Tag Archives: Diary of a Benefit Scrounger

Clegg the Innocent – Diary of a Benefit Scrounger


Sue Marsh published this last week but it is worth highlighting as it shows up the Liberal Democrats for what they are. You can read the full article on Diary of a Benefit Scrounger but here’s a quick summary:

Never has there been a better example of naive little fishes swimming in a vast, Machiavellian pond than Nick Clegg’s “Orange Bookers”.

It’s easy now to forget just how shocking and incomprehensible we all found even the concept of a Tory/LibDem coalition. To forget those 5 surreal days our democracy was in hiatus, holding it’s breath while just 4 men decided the future of our countries behind a locked door. For 5 days and 5 nights, Cameron, Osborne, Alexander and Clegg hammered out their agreement. A vacuum where one day, history would be.

In fact, Vox Political believes Rob Wilson, Tory MP for Reading East, who reckons the Coalition was in fact agreed in March 2010, two whole months before the general election.

After 29 million, 691 thousand, 380 people had voted, in fact they may as well not have bothered. The manifestos they thought they had voted for were discarded along with student trust and the last drop of belief in our political system. The party of civil liberties was artfully convinced to give them up for the promise of a few tempting beans.

Clegg… came out having ceded to Osborne’s right wing economic strategy, with the promise of a referendum on AV that was dependent on boundary changes that would see the Tories gain an almost indefinite majority in the commons, tripling tuition fees and supporting a welfare reform bill that would throw all but the most fortunate to the wolves.

Almost every policy decision for the next 5 years was decided in that room, by those 4 men. Since then, each time democracy has tried to object, she has been silenced with either bribery, dishonesty or the Whip. From using financial privilege to overturn Lord’s amendments and increasing government surveillance measures, to threatening the BBC and deleting old speeches from the internet.

They ripped up disability living allowance and replaced it with personal independence payments in that room, agreeing to slash a random 20% of people with disabilities from the budget – it was in neither manifesto. They awarded themselves 5 years of power with virtually no possibility of challenge the very day they left the room.

Nothing has demoralised me more than watching previously centre left politicians with apparently, well, Liberal values, file into those lobbies, one by one, in support of slashing payments for disabled children, selling off our NHS in piecemeal chunks and slashing legal aid.

What disgusted me, was being assured through it all that the Lib Dems had somehow stopped the worst excesses of the Tories. I have found myself living in a country that has allowed sick and disabled people to die in hunger and despair and they dare speak to me of mitigation?

Now, we start to see the predictable sight of the little fishes trying to swim like mad away from the shark.

But it’s too late to pretend they’re in the wrong pond now. 

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The ‘Big Benefits Row’ row

'To see ourselves as others see us': It is hard to stand on a platform when you can't even stand - but the social media are giving disabled people a stronger voice and a chance to take the spotlight, rather than the sidelines.

‘To see ourselves as others see us’: It is hard to stand on a platform when you can’t even stand – but the social media are giving disabled people a stronger voice and a chance to take the spotlight, rather than the sidelines.

I can’t directly reblog this but I think you should all read Sue Marsh’s article on her experience with Channel 5’s recent entry into the world of benefit porn.

Originally set to be a member of the panel on The Big Benefits Row (was that really what it was called?), Sue was ‘bumped’ at short notice and ended up being just an invited member of the audience, having to endure the rented opinions of people like the motormouth Alan Sugar had the good sense not to hire and the former Tory minister who was unlucky with eggs when they turned out not to be responsible for food poisoning and lucky with them when hers weren’t fertilised by then-PM John Major.

The most interesting parts of the piece are those relating to the attitude of the government to the benefits debate, as revealed by various TV producers: “They were shocked that invariably the DWP refused to take part unless the stories were edited their way. Iain Duncan-Smith has written repeatedly and furiously to the BBC about their lack of balance in reporting welfare issues. Anyone who follows the debate with even a flutter of fleeting interest will know just how ironic that is. If ever there has been an issue so poorly reported, with so much ignorance and so many lies, the current ‘welfare’ debate must be it.”

For myself, as someone who has to look after a disabled person every day, the way the production company treated Sue was simply unacceptable – and symptomatic of our society’s poor understanding of the misery suffered by people with chronic conditions.

Not only was she bumped from the panel at a moment’s notice, but she and other people with disabilities were treated poorly by studio managers (who’s “them”, for goodness sake?).

The article relates how she had been in London for an appointment and was physically drained afterwards, but had made the effort to stay active and alert for the recording – feeding on adrenaline. To be passed over in that circumstance – and have to watch while opportunities to state the problems faced by the disabled were themselves passed over by programme makers and panellists – was a metaphorical kick in the teeth.

Leaving the studio, Sue tweeted that she’d been given the bum’s rush by the show’s producers, and it is a credit to her online friends that she was trending very highly on Twitter soon afterwards.

But it is always as she states: “Yet again my friends, we shall have to make our own news… show producers of shows like the Big Benefits Row that we do have a voice, we do matter.”

So please visit Diary of a Benefit Scrounger, read the article and share it – along with your own opinion, if you take a strong enough view.

The social media give disabled people a voice that can’t be silenced or sidelined.

You can help ram that point home.

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Breaking News : Government Reviewer Opposed Rollout of ESA

In 2008, Labour introduced a new out of work sickness benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, to replace the old Incapacity Benefit.

The new system of application and assessments was much tougher, and politicians originally hoped that up to a million people could be moved from the benefit.

However, by 2010, it was clear there were significant flaws in the process. People with mental health and fluctuating conditions were not being fairly treated and successful appeals against “fit for work” decisions soared to 40%.

Professor Harrington was asked to review the new benefit and make recommendations for improving it. As the election took place in 2010, crucially, only new claimants were being assessed. ESA was yet to be rolled out to the more complicated, and often longer term, Incapacity Benefit claimants, though trials were underway in Burnley and Aberdeen.

Most people claim out of work sickness benefits for short periods – perhaps to get through a sports injury, accident or one off surgery – and stop their claims within 2 years. However, this will always leave a few people with serious, life limiting conditions who will need to claim the benefit for longer periods. Over the years, those claims build up, increasing the proportion who need long term support.

When the coalition came to power in May 2010, they immediately announced that they would go ahead and start to reassess those already claiming Incapacity Benefit.

I could never understand this decision. Why would you take a failing benefit and roll it out to almost 2 million of the most vulnerable claimants? Not only that, but at first, just 25,000 people per month were being assessed, but the government constantly increased and increased the numbers until today, nearly 130,000 assessments are carried out every month.


For the answer, please visit Sue Marsh’s Diary of a Benefit Scrounger where the full story is revealed – that Professor Harrington never approved the migration of IB claimants onto ESA, that the decision was politically-motivated and that millions of people are being rushed through a failed and unfair assessment system.

The government will not want anyone to know about this and the mainstream media are unreliable when it comes to exposing such behaviour. As Sue states in the article, “We must be our own media”. Please therefore publicise the link to her blog on all the social media available to you.

Let’s put pressure on these white-collar thugs to answer for their actions.

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Labour will sack Atos. Where are all you naysayers now?


I can’t reblog Sue Marsh’s excellent Diary of a Benefit Scrounger, so I’m just going to quote it verbatim:

“Oh thank goodness!! I’m RUBBISH at keeping secrets!

In this Guardian article, Labour have leaked tomorrow’s concrete announcements on disability. They say that they will :

“A) Sack Atos
“B) Strengthen the law on Disability Hate Crime
“C) Develop a “tell us once” assessment system for social care, benefits and work support that rolls all help into one place.

“But there’s more. MUCH more. Watch conference tomorrow for a much fuller proposal on what Labour have concluded the problems are with sickness and disability support and more proposals on how to change things.

“These ‘tasters’ are to prove they’re serious. To show that whilst there is still much, much more work to do, there are things they can announce TODAY that show they’ve listened and are starting to understand.

“Of course we will be cynical. Of course we will doubt their real intentions. We would be fools to do anything else.

“But the distance traveled from the dark days of 2010 is remarkable.”

You can read the article in its own space here.

I can already hear the naysayers lining up – people like VP commenter Gavin MacMillan, who had this to say after the announcement that Labour will scrap the Bedroom Tax:

“I hate to think what your disappointment is going to be like when/if Labour actually win the next election and return to power, and show themselves to be exactly what they were before – a party which still toes the neo-lib ideological line with regards economic management of the country. The results will be a bit of tinkering around the edges, where things have come unravelled the most. But the core works of the condems will remain untouched, indeed, will be built on with further economic policies guaranteed to boost their neo-lib credentials with their banker mates. And so the circus & gravy-train for their mates and their uber-rich masters will carry on rolling. Trebles all round for the lads, while the rest of us can think ourselves lucky if we can find space in a ditch to cower in…”

The attitude we are seeing today is deeply disturbing. People have spent years complaining that Labour has not been bringing out solid policy commitments; now that Labour is making promises, the same people are accusing Labour of lying!

Why are people so keen to write off Labour’s promises, and yet so happy to accept any proven lie that the Conservatives feel like spouting today? Have we all forgotten “No more top-down reorganisations of the NHS”, or “We will make work pay” or any of the many other outright lies that have flowed from the tongues of David Cameron, Grant Shapps, Iain Duncan Smith and the rest of them?

What a ridiculous, contradictory attitude to take.

Let the Official Opposition do its job.

Or do you want another five years of Cameron and his ghouls?

Comic Book Conference Season

(I can’t reblog from a Blogspot column, but Sue Marsh’s opinions of the Liberal Democrats, Labour and especially the Tories at conference time are well worth reading)

Cameron, The Joker, will ooze sociopathic idiocy for a week in Birmingham. It may just be that some plebs will have to be admitted and tolerated, but the champagne swilling Baddies will pepper the news with snobby utterances and outrageous put-downs. There will be a Theresa May cat incident or a “Toxic Tories” own goal or two. Beyond the secure zone we will shake our heads and agree that they are unfit to govern.

The words of the Joker will chill us all.

For the rest, go to: http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/comic-book-conference-season.html?spref=tw

She goes on to say that Labour needs to produce Superman (mixing her superheroes up a little, but we’ll forgive her) if they are to appear electable, and I tend to agree. Whatever Her Majesty’s Opposition pulls out of the bag, it had better be stunning.