Thursday, 26 January 2012

What do I say to disabled people? Welfare Reform


I am involved with a charity called the Powerhouse for women with disabilities. The women come to the centre twice a week by taxi. For some of them these are the only outings that they get. They can't work because they aren't able to. The charity has had its funding cut and are struggling to stay open. One woman asked me if she would still be able to attend craft making sessions. It is heartbreaking.

A report called the Spartacus Report written by sick and disabled people who became more ill through lobbying for reform say that the reform must be responsible and transparent. They don't feel that they have been listened to. They rely on DLA for what some of us would regard as necessities.

Why are we cutting benefits in a time of austerity? There aren't enough jobs. Simple as that. Large parts of the country have job centres that have closed down, shops that are boarded up, training centres which cannot offer proper help because of funding cuts, charities that cannot help disabled people and more job losses to come because of a looming double recession.

I agree that the welfare system needs to be looked at to get people who have become over reliant on it to strive to find work. Work brings independence, aspiration and a feeling of belonging. However, people are losing jobs all the time through no fault of their own. I don't think there are many people who strive to be on benefit. Yes, there are benefit cheats but this week the Government is looking to punish everyone who is on benefit.

Lots of people who are in work have been baying for the blood of benefit claimants saying things like, 'why they should get money for staying at home when we have to go out and work?' I say to these baying people, just think, do you really want to be out of work and sitting at home all day? There is nothing to envy those on benefits. This is the logic that the Government does not understand. By putting a cap of £26,000  the Government is sending out a divisive message that the unemployed are a burden on society and should be punished.

I worry most about the children. According to The Observer 100,000 children will be affected by the benefits cap. The £500 a week cap will push these children into poverty. These children probably already suffer by not being able to eat nutritious food, have proper heating and warm clothes because their parents cannot afford it. They probably live in areas where the schools are under achieving. It is a constant cycle. If they don't get the education how will they grow up to escape poverty? Will the money saved from cuts to benefits go towards rebuilding people's lives. I doubt it.

I call on the Lib Dems to reconsider the Welfare Reform Bill next week. People have been saying that the Lib Dems are propping up a Tory Government. I did not believe this till now. The Tories are riding high in the polls. The Lib Dem party needs to distinguish itself as the party that cares for all classes, not just the squeezed middle. Remember that the squeezed middle may become a benefit claimant through future job losses. Can the Government guarantee that everyone in work now will not lose their jobs? I don't think so.

RETHINK THE WELFARE REFORM BILL

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Monday, 16 January 2012

Letter from a Birmingham Jail



Today is Martin Luther King day and I want to pay tribute to this giant of a man.

'We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.'

Martin Luther King's words are just as relevant today as then. I am thinking of those governments who carry out systematic abuse of their citizens, the Arab Spring protestors and those in Africa who live under the rule of a tyrant. Good people need to speak up.
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Friday, 13 January 2012

HS2 a 'Pooh Trap'

“If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” Quote from Winnie the Pooh

Viscount Astor, David Cameron's father-in-law, has called the HS2 a 'Pooh Trap' because he says he (Viscount Astor) is 'biased in favour of the countryside'. Well, David Cameron must have fluff in his ear because he has not heard about his father-in-law's grumblings.
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Thursday, 12 January 2012

America - the land of who knows what?

Have you seen the news today? Four American soldiers were filmed urinating on the corpses of some members of the Taliban. Meanwhile, the Republican candidates are all competing to be the holier than thou Republican presidential candidate by using Christian far right views to win votes. I do not understand the contradiction of the American political and values system.
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Sunday, 1 January 2012

What Do You See?


What do you see when you look at the picture of me above with my face covered? Do you see a young person out to cause trouble? Chances are that most adults would think negatively.It is actually a picture of me at Occupy St.Paul's with another protestor.  In Dr Rowan Williams', the Archbishop of Canterbury, New Year message he said, 'There is a national habit of being suspicious and hostile when we see groups of youngsters'.  This happens particularly when a group of boys are hanging out. The stereotyping of young people is a common problem.

As a young person, I feel that children are often ignored for so many reasons. Firstly, the riots of 2011 did nothing to help the youth's case. A group of silly, unruly youngsters caused damage that went  beyond wrecking property.  It also ruined the case for those young people who are genuinely wanting to try in life. Youth are being tarred with the brush of the riots.  We need to be able to recognise that the youngsters who took part in the riots do not represent the majority of us.

There are over a Million youth unemployed. As the Archbishop said, 'what kind of society is it that lets down so many of its' young people?'. In the pool of unemployed youth lies disappointment and torn dreams. What happened to the social promise of reward for working hard? I am not talking about a sense of entitlement here. I am talking about normal things that people should be able to expect.

My New Year request is for the Government to improve the situation of young people. Children are often used in political arguments. As an example, the country's deficit is being tackled so that the children of today will not be saddled with it in the future. This is noble but children of today need attention today.
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