A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A new night has fallen, has it not?

In amongst all the crazy and harmful cuts yesterday, all of which will in their different ways erode the little sinews and fibres that make Britain a relatively civilised and decent place to live in, one or two stuck out as the products either of total ignorance about the circumstances of the victims of the cuts, or less charitably as acts of simple political and moral evil.

I'm particularly thinking of the savings achieved by taking money from the disabled (as described by the Guardian):

  • "Ending the mobility component of the disability living allowance (DLA) from residents in care home from October 2012. This will save £135m by 2014-15 and will affect 58,000 people claiming the DLA who receive an average of £33.40 a week."
This isn't welfare reform in the sense of helping people on incapacity benefit find a suitable job so they can earn money and get off benefit.

This is just nicking money off the helpless. People in a care home are by definition probably unable to work. DLA isn't a means-tested benefit (you can get it while working), it is designed to help cover the additional costs of transport and care implicit in being disabled, the amount you get varies according to your degree of disability.

So this average £33.40 which is specifically a mobility component helps people in care homes get out in a taxi every now and again (maybe once or twice a week) to see the world outside their care home. And now they haven't got it. These are people who by definition don't have a loud voice in society to protest.

And we in the 6th richest country in the world think that "all being in it together" means getting the weakest in society to give up the tiny amount of independence the state was previously funding for them, for a paltry £135m saving.

In September I wrote about the possible cuts to disability benefits (http://lukeakehurst.blogspot.com/2010/09/sickest-person-is-one-at-no11.html) and comments were put on the post saying:

"It's disingenuous to suggest people with MS or other serious illnesses are being targeted. And it would be a disgrace if they were."

Well they are. And it is a disgrace.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, there's much to worry about with this government. However, I do very much welcome the end of identity cards and the scaling back and delay to Trident.

The latter decision has produced this nonsense response from Kevan Jones, a shadow Defence Minister:

"This is playing fast and loose with the nuclear deterrent in a way that is reckless" (Nicholas Watt, London Guardian, Oct. 19).

Jones ought to read Tony Blair's book in which he expresses deep uncertainty about replacing Trident.

12:36 pm, October 21, 2010

Blogger Neil80 said...

I've said this before, but we're really now seeing the arrival of the Dr Beeching of the welfare state


6:48 pm, October 21, 2010

OpenID danivon said...

Anon. Yeah, who cares about the old and disabled as long as you don't have a little plastic card to carry around, huh?

6:53 pm, October 21, 2010

Anonymous Rich said...

I agree completely Luke. How can making the disabled pay for greed of the richest be fair.

I'd be more than happy to
pay a little more income tax to protect these benefits. A decent society is one that protects the vulnerable.

While I know there is a minority of those that abuse the system, this is no excuse for these cuts. These hurt the genuine.

I'm not sure what we are going to do luke. We can't organise a national strike because of the fear of liability and being sued for damages. The unions are powerless because of our union laws, unlike the French which are causing real problems for the French government.

11:56 pm, October 21, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke, your party created the affliction so now it is time for the medicine. Oh, and by the way, since when did the Guardian offer an unbiased view of anything?

Sadly there is much to lament from cutting out EMA to encourage youngsters to stay on in the sixth form to losing our seaborne strike aircraft capability for years to come but, you cannot spend what you haven't got.

9:35 am, October 22, 2010

Anonymous tory boys never grow up said...

Anon 9:35am

"you cannot spend what you haven't got."
But you can make those who have, and especially those who have contributed to those problems (e.g. from the reputed £7bn bonus pot in the City) make a proper contribution so that those in need do not suffer. It's what socialists mean by the Big Society and fairness rather than the meaningless platitudes and lies from the Coalition

2:50 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Nothing in my comment suggested that I did not care about the old and disabled. Please do not attribute views to me that I do not actually hold!

ID cards are about far more than 'little plastic cards' as you put it. The fact is that we do not know what government we could have in the future and what information they might choose to put on the cards. Dictatorship rarely happens in one go, it is usually a gradual process.

4:04 pm, October 22, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see the notion, 2:50 PM typifies, is still about that we can solve all our problems by taxing the rich. Has it not occurred that if the wealth of the minority rich were all shared around the majority poorer it really would not amount to very much each.

Furthermore, although the banks, particularly in the USA, played a major role in the cause of the recession, they did not contribute to this country living well beyond its means both before and after. That was totally down to our own financial mismanagement and some daft notion that you can create the illusion of full employment by having the majority work for the state whilst a sizeable proportion of the rest live of it.

We need big companies, investors, banks and entrepeneurs to create wealth producing jobs and businesses. Then, and only then, we might be able to afford a higher quality of public services.

9:43 pm, October 22, 2010

Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

"Has it not occurred that if the wealth of the minority rich were all shared around the majority poorer it really would not amount to very much each. "

I would say that the £7bn bonus pot in the City does amount to quite a lot and would go quite a long way to reversing the DLA changes that Luke referred to. But I suppose youy take the view that those receivingthe City bonuses are the deserving rich (and wealth creators etc.)and that thos receiving DLA are the undeserving poor.

12:19 pm, October 23, 2010

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may have misunderstood, so correct me if I am wrong, but I have read that the much criticised restriction of sickness benefits to one year is only on a means tested basis, so that those with significant savings would have their benefit withdrawn after a year and those without - ie the most needy - would not.

It may be that the cut off point is incorrect, as it may be withdrawing child benefit from the top 15 per cent of earners, but isn't at least the principle of targeting benefits at the most needy something that an NEC member might accept?

7:18 pm, October 23, 2010

OpenID danivon said...

All these Anons, hard to know whether they are one person or many. Can't even leave a name though?

4:04pm: You seemed to place a priority order between ID cards and the people at risk of losing this mobility allowance, and seem to be happy with this new government as long as they pretend to be libertarian.

9:43pm: The deficit was under 3% in 2007, and debt was lower than in 1997. It is the recession that caused the leap in deficits and in debt, and you acknowledge that the banks caused that. We have profitable banks now, and they can offset their losses in 2008-9 against future years. Why should they not contribute more?

Your 'stats' on employment are rubbish (much less than half of people in work are employed by the state, and most people who 'live of' the state paid contributions when they were working).

7:18pm: You read wrong. Some benefits will be means tested. Some will be removed. Some will be cut. Some will be dependent on passing biased assessments.

5:50 pm, October 24, 2010


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