Archive for the ‘ECHR’ Category

Universal Credit Report -Hidden dangerous policy decisions that will cause harm


This report from Disability Campaigner Gail Ward is a must read for all benefit claimants and those claiming  ‘in work’ benefits claimed by millions in the UK. It has plenty of references and downloads contained within the document and it will alarm many, it should, as this government is targeting the poorest in society at the expense of saving the rich. Some of those already transferred will know the horrors already highlighted recently by Citizens Advice (CAB),but the majority do not. This blog doesn’t have the capacity to embed the entire report to enable reading online ,but you can download it from the link below in the hope that this will help many prepare for the next onslaught by this barbaric government whose sole purpose is to hound claimants, and save money for the state putting profit before people. If you thought WCA (ESA) was bad this will make it look relatively tame.

 

https://www.scribd.com/document/353794654/Universal-Credit-Report

The Human Cost Of Austerity


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What is the Human Cost of Austerity?

Well for most working people it not affected them yet, they actually have been least hit, unless you’re on low pay poverty wages .The pensioners are ‘untouchable’ as far as political ideology is concerned,but for some of the most vulnerable groups they have been affected the most and they are ones least likely to be able to take the hit of both financial and personally as they have least means for survival. the last 6yrs has seen sick & disabled people penalised the most, resulting in fatalities that should shock anyone with a ounce of humanity in their souls.

Why has this been allowed to happen I hear people cry, well I will tell you why …because you allowed it to happen by not standing up for a fair society for all!

A colleague Kitty Jones summed up this in one of her thought provoking quotes Read more here ..  https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/

Neoliberalism is based on competitive individualism. In such a competitive system it’s inevitable that there will be a few “winners” and many “losers”. That’s what “competition” means. It means no rewards for most people – inequality and poverty for the 99%. It’s not possible to “work hard” to change this. It’s built into the very system. Therefore it’s hardly fair or appropriate for a government to blame and punish people for the failings of their own imposed dominant ideology – a political and economic mode of organisation – which most ordinary people did not intentionally choose.

 

The fact is this Government blames anyone and everyone but themselves and they spout on about ‘people taking responsibility’ which is all well and good in ideal world but the one we live in now is a far more dark and frightening space. It uses behavioural conditioning to pit one section of society against the other  in a global hunger games like experiment you would see in an apocalyptic movie, but its not a movie , for many it a reality of daily struggle in some mind bending experiment of your nightmares.

Again Kitty Jones points this out well

The Tory mindset is very disciplinarian. In their view, everyone else needs “corrective treatment” to ensure that society is shaped and ruled the way they think it ought to be. The government believes that rather than addressing social problems – many of which are created and perpetuated by their own policies, such as growing inequality and absolute poverty – can be addressed by “incentivising” people to “behave” differently. In other words, they believe that people can be punished out of poverty, being ill, being out of work, and being less “competitive”, cost effective citizens, letting down the conservative’s constructed, overarching neoliberal state.

The government is conducting behavioural experiments on the public without their consent, to fulfil the needs of government, rather than the needs of the public. This turns democracy totally on its head. Citizens are being coerced to act as the government deems necessary to fulfil conservative notions of cost reduction and “efficiency” – such as their notion of a low tax, low welfare society. “Living within our means” means austerity for the poorest, tax cuts for the rich => growing inequality and poverty.

The government mindset: “Psychology as a behaviorist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is … prediction and control.” From – https://gcs.civilservice.gov.uk/…/GCSBehaviourChangeGuideJu…

And: “Behaviour change is one of the primary functions of government communications – helping change and save lives, helping the government run more effectively as well as save taxpayer’s money.

Our approach is to use a mix of awareness raising, persuasion, practical help and behavioural theory, to demonstrate why changes in behaviour are important and to make these changes easy for the public to adopt.”

Making changes “easy to adopt” sounds like choices are being offered, however, the use of “incentives” includes rigid, coercive measures such as welfare sanctions and savage cuts to public support and services.

A government that imposes policies on citizens using coercion is not “democratic.” It’s a government displaying some very worrying totalitarian tendencies.

 

 

As this governments ideology marches on towards it goal of dismantling the Welfare State,NHS social care and redefining chronic sickness & disability (as in to eradicate it ) ,and  child poverty at alarming rates, a government which stokes racial disharmony , and homelessness which will swamp streets in every part of the UK then we are heading for very troubled waters indeed . In April the two child policy comes in, further cuts to a variety of benefits that people receive and the process of getting them made almost impossible to get, and enforced treatment of some claimants to make them fit for work with a very dangerous Health & Work programme  later this year,  will cause preventable harm to many and most likely more deaths that go hand in hand with Mental Health issues, poverty,malnutrition etc that we can barely see the apocalypse coming as so many are blinded by their own survival and greed.

 

What sort of legacy are we leaving our children and future generations? One where human life is deemed worthless and disposable, christ we only need to look at what damage we do to the planet we live on and the destruction that is causing to see this a road of no return.

Unless we wake up, Mad Max will become a reality and those left behind will not have the coping strategies to cope and the knowledge of their forefathers will be lost forever.

They say history repeats itself, well yes it does, because we still haven’t learned to value what’s precious and not repeat past horrors like both wars where humans are brutalised and then become emotionally disconnected because it is too painful to see or feel. This has to change if we are to make a real difference and that change can start with ourselves and join together to unite against what is wrong.

People think they do not have power to change things so become accepting but collectively we do have power  and thats what scares governments the most. It is time to wake from your slumber and rise up like lions to defend life and create a better world for all.

It is  time to put our differences aside and work together as a collective to achieve changes we wish to happen!

Academic confirmation we have all been waiting 7 years for- AYLWARD’S REPUTATION DESTROYED BY ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE


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 Courtesy of Mo Stewart July29th 2016

Re: Blaming the victim, all over again: Waddell and Aylward’s biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability.

by Tom Shakespeare, Nicholas Watson and Ola Abu Alghaib

 

Critical Social Policy, May 25,2016: 0261018316649120

http://csp.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/05/25/0261018316649120.abstract

AS you all know, I have been exposing the dangerous WCA in my research since 2009.  Eventually, I was able to expose the use of the totally discredited biopsychosocial (BPS) model of assessment, used for the WCA and adopting a ‘non-medical’ assessment model to resist funding benefit.  Waddell and Aylward’s ‘research’ was based on the modified version of Engel’s BPS model as identified in the 1970s. They are responsible for the BPS model used for the WCA, which has destroyed countless lives.

 

Finally, the very long awaited academic support has arrived in the form of a blistering attack against Mansel Aylward and Gordon Waddell’s research ‘evidence’ who, historically, have written DWP ‘commissioned’ research that has influenced government policy, which led to the introduction of the WCA.

 

Originally published in Critical Social Policy Journal, Tom’s scathing attack against the BPS duo is now attached and is available via Tom’s website at UEA: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/58235/1/1351_Shakespeare.pdf

 

The Waddell-Aylward BPS has remained largely unexamined within academic literature, although it has not escaped critique by disability activists (e.g. Jolly 2012, Berger n.d., Lostheskold 2012, Stewart 2013). In this paper we build on these political challenges with an academic analysis of the model and the evidence used to justify it. We outline the chief features of the Waddell-Aylward BPS and argue that, contrary to Lord Freud’s comments above, there is no coherent theory or evidence behind this model. We have carefully reviewed claims in Waddell and Aylward’s publications; compared these with the accepted scientific literature; and checked their original sources, revealing a cavalier approach to scientific evidence. In conclusion, we will briefly outline the influence of the Waddell-Aylward BPS on contemporary British social policy, and the consequent effects on disabled people.” (p4) (My emphasis MS)

 

Waddell and Aylward slide between general statements that are scientifically valid, and specific statements that are matters of opinion or political prejudice. They also tend to cite their own, non-peer reviewed papers extensively. For example they claim ‘We have the knowledge to reduce sickness absence and long-term incapacity associated with common health problems by 30–50%, and in principle by even more’ (2010, 45). They underpin this claim by reference to one of their earlier publications, Concepts of Rehabilitation for the Management of Common Health Problems (Waddell & Burton 2004). However, there is no evidence cited in this 2004 work to support such a claim, in fact this publication even acknowledges the paucity of evidence in this area (Waddell and Burton 2004; 50).” (p20)

 

“In conclusion, the relationship of the advocates of the Waddell Aylward BPS to the UK government’s ‘welfare reform’ does not represent evidence-based policy. Rather, it offers a chilling example of policy-based evidence.” (p24)

 

The research ‘evidence’ used by the DWP to justify the dangerous WCA, using the discredited BPS model, is finally exposed as having ‘no coherent theory or evidence behind this model’, which is academic speak for being totally bogus.

 

 

Is DRUK Trying To Silence Disability Researcher?


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Disability Rights UK (DRUK) have been around a long time, helping disabled people navigate the benefits system with their informative fact sheets available to download from their website.

Like many other charities, gradually, DRUK have been sitting at the table with government officials in the designing of the WCA since 2010, offering both critique and praise alike.

Many will know that DRUK have recently been afforded Government contracts to supply Disability Equality Training to the new contractor, Maximus, for the WCA assessments to ensure disabled people get better treated  within the process. I am sure that DRUK think they are trying to ease the stress these flawed assessments cause many disabled claimants. However, how can you offer help to disabled people then, with the same breath, support the oppressive regime the WCA has become?  This smacks of conflict of interest.

As many disability campaigners know one of their own, Sue Marsh (Spartacus Network), was co-opted by IDS to work for Maximus. This caused much outrage amongst the disability movement dividing many campaigners into two camps, with some calling Marsh a traitor who they deemed was bought to silence her, and others, as Spartacus members gave personal stories etc to the network. Members felt betrayed and concerned as to where their data was, and how it could be used against them come reassessment, with Marsh now working for the government contracted oppressor of disabled people who are dying in their thousands.

 

Benefits and Work  website reported in January 2015

Following its signing of disability campaigner Sue Marsh earlier this month, Maximus – the company taking over the work capability assessment contract from Atos in March – have now signed up a leading disability charity as well.

Disability Rights UK (DRUK) have announced that they have agreed a contract to deliver training in disability equality to Maximus health professionals.

DRUK has over 300 member organisations, including many national charities, and aims to ‘Break the link between disability and poverty’. Maximus, which is being paid more than double the amount that Atos was being paid to carry out WCA’s seems keen to prevent potential opponents from slipping into poverty by sharing some of its taxpayer funded profits with them.

DRUK are also advertising for people to take part in what looks very much like a promotional campaign for income protection insurance – the sort of thing that Unum provide as an alternative to state support – though there is no suggestion that Unum are involved on this occasion.

Members of the public who have had a serious illness and are trying to return to work are offered the amounts of money and support they would have had if they had been wealthy enough to afford to take out income protection insurance cover. They are filmed as they make the return to work and these films can then be used to encourage people to take out income protection insurance.

Of course, the worse the level of state benefits and state support, the more easily people can be persuaded to take out such insurance, giving insurance companies a vested interest in maintaining the link between disability and poverty.

 

The Black Triangle Campaign and Disabled People Against the Cuts  have also  highlighted on their respective websites many of the shortcomings of this government’s failure to ‘Help the most vulnerable in society and protect them,’ with DPAC going to the UN which recently found that disabled people’s human rights were breached under the convention. (Links below)

Make no bones about it, private disability insurance is on its way under Tory rule as we follow the examples of USA, Canada, Australia etc of welfare provision, which is soon to be highlighted in a new book by independent disability studies researcher, Mo Stewart, called Cash Not Care- the planned demolition of the UK welfare state, due to be published later this year. Former healthcare professional and disabled veteran Mo Stewart has spent 6 long years gathering information, which has assisted many disabled campaigners in their fight against these ideological reforms, which caused preventable harm to disabled people and saved very little money for the government; a pledge they used to sell this lie to the public who bought it hook, line and sinker. Mo’s very detailed research reports are available online.

 

You may wonder that I have wandered off topic but you need to understand the background before I lay the cards on the table.

It seems that DRUK would like to now garner the services of researcher Mo Stewart on the new APPG Inquiry regarding ‘Welfare to Work’ which they administer, and which is the next step of this government’s ongoing psycho- coercion to force claimants into work, regardless of the harm it will cause. They fail miserably to understand that many chronically sick and disabled people cannot work, and that their health problems are permanent, as they built the welfare reform policies based on so called ‘academic research’ which has been subsequently demonstrated to be fatally flawed, in the case of the Freud Report, and based on totally bogus research in the case of the DWP evidence used to justify the WCA. http://csp.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/05/25/0261018316649120.abstract

The aim is to go beyond a critique to a template or blueprint for co-ordinated Government action to halve the ‘disability employment gap’.  Even those who want to work (and many disabled people do work), due to the barriers they face regarding access, together with employers who are unwilling to take disabled people on in the workplace, or to make the necessary adjustments needed, they can’t.  For example, most buildings, transport etc are not disability friendly.

Many disabled people are now being put through the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments and are actually losing both their Motability cars, and their jobs, as many disabled people are unable to use public transport.  So, the removal of access to a Motability car also means the loss of paid work. Yet another consequence of welfare reforms the government failed to consider.

What bit of this do the DWP fail to grasp is mind boggling, and clearly lacks any common sense.  Without addressing the barriers, and accepting that many cannot work, is the sole reason the government has failed to halve the disability employment gap as they claimed they wanted to do.  That claim always was little more than propaganda and Tory party rhetoric used in the ongoing psycho-coercion of the British people via the right-wing press.

Thankfully, Mo Stewart declined the offer to join the APPG government inquiry. She challenges the theory behind the planned report, does not wish to be the ‘token’ disabled person on the research team, and there would be a risk that any negative reaction to the eventual report by the disability support groups could be justified by the DWP when highlighting Mo’s contribution. She totally refuses to become another government ‘patsy.’

So, Mo declined the invitation to join the APPG Inquiry research team and is waiting for her book to be published, which is a strong indictment of all those involved in the WCA process. This is the research the government attempted to stop, and the book the government do not want people to read.

She’s also writing further research to support disabled people, and the DWP have discovered that Mo is not easily silenced in her condemnation of these American influenced welfare reforms that she has spent over 6 years of her life researching and reporting.

 

Lynne Friedli’s powerful talk regarding the psycho-coercion used by the state is well worth 45 minutes of your time, demonstrating the realities of the state using psychosocial rhetoric to enforce work that may be unpaid and certainly, for many, will be harmful.(You Tube link)

 

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mo_Stewart/publications

http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html

http://guerillawire.org/welfare/disability-charity-signs-maximus-contract/

Leading WCA campaigner swaps sides to join Maximus

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/20/un-inquiry-uk-disability-rights-violations-cprd-welfare-cuts

http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/news/uk-in-breachhuman-rights/00287.html

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/scottish-police-assessing-possible-investigation-into-ids-and-grayling/

 

 

 

 

Life as a Campaigner – Not For Fainthearted


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I have been thinking recently about life as a Campaigner  and all the trials and tribulations that go with that task. Disability Campaigners from all walks of life /backgrounds have fought the most brutal and sadistic of battles over the last 6yrs with unprecedented tenacity even the Government themselves have been surprised that we would dare to fight tooth and nail over the Welfare Reform Bill brought in 2010 and subsequent changes since like the Welfare To Work Bill, Social Care Act, ILF Cuts, Trade Union Bill and the mighty NHS Privatisation Etc.

Endless  personal sacrifices have been made to bring this Government to task over what can only be considered, a mercenary scorched earth approach to disability and employment which is targeting the poorest in society not seen since WW2. Not withstanding their own personal daily struggles of disability, caring responsibilities, and the stagnant job market many have found themselves under sustained attack from the Bedroom Tax, WCA, Benefit Cap, Universal Credit and DLA transitions to PIP (Personal Independence Payment), Workfare, Housing Benefit ,Deaths, and all the cuts that have been implemented, with much more yet to come, they have remained steadfast in their resolve. This takes a considerable effort in both time and energy to take this government to court, raise funds for court appeals, and do research to enable this to happen in the first place, engage solicitors/barristers while offering substantial support to those in need and engage their communities to get involved and on the street, while the rest of society ignores their calls for help and support and the Press & TV have been blocked form reporting the considerable harm to many, in some cases resulting in death. The loss of friends in the campaign movement has ripped out the heart of some of us, after all ‘we care’ why else would we be doing it.

We are accused of being self-serving, when in reality different factions may have different approaches, use different models even, but the stark reality is we have Humanity, Compassion for our fellow human beings regardless, with the main ingredient of  CARING and wanting ALL to have a decent standard of living without fear of persecution from those in power who decide on changes that affect our lives on a daily basis.

Campaigners do it because they absolutely believe it should be a human right to live in a fair and equal society and be allowed the same equality as anyone else in society enjoys, not be subjected to ‘grades of worthiness’ by the rest of society.

They took to social media in various forms and took the fight right to the heart on Central Government, they took to the streets , took to courts and lobbied Ministers to stop this onslaught from happening. It hasn’t been without its problems though, many campaigners have been subjected to Hate Crime, Cyber bullying, Government Interference by closing websites down, some of this  has even come from within their own community because of disagreements in ways to tackle the issues we all face, even down to whistle blowers from those contracted to carry out these policies, and those who chose to change their allegiances and work with the perceived enemy. We also bear the brunt of people’s anger and frustration when intervening ,leading many groups to place rules within groups to try to bring some social order and etiquette to prevent members being abused or themselves for standing strong on a particular point. Sadly  the negatives of social media also brings out the worst in people who think that they can be as abusive as they like from behind a computer screen,  trading insults with each other rather than just disagree and walk away, some not understanding the difference between debating and challenging a viewpoint then going off and causing mischief across the internet or stalking an individual because they had a fallout leading to cyber bullying and harassment. Some have had to resort to calling in the police due to their nature.

Many Campaigners  have supported those all night who cannot cope and prevented some of them from taking their own lives, offered support and directed those affected to reputable sources for help and support with the disaster of all the above mentioned changes, some have even gone along to tribunals and provided a means of emotional support to someone who feels their world is a dark planet full of enemies of the state, persecuting them into what they see as the only course of action is ‘their own demise’.

Hours of toil amongst their own ill-health  and other life commitments  have made a positive impact on many  lives and now the tides seems to be turning in our favour after the recent PIP debacle which saw ministers back down for now anyway. 12billion more cuts are yet to be implemented and no doubt many will already be standing on a cliff edge wondering whether or not to jump off the cliff as  they can bear no more, while others will just store up that anger  and kick off at the tiniest thing causing mayhem wherever they go and misdirect that anger at those who are trying to do something to stop this bloody mess, which isn’t only unfair on those under fire but those around them too. Its not an easy life for sure full of stress and strain and frustration, and when you stick your head above the parapet you can be certain, someone will want to blow it off, taking you down for no reason at all other than frustration or jealousy at your new found status of being seen as a ‘leading campaigner’ which is a label placed upon you by others within the movement or externally by those reporting the news and sequence of events. Some are pushed unwittingly to the forefront, while some wishing to remain in the engine room they all work together for the betterment of the whole movement overall yet expect nothing in return except respect and dignity that should be afforded to any human being. Campaigners do not do it for personal gain they do it to prevent pain and suffering to those who cannot stand up for themselves, to make the lives of many better than before, where possible. Britain is the first country to be investigated for grave violations to sick and disabled people by both the UN and ECHR.

I will end this blog with a simple message we can fight back ,we can overcome obstacles if we stick together. What this government wants  is to divide society into sections of society each kicking  7 bells of shit out of each other as the crumbs off the table become more scarce, what we cannot do is give them their wish of divide and rule we need to pull together on common ground and stand shoulder to shoulder with each other even if we disagree, we should not fall into the trap set for us to tear each other apart for we are all fragile human beings with a range of impairments. Love & Respect each other and put differences aside.

 

That reader, is only way to beat this government unite as one, for when we do, we are one hell of a formidable foe that scares the living shit out of our government.

Solidarity

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