Open Letter to Toby Young

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Dear Mr Young,

Let me introduce myself…

Im a married mother of 3. My middle child is autistic, my oldest child is partially deaf and my youngest child is a typical 8 year old. All of my children are in mainstream education.

I’ve read with much interest today numerous tweets detailing your views regarding inclusive education, boobs and cocaine. I feel qualified to join the conversation because I have boobs, I don’t agree with cocaine use (I’ve seen the damage it does) and I’m one of those parents advocating for inclusive mainstream education.

Today I want to talk to you about that article you wrote way back in 2012, the one where you said troglodyte. I’d link to it but I’m using my phone to write this, but you know which one I mean. You wrote a little clarification on the end of it very recently. I read the whole thing again today and these are my thoughts.

I would love for my son to go to a specialist school because mainstream doesn’t work for him in alot of ways. He doesn’t write. He can a little but he hates it with a passion. He’s 9 years old but his handwriting is at about a 4 year old level. It’s not for want of trying to teach him, I’ve tried, his teachers have all tried, his TAs have all tried. It’s not working. His fine motor skills arent good enough. He’s very clever but without the ability to write coherently he’s never going to pass an exam is he? His teachers cant prove his vast knowledge on any subject if he cant write down his thoughts. God forbid he should need some of that politically correct assistance during an exam and it might inconvenience someone who doesn’t struggle and who doesn’t actually have any real life connection to his school (I’m talking about you, Mr Young.)

He finds eye contact painful yet we are battling with another teacher this year. She thinks if hes not looking at her he’s not listening, even though I’ve explained the problem to her. He’s been bullied again this year because he refuses to hit back, even when someone was pulling his hair out (literally) and kicking and punching him. School wasn’t helpful so some of his classmates helped him instead.

He’s not completely continent. He has accidents. He wears pull ups at night and doesn’t know when he needs a number two. No one wants their child to go through the trauma of that at school. I’d love a specialist school to offer him a place but it’s impossible, so he’s in mainstream and it repulses some people that he has extra help.

He knows he’s different. He’s well aware that he’s the only kid that cries, the only one who can’t write properly, always the last to get changed after PE and the last to get his stuff together and out of class at home time. He knows he stutters and speaks slowly. He knows he’s different and we appreciate his school trying hard to make it easier for him to receive an education. He’s entitled to an education.

Why is he in mainstream? He doesn’t have an ehcp. I’ve enquired lots of times but school think he doesn’t need one, so my chances of success without them being on board are slim. He can’t get a place at a specialist school without an ehcp. While people complain about wheelchair ramps and extra help in exams etc they are forgetting that most of us who have children with SEN in mainstream don’t have a choice where we send our children to school. Its right and proper that they’re given a level playing field which takes many forms, from ear defenders, nurture groups, a sloping desk (last year my son had one, it’s disappeared this year), actually putting his homework in his bag because he forgets it if you dont, readers in exams and teachers who actually think outside the box. A sensory room for pupils to rebalance themselves when sensory overload is unbearable, training for teachers. It might repulse some people but no one wants to go back to the days when school leavers couldn’t write their own names, when SEN pupils were written off as stupid. My dad didn’t learn to read till he was 13! No one was willing to help him. He became a tooling engineer, self taught.

I don’t know if you were just not thinking when you wrote that article, using such poorly chosen words, or if you do really think children with SEN are troglodytes. I know people who think like that exist, they’re the ones who point and stare and make snide remarks. They’re just scared of things they don’t understand.

I don’t know the extent of your knowledge or personal experience of special needs and disability, and 2012 was some time ago, but I would strongly recommend that you become knowledgeable. There are thousands of ways to do so, you’re more than able to contact charities, there’s lots of families willing to teach you and I’m sure lots of adults who have been through mainstream education would be happy to tell you their experiences and suggestions. You must remember now though, the way you describe those people is important. Troglodyte is offensive, no one wants to be described as a swamp monster….or a bald headed…something vile….utter…  you get what I’m saying? It displays a lack of intelligence and effort.

Lastly a little note about boobs and cocaine. It’s not classy to be tweeting the things you’ve tweeted. I know you’ve deleted some of them but it’s not the point is it? It’s not nice. As a mother of 2 girls and a woman myself I find it repulsive. Appreciate the female form but do it in your head, don’t say it out loud, dont tweet it. Maybe use some more intelligent sentences while youre at it.

As for cocaine, if you want to ruin your life that’s your decision, but don’t try to glorify or glamourise it. A close friend of mine almost died just before Christmas as a result of cocaine. It’s not glorious and it’s far from glamourous.



Universal Credit Report -Hidden dangerous policy decisions that will cause harm


This report from Disability Campaigner Gail Ward is a must read for all benefit claimants and those claiming  ‘in work’ benefits claimed by millions in the UK. It has plenty of references and downloads contained within the document and it will alarm many, it should, as this government is targeting the poorest in society at the expense of saving the rich. Some of those already transferred will know the horrors already highlighted recently by Citizens Advice (CAB),but the majority do not. This blog doesn’t have the capacity to embed the entire report to enable reading online ,but you can download it from the link below in the hope that this will help many prepare for the next onslaught by this barbaric government whose sole purpose is to hound claimants, and save money for the state putting profit before people. If you thought WCA (ESA) was bad this will make it…

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Please everyone who is currently on ESA/DLA or PIP please read

I really don’t know where to start on this

I had my “compliance interview” today,, the actual allegations were even more petty and pathetic than I first feared

The complaints (2 of them) were made May and June this yr (the second was made after the letter re the interview was sent)

A little too much of a coincidence as it is just after I raised another issue with the “Bastard Ratdog” (ongoing problem I tried to help other residents with and more accusations from the same people ensued)

One was made over the “Benefit fraud hotline” and one online

I’m not sure in which order they were placed but

1 I have been reported for benefit fraud as I have been “observed”
A) shopping
B) carrying cans of beer
C) going into the city on occasions

so let’s…

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Guest post: new Battle of [depressing] #Hastings #Rudd #magicmoneytree #GE17


new hastingsTonight the SKWAWKBOX is pleased to feature two guest posts. This first takes aim and Home Secretary and suppressor of democracy, Amber Rudd and her attempt to retain her Hastings and Rye seat. It’s by Joshua FunnellJoshua Funnell:

The NEW Battle of ‘depressing’ Hastings: time to fell Amber Rudd’s “Magic Money Tree”

Hastings is depressing. If you’re from there you’re probably pretty angry with me. But what if I now told you I wanted to be your MP? I should surely expect to see an army of 1 finger salutes directed my way.

Incredibly, “depressing” is exactly how Amber Rudd described her Hastings constituency to the Financial Times, perhaps assuming her constituents wouldn’t read it…

Pride in a constituency is surely a prerequisite of any MP? I mean, at least pretend, right? “Depressing” probably wouldn’t be the chosen slogan for the Hastings Tourism website. Probably neither would…

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Emergency appeal: malicious attack on pro-JC campaigner


r_swindPro-Corbyn blogger @Rachael_Swindon is one of the most tireless campaigners for Labour, Corbyn and a fairer society that you’ll ever find.

As well as blogging and creating some of the strongest memes to support Labour’s message, she is a full-time mother of two kids who also cares full-time for her disabled husband, who recently took a turn for the worse. As a result, she and her family are in the support group of ESA and PIP, which allowed them – just about – to scrape by, except when the DWP screwed up.

Until now.

Because of her effectiveness, Rachael has angered right-wingers both inside and outside the Labour party. Because she has a ‘donate’ button on her blog, in case the occasional donation comes in to help eke out meagre benefits, someone made a malicious report to the DWP, triggering an investigation.

Let’s be clear, Rachael has done nothing wrong –…

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Boy Jobs and Girl Jobs – what rubbish is this?

This 100%

Poppy's Place

I am angry.

Yet again, I am angry and yet again it is our not-so-noble Prime Minister and her Tory cohorts who have angered me. What a surprise eh? Who would have guessed it.

So, what has Mrs May done his time to rattle my cage?

Well, it’s not hard but, amongst a plethora of other things, the thing that has really riled me this time is the TV interview that she gave, with her husband Philip, on the BBC1 early evening chat show, ‘The One Show’ on Tuesday. I freely admit that I didn’t watch all of it. I couldn’t but the little I did watch made me seethe. I lasted for a total of about five fist-clenching, teeth-grinding minutes before I was forced to change channel. Not because I desperately wanted to watch the programme I switched to, no, I just couldn’t stand to watch any more of…

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I, Daniel Blake


I, Daniel Blake.

I am a survivor of domestic violence. A mother of three. A carer for my son. Exhausted most days and always struggling for money. I’d like to work. Aside from having children, I have the added responsibility of caring for a disabled child whom I love dearly. Working in a paid job simply isn’t an option for me. It may never be.

Until late 2014 I was also caring for my dad. He died in April 2014. A mere 12 hours before I had a jobcentre appointment, which I attended, for fear of being sanctioned. I cried like a baby, snotted all over the desk and was told to go home. I was called back in 2 weeks later to hand in a CV!! I was told my son would ‘grow out of it’ and that even though I don’t have to look for work I should. Cheers. I already care every moment I’m awake. Anyone know of a job I can do while I’m sleeping?

I’ve been accused of fraud. I’ve been berated. I’ve been harassed. I’ve starved myself to feed my children. I’ve carried my disabled son to school when the car broke down and I had no money to fix it. He’s heavy. I’m no weight lifter. But the likes of me shouldn’t have cars, should we? We shouldn’t have anything apparently.

Advisors have pried into my personal life, asking if I socialise, if I am ‘seeing anyone’, if I want to. Excuse me? I’ve been dragged in for an interrogation for being in a car with a man! (My brother). I’ve jumped through hoops. I’ve filled the endless forms in. Bit my lip and sat on my hands to stop me jumping over that fucking desk and headbutting the pompous Twat telling me all about her holidays abroad. I took my kids camping in a fucking field for 4 days!!

I don’t have to attend their interviews anymore. I don’t claim the benefit that triggers the appointment of absurdity. I’m free from a work focused waste of time. I’m still poor. I couldn’t afford the bus fare to get my oldest to college today. I can’t afford it tomorrow either.

All my experiences pale in comparison to the image of my parents sobbing because they were petrified of an atos  assessment when dad was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. A man who had worked his entire adult life, made to feel like a scrounger because the social security system is now simply a tool to punish anyone who needs help. God forbid human beings be provided with food and shelter. Barbaric! People who have paid their taxes into the pot. People who are vulnerable. People who contributed to society in ways that cannot be measured in money.

I am Daniel Blake, and I am sick to death of this fucking shit!!


“I am not a client, a customer, nor a  service user.
I am not a shirker, a scrounger, a  beggar, nor a thief.
I am not a national insurance number,  nor a blip on a screen.
I paid my dues, never a penny short and  proud to do so.
I don’t tug the forelock, but look my  neighbour in the eye.
I don’t accept or seek charity.
My name is Daniel Blake, I am a man,  not a dog.
As such, I demand my rights. I demand  you treat me with respect.
I, Daniel Blake, am a citizen, nothing  more, nothing less. Thank you.”

Why the Cameron’s are nothing like you or me. #InvokingIvan

Once again the Cameron’s are talking about their son, Ivan.  This time it’s #SamCam.

While I am not trying to disrespect the memory of a dead child, I find it insulting  for her to talk of  ‘breaking point’ and respite when so many carers get no help at all.

When my own son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder over 2 years ago we got nothing.  We still get nothing.  No respite. No carers assessment. I’ve been waiting since diagnosis for autism training and occupational therapy. I’ve fought for  a certain awful teacher to recognise my son’s condition is unique,  she tried to get him to conform to her way.  Anyone who has autism or cares for an autistic person will know that’s not going to work.  We’ve had zero support from the services the Cameron’s had.

My friend cares for her son too. The same month my son was diagnosed all her respite was cut. Granted she didn’t get much, an hour, but suddenly that was gone due to the cuts. She’s fighting,  just like me, for every crumb.

Breaking point is 2 and a half years with no respite.  It is a midnight meltdown that wakes up my 2 daughters. It’s the 30 minute struggle to get my son to get in the car for school.  It’s the day the car broke down and I had to carry him to school  (he’s 6). Breaking point is him still being awake at 2 am and you’re scared to sleep in case he hurts himself.  It’s the ‘advisor’ at the job centre saying “he’ll grow out of it, why can’t you work while he’s at school? ” it’s spending 3 hours filling out the dla form while your dad was dying.  Yeah, I did that. Wasted those precious hours because the form is ridiculously long and complicated.  I used to care for my dad aswell. He died last year.

Breaking point is running out of clean clothes for your little boy because he soiled himself 5 times in one morning because his body doesn’t tell him when he needs to go.  It’s dreading bath time because he hates it, it hurts him, he screams. It’s 2 hours sleep and a call from school because he’s having a meltdown and you have to collect him. It’s having to explain to another paediatrician because there has been a different one at every appointment and it took camhs 2 years to send them the diagnosis.

If there wasn’t an election round the corner,  maybe if cuts hadn’t slashed the services we should get support from to the bone,  then I might,  possibly,  be able to stomach the article.  But there is an election round the corner and services are threadbare. Therefore I will call it out. This is emotional blackmail and that little boy should not be used in this way.

Next time you read a similar article think about us. The carers who toil for a measly pittance of £61.35 a week. With no help. Sleep deprivation and demonisation as our wages. Walk a mile in our shoes and then see who is ‘spiteful’.

The Problem With Labour

Today Liam Byrne has once again managed to cause outrage with his plans for social security (that’s welfare to the rest of you). It’s not the first time he’s done this.

In June 2011 he was banging on about compulsory employment workshops for the unemployed who have pre school age children, but he’ll pay your child care costs. That went down like a lead balloon. Telling the unemployed they just need to try harder is insulting to the millions who already are.

Today he decided to pander to the Tories and the knee jerk reaction of certain newspapers and have another go at demonising the working class. Today Mr Byrne wants to limit unemployment benefit to just 2 years. We’ve heard that somewhere before haven’t we? Ahhh yes that other poor basher – Iain Duncan Smith. He likes the Wisconsin style of ‘welfare’. Its vicious, they cut you off completely, kids or no kids. They’ll leave you to starve and Liam Byrne’s all for that it seems.

Some of you reading this already know how I feel about politics. Its all rubbish, none of it is for our benefit. Its about a handful of rich people having power and control over the rest of us. But some of you like Labour, some of you hoped they gave a shit, that they’d actually have something to offer. Liam Byrne just stamped all over that.

I don’t avoid work. I’ve worked in some dirty, dusty, back breaking warehouses. Ones that were so cold the ink in my pen froze, I’ve worked till I couldn’t move, I’ve got my hands dirty and collapsed in a heap at the end of the day. I doubt any of the people who make the decisions in this country can say the same.

There is another problem with Byrnes little article. What happens to a victim of domestic abuse? They might have paid nothing into the system, what are they going to get? He wants to link contribution to social security and housing. So the person who’s looking for safety, are they excluded from housing because being in fear of your life isn’t a contribution is it? You see, there’s never any detail is there? They just write a few vague ideas down and expect the ignorant plebs to cheer. Leaving anyone without shelter is inhumane in my opinion. Its a basic right.

I want a social security system that looks after people for as long as they need it. I want people to be valued, not just on their earning capacity. I want people like Byrne and IDS to be irrelevant. There was a time when being a parent was considered worthy of respect, now we’re shipped out as soon as possible. Then we’re labelled bad parents when our children have no one at home because we’re working. The disabled, what happens to them? The unemployed? Are we to leave them to starve on the streets?

We already know Labour are in favour of sanctions. Destitution is a fit and proper punishment for not doing as you’re told apparently.

Have Labour said they’ll reverse the changes to council tax benefit? Will they abolish the bedroom tax? Are they going to get rid of Atos and allow qualified doctors to decide if someone’s ill/disabled?

Is there really a difference between the parties because I don’t see one, do you?

The Tory Questionnaire

Last weekend a survey from the Tory party was sent to my parents house. I notice one wasn’t sent to me in my lowly little terrace, just to their respectable 3 bed semi on the outskirts of town. How strange. Anyway, my dad insisted I fill it out for them, he’s not well enough to do it himself and mum doesnt really do all that politics stuff. How could I refuse? I have scanned the result for your viewing pleasure.





I think this gives us all an insight into what the Tory party think and want (if any of you were ever in any doubt), and its very telling that the people most likely to be on benefits have not been asked to participate in this survey. My parents are actually on benefits. My dad’s disabled.