The attack on us continues.......500,000 to lose disability benefit

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Sunny Clouds

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I am not exaggerating when I say that for a long time (two or three years) I have been carefully watching the local beggars and street sellers.  I know where the good begging spots are and when they are or aren't occupied.  I know which ones are occupied by people who move on when someone else gets there first and which ones are occupied by people in a little group.  I know some of the local tricks of the trade.  (I don't mean cheating.)

For example, there's a local woman who carries a handful of lighters and asks people to buy one.  I observe you can buy 5-6 for a pound but if someone's out for the night, they may well pay a pound or more when they find they haven't got a light.  She sells secondhand bus tickets.  (Round here you can buy an all-day or all-evening ticket.)

Some have blankets and curl up.  I thought you don't get much money but then I went online and researched it.  You can get quite a lot.  Last year, I was selling poppies and I noticed which places attract the most generous givers.  Stand outside Poundland for people to give you pound coins not pennies.  Pick a middle-class supermarket for more generous offerings.

Big Issue sellers can make quite a bit of money but round here, as in some other places, it's dominated by a Romanian cartel.  Others can sell, but you have to move on when the regulars turn up.  If you can only afford to buy a few Big Issues (instead of getting them in bulk via the cartel) they get tatty, so you need a decent see-through cover for them.  I know what I'd sell instead, though - the local community magazine. 

If you sell something (like the lighters) you can register as self-employed and get tax credits so long as you average at least 16 hours a week, but that includes preparation time, marketing time and doing your accounts.  So I could clock up the hours when manic and not worry about not doing much in other weeks.  Once you're set up as self-employed, you can get housing benefit.  There's no minimum wage for self-employed so it doesn't matter if you only sell one lighter an hour, you can still get WTC.

I'm still exploring whether if Dad paid me for caring for him, I could do it on a self-employed basis and claim WTCs.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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I forgot to mention that if I lose my benefits and go begging, I shall shamelessly target TA and army recruitment centres and beg outside wearing my medal and beret.  OK, it's tacky, but if that's what it takes to stay alive, I'll do it.  Say a specialist army base where civvy professionals do their TA training.  They'll be on anything up to 100,000 in civvy life (which gives you an idea what sort of jobs they're in) so let's say twenty of them give a couple of quid each, that's 40.  Give them something in exchange - a nice picture of poppies or something - and it becomes a business (selling pictures), so the income can be topped up with WTCs, housing benefit etc.  You could say it's not genuinely selling something, but then I bet a lot of people who take Big Issues don't actually read the magazine, they just buy it to give money.  I could do a different picture every week, maybe sometimes military cartoons or something.

Don't take me wrong, but if the Romanians can do it, so can I.  Having advised at the CAB, I know what's legal that way so I know how to stay on the right side of the law.

 
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunshine Meadows

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Jockice,

I read the artcle you linked to and its a bit worrying really because IDS spouting of like he did is more likely to help us over time because people will start to realise the sick and disabled are being used as scapegoats.

One thing I don't get is why the Con Dems are using this benefit scroungers fraudsters rhetoric when they could actually talk about the way changes in society and medicine mean some people who were too to work can now work, but then of course the Con dems methods are pushing society back towards a Dickension viewpoint and stress and abuse is making disabled people who might work to sick to work.

lankou

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Jockice,

I read the artcle you linked to and its a bit worrying really because IDS spouting of like he did is more likely to help us over time because people will start to realise the sick and disabled are being used as scapegoats.



The Wrightstuff was VERY much in our favour this morning. It is the tone of IDS comments that is grating with people.

Prabhakari

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The Daily Telegraph is reliable in one regard. They print the nastiest comments I have seen anywhere.
The Daily Mail is not quite as bad, although it always gets a few, usually from totally ignorant people.

Why does the B.B.C. allow such a short time to comment on the stories they do allow comments?
I think that they will only write about benefit changes after they have become law, and when it is too late to do anything about it.

Not well just now, so may not be making sense.
Bless 'em all, bless 'em all,
The long and the short and the tall.

Sofie

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If you sell something (like the lighters) you can register as self-employed and get tax credits so long as you average at least 16 hours a week, but that includes preparation time, marketing time and doing your accounts.  So I could clock up the hours when manic and not worry about not doing much in other weeks.  Once you're set up as self-employed, you can get housing benefit.  There's no minimum wage for self-employed so it doesn't matter if you only sell one lighter an hour, you can still get WTC.

I've heard they're cracking on this. Which makes no sense - like you've implied, a self employed person isn't getting paid for every working hour they do. Whereas if you employ someone, you've got to pay the minimum wage for each hour they do.

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I'm still exploring whether if Dad paid me for caring for him, I could do it on a self-employed basis and claim WTCs.

Will this then solve the issue you have with carers allowance? It was something about the 35 hour rule.

Sunny Clouds

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"One thing I don't get is why the Con Dems are using this benefit scroungers fraudsters rhetoric when they could actually talk about the way changes in society and medicine mean some people who were too to work can now work,"

Because it's not just about saving money.

I'm trying to remember a bit in 1984 about hating.  It was something like a one minute national daily hate. 

Anyway, the emotion thing's important.

Take your typical voter.  He's probably not young (old people are more likely to vote), he's not terribly cynical (or he would have given up voting), he's probably not severely disabled (although postal voting is changing this) etc. 

Then out of these, they need to disregard those who'll vote Tory until the cows come home regardless of whether they stick to traditional Tory policies or not.

That leaves the floating voters and voters for rival parties.  The floating voters need to be placated but often only as the election approaches.  Voters for rival parties need to be wooed.

A lot of those will be people who are, or have been, reasonably well off.  Like a lot of people who are in this position, they like to think that they are because they have worked very hard.  No one wants to  think they don't deserve to be where they are and thinking it's pure chance isn't as nice as thinking you deserve it.

But these people can easily turn on a government if they think they aren't getting what they've earned and deserved.

Now they're seeing the bankers and people running certain companies getting very, very rich and they're comparing themselves with them.  Their own situation seems less and less attractive.

So how do you change their mind?

You distract them, you frighten them and you make them angry with others, not with the rich people they think they should be themselves.

You tell them that the poor people and disabled people and unemployed people are taking what is theirs.  You direct their anger towards those people.  You also stir an unease that they could end up like that so you direct their energies towards maintaining their current status.

You justify the increasing wealth differentials by saying the country is in crisis and 'we're all in it together' but then you tell them that we're not all in it together, the people on benefits aren't, they're getting an unfair deal.

Compare with 1930's Germany.  Hitler may or may not have had a personal grudge against Jews, but look at the way they were used (long before the Final Solution was thought up).  It was convenient to blame them for making money at other people's expense.  It was convenient to make everyone else feel included and united by singling them out as different.  The Nazi regime was in no way unique in this.  It's a technique that's been used around the world.

People who can be singled out morally for communal outrage are useful for getting people to conform to a moral code and people who can be singled out socially can be useful for getting people to conform to a social code.

Also, it is a lot easier to direct someone's anger at someone he perceives to be different when he sees him.

Take your stereotypical potential Tory supporter.  He may be a professional, he may work in an office or a trade.  There's a very good chance he wears a suit and tie and if he doesn't, he probably wears some sort of uniform, often self-imposed.  So very rich people don't actually look very different except that their suits are bespoke.  But the person with no job often comes from a different social group, dressing differently, behaving differently, speaking differently.  Nice, easy targets. 

What's more, they're next door.  You  bought your council house and you have a mortgage you struggle to afford and you're finding you have to pay for major repairs and redecoration and the council house tenant next door doesn't. 

It's a lot easier to resent that than the man in the mansion you never see.  If they are in a mansion, you only know about it because the papers tell you.  They tell you about the one immigrant on benefits who's in a mansion (if there were loads, they wouldn't always tell you about the same one), but they don't bombard you with pictures of people in scruffy social housing or Rachman housing with mould and a boiler that doesn't work and a broken toilet cistern.

It also helps if they look different.  Take certain tabloids and Muslims.  There's no point in simply attacking Asians because a lot of Muslims are Africans but a lot of Black people are Christian and a lot of Asians are Hindu/Sikh/Christian/Buddhist etc.

But one group makes a lovely, lovely target.  Women in Burkhas.  There's also niqab, but best not to make the distinction, just have one word and hammer it home.  Link the idea with extremism and you're home and dry.  Personally I loathe it when women cover their faces, but there's a difference from disliking something someone does out of choice and disliking the person.  A clever hate-monger conflates the two.

Maybe I'd better pause for breath there.



(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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"Will this then solve the issue you have with carers allowance? It was something about the 35 hour rule." (Sophie)

Yes, because I wouldn't be claiming carers allowance, I'd be working as self-employed and claiming tax credits.

Random musings...

Did anyone know that after the Boer War a law was brought in that made it illegal to display one's war injuries for the purposes of obtaining money?  So far as I know, it hasn't been repealed.  I must look at the wording of it and see whether it is just war wounds that are covered or all physical impairments.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

seegee

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I don't feel very comfortable with people covering their faces either, SC; because I rely largely on the way someone looks to judge if they may be friendly/ shy/ angry/ scared so I wouldn't know how to interact with them or even whether to give a wide berth to a very cross person - but the discomfort is mine and if I do want to/ have to interact with them it must be up to me to act reasonably and try not to behave oddly because I feel less than at ease.  Not always easy to do when I can't see a face.  >blush<

I do find it very odd when a woman covers all of herself (even eyes with a thin veil so she can see) but wears lots of flashy jewellery outside her gloves and other clothes, though - seems a bit like saying, "You can't see me but you can see I'm rich"... does that not rather defeat the point of dressing so that others can't judge you by your appearance, or is that no part of the reason for covering up?

Sunny Clouds

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Yes, the jewellery thing puzzles me, too, but it seems to be a minority thing.  There used to be a woman in a shop I went into regularly who covered her head and body yet wore very obvious make-up.  That always puzzled me.  Why cover your body then advertise yourself physically?  But then different cultures see things differently and people aren't always logical in what they do.  I'm certainly not. 

But the visible thing is terribly useful with disability.  It can be twisted in all sorts of ways so you can't 'win' whether you hide your disability or flaunt it or just carry on as normal.

I was talking with two neighbours about benefits recently.  One was stressed but I think he gets JSA not ESA and he made it clear he just doesn't think he can work right now but he's keeping an eye open for something suitable.  The other is a parent with shared custody who's on income support because although his child isn't small, he'd disabled so his parent gets benefits for looking after him.  The parent was chilled.  It made me realise how panicky I've become. 

But the discrimination locally is appalling.  I think the biggest mover and shaker in the area has an issue over mental illness in particular, probably from the job she was in before she retired.  I think that when I speak out, some people are shocked.

I'm getting pretty up-front about my disabled status.  Nowadays when I sit on the bus, I always hold my orange pass in my hand.  Only when everyone is on board do I turn it round with the orange stripe hidden.  If I'm standing up, I carry it not put it away so when, as often happens, I fall on top of other passengers, it diffuses the aggression.  Quite bluntly, if they get stroppy, I can drop it and anguishedly ask them to pick up 'my disabled bus pass' because 'I need it to get a disabled priority seat'.  Very occasionally, someone offers me a seat, and I don't turn it down, but I don't demand one because I'm too chicken.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)