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Lord A(rsehole)

How dare you talking down on disabled people the way you did, so we are only worth £2.- an hour…, how much do you get for ‘representing’ ‘us’…

I consider myself an intelligent person who would love to work…, problem is I have MS AND a daughter-with-severe-learning-difficulties…, this makes it more or less impossible to find/ to be considered for a job.

I just hate to be a ‘benefits person’ but I do not seem to have a choice, although I can speak 4 languages, consider myself very numerate, and I have even acted as a (low paid, although…) carer in the last years of my working life…(after I had to give up my role as a bookkeeper due to cognitive issues/ fatigue)

This lord A probably had his education at a private school, cut off from society, and was told several times a day that he was ‘special’… The thought that many young soldiers are losing/ risking their lives for a country ‘lead’ by people like him, what an awful thought, idiot!

Excusez mon language…, Jos

NB Anyone prepared to offer a (dutch) person willing to work hard in spite of his personal circumstances, who considers himself reasonably intelligent, a(ny) part-time job? (in Gloucestershire if possible please and at least minimum wage…)

Thank you.

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…sorry, this disabled person forgot to mention his source…, it was the BBC news at 6…(come on, what do you expect for £2- these days…)

I have had visitors today so haven’t yet caught up with the news, I will be watching news at ten with considerable interest and no doubt considerable anger.

Jan

If you read the Wikipedia article on the “noble” Lord, you have to wonder:

a - If he is even worth the minimum wage.

b - What on earth possessed Tony Blair to involve him with welfare in the first place.

Geoff

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Hi Jos

I feel I should start this post by saying I’m a leftie (I happily live in the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire!), and think this government is no friend of people with disabilities. I completely disagree with his idea, and it shows a worrying lack of understanding for someone in a position of power. But from what I’ve read of his full quote, I think your situation is the kind of thing he’s wanting to address. Sadly, many employers aren’t willing to give people jobs. So he’s wondering if paying less than minimum wage would give employers more incentive. This is not the same as thinking that you’re rubbish and aren’t worth as much. Maybe he does actually think that privately - who knows. But that’s not my place to say, and I think his focus here is how to get employers to give us jobs, not whether or not we’re any good.

Dan

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For a completely unbalanced view, the Steve Bell cartoon in the Guardian today is quite good. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/oct/15/lord-freud-disability-welfare-minimum-wage

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the cartoon was good, and yes there is a lot of companies out there that stay clear of disabled people. Saying that he needs to go we need assistance not someone who is going to sell us down the river(just like the cartoon) he hasn’t a clue

I thought the bloke was responding to a question about how to help those whose severe impairments mean that they haven’t a hope of getting a ‘normal’ minimum wage job because they simply don’t have the capacity to perform - ever - at a reasonable level, but who might nevertheless benefit from the ‘being at work’ thing, mixing with colleagues, role/status, and so on. So it was more a question of how to offer therapeutic work opportunities for people for whom no ‘conventional’ employment options are currently available.

The way I read it was that he was taking a serious subject seriously. He didn’t mean that individuals were not ‘worth’ the minimum wage (which would be outrageous): he surely meant that some people’s contribution at work might not be worth the minimum wage (which seems fair enough), and that it would be nice to find a way of addressing that in a helpful way. It certainly didn’t offend me.

Alison

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Didn’t offend me either Alison. l understood his response the same as you. Employers with a choice of paying a minimum wage to someone able-bodied are unlikely to employ someone disabled without incentives. By disabled, they are talking about people with physical handicaps who would benefit from a work ethic. Just like Alison has so rightly said. All the right accesses/toilets etc. And supervision/transport to help get physically handicapped people into a work environment that is safe for them - comes at a cost!

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I agree it’s always good to read the full quote, because all politicians have a nasty habit of taking stuff out of context. However, if you believe the comments attributed to him in the Guardian, then it does appear Lord Freud has form.

‘‘Benefits are a lifestyle choice’’

‘‘No link between benefit cuts and the increased use of food banks’’

Telling families hit by bedroom tax they ‘‘Can go out to work and get a sofa bed’’.

When asked how as a millionaire he could ever understand what it’s like to be on benefits, responded that “you don’t have to be a corpse to go to the funeral”.

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My opinion is that minimum wage is minimum wage, you do not mess with that. I think that it is very dangerous to ‘minimise the minimum wage’.

I also do not expect people with (severe) disabilities to work five days a week, in those cases one day a week could be OK for example, which might at least make this person feel that they are still part of society.

A company/institution that employs disabled people, also creates a lot of goodwill, which can be a valuable asset, next to the fact that they might get cheap brain cells… (may I put myself forward, I speak 3+ languages, and consider myself good at maths).

It will also create a positive look at that particular company, as potential clients etc must have links with disabled people one way or the other, so to me he is still an ignorant-out-of-touch-pr**k!

I can also speak out of experience… When I was still allowed to act as a carer, one of my clients, a young man with cerebral palsy, wheelchair bound, helped out one morning/day a week at a library. I do not think that he particularly liked the job, which was due to an utter lack of understanding from his supervisor, but he kept on going, in spite of this supervisor and unhelpful bus drivers…

It was clear to me that he did at least not feel as useless due to his handicap, and that is priceless!!!

BTW, I am now in the same position, unvolunteerily hanging around at home, although the fact that we also have a disabled daughter makes things very complicated, but still… I can still be ‘used’ (P/T), I still haven’t ‘expired’!!

Don’t know if this will make any difference, but thought I’d say it anyway. Yesterday I heard on the radio the brother of someone with severe learning disabilities, and today I heard two mothers whose sons also have learning disabilities. Now, this is the specific group of disabled people that Lord Freud was talking about - not everyone with a disability, which has been lost in a lot of this debate. All of them agreed with the sentiment of Lord Freud’s comments. They all said that they was no way their son/brother could do work of any kind of decent quality, and would need huge amounts of support to do it anyway. But they knew it would be great for their sense of self-worth, as the Conservative counsellor said who asked the question (this is from the exchange in question between him and the Lord: "They particularly want to work because it does add so much to their lives being able to do something. And being employed in a job gives them so much self-esteem, but nobody is willing to pay that minimum wage. And then we’re supporting them massively financially, but we also want them to work, for their own self-esteem and everything else.”)

Of course, his words were poorly chosen. And his CV shows a dodgy attitude to welfare in general, and as we’d all agree the government has victimised those of us on the edge of society. But taking this specific issue in isolation, I’m personally inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and think they were trying to find ways to help people to work when no one’s willing to employ them.

Dan

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You know what Dan, you made some fair, valid comments… Problem is of course that ‘disabled people’ cover such a wide range… My own family is a good example…, I consider myself reasonably intelligent, did have a proper education at a higher level, although MS showed its ugly face at some point during this period… My daughter however has been (mentally) disabled from the start.

Still, we are both labelled as ‘disabled’… ‘Disabled people’ have wide ranging needs/ (mental) disabilities/ histories and cannot be thrown on one heap…

So it should be divided in physically/ mentally disabled to start with (which he might have done/ meant?), although being a MSer I feel a representative of both sides at times (although do not get me wrong, at a very very low level mentally, as with this I only mean forgetfulness etc!!!, is ‘nothing’ in comparison to my daughter’s condition!).

You’re right, his words were probably poorly chosen, and perhaps I myself should have a better read with regard to these comments…, and yes, perhaps my (dutch) labour upbringing (and beliefs) play a role…

However, a high earning representative, from a wealthy privileged background, should not get involved with ‘minimums’, as they do not know the meaning of the word!

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Sooo agree Whammel

Jos and anon, that’s exactly my main problem with what was said - although Lord Freud said ‘certain groups’ of people, it’s not been widely reported exactly who he meant, even though the person who asked the question made it clear he was talking about people with learning difficulties. And so, as you both say, there’s the easy potential for employers to treat us all the same and think they can get away with not paying as much to all of us. So a bad choice of words, and this is the kind of ill-considered idea that you’d expect from someone who has no experience of disability. But personally I believe that, for once, there was a genuine desire to solve a problem.

(And that feels very strange for a leftie like me to speak out in defence of this government!)

Dan

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Well said Dan - my understanding of the subject as well. l have a cousin in Western Australia - she works alongside Aborigines with ‘learning difficulties’ alcohol/drug related problems - she has to try to persuade employers to take them on - doing only menial tasks is true - but they do need constant observation. lt is a very stressful job for her - but she does have the occasional successful outcome which makes it worthwhile doing. lt takes a lot of funding to put into action.

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I’m not prepared to give Freud the benefit of the doubt-he’s a Tory! Have you read the background to this man?

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Much as I respect Dan’s opinions, I can’t quite go along with this one for the reasons you state. A thoughtful friend forwarded this quote from Lord Freud, although it did come with a nice picture of a slumbering House of Lords, for added irony.

“We cannot have people loafing about, doing nothing and expecting the state to finance their lifestyles.”

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