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Too ill to work means too ill to live: Work capability assessors have been asking people with serious illnesses and disabilities why they have not committed suicide.

Too ill to work means too ill to live: Work capability assessors have been asking people with serious illnesses and disabilities why they have not committed suicide.

A new phrase has entered the Vox Political lexicon following yesterday’s article on an Atos work capability assessor who asked a woman suffering with depression why she had not committed suicide: ‘Chequebook euthanasia’.

(That article had itself been prompted by a piece the day before, on the higher possibility of people committing suicide over the Christmas period.)

The article prompted Earl Appleby to tweet, in response: “Little surprise here, alas. The able-bodied driving people with disabilities to suicide is a hoary form of chequebook euthanasia.”

He added: “Binding & Hoche advocated chequebook euthanasia nearly a century ago.”

They certainly did. Professors Karl Binding and Erich Hoche raised the case for chequebook euthanasia in Germany’s Weimar Republic, 80 years ago, in their seminal work The Destruction of Life Devoid of Value.

This article reveals the worst about Binding and Hoche. It states that they considered people with disabilities (and would probably have added those with long-term illnesses) to be “‘useless eaters’ whose ‘ballast lives’ could be tossed overboard to better balance the economic ship of state. In speaking of those with disabilities, and explicitly advocating involuntary euthanasia, Binding and Hoche wrote:

Their life is absolutely pointless, but they do not regard it as being unbearable. They are a terrible, heavy burden upon their relatives and society as a whole. Their death would not create even the smallest gap—except perhaps in the feelings of their mothers or loyal nurses.

“Just like today!

Furthermore, Binding and Hoche drove home the economic argument by calculating the total cost expended in caring for such people. They concluded that this cost was ‘a massive capital in the form of foodstuffs, clothing and heating, which is being subtracted from the national product for entirely unproductive purposes.’

Now look at the case of Abi Fallows, as reported yesterday. This is a person who has asserted that she is unable to work – certainly for the foreseeable future – and has medical evidence to support this. The Atos assessor seized on her admission that she suffered with depression and asked why she had not committed suicide.

Not only was this a device to put the idea in her mind, it also indicates government thinking – one less mouth to feed is considerably less expense on, as Binding and Hoche would have it, “their relatives and society as a whole”.

It should be noted at this time that Ms Fallows’ case is not unique – by any stretch of the imagination. Vox Political has a tiny readership, compared with the size of the UK population, let alone the world (this blog is read in all but a few countries internationally) and yet within 15 minutes of the article’s publication, a commenter named Dominique stated: “They asked me too at my assessment.”

Caroline Hudson told the 4UP Politricks Facebook page: “I got asked that at my assessment. In fact she told me I had been looking for attention and had not meant to kill myself otherwise I would not still be here.”

Fellow blogger Jayne Linney told us: “I was asked the same question by Capita as well as ATOS. I wonder if it’s in the DWP ‘Script’?” [bolding mine]

‘Mary’ added: “I think it’s the system. They are told what questions to ask and what boxes to tick.”

“It’s the system”…

Following up on Earl Appleby’s tweet, Trevor Warner added: “It was Binding & Hoche who laid the groundwork for the ‘Aktion T-4’ program implemented by the Nazis.” T4, according to our old friend Wikipedia, was “a programme of forced euthanasia in wartime Nazi Germany. Under the programme physicians were directed to judge patients ‘incurably sick, by critical medical examination,’ and then administer to these patients a ‘mercy death’.” In this way, 70,273 people were despatched during the programme’s official running time, with a further 200,000+ unofficial deaths attributed to German and Austrian physicians practices who continued its practices until the defeat of the Nazis in 1945.

Technology developed for Aktion T4 went on to be used in the infamous extermination camps.

It could be argued that the Coalition Government doesn’t have any blood on its hands. Nobody goes around the United Kingdom subjecting the sick and disabled to so-called ‘mercy’ killings, after all.

They just subject people – who are already in an unstable frame of mind – to a highly pressurised ‘fitness’ test and then demand to know why, considering their condition, they haven’t killed themselves yet. Then they let those people do all the work themselves.

Perhaps the government ministers who devised this wheeze – or perhaps the shadowy American insurance firm that has been advising them on policy – thought it was an excellent way of clearing the books without anyone ever being able to say they were responsible for the deaths.

Well, you know what?

There is a list including around 70 people who have died since the Coalition government came into office, many of whom committed suicide – after taking the Coalition Government’s work capability assessment.

What’s the law on corporate manslaughter, again?

“An organisation… is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death; and amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased. An organisation is guilty of an offence only if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its senior management is a substantial element.”

The noose is beginning to tighten – and not on benefit claimants.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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