Tag Archives: Auschwitz

Accusations face indignation over disability-related deaths

Dominic Raab: An overprivileged, lazy rich boy who wants to bully minorities including the sick and disabled.

Dominic Raab: An overprivileged, lazy rich boy who wants to bully minorities including the sick and disabled.

More Conservatives have voiced their indignation at comparisons between their attitude to the disabled and that of the Nazis in Germany during the 1930s and 40s – despite the fact that there are clear parallels.

The latest outburst was in response to claims by Sioux Blair-Jordan at the Labour Party conference, that if David Cameron enacts plans to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a Bill of Rights, the disabled and sick “might as well walk into the gas chamber today”.

As explained in a Vox Political article yesterday, Ms Blair-Jordan’s criticism is accurate; clear comparisons can be made between the Conservative attitude to illness and disability and that of the Nazis.

Three examples are the adoption of ‘chequebook euthanasia’ in the work capability assessment ‘medical’ test, with people who have mental illnesses being asked if they have ever considered suicide – those who answer in the affirmative are then challenged over why they did not go through with it, provoking the claimant to consider suicide again; the fact that, after visiting the Auschwitz extermination camp, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith adopted the slogan over its gate “Arbeit macht frei” (work makes you free) and has used it several times since, to sum up his attitude to claimants; and the fact that, despite many Freedom of Information requests for the number of people who have died under the Conservative Party’s current benefits regime, the Tories – like the Nazis – have hidden the full effects of their policies from the public.

In the light of these facts, the indignation professed by some Conservatives at Ms Blair-Jordan’s comment can only be regarded with contempt.

Look at Dominic Raab. This creep co-wrote a book entitled Britannia Unchained a few years ago, in which he claimed that British workers are “among the worst idlers in the world”, that the UK “rewards laziness” and “too many people in Britain prefer a lie-in to hard work”. At the time, his record of attendance at Parliament was among the worst of all MPs, at a meagre 79.1 per cent.

It seems Mr Raab is the one who prefers a lie-in to hard work – but he would clearly reopen the workhouse for the sick and disabled, given half a chance. It’s just one step from there to turn it into a concentration/extermination camp.

Yet he wants us to accept that “It is delusional, and shows extraordinarily bad taste, for Labour conference to applaud the delegate who equated the government’s common sense human rights reforms to Nazis sending innocent people to the gas chambers. Jeremy Corbyn should apologise immediately for embracing rather than distancing himself from the delegate. It points directly to his unfitness to lead.”

On the contrary – it is Mr Raab who is delusional. Let’s face it, he even describes his government’s fascistic plans to eliminate our human rights as “common sense”. It is hard to accept protestations that the Tories are not behaving like Nazis from someone who is upholding a policy demonstrating that they are.

Bizarrely, a spokesperson for the Campaign Against Antisemitism got on this bandwagon:

“Sioux Blair-Jordan’s reference to gas chambers was gratuitous and offensive. Over six million Jews as well as others, including the disabled, were murdered during the Holocaust, many of them in gas chambers.”

That is precisely the point. Perhaps this person should be joining Ms Blair-Jordan in opposing the Conservative Party’s behaviour, rather than siding with the oppressors. Perhaps this person should be reminded of the now-too-often-quoted words of Pastor Martin Niemoller, before the Tories come for him, and he finds out there is nobody to stand up for him.

Jeremy Corbyn is to be applauded. He is standing up for the sick, the disabled, and anyone else facing oppression from the overprivileged, spoilt brats who have conned their way into control of the UK.

Source: Disabled Labour Activist Launches ‘Gas Chamber’ Attack On David Cameron#f3f9928bb#f3f9928bb#f3f9928bb

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Unrepentant IDS will persecute the sick no matter what the death statistics say

ids-auschwitz-meme

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.

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Auschwitz image: Did Tom go too far?

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It’s a matter of judgement, isn’t it?

The image above is the parody of the Conservative Party’s infamous ‘Road to Recovery’ poster showing the railway line leading to the World War II extermination camp at Auschwitz, as tweeted by fellow blogger Tom Pride with the words, “The new Tory campaign poster featuring a German road’s a bit controversial”.

The tweet worked on several different levels: It referenced the fact that all three claims made on the original poster were inaccurate – in effect, the Conservative Party lied to the public with its very first piece of campaign material; it also acknowledged the fact that the road in the original picture was not British, as had been claimed by George Osborne on Channel 4 News (and this blog has covered reporter Cathy Newman’s surprise on finding out this was not true), but was a road near Weimar in Germany – another Tory lie; and it also made a strong point about the future the UK might face if voters allow themselves to be persuaded into supporting the Tories, based on this lying campaign.

It is also worth drawing attention to Vox Political commenter (and The Critique Archives blogger) Martin Odoni’s reaction to the revelation about the origins of the Tory poster’s image: “I’m no believer in omens or sympathetic magic, but, after all the economic hardship of the last seven years, that is really bad symbolism. I mean, don’t we remember what economic chaos and an evil, fanatical Chancellor did to the Weimar Republic?”

This writer received several versions of the Auschwitz railway image after publishing an article on the Conservative campaign poster.

Tony Dean commented with a simple reference to this one:

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And commenter marcf28 sent the following image, with the words “Interesting choice of image – with a striking similarity to this one”.

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Neither picture has appeared on Vox Political before because this writer considered them a step too far. The comments were published and readers were free to click on the links if they so desired.

I exercised my judgement and that was my decision.

It seems that Nottingham Labour councillor Rosemary Healy has been suspended because she neglected to make a similar judgement call.

As a follower of Tom Pride on Twitter (and there’s nothing wrong with that; Tom’s articles and tweets often provide an oasis of amusement for those of us who are struggling against the harm being caused every day by the Coalition Government) it is entirely possible that she retweeted his picture automatically, in the belief that her own followers would enjoy some sharp humour.

Alas, the humour was too sharp for some, and crossed the line of good taste in their opinion.

Was Cllr Healy wrong to retweet this image? On balance, she probably was. As a councillor representing the Labour Party, it could be argued that she should not be re-transmitting messages that could be interpreted as making light of a very dark period in human history.

Could be argued. Could be interpreted. It’s a matter of judgement.

It could also be argued that the tweet, and the image, make a deadly serious point about the reality of Conservative government. Many parallels have been drawn – accurately (before anyone starts wrongly invoking Godwin’s Law) – between Conservative-led Coalition policy and the actions of the Nazis (who came to power after the failure of the German republic identified with a town called Weimar, let’s not forget).

Remember Vox Political‘s articles about chequebook euthanasia? That information has been sent to the Information Commissioner’s Office in support of the bid to have the Freedom of Information request on ESA claimant fatalities since November 2011 honoured at last; and it has been sent to the Commons Work and Pensions committee, whose investigation into the effects of withdrawing benefit from claimants began in earnest this morning (January 7).

There is a deadly serious (and the word ‘deadly’ is used advisedly) side to Tom Pride’s tweet; there usually is.

However, UKIP supporter ‘Guy Ropes’ sent this blog the following comment today: “Is it correct that a Labour councillor in the Midlands has tweeted an alteration to a Conservative poster that is so insensitive I’d be disappointed if you even tried to talk about it much less defend it. Thankfully his branch have suspended him. I’m not sure – even if they tried really, really hard – that the BNP could conceive of something so tasteless. So how about calling a truce – instead of slagging people and parties off, let’s stick to discussion of policies.”

The problem here is misinformation. The councillor is accused of creating the tweet (and gets a sex change in the process). The tweet is described as tasteless, indicating the commenter has not considered the serious points on which this article has elaborated. And there will be no truce because no hostilities have been declared. It seems Mr ‘Ropes’ has an issue with this blog’s policy of debunking false claims – such as those in his comment.

So, yes – Cllr Healy showed an error of judgement and should not have RT’d the tweet, given her position; and no – the tweet itself is not “insensitive” or “tasteless” in itself – in the judgement of this writer.

We need bloggers like Tom Pride to bring these connections to our attention.

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Auschwitz photo-op visit reveals Cameron at his cynical worst

'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

‘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.

It is due to the policies of Cameron’s government that the United Nations has launched an investigation into  “grave or systemic violations” of the rights of disabled people.

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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Is a mandated ‘WorkFAREhouse’ the Tories’ answer to the ‘bedroom tax’ court case?

Work camp: But is this a Nazi camp of the 1930s/40s, or a prediction of a British residential workfare scheme for the disabled in the 2010s?

Work camp: But is this a Nazi camp of the 1930s/40s, or a prediction of a British residential workfare scheme for the disabled in the 2010s?

Residential Workfare for the disabled. If that sentence hasn’t already set off at least three separate alarms in your head, then you haven’t been paying attention. What follows is a warning: Stay alert. Ask questions. Do not allow what this article predicts.

Workfare, for all those who still need enlightening after three years of this particular Tory-led nightmare, is a government-sponsored way of keeping unemployment high while pretending to be doing something about it. The idea is to send unemployed people to work for a period of several weeks – often for a large employer that is perfectly capable of taking on staff at a reasonable wage – and remove them from the unemployment figures for that time, even though they continue to be paid only in benefits. When the time period is served, the jobseeker returns to the dole queue and another is taken on, under the same terms. The employer pays nothing but reaps profit from the work that is carried out. The jobseeker gains nothing at all.

The disabled are, of course, the most persecuted sector of modern British society – far more vilified than hardened criminals or terrorists. Since the Coalition came into office by the back door in 2010, it has been government policy to close down employers taking on disabled people (Remploy factories), to spread propaganda against them, claiming they are scroungers or skivers, and the vast majority of disability benefit claims are fraudulent (this is true of only 0.4 per cent of such claims – a tiny minority). The bedroom tax, enforced nationally in April, has proven itself to be a means of driving disabled people out of homes that have been specially adapted to accommodate their needs. The Work Programme, which was extended to disabled people last December, has proven totally unsuited to the task of getting them into work, yet the Work Capability Assessment for Employment and Support Allowance continues to sign 70 per cent of claimants off the benefit as ‘fit for work’ (whether they are or not), and a further 17 or 18 per cent into a ‘work-related activity’ group where they must try to make themselves employable within 365 days.

The word ‘residential’ – applied to any sector of society at all, never mind whether they’re disabled or not – rightly sends shivers through the hearts of anyone in this country of good conscience. The terrible regime at the Winterbourne View home in Bristol is still recent, and nobody wants to see those crimes repeated – on anyone.

However, put these three words together and that seems the most likely consequence.

So why bother?

Here’s some pure speculation for you: The government knew that the bedroom tax was going to put the squeeze on the disabled, and it knew that disabled people would complain (although there was no way of knowing whether it would win a court case on the issue, as happened this week). It had already devised a solution and called it residential training for the disabled.

This is already running. It provides worthless Work Programme-style training to participants while filling their heads with the silly nonsense that the Skwawkbox blog showed up to such great effect earlier this year, encouraging them to ‘think new thoughts’.

The residential aspect means that participants currently get to stay in their own rooms, in relative comfort – but this could change, and very soon.

You see, this scheme is intended as a pilot study, and the plan has always been to expand this form of training, opening it up to the market, for private-sector parasites to run for profit after competing with each other to put in the lowest bid for the franchise.

Bye bye, individual rooms. Bye bye, dignity. Hello, communal dormitories. Hello… well, eventually it’ll just be hell.

And you can be sure mandation will follow, meaning anyone refusing to attend will lose benefit.

Gradually, disabled people will disappear from our communities, ending up in these residential ‘Workfarehouses’.

How long will it take before we start hearing stories about abuses taking place against people living in these places?

How long did it take before the stories came out of Winterbourne View?

Come to that, how long did it take before the world found out about places like Auschwitz or Dachau or Belsen?

I know what you’re thinking:

“It couldn’t happen here.”

Think again.

(The first Vox Political book, Strong Words and Hard Times, is available now in paperback or as an eBook, including a large ‘footnotes’ section in which you can actually connect to internet links containing supporting evidence – if you’re reading on a device that supports this kind of activity.)