The DWP is now largely being held to account by activists with virtually no income | Benefit tales


Should This Writer be worried about a possible drone attack in the future?

This is from the ‘Benefits and Work’ newsletter.

What is particularly notable about these news items is that they were all brought about by tiny, private sector or unfunded groups or individuals.

The ESA death statistics campaign is the work of Vox Political blogger Mike Sivier.

The bogus sanction claimants were revealed by Welfare Weekly – a one-person online news aggregator.

And the UN investigation has come about due to the tireless work of activist group Disabled People Against Cuts.

Add to this the story of the 49 secret DWP investigations into claimant deaths, revealed earlier this year by John Pring’s Disability News Service, and a startling truth emerges.

The DWP is now largely being held to account not by opposition politicians, not by well-funded charities such as Disability Rights UK, but by activists with virtually no income.

One of the main weapons of these new campaigners is the Freedom of Information Act. But we know that the government is already taking steps to try to dramatically curtail the use of the Act.

How long before the government – or its multinational partners – also decide to take action against the campaigners themselves?

Source: The DWP is now largely being held to account not by opposition politicians, not by well-funded charities such as Disability Rights UK, but by activists with virtually no income. | Benefit tales

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20 thoughts on “The DWP is now largely being held to account by activists with virtually no income | Benefit tales

  1. AndyH

    It’s very remarkable what you’ve achieved Mike. We need more independent journalists like you and less who work for the likes of Murdoch and Dacre.

  2. Martin Odoni

    Shouldn’t worry too much. The drones are likely to be operated by Returned To Unit, and with his aim, he’ll be lucky if the warheads land in the right solar system.

  3. Khechog

    Most of your fighting is done online and net neutrality is looking to become a thing of the past, campaign groups are having limitations imposed on them around election time… Action is definitely being taken to make democracy as undemocratic as possible.

    1. chris

      “net neutrality is looking to become a thing of the past”

      no its not the internet will never be censored and that a fact don’t believe the Tory lie that it will be

      (also there a EU law that going to be pass soon that will keep full net neutrality around the EU)

      so no net neutrality will never be a thing of the pass Khechog plz don’t buy the Tory lies that it will be

    2. chris

      can you also tell me why net neutrality is looking to become a thing of the past to you when its clearly not? also do you know how the internet and net neutrality works? and yes most of his fighting is done online so what atleast he is fighting anyway he can and noting going to change that

      the thing is the UK net neutrality is not that big because we have a lot of competition and if one ISP slows down one website people will just move to a other ISP and that not what ISP here want, (in america they have no competition so people fear ISP will do what they want and that why net neutrality big there)
      so are ISP wont slow down websites because of that

      so yeah not its not going to become a thing of the past anytime soon

    3. chris

      fact is net neutrality will never be a thing of the past you should wake up to that fact Khechog 🙂 last thing you know what net neutrality is right? and how it works and everything right? it seems to me you don’t no offence by saying its “looking to become a thing of the past” you don’t have much understanding about it imho

      anyway democracy will never be undemocratic and the internet will never be censored and that a fact

  4. Florence

    Drone strike? Well, if the govt is to believed (on undisclosed legal advice), it must be in response to an immediate threat, which cannot be mitigated by any other means. So yeah, I’d be worried if you did something weeks (or years ago) that made them feel such a massive imminent threat – retrospectively. Only kidding, I think? Do we know if Wales is considered another country with a separate legal system? Should we be worried at the Labour Party meeting this week, that we may be drone-attacked for plotting to support Corbyn?

    Personally, I would think that using their own logic & equipment (which I assume we’ve all paid for) that a drone strike on Eton College will prevent many heinous acts that have already been perpetrated by their alumni that have caused mass deaths of the vulnerable of the UK. OK, GCHQ spooks and their mates everywhere who are reading this, that was irony and not a threat to anyone……….

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Wales does not have a separate legal system; no, I don’t think you should worry about drone attacks for supporting Corbyn. The only drones likely to attack you for that are Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.
      As for a drone strike on Eton – I would recommend that any such attack take place during the school holidays. Then there will be no danger of harm to innocents.

  5. Brian

    Should you leave UK soil however, which no doubt GCHQ will know, you may become the victim of a Tory trained seagull.

  6. mohandeer

    You have actually said out loud for all to hear, the truth about the failures of the Labour Party over the last ten years. Why did they not speak out against the discrimination of the right wing thinkers in their party? Who do the Labour Party represent, certainly not the disadvantaged? What is the point of having an opposition party if the only thing they oppose is the presence of the other party in office. Where was the outrage that should have been voiced at the way the disabled, jobless and poor working class were being relentlessly harassed? When will the Labour Party draw a line in the sand and say “we will go thus far and no farther”? They crossed the line years ago when they became the voice of opposition for oppositions sake without any regard for who they left behind or trod into the dirt to get where they wanted to be. They are so right wing they are halfway to becoming fascists and I don’t think they can find their way back. Too little too late unless of course you live in Scotland where the SNP was willing to pick up the gauntlet, unfortunately they are north of the border and we can’t all piss off up there which is what I suspect Labour would like. The Labour right far outnumber the left and JC will probably be the only one willing to wade in, as he has done already, and swim against the tide. Some brave souls may try to stand their ground but they will be beaten down by the likes of Cooper, Umuna, Kendall, Danzsuk and all those other Blair lovers. The sooner Scotland leaves the UK, the better off a lot of people will be if they can move up there. Can I imagine what would be happening now if not for the efforts of people like yourself and DPAC – yes I can and it is terrifying, things would be a lot worse if there was no opposition at all.You have many soldiers in your army, and like me you will not be able to name them all, but I would like to say thank you to you and all who have worked tirelessly to bring the truths and facts to so many.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You’re absolutely right that Labour is no good if its only purpose is to keep the Conservatives out of office – effectively replacing one gang of despots with another. That’s not what Labour should be about. However, the current evidence (Jeremy Corbyn’s success) suggests you are mistaken about the right-wingers outnumbering the rest. But I wonder why we are discussing Labour after an article about the Tory-run DWP.
      Your opinion of Scottish – particularly SNP – politics could do with a little more evidence, also.
      Thanks for the kind words about the effect of my efforts – along with those of the other bloggers and campaigners like me. The support is very welcome. Only today, I was discussing the situation with a friend, and I have to admit I was pessimistic about it. With the DWP and the incapacity deaths, it seemed as though the information we all know, here in the social media, was finally going to get out into the mass media – that there would be a breakthrough. That could have done a world of good! But it hasn’t happened yet, due in large part to the indifferent reporting of the BBC. I had an email from the Corporation today, saying that there had been coverage of the incapacity deaths on Radio 4 and Radio 5. I know – I was part of it, and I also know that, when the important analyses were being made, the BBC didn’t want to come anywhere near me, even though I was the one whose efforts led to the information being published. Madness. Or obstructiveness. You choose.

      1. sasson1

        I’m sorry that you feel pessimistic Mike; that’s exactly how most of us feel.

        It seems that no matter what is exposed about the government’s treachery and corruption, they are not held to account. They just carry on flagrantly breaking the law over and again. And it must seem like ‘what’s the point?’ when the msm only give a cursory nod to such information, whereas – as I commented the other day – they’re more interested in the refugees deaths, and other incidents where people die, terrible as they all are of course and worthy of recognition.

        I don’t know what to say other than there is no choice but to carry on and fight, in hope that one day the general public will wake up to what has gone on. I fear that it will take many many more deaths before that can happen.

      2. mohandeer

        Mike, my hope is that some day with the help of some of the media, we can challenge the current government with a “no confidence” vote, before 2020. It would be rather pointless at the moment if we have no viable opposition. If the LP under JC’s leadership can get behind his economic and fiscal strategies then there really would be a credible opposition which people would vote for to overthrow the Tories. The LP needs to get electoral reform on the agenda and get us the PR that is needed. If we can’t have everything in place we also can’t challenge the government to stand down for another election. I just think we need to be looking ahead and have everything in place by 2017/18, beyond that the conservatives and in particular Osborne, IDS and Hunt will have done irrevocable damage no government party could mend.

  7. kittysjones

    The UN investigation is not because of the work of DPAC alone, as many of us have worked to bring that about, making submissions and sending reports and articles over the past couple of years. The investigation was reported by bloggers (myself included, and Disability News Service, amongst others) last August. Several of us sent in FOIs and produced work on the first lot of statistcs published, too, and fought with journalists in the MSM (and with Full Fact) over what those stats showed. And many bloggers have worked for nothing and without credit to get information out and raise awareness, furnishing the Work and Pensions Committee with evidence for their inquiries into sanctions and the WCA without being paid a single penny for our research, ideas, analysis and time and effort. But it’s been necessary.

  8. jacqueline

    Mike, i’m in a library atm but will share what i can until time out. . I’m an ESA survivor swimming against the tide of public opinion about regulation 29. I am not aware of the full regulations ever being published online and wonder if you have examined the Statutory Instrument yourself? I have repeatedly asked my (senior Labour) MP to facilitate the online publication of the regulations as contained in the SI but this has been ignored. I have lobbied several MP’s to ask IDS to confirm or deny that ESA regulation 29 places a claimant in the Support Group. Only Tim Farron responded to say he had written to the minister but of course the minister has not replied. Unable to do so myself, is there anyone amongst you who can use the FoI Act to ask IDS this specific question, please? He cannot dodge this question and will not lie. Kind regards.

  9. mrmarcpc

    We must keep up the fight so protesting against is still possible, I know the state would like to try and silence us by any means necessary but we can’t, standing up for ourselves and fighting for our rights is two of the most democratic you can do, the state doesn’t like that because it shows you got a backbone and a brain and they don’t like that, all want to be drunken, drug taking, sex obsessed morons who they can manipulate easily, we must show them that we are far from that!

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