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John C. Dyer
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The theme du jour seems to be “nascent economic recovery.” 15 May 2013 the Bank of England projected a “modest” but “sustained” recovery for the UK. This article fact checks the alleged nascence using the reports of the Office of National Statistics. Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2013 at WhirledView
This week the UK demonstrated one old political maxim - all politics is local -- and one new one -- all spin is national. Conservatives and Liberal Democrats suffered significant losses. UKIP won big but Labour won bigger. Now the race is on to spin victory into defeat and defeat into victory. Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2013 at WhirledView
Dear Bill I took some time to calm down and consider my answer. Remember, this isn't theory for me. Thatcher's policies hurt people I love. That hurt continues today. I'm no fan of strikes, 3 day work weeks or inflation either. But to attribute these to the Unions and their resolution to Thatcher's policies is inaccurate. You refer me to Conservative thinkers. I'll refer you to Owen Jones writing this morning in the Independent. It seems to me inflation afflicted the West generally during this period. It certainly marred Carter's Presidency. That cannot be attributed to the UK's Unions. It had a good deal more to do with external circumstances not the least of which was the revolution in Oil prices. Nor do I think the Thatcher formula of controlling inflation at the cost of significant un and underemployment was a helpful answer. One extreme doesn't justify another. Every problem has a solution. Every solution has a problem. Thatchers' were legion. She sacrificed half a nation to provide for some of the nation. She sacrificed the North to take care of the interests of the South East. We had a model that worked better in the US than Thatcher's (or Reagan's). It was a model followed by Eisenhower, Marshall, Nixon and Clinton. It was a model rejected by Reagan, Thatcher, W and Romney. It wasn't perfect. No system is. But under Clinton the economy grew, living standards improved, the debt was paid down following the advice of economists Osborne and Cameron specifically reject and Thatcher would have rejected as she did the advice of Heseltine. I don't embrace extreme philosophies. It was Richard Nixon who said, we are all Keynesians now. If only it were true.
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I have not personally celebrated her death nor would I. I don't celebrate death. I do understand those who do, why they do. They are not the few you think although they are not the majority of the country. Moreover not everyone who criticizes her legacy celebrates her death. Even the Prime Minister when he said she saved the country acknowledged how divisive a figure she was. And many balked at her canonization this past week, including several members of Parliament, some in very strong terms. It is wrong to characterize them as those who lost goodies that they did not deserve. They include people who for generations worked to make Britain great, people who helped win the Falklands War you trumpet. And while we are being sensitive about Mrs. Thatcher they include my relatives as I said, one of whom was an engineer who contributed to the war effort. While you point out her election victories let me point out it was senior members of her own Party who concluded she and her policies had become too toxic to let it continue. And don't forget this discord has been brought to fever pitch by the decision of the Government to give her an extraordinary "not a state funeral" state funeral at a significant cost at a time they are cutting the poorest of the poor. The Times poll this morning reflects well how the British public who have had to live with Thatcher think of her. 20% think Thatcher was a great Prime Minister. 26% think she was good. That's 46% -- not a majority. 35% think she was poor to terrible. 10% said she was just average. You might consider the views of those who actually had to live with her legacy especially the views of those whose lives have never recovered. But my point is not to evaluate Margaret Thatcher or to pillory her. She wasn't a monster although she was wrong. Margaret Thatcher the person should be allowed to rest in peace. Those who loved her should be permitted to grieve in peace. However her policies are fair game. They were not good for the country. Her policies which you support did not do what you say they did. Over 20 years on the policies you cite as having improved the UK have in my opinion turned on the UK disastrously. Yes, they were not the sole cause. But they pass both the "but for" and "substantial factor" tests. But then, you know that's how I see it.
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Bill, seems to me instead of in effect punishing all recipients for the small scale fraud or redesigning the system around someone's nebulous and subjective standards of 28% could have worked we think without examining them the issue is affordability not fraud. We are struggling to pay for the system. Let's not put that down to bad people but bad economics. As you know, I believe those economics have been going bad for quite a long time. It is a non partisan evaluation. It even has been moving that direction longer than the West has been following my particular bete noir, Neo Liberalism. I think we should put our creative energies into resuscitating our economies and/or adjusting our grants rather than beating people up for following a perfectly ok system for determining need or by fine tuning the system based on the standards of what may actually be a tin ear.
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2013 on Social Security, a growing problem at WhirledView
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In short, yes and yes. I do want to see rigorous standards and rigorous standards are already in place, one reason I distrust the report. In the UK medical practices is tightly regulated by NICE and diagnosis and procedure is far more confined and rationed than in the US. Every indication I have is NICE does err but it errs on the side of "suck it up." In the US I know several who practice in the area of social security. It will take some convincing to convince me the standards are too lax. The issue of "truly need" bothers me Bill. So it is ok for people to need so long as by someone's view it isn't a "true" need? Where's the science in that. I have described functionally what I see as a rigorous system. It is my understanding that is the system in place in the US. Perhaps what the US could use is a NICE and a NHS, but I am not going there without the PEER review etc. Just way too much politics disguised as think tank doing PR.
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2013 on Social Security, a growing problem at WhirledView
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Nope Bill. Isn't implying something I did not say backwards from what I did say something of a logical fallacy? I am not clear from what you have said the RAND study so much found they were NOT disabled At ALL, or the study concluded there was work they could in theory undertake despite their disability. I am not at all clear RAND concluded they were inaccurately diagnosed, but rather that had they not be diagnosed RAND believes they could have performed work of some type. IF there IS work available AND someone is able to work without exacerbating an existing disability and found to be so after full evaluation by a panel of competent physicians who have actually examined the person involved I agree they should work. My point simply was, those considerations aside, speculating someone could have worked at some kind of employment is not the same thing as providing them with a job. But under such distinctions in the UK people have both been cut from benefits AND not been found employment. That can't be right, can it?
Toggle Commented Apr 9, 2013 on Social Security, a growing problem at WhirledView
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Some Questions Bill: 1) Given the un/underemployment rates in the US where are these folks going to find jobs, since the job market is competitive why do we want them taking jobs from new entrants into the job market and who is going to to hire RAND's 28 percentage point higher group of persons now classified disabled? 2) Did Board Certified Physicians in a study subject to PEER Review make this estimate after having examined actual persons? 3) What is the actually proven rate of fraud in the programme? Similar "studies" have been in the UK to justify what is happening here but fraud rates are down around 0.7% and physicians disagree that disabled persons have been inappropriately placed. No doubt you have the answers to all these questions but one has to be extra careful about "studies" in this time of highly leveraged PR and reckless ideology. Whatever any study claims to say by whomever claims it, Left, Right, Center, Neo Liberal, Socialist or Conservative I want to see the methodology, the credentials of those who performed the study and the PEER review of the methodology, analysis and conclusions before I give them any credence --- particularly since there are no jobs anyone. I know qualified lawyers and engineers without physical issues who can't find employment in the United States.
Toggle Commented Apr 9, 2013 on Social Security, a growing problem at WhirledView
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18 March 2013. Today Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Leader Nick Clegg, Labour Leader Ed Milliband and the House of Commons passed the test of democracy in a way the US Congress could perhaps find instructive. In the days ahead one only hopes the Members and the Leaders have the courage to hold to their decision. The hard reality of politics is one can do much good if one is willing to accept its fundamental cost - one will make enemies by doing and one or more of those enemies will one day get one. Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2013 at WhirledView
I have vivid memories of the night of 13 December 1984. On 13 December 1984 Beyond War and the USSR State Committee for Television and Radio presented an early “Spacebridge" and I was there. Not many years later the USSR collapsed. all of us who were present that night of 13 December 1984 just knew it was the irrepressible human drive for a safe space for a free and ordinary life. But it hasn’t turned out that way, has it. Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2013 at WhirledView
It is rarely as much fun for a publicly funded news agency to report the ambiguity of fact -- or a politician to deal with the loose ends of sometimes awkward and inconvenient but necessary action -- as it is to pander to unfounded hopes or cherished prejudices. It’s never a win-win and kind of feels like going to the dentist. We all sometimes need a little nudge to help us do so. So I’ve decided to help BBC and David Cameron with a nudge. Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2013 at WhirledView
Hi Bill I will let Robin speak for himself. I chose the analogy to Social Security specifically because Incapacity Benefit/ESA is shared financing just like US Social Security. The UK also has Welfare as that term is used in the US, but the issue before Parliament addressed in my piece is Incapacity Benefit/ESA. Robin I think is speaking more broadly about the interrelatedness of economics.
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As Parliament back benchers debate ATOS' performance of work capability assessments under the direction of the Department of Work and Pensions, those who recognize the government's War on Welfare as an attack on working class Social Security and those who struggle to protect the poor and those labeled "disabled" from the wolves at the door could take some valuable lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement. Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2013 at WhirledView
Thank you so much RevPaulCA for the additional point. I am sorry I am unable to publish the URL to the blog you cite.
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Yes, Sam, you're right. Thank you. The official title for the organization I called Bureau is Office for National Statistics.
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7 Jan 2013 We have entered the third age of the post war era. It is the age of the “Greedily Corrupt.” The ethics of Gordon Gekko guide public policy. Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2013 at WhirledView
The political year is off to a flying wedge start. Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith leapt from the starting blocks with two salvos in support of the government’s proposed cap on benefits increases. The good news is, life as we know it didn’t end 21 December. The bad news is, politics as usual didn’t either. Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2013 at WhirledView
Christmas is a time of hope, of promise full and rare. It is the time when many of us actually do try to be the quality of person we ought to be. But not this Christmas. Not in Britain. Not, at least, among the political elite. Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2012 at WhirledView
D Sugg2010 ... Thanks. Some of us have challenged some aspects in the courts. I have been successful representing an individual who formerly received Incapacity Benefit. The range of legal challenges I hurled was sufficiently daunting DWP did not even reply. Consequently the Admin Judge upheld the appeal. A pity really. I was ready to take it to Appeals Court to set precedent. No doubt why no response. A key legal issue is the seizing of vested incapacity benefit entitlement. The law in the UK differs from the US but in the US this is like the Social Security into which workers paid for a lifetime. In the case with which I was helping the government action ignored the fact the claimant's entitlement was vested and had been earned over a lifetime. I think we are just in the early stages. Legal challenges take years.
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A poignant conversation took me by surprise late last night. It was one of those mind focusing moments of unexpected intimacy with a stranger and his unremitting grief. The stranger lost his dear wife two years ago to long term illness. Poignant under any circumstances ... ATOS ... had found the stranger’s wife “fit for work” just 2 months prior to her death. But today many organizations are fighting back against the "War on Welfare." Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2012 at WhirledView
We only get rare glimpses into a man called Charles amid all the controlled publicity for the Prince. Charles' mother has -- in her own way -- been a G*dsend of stability in troubled times for her people. Perhaps Charles can also be, in his own way, such a G*dsend for times that could use a journey disciplined soul reaching out to connect with a weary people. Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2012 at WhirledView
Perhaps Tony it is because they realize the arguments against Leveson's proposal are phantom straw men.
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Judge Leveson will soon release his long anticipated report on Press Practices. You would have thought the Luftwaffe had suddenly appeared over the English Channel. The Press needs to take a chill pill. It is an opportunity not the end of life as we know it. Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2012 at WhirledView
The chorus reporting “Trial by Twitter” grows. Major media outlets report consternation and disapproval for the "raucous" Twitter environment. But the author argues it is far too valuable a force for democritic dialogue and public accountability to be squelched. In fact, more tools are needed. Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2012 at WhirledView
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2012 on At the turning of the tide at WhirledView
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