This Blog appears to have struck a nerve with its response to Iain Duncan Smith’s ridiculous self-justifying letter to the Commons work and pensions committee and its chairman, Frank Field.
It seems many other members of the social media that have been maligned by the man we call RTU (Return To Unit), in honour of his failed military career, want to show how stupid his claims really are.
Here, Welfare Weekly attacks the claim that “no causal link” is shown between the work capability assessment and suicide.
The correlation between the work capability assessment and suicide was established by academic researchers, not by journalists or social media commentators.
Iain Duncan Smith will probably be accusing the United Nations (UN) of failing to see the government’s “good intent”, when its inquiry into “grave and systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people in the UK concludes.
Despite the fact that we are the first country to face such an inquiry, and given that the UN investigate only when there is evidence of grave and systematic violations of human rights, the prime minister has already dismissed the significance of the inquiry, ludicrously claiming “it may not be all it’s cracked up to be.”
It’s particularly noteworthy that when it comes to government claims, the same methodological rigour that they advocate for others isn’t applied. Indeed, many policies have clearly been directed by ideology and traditional Tory prejudices, rather than valid research and empirical evidence.
The Government often claim that any research revealing negative social consequences arising from their draconian policies, which they don’t like to be made public, “doesn’t establish a causal link.”
Recently there has been a persistent, aggressive and flat denial that there is any “causal link” between the increased use of food banks and welfare cuts, benefit sanctions and extreme hardship, and the Work Capability Assessment and an increase in numbers of premature deaths and suicides, to name but a few.
The government are referring to a scientific maxim: “Correlation doesn’t imply causality.” The tobacco industry made exactly the same claim about the established link between lung cancer and smoking.
It is completely inaccurate to say that correlation doesn’t imply causation – it quite often does. Determining whether there is an actual cause and effect relationship requires further investigation. This is something the government has persistently refused to do.
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