Saturday, 19 March 2016

The Limbo Existence between DLA and PIP

Just had a call from a Labour MP's SPAD. He was interested in whether I was claiming PIPS and did it impact on my ability to work.

First off I explained the Personal Independence Payment was PIP, not PIPS, they sang with Gladys Knight. Then went on to say that I was one of the final group of DLA recipients, waiting on tenterhooks for the dreaded letter to arrive.

He wasn't interested in that. No his only interest was working people who had applied for and been turned down for PIP.

Despite his insistence I did get my point across, which is this. Those of us still waiting to come off DLA and apply for PIP are living a limbo existence. For instance, I won't take a holiday just in case the letter from the PIP assessors lands on my doormat while I’m away and disadvantages me, as the whole process is time driven. Similarly, if I received the letter just before I went away I’d spend the entire holiday stressed out.

Any time now I will get a call from my social worker to review my social care package. Again the worry is that my council is looking to cut packages.

Living from assessment to assessment whether for DLA/PIP, Access to Work, Tax Credits, Housing Benefit, or social care is a fucking headache.

Progress: SHUT UP!

During the past six months Corbyn and McDonnell have faced a barrage of attacks from the Tories, the right-wing media, especially the scum press, and, sadly, from back-stabbing Blairite rats and snakes within the Parliamentary Labour Party.

These attacks, particularly from their own side, have been both galling and of course treacherous. There is still talk of a coup against Corbyn following the May elections, where Labour is expected to lose seats. Although, Sadiq Khan appears to be well ahead in the London mayoral race.

However, this week has seen Corbyn’s Left leadership rise in the polls. A week in which Corbyn and McDonnell performed a spectacular strike against the government by announcing their own fiscal rule; condemning the attacks on benefits; and now splitting the government front benches.

“It is no longer “put up or shut up” time for the Progress wing of Labour. Just the latter.”- Paul Mason.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Third Class Rail System

Everything was going to plan. Left home on a freezing cold Saturday morning at 8.05 needing to be at the assisted travel office in Euston Station at around 8.45 to catch the 9.17 train to New Street Birmingham. 

Another exciting Saturday to be spent in the bosom of Unite United Left Comrades in the august surroundings of Birmingham's Council House. The thought of getting there was creating quite a frisson of anticipation in me. 

We arrived at the drop off point for Euston Station in Eversholt Street at a couple of minutes past 8o’clock, well ahead of schedule. Next stop the pre-paid ticket machine, that I have to trust my trusted PA to operate for me as I cannot access it from my wheelchair.

Tickets collected with no problems.

Assisted onto the train in good time. However, as the wheelchair space was located right in front of the buttons operating the toilet I noticed a red warning light. On enquiry a station operative apologized and explained the toilet was out of service. This meant I had to vacate the train and catch a later one.

This created a problem, as I soon found out, from a ticket clerk in a small booth on the platform. Explaining my situation, the clerk told me I would need to take the issue up with whoever I bought the tickets from. To travel on the next train, I would need new tickets costing £28 each.

Of course I was furious. Why should I be penalized because the train I wanted to use was inaccessible? Surely it was the responsibility of the operators to carry out a reasonable adjustment and allow me to catch the next accessible train using existing or renewed tickets at no extra cost?

The ticket clerk said “NO.”

Despondently we turned to leave the platform when the staff member who had helped me on and off the train asked if I had sorted things. On explaining the situation, he asked us to wait a minute. A few minutes later he returned with another man. This it turned out was a station revenue officer. He took my outward journey ticket and wrote on the back signing it.

“There you are, that will get you to Birmingham. Sorry for all the inconvenience.” Now why didn’t the ticket clerk do that?