Do you think, in one of the richest economies in the world, that this is a reasonable amount to live on for a month?
And, is this the kind of behaviour that reflects the much vaunted Great British Values?
And, given the horrible poverty in which people dependant on your department suffer, what do you say to these baubles handed out to your staff, presumably with your approval?
Do these people not get paid good salaries to do their jobs? Why do they get letters after their names too, while people are left with £5,82 for a month, or told to get a job when they are dying of cancer?
And why do they get a better honour the higher up the food chain they are?
What on earth kind of country is this?
It’s not like we don’t have enough money to do up a house for a prince and an actress become duchess. Maybe some of the £2.5 million spent on doing up Frogmore Cottage (cottage?) would have been better spent on the person who was given only enough for a couple of meals in 30 days, and no heat or light.
I’ll have no truck with the ceremonies in London where royals and political leaders gathered to pay their respects to people who died in a war that ended at 11 am 100 years ago today (and in the many conflicts since).
Not because I think we should forget war, and most assuredly not such a stupid pointless war as the one from 1914-18 that killed so many millions of people and wrecked the lives of countless more, because we should never forget this kind of monumental folly.
No, rather we should remember and learn from them.
But I want nothing to do with this tra la la, because that is what it will be. There’s no learning to be done. Just the Brits showing off their ceremonial prowess.
The “great and the good” will be there in their expensive black clothes, looking suitably solemn, many of them wearing the “exclusive” poppies that posh people seem to get a hold of. And they will bow their heads in a show of respect for the dead. The dead that they, or their ancestors or predecessors, sent to war, sometimes arguably justifiably, and sometimes most definitely not.
All the remembrance has taught us nothing because, of course, it is rarely the sons of the great and the good (with a few honourable exceptions) that end up in the firing line.
Then, once the ceremony is over, those and their likes will retire to the Foreign Office, mix with minor royalty and doubtless sup taxpayer-funded drinks. Duty done for another year.
Now all of that is fine… or it would be, if along with appearing at the Cenotaph* and looking sad, they would take action to ensure that those who did not die in their many and various wars, but who came home with horrible injuries to body and mind, and the families of those who did perish, were looked after by a grateful state.
Like so much else in this country, remembrance and the poppy have been devalued by politicians who use them as a political tool. If you don’t wear a poppy you are not patriotic. You don’t support ‘our brave boys’. Be ashamed.
Incidentally, funds raised by the Scottish Poppy Appeal are directed to:
Providing direct financial assistance to ex-Service men, women and their dependents in Scotland.
Funding an advice service, including pension claims and appeals.
Grants and research for ex-Service organisations that deliver specialist services to veterans in Scotland.
All very worthy.
But my question is, why has this ever been necessary?
Are we not told over and over again what an important state Britain is, and how we punch above our weight and gain respect from countries all over the world for doing so?
Are we not one of the richest countries in the world?
So, why oh why are people who are sent by the government to do Her Majesty’s bidding and who come home less than whole, not looked after by that rich above-weight-punching government?
I can only presume it’s because that government is too busy doing up palaces, paying for weddings of nonentities and continuing to punch above its weight LONG after it had any right to.
It’s not me who should be ashamed.
So, I’ll take no lectures on respect for troops from any of them.
Today I HAVE been thinking about the unimaginable conditions that these men, and possibly a few women, had to endure in France. I’ve read some poems and listened to memories of people like Harry Patch, who was, I think, the last surviving British soldier from the 14-18 war, and who spoke with such horror of what he, at 16, had had to witness. And I wonder how that could possibly have happened, and worse, still be happening.
I’ve thought too about the people who, because of war today, are starving and dying of completely or avoidable curable diseases in Yemen, of the scenes of destruction we have witnessed so recently in Libya and Syria and of the ongoing misery in Palestine.
For all the remembering that they do, they never seem to learn.
…And then I’m reminded that Bonespurs Trump wouldn’t brave the rain to show some respect for Americans who died in France.
(*I chose the Cenotaph ceremony because that is where the people who make decisions on wars, their funding and their aftermath, will be gathered. Not in Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast. And not in any of the towns and cities across Britain.)
Not, in any case, that there is anything wrong with simply advertising on Facebook. Parties USED to advertise in the newspapers when they had a readership. NO one suggested that was wrong as long as they didn’t overspend.
Sympathies to the now ex-employees of Maplins and Toys R Us. The UK is a pretty bad place to find yourself unemployed. The UK government (although by and large NOT most of the DWP staff) will treat you as if you are some sort of thieving, lowlife criminal out to take money away from doing up Buckingham Palace or HS2, just because you need to feed your family and pay your rent. They will demand that you take any work, no matter how unsuited you may be to it, and if you turn up a few minutes late at one of their appointments, in the diminished number of jobcentres, miles away from where you live, for any reason at all, they will do their best to starve you and your family. So I hope you find work very soon.
I fear that this is just the start of what is coming at us, and to suggest that it is nothing to do with Brexit is to live in a Narnia-like world…. where, should you wish to visit, you will doubtless encounter David Davis avoiding Michel Barnier, Boris Johnson setting up congestion charging on the Irish border, DOCTOR Fox taking Mr Werrity on a government-funded trip on a new Royal Yacht Britannia, Jacob Rees Mogg and Nanny in the Bently, the Maybot, being trailed around like a rag doll by her boss, Arlene and of course Humpty Dumpty and the Mad Hatter.
From Jolyon Maugham QC…
Going back to the BBC… part of the Today Programme this morning came from Northern Ireland and at least one interview from Derry. I’m wondering if it was a BBC policy that the interviewer should refer to it as LONDONderry?
For some time it has been the government’s policy that it is good for people with disabilities to have a job, earn money, take themselves out of poverty and dependency. (Not that having a job in the UK does any of these things, but we are talking about the UK government here, so don’t expect any kind of sense or decency.)
There was nothing stopping people, they reckoned, getting out there and getting on with it. And so they redesigned the medical examinations system for Disability Benefits.
Instead of looking at a person’s illness or disability, considering how they would manage a job and whether they would be likely to be offered a job, or whether their disability would be considered too much of a liability to a potential employer, they looked at whether or not a person was capable of doing anything at all, whether or not anyone would be likely to employ them to do it.
If they could walk a few steps, sit up, move even a little, that was it. Off disability benefits and onto the lower paid job seeking benefits. The real, indeed the only, aim was to save money.
We’ve all seen the ridiculous examples of people whose disabilities make it hard enough just to get through the day without having a job to do, being taken off their benefits and told to look for work. And it is interesting that over 50% of those who appeal against that withdrawal, have the decision overturned by the legal system (which, unlike Jobcentre and the private companies it employs to carry out these tests, does not have targets to fulfil).
So, until recently the government was blaming disabled people for scrounging from the system and being a burden to the country.
Now, apparently, thanks to the drive to get people with disabilities into work, more people with disabilities are working. So is the government happy?
Britain has a productivity problem. Brits simply produce less per man hour than workers in other large economies. I’d say there were a large number of reasons for this.
British infrastructure is poor; connectivity is abysmal; management is crap; employee incentives, at the bottom end of the market, are dismal. I’ll stop there because I’m running out of negative adjectives, but you get the drift.
Dead end jobs with no security, short-term and zero-hours contracts, bad management, wages which leave people having to collect social security top-ups, firms struggling to get things moved or to do business on a slow (and sometimes non-existent internet or mobile phone cover) are all either disincentives to hard work or blocks to achievement.
Many people hate their jobs and hate their employers, are bored and dissatisfied. They know they may not be there this time next month. Why would they work hard?
But dear old Philip Hammond (we call him Smiler Hammond at Munguin Towers for his cheery smile and jolly ways) has decided that these things aren’t the real reason for the fact that we get precious little done here.
Yep, that’s right. Britain’s productivity crisis is about the fact that more people with disabilities are working, but presumably not at the pace that able-bodied people would work… QED. Seems if you have a disability, it’s going to be your fault, one way or another.
Come on people, let’s get the hell out of this sickening country while we can.
Nicola Sturgeon was in Dundee today to announce the siting of the headquarters of the new Scottish Social Security Offices in the city.
At least half the 1,500 jobs expected to be created in these offices will be based here in the City of Discovery (and Munguin). The rest will go to Glasgow.
It has been estimated the new agency will be worth £125m to the local economy and will support another 800 jobs.
So, a good day for Dundee. After the Bank of Scotland news from earlier this year, this is exactly what we needed.
I sincerely hope our new department can avoid failures like this:
Why would someone who is tetraplegic be on a benefit that was reviewable? , s Does the DWP expect that she might be getting better? Could they not have checked this with her consultant?
Does the DWP expect that she might be getting better? Could they not have checked this with her consultant (or indeed anyone with a first aid certificate)?
Given that you seem to have to prove that you still suffer from things that are incurable, if an error was made and she didn’t attend for an interview (something for which she can hardly be held responsible herself), and she was taken off her benefits and told to report to the jobcentre, why, when the situation was explained, wasn’t her benefit immediately reinstated?
I mean, seriously, whoever you are in the UK government that organises these things, have you got jobs up your sleeves for people who, as her husband says, can do nothing for themselves?
This is almost literally diabolical: the work of the devil. It is no wonder that the UK government was denounced by the United Nations for failing to respect the rights of disabled people.
The management of the DWP makes me ashamed to live on the same island as they do.
SCOTLAND’S NEW SOCIAL SECURITY POWERS
For your information, through the Scotland Act 2016, the following benefits will be devolved to Scotland:
For carers, disabled people and those who are ill.
To help with personal care for individuals aged 65 or over with a physical or mental disability.
To help an individual look after someone with substantial caring needs. To be eligible the individual must be 16 or over and spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Helps with some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill-health or disability for individuals aged 16 to 64. This is a replacement for DLA for working age individuals.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Help if your disability or health condition means either:
You need help looking after yourself
You have walking difficulties
DLA is closed to new working age claimants and being replaced by PIP.
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
For individuals who are ill or disabled as a direct result of an accident or disease caused by work or while attending an approved employment training scheme or course.
Severe Disablement Allowance
Was for working-age individuals who are unable to work due to illness or disability. SDA is closed to new entrants.
Currently part of the Regulated Social Fund
Cold Weather Payment
A payment for individuals on certain benefits when the temperature is either recorded as, or forecasted to be, an average of zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days.
For individuals on low income and needing help to pay for a funeral they are arranging.
Sure Start Maternity Grant
Introducing a new Best Start Grant which will see support for qualifying families increase from the £500 payable only for the first child under the existing UK Government Sure Start Maternity Grant to £1,100 for the first child and £800 for second and subsequent children over three payments during a child’s early years.
Winter Fuel Payment
A tax-free payment to help pay for heating bills if you were born on or before July, 5 1952 (Current State Pension Age for women).
Discretionary Housing Payments
Additional help for those in receipt of Housing Benefit and having difficulty meeting their rent payments. Paid at the discretion of the Local Authority.
A new Job Grant which will be a payment of £100 or £250 for people with children plus a three months bus pass for 16-24 year olds who have been claiming benefit for six months or more and are starting work.
The following benefits will remain reserved to UK Government:
This was seen on a Facebook, ESA/PIP support group.
Although it arrived on my Twitter feed courtesy of Christina McKelvie, I cannot 100% verify its authenticity. But it does seem to be the kind of thing that no one in their right mind would joke about.
So, this woman has a prognosis of somewhere around 6 months left to live. Presumably getting less fit by the day. Towards the end she will undoubtedly be hospitalised. And ATOS say she can go get a job.
Clearly, of course, she can’t, because, to put not too fine a point on it, no one wants to employ someone who is within 6 months of death, even if at the moment they are fit and well, which, in any case, this woman isn’t.
So to have any income at all, she has to get to a jobcentre to sign on. Pretty much impossible, I’d reckon.
I’m so ashamed Scotland is tied to a regime it didn’t vote for that would even contemplate this kind of barbaric inhuman behaviour. Especially, as I never tire of reminding everyone, as they bang on incessantly, about how they are a Christian country with a Christian monarch and a Christian prime minister.
I’m going to end here before I call the British government in general, the DWP in particular and ATOS, a set of inhuman, heartless bastards.
Embarrassing: Because Mrs May is fond reminding us that she is a Christian. Mr Cameron reminded us that we were a Christian country. The Queen apparently lives her entire life according to the teachings of Christ. Maybe a bit of bible study would be in order.
Embarrassing: Because, “Take my hand”, she sings, “I’m a stranger in Paradise.” Kismet?
Embarrassing: Because….eugh, no comment! I feel sick.
Embarrassing: Because the NYT has figures which prove that subscribers and audience at all-time high:
Embarrassing: Guys, this is the 21st century! You’re old men, not children. Stop playing at fancy dress parties and get a bloody job.
Embarrassing: Didn’t their very first manifesto make it a matter of priority to get rid of the House of Lords?
Embarrassing: Just how heartless and thoughtless and downright bloody wicked was it to harass this lad?
Embarrassing: Theresa May has just signed a £100 million deal to provide President Erdoğan’s government with fighter jets. President Erdoğan has an appalling record on human rights and is seeking ever more powers. It seems only a short time ago when Westminster was warning against Turkey being allowed anywhere near the EU. They are becoming as inconsistent as Trump.
Embarrassing: Because this moron once tweeted something to the effect that his parents hadn’t come to ‘this great country’ so that their way of life could be ruined by immigrants. Dufus or what? But amusingly, I see that part of the 2,000-mile wall that he’s going to build runs through territory “given” to native Americans. The Tohono O’odham Nation have a border with Mexico which they cross regularly to meet with friends and family who live in Mexico. They have stated quite clearly that they will not allow the wall to be built on their territory. A war with a native American tribe would be all sorts of embarrassing for Dumbo. But a wall with a 75 mile gap in it would be completely useless. A little research before he made his vow might have saved him.
Over the last three years, the Department for Work and Pensions has handed out £139.9 million in bonuses to its staff – £124.37 million of which has gone to Senior Civil servants according to an article in the Independent.
I’m wondering what the proportion of Senior Civil Servants is to the lower orders? Because the bonuses given to the top people amount to approximately 89% of the total cash available.
I doubt if that is a reflection of the staffing situation.