A terminally-ill man undergoing exhausting treatment for a brain tumour has been told to get a job by a heartless Department for Work and Pensions, as it refused to put him on Universal Credit.
Michael McLalland, 60, was diagnosed with a tumour on the right side of his brain while on holiday in Canada in July.
Despite being told he had only nine months to live and undergoing radiotherapy every day, bureaucrats at the DWP told the former taxi driver he did not qualify for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance.
He had to give up work because his medical condition means he cannot drive. And he has been told he cannot claim his pension either, according to the Daily Record.
Now he has to deal with a constant barrage of letters from the government department, many of which are written in language so opaque it is impossible to understand.
And all this is on top of the fact that Mr Mclelland is the father of Paisley murder victim Craig McLelland, who was stabbed to death in 2017, and has spent two years seeking justice for his son.
He seems to think he’ll get Personal Independence Payments but I have doubts about that.
There is a system by which people with terminal illnesses receive the benefit if they are expected to die within six months but the DWP also has a history of denying this to people in need.
The DWP would say it is only following orders – in the same way that World War II German soldiers said they were only following orders.
I tend to agree with ‘Robin Red’, below, who was writing about the death of another DWP victim:
The DWP's policies amount to murder. How much longer can they be allowed to continue in their campaign of terror? The UK is the 5th richest country in the world. Our sick and disabled should not be subject to dehumanising tests and arbitrary rulings #HostileEnvironment#ToriesOuthttps://t.co/azmzcxnZZT
He’s right but our Tory government is too busy to pay any attention.
It is hard at work pursuing its modernised ‘Aktion T4’ policy to kill the sick and disabled.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
A woman and a man at the memorial plaque at Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany [Image: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images].
Here‘s a worthwhile article on the Beastrabban blog, making an important point about the way the scope of Holocaust Memorial Day seems to have been limited.
Today is, I believe, Holocaust Remembrance Day, when the world, or at least the Western world, reflects on the Shoah and the calculated extermination of six million Jews.
As we commemorate the sufferings of the Jews during the Nazi regime, we also need to take on board that it isn’t just about anti-Semitism, but about similar horrors that have disfigured human history down the centuries, and murderous, criminal regimes that are perpetrating them today.
Just so. The Nazi Holocaust, the killing of millions of Jews, and the way in which they were murdered, should never be forgotten. But part of this remembrance must involve recognition that similar hate-motivated atrocities can happen – and are happening – even now.
Unfortunately, there are some highly vocal people who seem to want to mask this fact, as we have seen on This Site over the last few days.
Holocaust Remembrance Day isn’t just about commemorating the Holocaust and its victims, but other genocides and their victims that have occurred throughout history. Hitler partly made his decision to go ahead with the extermination of the Jews because of the complete lack of western reaction to the Young Turks’ massacre of the Armenians. He commented, ‘Who remembers the Armenians?’ And before then, the German colonial authorities in what is now Tanganyika had attempted to exterminate the Herrero after they revolted, using similar eugenicist logic.
It is … important to remember the other victims of the Nazi camps as well.
This included the congenitally disabled, who were murdered by Nazi doctors under the Aktion T4 programme with the assistance and supervision of the SS… This prefigured and prepared for the murder of the Jews, particularly in the use of poison gas.
I made the point that disabled people are being persecuted to their deaths by the Conservative government in the United Kingdom – right now – in a response to comments in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (January 24).
And what initial response did I receive?
Denial. And denial is one of the ten stages of genocide, as we all know from the Holocaust Memorial Day website. Right?
The Nazis also attempted to exterminate the Romanies – the Gypsies – as they too were considered, like the Jews, to be subhuman and a threat to German society and racial industry.
Other victims of the camps included the mentally ill, neurotics, prostitutes, recidivist criminals, Prisoners of War, and political prisoners, such as trade unionists, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, gay men, and slave workers from the Slav nations. The last were worked to death in horrific conditions, including building the Nazi fortifications and tunnels in the Channel Islands.
The Holocaust Memorial Day website devotes a couple of paragraphs on a page to these victims of the Nazi Holocaust. The highest estimate of the death figures shows they outnumber Jewish victims by a ratio of nearly two to one.
The website also devotes several pages each to the genocides in Cambodia, Darfur, Bosnia and Rwanda, and mentions the atrocities against Armenians which encouraged Hitler to commit his own.
It omits many other genocides, both recent and historical.
Nothing is said about the indigenous people of America, for example. Those of you who are aware of the HMD website may not even know there is a site for Aztec Natives, which makes the following pertinent point:
“The Mexican people are the descendants and the end product of five centuries of genocide – the greatest Holocaust in human history. Over 100 million of our ancestors, i.e. at least 90% of natives were killed.”
100 million dead, and no commemoration on Holocaust Memorial Day. It seems some groups have stronger public relations people than others.
Genocides have continued to be perpetrated, such as the various crimes against humanity committed by Fascist regimes across Latin America, Asia and Africa, supported by American foreign policy. The persecution of the Rohingya is just the latest of these.
Isn’t it interesting how we can identify the wrongdoings of people in other countries, yet we say nothing about what’s happening in our own? “It couldn’t happen here”, as the saying goes.
It has; it does; it is.
Those who deny it are complicit.
Fortunately, the Beastrabban piece provides a ray of hope. We see that not everybody supports the overwhelming concentration of attention on the Nazi Holocaust, and it is important to note that Jewish scholars are among those leading the way in this regard.
And Jews have been involved in protesting and commemorating them and their victims as well. In Canada, the leader of the mainstream Jewish organisation, Bernie Farber, organised a ‘Shabbat for Darfur’ after that city was attacked by the Islamist Janjaweed Militia in the early part of this century. Farber’s generous action has been bitterly criticised by members of the transatlantic conservative Right, who feel that Jews should concentrate solely on their own sufferings in the Holocaust, and not expand their experience of suffering, persecution and attempted genocide to form solidarity with the other persecuted ethnic and religious groups.
Why not form solidarity with other persecuted groups? We all know there is strength in numbers. Is it because making such connections might reveal uncomfortable truths about events closer to home?
Israeli scholars have also noted that the Holocaust, while horrific, was not a unique event. See Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, edited by Israel W. Charny, the executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust, Jerusalem, and Director of Postgraduate Interdisplinary and Graduate Social Work Programs in Family, Therapy, Bob Shapell School of Social Work, Tel Aviv University. Dr. Charny’s book also includes a chapter on the ethnic cleansing of Israel’s indigenous Arab population, which is definitely unwelcome to the Likudniks.
But it bears out Ilan Pappe’s assertion that Israelis are still decent people, who need to have the situation and issues properly explained to them. But odiously, Netanyahu, Likud and other ethno-nationalists in his ruling coalition are doing all they can to prevent that occurring. As are his little helpers over here in the shape of the Jewish Labour Movement and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.
Food for thought, I hope. But I wonder if critics of This Site and This Writer will be able to forgive me for including more groups in my own commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day than they do.
The publication of the DWP’s damped-down death statistics (we’ll be given ratios because the actual number of deaths is too inflammatory, we’re told) will be a victory for those of us who have campaigned for the facts, no matter what they actually say.
If you didn’t know already, the DWP only announced that it would publish these figures on Thursday (August 27) after This Writer supplied his submission to the Information Tribunal on the DWP’s appeal against providing the actual numbers – a submission which included a request to have the appeal struck out on the grounds that it is an abuse of process.
Suddenly the date of publication went from being “before the end of autumn” (according to Priti Patel) to August 27. Clearly the DWP was terrified that it would lose control of events and the public would get accurate information, and acted accordingly.
In short: IDS and his department fell apart like a paper bag in a thunderstorm.
It is impossible to say what the statistics will reveal, when they are finally published (at 9.30am on Thursday, it seems). Perhaps they will provide exhaustive information on the deaths that have taken place, broken down into the groups requested by This Writer and others (it is said to be in response to FoI requests), and also providing information on the causes of the deaths, with appendices containing the raw data used to produce the report.
Alternatively, we could get a dumbed-down piece of fluff that provides as little as possible that can be used to find out the extent of the carnage, but can be waved at us by Iain Duncan Smith as evidence that he has given us what we wanted… and as evidence that any figures demanded by the Information Tribunal are of little consequence.
That is the aim – damage limitation. To make it seem that nothing out of the ordinary is happening. Plausible deniability.
The DWP already believes it has plausible deniability for every dodgy death on its books; no DWP representative can be said to be directly responsible for any of the deaths – they were a consequence of claimants’ illnesses, right? Even the suicides can be claimed as indicative of claimants’ poor mental health – except we know that anyone confessing suicidal thoughts at a work capability assessment is immediately asked why they haven’t already killed themselves.
Not conclusive? Maybe not. But then, that isn’t the only evidence available. It’s all part of a bigger picture.
In December last year, This Blog published a series of articles (here’s one) explaining how the DWP’s behaviour may be equated with the Nazi ‘chequebook euthanasia’ programme that eventually became known as Aktion T4 – a programme that caused the deaths of 70,000 German people with (among other problems) mental illnesses, before its methods were used against entire races the Nazis considered undesirable, in the extermination camps.
“It could be argued that the Coalition Government doesn’t have any blood on its hands. Nobody goes around the United Kingdom subjecting the sick and disabled to so-called ‘mercy’ killings, after all,” I wrote.
“They just subject people – who are already in an unstable frame of mind – to a highly pressurised ‘fitness’ test and then demand to know why, considering their condition, they haven’t killed themselves yet. Then they let those people do all the work themselves.”
On Thursday, it’s just possible that we might find out how successful they’ve been. If there have been more than 70,273 deaths in the last few years, the Conservative Party will have beaten the Nazis.
And Iain Duncan Smith intends to continue. Only this week, he announced a new plan to purge the Employment and Support Allowance benefit bill of mentally ill claimants. He told us “Work is good for your health”.
In fact, if you have a mental illness, work can drive you to an early death via a combination of (among others) stress, anxiety, depression and paranoia.
Duncan Smith’s claim that “Work is good for your health” may therefore be seen as a lie – almost as great a lie as the slogan from which it was adapted.
You’ll be familiar with it: “Work makes you free” – it hangs in its more familiar form of “Arbeit macht frei” over the gates of the Auschwitz extermination camp that Duncan Smith visited in 2009.
The headline is no joke. Based on the plans revealed by the BBC, if the Conservative Party is re-elected in May, all but the richest of us can look forward to the death of a loved one – perhaps many loved ones.
They’ll have to hang signs over entry points into the UK: “Conservative Britain, 2015-2020: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”. At least now we know why David Cameron was determined not to reveal any details of the proposals to cut £12 billion from the benefits budget.
Chequebook euthanasia play a prominent role, and it is clear that the plan is to push as many benefit claimants into destitution as possible while encouraging suicidal thoughts. It has already worked with many people on Employment and Support Allowance; they want to spread their version of Aktion T4 more widely.
Top of the proposals is the replacement of the Industrial Injuries Compensation Scheme with an insurance policy provided by companies. Any not doing so would become members of a default national industrial injuries scheme, similar to the programme for asbestos sufferers. This is the long-anticipated arrival of private health insurance in the British benefit system; we have been expected this ever since Peter Lilley invited the criminal American firm Unum into the then-Department of Social Security in the 1990s. Vox Political predicts that nobody taking out such insurance will ever receive a payout on it; it will be run by Unum.
The DWP predicts that £1 billion will be cut from the benefits budget. The human cost might be significantly higher, especially when you consider the following:
Carer’s Allowance may be restricted to those caring for somebody eligible for Universal Credit. We know already that Universal Credit has been designed to prevent genuinely sick and disabled people from receiving their benefit, and that Universal Credit doesn’t work; this attack on their carers will tip both deep into poverty. Leaked documents suggest about 40 per cent of carers would lose their payments, despite the fact that they genuinely need the money.
The DWP hopes to cut another £1 billion from its bills with this. As it ties in with current chequebook euthanasia programmes, expect many thousands of deaths.
Employment and Support Allowance and Job Seekers Allowance claimants may be denied the privileges that should be afforded to them by virtue of having paid enough National Insurance contributions; your record will not count if you claim these benefits. The plan here is to cut benefits for more than 300,000 families – by around £80 per week. Those on ESA may have carers who will also lose their benefit, therefore we can conclude that this is another planned area of chequebook euthanasia.
Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments and Attendance Allowance (for over 65s who have personal care needs) would be taxed in order to cut payments by around £1.5 billion a year (based on IFS Green Budget calculation ). Many of those claiming these benefits will also be claiming ESA and will have carers as well, so chequebook euthanasia – again – applies. Who knows how many will live to see the 2020 general election if the Tories gain another term in May?
Council Tax Support may be incorporated into Universal Credit. This blog is prepared to be corrected on this, but wouldn’t that mean the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament (and the Northern Irish Assembly if it runs a relief scheme) would be unable to pay the council tax demanded under the Pickles Poll Tax that came in after Council Tax Benefit was scrapped? This would cut funds to claimants of ESA, JSA, DLA, PIP, AA, carers, and those claiming Housing Benefit and therefore – again – the government is opening itself to accusations of chequebook euthanasia.
Child Benefit may be limited to the first two children in any family. How nice that the Tories may be planning to spring this on families without enough prior warning. This writer would suggest that 18 years’ warning is necessary, to clear the books of people who could reasonably have expected child benefit to be paid as it always has. What about those having triplets? Apparently little would be trimmed from the benefit budget at first, but up to £1 billion might be kept, every year, in the long term.
Regional Benefit Caps – instead of £26,000, the Tories are planning to cut its already-too-low Benefit Cap to £23,000 – and then vary it still further in different parts of the UK. Londoners would receive the top amount due to the higher cost of living; people in rural areas could be forced out of their homes by this.
The leaked documents were prepared by civil servants and commissioned by Conservative Party officials.A spokeswoman for Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of previous state-sponsored pogroms against the poor, sick and disabled, told the BBC: “This is ill informed and inaccurate speculation… Officials spend a lot of time generating proposals – many not commissioned by politicians… It’s wrong and misleading to suggest that any of this is part of our plan.”
In other words, this will definitely happen if the Conservatives are elected in May.
This blog has made much of Labour’s own failure to plan the scrapping of the homicidal Work Capability Assessment if that party is elected into office in May (the other parties’ plans aren’t as important; they won’t be running a government for the next five years). Labour is still wrong to inflict it on people who have illnesses and disabilities through no fault of their own.
However, faced with a choice between the Tories’ certain death and Labour’s possible death, the decision should be obvious.
‘Arbeit macht frei’: Roughly translated, it means ‘Work makes you free’. David Cameron will be familiar with that phrase as it is a favourite of his Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith. See http://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jun/16/lawrence-mead-tough-us-welfare-unemployed
Is this writer the only person who finds it more than a little sick that David Cameron visited Auschwitz on the International Day of Human Rights? What was he doing – taking notes in order to ensure that he can do a better job?
The parallels between what the Nazi regime did there, to anybody it considered subhuman, and what Cameron’s government has been doing to anybody it regards similarly are becoming so obvious that you would need to be a deaf-blind animal to miss them.
It is physically sickening to read about him lighting a candle at a memorial for holocaust victims and promising that proposals for a permanent British memorial to victims of the Nazis will be revealed next year, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the extermination camp, while his government continues to deny the fatal consequences of its own policies.
In Nazi Germany, people who were sick, disabled, or belonged to a foreign race were deprived of their human rights and shipped off to concentration camps like Auschwitz, if they weren’t “euthanized” at home under the Aktion T4 programme.
Here, people who are sick or disabled are subjected to a humiliating test intended to deprive them of the financial support they need to survive, and to implant the suggestion that it would be better all around if they simply took their own lives. Immigrants are depicted as a threat to the British way of life and the livelihoods of the indigenous population – but this means that people who were originally of a foreign race, but whose families have lived here for generations, and are British citizens themselves, are also likely to be targeted by the ignorant and easily-led.
Cameron himself has promised that, if a Conservative government is returned to office next May, he will strip every British citizen of their human rights by repealing the Human Rights Act that confers on us the legal protection available to every other human being in Europe. Instead he will throw us the scraps contained in his miserable ‘Bill of Rights’, that is notable more for the rights it forbids than any it permits.
Pay particular attention to the fact that Cameron is proposing to legalise torture in the UK.
And there he is, using what was probably the greatest human tragedy in history as the backdrop for a cynical and hypocritical photo opportunity.
Words cannot describe the contempt that we should all feel – as a matter of duty as human beings – for such a vile abomination as Cameron, and anybody like him.
“Lower than vermin” is no longer sufficiently pejorative.
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