18 August 2010


Moon and planets over Portugal - Miguel Claro, NASA photo of the day

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.
-Mark Twain


  1. LifeisElsewehere on WADDYA

    They are basically assuming everyone is fit for work at all times - nobody gets ill,

    This is precisely the theory underpinning these changes, only of course it's dressed up in the language of neoliberalism - empowerment, liberation etc.

    It is explicitly NOT a tougher regime, as the public are being led to believe, it is an entirely NEW regime, a new theory of illness and incapacity in relation to work developed by UnumProvident and Cardiff University.

    It is not hyperbole to say illness is being abolished, at least in relation to its impact on an individual's capacity for work. The public are been deliberately misled by government and media into believing these changes relate only to a bunch of incorrigible scroungers who are being 'found out' by the new toughness. They don't; they will impact on everyone who ever becomes ill in the future and has cause to look for assistance from the State.

    Those members of the public who can barely contain their glee at so-called scroungers getting their comeuppance should be damn sure they never become ill, because the veracity of a claim no longer has any bearing on entitlement, simply because THERE IS NO LONGER ANY ENTITLEMENT - you will work or you will find other means of provision.

    And this is why this issue is so important and why newspapers are betraying their readership, because there is no discussion and no analysis of whether or not this is the route the public wish benefit provision to take. If an informed discussion had taken place and it was decided that this is what was wanted, fine, but that hasn't happened. Instead, there is a concerted attempt to mislead and obfuscate by our representatives and their media friends.

    I'm reminded of Kinnock's 'don't get old, don't get sick' election speech. Well it's here, right here, right now. This is the end of the Welfare State. If the Guardian refuse to address this issue at the level it deserves, then they too are betraying their readership, and are complicit in a deliberate attempt to deceive the public as to the purpose of these changes and their ideological and theoretical impulse.


  2. The Guardian seems to have taken a massive leap to the right. Reading it this week, you could be forgiven for thinking you're reading the Times. There really isnt an awful lot of difference anymore, except for the obligatory identity politics faeces which they are still pumping out with gusto. And the mods are still as incompetent as ever, i suspect they are incentivised on just how bland and censorious they can make the place.

  3. Well, of course when the technician from my ISP showed up, my internet was working just fine. He messed around a bit and gave me a new modem. No clue whether he figured out what had actually been wrong or not. ???


    Enjoyed the Bageant piece. It's the utter futility of any chance of change that most makes me frustrated/angry/sad. Good luck with the colonoscopy & CTC scan.


    Scrubs are worn in pretty much every hospital in the US, by everyone from doctors to orderlies. Ostensibly, the switch was for the comfort of staff, but I know a lot of nurses who believe and have read articles that said that the real reason for the change was to blur the lines and, essentially, confuse patients as to the level of qualifications of the person taking their blood, administering their medicines, etc., so that jobs that were formerly done by nurses and that patients still expect nurses to do are often performed by less qualified personnel.

    Here in the US (and I'm guessing in the UK?), it used to be possible to tell from a nurse's uniform, not only what level of training she had, but also where she had received her training. Nowadays, scrubs is scrubs is scrubs and you're lucky if you can figure out who is what.


    I could've sworn I'd seen comments from SteveHill yesterday, sans chinless avatar, with a black generic one. I remember it because I wondered why he'd changed it. Maybe he's back under a slightly different name?


    No. You're not the only person. You're not even the only straight female. Even if you can get past the smug personality to try to consider it from a purely aesthetic view.

  4. Morning all,

    Montana, I wonder what he originally got banned for in the first place? He's hardly controversial in CiF world being completely in line with the Graun's orange book liberal view of the world.


    I think Aeroplane Graun is in a holding position circling New Labour airport at the moment waiting for the leadership outcome. Once Milliband's in place, it will revert to being the NL mouthpiece farting Milliband's platitudes as if they were somehow different to the coalition.

  5. Hi Jay did you see your "bracken biker Mr Toad " was finally modded-out ?

    Off for the day, but maybe someone can please explain this thing of " applying for your own job" for me. A friend working at Central purchasing in NHS had to go through this, evenings after work on the application, 10+% of colleagues dropped out (found another job) , and the whole thing cost £1/2 a million to consultants. Can't ask for more details as not long after she finally died after a sixteen-year cancer. She was a volunteer to stay in work, not forced.

    I did hear of an american company systematicallly firing 10% of staff every year , but no link. The ATOS freefire-zone strategy of shaking up the disabled , so that a proportion do get re-instated after months, appears very similar.

    The whole processs is obviously designed to destroy any solidarity and divide the workforce, in the case of workers. For the disabled a particularly cruel way of identifying some who are genuinely in the wrong box.

    Largely bogus "re-organisation" . XX

  6. Hi all,

    PCC - truly disturbing facts re ESA from last night and then listening to Cleggeron this morning on R4 was enough to make me vomit.

    "I help care for a severely disabled child - my son.
    "It's what I do at the start of each day. It's sharpened my focus on the world of care assessments, eligibility criteria, disability living allowance, respite breaks, OTs, SENCOs, and other sets of initials.''
    David Cameron.

    Yes. Really. Bollocks.

    Had the displeasure to watch a snippet of Ben (impossibly posh) Fogle on some quest following a Facial Reconstructive surgery team in India a little while back - his wife had just had a baby and they were saying 'how terribly tough it all was' only they had a full time Maternity Nurse on hand to do all the donkey work and the night shift. Yeah, really fucking tough that. Diddums.

    Now if someone in Fogle's wage bracket can afford that kind of assistance - I doubt very much whether Cameron had to have any dealings whatsoever in 'caring' for his severly disabled son on £50 a week whilst fighting for scraps in benefits just to get some respite.

    As for the Guardian's 'Poll' stating that a 'majority' are in favour of the mcConJob cuts.... who did they frigging Poll? MAM and Julian Glover?

  7. I note they cunningly leave out the fact that 28% were 'undecided' - since when has 44% been a 'majority'?

    Grrrrrrrrr I AM SO ANGRY

  8. @Montana and Duke

    SteveHill's old comments show up in threads with a generic black avatar, now that his profile's gone. It's hard to imagine why he might have been barred, though; even when he was an obnoxious twat, which was all the time, he didn't break the rules. Maybe he's resigned to spend more time with his PWC pension.

  9. Has Steve Hill been banned? hehehehe

  10. PeteJ:

    It might have been on the Israel/Palestine threads - that was the only place he redeemed himself really. Am sure the ShiteWatch brotherhood have been after him for ages.

  11. @LaRit

    The reporting of that poll is really odd. When 44 percent say economic policy is good, and 37 percent say it's bad, does that really suggest that voters 'back austerity measures' as a whole?

  12. @LaRit

    A search suggests that Cifwatch hasn't had a go at him since January, apart from a few sideswipes in comments. And that original one was when he suggested that he'd be happy to launch missiles into Israel personally.

    It's curious. I'd be interested to see what his very last comment was before the end.

  13. I don't think the Guardian's analysis is much cop. And it's only a monthly 'barometer' poll.

    The backrdrop is that a lot of people are in denial; they think that "fast track" approach to defecit reduction will render the process quicker and less painful. Like cutting up their credit cards was.

    The back drop to this is that many people - if only half consciously - still believe the tory mantra that public sector = wasteful and bloated whereas private = lean and efficient; there is therefore plenty of slack available to be cut in the public sector. And so what if some services are eventually replaced by the private sector...

    They don't understand the real effect this will have on tax receipts, spending, investments. But you only have to look at the dire forecats within the construction industry.

    Neither do many understand that this 'fast-track' defecit reduction is actually more redolent of big bang economics - seen in post communist Europe in the 90s. Tear down all edifices of State interventionism and give everything to the market - or in terms of social provision, the churches and the third sector to sort out.

    They're slipping smome pretty drastic and far reaching privatisation in through the back door -(look at what will replace PCTS) - the type of which major's lot would have creamed themselves over. At the same time, as someone else said here recently, it has now become acceptable to bash the poor again.

    And the Guardian just runs columns by wealthy women on how public sector cuts discriminate against women or articles by middle class baklck people on how cuts will hurt black artists...

    One things for sure - the Lib Dems have fucked their vote for a generation.

  14. gandolfo/leni/peterj/mschin

    Have managed to skim through the info in the links peterj provided last night about the possible link between first cousin marriages and genetic disorder.

    From what i can gather the risk for first cousin marriages AND women over 40 is about double the average.This explains the relatively high proportion of children born with genetic disorders in this country who are of pakistani parentage(55% of Pakistani marriages in the UK are first cousin marriages).However if we were to ban first cousin marriages but not women over 40 giving birth then that could be seen as being both racist and islamaphobic.Which is unacceptable.

    The issue therefore is what do we do to reduce the relatively high risk of children of pakistani parentage being born with genetic disorders.One option would be to screen ALL first cousin marriages.Other options?

    Thanks again to peterj for providing the links.

  15. princess/leni

    Read your late night posts and i,m speechless.The ConDems clearly believe that some premature deaths amongst the sick and disabled is something they can live with if they can reduce spending on disability benefits.But didn't we always know that to be the case?.The writing is now on the wall for those on disability benefits-who are in effect being scapegoated for problems they played no part in causing.Dunno why the government don't simply offer them the option of a one way ticket to Switzerland.I'm so fucking angry we've sunk so low in this country.

    btw-i personally have no problems with child benefit being means tested.

  16. The ESA assessment stuff is truly shocking.

    On a completely different subject, JamesDickins' contributions to John Harris's thread are brilliant.

  17. Wish I could remember what thread it was that I saw comments on yesterday from Steve Hill, but it's surely only been a day or two since it happened. He usually offended the hell out of me, but not in a banned-from-Cif sort of way.

  18. Oh, and it will probably come as no surprise to any of you that being forced to reapply for your own job is relatively common here -- routine if there's a change in ownership.

  19. @Montana

    The last comments he made were on Monday night UK time, on the Mordechai Vanunu, Monbiot and Open Door threads, as far as I can see.

  20. princess/leni

    Thought you both might be interested in reading this. You're probably already aware of most of what it says but it may just be that the system simply won,t be able to cope with the switch from IB to ESA.And may grind to a halt of it's own accord.Although that won't negate the stress and suffering caused to claimants in the process.

  21. Just parking Alisdair's comment on the "Cameronism" panel here. Lovely though it is, I'm a bit surprised it's still up:


    18 Aug 2010, 8:59AM

    Raban: no -ism? What bloody planet are you on? This is neo-liberal corporatism, plain to see.
    Warsi: Liar. We are most definitely not in all this together.See above.The poor, the marginalised and the dispossessed are suffering disproportionately and are the specific target of the worst of the Tories' policies.
    Grayson: the LibDem 'dilemma' cannot be thought of on a par with the dreadful situation of hundreds of thousands losing their jobs.
    Miliband: Look just fuck off. You're from the same cloth and if those shallow vacuous marginal ideas you suggest comprise your idea of putting power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many not the few you might as well join that fucking coalition now, as you're not of the centre-left,let alone the left.
    Greer: Utterly irrelevant words, as if blind to anything that's happened in the last 100 days and ignorant of the massive policy shifts and their dreadful consequences to come.
    Hare: best of a (very) bad lot. B-.
    The Guardian: Get a bloody grip.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. princess/leni

    There some very good websites on the net from people/groups who are likely to be hit hard by ATOS.The link i provided is from a group supporting HIV sufferers-another group likely to see people declared 'fit for work' when they clearly can,t.Or if they can do some form of work probably won,t get it because of employer prejudice.

  24. Meanwhile, The Telegraph has this:

    Patients who make frequent trips to their doctors are much more likely to go on incapacity benefit later on, said the authors of a paper published today in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

    Consequently GPs "could be part of the solution of prolonged incapacity for work", found the researchers, led by William Whittaker of Manchester University.

    But they said policy was largely aimed at returning people to work "after a long period of absence".
    The academics wrote: "Much current policy is aimed at getting people who are on long term benefit back to work. It might, however, be more effective to focus on keeping those vulnerable to becoming dependent on benefit in work, rather than getting them back into work after a long period of absence from the workplace."
    They also noted: "Some people with considerable mental health problems, nevertheless manage to remain in work with potentially positive benefits for their health."
    Mark Gabby, professor of general practice at Liverpool University, said yesterday that is was "absolutely" the case that Government should give a higher priority to stopping people going on incapacity benefit in the first place.
    He said: "The research shows that once people go on to incapacity benefit, most of them never get back into work."


    Just like Tony Blair thought that you would be able to stop a criminal throwing a brick through a window if you have monitored everyone from birth and imprisoned all the likely culprits, so you can be prevented from ever having recourse to benefits by being caught out before you even try.

    Of course, in the nineteenth century, they thought you could identify criminals and lunatics just by studying their faces.

    So, we've got mad.

    When are we going to start getting even?

  25. princess/leni

    Found a website for sufferers of MS-another group no longer exempt from having to undergo an ATOS medical for ESA.And who fear sufferers currently on IB will be declared 'fit for work'.

    The number of people with chronic health problems and disabilities plus their families and friends runs into a big chunk of the population.Yet there doesn,t seem to be a focus for them to unite as one voice.Just a patchwork of groups each with the same message but somehow not getting that message across in strong enough terms.Plus a media that is mainly either hostile or indifferent to them.

    Sorry for banging on about this but it really has pissed me off big time.

  26. Nice one, Alisdair!

    Atomboy - sick people visit doctor more often shocker!

  27. thaum

    I was too busy to read the whole thing but I think I caught something at the bottom which said that one of the researchers had ATOS tattooed across his backside and the other one had SERS.

    You have to keep in mind that children going to university now have to have induction classes in which they are taught what "facts" are.

    It's quite possible this lot missed it and went on the lash instead.

  28. Some heartening Dutch news.

    De Volskrant reports today on the plummeting rate of heroin users in the Netherlands through the successful implementation of the 'free heroin method'. Users have reached a historic low of 17,700 from 30,000+ users in 1983.

    Through prescribing heroin instead of methadone in a controlled safe environment, the heroin dose is slowly reduced whilst counsellors and advisers are on hand to help users get back on their feet again with proven results.

    In the UK, critics of the potential introduction of the scheme were led by Matthew Elliott of the taxpayers alliance who said in April:

    “It would be madness for the NHS to give out free heroin given that it currently struggles to provide life-saving and life-prolonging drugs for cancer patients.

    “There is no reason why taxpayers should fund someone’s recreational drug habit.

    Whilst David Green of Civitas think tank stated:

    “I’m completely against this idea. The solution is to get people off the addiction, to get them off heroin completely.

    “Money should be spent on therapy approaches, rather than keeping users on drugs. One idea being piloted at the moment is using so-called ‘opioid antagonists’ – drugs which make people sick if they take heroin.

    Isn't that a surprise?

  29. Atoms

    Lifeis elsewhere was replying to me. I don't know if it's worth going back to waddya ?

    I have been following Unum research for several years - while watching it seep into W Assembly thinking

    Unum started off with 'survey' based on focus groups. They came to the conclusion that factors other than the disabling condition affected reasons for not working - The "biopsychosocial" model.

    These other factors included attitudes, family pressures, depression arising from physical inability/inactivity etc.

    They found that many respondents said that GPs concentrated on physical symptons rather than the resulting psychological distress caused by them. I would interpret this as a plea for help - pain + depression is a bad combination.

    They tyrned this round into saying that it was the secondary symptons - depression etc - that prevented many people working. In short te original physical condition did not necessarily prevent employment. From this developed the cognitive therapy approach - yes I can work even if I have to crawl to work on my hands and knees - or travel in an imaginary wheelchair.

    This further led to the conclusion that the underlying primary medical condition was not the main factor leading to unemployment.

    At around the same time (2004) the W Assembly instituted investigation into economic inactivity. Among their findings

    The reduction in unskilled jobs - in common with other developed countries - had created a large pool of unemployed unskilled workers.

    Poor transport links to nonexistent jobs.
    Increase in pt work for women with reduction in ft work for men.

    tourist development creating pt seasonal work - low paid- top ups needed.

    A lot of men over 50 on incap - many would be former miners.

    Poor educational and skills training opps for youngsters.

    Around 2007 they said if you take out ft students from the stats we have around 7% unemployment in Vale of Glamorgan (many MC and with access to Cardiff) and approaching 30% in Neath- Port Talbot - former mining and heavy industry.

    It is clear that across Brit we have these pockets of deprivation caused by job collapse. This leaves intractable probelems - many unemployed /no jobs.

    The unum model suggests that all unemployed - irrespective of cause - are all workshy scroungers. The unemployed - desperately seeking work - and the sick'disabled - unable to work - are bundled into an image of a sea anchor holding back progress for the country as a whole. Progress for the majority will only become possible when they are cut free and allowed to sink to the bottom.

    It is also worth remembering that Unum provide employers with Insurance against redundancies, loss of income etc . and have been found wanting when it comes to paying out.

    The latest "findings" are that it is better NOT to allow people onto incap in the first place but keep them working. GPs are being recruited here. Next step is the denial of treatment for incapacitating illness - as treatment just might confirm an underlying disease process which makes working difficult/impossible.

    We are back to a theory of illness based on humours - there is no such thing as an organic explanation - microbes do not exist, spines no longer collapse and mental illness no longer afflicts mankind. We are all safe.

  30. Paul,

    It has pissed me off big time too mate. The thing is the test has only changed in one positive way and I think that was due to pressure from ME groups. There was a recent court case re the NHS treatment of people with ME in which the judge said that there were some legitimate concerns etc. And groups of people with ME lobbyed Labour hard re the ESA - and Cameron too.

    So the only positive change is that the test now has to take into account fatigue and consider someone who cannot repeatedly do a task and also consider fluctuating conditions. I would imagine that this means that those with MS will fall under that category too. They need to have the relevant paragraph on hand when they go into the medical. And especially for the appeal.

    The whole thing is just sick. Interesting stats on that PDF though from the DWP that help stop the Daily Mail idea of those 'on the sick' being workshy as the vast majority of people on it are over 45. Therefore as it is a benefit that needs stamps to have been paid to be claimed, then most people on it will have worked for at least tweny years and more than paid into the system. I have tried to put a comment to that effect on the Mail.

    The Mail (rightly) supports pensioners as they have 'worked all their lives' but denigrates those on sickness benefits yet the governments own stats show the majority of those have worked most of their lives and have definitely paid in.

    The Mail boards are in meltdown and a more perfect example of divide and rule I have never seen. 'Don't pay rich pensioners' 'Free bus passes are a waste' 'rich people shouldn't get child benefit' 'no one should get paid to breed' 'stop paying those on the dole before you hit pensioners' on and bloody on.

    It is the same old thing. Most people cant see beyond the end of their nose and if it doesn't effect them they don't want to know.
    Well it is starting to effect them and they should have stood against this demolition of the welfare state from the start.

  31. Leni,

    ''Next step is the denial of treatment for incapacitating illness - as treatment just might confirm an underlying disease process which makes working difficult/impossible.''

    This is already occuring. Professor Wesley a pcyshiatrist and in the pay of some very dodgy orgs. has already said that people with ME should not be allowed further tests to try and find out what may be causing their illness as it furthers their erronous 'illness beliefs'. As I have said in my above post if these views are not challenged then they spread and others are brought into the firing line.

    Wessley et al believe many diseases are somatoform and they also believe that medicine should be socialised. It is a very worrying and widespread movement involving psychiatry, insurance companies etc. And people might not know this but there are files on ME that are kept locked up and despite repeated requests from sufferers the government has not allowed them to be seen and won't even say why they cant be seen only that it is in the national interest for security reasons that they are not.

    It is all very deeply concerning.

  32. princess

    Yes the cuts are creeping upwards - many of us told the Plums of this world this would happen. Feeling safe in their second home enclave (mortgages paid by HB) they refused to believe this.

    Now they are squealing.

    Last night I was imagining myself as chief exec of local council.

    To come in line with proposed cuts would I -

    Sack 2 people on k12 or one on k24 ? On costs for two at 12k would be higher - + more sick leave and holidays to cover. Probably choose two at k12.

    This would put more families onto benefits - cost to state but saving to council.

    Increase numbers of skilled and semiskilled/inexperienced in competition for low paid and pt work. Put them on workfare ??

    Several scenarios possible but none of them good. Whichever way it is done job opps for disabled will be reduced.

  33. I see the groan are pushing the view that the "Public backs coalition on economy." somewhat tenuous argument since the article points out that support is "drifting' down from the 23 point advantage...in June"

    In fact the front page is a bit weird today - main article saying voters back the 'austerity drive' juxtaposed with a 'humorous Marina Hyde piece slagging off the cleggeron, although she does say that Cameron has 'improved in stature' in the polls. Are there ideological rows going on at groan towers do you think?

    Knew I should have bought the indie.

  34. Princess/Leni

    I,m not sure there's much more we can do on waddya other than 'remind and update' people about what's going on.And forgive me for repeating what we,ve all already said but many of those people declared 'fit for work' are in effect unemployable-even if they are in theory genuinely able to do some forms of work.For who's going to employ someone who has been off work for years with a MH problem,MS,HIV,chronic heart problems etc.And what will happen to those eligible for JSA but unable to get a job?Will they be put on a Workfare programme specially tailor made for the sick and disabled?Whilst those not eligible for JSA will be expected to go into a quiet corner and die without making too much fuss.

    I don,t know about you but i,m still more angry with James Purnell,Yvette Cooper and NewLabour for starting this as well as the LibDems for colluding rather than the Tories.Stupid i know but you kind of expect the Tories to shit on the most vulnerable members of society.

  35. Princess

    "only that it is in the national interest for security reasons that they are not."

    SECURITY reasons ? When did ME really start to manifest itself here - or become a recognised condition ?

  36. BW, spot on with the PCT changes.
    Those public opinion polls will change very,very soon: most of the announced, or likely, job cuts haven't been implemented yet, let alone people worked out their notice. The bullet's been fired, but has yet to tear through the flesh. It will, though and soon.
    Saw that BMJ piece referred to in the telegraph. People who go to the GP more often, are more likely to end up claiming IB. Well, no shit, Sherlock: no clinician can cure everyone, and some problems are severe and enduring.What is worrying is how this can be twisted.

  37. I've just been reading a bit on Cif, thought I might have missed something (I haven't) and I was wondering if Charley Says is the reincarnation of Prof Plums?

  38. Paul

    The Unum Cardiff set up , Atos A4E etc were all set up by NuLab.

    Rather than facing up to structural problems, investing in eveything the country needed they chose to attack the sick and the poor.

    They are concentrating their efforts on deprived areas - not to solve problems or right past wrongs but to marginalise and cut off from main ec dev.

    This would require clear thinking and investment - to say nothing of completely changing the economic model and challenging tax thieves and fraudsters.

  39. Alisdair,

    I know you work in mental health and so may have come across what I posted earlier about the 'free heroin method'.

    Do you know much about a debate in the Health Service regarding it?

  40. Leni

    Of course a high % of those claiming IB live in those areas that have suffered the full negative impact of over 30 years of political failure in this country.Merthyr Tydfel for instance has 25% of it,s working aged population on IB compared to a national average of 7%.And in the most prosperous parts of the country i think the average is between 2%-3% claiming IB.

    I wonder how many premature deaths will occur amongst the sick and disabled declared 'fit for work' by ATOS before a combination of public outrage and media campaigning forces the 'Brokeback Boys' to stop these inhumane medicals.

    Apologies if i'm repeating myself ad nauseam but my blood is boiling right now.I'm so fucking angry.

  41. Duke

    Someone I am very close to kicked a long term heroin habit using methadone, she ended up being on methadone for longer than she was on heroin and she often said that even with a strict regime of dose reduction that coming off methadone was worse than heroin withdrawal so I can't see why a weaning off process using heroin itself rather than a substitute wouldn't be a good idea.

    I've been told that in the US they use a different drug to get people off opiates but again the drugs they use has as many issues as the substance you are trying to quit and often results in cross addiction.

    Of course the problem is that most people don't actually seem to care about results they are more interested in seeing the addict punished, the amount of people I have heard talking about 'weakness' and 'choice' when it comes to addiction is saddening, the fact some people can do it while sucking on a cig or downing a pint just goes to show that people, in general (and I include myself in this) are completely fucking irrational.

  42. @ Duke, the debate still rages.Has done for a long time, but politics always trumps the clinical and social outcomes.

  43. Hi Alisdair - it's not rocket science is it ? I work closely with our PCT and some of those people will be eventually re-employed by - *or on behalf of* - gp consortia. By whom ? United Health ? Not only that but a lot of the best ones (in e.g. contracting, finance) have jumped ship straight away...

    @All - A recent article on CiF about JMAs (specifically the patronising "motivational" gurus from external providers) had me wondering how much DWP is spending on these "motivational" shysters ? I'm considering launching an FOI if not available via other means.... I don't want headline figures for training and / or consultancy fees, I want to know how much those f@cks are getting for their three day bullshit forums.

    If anyone knows if these figures are already available somewhere, would be obliged - Sheff ? - hope your health is ok by the way missus. x


    In the meantime here's a DWP Research Report - conducted by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University on the JMA pilots being run in 2009 (including Luton, Beds, where half the attendees couldn't speak English properly)


    It closes with this:

    "Motivational provision might be an appropriate part of the menu of agreed activities during stage three of the Flexible New Deal. The present study finds that this would be most appropriate for those relatively close to the labour market. Future provision would be improved by undertaking initial screening exercises to identify the needs of customers and previous occupational experience. It would
    then be possible to minimise some of the difficulties caused by extremely diverse
    course groups and develop a broader range of provision, including ESOL and executive courses, to meet identified needs."

    Motivation my arse. Show me the money !

  44. BW

    Executive courses, is that where you get a job that pays 10p over the minimum wage?

  45. Afternoon all...


    Thanks for the PDF whatsit from last night.
    I'll have a look through that this afternoon (although maybe not all 200 pages...)


    I saw something on TV last night, about there being a drug that 'cures' heroin addiction somehow (takes away cravings or something).

    It was called something that sounded like Ibuprofen (but obviously wasn't), but said that it's illegal in most countries because the Pharma companies prefer the revenue from other, 'ongoing treatment methods'.

    It was a fictional programme, but does anyone know if there's any basis in fact/reality for it!?

    (I was going to look it up this afternoon, but you could literally save me hours of 'erm, something what cures heroin addiction, that sounds a bit like Ibuprofen, that is illegal' type googling if you happen to know!)

  46. James

    Is this it?



  47. Jsmes

    I have no idea, I was once very involved in addiction therapy and support but due to my own problems I had to take a step back from it all (I actually disengaged from the world as a whole at that time and damn it is hard to get back into it).

    The idea that a wonder drug might be supressed in order to keep the whole 'addiction industry' going is seems perfectly plausible to me, it is rotten to the core.

  48. @James

    It sounds like Ibogaine. There's a rather breathless puff piece for it here.

    My own memories of Ibogaine come from Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972, in which he accused Democratic candidate Ed Muskie of being out of his tree on Ibogaine while travelling on his campaign train.


  49. @ BW. Spot on again, and echoes my experience and take on things in our area. Fewer commissioners (we are going to have no specialist mental health or learning disability commissioners at all in the region, can you believe?), but some of the same old faces will pop up, the unprincipled shit ones, working for more money, for the corporates, who will charge the earth to employ folk who were doing the same job for less money in the NHS...It's complete horseshit that GPs will commission and everybody in the NHS knows that.

  50. And in fact, through the wonder of Google Books, you can read a version of the Ed Muskie/Ibogaine story here, from Songs of the Doomed.

  51. Leni, PeterJ

    Thanks guys.

    It was actually Ibogaine that I heard last night, but the Buprenorphine thing looks interesting too, so shall take a look.

    (btw, You are both awesome at this, and you're both currently tied for my 'polymath' award for 'outstanding knowledge of just about everything in the world ever', which, should you still be neck and neck come December (deadline for voting), will mean that you both get to share a roasted vegetable panini and a strawberry smoothie courtesy of the James Dixon foundation. I'd like it to be more, but so far donations have been scarce this year!)



    I used to be quite skeptical of the 'big bad pharma' conspiracy meme, but more and more it's becoming pretty clear that the more outrageous claims are probably coming from the companies themselves, who, by just about any standards, are mostly a bunch of bastards....

  52. "we are going to have no specialist mental health or learning disability commissioners at all in the region"

    Jesus. That is bad.

    We don't know what ours is gouing to look like yet.

    Yes there are/were lots of Band 8s walking around over the PCT producing fuck all real benefit to patients, and putting managment think and cost accountancy before clinical needs... but what the f@ck are United Health, all those other private Healthcos like ? I can assure you; from what I've seen - a load of expensive suits speaking the bloody obvious without any real clinical knowledge. And we're going to give it all to them - for good if we're not careful... It'll be like a PCT but with shareholders.

    GPs are all over the place with this btw. there is no single typical "GP view" from what I can make out. I mean - the contents of the White Paper were hardly in anyone's manifesto, where they ?.

  53. At present we have 2.46 million people classified as unemployed of whom only 1.46 million are claiming JSA.It is estimated that around 600,000 public sector workers will become unemployed over the next few years.And the government also wants over a million 'inactive' people currently claiming disability and lone parent benefits to join the workforce as well.So with other labour market entrants and fewer older workers retiring we could have between 4-5 million unemployed people in this country of whom a significant number won,t qualify for JSA.

    We currently have around 480,000 vacancies in this country of which many MAY be minimum waged jobs.The public sector is unlikely to see any employment growth in the foreseeable future which leaves the private sector.

    Does anyone have any ideas as to which sectors in the private sector are likely to create employment for between 4-5 million people?Or will this massive army of surplus labour be used to drive down the wages of private sector workers-excluding the bosses-as well?Plus of course to provide all the candidates needed for the workfare programmes that the government may be planning.

  54. @ BW:"Yes there are/were lots of Band 8s walking around over the PCT producing fuck all real benefit to patients, and putting management think and cost accountancy before clinical needs"
    Yup, and they're exactly the fuckers who'll survive, jumping to tribal, or United healthcare,or Virgin.

  55. Alisdair,

    Duke, the debate still rages.Has done for a long time, but politics always trumps the clinical and social outcomes.

    Isn't that the truth. What's interesting about the Dutch experience is that it was started in Utrecht against the strong criticism of the right of centre parties- the CDA and VVD.

    The report states that as a result of the free heroin, petty crime commited as well as homelessness amongst addicts has plummeted. As well as the actual amount of addicts. There are now 17 clinics in 15 Dutch cities which prescribe heroin (heroin was registered as a medicine in 2006) to users.

    Now you have to take into consideration other factors including heroin becoming 'unfashionable' etc but for the Dutch Government to have 17 clinics in 15 cities prescribing heroin, then it is definitely something that has to be analysed further by the UK Government in terms of effective treatment.

  56. Jesus I just had a comment disappeared from the latest open thread on Cif, it was a pretty crappy nondescript comment but honestly that is it for me with them, it wasn't offensive, it wasn't sweary, I just suggested that their next open thread should be about armpits (sponsored by Impulse).

  57. Duke

    Isn,t it also the case that Dutch addicts tend to be significantly older than their counterparts in Blighty.And that the usage of hard drugs generally is less of a problem amongst the young in the Netherlands than it is here.

  58. CiF in its purest form - how dressing up in costumes has become a feminist subversion tactic...


    Awesome. Makes even Bidisha look refined...

  59. @Jen
    Jesus I just had a comment disappeared from the latest open thread on Cif, it was a pretty crappy nondescript comment but honestly that is it for me with them, it wasn't offensive, it wasn't sweary, I just suggested that their next open thread should be about armpits (sponsored by Impulse).

    I had one disappeared from waddya the other night, a reply to pcc re the Daily Mail thread - being somewhat under the influence at the time I emailed the mods - got a reply today:

    It seems that the comment was removed in error. Apologies for the inconvenience.

    Still haven't received a reply from the DM in response to my complaint about the thread, though!

  60. Ah I am not that bothered Shaz, I said their open threads were desperate and basically just giving publicity to shit surveys and studies, they didn't remove it by accident.

    I think they were offended by my suggestion that they should wait for Loose Women to come back on air so they could borrow (steal) their talking points.

    I am glad the Guardian never meant that much to me because if it had it would kill me to see it in this state.

  61. I said their open threads were desperate and basically just giving publicity to shit surveys and studies

    Truth hurts...

  62. Shaz

    I am used to being modded, I occassionally get drunk and go on Cif and swear at people (I know it isn't big or clever but I enjoy it) but to be removed for no reason is a new one on me. ;)

  63. I don't know if anyone here reads speak your branes but there is an absolute beauty today by govt helper.

    Plus Orchids for Oysters (from Waddya) gets a mention in the last one.

  64. @Da Duke

    When I dabbled with smack as a yoof, it always made me sick without the need for opioid antagonists, so I was never likely to become a junkie, unlike my guitarist partner in a Fulham punk band in 75/76 (yes, were it not for his habit, I might be living in LA with a silver plate in my nose even as we write).

    So perhaps they'd like to test my genes to find out what makes me allergic to opiates.

    I'm always absolutely gobsmacked that Mail readers are so thick they can't see that legalisation would stop them being burgled or mugged nearly so often. Since themselves is all they care about, you'd have thought that would be a total clincher.

  65. Spike a lot of people are resistant to opiate addiction, it's a physiological thing.

  66. I know, Jenn, I was sort of ironising about the idiocy of people who think you can treat opiate addiction by giving people something to make them throw up. How do they intend to do it? By force? Talk them into taking it?

    There's an equivalent for alcohol that's of very limited use. It's basically for people who want to stop drinking and want a deterrent to help them resist drinking on the spur of the moment. So as an adjunct to help someone who wants to give up, possibly. But absolutely no use for someone who doesn't want to.

    And I've known junkies who throw up when they do smack. Doesn't stop them though.

  67. Sorry Spike I read your comment wrongly.

    The drug that makes alkies throw up (and possibly die) isn't very successful either.

    Like I say I spent a lot of time working with addicts and the drug therapy that was offered at the time was frankly rubbish, I doubt it will get better any time soon.

  68. Oi oi!

    No I'm not blogging on my holiday! We changed the ferry to tomorrow because my lad had a "meltdown" this morning at the idea of getting on the ferry and, irrational though his fear is, we decided we couldn't drag him by the hair, so we spent today re-arranging things so a friend of ours will come and "babysit" him while we are away - and filled the fridge with ready meals for them.

    I was furious this morning, but once I calmed down a bit I realised just how bloody debilitating it must be for him to be that scared. Sigh.

    Anyhoo, gonna pour myself a glass of wine and browse for a bit...

  69. BB - sorry about that. Does that mean he won't be joining you on holiday at all? :o(

  70. Well, with a couple of phone calls and a bit of judicious haggling with BT and Yorkshire Water, have managed to reduce my outgoings by £35 a month. Doesn't sound much but it all mounts up. And it appears I was in credit with them both so they were getting interest on my money - bastards!

    I really recommend checking out what you're paying as opposed to what you use and re-negotiate. They always seem to over estimate everything - to their own advantage.

    Will be on to Eon to check out my electricity usage next...

  71. Evening all......
    "The issue therefore is what do we do to reduce the relatively high risk of children of pakistani parentage being born with genetic disorders.One option would be to screen ALL first cousin marriages.Other options?"

    Well Paul we if the "we" is a society then "we" need to make sure that there is availability of information and education on potential risks and availabilty of screening as what is done for women over 40.....then it's all down to personal choice....nothing IMO should be imposed

  72. Princess/Leni

    An interesting article in today's Times claiming that Doctors are warning the Government that their attempts to force claimants of disability benefits back into work are doomed to fail.And one of their major concerns is that people who are in various stages of recovery will be offered jobs that are 'totally inappropriate because they 'physically demanding,low paid and menial '.

    The article cited as its source a report from the British Medical Journal which stated that the Government would be better served keeping those who are vulnerable to benefit dependency in work rather than targetting people who have been off work with health problems for many years and who are unlikely to ever be able to work again.

    The reseach was led by Jill Morrison who is a Professor of General Practice at the University of Glasgow and was aided by colleagues from Stirling and Manchester Universities.

    The researchers also found there was no evidence of GPs signing patients off without good reason.ie little evidence of malingering.

    Other points made in the article were that the DWP is aware of concerns over the ATOS tests and is conducting a review.And was working with the MH charity MIND as they acknowlege that people with MH problems must be carefully assessed.Plus there was reference to the fact that British employers may prefer to employ Eastern European migrants rather than British people on disability benefits.

    That's the gist of the article and maybe a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel for the sick and disabled?Too early to tell but maybe the tide is beginning to turn.And basically the Guardian has played little or no part in championing the cause of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.And what little they have done we've had to push them into doing.Shame on them.

  73. shaz - no, sadly. But my Dad and his partner will be around, our friend will be sleeping at the house, and he is far happier at the idea of staying here. Not very good with change - even though he has been every year since he was born. :(

    Paul - I mentioned yesterday the problem of women who don't realise they are pregnant (or who are very religious) fasting during Ramadan as being a contributory factor to deformity too. I am not entirely convinced that it is uniquely the issue of inter-cousin marriage, although it does happen more frequently in the sub-continent community than elsewhere.

    I won't be here for the C4 show, so I will have to catch up when I get back.

  74. Fucking hell, have folk seen that Zoe Williams piece? Having unprotected sex when HIV+, and withholding that fact (the crux of the matter) isn't a big deal in her eyes.She even asserts HIV isn't much of a health problem to have. Does she know anyone HIV+? My mate who is positive (and has a responsible sex life: y'know told his partner, like you fucking should) has to be really bloody watchful, because believe it or not his immune system is compromised. He's got a full life, but has to be vigilant.Idiots like Williams are stupidly blithe about this.

  75. Just to suggest something for which I have no proof, I'd connect IB and NEETs. I'd better explain.

    As I ranted about today on Waddya, a government grey hair did a study last year and found that, in the selected area in the North of England, 15% - 1 in 6 or 7 - of those not in education, employment or training were dead within 10 years. Imagine those statistics applied to middle-class home counties types. There'd be national outrage. The Guardian might even run an article on it.

    My point is that unemployment leads to ill health. Ill health leads to IB. The problem is deemed 'solved' and the person written off. And that's been true of governments of every hue for the past 30 years.

    And yes, people are being thrown of IB who are terminally ill, but that's also common to both New Labour and the Coalition. The easiest people for any government to kick are those who can't kick back.

    What continues to anger me is that I grew up in an (Irish immigrant) Labour household. It was impressed upon us at an early age that the Tories wouldn't piss on us. Labour on other hand, was for the common man (and woman) and sure didn't they have big wigs with good Irish names like Callaghan and Healey?

    Somewhere along the line, Labour decided that it had to stop looking out for the interests of those the party was founded for. Part of my frustration is the sure and certain knowledge that if you throw the coalition out, things will be fuck all different under Mr. D Mil and the new PPE cohort.

    Peter Hain is over there at the moment talking the greatest load of bollocks since, well, the cosplay thread I suppose. There's a growing movement, including Hain, throwing its weight behind Ed Miliband (2mm to the left of his brother, and with the political persona of Derek Nimmo), but it won't make a bit of difference. Hain's talking about dumping New Labour orthodoxies, but doesn't have any any alternatives to suggest. Ed Miliband's great vision is a People's Bank in Post Offices, or as we used to call it, Girobank.

    Labour fucked over the people it was meant to represent and it will fuck them over the next time. Not having the erudition or terms of classical reference many posters have, I'm simply reminded of a Tom Cruise film. Yes, really. It's the bit in A Few Good Men where Downey and Dawson are dishonorably discharged:

    Downey: What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong.

    Dawson: Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for the people who couldn't fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willie.

    Who the fuck are Labour fighting for these days?

  76. alisdair
    not only is it a bollocks article as they norrmally are by zoe williams.....it's factually flawed......

  77. I won't look at that article because I have had enough bloody stress for one day, ta. I had a very good friend who died of an AIDS-related illness on 19th Dec 1992. Things have surely moved on since then, but it sounds to me like Zoe is completely full of shit if she thinks that contracting HIV is on a par to getting a fucking verruca on your foot from the swimming pool...


    Depressing stuff. I shifted to the LibDems in 2000 because even then I couldn't hack Labour any more. And now look what's happened - I feel responsible for voting for all this shite.

    I seriously have no idea who to vote for anymore - aside from the All That's Left party! \o/

    OK - who's going to stand?

  78. BB - sorry to hear about your holiday plans getting fucked about and hope it works out better than last time. :-(

    As for GPs signing people off, well yes they do. Last year I had cataract surgery ("youngest patient we've ever had!") and they basically asked me how long I wanted to be signed off for: two weeks? three? maybe four?

    As I don't get any paid time off, I asked what the minimum was before I could go back to work. That turned out to be 2 days. In fact that was a bit quick; after 2 days I couldn't manage a full day, but did do half days (at home) for a couple of days before going back to the office.

    Eddie - splendid rant.

  79. ^^ Of course, part of the problem of the longer recovery could have been that they fucked the surgery up and made me short-sighted....

  80. Alisdair,

    just read it. Unbelievable!


    Who are they fighting for?

    Well, if I had to guess, I reckon it's a combination of the next generation of New Labourites (like that stillettoed socialist bint, who's like, so totally wadical), and the businesses they'll be working for when they've had enough of 'avin laff with that politics lark.

    The PLP is a joke, and have successfully managed to create a nice little racket for themselves, totally seperate and unnaccountable to the rest of the party!!


  81. Zoe Williams is talking out of her arse. I wonder, given the choice, what she'd decide she's rather have - HIV or a fucking verruca? Stupid, stupid cow.

  82. Thaum - ta. It will be better this time. :o)

    Sheff - agreed. I gave in to my curiosity and stuck my nose in there, and I was appalled. Stupid cow indeed.

    James - agreed

    Gandolpho - agreed

    (I'm getting lazy now.)

  83. 13thDuke

    Sorry to butt in, but in answer to your earlier question opioid antagonists (buprenorphine) don't work by making users sick, other then when opiates have been taken in the tweelve hours or so before taking them. Their main benefit is they negate the effects of opiates taken after taking the buprenorphine. There's no point in taking heroin when you've taken buprenorphine as all the opiate receptors in the brain are filled by buprenorphine.

    It's not a bad way to come off heroin. It offers users a chance to develop a way in life without the constant hunger for the next score and better then methadone does not allow the user to 'top up' when taking it.

    It worked for me and I'd recommend it to anyone dealing with opiate addiction.

    I'll butt out now.

  84. Just spotted Jen's comment about the drug that makes alkies throw up. I think she's talking about Antabuse - I was on it for a while.

    Didn't drink while I was on it, well not intentionally anyway. One day, I took my daily pill and went down the pub with some mates to drink spring water and shoot the shit. Unfortunately, somebody thought I was being a 'dry shite', in Irish parlance, so slipped a short in there. How do I know this? Believe me, you know.

    I took one sip and it was like being hit in the chest with a hammer. That bad. I staggered outside and leaned against a wall. My heart was going a mile a minute and I was in a cold sweat. It took about 10 minutes for things to settle down, after which I went inside, made my excuses and went home.

    I'd talked to some of my fellow soaks in rehab - most have been there multiple times - and asked them about Antabuse (usually pronounced by the cognacenti as "anti-booze"). Apparently the most common reaction - as Jen said - is vomiting, but it can also cause heart palpitations and your skin to change colour if you drink when you're on it.

    The weakness with Antabuse is precisely that it makes you throw up when you drink, which if you think what an alcoholic does on a regular basis, is hardly the most effective disincentive.

    George Best famously had an Antabuse capsule implanted in his stomach. All he did was keep drinking until the capsule was empty and then carried on as normal.

    15 years dry this year, in case anyone's wondering.

  85. Hello!


    Hello & welcome to you. Thanks for your post, good to hear of positive things.

    Likewise, Rapid - good to hear that difficult things can be done.

  86. Just parking this cos someone reminded me of it the other day. The third song is best one I think.

    Buddy Holly meets the Beatles at an Elvis Costello concert.

    Knew someone on Antabuse - he was taking it because of, er, legal problems relating to his drinking. It worked while he had to stay off the booze, but as soon as the sentence was lifted he stopped the Antabuse and went right back.

    His core problem was depression and alcohol abuse was really a symptom of that. But that sort of thing wasn't addressed by the courts.

  87. Hi MsChin.

    Thanks for that.

    I'm with RapidEddie, on the wagon too.

    All I have left to beat now is internet addiction and that hardly counts as addiction, more an itch that occasionally needs scratching.

  88. Hi Haimona, you're not butting in!

    it wasn't actually me that was discussing buprenophine, it was others. I was highlighting the Dutch method of heroin treatment that appears to be successful by prescribing heroin itself in a safe and controlled environment.

    I was wondering if such a treatment would ever be considered in the UK. An area as complicated as drug addiction has no easy answers but I thought comparison with an EU members apparently succesful policy would be apposite.

    The important thing is that the buprenophine worked for you and I'm glad to hear it.

    RapidEddie, long time no speak, good to see you back.

    Yes, according to Peter Hain's article this evening Tweedledum is back. Handing over the reins to Tweedledee was difficult but if tweedledum can realign itself with real opposition policies to tweedledee such as- supporting the bankers, doing what the market tells them to, updating trident, pissing on the poor and sick then the electorate has real choice.

  89. Haimona and RapidEddie

    Kudos to you both.

    And welcome Haimona

    Your Grace - read your post earlier.

    Hard drugs will never be legalised here because of all the vested interests in the War on Drugs - police, criminal justice system etc. More than half the crime would disappear overnight if people didn't have to nick, rob and burgle for their fix. Not to mention the gzillions put into operations to prevent importation, etc.

  90. Though I only gamble whenever I've got money.

    That's not really addiction, is it?

    And btw can I say that the way many of the people on here have been banging on about Atos and the benefit cuts has been good to read.

    Them bloody Liberal Democrat voters eh? They knew not what they were doing.

  91. Night all. Haimona, nice to see you here (again? I think you've posted before a few times), and nice to see Eddie back again.

    We all have our crosses to bear, it's just that some people's are heavier than others'. Tories don't seem to get that point.

  92. Apropos of nothing, Seamus Milne has just (sort of) nicked my idea that Latin America might provide an interesting point of reference for the left in the west as things continue to drift rightward there.

    Seems like I can kiss goodbye to the next few days too, as I'll inevitably end up locked in 'discussion' with the usual US right-wing contingent who seem to pop up for specially for Lat Am threads.

    Anyway, as you were.....

  93. 13thDuke

    What prompted me to write was the comment you quote from David Green of Civitas that the antagonist makes you sick. It does but only in a very limited case and it's main benefit is the negation of any opiates taken afterwards. It's a beef against Green who ought to at least have a slightly better handle on the issue in question if he's going to stick his oar in.

  94. Haimona

    Re voting libdem - you can say that again. :(

  95. Making heroin use safer makes sense to me, as some will never come off it and would live better lives if they were maintained in this way. Many of the heroin users I knew years ago are no longer with us, which is a shame - nice people, just addicted to gear.

    Crack cocaine, on the other hand, seems to be much more difficult to come off - don't know if there's any treatment available? Heroin is often used for crack comedown too, which complicates things somewhat.

  96. Hello Haimona - welcome to the UT

    Rapid Eddie

    good to see you back here again - also great to hear from people who have successfully beaten their demons. Gives me hope that one day I might actually find a way to give up the fags!!

  97. I just noticed that the Guardian has a new 1,2, 3 whatsit up on the cif page, and number two is our very own MontanaWildhack!!

  98. James

    My sympathies re: dealing with the toxic opinions of 'usual US rightwing contingent'!

  99. Gives me hope that one day I might actually find a way to give up the fags!!

    Me an'all, sheff!

  100. Cheers MsChin,

    Although, so far (touchwood) it's not too bad.

    A few of the usual suspects, but none of the worst offenders (and, so far, no 'Pinochet was a diamond geezer' stuff from MaM either...)

  101. Well spotted, James! I had just scrolled past the 1,2,3 thing assuming it was related to the pic of our wonderful leaders (*spit*) above ..

  102. Welcome, (or hello again) to Haimona.have to say ArecBalrin has moved from bizarre (and LOL funny at times)to rather astute of late. Good post on the Hain thread. Poor misguided mr Hain thinks that there is enthusiasm for Labour, rather than a bounceback from the vile Tories, and folk looking for some mechanism to oppose the coalition. Come Miliband major's coronation, then we are all fucked: same policies on all fronts, bar a coat of paint.

  103. Re the giving up of fags, I have been on the Niquitin lozenges for about 3 years now. Not what you are supposed to do at all, but a) I won't get lung cancer off them, b) I can have one in my cheek when I am working and no-one notices and c) whereas I used to get through 30 fags a day on a bad day, a box of 72 of these lasts me about 10 days and costs about 11 squidlys. Winners all round.

    I lapsed for a few times to begin with, but I haven't had a fag for more than two and a half years now.

  104. Evening all

    Welcome RapidEddie and Haimona

    Won't add to the furore at the stupidity of a certain Oxbridge-educated Ms waffling on about HIV and verrucas.Whilst perma-tanned Peter Hain spouts bollox about a Labour revival.Really can't take CIF seriously at all at the moment.

    Here's a tune i recently dug up.


  105. Well, I'm just off for a fag now, as it happens.

    (although do I commend those that have given up, I'll be bolloxed if I am anytime soon, and the way things are going, I think I'd prefer to drop dead from the fags, rather than wherever I happen to be working at a 'ripe old age' after the retirement age has been raised to eleventy-hundred and-twelve!!)!)

  106. Leni

    , the Disability Network, has this to say about govt plans to punish disabled people:

    “It is only right to ensure that recipients of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) genuinely face the often substantial additional daily cost of living with ill health, injury or disability.  However, RADAR cannot support yet another assessment regime.  Making it harder to claim DLA is not the way to encourage people into the job market. DLA has no connection with employment whatsoever – it is a non means-tested benefit designed to help with the additional costs of living with ill-health or a disability. We will continue to campaign for one point of entry and assessment for all benefits and related support for disabled people - we want to make the anxiety introduced by multiple assessments history.  Neither the tax payer nor disabled people should have to support or endure these multiple, expensive, exhausting and unnecessary burdens of bureaucracy.”

    RADAR was none too pleased at the suggestions on that crappy govt website, where the electorate were invited to tell 'em how to save money:

    "One thing anyone who visits the site most certainly learns is the prejudices held by certain sections of the British public.

    These prejudices are no secret; the Comments sections of various online newspaper articles demonstrate them on a regular basis. Immigrants, asylum seekers and disabled benefit recipients are frequent targets for the earnest yet ill-informed venom of some comment posters.

    To find this sort of material on a Government website, however, and moreover a website which is supposed to be involving the public in the future of Britain, is quite simply beyond the pale. Pathetic yet vile suggestions such as “Let The Disabled Community Forge A New Industry” which suggests that disabled claimants should grow and sell cannabis for a living, ill-informed and prejudiced postings about people living with injury, ill-health or disability being scroungers, and suggestions that anyone unable to work be sterilised have no place on a Government website designed to inform future policy. One particularly abhorrent suggestion involved disabled people breaking rocks for their benefits".

  107. MsChin

    thanks for that - i think the fight back is beginning. We have until october to make the case.

    It is unlikely that Nulab will lead it. They are making some weak comments about the scale of the cuts but are in no real position to challenge on ATOS or UnumCardiff - both set up on their watch. We need a real people's alliance of some kind which brings all sectors of opposition together.

    I am shocked by the viciousness of comments on all areas mentd in your link. Is Britain really peopled by so many hateful and hating people.

  108. Peter Hain should go and watch the cricket - keep his mouth shut. He is a dishonest oaf.

  109. Hello, all who are still around, just been trying to catch up to today's thread, seem to have come to an impasse.

  110. Hallo Habib - impasse - You or the thread ?

  111. Hi Leni and Habib

    I think the word IMPASSE perfectly sums up the last 24 hours.

  112. Paul
    "The issue therefore is what do we do to reduce the relatively high risk of children of pakistani parentage being born with genetic disorders."

    I dunno... kill all the carriers?

    I know about 200 - 300 Pakistanis, none has married their cousin, even if they had done, I wouldn't mind - it's their own business. You seem to quote sources that quote other sources, never once quoting a verifiable one.

    If "55% of Pakistanis marry their cousins" how and when was this survey done? I've never met anyone who was engaged it. Maybe we were all out that day?

    Paul, I don't think you're a racist, but I think you get your information from very dodgy sources.

    Provide a single reliable one.

    You're 55% claim can be proved as false: talk about marriage certificates, there isn't one that names grandfather or grandmother, so how does anybody know cousin is marrying cousin?

  113. Hope that explains the impasse, Leni, I have a strong feeling that neither Paul, nor I, would take it as offence if you picked one side or none.

  114. I'm not sure what it means, but MSNBC has a reporter embedded with a convoy of US troops. They are reporting that the last of US combat troops are leaving Iraq right now. They said there will be 15,000 troops remaining in Iraq to provide support and training to Iraqi military, but that's it. No patrols, no sweeps.

  115. Habib

    I haven,t got time to provide all the links again.But HERE is an example of the statistics that are widely quoted in the British media.And late last night Peter J provided a link with the source.

    Where is your evidence to disprove these statistics?

    ''The issue therefore is what do we do to reduce the relatively high risk of children of pakistani parentage being born with genetic disorders."''

    If it turns out that 33% of children born with genetic disorders in this country are of Pakistani parentage and that there is a link between that and first cousin marriages then that problem cannot be ignored.

    ''The issue therefore is what do we do to reduce the relatively high risk of children of pakistani parentage being born with genetic disorders.One option would be to screen ALL first cousin marriages.''

    The above is what i actually said earlier.That ALL first cousin marriages should perhaps be screened for genetic disorders.So i have no idea why you made your crass comment about killing the carriers.

    Next monday evening C4,s Dispatches is going to be looking at this very issue.And as i said yesterday i intend to call them to find out the sources of the info they use.

    Finally you say you know 200-300 Pakistani's in this country.You do know there are now an estimated 1.2 million ethnic Pakistanis in the UK and that your small sample may not be in any way typical.

  116. I said my bit on this yesterday Habib.

    Firstly I think it is a nasty area to enter as it is another stick to beat an immigrant community with - the figures Paul quotes are unverified and I suspect very shaky. These stories gain a life of their own - particularly when driven by those with a particular agenda (Not suggesting Paul has agenda here )

    i also said first cousin marriage carries same risk as over 40s producing child.

    I carry "defective " gene - as did my mother and grandmother.

    First cousin marriages are legal - I know of only one such - between white Brit born couple.

    Sickle cell anaemia is confined to people of African and Levant descent, many southern European Jews are allergic to certain kind of bean , Indians have a high incidence of type 2 diabetes etc etc etc. Some of these things are caused by diet, environmental factor, some genes are recessive, others dominant and others yet again are damaged during mitosis.

    I have seen no reports suggesting that a higher than average number of children born of parents from Pakistan receive special education.

    i am concerned about the numbers of children in flooded areas in Pakistan who are suffering from cholera.

    Don't like any approach which is redolent of eugenics - full stop.

    sorry if I seem a bit short but the list of people being attaked unfairly grows daily - pensioners, disabled, immigrants and so on. Britain has developed a very nasty tone of voice.

  117. Paul

    I will watch the programme.

    I cannot believe that a third of all children In Brit with genetic disorder are of Pakistani origin. This number seems impossibly high. This is not mentioned in any special education info I have ever read. In areas with high numbers of P families this would necessitate extra support services and schools. Any reports on this ?

    What are these disorders - how do they manifest. Are they recessive, trisomies, carried by both parents (this is important if it is linked to cousin marriage ) - how many children born of first cousin marriages are carriers but do not manifest symptoms? Lots of questions.

  118. Leni

    As you know Peter J left two links on yesterdays thread at 22.45pm and 23.51pm respectively which deal with the questions you're now asking me.

    With respect to both you and Habib the debate has move on here and my view now is that all first cousin marriages should perhaps be offerred screening for genetic disorders in the same way that women over 40 are offerred.

  119. Paul, you still quote statistics without source, relying on others viewpoints, or links.

    "Where is your evidence to disprove these statistics?", you ask.

    I might as well ask you to disprove you are a bigot. I don't think you are, why would you ask me for evidence to the contrary?

    "If it turns out that 33% of children born with genetic disorders in this country are of Pakistani parentage and that there is a link between that and first cousin marriages then that problem cannot be ignored."

    No sources, just hate filled views.


  120. Paul, you offer dubious statistics , sometimes, though, seldom you quote the source. When you do it's somebody else's source. Do you care about mal-formed Pakistani children or more about your agenda?

  121. Paul

    Genetic screening has many pitfalls - first you have to have INFORMED consent. Among other problems is the knock on effect this would have on other family members and on cultural practices.

    my understanding of Pakistani customs (very limited ) is that cousin marriage is commonest in Punjab. This has been going on for generations - there is therefore a slightly increased risk of genetic disorders. This is true in all societies in which cousin marriage is usual.

    The figures you quote however seem very high. The following is from study in SKA - where cousin marriage is common in some areas.

    The abortion/miscarriage rate among women married to a second cousin or closer relative was 6.9% compared with 7.4% for nonconsanguineous marriages. The stillbirth rate was also comparable. Total prenatal losses were essentially the same among consanguineous (8.3%) and nonconsanguineous couples (8.9%). The rate of neonatal death and total postnatal fatality was 2.7% for consanguineous families and 2.2% for the nonconsanguineous group.


    Low birth weight seems to be a problem - cause not known. The other thing which caneffect figures is that where a serious genetic condition exists several children in a family can either manifest or carry it. It is very complex.

    nyway - will wait to see the figures provided on programme.

    Sorry - if I sound nowty.

    NN xx

    PS If there is a significant problem in any area in UK it would have profound effects on service provision and serious plannng and investment would be needed to meet the challenge.

  122. Thanks for the welcome(s) back, peeps. A few local difficulties in the background recently, but back in the bullshit and bluster saddle now.

    I'm just wondering if the Zoe Williams HIV & verrucas article is the first complete and catastrophic failure of moral sensibilities by a Guardian hack this year. Last year, we had the Libby Brooks "That Jane Andrews Murderess Seems Like An Awfully Nice Person" twaddle, followed quickly by Barbara Ellen's "The Little Minxes Are Just Gagging For It" piece about statutory rape of underage male boys. This could well be the first giant cuckoo of the year.

    As for the Dispatches show on 1st cousin marriage - C4, 8pm next Monday - I share the unease (and measure of confusion) that it's primarily addressing one ethnic group. I know 2 sets of white first cousins that married (both couples very well-to-do) and one that shacked up together until one of them died.

    The obvious retort is that the cousins intermarrying in the Pakistani community is where the problem lies, which would suggest that no other ethnic group does this. But Travellers have certainly being doing this in large numbers for as long as anyone can remember. Why address one group and not the other?

  123. Great to see you back here, RE!

    I haven't seen the Williams piece yet, but there was this guy complaining that prosecutions such as the Benaissa one are unjust and ineffectual.

    As for the Pakistani cousin marriage thing:

    The 33% figure comes from one study at a hospital in Birmingham more than 10 years ago. The 55% of British Pakistanis are married to a cousin figure comes from one "study" in which 100 women giving birth in a hospital in Bradford were asked if they were married to a cousin. 55 said yes. (I looked at the studies -- they were listed in the references for this article that Peter linked to last night.)

    Now, I'm no statistician, but two small (one laughably so), local studies don't seem to be much basis from which to extrapolate national figures.

    And, as an aside, @Leni: According to this, Punjabis actually have the lowest prevalence of consanguineous marriage in Pakistan.

  124. US combat troops are now out of Iraq. There are 50,000 (not 15,000, as I'd originally thought I heard) administrators and trainers left behind, but they will not be used for security purposes.