Sunday, 24 March 2013

A constituency meeting with my MP

I have always believed that in order to convince people you have to be inclusive, or as inclusive as possible. I have taken that approach to work and I try to bring it to campaigning. My MP is Theresa May and whilst I do not believe I will persuade her to vote against Tory Party policy I do believe that there is a small chance (OK very small chance) that something I say may in someway influence policy.

I saw her last Friday and before I saw her I sent her this e-mail (below) detailing the issue I wished to draw to her attention.

Each appointment is only 15 minutes so we didn't cover everything but she undertook to respond to my letter in full.

We did discuss some aspects: She didn't accept or deny that Esther McVey had lied but was going to look into it; I asked her how a moral person such as her could go into the lobbies to support individual elements of the Welfare Reform Bill when it is obvious from the DWP's response to the WOW petition that they have no idea of the cumulative, or even the combined, effect the governments policies are having on sick, disabled, vulnerable and working class people - she undertook to read the DWP's response to the WOWpetition and Pat's Petition; I pointed out that using their language I am a "striver" so asked her why a disabled "striver" was unable to find and keep a job in her "strivers" Britain (I am not seeking to differentiate myself from other disabled/ sick people here - in my opinion people with impairments are strivers just by getting on with life!). She would look into that!

My case is my case. I am different from everyone else. We all have stories. Doesn't matter who they are - go and tell your MP your story. Please. If you talk to them they know we're here!!

To the Right Honorable Theresa May MP,

Dear Theresa,

Before our Constituency Meeting on Friday 22nd March at 5pm I want to outline the issues I wish to discuss with you. They are as follows:

1. I am concerned about how easy it is for your government to announce facts or policies that could be interpreted as deliberately lying. Examples are :
  • Esther McVey announcing the Govt follows the Social model of disability in her reponse to e-petition 20968 "Pat's Petition" when Lord Freud stated in Hansard (17th Jan 2012 Column 498)  that the welfare reform bill is based on the BioPsychoSocial model of disability - does she not realise they are different? Is she mistaken or lying?
  • Before the Last Election you personally promoted "A Contract for Equality". Perhaps you might be able to give me a detailed review of how many of your aspirational policies contained within this document have been implemented and how many ignored.  I believe you "promised" to preserve DLA as a cash benefit on Page 11 of that document. Do you believe you have done so? 
  • I know it is in vogue to blame Labour for the countries economic woes but I personally believe it stretches back to the Big Bang in 1986 and is primarily the fault of bankers and Hedge Fund managers compounded by poor regulation of the Financial Services by both Conservative and Labour Government's. I would be happy to debate this with you?
  • David Cameron claimed in Parliament on the 13th March 2013 that there have been 1m new Private sector jobs created since the General Election. Can you please let me know the source for that claim please?
2/ I am concerned about how you can claim to be fair to disabled people and reward "strivers". I was disabled in 1991 and despite medical opinion being I should not try to work again I did. My eccentricities caused by my disabilities meant that I reached a glass ceiling in the UK so I went overseas to Abu Dhabi to progress and was CFO of a billion dollar business. When I returned from "striving" (the Abu Dhabi government Racially discriminated against me and the other European ex-pats by implementing a policy to replace us with Local Arab staff)  I have been unable to find a job with no help from Govt and despite paying National INSURANCE for 25 years working overseas for 2 years wiped my eligibility and I am deemed not to have contributed! How is that fair?

3/ I was responsible at age 24 and was in a company pension scheme. When BG finally decided that I was unfit to work they pensioned me off on an ill-health pension. It is a small pension but stops me getting any income based benefits. It is a pension. If it stops me getting benefits why can older people receive large pensions and still get state benefits. That suggests age and disability discrimination to me? How is that fair? I was responsible when younger but am not allowed to benefit from what I presume is a characteristic you would encourage?

4/ When I was disabled there were no Insurance policies widely marketed to protect me in the event of such an incident. National INSURANCE benefits have since been scaled back and I have been cut adrift. Why are there no transitionary arrangements to make the changes fair to people like me? After my accident in 1991 I was refused access to any Insurance policies marketed subsequently due to my pre-existing condition. How is this fair? Now you've dismantled the Welfare Safety Net what help do I get?

5/ The tax system gives benefits to certain types of disability; i.e. Blind Persons Allowance. Why do my disabilities not count? Yet again, invisible disabilities do not seem to be recognised - DLA, PIP, ESA etc.

6/ I am aware that Welfare Reform started under New Labour. You are aware that I resigned my Labour Party Membership over it. However, purely as an example are you aware that one Remploy worker has killed himself over the effect of your Governments' Policy on disabled people and I believe this is but the tip of the iceberg. The WOWpetition will be at Amnesty International's AGM having put forward a motion alleging Human Rights Abuses against disabled people and I personally have debated similarities between what your government is doing and Germany in the 1930's with Tim Farron on Twitter. You have not even allowed disabled people to choose who represents them and imposed Liz Sayce on us. It is believed by many knowledgeable people that the policies of your Government are in breach of their Human Rights Obligations. History will judge this Government. It will even judge the amazing decision of an Oxford magistrate to find a protester guilty of causing harassment, alarm and distress for stating that Cameron has Blood on his hands. Have the ConDem's banned "fair comment" in this country. History will judge you.

7/ I am currently not signed on the dole as there is a major disincentive to do so. I would be put in the situation of endless interviews with no hope of a job and the burden of failure hanging around my neck, no tangible help from Government/ Jobcentre, no benefit payments because I get a small ill health pension with the possibility of being forced to do Workfare slave-labour for no payment. I thought work was supposed to pay? 

8/ Other minority groups work differently to the way it was accepted you should work and laws have been brought in to protect them. I have not lost jobs because I can't do them. I have lost jobs because I am different. Why do I get no protection? Why do I get no hope? The last reasonable suggestion from the DWP was to apply for a job at LOCOG. As you are aware, LOCOG admitted at Tribunal that they failed to make reasonable adjustments for my interview with no consequences.

9/ Do you have any comment on Scope announcing yesterday following the budget that there is no place for the disabled in the chancellors aspiration society?

10/ David Cameron claimed in Parliament on the 13th March 2013 that there have been 1m new Private sector jobs created since the General Election. Can you please let me know the source for that claim please?

11/ Surely it is reasonable to expect that any Government in a civilised society would be aware of the combined and cumulative effects of its policies on a very vulnerable section of its electorate. Why do you feel it is ethical to pass through the lobbies when the authors of the policies on which you are voting have not taken the time to understand the effects of those policies on the most vulnerable in society? The DWP's response to the WOWpetition  achieving 10,000 signatures said as much!

Your Government is overseeing what I believe to be a deliberate policy to marginalise what is a large resource of very able but different people and are responsible for what I judge as a complete withdrawal of hope for disabled people. Rather than giving us equality of opportunity we are demonised by Government ministers and made to feel a burden. Do you agree that is wrong?

I look forward to discussing this with you on Friday at 5pm.

Yours sincerely,

Ian M Jones

Sent from my iPhone

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