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Tuesday 15 February 2011

Verity Murphy | 16:08 UK time, Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Here is what is coming up on Tuesday's programme:

The UK Consumer Prices Index (CPI) annual inflation rate rose to 4% in January, up from 3.7% in December, and well above the 2% target.

Tonight our Economics editor Paul Mason will be reporting on what can be done to curb inflation and since it is not being met, what the point of the target is.

American academic Lawrence Mead, whose ideas provided the for a tough overhaul of US welfare, has visited Liverpool to see how the UK benefits system works and give his assessment of what must change.

Afterwards we will discuss the issues raised by the film with Mr Mead and Work and Pensions Minister Chris Grayling.

Plus in the studio we will be debating whether Health Service Ombudsman Ann Abraham's damning report on how the NHS is failing to treat elderly patients in England with care, dignity and respect reveals a growing resentment of and disregard for the elderly.

Join Jeremy Paxman at 10.30pm on BBC Two.


  • Comment number 1.


    I have sampled three NHS hospitals and one care home, through the 'agency' of my stroke-damaged elderly brother. The hospitals were all 'mismatched' to his needs - the care home scored well on humanity but was clearly constrained by 'the bottom line'.

    The 'overstayed' are uninspiring. This is not what nature would do.

    or culture has sown the wind and the whirlwind is just starting to wreak havoc. We ain’t seen nothin' yet.

    Tonight funds, mechanisms, Matrons etc will be argued over. Failed culture will not feature. The right to die will not even amount to a whiff of elephant.

  • Comment number 2.


    In his rant at Osborne's policies, Ed Balls used: 'to tell the truth'.
    This is unparliamentary language of a low order - an affront to the Westminster Ethos.

    He should go.

  • Comment number 3.

    Can't see how raising interest rates at this time is going to make a jot's difference to limiting inflation, since the inflation is being caused by factors outside of everyday people's control. Much of it is a self-imposed inflation by government raising VAT.

    People need fuel to go about their daily business. If they didn't the economy would collapse in that direction. Once again government tax on fuel and excessive energy company prices fire inflation. Not in our control.

    Arguably the government's quest to re-balance the state coffers is liable to stumble in the rush.

    I have savings with a very low interest rate return. But I'd rather suffer this at present, than see businesses go down through higher interest rate borrowing and throwing yet more people out of jobs (you, your family and friends) at this critical time in our economic history.

    Think the MPC should make its decisions based on facts rather than pressure from sensational headlines.

  • Comment number 4.

    Plus in the studio we will be debating whether Health Service Ombudsman Ann Abraham's damning report on how the NHS is failing to treat elderly patients in England with care, dignity and respect reveals a growing resentment of and disregard for the elderly.

    Having recently laid to rest a dear parent whose last year could have been a lot better but for the 'talents' applied by a care home/GP/DMHoP mismatched triumvirate, and still fighting her case (simply to avoid repetitions and spare another our family's experiences... I find pay-offs and awards that drain the system further risible, especially when designed to spare individual failings) with more acronyms (CQC, PCT, NHS...) than you can shake a disconnected, blame-culture, over-lapping, crack-fall causing, box-ticking, target meeting, lesson learning, nothing-changing stick at, I'd say that Newsnight has pretty much grabbed, through ineptitude or willful narrative enhancement... two areas that matter not a jot.

    Growing resentment and disregard for the elderly? Where the heck does that set of vague notions come from? Get real! And specific! This is the kind of tripe that can only emanate from a pre-production meeting staffed by a bunch of right-on PC kids desperate to emote rather than address a clear problem.

    Because, by now, as no one in the NHS or care industry has been truly held accountable for decades, the odd spot check (as I heard patronisingly trotted out today by a Minister as a 'make it go away for a while again' 'solution') is unlikely to make much difference.

    Or to see how 'extra' training is going to help even the dimmest bulb in the professional medical infirmament more able to detect a soiled bed or answer a plea for water if they can't now.

    But, one is sure, lessons have been learned. Again. So the media for whom the NHS is a no-go zone will simply play the game and move on. With distracting nonsense like that being attempted here. Worrying about 'cultures' as opposed to actual accountabilities and competencies, from bedside fallen angels to rotting heads in ivory towers.

    And nothing will change. Because most staff are still great, caring and competent, the deceit is that those who, patently, are not, cannot be located and dealt with.... for fear of tarring with a brush that desperately IS called for. It is one of the most tragic cons of too many being deployed these days, across the public sector especially.

    Don't get old.

    And if you are one of the clowns who caused this, participate in it or fiddle shamelessly as it burns, pray that karma doesn't do irony as your comfy pay-offs mean your body stays on longer than most to 'enjoy' what you created.

    Barry, and others I am sure, you have my empathy and sympathy. I'd was going to add that 'I feel your pain', but what our loved ones had to endure makes a mockery of that term.

    But not the only mockery at play today.

  • Comment number 5.

    given the inflation is coming from soft commodities why are we paying millionaire landowners billions a year to do nothing and keep land idle?

    if the trend is for higher food prices then now is the time to dump the silly Eu religion of market fixing and rebuild milk herds etc

  • Comment number 6.

    No 2 A nulabour spin merChant/politician tell the truth, comon Barrie

    A Good Day 2 Bury Bad News .. that would be every day these days

    Allways Look on The Bright Side of Life, 2 the Tune of Sucide is Painfull

  • Comment number 7.

    "NHS is failing to treat elderly patients in England with care, dignity and respect reveals a growing resentment of and disregard for the elderly."

    A couple of points.

    First, neglect and lack of 'care' of patients in the NHS is not confined to the elderly. It is so widespread as to be pretty well endemic, at least out of the critical care/specialist sectors.

    BUT, secondly, and for the purposes of the blog topic, the question of debate on tonight's programme highlights that this is a two part problem. I am glad to see a broad debate on the wider issues and look forward to the item.

    The first is a general comment on how the elderly (when do we become that - when we are slow, disabled, ailing, become mentally confused??) are treated in 21st Century Britain. Much of this seems to stem from increased family separation. Whether that is due to living distance (guilty), family break ups or just the overwhelming desire to lead out own lives, the result is that many older people do not have a network of support around them anymore. Their offspring live too far to be able to offer daily practical or emotional support. There is no one to prevent them being ripped off, mistreated, lonely, sick or worse.

    If we do not/can not care effectively (and I am talking about basic human care not medical intervention) for our own, why do we expect those in relatively poorly paid jobs to pick up the pieces for the long term.

    Returning to the NHS, 'Health' is a broad concept and possibly separate from acute medical services, which the NHS usually does pretty well. But what for those, elderly, alone, with often multiple chronic underlying health issues? Hospitals as we know them are almost certainly far from the best places for those members of society.

    There must surely be a better model, somewhere between acute hospital wards and care homes or even hospices. Convalescent wards could surely be staffed, more lightly, and more cheaply by those without the now obligatory university degree and career path. With fewer management overheads, charts and forms to fill in; and more basic human compassion and inter personal connection.

    Problem is, they all have to be paid for. And there is a good chance that some 'elderly' in the medical sense may be needing varying degrees of care such as this, daily, for many years, maybe even decades.

    So, is a substantial hike in NI called for?

    Or separate ageing care facilities financial packages. Or should we baby boomers be more ready and prepared for the long haul in close proximity to our parents?

  • Comment number 8.

    Of course we could stop taking in millions of immigrants into a society that hasn`t the resources or infrastructure to cope with more than sixty per cent of the people we have here already?

    But as the BBC and EU and Westminster and our asylum industry all seem to work for George Soros and his Open Society foundation perhaps it`s surprising I haven`t been locked up for pointing out the truth in such an "oppressive" way!

    Am I mad... or is it everyone else who has given leave of their sense of common sense, self interest and sanity?

  • Comment number 9.


    Can we get any more perverse than that? I suppose it is rather like cheerfully bombing Johnnie Foreigner BEFORE he comes to Britain, but then refusing him death, no matter how he might beg in old age.

    The move to grant abortion was inexorably progressives - and now we have the MORNING AFTER PILL. What many of us tail-enders want, is a 'NO MORNING AFTER PILL'. Why, with the country broke, and no one wanting to tend the living dead, is there barely perceptible progress towards decent departure?

    Is it time that I, and my like minded friends, paid a visit to the House of Lords and its delusional 'I'm alright Jack' Bishops, to explain the above?

    Our cleverness has outstripped wisdom, we live too long. But there is no call to add perversity to the compound the error.

  • Comment number 10.

    If people wish to commit euthanasia, all they need is a ticket to Dignitas in Switzerland!

  • Comment number 11.

    No Real Complaints about The NHS. In the last 2 years I have been under the Blade and Loads of Drugs, (the drugs sometimes work) Thanx 2 my Wonderfull Doctor and then 3 seperate NHS Trusts, I used 2 be Dead but I'm ok now.

    However due 2 nulabour's open door policy/Vote collecting Scheme Half the worlds population have A Foot/Boot in the NHS's Revolving door.

    Stay Young and Beautifull if You want 2 B Loved, or if your A Woman Lay it on with A Trowel Baby, Love Is Blind, but the nhs it seems isn't

  • Comment number 12.

    Lawrence Of America .. should be Interesting, Don't Mention The Fraud or The Lead Swingers..and dont mention me I do Both

  • Comment number 13.


  • Comment number 14.

    My uncle joined "exit" Barrie and went peacefully into the good night on his own terms (just as he had always done) at the age of ninety-two.
    After many years as a social worker I want the same deal and to be spared the lottery of falling into the hands of the crackpots and psychopaths who can outnumber the sensitive intelligent responsible staff in our institutions.

  • Comment number 15.


    I saw some plausible suit, reassuringly, saying that PFI's can be re-negotiated with the construction companies, as we will not play with them any more if they don't. Can one of you money-watchers tell me: weren't a lot of PFI debts flogged on/off during the pre crash days? That would mean they are now owned by the usual suspects, rather than the original contractors. MAYBE THE CRAFTY CONTRACTORS EVEN SAW THE ADVANTAGE IN SO DOING! Our politicians are usually the last to twig.

  • Comment number 16.

    Arcade Fire A Great Banned (i wonder where they got Ready 2 Start )

    I/We/Us Naked Emperor's have Allways been Ready 2 Start It and Finish It

    Have you not done The Dance of The Flamers Auntie .. you haven't Lived

    Warm Bum or Great Balls of Fire .. Trust Me its Both

  • Comment number 17.

    What No Award for Biffy We Was Robbed. boy bands I Fart in your general direction

  • Comment number 18.

    15...Of course our politicians are the "last to twig"....would that be the same millionaire politicians with all sorts of little earners on the side who are so upset about us knowing about their creative accounting scams?

  • Comment number 19.

    Brit Awards Not 2 Shabby, some Great Music About these Days and Legs & Co

    Arcade Fire & Mumford and Sons Great. I do Love that Folk Rock Stuff.

    I did Miss The Heavy Metal Section, Keep It Loud N Heavy Aunty

  • Comment number 20.

    THE EMAIL-NOTICE FURORE - IS IT ME? (BBC 1 News 10.00 pm)

    Just once, today, I heard a report to the effect that the squaddies given (one year) notice, were on ONE YEAR ROLLING CONTRACTS. If that is true, THEY WERE EXPECTING NOTICE, AT ANY TIME. That makes the email a CONFIRMATION, and the whole circus rather tabloid.

    Were they on rolling one year contracts? If so: a little less edginess is called for.

  • Comment number 21.

    PFI A nulabour Con I Believe = Slavery and Debt for Life I Believe

  • Comment number 22.

    The Question JP Is .. Are The RATS that Infest No 10 Now Worse Than The Nulabour Rats who Infested No 10 And The Country for 13 Years.

    Could Anyone Be Worse than The B.B.C. Trio

    Anyone Seen or Heard of The Pied Piper of Hamworthy of late

  • Comment number 23.

    Re: care for the elderly. What was interesting was when the bloke from the RCN was interviewed on Today this morning, all he could talk about was 'improving training' of nurses etc, with not one acknowledgement that, for some (but by no means all) nurses, it's not about 'training' but the fact that they just can't understand what the verb 'nurse' means. My sister (in her 20s) was bedbound in hospital for a couple of weeks. Her thought on the care she received? "I don't give a s**t that you've got a degree, what I need is someone to empty my bedpan."

  • Comment number 24.


    Anyone know why Paul Mason was out in the street? I tried to pick up subliminal messages from the passers-by, and the hang of his coat. Zilch.

  • Comment number 25.

    Excellent Jeremy yet again tonight - particularly the discussion with Virgina Ironside & Gloria Hunniford on the (general) decline in care of the elderly :o(
    It is really disgusting that the elderly who have contributed so much are now being so neglected. I rather like Gloria's suggestion that perhaps we should adopt the French model and let the grandchildren take care of their grandparents by law!

    Although I can understand the need for welfare reform, and it was an interesting discussion, I hope it does not mean a return to the Victorian workhouses where people were forced to work for a pittance.

  • Comment number 26.


    Leaving aside the need for a rather un-engaging Yank, with a sweaty fetish hat, to tell us the obvious, why is it always the have-nots who need back-boning and moral-fibre-ing?

    Why not insist that Dave et al can only collect on investment income, WHEN THEY HAVE DONE SOME UNPAID, BIG SOCIETY STUFF? Better still, put all politicians into orange jump-suits, and on a chain gang, WHERE WE CAN WATCH.

    Oh joy.

  • Comment number 27.


    Has he ever worked among no-hopers - with not a lot of hope himself?
    I will advise for free if asked - going forward.

  • Comment number 28.

    give larry mead the job of work tzar! his approach to people in the film is just what the spoilt brits need less mamby pamby and more realism who has a right to live off the hard earned money of others taxes - NO ONE so give the workshy and broom and get them out helping Bill Bryson to clean up litter properly. Starting at 8am every day that would be the best training programme ever for learning what responsibility means. Then move onto cleaning up the graffiti in the 'deprived' areas - made deprived by themselves. If they want to see deprivation try the slums of India or..... I have worked in community for the nhs the biggest flat screen tvs are in the dwellings of those on benefits. Wake up Britain you are being taken for a ride on a daily basis and your children will be paying the bill in the deficit payments that come from the borrowings to pay these workshy layabouts. good luck to Larry Mead if he gets the job he'll need more than the Prime Ministers salary though to carrry it off.

  • Comment number 29.

    What an insult to many genuine people out of work Mr P. You said there are six million people being paid not to work. Six million people aren't being paid 'not to work'. A lot of them would like to work but can't get a job. Typical well-off, middle class sweeping statement on the unclean masses. Leave your comfy studio and meet the people who are jobless, not through their own fault.

    Your interviewee/film commentator, Larry Mead, said people from overseas are coming here to take plenty of available jobs. They are effectively working for 'slave labour' wages. How could anyone already living here with family, mortgage committments etc survive on the frankly shameful, pittance money immigrants are paid.

    I don't like benefit scroungers either, but it's a great headline distractor from reality. Don't tar everyone with the same brush.

    Sometimes think this country is slipping back into the 18th century with the well-off building their enormous mansions and saying how the poor should work harder, whilst enriching themselves from cheap labour.

  • Comment number 30.


    Could Newsynighty move over the operative who adds silly, intrusive musack, to broadcast video, to be a speeder--upper of the posts on here? Not a lot to choose, I know, but a double reduction in irritation would accrue.

    (This post should be read to the tune of Annie Laurie.)

  • Comment number 31.

    ..CBS News' Lara Logan Assaulted During Egypt Protests..

    ..In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers...

  • Comment number 32.


    Jeremy was offered a gem but slumbered on. I think it came from the agony aunt (Gloria was woolly as usual).

    Just as medicine, is a slow time-bomb in the third world, here it extends life into an obscene twilight zone, that even Nature finds abhorrent. It is often said of obnoxious individuals that only a mother could love them. Who might rationally, expect a stranger to love (care fore) the living dead?

    WE DO NOT DO THIS TO OUR PETS. Indeed, in many cases we would be in court, if we did.

    Further proof this is THE AGE OF PERVERSITY.

  • Comment number 33.

    Yes - another Newsnight reporting equivalent of an oxymoron.

    I refer to the segment " attitudes to the elderly ". ( Tuesday 15 Feb ).

    On a day when hospital care was coined as a national scandal, Newsnight put on air two insignificant inconsequential non-entities.... Some useless old trout, an 'agony aunt' from the Independent no less, who couldn't speak a relevant meaningful sentence, and the BBC's own luvvie Honeyford - probably never experienced the inside of an NHS hospital or State Nursing Home in the whole of her sheltered middle-class existence.

    All hosted by that intellectually vaccuous overpaid smug self-satisfied Paxman, unable to ask an intelligent probing question to save his life, but thinks interruption and borderline-abusive is being 'investigative'.

    Yes - the BBC has exemplified the attitude to care of the elderly quite perfectly - let's dodge the issue and pretend it doesn't exist.

    In a broader general issue, Newsnight is becoming unwatchable because night after night it dodges issues. With the exception of lucid straight-talkers like Paul Mason, Mark Urban and Richard Watson most of Newnight reporters,presumably aided by poor editors, waffle on and on with no communicative ability.

    It's high time Newsnight had a shake-up and jetisoned some of the dead wood.

  • Comment number 34.

    Today I have sampled the lack of care, dignity and respect given to our elderly by our "professional" care services through the home care that I give to an elderly person recently dismissed from hospital and recovering at home. In her own words, she sick and tired of doctors just prescribing pain killers, she has asked for some human touch, for the doctor to come to visit her after a lengthy stay in hospital after an operation, for some physiotherapy which involves massage that would alleviate some of her pain and help her walk again. Surely it does not take a degree in medecine and a professional nursing diploma or any of the countless degrees that seem to be on offer about working in the health service to understand that alleviating the anxiety of an elderly vulnerable person who is sick or trying to rehabilitate or suffering from a long term condition is perhaps the underlying principle that should drive all care for the elderly, and this requires compassion Maybe we need a little more human touch and less of a drug driven cultureWe in they way care is prescribed. It does not bear thinking that as a massage therapist I know that I can alleviate some of the pain just by massaging them, or that an acupuncturist can alleviate pain without expensive recall to drugs, however our cartesian view of the body seems to have gone just a little too far and science has become devoid of any heart or common sense or openness to open its doors. Our elderly are a gift and is a call to all of us not just professionals to listen to them and to be involved in their care. I ask that we all look at ways to respond to the call to care for the vulnerable, because over a course of our lives we cannot be so arrogant to claim that we do not need each other.

  • Comment number 35.

    I did like The Cut of Lawrence of Amerca's Jib, I also like the Frank Frank Field He had A Cunning Plan some years ago but TB chickened out, No surprises there.
    I have worked since I was a toddler untill recent, what grips my **** is me having 2 Slave my guts out for persons who dont in my humble opinion deserve it. people in Nick Terrorists murders and the like, most prisons now are better than 3 star hotels drugs and booze on tap etc. Prison should be ran as a Charity if You want 2 feed them You Feed them, I have my own Children 2 feed I aint feeding 20/30/40/50 or 60 year old children. You reach eighteen you reach an age of Reason? Dont Get Caught.

    Don't tell anyone but I did a couple of one night stands in local nick last year, Luxury Lad. Mattress!! Blanket!! Bog!! Food!! Drink!! 30 years ago it was hancuffed behind the back hard wooden bed, Toilet was in your Trousers.

    Or set them Free on South Georgia/Shakleton's Rock they can do what they want down there. (Hard they think they are Hard,not capable of Thought either) I have Pals who stand on both sides of Prison Bars, They would survive down there, so would I or I would Die (sob boo hoo)love 2 see some politicians etc down there eh

    Since the Fifties The "Nanny" State has Gone Bonkers so has the Country

    I Don't Owe You Anything and You Don't Owe Me Anything its Easy isn't it

    old Folk Freeze and Starve 2 Death, They would be better off in some of these prisons rather than the wasted youth

    How Much does Criminals and The Criminal "Justice" System COST YOU not Me

    You Can Shove Your Sob Stories. the countrys deficit halved just like that. Who's got the Gonads for that one then

    Human Rights .. ask the Dead from 7/7 See/Hear what They Say

    Easy Init

  • Comment number 36.

    I have rarely come across a more unpleasant idea from the BBC...get an American to come here and lecture us about welfare reform,find as many people he can to agree with him and smirk into the camera. Additionally,the teaser article for this programme on the BBC News website by Lawrence Mead was so unbelievably biased with the normal boneheaded American right wing agenda as to defy description. He was not challenged properly or rigorously. Even the title 'Work Shy Britons' was unbelievably insulting and patronising. I presume the idea for this programme was to placate of the right wing of the Tory party who are pressuring for the predictable attacks on 'dole scroungers' to divert attention from the 'difficult' economic times we are in.

    The Americans have got nothing to be proud of when it comes to welfare,and I was frankly disgusted and appalled that we should need to import their ideas and philosophy. You want a society that literally dumps people on the street when welfare runs out,refuses to treat the poor who get sick,imprisons vast numbers and ends up with ordinary people feeling they need guns to defend themselves in their homes you can have it. But not for me,ta.

    Blaming the unemployed for unemployment is an old game from the right,and its time it was put to bed. Where are the permanent jobs? Where is the training? Where are the decent working conditions and fair pay? Where are the funds to start up small businesses? Where is the political will to do something about unemployment,other than to pester and humiliate the unemployed with daft courses and privatised jobseeking agencies,along with threats and continual monitoring that 'jobseeking' is going on? This programme was a joke. I hope no one took it seriously.

  • Comment number 37.

    The neglect of the elderly.

    It went bad for the old folk when family life was eroded by introducing women in the work place; the sisters now find themselves tied to a job and contributing to higher mortgage cost (the two parent working households helped increase house prices, ensuring their enslavement to the banksters and the tax system evermore). This inturn removed the family connection of elderly parent because the grown-up children are too busy working to ensure they meet bill demands. The state took over the role of looking after the elderly and the state/nursing homes don't do a good job of it. This is why kids are lost and feel unloved and granny dribbles with no one to wipe her mouth...can you guess who I blame?
    The Rothchilds family and other banking families who funded womens Liberation in the 70s and the leftists.

    Women should only work to earn Marks and Spencers spending Money until she drops one..then she should quit work and then raise her kids of whom all then help in looking after her elderly parent/s - and her husbands - into their old age if needed.

    Go on, tell me I'm wrong.

  • Comment number 38.

    titty tree napolinononion called the british a nation of shopkeepers

    SH from shop & EEP out of keepers, was e talking about you

  • Comment number 39.

    Personally I found Professor Lawrence Mead to be patronising, insulting, denigrating and downright ignorant. Where does he get the idea that " is hard to be destitute.."? We ought to take a trip to some of the sink estates where there are little or no jobs and pontificate to those people.

    Why is it always the poor and the lower classes that need Paxman's penury enacting on them? How dare he and your team put this poisonous Professor into our homes? It is very easy to bring a academic with a head full of stats into a situation like this, put his work next to a Tory like Chris Grayling and elitist Politico like Paxman and NOT expect them to come up with some rancid solution to society's ills based upon slashing the welfare for the poor - what would you expect from such a group of upper middle-class middle ages men? Can you really tell me that any of them know what hardship is? But they all have opinions on the people for whom it is a reality every single day.

  • Comment number 40.


    The Ape Confused by Language is not good at complex living.

    THE STATE is manned by aberrants. The State has seen fit, over many generations, to remove children from family into to school, mother from mothering to serve Mammon, and work from local to global. (War has gone from manageable to beyond comprehension.)

    This has messed with our heads, such that we use a range of inputs to our senses to block the pain. From INSIDE this hell, we ask ourselves what ails us - the answer is US!

    And the maddest by far, post in the electronic limbo - impotently.

  • Comment number 41.

    36 I Don't Give A Dam about what The Septics Think


  • Comment number 42.

    #36 Lee Brown

    Absolutely right sir! People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones...

  • Comment number 43.

    37 You are right about The Marks & Sparks Caper However in my undefence I thought my wages were Beer Tokens for some time.

  • Comment number 44.

    Professor Mead and his ideas was bang on -unless your of the needy can't-make-it-on your-own dependent type..and hate the middle class and middle aged ( surprised 'white' didn't get into that mix)
    Why should people languish on welfare. And why should the tax payer be expected to fund it. Well I know the welfare dependency demographic guarantees a vote for Labour in any given election; hence thats why Labour never did anything about it- although Frank field was given the job of reforming welfare in 97 - the idea of raising the chance's of a better life for the poor with introducing them to some kinda work or conditions tied to benefits was a danger to Labour, and thats why Frank Field MP was told not to bother with it..votes are more important than any known or unknown aspiring-out-of-work of the poor working class..they might one day become Tory voters.
    Labour failed the long term unemployed. Getting state benefits should be time limited and not a life style. Get them into getting up in the morning and doing something..end off. And if you can't agree with that..well your a lib who thinks that state handouts should be a given.

  • Comment number 45.

    I totally agree with the sentiments expressed in postings 29 and 36. The Newsnight item tonight on the so-called 'work shy Britons' was disgraceful, lazy journalism, and a prejudicial slur on the unemployed who in the vast majority of cases are legitimately in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, and other welfare benefits.

    When you lose your job, it is more often than not through no fault of your own. Most people on benefits are not the stereotypical work shy scrounger who has never worked, but people who have worked but who have had the misfortune of losing their job. Indeed, one of the reasons why we all pay National Insurance is precisely to provide us with a welfare safety net insurance should we suffer the misfortune of losing our job. 'Contributions Based' JSA is paid to an unemployed person for the first 26 weeks of their unemployment if they have made a sufficient contribution to their NI record whilst they were in work. For such claimants there arguably is a genuine entitlement to receive welfare support if they lose their job. It is a scandal that Conservatives and right wing American academics should propose that such people should now be coerced to take any lousy job that is offered to them the moment they present themselves to a job centre, on pains of losing their benefit entitlement altogether.

    Furthermore, the benefits system actually penalises you if you walk out of your job, or if you are sacked because of wrong doing on your part and you then make a claim for JSA. Under those circumstances, anyone who claims JSA will be disallowed from receiving the benefit for several weeks, as a penalty for having contributed towards their unemployment. There is much talk among prejudiced and ignorant right wing people about a 'culture of worklessness', or 'the dependency culture', or 'dole scroungers' etc. Yet there are many economic blackspots in parts of this country where even skilled and well-educated jobless people genuinely find it hard to find a decent, non exploitative job that will pay a reasonable living wage that enables the unemployed person to work with dignity and support their family.

    There may well be a minority of jobless people who effectively abuse the system by not looking for work. Yet why do right wing ignoramuses persist in bracketing this minority with everyone else who is unemployed and claiming JSA legitimately? It is a requirement of receiving JSA that you should be both 'available for work' and 'actively seeking work'. These requirements are not meaningless phrases. When JSA claimants sign on every two weeks they are required under current regulations to provide written evidence of what active steps they undertook over the previous two weeks to look for a job. If the Employment Advisor in the job centre is not satisfied that you have been industrious in looking for work, they have the power to suspend the benefit (or to end the benefit payment altogether) and place the claimant under what is called a 'sanction' - and such sanctions are frequently imposed already. So the idea that you can have a benefit scrounger who is on JSA is a right wing myth that is borne out of their prejudice against the poor and the unemployed.

    What we need are decent job opportunities for jobless people that pay a decent wage, and re-training programmes coupled and other forms of support for the long term unemployed to help them back into work. We also need funds - not currently available - to enable unemployed people who have a good business idea to be supported to start small businesses. And we need to recognise and reward the many unemployed people on benefits who are currently doing valuable voluntary work in their communities whilst they continue to search for paid employment. And we need to deal with the deficit in such a manner that avoids the harsh ideological onslaught by the current Coalition Government on the public and voluntary sectors - which will cost an estimated 500, 000 jobs. Stop stigmatising all unemployed people as 'work shy' or as fraudulent, or as scroungers, and let's instead reform the benefits system so that it supports people who are seeking work and grow our economy so that more job opportunities are made available for the jobless.

  • Comment number 46.

    Last Post NAH

  • Comment number 47.

    Benefit Reform -

    The benefit trap is a horrid thing to see inaction, it beats the hell out of peoples self belief that they can accomplish as good as any other man or woman can in our economy.
    Every way they turn there seems some obstacle or trap placed in their way by the well meaning state, until eventually they give up.
    The last time I looked we had 9 million people of working age economically inactive in the UK , a truly appalling statistic.
    I hope these reforms are radical enough , if it takes people out of their brow beaten comfort zone its probably right.

    NHS -

    Didn't you want to talk about the NHS ?

    The NHS needs reform , patients need more control over payments for their treatment and care. What I mean is , Hospitals or other health services should only be paid with the consent of the patient, after the treatment and care has been fully provided. If a patient feels he or she got a bad service , they should be allowed to withhold the treatment or care costs from that provider.

    And if the patient dies , then their next of kin or appointed friend should be the decider.

    Money talks , bs walks.

    You might not like that saying , but money matters greatly to companies and organizations alike.

  • Comment number 48.

    Ben wrote:
    "And we need to deal with the deficit in such a manner that avoids the harsh ideological onslaught by the current Coalition Government on the public and voluntary sectors - which will cost an estimated 500, 000 jobs. Stop stigmatising all unemployed people as 'work shy' or as fraudulent"

    Harsh ideological onslaught..emm..sounds like lib/Labour central speak to me.

    "stop stigmatisisng all unemployed people"
    Did we both watch the same report? I don't recall the report once mention anything about all unemployed people as scroungers. As far as i recall - and call me on this if I'm wrong - but wasn't the premise of the report about long term unemployed; how does the Govt deal with long term unemployment and shouldn't conditions be attached to receiving welfare etc?

    The only stigmatising was from your own mind.
    I suppose the spending spree that Labour did over the 13yrs doesn't enter your state supported mind does it.. hence your comments 'Harsh ideological onslaught' by the present Govt? no, thought not.

    Go report back to you-know-who. Nice try mind but its gonna be years before your lot are forgiven for wrecking the economy and spending money like a drunk lottory winner with a thing for cars going around dirt tracks in a burberry shell suit.

    Taxi!..get me outa here. I've a cat to feed.

  • Comment number 49.

    33. At 11:59pm on 15 Feb 2011, sammysheepdog

    On a day when hospital care was coined as a national scandal, Newsnight put on air two insignificant inconsequential non-entities...

    Yes - the BBC has exemplified the attitude to care of the elderly quite perfectly - let's dodge the issue and pretend it doesn't exist.

    For some reason, I find myself agreeing....

    4. At 6:45pm on 15 Feb 2011
    Growing resentment and disregard for the elderly? Where the heck does that set of vague notions come from? Get real! And specific!

    I was with Gloria H on her lead in, especially looking at other countries (especially their health/care services, though oddly not covered by the report) and aspects of time (and money) having consequences, but as soon as she veered off on future cuts and training... sorry... this does not excuse the failures up to now identified, after decades, and billions of 'investment'.

    23. At 11:17pm on 15 Feb 2011, Apsara wrote:
    Re: care for the elderly. What was interesting was when the bloke from the RCN was interviewed on Today this morning, all he could talk about was 'improving training' of nurses etc, with not one acknowledgement that, for some (but by no means all) nurses, it's not about 'training' but the fact that they just can't understand what the verb 'nurse' means.


    4. At 6:45pm on 15 Feb 2011
    Or to see how 'extra' training is going to help even the dimmest bulb in the professional medical infirmament become more able to detect a soiled bed or answer a plea for water if they can't now.

    This was not public service broadcasting. It was public servant service broadcasting, showing a propensity more for mutual backside covering than anything else.

    Not for the first time. Depression of morbidity? Not sure the Indy waffler has a clue what she is on about, or can explain it, which is an odd trait for an Agony Person. By my experience, especially with dementia, folk can drag on for a... heartbreakingly... looooong time.

    Though the notion of some old parental sister-nicknamed entities dropping off a cliff by being past their prime was an interesting notion to have conjured.

  • Comment number 50.


    The agony aunt seemed to be, more-or-less, 'wishful musing' Kev.

    Her cliff-dropping aspiration only serves a few. Years of dangling beckons many more.

    But then - show me something Westminster has got right. The collective psyche of our governance, is not one of selfless compassion.

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 51.

    What I find particularly troubling about the Mead item is the total lack of an alternative voice to his views. He was not challenged at all by any academic or political voice. It is as if the BBC accept his views and those of Chris Grayling as the received truth and that there is no challenge to be had to them, people on benefits are deliberately using the system to languish in idleness of their own choice. Have any of these people ever had to live on £65 job seekers allowance or £90 incapacity benefit? Have any of the morons on this page who refer to the work shy and scroungers ever had to live on those amounts? I was in work for 25 years before I had to accept medical retirement due to chronic ill health and I can tell you it is not easy or comfortable to have to live on benefits. If you saved while you were in work it is even less easy as you are not entitled to any means tested benefits and for instance have to pay for all prescriptions for the many different pills you have to take.
    Most people on benefits have no choice but to be on them and most people payed for them through taxes and national insurance contributions. For those lucky enough not to have to be on them you should be grateful fate has looked after you, I will swap places with you any time you like, and if you still persist in your views lets hope one day soon you find yourself needing benefits to survive and we will see how intact your beliefs remain on £65 a week!

  • Comment number 52.

    #23 Aspara

    "'s not about 'training' but the fact that they just can't understand what the verb 'nurse' means...."

    How true my friend.

    ".... "I don't give a s**t that you've got a degree, what I need is someone to empty my bedpan."....."

    Oh, I do hope she said that allowed during consultants rounds - and had it broadcast on hospital radio.

  • Comment number 53.

    A very big thank you to Professor Larry Mead for pointing out what should have been implemented decades ago.

    The commentators on here complaining about "slave" labour should remember that there is already minimum wage legisation in place so any employer breaking this law can be prosectuted. If they have complaints about this legislation, the minimum wage level or how the legislation is enforced then that is entirely separate issue to the principle that only those who work should receive any benefits.

    Despite the feeble attempts to excuse the completely inexcusable or justify the unjustifiable there is absolutely no good reason (as we all find out from the meeting in the community centre and, no, making the personal lifestyle decision to voluntarily have children at the expense of other taxpayers is not a reason to expect other people to carry on paying for something that these so-called "parents" can't afford themselves) why Taxpayers shouldn't force the employed to find work as a condition of receiving any benefits.

    I will be watching Chris Graylin and the government very closely to make sure that they follow through with his promise to make this happen. One good thing about Bankrupt Britain being completely out of all that money it has borrowed is that there is simply no alternative anyway and throwing money to those who are 3rd or 4th generation unemployed or whole communities that refuse to relocate to find work is no longer a viable option.

  • Comment number 54.

    #33 Sammysheepdog

    I have always believed that programmes like Newsnight are there to ask and not to tell. To invite apposite and opposing viewpoints, challenging ideas and perceptions and inviting us to look beyond our own pre conceptions and small mindness.

    Mostly I think it does so, if not on an immediate platform then through things like the specialist reporters blogs, this public forum and the occasional filmed inserts.

    Last night, from the heading on this blog and the introduction at the top of the programme I expected to enjoy?? a debate on the broader aspect of elderly care. The one that takes in the whole of UK society attitude before it filters into the NHS.

    What we got were two 'available' oldie campaigners and not enough time to develop the debate.

    Yet I do believe it has potentially opened external debate on many levels: on the massive changes in society that leads us further and further from family commitment; on the commercialisation of everything; of desire for qualification, position and power above care.

    What we do with what we hear is up to us. Perhaps (memo to self) it requires that we spend less time batting petty niggles and insults about online and go and do something.

    We cannot surely expect Newsnight/Politics Show/Daily Politics etc to provide the answers. They offer up the questions (I hesitate to say BIG) and offer pointers be the options on offer from various angles and isms.

    I think the two contributors were pretty poor representatives over all - but I imagine being the hot topic of the day and the latest programme on air to respond, the quality bods were thin on the ground. Still, it could have been worse. It could have been Joe Public with their own personal axe to grind who would be in the long run just as selfish and self seeking as our modern society (small) has become.

  • Comment number 55.

    NOTHING TO ADD (#52)

    Bravo BYT

  • Comment number 56.

    #39 Kevseywevsey

    I 'heart' you......

    Now can I shelter behind your barricade please?

  • Comment number 57.

    #32. Eight ages of Man. Is that all??

    I was going to select relevant stanza's (final two or three) as pertinent to this topic, but then thought, what the heck, the whole stands up well in terms of other topics today and yesterday.

    No copyright has been breached in this publication.

    The Too Many ages of Man

    If all the world’s a page
    and all our lives are lived in single words
    that scrawl like shooting stars through the firmament
    dispersing ashes in their wake whilst barely leaving their mark.......
    then read on for our story in too many parts......

    Before time began, the word was yeah (or maybe nay) no matter;
    pre conceptions scattered afar like seed from a pod, nestling deep in the
    womb of tranquillity, scarce expecting what might be

    then, at first unbidden, wrinkled pink Churchillian jowls slither forth
    with scant control of any faculties; a permeable membrane; a pure
    blank white sheet anticipates.......

    the quill is inked and poised; the story opens told in dulcet tones
    beneath weary wary dark and hooded eyes: Of surrogated motherhood,
    absented father; having replacing living, singular over communal our parcel passed, processed and peeled in tuber like layer then laid exposed to the core

    Now tiresome tantrums transmute organs and digits into an
    all absorbing sponge. Why and how and why again, data display now
    moulds and shapes the nature between work and play, no rest to be
    had, scarce respite from the sculpting power of osmosis

    Now dragging feet through sterile doors, years of institutional
    poring embarked; porous learning surfaces subjected
    to hard knocks; tender flesh hewn and compacted into
    narrow gauge ill fitting shapes; open minds smothered by dogma

    The revolting, grunting spotty youth now flays, baby like
    again, desperately seeking liberty: drowning in information yet
    secretly traversing that highway yearning security and protection;
    scant knowledge to be found in endless faceless fights of fantasy
    or distant dreams of princes or vampires

    Cont’s (Too many ages of Man)

    Great expectations loom large in yearning and learning;
    vowing to love, respect, honour and obey till the next bright shiny
    thing do us part. Wild oats sown in tender years, and grateful thanks
    for failing of those crops now give way to ticking clocks and joy unlimited at
    fruiting of our own loins, seed and sapling seeking root

    Years of toil of mind or body furnish pursuits of knowledge,
    of self, of limits, of snakes and ladders and ceilings false, of vocation
    and rewards. Eyes bulging bigger than bloated bellies infected by
    viral greed, controlled by the uncontrollable god of Mammon.

    The next age rounds on us soundly in a shock that we are
    not all we thought we should be. Greater yet and lesser,
    our sense uncommon to the core in thrall of habits too delightful
    to deny , our foolish greed takes its toll on all flesh and futures

    Ah wisdom now, too late we fear, hands linked with judgement fair as
    once more we flay and thrash, weep and gnash our teeth in despair: of
    youth, of governance, of justice and truth. No time left to win the game,
    nor less to repair. Hindsight tunnels our blinkered vision towards the
    fresh and hopeful, the terminally well, to see through our tear dimmed eyes.
    In desperate failing hope and sinews taut the barely living beseech restraint

    Our greatest hope as vision dims and leakage springs from every orifice and pore
    Is that for us, the mind goes astray before the flesh fails too far.
    For those we bore and to whom we bequeath our last - misery.
    For us, perchance in ease in our dementia, peace at last may reign fair,
    No love, no pride, no conscience, no integrity, no decency, no honour, no reward.......

  • Comment number 58.

    The commodity prices rising higher narrative.

    but which ones? Gas and oil are falling off a cliff. and we pay people to grow nothing. which is like having benefit system that allows people not to work. given the price of soft commodities they could be growing soft commodities and earning their own living rather than sponging off the state doing nothing?

  • Comment number 59.

    PMQ's not 2 Impressed, not so steady neddy baby is still a prawn, it and the rest of nulabour sludge behave as if they have done nothing wrong in the last 13 years

  • Comment number 60.

  • Comment number 61.


    Now write the answer/antidote/cure. (:o)

  • Comment number 62.

    if it wasnt obvious before the current coalition (LD's should hang their heads...) will dismantle the welfare state - which is what the working classes actually fought for in WW2 (the aged who are being apparently so maltreated) why else do you think labour won the first election after.

    I repeat there was never a golden rosy little britain for the majority not for a single day.

    Remove upwards aspiration for the majority! We cant afford to import low wage slaves anymore so we need to grow our own. Then the educated minority can snap up the property at cut down prices and live off the rent NICE LITTLE EARNER

    This is BIG SOCIETY this is anti STATE anti SOCIETY [and now they will be telling how the courts should work surely this bigger than anyone government] anti HUMAN RIGHTS, its not as small as sex offenders smoke n mirrors this will be all encompassing. This is your freedom of speech the right to appeal Blair had 9/11 + 7/7 to hide behind - now this hegemony DONT BARK AT THE BELL BITE THE HAND THAT TAUNTS YOU

  • Comment number 63.

    brightyangthing 56

    Yes you may:)

  • Comment number 64.

    '60. At 1:02pm on 16 Feb 2011, brossen99 wrote:

    Noticed this is listed as June 2007, but our boyo refers to 'the NHS cuts'.

    These must be the 'good' ones some media were more understanding of for no particular political empathetic reasons.

    Just been sent a ra-ra email on behalf of UK Uncut. But getting the teensiest weary of non-income generators, especially in some media, siding with utter parasites in various 'sectors', on the basis that their comfy sinecures are under threat if folk who actually create some money aren't gouged more to help keep 'em in pay, perks and pensions.

    Often they almost forget to wheel out a tragic poor person to help make the point. Just how many single mothers with only a 28" LCD are there now?

    As with other indulged if not promoted advocacy that smacks more of hypocrisy - - it's wearing a bit thin.

  • Comment number 65.

    #64 Junk

    Shadwell (and his collection) appeared in Naked Video from 1986 - 1991. Might help to place the relevant 'cuts'

  • Comment number 66.

    65. At 5:26pm on 16 Feb 2011, BrightYangThin

    Skkewered! Touche.

    'Siadwel (pronounced "Shadwell") was a character, played by actor and comedian John Sparkes in the 1980s BBC sketch show Naked Video. The character also appeared when Sparkes was part of the BBC Radio 4 comedy programme 'Bodgers Banks & Sparkes'.

    'Might help to place the relevant 'cuts'

    Indeed. Though, possibly, placing the origins of when and where the term is used for effect, in politico-social comedy. Vs. not so much.

  • Comment number 67.

    ps: on a nearby thread there are a few, besides myself, a tad bemused by the oddly remote and vague tack taken by the BBC on the subject of woeful performance standards within the NHS, despite a considerable period of very healthy 'investment'; much using reserves built up in earlier times.

    So there may be more than some irony in 'cuts' being a mantra on the BBC back when, and again now, when the period inbetween seems to be when what all the money was curiously deployed, at best, with the financial result adequately summarised by Liam Byrne and the physical cost in the recent review.


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