Category Archives: politics

Nadine Dorries & her super-inflated ego

I haven’t been bothered to keep up with Nadine Dorries and her antics until now.  Partly because I don’t often watch that programme.

I’ve heard the rubbish that she has occasionally spouted, and I’ve read the rubbish she’s reported as having spouted.

All I can say is Get Her Out of Here.

She appears to me to be just another self-centred, fame-seeking, super-inflated egotistical mind-numbingly boring person who does not deserve to be supported by the Public Purse.


Leave a comment

Filed under abuse, accountability, personal choice, personal responsibility, politics, professional responsibility

Jeremy Hunt – how dare you?

Is someone having a laugh at the expense of the electorate?

Is this whole coalition government having laugh after laugh at the expense of the electorate?

Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt is allegedly the recently appointed Secretary of State for Health.  He has now opened his big mouth and spat out words that he should have swallowed long ago.  Does he not have a way of engaging his brain before opening his mouth?

Hunt has declared that he would favour a change in the law to halve the limit on abortions from 24 weeks into a pregnancy to 12.  Read all about it here.  He’s entitled to his own opinion, of course, but he should keep it to himself until there is a clear need for him to open his mouth and speak.  Why speak out days before the Conservative Party Conference?  There must be a reason somewhere – but I doubt it.

He’s a joke.  He was a joke as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.  He was a joke when it came to fiddling his expenses, fiddling his tax liability to the tune of £100,000.  He was accused by a fellow MP of lying to Parliament.  What an upright, upstanding and healthy career he’s not had.

His greatest achievement so far is a failed attempt to export marmalade to Japan.    Amongst other failed attempts to run a business .

He is an abomination now.

Anagrams come to my aid:

Jeremy Hunt = The jury men

Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt =  Shhh!  Tyrannic majesty murderer

I feel better now.

Leave a comment

Filed under abuse, politics, professional responsibility

We’re all in this together ….

It’s beginning to unravel itself, day by day.  At long last!!

When our ConDemOlition first tried to persuade us all that we are all in this together, it sound somewhat oddly reminiscent of the Orwellian phrase.  The spin made it resemble a positive way forward – for some.

But it’s all falling into place now – for those who never realised the underlying significance of the ConDem ‘modern and convenient’ understanding of ‘in-it-togetherness’.

Hook, line and sinker – they’ve all been in the trough together – so it’s time to haul them in, and to make them accept responsibility.  Supporting each other, concealing their indiscretions, providing the props of survival  is where they’ve all been for years now.  Now it’s our turn.

There’s more in this, altogether, than we have yet been allowed to see.

I’m beginning to see the light – as a few people once sang albeit with a different intent, perhaps.  It just takes a spark.



Leave a comment

Filed under care, liability, personal responsibility, politics, professional responsibility

Two more Ps added to the Con Dem Dictionary

They’ve been and gone and done it again!!  First they came up with Seven Ps for  the Vision for Adult Social Care.  Now, they’ve added two more Ps to the Con Dem Coalition Dictionary.

They are to give us the PIP!

Oxford English Dictionary (OED):

to have (also get) the pip: to be (or become) depressed, despondent, or unwell.

to give a person the pip: to annoy or irritate; to make angry, bad-tempered, or dispirited.

The proposed PIP has already achieved its purpose with me!

The proposed PIP is the Personal Independence Payment, a 21st century replacement for the DLA (Disability Living Allowance).  The Consultation Document arrived yesterday. 

“We are committed to a sustainable and fair system that allows people to work when they can and provides unconditional support to those who are unable to work.”  Allowing people to work when they ‘can’ will require the creation of jobs; denying or even giving people the PIP will not create those work opportunities.  Unconditional support?  That may be a first from the Coalition.  It’s hard to see where that unconditional support will come from, when you read some of the inflammatory language used to describe people in receipt of benefits, words that should never have entered the Coalition Dictionary.

“…. work is the best form of welfare for those who are able to do so” provides a new Coalition Dictionary definition of welfare.  Or is Maria Miller meaning the kind of happiness that David Cameron was talking about measuring, with £2m to be spent on a ‘happiness index’.   In my own family, the ‘welfare’ of working at a certain Remploy establishment never provided much happiness for our person with a disability, nor did it provide a decent salary; it provided an exceedingly boring, unbelievably repetitive and demeaning job that nobody would have chosen to do, had it not been forced onto a disabled person as the only ‘option’, and with very little in the way of financial reward.

“The rising caseload and expenditure is unsustainable” – but disability does not discriminate; disability arrives without warning and without counting the financial cost that a caring society should be able to manage.  Soon our discriminatory Con Dem Coalition – that arrived without warning and without giving us all the chance to count the cost – will make disability vanish altogether.  Now that really would be progressive, and if they can manage to achieve that one, I’m sure many disabled people will be enormously grateful.  But a caring government cannot turn a blind eye to disability.  Unless, of course, we don’t have a caring government.  Or unless we have at present a government with a disability.

“Instead, each case will be looked at individually, considering the impact of the impairment or health condition, rather than basing the decision on the health condition or impairment itself.” – I wonder if they’ve counted the cost of that plan, because that surely will be unsustainable.

“The new assessment will focus on an individual’s ability to carry out a range of key activities necessary to everyday life.” These sound so much like the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) that are preventing so many vulnerable elderly people with dementia from receiving the healthcare and support they need.  According to the fuzzy thinking of some local authority bean counters (a.k.a. the finance department) ADLs only require ‘social care’, but not healthcare.   Is that where we are now heading?  Towards a world where disability is no longer to be considered anything to do with health, but only a function of being a person  in the (small) society?  Requiring the need to carry out only the basic ADLs of life?  Apart from the special equipment that a disabled person may need to perform the ADLs “necessary to everyday life”, are we now about to prescribe life?  Or should that be proscribe?  Who is to judge and dictate?

“this will involve a face-to-face meeting with an independent healthcare professional, allowing an in-depth analysis of an individual’s circumstances.” – Another unsustainable cost.  Transforming itself from cost to gain – to a sustainable gain for the independent healthcare professional fraternity that will no doubt emerge via a for-profit Provider of Independent Professionals (see below!).

“We know that some people’s needs may change over time, and sometimes so gradually that the customer themselves won’t notice.” The customer?  The customer????  What an unwelcome and insensitive word to use to describe someone with a disability.  But it may be a revealing word – revealing the way in which people with a disability are seen by our Con Dem Coalition.  You’re just a customer – so if you don’t like what we have ‘on offer’ go elsewhere.  But there is no ‘elsewhere’.  Sad!

“in line with the Government’s new strategy on fraud and error, there will be penalties if an individual knowingly fails to report a change that would have resulted in a reduction in benefit” How sad to see mention of ‘fraud’ so early in a request for consultation.  What is the total cost of DLA fraud?  Where is the evidence for that claim?  Please publish proof – 3 more Ps to add to the Coalition Dictionary!

“We must ensure that our resources are focused on those with the greatest need.” There is an unspoken message here, the implication being that there will be a severe scaling of disability and the exclusion of those disabled people who are not deemed to be in greatest need.  Critical needs only?  Severe needs maybe but not guaranteed?  Moderate needs possibly but unlikely?  All the normal needs associated with a disability – probably not a cat’s chance in hell of the focus being on those needs.

“The definitions currently used are subjective and reflect views of disability from the 1990s, not the modern day. For example, ‘mobility’ as currently defined concentrates on an individual’s ability to walk, not their ability to get around more generally.” Are we to receive a definition of mobility according to the Coalition Dictionary?

“One will be awarded on the basis of the individual’s ability to get around (the mobility component), the other on their ability to carry out other key activities necessary to be able to participate in daily life (the daily living component).” “Eligibility – The individual must have a long-term disability” – HELP!!!  That’s a Coalition Dictionary definition of disability.

“Personal Independence Payment will only be available to those with a long-term health condition or impairment.” as above!

“Our initial proposal is that the assessment should consider activities related to an individual’s ability to get around, interact with others, manage personal care and treatment needs, and access food and drink.”

“This might mean, for example, considering an individual’s ability to get about in a wheelchair, rather than ignoring the wheelchair, as we do currently.” What will be the consequences for a person with cerebral palsy, say, who is not able to stand and walk without the support of two walking sticks, and who cannot take one single unassisted step before falling to the ground, but who has made the personal choice not to use a wheelchair whilst preferring to use two walking sticks to aid mobility from chair to table, from table to bathroom, from bathroom to bed, from front door to car (with hand-controls, and all paid for by the person), from car to place of work, from  …. etc etc etc?  Is that person to be categorised as ‘fully mobile’ or ‘could be fully mobile if we force her/him to use a wheelchair or else we remove his/her PIP?’  This plan is beginning to scare me.

Or will a person with exactly the same disability as another be entitled to PIP because she/he makes the personal choice of walking with sticks rather than using a wheelchair as an aid to mobility?  Whereas a person with exactly the same disability and the same manifestations of that disability is to be denied PIP because she/he makes the personal choice of using a wheelchair?  Yes, I am confused by this one.

“What aids and adaptations should be included? Should the assessment only take into account aids and adaptations where the person already has them or should we consider those that the person might be eligible for and can easily obtain?” And would those aids and adaptations be chosen by the person?  Or merely the ones the PIP decision-makers decide can be afforded by this onslaught on people with a disability?

“What would be the implications for disabled people and service providers if it was not possible for Personal Independence Payment to be used as a passport to other benefits and services?” Surely that question does not need to be asked – it’s obvious.

“The social model of disability says that disability is created by barriers in society.  We remain committed to the social model of disability. The new assessment will not be based solely on the medical model of disability and focused entirely on an individual’s impairment, but will instead focus on the ability of an individual to carry out a range of key activities necessary for everyday life.” This obsession with the ‘activities necessary for everyday life’ must surely go against everything the Disability Discrimination Act has ever stood for.

“Many people think that disability is caused by an individual’s health condition or impairment. This approach is called the medical model of disability.” The fact remains that some disability is indeed caused by an individual’s health condition or impairment, and that cannot be ignored.  You cannot change the focus of disability from medical to social needs.  Disability is not created by barriers in society – however, the barriers in society often increase the disability.  Chicken and egg!  The Con Dem Coalition has no mandate to scramble eggs, for the convenience of – and in the best interests of – the Con Dem Coalition’s sustainability.

“measuring each individual’s expenditure would be administratively complex and expensive” – and yet the plan is to assess and review each and every single application and applicant?  How will we be able to afford the one, but not the other?  The costs will be enormously expensive but will come via the creation of a new pot of gold for a new breed of independent Providers of Independent Professionals (a different kind of PIP!!) – a new bandwagon for the ‘for-profit health and care providers’ to pounce on.

In the recent past, Tory MP Rory Stuart described some of his constituents as “primitive people, holding up their trousers with bits of twine”.

The Government decided to get tough – on benefit scroungers by bringing in Experian to assist with bounty-hunting of the poor

The magnificent IDS (Iain Duncan Smith) decided to talk of sin, when referring to people who were without work.

Then along came Howard Flight, Tory peer, with his preposterous claim that changes to the child benefit system would encourage the poor to “breed”.

Where next?  Perhaps those who are unfortunate enough to be in receipt of a disability will all be required to PIP off to a Dickensian workhouse.  Or why not swap places with the House of Commons’ scroungers?

The Con Dem Coalition members are unlikely to be on the receiving end of many of the decisions they are now making.  I just hope there will be a system in place to pick up the pieces of their decision-making.

1 Comment

Filed under care, dementia, growing older, politics

Seven Ps for the Vision for Adult Social Care

A while ago, I mentioned the The Seven Ages of Man, and continued the theme with The Seven Stages of Dementia .  Then came the Seven Steps to end the scandal of malnutrition.  I did consider then that the number 7 might be powerful, magnificent even and so would emerge again.

Then, along came The Seven Ps, all listed within The Seven Principles of the Vision for Adult Social Care: Capable Communities and Active Citizens.

Prevention – Personalisation – Partnership – Plurality – Protection – Productivity – People

I now have a vision of the brainstorming session that must have accompanied the conception of The Seven Ps.  A kiss (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) was passed round the room, attracting and enticing members not to overstretch themselves.  The Dictionary of Management-speak was lifted from the bookcase; it fell open to reveal the page of Ps.  The Seven Ps were conceived immaculately, provided with perfect pre-natal care and delivered without pain relief.

The Dalai Lama said that if one’s life is simple, contentment has to come.

It’s somewhat strange to see People at the end of the list of principles, but I’m sure our Coalition writers have their reasons.  Shouldn’t People come first?

There are a few missing Ps, as far as I can see, the first being the paradox.  Is it possible to strip and slash local authority funding and budgets while demanding that local authorities assume responsibility for certain functions that were previously the responsibility of National Government?  It does not make sense.

Creating capable communities is a great idea, but the word capable appears just once in the full text – apart from the title and as a heading on every page – on page 32 Delivering the vision demands a capable and well-trained workforce.

This capable and well-trained workforce has yet to emerge, and may struggle to emerge with all the cuts being in place overnight and without much in the way of consultation by our Con Dem Coalition.  I almost resisted the temptation to mention the lack of mandate given by the Great British Voting Public (the real Big Society – the fictional Big Society remains a mystery to me) to this minority-marriage-of-convenience Government – but that really is another story, another irresistible temptation.

New career pathways will be developed, including more apprenticeships and a new care worker role in home and residential care, as well as more PAs.

Is this yet-to-be-trained capable workforce going to create the capable communities?  Will there be a flurry of independent (for-profit private) providers emerging to provide the training?  Will there be a move to create a genuine career for care workers?  Will there be a decision to pay more than the basic minimum hourly rate of pay so as to attract care workers to care about the work they do?  Or will the private profit preferences prevent progress?  (Sorry, that’s only five Ps.)

Is the capable community to comprise family, friends and neighbours only, with the capable and yet-to-be-trained workforce retreating into the background?   An ever receding professional workforce?  The emphasis throughout the whole Vision is on informal support via kind and caring neighbours, willing and able to provide sufficient support to those in need; a Timebank reminiscent of the bartering of old (not much use to those who are already too frail/old/incapacitated to be able to give the little they can now in return for what they need now!).  Active citizens?

The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, one of the four ‘Vanguard Communities’ for Big Society, will test a web-based complementary currency approach for care and support, to assess the potential benefits both in reduced demand for formal care and in people’s quality of life. That might work in Windsor and Maidenhead, but it won’t work where I live!  It may work in many places where an existing community spirit and involvement already exists – but it won’t work in areas where there is no community spirit.  Recent decades have demolished communities in some areas; it could take as many decades to create flourishingly caring communities again.  What happens to the people living with needs who happen to live in those decimated communities?

Personalisation and choice sound great, and both are long overdue.  But I’m not convinced by the plan to increase rapidly the availability of Personal Budgets ‘preferably as Direct Payments’.  Personal Budgets ‘preferably as Direct Payments’ won’t suit everyone in need of care.  They will undoubtedly suit some recipients who have the physical and mental abilities and energies (or the family/friend/neighbourhood support) to become an employer, to research and search for a PA if that’s their wish, to hire and fire (if need be) a care worker/PA, to manage the financial aspects  – and good luck to them.   The Vision might be less rosy for someone with mental capacity problems, such as dementia, and who may not have family/friends to support them.  Can the Vision envisage vulnerable elderly people coping comfortably to set up their own care package?

According to Pulse: patients shun personal health budgets

As for Demos: Personal budgets will revolutionise social care delivery, but only if local authorities are fully prepared

The Charities are changing rapidly, too – so if the reliance on charities increases just when some charities are crumbling, what then?

File on 4 programme on Charity funding and fraud  – grassroots rebellion is underway

Transcript available  if the programme is no longer.

The Oxford Student – ‘tax the rich minority and give to the poor majority’ – is on the right track.  ‘The electorate have sleep-walked into a cannibalisation of public services and welfare that will push Britain back seventy or so years, as £8.1 billion of public spending has been cut.

To the people who voted for the Tories in May, think about this: who paid for the Conservative election campaign? Who bankrolled the triumphalist swagger of these men into Whitehall? Tax evader Lord Ashcroft donated £5.3 million to the Tory campaign. That’s a lot of money, and it doesn’t come without strings attached. Nor does the £1 million donated by hedge fund manager Michael Hintze, whose finance group CQS is based in the Cayman Islands tax haven. Nor still does the £500,000 donated by John Wood, boss of SRM Global, which also has 7 hedge funds registered in the Caymans. These donations makes it difficult to believe that the Tory promise to crack down on tax evasion is anything other than shallow rhetoric. And the fact that the chairman of Care UK, one of Britain’s largest private healthcare providers, donated £21,000 to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley also makes it difficult to believe that the (real term) cuts to the NHS were made in good faith.

Is the Vision the first step towards the privatisation of social care?  The LibConDemolition of the Welfare State, of the NHS, of Social Care?  Who gave permission for that?  Not me.

So, Seven Ps from me to the ConDem Coalition:

Properly procured popular permission prevents public protest.

1 Comment

Filed under care, dementia care, politics

Iain Duncan Smith and the benefits system overhaul

Iain Duncan Smith said  here on this BBC report ” ….. thus making work pay more than being in benefits …. “.  At least  I think that’s what I heard IDS say.

Suggestions to IDS:

1.  Show us your Job Creation plan first, so that we can perhaps understand where the ‘work’ is.

2. Then make pay work more than being in/on benefits.

3.  Recreate the apprenticeships that served many people so well.  There’s not much point in this strange ‘work experience’ you’re thinking up unless there’s more than a basic element of sensible training, leading to …. … … a job!

It’s the rate of pay that’s not working.

Look closely at the minimum wage – and tell us all whether you, IDS,  could survive, comfortably, on that minimum hourly rate of pay.  How many strikes would it take for you to chuck in your ‘over-the-minimum wage’ for the  job that you no doubt are doing so enormously well?  When were you last required to survive, uncomfortably, on the minimum hourly wage for a job?  Never?  Thought so.

Where is the work?  Where are the jobs?  Where is the training for those jobs?

Vacuous talk at present.

And chubby David Cameron’s putting on a lot of weight at the moment – so he must be living well.

1 Comment

Filed under politics

UK government confirms forest sell-off plans

They just don’t care, do they?  Frankly, my dears, the LibDemCon Coalition just don’t give a damn.

The Guardian reports : Plans to sell off as much as 150,000 hectares of forest and woodland in England in the biggest sale of public land for nearly 60 years were today confirmed by the government in a letter sent to all MPs.

“[Our] intention is to fundamentally reform the public forestry estate, with diminishing public ownership and a greater role for private and civil society partners,” said a statement on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) website.”

Before long, they will have sold off the air we breathe.   A charge will be imposed on any small society members  brave enough to open their own front door and walk outside the confines of their own four walls.  Big Brother will be watching, rubbing his Big Society hands with glee, as he and his Big Society buddies tot up their latest financial gains.  Is this progress?  Forward to the past?

Feudalism – The obligations and relations between lord, vassal and fief form the basis of feudalism.

Peasants & Serfs – The daily life of a serf was hard.  The Medieval serfs did not receive their land as a free gift; for the use of it they owed certain duties to their master.

The Peasants Revolt of 1381
In 1381, and under the leadership of heroes such as Wat Tyler and Jack Straw, the peasants marched to London in order to present a petition to the king. 60,000 strong, the petitioned called for the abolition of serfdom, tithes and the game laws as well as the right to freely use the forests. The peasants also demanded that the poll tax be abolished. John Ball, a priest who spoke regularly to the people gathered in the marketplace, expressed the sentiments of the revolt. The rallying cry of the peasants was a rhyme which spread dissension across the South of England:

“When Adam Delved and Eve Span
Who was then the Gentleman

Leave a comment

Filed under politics

Care and progress? – Or ideology gone too far?

Plymouth – July 2010

THREE council-run residential homes could be closed as the city changes the way it looks after elderly and vulnerable people.

And a respite unit for people with learning disabilities also faces closure if the city council Cabinet agrees at its meeting next Tuesday.

The changes will come as part of a wider strategy to modernise care services.

The council has already moved older people out of a number of out-dated residential centres and into new extra care schemes where they can be helped to live with more independence.

Fife – October 2010-10

As public spending cuts begin to bite, councillors will be asked to consider three cost-saving options when the social work and health committee meet on Tuesday (19th October).

One of these includes closing all local authority residential care homes with residents moving to another care home of their choice in the private or not for profit sector.

Fife – October 2010 update

While councillors agreed on Tuesday to reject a plan which would have seen all 10 of its care homes closed and residents transferred to places in the private and voluntary sector, question marks remain over seven of the homes after the council agreed to consult with a view to “replacing existing provision as and when suitable alternative provision becomes available.”

Llanelli – October 2010

A new row is brewing over controversial plans to close two Llanelli care homes.

Union chiefs have complained to the Assembly Government  over the public consultation exercise being carried out on Caemaen and St Paul’s care homes

Carmarthenshire Council denies Unison’s claims the exercise is “unfair and inadequate”.

The union says the consultation document includes options to close both homes and privatise residential care home services.

Suffolk – October 2010

The council is to look at all 16 homes that it operates across the county – and has come up with three options for the future:

Option 1 – Closing the homes and buying in services from the private sector.

Option 2 – Selling off all the homes as going concerns.

Option 3 – Closing six homes and trying to sell off the remaining 10.

Isle of Wight – October 2010

Also proposed in the far-reaching consultation are plans to scrap free home care for the over 80s and increase charges for services, including meals on wheels, home care and day centre sessions — plans which have sparked concern among carers.
Frances Wright, chairman of the Isle of Wight branch of Carers UK, said: “All these charges will add up. It’s not just money — people are worried about paying for services but they are also worried services will disappear.”
A report commissioned by healthcare watchdog, the IW LINk, suggested further plans to cut support services for all but the most vulnerable people could prove to be a false economy. It found money spent on preventative social care services resulted in long-term savings for the council and other agencies, such as the NHS.

This week’s Comprehensive Spending Review has caused Nigel Edwards, Acting Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, to warn in a letter to The Daily Telegraph that hospital beds in England may fill up with the elderly and vulnerable because of cuts to local authority social care funding.  “Hospital beds will be blocked for those who badly need care because the support services the elderly require after discharge will not be available.”

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Once upon a time – not a bedtime story, this one! – elderly and vulnerable people were spending longer than necessary in nasty, horrible, depressing, run-down Victorian long-stay hospitals.  Many were fairly averagely normal (whatever that means) when they arrived; some were just seen as a danger to the public, so were lifted and incarcerated.  Before long they became institutionalised to such an extent that a return to normal life in the community wasn’t on the cards.   Even young unmarried women who had become pregnant were forcibly held in some of these appalling institutions – and they never recovered from the experience.

Then, as the Welfare State gained strength, and as society gradually improved its attitudes towards the needy, the vulnerable, and those with disabilities, there was a plan to close these places down, once and for all.   From the 1960s, Care in the Community became the buzzword.  Then slowly,  all people were to have the same human right to a life with dignity, regardless of  their age, gender, race, colour … and so on.  Goodbye to institutions, asylums, long-stay hospitals.  Hello to care.  Or so we thought.

Here we are now, with the biggest onslaught about to take place on our public services, our welfare state, with the sick, the vulnerable, the elderly and the poor all about to become victims of a brutal ideology gone too far. Without a mandate from the Great British people for such draconian measures.  I want nothing to do with that kind of Big Society.

We found a way to care in the community.  Is there no place for care in the big society?

At the memorial service for PC Toms, on Monday 18 October 2010, David Cameron quoted “evil thrives when good men do nothing” – and as I watched a clip on TV News of him saying that, I wondered to myself whether the (then undeclared) Comprehensive Spending Review would bring a similar thought to our minds.

They don’t care, do they?

So we will have to show them that we care.

Leave a comment

Filed under care, care homes, growing older, politics

The meaning of CSR?

CSR = Comprehensive Spending Review

CSR = Cheer Smirk Rejoice

LibDemCon MPs cheered –they smirked – they rejoiced.

LibDemCon MPs applauded, smiling, seeming satisfied that they had destroyed enough.

Coalition Ministers smiled even as their own departmental budgets were cut.

The poorest will lose a higher proportion of their income than the average, according to the government’s own graphs.  Brendan Barber TUC General Secretary said that the poorest tenth of the population would lose a fifth of their income because of Coalition cuts; the richest would lose just 1.5 per cent of their income.  He may now revise that estimate.

Some councils will go bust.

750,000  public sector job cuts are forecast.  Or more?

Twice as many women as men work in the public sector and 40% of all female workers are employed by the state.   Women have been encouraged to become gainfully employed, largely in the public sector, with young children being placed into childcare, another largely female industry.  The majority of care workers are women.  Not many male librarians where I live.  It’s rare to meet a male in local admin jobs either.  Is this a plan to send women back to the past?  Could that really be seen as progress?

An additional £7bn welfare cuts, on top of the £11bn already announced.

The convenient accounting that has gone on with the £2bn to social care (via the NHS in part) is a con!  That money is not ring-fenced, so it will just be swallowed up by the big local authority pot that has just been cut savagely via the CSR.  Goodbye social care; an unwelcome return of the poorhouse/workhouse. And don’t be fooled by this attempt to persuade people to use Personal Budgets.   They are enormously complex to operate, requiring most people who’ve tried them to turn themselves into employers, or to employ someone to manage the Personal Budget for them.  Or is that another part of the con trick?  The responsibilities of unpaid carers will increase; the burden of care will fall on their shoulders.  Their narrow shoulders, not the broad shoulders mentioned by Creepy Osborne.

Any government that can remove the mobility component of DLA from people in residential care cannot sink much lower.  At the moment, many people in residential care are allowed the grand total of £21 per week for ‘spending money’, after their care costs have been paid for.  That’s all they are allowed to retain.  Remove the mobility allowance and they will be trapped forever, within the walls of the care home.  Is that really the best we can offer and still call it ‘care’?

The IFS says spending review cuts are regressive and will hit the poorest in society, not the richest.

This is not what I call ‘fair’.  Nor are we all in this together.  The Big Society?  Not sure that one will wash any more!

By strange coincidence of the calendar, Nick Clegg has just been named Communicator of the Year at the PRWeek awards.  “The judges (sixty-two senior PR professionals) praised Clegg for his smart general election communications campaign that positioned him as a fresh alternative to the other political parties.

In fewer than 12 months, Clegg has gone from leading a party frustrated by a lack of media attention to the full glare of the world’s media, as he walked side by side with Prime Minister David Cameron into 10 Downing Street on 11 May.

Style over substance; if Clegg was that good a communicator, the Liberal Democrats would have won the general election, as opposed to having to swallow everything they ‘communicated’ beforehand in order to shack up with the Tories.

Joanna Lumley won that same award last year.  “She was chosen by judges for her work spearheading the Gurkha campaign for settlement rights. As a figurehead she was able to move seamlessly from the media scrum to heavyweight political programmes such as the Andrew Marr Show, and had the clout to secure meetings at the highest political level.

Joanna Lumley might make a better fist of government than this bunch of clowns.

Leave a comment

Filed under care, Local Authority, NHS, politics

How fair is Britain?

I’m half-way through reading “The Greatest Show on Earth” by Richard Dawkins.

I’m hooked!

Alongside, I’ve also been dipping into the first “Triennial Review “published today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.  No, I haven’t read the full 750 pages yet, but I’ve read the transcript of the video overview, and a good few more pages too. 


I’m twice hooked!!

OK, I admit it was the word ‘triennial’ that grabbed me … for purely personal reasons.  I am approaching a first “Triennial Review” that is all my own.  Namely the Triennial Review that I promised myself I would conduct at the end of my 3rd year (yes, third year) into the circumstances of neglect that surrounded my own relative in need of caring care.  But neglect was all that came her way.  And she died a painful death, and an earlier than anticipated death, as a result of that neglect.

“It’s the job of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to help society make further progress.”  Would that be the Big Society that David Cameron keeps banging on about?  Or the other (only?)  Society that we all know of old?  And yes, I am quietly hoping it’s the second of those two options that the Equality and Human Rights Commission strives to help.

Can you help me also, EHRC?  Can you help me to achieve progress, as I work my way through the muck that is being delivered (almost daily now!!) from those who are supposed to care about ‘fairness’ and to care about ‘care’?  If you are able to do that, please get in touch and I will graciously accept your assistance.

Or are there two societies now?  One Big; one Small.  One where ‘fairness’ is defined by the Big Society backed by the ConDemNation, to the detriment of the Small Society comprising the little people?

“This October we are publishing our first ever such review, entitled ‘How Fair Is Britain’.

It describes the chances, choices and outcomes in life of people from all different groups.”  I’m still looking for a few words in the transcript: older, people, dementia, in care, but then I found some of them in the online summary.

Care and support:  (follow the link below if you care to read it all ….)

“As might be expected, we are more likely to need care as we grow older. We are also more likely to provide it later in life, as we have children and as our families and friends age with us.”

Don’t get me wrong, EHRC.  I applaud our past history of fairness, our well-known and well-recognised tradition of fairness and respect for other points of view, culture,  gender, race, sexuality,  religion and so on … that meaningful equality (as you call it) that we have achieved.  Historic prowess shouldn’t allow for complacency.

History is neither our present, nor our future. We must find the way to demonstrate today that we value and care enough about our history of fairness, our reliable traditions connected to our history of fairness, and our past celebrations of our ‘fairness’ to carry us forward to our today and to our tomorrow?

It is not enough though to express good intentions, what matters is making a practical tangible difference.  And you can’t hope to make change happen in the real world without looking hard at the facts.

I do appreciate that you’re also in a fragile state, EHRC, being – for want of a better phrase – currently under review.  But then again, I do wonder whether this fairness that we purport to attribute to this (as we would like to see it) fair nation of ours really does care, or even  whether the word ‘care’ may disappear from our vocabulary fairly soon, to be replaced by … neglect.

The spending review currently being imposed by our Married-by-Convenience Coalition Government may well demolish all of our hopes for ‘fairness’, especially fairness in old age.  If we allow everything that has become known as caring care to be scrapped without decent consultation and without decent consent, then the Older Person will be thrown out with the mucky bathwater.

Do we really care?  If so, why don’t I believe you?  Why is our ‘caring care’ not visible?  Why have I spent 3 years of my life trying to establish whether or not we/you/they really do care?

Have we evolved enough to care?  Or are we in need of another “Blind Watchmaker”?

Will I be thrice hooked?  Ever?  Never?

Leave a comment

Filed under care, dementia, dementia care, politics, professional responsibility