Tag Archives: Mitchell

Tory DWP is threatening to remove Motability car lifeline from severely disabled man

The DWP: where cruelty is written into the rules.

There’s new devilry afoot from the Department for Work and Pensions, as lawyers Leigh Day report:

A severely disabled man faces losing his lifeline Motability car in the latest blow he has suffered as a result of the enforcement of a benefits rule that he has just received permission to challenge in the courts.

Cameron Mitchell, aged 20, of Carlisle, has to return his Motability car by Thursday, 3 March despite the fact that he is wholly dependent on it for transport between his home, where he lives three days a week, and hospital where he stays for the rest of the week.

Cameron, through his mother and Deputy, Nicola Clulow, is challenging benefits regulations which put on hold Cameron’s Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Nicola’s Carer’s Allowance after he spent 28 days in hospital, even though he continued to require his parents’ care whilst in hospital.

This week Cameron was granted permission to go ahead with his judicial review of Regulations 29 and 30 of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 which he argues are discriminatory and irrational. Cameron’s legal arguments will be presented in a High Court hearing later this year after the court agreed that his claim was ‘arguable’.

However, in the months since the legal challenge was launched, Cameron and Nicola have been struggling to deal with the consequences of the enforcement of the rule, the latest of which means the loss of the Motability car.

In December 2021, Cameron’s mum received letters asking her to repay overpayments of PIP and her Carer’s Allowance that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) had made while Cameron was in hospital from December 2020.

Leigh Day solicitor Carolin Ott wrote to the DWP asking them not to cut Cameron’s benefit package or claw back any overpayment until a decision had been made by the courts about his legal challenge to the 28-day rule and in response the DWP agreed to stop clawing back overpayments for at least six months.

However, the mobility element of Cameron’s PIP that had been paid to Motability for the car while Cameron was in hospital was still clawed back from Motability in late 2021 (even though the car was needed by his parents to continue caring for him while he was in hospital and later in hospice care). Motability say that without payment, the vehicle needs to now be returned.

Leigh Day has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pension’s lawyers again asking for the matter to be resolved urgently and has also written to Motability asking for an extension to allow the issue to be resolved by the DWP.

Nicola is deeply distressed by the prospect of losing the vehicle and can’t see how Cameron would be able to spend any time at home if the vehicle is taken away. Cameron has benefited from being able to receive care at home which is an important part of the transition to his full-time home care package. The loss of the Motability car would have a serious, detrimental impact on him and his family.

In his judicial review challenge of the lawfulness of the suspension of PIP and his mum’s Carer’s Allowance during his extended hospital stay, Cameron is arguing that the ‘hospitalisation rule’ breaches his rights because it directly discriminates against him (a person with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) requiring hospitalisation for a period of more than 28 days) as compared to those with PMLD who are hospitalised for less than 28 days.

He is also arguing that the ‘hospitalisation rule’ indirectly discriminates against those who have PMLD or treats those with PMLD the same as others when it should be treating them differently in recognition of their disability-related needs (which mean that they require care from ‘known carers’, people who know them and their needs whilst they are in hospital). He also argues that the rule is irrational because it cuts across the purpose of PIP.

Nicola Clulow said: “Cameron has been stuck living in intensive care first in Newcastle, then in Carlisle for almost 15 months now. Not because he’s ill but due to problems and delays in providing a home care package that can meet his complex special needs.

“He’s 20 years old and has had to spend days and nights for months watching very sick people who often don’t survive and despite his lack of communication it’s clear to everyone that he was switching off from the world, was depressed and just had no interest in life.

“Contact with the outside world and the ability to go home to be with family are crucial for him. To go out, and especially to go home Cameron requires a great deal of equipment to go with him and this would be impossible without his Motability car.

“Having been called on 21st February 2022 by Motability to say his vehicle must be returned on Thursday 3rd March was one of the most difficult and upsetting situations we have faced because it means that Cameron will once again have to simply stay looking at the four walls of the Intensive Care unit and not get home.”

Leigh Day solicitor Carolin Ott said: “We are very pleased that the court has granted our client permission for a judicial review of the hospitalisation rule which has suspended his PIP and his mother’s Carer’s Allowance, but are deeply concerned by the detrimental impact of the enforcement of the rule whilst Cameron awaits his day in court.

“Cameron is a young man with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) and like many others with PMLD is dependent on input from his known carers. In circumstances where the NHS alone can’t cover his care needs, his PIP should have never been suspended in the first place. The detrimental impact of that suspension, which on top of causing loss of income and stress is now also causing his family to lose his Motability car, is ongoing and we hope that it will be urgently addressed.”

Source: Cameron Mitchell can judicially review hospital-stay benefits rule but faces losing Motability car | Leigh Day

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Celebrities rally around #JimmyCarr. It seems a #HolocaustJoke is okay if your friend tells it

Who knew?

Let’s be clear about something. Jimmy Carr’s joke about the Nazi Holocaust against gypsies (as he calls them in the video) is not okay. In a previous article I discussed how it presented the deaths of many thousands of people as acceptable; indeed, desirable.

He also told it in a show that’s available at a time when the UK government is preparing to pass a new law that will persecute the GRT (Gypsy/Roma/Traveller) community in ways similar to some of the measures imposed on them in Nazi Germany.

I elaborated on this in a previous article:

In 1930s Germany, Hitler ramped up already-existing anti-gypsy laws to establish the pre-supposition that they were a “nuisance”, that they were criminal by their nature (so it follows that the authorities were allowed to assume they were criminals without them actually having to commit a crime), and that they should be moved on from encampments that were considered to cause a disturbance to the rest of the German population (in Hitler’s Germany, they were moved on into concentration camps where they were murdered in a holocaust that was every bit as brutal as the attempted genocide of the Jews).

Boris Johnson has been stealing policies from Hitler, it seems.

Then I quoted someone else, who said:

Previously, police could take action against Gypsies and Travellers if they had done something wrong. They had to have “caused damage to the land or to property on the land or used threatening, abusive or insulting words”.

Alternately, they could take action if they had six or more vehicles on the land. But the new bill allows police to take action if they have just one vehicle.

And they do not need to have done anything at all. The police officer just needs to suspect that significant damage or disruption “is likely to be caused”.

Similarly, if they suspect that “significant distress… as a result of offensive conduct” – defined as “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour” – is likely to be caused, they can also take action.

In other words: You do not actually need to have done anything. All that is required is that the police *suspect* you will do something.

If the police do suspect this, they can “seize and remove any relevant property”. This includes the vehicle. But for these communities, it is not just a vehicle. It is their home.

Put yourself in these people’s place. At a time when they are facing the possibility that the police will confiscate everything they own, if an officer doesn’t like the way they look, here’s a popular comedian saying the attempted genocide of all their race is a “positive”.

It doesn’t make a difference whether it was only meant in jest. There’s many a true word spoken that way, as the saying goes, and there are people in the world who will accept what Carr said, simply because he’s the one who said it; people laugh at comedians’ jokes because they agree with the sentiment behind them.

I read an attempt to justify Carr that said if we put a stop to jokes like this, we should stop horror or war movies, because they show characters doing vile things, or Nazis. But the whole point of those films is to present the horrific or Nazi characters as abhorrent – not sympathetic. So the argument falls flat.

And obviously there’s the disparity between the fact that he felt fine talking about the gypsy (in fact, the Roma/Sinti) Holocaust in a way that he would never refer to the Jewish Holocaust. The simple fact is that it is unacceptable to talk about any Holocaust in that way.

And yet, here come Carr’s celebrity friends to support him. This one – the first I saw – was particularly shocking for me, considering who it is. The response is entirely appropriate, I think:

This makes it worse:

That’s right. Victoria Coren Mitchell said she would have defended Carr if he had made a joke defending the murder of Jews in the Holocaust because “it’s not about the joke”.

Would she be saying that if someone who wasn’t a blue-tick celebrity and a personal friend of hers had told that joke? I doubt it. I can’t be sure but it seems unlikely. No doubt someone will trawl through her Twitter feed and find out if she’s being a hypocrite or not.

So, taking this in line with Rachel Riley’s response to the show in which Carr told his joke, there seems to be a clear message coming from the blue-tick crusaders: Supporting the Holocaust is fine as long as it’s done by one of their friends.

Or – tying in with current developments in politics: It’s one rule for us, and no rules for them.

I should add that Ms Coren Mitchell and Riley aren’t the only ones who’ve supported Carr. If you visit the Twitter feeds of the usual anti-Semitism crusader mob, I’m reliably informed that they’ve come out for him as well.

In contrast, though, there’s this:

The Twitter user who brought this to my attention pointed out the fact that Mr Schneider had been able to search his own history at leisure, in stark contrast to those of us of the Left (and/or who supported Jeremy Corbyn when he was Labour leader), who have had their social media postings pored over in excruciating detail over the past six years or so, by people trying to find anything even remotely objectionable. From personal experience, I can confirm that this happens.

“Shows who has been doing the witch hunting,” they said.

It is a valid point. But…

(For the record: the comment about David Baddiel in my tweet was not entirely accurate and I corrected it later on the thread. That said, while he deplored the joke, he still spoke in support of Carr as a personal friend. I’m not sure how he can reconcile that friendship with the fact that Carr told a joke that he himself has decried as “cruel and inhumane and mean-spirited and racist”. It seems these people are tying themselves in knots to justify their association with someone capable of such behaviour. But I digress.)

The bottom line?

People who haven’t said anything close to being as bad as Carr’s joke have suffered serious disruption to their lives and careers because blue-tick celebrities like those named above have denounced them. Again, I refer to personal interference.

If the same people suddenly want to give a free pass to someone who has actually said something genuinely appalling, then they need to start issuing apologies to everyone they have wronged by supporting the false accusations.

Sadly, I don’t see that happening, because: one rule for us – no rules for them.

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Shame on Victoria Coren Mitchell for joining the anti-Corbyn, anti-Semitism witch-hunt

Lost respect: She might have been smiling but not only did Victoria Coren Mitchell lose the respect of knowledgeable TV viewers, her actions were deeply upsetting to those who had previously thought better of her.

This Writer’s television had a lucky escape last night. I was out watching a gig in Shrewsbury and did not see Victoria Coren Mitchell making a fool of herself – and no doubt many millions of viewers – on Have I Got News For You.

I understand from reports following the travesty that she made a comment to camera after a segment suggesting that the Labour Party had gone from being several million pounds in profit to hundreds of thousands in debt.

Apparently addressing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the gist of the joke – if you can call it that – was that if he wanted someone good with money, he should try the Jewish bankers he believes are conspiring against him.

Firstly: Jeremy Corbyn has never – ever – given voice to the anti-Semitic trope about a conspiracy of Jewish bankers.

So Ms Coren Mitchell was broadcasting a lie. Claiming it was a joke doesn’t make it acceptable. Nor does claiming it was part of a script; she knows about the anti-Corbyn smears and the witch-hunt in general and could have refused.

Secondly: As she was the one who invoked the ‘Jewish banking conspiracy’ trope, it is Ms Coren Mitchell who committed an act of anti-Semitism.

Worse still, she doubled down on the transgression when she was challenged about it on Twitter, although she got what she deserved in response.

If I had seen it – well, as I stated at the top, my TV set had a lucky escape.

In the name of balance, we should mention – as Beastrabban has – that Mr Corbyn is on the record as having criticised the BBC for failing to broadcast enough programmes catering for the Jewish community in the UK. That should be indicative of his attitude to Jewish people.

The BBC, of course, has ‘form’ when it comes to anti-Corbyn smears. One has only to consider the outrage caused by its grotesquely biased Panorama documentary Is Labour Antisemitic? that was broadcast in July.

But I must echo Beastrabban’s disappointment in Ms Coren Mitchell – and that of the many others who voiced similar feelings. We all thought she was better than that. How shaming for her that we were mistaken.

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