Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Rhydian's DLA Petition.

Rhydian's well written DLA petition is here. Please sign if you agree with it.

We, the undersigned, urge the Minister for Disabled People to recall the Public Consultation on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reform, and to cease work on reform of this benefit, due to serious flaws in the consultation paper. As such, the consultation questions are deeply skewed and any answers will be likely to support wholesale reform. This is both unfair and unwise, and will cause hardship for many disabled people.

The case for reform has been criticized, and then completely demolished, by the various disability rights groups fighting reform. They accuse the DWP of building their argument without sufficient evidence. The claims that DLA can act as a barrier to work, in particular, are robustly questioned. Questions are also raised concerning the accuracy of the representation of supporting data. For example, the claim is made that DLA claims have risen by 30% in eight years - without accounting for population growth of 5% in this period, a pronounced demographic shift, and increased awareness of DLA.

Most devastating to the case for reform is the critique of proposed amendments, leading one to ask whether augmenting DLA might not be a better, cheaper way of improving employment opportunities, rather than launching an entirely new benefit. It would seem that the costs of such rebranding are only justified when savings are made by cutting the DLA caseload by 20%. This figure is, in and of itself, questionable – how is it possible to know that this many people can be removed?

The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appears to be a case of cuts dressed as positive reform. Disability rights groups and charities have uniformly condemned the proposals, warning of dire consequences. The list of those affected includes: people who are mobile with aids; people with disabilities so severe that they are unable to be very active; care home residents; those who receive local authority care packages. Most other disabled people will suffer through needless reassessments upon the introduction of PIP, and re-testing every few years even when a condition cannot be treated.

There is a strong feeling amongst people with disabilities that the Coalition Government have declared war on us, with a continual ratcheting of pressure on us since the Emergency Budget in June 2010. Announcements on Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, and Disability Living Allowance have made us feel that the Government is scapegoating us and removing the support on which we depend. Iain Duncan-Smith’s comments to The Sun newspaper [01/12/2010) suggesting that Incapacity Benefit claimants were partly to blame for a large fiscal deficit caused by a recession, a bail-out of the banks and quantitative easing. Whilst there may be ways to improve DLA, they do not involve replacing it with a new benefit, and neither do they involve removing anyone from the claimant caseload.

Further reading:

Source - Ouch!

Harpymarx - protest tomorrow.

The Government is simply bullying disabled people.

Jody McIntyre : Who’s apathetic now?

Jody McIntyre : Who’s apathetic now?


Another great interview here.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

More Dodgy Pics.

Bear in mind that I'm still armed with a mobile and yanked around by a dog that's gone crackers. Nant-y-Frith, a sort of 'warm up' before Llangollen.

Bleak House near Gwynfryn.

Horse and horizon.

Stephen Neary and DOLS

Another horrible case of injustice, in my opinion.If you agree with this petition, please can you sign.

Friday, 3 December 2010

UN International Day of [Disabled People.]

Today is the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, but I don't feel much like celebrating. There's been a great deal of talk and policy but I haven't really noticed much real progress. In fact, I feel tired, worried and stressed at the sheer hatred being stirred up against disabled people by, amongst others, Iain Duncan Smith, such as in the Sun and other places.

Duncan Smith's hate mongering has been soundly rebutted here, here and here.

So thanks to those people for putting the facts right.

Some "Christian" Duncan Smith is. It is the likes of him who make life threefold more difficult for disabled people. Thank goodness for friends who support and reassure us.

Monday, 29 November 2010

What they said....

189. In evidence, the Secretary of State said that the Department had no intention of moving existing claimants of incapacity benefits onto the ESA. He argued:

"I do not think you should set about these sorts of reforms, as it were, by tearing up people's entitlement to benefits. […] I do not think it should be part of our agenda to retrospectively change benefit entitlement, […] it is likely to be the case in two or three years' time that the claimants who will be the hardest to reach and to place in the labour market will be people on old incapacity benefits, not people coming into new Employment and Support Allowance. But, again, I cannot see any alternative way of managing this process of change other than the way we have set out in the Green Paper."[211]

This is as it should be and by going back on this principle they have shown themselves to be unprincipled people. Now they also plan to retrospectively tear up people's entitlement to DLA too.


Saturday, 27 November 2010

Winter pics - test!

I'm lucky to live in a rural area. Here's a few pictures today. You'll have to forgive the dismal quality, I'm trying out my mobile while being yanked by a bad dog.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Coalition Government reintroduces Slavery.

Here are the facts. There are just under half a million job vacancies in this country at the moment. (Click 'vacancies and unemployment' for a pdf file.) According to the coalition government there are at least 5 million people who are ‘economically inactive’ – the euphemism for being out of work.

Let’s be generous and assume that the 5 million figure is correct and all these vacancies are in the right places and they are filled. That leaves 4 and a half million people with no job to go to. But like with the argument for the existence of God, some people will insist that a lot of vacancies are not advertised. I don’t know whether we are expected to have faith that they are out there, never mind how we are supposed to apply for them if we don’t know they exist. But again, let’s be generous and assume that there are a million unadvertised jobs out there (and they’re in the right places, etc, etc.) That’s still three and a half million people with no job to go to.

But hang on a moment, isn’t the coalition government slashing jobs? Half a million jobs, to be exact. And do they not expect another half a million private sector jobs to fall as a result? Oops! Looks like we’re back at 4 and a half million.

It’s no wonder that this government adores the game of ‘blame the victim’ and wants to reintroduce slavery, feebly relabelled as workfare. It’s so much easier for the party of blame, stick and judgement to attack the poor for being poor instead of acknowledging the failure of capitalism and putting right its many vulgar faults.



Edit: The bully of disabled people, Danny Alexander, has declared that these spiteful reforms are not to punish and humiliate people. Yes they are - that is precisely what they are for - to punish and humiliate people.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Terms of Abuse.

I thought I would just run through some of the ways I think terminology is used by politicians to bash disabled people and poor people. If the facts don't suit the Tory agenda, perhaps a few word tricks will.

Politicians try to slot disabled people into either one of two different groups – ‘can work’ or ‘can’t work.’ This is a false dichotomy because there is a third group which most disabled people fall into – 'can do some limited forms of work.' This 'black or white' falsehood is ruinous to disabled people for many different reasons. For example, if you can only do some limited work, but are treated as if you are fully fit, you may become overworked and/or have your health damaged. Also, it disregards the fact that it is much more difficult to get work if you are disabled and that fly-tips the blame and hardship onto the victim. Furthermore, it maligns those who are found ‘fit for work.’ Already, the right-wing press is stating that any existing IB claimant who fails the ESA re-assessment are ‘benefit cheats,’ ‘work-shy,’ ‘fakers’ etc. It really is the most black-hearted meanness and they are bare-faced lies to boot. The IB test was a different test to the ESA test; the first was tough, the second is draconian. This prescription only serves those who, for reasons of political and financial expediency, want to pretend that disabled people are not disabled.

Politicians also use the phrases ‘most vulnerable’ and/or ‘most severely disabled’ without defining them. This allows them to put on the fake gloss that they are protecting certain people, but in reality we are played off against a mythical non-existent group of people; it gives the coalition government a blank cheque to attack ‘semi-vulnerable’ people or those who are “just” disabled. As people in general are mostly good-natured, they often just take it on trust that these people are being protected.

Another false dichotomy that is used by the coalition government is the ‘Whitehall or welfare’ dilemma, implying that the only choice is between those two things. Such a prescription is nonsense because there are many other areas which can go – such as the costly and pointless Trident renewal. To just cause poor people to instantly go without on such dubious – and irrelevant – grounds is cruel and heartless.

Finally, the word ‘fair,’ as in ‘tough, but fair’ is meaningless in isolation; you need to qualify and quantify the statement rather than just expect people to take your word for it. A dubious equality impact assessment that doesn’t add up is not going to do the job.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of terms used to justify the unjustifiable, so please feel free to submit more examples.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Overwhelmed by the Cuts and Lack of Equality

From Ouch!

SunshineMeadows said:

"Most everyone who is disabled will have times when they feel less of a person, like they are too much trouble to other people, like they wish there could magically be some way where they did not get made to feel a burden.

Right now I feel so overwhelmed by what the Cuts the tories announced are going to do to disabled people like myself and those worse off than me that it makes me feel like I am drowning, so I have been trying to distract myself and do other things. But it is not working so I decided to register here and make a post.

In making the cuts they have the tories have devalued the lives of ever sick and disabled person in the country including those who work. They have set a wrecking ball ready to crash into the lives of all the people who had there lives sorted, who had a place to live, a way of feeding and clothing themselves, of getting washed, of brushing their teeth, of being alive instead of just living, having a car to travel in, keeping pets, being able to afford books, a computer connection to see the world from their living room, to have a feeling of independence and being themselves and not a burden to be put in its small place.

Maybe if we tell our brief stories it will help (somehow).

I had to give up work because my employer could not accomodate me as a wheelchair user, I would find the disabled parking bays at work taken by able bodied people, the wheelchair access into the building became designated as the main access to everyone and for several months the electronic door opener was switched off and I could no longer get into the building without asking for another persons help, the disabled toilet was often occupied by people who went in there for various reasons including: being to lazy to walk to the men's toilets, needing to blow their nose, talk to a girlfriend on the phone, change into motorcycle gear, the list goes on. In term of the actual work it was a call centre and I did both call work and email support. I would find my phone log ins randomly changed, I would lose email access and my computer system would be up and down. The coffee machine I used was moved to 5 minutes wheeling away to the other end of the buildling. IAccess To Work had given the compnay I worked for over £10 000 to install electronic door openers to the internal doors so i could get around the building but other people turned them off by way of a switch on the top of the door. they did this because they did not like the doors being a bit heavier for them to push. This list goes on too.

The stress, the feeling of worthlessness and humilation, together with the physical distress meant I had to leave. I did bring a grievance which was settled (poorly) but the whole process nearly killed me and I went to counselling to sort my head out.

My ability to work was always very limited but even that has not returned and so I went the ESA route. More humiliation and feeling like crap because its all about trying to tell them what I can't do and why. When I went to the medical the fact there was a two way mirror in the waiting room so they could watch you waiting was a bit freaky.

I was given ESA only of the lucky 5% (est) and put in the work related group. More worry about what was going to happen, but it went okay 6 interviews at the Job Centre over about 7 months and then I was told that is it until 2013 phew.

Then the budget comes and I realise I might lose out later when I am reassessed for DLA. Lose out because the assessment process of being seen by a doc for a brief amount of time tells them little about me except yes I can just about pick up a coin.
I was upset about it but then said to myself okay think about it you have over two years before anything else is going to happen.

I tried to settle in to my life with my partner who has bipolar and barely hanging onto his job, which means my small income from ESA and DLA goes towards our mortgage. My sister also pays a third of the mortgage because she loves me enough to do so and she and I (when I was working) managed to keep the house by getting a joint mortgage.

Lsst year after a three year wait a very large disabled facilities grant was finally sorted and the building work was done. No more using a comode and not getting washed properly because they put in wider doorways downstairs, made all the floors level, no more stepsand put in a shower room toilet. There is even a wheelchair ramp into the garden smiley - smiley I felt so lucky but also broken because all that work meant I was not getting better. I would never be able to walk my dog in the local woods - pathetic a want I know.

I worked for what I have, with my effort, my sister, my partner and a wonderful Occupational Therapist I finally had some breathing space and my life was set for at least two years.

No comes the news of the cuts, I will probably lose my contribution based ESA which has propped up my partner's earnings which are often less than £700 a month because of sickness. My income form DLA has a big question mark over it. Since getting on ESA I tried to find voluntery work that would keep me in the habit of 'working' but no one around here wants someone as physically limited as I am, so what hope of finding a few hours of actual work.

My sister will continue to pay a third of the mortgage as long as she has a job, but she can't do more and I would not expect it either. This house is not just home it is a disabled access and adapted home, but if my loss of ESA results in arrears to the mortgage and we will lose the house. If we lose the house there will be other consequences because we are expected to pay part of the housing grant back if the house is 'sold' within ten years.

I will never be able to get the life I have now Back once it is gone. It took 7 long years to achieve after I left my family moved away to be alive and not just live.

I already said it's like a wrecking ball is posed to smash everything to bits and even in all this I will be one of the lucky ones because I already know there are a lot of disabled people who are worse off than me.

Sorry this turned out to be so long I hope people still read it and at least some reply."

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

British Justice Today.

A woman dumps a cat in a wheelie bin and the story attracts international attention and outrage. Today she has been fined £250 and banned from keeping animals for five years.

Also in the news recently, but with less attention and outrage, is a story about a 17 year old boy with Aspergers. He was taken by three thugs and subjected to a three day marathon of torture. They kicked and stamped on his head, they repeatedly punched his chest, they beat him with a tennis racquet and they threw him down a steep embankment. They scratched his arms and legs with sandpaper, they pelted him with dog muck and they made him drink vodka and gin until he passed out. They applied tape to his genitals and then ripped it off. They filmed this ordeal on their mobile phones while laughing and joking and while their victim was begging them to stop hurting him.

All three of these nasty bullies walked free from court.

Ah well, he was “only” disabled and not a “proper” human being.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Turd Meddlesome

Turd Meddlesome today declared in defence of New Labour ‘It's an insult to those people that worked for the Labour Party, who voted for the Labour Party, to say to them that they voted for something that was fraudulent, useless or didn't deliver.’

Nah, it’s just the truth. The tip of the ice-berg.

As Turd Meddlesome is one of those mongers of hatred, blame and judgement - as he demonstrated by referring to 'welfare scroungers' - he should push off and join the Tory party, where I'm sure he'll feel right at home.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Ed Miliband

The Guardian said:

Ed Miliband, the MP for Doncaster North, took the top position only after second-preference votes were redistributed, beating David Miliband by 50.65% to 49.35%.

I joined the Labour Party just in the nick of time to vote for Dianne Abbott, with Ed as my 2nd preference. It seems that there were others who joined me in the Blair Ditch Project.

Tim – shaping the future of British Politics (!)

The right-wingers have lost the argument. They can pack up, ship out and join the Tory Party. It says on the back of my Labour Party card – ‘The Labour party is a democratic socialist party.’

I hope Ed does not forget - he got this job because of lefties - he needs to look after us.

Get that red flag out and restore it to the mast.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


In Victorian times, prats in top hats and tails would pull silly faces of righteous indignation while sending little boys up chimneys or down t’ pit for tuppence a week – if that much. This was considered to be promoting a nobel moral virtue, it seems, called the ‘work ethic.’

And today this claptrap persists in slightly altered forms, carried on by the right. You only have to read certain right-wing rags and you will see that they think they hold to the highest moral standards – this chirping on about ‘hard-working’ people and how the ‘work-shy’ are such moral slobs.

But where did this principle come from and by what authority was it established? It seems to me that it was dreamt up out of thin air – a petitio principii – and treated as if it is gospel by a bunch of arrogant, self-righteous knows-it-alls who in fact know nothing and are themselves the worst of moral slobs.

After all, an employment contract is supposed to be a quid pro quo, a bargain in which two sides are meant to put something attractive on the table to exchange. The worker puts hard work on the table and in return, the employer is supposed to put a decent living wage on the table. If he doesn’t do that, he is the one with the questionable morals.

The ‘work-shy’ don’t exist in the huge numbers that some would have us believe; it is often those tight-fisted slave-driving employers and their mealy-mouthed apologists with their meanie-mum wage who are the moral slobs.

They splutter on, wearing their cheap masks, about ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘taking responsibility.’ Since when was agreeing to enrol for slavery ‘doing the right thing’ and ‘taking responsibility?’ If the wage doesn’t pay the bills, wouldn’t that be failing to take responsibility? But let’s attach no blame to these innocents – the slave driver, aided and abetted by endless oppressive governments, deserve it all. Their smug, squalid and squeamish play-acting does not impress me one jot.

Matthew 23:1-4

Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

What is the difference...

between this:

"This poster is from the 1930’s, and promotes the Nazi monthly Neues Volk (New People}, the organ of the party’s racial office. The text reads: “This genetically ill person will cost our people’s community 60,000 marks over his lifetime. Citizens, that is your money. Read Neues Volk, the monthly of the racial policy office of the NSDAP.”

Text and poster from here.

and this:

Almost a million people on sickness benefit for a decade.

According to figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions, 889,000 people have spent the last ten years on sickness benefits, costing an average of £4.2billion a year.


Friday, 13 August 2010

Another great post...

From Ouch! Wheelthing said:

I thought New Labour had plumbed the depths of depravity with their attacks on disabled people; attacks which gave a green light to rags such as the Daily Heil to run what are nothing more than an open-season on disabled people.

It transpires that New Labour has merely given pointers for this nasty coalition to really attack us. We are now living under a constant barrage of vicious attacks; these attacks are being led by ministers and people high up in power.

They are completing the demonization of disabled people. If this isn’t incitement to hatred then I’m not sure if I understand the term. This government is whipping people up into a frenzy of hatred and resentment of disabled people; we’re being blamed for the collapse of the economy and the deficit – which by the way this government is milking for all it’s worth; this country has got through far worse economic issues than this in the past 65 years.

Just as Osborne understood the difference between DLA and Incapacity Benefit before the Budget. He still went along with the expedient device of conflating the two in order to score a cheap political advantage; and, get large swathes of the voting public behind the draconian measures that they, the ConDems, intend raining down on largely defenceless disabled people – sorry if I’m painting disabled people here as vulnerable victims; but, that’s exactly what this inhuman government is doing.

Similarly, newspapers know full well the differences between DLA and ESA and IB. They are fully aware that DLA is not means-tested and can be claimed whilst working. Yet, it suits their nasty Nazi-like agenda to conflate the take-up and entitlement of all disability benefits because it makes for more sensational reading.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Why cuts won’t work.

If lots of public sector workers lose their jobs, they will go on benefits and the welfare bill will go up. They will also have reduced spending power and so the private companies that directly or indirectly depend on their custom will fold. As more and more people are put out of work, the welfare bill will mushroom and there will be a vast pool of people with reduced spending power not paying income tax. I suppose it’s comparable to climate cycles – you interfere with them at your peril.

I hope I’m wrong.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Tory Government breaking Equality Laws?

It is a legal requirement for the government, when making policy, to give due regard to equality duties. Even Theresa May recognises this and has written to the chancellor about his Budget. They were supposed to carry out 'equality impact assessments.' Were any done?

I hope somebody will take the government to court for their failure to give due regard to their disability equality duties when drafting their vile budget.

All hands on deck, ladies and gentleman, let us spare no effort to wipe the smirk off Osborne's face.

Further reading:

Budget cuts could break equality laws, Theresa May warned chancellor

Fawcett Society in legal challenge to 'unfair' Budget

Factoring in gender equality can prevent costly errors

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

How to Divide and Rule.

A great post from Ouch! I asked:

I can't get my head around it - it's always the *super* rich who despise welfare so much, the likes of H.L. Hunt. If you're so well off as that, why does it matter to you if somebody gets welfare?

Sunny Clouds replied:

It's because if you want to stay rich, you want to exploit ordinary people. The best way to do that without them all revolting against you and overturning your power is to do two things that overlap - set one against the other and make some look down on others.

Think about it.

Two people - benefits claimant and working man.

Working man is made to feel that benefits claimant is ripping him off. He is barely better off than benefits claimant (or so he thinks) and he is encouraged to resent benefits claimant.

Whilst he is busy venting that resentment, he is not demanding better pay himself. He is too busy lambasting benefits claimant for getting almost as much as he does on minimum wage to join together with other working men to demand better wages.

Meanwhile, benefits claimant has been portrayed as a lesser being, so if he speaks out about his position, no one wants to be seen to side with him. The venom heaped upon him by working man makes him an incentive for others to keep working so as not to become another benefits claimant themselves. Again, working man is so desperate not to be seen as a benefits claimant that he will accept minimum wage.

To reinforce this divide, benefits paid to benefits claimant on no other income or little other income are described as handouts. That he may have paid many years tax is is not mentioned. The importance of supporting the most needy in society is not mentioned. The risk of working man at some point needing benefits is not mentioned.

However, some benefits are paid to middle class man. If he is not wealthy, he's described as a benefits scrounger and reclassified as benefits man. If he's wealthy, he's not. He's paid his taxes so he's entitled to his child benefit, although he probably won't mention it very often. If he's wealthy, his child benefit will never be described as a handout, nor will his bus pass or winter fuel payment.

Divide and rule has a long history. It is very effective at making rich people richer and poor people poorer.

Note, however, that it is important that not too many people starve. It is also important that working man has just enough to enjoy himself with. Bread and circuses as the Romans would have it, or Booze and television as we would have it. If you take that away, there is a risk that working man will unite with benefits claimant and revolt.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Monday, 19 July 2010

Question Time

I've found what looks like a very promising website, which appears to have been designed to promote dialogue between the public and public figures, such as politicians. I don't think it's quite there yet, but it operates on good principles of transparency and accountability - the way things should be. Feel free to join in and ask your own questions. Here's some of mine.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Danny Alexander

The Tell-Tale Heart.

Even those of us who sniffed the Liberal Democrats' distant death on the first fragrant breeze of coalition must be gagging today at the gangrenous stench. Their failure to counter the most poisonous instincts of their senior so-called partners has rushed them to the thin line between coalition and collaboration. They seem to have one foot in Vichy already.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Equality and Human Rights Commission master Fakers.

As the RNID have, in my opinion, been woefully delinquent in protecting deaf people from the evil menace of welfare reform, I have been forced to take up the matter with the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Unfortunately, these fakers seem to care even less than RNID. Below is my final correspondence:

My Letter:

Dear [EHRC],


I recently wrote to you by e-mail to inform you of three developments
in relation to Employment and Support Allowance and welfare reform. In
my first e-mail I passed on a report by the Citizen’s Advice Bureau
entitled ‘Not working. CAB evidence on the ESA work capability
assessment,’ which was endorsed by 18 disabled people’s organisations
and highlighted grave concerns about the WCA. In my second e-mail I
passed on a ‘Benefits and Work’ blog post entitled ‘Thousands will
lose benefits as harsher medical approved,’ which warned that more
people with limited capability for work will be passed as fit for
work. In my third e-mail I passed on a press release from the
Disability Benefits Consortium entitled ‘New benefits assessment
system needs thorough rethink.’

I have not had a response to any of those three e-mails.

In addition to the information above, many disabled people have been
reporting bad experiences and expressing deep fears about welfare
reform in relation to ESA on the Ouch! disability message board and,
before it was closed, Yourable.

Freedom of Information questions.

With the background in place and taking into account the Commission’s
duties under the Disability Equality Duty, I would like to ask the
following questions as part of my ‘freedom of information’ request:

1) It is clear that the issues relating to Employment and Support
Allowance are considered a very high priority by disabled people,
disabled people’s organisations and at least one independent
organisation, CAB. Why has the Commission not accorded this matter the
same high priority in their work on disability?

2) Does the Commission intend to accord this matter high priority? If
not, why not?

3) What action is the Commission taking to protect disabled people
from, inter alia, being placed on Job Seeker’s Allowance without the
proper support that they need to get into suitable work?

I should be grateful if you could provide this information within 20
working days.

Yours sincerely,


Dear [Tim]

Firstly, as has been confirmed to you in previous correspondence from my colleagues, you may be assured that the matters which you have raised are taken seriously and are being considered by the Commission’s policy team.

The roll out of the changes in the welfare reform system is an issue for the Commission which we shall continue to consider across all seven ‘protected’ grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation, and gender reassignment. However, I think it is important to reiterate that we do support the principle that wherever possible people should be supported into sustainable employment.
Our strategic priorities

Within our 2009–12 strategic plan five strategic priorities were identified which set the direction for and guides all of the Commission’s work. They were developed through extensive consultation and involvement with over 1,000 stakeholders. Through our strategic priorities we aim to:

1. secure and implement an effective legislative and regulatory framework for equality and human rights

2. create a fairer Britain, with equal life chances and access to services for all

3. build a society based on good relations and foster a vibrant equality and human rights culture

4. promote understanding and awareness of rights and duties, and deliver timely and accurate advice and guidance to individuals and employers, and

5. build an authoritative, responsive organisation.

More detailed information on this consultation process can be found on our website at the following link:

It is within these boundaries that our work is set and as part of this the Commission has already exercised its legal enforcement powers in relation to both the Department for Work and Pensions and Jobcentre Plus by carrying out an assessment under section 31 of the Equality Act, (the Terms of Reference are published on our website) and as we have previously advised you, we will be following up with them in August this year to see what they have achieved in terms of their Action Plan.

We are currently in the process of finalising the Commission’s Business Plan for 2010/2011, this will be published on our website and will give more detail around this year’s priorities for the Commission.

In your last correspondence you asked 3 specific questions:

1) It is clear that the issues relating to Employment and Support

Allowance are considered a very high priority by disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and at least one independent organisation, CAB. Why has the Commission not accorded this matter the same high priority in their work on disability?

2) Does the Commission intend to accord this matter high priority? If not, why not?

3) What action is the Commission taking to protect disabled people from, inter alia, being placed on Job Seeker’s Allowance without the proper support that they need to get into suitable work?

The Commission can uniquely approach your concerns on several fronts:

· It can respond to helpline requests if there is clear evidence of discrimination against individuals who wish to make a complaint

· Its policy function can build an evidence base and try to influence and persuade government and ministers to revise their policies although, as we have stated, we are in support of the underlying principles of the reform agenda. Inevitably, this takes time to do effectively, but the Commission has started that process

· It can use its legal enforcement powers against the DWP as it has done already through its section 31 assessment. However, these powers can only be used when there are compelling arguments to do so and the Commission must be able to show that it is acting in a proportionate and necessary way

We intend to continue our dialogue with the DWP as the reform package roles out, to ensure that it meets the needs of the protected groups, but please be aware that this may not result in high visibility activity or in us calling for any significant changes to the reform package.

I hope that this goes some way to explaining our position and therefore answering your three questions. I am afraid that is the only answer that we are able to give to you at this time.

The Commission staff cannot respond to every member of the public who draws their attention to interesting and relevant media articles. We do not have the resources to respond to individuals in this way, nor would it be an effective use of public funds to do so. I must therefore ask you not to e-mail individual members of EHRC staff as we are unable to engage in repeated correspondence of this kind. To do so is very resource intensive, and much as we appreciate your views and your concerns, it does not help us address these matters that are of great concern to us all.

Also we are advised by our ICT team that many emails, apparently including some of yours, are blocked by our junk mail filters. The reason for this is that we receive a great deal of unsolicited mail from many sources, and the system automatically filters these e-mails out. We apologise again for this, but as we cannot weaken this filter system we are unable to guarantee that it won't happen again.

Finally, I would suggest that if you know of individuals who have been adversely affected by the welfare reforms that you ask them to contact the Commission directly via our Helpline on the following numbers:

England 0845 604 6610 : Scotland 0845 604 5510 :

Wales 0845 604 8810

Yours sincerely,

Right(!) Fakers.

Monday, 7 June 2010

On Equality.

I believe you will often see in modern life the habit of people putting forward a new principle of some sort and then simply carry on as if it is established and reasonable. One such principle is a naive and simplistic notion of ‘equality;’ the fanciful idea that it is fair to treat everybody equally and that will bring about equality of outcome. Will it? Let’s test it out.

Suppose a third of the population were benign vampires who would die if they ate garlic. Then suppose you passed a law saying everybody must eat garlic on Tuesdays. You are treating everybody equally, but as a result, vampires will be discriminated against because of the failure to factor in their problem with garlic.

It is an established fact that disabled people are discriminated against in employment recruitment. The statistics have proved it time and time again. One RNID survey said that employers are more likely to take on somebody with a criminal record than somebody who is deaf. Furthermore, deaf people are more likely to receive an inadequate education because of, amongst other things, poor access and inclusion. So disabled people, through no fault of their own suffer a double whammy when applying for jobs.

So applying “equality” without taking into account these unfair disadvantages is exactly like passing the equal law on garlic. It is using the pretence of fairness to maintain the status quo while allowing the perpetrators to falsely claim the moral high ground. And RNID is one organisation that loves to use this little trick. They are discriminating against deaf people with this false equality.

We should not confuse equality of treatment with equality of outcome.

See also: At the Rim.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

How Labour will Crucify Disabled People.

Benefits and Work link.

"The shock plans for ‘simplifying’ the work capability assessment, drawn up by a DWP working group, include docking points from amputees who can lift and carry with their stumps. Claimants with speech problems who can write a sign saying, for example, ‘The office is on fire!’ will score no points for speech and deaf claimants who can read the sign will lose all their points for hearing."

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Has charity forgotten who it is for?

You may be pleased to learn that the Third Sector now has a forum. I thought that it was only fair to be able to make my point there. Below is my latest response, please feel free to chip in; we could always do with some more support to ram-rod these points home.

The ‘best person for the job’ argument is a tired old chestnut that most certainly does not convince me. I think it is using the pretence of fairness to keep deaf people away from employment. We are rejected left, right and centre by other employers and then RNID uses that as an excuse not to employ us. Nice(!)

RNID was set up with the express purpose of helping deaf people, and their own stated objects include the ‘better training and employment’ of deaf people. If they are not going to be an exemplar employer in that respect, then how can they convince other employers that it is good to hire deaf people? What right would they have to lecture other organisations on the issue?

Secondly, the ‘best person for the job’ argument assumes that being deaf is irrelevant to working for a deaf organisation when nothing could be further from the truth. A first hand knowledge of deafness and the immediate implications should be considered a critical ‘involuntary’ qualification for understanding our needs and priorities.

Thirdly, there is the issue of self-determination – people should be able to speak and act for themselves, not have somebody else do it for them without their permission or involvement – THAT is what I call patronising! Imagine a Women’s organisation with no women in their senior management team and only 10% of their staff women. Outrageous!

Fourthly, there is the issue of taking advantage of people who have been held back. Rattling tins, saying ‘please help those poor deaf people!’ only to turn around and spend the proceeds on very well paid jobs for people who have never been deaf or hoh in their lives; sounds very much like taking advantage to me – I certainly feel used.

Fifthly, I do not think that they are attracting better people, but worse, people who are out of touch and want nothing to do with deaf people. If you do not consult with the people you work for, you cannot do a good job.

No, RNID has forgotten who it is for.