beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2017-06-09 06:33 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

Politics has now gone all multicolored
and an election called to increase a majority and be all 'strong and stable'
has... really not done that.

This is unlikely to please anyone. It seems likely to leave things unpredictable, and few people like unpredictable when it's the size of a country.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2017-06-08 09:30 pm
Entry tags:

Dancing and voting

I did not dance at the voting place
but I voted and then went dancing
which is a good way to deal with the stress, I feel.

Dancing lessons are good but busy full of dances I didn't learn or have mostly forgotten. But we always do more of the main dance, so I'm learning that better every week. Dancing is fun, being in error is less fun but still tolerable with all this practice.

ASDA still says unavailable on my juice drinks, so only Sainsburys shopping happened. I nearly bought some new trousers but need more thinking. I bought many foods and can once again choose between several meals :-)



now to wait
and theoretically sleep
but really stay up to see results.


but at least I have good foods and ribenas for while I do.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2017-06-04 01:11 pm
Entry tags:

Heaven and Hell

So I was thinking about heaven and hell
again
and I think why I'm not sold on them as concepts is a lot of the essential bits are pretty much like now, only more judgey.

Like, heaven is a good place, and hell is outside and full of bad stuff happening.

My flat is pretty much a good place, full of all the eats I choose and entertainment I want etc, and outside is people making such noises I have to guess if police or ambulances are needed, and further away stuff that gets on the news that is Very Bad.

And it's miserable in here.

I mean, no bad is directly happening to me, but knowing there is bad is miserable.

So I am unconvinced that heaven can ever be a thing If there is hell, because how could the kind of people heaven is meant to be for put up with that? I mean I'm a bit of a useless human quite often, but I care enough that all that bad stuff happening to other people feels really bad. So how could heaven be for good people to, like, sit there forever, while anyone else burns?

Can't work that way.

Either it goes all Buffy in Heaven and feeds them fake news and is a basic lie, or there can't be a hell if we're going to build heaven.

So I reckon there's a lot of work to do to figure out how to either get everyone out of hell or make it stop sucking there.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2017-05-05 10:59 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

the trouble with trying to do voting like a responsible citizen in a democracy
is now I care about the results
even though I have only one drop of influence
and won't really understand the effects
even if anyone does
since I can't usually keep up with all the all.

there was a bit in the guardian about how there should be more and easier information about local voting, which sounds like a good plan, because informed choice makes nice engaged voters.

there should be adequate and easy information about all things
and libraries and so forth to help you access it.




the other trouble is caring about politics in places far away where I have not even a drop of influence.
terrible things happen, fast and slow, by neglect or by action, and keeping up with reports about it is going to do absolutely nothing, since I am here and it is there and if they gave a monkeys they'd not do it in the first place.




what does it take to build Star Trek already?
not the awful backstory bit, to skip to the everybody's happy post scarcity bit.
even stories seem to have given up on that.


I need to write better stories.


I need to write any stories...
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2017-05-04 12:47 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

I looked up tomorrow's (today now's) voting but remain puzzled because I couldn't find any information on what half the people actually propose to do if they win.

But the UKIP person reckons they will oppose house building because the actual problem is too many immigrants. So. I guess one could set out to vote against someone.

... it is hard doing democracy when they don't put the little leaflets through your door, or when the leaflet mostly says the dude listens real good. I mean, yeah, good start, but having listened, what does he think people are asking him to do?
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2017-04-28 07:40 pm
Entry tags:

(no subject)

I still don't see what having more seats in the uk will do for the brexit negotiations

I mean, they're negotiations with the neighbours, who don't really care if we're having an argument in here.

It's like if the neighbour asks for their lawnmower back and you say all your kids like it being here. It doesn't seem especially relevant.



but I kind of think we're screwed with brexit, because I reckon now all the deciding power goes with the people we're telling go away.

we're irrelevant. why should they care if we leave? they'll just say bye bye and go chat among themselves.



politics is weird. everyone has a different reality overlay. and you find out which one was truest a generation later when the historians get through with the data, but you live with the fallout minute to minute.



... fallout is back to being an immediate sort of scary
... i like hiding under my blanket, but it seems insufficient to current difficulty
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2017-04-18 01:11 pm
Entry tags:

also a Thing

if a whole election is about Brexit
then other things, like disability and education and suchlike, are going to get pushed waaaaay down the lookings
and yet be just as relevant as usual.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2017-04-18 12:48 pm
Entry tags:

Politics is already bothering me

I know democracy is the least worst thing we've yet come up with
but it bothers me rather a lot when politicians get all "the people have chosen!!!"
when they mean very slightly more than half the ones that voted have chosen the thing
and the other half have decided to keep it a words fight
and wait for choosing time again.

like, someone to represent the other half is an important component of this process
and it's still all very frustrating.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2017-04-18 11:50 am
Entry tags:

Snap election

woah, politics happening

first thought, ooh, maybe changes
then I reminded myself that where I vote conservatives got a bit more than half and UKIP was second with about a fifth

chance of change right here seems minimal.

i can educate myself on everyone's promises and choose between them, but ...

*sigh*

democracy!

Read more... )
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2017-04-09 10:34 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

I see a lot of arguments about economics that seem to be based on 'fairness' and how it isn't 'fair' to make x group support y group
but I get super mad when it's applied to corporations and like pensioners and children and so forth.

Like, dude, if full time work cannot support a worker from adulthood to the grave while they raise replacement workers, with a margin for supporting those who turn out not to be able to work full time, and necessarily including supporting those who support children etc

if full time work does not actually let your workers live

then a company is not paying it's own damn costs.

Seriously. That right there, your workers alive, is part of the costs of a business.

If the only way those workers can survive, at any point in their lives, sick leave or pensions or infancy, anywhen, if the only way they can survive is government support?

companies got to pay the government for the costs they've shoved off on it.

or else the business has failed and it's being propped up by the government.

no in betweens.



see also privatising profits while socialising risk, and how it skews hell out of the economy.




The robot revolution we need to worry about will change that cost, but the problem there is often just getting resources for the cost of extraction and manufacture, rather than including what usually gets shrugged off as environmental costs, and disposal or recycling, and somehow putting a price tag on how much of the actual resource it's using up in a finite system. Too many of the costs get shrugged off as invisible or, again, dumped on the government. Not making businesses pay tax sufficient to cover environmental regulation is, again, letting them get away with not paying all their own costs. Business has failed, government is propping it up.




I get really mad at economics that focuses too small to even make sense.



... I mean I daydream space colonies, and those are small, but in the sense that you can't get away from your consequences so they get really damn clear. Problem with some economics is focus too short small, consequences fall outside it, but consequences still real.

... and then we're screwed, by actions we had little to no control over.





I know I'd be awful at politics in the getting things done way, but so much of the time I read a real world thing and just want to... shout at people, mostly. Get them to pay attention. We're going to be up to our necks in consequence before people higher up the hill deign to notice, and that's just a really bad feedback loop.

Must think of something productive to do.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2016-11-09 03:56 pm

There are always villains

I have spent the night thinking on villainy, and heroism, and how absolutely necessary it is to be kind.

For some reason this seemed timely.

I've been reading a lot of hero/villain slash recently.

... partly because a truly unreasonable proportion of characters my age or older seem to be villains now. I'd say WTF but politically and demographically I can see why the more powerful opposing forces are frequently older. I'm just getting a bit weary of how outnumbered the good guy versions are, even though that's always the way on TV because you keep the heroes but need new villains with every story arc. There are always more villains.

But I always get hung up on that kind of pairing. It's nice when two heroes work everything out and head off to happily ever after, but all they generally need to work out is that they fancy each other, and maybe some self confidence issues. Two characters from across some great divide, two people whose basic approaches to life are somehow antithetical... work those two out and you've solved some corner of the grand scale puzzle. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Get two opponents into bed together and you have, in some small way, figured out how humanity can get along.

Possibly very briefly, but if the sex is just the first attraction and you have to really work on their happily ever after... well...

How do you work with someone you've been fighting? How do you get along with people who've been blocking your every plan? How can you find common ground with someone who simply doesn't believe humans work the way you think they do?

A story gets to decide how humans work. Do we need a Vandal Savage to make humanity great again? Is the only way to win to destroy all opposition and lead the chosen few up from the ashes? Can a hero learn from villains and yet still be a hero? All worked out in an hour or two, maybe a season or five, when it starts as words on a page.

But it's a bit higher stakes than that when you take it beyond the theoretical.

Buffy staked vampires and her enemies disappeared in a handful of dust. Yet there were always more enemies, because unrestrained hunger is kind of a perennial problem. So you end up wondering, what if you don't stake this one? What if you chain him up and feed him until he plays better with others? What does he really need out of life anyway? And it turns out he needs pretty much what anyone does, regular eats, work he can get his teeth into, and someone to care about. Love the enemy instead, and you end up with an ally powerful enough to save the world. Even after everything he's done. That just means he understands better those still in the darkness.

And what if it's always that way?

Make it a fight, and both sides get ground down by grief and losses, until whoever is left standing gets to be king of dust and ashes.

Keep reaching out though... yeah there'll be pain and grief and no small amount of backstabbing, but there's a chance instead to grow stronger together.

It might be very satisfying to punch your enemies until they stay down and then put them in little boxes underground, but there's always more where they came from, and all they need is one good day.

Better instead to go recruiting, even if at first it's a mixed alignment crew. The basic business of staying alive is what you're all here for. Even if they see you as a score, or a happy meal on legs, you've still got that much of a start.

And it's hard, reaching out even knowing you'll get slapped down. There's no single big boss fight to be won, that way. It's every day, and it's grinding, and there is no finish line.

But there can still be some visceral satisfactions. See also why I read slash.

And more drama should end in weddings.

So. There are villains. And as long as hate and greed and ignorance are around, there will always be villains. But. How to handle that has many possibilities.

And some of them are much more fun than others.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2015-12-16 01:24 pm

Why so tired?

Aside from 'December' which is probably a complete reason. Ugh.

It is one of those woke up exhausted days, and yet it may be the one day a month that talking to other humans might happen if I can drag myself to Norwich. But then again it may not because the Monday reminder text didn't happen and it's December and it's definitely no the science fiction group so maybe it's not the other group? I can't remember. And my typo rate is ridiculous. Logically I could text the group organiser and find out, but mostly I want to go back to sleep, even though that is how I spent the whole morning.

Ugh.



Dreamt a bunch of stuff, including being the leader of a political party that most people consider the lunatic fringe but we were doing really well on council elections and expected to get an MP real soon now. We were also getting the most votes for our money, like our campaign finances looked like we could barely scrape up cash to run, but many votes happened. So people grudgingly invited us to planning meetings so they could find out how we were doing it.

Also Idris Elba was going to replace teh Queen. I don't know, that part seemed reasonable at the time. I only objected because really, do we need a boss? A big shiny boss person of splendour and all our cash? Really? But hey, okay, replace the whole royal family with Idris Elba, why not, that would probably save a few quid.

Then there was a bit where I accidentally swallowed a microphone and Lindsey McDonald had to choke me to get it out again. Fun.



Dream party's policies though made the most sense out of the whole dream. Like, our basic proposal was in three parts: Citizens Basic Income for everyone, Voting reform (so more small parties get their say), and community engagement on a new model that isn't charity.
See then you get everyone having enough money to live on so they can get involved with politics if they want to, you have actual representation of people's views all up and down the system, and the idea that people should help people isn't confined to chucking small money at charity shops a couple times a year and wondering why things don't work better. I mean volunteers are awesome, don't get me wrong, but there's more work than volunteers to do it, and the skills don't match, and really, the government sitting back and thinking people will help other people in the absence of capitalism's incentives is just a way of leaving the help to not happen and feeling like it's someone else's fault. Community engagement should mean everyone expects to be helpful to other people sometimes and it isn't all clumped up out of sight. That would be nifty.

Asleep dreams don't have to worry how to do culture shift, they just do it.



Social group tonight has gone wobbly. The group organiser just texted to say they won't be there, but we can have a group without her if we want? That sounds reasonable and yet I could stay here and sleep some more.

If I go I have to start at three for a group that starts at five and only lasts an hour, and then I get the bus back in the dark. At least four hours outside for one hour of conversation. Where I attempt to be interested in humans and sound interesting even though nothing ever happens.

Ugh.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2015-07-09 09:17 am

they really did it

I looked at the budget yesterday and I just... I keep looking at it to see if maybe it's less bad than I first thought, and no, I notice something else that is also bad.

The reports aren't paying as much attention to the bits I follow, but there's a lot in them.

The thing reported earlier about ESA is true, the WRAG is having payments cut a lot, flattened to match JSA. The BBC is reporting that as a £30 cut, but for people under 25 it's actually a £50 cut, per week. ESA is being cut by either 30% or 50% depending on age.
Most reports can't follow all those acronyms and refer to the WRAG as if it's primarily about work, preparing for. The BBC calls it 'the working element of ESA'. And if that's so, why not make it just like JSA? And that's exactly what I saw coming when they changed the names.
ESA is not just like jobseekers. The WRAG is for people who might, conceivably, become able to work in a couple of years. It's for people who right now cannot work. Wasn't JSA set with a mind to incentivising people to work? How do they think being poor is going to incentivise people to be less sick?
ESA was set at a level people needed.
Sick and disabled people have to pay some towards their care, as well as having higher expenses because of stuff like being stuck at home all day using electric and having trouble regulating their own temperature and needing food to be easy and a bazillion things like that.
The money to do that comes out of benefits.
Except now the benefits have been cut, so it can't come from there.
And this isn't the first cut, or indeed the half dozenth. Cuts all over.
Disabled people are being screwed over so very thoroughly.

Benefits for families are being limited to the first two children, starting with children born after this policy starts. Sound fair? In the land of not ever changing! The government rhetoric is all about how people on benefits should face the same choices about affordability that people in work face, that people on benefits should know they can't afford more than two children.
What, so this policy is only aimed at the lifelong workless? FFS. Anyone, at any income level, can get sick and suddenly be unable to work. If they happen to have previously calculated that three kids is perfectly affordable, oh look, now they're on benefits and can only afford to feed two of them! Now they'll have to make a different choice!
How the hell are they supposed to make a different choice then?
Kids exist. They persistently exist, at least in any civilised society.
If the government is only going to feed the first two what exactly do they think will happen to the third and subsequent?

This is a policy that on current numbers would affect 870,000 families, according to the BBC.
That's at least 870,000 children the government has decided don't need to be fed.



And housing benefit is now for over 21s.

Apparently they're wrapping it in fiddly deals or conditions or something. We know how that goes. As soon as there are conditions there are targets set to catch people out breaking said conditions, and then there's homelessness.



The benefits freeze applies to ESA, yet the BBC confidently reports that disability benefits are excluded. This is what successive governments have bought with their rebranding, the main benefit for disabled people doesn't ping reporters as a disability benefit. A benefits freeze of course means a real terms cut, year on year, for the rest of this government.

I would once again point out that ESA was set at a level people needed to live, but this government doesn't care. They talk about 'fair'. Fair is measured relative to averages, regardless of need.

Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in their promise of a 'living wage', which is now going to 'plot a course to bring the new rate up to 60% of median wages'.
They've rebranded the minimum wage, called it the living wage, yet set it rather below the current living wage. Remember living wage equals money required to live? They've set theirs lower than that.
"The London living wage, based on the cost of living in the capital, is already £9.15 an hour – roughly the level Osborne expects his new minimum to reach in five years’ time." £9.65 in London and £7.85 elsewhere, but this rebranding is only up to £7.20. And that living wage is calculated taking into account benefits that are being cut, so the real living wage is immediately going to be higher.
With the cuts in other areas the exact people this new minimum will apply to will still be worse off.
What they've done is specified an amount they expect people to live on, regardless of reality.
But hey, increased minimum! Yaay! (no, proper yaay, minimum should be living wage, progress would help)
Except it now only applies to those over 25.

People under 25 are screwed. Multiply screwed.



Massive cuts to disability benefits, framed in ways that don't involve putting a % label on them, named in ways that multiple sources are confidently declaring disability benefits safe cause it's only ESA WRAG that's being cut.

A whole stack of moves that leave people under 25 up the creek and paddleless.

And benefits cuts that decide there's such a thing as too many children, and once there's more than two the government just don't have to care.



Welcome to the next five years.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2015-03-06 10:59 am

In the news today

the BBC article starts out saying

"Proposals to give more rights to people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health conditions are to be unveiled by the government."

But their little video says it's about a parent, and further down it says "families felt their concerns are ignored"



I'm pretty sure they don't even see any contradiction there.

People with autism is not the same as families of people with autism. Listening to our parents is not the same as listening to us. Giving our parents new rights would be very greatly different to giving us new rights.



The actual proposals listed seem to be about giving people more right not to be put in hospital against their will, which seems nice.

But all the rhetoric around it is about families, and listening to families.

Which creeps me out because there's an unspoken assumption about how much there is to listen to from the actual disabled people.


It also seems likely that when they say 'community support' they mean 'relatives who are either unpaid or getting paid a pittance'. Which is a whole separate level of problem that really needs sorted.

(Did you know that Carers Allowance is less than Jobseekers Allowance? Carer's Allowance is £61.35 a week, Jobseekers is up to £72.40, though people under 25 get paid less. By definition Carers do 35 hours a week of work for an amount of money the government deems in other contexts insufficient to live on. And the situation with stacking benefits is complex.)



I just get so angry, there's so much Need and so little being done to meet it.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2014-11-20 01:32 pm

Possibly my education is bad for my mental health

I get cranky about stuff lately and it's pissing me off. Which obviously leads to a crankiness spiral. Which is unhelpful.

It's things where I can see systemic inequality and oppression in real life in the present day here and now, but everyone around me seems to be attributing things to individual causes and coincidence, or implying that it's not really bad because over there in the distant past or far off places, that's the real bad things.

So a novel that turns out to be about sci fi slavery kind of pisses me off because you don't need to literally reprogram and meat puppet people when you can keep them scrabbling for scraps while heavily in debt and trying to live on zero hour contracts somewhere the minimum wage isn't enough to get by on.

And novels about oppressed monotheists in a polytheist society would only not piss me off it they had kinda muslim trappings, but no, it's always secretly oppressed xtians.

And yesterday I got in a pub discussion about systemic inequalities in education and (though I didn't fully articulate this) how capitalism and economic pressures leads to the convergence of media companies into monopolies which control every level of production and distribution, all adding together to mislead voters even before you factor in how money is deliberately going back into the political process to systematically campaign on false premises. I stopped because we were there to talk about science fiction, but I started because someone made a joke about stupid Americans and then wouldn't let it drop. Apparent stupidity and ignorance has a whole lot to do with systems. You can't just call an individual stupid and make out like it's their individual problem with an individual solution. All the solutions cost money, resources, and time, and systems collude to make sure most people don't have those.

Access to information is a hugely political topic. People not knowing stuff is not just about the choices of that individual person.

Nothing is just about the choices of that individual person! People exist within systems and their actions contribute to those systems, whether they consciously will it or not!

And yeah, I go to media texts looking for things to be annoyed at. Eleven years of further and higher education have kind of got me in the habit. Because once you open your eyes to it, sexism, racism, and all the other ugly isms are sodding everywhere.

Someone yesterday was arguing the 'it's just the best person for that role' angle about Dead Bro Walking trope. Yeah all the black guys die but it's just because individually they were the best actor for the role of screaming dying person. How can anyone actually believe that and not see how it adds up?

Also, I feel it is derailing and irrelevant to start picking apart my pub level accuracy on quoting media creators, when I was trying to list dead lesbians in TV shows. The problem here isn't precisely what is said about dead lesbians, it is that all the fictional lesbians are in fact dead. I feel it reasonable to be annoyed about that. And again they argued the 'best character for the role' angle, that just coincidentally the TV show went and brought in these characters to kill them off and it has nothing to do with them being lesbians. Even if that's now 100% of the lesbians dead, that's just luck.

And I'm not arguing that content creators sit there all *evil laugh* and pick a minority to kill off this week. That's what's always being defended against, as if that's an invisible accusation, and it's entirely irrelevant. What they thought they were doing isn't the point. The point is there's a whole lot of dead bros and dead lesbians, and that is a problem. They're a bunch of individual choices of best for that five minutes that somehow coincidentally adds up to meaning black guys and lesbians are all killed off. Which is creepy and bad.

Also, if the problem is dead lesbians, pointing out how many strong women there are on a show is also irrelevant. Unless they're dating each other, they are not the current point.

And I am so wound up and frustrated about this stuff.

And it feels like it's all of a piece, like people are trained into thinking things one at a time, attributing things to individual one off choices, and not looking at the systems and aggregates and big picture.

And I know that sitting there telling them elsewise four at a time is very nearly no help at all but
I'm
just
so
cranky.



I can see so many problems, I know there's more problems I don't see, and I can't see how to get other people to see it let alone solve it.



And this is without getting into the sort of real world problems with a real world body count. Those are just horrifying and terrifying and leave me somewhere between really angry and awful hollow.


Especially the science based stuff. It's really quite a large problem when science can spend my whole adult life pointing at something and saying with some authority 'unless we do the thing we are going to die' and yet we don't do the thing. Humans are actually killing the whole planet. We could well render it uninhabitable. We're causing a mass extinction event and the Earth, as a whole, may not survive it. This is a problem.

And my individual choices for doing anything about said problem are... limited.



I mean I'm sitting here somewhere all western educated industrialised rich developed, with all those years of degree behind me, in a position of in some respects massive privilege, in one of the countries eating the world. But I don't see how to stop just by changing my individual consumer choices. They're not enough of the problem to make much of the solution. I don't know how to get at the levers. So I'm benefiting from systems of power and oppression, but feel pretty powerless to stop them or get out of the train, so to speak.

... this is why I daydream about space colonies. new place, new systems. also, my author brain knows that the point of the story will turn out to be that even in a new place humans are still human so we'll have to deal with our shit or live with it longer, and the suddenly concentrated nature of society would highlight everything.




Plus of course I feel powerless to do anything because I'm disabled and have had no support for a year and a half and it is in fact bloody difficult to do anything. Including shopping. Or the house viewings that are part of the plan to get me somewhere I can cope with better.

And then I feel weird about what I am getting that other people don't, like I should be guilty about having plus stuff, except I'm kind of stuck with the bits i'm not getting, and then it's all problem and no solution.



Everything all problem no solution.

Massive collective action is only way to make changes.

Except I've seen massive actions, protests, all sorts, and it don't seem to do any good.




So then I hide under a blanket and play Sims a lot.
beccaelizabeth: Lady Frankenstein plugs her brain in (net access)
2013-10-01 10:14 am

Politics

You know, every time I think the *rudeword* conservatives have reached their natural level, they find further to go. This week's idiocy is the suggestion that, in order to get unemployment benefits, people will have to sit in the unemployment office for 35 hours a week.

That's not about giving them skills or training or support. That's making them sit in detention for the terrible sin of having no job.

Think about it. 35 hours a week, in an office, with other people in the same situation, and maybe some dude employed by the government to make sure you turn up and stay there. That's the best use of anyone's time?

That's this government saying hey, no, actually you do not get to have your own life, being poor means obeying our every whim. Dance, puppets, dance!

FFS, we pay taxes, we pay National Insurance, and that means we're entitled to support when we need it. Even if we need it a really long time! And, okay, some of us have to look around the family tree quite a bit to find a tax payer, but the basic principle is society pays in so society can get it back out when we need it. This is our money.

But no, the rich sods in charge think there is some fundamental difference that applies to divide the workers and the... I'm not going to repeat their words for it, they've been using rude words for it lately, lets go with unemployed. And if someone becomes unemployed, that means it is secretly not their money any more, because it is secretly not their country. They just live here.

Can we vote these bastards away soon? Please? Nobody voted for this.



Oh, and while I'm ranting, did you see the thing about making people in the ESA WRAG group take any work offered to them? "Forcing sick and disabled people to take up offers of work". Can you guess why that won't work? They've taken the keywords out of the names, but this is the replacement for Incapacity benefit. The benefit is for people who cannot work. This group is for people who, in a couple of years, may become well enough to work. Forcing them to take up offers of work they cannot do, even by the government's own ridiculously stringent tests... how is that supposed to be remotely helpful? It's not, of course. It's just another hoop. But then it would be catch-22: if you're on the benefit that says you're too ill to work, you have to take up work, or they will take you off the benefit, which will mean you're no longer on the benefit that says you're too ill to work, which, hey, means you have to take up work. At no point in this cycle does the person in question become well. And the government keep expressing surprise that people remain on ESA for a long time. Yes, they do, because they remain fucking disabled.


/rant for the day.

god knows they'll say something else rant inducing soon enough.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2013-07-23 12:47 pm

Government housing policy does not add up

As I may have mentioned a time or two, I have been trying to move for a really long time now. But because I'm disabled and all my income is benefits my options are very limited. I'm grateful that I have a roof and all, but I'm frustrated I can't move closer to, you know, food I can actually eat, etc.

The government will tell you that their policies mean housing benefit can pay for the lowest 1/3 of the market.
This ignores the thing where most landlords simply won't take housing benefit in the first place.
But it's also just plain wrong.

I go looking for flats that are within budget, I just don't find them.
Norwich Local Housing Allowance for a single person (over 35 I think, old enough to live alone by benefit rules) is £91.15 per week.
... ignore that they list it per week when rent is per month, that's just helpful, but if you times it by 52 and divide by 12 you get 394.98 per month.

A quick check of Rightmove... well, you have to tell it £400 per calendar month, which is a teensy more than is actually covered, and then it will give you back house shares at that price, or studio flats where studio means a bed in the kitchen, but there's 110 of them. If you want an actual bed room in your own place, which is what the money is meant to cover, there's maybe 45, probably less if you read the descriptions. In the whole of Norwich. Which is quite big. But Norwich has 321 non-commercial properties to rent right now, 292 that don't say they're flat shares in the categories, so that looks like 1/3.

But the BBC have a 'Where can I afford to live' page. Type in the precise rent, choose the lowest 25% of rents - which is even cheaper than the government's 1/3, so should totally work - and see that Norwich... is in fact not affordable. Their lowest 1/4 is £400, half way price £465, so 1/3 will be in between somewhere. That local housing allowance does not in fact cover it. According to the BBC.

Somebody's numbers do not add up.

As far as I can find, most of Norfolk and Norwich have the same LHA. Since the lowest quarter of one bed rents goes as low as £395 (basically that £394.98 a month) in several of the districts of Norfolk, maybe, if Norfolk calculated it once for everywhere, it makes some sense... but probably not, and even if so, not terribly helpful for people trying to live in the city, even if they can afford the coast. Yarmouth is £375, but their LHA only covers £368 of that, so that's not massively helpful. Especially since these are 1/4 figures, not 1/3.

So I go back to the articles again and I find the exact quote is "housing benefit provides a safety net which ensures that up to a third of private properties in most areas are affordable".
Up to? Well that weasels out of that one. Anything can be 'up to' as long as there's even one place where that works.

*glares daggers*

Poke the numbers how you want, the housing benefit just doesn't pay for a decent place to live, or even a crappy place to live in a great many places.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2013-07-22 02:28 pm

Epic scale missing the point

There's some very upsetting stuff about healthcare and learning disability
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jul/12/no-review-board-deaths-learning-difficulties

Ministers have refused to create a national body to investigate the 1,200 premature deaths a year of patients with learning disabilities in the NHS
[...]
Instead the government has said it will give "greater voice" to people with learning disabilities and support the spread of personal budgets so patients could purchase better care.


NHS healthcare is called care. Community based social care is called care. Personal budgets are entirely the latter, and nothing at all to do with the former. What is being criticised is "delays in diagnosis, delays in treatment, lack of basic care and poor communication by doctors and nurses." Deaths are about 16 years early and about a third of the deaths of people with learning disabilities are because they aren't getting the right NHS treatment. To address this the government will... ignore it, because health care and social care are both care, right, so giving people the budget to pay for someone to cook for them will totally fix their doctor related needs.

Also the spread of personal budgets has been criticised because some people, especially the hard of thinking, aren't going to be able to do the paperwork, and most people won't know how to access the variety of services available, because only specialists with a wide view of the possibilities will have the training to think of everything.

In other words, their response is to make things harder.

Sometimes it's hard to attribute this kind of thing to mere ignorance instead of active evil.

But then Buddhism says ignorance is the root of all the other bad stuff anyway.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2013-07-06 03:47 pm

Too much hope misses the point

I'm reading a fic - Stargate, post reveal, though it could apply to any SF first contact story:

"Wars over stupid things like land or oil or religion had to stop before someone or something came along and picked us off while we were squabbling amongst ourselves."

And that sounds shiny, sort of, but it misses a lot of the point of why wars happen. Maybe boss people go to war far away for an extra slice of pie, but for most of history there's also wars that are just about survival. Land equals survival, on account of needing food and buildings and all sorts. Oil is kind of essential these days. And religion, to the true believer, is absolutely about survival, not just in terms of the eternal fate of their souls, but in the day to day saving of the righteous here on Earth.

After first contact, I don't believe the whole Earth will do anything all at once. There's seven billion of us, we're going to have seven billion reactions. Some of the people will understand the new data in terms of the old, and for some of them that means the war in heaven and the very real and physical presence of demons, or other intelligent life with an inherent moral standing. A LOT of people will hear there are whole new worlds out there, while they and theirs are starving down here, and they'll decide their only chance of continued life is to get out there. If they believe America's control of the gate is absolute, then America gains a lot of control on Earth, but that's not how a lot of people respond to American power in the here now. Even if governments all agree to America's terms - and shyeah, right - there will be smaller groups who think the system is corrupt and the only way to achieve freedom is to attack the system. Hence 'freedom fighters', or terrorists. All of which ignores that some people will want something to come along and pick us off, for reasons many and various. In Stargate especially this entire galaxy was controlled via myths and the old gods, with Goa'uld and Asgard both playing. Why would that suddenly break? Science? Science can only prove how god is doing it, not that god isn't doing it: see Intelligent Design. The assorted monotheisms would have a large something to say about a resurgence in the kind of polytheisms exploited in the Stargate 'verse, but how would they respond to Ori? It wouldn't be monolithic, and where there are disputes there are conflicts and there can be wars. Plus there's people who think humans have screwed things up enough someone else should have a go. Or people who reckon they can profit from it. All sorts of reasons.

Humanity is not going to respond in one unified way, and there's nothing in the near future that leads to universal peace. Even if there's some tech development to get us to a Star Trek like post scarcity future, ideological differences have fuelled wars enough and can fuel plenty more.

It's depressing.

But it's the main thing I never could buy about Star Trek without imagining frankly scary intervention of technology, that humanity all held the same opinions now, and were happy to.
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
2013-06-19 11:32 pm

Experience vs statistics

I was trying to understand (again) how some people seem to believe that becoming employed is just a question of trying. It is puzzling because there are more people needing jobs than there are jobs available, and some of the jobs available go to people who already have a job, so there's a lot of people chasing any given job. It seems pretty obvious that trying is not sufficient when there are no jobs.

But the people with the positive thinking keep trying attitude, they have experienced getting a job or seen a person get a job, and it was simples, someone tried until they got a job. That's a lot more vivid than numbers. So to them that is the real thing, because experience.

It just doesn't work when you multiply it up.

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