Horror of horrors, two women in a bar! How very dare they?
I’m grateful to Skwawkbox for having researched and written an article about last nights Parliamentary Labour Party meeting and the petulant squalling therein by the ‘right-whingers’ who keep trying to lose elections but complain when it happens.
Put your backbones into the campaigns, boys and girls! Then you might have something to complain about!
Anyway, thanks for writing the piece, Steve. It means I don’t have to – which is just as well, because I’ve already had a root canal.
Last night’s ‘outrage’ (read ‘petulance’) on the part of the right-wing elements of the PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party) said nothing about its targets and everything about the whiners whose ‘pet lip you could sit on’, as this writer’s old mother used to say.
Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti and Diane Abbott ‘offended’ the ‘right-whingers’ by going for a drink together rather than turn up to a non-event meeting to be bullied and abused. The horror of it. Two women, drinking.
Of course, when you look in more detail at what the complainers are ‘outraged’ about, it’s very clear that the real ‘sins’ the two women committed are rather different.
Considering this woman’s medical condition, does anybody really think Newport City Homes has discharged its duty to her correctly?
A disabled 61-year-old woman says she has been forced to sleep in her car because Newport City Homes haven’t been able to offer her anywhere suitable to live.
Maria Jones – who is agoraphobic, has arthritis in both hips and whose lower back discs are worn away – says she had to hand in the keys of her temporary accommodation after refusing on medical grounds a property she could not live in as it was a 10th-floor apartment.
She said: “I moved out on December 5 and the council found me a temporary place in Newport.
“In January, they offered me a 10th-floor flat, but I had only been bidding for ground-floor properties so I went to see Newport City Homes.
“I said to them I can’t go in a lift because I am agoraphobic and showed them a letter from my doctor.”
Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult, according to the NHS website.
Ms Jones said she was forced to refuse a second property they offered her – a fourth-floor flat in Ringland -– for the same reasons.
Newport City Homes said it offered Maria Jones two properties which she refused.
Joanne Lee Stephens was utterly disgusted and posted on social media disability forum the plight of her brother Edward Lee failing his assessment.
This is my brother Edward Lee who was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw and Lymph Nodes.
On the 04/01/2017 my brother was admitted to hospital for an operation to save his life.
On the 5/01/2017 my brother had his operation and very ill when he left theatre.
On the 6/1/2017 ATOS did an telephone assessment to decide his fitness for work.
On the 23/02/2017 DWP wrote back stating that he had scored ZERO points even though he is on very high doses of Morphine as well as other Morphine tablets to kill the pain.
My brother is confined to bed unable to eat still and the cancer has made its way through his neck into the chest
His benefits were immediately stopped and any benefits that were owed were refused.
My brother also has a long list of health problems but ATOS told the DWP his cancer is not life threatening.
The appalling way this government treats very sick people is nothing short of criminal. Many are rightfully denied support for the state when needed. The state peddles lies about languishing on the state while ‘hard working taxpayers foot the bill is just wrong and not true. Now if you don’t need a DS 1500 to state you have less than 6 months to live you ain’t dying quick enough to garner state support.
“Hunt soon chose to follow the data’s example and make himself scarce” [Image: PA].
A little while ago, This Writer received a certain amount of criticism for attacking a newspaper report claiming Donald Trump was right to say there had been a terrorist attack in Sweden involving immigrants.
“It was satirical,” they claimed.
I was right and the critics were wrong. The report was written in an entirely straight way and no attempt was made to suggest that it was not intended to be believed.
Here’s an article that is satirical and hits its target. Spot the difference in language and tone:
Somewhere in the UK there is a warehouse stuffed full of GPs’ referral letters and blood test results diagnosing the health secretary with terminal incompetence.
But as it has yet to be found, Jeremy Hunt had to limit his scope to the 700,000 NHS documents that have just turned up after going missing in action for five years in answer to Labour’s urgent question in the Commons.
“Absolutely nothing went missing,” he reassured MPs. All that had happened was that hundreds of thousands of confidential pieces of medical information had accidentally been sent to the wrong place without anyone noticing.
But it was no biggy. As far as he knew, no one had died – or if they had, their death certificates had also gone AWOL, so it was much the same thing. And what it really proved was how many unnecessary tests the NHS were conducting each year.
Just think of the potential savings. A couple of avoidable deaths had to be a price worth paying for not bothering with 700,000 bits of paperwork.
The National Governers’ Association has said the amount of money being provided by Theresa May’s Government is already not enough to educate British children – and the reason is clear: Theresa May cannot stand children at all – let alone the children of poor people [Image: Getty].
Of course, no Conservative wants the proles to be educated properly. Notice that this is the first funding cut since John Major’s Conservative government of the mid-1990s.
Headteacher Mary Sandell’s comments are telling – especially where she says “we cannot improve the buildings”. And yet the Conservatives have more than £9 billion to spend building new ‘Free’ schools in places that don’t need them, because it is their vanity project.
If there really was no money available, then this would be a different matter; it would be about the economy not providing enough money to fund public services. But that isn’t the case.
It is the same story it always is under the Conservatives – they are deliberately taking public money away from us and using it to enrich themselves and their friends.
There should be a law against it but, if there was, the corrupt Conservatives would repeal it.
The Government is to cut school funding per pupil for the first time since the mid 1990s, a new analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has determined.
The respected think-tank calculated that real-terms terms spending on school pupils would drop by 6.5 per cent over the course of this parliament, with further education funding also set for significant decreases.
On Monday morning the National Governors’ Association said the amount of money being provided by the Government was simply not enough to educate Britain’s children.
“The Department for Education unfortunately doesn’t know how much it costs to educate a pupil whether it be a primary or secondary pupil,” Emma Knights, the association’s chief executive, old BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
The funding shortfall is driving some senior teachers to leave the profession because they say they simply cannot do their jobs properly.
Headteacher Mary Sandell of Forest School in Winnersh, Berkshire, said she was one of those quitting for this reason.
She said that under current funding levels her school “cannot replace equipment, we cannot improve the buildings, we can’t even afford textbooks for new specifications”.
The piece quoted below, by Evolve Politics, says it all. The mass media like the BBC and the Graun simply aren’t reporting the news any more. For accuracy, you need to visit social media sites like Evolve and, of course Vox Political.
The NHS didn’t misplace half a million documents – a private company partly owned by French firm Sopia Steria did.
The NHS didn’t cover up a data leak – Conservative government Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt did.
If the BBC and the Graun can’t report the news properly, then you have two choices – complain until they change their ways, or boycott them. Readers are already abandoning the Graunen masse.
Perhaps the most worrying aspect of this story is that NHS services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were also affected, even though they should not be using privatised services.
The BBC opens with “NHS misplaced half a million documents,” The Guardian went with “NHS accused of covering up data leak.” Were you to read the mainstream media this morning then you might be forgiven for thinking our National Health Service was putting patients at risk. In reality, the fault lies with a private company. However, “private company fails the NHS” isn’t a snappy headline.
Between 2011 and 2016, 500,000 documents containing medical information were mistakenly filed for storage instead of being forwarded to GPs. This included important items like test results for cases as personal as cancer biopsies. Investigations are now under way into 2500 of the highest risk cases. The cost of these investigations has already reached £2.2 million as medical experts are brought in to individually assess cases.
A further investigation will also take place into whether the loss of documents played a role in the death of patients. A 50 strong team of administrators have also been brought in to resolve the mess left by the private company.
The company, NHS Shared Business Services, is partly owned by the Department of Health and partly by French company Sopia Steria. The government’s aim was to use a private company to increase efficiency within the NHS. Their poor record largely affects NHS England. Only 41 pieces of missing correspondence were from NHS Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. NHS England has the highest levels of private involvement.
Lying and incompetent: The smirking Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt [Image: Phil Harris/Daily Mirror].
Tory cuts have meant the NHS in England has been forced to “raid” a budget earmarked for long-term investment, simply to fund day-to-day spending, a report to Parliament has claimed.
The Commons Public Accounts Committee report on the financial stability of the NHS said the service is facing “huge challenges”.
It said: “Reducing investment in the hospital estate and medical equipment risks making the NHS less sustainable in the longer-term and limits the funding for investing in new services in the community.”
The report attacked local sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), saying they “are supposed to be a vehicle for creating a modern day NHS, but NHS England and NHS Improvement have much more to do before the public can feel confident that plans are achievable, especially when the Head of NHS Improvement acknowledges that the 4 per cent efficiency savings required are so challenging.”
And it said bosses did not understand what was achieveable: “We recognise the unprecedented challenge of achieving financial sustainability when patient demand is rising, budgets are tight and pressures in social care are impacting on the NHS. But the Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement are asking local bodies to solve multiple problems and deliver a range of priorities, without a proper understanding of what they can realistically achieve.”
Worse still was the fact that “key players running our NHS are bickering in public”.
The report warned that “the Department of Health, NHS England and No. 10 must work together in the best interests of patients”, and publicly-aired arguments do “little to inspire confidence that patients are at the heart of everyone’s priorities”.
This is the context in which we found that Jeremy Hunt had lost hundreds of thousands of patients’ files – a service that is under-funded to the point of collapse, whose leaders are fighting amongst themselves.
Mr Hunt has known about the cock-up since at least last July. Now, what was happening in July last year that might encourage him to hide evidence that his NHS was incompetent? A dispute over contracts with junior doctors, perhaps?
In the House of Commons yesterday (February 27), he lied to fellow members, saying nobody had been harmed by the misplacement of the files. In fact, 537 cases of possible patient harm are being investigated right now, including 173 in which harm seems certain.
It seems redundant to say this nightmare cannot be allowed to continue – we have a Conservative Government so it will. And it will get worse. We can call for Jeremy Hunt’s removal until we need medical help ourselves but it won’t do any good; even if he went, we’d only get another damned fool, injuring and harming patients who have paid into the NHS in good faith.
The answer is a change of government. Until we get that, the Conservative Party will make us all suffer.
Disabled people of all kinds – not just those at risk of suicide – have spent years protesting about cuts to benefits and services [Image: Alamy Stock Photo].
This Writer had an interesting message from my friends on the Atos Miracles Facebook page yesterday.
It said: “I wonder if anyone else has twigged that the latest groups to be targeted for PIP cuts are also those targeted in changes to the way regulations 29 and 35 are implemented in ESA; and targeted further in the coming, oh I just can’t wait for it, work and health programme reforms.”
ESA regulations 29 and 35 concern whether decisions to find someone fit for work or able to carry out work-related activity would cause a substantial risk of harm to an ESA claimant – for example, putting them at risk of committing suicide.
This guidance used to state that anyone whose mental health would be at risk if they were denied benefits or told to engage in work-related activity, specifically anyone who is at risk of suicide or self-harm, should be placed in the support group of ESA.
As the number of ESA-related deaths skyrocketed due to the Conservative-led government’s homicidal treatment of benefit claimants, use of these rules increased, in an attempt to defend claimants against work capability assessors who seemed hell-bent on sending them to early graves. They were the basis of more than half of all support group benefit awards in 2015.
So the Conservative government changed the regulations.
Now they say assessors should consider the benefits of employment weighed against any potential risks, adding that “there is good evidence that people in work have better health outcomes and are at lower risk of suicide”.
And there are no longer any “definitive” criteria that would normally trigger Regulation 35 and lead to a Support Group benefit award – such as if a mental health professional had assessed the claimant as highly vulnerable to relapse and self-harm.
It’s a load of old cobblers, of course. But that didn’t stop assessors using it to fuel a 12 per cent increase in the number of claimants found fit for work between December 2015 and March 2016. Oh, and the government is once again refusing to publish numbers of sickness/disability claimant deaths.
The DWP at first tried to deny that any changes had taken place, saying there had been no change in policy because the law had not changed, which is true – the changes were in guidance issued to staff on how to interpret the regulations behind the law.
Then, after the number of ‘fit for work’ verdicts increased hugely, the DWP tried to claim it was because a backlog of new claims was falling, meaning those who were fit for work were leaving after an assessment saying so, rather than going back to work of their own accord beforehand.
Okay, now fast-forward to the current controversy over changes to the regulations governing who receives the Personal Independence Payment. Here’s the Daily Mirror‘s take on who will be affected:
Two tribunal judgements said the government should hand more cash to 165,000 people in certain situations.
The DWP has laid down emergency laws to stop those tribunals taking effect, because the new payments would cost £3.7bn by 2022.
While drawing up the laws, the DWP put together an “equality analysis” showing the most likely conditions it would affect.
Obviously, just because a condition is on the list, it doesn’t mean everyone with that condition is being denied cash or that those affected are losing ALL their benefits – each case is different.
But it does mean the DWP’s experts have estimated that at least some of the 165,000 people affected are likely to have that condition.
Here are the “conditions most likely to be affected”, according to the DWP:
•Mood disorders – Other / type not known
•Psychotic disorders – Other / type not known
•Phobia – Social Panic disorder
•Learning disability – Other / type not known
•Generalized anxiety disorder
•Anxiety and depressive disorders – mixed
•Anxiety disorders – Other / type not known
•Bipolar affective disorder (Hypomania / Mania)
•Cognitive disorder due to stroke
•Cognitive disorders – Other / type not known
•Stress reaction disorders – Other / type not known
•Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
•Phobia – Specific Personality disorder
•Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
•Diabetes mellitus (category unknown)
•Diabetes mellitus Type 1 (insulin dependent)
•Diabetes mellitus Type 2 (non-insulin dependent)
•Disturbances of consciousness – Nonepileptic – Other / type not known
•Generalised seizures (with status epilepticus in last 12 months)
•Generalised seizures (without status epilepticus in last 12 months)
•Non epileptic Attack disorder (pseudoseizures)
•Partial seizures (with status epilepticus in last 12 months)
•Partial seizures (without status epilepticus in last 12 months)
•Seizures – unclassified Dizziness – cause not specified
•Stokes Adams attacks (cardiovascular syncope)
•Syncope – Other / type not known
Would you like me to pick up a few obvious candidates who may be at risk of suicide and/or self-harm – or can you see them clearly enough yourself?
I mentioned in an earlier article that George Freeman, the MP who had said PIP should be directed to people with the most serious conditions, rather than people sitting at home popping pills for anxiety, should make a full and frank apology for his comment. In fact I had tweeted that opinion to him.
It seems others have done the same, and were far better at making the appropriate points than This Writer. Such as:
.@Freeman_George Your govt has destroyed #mentalhealth services with cuts, & now you accuse us of sitting at home popping pills. Disgusting.
If you’re on Twitter, feel free to express your opinion about Mr Freeman’s words. He’s @Freeman_George – but feel free to pass your comments on to your own MP and the various party leaders/spokespeople, who will be delighted to receive your views – even if Mr Freeman isn’t.
Tory MP George Freeman has said he “regrets” comments he made suggesting that PIP should be directed to those who fit an arbitrary Tory description of the “greatest need”, rather than people sitting at home popping pills for anxiety.
Here are his original comments:
He seems to have partially retracted his comments on Twitter. See what you think:
Having experienced myself traumatic anxiety as a child carer living w alcohol I know all too well the pain anxiety + depression causes….
Notice the ‘special pleading’ – that he was a child carer living with alcohol (by which I think he means the cared-for person was the drinker). This may well be the first anybody has heard of it, as it isn’t on his personal website or even his Wikipedia entry.
In any case, if he was a child carer in such circumstances, then he should have known better than to slate people living with mental health disabilities in the way he did.
Personally, I do not think his words constitute enough of an apology. He should be a man about it and apologise fully and frankly.
He should also undertake to vote against the change in PIP eligibility regulations being proposed by his boss Penny Mordaunt, but I guess that is too much to demand from a selfish and disgusting money-grubbing Tory like him.
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