I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.
What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society.
This is an extremely worrying time for all disabled and vulnerable people. The messages being sent out by individual Governments regarding shielding seem to be conflicting and leave many struggling to decide what is best to do. This is brilliantly highlighted in the article by John Pring below, which features on his superb Disability News Service website.
I am particularly confused as I have a serious underlying condition, but I have not been told to shield by anyone. This is despite the fact that I was admitted to hospital at the end of January with pneumonia-like symptoms.
Is this simply an admin error or should I believe that the powers that be see this as a exciting opportunity to see the back of my annoying activism?
Be aware of this new change – “It is now the correct balance of risk to extend the self-isolation period from 7 to 10 days for those in the community who have symptoms or a positive test result” https://t.co/XJ7T6uVWbo
— Wrexham.com (@wrexham) July 30, 2020
The following article has been taken from the blog of Gail Ward, who is campaigning to join the Labour Party NEC. I felt that this article deserves to be read by a wide audience and I encourage Labour Party members to vote for Gail in the forthcoming NEC elections.
HOW CAN THE LABOUR PARTY WIN THE TRUST OF DISABLED VOTER
Regain our trust.
Times have changed over the decades since Thatcher and successive governments starting shifting away from Beveridgism. Labour lost that trust when they brought about welfare reforms in 2008 under Tony Blair’s regime. Yes, I will unashamedly point out that it was indeed those reforms, initially intended for new claims, which turned social security into the negative state it is now in. It was intended to be new claims only, however the likes on Begg, Gilmore, McGuire and Abraham’s soon realised all was not well. I recall in 2013 myself and other campaigners met with McGuire at her office in Stirling and again later at Newcastle Football Stadium where it was pointed out that a few people had died after
In marched Iain Duncan Smith under David Cameron’s mandate along with Lord David Freud, a former policymaker for the Labour Party, and they carried on with the assessments, bastardising them into the monster it is today.
They claimed baselessly that Labour were too soft on those needing state support. George Osborne persuaded the public that those needing social security were feckless, lazy and in need through their individual for their poverty, rather than considering the endemic, structural and systematic causes of poverty. The social security system had already been rebranded as welfare benefits, handouts and benefits by New Labour.
No serious or substantial attempt was made by Governments since the 1980s to explain why poverty occurs in Britain, and across the country. No attempt was made to secure well-paid employment in sectors which build supply chains and jobs. Across the industrial Midlands, Pennines and North, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall lost manufacturing jobs were not replaced with quality work.
By 2010 it was easy for Osborne to fuel that attitude with his strivers and skivers rhetoric than to offer real opportunities to those who were disabled, low paid or experiencing unemployment and job precarity.
Pushing the rhetoric of neighbours with curtains drawn while other residents went to work and paid their taxes to keep them lying idly in bed, Osborne pushed the misinformation that people in need of social security were taking advantage of the taxpayer. Which of course was largely untrue, fraud is low and most of the social security budget is taken up by the state retirement pension.
Back in the 1980s Thatcher had parked many of the middle aged and older working age men and women who were victims of her recessions mass redundancies on Incapacity Benefit. Ageism in the workplace and lack of transferable skills made it impossible for these people to find work, and they were parked in the embarrassingly high unemployment figures. Moving these unemployment benefit claimants onto Incapacity Benefits helped Thatcher and Major massage the unemployed statistics. In part New Labour recognised the unfairness of consigning people to the scrap heap, but they focused on using benefits as a springboard to work. The unemployed became job seekers and the beginnings of theories that sickness might be helped by work were creeping through the policy makers and lobbyists policy papers.
By 2010 Iain Duncan Smith had formulated his view that everyone should work, and that unemployed, disabled and even sick people might work. Given the right support everyone could work and the Universal Credit system which has been under consideration from the mid-1990s was being transformed into policy by 2012. However, IDS, Universal Credit has been badly planned, with poor software support, operated through Job Centres and call centres which have had staffing levels cut, that no longer provide real job search support. As with legacy benefits and disability benefits, UC claimants are forced to jump through hoops,but for lower amounts of money. The system of social security in Britain has effectively ceased to exist. What we have now is cruel process calculated to delay, deny and deter people claiming any form of state assistance and with the much vaunted insistence that the economy has large numbers of job vacancies. The fact that many jobs are low paid, part-time and precarious has constantly been glossed over.
Fast forward a decade and still the current Tory Government blames everyone else for the state of this country including the Labour Party which has not been in power for ten years, while absolving themselves of any responsibility for their mistakes. They have brainwashed the public thus far to go along with everything they say including those most in need. Sadly over 13 million people fell for the Conservatives’ lies at the last General Election.
Even in a pandemic that the Johnson regime was mismanaging from the outset, the Tories clapped and praised the NHS and its workers who they have systematically abused for a decade through low pay and poor working conditions. They saved Boris Johnson’s life while slapping them in the face by voting down a pay rise for them. While business and people tried to adapt to COVID regulations, members of the Government, their special advisors and relatives were found to have flouted the rules when they put themselves in harms way.
Today the Labour Party’s DWP Shadow Minster for Secretary of the State Jonathan Reynolds claimed In a article published on Labour List there would be no returning to George Osborne’s demonising rhetoric used against disabled, sick and unemployed people under his watch. Having spoken to him previously regarding his disastrous first article published in Politics Home,shows promise. I can see he is making steps in the right direction especially against the hated Universal Credit which is an utter failure. has further shown it to be such a mess to people who before the pandemic had never had any contact with the system. Many of those who were furloughed, or lost their jobs at the outset of lockdown are sadly among those who will encountered the social security system for the first time as all of our business sectors shed jobs. The British people face unprecedented levels unemployment which experts expect will return to levels not seen since Thatcher of between 5-9 million people.
What Labour have never done since 2010 is acknowledge and apologise for the part its reforms to social security played in giving the Tories the tools it has gone on to with such viciousness against disabled people. With the exception of a few individual MPs the Labour Party over the last decade has not visibly fought hard enough to protect disabled people. This lack of fight seems to have come about because of fears of talking publicly about social security in a society that demonises anyone who must claim any form of support from the state.
When you ask awkward questions they want to engage, while squidgy bums squirm on seats, many campaigners have put in enormous numbers of hours of work without payment into researching the ways the benefit system is failing disabled, impoverishment pensioners, low paid, sick, unemployed people and WASPI women. Many are working often from their sick beds, including myself, to engage in policy decisions, many of our findings were ignored, or cherry picked without even as much as a reference.
So you see to gain disabled people ‘trust’ again, let alone encourage the general public to vote for Labour in any local or general election, it is time to come clean and admit your mistakes in a number of areas of policy and tell them what you plan to do to put things right should they gain power.
In 2020 I can still hear all those disabled Labour voters shouting ‘I do not believe you’! Frankly, I do not blame them when 184 Labour MP’s voted with the current reforms.
Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see the Tories ousted from office and a Labour Government returned to power and that’s why I am standing for the NEC seat of Disability Representative. I recognise that the Labour Party has to radically change the way it designs policy and the way it engages with disabled people, other marginalised groups and the wider public. Failure to do so means we will remain in opposition for a very long time to come and in the meantime many who need social security support will continue to suffer and die.
Abandoned care home residents leading to 20k+ deaths.
Abandon the vulnerable by ending shielding even as infections rise.
All hail our eugenicist government!pic.twitter.com/HDE4FH1mif
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) August 1, 2020