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The blurry man on the left is Chris Stevens, a Tory councillor who pretended to be a member of the public to deny the devastation that Conservative policies have done to the sick and disabled people of the UK. The woman on the left will soon be an EX-prime minister.

Some people – and I use that word mockingly – in the Conservative Party simply don’t know when to shut up.

Two cabinet ministers have lost their jobs within a week (Michael Fallon and Priti Patel), and been replaced by shambling inadequates. A third – Boris Johnson – is set to follow at any time, due to his own arrogance.

The minority Tory government is under attack for its failure to address appalling levels of tax avoidance by the very rich, for its failure to make any progress in Brexit negotiations, and for its indifference to shocking levels of sexual harassment among its own MPs.

This is the moment a ‘plant’ in the audience of the BBC’s flagship political debate show Question Time decided to revive the debate over the thousands upon thousands of sick and disabled people who have died because of Conservative policies to restrict state benefits.

In response to accurate claims by Guardian columnist Aditya Chakrabortti, the audience member stated that they were “inflammatory rubbish”:

His name is Chris Stevens and he is a Conservative councillor from Horley, in Surrey. He used to be a member of UKIP, which is probably the reason he was so keen to support Brexit in his comments, and he provided absolutely no evidence to support his defence of the Tories’ genocide – yes, I put it as strongly as that – against the sick and disabled. Tom Clark, the Another Angry Voice blogger, has put this infographic together about him:

The response on the social media has been overwhelmingly opposed to Cllr Stevens and his ignorant assertions. News stories detailing the deaths of the sick and disabled, dating back several years, have been brought back to light.

Like this one from 2012: Benefits appeal woman Cecilia Burns from Strabane has died

Or this, from 2014: Man too ill to attend fit-for-work interview but terrified of losing benefits dies after Atos test

Or these two from September this year: Soldier traumatised by war in Afghanistan died surrounded by benefit sanction letters from DWP and Dad-of-four’s heartbreak as wife’s benefit is finally granted – three months after her death from cancer

The Department for Work and Pensions considers these stories to be anecdotal, and therefore uninformative about the overall situation. But the DWP – the only organisation in a position to track that overall situation – deliberately refuses to do so.

It does not check the health of people who have been denied benefits after a very short period of time and, when deaths are recorded, the reasons are explained away as being “complicated”. The reasons aren’t complicated:

How can the government claim to be doing its best for the sick and disabled people when it is putting those with long-term degenerative conditions – who are never going to improve – through pointless reassessment procedures?

The claim that their benefit award would then be tailored to fit their needs is a lie; many people don’t even get enough to survive.

That is the “conscious cruelty” of the Conservative government’s policy – the claim to be doing good when in fact doing harm, and the huge effort to hide the evidence.

After Cllr Stevens’s outburst on Question Time, This Writer received multiple requests for my own perspective on these issues. I can do no better than to refer you to my previous articles.

For example: The fact that reassessments do more harm than good was demonstrated when it was revealed that Fewer claimants died after DWP suspended repeat assessments

That information was only published as a result of a Freedom of Information request by Yr Obdt Srvt – the same request that showed 2,400 people had died in a two-week period after the DWP decided to deprive them of their Employment and Support Allowance. The DWP had tried to avoid publishing the information and had to be forced to do so by the Information Commissioner.

Here’s the relevant article: Known number of deaths while claiming incapacity benefits nears 100,000

Bear in mind that at the time the information was released – August 2015 – the number of deaths per week was not 90, as has been suggested after last Thursday’s Question Time.

It was closer to 600 per week.

The DWP has been found to be directly responsible for several deaths, but no prosecutions for corporate manslaughter have taken place. Why is that? Read some of the evidence here: Deaths caused by the DWP: Will this be the fourth CONFIRMED case?

Consider this: Benefit sanctions against people with mental health problems up by 600 per cent

And do you remember how the creator of “Nudge” theory won a Nobel prize a few weeks ago? What do you think of the way the Conservatives have perverted his work? The government is planning social experiments to ‘nudge’ sick and disabled people into work

How about the massive increase in mental illness caused by the Work Capability Assessment, that caused 590 suicides – that were, of course, denied by the government?

Maybe this is the most damning – work capability assessors asking suicidal claimants why they haven’t taken their own lives: The work capability assessment and suicide – a.k.a. ‘chequebook euthanasia’

Perhaps I should post links to all the other articles I’ve written on this subject over the last nearly six years? There have been hundreds.

And that’s the point.

The evidence demonstrating Tory cruelty isn’t “inflammatory rubbish” – it is thoroughly documented.


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