Tuesday 3 December 2013


Doctors at the British Medical Association’s (BMA) annual Scottish conference of GPs voted for a motion that called for the “inadequate, computer-based assessments” to be abandoned in favour of a “rigorous and safe” system that does not cause “avoidable harm” to disabled people and those with long-term health conditions.

The motion said the work capability assessment (WCA), the test introduced by the Labour government in 2008 to assess people’s eligibility for out-of-work disability benefits, has “little regard to the nature or complexity” of disabled people’s needs. (This is because all it aims to do is to save the British government forking out money to keep sick people alive. It has better things planned for that money. The toilets in the House of Lords need upgrading. Aristocratic bottoms need to park themselves on suitable upholstered pots!)


GPs at a British Medical Association (BMA) conference voted unanimously last week for the work capability assessment (WCA) to be replaced with a “rigorous and safe system that does not cause avoidable harm” to their patients.

But senior Labour politicians have this week made it clear that they do not agree with the GPs. (Clearly, of course MPs know far better than GPs how medical assessments should be made.)

The assessment – which tests eligibility for out-of-work disability benefits – was introduced by the Labour government in 2008, and is now a centrepiece of the coalition’s welfare reforms.


A disabled man has described how he was forced to scavenge for food from supermarket bins, as a result of the government’s welfare reforms.

Clive Baulch was one of about 20 disabled people who presented personal evidence about the impact of the government’s austerity programme on their human rights, during a testimony session in London.

A recording of the session – organised by Inclusion London and Disabled People Against Cuts – will be sent to Shuaib Chalklen, the UN’s special rapporteur on disability, whose job is to monitor progress around the world towards equal opportunities.

He had been due to visit England to attend the meeting and the launch of a human rights report but had to postpone the trip at short notice.

Baulch told the meeting how he was made redundant in April 2012, three years after he became disabled through a massive stroke. (You may remember how the Work and Pensions Secretary once took the best part of the year off work, on full pay, because his wife was ill.)

In November 2012 he had his benefits stopped because he was told he hadn’t been “looking for work diligently”, even though he had applied for 600 jobs.

Within days he had run out of money. “I was in pretty dire straits. I tried begging. I also tried three in the morning round the back of the supermarkets looking in skips. I spent a lot of my days ‘striving’.”

He told Disability News Service later that he had taken food from supermarket skips on about five occasions. (This is the same government that hailed its successes in the paralympics in London, and claimed that they were the best games ever. Irony or what?)

(Also taken from Disability News Service.)
Talking about human rights, I see Cameron has said that he has talked to the Chinese about human rights on this visit. 

As he has and every Brit has for  as long as they have been going there. I wonder what good they think it has done. China's record on human rights remains relatively dismal.

And in the meantime the British government is evicting elderly and disabled people from houses because they cannot afford to pay the bedroom tax and there are no smaller properties available to them to go to.

According the the People's Daily, the state controlled Chinese newspaper, not a lot.

The Independent and Telegraph both report that an editorial, surely approved at the highest level, says that Britain is no longer a power, but a small European state and that it was only good as a destination for education and holidays.

Well, it's good to know that it is useful for something.

Cameron effected  indifference, but inside he must surely be seething. 

They don't treat the First Minister with that kind of disrespect.


  1. Lets keep an open mind on China on human rights progress. Real progress has clearly been made over the last 40 years. And look at this:


    Am I detecting the beginnings of a culture shift happening inside China? First the new Premiers wife receives a delegation of mothers of LGBT sons and daughters calling for more awareness and gay rights, now the implicit tolerance of an app like this?

    Its not much, but think about the ending of the forced labour system too. China may just be slowly developing a more socially liberal, tolerant and less conformist domestic narrative. I for one thoroughly welcome this. Lets hope it isn't just mood music.

    1. OK Dean. I accept that there ha been some progress. But I ask myself, is this likely to be the result of preaching from Salmond or Cameron, Hollande or Merkel?

      I suspect that, with greater economic power comes a desire, even demand for better living conditions. Chinese are travelling a great deal now. They see more of Europe and America and rich as they are, expect the same things back home.

      I suspect that Mr Xy is much more moved by the demands of a rich middle class of Chinese than sanctimonious foreigners telling him what to do.

      What always angers me about Western "leaders" telling Eastern "leaders" about human rights, is the hypocrisy of it all.

      I bet when Cameron (for example) was on his arms selling visits to the Middle East, he didn't lecture king Abdullah on his human rights record. Stoning to death is hardly in accordance with European Human Rights legislation.

      I note that Joe Biden got a frosty reception in Beijing after criticising China when he was in Japan the day before. What kind of idiot does that sort of thing? Oh yeah, Cameron did about Pakistan when he was in India.

      Honestly, there should be some sort of training course for these not particularly bright politicians to go on before they are let loose of the world. or maybe an IQ test?

      Talking of which, I see that Boris managed to fail an IQ test. Following his somewhat bizarre speech (although as usual with Boris, there was some sense in it) on levels of intelligence, he was asked to take a short IQ test on radio. He failed to get one answer correct.


      I, on the other hand, scored 100%. Maybe I should be mayor of London?

  2. Unfortunately the Tories and UKIP are desperate to reverse our national human rights progress over the same 40 years...

    1. I r4ead the other day that Theresa May had to halt some legislation she was introducing because she was advised that it contravened the ECHR.

      Still, once England is out of the EU, they will have the liberty to do whatever they want.

      I'm just hoping I won't be living there.

    2. Dean... You should look at Wings post on Labour for Indy.

      It appears that their facebook page has 3,677 likes, where "Scottish Labour" has only 865.

      Who's the splinter group now?

      Allan Grogan for Labour Leader.

    3. Speechless!

      He is an ignorant little ******* and it is to Monsieur Allard's great credit that he chose to ignore his racist insult.

      I see he is the consul for iceland in Edinburgh, and I think he is an insult to the government and peop-le of that country.

      I'm going to write to the Icelandic Embassy and suggest that they might want to consider someone a little less xenophobic as their consul. After all, what is he going to make of Icelanders' accents.

      Tories huh? All that money, all that expensive education, and they still turn out ignorant oafs.

  3. Won't be too long before human rights are more respected in China than in the U.K. - if that line hasn't been crossed already!


    1. Absolutely.

      We would rail against the idea of an 80+ Chinese man being thrown onto the streets with just the clothes he stood in, because he couldn't afford from his miserable pension, to pay tax on a room that he didn't particularly want, or need, but had to have because the authorities had been to stupid to build the size of houses that were required from the increasing number of single people on low incomes.

      Or someone who was being eaten alive with cancer and with only a few days left to live, being told they should get back to work and stop being a skiver.

      Or, as I read the other day, a man being declared fit to work when he was in a coma in hospital.

      What did they expect him to do? Be Secretary of State for Scotland? Sorry, job taken.

  4. the problem with the snp glee club is they try (badly) to use
    any and all scraps of storys to denigrate first england then the uk
    and finally the tory/labour axis .
    if there is any truth or factual correctness has no concern
    for the snp glee club none at all.

    To try (badly) to paint China as a bastion of human rights
    as opposed to the uk the worlds worst human rights abuser.
    is not untrue its also pathetic. the uk has a long and proud
    tradition on human rights.

    Now if you want to say a unelected cabal of Tory
    politicians would wish to deny basic human rights.
    To those who are unable to defend them selves
    and are thus perfect victims for Tory attack
    well that would both true and accurate.
    obviously that would render your argument on terror
    rule by the UK redundant .
    so in the usual snp fashion

    When the snp legend making becomes contradicted
    by the true facts, print the snp legend and
    keep your fingers crossed.

    1. Niko,
      I'm surprised you used the word "render" as it seems a close relation of "rendition" which, of course, would not happen under a Labour government with human rights in mind. O/t but have you ever considered that trained medics from mountain rescue, on first examination, thought that Robin Cook had died of a broken neck rather than a heart attack. Perhaps the symptoms are similar?

    2. It's odd, John, that sometimes the symptoms are remarkably similar, but in my experience only in certain cases.

      Particularly noticeable where the patient has some sort of serious disagreement with the Westminster government. Funnily, other symptoms include slashed wrists.

      Or so experience tells me.

      Sometimes patients even lock themselves in cases.

      Odd human medicine, isn't it?

    3. Niko: Take another pill! And that's a order!

  5. Sorry, Niko, I directed a rant on you on the previous post. tris is too quick for me and, after all, it does say "Older posts". I see your Tories chums are claiming that Mr Darling is "comatose" and you must admit that "Comatose Ali" has a certain ring to it although comatose darling sounds like a honey-mooner with too much drink taken..

    1. brownlie

      never one to pass up a chance to be insulted/abused
      i will pop over there asap

  6. Tris

    I am not surprised by the response of the Chinese to Cameron and his ilk. He has probably went there thinking they don't have news and don't know what is going on in good old blighty. China I suspect is changing as people start to expect more and the politicians know that if they don't change then the people might just do it for them, they are not stupid.

    Cameron, aided by Labour and the Liberals, are determined to return this country to the victorian age and they are doing a really good job of it and the people in certain parts of the country support them. I have read so many things this week about about suicide because of benefit changes and you have to wonder what do people in Scotland have to read and see around them to understand that we are fucked if we stay in this union.

    I don't know if the Chinese treated AS any better but given there were links with Scotland before the Union and they value history there could be more to a relationship with them than meets the eye.

    As for Nikos comment the UK does not have a proud history of human rights at all, any rights people have in this country have had to be fought and scraped for and we are seeing a total reverse of all the slight gains that were made and Nikos Labour are saying they want to go further. Maybe the fact that life expectancy is higher vitually everywhere over Scotland now says it all and down south the katie Hopkins, Richard Madleys of the world think it is funny.

    Better together my arse, they can shove it.


    1. Well Bruce, I don;t remember the government of China authorising a editorial in their daily papers saying that Scotland was only fit for education and holidays and it was a small unimportant country.

      Of course it IS a small unimportant country, but it must be the most incredible insult when you are on a high profile visit to be mauled like that by state owned and controlled press.

      There simply isn't a parallel here. We may think the BBC does the government's bidding, and to an extent it does, but not in the same way that The People's Daily does. I understand that there are government officials in the offices to approve or disapprove editorial content.

      It's inconceivable that that slap in the face to Cameron and Britain wasn't given approval at the highest level, designed to give the posh boy a face to match their flag.

  7. umm !! wonder how the snps campaign is going


    The Scottish Government claimed to be satisfied with the reception for the White Paper. I can't imagine why. The consensus, even in the sympathetic corners of the Scottish press, was that it was a missed opportunity - possibly the last - for the independence campaign to achieve lift-off.

    Assertions from politicians, even those as fluent as Alex Salmond, are not enough. The reality of modern politics is that politicians - like journalists - are held in great suspicion by the general public. To build support for independence, the Scottish Government needs to build civic engagement. It needs to mobilise the kind of coalition of intent that underpinned the drive to set up the Scottish Parliament in the 1990s. This cannot be done, top-down, by Government ministers who have stopped listening, aided by civil servants who tell them what they want to hear

    Hmm! not wery well then wee shame !

    1. I think you'll find it's going just fine, Niko.

  8. Westminster Fails Scotland Again on Energy - as Labour and Tories Gang Up

    Commenting on the debate in the House of Commons today on the Lords amendment to the Energy bill - and in particular Amendment 54 which removed the Scottish parliament’s powers in respect of renewables obligation in Scotland, SNP Energy spokesman Mike Weir said :

    “This is an outrageous example of the unionist parties ganging up to remove powers from the Scottish parliament . Worse still they did so by introducing last–minute amendments in the un-elected House of Lords, rather than even having the courage to debate it on the floor of the House of Commons.

    “There was no consultation with the Scottish Government or the Scottish Parliament prior to the introduction of this amendment, nor when challenged in the Commons did the minister or his Labour front bench counterpart have any reasonable explanation as to why this happened in such an underhand manner.

    “This is yet another example of Tories and Labour ganging up at Westminster against Scotland’s interests and removing powers from Scotland. Whilst the NO campaign talk about vague promises of more powers if people vote NO, the reality is they are removing Scotland’s existing powers by stealth.

    “The only way it can be stopped is with a YES vote next September.”

    1. I thought they couldn't alter Scotland's powers without Scotland's parliament approving it... or is that another part of the good old British Constitution, which of course stands for whatever corruption and deceit the incumbent government wants it to.

      Why is legislation introduced in an unelected revising chamber comprising placement, churchmen and a motley collection of half mad bastard inbred relatives of ex kings who liked to put it about a bit with the lower orders?

    2. Britannia rules (used to) the waves and also waives the rules of our sham democracy.

  9. Niko,
    MacWhirter's heart is in the right place, but would you trust a man's political analysis, who as a professional reporter of Scottish politics since well before devolution, felt able to recommend that his readers put their trust in The LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, and vote for Nic in the last Westminster Elections?

    He felt sure they would usher in a complete realignment of the 'left' by forming a wider coalition with a newly reinvigorated Labour party. This centr left coalition would then protect the British welfare institutions placed under such threat from the 'banking crisis'.

    No, not the finest hour of a so called political analyst.

    What's worse, was his indignant surprise that the LibDems were so easily able to abandon their manifesto commitments, especially for anything as simple and dirty as political POWER!

    Any Scottish political analyst who is shocked by the hypocritical actions of the LibDems in the aftermath of the 2010 Westminster elections, has more than proven themselves to be blind to what goes on around them in the 'Scottish political scene'.

    Even I saw that coming, and managed to talk a few (now grateful) pals out of voting 'for Nic' just before the vote. It just took the experience of watching them operate in the Scottish Parly, not magic!

    If MacWhirter could not do that simple task then, without getting caught up in the Brit media bubble of Cleggmania, what are the chances he is now correctly identifying the strengths of a YES campaign, exactly designed to circumvent that self same Brit media?

    My view? Not much chance at all. Sometimes he is a good read though.

    So just you carry on dreaming and hoping Niko. But be careful what you hope for, because we may all waken from the dream in September 19th to a long, dark, scary, neoliberal nightmare and it will be the fault of you and people like you!

    Please think on.


    1. Nic used to be a member of the Tory party so right at home with his allies.

    2. Brilliant analysis braco. Spot on, nothing to add!

      And CH, I only found out about that today. It doesn't much surprise me though.

      The man is a complete *******. He has thrown away 50 years of Liberal progress and reduced them to a tiny rump party that only their most loyal supporters would trust as far as they could throw them.

      And all for the title of Deputy Prime Minister. I wonder if he cares how much people laugh at him, the pompous self important arse.

  10. Anon or braco ??? who knows

    He is a paid whore its just he sells his pen and his
    loyalty for gold. But it amuses me how the snp glee
    club praises the bollocks of him when he affects to
    support Independence, and then when having led you
    along by your noses he switches his stance.
    you lot then denigrate and try to undermine his

    I mean why dont you lot just realise he is a paid
    journo slag and leave it at that.

    1. Niko,
      The Glee Club reads what journalists write, consider their analysis article by article, and then comment accordingly. The journalists name is not as important as you seem to think.

      It's just that most MSM 'journalists' aren't even worth commenting on, their views are such drivel! (Unless you are WOS and can make a spectacular career from relentlessly pointing out their ridiculous intellectual wrigglings, required to try and justify the Union's poverty of a favourable argument!)

      So Niko, now that we have dealt with that, what have you to say in response to my last paragraph? Are you willing to be blamed by everyone of your friends on here should we all wake up to your NO vote and a neocon nightmare of a future?

      You know how you feel about Tories Niko, well that's how you will be seen. No amount of charm and mock castration in remorse will change that, once your NO vote is in, The Barnett Formula scrapped and 4 billion lopped off the Scottish NHS, education budget, policing, transport, personal care, free prescriptions, local council budgets etc etc......!

      It's really that serious. Are you willing to become that person? Willing to live with the social consequences that will inevitably befall us all, from your 'idealistic' defense of the Union and the Tory power elite that will primarily benefit from it's survival?

      I am asking you seriously Nikostratos. Please try to answer me honestly, or at least answer yourself honestly.


    2. yeah bang on. If he writes something I agree with, I say so. If he writes something I disagree with, I say so.

      It seems logical to me.

      I don;t really have any loyalties.

  11. Sorry for OT. Is anyone having trouble getting Wings O. S. online?

    1. Yes Anon,
      me too. The site does not seem to be loading up at the moment, but was fine earlier tonight.


    2. Working fine now Anon.


  12. Still canny see it, braco on firefox or ie.