From all at Black Triangle Campaign!
This past year has been a busy one with lots of activity on Welfare Reform front ending with the Welfare Reform bill making its way through the House of Lords the Lords is expected to scrutinise the bill further in 2012 with the third day of report stage scheduled for 11 January. This of course ensures that 2012 will be another busy one for all those campaigning on the issue. A major triumph has come from an unexpected area here in Scotland with the Scottish Parliament refusing to endorse the working of the bill in Scotland. It will be the first time in Holyrood’s 12-year history that a legislative consent motion (LCM), allowing Westminster to act on devolved matters, has been rejected by the parliament. Much has been made of the thinking that this is grandstanding politics, my personal view is that if this is grandstanding politics then give me more!
The Welfare Reform Bill has only been one area of our campaigning and although it will be the shape of things to come our attention has been focused on more immediate things namely the work capability assessment programme which regulates access to Employment and Support Allowance. This discredited assessment tool has been responsible for much fear and anxiety amongst those people affected with some taking ultimate drastic action deciding that ending their life was preferable. Black Triangle view is that the work capability assessment test is in fact a crude measure to cut the numbers of those claiming sickness and incapacity benefit in order to achieve cuts in welfare budgets. All this with the aim of supporting the claim that no one on sickness and disability benefits will lose out on the introduction of the measures contained in the Welfare Reform bill. It does make some sort of sense after all, if you cut the numbers who qualify before you introduce the changes you can claim that no one is losing out through the reforms since you have achieved the cuts before implementation. A very clever but devious sleight of hand! When you combine the effects outlined above with the cuts to support and services provided by local authorities it paints a very bleak picture for people living with sickness and disability.
Black Triangle activists have also been involved campaigning on cuts to local services at a local authority level. The campaign has met with some success in Edinburgh where community campaigning resulted in the proposed privatisation of environmental services being voted down. This was achieved through the collaboration of community activism, issue based activism, trade union activism, and worker activism and highlights what can be achieved if people act together. Black Triangle is anxious to make links with all those individuals and groups involved in action against welfare reforms and local authority cuts to services in order to link the various strands to mount successful campaign action. Black Triangle believes that it is only with the joint action of people coming together under the common cause of fighting the cuts which will lead to the overturn of the current unjust and unfair attacks on those more vulnerable parts of society.
Black Triangle has been kept busy taking and supporting action in all the above areas through our facebook page, website, not to mention direct action events. We aim to provide people living with disability a forum in which to express themselves freely and for their voice to be heard with its full integrity intact. The way we seek to achieve this is to provide accessible means to take part in protest and we engage in direct action to highlight our plight and the violation of our human rights. Judging by the input to the facebook page, website, and participation in direct action events throughout the year we have been successful in this as we have experienced much involvement and participation across the resources. We would take this opportunity to congratulate and thank all those who have taken part in some way over the past year we have come a long way, just look at the history of our blogs on the web page, the contributions to the facebook page, and direct action listings in a variety of publications.
The coming year is set to be a busy one with lots of activity on the campaign front at all levels and we call upon all those willing to contribute to the campaign in whatever way possible to do so!
All those involved at Black Triangle seek to develop both the influence and participation of the campaign and in order to achieve this we seek to adopt an acceptable structure which will enable us to seek the funding necessary to support the work of the campaign. To this end we have listed some model constitutions on our web site which we would ask people to comment on giving opinion as to suitability etc. Please go to the blog and give your comments this is your chance to shape the campaign!
Matt Wheatley (Black Triangle)
Please join in the debate on the future direction of The Black Triangle Campaign by clicking HERE