Monday, 6 February 2012

Feeling angry with Jenny Willott again

Another day, another article by Jenny Willott MP on LDV attempting to justify the government's cuts to disability benefits.

A lot of the arguments she's made are so transparent that I'm surprised she even bothered. For example, when she says:
"6 out of 10 people will continue to receive some or all of their ESA after the end of their year on contributory benefit"
What that actually means is that 4 in 10 (which is about 280,000 sick and disabled people) won't get anything at the end of the year and will lose ESA entirely. Given that there's no other support that they, as an individual, will be eligible for this amounts to pulling the rug out from under the feet of over a quarter of a million people - the majority of whom, according to the government's own figures, will still be unable to work at the time that they lose support.

And that's not even mentioning cutting Disability Living Allowance by 20% when the fraud rate is less than 0.5%.

I think Jenny's article is fully debunked in the comments thread and I hope to have an article on LDV replying to her article. My comment on her article itself can be found here.

But even then, we're just looking at the narrow picture of the direct impact of the cuts. But the wider impact is also an increase in the hardening of attitudes to disabled people, something that leads to vulnerable people being subjected to verbal and physical abuse on a regular basis by morons to stupid to think that maybe, just maybe, disability isn't always apparent from a glance at someone and that, just because a small minority cheat, it's not right to attack random strangers because of it.

In fact, here's a quote from a case study in the Guardian today. The woman in question works at my university and has never claimed disability benefits but is still subjected to abuse by complete strangers on a regular basis:
Ferrie says she is most likely to be insulted or abused on the street after a media article on supposed welfare abuse by the disabled. On a recent occasion, a group of students refused to share a taxi with her, she recounts. "After the next articles came out I tweeted, 'I wonder how long it's going to be this time before someone says or does something to me?'"
It took five days. On another occasion, she was rushing for a bus about to depart from a bus garage when her way was blocked by a staff member standing in the vehicle's doorway. "I said to her, 'Excuse me, can I get on the bus please?'. She looked down at my stick, looked up at my face and said, 'No. You should have walked faster.'"
Ferrie explained why she could not move more quickly, and met a response dripping with more scepticism: "Oh, really?"
"In the end I had to push past her," Ferrie said. "I burst into tears on the bus. I couldn't believe someone would say that to me."
And then, after I've read something like that, people criticise me for getting angry about this stuff.


  1. People losing their temper will be the last of this governments worries.
    Calling anyone that is sick or unemployed a benefit scrounger is going to make that person resentful,harangued,lower than the low.

    This will contribute to many more people having mental health issues.While people with mental health issues being kicked of ESA by people such as Atos.You are going to have a ever increasing amount with mental health problems walking the street.People like this are at a greater risk of becoming homeless.Homelessness will increase.People with mental health issues often turn to drink or drugs,to blot out there misery.I know,I am a none drinking Alcoholic.I am still a Alcoholic because if I have a drink I will be drunk for the next 6 months at least.And at times like this,boy do I need a drink.

    So we have a increase in homelessness,increase in drink and drug taking.What happens next.Well alcoholics and drug addicts have to pay for there habits.So yes,a increase in crime.At a time when the Police numbers are being reduced,when prisoners are given early release because the jails are full.So we head for chaos.

    To combat this problem,you will need more jails,more Police,higher insurance because of burglary,vehicle theft,criminal damage etc.

    So at the end of the day,when society is significantly worse of than before.Because you dare not go out because the chances of getting mugged have greatly increased.Will the cost of welfare reform be worth it.

    Get angry George,get very angry.Because a lot of people out there are about to get even angrier.

    1. george, it is right that you are angry about these appalling developments. it is the people who keep saying 'it will all be alright' and 'we had to do it' (ms Willott) and 'it's not as bad as you think' who should be criticised, not you. As far as I can see you are just about the only Lib Dem with any balls out of the whole bloody lot. so, please, never lose your anger.

      as for ms willott, i feel utter disdain towards her, she can't even be bothered to get her facts right, or else she is deliberately misleading people.

  2. George, that is a really unpleasant story regarding your colleague. I have said elsewhere that we are entering a dark time in our history. I feel groups of vulnerable people are being singled out for abuse and ridicule. I am always wary (for obvious reasons) to comparisons between the present day and Nazi Germany, but I can see genuine parallels in this case. We all go in for a bit of hyperbole now and then, but it cannot be too much of a stretch to imagine the type of atmosphere that allowed the type of oppression that flourished in the 1930s and compare that with what we see today.

    I have read newspapers (some of which supported Hitler, BTW) that have openly and completely without shame described such people as ‘drains on society’, ‘parasites’ and similar slurs. Not some obscure blogg at the edge of the internet with a fanatical following of useful idiots and survivalists, but household names and run by some of the powerful people on this planet. Now, I am not suggesting that we are going to see death camps fed by cattle trucks, but we are seeing a co-ordinated campaign aimed at our fellow citizens.

    Again, I know that you read Lib Con and you have read some of the remarks aimed at those disabled who have the audacity to complain about this persecution. Your good friend Sue has been at the mercy of some of the more vicious attacks, by one particular ‘person’. I have called for such remarks to be removed from the site for reasons good taste, if nothing else. Needless to say, the rather limp response was expected. I am not suggesting that every comment from anyone we disagree with should be removed, but we need a line somewhere.

    What I find particularly depressing regarding these attacks in the wider media and from political movements is the anaemic response from elected MPs, particularly from those who claim to be from the Left. They cannot be blind to what is going on, nor can they claim to be ignorant, either.

    Yet, here we are; people with long term illnesses are being abandoned to their fate and worse, they are vilified in the street, merely for looking like a benefit claimant.

    Dark days George, dark days.

  3. Many of us are very angry, hundreds of thousands of disabled adults and children will be denied the support they need and a civil society should give (from the heart)because the criteria has been narrowed so much in the the WCA and PIP assessments. I truly believe that we have a human rights case against the government just need some power behind us to bring it forward. All of this is clearly connected with UNUM, they do not care what so ever about lost life, lost dreams, isolation or anything about disabled children or adults. We will fight to the end though and who knows, I've always said the truth will set you free.

  4. What did you imagine that life for the low in status would be like under the Tories?

    Didn't this Jenny Willott applaud JOHN REDWOOD's contribution to the Welfare Reform 'Debate' last Wednesday? This was removed by moderator on LibDemVoice but If it looks like a Tory, walks like a Tory, Quacks like a Tory...


  6. I will lose cesa after my 1 year. I was on IB following a car accident that left me with brain injury. At the 1 year point i was barely functioning. At 7 yrs i am trying to volunteer as and when i can. I lose my income and then am back to depending on the family that have supported me back to independance. I am in WRAG. I get MRC dla but i dont know about PIP as i find it difficult to fit into the groups. Soon i am worthless. I earned the right to benefit for illness, now my illness dose not fit the tick boxes so i will get nothing. I lost my home my job and very nearly my life. I thought i had finished losing seems i was wrong.


I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

I will also not tolerate personation so please do not add comments in the name of real people unless you are that person. If you do not like these rules then start your own blog.

Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

The views expressed in comments are those of the poster, not me.