This News In Mentalists – The #IAMSPARTACUS Edition

This News In Mentalists – The #IAMSPARTACUS Edition

Hi I am Paul from It’s Just A Ride. I had so much fun doing the blogs side of This week In Mentalists I thought I would volunteer for the Newsy bit too. Boy did I pick a week.

(My apologies for the rushed and rather limp TNIM this week… I had set out to get this written during the afternoon here but I was called away around lunch time and didn’t get back until much later than I would have liked.)


This week’s news has pretty much been dominated by the upcoming (well actually just announced) discussion in the UK House of Lords of the Welfare Reform Bill.

The consultation the Government sent out received a lot of responses from a great cross section of society. However, when the report was made up by the government there were problems inherent to how the information had been presented.

That is where the Internet comes into its own. Well I say the Internet, I mean Sue Marsh from the blog Diary of a Benefit Scrounger and her AMAZING team of researchers specialists and support team. They had the findings too and they felt that they had to get the REAL story out there and FAST.

That work was conducted in quite a short time during which they had to raise the money to fund the bare bones of the reports… it all came from Disabled people and their Carers and Friends to the cause. The Result: The Responsible Reform Report. There is also an Easy Read version of the report here

Sue was invited to write a piece for the Comment Is Free section of the Guardian Website

It analyses over 500 group responses made to the government’s consultation on DLA reform – information that we had to get through a freedom of information request. It looks at the government’s evidence for abolishing DLA and the legal implications of the reform.

The results are shocking. Overall, we found that of those who responded to the government’s consultation, 74% opposed the plans. On individual issues, the opposition was stronger: 98% objected to making people wait longer before they could access financial support; 92% opposed scrapping the lowest rate of support for disabled people; and 99% objected to DLA no longer being used as a qualification for other benefits.

The report had been delivered *Eventually* to the Houses of Parliament on Monday so we all sat and waited for some response….. and we waited.

By Tuesday, there were smatterings of interest… the most unlikely came from The Daily Mail (sorry I know that’s often a swear word but give em credit when they get something right they may just keep trying.. well you never know)

Only comment on the BBC Website as of Tuesday Evening is Here

Mental Health charity Mind back the report 

And then on to today (as I have mentioned I have had a pretty rushed day and have been trying my best to keep up on Twitter but with a really bad signal it’s not been easy).

The discussion took place from 3pm onwards and you can read The Guardians Live Blog of the days proceedings here -

Just to spoil the surprise… The Government lost all three amendments that were put forth in the session.

Well done to #teamspartacus

My apologies for not having mentioned Mental Health directly in this article, but in my defence, this issue is massive to anyone with a Mental Disability in the UK. It’s just that the focus can’t always be on us, but we were mentioned a couple of times. I am sure as the news is filtered out over the next 24 hours we’ll see more sound bites and stories about Mental Health and the Welfare Reform Bill.

Sad news came to the Irish mental Health community this week when founder of The Mad Pride Lobby Group, John McCarthy, Passed away after a battle with Motor Neurone disease.

Mr McCarthy set up Mad Pride in 2008 to campaign against the stigmatisation of mental illness as well as fight for the rights of those diagnosed with such illnesses.

The group sought “to promote the normality of madness” and last August made submissions to the Department of Justice on the proposed new mental health capacity

Story here

It’s sad to see such a strong voice for Mental Health pass away like this, but I think it’s safe to say he has done much good and can now rest easy and in no pain.

Finally, a little bug bear of mine is the diagnosis of young or even pre teens with Bipolar Disorder. This article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune across the pond offers a similar thought to my own that there have been Faddy diagnosis of BP to youngsters just to give a name to behaviour problems…But… there are times when even the specialists have to say… .”You have the right diagnosis”

This weeks quick Wild Card is an image I ran across and made me wonder “Do these people who design shop layouts REALLY think about product placement THIS well?

Perfect Partners?

If you have managed to read this far without falling asleep… Many Thanks.

Until Next Time…

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About Paul

I am in my upper 30's and I have a mentally interesting life going on. I am married to my wonderful wife Linda. I live in the Kent area of the UK close to the rest of my family. I write to get some of the weirdness out of my head. It's not always pretty, but it's life as best I know it.

6 Responses to “This News In Mentalists – The #IAMSPARTACUS Edition”

  1. Fantastic news about the govt’s defeat(s)! I have been following everyone’s efforts. I just wish I had been able to contribute! (I need to get a smartphone, I think) Here’s hoping for the DLA vote as well!

  2. I had been running around like a madman since around 12 noon today. I knew things were not going my way when I was still at the hospital waiting to pick my wife up at 5pm. I missed most of the debate but was getting Twitter reports from the #spartacus and wrb hash tags but it was spotty.

    I am just glad I managed to get back in time to get this article done in time.. you know before Next weeks edition is due out…lol

  3. Thanks for the great round-up, Paul.

    Really saddened to hear about John McCarthy. He was a really nice man. I knew he was very ill, but had no idea he was this close to the end :( RIP, sir.

    Congrats and thanks to Sue, Kaliya and everyone else involved in the #spartacusreport. I hope against hope that someone will finally take notice of us :(

  4. This government is risible, Cameron claimed DLA for his disabled child and he’s a multimillionaire but now he doesn’t want people who don’t have his immense wealth to have it. The authors of the Spartacus Report have done more with so few resources than all the big charities put together, they should be ashamed. Sue is really unwell and used her own money to help fund campaigning she deserves a Nobel Prize.


  1. Welfare Reform in the UK | Day in the life of a Busy Gal… - 20 January 2012

    [...] This News In Mentalists – The #IAMSPARTACUS Edition ( [...]


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