Archive for March, 2014

History repeating, repeating, repeating …,

Part of the Great British history they don’t teach you at school – how the jobless were treated in the 1920s and 30s… and who’d bet against camps returning again ?

During the prolonged unemployment of the 1920s the British government proposed a scheme for transferring labour from the worse effected areas to training schemes in the South of England. For this purpose anIndustrial Transference Board was set up in 1928 to monitor and control the transfer of labour form unemployment black-spots. The ITB soon brought to the attention of the Ministry of Labour a ‘class‘ of men not easily fitted into the broader scheme, men deemed ‘soft and temporarily demoralised through prolonged unemployment‘. These men were considered a danger to the morale of the other men and were considered unfit for transfer until they had been ‘hardened’.

The scheme for ‘hardening’ in Labour Camps (on penalty of loss of the dole) was devised by Baldwin’s Tory government, but was carried through with Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour Government and expanded by the 1931 National Government. They were supported by the TUC as well as the Labour Party, and were opposed and exposed only by the National Unemployed Workers Movement, in which the Communist Party was the leading influence.

Between 1929 and 1939 25 secret concentration camps were built in the most remote areas of Britain and more than 200,000 unemployed men were sent to these camps. The Labour Camps were conducted under military discipline and men were interned in the centres for three-month periods, working for up to nine hours a day breaking rocks, building roads and cutting down trees. In August 1939, in preparation for the war against Germany, the Ministry of Labour issued instructions that the managerial records of its own concentration camps should be weeded out, and much of the documentation was destroyed.

From: unemployed Tyne and Wear

Source –  http://sites.scran.ac.uk/redclyde/redclyde/rc138.htm

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Freaking out about Karine Jollet

Fantastic fabric art by Karine Jollet.

Are you ready for this?

These are fabric sculptures by French artist Karine Jollet. You can view her entire anatomical series as well as her other work on flickr. Prepare to spend a lot of time staring at the screen.

Enjoy!

xoxo, Shannon

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What political “ism” is this?

billboard-poster-david-cameron

A shocking proposal from a so-called expert at the Department of Health has suggested that people in work should be given priority for treatment in the NHS.

In a move which could hit pensioners, disabled people, lone parents and unemployed people, government advisor Dame Carol Black has said: “I personally think we should perhaps be more honest and debate more fully if we would prioritise such patients if it was a question of getting them back to work.” 

In other words if you are currently without a job, for any reason, then forget about accessing healthcare as you are pushed down to the bottom of NHS waiting lists.  Black’s comments even seem to suggest that the sicker you are, and the less likely to be able to go back to work, then the longer you might have to wait for NHS treatment.

Dame Carol Black made the comments – which were first reported on the Work, Savings and Benefits website – at the recent Health and Wellbeing 2014 conference.  She was joined at the conference by DWP chief medical adviser Dr Bill Gunnyeon who according to the website agreed that there is: “an issue about what priority we give to health related interventions for people of working age

reblogged from “the void”

Keep your health records private, here’s how …,

 Featured Image

Atos…yes, the French firm Atos have been awarded the very important contract to extract patient data!

A company who is responsible for the deaths of disabled people due to their disgraceful handling of ‘fit to work’ tests has been given even more responsibilities…I still can’t believe it, is it April 1st already?!

I won’t elaborate further than The Independent’s article, there’s no need…

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/atos-to-manage-nhs-caredata-project-despite-ongoing-mess-over-disability-benefit-assessments-9153885.html

If ever there was a good time to opt out of this disgraceful mess, it’s now!

Here’s the link to the opt out form, just fill it in for each member of your household and drop it in to the reception desk at your GP surgery. They will probably sell off our data anyway, but opting out is taking a stand and it’s always worth a try to protect our rights.

http://medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out

NHS hospital data HAS been sold to insurance companies so they can raise their premiums for high risk patients. This is something that is apparently illegal and medical data should only be used for the purposes of research to better our lives. Hiking up insurance premiums certainly isn’t to better our lives!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10656893/Hospital-records-of-all-NHS-patients-sold-to-insurers.html

From Echo Britain

Starvation Strategy?

Longer than my usual but really worth the read!

Dear Mr Cameron,
I have taken the liberty to write to you following an article that appeared in the Guardian a few days ago. I have a specific question that I would be grateful if you could answer but first let me outline the reason for my writing.
I have just read of the tragic story of Mark Wood, who was a 44 year old man with a number of complex mental health conditions. Mr Wood starved to death at his home last August, months after an Atos fitness-for-work assessment found him fit for work. This assessment meant that the jobcentre stopped his sickness benefits, leaving him just £40 a week to live on. His housing benefits were stopped at around the same time. This was despite a plea from his GP not to stop or reduce his benefits as this would have ongoing, significant impacts on his mental health. Mr Wood’s doctor told the inquest that the Atos decision was an “accelerating factor” in Mr Wood’s eventual death. He was very distressed that his housing benefit had been cut off, and by letters about rising rent arrears and warnings from the electricity company his supply would be cut off.
I have no personal knowledge of Mr Wood but for 15 years I have worked, and continue to work in mental health and know that Mr Wood’s tragic circumstances are far from unique. Mr Wood had struggled with undiagnosed mental health issues all his life, which made it impossible for him to work. Although his family ‘worked for years to create a place for him to live safely, this stopped when his benefits were stopped. He tried so hard to survive’. Mr Wood’s sister was distressed that Atos did not seek medical evidence from her brother’s GP, and made the assessment that he was capable of preparing to return to work after a half-hour interview at his home. The Atos report concluded his mental state was “normal”.
Tom Pollard, policy and campaigns manager at Mind confirmed that this tragic case was not an isolated incident for people ‘struggling to navigate a complex, and increasingly punitive, system.’
And now to my query. Mr Alan Budd, who in May 2010 came out of retirement to be the interim Chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility was, as you know, a chief economic advisor to Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s. Mr Budd has since gone on record in an interview with the Observer in 1992 to confirm that
“…the 1980’s policies of attacking inflation by squeezing the economy and public spending were a cover to bash the workers. Raising unemployment was a very desirable way of reducing the strength of the working class. What was engineered –in Marxist terms-was a crisis of capitalism which re-created a reserve army of labour, and has allowed the capitalists to make high profits ever since” (pp 284-285).
At the time it was always assumed by most that any political activity was always in the interests of the population. This quote served as confirmation that the raising of unemployment during the Thatcher era was a deliberate tactic. As unthinkable as that might have been at the time, there was a clear decision to destroy lives for political capital. My question, and I ask this in all seriousness is whether your administration is currently also having a different set of private conversations to those that the public hear. Just as the Thatcher administration reassured the public they were trying to lower unemployment when they were intentionally increasing it, can I ask whether your cabinet has had conversations about how desirable it would be for a few vulnerable people to starve to death. It could be seen after all that a few examples of what can really happen when the safety net is removed might mobilise others who draw on benefits to stop ‘scrounging from hard working taxpayers’ and move toward the labour market. So my question is
a. Have you deliberately set out to drive a small number of British people to starvation as a political tactic?
The reason I moved to ask such an extreme question is because to make someone die of starvation in a western democracy in 2014 isn’t actually a very easy thing to do. It needs an awful lot of very specific activities to conflate at once in order for it to become possible for vulnerable people like Mr Wood to starve to death. You would need to put in place a systematic regime of wage stagnation, a raft of brutal benefits cuts that disproportionately attack the vulnerable and disabled. You’d need to develop and sustain an orchestrated campaign of misrepresenting vulnerable people through the media and you would need to put in place a privatised work assessment regime that rewards morally bankrupt companies who assess people as fit for work regardless of their circumstances. To achieve this you would need to make possible the most hideous and inhumane political coalition since Asquith’s feckless cabinet contributed to 1m deaths at the Somme.
Regardless of whether a starvation strategy has been deliberately orchestrated or is a tragic by-product of one of the most sustained political failures of modern times, I do wonder Mr Cameron whether you will see Mr Wood’s emaciated and desperate face when you close your eyes to go to sleep at night. For the sake of the many other people around the country approaching such extreme destitution, I genuinely hope that you do.
Yours sincerely,
Dr Carl Walker

From: Since 1545

Welfare Reforms Debate?

debate?

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