Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Go on, humiliate me some more!

Blog entries: Two for one every Wednesday.

Courtesy of some magnificent classical music - Marriage of Figaro at the moment of typing - I'm posting this because my flabber is truly gasted. (Wonderful word, isn't it? Flabbergasted). And it takes a lot to gast my flabber these days.

"Ah!" you cry. "Is it due to the leaked secret promise of the absolutely unfabulous conflagration of lying pile of steaming... er the Badman-led Review of Home Education in which he most probably will reveal his utter contempt of anyone who eschews school appearing tomorrow in every newspaper that can declare all home educators to be lying, Satan-following, child chastising, odd-balls who should be locked away from their children forthwith?

"No", I reply. "It's this." Filched from the Liberty website to whom all thanks and what not.

'Yvette Cooper urged to dump James Purnell’s drug tests for the unemployed
08 Jun 2009
Liberty is today joining forces with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the National AIDS Trust to call on Yvette Cooper, the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to reverse James Purnell’s policy of submitting benefit claimants to compulsory drug and alcohol tests.
In a joint letter to the new Secretary of State, the heads of these three organisations urge her to drop provisions from the Welfare Reform Bill that would force people on job-seekers benefit to disclose private information about their drug and alcohol use. Anyone who refuses or fails to comply would face invasive drug and alcohol tests or lose their benefit payments. Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: “Degrading poor people in the middle of a recession is no way for Labour to rediscover its soul or its vote. The smooth assassin may have thought it acceptable to force unemployed parents to choose between their dignity and feeding their kids. Surely Yvette Cooper knows better.” The provisions in question – Clause 9, Schedule 3 of the Welfare Reform Bill – are due to be debated in the House of Lords tomorrow. Under this proposed legislation, someone claiming jobseekers allowance could have their benefit taken away if they are dependent on or “have a propensity to misuse” drugs or alcohol. Contact: Mairi Clare Rodgers on 020 7378 3656 or 07973831128 Notes to Editors 1. Yvette Cooper is a former Human Rights Minister who was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in last week’s Cabinet reshuffle. She takes over from James Purnell who oversaw the drafting of the Welfare Reform Bill. 2. Liberty’s joint briefing with the Royal College of Psychiatrists is available here: '

Unemployed? We'll test you for drug misuse. Then what? When you find Clarence misusing drugs because he had a bloody awful childhood that he can't forget except through ingesting a few dodgy substances and now is addicted, will you then STOP his benefits? Because he's SO ready to get and keep a job, isn't he now? Or what will you do with Mary Beth whose partner has waltzed off with her best friend, and she's relying on the odd drop of the hard stuff to stop her personality disappearing into a black hole for the kids' sake? Vulnerable people are not always child-shaped, you know.

These people are unemployed - apparently not a misfortune or a choice in this society. Unemployment is a CRIME.

So you see a poor unemployed geezer lying still in the middle of the road, do you pass by, dear politicians? Or would you pick him up, drape your suit jacket around his sagging shoulders, take him home, gently put salve on his cuts and bruises, brew him up some nice strong tea and place in front of him half of your whopping great dinner...?

Of course you wouldn't. You'd go straight over and put the boot in.

1 comment:

  1. I am *not* saying I agree that it is right to test someone prior to them receiving benefits, but there are othe instances where drug users' liberties are curtailed when they continue to test positive for illicit substances - doing so where one has a DRR (drug rehabilitation requirements) on a community order can land someone with a custodial sentence if they fail to address their drug use through a treatment programme.

    Alcohol use, however, is totally different, it being LEGAL and all that. And who on earth wants a government prodnose deciding what is and isn't alcoholism/appropriate alcohol consumption for an individual, when the government recommendations themeselves are entirely spurious? Not to mention the fact that last time I looked there was absolutely no ringfenced money for alcohol treatment services (as there is for drug treatment services). This could have changed since I worked in the field however.