Mr Odoni is absolutely right. While I was overjoyed to learn that my two-year campaign to get these figures has been a success, the actual figures were heartbreaking.
I don’t think for a moment that the DWP caved in solely because of my efforts, either. Thanks are due to the nearly 250,000 people who signed a petition supporting my bid – and to Maggie Zolobajluk, who set it up; to the MPs who created and signed the Early Day Motion in Parliament, for the matter to be debated (more than 90 of them), and in particular Marie Rimmer and Debbie Abrahams, who have been implacable in their pursuit of Iain Duncan Smith and his ministers; to Vox Political’s readers for supporting and publicising This Blog and its articles on this subject; and to all those I have momentarily forgotten (I’m quite tired).
The campaign continues. Nobody has been saved because the DWP released a few numbers. The whole point is to change policy, ensuring that the system adapts to reduce the number of deaths. That’s something we have yet to achieve.
For the time being, though, I thank Mr Odoni for his congratulations and welcome his commiserations also.
I would just like to express my admiration and heartfelt condolences to Mike Sivier over on the Vox Political blog. After a very long, arduous and hair-tearing battle against the delaying tactics of the Department of Work & Pensions, to get the real numbers of deaths of people claiming incapacity benefits, today he won, as the figures were revealed to the world. It genuinely is a great achievement, managing to force one of the most stubborn, secretive and underhand departments in all of the British Government to give way. But has there ever been a more heartbreaking boon at the end of such a long and gruelling journey?
What Iain Duncan-Smith has done is preside over a completely pointless and utterly avoidable humanitarian disaster in one of the richest countries in the world, and then imagined he could keep such a disaster neatly brushed under the carpet. So while I congratulate Mike on lifting that carpet enough to reveal what we had all feared lay beneath it, I commiserate him on what it has taught us. If ever there were a victory to despair at, it is this one. However necessary it is to reveal ugly truths, that does not mean we have to enjoy them. Instead, they should be seen with the disgust that motivates us to correct them.
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