Ouch Too - a place for and about disabled people.

Forum => News and Current Affairs. => Topic started by: JLR2 on 22 Apr 2018 10:32PM

Title: Is it just my imagination?
Post by: JLR2 on 22 Apr 2018 10:32PM
'' “What happened unfortunately during those years and has continued is that we had an unhealthy obsession with numbers. We were wedded to unrealistic targets, targets that we still haven’t met unfortunately a decade on – and yet we continue to remain wedded to targets.'' Baroness Warsi as quoted in the Guardian.

Now the quote I've copied over from the Guardian's web pages may be about the Windrush debacle but I can see a similarity in this government's 'hostile' attitude towards those claiming disability benefits.

One comparison could be seen in the way those of the Windrush generation and their children are being denied UK citizenship at the earliest opportunity and only being grudgingly accepted as British after they've gone through all sorts of battles to get it and many a time only once a newspaper has front paged their story and the way many disabled benefit claimants are denied access to the benefits their disability would see them entitled to at their first assessment forcing them to fight through all the mandatory reconsideration and appeals stages to see their due benefits being paid.

A while back we saw one government MP after another deny the government had set targets for the disallowing of disability benefits, well given what we are learning of the impact of the government's target setting for getting immigration down to the 10s of thousands it should hardly come as a surprise if the government's back office staff, those working at the DWP, follow the gist of government policies as was, it would appear, done by the civil service staff at the Home Office and look to drastically reduce the numbers of claimants entitled to disability benefits.

If the main sources of the media, tv and printed were to look at the way the government's policies regarding disability benefits are being enacted they too might see the same comparable actions and attitudes being shown to claimants at the DWP as the Home Office has been showing to the Windrush generation..

Title: Re: Is it just my imagination?
Post by: Fiz on 23 Apr 2018 07:17AM
They're definitely missing their targets assessing people as fit for work and finding that people do need a disability benefit to help manage their disability. Blast, these people really are sick or disabled and they're not all scroungers after all. And yes, I'm sure the reason so many have to go to tribunal to get their award is because they're missing their targets and are trying to.
Title: Re: Is it just my imagination?
Post by: JLR2 on 23 Apr 2018 07:38AM
If only the media would look at and report what the DWP are doing to welfare with the same fervour they are covering Windrush. It might only take such as a BBC investigation into the similarities of the Home Office's method, ''creating a hostile environment''  for migrants and the seriously hostile environment it has created for disabled welfare benefit claimants, one which has led to the deaths of many more benefit claimants than so far reported amongst the Windrush generation.

I hasten to add that I do not mean to say the deaths of any of the Windrush generation are any less important than those amongst disabled welfare benefit claimants.
Title: Re: Is it just my imagination?
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 23 Apr 2018 12:47PM
Something that's really hit me and hurt me recently is something else that makes up  a triangle of comparisons.

There's a website I go on (Peet's Mustardland, a successor to BBC Archers) where from time to time people make obnoxious generalised comments about Gypsies and Travellers.  Like a number of others, I used to work on the basis of reminding people that Gypsies and Travellers fall into recognised racial categories for the purpose of legislation relating to discrimination and hate crime.  It took me until very recently to realise that some people aren't generalising because they think they're just referring to people with a particular lifestyle choice, they know perfectly well they're being racist.  But leave aside the race bit - and I prefer to talk of 'heritage' not because I object to race, but because being a broader term it can help to communicate better - there's a type of 'othering' that some people do that is the more attractive to them if it's arbitrary, if it's lumping people together.

(Declaration of interest re Travellers - my family on one side were Bargees, right up to my generation .  I have a first-degree relative whose motor & butty [barges, narrowboats] were burnt out by arsonists.   Prejudice has consequences.)

But I want to take this a step further - class.

I live in a conurbation made up of a cluster of contiuous and nearly-contiguous cities and towns.  The contrasts between neighbourhoods can be stark.  However, one day when catching a bus to visit someone in an area I hadn't been to for years, I was shocked to realise it had brought out my own, hidden, self-denied class prejudice.  The area was white, working class, some social housing and some former social housing.  Full of visually stereotypical 'chavs'.  But my grandparents on one side had lived on a council estate. Why was it different? 

To begin with, I thought I'd become more prejudiced, but then I also reminded myself how with the sale of council housing, the people living in council housing and housing association housing now have a far narrower demographic.  A high density of people with problems that we then think of as problem people and then 'other'.

So back a step to Travellers.  When I was a child, it was the [land-] Gypsies that came round in the spring and sharpened the garden shears.  It was the Gypsies that came and fixed all sorts of stuff.  And yes, it was the Gypsies that sold the lucky heather and told your fortunes, but they wouldn't have been doing that if there hadn't been a market for it.  But then they became unwanted and the work often dried up.  The next thing you know, like those on the council estates, those that hadn't made enough money to settle in a 'nicer' area, not travel in their vans or whatever, were 'othered' like the 'chavs' on the council estates (now largely buy-to-let, often owned by 'slumlords').

So back to Windrush.  They came here poor and as immigrants lived in the cheaper areas.  Some were successful, but my gut feeling is that a significant proportion (but not all) of those that became professionals would have gone back to Jamaica.   However, if you think 'Windrush', do you think professionals?  My bet is that those with the most problems are typically those that were already 'othered' by being lower down the social spectrum.  Someone in Peet's place expressed surprise that the Windrush problem couldn't have arisen.  How come they didn't have passports etc?  Therein lies the class divide and/or the money divide.  People that can afford to take foreign holidays or that have enough money to invest to want passport-type ID to go with it would have passports.

Food for thought - if you've been reading the stories in the media about Windrush, how many of the cases you've read about aren't working class?  Multiway 'othering'.

And disabled?  Well a lot of disabled people don't work, so get 'othered' as non-workers, then those that do are more likely to do jobs lower down the pecking order, so get 'othered' for that and so on.

It stunned me when I read a GP writing online that he had a picture of Stephen Hawking on his surgery wall so he could tell patients that if the professor could work, so could they.  Growl!

Incidentally, when we criticise others for mentally lumping all people of a group together, it's easy to forget that that's how our brains largely function unless we override it.  Take the word 'chair'.  What's a chair?  What makes it different from a table?  Why is an armchair a chair and also a kitchen chair and also a deck chair, but not a swing?  Why are a bench and a sofa and a couch not chairs?  Why do we need the word for stool (hint - so that we can fill the conceptual gap between 'table' and 'chair', i.e. stool = table you sit on = chair that fits the description of a table).

Right now I feel scared but feel somehow I have to join the fight back and I'm beginning to have a vague sense that what matters is awareness, but also maybe something like the Windrush scandal in terms of 'we have a duty not to do this to them'.

I don't know.  I do know that how I am at the moment, I wake crying and feel gloomy about the future, and think and think and think, but that the Windrush scandal shows it's worth fighting over the disability scandal.
Title: Re: Is it just my imagination?
Post by: huhn on 23 Apr 2018 01:47PM
it is easier then you can  think off that you are without a passport, it is a big  problem for  foreign people to renew a passport, first it is often not more the local embassy that does  the passports,  so it is a nightmare to renew it and second the prices  got a 0 on it over the last 10 years, i must say,  we had also for money reasons not the passports renewed ,  you have to put a 0 on  the local price  often and do not  forget, what it costs for a large family. and the same is with birth certificates and then  you have to get the local one and then apply by the embassy and many people do not know or have not the money to do so. and please  not to forget that british  citizen born in the 3rd generation outside loose there  right to be a british citizen and can be  then stateless.
Title: Re: Is it just my imagination?
Post by: Sunny Clouds on 23 Apr 2018 02:54PM
In relation to the Windrush generation,  they were British subjects when they arrived or children of British subjects with right of abode.  However, you've put your finger on it insofar as they've been treated as if they're foreign and also that there are overlapping implications for other groups/sorts of people moving from one country to another as well as Windrush.
Title: Re: Is it just my imagination?
Post by: JLR2 on 23 Apr 2018 09:31PM
Watching the Daily Politics earlier today and found myself being wound up by the Tory MP (can't mind his name but he was of a non-white complexion)  as he gave his mutterings he went from referring to the nationality of the Windrush migrants who  he was explaining saw themselves as being British and then he said something along the lines of,  ''well actually English''. Now I'm not sure but does anybody know if it was only England that needed rebuilding after the Second World or did not Scotland too suffer damage?  I'm thinking I heard a rumour that Clydebank suffered German bombing. Maybe that's a bit of history that the Tory MP missed when he was at school and was being taught about the Blitz.