Tv – misleadingly disturbing

Like so many of us, I spent a lot of time watching TV during lock-down and I am pretty terrified.

The days when TV programs acted as good role models seem to be truly over.

When the whole nation bemoans the steep rise in domestic violence, Eastenders comes up with Gray, the wife murdering solicitor , who seems to get away with his crime, the crime family boss Phil now has a serious contender in the Asian female boss, helping her son who murdered someone else’s child. The whole purpose of Eastenders seems to be, is showing the nation how easy it is to get away with crime.

But the BBC doesn’t stop there misleading the nation. The latest instalment of Inspector Montalbano portraits it as somehow OK if a man shoots his seriously learning disabled brother in the head after blindfolding him as a game. Quit alarming that this sense of Italian justice seems to get condoned.

Whilst the Swedish female sex made detective SAGA demands intercourse or she won’t mix with male colleagues.

Surely freedom of expression has come a long way to get away from wanting to display good examples.

Let’s not say that historical moral values of heterosexual matrimony like we see it in Lewis or Midsomer Murders are even valued in today’s moral climate, Grandchester sees to that. What is important is that TV programs should have an easy to understand message of what is wrong and right , at least in law but that is no longer the case.

It must be very difficult for young people these days to find role models from the media.

It’s shocking that we have to pay a license for TV when the content is not what we can choose.

Disabled and poorly dressed

Again this morning I saw a group of severely disabled people with their carers walking along a local road. Again I thought how poorly these people are dressed. Obviously they cannot shop for themselves but they do get a fair amount of disability money.

The clothes the people wear in Tower Hamlets care look like rags, second hand at best. Why is it not possible to dress these people pleasantly? Surely even the most disabled person feels better with nice clothing.

I have now heard it from various sources, which I won’t disclose that people in local authority care, not only Tower Hamlets, look drab, like they are wearing rags.

The next question is what is happening with these people’s money? Who looks after it and who monitors what happens to these unfortunate people’s money who obviously do not get any help to spend their money on clothing.

We hear so much about abuse in local care, how about monitoring what happens to disabled people’s money when they are in care?

In the barrel of the beholder

Whilst the pro-gun lobby shouts, its not the gun, its the user of it, that causes the problem. But there it is, a problem is being caused by using a gun the very wrong way. It is intolerable and untenable that problems should be found out about just because somebody was able to fire a gun at others. The victims get younger and more numerous. The most recent mass-shooting was heartbreaking. It has to stop.

Of course there is an argument for a revision of home-schooling rules for severely autistic people but we cannot say, OK lets discuss autism because a lot of kids got shot by someone with Aspergers. It is our responsibility to prevent deaths and not to allow them just to find out that a problem exists.

Problem is, that people with problems want to solve them with guns in America in a way that causes very vulnerable victims to be shot. It has become fashionable to do so.

Perhaps a few hundred years ago a young life would not have been so much valuable as children were born and died but nowadays, we spend much more on a young life and invest more for a child’s future from conception and birth.

We no longer think that lives are expendable and plentiful to throw away on any type of problem, whether its war or personal conflict. Attitudes have changed and we want to preserve life of those that are among the living.

It will have an impact and send a message to potential perpetrators that society cares more about lives and wants to preserve them and that mass shootings have become unfashionable if gun ownership gets more restricted.

Worthless Britain

Today’s Sun publishes some interesting figures, no, not page 3, but page 12 tells us that everything of value in the UK is worth £1.46 trillion whilst debts, including pensions and private finance initiatives add up to £2.52 trillion.

I don’t quite understand the Cameron logic though, which advocates getting rid of debt when the whole economy is based on debt. The banks thrive on it and all financial principles are geared towards it.

In any case international debts cancel each other out,so the burden is much less than stated in my view anyhow.

The government is swimming against the stream and a stop to borrowing will put a hole into the flow of money as it currently works. You cannot act against an established system and principle without changing the whole system or you put things to a grinding halt, which is achieved by current finance measures.

Of course it was pretty stupid to run an economy based on debt but then I was never asked nor allowed to make any contributions to the top decision making tables.

Whilst Cameron wants us to spend less, he also wants to have all the best efforts from others without wanting to contribute fully to the common market. We all do not share what he says. On one hand there is widespread support for the financial transaction tax but now a stop is supposed to stop Europe getting any benefit. Of course the Conservatives want to veto the Republic of Europe because there is a lack of Monarchy support. Though he made a commitment to Christianity he sort of distances himself from continental parties like the Christian Democrats Union CDU  in Germany.  In the end, Conservative governments always lay into each other because they only think of themselves and want their national pride intact and repelling socialist principles.  There is the basic logical fault in the EU bare and open to ridicule.

The political wrangling should not jeopardise our national security and the ability of people to live in peace wherever they are. So it is important to keep a local watch on social unrest and stopping crime and anti-social behaviour from settling in. Though we have no money this Christmas we can still enjoy ourselves and be merry on the little we have. Brits managed it after World War II on very small rations, so they can manage now. The Olympics promise to stay secure because the army will provide support on the games.

The Tax Payers Alliance spread rumours the other day on Facebook that we have no say in policing, but this is not strictly true because people  have the ability to set local policing targets by taking part in the Safer Neighbourhood Policing Panels, which is the cheapest form of policing there is. I should say we have no choice but to make an effort or be overrun by crime in the downturn that is upon us.

Of course it doesn’t help that the Justice system spends gigantic amounts of money of keeping young offenders in pre-trial suits that cost more than a luxury hotel room per night. We need to put the money saving measures across the board and the institutions and not just make easy savings on disability benefits and cutting wages and pensions. That is if we really think that saving money is the best way forward when the savings are swallowed up immediately by huge interest burdens.

PS: I just noticed that the strongest support for Cameron’s support of Christianity comes from a Muslim, who says, Muslims could not separate religion from politics; that is just where we came from and I wonder whether we are going to re-merge governance and spiritual unity.

A parent’s worst nightmare

Some of the patients in Winterbourne View were actually forcibly removed from the care of their families when their behaviour as learning disabled adults became a bit challenging for the community or the families themselves. Thanks to  Panorama secret filming the abuse was detected. What about the many not filmed places where abuse goes on and it is not detected?

It is only due to the film evidence that police can bring charges. Often enough, when people with learning disabilities make accusations, the police will simply not take action because the evidence is deemed unreliable.

That brings me to the multimillion pound care industry. The care workers featured do not seem to be professionally trained. I have got some very worrying experience with social workers for example where they come into a home and make up stories of what they have seen and write out reports, which are sheer fantasy. We have also seen it on that documentary, that care workers made up reports to make it look good for the records. They do know what to write to get justification.

Families are now desperate to get their children back, trying to rather cope with them at home, as part of the Care in the Community system.

The most popular demand heard is that care workers, and I think that should include social workers have to get registered. I already demand better qualification for social workers and there needs to be stricter monitoring of vulnerable patients in and out of care. Who known what is being said between those four walls, who will ever know unless it is reliably recorded as in this film?

I truly and honestly think that the only people who really can appreciate a severely learning disabled person are loving parents or family, people who have a conviction for trying to help those learning disabled people.

Looking how the government now also cuts back on disability payments, we see that because the criteria tests are far removed from reality, that the government simply doesn’t understand the emotional needs of people. It doesn’t surprise me that those in house patients didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, when they face nothing but boredom and abuse. There is no therapy in the daily routine but what the government’s cost-cutting strategies reveal is simply looking how commercially viable people can be and they believe that the ability technically to carry out a task also enabled people to emotionally do the task routinely. That is where the gap is. Technical and emotional ability are closely connected and some people only function properly when they feel emotionally good. And feeling emotionally good is different from person to person.

Some autistic people want to sit alone in a room, some child like adults need 100 teddies around them just to do a simple task, others need trusted friends around them all the time to feel good and confident.

There is the question of qualification for care workers and/or social workers. I just recently signed on as unemployed and was promptly asked whether I want to work as social worker. I have not gotten one piece of qualification at all, though plenty of practical experience. Social work is not profitable and a job for cast offs so it seems.

The secret is to start preparation for life in schools and at the school age. Teaching to help the disabled early to understand the world from their point of view must be a priority and is cheaper than paying out 90 million a year to look after learning disabled adults in care homes. What is happening today is that learning disabled children are put through the normal schooling process just to drop out as young adults and needing looking after in institutions. Our comprehensive school system assumes that all will fit into society but special skills are not taught. Those vulnerable adults must have been to schools once and those school experiences did not fit the needs of those people.


New benefit classification needed

I blogged about the problem a couple of days before the national press took it up, the problem of claiming disability benefits for self-inflicted problems, problems that pay benefits and those benefits pay-outs help to keep the drug-trade alive and cause alcohol related anti-social behaviour. David Cameron’s campaign and the publication of official government figures to disclose the breakdown of disability benefits claimants followed on.

So far benefits only classify between two types of people, those able to work and getting either income support or job seekers allowance and those unable to work and entitlement to disability benefits.

Yet thanks to those 2 classifications, the benefits systems actually supports drug dealing and anti-social behaviour and self-inflicted harm by making it easy for people to get overweight, drunk to excess and allow drifting into drug addiction.

Having heard a former drug addict say on TV that benefits saved him from turning into crime, I gotten even more upset because this means that benefits are used to blackmail the state to keep people off crime so that they can buy drugs instead of committing crime and getting the money to purchase drugs from state handouts.

This makes it an even more clear case for taking drug addicts off disability benefits, because if they commit crimes to get the money to buy drugs, then they just have to go into jail and that is where they belong. It will make it a much easier choice for people when they decide whether to become drug addicts or not when that soft benefit options is taken away from them.

To say I will commit a crime if the state doesn’t pay for my illegal drugs is legalizing blackmail and making it institutionalised abuse of the law.

We need a new benefits category of those willingly causing harm to themselves and making themselves unable to work through an unhealthy and self-destructive lifestyle and those people should be put on the lowest level of benefit and put in jail if they break the law just like everybody else. Of course that will lead to a sudden upsurge of jail demand, but I predict it will soon drop off when addicts realise that the best option for them is to stop breaking the law as they are better off living healthy.  alternatively those people could be sanctioned under the mental health act for causing self-harm instead.

Furhter still why should those who had been addicts get preferential treatment when they apply for jobs, when others who have kept themselves healthy are only too eager to work? I think the law should have to bounce back on its feet and sense has to be brought back into the benefits system.

The Great financial confusion

Today, I mean society today, reminds me a bit of what I belief the Great American Depression was like in the first half of the last century. Jobs losses, cuts in services and misery all around. Stickers are on lamp posts to save the NHS and stop nurses from being sacked, articles in the papers that hospital waiting times get longer. Indeed my own hospital appointment was put out that little bit further as well. The most ridiculous suggestion I read recently was that a financial consultant has advised the NHS that they could save money by stopping tonsilitis operations. So lets all have some very sore throats in the future then.

Yet I do understand that, as a nation, we have to make with what we’ve got and earn what we want to have. But when I hear that we cut disability benefits, it makes my blood boil to find that alcoholics can get disability benefits so that they can buy more booze and overweight people get disability benefits and a mobility scooter. Often, so I hear some disabled persons spend their benefits on drugs as soon as they emerge from the post office with the cash, whilst the dealers wait outside for them to relief them of their cash.

So why does our wonderful new government not bring some sense into public finance and divert benefits to those who need them and cut them from those who suffer only because of their own excessive indulgences. Why do so many people refrain from drinking so they can do their jobs that little bit better, why do so many show responsible attitudes and earn very little money with it, like those aforementioned nurses, who are in danger of losing their jobs, when others can just let the pig out and get rewarded with extra benefit pay-outs?

I think what a government must do first of all is bring sense into this madness that we call today the welfare society.

I received my letter that my ability to apply for a pension has ben put off for another 5 years, but where is the job I am supposed to be doing whilst I am too young to receive a pension? But on the positive side I can claim 50% off my bus fares whilst I am unemployed and look for work. That is putting value for money where it is needed.

I often think that life has now become so complicated that even those who sit in positions of power do not know any longer were to direct resources to because people on good incomes just do not understand what life on the bread line is like.

Rents are artificially inflated by excessive housing benefit levels for modern housing developments whilst council flats stay on low rents. Often the modern housing has small rooms whilst old-fashioned council flats are comparatively large flats with old-fashioned amenities like bathrooms, kitchens and hall-ways.  We see 1 bedroom studio flats advertised from 170 – 240 per week whilst 4 bedroom council flats can cost as little as £120 per week. Whereby the 1 bed studio is only 1 room whilst the 4 bed council flat has 4 bedrooms, kitchen, bath, hallway and living room.

It seems the modern developers need some type of guarantee that they can generate certain rent levels to make their investment worthwhile. It seems that not only housing cannot be levelled out to generally acceptable rates so that everyone can afford to live somewhere but also the benefits cannot be distributed effectively to those who need them really.

The UK’s 2-class lifestyle has now divided not only housing, rents and wages but also benefit levels into ridiculous and helping addicts to purchase their alcohol and drugs even better and into those benefit levels to those who can just about afford food and basic clothing but nothing else.

The UK is unable to find a formula that allows fair rents and fair benefits and wages.

Quite obviously if council home rents where adjusted to modern commercial rent levels, rents would go through the roof whilst benefits could not be raised to cover the cost because housing benefits artificially inflate rents in the private housing market. Addicts could not come off their addictive substances if they got less disability benefits because there is no efficient health service in place to help them to come off the drugs/drinks. Yet it is often only because of high benefits that local drug dealers and off-licence shops stay in business. I should say its a bit of a fine mess the UK is in.

PS: See here an article and statistics from the Department of Works and Pensions

vulnerable “easy” victims of Tower Hamlets cuts to frontline services fight back

Just as Tower Hamlets tries to sneak in more cuts to frontline services, it came across a group of victims that grit their teeth and threaten legal action. Of course it is the “easy” option to cut services to the disabled and other vulnerable users who are not likely to fight back, so Tower Hamlets council thought, but they are wrong. A group of disabled users threaten to seek a Judicial Review over the closure of their day-care centre. w

Well done to the users of the Resource Centre in Southern Grove.  The East London Advertiser reports about this story.

I really wish those customers of Tower Hamlets frontline services the best of luck with their quest. Should their complaint be heard by the High Court then of course Tower Hamlets council will have to explain how their spending cuts come about, explain why those cuts are unavoidable in the light of scandalous waste that is going on in this borough.

So far Lutfur Rahman has promised a review of East End Life but has to cut to the chase and cut services first before he has fully examined the council’s finances. I think the information paper of Tower Hamlets council can be very much slimmed down to the essential public notices and also that most information could also be printed via the East London Advertiser, the commercial weekly paper. People can also be asked to collect news sheets from council distributors just as we have to collect our pink recycling bags already.

How about justifying top management costs and the cost of agency staff. How about explaining the cost of the luxury, rented, leased town hall in the Isle of Dogs? How about explaining the high costs of implementing the Arms length Management Organisation Tower Hamlets Homes who generated enormous costs in re-inventing housing management throughout the borough?

What worries me is that I have not heard much from Rushanara Ali to help the situation at all.

How safe is London Transport?

We heard a lot about how unruly kids can be on buses or generally on their way from or to school If children on public transport, mainly buses was equipped with police officers or community safety enforcement personnel.

Looking at the transport situation out of school hours and getting into the personal travel sphere things do not look so good for vulnerable passengers on London transport vehicles. The Underground is at best a tin of sardines in busy times and can also be an oven, turning you into a cooked sardine in a tin, by the time you arrive at your destination.

And with children or disabled and even the elderly travelling on the underground can be frightening and there should be special provision for people travelling with small children. For example children cannot stand in the middle of isles of trains  and certainly passengers are not always willing to give up a seat for a child, so that it cannot fall. It is not separatist to make a car / compartment available for travelling families or children so that they can travel in adequate circumstances and not be exposed to drunk or impatient or badly behaved fellow passengers, which can make travelling with a child a frightening experience.

I can also very well imagine that it must be a nightmare for disabled travellers to get into a train compartment and cannot understand why there is not a specially dedicated compartment for wheel chair users on London underground.

If anything then children are most likely to learn a careless attitude if they have to wedged into a train compartment full of ignorant fellow travellers. If children are treated with respect,  they will learn to respect others when they get older.  If children get acquainted to the elbow attitude whilst young, they will elbow themselves to get a space on a train at a later stage in their lives.

When anti-social behaviour is a crime

I just read through the latest Scrutiny Challenge Session of Tower Hamlets Council on the effectiveness of THEOs, which stands for Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers.

In that report it says in page 401 that despite crime has fallen for the 6th year running the fear of crime remains the top priority for residents in 2009/10 and why? It is because the fear of crime that is the main concern. ASB, standing for Anti Social Behaviour is not always a top priority for the police but this Anti social behaviour is the reason for most residents to  feel their quality of life is considerably lowered. But it is this low-level crime that makes residents consider crime a major priority. Most people never come face to face with the hard crime but most of us see and feel anti-social behaviour on a wide scale.

It is with this in mind that I want to mention the very sad case of Fiona Pilkington again, whose family bring a court case because they think the authorities were negligent. Fiona called police 33 times but was only visited 8 times. Fiona had eggs, flour, stones thrown at her house by up to 16 youths over 10 years.

Mrs Pilkington then finally cracked and killed herself and her daughter from the strain and inability to cope.  It must have been particularly hard because there is learning disability involved. This case shows how vulnerable people need special protection and how much more needs to be done to root out anti-social behaviour to achieve a wide-spread and wide-felt improvement in the quality of life for our residents.

Neil King, Mayoral candidate in the forthcoming elections for Tower Hamlets Mayor on 21 October 2010 promises to take ASB seriously. See his newest election leaflet here.

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