I had a piece in yesterday's Express on housing benefit abuse. It's here.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 12:19
While not disputing abuse takes place, I'd like to posit my situation.
I was crippled by a private surgeon, who fiddled his accounts of what he did. I can't get proper corrective treatment for what he did, because he nicely covered what he did by three layers of 'interpretive' accounts of itd.
I have to fight yearly for any kind of social care. I am currently a PhD student so, getting a studentship, I didn't qualify for monies, only National Insurance stamps in lieu of Incapacity Benefit.
Despite being awarded high rate mobility allowance in 2009 (I need to use my wheelchair to get to and from university, by taxi, and almost anywhere, bar a short hop of taxi, door to door, on my crutches or sticks), the ATOS doctor declared I could walk 400 meters without let or hindrance. I appealed against that decision, and won.
But I have to do this every year. Almost certainly I will be declared able to walk 400 meters, some such thing. The appeal process is enormously stressful. And I am merely trying to do my research, hopefully with a career in a similar vein, which I can largely do from my desk.
I have been screwed over thrice.
1) by the private surgeon who did this to me i.e. the fact of crippling itself
2) by his deceit, which makes it impossible for me to get any proper corrective for it
3) by the knock on effect that means I have to constantly fight to get the social help I need to live as normal a life as possible despite it
I come from an educated, middle class background. My father was a doctor. Like most people, I regarded doctors as semi-divine beings whose word was god-like.
I have since discovered that such people can screw up, lie, band together (it is true, I'm afraid) and screw the patient over, in the process.
I appreciate benefit fiddling does take place, but I often wonder whether those who shout loudest about it think what happens to the genuinely in need who fall foul of the draconian response.
It used to be the case that if one was 'merely' depressed, one automatically scored 15 points on the incapacity for work table. Whereas someone like me almost literally had to jump through hoops to prove the extent of his mobility problem.
Little has changed, from my perspective. I still have to jump through hoops. ATOS still makes absurd pronouncements (since they are paid to cut as many off benefits as they can, en effait), and I have to fight them in an appeal process that is extremely stressful. All this while I am trying to write my PhD!
When I read Pollard's rant against what is clearly an unusual case, I do feel a little queasy in my stomach, especially when I consider that the doctor who crippled me was not so very different from the educated middle class boys I went to school with, or lived nearby, in leafy HGS and North London.
Going to private school or attending the best universities doesn't necessarily imbue one with a sense of justice or morality. Very often it seems to teach one how to cleverly argue that one's superior situation is itself justice i.e. to act in one's own interest, above others'.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 12:24
Britain is the mug of Europe.
jonathancohen (not verified)
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 12:26
How much do benefits cost Britain? How much did the banks loot from the public purse?
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 12:34
The bankers' deeds are irrelevant to the scandal of such farcical nonsense as - for example - Somalis living in a £2 million West Hampstead house at taxpayer's expense ...
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 12:43
If the bankers are irrelevant, then so is noting that some benefit claimants are Somalis. How much do the Somalis etc cost and how much have the bankers looted? And MPs? Ministers? I think you'll find it's far more than benefit claimants. It's always easy to target the weakest in society. And it's the stock in trade for such rags as the Express, whose owner has been a porn merchant. I wonder if Mr Desmond has found a scheme to indulge in tax avoidance. Not illegal, but immoral and costing the state far more than the claimants.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 12:51
The real losers are the British people - beset by greed from all sides and destructive far-left social theories and practices.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 13:00
I doubt Pollard or his own will ever be in a position to need to ask the state for help. Not for real help. If he or any of his were crippled by a private surgeon, I think any number of options would be on his table, including legal ones.
Doubtless he thinks that an innate virtue on his part. It isn't. It is a corollary of means.
The draconian response to undoubted benefit abuse is just that: draconian. The genuinely needy who fall foul of it are collateral damage, acceptable because 'You can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs'.
I doubt if any of Pollard's own will or would ever fall into that category. Which means that he hardly writes from the perspective of full human empathy, rather reactionary rant, pleasing to his target audience.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 13:11
I'm with you Macairt. It's very easy to blame the poor and weak in society. It's very easy to do so from the perch of being the owner of a newspaper obessed with house prices, the weather and dead princesses.I note that Yvetta, while having a go at far left social theories, doesn't mention those paragons of capitalism, the bankers and brokers, who got us into this mess in the first place.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 13:34
Please cut the mindless Pavlovian leftie crap about 'bankers'......
The subprime crisis was caused by bankers only doing what the US government encouraged them to do, viz lend to minority ethnic groups to buy their own homes......
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 13:52
Oh Jonathan, how terrible it was for that US government to lead all those poor bankers into such mistaken and NAUGHTY behaviour....
Er... have those poor mislead bankers rebounded in anger at their Government yet?
And have they started to apologise to all those minority ethnic groups and refund the vast amounts they now realise they shouldn't have had?
I expect they will do any time now - will you let us know when they do, Jon?
By the way - minority ethnic groups are awful people, aren't they? Except us Jews of course...
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 13:56
Dear namesake, I think you'll find that the bankers willingly lent money, at exorbitant rates, to all comers, not just "ethnic minority groups". That phrase, in and of itself, says a lot. I hope you will withdraw it once you realise what you have said.
How much did the bankers loot from the public purse? That's your and my hard earned tax pounds they are dishing out as bonuses. Does that not bother you? Left and right have nothing to do with this.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 16:37
You guys really need to get your facts right before mouthing off.
The vast majority of the assistance to banks has been in the form of contingent loans or purchase of equity which will be reversed - hopeflly at a profit for the taxpayer - when bank shares recover. And the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act in the US DID sow the seeds of the subprime crisis.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 16:45
So it's all the "minority ethnic groups'" fault? Do you include Jews in that. We are, after all, a "minority ethnic group" Or is your nonsense confined to just one of them? Please elaborate. A nation waits.
And when the banks give the money back (at a profit, noch), the messiah will come. Banks don't give back money.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 16:48
The subprime lending problem originates, as Jonathan correctly identifies, with US government plans under Clinton - a democrat. This was driven by leftist ideology, not economics.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 17:27
"jonathancohen" your comments are moronic and not deserving of a response
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 17:56
Jonathan, you have repeatedly failed to respoind to the points put to you, and have now been reduced to ad hom attacks.
You have nothing to contribute.
I'm shocked that the JC allows such ignorant and incoherent drivel as espoused by Cohen.
Watchful Iris (not verified)
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 17:57
This is Jonathan Hoffman:
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 17:58
It's obvious Amber is paid to be house troll to try and boost figures. I see he or she is a tuchas lacher, too.
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 18:00
I'm shocked the JC allows such casual racism on its blogs. One would have thought that we Jews have suffered enough at the hands of those who bandy about nonsense regarding ethnic minority groups. Who is this "jonathanhoffman" any way?
Wed, 08/17/2011 - 18:08
Thu, 08/18/2011 - 11:53
How many more times are you going to cut and paste your posts Cohen?
They really weren't that good the first time.
Thu, 08/18/2011 - 11:54
JC, is there a policy on abusive posts or not?
Thu, 08/18/2011 - 11:56
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