Thursday, 28 April 2011

Case #5: Playing Simon Says With Disability Living Allowance

Remember this concept, in Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court the said Yankee from the future, with advanced knowledge of astronomy persuades a crowd of medieval Daily Mail readers(or it could work on modern Daily Mail readers too) that unless they let him go he will blot out the sun. He knows that an eclipse will happen and when it does they will believe he caused it, not understanding the nature of his prior knowledge. The theme of prior knowledge of something being used to infer control over it is important to understanding what comes next and a possible prediction the ministers in charge of Welfare reform are probably aware of.

Disability Living Allowance was introduced in 1992 and some much-needed context on the Welfare reform 'debate' in Britain is provided by this 1997 BBC report, which I strongly recommend no one overlooks. These benefits didn't just drop out the sky out of the kindness of Tory hearts: they were replacements for previously existing benefits which in the case of Incapacity Benefit was intended to provide stricter criteria than Invalidity Benefit. It was a partial success: Incapacity Benefit has never gone up despite what this misleading graph from the Harrington Review says.

Click to enlarge

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

In Soviet Britain, Government Works For Contractors

When the Work Programme was announced to the press this week the press release states falsely and many newspapers copied that the Citizens Advice Bureau would be taking part as a sub-contractor. Chris Grayling is behind it unsurprisingly, not deterred by the fact that he has been referred to the Cabinet Office for breaching the ministerial code for putting out overtly political and misleading press releases through the DWP.

I was at CAB today and asked the boss about it and she was furious. They are aware of this and she explained what had happened.