Thursday, 24 June 2010


Once they have stripped us all of DLA,
Then they’ll take our care packages away;
Next they’ll debar us from Access to Work,
Because it’s just another disability perk.

I’m wondering then just how I will strive,
To look after myself, or even to stay alive;
How will I shower, get dry and then dress,
As for toileting; that’ll just end up a mess.

What a sight I’ll be should I get to my job,
Dirty and undressed looking a like slob;
Covered in talc in hope that I can quench,
What can only be described an awful stench.

It won’t be long before I’m given the sack,
“That’s the way out; and, don’t come back”;
At the JobCentre I’ll explain my inability,
To look after myself because of disability.

A DWP officer will quickly glance at my file,
And, with soulless eyes and a built-in smile,
Reads me a worn-out script lacking any wit,
Which disqualifies me from all state benefit.

On the street in my chair; has it come to this,
Alone, without money looking into the abyss;
And, down in that chasm staring back at me,
A future that can only promise more misery.

So Osborne, Cameron and the rest of you toffs,
Look into this chasm where all your caste offs,
Lie broken on the wheels of neo-liberal greed,
Because people like you put profits before need.

Gideon’s Giveaway

The bastards took away dignity,
Our benefits, that kept us going,
Were put out to tender,
To the lowest bidder.

Criteria became so tough,
The beat of a pulse,
Would disqualify,
Even those most disabled.

On JSA, yet unable to walk,
Let alone to get to work,
We lost our homes,
We lost our way.

The final obscenity came,
When homeless,
And, in the gutter,
The bastards sold off the stars!

Welfare in a State

Don’t worry, you’re disabled,
There's no threat,
To your welfare,
We’ve a got safety net.

Oh, remember that safety net,
It’s vanished, it’s lost,
But, hey let’s not regret,
After all, look at its cost.

There’s nothing for nothing,
No, that’s in the past,
Everything’s are earned,
A lesson you’d better learn fast.

Who’d have thought,
After such great fights,
Our welfare would,
Be in such a state?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Work for Your Benefits

That or starve;
Are the stark choices,
On offer today.
You’re only disabled,
If ATOS say so,
And, when they say ‘No’,
You’re onto JSA,
Not a fat ESA.
Yes, appeal the decision,
Which is likely unfair,
You’ll probably win,
But, they won’t care.
They’ll continue to cut,
To the bone and beyond,
Cos, it’s all about numbers,
No room for compassion.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Daily Heil Misreporting

Another imbalanced piece of reporting; but then, what to expect from the Heil, a rag noted for its need of scapegoating. Any objective reporter would quite rightly place more emphasis on the greater ‘evil’; that is the £172,428 (85% of the total fraud) cheated from the Public Revenue.

Considering the man was actually only charged with one charge of Cheating the Public Revenue makes the Heil guilty of false reporting. This is a news story about a tax cheat clear and simple. The Daily Heil once again demonstrates its hysterical hounding of benefits’ cheats; and, especially where it can work a disability angle into the lies.

Is it any wonder the Heil acts in such a disgusting manner when you see the kind of readership to which it panders. Reading the ‘Comments’ section of the web is a lesson in intolerance.

Thankfully, I can say that I’m safely removed from these bigots and extremists. Sadly, our new government, the ConDem regime, will lap up this kind of filthy demonization and use it against all disabled people.

The Daily Heil is not a fit ‘paper’ to be seen on the shelves of our newsagents.

Friday, 18 June 2010

"The few scammers make it difficult for us genuine people..."

"The few scammers make it difficult for us genuine people..."

Claims one of the signatories to the "Against DWP Reforms for the genuinely sick and disabled." petition.

Few being the operative word, here. The way in which the media cover benefits’ cheating is way out of proportion to its impact on the country’s economy. When the banking system went into decline I recall a general outcry against banks; however, with the exception of Fred Goodwin I can’t recall a mass demonization of bankers by the press or media.

From time to time the media will cover a high-profile case of tax fraud; yet, we don’t have Daily Heil witch hunts of this group, despite the fact the monies they cheat from us (anything from £70 - £150 billion annually; as against the £1.1 billion befits’ cheats steal) have a real and damaging effect on our economy.

Perversely, while these wealthy scammers get away with their cheating it is us, the workers of the country, who dutifully pay our way week in week out. Then, when from time to time we need the safety net, the one our taxes paid for, we’re told its been taken away to soften the landing of the rich and wealthy.


Because rich bankers, far removed from the needs of the Welfare State, played hard and fast with our economy; because we bailed them out with our money; because the bankers took our money and gave nothing back in return; and, because their friends are now in power and bent on making us pay for the mistakes of their greedy class.

"Against DWP Reforms for the genuinely sick and disabled."

If I’m not mistaken this Condem regime is looking to slash and cut benefits that disabled people need in order to simply exist. Maybe these wealthy people can survive without the Welfare State; after all their fathers and grandfathers did all in their power to stop its birth and growth. Indeed, their successors are now about to pull away what is a safety net for millions.

Their actions have nothing to do with pulling people out of poverty. The Tory ‘half’ of this regime has never considered the needs of the poor in their relentless greed-drive for greater profits. Their neo-lib juggernaut will careen across our public services; selling off anything that looks profitable; after which they’ll asset strip and downsize leaving the bare bones of a service to meet our needs.

We can only hope this regime becomes riven by dissent and ideological differences; thus becoming unable to govern with any kind of mandate.

Miami 5 Speech by Len McCluskey at 2008 TUC

This speech was made in 2008 in Brighton; and, its message still resonates as strongly today. McCluskey gave an excellent potted history of the Miami 5; as well as infusing the passion this miscarriage of justice/political expediency deserves.

McCluskey’s delivery, for me, swept away the distance of the events; giving the issue a sense of the here and now; something that, though occurring on another continent, did impact on us as trade unionists and workers.

I’ve listened to Len speak on the subject since this and his passion and resolve remain undiminished.

And to Gerardo Hernández,René González, Antonio Guerrero, Ramon Labañino, Fernando González...

Hasta la victoria, siempre!

Why a Motability Scooter Accident is Newsworthy

Here’s a stab in the dark. RTAs involving HGVs, buses and bikes are commonplace; so many are caught speeding it has become routine; alas, the numbers killed and injured on our roads have become statistics, sadly no longer deemed shocking.

Yet, an 83-year old injured in a hit-and-run mobility scooter is something out of the ordinary. Newspapers, often, work on the principle of putting ‘newsworthy’ stories in their publications; and, since most of the activities you mentioned in Message 1 are not only everyday occurrences; but to our shame, they happen too frequently during any given day.

Those of us who have access to computers (again, I’ll stick my neck out here and guess most of us here) can search for RTA statistics through the various search engines at our disposal. However, try Googling for information on numbers injured or killed by ‘mobility’ scooters and wheelchairs. Such information is quite difficult to obtain; mainly, I suppose there’s too little frequency to warrant statistical information.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants and newcomers all

I chaired a hustings just before the election a few weeks back. A woman I know from another organisation I chair made some quite offensive comments about foreign workers flooding the area, particularly the fact they couldn’t speak English; and, then punctuated her contribution with “I can say this because I’m a black person!”

Before I had a chance to upbraid her for these untoward remarks the Green candidate interjected; and, I gave him full licence. He politely informed the woman that of the six people at the top table at least three were Irish and one originally from Pakistan.

One of the candidates, originally from the Six Counties, contested “I’m not Irish” at which I calmed her down with a soothing pat on the arm explaining “I think he’s talking about me.”

Coming from an Irish immigrant family I feel a certain affinity with ‘refugees’ and newcomers to this country. Maybe the Irish didn’t get called scroungers; but, like our black Afro-Caribbean Comrades arriving on these shores during the same period, we got called everything else.

Successive generations of refugees, asylum seekers, economic migrants, newcomers – call them what you will – to these shores have greatly enriched our communities. They’ve helped us out in oh so many ways; and, they’ve given far more than they’ve taken.

My parents like successive generations of the Irish Diaspora had little choice. It was either subsist in an impoverished rural Ireland of the 40s and 50s or take economic refuge in a Britain screaming out for their labour.

They worked hard all their lives and contributed financially, socially, politically and culturally to what became their home; yet, always keeping a place in their hearts that was forever Ireland – their first home.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Thatcher's Demise

Thatcher came knockin’ upon heaven’s door,
“Fuck off!” said God, “You’re rich not poor.”
“But, my dad was just a local grocer”,
Said Thatcher as she moved ever closer.

“That’s far enough, stand away from the gate,
You’re full of contagion, riddled with hate;
You’re destined for the other direction,
To that furnace of perpetual correction.”

Looking at Hell Thatcher mused, “Why regret?
I’ll be with Dennis and Gus Pinochet;
My sins will place me at the top level,
Just behind Churchill, close to the Devil .”

So, smiling she turned from her creator,
“He’s agin us...fucking liberal traitor”;
Now for those in Hell a word to the wise,
Give her no power or she’ll privatise!


Our leaky ships,
Sail a Sea of Woe,
Wave upon wave,
Wrecking our way;
We have an ocean
Of discrimination,
To cross before,
The lighthouse of equality,
Shines our path,
Into a haven of

The Child in Me

I once deigned to daydream.
And, Whilst deep in reverie;
Took a moment of deserved respite,
From the daily grind of life.
I looked to find the child in me gone.
Somehow, in stealth he’d been stolen.
I know not where he went.
Yet, I can but only hope and pray
That he was saved the deprivations
Of life’s prosaicness,
Its unremitting ordinariness.
Yet, I fancy my lost inner child
Is out there somewhere,
Pitying me,
The adult he was saved from becoming.

The un-elected minority

And passion,
After a fashion,
Are bound,
To sound,
The same.
To the tame,
They hear,
A word,
Loud is,
Not allowed,
By those,
Who pose,
And suppose,
Their authority.
The un-elected minority.


Tory Cameron,
Yours is a world,
Of trickle-down treats;
The good and worthy,
Dole out crumbs,
To the less,
Well off.

Where, the poor
Are over taxed,
And, taxes relaxed,
For the wealthier few,
To accrue,
Even more,
At a cost to the poor.

What's in a Name

Ok; come on what’s in a name,
A word that we wish to reclaim,
A term once used to put us down,
Now belongs to us, it’s our own.

Many on Ouch understand why,
We use such terms, which could imply,
A sense of self-community,
Perhaps, a sense of unity.

Crip and spaz are vox populi,
We can’t go back and cast the die;
Rather, we can be sensitive,
And, attempt to live and let live.

SWP Blueprint for Revolution!

When the chance comes to agitate,
You must act quickly you can’t wait,
To listen to compelling fact,
Arguments that may well distract,
You from your reactionary role,
To steal the strike and take control.

Once they’re completely in your thrall,
It’ll be easy, they’ll play ball;
Just promise them utopia,
A life of cornucopia,
The tyranny of bosses gone,
They can look to a Golden Dawn.

But, who’s in charge without the boss?
Who fucking cares; who gives a toss?
The means to wealth are in our hands,
We’ve won the day, all our demands!
Our future’s written, bold and bright,
Come Comrades and join the fight!

Virtual Friends

I have some friends I’ve never seen,
But, they’re all there in my screen;
Unlike my friends of flesh and bone,
These other mates are all unknown.

We’ve never meet, that’s face to face,
No, we converse through time and space;
Through a thing devised by the Swiss,
We laugh and chat in utter bliss.

Benefits Fraud versus Tax Fraud

Ok, so amputee Karl Sacks was cheating the system and, yes benefits to the value of some £1.1 billion are fraudulently acquired annually – that’s ALL benefits, not just those paid out in relation to disability.

Figures on tax evasion (illegal) and tax avoidance (‘legal’) in the UK are staggering. Tax evasion costs us anything up to £70 billion a year; while combined, evasion and avoidance could be costing the country a mind-blowing £120 billion annually – avoidance may be legal; but, how moral is it for the wealthy to buy their way out of paying their fair share.

Why is the government not putting more resources into recouping monies cheated by their wealthy friends? Or, have I answered my own question.

Just imagine; if half the monies being denied the Revenue were reclaimed the fiscal deficit would be paid off in no time. We’d not have to worry about our public services being stolen from us. We’d most likely be out of recession quicker.

Instead, the government will not pursue their cheating friends and business chums; they’ll sell off public services to the lowest bidders, more of their own class; and, we’ll see figures of 3.5 – 4 million unemployed within a year.

That’s the Tory way. When in doubt, privatise. Once privatised, streamline. Streamlining leads to fewer jobs; fewer jobs same workload leads to greater pressures on those left in work; greater pressure leads to stress and related mental illness.

You find yourself off work through mental illness; you’re sacked for taking time off work; you are denied benefits because you contributed to your own sacking; no safety net; poverty.

Poverty, the Tory way of dealing with macro economics.

Scum Press

Newspapers such as the Heil aren’t interested in printing real news. They’d far rather take the line of least resistance and cover the lazy stories. The system hands them their quick fix with some 6,000 cases of benefits’ fraud per year.

So, why would they stray too far from their comfort zone? Far easier to demonise those the state has chosen to target above others.

I’d like questions answered. Why isn’t the government targeting tax fraud; a crime that puts benefits’ fraud into the shade? Individual players in that game are perpetrating fraud on an industrial scale compared to the penny-ante amounts often involved with benefits’ fraud.

Last year the Daily Telegraph began drip feeding reports of MPs wrongly claiming expenses; the first report was news; subsequent reports were a blatant case of political bias. So much for objective journalism.

If the Telegraph is concerned over wrongdoing in parliament why isn’t it equally concerned when another privileged group, the wealthy, cheat and rob the system. Their concern, their high dudgeon over the MPs expenses was just an exercise in journalistic hypocrisy. They sat back during the Thatcher and Major years allowing the process to go unreported; then, through political expediency dredged up the stories in order to embarrass a Labour administration – it’s actually ironic since it was Thatcher’s refusal to bring MP’s salaries into line with comparable jobs that kicked the thing off!

So Jaygee and others, enjoy, rant and rave in high dudgeon as you condemn benefits’ cheats for their heinous crimes. Fill your hearts full to brimming with disgust for these social pariahs. Call down upon them full wroth of the law. Seek out your daily fixes of benefits fraudsters from the Heil and allied rags.

However, while you’re helping to demonise disabled people as a group; the real enemy is stealing money that would ensure that our kids had access to a decent education – because the enemy will be sending theirs to public schools where they’ll learn how to screw the next generation of ordinary people.

While you’re drooling over a single mum getting done for taking on a few days cash-in-hand-work in order to buy a few luxuries for her kids; Lord This or That of Landofplenty will be cheating you and me out of tens of millions of pounds in some tax fiddle or another.

While you’re becoming excited at the news of a disabled person caught walking that bit more than he should have and subsequently losing his DLA; some unscrupulous businessman will be buying his 17-year old son a £20,000 Mini from the proceeds of unpaid taxes.

Personally, I’d not allow any links from the Heil or Express to be placed on Ouch. These two rags are so far beyond the pale when reporting issues concerning disabled people; they are viewed as offensive by lots of disabled people and their friends. Nobody in the circles I move in would ever contemplate buying one of these rags.

But, what do expect from newspapers that supported the Nazis!

Benefit Fraud

Jaygee, “...the storyline this time may well have concentrated on 'disability'...” – your use of ‘may well have’ when disability is mentioned or alluded to in every paragraph indicates a kind of denial in your case.

However, let’s use your thesis that ‘this time’ they used the disability angle to expose benefits fraud. Then when are we going to see tax fraud reported in the same proportions as benefits fraud?

Tax fraud accounts for over a hundred billion compared to less than two billion for benefits fraud. Why, if they, as you imply, investigate cheats equally; then the scab papers would be full of stories of tax cheats.

However, this isn’t the case. It isn’t the case because tax cheats are secretly admired by Middle England; indeed, Middle England is where most of it goes on.

Those grubby readers of the Heil and Express are probably salting way scores, hundreds of thousand pounds a year into off-shore accounts; wrongly declaring their tax returns; as they sit down with their reactionary rags at the breakfast table spluttering coffee and raging at disabled benefits cheats.

'Sell Out!'

Two years ago I visited one of the Remploy factories in my Branch (I was Branch Secretary of 5 factories within the M25). This site was closing down; and, as you can imagine feelings were running high. We convened a meeting in the canteen to which some 50 odd people turned up; most were shop floor workers, Unite members, a few were supervisory staff, also Unite members.

The shop steward opened the meeting and was almost immediately shouted down by a couple of angry workers (one a member the other not). They, in their frustration, began using that time honoured device of ‘what was the union doing?’, ‘why didn’t you stop the closure?’ and ‘you’ve sold us out!’

The reason I came to the meeting was in order to deflect some of this flak from the shop steward, whose conduct during the ‘Remploy Crusade’ was beyond reproach.

When the gathering quietened down I spoke to the meeting. Looking around the room I saw around 8 out of the 50 or so activists that had tried to move heaven and earth to keep the site open. They, myself and the shop steward had criss-crossed the UK attending demos and marches in support of Remploy.

I identified the people who had done the business; some of whom had become ill as a result. Then I looked to those that accused and blamed the union for their misfortune and asked why they hadn’t come out in strength. Why they hadn’t attended Parliament when we called for them. Why they didn’t help to swell the crowds in Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Stirling, Poole, Newcastle or London.

Funny how one minute we’re selling our members out; then on reflection they come to realise they too had a responsibility for their own futures.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Referendum on Death Penalty

And, how would you deal with those pesky miscarriages of justice that arise from time to time. Would we create a Department of Frankenstein: For the resurrection of the Innocently Hanged? Or, where we find we’ve executed an innocent person why don’t we then have a system whereby someone from the register of ‘Yes’ voters to capital punishment in the referendum is themselves executed to balance the books. You know, an eye for an eye...

Further to this, where is the proof that capital punishment works, other than the state murdering another human in the name of revenge. CP is practiced in India and the US yet both these countries still record high rates of murder and violent crime.

Incidentally, if we’re basing CP versus life imprisonment on cost then CP, as is the case in the US, is the more costly of the two options. Unless, of course, we cut back on due process; that is we try them and hang them on the same day; thus eliminating any chance of appeal.

Kaz, this ConDem regime will do enough ‘thinking outside the box’ in the months ahead. Some of their policies will lead to hundreds if not thousands of us dying prematurely.

Not exactly execution; but, a death penalty nonetheless.
Con-Dems and public secor/service cuts

No self respecting HR department would allow the employer to be taken to court for disability discrimination; not when there are so many ways for companies to circumvent the DDA.

Then there’s the difficulty in actually bringing an action against a company you feel has acted discriminately. If you belong to a trade union you could seek help through their offices; otherwise, it could work out very expensive in legal costs.

The DDA doesn’t give universal cover against disability discrimination. The law possibly favours disabled in employment, particularly in organised workplaces; but, as people on here have testified, even this is no safeguard against determined employers.

Labour, and now this shower of vicious cutters, the ConDems, are playing lip service to disabled people. If they were they serious about helping us into employment they’d ensure the easily accessible legislation existed; they’d have an affordable path to Tribunals.

The system would not be tortuously difficult and prohibitively expensive to access. For instance, why not have legal experts in each JobCentrePlus? If jobs are advertised in a discriminatory manner; or, if people feel they’ve been mistreated at any stage of the job seeking process they’d have a means of redress.

Unfortunately, we’re stuffed. This regime we’ve just been saddled is about to make the most vicious serious of cuts ever to befall the Welfare State. Our only hope is that they become riven with internal dissent as soon as possible and that such schism leads to another election.

Otherwise, I hold little or no hope for things like care packages, with councils only offering these to those assessed with critical care needs; a universal review of DLA will make the qualifying criteria more stringent, thus forcing scores of thousands off the benefit; I predict they’ll exclude all public sector jobs from the Access to Work scheme, with a view to abolishing the entire scheme; and, they’ll dispense with Tax Credits for disabled people.

Hope I’m wrong on all counts. But, from what I’ve read our new government has a greedy narrow grasp of economics; it is steeped in the creed of neo-liberalism; and, will strive to ensure its class comes out of recession relatively unscathed.

History has taught us the line of least resistance in their reaching such goals is an attack on the public sector; bitter lessons of mass unemployment and dismembering of entire communities is writ large across the pages of our social history, reaching down the decades.

Unlike previous recessions and cuts in the social budget, this time it will hit us, disabled people as never before. Just as we begin to make some breakthrough socially; just as we take our first tentative steps towards equality we’ll be driven back.

Despite our slow progress we are making headway; not as fast as, say technology or medicine or other social progressions; yet, it is an improvement to say the mid 1980s.

Today more of us live independently. More of us are seen travelling on public transport. We’re not restricted to driving around in pale blue three wheelers. Less of us are in institutions. More of us progress through ‘mainstream’, from primary to tertiary levels. And yes, more of us are in employment; and, less of us, as adults, living at ‘home’ dependent on aging parents.

For these very reasons I fear the retrogressive backlash that will result from the ConDems attacks on the public sector and services. What will happen to severely disabled people who are stripped of benefits; how do we survive without life sustaining care packages. I’m concerned, very worried. I envisage lots of our number being failed by the system; and, many people will die prematurely as a result of the actions of this uncaring government.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

How Dare We...

How dare we raise our expectations out of the gutter?
How dare we expect business to slow down to keep pace with us?
How dare we believe we have the right to work?
How dare we expect a decent income when we’re unable to work?
How dare we expect not to work?
How dare we fear what tomorrow holds for us...
No Peace for the Dead

There I was deceased; dead as dead can be,
I get a knock on my coffin and get up to see,
Who was this disturbing my eternal slumber,
Banging my coffin; who gave them my number?

“Hello, Mr McGovern I’m from the DWP,
Here to inform you of a government decree;
It says the dead shall be usefully employed,
Not lazing about as you previously enjoyed”

“Just what do you want; I’ve settled life’s debt;
Are you out for a Steffi; or, are you having a bet?
You caused my early death, you made me ill,
Not satisfied with that you’re harassing me still”

Then, I put out a message to all those around,
Of a meeting to be convened in our burial ground;
To oppose and resist by all means at our disposal,
The official edict; ‘The Dead Must Work’ proposal.

Corpses, cadavers, carcasses, skeletons, the dead,
Assembled, curiously awaiting what was to be said.
A recently dead body with both eyes still in place,
Read out the edict to moans and cries of ‘Disgrace’.

The issue then was opened up to the floor for debate,
The outcome of which could very well seal our fate;
To continue to repose in our various states of decay;
Or, be forced to take on work for less than basic pay.

The vote went unanimously against the dead working,
With an amendment stating that we were not shirking;
No, we’d done our fair share when we still had breath,
And, that nothing should disturb our peace in death.
If I knew what I knew before...

If I knew what I knew before thought became word
If I knew what I knew before word was acted out
If I knew what I knew before action bore consequence
If I knew what I knew before consequence wrought sorrow
If I knew what I knew before sorrow broke heart
If I knew what I knew before broken heart tore me apart
If I knew all this I’d known I’d lived!
Dating a Date Tree

As a dendrochronologist,
I would date it if it’s wood,
And, especially if it’s good.
Once on a date,
With a date tree;
She turned,
Kinda wooden,
And said,
“Will you ring me?”
Well, as you know,
Ringing is my specialty…

It visits any time, night or day,
And when it comes it’s as if to say,
“Anything you try will be in vain,
I am all-conquering, I am pain.”

At my shoulders it begins to drill,
Becoming so bad I can’t stay still;
It now commands my every thought,
I’m in its control, it has me caught.

Tonight I doubt I’ll get any sleep,
And as is usual time will creep,
Allowing my over active brain,
To fully benefit from the pain.

The Atheist’s Lament

Lord won’t you give me a day in the sun,
My life’s so wretched and I deserve fun;
A little time off to breathe without pain,
And, then I’ll take up my burden again.

Lord can I make just one simple request,
That I live my life, just like all the rest;
Sleeping as soon as my head hits the sack,
Not writhing in pain from a knackered back.

Lord one night free of pain’s all that I need,
Not difficult for you I think you’ll concede,
One wave of your wand, is how it’s done,
‘Abracadabra’ and pain let there be none!

Lord, I’d sell my soul for some respite,
Except that I sold it the other night,
To a devilish man where all roads meet,
Who promised me health, my body complete.

Lord, I’m still in pain, and my soul is spent,
Thus the reason for this futile lament;
An atheist in pain may hedge his bets,
Falter, but in the end has no regrets.

Lord, I ask please forgive my intrusion,
My weakness led me into this delusion;
In calling out for your heavenly aid,
From my path of disbelief I have strayed.