Monday, 27 February 2012

Just Who Are Disability Rights UK - Quisling's?

 I quickly sprung into action tonight, shocked into a flurry of Twittering and e-mailing by a Tweet from John Pring, Editor of the Disability News Service.

"No word from Disability Rights UK on why they asked Maria Miller to speak at hate crime launch, after accusing DWP of causing hostility."

I immediately became "invested" in this, because I think Cripple Killer (as I refer to her) is fair game so I dug into it. Shocked, stunned and amazed at what I found I tried to drum up some indignation on Twitter (like all good left-wing SWP activists do) and succeeded. I then decided to do what my wife says I do best, which is write stroppy letters (however, I like to think that she was simplifying the situation here and only considered activities relevant to my campaigning - I consider myself to be extremely talented at other activities (but what man doesn't!)).

Where was I??

Oh yes, stroppy letters.

Enjoy....... (and I thought it would add greater presence to my e-mail if I said I was a journalist?)

Dear Mr Shrimpton,

I refer to the launch of Your Guide to Hate Crime Against Disabled People.

You state in your press release, "the launch was attended by senior stakeholders from the disability movement". Please can you let me know who these senior stakeholders were and which organisations they represented. Please also let me have any contact details you might have for them as I intend to contact them personally, and ask them if they support your documents and the implicit position of Disability Rights UK. I have read these documents this evening and it seems to me they can be interpreted as suggesting it is up to the disabled person to try to stop hate crime happening to themselves, presumably by making themselves invisible. I do not accept that personal abuse towards me, physical violence towards me or any other form of discrimination is in any way my fault by default and find it unacceptable that it could be interpreted that your organisation supports that position.

I also note that whilst giving The Minister for Disabled People a platform for self promotion she was allowed to make no reference to the topic in question and rather than address hate crime against disabled people she spoke about all types of hate crime. This allows her to continue to deny that disabled hate crime is a problem. Where there any accredited journalists at this launch and is there, to your knowledge, any independent reporting of it available? Was Maria Miller's position challenged by anybody at all during this launch ceremony?

For the avoidance of doubt, you do not speak for me and I believe that you're being disingenuous by stating "We aim to be the largest national pan-disability organisation led by disabled people" as this implies you have a significant voice and influence at the moment. A lot of disabled stakeholders on Twitter tonight have been asking who you are? I aim to be a multi-millionaire but neither do I think it appropriate to publicise this in such a way as to imply that I am currently close to that aim nor state it in such a way that makes it seem a possible outcome. You, however, seem to have no such inhibitions.

I am a journalist publishing The Diary of a Unemployed Head Injured DDT @

Please supply me with any comment you have on the issues outlined above.

Yours sincerely,

Ian M Jones

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Yesterday's Post Simplified

My wife doesn't often talk sense.

(I am tempted to leave this post there in a tribute to Les Dawson RIP)

She told me that my post yesterday was too complicated and too wordy. I countered it was intellectual. I was proved right because nobody is reading it! Good job I haven't got advertisers to satisfy!

However, I believe there were some important points in there so I will summarise here for those interested!

1/ The changes to DLA are a continuation in the dismantling of the welfare state and make people pay commission to rich Tories to buy Personal Independence Payment Insurance!
2/ For an idea of what will happen with PIP read about the Personal Pension Mis-selling Scandal of the late 80s early 90's.
3/ Those of us currently disabled will be cut adrift and vilified for not buying appropriate insurance policies when we could, forgetting that these policies did not really exist when we became disabled.
4/ Critical Illness Insurance bears uncanny similarities to PIP and that went well, didn't it.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Is the Personal Insurance Policy The Personal Pensions Mis-selling Scandal - The Return

The Welfare Reform Bill is all about fairness. Fairness to whom? The Tories (IDS, Grayling and Freud) say "to the taxpayer". This would be true if you defined the taxpayer as those people that are really rich and natural Tory voters. Why do I say this? Think about it. One of the proposals is to restrict the availability of a benefit targeted at disabled people with the intention of changing the behaviour and spending patterns of ordinary people, so that they buy PIP Insurance from a company that may or may not be donor to the Tory Party. Er, um! Where was I? (in-joke, sorry!). Bear in mind, that if you reduce Public Expenditure the taxpayers that benefit are generally those on the higher rate tax. The way our tax system is constructed is that a reduction in public expenditure gives a 20% benefit to lower rate taxpayers and a 40% benefit to higher rate payers.

So, we are going to put people in control? Has this happened before? In the 1980's Keith Joseph and his buddies came up with a jolly wheeze. They wanted to encourage Labour market flexibility and remove the incentive for inertia in the job market. As it was, people tended to want to stay in their job, especially those with years invested in their pensions!

So, the Conservative Government changed the law so that it was no longer compulsory for a company to provide occupational pension schemes for its employees. The buzz word became Labour Market Flexibility.  However, before you could convince people that it was OK to job hop around every 2 years and give you the freedom to shut down many of the countries biggest employers (British Coal, British Steel, British Leyland, Britain!) some of the structural obstructions to employee mobility had to be removed.

Does anybody remember the introduction of Personal Pensions? Workers (well, a lot of them!) used to belong to Company Pension Schemes, where they and their employer contributed to a pension based upon receiving a percentage of your final salary every year as a pension. This percentage was often defined as 1/60th of your final salary for every year you were in work. In many cases this was index linked so it was protected against inflation. Personal Pensions gave you your own pot of savings. Yours! You could move job and take it with you. It never stopped being relevant until you retired. If the Stock Market soared you got all of the benefit into your pot. You didn't have to share any capital gains with your company.

Sounds great.

But did anybody think about:-

a) Under final salary schemes you got a defined benefit. You knew what you were getting for your money.
b) Companies contributed towards final salary schemes.
b) Final salary schemes were portable. I moved mine from BT to BG when I changed job.
c) The new schemes cleverly transferred all of the "Investment Risk" to the employee.
d) Annuities are not free. You have to pay commission for one. The costs of setting up your pension used to be born by your employer.
e) Index linking disappeared or became an optional extra. Many people ended up with non-index-linked pensions getting poorer and poorer.
f) The systemic opportunities to encourage a Personal Pension Mis-selling Scandal!

Who did this change benefit?

1) Companies no longer had to pay for pension administration or bear the investment risk.
2) Companies found it easier to "move on" unfashionable workers.
3) Financial Service Companies found a new market and made lots of money.

What are the long term effects?
1) With an ageing population and an imbalanced World economy companies (or should I say Shareholders) have less financial liability towards their employees.
2) The State can say that people with personal pensions don't need to receive a state pension (what exactly does "National Insurance" mean?). If you think this won't happen, my ill-health pension is subjected to "means testing" and I get no additional state benefits (save for a monthly compensation payment because I had an accident at work!). This allows the state to reduce the state pension as it will claim everybody had the time, means and incentive to provide for themselves.
3) Pensioners are bearing more financial risk than they have in the past.

Why is all of this relevant?

DLA is the responsibility of the State.
PIP is the responsibility of the individual.

Remember, there were transitional arrangement for this move to Personal Pensions. The State Pension continued alongside personal pensions for a long time up to the present day.

What are the Transitional Arrangements for the move to PIP? Who is going to sell a disabled person insurance against becoming disabled?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Did IDS really pass the "fit and proper" test?

To the Right Honourable Theresa May MP

Dear Theresa,

Your colleague, Mr Duncan Smith, is quoted in today's Daily Mail as saying:

"The fact is that the Government’s opponents — who constitute a group of modern-day Luddites — are throwing around these misleading terms in a deliberately malicious and provocative fashion, and will stop at nothing in their attempts to mislead the public on this issue."

Read more:

A Government Minister has called me "stock" before now. Now Mr Duncan Smith has termed me a spinning "Luddite", by which reference he is accusing me of criminal activity. I can confirm I have never been near neither a mechanised loom, nor a "spinning jenny".

When we spoke recently, you denied that the Government was attempting to "demonise" the disabled fighting for their lives.

I believe that Mr Duncan-Smith's actions warrant a referral to the relevant parliament ombudsman on the grounds of suspicion of bringing the House into disrepute.

As this is a serious charge, I would be grateful if you could confirm today what action you are minded to take.

Your loyal constituent

Ian M Jones

More to follow when I stop laughing!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

What Valid Work Experience Could You Get at Tesco's?

Well that was a surprise.

I have been Tweeting Tesco's about the Job for No Pay scandal that is currently engulfing them. On Friday Tesco's advertised a job at jobcentreplus for a full time night shift with pay of JSA + expenses (it turns out the expenses were likely to stretch to a Bus Fare). Tescos have since been pushing the line that this was an IT mistake.


Saturday night I became aware via Twitter of ANOTHER IT error where Tesco's were advertising another job for JSA plus expenses. Does lightning strike twice in the same place!

I Twitted (or should that be Twatted!) Tescos with the evidence (see screen shot below).

 This obviously had an effect on Tesco's who considered this evidence overwhelming and in a momentary act of remorse and mea culpa, ReTweeted my Tweet to its 14,469 followers.

So to recap, Tesco's are offering a permanent Work Experience placement, 32 hours per week over 7 days  between 6am and 11pm for remuneration of a Bus fare (Do buses run past 11pm every night of the week in Barnsley?) and they forwarded the evidence of this to their 14,469 followers.

Does Tesco's incompetence stop there I hear you ask? It must do. If they were totally clueless then what would be the point of a work experience placement learning how they do things.

Well...............I am quite new to Twitter and my skills are nothing more than just competent. Try as I might, I cannot find the re-tweet on my account. How do I know it actually happened? Perhaps the e-mail above was sent in error? Tesco's would like that wouldn't they?

I may not be able to find the ReTweet on Twitter but there are Tweets to me from people completely new to me, "lol" ing at Tesco's for reTweeting my Tweet. (Thanks to Artymum70, Plon71 and leebbUK for confirming my sanity).

So what did this Blue Chip Market leader who believe it is competent to take on unemployed and severely disabled people and give them meaningful work experience within its organisation do?

It appears to me they deleted the ReTweet and hoped I wouldn't notice.

If  you were unemployed, desperate for a career and wanted to succeed would you want to associate yourself with a Company that is happy to present such an apparently incompetent view of itself to the public?