Thursday, January 12, 2006

Polly: does she read what she writes?

[I started this post a couple of days ago and, although I didn't really finish it, I present it for your delectation anyway—DK]

A couple of days light blogging has induced a sort of paranoia, a panic, in your humble Devil. He sees those big numbers, denoting hundreds of unread posts, hovering around his RSS Reader icon, and starts to get in a flap; dare he leap once more into this sea of opinion? Does he have the drive? Is he angry enough?

Ah, yes; that anger. That anger drives your humble Devil to write his tripe, becoming steadily more apoplectic as he tears through the news of yet more evil and stupidity from our rulers. This, then, must be the key: anger! That will be your correspondant's way back in. But how to get that rage, without actively diving in first? It really is a Catch-22.

Luckily, it's Toynbee day over at The Guardian: salvation is in sight! But wait, what's this? Has she written something sensible?

No, of course not. Like a faithful spaniel, she is always guaranteed to invite a kicking by nipping yer heid. Today, she's banging on about people on Incapacity Benefit...
In fact, the unemployed were flooding back to work.

Er, no, they weren't. They were being signed onto IB in order to reduce the unemployment figures (and this started with the Thatcher government, I'm sad to say); however, Labour have turned this sort of obfuscation of the true figures into an art form.

David Blunkett, when Minister for Work and Pensions, made much of his pledge to get a million IBers back to work.
Well there's almost 2.8 million people on incapacity benefit, it used to be called invalidity, that's four times as many as 25 years ago, even though the world has improved dramatically for them. So we're aiming to get a million plus back into work.

What does this suggest? That they should not have been on Incapacity Benefit in the first place.
Look at the facts: 2.7 million claim IB, but the number is falling fast, with 100,000 fewer new claimants in the past year.

OK, Pol; 2.7 million claim incapacity benefit, yes? What's 2.7 million plus 100,000? That's right, you bone-headed, slack-fannied old bitch: it is 2.8 million. So, last year, before this year's 100,000 new sign-ons, there were 2.6 million, and now there are 2.7 million.

Now, are those numbers falling or are they... ahem, as I suggest... increasing? Yes, Pol, that's right: the number of people signing onto IB is, in fact, rising not "falling fast". Now, Polly, we all know that you failed your 11-plus—presumably because you are as thick as shit—but surely even someone as specious, ignorant and haggard as yourself can work that out? Twat.
Why does it need reform? Because it is badly run, not unlike the old asylum system that lost people. For example, GPs sign people on to IB, but 30% of GPs never fill in the form so those people sit on IB forever unquestioned.

Is that so? Crippen, what have you got to say for your profession, eh? Bunch of slackers, or just bullied?
Perverse benefit incentives mean if someone takes a job and it fails, they lose their old right to £20-a-week IB, so why risk it? The longer they stay on IB, the higher it rises, so trying out a job gets riskier.

Well, fuck me, my heart bleeds. If they can work, then they should not ever have been signed onto IB in the first place. IB is for those who cannot ever work, as far as I am concerned.
The system asks people to stress their illness, leading to a cycle of helplessness and depression. Once on IB for a year, most will never work again.

Unless you stop their benefit. Interview them all, and unless they are quadroplegic, then their benefit is removed. If they refuse to be assessed, or they do not turn up to their scheduled appointment, then their benefit is removed.
Pilot schemes - Pathways - have been hugely successful and will cover a third of the country by the end of this year, doubling the number returning to work. They offer new claimants medical and psychiatric support, training and specialist advisers.

Well, that's lovely. And how much of our hard-earned cash are these fucking playschools for malingering fuckwits and tragic failures costing us, the generous taxpayer? Who knows, but you can bet that there are probably seven figures in whatever numbers are revealed.
There is a £40-a-week return-to-work bonus, with a promise that if the job fails, they can return to their old IB status. It has been so popular that old IB claimants who don't strictly qualify have asked to join.

I'm not fucking surprised! If your IB is an extra £20 a week, and this programme gives you double that, would you take it up? You'd have to be a total fuckwit, without even the animal cunning of many of our stupidest scroungers, not to be able to work that one out. And how long does this extra £40 a week last? For fuck's sake, I'll repeat myself: if they can work, then they are not incapacitated and shouldn't be on the fucking IB in the first place.

I was going to nominate Polly for stupidest person of the year, but I suspect that Neil has already bagsied it...


Anonymous said...

Hang on if Polly's maths really is that bad, I've got some Jackelope Ranch shares she might be interested in.


Andrew Field said...

" Look at the facts: 2.7 million claim IB, but the number is falling fast, with 100,000 fewer new claimants in the past year.

OK, Pol; 2.7 million claim incapacity benefit, yes? What's 2.7 million plus 100,000? That's right, you bone-headed, slack-fannied old bitch: it is 2.8 million. So, last year, before this year's 100,000 new sign-ons, there were 2.6 million, and now there are 2.7 million."

Now, far be it from me to defend your favourite dead fish in a barrel, but have you not mis-read her there?

She didn't say there were 100,000 new IBers she said there were 100,000 fewer - which wouldn't seem to suggest the figures you come up with. Actually, it wouldn't suggest any figures because it could be that there were 1m new claimants instead of 1.1m. and you are still more than right to suggest she's being a tad optimistic about falling figures.

Again, Maths hasn't been my thing since I was 18 (I leave that to the missus) so it may well just be that I need her idiocy explained better.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Actually, my maths is out but what she says is:

with 100,000 fewer new claimants in the past year.

So, my maths is out because my absolute figures don't work. If last year's new claims were x, this year's new claims were x - 100,000 and we don't know the value of x (and I can't be bothered to find it), although we can be fairly sure that x is greater than 100,000 (otherwise there would, indeed, have been a decrease).


Anonymous said...

Well, I suppose I had better reply to that.

It is difficult. I mean, not many know that as well as being his doctor, the devil and I are great mates. So when he appeared at the health centre saying his piles were hurting again, there was no alternative other than to sign him off work for six months. That’s the only responsible thing to do. How else can he spend all this time blogging?

Actually, GPs don't "sign people onto invalidity benefit”. They go onto it automatically when they have been signed off work for a certain period of time. But yes, we do the signing off. I don’t know which planet Toynbee visits Earth from, but she does not understand the system.

To be serious, signing people off work is a sodding nightmare and I wish we did not have to do it. Yes, at times we are a “soft touch” – we are after all the “family doc”, we are on our patient’s side. We hate having to police their illnesses. You might not take time of work with a bad cold. It really is different if you are a coal miner.

The self-certification system for the first week has saved a lot of aggro, as we do not see the “been to the rugby match and had too much to drink last night” brigade so often.

But the serious malingerers, the ones who know how to play the system, are very difficult. If you tell me you have severe back ache, I cannot prove you have not. And if I refuse to sign you off work, and you go, and get paraplegia, then it’s over to the lawyers.

The government (and this is something that will cause an outburst of bad-language from the DK and may aggravate the haemorrhoids), encourages the long-term unemployed to “get on the sick”. It may be a bit more expensive, but it looks better on the figures.

How it works is this; unemployed overweight 58 year old goes to the labour exchange. They could offer him the shelf stacking job at Tesco but instead, they offer him a job as a bungee jumper. He says, I can’t do that, my back would hurt… so they say, go to your doctor then and get him to sign you off. Six months later, they move him onto IB and send a letter to the GP saying that he does not need to issue further certificates. So 58 year old now stays on IB until he reaches retirement age.

The ones I really hate, the ones who really take the piss, are the ones who come in after their two weeks holiday in Spain and say, “I had the shits in Spain due to that funny foreign food and was in bed for three days. Can you do me a certificate?” Why, says I, you were on holiday anyway. “Ah Yes, but if you do me a certificate, I can claim those three days back”. They never come and ask me this a second time.

We do our best. It is not easy.

Bear in mind that the majority of people on IB are genuine. The burnt out schizophrenics (tramps and bag ladies to you), the chronically mentally ill, I could go on…..

If you put up big hurdles to IB, it is the deserving sad people who will fall at the first one. The chronic malingerers, however, will get round any obstacle course the government sets before you can say “national insurance is not income tax”.

How are the haemorrhoids? Do you need another six months?


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