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PM GLASS BOX FOR THURSDAY

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Carolyn Quinn | 16:50 UK time, Thursday, 9 September 2010

We'd like to know what you thought of tonight's programme. Roger Sawyer is at the helm today and he will look through your comments after we've had our post-programme meeting at 6pm.

Thankyou,
sequin

Comments

  • 1. At 5:27pm on 09 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Gosh! Paddy's announcement of the earthquake made me jump! (or was it a tremor?)

    ;o)

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  • 2. At 5:37pm on 09 Sep 2010, U14595260 wrote:

    The news from Portsmouth holds out real hope for civilians trapped and injured in Afghanistan by Nato bombing. Accidentally of course.


    Can we pull our troops out by the 11th.?

    George Osborne is to attack the live-by-profit work-shy rentier class, is he? Clearly a class traitor to be welcomed to the fight.

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  • 3. At 5:40pm on 09 Sep 2010, StephenLion wrote:

    So the government wants to get me back to work, great!!?? I have MS & have been on Incapacity Benefit since 1991. MS is a degenerative disability, no one person with MS is the same.From one moment to the next our bodies can change. One minuet I can be Ok, the next moment I can wet myself or worse. I can be speaking ok, then my speech starts to slur. One moment I can be pain-free though the next I can be screaming in pain,then I could just fall asleep with extreme fatigue(fatti-glue) I could go on, however I do not want to bore you. The consequences are that I will have to go for an interview with the people dealing with assessments,from the experience of friends on a MS website these assessments do not take into account the shifting nature of MS. this really scares me & puts me & my fellow MSers into a state of panic & stress. Not good for me as the body just shuts down. Definitely not good, plus there is the money I have to spend just to live a normal life.I am on full DLA as well. What can George Osborn say to alleviate my stress & genuine concerns. I am a supporter of the coalition & see the need to reform, there needs to be safeguards for people like me. Help me George, to feel safe, please.....

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  • 4. At 5:44pm on 09 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    My word we are bright and early this evening!

    Loved the bit on parliament giving itself the powers to compel people to do various things. The hubris was nicely understated ;-)

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  • 5. At 5:45pm on 09 Sep 2010, newlach wrote:

    Not all of the 5 million or so people on out-of-work benefits are malingerers; but many are and they should be rooted out.

    The important question is: Where are they going to work?" I do not see that there are jobs available for all of them to take, and an employer would be reluctant to employ someone who does not want to work for him. Perhaps money could be given to companies that will specialise in getting the workshy out of their beds in the morning and clean streets or something.

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  • 6. At 5:53pm on 09 Sep 2010, sting wrote:

    Sergeant Barclay Cardwell? Really? Give your listeners some credit.

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  • 7. At 5:59pm on 09 Sep 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    Quote of the day "All boxers are scared of their Mum"!

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  • 8. At 6:00pm on 09 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    3. StevieLion:

    I can sympathise with your concerns. Unpredictable physical conditions such as MS and ME and most mental health problems have never been assessed appropriately with regard to benefits. It's vital that appropriate safeguards are in place for people with these conditions.

    5.newlach:

    "Perhaps money could be given to companies that will specialise in getting the workshy out of their beds in the morning and clean streets or something."
    I've never understood why unemployed people aren't automatically enrolled in public work programmes in exchange for their income. Nothing demeaning or arduous - I wouldn't want to see work being used as some sort of punishment - but simply an expectation that all income is earned.

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  • 9. At 6:03pm on 09 Sep 2010, StephenLion wrote:

    Newlach, I am not work-shy, I would love to be able to work so that I can be a useful member of our society, able to not depend on Incapacity Benefit & DLA. However I cannot drive because of being partially sighted & deaf because of my MS, I am also unable to use public transport alone as I need a wheelchair to get about,(my partner also has MS & cannot use public transport at all & cannot drive. So how do I 1)Get to work. 2) Find an employer who would take me on despite all my problems. Our government need to think about the consequences of their actions on real people with real problems. The assessor's must be aware of how MS works & takes this into account. This is not happening now, so I do not hold out much hope for it happening in the future, what with all the cuts in departmental budgets!!!....
    Yes there are a small number of "scroungers" but not 4 billion pounds worth I am sure????!!!

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  • 10. At 6:05pm on 09 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    Is "workshy" one of those quaint irregular words one finds in English grammar?

    I am unable to find appropriate work.
    You are perhaps a little too choosy as to what work you will do.
    He is workshy.

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  • 11. At 6:05pm on 09 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    I was a little surprised to hear those two boxers being interviewed on Today this morning. Imagine my surprise that, not only did they want to hit each other, but also that they were compelled to descend to some pretty unsavoury expressions in order to articulate their animosity. Presumably had they not received so many blows to the head, they would have been able to express themselves in terms rather less distasteful.

    However, my surprise at hearing these imbeciles on Today is nothing compared to my astonishment at the piece currently on PM, where Duke McKenzie (who?) has been wheeled in to talk about 'what it all means'.

    McKenzie and I agree on one thing – it isn’t a game. Neither is it a sport – it’s a barbaric pastime at best, and when wrapped in the hype that surrounds the professional 'game' is utterly repugnant. Imagine it - people paying to watch two men beat the hell out of each other and being even more impressed if one of them manages to render the other unconscious. Presumably a ‘home run’ is when your opponent suffers a cerebral haemorrhage and dies. Anyone who thinks boxing has any place in a civilized society should have a chat with any one of the brain damaged former professional boxers.

    Leave it on Radio 5.

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  • 12. At 6:08pm on 09 Sep 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    It is surprising how realistic these simulations can become when you get into them.

    I was involved in training at a small rescue practice scenario once, a simulated road accident with volunteers acting as victims. However the dummy that was used to test the trainee medics on CPR was pretty basic.

    One of our local safari guides a trainee said quite seriously "Why are we performing life saving on this person who has no arms and legs? We should be helping the people in the car."

    Too much imagination, some folk...

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  • 13. At 6:10pm on 09 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    11 Alan_N:

    I agree completely. On the other hand, if the war in Iraq could have been handled by George W Bush challenging Saddam Hussein to 10 rounds in the ring, the world would be a much better place...

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  • 14. At 6:11pm on 09 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    8 "I've never understood why unemployed people aren't automatically enrolled in public work programmes in exchange for their income."

    Because then it's a JOB - you have to pay the minimum wage and you have to explain why this work is necessary yet not being carried out by the appropriate authority.

    Newlach's quite right - there are huge regions with insufficient work for everybody. This is largely the result of past government policies, yet no government for 30 years has had the nerve to contradict the monetarist doctrine of "market forces" but rather all have claimed, as this one does, that government is powerless to influence employment in any way other than by making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

    Well, it's "market forces" that broke the bank: so much for that. But if government cannot create work, that goes for "work for benefit" too.

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  • 15. At 6:13pm on 09 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    In short, if the rich are still not rich enough to create jobs for their own profit, they'd better admit defeat and accept higher taxes so that those who are prevented from working are adequately compensated.

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  • 16. At 6:16pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jonathan Morse wrote:

    5, 8 Where I live people are already employed to clean the streets - do you put them out of work in order to put the unemployed in some sort of workfare programme?

    That said I wonder how many of the 'unemployed' are 'employed' in crime, as burglars, lookouts, traffickers and need a status such as unemployed because they're not in work.

    I suspect that they're are many people who would work if they could. When Gordon Brown became PM he talked about setting up a system whereby large employers would take on staff on long term sick to work for them as best they could. Tesco were signed up for it. Then the recession hit.

    You'd think the workshy would make good tabloid journalists - after all, both are about lying. But to be a journalist you need to be able to serve a internship.

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  • 17. At 6:16pm on 09 Sep 2010, Galahad wrote:

    14. redheylin:

    "Because then it's a JOB"

    Well...yes.
    I don't have a problem with Local Authorities providing jobs (at minimum wage, ideally with training attached) rather than paying unemployed people to stay at home.

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  • 18. At 6:17pm on 09 Sep 2010, MoC wrote:

    Looking forward to seeing Prince Charles being dragged out of bed to do some work. Perhaps Osborne would even do the dragging.
    ;)

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  • 19. At 6:20pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jonathan Morse wrote:

    12 That sounds like the sort of thing I would say, only as a joke. Are you sure that wasn't the case with you?

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  • 20. At 6:25pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jonathan Morse wrote:

    Part of the welfare state system is the growth of housing benefit, as past governments have tried to help the poor afford their housing without reducing house prices, which keep the middle classes happy and spending. If house prices keep going up so do rents and therefore benefits for those who need it. If more social housing was built less would need means tested housing benefits. However the pressure for housing and so house prices would be reduced. Scrapping the green belt would also help, as all it does is keep house prices high.

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  • 21. At 6:28pm on 09 Sep 2010, JohnGammon wrote:

    I was saddened by Yvette Cooper's wonk-speak comments about benefit cuts, particularly so as I had her tipped as a future leader of the Labour party. Where's the passion Yvette? What are you in politics for? When Carolyn Quinn suggested that lots of people might agree with George Osborne, I wanted her to say something like:

    "Look, the number of people who might see state benefits as a lifestyle choice is TINY, and anyone who is existing solely on benefits long-term is just squeaking by, and not living well. The vast majority of people on benefits are there because they have to be, and the government has a duty of care to those people. We must beware the politician of whatever stripe, with his opulent salary and his expense claims who attacks claimants." Yeah, something like that might have covered it. I've been on benefits myself and it's not easy. My partner has Cystic Fibrosis, and I'd like to see the employer who would not be distressed by her constant coughing and frequent bringing up of blood, often without warning.

    I'd like to see the pm programme following up on this story. See if you can find anyone who is sponging benefits long-term, who hasn't got any learning disablements, mental health or substance misuse problems, and who is used to a decent lifestyle hitherto, and who is enjoying themselves on benefits - you'll have a job on your hands.

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  • 22. At 6:29pm on 09 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    17 "I don't have a problem with Local Authorities providing jobs (at minimum wage, ideally with training attached) rather than paying unemployed people to stay at home."

    Well, neither do most people - but when they were offered tax cuts instead they voted for them. And when they were offered a few hundred for the privatisation of public services, they took it. And now they come on this blog and complain that there are no park-keepers, post-offices and collections, bus conductors and services, porters and ticket-clerks, gardeners, repairmen et al. and that the country is going from bad to worse. They back direct debits and do away with the weekly round of post-office for pension, electricity board, gas board - and then say there's no community and society is broken.

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  • 23. At 6:30pm on 09 Sep 2010, Ellis P Otter wrote:

    19 - jonathanmorse. No, I promise the trainee was completely in the moment!

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  • 24. At 6:33pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jonathan Morse wrote:

    I'm glad you reported that this American pastor, with the same name as a great British comedian, Terry Jones (I am right in thinking he's an ex-comedian?, a python?), pastor of a church called 'Dove' = peace, is only doing this because of what he heard on the radio and telly not because of any religious insight, perhaps it wouldn't be so unfair if if he goes ahead American's abroad are attacked, since he's merely part of a regular American behaviour.

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  • 25. At 6:35pm on 09 Sep 2010, StephenLion wrote:

    To all who have commented on the governments proposed benefit cut for the sick & disabled, in my humble opinion I think you have slightly missed the point. The government is targeting sick & disabled people. Yes I agree there are some folk who use & manipulate the system, that is a given,however the majority are genuine & the assessment system is unfair NOW to people with MS & disabilities that are similar. My question again is how the government is going to safeguard people like myself, a real person not a statistic, who would love to have the where-with-all to get out of bed at any-time without the feeling of extreme fatti-glue......

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  • 26. At 6:43pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jonathan Morse wrote:

    Did George Osbourne actually say anything new? Just that they were going to cut benefits, as they have already said, and that it would be easy because nobody before has thought of making the conditions harder. Except that they have. Problem is, it's easy to spot the workshy when there are jobs aplenty, harder when there aren't any.

    Getting a job is a job in itself, persistently getting refused is depressing and faced with many choices of employee why would an employer choose someone who is willing but not been in work for a while, may have lost the habit, run out of smart clothes, and may also have some other reason for not being employed that all the previous employers saw which wouldn't stop them getting work if they were the only applicant but in these days of few jobs may lead to them not being picked.

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  • 27. At 6:46pm on 09 Sep 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    I have taken a long-time interest in the benefits system and lobbied parliament over it in the past on behalf of those who are in receipt benefits due to long-term illness and life altering conditions. Osbourne says he wants to target people who are not desperately looking for work but making a lifestyle choice. As I understand it, people in receipt of JSA are already required at regular set intervals to prove what they have been doing to seek work. If you are in receipt of sickness or incapacity benefit, the rules do not allow you to seek paid work. So what does Osbourn mean? I have only met the odd individual who used the benefits system as a 'lifestyle choice'. For the most part, many people in receipt in long-term benefits have varied, usually complex needs,often with confusing and chaotic lives that I doubt they have willingly chosen. Many lack the social tools and skills required in today's complex and seemingly ever changing society goal posts. People like Osbourne, and those who come up with these proposals heap up empty rhetoric, whip in hand, always ready to beat the so called 'scroungers' yet, never really lifting a finger to help them with their real social needs. No matter how hard you beat the most vulnerable, it will do nothing to solve their societal or personal problems. I suspect most people would like a society they feel they can buy into, not one that only wants to beat them into submission. But in attaining this I guess it would involve fairness and equality.

    As for sweeping the streets if you want benefits, that rhetoric will soon change once the cuts start hitting the middle class...Oh but they are going to retain there universal benefits though aren't they from billionaires on down.

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  • 28. At 7:03pm on 09 Sep 2010, elcej wrote:

    Welfare benefit cuts....

    surely the plan is to cut benefits from people who refuse to work.

    I don't think there are any plans to cut back on benefits for people who can't work because of some disability.

    I don't think there are any plans to cut back on benefits for people who are trying to get a job but can't find anything appropriate.

    I do think there are plans to cut back on benefits for people that refuse to look for work (eg. won't go to the job centre) and turn down jobs that are offered to them; ie. those that choose a Welfare benefit lifestyle.


    So if you have a disability such as severe MS or there have been so many redundancies in your area that there are simply not enough jobs to go around then I don't think there is any need to fear.


    Is there anything bad about this announcement?

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  • 29. At 7:03pm on 09 Sep 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    The interview on the today program with the two boxers was a perfect advert for dethroning boxing as a sport. It also put paid to all the hog wash in the past we have heard from promoters and the like that boxers never go into the ring with the intention of causing serious harm to their opponents.

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  • 30. At 7:10pm on 09 Sep 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    edwardjecle (28)
    The only thing wrong with your post is, all these things are in operation right now, yes, right now, So who/what did Osbourne mean? You have have to attend Job Centers/prove you are looking for work. You can't refuse a reasonable job offer or your benefits are cut...right now, at the moment. I fear you may be a victim of the rhetoric.

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  • 31. At 7:13pm on 09 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    30 - It might just be another example of anouncing something twice. Brown was a master at it. Only time will tell.

    29 - I agree with you entirely - and you know how that makes me crazy ;-)

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  • 32. At 7:14pm on 09 Sep 2010, elcej wrote:

    Boxing....

    I just don't get it.

    You go into the ring with the specific intention of inflicting as much pain as possible on your opponent. In fact, you want to inflict so much pain that your opponent will pass out.

    And the spectators.... all they want is to see some really good violence. Someone to get really hurt. Perhaps some blood too.

    If this barbaric 'sport' didn't currently exist today but someone had this idea tomorrow would it be made legal?

    I know it is often cited as an opportunity for some people to get rid of their aggression so can actually have a positive effect but really, in the 21st century.... it's about as far from a civilised society as we can get.

    I hate boxing (did you guess)

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  • 33. At 7:16pm on 09 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    28 Is there anything bad about this announcement?

    Yes - the announcement focusses upon a certain figure to be cut from the benefit bill, not upon estimates of work-avoidance, unfilled vacancies and so forth. We are here talking about what's fair and unfair, but the edict simply requires that benefits be reduced or denied, come what may, for any available reason, by unelected and unnacountable minions.

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  • 34. At 7:17pm on 09 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    33 unaccountable. I knew there was a double something or other.
    My appalogies

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  • 35. At 7:19pm on 09 Sep 2010, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    Alan N, (31)

    I was already crackers myself. (;-)

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  • 36. At 7:20pm on 09 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    I know what we can do - reverse the Enclosures Acts and offer smallholdings to the unemployed, together with modest state-bank mortgages and construction co-operatives.

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  • 37. At 7:20pm on 09 Sep 2010, lucien desgai wrote:

    28
    I was unemployed for over eighteen months. I could have taken a minimum wage job but I didn't. My rent is £650 per month for a tiny little studio flat in a dull London suburb. By the Job Centre's own calculation I would have been £20 worse off per week accepting a minimum wage job; £20 below Jobseekers Allowance is a starvation income - and now the government appears to be proposing a compulsory starvation income for anyone in the position that I was in. I did ultimately find a job that pays my rent and leaves me a few quid (and only a few quid) more to live on than when I was working. I don't resent those less fortunate than myself who are struggling to get by on already pitiful benefit incomes, but then I'm not a multi-millionaire tory with a fabulous inheritance.

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  • 38. At 7:23pm on 09 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    33 - An example of how society is encouraged to think by the media. Had the Chancellor been so rash as to appear on PM or Today and say 'we are going to clamp down on those that refuse to work and thereby save some money' (similar wording available) he would have been hounded to within an inch of his life by journalists (not Sequin or Eddie, of course) demanding an exact figure. Bit like John H on Today with the DPM this morning.

    What should happen is that the Chancellor makes a statement detailing a figure and he is then hounded to within an inch of his life for having an arbitrary number in mind before understanding the extent of the problem.

    Reminds me of that idiot MP (I forget his name) hounding someone or other from the Home Office (as it then was) about exactly how many illegal immigrants there are in the UK and being dim enough not to understand why he got the answer ‘how could we possibly know?’

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  • 39. At 7:24pm on 09 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Oh god - I agree with edward as well...

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  • 40. At 7:26pm on 09 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Joem, Edward, this will definately get me modded but...

    Has anyone noticed how the crowds seem to prefer it when the two individuals beating nine bells out of each other for their (the crowd's) entertainment are black? What does that say about society?

    I'm off to pre-mod. See ya.

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  • 41. At 7:37pm on 09 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    38 "What should happen is that the Chancellor makes a statement detailing a figure and he is then hounded to within an inch of his life for having an arbitrary number in mind before understanding the extent of the problem."

    The cuts to spending are the driver: the rhetoric about "the workshy" comes later. This is disingenuous, since there's no reason to think there are exactly £4bn poundsworth of "workshy". Rather, there's reason to believe that people in areas of low unemployment will be penalised for failing to apply for jobs that do not exist.

    It is the job of the media to ask questions. It's also the job of the opposition to ask questions, a fact with which the present administration clearly has difficulty coming to terms. I hope I shall not hear PM parroting this absurdity any more.

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  • 42. At 7:45pm on 09 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    38 "Had the Chancellor been so rash as to appear on PM or Today and say 'we are going to clamp down on those that refuse to work and thereby save some money' (similar wording available) he would have been hounded to within an inch of his life by journalists "

    Further to the above, an example of a government stating a point of principle only to be hounded over how much money it will save would be appreciated!

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  • 43. At 7:49pm on 09 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    42 - You miss my point. Either they want to save a particular sum of money, in which case it is difficult to see how they know now that their chosen course of action will deliver that outcome, or they want to deal with a particular problem, in which case it is difficult to see how they can know in advance how much it will save.

    Fixating on the sum involved or the number of people involved (which is what tends to happen) is a poor substitute for examining the question behind the desire. Hound them about the policy, not about the arithmetic.

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  • 44. At 7:57pm on 09 Sep 2010, Redheylin wrote:

    42 You miss my point.

    It was very easy to do, believe me.

    Hound them about the policy, not about the arithmetic.

    The arithmetic is the policy. Cuts are the philosophy. Blaming Gordon Brown for the collapse of western bank credit is the rationale. All are specious and highly illogical but calculated to appeal to those who are secure and self-interested. Conditions for receipt of unemployment benefit are already unreasonable across large sections of society, and this is due to the failure of monetarism.

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  • 45. At 8:16pm on 09 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Robust debate! I like it! ;o)

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  • 46. At 8:17pm on 09 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    22. redheylin
    "They back direct debits and do away with the weekly round of post-office for pension, electricity board, gas board - and then say there's no community and society is broken. "
    Well said!

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  • 47. At 8:21pm on 09 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    32. edwardjecle
    "And the spectators.... all they want is to see some really good violence. Someone to get really hurt. Perhaps some blood too."

    And to gamble.

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  • 48. At 8:26pm on 09 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    36. redheylin
    "reverse the Enclosures Acts and offer smallholdings to the unemployed, "

    Now you're talking! Who owns the land? In Scotland, two thirds of the land is in around 1300 ownerships.

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  • 49. At 8:45pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jonathan Morse wrote:

    It sounded to me that he knew what he was going to cut but wasn't going to announce it on your show. But cuts require that people can find jobs. Unless they can make the Benefits Agency assess enough people as work capable not incapable of work.

    You can give people tests as to whether they can work at a medical but that doesn't mean that an employer would take them on. So all that may happen is that they loose the little bit extra they get for being incapable of work.

    You can't now get Incapacity Benefit if you're a new claimant. You have to go for Employment and Support Allowance which indicates that the previous government believed in getting people back to work.

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  • 50. At 8:48pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jonathan Morse wrote:

    40 It may be a tradition within the black community, that started when racism was more common and black men would always be discriminated against. If you've just knocked a white guy out they can't say you lost.

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  • 51. At 8:52pm on 09 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Failure of monetarism? I thought we were talking about interviewing technique!

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  • 52. At 8:53pm on 09 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    50 - See you in pre-mod...

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  • 53. At 8:55pm on 09 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    22. redheylin


    "Whenever there is in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right."

    Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1785


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  • 54. At 8:56pm on 09 Sep 2010, Jonathan Morse wrote:

    There used to be something called the Community Programme, where people were employed to do things like talking history projects, where the elderly were interviewed about their early lives for posterity.

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  • 55. At 9:27pm on 09 Sep 2010, StephenLion wrote:

    To 28 Edwardjecle, Mr Osborn's plan is to egg Zachary target people on ESA & Incapacity Benefit who in his words "have made a lifestyle choice" to get on long term sickness benefit to live a life of Riley. As I have said there is the odd person who does this, I have known a handful, one in our village flaunted it, we all 'knew' he was a 'waster'. Two years later he died of the complaint that we all 'knew' was made up. As the late Spike Milligan had on his grave stone,"I told you I was ill"......
    As for 'severe' MS. It does not have to be severe to stop you from working in today's environment. I have had MS symptoms since the mid 70s. Most of the major problems I had, losing sight & hearing on left side. Major dizzy spells lasting days & using the use of my leg & arm on my left side.Through all of these I managed to work as a local housing officer, then technical manager for a major housing association & at the same time was an assistant pastor & then pastor for a Baptist church (unpaid voluntary from 1986 to 1994).However in 1992 that changed. Fatigue & further deterioration in my eyesight meant I lost my licence to drive. Since then had to use a wheelchair for getting out & about locally, yet my MS is classed as Secondary Progressive, not too serious. My partner also has SPMS however she is able to still work as a teacher, working with kids who are having problems. Her school allow her to come in at the best time for her on any given day. However she has been at that school for over 14 years. If she tried to change her job, realistically no school would take her on. This affects a large proportion of people with MS.What our politician's forget that targeting the so called 'professional sick/work-shy'may play well with the reader's?of the Sun, Daily Express & Mail et-al, however that view has no basis in reality. O yes & it is a bit rich that someone who is on over £100,000 a year,Mr Osbourne I mean & his shadow, criticizing people who are trying to live decent lives with a major disability, who are probably on less than £12,000 a year & have to pay for help getting around & functioning like a 'normal person around their home & community.I voted for the Lib Dems & agree with the coalitions mantra of fairness & inclusion, however the ESA ass-essments do not deliver that & are biased against people like myself & as one other correspondent stated people also with ME & certain mental health issues. I wait 'in fear & trembling' how saving this extra 4 billion pound is going to affect me & my partner, real people not just statistics on a Whitehall mandarins target list..This question ought to be put to the coalition government, I would not hold my breath waiting for an answer though as I might expire,mind you that would cut the number of claimants by at least one, how many more will expire as a result of this ill-thought out policy?????? Only time will tell....

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  • 56. At 9:30pm on 09 Sep 2010, U14595260 wrote:

    One point not mentioned tonight, or enough in general:

    Tonight Yvette Cooper gave a Brownite critique of Osbore whilst a Lib Dem said he'd vote against. 'I didn't join the coaliton ..etc..'

    Meanwhile Nick Clegg delivers the phonus belonus academicky speech full of 'liberal justice'.

    In termms of five years of Labour opposition how does that run?

    With Balls defending Brownism, Burnnham harking back to Blariism, the Milibands outgunned as Oxbridge smoothies of the left and right by Clegg and Cameron, what chance does Labour have?

    For me, only Dianne Abbot is angry enough, radical enough, hungry enough and sufficiently free of all Labour establishments - intellectual and political - to be able to break free from the Oxbridge debating club Cameron and Clegg are seeking to make British politics into, whilst they dismember Brtisih society.

    It's only Abbott this coalition, arrayed as a political machine, cannot find a reply to.

    Anyone else as Leader condemns Labour to 5 years ineffective opposition and so at least 10 years out of power

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  • 57. At 9:45pm on 09 Sep 2010, Henry Gordon wrote:

    I spent years in a public sector audit role auditing social security benefits but the most telling evidence about benefits comes from my knowledge of the true circumstances of claimants. Inevitably this is based on the experience of family, friends, and neighbours. Out of a total of about 50 people I have known to be claiming benefits over the last 30 years I can think of only one genuine claimant, a person who was claiming unemployment benefit when he lost his job. Because he was single and entitled to a very modest amount of money he spent only a few weeks frantically seeking work before he found a job (and this was in a period of high unemployment). All of the others were not entitled to benefit but managed to obtain it by exploiting the weaknesses in the various systems. None of them was genuinely sick, unemployed, disabled or whatever. One of the main weaknesses was, and is, the large element of 'self-assessment' in the various systems, which enabled them to exaggerate their symptoms,or tell downright lies. Many were 'working and claiming'. As that old one-time 'leftie'Frank Field found when he looked into this area, the whole system is rotten, and needs radical overhaul. All of the savings currently required in government expenditure could easily be found in benefits without touching any other spending. The idea of losing hundreds of thousands of jobs whether in the public or private sector in order to protect benefit claimants, is grotesque.

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  • 58. At 9:51pm on 09 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    57. harry-right
    "Out of a total of about 50 people I have known to be claiming benefits over the last 30 years "

    Let's get this straight. You worked 30 years auditing benefits, and only knew 50 claimants?

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  • 59. At 10:04pm on 09 Sep 2010, darkdesign wrote:

    StevieLion: You're wasting your breath in here. There are plenty who are happy to see the physically- and mentally-disabled suffer any form of hardship and indignity, provided it never affects them.

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  • 60. At 10:13pm on 09 Sep 2010, Henry Gordon wrote:

    Dear 'grande noix' (that's 'big nut', is it not? very suitable) Why don't you read the thing before shooting from the hip? I examined thousands of claims during my time auditing social security benefits (and I did not say that I did this over 30 years), but it was my knowledge of the true circumstances of claimants which really gave me an insight into the misspending involved in benefits, and this insight could only come from individuals whom I knew personally. I am not by any means saying that there are not many people who are fully entitled to benefits, I am saying that out of the 50 people whom I have known to be claiming benefits only one was genuine. Geddit?

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  • 61. At 10:13pm on 09 Sep 2010, U14595260 wrote:

    Will the newspapers investigating the phone tapping allegations have to tap their own phones?

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  • 62. At 10:30pm on 09 Sep 2010, skoubhie_dubh wrote:

    As for the benefits question, you are obviously missing the main point here.

    A member of the House of Lords, who should have access to accurate and current records, is quoted and well suported as saying the following:

    Quote from Baroness Deech "...we’re all subsidising them I think by way of benefits and all sorts of reasons..."

    Therefore, if the UK parliament is sending us more in forms of benefits than they are collecting from taxes .... (I would assume this is her defenition of subsidising) ... surely it is time to act on it.

    All three UK based main parties should allow their northern committees in the Holyrood parlaiment to agree to a referendum, asking us if we want to continue to be subsidised in this way or whether we would like to subsidise ourselves.

    This solves the UK problem of wasting the money they don't have, and we could make up our own minds what to do with our own spending money.

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  • 63. At 10:30pm on 09 Sep 2010, elcej wrote:

    59. darkdesign

    I hope you are not including me in your "plenty" of people.

    I would be extremely unhappy "to see the physically- and mentally-disabled suffer any form of hardship and indignity"

    and as for your remark "provided it never affects them.".... what makes you think it has never affected me.... or indeed that it doesn't continue to affect me.

    I can't recall reading any comments on today's blog that support removing welfare benefits from people that need them.

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  • 64. At 10:37pm on 09 Sep 2010, elcej wrote:

    62. skoubhie-dub

    I think we covered the scottish independence issue a few weeks ago after that Any Questions programme.

    We are all aware of you views.
    Can't you give it a rest?

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  • 65. At 10:37pm on 09 Sep 2010, Henry Gordon wrote:

    This business about our economy being in peril because of the proposed 'cap' on immigration from outside the EU. It's laughable. How have we managed for the last thousand years without significant immigration? One minute we're demonising international bankers for being greedy self-serving useless parasites, the next, we need more of them.

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  • 66. At 10:47pm on 09 Sep 2010, StephenLion wrote:

    To harry-right 57 & 60, I worked in social housing from the mid 70s to 92, then was in churches working with the disadvantaged from 1983 to 1998, since then have lived in areas of high unemployment & need. In all that time I have only 'seen' a handful of what you could call 'professional scroungers', so I am a little surprised at your figures. Perhaps I am more 'visually impaired' than I realised. Just a thought.........

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  • 67. At 10:54pm on 09 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Mac-by-any-other-name (56): I see you failed to mention her inherited entitlement to the post - but no doubt you'll get around to this later on, now that you're out of premod.

    There are alternative views on the labour leadership. Ms Abbott is a very smart woman and one I admire, but unfortunately she doesn't have the power to unite the party. This has nothing to do with her roots or her gender.

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  • 68. At 11:13pm on 09 Sep 2010, MoC wrote:

    StephenLion@55 - the trouble with folks like you is you are using actual facts. The ConDems aren't into facts, they prefer stories. ;)
    Keep at it!
    Anyone else been watching Kelvin McK on Newsnight? His arrogance is utterly shocking. It's a forlorn hope I know but this thing should take down the whole Murdoch empire of (what some could call) 'evil'.
    It seems pretty clear to me - oops, I mean - I could hypothesise that the real story being indirectly referred to is that the gutter media (and others) have stories that could be used to blackmail many politicians. More fools the politicians. More evil the press. More cowardly us for not standing up against it.

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  • 69. At 11:28pm on 09 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    MoC: I hope you're right (about the downfall of the Empire, I mean). What sickened me was listening today to the an ex NoTW reporter who was justifying these tactics as a means to keeping Britain safe (I paraphrase, but that was the subtext). I could hear the distant laughter of George Orwell from his grave.

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  • 70. At 11:30pm on 09 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    My 69: Delete 'the' or 'an' from the second line to make sense ;o)

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  • 71. At 11:36pm on 09 Sep 2010, StephenLion wrote:

    O Yes-Just Another two thoughts on the Incapacity Benefits & the £4 billion. (1) How much is it going to cost to re-assess all claimants, just to catch the small % of people who have made the "life-style choice" to live on disability benefits.I would question,how many people will be unfairly treated as a result of £4 billion being adhered to.(2)Not so long ago a large number of MPs made a "life-style choice" to exploit the MPs expenses so that they could enjoy a good life. Many of these were high profile MPs & cabinet politicians. Now all the 'duck houses' & 'moats' are treated as one big joke & as with the 'duck house' it has now benefited a charity, so that is now ok. Is this fair & inclusive?????
    Talk about double standards, & the 'life-style choice' of "do as I say,not as I do"!!!!!!
    Come on PM please ask these difficult/easy questions, you know you want to....Just a Thought!!!!

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  • 72. At 00:56am on 10 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    65. harry-right
    "How have we managed for the last thousand years without significant immigration?"
    1066 doesn't count?

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  • 73. At 08:17am on 10 Sep 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    72/

    But the whinge of the employers at the possibility of a restriction in immigration sounds like the whine of a junkie being denied a fix. Other countries employers manage to find the staff they need within their populations, what makes British employers different? Probably because they are shortermist and while other countries employers are prepared to invest in training, British employers can't be bothered and prefer to poach other countries trained people.

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  • 74. At 09:25am on 10 Sep 2010, Patrick Too wrote:

    If the Government were to train employers in how to cope with people with disabilities then a few more might actually be able to stay in work. The FACT is that many employers see disabled people as not cost effective. A drain on the profitability of the company (even in multinational corporations just one disabled person is a huge liability apparently). They slow everyone else up as a result and spending money on them (even if half of the cost of adaptations is met by the Government) is a waster of their resources. I have known many disabled folk - some who have held down jobs - but by the skin of their teeth - for over twenty years who have been pushed out by ignorance, bullying and the greedy profit mentality of a large company. Oh - and I forgot the best one. One young man I know - with an excellent psychology degree was forced out of a job with a national charity because after happily employing him for several years suddenly decided his disability made him a health and safety risk.

    There would be more disabled people in work if the Government re-assessed the Disability Discrimination Act so it no longer could be used as an easy way for companies to get rid of disabled people. The DDA has failed in this respect - because a disabled person - so long as the company are seen to be doing all the right things can get away with whatever they like in order to hound someone out of a job. So long as it fits all the criteria of the DDA.

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  • 75. At 11:47am on 10 Sep 2010, Grande Noix wrote:

    73. IMOORE
    "But the whinge of the employers at the possibility of a restriction in immigration sounds like the whine of a junkie being denied a fix. ...British employers can't be bothered and prefer to poach other countries trained people. "
    And, when the flow is in the opposite direction, complain about a 'brain drain'.

    Nobody does hypocrisy better than the British....

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  • 76. At 12:59pm on 10 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    73 - "Them foreigners comin' over 'ere and takin' all our jobs..."

    :-)

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  • 77. At 1:21pm on 10 Sep 2010, Roger Sawyer wrote:


    Hello all...

    Thanks for your many contrubtions top the Blog. It's always good to see stories or issues mentioned on the programme taken up and discussed further here.

    Not much to add really, I'll leave you to it.

    Rog

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  • 78. At 1:35pm on 10 Sep 2010, Big Sister wrote:

    Don't encourage us, Rog, or you'll be in trouble with Eddie ;o)

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  • 79. At 1:41pm on 10 Sep 2010, Alan_N wrote:

    Uh huh. Cat's away then.

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