Tag Archives: dyslexia

Day of action against bullying by job centre staff and police


What do you do if you’re a Job Centre manager and a benefit claimant who’s ripe for sanction turns up with someone else as their “representative”?

If you’re in charge of Arbroath Job Centre, you have the man arrested, that’s what!

Yes, you read that correctly. Tony Cox, an activist with the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, had accompanied a female claimant who suffers from severe dyxlexia and reading problems.

She was having several severe panic attacks every day, caused by the stress of filling five Universal Jobmatch applications every day. Cox was there to represent her.

The jobcentre refused to consider reducing the numbers of applications she should make, and insisted that signing up to UJM is compulsory. It is not. Officials objected to Cox’s presence, and he was arrested when he left the building.

He has been charged with “threatening behaviour, refusing to give his name and address and resisting arrest”.

Imagine the consternation at Caxton House when news filtered through that this had happened. “What? The people are still sympathetic to the unemployed? What do we have to do? We’ve fed them a constant stream of anti-claimant propaganda via our newspapers, supplemented with nightly doses of My obese chainsmoking druggie criminal unemployed neighbour on Benefits Street takes home more money than I do on the telly! There’s nothing else for it – it’s time to open the brainwashing camps!”

Don’t think he wouldn’t, either.

Boycott Workfare wants us to get our retaliation in first – and has organised a day of action across the United Kingdom, to take place on Wednesday (February 25) – the same day Mr Cox will appear in court in Forfar to answer charges against him.

About those charges: ‘Threatening behaviour’ is a catch-all offence in the Public Order Act that is often used by police to cart off people who are a nuisance to authority figures. Back in October 2012, this blog quoted a speech by Rowan Atkinson, calling for its reform.

“I suspect [I am] highly unlikely to be arrested for whatever laws exist to contain free expression because of the undoubtedly privileged position that is afforded to those of a high public profile,” said Mr Atkinson.

“My concerns are… more for those who are more vulnerable because of their lower profile – like the man arrested in Oxford for calling a police horse ‘gay’.”

He said: “Even for actions that were withdrawn, people were arrested, questioned, taken to court… and then released. That isn’t a law working properly. That is censoriousness of the most intimidating kind, guaranteed to have… a ‘chilling effect’ on free expression and free protest.”

Well, this time it will have the opposite effect. People are red-hot with anger about this behaviour, arranged by cowards and bullies who think they can play God with people’s lives.

Boycott Workfare is urging everybody (who can manage it) “to descend on jobcentres round Britain to show their solidarity with Tony and distribute information to claimants urging them to exercise their right to be accompanied and represented at all benefits interviews”.

So, please, print up some literature and turn up outside your local jobcentre to make your feelings known.

Will you do that?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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More room for rich foreigners as government cuts Disabled Students Allowance


Some readers may find the above headline a bit strong, but please be assured – this is what it means.

Vox Political became aware of this story in two contrasting ways, as follows.

Firstly, from The Guardian: “From September 2015 [the government] will only pay for support for students with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, if their needs are ‘complex’, although the definition of this, and who decides it, remains unclear.

“It will no longer pay for standard computers for disabled students, or for much of the higher specification IT it now subsidises.

“And it will no longer fund non-specialist help, likely to include note-takers and learning mentors. The costs of specialist accommodation will be met only in exceptional circumstances.”

Paddy Turner, of the National Association of Disability Practitioners (NADP) is quoted: “This is going to have a disastrous effect on students with specific learning difficulties because it looks very clear that [universities minister David Willetts] is trying to remove them from the DSA. It looks like a knee-jerk reaction to recent reports that specific learning difficulties and dyslexia aren’t really disabilities at all.”

Secondly, please read the following, from Vox Political reader Karlie Marvel, who has a relative with MS: “They are axing the disabled student allowance. The amount of funding for DSA is relatively tiny.”

I’ve been completely staggered by what I have discovered to be going on… Surely, the benefit to the economy of helping disabled students towards being able to contribute fully to society, rather than being left on the sidelines because of penny-pinching, is greater than the cost of a short period of support whilst they train?

“But I can’t say I’m surprised really.

“No education…

“Struggle to find work…

“No benefits…


“Coalition government 2014. I’m feeling very bleak, Mr Vox.”

Who can blame her? Yet again, our government of couldn’t-care-less millionaires is cutting support to the very people they should be working hardest to help – the vulnerable disabled who cannot make it on their own.

They have rigged benefit assessments to make claiming as stressful as possible for people who can be killed by anxiety.

They have closed most of the Remploy factories that employed disabled people.

They are closing down the Independent Living Fund (ILF), that delivers financial support to disabled people so they can choose to live in their communities rather than in residential care.

Now this.

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