degree, swine based debauchery).

He believes in a country that cares nothing for its own citizens. He believes in a country more concerned with money than with humanity – a country that he is turning into a corporate playground with little hideaways for tax evaders.
Now you could probably say that this is just the angry rant of some anti-Tory leftie who doesn’t respect the democratic process. You’d be wrong. I accept the result of the General Election.

What I deplore is the lies Mr Cameron told to win that election.

David Cameron’s new Conservative party claims to be the party for working people; that they have the UK citizens best interests at heart. This year’s Conservative Party Conference seems to suggest otherwise, with every major speech or claim made by a senior Tory minister expertly dissected, derided and more often than not, disproven.

Theresa May stated that we need tighter controls on immigration, repeating the claim she made back in November 2010. It was seen as nothing more than an attempt by the Home Secretary to lay blame on the (apparent) state of the country on people from other countries; people whom, as it has been proven time and again, make more of a contribution to our society than they do a drain. (A full dissection of the Home Secretaries claims, and evidence to the contrary, can be found here).

Then there was the grand finale of the Conservative Party Conference, where David Cameron stood up on stage and performed the biggest work of modern day fiction over seen in a party conference. From describing Jeremy Corbyn as “a threat to national security” by cleverly quoting the new Labour leader but removing any context, (you can see Mr. Corbyn’s full thoughts, in context, here) to proudly declaring that his policies are helping the country’s poor when the opposite has been proven, he has shown nothing but barefaced contempt for the people of this country through twisting facts and figures, or just outright lying to support his own self/friends-serving narrative.

Mr Cameron has this dream of turning the UK in to a country of “high wage, low tax and low welfare”. In theory this is something that I’m in favour of, well two-thirds anyway. I mean what family doesn’t want more money in their pocket and less to go to the tax man? The thing is that we have tax for a reason; to fund our schools, our hospitals, the upkeep of our roads and waste disposal services etc. This government, as with several before, have gone out of their way to demonise tax when they should be relying on it, championing it.

Source: Fear and Loathing in Great Britain: The Real Legacy of David Cameron | stephenpaulblanchard

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If Jeremy Hunt thinks he can lie his way out of the doctors’ contract dispute, there’s something wrong with him

Does anybody remember when a normal working week was Monday to Friday, and if anybody wanted you to work on Saturday they paid one-and-a-half times as much as normal (time and a half), with Sunday work being paid a twice the normal rate (double time)?

Jeremy Hunt clearly didn’t, if he thought it was acceptable to reclassify Saturday work between 7am and 10pm as part of a junior doctor’s normal working week, payable at only the standard rate.

Those are the kind of working hours he would never consider himself – a situation highlighted in the letter by ‘Rachel’, published here on July 29. Alerting Mr Hunt that she intended to visit him at 3am, she wrote: “Really Mr Hunt, this is the 21st century and people have questions for their MPs 24 hours a day, not just during office hours. If I can buy a Tesco sandwich at 3am, I should be able to see a politician.”

She went on to point out the differences between what Mr Hunt was proposing for junior doctors and his own ministerial working conditions, as follows: “You should have anticipated that politics would become a 24/7 profession and if you won’t adapt, I’m going to just force your contract to change for no extra money.”

Ah, but MPs have just enjoyed an 11 per cent pay rise, haven’t they?

Jeremy Hunt has been forced into a partial climbdown in his dispute with NHS junior doctors in an attempt to stop their fury at a threatened punitive new contract spilling over into strike action.

The health secretary moved to defuse widespread anger at his threat to impose new terms and conditions on them by offering two major concessions and assurances that they will not see their pay cut or working hours extended.

Faced with England’s 53,000 junior doctors being balloted for industrial action, and amid growing unease at his handling of the row, Hunt has indicated that he is willing to rethink his plan to reclassify working on Saturday between 7am and 10pm as part of a junior doctor’s normal working week for which they would be paid at only the standard rate.

He has also pledged that existing financial incentives for recently qualified young doctors to go into emergency medicine or general practice – two areas struggling with too few medics – will continue so that the new contract does not exacerbate the existing shortages.

In a detailed and emollient letter to Dr Johann Malawana, the chair of the British Medical Association’s junior doctors committee, Hunt also sought to banish widely held fears that junior doctors – whose vital contribution to the NHS he lauded – would soon have to start working the 90-hour weeks that their predecessors did.

Source: Jeremy Hunt forced to backtrack in row over NHS doctors’ contract | Politics | The Guardian

According to the Graun, Mr Hunt’s letter not only says that the new contract definitely will neither cut pay nor introduce longer hours for junior doctors. It’s a bizarre claim to make, for the reasons This Writer has pointed out in the introductory paragraphs to this article: If imposed, the new contract will see weekday evenings and Saturdays up until 10pm reclassified as normal working hours. Doctors are currently paid extra to work outside normal working hours and the reclassification will clearly eliminate those extra payments. Furthermore, as the NHS wage bill is said not to be changed by the proposed new contract, it seems clear that somebody will be asked to work extra hours as well.

But Mr Hunt goes on to blame the BMA for trainee medics believing that it would do in the first place

“I am saddened by the distress being caused to junior doctors who were misled by the calculator on the BMA website into believing that their pay will be cut by 30% and that they will be asked to work many more hours each week,” his letter says.

Graun health policy editor Denis Campbell points out: “It is doubtful whether blaming the BMA – which has gained 5,000 new members in just 10 days until earlier this week – will persuade many to see it his way, especially given doctors’ widespread distrust of him.

“Some will surely see this as a classic divide-and-rule attempt to outwit a trade union.”

Divide and rule is the Tory way, after all. They get it from the Nazis.

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