Incidents like this shame us all


9:00 am - May 22nd 2012

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contribution by Nicky Clark

A blind, deaf, tube-fed, non verbal, disabled man from Scotland has been deemed fit for work by the DWP. As a result of not completing the form correctly, his benefits will be stopped on 7th June and he will have to access the appeal process to have this decision over-turned.

This man has to have 24 hour care and the person who had completed his form for him as his disability prevents him had not included something in the 30 page form which meant that due to that error his money will stop.

These forms are very lengthy, complicated and ask many intimate and intrusive questions very much like the Disability benefit forms I complete on behalf of my children.

The problem isn’t the fact that you have to ask for help; it isn’t the time it takes to complete them; it isn’t the caring that you have to do at the same time; it isn’t the humiliation that you feel as you complete them; it isn’t the shame culture which has grown up in recent years around those legitimately asking for help.

It isn’t the fear of hate crime which vulnerable people face; it isn’t the lack of disability access which greet many disabled people called to an assessment with untrained staff; it isn’t the tabloid press who brand genuinely disabled people as “scroungers” and “scum”.

It isn’t any one of those things. It’s all of them.

The mistake regarding his forms will take weeks to rectify. And if you still feel this is a justifiable process in order to weed out the liars and fakes living in mansions and driving luxury cars, I ask you to think again. More money is lost in DWP error than is lost through benefits granted to liars and fakes.

The fact that you feel this is a justification at all simply means that you have been desensitised by effective propaganda because disabled people are the new scapegoats de jour.

My thoughts are with those without a support network, those who are killing themselves because they have lost, or fear losing their benefits.

The battle against disabled people shames us all.


A longer version is at Nicky Clark’s blog.

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Reader comments


1. Chaise Guevara

Agreed. If filling a form in wrong can mean a vulnerable person being cut off, there has to be a swift mechanism for fixing any oversights. Or people suffer because of someone else’s mistake, or because they find it difficult to fill these forms in themselves.

Welcome to Cameron’s world of screw the vulnerable ! There is more to come with masses of vulnerable people going hungry on a regular basis.

Oh calm down.

This was an error no doubt and will be rectified. No deaf, dumb, and blind man in any developed country is going to intentionally be starved to death from a clerical error.

4. Chaise Guevara

@ 3 Freeman

“Oh calm down.

This was an error no doubt and will be rectified.”

Er, try reading the article before you honour us with your opinions. Cheers.

5. Shatterface

Welcome to Cameron’s world of screw the vulnerable ! There is more to come with masses of vulnerable people going hungry on a regular basis.

The rewriting of history is reaching Stalinist levels.

ESA and ATOS, and the target culture which infests the DWP, were New Labour projects and they aren’t going away if you re-elect them.

@4. Chaise Guevara

I did read the article. How do you think I was able to comment. Unlike a lot of people on this site I actually read before commenting. The appeal will be put in and the decision reversed, it is obvious he can’t work.

In future his family should realise that they are dealing with an important issue and just make sure the form is correct. I am sure it was an honest mistake on both sides and will be corrected.

LC makes a storm in every teacup they come across.

7. Chaise Guevara

@ 6 Freeman

“I did read the article. How do you think I was able to comment.”

Well, you weren’t able to comment on the article. As far as I can tell you commented on the title and the opening paragraph.

If you HAD read the article before posting your first comment, you would have a) not bothered to say “this was an error no doubt” when the article makes it clear that it was an error, and b) not opined that the issue will be resolved when the article specifically states that the problem is how LONG the issue will take to be fixed..

I repeat: read before commenting, especially if you’re going to bash the OP.

So state bureaucracies are extremely inefficient and inflexible?

Have you just realised this?

Please understand that any government doling out taxpayers money to disabled people (at a higher level than they would if they were able bodied) is going to require some kind of evidence of incapacity and is most unlikely, ever, to accept the word of the claimant alone. Because sometimes people are not entirely honest in such matters (as the article accepts).

Please also understand that the disabled in this country, by comparison with those in many other parts of the world, are extremely fortunate to be living in an advanced industrial economy which is capable of supporting them financially.

However, the clamour to make the capability to claim other peoples money by the disabled into some kind of absolute and fundamental right is ill judged. There is no shame whatever in disablement, but strident ingratitude is always unprepossessing.

9. Luis Enrique

I spoke to a former GP now “disability consultant” who told me that the fault lies not so much with ATOS but with the ridiculous rules they have been given to implement. He said if interpreted strictly, just about the only way you can qualify as disabled is to be dead.

10. Mr Grunt

Shatterface @ 5

Since this Tory

11. Planeshift

@8 – do you think these kind of mistakes are made frequently in the scandanavian countries, northern europe etc?

And if they are, do you think the only way they get rectified is via an expensive and time consuming appeals process during which there is no support available other than family/charity?

These mistakes are features, not bugs, and are a classic example of what happens when you design a contract that rewards the company for finding people fit for work. And a predictable outcome of a decade long attempt to demonise people and portray most claimants as fraudeland and a ‘problem’. Which is something your political tendancy has a great deal of responsibility for doing.

12. Mr Grunt

Shatterface @ 5

Since this Tory Led Coalition has been in power a charity called Trussells Trust that normally operates in third world countries giving out free foods has become really busy in this country doing the same thing.

Due to the worsening economic conditions and the welfare system making it more difficult to go through the process people have been going hungry and turning to Trussells Trust for free food handouts. This did not happen under the last Labour Government. The situation is getting worse and this Government is responsible.

Yes Labour did start the ball rolling with regards to ESA & ATOS but I don’t think it would have become this bad. I honestly believe there are many Tory ministers that enjoy what they are inflicting upon the most vulnerable.

13. Shatterface

Yes Labour did start the ball rolling with regards to ESA & ATOS but I don’t think it would have become this bad. I honestly believe there are many Tory ministers that enjoy what they are inflicting upon the most vulnerable.

And that’s why I can’t take New Labour apologists seriously. New Labour introduce a policy out of the goodness of the hearts and the Tories continue with it because THEY ARE EVIL.

So state bureaucracies are extremely inefficient and inflexible?

It depends on how you measure inefficiency. If you mean value for money or serving claimants needs then yes, they are inefficient. If you mean are they efficient at producing reams of meaningless statistics that can be tabulated to measure ‘efficiency’ they are brilliant at it.

Bureaucracies are inflexible by definition. They are all about processes and not about service. Bureaucracies don’t adapt to meet people’s needs, they attempt to adapt people to suit their processes.

Bureaucracy has a logic of its own: if you can’t fit in with those processes – if you can’t complete their forms – then you are inefficient, not the bureaucracy.

14. Robin Levett

@pagar #8:

<blockquote.Please understand that any government doling out taxpayers money to disabled people (at a higher level than they would if they were able bodied) is going to require some kind of evidence of incapacity and is most unlikely, ever, to accept the word of the claimant alone. Because sometimes people are not entirely honest in such matters (as the article accepts).

This man was on disability benefit. He had proved his entitlement. His benefit was then reviewed, and because he had’t filled out part of the form, benefits were removed. A sensible, efficient, compassionate process would have involved someone looking at his previous file, noting the level of his disabilities and sending the form back to him for completion, keeping the benefit going in the meantime, rather than just saying “the computer says no”.

However, the clamour to make the capability to claim other peoples money by the disabled into some kind of absolute and fundamental right is ill judged. There is no shame whatever in disablement, but strident ingratitude is always unprepossessing.

As is the clamour by “libertarians” to force all those less fortunate in our society into some form of permanent grateful cringe towards those magnanimous enough to allow them the crumbs from their table. Take advantage of the benefits of our society if you like – as you do – but don’t try to suggest that you are any more deserving of those benefits than anyone else.

Having filled in those forms, you really do have to be a wordsmith. The DWP will pick over everything you write. No one would mind if they went after the fraudsters, but it’s the genuinely sick and disabled that are losing out.

@ Planeshift

These mistakes are features, not bugs, and are a classic example of what happens when you design a contract that rewards the company for finding people fit for work.

I am no fan of Atos or any of the other corporate parasites that infect this sector, but in this instance, it would appear they were not to blame.

This man was not pronounced “fit for work” as is alleged in the OP, his family didn’t fill in the form correctly and some pen pusher in the DWP failed to use his initiative. As he is discouraged from doing.

@ Robin

As is the clamour by “libertarians” to force all those less fortunate in our society into some form of permanent grateful cringe towards those magnanimous enough to allow them the crumbs from their table.

There is no magnanimity on the part of the donors in this arrangement because the money we are discussing is not freely donated. It is coerced from the donor at the point of a gun.

And you are correct that that fact obviates the need for any feelings of gratitude on the part of the recipients. They are encouraged to believe that support from others is their fundamental human right and even complain endlessly about the “shame” involved in having to fill out a form to get it.

17. Planeshift

“family didn’t fill in the form correctly and some pen pusher in the DWP failed to use his initiative. As he is discouraged from doing.”

“Having filled in those forms, you really do have to be a wordsmith. The DWP will pick over everything you write”

Feature, not bug.

And it’s a feature precisely because people like you have spent the last decade portraying the system as being overly generous and full of fraudsters.

18. Robin Levett

@pagar #16:

It is coerced from the donor at the point of a gun.

Stop playing the victim; anybody who has to be forced to pay taxes at the point of a gun should voluntarily give up all the benefits of modern society – so I take it that this was your last post on Liberal Conspiracy – indeed on the ‘Net.

<blockquote.And you are correct that that fact obviates the need for any feelings of gratitude on the part of the recipients. They are encouraged to believe that support from others is their fundamental human right…

Are you familiar with decent civilised societies?

‘cking hell Pagar.

Do actually want people to convert to your brand of sub-Randian libertarianism, or are you doing your best to put everyone off?

Because this poor me routine really is spectacularly unedifying.

Oh miserable, pitiable Pagar, who is forced to pay tax in order to keep severely disabled people alive! The injustice of it! And the cripples don’t even queue up outside his house to say how grateful they are! Surely Pagar must be the most put upon, exploited wretch in the whole world?

20. Chaise Guevara

@ 19 Larry

LOL! I love the way libertarians make speeches like that, then expect you to believe that in the absence of taxation, they would deal with all social ills via charity, out of the goodness of their not-at-all-frost hearts.

21. Luis Enrique

rights are something we create, we say “in our society we’re going to treat X like a right”. We have decided the disabled have a right to be cared for, to a decent standard, hence those disabled people who think they have a right to care do so with good reason. This doesn’t mean they don’t also feel grateful for this care; I imagine many of them do. But many others are rightly unhappy at the shoddy treatment they receive. It’s quite possible to put somebody through a humiliating and needlessly traumatic process, and quite reasonable for people to complain if so.

22. Planeshift

” hence those disabled people who think they have a right to care do so with good reason”

Particularly those with disabilities where it is the structure of society more than the medical aspect of a condition that is the disabling component. Eg: Facial Disfigurements, tourettes, aspergers etc.

But then right wingers are so sociologically illterate that they are unaware of such as thing called ‘social model of disability’, let alone knowledgable enough to make a judgement on the level of support that is appropiate.

23. Dan Factor

9. Being dead is no reason not to work. It’s high time the dead got off their idle backsides and contributed to society instead of lying around in coffins at the expense of the HARD WORKING decent law abiding Daily Mail reading majority.

24. the a&e charge nurse

[16] ‘I am no fan of Atos or any of the other corporate parasites that infect this sector, but in this instance, it would appear they were not to blame’ – of course they’re not, somebody has got to reduce the number of scroungers, sorry, I meant people claiming disability allowance.

After all, ATOS are just doing a ‘job’, although some say the French multi-national is part of a bigger, and perhaps more sinister picture?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/may/01/private-companies-profit-disability

Shatterface @ 12

And that’s why I can’t take New Labour apologists seriously. New Labour introduce a policy out of the goodness of the hearts and the Tories continue with it because THEY ARE EVIL

Yes and I, for one condemn the Labour Party for fucking up then, and I blame the Tories for fucking up now. Having said that, I haven’t found a single Labour supporter EVER defend this type of thing or anything across the spectrum from this to cases like Sue Marsh or even arguably more marginal cases.

Yet here we are a palpable error of monumental proportions. Clearly a system that fails someone who is disabled to this extent is deeply flawed. Right, clearly this is wrong, but not wrong at a technical level, but at the kind of obvious way that only a simpleton would fail to notice. This is airplane without a wing kinda stuff.

Yet here we are again; A system that clearly gives the wrong result and another example of yet another crazy ass decision, and yet here we are, the fucking Libertarian sociopaths seep out of the woodwork for their customary gloat at the disabled (long term readers must becoming immune to this) and the Right Wing bigots come out and defend a completely failed system.

You cunts normally trot out the ‘Private sector would correct this mess’, clearly the private sector has created this mess in the first place. The ‘fear’ of losing custom is not driving ATOS to determine better systems.

Your second port of call is the ‘bureaucratic waste’ meme. Well I would venture that a system that deems it necessary to ‘test’ a deaf blind man who is fed through a tube and is unable to walk unaided is pretty much a bureaucratic waste.

The system is fucked and these new regulation were designed by labour. You could fix it tomorrow, simply by tossing the whole lot into a bin and simply reverting to the rules the last Tory government had.

Pagar @ 8

Please also understand that the disabled in this country, by comparison with those in many other parts of the world, are extremely fortunate to be living in an advanced industrial economy which is capable of supporting them financially.

You are too are lucky enough to live in a large industrial economy that is able to support you financially as well, but you don’t appear very gratefull, either.

Pagar @ 16

It is coerced from the donor at the point of a gun.

This gas me thinking, are you a real person or an elaborate Turing test, let loose?

The barrel of a gun? Are you on glue?

By the way, I should like to point out that EVERY penny you pay in tax is paid entirely voluntary. You are provided ample opportunity to find out the tax rates on every legal transaction in this Country BEFORE you partake in that transaction. You are told what tax you pay on a car a packet of crisps, your earnings and your savings. You are given notice of your tax free earnings, if you choose to earn over that, you are told the tax you are expected to pay, no one FORCES you (not even by the barrel of a gun) to earn more than that a year.

You are allowed to earn £8000 a year without paying income tax.
http://www.globalrichlist.com/

Which would put you into the top 1/8 of the world’s population. Which is miles above the average wages of many of the more ‘Libertarian’ economies on the planet. Countries like Bahrain, India, Pakistan, China, Panama, Botswana. You know the type of places where no social provision exists and no employment laws exist either. In fact, the very type of society you want others to live in and you could live here on eight grand a year if you so wished.

So, what’s stopping you?

27. Charlieman

How furious the debate has become.

Companies or government organisations foul up everything occasionally. They foul up your TV licence purchase and they foul up your corporate purchase of 20,000 licences for a cloud service.

So it is in a pickle. Judgement is about how the company or organisation sorts out the pickle.

28. So Much For Subtlety

A blind, deaf, tube-fed, non verbal, disabled man from Scotland has been deemed fit for work by the DWP. As a result of not completing the form correctly, his benefits will be stopped on 7th June and he will have to access the appeal process to have this decision over-turned.

Well, no, he was not found fit for work. He was found not to have applied for benefits correctly. The default state is someone is not entitled to benefits until they have shown need. He did not. The process worked as it was supposed to. You can’t allow DWP workers to go around handing out benefits to people who do not qualify under even the most basic tests. Or their aunts and cousins would be rolling in cash. With luck this will be rapidly rectified, but the solution for people who want government money is to apply for it properly.

These forms are very lengthy, complicated and ask many intimate and intrusive questions very much like the Disability benefit forms I complete on behalf of my children.

As they should.

It isn’t the fear of hate crime which vulnerable people face

Good. Because such hate crimes don’t exist to any real extent and it would be unfortunate if media campaigns created fear where it should not exist.

it isn’t the tabloid press who brand genuinely disabled people as “scroungers” and “scum”.

Because none of them to the best of my knowledge ever have. Cite one.

More money is lost in DWP error than is lost through benefits granted to liars and fakes.

How do you know? Oh wait, one single DWP study tells you they do a great job?

The fact that you feel this is a justification at all simply means that you have been desensitised by effective propaganda because disabled people are the new scapegoats de jour.

Sure. If we don’t agree to hand over all our money to anyone who asks for it without even bothering to apply for it correctly, we are naive tools of the evil Tabloid Empire?

My thoughts are with those without a support network, those who are killing themselves because they have lost, or fear losing their benefits.

What shames people making your argument is this sort of appeal to the pathetic. No people are not killing themselves. Even if they were, it is not a valid argument. People kill themselves because their businesses go bust all the time – in no small part because of the tax and regulatory burden. People kill themselves because of their divorces all the time. These are not valid arguments against regulations, tax or divorce. At least they aren’t on LC.

29. So Much For Subtlety

20. Chaise Guevara

I love the way libertarians make speeches like that, then expect you to believe that in the absence of taxation, they would deal with all social ills via charity, out of the goodness of their not-at-all-frost hearts.

Why? Do you have any evidence that a libertarian society would not handle all social ills properly? It is certainly a more rosy and positive view of humanity than the alternative which seems to believe that humanity is evil beyond redemption and needs people like you in charge to force them, at bayonet point, to do what you, but not they, think is right.

Luis Enrique

It’s quite possible to put somebody through a humiliating and needlessly traumatic process, and quite reasonable for people to complain if so.

The person who put this person thought any sort of process was the person who filled out the forms for them. The government did not. Atos did not. It is more or less self-inflicted. And perhaps deliberately so in an effort to get publicity.

What can you do if someone does not properly apply for their tax rebate for instance? Send it to them anyway?

Planeshift

Particularly those with disabilities where it is the structure of society more than the medical aspect of a condition that is the disabling component. Eg: Facial Disfigurements, tourettes, aspergers etc.

Actually I am surprised you would argue this. Surely if it is discrimination rather than medical conditions that prevent them from working, they should work? As their disability is a product of society and not their medical condition.

But then right wingers are so sociologically illterate that they are unaware of such as thing called ‘social model of disability’, let alone knowledgable enough to make a judgement on the level of support that is appropiate.

Ahh, the social model of disability. The usual sociologist crap about how it is all our fault. So someone is disabled because society says they are disabled, not because of the medical problem underlying their condition. Fine. Let’s all agree this man is not disabled. He is not entitled to benefits for the disabled then. He can go out and get a job – right? Because it is not the medical condition that makes him disabled, but society? And if society deems him not to be disabled, then he is not disabled – even if he needs to be fed by a tube.

Jim

You are too are lucky enough to live in a large industrial economy that is able to support you financially as well, but you don’t appear very gratefull, either.

Umm, no, Jim. He does not just live in a large industrial economy. He and many people like him created a large industrial economy. It is people who are being fed by a tube who are lucky to live in a large industrial economy. Or they would die. People in Niger don’t get this level of treatment.

Jim

By the way, I should like to point out that EVERY penny you pay in tax is paid entirely voluntary. You are provided ample opportunity to find out the tax rates on every legal transaction in this Country BEFORE you partake in that transaction.

Oh excellent. So you have no objection to Oscar Wilde’s prison sentence do you Jim? After all, he knew perfectly well renting male prostitutes for a bit of rough trade was illegal. He had plenty of opportunity to leave the country before doing so. Somerset Maughan actually did. Yet he chose to break the law. And in fact come to think of it, you must have no problems with blasphemy laws either. And they too must be entirely voluntary in their operation.

The things you learn on LC.

30. Shatterface

Yet here we are again; A system that clearly gives the wrong result and another example of yet another crazy ass decision, and yet here we are, the fucking Libertarian sociopaths seep out of the woodwork for their customary gloat at the disabled (long term readers must becoming immune to this) and the Right Wing bigots come out and defend a completely failed system.

Its not libertarians, sociopathic or otherwise, which have created this mess. The DWP is a state bureaucracy. Its the State bureaucracy which is denying benefits because this client hasn’t been able to follow the bureaucratic procedures layed down by the State.

On another planet the Sociopathic Libertarian Party might be denying sick people benefits. Here, they ain’t. Libertarians have fuck all to do with this case – they’re just the bogeyman alternative to a problem created by the last government and continued by the current one.

Bureaucracies measure things. To do that they demand information. If the information you supply is incomplete or doesn’t fit the boxes they need to tick they aren’t going to deal with you in a ‘humane’ manner, or apply common sense. Those are characteristics of individuals, not group entities.

If you want humanity you have to give civil servants autonomy – but bureaucracies can’t measure the achievement of one autonomous individual against anither, just whether staff have followed procedures and hit their targets. That’s the managerial culture inherited fron New Labour, not libertarians.

31. Shatterface

Its funny reading the comments above.

One the one hand you have Rght-wing libertarians arguing that it is the claimant or his family’s fault for not complying adequately with the demands of the State – and effectively arguing in defence of a State bureaucracy..

On the other hand you have thhe Statist Left complaining that Right-wing libertarians are to blame…somehow, or that the Libertarian Right would leave the sick out on an iceberg to die were they in charge.

This contry badly needs a Left Libertarian alternative.

It is the expectation that a disabled person is somehow able to take the onslaught of a highly bureaucratised and ignorant system run by untrained staff

33. So Much For Subtlety

30. Shatterface

Bureaucracies measure things. To do that they demand information. If the information you supply is incomplete or doesn’t fit the boxes they need to tick they aren’t going to deal with you in a ‘humane’ manner, or apply common sense. Those are characteristics of individuals, not group entities.

If you want humanity you have to give civil servants autonomy – but bureaucracies can’t measure the achievement of one autonomous individual against anither, just whether staff have followed procedures and hit their targets. That’s the managerial culture inherited fron New Labour, not libertarians.

I actually agree with all of this. But it is not just New Labour, it is the Left as a whole which has driven this tick box culture. You can see that with something like Health and Safety – driven entirely by the Left. The law and hence the Courts don’t give a damn if you have tried to make adequate provision, they will demand you tick every box. As with discrimination of all sorts. In fact all the areas of modern law where the Left has had a role, they have moved towards a tick box culture which operates without pity or mercy.

You can see this with the Court case against Lee Clegg. Of course as a soldier he was a target of the Left anyway. As a paratrooper even more so. So a car tried to ram a check point he was manning at a time when the PIRA was using suicide bombers. Clegg fired four shots at the car. He was convicted for the last of those four shots which was said to have entered the car from behind (although later evidence suggested it may have done so from the side). So this young man, in a tight situation, and incredible pressure, fired a legal shot, and then another, and then a third and then his fourth shot was deemed murder.

When the Left shows the slightest bit of compassion, or even common sense, over Clegg, I will take their views on these sorts of problems seriously.

1:31 am, May 23, 201231. Shatterface

One the one hand you have Rght-wing libertarians arguing that it is the claimant or his family’s fault for not complying adequately with the demands of the State – and effectively arguing in defence of a State bureaucracy..

I fail to see where I am defending the State bureaucracy. I am simply saying we have rules and laws and we have to follow them. You cannot allow civil servants – regardless of whether you think we have too many or not enough or have any at all – to make up the rules as they go along. If someone signs a contract, they sign a contract. But if they don’t, they don’t. You can turn around an argue later that you meant to do something else.

This contry badly needs a Left Libertarian alternative.

That I agree with.

Jim

It is the expectation that a disabled person is somehow able to take the onslaught of a highly bureaucratised and ignorant system run by untrained staff

What onslaught? This man had a friend fill out the form for him.

34. Robin Levett

@SMFS #33:

The law and hence the Courts don’t give a damn if you have tried to make adequate provision, they will demand you tick every box. As with discrimination of all sorts. In fact all the areas of modern law where the Left has had a role, they have moved towards a tick box culture which operates without pity or mercy.

As a generalisation, this is wrong – care to cite specifics?

You can see this with the Court case against Lee Clegg…So a car tried to ram a check point he was manning…So this young man, in a tight situation, and incredible pressure, fired a legal shot, and then another, and then a third and then his fourth shot was deemed murder.

I’m happy to look the case up again, but my recollection is that the conviction was on the basis precisely that it was not trying to ram the checkpoint.

Since it was the fourth shot that killed the driver, it isn’t surprising that that was the shot focussed on in the trial.

You’ll be happy to learn that, when last heard of, Clegg was serving in 16 Air Assault Brigade having been cleared on all charges; further evidence having come to light that cast doubt on the forensic evidence that convicted him in the first place.

35. Robin Levett

@Shatterface #31:

On the other hand you have thhe Statist Left complaining that Right-wing libertarians are to blame…somehow, or that the Libertarian Right would leave the sick out on an iceberg to die were they in charge.

For my part. (i) I am not on the Statist Left, and (ii) my reaction was to Pagar’s wrapping himself in the shroud of victimhood.

SMFS’s idea that if we would only not force Pagar to pay taxes he’d then voluntarily pay what was required to provide what a decent society would consider a proper standard of life for those unable to work through disability requires further development before it can stand up on its own.

36. gastro george

“Do you have any evidence that a libertarian society would not handle all social ills properly? It is certainly a more rosy and positive view of humanity than the alternative which seems to believe that humanity is evil beyond redemption and needs people like you in charge to force them, at bayonet point, to do what you, but not they, think is right.”

Somalia.

37. the a&e charge nurse

[35] ‘SMFS’s idea that if we would only not force Pagar to pay taxes he’d then voluntarily pay what was required to provide what a decent society would consider a proper standard of life for those unable to work through disability requires further development before it can stand up on its own’ – the libertarian position vis a vis the welfare state (as I understand it) is that there shouldn’t be one ……. period?

Libertarians seem to place enormous stock on the role of charidee
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAIWTLal9e4

Shatterface may be right about the nature of bureaucracy but what is most worrying nowadays is the changing political climate in which some of our bureaucratic systems are operating – in this case pro-market, anti-claimant.

38. Chaise Guevara

@ 29 SMFS

“Why? Do you have any evidence that a libertarian society would not handle all social ills properly?”

Given that libertarians will not accept any existing society as being actually libertarian, first-hand evidence is not attainable either way. But there are some good clues available. First is that more laissez-faire countries have and do tend to neglect their sick, poor and infirm. Second is that the entire libertarian philosphy is built around not having to give “your” money away.

“It is certainly a more rosy and positive view of humanity than the alternative”

Indeed. Naive, in fact. And probably bullshit, just another attempt to pretend that one’s pet system will magically be the ideal way to solve all problems. The libertarians I’ve met don’t want a libertarian system because they think it’ll help the unfortunate. They want it because they either a) place a huge amount of stock in personal property, or b) want to keep the spoils to themselves. The libertarian system is not DESIGNED to help the unfortunate. Guess what is? Starts with an S.

“which seems to believe that humanity is evil beyond redemption and needs people like you in charge to force them, at bayonet point, to do what you, but not they, think is right.”

I’m flattered that the purveyors of this unnamed philosophy think that I am the ideal man for the job, but as I’m not a member of their clan I don’t see what this has to do with me. Hint for the pigheaded: in this, as in most things, there are more than two alternatives.

39. Chaise Guevara

@ 31 Shatterface

“Its funny reading the comments above.

On the other hand you have thhe Statist Left complaining that Right-wing libertarians are to blame…somehow, or that the Libertarian Right would leave the sick out on an iceberg to die were they in charge.”

It’s nice that your straw man made you giggle.

@37 Having worked in the DLA renewals section, there was definitely an atmosphere of belligerence toward claimants. Those who cared about the sick and disabled were very much in the minority. Between the decision makers it was almost a competition to see who could refuse the most amount of claimants, and there was the general assumption that absolutely everyone who wrote in, even GP’s, were all in on one big scam to bullshit their way into getting taxpayers cash.

Civil servants buy and believe tabloids just as much as anyone else, and it showed.

@40. Cylux

You know what the problem is Cylux, is that the sterotype is in many cases true. Why does England strangly have all these ill people? why is the rate of ‘unfit to work’ higher than almost anywhere in Europe? Why do we have Afghanies camping in the woods in France jumping at the first chance to cling to the bottom of a Eurostar or huddle in a Truck to get over the boarder.

Our society hands out far too much for what it thinks is ‘free’, and those assessing disability benefit either can’t be bothered to find out the truth, are stuck in a broken system, or realise that it is not a sustainable system.

Its not the assessors fault. No one likes being taken for a mug, but why has the govt. allowed itself to be conned into paying out this money, and then convinced the public that it is necessary?

Those who are genuinely unable to work whould have assistance, but when a recent study showed that 1/3 of all ‘permanently disabled’ were actually able to do any work it raises serious questions about why people think this system works.

42. Chaise Guevara

@ 41 Freeman

“Those who are genuinely unable to work whould have assistance, but when a recent study showed that 1/3 of all ‘permanently disabled’ were actually able to do any work it raises serious questions about why people think this system works.”

Link?

43. the a&e charge nurse

[41] ‘Its not the assessors fault’ – aren’t you even the tiniest bit curious as to WHY a French IT company have been tasked with assessing sickness and disability – I mean, what next, German engineering firms running our hospitals?

Is it any surprise that 40% of those who appeal against assessments undertaken by ATOS are successful (70% in Scotland at a cost of £50 million) – getting it wrong almost half of the time – still I suppose many can still turn a blind eye to this sort of ineptitude, especially when there is so much work to be done weeding out benefit addicted scroungers?

44. Shatterface

Chaise Guevara:

39 It’s nice that your straw man made you giggle.

38 Given that libertarians will not accept any existing society as being actually libertarian, first-hand evidence is not attainable either way. But there are some good clues available. First is that more laissez-faire countries have and do tend to neglect their sick, poor and infirm. Second is that the entire libertarian philosphy is built around not having to give “your” money away.

Its only a slight exaggeration of the statist left case on this thread, and certainly more restrained rhan another currently running thread in which one commentator is likening current policies to the Holocaust.

45. So Much For Subtlety

34. Robin Levett

I’m happy to look the case up again, but my recollection is that the conviction was on the basis precisely that it was not trying to ram the checkpoint.

Three shots to the front of the car. Allegedly one to the rear. Hard to see how that is possible unless, you know, the car is driving through the check point. A stolen car driven by teenage joy riders as it turned out. But I doubt Clegg knew that at the time.

Since it was the fourth shot that killed the driver, it isn’t surprising that that was the shot focussed on in the trial.

Sure.

You’ll be happy to learn that, when last heard of, Clegg was serving in 16 Air Assault Brigade having been cleared on all charges; further evidence having come to light that cast doubt on the forensic evidence that convicted him in the first place.

And that makes up for those years in prison?

Robin Levett

SMFS’s idea that if we would only not force Pagar to pay taxes he’d then voluntarily pay what was required to provide what a decent society would consider a proper standard of life for those unable to work through disability requires further development before it can stand up on its own.

As usual you claim something I have not said. Quote me saying Pagar, or anyone else, would pay the same amount voluntarily. You can’t. However I note that the majority of people claiming benefits would be working if we did not pay them not to work.

the a&e charge nurse

the libertarian position vis a vis the welfare state (as I understand it) is that there shouldn’t be one ……. period?

So I gather. Although they tend to love Iceland which had no government but did have a welfare state.

Shatterface may be right about the nature of bureaucracy but what is most worrying nowadays is the changing political climate in which some of our bureaucratic systems are operating – in this case pro-market, anti-claimant.

Which is the same as saying pro-everyone-else. Why is that worrying?

Chaise Guevara

Given that libertarians will not accept any existing society as being actually libertarian, first-hand evidence is not attainable either way.

Indeed. Which suggests to me that we all should be more careful about what we say about a libertarian society.

But there are some good clues available. First is that more laissez-faire countries have and do tend to neglect their sick, poor and infirm. Second is that the entire libertarian philosphy is built around not having to give “your” money away.

Well that is not true. The more laissez-faire countries tend to do vastly better than the socialist ones. Or any others that heavily regulate medicine. Hong Kong is hardly disease ridden. I am not sure that libertarian philosophy is so built. Again you criticise what you clearly do not understand.

Indeed. Naive, in fact. And probably bullshit, just another attempt to pretend that one’s pet system will magically be the ideal way to solve all problems.

There is certainly a lot to that. On the other hand we know that freedom usually leads to economic growth and economic growth does tend to solve a lot of problems. So it is not as naive as thinking that African socialism will solve Ghana’s problems or Fabianism India’s.

The libertarians I’ve met don’t want a libertarian system because they think it’ll help the unfortunate. They want it because they either a) place a huge amount of stock in personal property, or b) want to keep the spoils to themselves. The libertarian system is not DESIGNED to help the unfortunate. Guess what is? Starts with an S.

Then you clearly have not met any. Libertarians tend to be spotty teenagers with no money and little interest in earning much. The libertarian system is actually designed to help the unfortunate on the invisible hand principle. And many of them say so. Often. Loudly. Socialism is designed to do many things but I don’t think you can say it is intended to help the unfortunate. Given that socialists are so bad at helping the unfortunate. Either they are really incompetent or they are not trying. It is more likely that the poor and sick are stalking horses to cover up what socialism is really about – a grab for power and wealth by the young.

I’m flattered that the purveyors of this unnamed philosophy think that I am the ideal man for the job, but as I’m not a member of their clan I don’t see what this has to do with me. Hint for the pigheaded: in this, as in most things, there are more than two alternatives.

There are almost always more than two alternatives. And yet it does seem to sum up your position quite well. Along with many others on LC.

46. So Much For Subtlety

43. the a&e charge nurse

aren’t you even the tiniest bit curious as to WHY a French IT company have been tasked with assessing sickness and disability – I mean, what next, German engineering firms running our hospitals?

Why shouldn’t German engineering firms run our hospitals? We want hospitals to be well run. If Martians can do it better why not let them?

Is it any surprise that 40% of those who appeal against assessments undertaken by ATOS are successful (70% in Scotland at a cost of £50 million) – getting it wrong almost half of the time – still I suppose many can still turn a blind eye to this sort of ineptitude, especially when there is so much work to be done weeding out benefit addicted scroungers?

Umm no. You have that precisely the wrong way around. It may be true that 40% of those that appeal succeed. But the key words are “those that appeal”. Most people who have been assessed have been kicked off the scheme. Most of those kicked off choose not to appeal. Most of those who appeal lose. So Atos is not getting it wrong almost half the time. Almost half of those that think they have a strong case for re-assessment win. It is the DWP that is getting it wrong. Vastly more than half the time. The ineptitude is not with Atos.

48. Chaise Guevara

@ 44 Shatterface

“Its only a slight exaggeration of the statist left case on this thread”

I wouldn’t say “slight”. Libertarians wouldn’t actively cast the poor out. And there *would* be some support for the vulnerable; charity doesn’t just go away.

However, a libertarian society, by definition, would not have a centralized safety net for the needy. So people would fall through the cracks. And given that we currently have charity AND a welfare state and yet still have quite a lot of problems, I’m thinking those would be some pretty big cracks.

“and certainly more restrained rhan another currently running thread in which one commentator is likening current policies to the Holocaust.”

I’m guessing that either this has to do with disability, or you’re talking about Sally…

49. Chaise Guevara

@ 45 SMFS

“Indeed. Which suggests to me that we all should be more careful about what we say about a libertarian society.”

In the absence of solid data, both sides of the argument have to do the best they can with recourse to reason and what evidence there is.

“Well that is not true. The more laissez-faire countries tend to do vastly better than the socialist ones. Or any others that heavily regulate medicine. Hong Kong is hardly disease ridden. I am not sure that libertarian philosophy is so built. Again you criticise what you clearly do not understand.”

Socialist – I’m thinking the Scandanavian countries, France, and ourselves. Laissez-faire – I’m thinking of the US pre-Obama. What were you thinking of?

“There is certainly a lot to that. On the other hand we know that freedom usually leads to economic growth and economic growth does tend to solve a lot of problems.”

I agree with this. Hence me saying there was more than one alternative. Both extremes are likely to produce pretty unpleasant results; the answer seems to be a dramatically unsatisfying but pragmatic middle ground.

“So it is not as naive as thinking that African socialism will solve Ghana’s problems or Fabianism India’s.”

Probably *as* naive. Simple, ideological solutions to manifold, complex problems.

“Then you clearly have not met any. Libertarians tend to be spotty teenagers with no money and little interest in earning much. The libertarian system is actually designed to help the unfortunate on the invisible hand principle. And many of them say so. Often.”

Yes, they often go on about how their system will end all suffering when they’re trying to sell it to other people. It isn’t convincing.

“Socialism is designed to do many things but I don’t think you can say it is intended to help the unfortunate.”

Um, helping the unfortunate is the basis of socialism. Redistribution, social responsibility, all that jazz.

“Given that socialists are so bad at helping the unfortunate.”

They’re really not.

“It is more likely that the poor and sick are stalking horses to cover up what socialism is really about – a grab for power and wealth by the young.”

Why would the young need to ride the coat tails of socialism, precisely? Why not grab power and wealth while advancing a cause that would let you keep more money when you succeed in becoming wealthy?

And why am I – someone who isn’t interested in power, sees money as not much more than a hygiene factor, and would be happy to pay more tax if it was going to a good place – a socialist, if it’s all about grabbing things I’m not that bothered about?

“There are almost always more than two alternatives.”

So when you talked about “the alternative” to libertarianism, you admit that was a false dichotomy?

“And yet it does seem to sum up your position quite well. Along with many others on LC.”

Can’t speak for the others. But it sums up my position rather badly, because in your desperation to demonise you’ve created a straw man.

I should also point out that your “libertarianism says nice things about people, socialism says nasty things about people” shtick is a classic appeal to consequences. You don’t get points for being blindly optimistic (or pessimistic), you get points for correctly assessing reality.

Finally, when we talk about social issues your stance is generally “most people are shit”. So I’m not exactly convinced by this sudden and convenient love for your fellow man.

50. the a&e charge nurse

[46] ‘Why shouldn’t German engineering firms run our hospitals? We want hospitals to be well run. If Martians can do it better why not let them?’ – yes, and NHS nurses can run the german engineering firms – what is there not to like?

‘Most people who have been assessed have been kicked off the scheme’ – no they haven’t, most are still entitled to benefits (unless you are claiming 50% of claimants have been removed).
After all, when the computer, sorry, ATOS assessors have been challenged failure rates are as high as 70% – maybe the need a better computer, sorry assessors, in Scotland?

17 Planeshift.

Not quite sure what you mean by” people like you”

From what i have read about DLA fraud, it,s something like 0.5%. Hardly full of fraudsters. Whatever, they will use fraud as an excuse to make it difficult for sick and disabled people to get what they are entitled to.

52. the a&e charge nurse

‘Larry Newman attended a work capability assessment in March 2010, when a degenerative lung condition made it impossible for him to go on working in the wood veneer showroom where he had spent much of his career. His weight had dropped from 10 to seven stone, and he had trouble breathing and walking.

The Atos staff member who carried out the medical test awarded him zero points. To qualify for employment and support allowance, the new sickness benefit, he needed to score 15 points, and in July he received a letter from jobcentre officials stating that he was not eligible for the benefit (worth around £95 a week) and would be fit to return to work within three months.

He was devastated by the decision, and dismayed to note a number of inaccuracies in the report that accompanied the letter. He decided to appeal against the decision, but before three months was up he died from his lung problems.

His widow, Sylvia Newman, recalls that one of the last things he said to her, as doctors put him on a ventilator, was: “It’s a good job I’m fit for work.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/24/atos-case-study-larry-newman

Of course, perhaps it was inevitable that there would be one or two slip ups along the way – weeding out benefit scrounging scum is not exactly a precise science, is it?

@41 DLA is a working benefit, it’s only at the higher level of care rate you would expect the claimant to possibly be ‘unable to work’. The whole ‘fit to work’ criteria means people with obvious disabilities (such as ex-soldiers with missing limbs) get declared as fit to work and have their disability benefits stopped because they actually are – a missing leg doesn’t stop you from working behind a desk does it? No benefits for you, Iraq war veteran!
That is the system people have demanded, and given the tabloid coverage of wounded soldiers having their benefits stopped, it’s the system they’re also outraged by.

54. Chaise Guevara

@ 50 Lynne

“Not quite sure what you mean by” people like you””

“People like you” referred to Pagar, not yourself. He was quoting you to show Pagar that he was wrong.

55. Robin Levett

@SMFS #45:

Firstly, I missed this from your #33:

So a car tried to ram a check point he was manning at a time when the PIRA was using suicide bombers.

The Provos never used suicide bombers.

I’m happy to look the case up again, but my recollection is that the conviction was on the basis precisely that it was not trying to ram the checkpoint.

Three shots to the front of the car. Allegedly one to the rear. Hard to see how that is possible unless, you know, the car is driving through the check point. A stolen car driven by teenage joy riders as it turned out. But I doubt Clegg knew that at the time.

You might like to read this judgment of the Crown Court in Northern Ireland – the one which acquitted him of murder on retrial:

http://www.courtsni.gov.uk/en-GB/Judicial%20Decisions/PublishedByYear/Documents/1999/1908/j_j_KERF2771.htm

He knew precisely why he was there – to deter joyriders – and even his claim at trial was not that he had thought the car was driven by terrorists. The tail end of his cross-examination on this read:

“Q. No, I asked you the question, Mr. Clegg, about five times; I’ll ask you once more; if you don’t want to answer it I won’t ask you it again. Did you believe that this car contained terrorists at the time when you fired at it?

A. I didn’t know, sir, I just thought that this car – it were a terrorist situation, and I’m trying to answer for you.

Q. What do you mean a terrorist situation? I mean how could it be a terrorist situation if it didn’t contain terrorists?

A. Well, I didn’t know that it didn’t contain terrorists.

Q. Did you think it contained terrorists?

A. Not in the time that I had (witness clicks fingers) seconds.”

The judge commented:

“From this passage it can clearly be seen that the accused was reluctant to espouse, as a reason for opening fire, a claim that he believed that the car contained terrorists. He made the incongruous assertion that he believed that he was involved in a “terrorist situation” but he was unable to explain why, if he genuinely thought that, he did not also consider that the car was occupied by terrorists. The most revealing answer is perhaps the final one quoted above. I am satisfied that the accused, whether because he did not have time or for whatever reason, did not form any view about the identity of the occupants of the car. I am further satisfied that he did not consider that he was in a terrorist situation. He may have been told at the briefing that there was an increased terrorist alert for that night but I am convinced that this did not play any part in his thinking when he was confronted by the Astra.

I have already stated that I am satisfied that the car did not drive directly at Aindow as claimed by Clegg and Oliver and that it is not possible that they were looking in Aindow’s direction as the car drove towards V10A. It follows that I do not accept – indeed am satisfied of the falsity of – the reason given by Clegg for opening fire. He did not see the car driving directly towards Aindow nor did he see Aindow lose balance. Both claims are untrue.”

The patrol had dismantled the VCP and moved off from when the Astra arrived.

The level of mendacity displayed by almost all the Paras involved at the original trial, and indeed at the retrial, was astonishing. Time after time the judge states that evidence given by one or other member of the patrol – including Clegg – was a lie.

The only points on which the NI Court of Appeal disgareed with Kerr J were (i) the reliance solely upon Constable Gibson’s evidence on the conviction for attempting by firing the fouth shot unlawfully to wound the driver and (ii) the fact that that conviction was not open to him on the law.

Since it was the fourth shot that killed the driver, it isn’t surprising that that was the shot focussed on in the trial.

Sure.

You’ll be happy to learn that, when last heard of, Clegg was serving in 16 Air Assault Brigade having been cleared on all charges; further evidence having come to light that cast doubt on the forensic evidence that convicted him in the first place.

And that makes up for those years in prison?

How many? He was convicted on 4 June 1993, and was out again in July 1995 as a result of pressure from MPs of all parties Alan Beith MP; with full back pay.

And the effect of the lies told by each of the members of the patrol – including Clegg – was that none of the patrol members, one of whom was guilty, was convicted of murder. The only surviving conviction was that of Private Aindow, whose leg was bruised by a soldier’s boot in an attempt to provide some substance for a claim that the car had been driven at the soldiers, for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

53. Thanks.

I would add that when you fill in those forms you are baring your heart and soul and revealing the most intimate details. The forms are worded as being sympathetic, but are read by people who don’t give a shit. You fill them knowing this.

@ Chaise

First is that more laissez-faire countries have and do tend to neglect their sick, poor and infirm. Second is that the entire libertarian philosphy is built around not having to give “your” money away……Laissez-faire – I’m thinking of the US pre-Obama.

“No developed country approaches American giving. For example, in 1995 (the most recent year for which data are available), Americans gave, per capita, three and a half times as much to causes and charities as the French, seven times as much as the Germans, and 14 times as much as the Italians. Similarly, in 1998, Americans were 15 percent more likely to volunteer their time than the Dutch, 21 percent more likely than the Swiss, and 32 percent more likely than the Germans.

In the year 2000, households headed by a conservative gave, on average, 30 percent more dollars to charity than households headed by a liberal. And this discrepancy in monetary donations is not simply an artifact of income differences. On the contrary, liberal families in these data earned an average of 6 percent more per year than conservative families.

These differences go beyond money. Take blood donations, for example.

In 2002, conservative Americans were more likely to donate blood each year, and did so more often, than liberals. People who said they were “conservative” or “extremely conservative” made up less than one-fifth of the population, but donated more than a quarter of the blood.”

http://www.american.com/archive/2008/march-april-magazine-contents/a-nation-of-givers

Looks to me like charitable giving in “laissez-faire” economies is relatively healthy

To put it another way.

Why would the UK citizen give to a homeless charity? The state is responsible for housing everyone.

Why would the UK citizen give to a cancer charity? The state is responsible for curing everyone.

Why would the UK citizen give to a children’s charity? The state is responsible for the welfare of our children.

Why should the UK citizen give to any charity?

The state has already taken half of his money to fund all of the above and controls most of the major charities as part of the strategy!!!!

56

It doesn’t surprise me that conservatives in the US give large amounts to charity, there is a strong association between the bible belt and conservatism, of course, it has to be the ‘right charity’, and that’s the rub.

Our welfare state depends on a universal approach towards those in need, it does not depend upon whether those claiming are considered respectable or derserving, that belonged to the old Poor Law, where outcomes could vary between individuals and localities.

Also, our blood supplies depend on donors and there is very rarely a shortage, when there is, people tend to respond to appeals.

If I needed to claim welfare benefits, I certainly wouldn’t want to be subject to some pious individual’s particular preference of lifestyle, beliefs or politics.

Shatterface @ 30

s not libertarians, sociopathic or otherwise, which have created this mess. The DWP is a state bureaucracy. Its the State bureaucracy which is denying benefits because this client hasn’t been able to follow the bureaucratic procedures layed down by the State.

Wait a minute, though. The system used to simple to administer. A guy like the one mentioned in the OP would have went through on the nod, without too much hassle, one way or another.

The system was changed, originally by Labour, in a knee jerk reaction to the onslaught of an increasingly hostile press. A press driven by a pathological need to appease the people who hold among most disgusting views I have ever read.

The system was made as needlessly bureaucratic thanks to the human maggots that buy up the Mail and the drivel within it.

None of that matters right now though, because even if the Right hadn’t caused the system to fail, they choose not to fix it and choose instead to defend an almighty cock up.

60. Robin Levett

@SMFS #45 (again):

SMFS’s idea that if we would only not force Pagar to pay taxes he’d then voluntarily pay what was required to provide what a decent society would consider a proper standard of life for those unable to work through disability requires further development before it can stand up on its own.

As usual you claim something I have not said. Quote me saying Pagar, or anyone else, would pay the same amount voluntarily. You can’t.

What then did you intend by this passage from your #29, in answer to Chaise (whose words appear italicised):

I love the way libertarians make speeches like that, then expect you to believe that in the absence of taxation, they would deal with all social ills via charity, out of the goodness of their not-at-all-frost hearts.

Why? Do you have any evidence that a libertarian society would not handle all social ills properly? It is certainly a more rosy and positive view of humanity than the alternative which seems to believe that humanity is evil beyond redemption and needs people like you in charge to force them, at bayonet point, to do what you, but not they, think is right.

Is this really an different from what I said you said? I’m happy to be corrected, but that is the meaning I took from this passage.

However I note that the majority of people claiming benefits would be working if we did not pay them not to work.

“I note”; any evidence?

61. Robin Levett

@pagar #56:

There a distinction between blood donation practices in the UK and the USA respectively; a distinction which might well go some way to explain why the working poor, who are according to your source more likely to be members of more conservative religious sects and therefore (?) more religious, are also more likely to give blood.

The US pays for blood plasma donations. Paid-for whole blood cannot be used for transfusions within the US – but I am not aware of any limitation on its use outside the US.

The effect of paying for blood plasma at least is significantly to increase the number of donors; to the extent that the US exports blood plasma all over the world.

Pagar @ 56

I suppose it all depends on what constitutes a charity? I mean, giving money to anti abortionists may be called a health charity by your Right Wing propaganda link, but it is not something to be taken seriously when we are attempting to measure how a system look s after his poor, is it?

The proof in the pudding is in the eating: There are huge areas of America which are poorer than anything we see in European Welfare States. We see thetype of poverty that was banished years ago in progressive Countries.

@60

The effect of paying for blood plasma at least is significantly to increase the number of donors; to the extent that the US exports blood plasma all over the world.

With unfortunate results in the 80′s.

As someone with serious depression and anxiety, I’d like to take issue with the whole “Those who are genuinely unable to work whould have assistance, but when a recent study showed that 1/3 of all ‘permanently disabled’ were actually able to do any work it raises serious questions about why people think this system works.”

I know I could manage a few hours a week of my own choosing, but there’s no way I could head to 40 hours a week in retail.

In fact, at one point I was offered a placement at a live in college,specialising in people with mental and physical problems, offering support and training for 9 months, with a 3 month work placement at the end, resulting in a decent job at the end of it.

Then cuts kicked in and I was told my place had been cancelled. Now I’m not saying I’m ‘entitled’ to a free education, or looking after, or anything like that.

However, if the investment had been made, I’d have been working for the past few years in a job I felt capable of doing, and that made me feel useful to society. I’d also have been paying a good rate of tax and after a few years they’d have made the money back they’d spent on getting me back to work. As it is, I’m still stuck on benefits with no real sign of a way out.

Of course, where’s the current advantage in investing in people, when you can just take their money and make them work for nothing in your mate’s companies? After all, we’re all just scum if we’re not doing 40 hours a week for minimum wage, and they’re all scum too for needing to claim top up benefits to survive.

I do wonder how many of the people supporting the disabled witchhunt are claiming tax credits, child benefits housing benefits and the like. I worked for 15 years before I was struck down, I wasn’t born with a welfare cheque in my tiny fist.

I say that, except that I’ve had my letter from the DWP and are due to be judged soon, and then I don’t know what I’ll do, as I know I’m not fit for work, but they’ll no doubt judge me fine as I can walk and sit. Then how do I claim JSA as I’m told I’ll have to, I can’t lie each week and sign a form saying I’m fit for work when I am not.

Also, just in short, about the blind, disabled man in the original post.

I’m sure whatever was left off the form, the basic facts of his disabilities would have been stated by his carer.

Whoever had to process the form, in a system that gave a shit any more, would have notified their manager, a call would have been made and that missing information would have been supplied, as it was obvious he was a case in need of his benefits.

Anyone defending the idea that any small error should instantly write anyone off the benefits system should have their arms and legs put in plaster, plonked in a wheelchair and then made to live in a flat alone on £90 a week for a few months so they can report on damned easy us slackers all have it.

They have your information on file, they know your last reported set of bank statements, they know you don’t have savings etc. They know they’re leaving you with nothing when they cut off your funding with no warning, except maybe a brown envelope a week after you’ve discovered you’ve received nothing that week.

To add to that, they’re making crisis loans ‘optional’ for local councils, so those left with nothing will find it even hard to borrow fifty quid to get them thru until they’ve had their fresh set of paperwork picked thru by the DWP, to claim the £67.50 ish for JSA.

Lastly, who’s actually hiring all the cripples, mental cases and other undesirables?

We have 3 million unemployed, ready and willing to get back into a job, who’s going to hire me, a long term depressive, unreliable, and unable to pretend that I care about selling shit that people don’t want to people who dont care. Never mind who’s going to hire the fully disabled, over an able bodied guy who’s only been out of work for a month?

67. So Much For Subtlety

48. Chaise Guevara

In the absence of solid data, both sides of the argument have to do the best they can with recourse to reason and what evidence there is.

Well there is Iceland. But I am not the one making categorical statements. If you now agree you shouldn’t too, I am happy.

Socialist – I’m thinking the Scandanavian countries, France, and ourselves. Laissez-faire – I’m thinking of the US pre-Obama. What were you thinking of?

So you take a tiny number of countries – most of whom are not socialist – and you compare it to one country that is not laissez faire. Sweden does not and never has nationalised much industry. Thus it is not socialist. Rather it seems to have learnt from John Stuart Mill who said that the market should be left to produce and it did not matter how that was distributed and so the State could do that as it liked. Not socialism. France? Perhaps more so. But not its medical system which is, like much of Sweden, classically liberal with a leftist slant.

As for what countries I am thinking of, the ones that call themselves socialist. The former USSR. Ghana. Burma. Those sort of countries.

Probably *as* naive. Simple, ideological solutions to manifold, complex problems.

Except the liberty solution works.

Um, helping the unfortunate is the basis of socialism. Redistribution, social responsibility, all that jazz.

And the purpose of Christianity is salvation. The label on the tin does not come close to explaining the motivations of the people involved. Watch what they do, not what they say. Do socialists do much for the poor? Why not ask the people of Zimbabwe. Or Angola. Or Cuba.

They’re really not.

Tell it to the people of Ghana.

Why would the young need to ride the coat tails of socialism, precisely? Why not grab power and wealth while advancing a cause that would let you keep more money when you succeed in becoming wealthy?

The system always provides exemptions for the powerful in practice. What cause could you advance? You need to recruit more supporters and plenty of cannon fodder. You won’t convince people by saying you were unpopular at school and so now you want power to get even. So you pretend your cause is noble and uplifting. While stashing your cash in Switzerland. Or Hong Kong if your that noble friend of the West’s Leftists, Mugabe.

And why am I – someone who isn’t interested in power, sees money as not much more than a hygiene factor, and would be happy to pay more tax if it was going to a good place – a socialist, if it’s all about grabbing things I’m not that bothered about?

Well Lenin did talk about Useful Idiots. But perhaps you are just not being honest with yourself about what you want?

I should also point out that your “libertarianism says nice things about people, socialism says nasty things about people” shtick is a classic appeal to consequences. You don’t get points for being blindly optimistic (or pessimistic), you get points for correctly assessing reality.

I agree. I did not say that either was closer to reality. Although anyone with a deeply pessimistic view of mankind will get closest in my opinion. What I said is that someone who believes one is more attractive than the other.

the a&e charge nurse

yes, and NHS nurses can run the german engineering firms – what is there not to like?

If NHS nurses could do a good job, why not? Given they cannot be relied on to feed patients, I am not sure that many would be trusted to do so.

no they haven’t, most are still entitled to benefits (unless you are claiming 50% of claimants have been removed).

So you mean yes they have been kicked off this scheme, as I said, just not off benefits as a whole.

After all, when the computer, sorry, ATOS assessors have been challenged failure rates are as high as 70% – maybe the need a better computer, sorry assessors, in Scotland?

Perhaps Scotland does things differently. As a region reliant on south eastern tax payers I can see there would be a bias to keep the cash flowing.

68. So Much For Subtlety

Robin Levett

The Provos never used suicide bombers.

Yes they did. Why are you wasting my time?

I’m happy to look the case up again, but my recollection is that the conviction was on the basis precisely that it was not trying to ram the checkpoint.

Sorry but which of many convictions was this?

A. Well, I didn’t know that it didn’t contain terrorists.

So a typical case of a smart arse lawyer bullying a witness who is clumsily trying to explain what was going through his mind. He did not know it contained terrorists. No one said he did. He thought it might.

He made the incongruous assertion that he believed that he was involved in a “terrorist situation” but he was unable to explain why, if he genuinely thought that, he did not also consider that the car was occupied by terrorists.

And that is such a pathetic summing up from a judge. You can think you are involved in a terrorist incident without being sure whether terrorists are involved. The smart arses are refusing to allow for the possibility that he might have feared for his life without being 100% sure.

The level of mendacity displayed by almost all the Paras involved at the original trial, and indeed at the retrial, was astonishing. Time after time the judge states that evidence given by one or other member of the patrol – including Clegg – was a lie.

Ahh we see your professional bias at work once more. Sure, all the soldiers involved, you know, the eyewitnesses, were lying. Well, almost all of them. And the only person who wasn’t there and didn’t see a damn thing, the judge, knows the truth.

How many? He was convicted on 4 June 1993, and was out again in July 1995 as a result of pressure from MPs of all parties Alan Beith MP; with full back pay.

I am going to enjoy the next thread on the Birmingham bombers or the US justice system so much. Who knew that it was a matter of complete indifference if someone is wrongfully sent to jail?

69. So Much For Subtlety

58. Jim

Wait a minute, though. The system used to simple to administer. A guy like the one mentioned in the OP would have went through on the nod, without too much hassle, one way or another.

Along with millions of others. That was the problem. We cannot afford people who are not ill claiming benefits. And so many people not entitled to it were claiming it.

The welfare state works as long as people are decent. The problem is it pretty soon turns people into non-decent people and then it slowly breaks down.

Robin Levett

What then did you intend by this passage from your #29, in answer to Chaise (whose words appear italicised):

What I intend is not the issue. What I said is. I take it this is an admission I did not say what you claimed I said?

All I did was ask Chaise a question about what he meant.

Jim

The proof in the pudding is in the eating: There are huge areas of America which are poorer than anything we see in European Welfare States. We see thetype of poverty that was banished years ago in progressive Countries.

Where precisely? Median income in Mississippi, which is a by word for poverty in America, is over $36,000. Over $39,000 if you adjust for the cost of living – as pretty much everything is cheaper in the US.

Portugal by the way, has a GDP per capita of $23,000. Denmark has a much higher nominal GDP per capita, but if you look at PPP – to reflect how much ordinary Danes can buy in the same way you adjust Mississippi for the cost of living – Danes are poorer than people in Mississippi: about $36,000 each.

France is even poorer.

70. Shatterface

Wait a minute, though. The system used to simple to administer. A guy like the one mentioned in the OP would have went through on the nod, without too much hassle, one way or another.

The system was changed, originally by Labour, in a knee jerk reaction to the onslaught of an increasingly hostile press. A press driven by a pathological need to appease the people who hold among most disgusting views I have ever read.

The increasing bureaucratisation – the obssession with targets, the resurgence of Taylorist regimentation in the public sector, and the fetishisation of ‘meritocracy’ was part of New Labour ideology from the outset – which is why we saw the same process throughout the NHS, the Police Service, etc.

‘Meritocracy’ requires pseudo-objective standards, hence quantitative, measurable targets rather than qualitative.

It is fetishistic because staff are forced to work towards those measurable targets of service, and because those targets ultimately become more important than the service they are supposed to measure.

An example of bureaucratic thinking at the DWP is this: when you sign your Jobseeker Agreement you will typically be required to use three stated methods of looking for work per week, e.g. using the internet, checking local papers, or visiting an employment agency. That’s quantifyable so the DWP can tick their boxes each fortnight and say yes, this person has met their qualifying criteria for looking for work.

If, however, you don’t look at the papers – because they cost you money, and hardly have any jobs – but instead put in 12 hours a day looking on the internet, they can suspend your benefit. You might have put in more qualitative job seeking but you haven’t ticked their quantitative box so you will loose your benefit.

And its not the public or the media calling for this absurdity because both those groups know damn well that someone spending most of their waking life apying for jobs through the internet is doing a damn sight more to find work than someone who glances at a jobsite once a week, flicks through the local rag, and leaves his details with an employment agency.

The arbitrary targets set by the jobseeker agreement are due to administrative needs, not the needs of the unemployed. They are set so that the staff can tick their boxes and show they have also done their jobs. That will allow their line managers to prove they have done theirs’, and so on, up the chain of command.

So the public, on pain of loosing benefits, are forced to conform to senseless, bureaucratic procedures, so that puic sector staff can ‘prove’ they are doing their job ‘correctly’. The fact that it doesn’t increase the likelihood of someone getting a job – which is something tax payers want as well – is neither here nor there.

@41. Freeman

Oh good, we have a Daily Mail reader!

You know what the problem is Cylux, is that the sterotype is in many cases true. Why does England strangly have all these ill people? why is the rate of ‘unfit to work’ higher than almost anywhere in Europe? Why do we have Afghanies camping in the woods in France jumping at the first chance to cling to the bottom of a Eurostar or huddle in a Truck to get over the boarder.

Because we don’t, our rate of people on disability benefits is only slightly higher than then OECD average: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/20/61/46462479.pdf

Our society hands out far too much for what it thinks is ‘free’, and those assessing disability benefit either can’t be bothered to find out the truth, are stuck in a broken system, or realise that it is not a sustainable system.

Its not the assessors fault. No one likes being taken for a mug, but why has the govt. allowed itself to be conned into paying out this money, and then convinced the public that it is necessary?

Those who are genuinely unable to work whould have assistance, but when a recent study showed that 1/3 of all ‘permanently disabled’ were actually able to do any work it raises serious questions about why people think this system works.

Which study was this exactly? Would you like to provide a link? Or do you mean that 1/3 more people have been found ‘fit to work’ by ATOS using their test which has been almost universally panned as being fundamentally flawed?

72. Robin Levett

@SMFS #67:

The Provos never used suicide bombers.

Yes they did. Why are you wasting my time?

They used proxy bombers, not suicide bombers. There are two differences (three if you count the fact that suicide bombers are volunteers, whereas proxy bombers were not).

The first difference was that proxy generally didn’t die (rather obviating the “-cide” bit of the suicide”); they were given time to get clear by the Provo controller before the bomb was detonated.

Secondly, the bomb was not under the control of the proxy; so shooting the proxy wouldn’t stop the bomb being set off.

This is of course a side issue; since Clegg didn’t believe he was under attack by a proxy bomber.

You can think you are involved in a terrorist incident without being sure whether terrorists are involved.

Is that so? How exactly? Or are you going to rely upon the fact that you say “being sure” rather than “thinking”? Which won’t help you, because his eventual answer to the question (which you don’t quote) was that he didn’t think the car contained terrorists.

So the question is – how can you think that you are involved in a terrorist incident without at the same time thinking that terrorists are involved?

The smart arses are refusing to allow for the possibility that he might have feared for his life without being 100% sure.

He didn’t fear for his life; even on his own account, he didn’t fear for his life. His claim at trial was that he started shooting when the car was close to Aindow. and he feared it would hit him. The forensic evidence showed that that was a lie.

Sure, all the soldiers involved, you know, the eyewitnesses, were lying. Well, almost all of them. And the only person who wasn’t there and didn’t see a damn thing, the judge, knows the truth.

You really do need to read the various judgments; firstly, it would mean that, unusually for you, you’d actually be commenting form a position of knowledge; secondly, you’d realise that the various courts gave Clegg far more latitude than they’d have given a non-soldier involved in a murder where the participants faked evidence to try to give the actual killer an alibi.

You’d also realise that the document to which I referred you was not a summing-up; it was the reasons given by the judge in a Diplock Court for the verdict he handed down. That verdict was not guilty on the major counts with which Clegg was charged; so hardly biased against him.

Nine shots – of the thirty six fired by the patrol at the car – entered the rear of the Astra; none of them was fired by a para out of fear for his life, since at that point the car was driving *away from* the patrol. All the paras knew, when first questioned, was that both Karen Reilly and the driver had been killed by their gunshots. They had begun the attempted cover-up (Aindow’s bruise) before they got to the car to check on the condition of the occupants; of course they lied their heads off – and no fair-minded reader could think otherwise.

I am going to enjoy the next thread on the Birmingham bombers or the US justice system so much. Who knew that it was a matter of complete indifference if someone is wrongfully sent to jail?

I don’t detect any such indifference; the passage yo which you were replying was directed at this passage of yours:

When the Left shows the slightest bit of compassion, or even common sense, over Clegg, I will take their views on these sorts of problems seriously.

Members of the Left (eg Beith) were among those seeking Clegg’s release on parole, less than 2 years into his sentence for murder – a conviction which still stood when he was released.

When you accept that this is rather better treatment of someone who lied on oath in an attempt to avoid conviction than was meted out to the Birmingham 6 – who were not “bombers”, but were convicted largely on extorted confessions, perjured evidence from police with a serious case of noble cause corruption and extremely dodgy forensic evidence, then you may be able to draw comparisons.

More broadly; one or more of the paras fired the bullets that killed Reilly and Peake, and injured Gorman. It was not possible to establish beyond reasonable doubt who fired the fatal shots and when. The forensic evidence could – and did – establish that the stories the paras told were lies, but could not establish the truth to the requisite certainty. The lies told by the paras including Clegg – and lies they were – thus meant that no-one was convicted of the killings.

73. the a&e charge nurse

[66] ‘If NHS nurses could do a good job, why not? Given they cannot be relied on to feed patients, I am not sure that many would be trusted to do so’ – so I guess that leaves us with the martians [@ 46] – I can’t understand why nobody else thought of it before?

74. Chaise Guevara

@ 56 Pagar

“No developed country approaches American giving.”

Charitable giving, yeah. But it doesn’t seem to be making up for libertarian spending policy, does it? Until recently, America didn’t even heal its sick unless they had the money/insurance to pay, or fell into a couple of predefined “deserving” groups. That’s my whole point: people aren’t going to give enough in charity to make up for the removal of tax-based social spending.

“These differences go beyond money. Take blood donations, for example.

In 2002, conservative Americans were more likely to donate blood each year, and did so more often, than liberals. People who said they were “conservative” or “extremely conservative” made up less than one-fifth of the population, but donated more than a quarter of the blood.””

Firstly, Americans are paid for blood donations. So much for symmetry. Secondly, I’m not sure what you think you’d be proving here even if they weren’t. We were talking about whether libertarian societies would sufficiently support their needy, not whether US conservatives are more likely than US liberals to give blood.

“Looks to me like charitable giving in “laissez-faire” economies is relatively healthy ”

Bizarre how all those people died or lost their homes in America because they couldn’t afford to treat their illness, then. Maybe the charity tin didn’t do the rounds that day.

“Why should the UK citizen give to any charity?”

A little thing called “morality”. Oh, ok, a slightly larger thing called “guilt” too. Your argument doesn’t wash: there are obviously, visibly still people in need of help, hence charity.

75. Chaise Guevara

@ SMFS

“Well there is Iceland. But I am not the one making categorical statements. If you now agree you shouldn’t too, I am happy.”

It’s a pretty safe bet for a categorical statement. Most societies don’t do enough to help their more vulnerable members; a society founded on selfishness and get-what-you-grab is hardly a likely candidate for bucking the trend.

“So you take a tiny number of countries – most of whom are not socialist – and you compare it to one country that is not laissez faire.”

There are no totally socialist or totally laissez-faire nations to my knowledge. If there are, I suspect they’re second/third-world countries with problems of their own. You said “socialism”, not “totally socialist countries”.

“Sweden does not and never has nationalised much industry. Thus it is not socialist. Rather it seems to have learnt from John Stuart Mill who said that the market should be left to produce and it did not matter how that was distributed and so the State could do that as it liked. Not socialism. France? Perhaps more so. But not its medical system which is, like much of Sweden, classically liberal with a leftist slant.”

I’m not an expert on Sweden. France has a socialist medical system, it’s just savvy enough to have built it in such a way that market involvement actually *works*. The central point here is that its medical system is designed to prevent people falling by the wayside, using state support where needed.

“As for what countries I am thinking of, the ones that call themselves socialist. The former USSR. Ghana. Burma. Those sort of countries.”

Oh, communism. No, not advocating that. If you’re going to use “socialism” to talk about my views and the views of others on this site, don’t conflate it with a completely different philosophy, please, even if they do sometimes go by the same name.

“Except the liberty solution works.”

Nah.

“And the purpose of Christianity is salvation. The label on the tin does not come close to explaining the motivations of the people involved. Watch what they do, not what they say.”

I do. I look at the NHS and Obamacare and free state education and I think “hooray for socialism!”

“Do socialists do much for the poor? Why not ask the people of Zimbabwe. Or Angola. Or Cuba.”

Dunno much about Angola. Zimbabwe is a dictatorship, which renders the liberal/socialist divide almost moot; the problem is that it’s fascistic and mismanaged. Cuba has the same problem, although it is ok at redistribution. I raised the US earlier because I knew naming right-wing dictatorships would be silly.

“Tell it to the people of Ghana.”

Don’t know much about Ghana. What are we comparing it with? In the meantime, I’ll go tell it to all the people who had their lives saved by the NHS instead, and then tell it to the corpses of those failed by the US system.

“The system always provides exemptions for the powerful in practice. What cause could you advance? You need to recruit more supporters and plenty of cannon fodder. You won’t convince people by saying you were unpopular at school and so now you want power to get even. So you pretend your cause is noble and uplifting.”

Is libertarianism not noble and uplifting, then? Could have fooled me from all the tubthumping about it.

” While stashing your cash in Switzerland. Or Hong Kong if your that noble friend of the West’s Leftists, Mugabe.”

This is a great big ad hom, isn’t it? “I can name some corrupt socialists, ergo socialism doesn’t work”.

“Well Lenin did talk about Useful Idiots.”

Gosh, did he. That’s TOTALLY not a fully general counterargument, is it?

“But perhaps you are just not being honest with yourself about what you want?”

Not that I can show you this, but frankly my life would be different if I were chasing money or power. I took a paycut to move jobs and get away from sales culture, for example.

In terms of money, what I want is enough to be comfortable and have reserves for emergencies (got that already), get on the housing ladder in a few year’s time (not yet) and provide for my kids should I have any. I don’t think that makes me a cut-throat climber. So I know your statement is false by counterexample.

“I agree. I did not say that either was closer to reality. Although anyone with a deeply pessimistic view of mankind will get closest in my opinion.”

I thought naughty stupid socialism was the pessimistic one? Hmm?

“What I said is that someone who believes one is more attractive than the other.”

Even if we take this as true (you think nobody ever got laid by brooding vaguely about the Darkness of Man’s Heart?), what’s your point? That being attractive makes you right? That if being right makes you unatrractive you should keep your mouth shut? Or is this just filler?

76. Robin Levett

@SMFS #68:

First: note that you have compared GDP per capita for Portugal, with median income per capita for Mississipp.

Median income in Mississippi, which is a by word for poverty in America, is over $36,000.

You missed out “rural”; it is rural Mississippi which is a byword for poverty in the States. And guess what? Median income in the rural counties of Mississippi was $28-29,000:

http://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/ms.HTM

…with median income in 2 counties below $23,000:

http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/Unemployment/RDList2.asp?ST=MS&SF=12A

There are some relatively rich counties, of course – De Soto, Madison and Rankin, (all urban – Jackson and Memphis) have median incomes above $50,000 -which pulls the average up. Interestingly, two of those three counties – De Soto and Rankin – are 80%-plus white, against a state-wide racial make-up of 61% white.

I’ve been to Portugal a few times; it is poor. I would not be suprised to learn that even Mississippi is in the aggregate richer than Portugal; but note that median per capita incomes in Mississippi vary by a factor of nearly 3 betwee urban and rural counties.

Comparing like with like (GDP per capita) confirms that Portugal is poorer, but shows that even Greece was richer, than Mississippi in 2009.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_between_U.S._states_and_countries_by_per_capita_GDP_(nominal)

According to The American Journal of Medicine (2009) 62.1% of personal Bankruptcy filings in the U.S. is for hospital bills and unpaid healthcare costs.

Well I suppose it creates work for the lawyers and court administrators, hurrah for trickle-down I say.


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