Just received the following email from Jeremy Corbyn and I feel that it needs sharing as widely as possible in the face of disloyal MP’s and a hostile mainstream media.
Our country is in crisis and needs a Labour Government.
Our opponents are the Tories, not each other, and it’s disappointing that a small group of MPs have felt unable to continue to work together for the Labour policies that inspired millions at the last election and saw us increase our vote by the largest share since 1945.
Labour won people over on a programme for the many not the few – redistributing wealth and power, taking vital resources into public ownership, investing in every region and nation, and tackling climate change.
The Conservative Government is bungling Brexit, while Labour has set out a credible alternative, keeping all options on the table, including a public vote to stop a disastrous ‘no deal’ Brexit.
When millions are facing the misery of Universal Credit, rising crime, homelessness and poverty, now more than ever is the time to bring people together to build a better future for us all. For those millions the only solution is a Labour Government that will invest in and transform our country.
That’s why we must be united – not for ourselves but to deliver a Labour Government.
PLEASE WATCH THIS. APOLOGIES FOR THE LENGTH OF TEXT, BUT PLEASE READ & SHARE THIS (via copying and pasting or going to Clwyd South Labour Party Facebook page if you can’t share from here. Thank you).
Another superb report about the Save the Welsh Independent Living Grant – WILG campaign by the BBC’s Paul Martin, who again puts his UK-level colleagues to shame by showing how journalism should be done.
With Plaid securing a debate on WILG on Wednesday in the Assembly, we at Clwyd South Labour Party & Labour for Wrexham join our MPs Susan Elan Jones MP & Ian Lucas in calling on the Welsh government, OUR party, to finally make the change that absolutely NOBODY (apart from seemingly some Cabinet Ministers), ANYWHERE-inside or outside Labour-is against!
Both Mark Drakeford AM & Julie Morgan, Assembly Member for Cardiff North are good people, who we campaigned, phonebanked, door-knocked & supported passionately during their respective campaigns; both have been openly supportive of what we are trying to do.
So, if anyone is in doubt as to how important this is, or why it is ESSENTIAL that the Welsh Independent Living Grant with a confirmed TRIPARTITE (recipient, Local Authority, WAG-with WAG controlling admin & money) system is saved, then let us present evidence in addition to expert opinion:
-via FOI, VERY clearly, without a shred of doubt, the evidence in black & white shows that the current system implemented last year is failing lots of people. Demonstrably so. We have pages and pages of evidence and reports that prove that, putting all emotional pleas to one side, NOT keeping WILG with Tripartite is demonstrably worsening the lives of many, while as Dame Tani Grey-Thompson says, the inevitability of it costing MORE by NOT doing this!
Add to this we have plenty of evidence of what happens when the WILG equivalent is kept as in Scotland & Northern Ireland (very successful) V when it is scrapped, hence WILG to begin with, in England-i.e. Terrible results for the most vulnerable. Not surprising given this is, no matter how it is dressed up & accepting it was not the original intention, very clearly a Neo Liberal policy-the antithesis of what we stand for in Labour.
-NONE of the recipients are creating a two-tier system. WAG is. Both at the initial stage-their choice, but also now with the wildly differing results from Local Authorities. THAT is a two-tier system! Also, the number of recipients is only going DOWN, so if WAG do not think it is obvious that THE most vulnerable people in Wales deserve their direct protection (Tripartite), then we would love to know why.
-Democracy: We are very pleased to see Mark Drakeford re-emphasizing how we are a democratic, member-led party in Wales. Therefore, we expect, obviously, that the vote at Welsh Labour conference 2018 is upheld and that we keep WILG with a Tripartite system. Otherwise, as one of the first acts of the new administration, it’s not exactly a good look if the largest ever defeat for WL is ignored given the committed stance on democracy!!! Many would question what the point of conference motions are if this is ignored.
-Total unanimous support to Save the Welsh Independent Living Grant – WILG from the following:
The Labour Party membership inside & outside Wales
Labour MPs inside & outside Wales and AMs, Councillors etc in Wales
The Leader of the Labour Party at UK level Jeremy Corbyn
The Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell
Baroness Tani Grey-Thompson
The Official UK-wide Disability Group for Labour who also passed our motion
ALL other political parties in Wales. ALL!
Every single Constituency Labour Party (CLP) in Wales that we have had direct contact with, and many we haven’t
Wrexham FC, Ken Loach, Mark Thomas, Atilla The Stockbroker, Joe Solo & MANY other cultural icons
Do we need to go on? We repeat, we have faith in both Mark Drakeford & Julie Morgan to do the right thing as they are good Socialist people. IF, and we say IF, this is a failure of consensus politics, then annoy those objecting in your cabinet. Not the most vulnerable people in Wales. IF this is being stopped by the egos of others, because OBVIOUSLY it is not based in evidence, is it?!, then I am afraid WE, because WE are Labour, MUST stand up to anyone wishing to block what is an ABSOLUTE NO-BRAINER!!!
To be clear-our campaign will only heap praise on Mark Drakeford, Julie Morgan & Welsh Labour if they secure what is ethically, economically, politically & procedurally the right thing to do. We will praise them for listening and PROVING this new administration is a listening one, that it is very much a Socialist one, and very much an administration that respects democracy. It will be a statement of intent. It will, to quote Rhodri Morgan, show “Clear red water” between the Tories in Westminster & Labour in Wales. Nathan & the campaign has done everything by the book, jumping EVERY admin/democratic hurdle.
Now with this democracy-centred, inclusive, Socialist administration in addition to all the glaring, factual evidence, NO OPPOSITION either internally or externally, the UK Leader & Shadow Chancellor, the UN, Welsh MPs & AMs, THE CONFERENCE VOTE etc etc…This really is VERY easy to do from every conceivable angle-morally, politically, economically, PR-wise etc. It should be like shooting fish in a barrel.
We want to be proud to continue the fight to oppose social injustice. The average life expectancy of someone with lead campaigner Nathan Lee Davies‘s condition, is 35 years old. Tomorrow-Tuesday 12th February 2019-is Nathan’s 42nd birthday. To quote Nathan himself:
“I do not want to be using what precious time I have left fighting against the hierarchy of the party I love and campaign for. But I will if I have to. Please don’t make me.”
On behalf of the campaign, please do not make us have to, either. Do the right thing. You are good, decent people who we are proud to campaign for & defend daily. Yes, no one says your job is easy-far from it. But this decision is. PLEASE, before the party we love gets exposed in the Assembly on Wednesday, PLEASE LISTEN. THANK YOU!
A disabled campaigner has sent an 80-page dossier of evidence to the new first minister of Wales in a last-ditch bid to persuade him to abandon plans to close the Welsh government’s independent living grant scheme.
Nathan Lee Davies has written to Mark Drakeford with just two months left until the planned closure of the Welsh Independent Living Grant (WILG), which was itself set up as an interim scheme following the UK government’s decision to close the Independent Living Fund in June 2015.
Davies, who has led the Save WILG Campaign, told Drakeford in an open letter this week that closing WILG would leave disabled people with high support needs “at the mercy of cash-strapped Local Authorities who seem intent on cutting vital support packages across the board with no guarantee that further cuts will not follow”.
He said that local authorities “seem to be treating disabled people as a burden”.
Davies points out in the letter that Drakeford had promised – during his successful campaign to lead the Welsh Labour party last year – that if an independent evaluation of the WILG closure showed the new system “not working as well as the old one” then he would be “prepared to reverse it”.
WILG was set up by the Welsh government – with UK government funding – as a short-term measure to support former ILF recipients when the fund was closed in June 2015.
But the Welsh government is now closing WILG and transferring the funding to local councils, and by April the 22 local authorities will be solely responsible for meeting the support needs of all former ILF-recipients in Wales.
Davies said the “deep dive review” of cases in which WILG recipients were having their support cut was “full of errors” and had failed to consult the disabled people who will be affected.
He pointed to his own experience at the hands of his local authority, Wrexham council, which he said had treated him “abysmally”.
Davies, who has a life-limiting condition, said that the process to reassess his support needs, due to end in September 2018, had still not been completed and was having “a negative impact” on both his physical and mental health.
He described how his social worker had laughed when he suggested he needed 24-hour support and told him that no-one in the borough received that level of support.
He said that the lack of overnight support in his current social care package meant he had to stop drinking at 8pm at night and get ready for bed at 10pm, and often had to call his 68-year-old father to assist him in the night, even though he lives a 10-minute drive away and has arthritis in both hands.
The dossier, which has already been shared with the deputy health and social services minister Julie Morgan, includes a description of a day in his life, from last January, showing the poor level of support he already receives – even before the closure of WILG – and the pain and indignity this exposes him to, as well as the lack of choice and control in his life.
Davies says: “It is 2018 and I am still being treated like a second class citizen.
“I have a progressive condition of the nervous system which is accelerating at quite a rate, yet I still have the same amount of inadequate care and support hours that I did in 2010 when I first began independent living.”
He updated this by posting a new blog yesterday, showing that little had changed in the last year.
In the dossier, he warns the Welsh Labour party: “I do not want to spend the last days of my life completely unnecessarily fighting against the party I have defended and campaigned for across many years.
“But I will if I have to. Please don’t make me.”
The dossier also includes a letter from a director of Disability Wales, Trevor Palmer, in which he says the planned WILG closure has “created serious disruptions” to his life, with local authority “incompetence and lack of understanding” that has led to his support package being “substantially” reduced.
A Welsh government spokesperson said: “We believe that disabled people’s ability to live independently should not be compromised by any changes to the way in which support is arranged for those people who previously received payments from the WILG.
“The first minister has just received Mr Davies’ open letter regarding the WILG and will carefully consider the detailed points it makes.
“He has asked the deputy minister for health and social services to consider what further action may be necessary to ensure disabled people in receipt of the WILG are not adversely affected by this change.
“The deputy minister has provided Mr Davies and the National Assembly’s petitions committee with details of the deep dive review.
“She also met Mr Davies at his home to hear his concerns and discuss the issues raised in his dossier.”
He said the deep dive review had seen the 22 Welsh local authorities audit all cases where they intended to cut the WILG element of people’s support.
This found planned reductions in about 157 cases, and increases in support in a similar number, out of 1,174 people.
He claimed that the cuts had taken place because “some people had developed a need for healthcare rather than social care while some, due to their support being provided in a different way or being of a different type, had a reduced need for care overall”.
He accepted that two questionnaires, commissioned from the All Wales Forum of Parents and Carers of People with Learning Disabilities, had had a low response rate, but he said that responses to it “have been positive about the way assessments have been undertaken and the outcomes people have received”.
Charlotte Walton, Wrexham council’s head of adult social care, said: “We cannot comment on any individual’s care and support needs.
“However we do not accept the allegations being made.
“We have carried out all of the WILG reviews in a person centred and inclusive manner and working with the individual recipients of the fund [has]enabled them to achieve positive outcomes from the reviews.”
Davies said he would now push for a meeting with the first minister.
He said: “I am not going anywhere and will continue to fight this until justice is served.”
Picture: Nathan Lee Davies with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
This is an incredibly worrying time for all disabled people and their families across Wales. There are only 63 days left before the Welsh Independent Living Grant is due to end, leaving individuals at the mercy of cash-strapped Local Authorities who seem intent on cutting vital support packages across the board with no guarantee that further cuts will not follow.
The fact that this neo-liberal policy is still being forced through by a Welsh Labour Government is unbelievable: frankly, it makes it even worse. I always thought that I would be protected from the brutality shown by the Tories in Westminster, because I live in a land governed by a social, democratic party. Unfortunately, the Party that I know and love seem to have lost their way under the previous leadership, which is why I was overjoyed by your election victory to become our new First Minister.
I am confident that Welsh Labour is now travelling in the right direction towards a socialist future which you championed during the Leadership Hustings. In an interview with the BBC you also said the following about the future of the Welsh Independent Living Grant:
…”if an independent evaluation “shows the new system is not working as well as the old one then I would be prepared to reverse it because this is money intended for a very specific number of people for a very specific purpose”.
The deep-dive that was recently undertaken by the Welsh Government, to analyse the performance of Local Authorities relating to the WILG transition, is full of errors and quite frankly not worth the paper it is written on. How can an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the end of WILG be conclusive without having consulted disabled people who will be affected? My comrades dismantled the deep-dive results in our recent meeting with Deputy Health Minister, Julie Morgan AM.
The closure of the Welsh Independent Living Grant is such a destructive move to disabled people’s rights and I do not believe that a progressive Party such as ours should be going down such an avenue.
#SaveWILG campaigners have presented the Deputy Health Minister with an 80 page dossier of evidence against the closure of WILG. In addition, we have the backing of Welsh Labour members who overwhelmingly voted in favour of the Clwyd South motion to save WILG at Conference in April 2018. I believe you pledged to listen to the voices of members during the Hustings and they have certainly been vocal on this subject. We have also had support from Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, MP’s such as Chris Williamson, Ian Lucas and Chris Ruane. Film Director Ken Loach also supports our campaign.
Criticism of Welsh Government policy on Independent Living has also been made by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD):
However, various disability organisations in Wales had advocated setting up a national independent living scheme in Wales as aligning with a citizen directed system of support rather than the approach now adopted by the Welsh Government.
We recommend that the CRPD Committee asks:
Can the Welsh Government explain:
How it reached a decision to move all ILF recipients to normal social care provision from 31 March 2019, rather than setting up a national independent living scheme?
How it will ensure protection for article 19 rights of those formerly eligible for the Independent Living Fund after 31 March 2019?
I do not believe Welsh Labour should be having to defend themselves against the UN as I know your personal intentions are to ensure universal equality throughout Wales, but now is the time to take positive action and start listening to Welsh Labour members and disabled people and their families.
Personally, I have been treated abysmally by my Local Authority. I find myself in the position of having to teach my social worker about the Social Services and Well being Act. I am not being allowed to use my Direct Payments to meet my Personal Outcomes as described in the SSWBA and feel this vindicates my insistence on the need to maintain the tripartite system when deciding on and funding future care provision.
The reassessment process – which was originally due to end by September 30th 2018 and shows no sign of being completed soon – is really having a negative impact on my physical and mental health. When I first met with my social worker at the end of November 2018, she laughed when I suggested that I would need 24/7 support. She declared that no one in Wrexham gets such a thorough level of support [whether they require it or not?]. She said that even if we applied for such levels of care and support, that the panel would not accept such a request. This is a total departure from what the SSWBA promises. There is definitely no co-production going on and Local Authorities seem to be treating disabled people as a burden.
Without the overnight support I need to fully function in society, I have to stop drinking at 8pm at night, get ready for bed at 10pm and cannot wear my hand splints or use my leg supports during long and uncomfortable nights. I often find myself having to call on my 68-year-old father to assist me in the night, even though he lives a 10 minute drive away and has arthritis in both hands.
As Tanni Grey-Thompson said on Wales Live (23/01/19), it will cost the Welsh Government more in the long term to push ahead with this strategy of devolving funding to Local Authorities. It just makes no sense whatever way you look at it. Disabled people and their families never wanted such a situation to develop as was indicated in the original consultation that took place during 2015/16. I have been asking to see the consultation documents since October 2017, but I keep being directed towards a summary document. We all know that a summary can be manipulated and edited to suit the publishers. If the summary is accurate why can I not access original consultation responses?
It is often claimed by the Welsh Government that the original stakeholder group were united in agreement with the closure of WILG and the transferring of funds to local authorities.This is quite simply untrue. The members of the stakeholder group that I have spoken to have stated their frustrations with the whole process: “I disagreed with one side of the room almost continuously,“ and “I would be amazed to see minutes of a meeting where all participants agreed that passing this WILG over to the local authority beyond the ring-fenced period was the way forward.” Others have said “I used to go home from all these stakeholder groups thinking we had agreed certain things to discover that was not what had been recorded.” and other activists argue that many officials and civil servants do not actually “know what Independent Living means – they still think ‘independent’ means managing without support”.
It would greatly assist me in understanding Welsh Government’s decision making process on this issue if the minutes of all of the meetings of the stakeholder advisory group can be provided, and I will submit a Freedom of Information Act request if necessary.
I could go on and on, but time is against me and I would merely be repeating much of what can be read in my attached dossier of evidence. At over 80 pages long, I believe it is a comprehensive guide as to why the Welsh Independent Living Grant should be maintained indefinitely. The dossier includes information of the success of the Independent Living Schemes set up in Scotland and Northern Ireland that shows the lack of imagination shown by the Welsh Government compared to our neighbours.
Please note that this letter is written with the deepest respect towards yourself and your cabinet members. I am a loyal Welsh Labour supporter and I have belief in the 21st Century socialism that you intend on developing. The problem is that we cannot wait any longer and the changes need to be made immediately. There is no sense in a proud socialist Government copying the exact same model rolled out by the Conservative Party in Westminster. Moreover, if the original decision was wrong then your team needs to have the courage to simply reverse it. Tinkering with the detail in a bid to spare the blushes of your predecessors is just not acceptable: in fact it’s morally dishonest.
I know that you are extremely busy with Brexit and other pressing concerns, but disabled people with high care and support needs across Wales are in need of your leadership now. I look forward to meeting you again in the near future and should you require any more information from the #SaveWILG campaign, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Wishing you strength and solidarity
Nathan Lee Davies
Gained a First Minister, but lost a hero. Congratulations Mark. RIP Pete.
The following Blog is taken from Skwawkbox. To view the original article, please click here.
Left-wing candidate Mark Drakeford has just been elected as leader of the Welsh Labour Party – and therefore as First Minister – with a 53.9% share of the vote.
Wales at last has a leader from the left – and the UK-wide party benefits as well, a Drakeford will be eligible either to sit on the National Executive Committee in place of Carwyn Jones, or to appoint a trusted representative.
As the SKWAWKBOX showed in an exclusive two-part interview, Drakeford is a long-standing supporter of party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The SKWAWKBOX congratulates him on a resounding victory – and Welsh Labour left on an excellent result.
The following article originally appeared on the BBC online. To view the original article, please click here.
Buzzcocks lead singer Pete Shelley has died at 63 of a suspected heart attack.
The punk band are best known for their hit, Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve).
Their management told the BBC that Shelley died on Thursday in Estonia where he was living.
BBC music correspondent Lizo Mzimba said Buzzcocks, who formed in Bolton in the 1970s, were regarded as more polished, but musically no less influential, than the Sex Pistols.
The band have tweeted saying Shelley was “one of the UK’s most influential and prolific songwriters and co-founder of the seminal original punk band Buzzcocks”.
His music inspired generations of musicians over a five-decade career with his band and as a solo artist, they said.
The Charlatans’ singer Tim Burgess said Shelley’s “perfect three-minute pop songs” were “the soundtrack to being a teenager”.
Music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine said Buzzcocks were one of the most influential bands to emerge in the initial wave of punk rock, with echoes of their music in everyone from Hüsker Dü to Nirvana.
“The Buzzcocks were inspired by the Sex Pistols’ energy, yet they didn’t copy the Pistols’ angry political stance,” he wrote in AllMusic.
“Instead, they brought that intense, brilliant energy to the three-minute pop song. Shelley’s alternately funny and anguished lyrics about adolescence and love were some of the best and smartest of his era.”
This morning I published a vitally important Tweet thread that I hope will capture the attention of those with the power to provide security to the 1,300 disabled people with high support needs throughout Wales who receive the Welsh Independent Living Grant.
I publish memes and photographs alongside these Tweets. If you want to follow me on Twitter and perhaps Retweet my epic thread, my handle is @nathanleedavies
I am currently extremely busy as we head into a crucial month for the #SaveWILG campaign.
The fight continues…
@mark4leader @vaughangething @Eluned_Morgan @fmwales @huw4ogmore @DavidRowlandsAM @JFinchSaunders @MikeHedgesAM @RhunapIorwerth @neiljmcevoy @SeneddPetitions @JulieMorganLAB @lesley4wrexham @wgcs_economy @RebeccaEvansAM @johnpringdns @MidWalesMike @skwawkbox @LeanneWood
The following Tweet thread is VERY IMPORTANT. I trust that ALL Assembly Members and those in the Media with the power to spread awareness of the struggles of disabled people with high support needs will READ THIS in full and take the appropriate action to help us
There can be no denying that the WILG transition process is highlighting some major problems in the social care system throughout Wales. Local authorities cannot be trusted to provide adequate support for disabled people on their own.
The evidence is overwhelming as displayed in the Freedom of Information requests gathered from all 22 LAs, first-hand stories from WILG recipients and clear evidence that the same system is failing people in England.
The amount of support for #SaveWILG has been incredible. Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, MPs, AMs and celebrities such as Ken Loach have all backed our campaign while Welsh Labour members passed a motion at conference to protect the grant.
A similar motion was also passed by Disability Labour, our friends in Scotland and Northern Ireland also show that there is clearly another way of doing things to protect those with high support needs.
I haven’t even mentioned the UN report which found ‘grave and systematic violations of disabled ppls human rights’, saying it was a ‘human catastrophe’. This was partly based on concerns at the closure of the ILF. @WelshLabour are moving in the same direction. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-spending-cuts-human-catastrophe-un-committee-rights-persons-with-disabilities-disabled-a7911556.html …
I am receiving emails on a daily basis from WILG recipients across Wales telling me about the difficulties they are facing with the transition process. These people are too afraid to speak out due to the fear of reprisals.
Other recipients are also in the process of taking their LA’s to court and cannot speak out for fear of compromising their case. WILG will not or cannot raise their voice at all – for many reasons such as cognitive impairment, exhaustion or fear of further cuts to their hours.
The absurd two-tier argument that Welsh Labour are using is absolutely ridiculous. It is to all intents and purposes an equalisation downward, however subtle and however long it takes to materialise.
The ‘two-tier’ system is entirely the choice of WAG. Not us or recipients. Again, using this as a reason to stop providing what is needed as a basic starting point, is not a reason!!!
The effect being that money (saving) is at the root of this and the standard of life/living for recipients is not likely to be maintained in a way that allows them to have a really fulsome, fulfilled and rewarding life, rather than merely existing….
I have spent all day writing this thread of Tweets and have sacrificed three years of my life to this campaign for common justice. I will not stop fighting for the rights of disabled people but it is a disgrace that I have to in 21st Century Wales.