Tuesday, 31 May 2011

IS THIS NOW? New Networking in relation to old - I think...

Something I read from an American Blogger Jon Bischke says, and I agree "We live in an age where with a solid Internet connection and someone to guide you through the process of self-education (admittedly something many people don’t have) you can learn just about anything. Certainly enough to qualify for some of society’s highest-paid positions. But unfortunately that’s not enough. Because despite the fact that it’s easier than ever to learn the things that will qualify you for a well-paid position in the world, it’s not easier (perhaps even harder) to gain access to the networks that will let you achieve your full potential."

This is further limited by deliberate social policies and ideologies imposed on the general populace by Already in place financial differences and huge rifts between levels within society, and those that maintain those structures.

The problem is there is a phrase that I call Protectionism that the Privileged sectors of the society concerned actually force on others saying its a necessary part of maintaining order within society.

The richness of some are restricted by selfish desires of others, and by the rules being set by the winners. Who were already winners by their original placements and access to key enabling networks.

So How to the people who are put upon gain access to these networks and influential routes to priviledge?

By learning and adapting to resist the restrictions and finding new ways to extend their opportunities.

Who will teach them but themselves?

Those within those lower echelons who can realise and see the possibilities have a duty to teach, enable, and smash the artificial limitations placed upon those who did not, at first , have access to the networks to achieve full potential and assist a general understanding that all people have the right to be treated in a fair way, rather than subjugated for their lack of access to enabling networks.

The time of those restrictions is over, and now is the time that people should be able to enable what they have access to.

The original premise of not able to network sufficiently has gone.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Atos Launch an attack on website

The Details can be found on this link.

Atos appear to be saying that monitoring what they do, in a particular manner, is libelous / illegal . 

The Virtual Gherkin Must State that this is information recieved and relayed on, and is a comment by others after the event of Atos sending a legal letter to a website who were logging experiences of people being dealt with by ATOS Healthcare.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Imagination Land - The Clouds That Cuckoos live in?

 Written By Barbara Hulme, Member, Virtual Gherkin. 

The Imaginary World Of Politicians/Parliament

There have been recent reports in the papers of politicans making up imaginary scenarios to claim imaginary expenses (oops money was real!!) didn’t mean for it to go that far!! Imaginary ring fencing of the NHS, imaginary ring fencing of education Etc. Taking this on board here are some more imaginings from parliament which are having a huge impact on the sick and disabled.
Yesterday there was a meeting of a Parliamentary Select Committee concerning Employment and Support Allowance and the new Work Capability Assessment (WCA) . ATOShealthcare attended and spoke as also did Professor Harrington. 
Some interesting points emerged such as.
1. If you are found fit for work it does not mean that you are not sick/disabled.
2. If you are placed in the work related activity group (WRAG) which means you will be capable of work in the future – it’s irrelevant if your condition is deteriorative!! In the daydream imaginative world of the politician your condition can miraculously improve permanently just by being placed into this group, despite what Drs/Consultants say to the contrary!
However the most amazing bit of imaginary world has to be what emerged and was taken on board by all politicans present and professor Harrington ….. It is not the task of the WCA to test if you are capable for work in the real world ie in real job scenarios!
It is the job of the WCA to test if you are capable of work in a fantasy world which does not exist and of which there is no description!
This in essence means that many of those found fit for work or placed in the WRAG are not fit for work in any normal meaning of the term.
To work in this imagined world the sick and disabled people are now moving around freely in imaginary wheelchairs with imaginary access to all forms of transport and all buildings, with imaginary bosses allowing imaginary amounts of time off work, when too ill to get there and too ill to work from home, where imaginary taxis charge imaginary money for imaginary journeys undertaken and where painful conditions suddenly become pain free.
Hey if things are getting this unreal – I think I’ll fly!!

Ask Steve Cram NOT to be Ambassador to ATOS -Event 31st May.

Virtual Gherkin On Facebook are running a mass email campaign on 31st to request Steve Cram removes his association as ambassador to ATOS I.T. (Part of ATOS ORIGIN)

Steve Cram has joined as an Ambassador to ATOS I.T. for 2012. ATOS I.T. IS PART part of The ATOS company.

The letter Tells him the reasons he should disassociate himself and publicise why he has done so.

The Date Planned: Please all send this out on Tuesday the 31st

You can copy and paste this letter:

Dear Mr Cram

With all the charity work you do and the fact that you have been involved with the paralympics, I find it very suprising that you have made the decision to be amabassador for any part of ATOS. please read this article.

You may or may not be aware that on Wednesday 11th May there was a demonstration of disabled people in London - the biggest ever demonstration of disabled people.

They were campaigning against ATOS healthcare, part of ATOS origin, and the barbaric WCA tests they carry out on the sick and disabled and the notrious tick box LIMA computer system used by them in ascertaining people as fit for work or not.

And It may interest you to know that many Charities, Organisation, Medical Professional, Scholars & Academics, Independent Inquiries & Commissions have made clear in unequivocal public statements that the Work Capability Assessment in it’s current guise is “NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE” but is willingly administered by ATOS Heathcare

There are many articles throughout the press concerning deaths and suicides caused by this companies actions.

Please withdraw your support for them and speak to any disabled charity to find out what the disabled community, charities and the CAB think regarding this company.

It would be fabulous if you would WITHDRAW YOUR SUPPORT for this company and publicise why!

Thank you for any help you are able to give in this matter.

Yours sincerely
Name and Address etc

YOU SEND IT HERE: < e-mail address.

You can join the Facebook group here:

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Virtual Gherkin nothing to do anymore with Armchair Army

The Armchair Army

They Barred a lot of very good people due to the inflexible administration

Also they wanted exclusivity over Any action they raised.

The Virtual Gherkin was supporting them via the blog.

So Then It was requested that to continue the Virtual Gherkin works we should raise a Facebook group.

So We did.

No animosity with any members of armchair army group. The inflexible and draconian nature of their admin forced this action to happen.

Monday, 16 May 2011

A Bit about my Illness.

Jules Real Clarke
****Jules shares this *****

How about: a virus most get rid of within weeks. And only a few dont get rid of. And it rages.
Its discovered, damage has been done.
Then the diagnosis messes your head due to possible death sentence.
Agressive drug treatments, internal organ damage, and a constant " are the drugs going to give up" thing.
And having damage enough that toxin buildups is ten times longer to rid than those without the thing, and they acknowledge a certain amount of damage to insides that they treat you as if next stage is present in order to try and stave off next stage, where cancer or renal failure is almost definite at some point but you dont know when or if it'll happen, and the big doubt that 6 sets of drug treatments didnt work, and the current one is working but last option.
If fails = Death. Fatigue, mental head issues the lot. <---they call that invisible. Thats been with me 10 years or thereabouts. And the damage also causes other symptomatic stuff to happen. <---Honesty from jules.
    • Jules Real Clarke This is what people dont understand with invisible illnesses.
      2 hours ago · 
    • Loraine Hardy Yeah I agree. Just because people can't see it, doesn't make it any less of an illness/disability.
      about an hour ago · 
    • Jules Real Clarke ‎>.< ouch sometimes loz.
      about an hour ago · 
    • Loraine Hardy 
      My auntie looks like everyone else to the naked eye, but she's registered blind, has marfans syndrome and an aortic aneurysm. She's had the interrogation from people about her blue badges in car parks, even when she got her guide dog people...See more
      about an hour ago · 
    • Jules Real Clarke When I get reflux, oesophagitus and duodenitus periodically as a sideline. Thats a "nasty" bit.
      8 minutes ago · 
    • Jules Real Clarke Hate the gastroscopy proceedures.
      8 minutes ago · 
    • Jules Real Clarke Also hate biopsies when they crash a nerve by the intrusion
      7 minutes ago · 
    • Jules Real Clarke The scans are painful cos they push a little bit hard.
      6 minutes ago · 
    • Jules Real Clarke Cancer checks every three or four months.
      about a minute ago · 
    • Jules Real Clarke Full blood tests often - feel like a pin cushion
      about a minute ago · 

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Major Email campaign on 26th May

The Virtual Gherkin Facebook Group have launched an event that they are asking as many people in the UK to take part in as possible.

Basically There are Disabled and Able people in this country completely disgusted with The lack of application to her Role of Minister for the Disabled - that minister being Maria Miller .

The major email campaign was launched and a Letter that can go to all MPs and the Media too was crafted amongst a seriously concerned group of disabled people.

They arrived at a Letter that they hope anyone who has seen the treatment of Disabled people fall apart, and even cause deaths (more are being reported weekly) , will gladly send in support of a worsening and potentially disastrous application of Government hitting the Vunerable in such a way as probably never been seen before in this country.

The letter is below. And the Group are sending this via email to MPs and Media on 26th May.
Will you take part too? 

Dear Sir(s)
I with many others, believe that there should be a vote of no confidence in Ms Maria Miller MP Disabilities Minister for the following reasons:

1) For failing to fight hard enough to ensure that disabled people receive a fairer assessment of capabilities (specifically the Work Capability Assessment implemented by such companies as ATOS) and which is generally acknowledged to be a flawed test.

2) I and many others believe that, in the light of the recent/threatened cuts to benefits for disabled people, and the cuts affecting disabled people generally, will bring harm, a loss of dignity and a loss of independence to disabled people both at home and where applicable, in their working lives. I and many others believe that her absence at the ‘Hardest Hit March’ on the 11th of May 2011 shows that she is reluctant to engage directly with disabled peoples concerns.

3) To the best of my knowledge, I and many others believe that Ms Maria Miller, in her role as MP has not taken a sufficiently strong public stand to protect disabled people from disability hatred. Such disability hatred may include acts perpetrated by the media or individual perpetrators of verbal abuse, violence and/or criminal damage when it occurs.

It is for the above reasons that I and many others believe that Ms Maria Miller MP is out of touch with the worries, concerns and outrage felt by disabled members of society and therefore, urge ministers to press for a vote of no confidence in Ms Miller and raise a call for her resignation. 

Name, Address. 

That's the letter. And people are sending it "as is" 

Join the group on Facebook: 

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Financiers are to Blame for Hurting the People.

Fabulous Guest Blog From Frances Coppola 

How the Financiers Hurt People is within this feature. And explained from a top down perspective. Wonderful insight into personal crises caused by capitalism.

Frances Says:

Modern gods and human sacrifice

I read a fascinating post today by the excellent Australian blogger billy blog. In it he notes that even when the Australian government was running surpluses between 1996-2007, the international financial institutions pressured it to continue issuing debt - and it gave in to them. During that period the Australian government issued more debt than it needed but didn't actually use the proceeds in any way that benefited the people of Australia.  This intrigued me. Surely when a government is running a fiscal surplus it will pay off debt, won't it?  Well, apparently not.  Why not?

Billy answers his own question at length in the blog, but to summarise here - the government continued to issue debt because the international financial markets needed it for liquidity.  It had nothing to do with the people of Australia and everything to do with providing risk-free funds to speculators.  And the taxpayers of Australia paid interest on that unnecessary debt.

At the same time as the international markets were calling for more Australian risk-free government debt, they were also shouting about the need for welfare reform and spending cuts. And the Australian government gave in to them on that one too. At the same time as it was issuing unnecessary debt and running a fiscal surplus, it cut welfare spending programmes to the poorest in society.

Now why on earth would a democratically-elected government ignore the wants and needs of its electorate and dance to the tune of the international financial markets?

Well, it's all about the power of the big international financial institutions, and in particular the credit rating agencies, the IMF and the World Bank.  Governments are terrified of them, and with good reason.  Recently we have seen downgrading of credit ratings for various countries in the European Union. The consequence of this is that these countries are now paying far higher interest rates on their debt, at ruinous cost to their citizens. However, Portugal - feistier than the others - is fighting back. It has commenced an international criminal inquiry against the three main international credit rating agencies (Moody's, Standard & Poor and Fitch) on the grounds that when these agencies downgraded Portugal's debt they CAUSED the sovereign debt crisis that forced Portugal to seek assistance from other EU members. Portugal suggests that these agencies may have benefited financially from the country's ensuing difficulties and claims that these agencies wield excessive power due to lack of competition.  Portugal was unable to service its debt and was bailed out by the ECB on condition that they imposed austerity measures on their citizens - which so far the citizens have refused to accept. They should be thankful. In Greece the IMF is involved and the imposed austerity measures are far more severe. And in Africa, where the principal agent has been the World Bank, the austerity measures imposed on countries that have suffered from capital drain have caused famine and wars.  No wonder governments are scared.

I'm not going to discuss here whether the behaviour of the credit rating agencies actually causes debt problems or is simply a response to the prospect of debt difficulties. The point is that the effect of debt downgrade is high interest rates and loss of international reputation - and above all, unhealthy interest from some international agencies (the IMF and World Bank, in particular) that have a terrifying reputation. No government wants the IMF hovering around, and to avoid this governments will adopt all manner of measures that hurt their citizens. The IMF and its lackeys, the credit rating agencies, are particularly attracted to countries whose expenditure persistently exceeds their income - even if these countries are meeting their debt obligations without difficulty.  Running a deficit for any length of time is a dangerous strategy, and the UK has run one for quite some time.  No wonder the Coalition government is so hysterical about "getting the deficit under control".  They are fobbing off the international sharks.

I commented in a previous post that there is a fair degree of confusion over whether the Coalition's aim is to reduce the deficit or the debt. In my view it is neither. They are placating the international credit rating agencies and by extension the IMF.

As far as the deficit is concerned, the aim is not to reduce the deficit but to hide it.  The easiest way of hiding a deficit is to shift the difference between expenditure and income to private individuals. They can go deeper into debt, go bankrupt, lose their homes or starve to death without affecting a country's credit rating or attracting IMF attention - as is evident in India's economy, for example. A programme of spending cuts aimed at low to middle income earners reduces the deficit quite nicely and has the additional effect of creating public unrest, which helps to convince the rating agencies that the Government is really doing something. It's all spin and doesn't fix anything. But it hurts lots of people.

Now the effect of hiding the deficit should be, of course, that government debt stops growing. But this is a bit more tricky. Because, you see, the same institutions that want spending cuts to reduce deficits also want governments to issue debt. You might think this is an extraordinary example of doublethink on the part of the international institutions, but it isn't really. Government debt is only useful to financial institutions if it is low-risk. Countries that run deficits are riskier than those that don't, so the safest debt is of course that issued by countries that don't run deficits - and they want lots of that debt, whether or not the country itself needs it.  To these institutions, the issuance of public debt has nothing whatsoever to do with deficit financing or public investment: its sole purpose is to ensure a plentiful supply of highly liquid, virtually risk-free funds for international speculation.  So the international institutions apply immense coercive pressure to governments to reduce or eliminate deficits, thus reducing risk, while maintaining debt issues, thus ensuring liquidity in the international financial markets. Hence the Australian government's bizarre behaviour. 

There is nothing logical or rational about spending cuts to reduce a deficit when a country is comfortably meeting its debt obligations and is experiencing an economic downturn - which is the situation in the UK at the moment.  There is also nothing logical or rational about governments continuing to issue debt and cut spending while running a fiscal surplus, as the Australian government did. It's all about placating the gods.

In days gone by, people believed that there were powerful, moody and unpredictable gods. If an individual angered the gods, he (or his descendents) would suffer a terrible fate. The essence of classical tragedy is retribution for hubris, which is the "sin" of challenging a god's supremacy.  When the individual challenging the god was a king or ruler, retribution could be enacted against the people he ruled. And humans didn't have to do much to anger the gods. Orpheus angered Apollo simply because he could play the lyre beautifully and Apollo was jealous of his skill.  But above all, humans who disobeyed gods came in for terrible punishment. The Old Testament is full of stories about disobedience followed by punishment.

We like to think that we have moved on from all this superstitious nonsense. But we are the same people, really, and have the same mindset. Only now the deities we worship are not weather gods - they are unelected and undemocratic international institutions that wield excessive power, have their own agenda and care not a jot about ordinary human beings. Anger the credit rating agencies, they downgrade your debt. Anger the IMF, it withdraws "essential" funding (although I question whether that funding is either necessary or theirs to give).  And these "deities" are greedy and rapacious. To placate them, governments drain their countries' resources and sacrifice the people who elected them, or more often, those that didn't.

But these "deities" don't have to have this power. They only have this power because we give it to them.  We don't have to do what they say.  Governments don't have to issue debt they don't need. They don't have to inflict unnecessary spending cuts on their people. All that is needed is for governments to take back their power from these self-appointed demigods. 

Democratically-elected governments are sovereign in their own countries. They have the right and the power to issue their own money, obtain funds through taxation from their better-off citizens and businesses, borrow from these as well if they wish, and spend this money as they see fit to benefit the people of the country. If a democratically-elected government wishes to run a deficit, it can fund that by creating its own money or borrowing from its citizens. It doesn't need to borrow from international financial institutions, and it is time that these institutions recognised that they have no right to insist that governments provide them with risk-free funds. No international institution should coerce a democratically-elected government into taking actions that hurt its citizens, and no democratically-elected government should allow international institutions to dicate how it should run its economy.  And above all, democratic governments should support each other in standing up to the demands of the international institutions. Let governments work for people, not for the international financial system.

Many thanks to Frances for this superb piece.

BBC REPLY regarding Complaint on Coverage of Hardest Hit March 11th May

Lots of people complained over lack of coverage.
In the Facebook group associated to this blog a member got THIS REPLY from BBC

LOTS OF PEOPLE COMPLAINED.BBC Complaints - Case number CAS-753555-386QP1
"" <>
Add to Contacts
Dear Mrs xxxxx

Reference CAS-753555-386QP1

Thank you for your feedback regarding BBC News. 

We understand some viewers and listeners felt we did not sufficiently report on the Hardest Hit march held in central London on 11 May 2011.

We reported on the march during our BBC One news bulletins at One and Six on this date. Both reports heard from BBC Correspondent Alison Holt who was at the march, we also heard from Jaspal Dhaniuk from the Disabled People's Council and the Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller MP.

In addition to this, the march was covered during Radio 4 news bulletins and the BBC News Channel throughout the day, alongside articles on the BBC News website at: 

It may also be of interest to you that Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ previewed the march on 10 May. You can still listen to the programme online at: 

We therefore feel we afforded the Hardest Hit march with the appropriate level of coverage, in a fair and impartial manner.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.  Heres_________



 one reply I was given for info. 

Friday, 13 May 2011

Another Death Via Benefits Refusal

Through The Virtual Gherkin Facebook Group I was shown this courtesy of DPAC.

This is published anonymously and has been placed in many places to show the lunacy of the governments draconian approach to benefits.

RE: Disabled people against cuts.
I am writing in support of your campaign against government cuts to disability.
After reading the article in the Guardian 9th May “Job centre staff get guide on handling suicide threats” I really felt I needed to get in touch and tell you about the experiences we have had with the Job Centre.
My family has a history of mental health problems, I have a sister who suffers from psychosis and bipolar and I have spent the last ten years trying to help her. Until recently no one in our family was aware that another sister had also developed this awful condition.
My younger sister’s illness developed quickly and over the year she had gone from being a bright 32 year old professional to a withdrawn and paranoid, scared person. She had moved house during this time and had also lost her job. During this time we could not find out where she lived. When she did contact by email asking for help, we were shocked to find that she had no electricity in her flat, and had been surviving on Weetabix and water for 6 months because she had been refused benefits.
It was very obvious from her condition that she was very ill and hadn’t eaten for many weeks.  We later learnt that her self-imposed seclusion was because she had felt that everyone was conspiring to have a committed to a mental institute. We learnt that she had attended the job centre on a number of occasions asking for help and had also asked her doctor for a sick note but was refused. In her desperation she became frantic, the doctor then phoned the police and said she would commit her under the mental health act.  She was held for a night in a prison cell because of an argument over a sick note. The doctor was fully aware that she was mentally ill but had refused to provide a sick note to her! But instead was using the law to section her under the mental health act, why?  My sister is generally a very shy and sensitive person and because of this experience she became extremely paranoid, it was so severe she never went out after this.
During all this time, no one from the family was told about her condition and when we found her she was severely paranoid and very scared to open her door to us. She phoned the police to say that she didn’t want us to visit her and the police sent us away with a caution. This was heart breaking for us since we could see she needed urgent help. Nothing can describe the feeling of being told that by law you are not allowed to help someone if they did not wish it.  Even though, I am sure the police were fully aware of her record and could see that she was very vulnerable because her flat was mouldy and flooded and she had a burst pipe that she couldn’t afford to fix and she was painfully thin.
I believe that the doctor in charge of her care was negligent because she did not provide her with a sick note, even though she thought her sick enough to be committed to a prison cell under the mental health act. If the doctor had looked into the family medical records they would have seen that we have a history of mental illness in the family. Additionally, the doctor did not contact anyone in her family or help her with her condition by providing her with a sick note. Her illness was being exasperated by the fact that she had no food and electricity at home and that she was being dealt with very insensitively by the job centre. It is very sad that up until her death, my sister felt hounded and traumatized by the fact that she was imprisoned. She was afraid that it would happen again, so she hid her illness very well from others and very rarely ventured outside her home. She only attended the job centre when she was over her mania, which was cyclical and without a sick note no-one at the job centre would believe she was ill enough not to work.
With a little more time we managed to get her to see another doctor, she was prescribed anti psychotic drugs but she still had no income and was going to lose her home. My sister is very independent and strong willed. She was up until her illness a very successful programmer and had always earned her own way through life. The loss of her job brought on by her illness was not something she would admit too easily, and the shock of being imprisoned was something she never got over.
In September 2010 we received a phone call from the foreign office in Portugal telling us that our little sister had committed suicide. She had boarded a flight the day before for Oporto with the intention of ending her life. She tried to take an overdose and then jumped from the hotel balcony. She was alone when she died and no one from the family had been able to reach her.
I have always thought that the UK system of welfare was a lifeline that the neediest were able to access easily. But with our experience we found that the cold and bureaucratic way that people are now being dealt with is really too cruel especially for those suffering from mental breakdown.  Knowing whether someone has a mental condition cannot be easily judged from a job centre application form or within a few days of a claim.  The immediate stance taken by the job centre is that anyone applying for welfare through sickness is obviously lying. Mental illness takes months to diagnose, this is not taken into account by the job centre.
After her funeral, we were left to tidy her affairs and give her belongings to charity (as per her wishes written in a suicide note).  It was very heart breaking that the very same day of learning of her death; she had a letter arrive claiming that her appeal for benefits had been accepted. It is sad no see how far the UK government want to push people in order to cut costs. The compassion has left the welfare system and we are left with a very harsh ‘conservative’ system.
Thank you for highlighting the case of many people who are going to be side lined because of the new government measures.
I would hate for anyone else to have to go through what we have been put through over the last few months.


This made me cry.
I thought id put it here to show what many people fear, and lots of unreported instances are happening as you read this.
The Virtual Gherkin had reports of someone having benefits stopped BEFORE an Atos assesment, and yet they cannot walk without assistance and are expected to get to a centre for an arbitrary assesment.
What more can I say? 
I am really broken by what I'm hearing. 
You can Join The Virtual Gherkin Facebook group here: