Posts Tagged ‘Dementia’

Cassetteboi Versus Theresa May

November 27, 2018

Here’s another satirical video taking a swipe at Tweezer from YouTube. This time it’s those jolly funsters Cassetteboi editing May’s speeches to make her sing about how stupid, evil and ridiculous her government is.

The lyrics they make her sing are

The government should be able
To say more than
‘Strong and Stable’
And it’s wrong
To believe the fable
That I belong
At the negotiating table
And how can I negotiate
If I can’t face Corbyn
In a debate?
It’s easy to investigate
Precisely why
I won’t participate
I want to make sure
I can ignore
The public concerns about
U-Turns
You have to learn
There is no proof
That I will tell you the truth
I don’t know why
People vote for me
It’s like
The more policies
I talk about
The more problems
You see
And let’s not forget
It’s me you elect
It means a harmful
Far-right Brexit
Everything we do
As we leave the EU
Will be not for the many
But for the few
I know whose side I’m on
Ordinary people are easy
To dismiss
And yes
The message we’re sending them
Is this:
I could go
Into a lot more detail
Explain why this government
Continues to fail
We’ve had cuts
On an industrial scale
And it’s plain
We must not prevail
We cut police spending
By more than a fifth
And lives are being put at risk
But I will lie to you
And say
We’ve made life safer
In the UK
There are other plans
You might have to confront
Think of one man, Jeremy Hunt
And surprise surprise
Yes, we want to privatise
The NHS
Have we made the Health Service
Better or worse?
You can’t trust me
Ask a nurse
And our new rules
For education
Will underfund schools
So that they need donations
That is the absurd situation
We’re facing
That’s how
Right now
It’s difficult
For schools and hospitals
And if we win
It will be
Impossible
Only trust the Conservatives
If you don’t rely on
Public services
And remember
At the heart of our agenda
We’re making life harder
For people with dementia
It doesn’t have to be this way
And
These things don’t have
To stay the same
You can use your vote to say
‘Not in my name’
I don’t know why
People vote for me
It’s like
The more policies
I talk about
The more problems
You see

The video ends simply with the word ‘Vote’ against a black background.

It was put up last year, 2017, and clearly refers to the election, which put May in power. And it’s still very relevant. She didn’t turn up to a debate with Jeremy Corbyn, sending Amber Rudd instead. Now she’s challenged him to another debate, but it’s still questionable whether she’ll turn up for that one. After all, she doesn’t like turning up for anything that it isn’t very carefully stage managed and packed with her supporters and no-one else.

And Tweezer and her cabinet of horrors are still aiming at a far-right Brexit, they’re still cutting public services, privatizing the NHS and making life very difficult for people with dementia, as well as everyone else who is sick, disabled, unemployed or simply poor. And our schools are horribly underfunded, because Tweezer and the rest would like to privatise them as well.

We do need a vote on this one. We need her Brexit vote to fail spectacularly, and her government to plunge into crisis.

We nee a new election. One that will get Corbyn into government, and the Tories out. Hopefully for a very, very long time.

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Shirley William on Demands for Cutting Tax and the Myth of the Social Security Scrounger

May 26, 2016

SWilliams Book Pic

Yesterday I put up a couple of pieces from Shirley Williams’ book, Politics Is For People, in which she attacks the free market ideology of Milton Friedman, and notes how bureaucracy actually grew under the Tories, despite their declared concern for cutting it in the name of efficiency.

The former Labour MP and founder of the SDP also has a few critical observations of the various campaigns to cut taxes, and the myth that people on social security/ jobseeker’s allowance/unemployment benefit/the dole are scroungers.

She writes

A second line of attack, clearly closely related to the reaction against ‘big government’, is on the high public expenditure necessitated by the welfare state. The taxpayers’ revolt began in France with the Poujadist party, wand was later taken up in Denmark, where Per Glijstrup’s anti-tax party had a remarkable, if brief, period of success. it was an element in the 1976 defeat of the Swedish socialist government, and then reached its high-water mark in the triumphant passage of California’s Proposition 13 in 1978. Proposition 13 tied local property taxes to their 1976/7 level, and imposed a 1 per cent maximum on the annual increase, effectively halving the property tax yield. But as the effects of Proposition 13 have been felt on education and other publicly financed services, public enthusiasm for tax cutting has waned. An attempt to pass a similar proposal, known as Jarvis Two, to halve California’s state taxes was heavily defeated in June 1980. The recent history of anti-tax movements is one of dramatic advances which are not then sustained.

One particular form the attack on high public expenditure takes, one that is popular and easy to get across in electoral terms, is the allegation that many people are living off the welfare state who could perfectly well survive on their own. Popular newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic give a lot of space to individual cases – and there always are some – of people proclaiming how they have milked the social security system of thousands of dollars or thousands of pounds. Everybody has heard of somebody who can’t be bothered to get a job, or who stays at home living on welfare because his wage in a job would be little more than his welfare cheque. The ‘poverty trap’ – incomes-related benefits which are lost or reduced as the breadwinner’s income rises – provides a rationale for ‘scrounging’. It really is true that some heads of large families may be better off not working.

Yet the evidence for large-scale ‘scrounging’ is thin; most people much prefer a job to enforced leisure. Nor is the popular hostility against scroungers a by-product of the welfare state. It has a much older history. Ricardo himself inveighed against the Speenhamland system, under which wages were subsidized by the parish if they fell below a minimum level which was linked to the price of bread. ‘The principle of gravitation is not more certain than the tendency of such laws to change wealth and vigour into misery and weakness’, Richardo wrote in On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817). It might be Professor Milton Friedman speaking. At the end of the eighteenth century, the indefatigable Utilitarian Jeremy Bentham turned his mind to the rehabilitation of convicts, many of them indigent people without work. He proposed to establish a panopticon, a sort of multi-industry establishment, which he described, chillingly, as ‘a mill to grind rogues honest, and idle men industrious’. Similar wishes are still expressed on the floor of Congress or the House of Commons by ardent Conservatives; only the language alters. (Pp. 30-1).

Williams here is exactly right. Mike over at Vox Political, the Angry Yorkshireman and many other bloggers have noted that Thatcher and the Conservatives have consciously adopted the Victorian principle of ‘least eligibility’ in their welfare reforms in order to make living on benefit as humiliating and degrading as possible for those on it, such as the disabled and the unemployed. The incident Mike reported on his blog on Tuesday, in which a woman with dementia was insulted by a member of the DWP, when she failed to answer a security question due to her disability, is an extreme example of this attitude. This just shows how long the Left have known about the extremely illiberal attitude to poverty at the very heart of Thatcherism and its explicit Victorian antecedents.

As for the Poujadists, they were a petit-bourgeois, anti-Socialist, anti-trade union party founded in the 1950s. Poujade was a French shopkeeper, who launched a campaign encouraging shopkeepers not to serve striking workers. One of the books I read a few years ago on Fascism included them as one of the forms it took in the post-War period. And Michael Heseltine was less than impressed with them, and used them as an insult in his spat with the Leaderene when she was goose-stepping around Downing Street. He called her a ‘Poujadist’, which accurately reflects her socio-economic background as the grocer’s daughter, and her petty hostility to the organised working class. It was a reference lost on the gentlemen of the press, however, who thought he meant she was a ‘putschist’. Well, that too, when it comes to petty Fascism.

Williams in her book has many good ideas. It was too bad that she and the rest of her cronies were more interested in splitting away to form the SDP and attacking Labour than squaring up to the Tories.

Insults against Public and Lack of Training of DWP Staff

May 25, 2016

Mike yesterday carried the disgusting story of an elderly lady, who was insulted by a member of the DWP when she rang up to make an inquiry. The lady was Janine Clarke, a former NHS worker, who suffers from a form of dementia, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. She rang the DWP to alert them to her condition, and inquire about pension credits. However, she had a probably answering one of the security questions. She was asked the date of her wedding. When she repeatedly failed to remember it, the DWP minion on the phone called her a ‘f*** pig’ and hang up.

It’s a disgraceful story, and the DWP has rightly apologised for the behaviour of the civil servant, who gave his name as ‘Chris’.

See Mike’s article at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/05/24/dwps-shame-how-many-more-vulnerable-people-have-been-abused-on-the-phone/

Mike in his comment wondered how many others have been similarly insulted, but have not made a complaint, and so their abuse goes unrecorded. He also believes that such abuse is encouraged, in order to make sure that they do not call again.

This wouldn’t be the first time by a long chalk that a member of the public has been insulted by an employee of the DWP. I’ve had experience of their domineering and frankly degrading attitude towards claimants at one of the Jobcentres in Bristol, though I have to say that I was not insulted or abused like this poor lady was. I have, however, heard stories about how the ‘job coaches’, who are supposedly there to motivate the long term unemployed into finding work, operate by phoning them up to humiliate them. And by all accounts, the DWP itself is a hell of job insecurity and backbiting, with the employees fearing that they will be next in line to be laid off, and the higher ranks doing their best to humiliate their inferiors. So it’s nowhere near surprising that a DWP employee should treat a member of the public in such a grossly disrespectful manner.

It also seems to confirm what I’ve heard from various people about a severe lack of training in the Civil Service. I’ve heard rumours that it’s been cut down from nearly a year to 13 weeks. This has, of course, been carried out by Ian Duncan Smith, the sneering egotistical failure, who himself runs away and hides from the public at every opportunity.

It’s also in line with Tory attitudes to training. Ha-Joon Chang in his book, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, criticises the attitude amongst many firms that training employees is essentially a wasteful activity. They dislike it, because such skilled employees can be poached from them by other companies, who need not invest in training them. They also dislike it, because of a deliberately policy in keeping employees as unskilled as possible, so that they can be sacked or replaced more easily. My guess is that this government sees training workers in exactly the same terms, quite apart from wishing to encourage the nastiest, most contemptible attitudes towards the public in their staff.

And so incidents like this are allowed to happen.

It’s disgraceful, as are the people who run this increasingly demoralised, shambolic mess: Ian Duncan Smith, now departed, and his successor, Stephen Crabb. Both should be called before parliament to explain their gross mismanagement of the DWP and their deliberate encouragement and promotion, through cuts and management reforms, of a culture of incompetence and casual insensitivity and gross contempt.

Private Eye on the Costs to NHS of Free Market Reforms

January 28, 2015

Some idea of the immense cost to the NHS of various Tory and New Labour reforms to introduce the free market into the NHS can be gained from a piece Private Eye ran about them in their issue for the 15th – 30th May 2009. This commented on the campaign by Labour’s health minister, Lord Darzi, to find further savings in the NHS by pointing out just how much administrative costs had risen. Here it is.

Efficiency Savings
Prize Chump

Health minister Lord Darzi is dangling a financial carrot to encourage NHS staff to help the government find efficiencies and savings of £15bn over the next three years. Rewards of up to £5 each will go to those who most impress the panel of experts in Darzi’s den, which holds a total pot of £240m in prize money.

Darzi cites challenges such as combating the increasing burden of childhood obesity, or dementia in the elderly. But how about tackling the so-called “transaction costs” of healthcare, started by the introduction of the internal market by the Tories and accelerated by Labour’s privatisation agenda?

In the old NHS days, administrative costs were no more than 5 percent of its annual budget. By the mid-90s they accounted for 12 percent. With subsequent wholesale market-based measures such as payments by results, patient choice and self-governing foundation trusts, coupled with the costs of management consultants, private finance initiatives, independent treatment centres etc, administrative costs have soared to 20 percent of the budget about 20bn a year.

Reduce that and Darzi can make his savings in one go. Or how about axing the most disastrous computer project in British history, the NHS National Programme for IT – £12.7bn and rising? Cheques please to Lord Gnome.

So there it is in black and white: £20bn eaten up in administrative costs through the piecemeal privatisation of the NHS initiated by Peter Lilley.

And this is the system that Alan Milburn and the Blairites are so keen to defend.