The government has shifted the purpose of disability benefits.
I received the result of my Pip assessment last week—my benefits are to be cut.
I’ve got severe ME, chronic fatigue syndrome, and since the last assessment I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD.
My life is a complex patchwork of managing, trying to manage and not managing, getting help, not getting help, people coming round to help. It means struggling with basics like cooking meals or getting to medical appointments. My social life has to fit around those difficult functions.
Prior to this decision I received the enhanced rates of £83.10 for the Pip daily living component and £55.65 for the mobility component. Now they only want to give me the basic rates—£80.
It means I will lose the mobility car that I rely on. And, because I can’t cook or clean, I need help and spend more money on basics.
The interviewer was only looking for inconsistencies. I received the report that revealed the “errors” that I made.
It said I maintained eye contact with her, which indicates I don’t have mental health issues. But when I’m scared, when someone in position of power is asking questions, I will be absolutely glued, and on guard, however exhausted that will make me later.
To challenge the decision, you have to write a letter pointing out what’s wrong with the 28-page long assessment. I have to go through it with added shock and fear. What’s keeping me going is people telling me tips and advice, but what about others with less support?
Former Tory minister Iain Duncan Smith said he wanted to introduce the element of fear into benefits. It’s state sponsored disability hate-crime. I went through a state interrogation.
Children need our support
We’re fighting for more funds for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) and we hope those funds could be ringfenced (Socialist Worker, 21 February 2018).
And because so many children are dealing with this problem, we’re fighting for early intervention and getting it into schools.
We didn’t have early years intervention at all with my daughter Becky, who died last July.
Had things been dealt with at a younger age with her, I think things may not have escalated to where they did.
The first thing we faced was the waiting list.
Your child is in a situation and you’re told to wait months.
And in that time those problems are getting bigger and are getting worse.
There also needs to be something in between early intervention and Camhs.
I also think of all the children that are turned away.
It doesn’t mean that the child isn’t ill or doesn’t need help—and they’ll probably end up in a situation where they do need Camhs.
The crisis team isn’t available during evening or weekends. But during the day most kids are at school. Something’s more likely to happen outside school hours.
They seem to find money for all sorts, especially for their own pockets, but there’s no money for things we need like the NHS and homes.
Trump has the blood of 17 victims on his hands
We are being presented with a familiar narrative to explain Nikolas Cruz’s murder of 17 pupils at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The focus is on Cruz’s mental health not his far right sympathies.
His legal defence, for example, argues that Cruz is “deeply disturbed and emotionally broken”.
And Donald Trump has been quick to seize on this theme labelling Cruz as “mentally disturbed”.
But Trump bears responsibility for the massacre.
He’s made the intolerance that drove Cruz to carry out his crime part of the mainstream discourse.
By defending white supremacy Trump has the blood of the 17 dead on his hands.
We can learn lessons from South Africa
It was a really interesting interview with Ronnie Kasrils about the bitter disappointment of ANC rule since the fall of apartheid in South Africa (Socialist Worker, 28 February).
Ronnie remains enormously respected for the contribution he made to the South African struggle.
In 2005 Sinn Fein invited Ronnie to Northern Ireland to help convince its members to endorse the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
But in the last few years Ronnie has very publicly regretted the “Faustian pact” the ANC made with international capitalism. They left the wealth of the big mining and farming firms untouched, despite their wealth coming from the oppression of apartheid.
And they followed the neoliberal recipe of privatisation and cuts.
On a vastly different scale, of course, but it’s hard not to think of the parallels with what’s happened in North Ireland over the last decades.
Don’t chicken out of debate
What an utterly moronic article you wrote on KFC last week (Socialist Worker, 28 February).
The primary victims of exploitation here are the chickens, while you dribble on about distribution workers.
- The KFC story highlights the terrible plight of chickens (which are not a human commodity). Go vegan!
Aid is not altruistic
Your article on foreign aid is the same as we’ve always said (Socialist Worker, 28 February 2018).
They always say, “Guns for aid”, “grow coffee get aid”, “let us invest in railway lines to transport all your assets get aid” etc.
Aid is imperialist.
- Everyone should read Teresa Hayter’s book Aid as Imperialism and Graham Hancock’s Lords of Poverty to understand foreign aid.
Global attack on education
In Argentina we’re going through a similar situation with privatisation in education (Socialist Worker 28 February).
The government wants to install an education reform to make us youngsters go to work while we’re still doing the last year of high school.
Everything that’s planned is meant to increase profits.
Brum Labour should fight
Here we go again— valuable day care centres for vulnerable adults being cut or closed (Socialist Worker, 28 February).
Labour-run councils should stop doing this to vulnerable people.