Just a little picture

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NHS free at point of delivery?

This is appalling. As a community psychiatric nurse I know people who can’t afford enough food because of this despicable government’s policies, let alone afford to pay to see their family doctor.
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The NHS is part of a social contract between the state and the people, paid for by National Insurance and free at the point of delivery. Many of us have warned for years that the vicious ConDems are dismantling it and this proposal to charge ill people for GP appointments is clear evidence of that. Successive cuts in healthcare and siphoning of funds to private investors created the climate where this debate, this vote is possible at all.

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I know the argument is that we can’t afford the NHS but please remember how poor this nation was when the NHS began in 1948. We had just come out of world war 2. Rationing was still in place to ensure people had (barely) enough to eat. This country was broke but we still provided access to healthcare for those who needed it.

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We did it then because we believed in fairness and social justice. Now…… 30 years of neoliberalism and the current coalition of cynical, nest-feathering profiteers in government have turned those values on their head. We’re becoming like America where people with means can lose everything paying for services and those without means just die unaided.

How much more can this country take?

Should Osborne go too?

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And the tories shall inherit the earth

This week David Cameron decided to feign religiosity, presumably in a thinly veiled attempt to win back votes from the disgruntled tory right who disagreed with his stance on gay marriage. And in reality it might work.
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Die hard tories have long interpreted their exploitative abuse of the weak as having a biblical mandate. For everyone else though, it’s a transparent sham. Even the Church of England, long recognised as a congregation of ‘Conservatives at prayer’, has taken to denouncing Cameron’s callousness from the pulpit.

Although no longer a believer myself I can well imagine how I’d have felt listening to the Prime Minister’s bastardisation of Christian values when I was. So I can sympathise with the vociferousness of the faithful currently outpouring their disgust across various social media platforms.

In memory of my former Christian days I began to wonder just what Christianity would have to look like for Cameron’s claims about it to be true. So here’s my attempt to rewrite the beatitudes (for many believers this chapter in the book of Matthew effectively summarizes modern Christian values). I’ve taken as my starting point the idea that the ConDem government’s policies are biblical in origin and ‘reverse engineered’ the relevant passage from there. Enjoy…..

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From the book of Cameron
New Conservative Version (NCV)

1 Now when David saw the plebs, he went up on a podium and preened himself.
2 His cronies came to him, and he began to teach them. He said:
3 “Blessed are the mean in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of tax haven.
4 Blessed are those who exploit, for they will be privileged.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the zero hours contract.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they will have their benefits removed.
7 Blessed are the unmerciful, for they will profit from the sickness, misery and desperation of others.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see poverty.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will protect me from getting what I deserve.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of disability, for theirs is the kingdom of the cardboard city.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of my government’s lies. For you will know discrimination and humiliation.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven (& let’s face it, you’ve got bugger all prospects on earth) for in the same way that we privileged few persecuted the minorities who were before you, so will we also starve you to death.
13 You are the scum of the earth. But if the scum loses its usefulness, how can it be made useful again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 You are the plebs of the world. A North Eastern town full of oiks cannot be hidden. 
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house (except the undeserving poor, of course) 
16 In the same way, let your lights be extinguished before others, that they may see your poverty and fear your Master in Westminster.
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish exploitation or the banks; I have not come to abolish them but to fill their coffers. For the bankers are my brethren, yea even unto the generations. 
18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the financiers book of dirty tricks until everything is accomplished. 
19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of Britain. But whoever practices and teaches these exploitative commands will be called great in the kingdom of Britain. 
20 For I tell you that unless your greed surpasses that of the Pharisees and the expenses claimants of my government, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of Conservatism.
21 You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not riot, and anyone who riots will be subject to disproportionately harsh judgment.’ 
22 But I tell you that anyone who so much as grumbles about my government’s exploitation will be subject to judgment under the new gagging law. Again, anyone who protests about a DWP decision is liable to extended sanction and penury. And anyone who says, ‘Thou hypocrite!’ will be in danger of receiving an even more hypocritical sermon from Nick (the power hungry whore of Babylon) Clegg.
23 Therefore, if you are offering your gift of unpaid labour at the altar of workfare and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 
24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
25 Settle matters quickly with your Workfare slavemaster who is taking you to task. Do it while you are still at your labours or your adversary may hand you over to the DWP and you may be thrown into penury. 
26 Greedily I say unto you, you will not be paid again until you have forefeit the last penny. Remember, it is easier for a rich (Reich) man to profit from healthcare than it is for a poor disabled schmuck to stick a needle in the eye of a camel.
27 You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor.’ 
28 But I tell you, ‘love your betters’ and persecute all those that the government chooses to scapegoat. 
29 That you may be children of your Father in Westminster who causes his sun to rise on the evil and the exploitative, and sends ATOS and misery to the righteous. 
30 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the socialists doing that?
31 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the Lib Dem turncoats do that? 
32 Be perfect, therefore, as your Westminster master is perfect and labour unto death in the name of Tory privilege.
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Even the Anglicans are beginning to reject modern Conservatism and neoliberalism. And with ConDem doctrine like this, who can blame them?

Petition to prosecute ATOS & the DWP

Yes, I know, some of my readers voted for the callous hyenas who support this ongoing cruelty. But hey – we all make mistakes.

Perhaps a prosecution (or even a large collection of signatures) will send a message

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to ConDem MPs preparing to face the electorate in a little over a year. Either way – this inhuman government and the profiteering ATOS really should be called to account.

Will you sign?

Safeguarding 1: Introduction and contents

This blog series was originally written in 2010, partly in response to a political debate raging at the time around the rights of workers vs the rights of vulnerable adults. When I began the law was clear and, I believe, appropriate in placing meaningful restrictions upon those who wanted to gain unsupervised access to vulnerable people.

However I never completed the series. That was because in May of that year the indecisive general election here in UK resulted in a new coalition government who proceeded to change the existing and planned safeguarding arrangements in UK.

The ConDem government changed the safeguarding system

The ConDem government changed the safeguarding system


What follows then is not what was originally planned. Instead I’ll be posting the basic principles of safeguarding that have remained constant. The series then is likely to be of use to front line care workers trying to make sense of what abuse is and is not as well as their own role in protecting people.

This series will cover…

Safeguarding 2: A little history

Safeguarding 3: Basic definitions

Safeguarding 4: Horror stories

Safeguarding 5: Financial abuse

Safeguarding 6: Physical abuse

Safeguarding 7: Sexual abuse

Safeguarding 8: Psychological/Emotional abuse

Safeguarding 9: Discrimination

Safeguarding 10: Institutional abuse

Safeguarding 11: Neglect

Safeguarding 12: Record, report, communicate

About the Safeguarding series

This blog series first appeared on Stuart’s personal blog early in 2010. It has been reposted here as part of a process of ‘rationalisation’ in which work from several blogs has been removed and reposted on only two.

Being a leftie

I’m genuinely perplexed at the way that so many of my fellow UK citizens have been fooled into believing that socialism is somehow a dirty word. Socialism is the ideology that brought them workers’ rights and the minimum wage. It’s the ideology behind the welfare state and the National Health Service. It’s the ideology that provided them and their children with free education and it’s the ideology that has done more to combat poverty, homelessness, exploitation and victimisation of the most vulnerable in our society.

By contrast the conservatives (joined latterly by the Liberal Democrats & UKIP) have opposed every one of these things. Since coming to power in 2010 the ConDem government has systematically chipped away at our most treasured institutions such as the NHS and the welfare state for the benefit of private profiteers.
Socialist not a bad thing
Conservative MPs have encouraged ‘zero hours’ contracts and suggested the removal of the minimum wage. Abusive Conservative ministers (with the assistance of their equally abusive Lib Dem enablers) have driven sick and disabled citizens into poverty before criminalising them as they fail to meet the new ‘bedroom tax’ charges on reduced benefits. Foodbanks have increased several fold as ConDem ministers wink at massive tax cuts for the most wealthy. They even laughed out loud as stories of extreme poverty were related during the foodbank debate in parliament.

I do not understand how any UK citizen can be a conservative or Liberal democrat, see the poverty that surrounds them as a result of their vicious policies and not feel desperately ashamed at the callous vindictiveness of their actions.

Socialism is not a dirty word – it’s a statement of compassion, of integrity and of a commitment to fairness that seems to be utterly unavailable to the likes of Ian Duncan smith, George Osborne, Nick Clegg, David Cameron and their malicious, capricious, ConDem cronies.

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