‘Monstrously unfair’, Damian Green? I, Daniel Blake’s writer stands behind every word


Paul Laverty’s message to Damian Green, writing inside a copy of the screenplay for I, Daniel Blake that was handed to him in Holyrood. Chances of Mr Green reading further are zero, I would expect.

I note that Damian Green has very quickly got into the habit necessary to be the Work and Pensions Secretary, in that he is a liar and may not be trusted with anything at all.

He was in Holyrood today (November 3), defending his department’s homicidal track record against a panel of MSPs who didn’t believe a word of it – and quite rightly.

Mr Adam, who presented Mr Green with the book (screenplay author Paul Laverty was also present) stated that I, Daniel Blake, the story of a 59-year-old joiner who is plunged into extreme poverty and confronted by a faceless bureaucracy when his benefits are stopped was drawn from real-life research.

He also said campaigners from the Black Triangle Campaign group had told the Scottish Parliament’s social security committee that “basically the regime of Personal Independence Payment assessments (which assess people with a disability for benefits) is sending people to go and commit suicide”.

He added: “They almost accused you of murdering people.”

Mr Green said: “There is no evidence, and I think bringing people who committed suicide into political debate is always unfortunate.”

Liar. There is evidence, and plenty of it. The DWP fairly recently had to change its story from complete denial of complicity in benefit-related suicides to saying there were many reasons. Mr Green is only denying the existence of any evidence because he knows the DWP deliberately fails to collect it.

“Clearly every suicide is a tragedy, there are complex reasons behind everyone, and as I say to try and politicise individual tragedies like this always seems to me to be very unfortunate.”

Liar. With any suicide, one may whittle away those complex reasons to discover the trigger. Many DWP-related suicides are characterised by a note – blaming the removal of benefits.

He added: “It is absolutely not the intention of anyone connected with the welfare system, whether it’s ministers or staff of the DWP, to cause distress.”

Liar. Here’s a video of DWP staff setting out to cause distress, published… Oh! Goodness me, it was published today* – the very same day Mr Green was denying any such behaviour taking place.

And what does he have to say about a government building discriminating against the disabled?

Mr Laverty’s message reads:

“To Mr Damian Green,

“We noticed you condemned our film in Parliament as “having no relationship to the modern benefit system” and as being “monstrously unfair” to the Job Centre staff.

“It is a pity you didn’t see the film first.

“Do you always reach conclusions before examining the evidence? Especially, which speaking at the dispatch box?

“I thought the script might be [useful?] for you in your busy schedule.


“IF YOU HAVEN’T TIME FOR THIS SCRIPT, VISIT A FOOD-BANK. They will tell you, as they told us.

“DO THE DECENT THING – put a stop now to this barbaric and systematic attack against YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS.”

If Mr Laverty is willing to stand behind those words, This Writer is happy to do the same. How about you?

MSPs have given the UK government’s work and pensions secretary a signed copy of the I, Daniel Blake book.

It was presented to Mr Green by SNP MSP George Adam, who suggested he use it as “light reading” for his journey back to London.

It came as a Holyrood committee repeatedly challenged Damian Green over the benefit system’s sanctions regime.

Mr Green strongly rejected claims that the welfare system had driven people to commit suicide.

He also accused MSPs of attempting to “politicise individual tragedies” and said the system was there to help people.

Source: Damian Green given signed I, Daniel Blake book – BBC News

*Before any smart-alec says the timecode shows the video was taken on October 3 – that’s all very well, but it was posted on YouTube today.

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18 thoughts on “‘Monstrously unfair’, Damian Green? I, Daniel Blake’s writer stands behind every word

  1. John

    All those DWP whistleblowers, and they still deny!
    How long before there’s a major incident in one of the jobcentres?

  2. mohandeer

    If Job Centre Plus or any DWP office does not have a lift then by virtue of that fact, they are discriminating against the disabled if they expect them to attend any meeting whether assessment or “chat” on a floor the disabled person is unable to access. The only lame excuse any such organisation could offer is that the building is not intended for disabled people’s access, that in itself is discrimination. That’s pretty standard discrimination in modern day Britain. Who could deny this truth?

  3. Zippi

    “I thought the script might be [useful?] for you in your busy schedule.
    It reads, “I thought the script might be easier for you in your busy schedule.”
    Not that it makes much difference but it also reads “OUR” fellow citizens.
    I have yet to see the film but I have seen enough, on the streets, to know that the benefit system, as it stands, is not fit for purpose.
    This very even, I was asking a pal why Call-Me-Dave has not been indicted, why he is not in prison. “We’re all in this, together!” he repeated. How, then, is it, that whilst people were turning to food banks, he and Gideon were acquiring chins? Call-Me-Dave is fatter than he was when he came to office. £ike him, or loathe him, that one thing that cannot be said of Tony Blair. I fear that Damien Green is either deluded, partially sighted, or both. For shame!

  4. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    The DWP should be in place to help people not to persecute them! Why, therefore, are people who obviously do not hold this view always employed?

    I am not suggesting that an easy ride should be available for anyone but I am definitely stating that the department should be available to assist not to harm.

  5. NMac

    I think I am correct in saying that Green, without having even seen the film, condemned it outright.

  6. Joan Edington

    “Especially ‘while’ speaking at the dispach box”. Even while scribbling quickly on a script in mid-air, Paul Laverty’s grammer doesn’t fail that badly. Maybe I can make it out because my writing’s as bad.

  7. Lin Wren

    What this government is doing is not just discrimination against the people who are the weakest & most vulnerable in our society but actual Murder by Sanctions. Crimes against humanity & they are all involved. Tories & Labour. MP’S who voted to should answer the question did they think it was morally right to deprive of food, rent, electricity a home life?

      1. casalealex

        Yes Mike, that is Labour policy, but unfortunately quite a number of Labour MPs have voted with this Tory government on a number of their infamous cuts…

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Back in the day when Labour policy was stupid enough to allow it, yes indeed.
        As a Labour member, I don’t approve and I hope those people have seen the error of their ways. If not, I hope their constituency party members know what to do about that.
        Labour is transforming from the inside. Bear that in mind at all times.

  8. casalealex


    Jack Munro is right to affirm the truth in Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, (Viewpoint) but, gruelling though the film is, it only portrays the tyranny of the Department for Work and Pensions. Worse still, other authorities bear down simultaneously on vulnerable single households.

    After job centres impose benefit sanctions, local authorities enforce rent and council tax arrears. Magistrates rubber-stamp 3.5m council-tax-liability orders a year, allowing councils to enforce arrears and to send in the bailiffs, adding fees up to £420. Magistrates also impose fines for poverty-related offences such as TV licence and fare evasion that cannot be paid during a sanction but pile up, leading to a call from the bailiffs.

    The benefit sanction is a penalty that lingers on indefinitely in debt, hunger and ill health for months after it has formally ended.

    The Rev Paul Nicolson
Tottenham, London

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