Former Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith is to be knighted – presumably for his services to genocide and eugenics.
This is the Tory who made changes to the assessment procedures for sickness and disability benefits that assumed anybody claiming them was either lying or deluding themselves.
Result: Countless deaths (literally. The Conservatives have point-blank refused to count the number of deaths caused as a result of these policies).
Mr Duncan Smith – IDS, as he is sometimes called (or RTU on This Site; he was in the army once, and RTU signifies a candidate to be an officer who fails to make the grade) – is the person most directly responsible for those deaths, in the opinion of This Writer (and many others who are aware of the facts).
The deaths – and the unwillingness to acknowledge the facts of their occurrence – suggest a desire to end the lives of everybody who has a disability, long-term illness or congenital health condition: genocide.
The fact that they would also lead to the removal from the gene pool of people with those conditions suggests eugenics.
And the fact that Boris Johnson is quite happy to make him a knight for his work in this respect tells us everything about his government and what it is:
But don’t take my word for it – consider the following reactions to the announcement:
#KnightmareIainDuncanSmith So IDS gets a knighthood for 10 years of causing mass harm and distress to disabled people. Disabled people have died! Families Mourn. Hand the knighthood back. Disabled people will make sure you will
#KnightmareIainDuncanSmith for every benefit death, human rights violations under UNCRPD, for every child hungry, person homeless as a result of universal credit we will take the fight to Iain Duncan Smith. We will not rest until we get justice
#IainDuncanSmith abolished Disability Living Allowance and replaced it with PIP, with the intention of removing support from hundreds of thousands of disabled people. Now, people with MS, arthritis and psychosis have lost benefits in his new system https://t.co/x6itdAjj98
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.
Darryl Nicholson: Short-changed by the government.
Has the Department for Work and Pensions really followed its safeguarding rules for people whose health could be in serious danger here?
Is Mr Nicholson receiving “fit notes” from his GP, or has the doctor been told not to issue them any more because the patient has been classified “fit for work” and the government now lies about whether those letters are still necessary?
I’d like answers to these questions but of course the DWP does not comment on individual cases.
And there are now so many individual cases that it is impossible to keep informed about them all, let alone comment on them.
A dying dad told he was fit for work by the Department for Work and Pensions was left with just £15 a week to live off after his benefits were cut.
The 47-year-old, who could only have two years left to live, has stage three emphysema. Darryl Nicholson also has bronchitis asthma, anxiety and depression.
He was receiving Employment Support Allowance (ESA) but after attending a mandatory work capability assessment the DWP deemed him fit for working.
Darryl, who tragically lost his wife to cancer, underwent a mandatory reconsideration which was rejected and he is now awaiting a tribunal.
While on ESA, Darryl received £474 per month directly into his bank account. But after being put on to Universal Credit his money has been halved, receiving just £236 per month.
After paying £48 for his phone bill, £60 per month for electric and £10.37 for gas, Darryl is left with around £15 per week for food.
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.
Activists are to lobby Parliament next month in a bid to persuade MPs to impose stricter rules on the assessors hired by private firms to judge whether people claiming sickness and/or disability benefits are faking it.
The First Do No Harm lobby on February 13 aims to expose the continued harm caused to disabled people by the Tory government’s work capability assessments (WCAs), concentrating on the repeated failure of assessors hired by the Department for Work and Pensions to collect and pay proper regard to further medical evidence, as needed to judge a claimant’s eligibility for sickness and disability benefits.
It has been organised by Labour’s Treasury and work and pensions teams, through shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow work and pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood, after campaigning by the disabled people’s grassroots group Black Triangle and other disabled activists.
The aim is to push for the principle of “First Do No Harm” – a concept that should be at the heart of any true medical professional’s moral code – to be included in the benefits assessment process, through a framework that “treats disabled people with dignity and respect”.
This would introduce new “safety protocols” to ensure that the health and lives of disabled people are not put at risk by unfair decisions on eligibility following a WCA.
The lobby also aims to push the Conservative government to bow to years of pressure to carry out a cumulative assessment of the impact of its social security cuts and reforms on disabled people.
And it will call for an end to the government’s sanctions and conditionality regime.
The lobby is due to take place on Wednesday 13 February between 1pm and 6pm, with the briefing from 2-3.30pm, in the Palace of Westminster’s committee room 15. The committee room can be used for one-to-one meetings with MPs or further discussions on the issue from 1-2pm and then from 3.30-6pm
While the lobby has been organised by Labour, it is hoped that MPs from all parties will attend – especially Conservatives. And they’re only likely to do so if their constituents demand it.
It doesn’t matter if you are sick, disabled or able-bodied – if you want your MP to attend the lobby, get in touch – for example, by using the website WriteToThem, saying you wish to seek an appointment on the day of the lobby.
One more thing: Spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, and any other social network you use.
Runner: Esther McVey got out of the DWP before she could be made to answer some very difficult questions.
Remember when Esther McVey quit the government last week, claiming it was because of Brexit, and I suggested she was running to avoid having to answer the criticisms of the Department for Work and Pensions raised by UN inspector Philip Alston?
It turned out that she had already exchanged words with the special rapporteur on poverty – but now it seems I was not wrong after all, as Ms McVey’s departure allowed her to avoid answering questions on a possible link between the hated Work Capability Assessment carried out by private contractors on behalf of the DWP and the deaths of benefit claimants.
This issue is whether the government showed key documents linking the deaths of claimants with the work capability assessment (WCA) to Dr Paul Litchfield, the independent expert hired to review the test in 2013 and 2014.
Dr Litchfield carried out the fourth and fifth reviews of the WCA but has refused to say if he was shown two letters written by coroners and a number of secret DWP “peer reviews”.
In the light of recent revelations, it seems reasonable to ask whether this is because he was asked to sign a ‘gagging order’ – a non-disclosure agreement requiring him not to say anything embarrassing or critical about the Conservative government or its minister.
Dr Litchfield published his two reviews in December 2013 and November 2014, but neither mentioned the documents, which all link the WCA with the deaths of claimants.
Disability News Serviceraised the issue in July, prompting Opposition spokespeople to send official letters demanding an explanation. Labour shadow minister for disabled people Marsha de Cordova’s was written on July 25, and Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman Stephen Lloyd’s followed on August 2.
Neither had received a response by the time Ms McVey walked out, as DNS reported.
I think we can safely conclude that the four-month delay – so far – indicates Ms McVey intended never to respond. The disagreement over Brexit provided a handy excuse to do a runner.
Will Amber Rudd be more forthcoming?
The evidence of her time at the Home Office suggests the opposite.
The Department for Work and Pensions is adamant that we must not claim any causal effect between its decisions and any downturn in benefit claimants’ health – including death.
But that doesn’t work in this case.
Jodey Whiting was found ‘fit for work’ in the face of a wealth of evidence showing the opposite to be the case.
For a start, she had missed a work capability assessment because she had been in hospital undergoing treatment for a brain cyst – and pneumonia.
She had been taking 23 tablets a day, and morphine twice daily, for conditions including scoliosis and bipolar disorder.
She was clearly unfit for work.
But the Department for Work and Pensions’ decision-maker refused to reschedule the assessment and found Ms Whiting ‘fit for work’ instead. The DWP then rubber-stamped a refusal of her request for mandatory reconsideration.
She contacted Citizens’ Advice – and an attempt to secure a new work capability assessment was put in motion – but Ms Whiting took her own life days later.
The ‘fit for work’ decision was rescinded only a couple of weeks after her death.
Job done, you see. The Tories could afford to admit they were wrong because their victim had died and would not burden the benefit books any more. That is how they work.
And now they can’t even be bothered to fake sorrow for the death. Mrs May’s correspondence team failed to offer condolences and her spokesperson refused even to comment on the matter.
The lack of any decent human consideration, coupled with the callousness inherent in the way they treated the deceased woman, damns the Tories.
A disabled woman whose daughter took her own life after being wrongly found “fit for work” has vowed to continue her fight for justice, despite the prime minister’s office brushing off her request for a meeting.
Joy Dove wrote in July to ask for a meeting with Theresa May to discuss the tragic death of her daughter Jodey Whiting in February 2017, and the thousands of other disabled victims of the government’s “wrong decisions”.
But the prime minister’s correspondence team dismissed her letter and replied just days later to say that a meeting would not be possible because of “the tremendous pressures of her diary”.
The letter failed to even mention Jodey Whiting or her death or express any condolences.
What can I say about the Unum corporation that I haven’t already mentioned, years ago?
Nothing. Here’s a recap:
“If we know anything at all about the Work Capability Assessment for sickness and disability benefits, we know that it doesn’t work. In fact, it kills. There is a wealth of evidence proving this, and if any readers are in doubt, please take a look at MPs tell their own Atos horror stories.
“The WCA is, at least nominally, based on the biopsychosocial model developed by George Engel. He wanted to broaden the way people think about illness, taking into account not only biological factors but psychological and social influences as well.
“The theory forms the basis of the system of insurance claims management adopted by US giant Unum when its bosses realised that their profits were being threatened by falling interest rates – meaning the company’s investments were losing value – and a rise in claims for “subjective illnesses” which had no clear biological markers – Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease, even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
“The new test aggressively disputed whether the claimant was ill, questioning illnesses that were “self-reported”, labelling some disabling conditions as “psychological”, and playing up the “subjective” nature of “mental” and “nervous” claims. The thinking behind it was: Sickness is temporary. Illness is a behaviour – all the things that people say and do that express and communicate their feelings of being unwell. The degree of this behaviour is dependent on the attitudes and beliefs of the individual, as well as the social context and culture. Illness is a personal choice. In other words: “It’s all in the mind; these people are fit to work.” (as I mentioned in When big business dabbles with welfare; a cautionary tale)
“This is the model that was put forward to the Department of Social Security (later the Department of Work and Pensions) by its then-chief medical officer, Mansel Aylward, in tandem with Unum’s then-second vice president, John LoCascio.
“Together they devised a new ‘All Work Test’ that would not actually focus on whether an individual could do their job; instead it would assess their general capacity to work through a series of ‘descriptors’. Decisions on eligibility for benefit would be made by non-medical adjudication officers within the government department, advised by doctors trained by Mr LoCascio. Claimants’ own doctors would be marginalised.”
That is how matters have remained. A claimant’s doctor hardly gets a look-in on the process nowadays, and mental health problems are not considered to be of any importance in assessing a person’s fitness for work.
I recently attended a friend’s assessment for the Personal Independence Payment. More than half of an interview that lasted longer than an hour was about her mental health – and none of it was referenced in the decision or the notes on the reasons for it.
That is the legacy of the Unum Corporation.
Its record in the UK is of a decades-long campaign to make it almost impossible for anybody to claim sickness and/or disability benefits, in order to push people into claiming its insurance policies.
And these policies are duff, because every effort would be made to prevent anybody taking one out from ever receiving a payout. The company earned itself a criminal record in the USA because of this behaviour.
So why on Earth would United Response, a charity that is supposedly dedicated to ensuring that individuals with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities have the opportunity to live their lives to the full, have any truck with such a company and its representatives?
Good question. And one for which I have no answer.
The advantage for Unum is obvious. Chairmanship of such an organisation lends the corporation an authenticity that its own record cannot provide.
I wonder if the charity’s policies and behaviour will evolve in alarming ways during the course of Mr McCaig’s chairmanship?
A disability charity’s decision to choose as its new chair the head of a company closely linked with the government’s hated “fitness for work” test has been branded “a betrayal” of disabled people and “a truly disgraceful appointment”.
United Response, which provides a range of support services to about 3,000 disabled people across England and Wales, this week announced the appointment of management consultant Malcolm McCaig (pictured).
McCaig has been a non-executive director of Unum UK since July 2009 and was appointed to chair the company’s board last year.
But Unum has spent decades attempting to influence UK government policy on welfare reform and is blamed by many disabled researchers and activists for pushing successive governments to make the process of applying for out-of-work disability benefits harsher and more stressful.
ADDITIONAL: I have been asked to publish the following: “A link to this article was published on the United Response intranet message board. This was the reply from Mark Ospedale, Director of People and Communications:
“‘Trustees including Chair’s (sic) are volunteers and they are appointed as they bring extensive skills and experience to govern charitable organisations such as ours. We undertook an extensive recruitment process resulting in an incredibly strong shortlist of candidates, Malcolm’s skill set and demonstrable understanding of the charity as well as his vast experience led to his appointment.'”
McVile: Esther McVey during her evidence session before the Scottish Parliament.
Congratulations to John Pring at Disability News Service for interviewing the man who heckled Esther McVey during her evidence session before the Scottish Parliament on Monday.
It turns out that ‘David’ had raised the case of Jodie Whiting, who took her own life after her Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) was sanctioned away from her. This Site covered the case here.
It is disappointing that the interruption was not reported fully by the mainstream media because it highlights the cruelty of both the Department for Work and Pensions and its current boss, and illustrates why they both have to go:
Ms Whiting lost her benefit because she missed a work capability assessment appointment because she was in hospital being treated for a brain cyst.
Let’s all stop for a moment and think about that.
It is entirely reasonable for a person on a long-term sickness benefit to require hospital treatment for their health condition.
While it may legitimately require people to prove their eligibility to receive ESA, it is entirely unreasonable for the government’s benefits agency to demand that sick people miss their treatment in order to tick a box on a bureaucrat’s paperwork.
Health comes first, or it is the system that is sick.
And the Tory-run system is terminal – for users like Ms Whiting. Instead of rearranging the assessment appointment, the DWP cut her off without a penny, triggering a chain of events that led to her untimely death.
When the case was raised, Ms McVey didn’t even have the decency to apologise. Instead, ‘David’ was removed from the meeting.
Could anything be a better demonstration of the arrogance and ignorance of our current rulers?
Rather than face up to their failings, they remove anybody who mentions them. And their complicit media mouthpieces gloss over the incident.
The mother of a woman who killed herself after her disability benefits were sanctioned has praised a disabled activist who confronted work and pensions secretary Esther McVey about her daughter’s death as she gave evidence to Scottish MSPs this week.
The activist, David*, had told Joy Dove of his plans to question McVey about her daughter’s suicide as the minister was giving evidence to the Scottish parliament’s social security committee on Monday.
Jodey Whiting, a seriously-ill mother-of-nine, from Stockton, took her own life last year after having her employment and support allowance (ESA) sanctioned.
She had her ESA stopped after missing a work capability assessment because she was in hospital being treated for a brain cyst, and never opened the letter telling her about the appointment.
David, from the campaign group Class War Scotland, who was sitting in public seats behind McVey, called out (listen from 52 minutes) as she was replying to a question from an MSP about her government’s policies on social security reform and whether she should apologise to the people of Scotland.
David called out: “What about Jodey Whiting, mother of nine, who committed suicide after her ESA was stopped?
“It was stopped because she missed an appointment.”
The committee meeting was suspended and David left the hearing.
Julie Hull (above) is the kind of person who wants the author of This Site condemned as an anti-Semite.
This Writer’s experience after Prime Minister’s Questions today demonstrates the danger of publishing unwise words – and I don’t mean my own.
At the very start of the session, Theresa May said: “I am sure that Members throughout the House will wish to join me in marking Holocaust Memorial Day this Saturday and in remembering all those who endured such appalling suffering in the holocaust.”
In fact, she seems to have made a common mistake, that HMD commemorates only the genocides perpetrated by the Nazis between 1939 and 1945. This is a falsehood. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn went some way towards correcting this as he stood to ask his first question: “I join the Prime Minister in commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day. Many Members will be signing the book of remembrance and attending the event tomorrow. We have to teach all generations that the descent into Nazism and the holocaust must never, ever be repeated anywhere on this planet.”
But of course it has been repeated – again and again. It is hard to describe the horror of the Shoah (as Jewish people describe the Nazi holocaust), but we have witnessed many occasions in which the same has been attempted against other ethnic groups.
The Cambodian genocide in the 1970s took anything up to three million lives. In Rwanda, in 1994, the highest estimate of the death toll is one million. In 1971, up to three million people were killed in Bangladesh.
There are smaller genocides, too. But are they to be treated with less horror, less revulsion, just because fewer people died? In East Timor between 1975 and 199, up to 200,000 people lost their lives. Are any of those lives less important than those lost between 1939 and 1945, or in Cambodia, or in Bangladesh? A similar number died in Somalia between 1988 and 1991. Were those lives any less important? What about the 200,000 Kurds said to have died in Iraq between 1986 and 1989? Or the 166,000 in Guatemala between 1962 and 1996?
Or the 30-40,000 deaths in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995? I was in Bosnia with a charity trying to help rebuild, in 1997. The things I saw, and the accounts of the people I met, will stay with me until the day I die.
What about the thousands of people who are understood to have died as a result of Conservative policies to people with long-term illnesses and disabilities since 2010?
They didn’t happen, according to people on Twitter today (January 24).
Perhaps it was unwise, considering the tidal wave of hate against me that has been swelling on Twitter over (false) claims of anti-Semitism that have been made against me – but I have been campaigning for many years against the Tory policy to push sick and disabled people to their deaths, and this was an opportunity I could not pass up.
So I tweeted:
.@jeremycorbyn made important point on Holocaust Memorial Day, that such crimes continue. Like Tory genocide of disabled ppl? #PMQs#bbcdp
First, there are those who deny that people with long-term illnesses and disabilities are being pushed to their deaths by Tory policies.
Here’s one now – Julie Hull:
A vile comment and equally grotesquely insulting to Conservatives, to true victims of genocides, and to the disabled. You and this kind of ‘kinder gentler politics’ bring shame on the party you pretend to love.
I’ll repeat her words, in case she chooses to delete the tweet later. She wrote: “A vile comment and equally grotesquely insulting to Conservatives, to true victims of genocides, and to the disabled. You and this kind of ‘kinder gentler politics’ bring shame on the party you pretend to love.”
Strong words. But it wasn’t clear what they actually meant, so I had to seek clarity. I asked: “Are you denying the deaths of sick and disabled people due to Tory policies?”
So Tory spending cuts in health and social care didn’t lead to the deaths of nearly 120,000 people since 2010 – mostly older people and those whose health issues mean they live in care homes? That will be news to the authors of this study, published by the British Medical Journal.
So Tory benefit cuts didn’t cause a “human catastrophe” for sick and disabled people in the UK? That will be news to the United Nations.
Julie Hull, that’ll be news to the UN. According to UN systematic abuse of disabled by Tories has led 2 thousands of deaths of disabled and sick! Eugenics!
(If you click on the link, you’ll see it refers to fewer than 2,400 deaths. This is because the Conservative government at first tried to withhold some information from me. The remaining facts were provided later, under the cosh of the UK Statistics Authority).
And what of the other deaths? You see, the Department for Work and Pensions only records the deaths of claimants up to around two weeks after a decision is made to cut their benefits. Many, many people have died after that period – due to a number of causes.
Who can forget David Clapson, a former soldier who died of diabetic ketoacidosis caused by severe lack of insulin, three weeks after his benefits were stopped – for missing one meeting at the Job Centre. He had no money to pay for the electricity to keep his fridge working, meaning the insulin he kept there became useless. At the time of his death, he had no food in his stomach at all. A pile of CVs was found next to his body. His death was not recorded by the DWP as it occurred after the Department’s two-week limit.
How about Michael O’Sullivan, who was driven to suicide bids after being found “fit for work” by the Department for Work and Pensions? A coroner, Mary Hassall, made it clear that she considered the DWP – and therefore the Conservative government – to have triggered his suicide.
There are many more incidents. If you have the stamina for it, try going through the list of articles on the subject, published on This Site alone.
And for anyone who still doubts that the Conservative government and its policies had anything to do with the deaths, bear in mind that the benefit assessment interview for both ESA and PIP includes a query about whether the claimant has ever considered suicide.
If they say “yes”, the next question is: “Why haven’t you done it?” Can you honestly tell yourself that a person with mental health problems, who has already considered suicide, won’t take that as a demand that they take their own life?
Oh, but never mind any of the evidence that has been amassed since 2010. Julie Hull says there’s no connection between the deaths of sick and disabled people and the Conservative government, so that’s all right then.
Is it? Really?
The other aspect of this is the following claim, repeated many times over the last few hours:
Minimising of the Holocaust is antisemitic, which you know and are doing deliberately to cause offence.
Beth Rosenberg wrote: “Minimising of the Holocaust is antisemitic, which you know and are doing deliberately to cause offence.”
I have not minimised any Holocaust.
Holocaust Memorial Day commemorates many holocausts and genocides, not just what happened to the Jewish people.
The first point should be self-evident from what I have written above. If anything, my critics are minimising the deaths of sick and disabled people currently taking place here in the UK – and that is unforgivable.
It is possible that the people complaining to me misunderstand the terms. For example:
What a vile human being, someone needs to look up the definition of #Genocide
“What a vile human being,” tweeted Jonny Braham. “Someone needs to look up the definition of #Genocide.”
So I did – on the Holocaust Memorial Day website. I responded: “HMD website: “The Convention [The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide] defines genocide as … causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group… deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part” among others.”
Ah ok so the tories made all these people disabled & now wants to wipe them out, I reiterate my previous tweet, you’re a vile human being
That reply defies belief: “Ah ok so the tories made all these people disabled & now wants to wipe them out, I reiterate my previous tweet, you’re a vile human being.”
Who said anything about the Tories making anybody disabled?
As for the rest of it – we were discussing genocide and I provided the information requested of me.
Oh, and yes – I referred to holocausts in the plural. Look up the definition – this one is from the Oxford Dictionary:
“destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, especially caused by fire or nuclear war.”
My insistence on this definition will become clear, later in this article.
As for the second: The tweet I’ve quoted makes it very clear that the person attacking me believes Holocaust Memorial Day to refer specifically to the genocide committed against Jewish people by Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945. So does this one, from the same person:
The mythology from the left compared to the systematic murder of 6 million Jews. You are totally revolting and I’m not going to give a common little man like you any more attention.
She wrote: “The mythology from the left compared to the systematic murder of 6 million Jews.”
So HMD refers only to the Shoah and not to any other such events, according to Ms Rosenberg. Oh, and the deaths of thousands of people with long-term illnesses and disabilities have not happened, in her opinion.
Here’s S. Nicholson:
How dare you compare the systematic murder of millions of people with the fairy tale claim that controlling benefits is damaging? You are completely despicable and so is Corbyn
“How dare you compare the systematic murder of millions of people with the fairy tale claim that controlling benefits is damaging?”
Christina Wallis tweeted: “That’s probably the most deluded and disgusting comment I’ve ever seen on Twitter. How dare you.”
I responded: “In what way? Are you denying the deaths of sick and disabled people due to Conservative Party policy? If so, on what basis? Have you read the information available on this subject (there’s a lot)? Or are you just trying to attack me?”
“I just find it upsetting that you’re using an atrocity that lead to the death of six million people, including members of my family to make a political point. I wasn’t attacking you, I’ve never attacked anyone in my life.”
Oh, is that right? It seemed like an attack.
So we’ve established that the people quoted above consider the Holocaust to be the atrocity committed by Nazi Germany against Jewish people, and I am an anti-Semite for suggesting anything else.
I draw attention to it because, back in September 2016, former Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker was suspended by the Labour Party after members of the Jewish Labour Movement complained that she was an anti-Semite, for believing exactly the same thing.
“In terms of Holocaust Day, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust Day was open to all people who experienced Holocaust?” she said at a training workshop on dealing with antisemitism at Momentum’s conference.
A number of people in the room immediately spoke out against Ms Walker’s comments and told her that Holocaust Memorial Day already included commemoration of other genocides. She responded: “In practice, it’s not actually circulated and advertised as such.”
Look at Theresa May’s words, quoted above. Look at Jeremy Corbyn’s. It is clear that they are referring to the Nazi atrocity. Together with the tweets above, I would say there is evidence that Ms Walker has a point.
For those who posted your hate messages in the hope that you would condemn me: At least you’ve done your bit to get Ms Walker’s suspension lifted.
For clarity, Holocaust Memorial Day does commemorate other atrocities – in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. That means it leaves out many, many other such horrific events. Ms Walker, if I recall correctly, was unhappy that transatlantic slavery is not mentioned.
Fortunately, there were people who were willing to stand up and be counted on my side too:
'Control of benefits'? Was that for real? People are being systematically denied benefits as a result of the WCA. They have died shortly afterwards, according to coroners as a DIRECT result. The DWP does not deny this, yet you do? Grow up for Gods sake.
One more thing: The Holocaust Memorial Day website has an image entitled “The ten stages of genocide”, which I’ll reproduce below:
As you can see, the Conservatives are well on their way with their genocide of people with illnesses and disabilities.
Stage One – Classification, Stage Four – Dehumanisation and Stage Six – Polarisation have already been implemented, with government and their tame media encouraging their supporters to ostracise those who have long-term illnesses and/or disabilities, and to refer to them as “scroungers”, “skivers” and worse. The Tories have the Daily Mail, among other rags, to spread their hate.
Attempts have been made at Stage Two – Symbolisation, with the bid to make disabled people wear badges on the London Underground. On the face of it, this was to allow them access to facilities for the disabled, but advocates for disabled people warned that it would make them targets for people who had been indoctrinated with the hatred symbolised by Stage One and Stage Four.
Stage Three – Discrimination is exactly why the United Nations criticised the UK government several years ago. The government was found guilty of “grave or systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities”.
Stage Five – Organisation is covered by the Department for Work and Pensions. You see, violence doesn’t have to be carried out with guns these days – it can be done with a keystroke when a benefit claimant is deprived of their allowance. The assessment system for ESA and PIP assumes either that illness and/or disability is all in the mind, or that the claimant is trying to avoid working for a living, and current information has it that the government wants to clear 80 per cent of claimants from the benefit books.
Deprived of their means of survival, sick/disabled people are left to their own devices. They can’t claim Jobseekers’ Allowance – as directed by the DWP – because they would be sanctioned very quickly when their illness made it impossible for them to meet one or more of the conditions required of someone searching for a job. So they starve to death like David Clapson, or commit suicide, like Michael O’Sullivan, and the government can deny any responsibility, in accordance with Stage Ten – Denial.
We have already seen the Conservatives deny any wrong-doing to the United Nations; we know they do not collect information about the well-being of former sickness and disability benefit claimants who have been cut off by their cruel assessment system.
That’s how the Tory genocide of the sick and disabled works. If you denied it before reading this article, please reconsider your position.
The phrase most commonly associated with the Holocaust inflicted by the Nazis is “Never again”.
The fact is, since 1945, such events have happened again and again.
It is outrageous that I should be vilified for pointing it out.
Postscript: Believe it or not, I received the following after publishing this article:
Distortion With Prejudice: Will we ever get honesty from the Department for Work and Pensions – or just more spin and spiel?
The story about the new mother – and her baby – who are facing eviction because the Department for Work and Pensions cut off her ESA on the grounds that she couldn’t prove she didn’t receive a letter (an impossible task) has sparked a huge reaction.
Jacqui Madonia is now trying to survive on one foodbank voucher a week, a single hardship payment of £80, and the “occasional tenner here and there” from her family, after the DWP claimed she had missed an appointment for a Work Capability Assessment – for which she was not notified.
The Department claims it “can be assumed [the letter]was delivered as there was no evidence to the contrary” – but that’s not how the burden of proof works.
The evidence is clear: The Department for Work and Pensions lies about its activities. DWP officers either deliberately fail to send appointment letters to vulnerable people or they delay those letters until after the date of the appointments. Then they claim they are above suspicion and accuse innocent people of dishonesty.
Ms Madonia had no idea any letter had even been sent, until the DWP sent her one – which did arrive – asking her why she hadn’t turned up to the WCA.
Considering the evidence, including the fact that at least one letter did manage to arrive at her home, it is clear that the burden of proof is with the DWP. Where is the evidence that a letter was written? Where is the evidence that it was sent? And where is the proof that it was delivered to the right address?
Many of us have experienced incidents in which the DWP has failed to contact us at an appropriate time.
Nicol Hart, on the Vox Political Facebook page, put it very well when she wrote:
They DON’T care…!! No-one believes that the letters are even sent out…!! It is a deliberate ploy by the DWP to manufacture a reason to stop paying people benefits…!! I know people who have never had the letters and have had their benefits stopped because they never received any letter informing them of an interview that had been arranged for them. I was sitting in the home of a claimant – when his postie delivered his mail. I watched him open his mail and there WAS a letter there notifying him of an appointment made for him by the DWP…!! The only PROBLEM was – that the appointment was for 2 days BEFORE the letter arrived at his house…!! Another deliberate tactic by IDS and the DWP at the time…?? How is it that any notifications of the appointments are NEVER sent to the mobile phones of the people who the appointments are supposedly made for…?? The NHS – Your Doctor – Your dentist and numerous other organisations, ALL send you reminders of appointments – at least one day before the appointment is due….!! Even taxi company’s and Takeaway delivery company’s do the same…!! The DWP have the mobile phone numbers of their claimants – PROVE that they KNEW about their appointments by sending them a text – Simples…!! IF the appointments EVER existed in the first place…!!
The “delayed” appointment letter is a classic. No doubt many of you have heard of it, if you haven’t experienced it.
Mrs Mike experienced it but, fortunately, we were able to put the situation right before any serious trouble arose.
Another DWP dodge we experienced happened when the DWP unilaterally closed down Mrs Mike’s ESA claim on the grounds that her period in the Work-Related Activity Group had ended and she should be claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance instead, while looking for work.
In fact, she had appealed against being put in the WRAG – on the advice of her DWP-appointed work-related activity coach, who said there was no way she would be ready to go back to work before her time in the group (limited to one calendar year) expired.
The DWP had received the appeal – and then ignored it in every respect other than to put a note on her file, never to contact her again in any way at all.
When I found out, I kicked up such a stink that they shamefacedly agreed to put her on income-related ESA until another assessment could take place. She’s now in the Support Group, where the DWP seems happy to leave her for the time being.
The evidence is clear: The Department for Work and Pensions lies – consciously tells falsehoods – about its activities. DWP officers either deliberately fail to send appointment letters to vulnerable people or they delay those letters until after the date of the appointments. Then they claim they are above suspicion and accuse innocent people of dishonesty.
This has to end.
If the DWP officers responsible for this latest fiasco are really squeaky-clean, let them prove it. Let us see the proof that they wrote an appointment letter to Ms Madonia. Let us see proof of postage. Let them provide evidence that the Royal Mail – or whichever post handling company the DWP uses – delivered it.
If the DWP cannot provide this evidence, then the letter wasn’t delivered and the Department owes Ms Madonia – not only the full amount of her benefit, backdated to cover the period she has had to go without, but also a hefty compensation payment for the inconvenience caused by this civil service department’s dishonesty.
And I have a feeling Ms Madonia is not the only benefit claimant to have suffered this dishonesty at the hands of this government department.
So let’s see other benefit claimants come forward with their stories of similar wrong treatment. Let the DWP explain its behaviour towards them as well. And if it can’t, let us see some serious payouts to cover the injustice done to these people, as well.
David Gauke is the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
If this is how he runs his department, let us have his resignation.
AFTERWORD: The stories are still coming in – here’s one in response to this article, from Anne Gambrell:
“Happened to lone parent family member a couple of years ago. Arrived at usual signing on time. “You should have been here two hours ago, we sent a letter. You’re sanctioned”. “I didn’t get a letter”. “We sent it”. Rang me in tears, told her to go back in and ask to see a supervisor and to ask supervisor to print copy of supposed letter or record thereof, off her file. Wasn’t one, because it was never sent. Payments restored. Trust destroyed.”
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The Department for Work and Pensions office in London.
The DWP is claiming that Ms Madonia is lying about not receiving a letter because there is no evidence to show that it didn’t arrive.
This is a perversion of logic, and one of the occasions in which the claim that “you cannot prove a negative” in fact rings true.
If a person did not receive a letter, having had no reason to expect it, then it is illogical to expect them to provide proof that they didn’t have it. What are they supposed to offer?
On the contrary, the burden should be on the DWP to provide firm evidence that the letter was written, posted and delivered.
Where is that evidence? Without it, Ms Madonia’s claim cannot be disputed.
A disabled woman with a new baby is set to be evicted a fortnight before Christmas because the Department for Work and Pensions stopped her benefits when she failed to attend a “fitness for work” test she had not been told about.
Jacqui Madonia was left “in despair” as she was told to survive on one foodbank voucher a week, a single hardship payment of £80, and the “occasional tenner here and there” from her family.
The assessment was supposed to take place just 13 days after Madonia gave birth to her second son Edward by caesarean on 4 July at Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.
The former civil servant told the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in an employment and support allowance (ESA) questionnaire that she was due to give birth by caesarean before she went into hospital.
But she received a letter sent on 18 July which asked her why she had failed to attend a work capability assessment (WCA) the previous day.
She explained that she had not been told – either by letter or by text – about the appointment, but then received a further letter saying that her ESA had been removed because it “can be assumed [the letter]was delivered as there was no evidence to the contrary”.
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