Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Disability Debate - A Sketch



Well, I'm not really sure what to say.

An alien arriving in the middle of the Labour Opposition Day disability debate today would have found it very hard indeed to learn anything of any note at all.

He would surely have come away confident of two things. All sick and disabled people work in Remploy factories and the two tribes of this planet hate each other very much.

He might have been puzzled by how long lists of statistics seemed to make the case for totally incompatible claims. Yet each side seemed so convincing! Each did such a good job! It was almost as though the job mattered more than the actual subject matter. Everyone loved these disableds though, that's for sure.

Well apart from the ones who couldn't work.

But they all made such a good case for how much they loved the disableds! How could either tribe be right about how much the other side hates them? It couldn't all be true?

I feel sort of deflated. What was this pantomime parody of 10 million lives? It was like watching a nativity play version of Hamlet. It seemed somehow unrelated to reality.

To be fair, I must confess I missed Anne McGuire and John McDonnell, the headline acts, but by that time I'd already had to put down a sharp knife and step away from the arsenic. It was like watching paint dry - or was that hope die?

Kaliya Franklin said "Behave like the adults you claim to be let alone elected representatives. Stop blaming everyone else & be constructive. Dear MP's. Of ALL parties. I can do better than this semi conscious half way down a bottle of oramorph"

I can confirm this to be true. She can. And regularly does.

Tom Pollard from Mind said the debate had "created a bit of heat but very little light - no informed discussion of the real problems that need sorting out"

Dr S J Campbell, co-author of the spartacus report said "MPs don't come to debates.Those that do don't know the facts. Others only talk about 1 part of problem (Remploy)"

Perhaps the most irritatingly possible quote came from a Tory MP I'd lost the will to identify, who suggested that this wasn't in fact a debate, but a "Labour press release designed to appeal to an audience."

IDS mooed a lot in a low, sort of grunty way when he agreed with something. Otherwise he took turns smirking and looking outraged. There was something vile about watching a man causing actual outrage mimicking the expression for his own ends.

Maria Miller was chillingly good. Yes, she was. I did say good. Evil clearly, but polished-evil. This is worrying. If they've learnt to re-programme her, she might stop saying such silly things and offering us such open goals..

No-one else was there really.

Can't say I blame them.



44 comments:

  1. another tweet - we didn't watch a government @ #disabilitydebate 2day but a cold machine, made from steel. No understanding of reality for #disabled & #carers

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  2. Agree started slow picked up bit pace, each side said how great they were and slated other sides facts. Turns out us disabled lot are just so pleased out dla is being cut so those need it most will get it.. Er not really.

    They claim to want support carers then will cut dla/pip so less people will qualify for it. Then said the world has changed so much it needs reform but no one mentions fact reported disability hate crime up by 50%this year, while channel 4 been running excellent series on no go Britain .


    And best of all miller the disability plod said that we all just scare mongering over work tests, the place should been packed. Like find just one mp who hasn't had a local person ask help over their claim.

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  3. ChrisBracken20 June 2012 21:53

    A handful give a damn. The others, not at all. The concept that, as a people, we should care for our vulnerable, is gone. Our rulers understand only greed and self-interest. They can get away with anything because the only people who can stop them are just like them.

    I can only see change occurring if there is something in it for them, electorally. And although attitudes may be shifting, I don't see any great public outcry about what is happening.

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  4. Not having heard any news about today's debate I thank you for the update. Sounds as if our hope just got flushed down the Common's toilet? The alien observing this charade could be any member of the public, no wiser, no better informed of the difficulties we're facing and the facts of the matter. If the MPs remain clueless and turned up simply to throw sticks at one another then nothing has been achieved today :(

    *shakes head in despair*

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  5. if you can get to see the speeches given by Anne McGuire and John McDonnell you must, they really were the only people giving clear concise reasons why reform was needed and they didn't waffle on about Remploy. Yes there is an issue with Remploy closures but that effects a very small minority and the benefit issues effects millions so why did over 9 MP's keep going back to it, it watered down the debate so much that they were parroting each other and the two great speakers were missed or forgotten.

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    1. Because unions have adopted the Remploy cause and just as they do with Labour conference debates, they made sure "their guys" got to swamp the debate.

      Mature.

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  6. From what I saw it was some thing between a game of tennis with the Disabled as the ball, crossed with pass the parcel.
    They all wanted to try to convince us of their empathy but no one actually wanted to firmly grasp the ball or the parcel.
    But then what do I know, I'm just a middle grade Civil Servant. I work part time so that I can support my disabled 29 yr old son and I am now disabled myself. I feel like I'm being attacked by this government on all parts of my life. I had a glimmer of hope for today. It's been extinguished.

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  7. Glad to see you got a mention Sue and my take on the debate was Labour side had some good contributions and the condem side spouted the old mantra "it was all Labours fault the increased the number of disabled people during their 13 years. And they commissioned ATOS so any faults are nothing to do with us so we don't need to fix them" One very telling and true comment from a Labour MP the disabled are now organised as never before and they are going to be in your face. It was true the Remploy saga took far too much of the time important though it is. But take heart Sue at least it is now on the battle field and the Labour side have come out as never before on the side of the disadvantaged as opposed to the condems who just want to make the disabled pay for the world banking crisis that everyone knows they caused.
    Keep up the good work and don't get too disheartened you and the Spartacus team did a wonderful job and it is slowly paying dividends.

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  8. Do t forget us a bunch of nobody's on the sofa got mentioned by name aka Kalia and Spartacus report so we have made a difference! You think on,y way for them to see clearly the harmful effects is for their nearest and dearest to be ill or disabled and have fight their way through the tests, without that is an mps salary or trust fund to fall back on.

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  9. Read in in Hansard;love to know what IDS ill-tempered utterance was.Other comments have covered what I would have said.I add only this,beyond parody when Miller et al accuse others of "scaremongering" when they compulsively lie,feed the media with propaganda and exhibit an air of incivil arrogance at best ,callous disregard at worst.

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  10. The debate on the whole soon became lamentable. Hardly anyone there for a start, until they all piled in to vote. Far too much emphasis on Remploy, as a way of avoiding the issues. ie: its ok to support disabled people who WORK, but don't mention those who simply cannot and never will.

    I suggest for the sake of democracy, that no MP is allowed to vote on anything unless they have sat through the entire debate first. Conservative MP didn't know his ESA from his DLA or that it is not an out of work benefit. Yet these people get to vote.

    Did anyone else think IDS was acting a bit, well, weird? He just kept muttering all the time, saying hear, hear a lot and having a go at the person opposite muttering "you've got verbal diarrhoea" at him (Liam Byrne or the bloke next to him)I thought he seemed by degrees indifferent, in denial and vaguely disturbed.

    And WHY didn't HE speak? Why was it left to Miller? Is this another "put someone in the frame", Hunt style, to protect the main Minister stunt?

    Having said that, I do think it was at least a start. There were excellent performances from Tom Greatrex, John McDonnell,Sheila Gilmore and especially Anne McGuire. Even Liam Byrne did make some good points in his statement, although drifted off too soon onto Remploy.

    And a couple of them even mentioned the suicide word. So now we know they know.

    The question is, is this the "begining of the begining" - of a fight back and a policy? Or simply a ploy to appease campaigners, in the hope its just enough to win disabled votes, without actually saying how they would do anything different?

    If I was Ed, I would drop any suggestion of bringing Purnell back and use the four MPs above. At least they know what they are talking about.

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    1. IDS WAS weird wasn't he? I mean even weirder than usual. I too thought he seemed a little unhinged.

      He didn't speak - and never does on disability for exactly the reason you said.

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  11. Did anyone pick up on the tory MP bemoaning that a footballer could insure his legs etc but we can't buy insurance to cover care costs? Is UNUM doing cash for questions now?

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    1. Commotion I heard in the chamber suggested everyone was bewildered by what he was saying.

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    2. I thought it had to be a planted question too. Totally irrelevant unless you choose to help those poor hard done by insurance companies get their fair share.

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  12. well sue i agree wholeheartedly with your summary of todays debacle of debate ,liam,john was good as was anne ,also ian lavery ,and margaret ritchie all put empassioned arguements,only to be cured by selctive hearing on gov benches. was nice tyo hear responsible reform mentioned along with many other campaign groups, blatent dismissal of facts stated by opposition. smug they are cos they knew from start not enough bums in chamber to support the motion as per usual,and the dems being good children and not speaking when not spoken too. i will be hammering the doors down though to fight on,we just have to find another way through cos we are at last being heard by some and hopefully can make others take head

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  13. The good thing re today was that there was a debate. The tide is changing. I think that many Labour MPs were sold the ESA as a vehicle to support disabled and sick people to get the work they deserve. Research was quoted which claimed that work is always better for a person both materially and emotionally. The research however was conducted on fit people who were unemployed as far as I know! In practice the ESA is a cost cutting exercise and a way of scaring and bullying as many people as possible off of the benefit. The reality is now filtering through to Labour MPs. It is a shame that none of them (or few) were well enough versed in social policy to have been able to see through Labours original proposals. But we are where we are. Our job now is to educate Labour as best we can in any way we can.

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    1. That original study which they use to pretend work is good for you (Waddell/Burton I think) was comprehensively ripped apart on a scientific basis not long after it came out. Anyone remember who it was did that? Got a link? I think it was that Rhys Fjiordan-James guy... I know it's not spelled that way but hey :-)

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  14. The debate yesterday was a on the whole a Condem farce, but that does not distract from the overall impact of Spartacus & your incredible personal contribution.

    There were some amazing contributions from Labour MP's. The only reason the lamentable ConDems piled into vote after the debate would have been due to the party whip line of "dammit those Spartaci are causing trouble again".

    Do not be downhearted - the good fight continues. Time to pause for breath and consider what is the next step along the way. Such battles are not won overnight - often it takes time to secure a tangible advantage over ones enemy.

    Spartaci will not go away or be silenced and we are legion!

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  15. There is also one good thing as well - they know we're here. It was mentioned that disabled people have been chaining themselves to posts. They know we're not going away. Of course that also means things are about to get harder for everyone involved, but I tell you love, once I get son's education sorted I will have free days - free weeks, where I can travel where needed and I can start lending my voice and appearing where I need to. If you think I'm badass in text, wait till I'm in person. I'm a force of sodding nature. I will be on call to make appearances and to get into the discussions and the debates, perhaps not with your eloquence, but with feeling. And with the surety that, quite honestly, I have nothing at all left to lose. So they can Bring It.

    The Labour MP was right. We're going to need to stay in their faces. We need to not go away. So, round two.

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    1. If you have all that free time, and ability to get around, perhaps you can get a job to support yourself then! Or do you find it more financially adventageous to remain on benefits.

      Oh I just KNOW you probably claim everything possible. People like you always do!

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    2. The stench of entitlement emanates from this blog.
      Well enough to travel, make "appearances," discuss and debate but not well enough to work.
      SCROUNGER!

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  16. It seems to me that the key thing in making any political progress, is for outside pressure to be put on the politicians by public disgust and outrage. Politicians have to be shamed into and forced to do the right thing, so I think public support is essential. Somehow the brainwashed British public have to be disabused of the scrounger narrative that they have been so well programmed with and made aware of the cruel and brutal truth.

    Some fly on the wall documentaries showing how hard it is to deal with illness and ATOS and DWP harassment on a day to day basis and secret cameras showing the abuse that the sick and disabled have to endure because of the hate campaign whipped up by the media and the government might be useful.

    Your average person is an emotional creature, so I think you need to reach people in the gut and talk in emotive terms. I think this campaign needs simple bite-size easy to understand slogans and talking points repeated over and over again when communicating with the public and doing interviews, like the tabloids do. I think some bold and audacious direct action may also be needed to get the public's and politician's attention.

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    1. I agree with you completely. The only way this is going to change is when the public wake up to what is really happening. Most are not hard-hearted bastards. They've just been trained to think everyone on benefits is a scrounger by a government inspired media onslaught.

      We may not have their fire power in terms of getting stories printed but until we do, we have the comments sections. If we all put in comments with facts and figures wherever and whenever we can on deliberately innacurate articles, the mood music will change. Some of the "ordinary" public do read the comments sections and a few times I've read people posting back saying they "didn't know that was happening".

      Spartaci are legion and we could set up a band of volunteers who make it their job to comment on every anti benefit article there is going - supplied with the accurate facts/figures by the likes of Sue, Kaliya and fact guru Mason. Many disabled hang out in the Guardian comments and that's good too, but it's preaching to the converted. We need to take the fight to the enemy - the Mail, the Sun and the Daily Telegraph, where ignorance reigns supreme. Personal stories of what is really happening can't be argued with.

      Drip drip wears away a stone.

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    2. The photo of Sue in hospital after the incredible effort to get the Spartacus report out said more than a thousand words, agree with you...

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  17. under represented by labour. remploy, dont make me laugh. i could not even get there ,that is if there was one in my area which there is not and if i can walk more then 50 metres, i dont get the 15 points to classify me as disabled. it makes me sick to my guts that blackpool mp towing the party line like a sycophantic bear, being led by the nose in an effort to score cheep political points .he is the lawd whore whore of the disabled .conservative calling .what about the fact that if i and others can lift an empty cardboard box what size is no matter tho if you can lift one you can stack shelves all day. what bearing thees questions have on alot of people ,especially people with muscle skeletal afflictions non of this was mentioned. the whole debate was a point scoring exercise by a handful of half hearted tools of reactional intrigue. it was good to hear you get a mention sue. all the best steve

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  18. They all read this blog but in a court of law they would all say never heard of it
    So all mps named above know on what our view points are at all times and should be treated as such whenever anyone ever speak or writes to them the bottom line is they know

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  19. Never trust Politians to do the right thing I've only once known them to changed their minds when they wanted to get rid of Statements for children with special needs.
    We met a Politian who wrote everything down we said, a couple of weeks later we heard the idea was scrapped.
    But that victory was only one I heard of not enough care what happens to the Disabled its shocking.
    Roly

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  20. Only press coverage of debate Ive seen so far:

    "Disabled paying more than Bankers"

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5h54bJakRnklqW4wSFP_Q9iqKFbYg?docId=N0405481340201019643A

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  21. by the way, part of this debate was a vote and part of that vote was, does the esa need further amendments? all the mps who voted no, are vile. as for the tory from blackpool, if he thinks that every thing is just hunky dory you are a liar. and as for the lib bums, just not abstaining but voting against every sick and disabled person in the land, that is apart from the right horrible member for blackpool. i forget his name, tho i am sure he was once someone? wallow in your political mire dick smeg and your rag tag bunch of spineless nothingness. not only will you be relegated to political obscurity through your cowardly actions ,your party is tainted as a pack of nodding dogs who are anti disabled. steve

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  22. Fourbanks says'they all read this blog,'but do they? If they do, then good, they know exactly how we feel. If not, then this is certainly a rich resource of the truth of what is really being experienced by people. I wish there was some way of pushing some kind of condensed version of this under their noses, then they couldn't say they don't know what is truly happening. Even the Miller can't go on lying about how she works with 'disabled people and their organisations.' She must know how intensely she is disliked by the people she is meant to represent. Does she ever wonder why? Or maybe that bit was taken out during the reprogramming!
    I also like the idea by R32 of some kind of short documentary. Something visual reaches people instantly, and can't be easily misinterpreted.

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    1. you can be sure they do Irishmist and it would be foolish to think otherwise as sue and her friends are known all over Westminster but as i said above only a judge would be able to make that distinction in the same way everyone denies watching coronation street or east enders some say they've never watched it and some say they've never heard of it it's called playing the devils advocate and those in the government have to be careful on what they do know to cover their backs as life and lives are at risk and if i may say so people who have chosen to take their own life because of the circumstances they have found themselves in

      But you can be sure thou at a later date and at any trial all of the ministers would be found guilty of not changing a policy that was damaging to another persons health

      As time goes on you may find that all of the ministers involved will be getting more distant from these policy's as more deaths crop up even thou the main press will cover them up the local press of the deceased are much less unlikely to do so

      The bottom line is you cant keep peoples deaths covered up there's comes a tipping point at some point and throughout history in any part of the world that has always been the case

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    2. Not surprised by the Parliamentary apathy. Didn't hear the 'debate' - laughable phrase. Until there is a massive change in consciousness at Westminster nothing is going to change regarding the wellbeing of disabled people in the UK.

      The current abuse and hate crimes have no meaning to these people because they are so far removed from the populace that it is scary. They are more than happy to play the 'oppression' card - it's fascism and nothing less.

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  23. There will soon be a chance to make comments direct to Lord Fraud who will be appearing in a comment is free in the Guardian today (Thursday 21st) at about 4.30pm. Just alerted to this in Guardian's excellent Breadline Britain live blog series which has run all week. Well done Patrick Butler. Unfortunately just at the moment, the comments thread must be in melt-down,so I can't put a direct link but it's easy to find.
    Thanks for the blog about yesterday's debate, Sue. Your description of IDS mooing "in a grunty sort of way" brought a big smile to my face despite these very sad and difficult times

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    1. Comments on Lord Freud's poxy article can be found/made here:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/21/reforms-benefits-system-work-better?commentpage=all#start-of-comments

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    2. I thought it was billed as "live" to freud. Either a mistake or he chickened out.

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    3. comments closed on it for tonight but says it'll reopen in morning!! Be ready- Prepare for Tory HQ to bring on some trolls to make the pasting he took look better.

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    4. I wanted to scream with anger when I read his useless,pointless pile of waffle. But when the comments started piling in, you could almost feel the sparks flying out of the computer screen, from the anger, the intelligence, the compassion of the writers who DO know what they are talking about, from life-experience, not the irrelevant non-experience of a failed banker like Fraud.

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    5. Anonymous at 19.12: sorry, I think that was my mistake - just saw on Patrick B's blog that Fraud was going to do a CIF, and wanted to alert people. I didn't put it very well. Hope he bloody well reads the comments...doubt it somehow..

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    6. No need to apologise at all Findlow. I understood it to be a live blog too from the link I read on the Guardian website. I noticed someone did also comment it was normal on such things for the writer to at least contribute to the debate, so where was freud? - Perhaps he got scared by the heat coming off the screens like you said!

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    7. P.S. The comments thread to Freud IS reopened for today!!!

      I so do hope everyone keeps telling it kike it is to the old fart.

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  24. Sue, what you and Kaliya (and others but my typing and memory won't cope) are doing is brilliant. Keep going. Keep exposing the lies and hypocrisy of politicians. Don't give up. Sooner or later you will inspire somebody to take the gov't to court and shatter the morally illegal so called work capability assessment. Might be me. Might be somebody else but these policies will be destroyed. Career politicians from ultra-privileged backgrounds will never act against the herd of fellow corporation loving, boring men in suits. It has to come from stressed out and physically ill activists.

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  25. Great reading everything and it is great whay you are doing. Keep it up!

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  26. Sue thanks for posting about this, I missed it but will try & take the time to read the debate - you can find it here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120620/debtext/120620-0002.htm#12062086000001 on hansard record.
    Monic

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