Tag Archives: Iain

NOT ‘safe to be me’: Tory betrayal of trans people triggers collapse of LGBT+ event

Two-fingered salute: Boris Johnson has voiced opposition to conversion therapy on multiple occasions, but actions speak louder than words and the gesture in the image above seems more indicative of his actual attitude to LGBT+ people

The UK’s Tory government has humiliatingly been forced to cancel an international conference of LGBT+ people in a row over its support for conversion therapy.

According to Wikipedia, “Conversion therapy is the pseudoscientific practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual or their gender identity from transgender to cisgender using psychological, physical, or spiritual interventions.

“There is no reliable evidence that such practices can alter sexual orientation or gender identity, and medical institutions warn that conversion therapy is ineffective and potentially harmful.”

The government had promised to outlaw conversion therapy in any form – but u-turned last week, saying any ban would only apply to attempts to alter a person’s sexuality, not attempts to try to change people’s gender identity.

So it seems the Tories are happy to expose trans people to potential harm.

It’s probably no wonder, then, that more than 100 LGBT+ organisations have responded by walking out of the Tories’ big, flagship, headline-grabbing international conference for, among all the other groups, trans people.

The killing blow was dealt to the event on Tuesday (April 5, 2022) when Iain Anderson, the Tory government’s first LGBT+ business champion, resigned. His unpaid role was specially-created for the lead-up to the conference, and was expected to last 18 months.

He would have been expected to showcase what UK businesses have done in reducing workplace discrimination and promoting quality for LGBT+ people at the conference – a tricky job in the light of the government’s new policy.

In a letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, who has allowed (demanded?) the u-turn to happen, he stated: “Trust and belief in the government’s overall commitment to LGBT+ rights has been damaged.

“I believe a comprehensive plan to support LGBT+ people to play their full part in our society is urgently needed.”

Johnson himself has previously called the practice of conversion therapy “repulsive and abhorrent” and had promised plans to outlaw it on a number of separate occasions. Has he been lying again?

A government spokesperson has responded with a statement that it would carry out “separate work” on the issue of transgender conversion therapy but it was keen for any legislation not to have “unintended consequences”, adding it was a “legally complex area”.

Oh yes – “unintended consequences”. We know that’s something that the government has always tried to avoid! (Hint: it never has.)

A Conservative MP, who did not want to be named, told the BBC: “Having failed to deliver for the LGBT community at home, we will now fail to deliver for LGBT communities around the world. What a record.”

Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry posted on Twitter: “For three years, I urged the Government to use the opportunity they had as co-chair of the (intergovernmental) Equal Rights Coalition to take a global lead on LGBTQ+ issues.

“For three years, they did nothing except talk up their ‘Safe To Be Me’ conference. And now where are we? What a sickening waste.”

Consortium, the umbrella body for LGBT+ voluntary and community organisations, said: “The implications of the international LGBT conference being cancelled are solely at the doorstep of Number 10.

“LGBT+ organisations were left with no choice but to withdraw any support in order to stand in solidarity and partnership with our trans communities.”

So there you have it. The Tories’ own prejudices have humiliated them. This is a terrific example of people power laying the mighty low. We may all learn from this.

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Now Tories are lining up to justify their second jobs


Aren’t a lot of Tories on the take?

Check out this message showing Tories who can earn up to £400,000 from their second jobs:

Goodness! John Redwood, Damian Green, Andrew Mitchell, Chris Grayling (really? Did somebody really want their business to fail)… Iain Duncan Smith…

Let’s look at Iain Duncan Smith.

Good point, that. He said he could live on £53 a week – talking the talk.

But he’s got a second job worth £25,000 per year. So he doesn’t walk the walk. What a surprise.

And guess what?

That’s probably even more corrupt than Owen Paterson.

So why isn’t the man we call RTU (Return To Unit) being Returned To his family Unit (they always quit saying they’re spending more time with their family), never to return?

Is it because the Tory media have decided that Owen Paterson was the sacrificial lamb and now the Tories have “suffered enough” (another media claim)?

Or is it because his “broader experience” in selling non-alcoholic hand sanitiser to the government of which he has been a member is supposed to benefit the nation – as Sajid Javid’s roles advising banking giant JP Morgan and artificial intelligence firm C3.ai benefited the nation because it gave him broader experience?

But, but, but… Javid only advised these outside organisations on matters in which he already has knowledge and experience (although not very much in the case of banking; he’s allegedly one of the damned fools behind the Great Recession of 2008 or thereabouts).

The nation would be better-off without him getting in the works and stinking them up, wouldn’t it?

All in all, Skwawkbox’s suggestion seems wise:

Will the Tories ever willingly take it up?

No.

And it’s not because of any flannel about helping the government with outside expertise.

It is simply because they are all on the take. They should all be in prison, not on the Green Benches.

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Iain Duncan Smith tries to send us back to the office by talking about the Blitz. Blimey!

Iain Duncan Smith: on his way into the office? Or working from home?

If this is how Iain Duncan Smith hopes to break back into mainstream politics, he’s a worse idiot than we all thought he was.

He has joined the apparent Tory campaign that says it is unpatriotic to work from home because people still went into their offices “while Hitler’s bombs were raining down”.

So, inbred Tory idiot Iain Duncan Smith has declared that it’s unpatriotic to work from home because (and I quote) people still went into their offices “while Hitler’s bombs were raining down”.

His logic has it that this means office workers should go back, risking infection with Covid-19 and the possibility of death.

There are several problems with this:

Firstly, people didn’t stay in their offices while Hitler’s bombs were raining down. They went to air raid shelters.

Secondly, Hitler’s bombs weren’t contagious.

And thirdly, there was no Internet in 1940, so people had no choice but to work in the office when the bombs weren’t raining down.

Which, of course, blithely ignores the fact that:

This Writer is grateful to a good friend on Facebook who explained why it is “strangely appropriate” that Duncan Smith should attempt to invoke the Blitz Spirit, “but not in the way he thinks”.

It is a reminder that the Tory-led government of the day was just as happy to let the working class of London die as the Tory government of today – and for the same reason: to keep the economy going:

“Remember that the government of the day didn’t want to open ANY deep underground shelters precisely because they feared the shiftless working classes *wouldn’t* go back to work if they did.

“The East End was reportedly on the brink of ‘open revolt’ due to the lack of adequate shelter from those bombs, and the authorities put guards on the tube station entrances

“Eventually several stations were stormed and opened up, by a combination of communists and anarchists.

“The government didn’t give a sh*t — they were quite happy for the working class of London to die, as long as the wheels of the economy kept turning.”

And there’s another lesson to take from the war – one that is as relevant today as it was then:

Sadly, we did return to the inequalities of the past. And – worse – it seems our Tory-complicit media are successfully brainwashing the majority into thinking they’ve never had it so good.

Most people are happy to continue throwing away all the gains made with the welfare state and the NHS.

Still, plenty of people are putting out the right messages, if only everybody else could be bothered to pay attention:

The video in the article below is particularly good:

Of course the article by the man whose own military career resulted in a failure to win promotion and the nickname, on This Site, of ‘RTU’ (Return To Unit – the worst disgrace for an officer candidate), is just part of a “Get Back To The Office” campaign by the Daily Heil.

Other articles on the same line include the gem below, in which the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is blamed on home working, rather than the incompetence of the Conservative Cabinet Minister responsible for the mess.

I can only hope that those who are gullible enough to believe this tripe have strong enough bodies to recover from the Covid-19 doses they’ll undoubtedly catch – and to make up for the weakness of their minds.

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Duncan Smith is attacked with traffic cone – and gets no sympathy

Don’t play the victim, Iain: This is the man who inflicted Universal Credit and the Bedroom Tax on the UK, and whose other benefit policies caused thousands of deaths.

This Site does not approve of violence in any way shape of form; I must make that clear at the outset.

Because it is telling that reports of an assault in which former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith was hit on the head with a traffic cone have been met with applause and humour, rather than condemnation.

The former army officer, whose time as Work and Pensions Secretary led to the recorded – unnecessary – deaths of thousands of people (and, it is believed, the unrecorded deaths of hundreds of thousands more), was branded “RTU” by this site.

It refers to the mark of failure in officer training: “Return To Unit”.

Duncan Smith told the Spectator magazine: “I can’t tell you very much other than they just followed us, used abusive language, attacked us and used a cone.

“I have to say I would have very nearly been done for assault myself. I turned after them and they sort of backed off and I dropped the cone.

“They were shouting all along and then they smashed the cone on the back of my head, and so I turned and grabbed the cone and looked at them, and I took a pace towards them and they backed off.”

Yes, all right RTU, if you say so.

Meanwhile, on Twitter:

Oh, and for those who will insist that any of the above shows that left-wing politics is about abuse and violence, let’s just have a little reminder of something that happened a while ago…

… and that it seems Tory men are behaving in the same way now:

Source: Five arrested after Iain Duncan Smith ‘hit on head with traffic cone’ | UK news | The Guardian

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Hypocrisy of UK MPs sanctioned for criticising China human rights abuses

Hypocrite: Iain Duncan Smith oversaw the deaths of thousands of unemployed, sick and disabled people who were victimised by his ‘reforms’ to the UK’s benefit system. How dare he criticise another country for doing the same to its people?

Shame on the Tory MPs who are whining because China has sanctioned them for highlighting that country’s abuses of the Uighurs!

Yes, you read that right. Shame on them, because they are hypocrites.

They seem to think it is perfectly reasonable to claim moral superiority over the government of another country for abusing its citizens’ human rights, while turning a blind eye to the fact that they are doing exactly the same to the people of the UK.

Tory MPs Iain Duncan Smith, Nusrat Ghani, Tim Loughton, Neil O’Brien and Tom Tugendhat all merrily voted in support of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that will strip many of us of our human rights – and remove from all of us the right to protest in any meaningful way against further Tory atrocities against us.

Duncan Smith is well-known as an advocate of harm against his fellow UK citizens, having presided over the deaths of many thousands of benefit claimants – that occurred for no documented reason – under the cruel regime he imposed at the Department for Work and Pensions. But now he’s saying

Those of us who live free lives under the rule of law must speak for those who have no voice.

He was quite happy to deprive benefit claimants of their voices – and to look the other way when his policies deprived them of their lives. In their thousands, remember – not just one or two mistakes.

Attacking human rights abuses anywhere else in the world must be, for these people, an act of abominable hypocrisy.

Note also the typical reaction of the bully: these are people who sneered at us for protesting against the Police Bill and then went right ahead and voted to strip us of our rights – but when the shoe is on the other foot and they’re being singled out by China, suddenly they’re whining about how unfair it is.

Boris Johnson is, of course, the worst of the lot.

Despite being omitted from the list of UK MPs selected for sanction by China, he had the cheek to say

Freedom to speak out in opposition to abuse is fundamental and I stand firmly with them.

Fine words from the prime minister whose sickeningly draconian Police Bill strips his own people of that very freedom.

I do not wish to defend China. It’s treatment of the Uighurs is vile and should be opposed by all those of good faith. But these Tories are not opposing China in good faith. They’re trying to steal undeserved good publicity by attacking a country whose human rights abuses are – currently – worse than their own.

But it doesn’t work that way – or at least it shouldn’t.

Any attack on anybody’s rights as a human being is an attack against all of us – everywhere.

Johnson and his other little Tories might think they can take what moral high ground there is to be gained because their abuses aren’t quite as bad. But we know where that thinking leads.

The abuses become worse.

The number of people being oppressed grows.

The UK’s Tory government already fits every description of a fascist state that is worth reading. If you’re not feeling Johnson’s jackboot on your face yet, it’s just a matter of time.

So don’t waste any sympathy on these liars. They don’t deserve it.

Source: Uighurs: China bans UK MPs after abuse sanctions – BBC News

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Iain Duncan Smith is to give his ignorance to post-Brexit government reform

The pick of the Tories: Iain Duncan Smith is a creature of odious habits and even worse politics.

The former Tory leader whose ‘reforms’ of social security have led to the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people has been appointed to lend his ignorance to the government again.

Iain Duncan Smith will chair the new Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform.

The title of the organisation creates the acronym TIGRR – tiger, get it? But Duncan Smith is no kind of tiger. As benefit claimants know from his time as Work and Pensions Secretary, he’s a little bitch.

This Site has its own acronym for him – RTU. It stands for “Returned To Unit”, the message of shame on the record of armed forces personnel who fail training for promotion up the officers’ ranks – as he is said to have done.

The government has claimed that the TIGRR will “identify and develop proposals across a range of areas that will drive innovation and competitiveness, reduce barriers to start-ups and scale-ups, create opportunities for innovation to make the most of cutting-edge technologies, and support growth and dynamism right across the UK economy”.

But with RTU at the helm it is more likely to reduce competitiveness with new schemes that will be massively expensive while helping nobody (like Universal Credit), create barriers that stop people getting what they need (as he did with all benefits, particularly those for the sick and disabled), and abandon cutting-edge technologies for paper and ink (as DWP workers were forced to do when his plan for Universal Credit to be fully computerised fell on its ass).

He didn’t even help his own government! All his so-called “reforms” created more expense and none of them saved any money at all.

Labour has said it is ready to fight over any reforms that could be harmful – particularly to employment rights.

While This Writer has nothing personal against Andy McDonald, I remember when the party under Ed Miliband, in the dying days of its previous right-wing, neoliberal incarnation, voted in support of RTU to harm benefit claimants and I have a doubt.

The simple fact is that the appointment of this death machine should tell us everything we need to know about what his organisation will do. And it won’t help anybody.

Source: Iain Duncan Smith appointed post-Brexit government adviser | The New European

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With all the cocaine washing around Parliament, why AREN’T ministers subject to random drug tests?

The Palace of Westminster, home to both Houses of Parliament. Who knows how many drugs are holding up the elected and unelected representatives inside? Well… we won’t, because Downing Street is refusing to allow random testing.

This is almost poetic, although there’s no justice involved.

Iain Duncan Smith tweeted a link to a Sun story claiming that drug tests should be carried out randomly at people’s places of work, to catch users.

This Writer only discovered he had done so because a twitter friend then added her own spin to the story, thus:

It’s a good point. This Site has covered the prevalence of cocaine washing around Parliamentary… washrooms in the past.

The situation had become so bad that even the Daily Mail had dubbed the Palace of Westminster “corridors of powder”.

And yet what should be the next item to catch my eye on Twitter?

The Independent had picked up on the original story – Tory London Mayoral candidate (and himself a disgrace to politics) Shaun Bailey saying he’d demand random drug tests on all firms with more than 250 employees if elected mayor – and asked the same question as MaiaB, above.

The response from a Downing Street spokesperson does no credit to the Conservative government at all and can only boost fears that they not only consider themselves to be, but have actually put themselves, above the law:

“We expect the highest levels of professionalism from everybody in government. That remains the case, but there are no plans for that.”

What a crock!

If the last six months of Covid-19 cock-ups have demonstrated anything, it’s that there isn’t an ounce of professionalism in Boris Johnson’s rabble. It is, quite simply, the worst excuse for a government the United Kingdom has ever had to suffer. And that’s amid stiff competition!

The latest evasion shows that the Tories can’t even be trusted not to be dosing themselves full of recreational substances when they’re supposed to be – and bear these words in mind – serving the nation.

Because if they weren’t, they’d have no objection to the tests, would they?

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Labour anti-Semitism report: Starmer acts – to cover his supporters’ arses

No Labour leader: Instead of taking action to identify and expel the wrongdoers in the leaked Labour report on anti-Semitism, Keir Starmer seems to be trying to protect them.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has issued a statement on the leaked Labour report that shows evidence that right-wing party staff members actively campaigned to undermine previous leader Jeremy Corbyn – by promising to protect the members implicated in wrongdoing, and investigate how the public got to find out about them.

Or so it seems to me.

In a joint statement with deputy leader Angela Rayner, he said the following. I’ll comment on his words [in bold] as we go through it:

“We have seen a copy of an apparently [apparently? It is an official Labour document on anti-Semitism and as such he is certain to have known about it. Isn’t he? Skwawkbox reckons he had a copy of the report shortly after his election as leader was announced yet he was completely relaxed about it until it was leaked] internal report about the work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism. The content and the release of the report into the public domain raise a number of matters of serious concern.

“We will therefore commission an urgent independent investigation into this matter. This investigation will be instructed to look at three areas. First, the background and circumstances in which the report was commissioned and the process involved [which, as leader, he should already know. In any case, it is made explicitly clear in the text of the report]. Second, the contents and wider culture and practices referred to in the report [which suggests an attempt to deny the findings and whitewash the wrongdoers]. Third, the circumstances in which the report was put into the public domain [which suggests he would have preferred it to remain secret and the wrongdoers to go unquestioned, let alone punished].

“We have also asked for immediate sight of any legal advice the Labour Party has already received about the report.

“In the meantime, we ask everyone concerned to refrain from drawing conclusions before the investigation is complete [why? The report is complete and its conclusions are clear] and we will be asking the General Secretary to put measures in place to protect the welfare of party members and party staff who are concerned or affected by this report [but not party members and former party members who were clearly victimised by those party members he is trying to protect].”

I would not want to see anyone face unreasonable abuse – either verbal or physical – for having taken part in the activities mentioned in the report.

But the behaviour it describes is utterly vile and, if true, anybody who was involved in it should – no, must – be expelled from the Labour Party forever.

If anyone thinks a lifetime expulsion is too much, bear in mind that these senior Labour staff used language that was considerably more abusive and inappropriate than that cited as justification for suspending many Labour members who supported Jeremy Corbyn in 2016.

Labour members past and present are lining up to demand action.

But it seems Mr Starmer is more interested in protecting the perpetrators of these offences.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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MPs: Terminate the deadly Atos assessment regime before anyone else dies

Sick and disabled people in the UK can justifiably feel they are lining up for a death sentence as they prepare to take the dreaded Work Capability Assessment – the test devised by the Department of Work and Pensions and run (badly) by the French company Atos.

It leads – directly or indirectly – to an average of 32 deaths every week.

But there may be a ray of hope for them in the fact that the Labour Party has secured a Parliamentary debate on Atos and the WCA, to take place on September 4 – next Tuesday.

It is to be hoped that this will be the debate when Labour leader Ed Miliband finally gets off the fence and puts his weight – and that of his party – fully against the murderous system imposed by Chris Grayling and his master Iain Duncan Smith, both of whom are on record as stating that their version of the system is preferable, and less harsh, than that carried out under the previous Labour government.

The Daily Mail columnist Sonia Poulton has written two open letters to Mr Miliband, calling on him to break cover and declare his opposition to the scheme, and it seems bizarre that he has left people wondering for so long whether he actually supports a scheme that kills society’s most vulnerable.

The signs are hopeful that Mr Miliband will support change. In a letter to Sonia Poulton, he wrote: “Disabled people need support and compassion, and the Labour Party believes in a welfare state that fulfils this principle… I share some of the concerns that have been expressed about the test by you, along with many charities, disability groups and healthcare professionals. These concerns… have shown that the test must be improved. The Government needs to listen. We have also forced a vote in Parliament on the need to reduce the human cost of the wrong decisions that result from the WCA in its current form.”

Let’s remind ourselves why it’s important. There’s a petition online at the moment, calling for the restoration of benefits to an Afghanistan war hero who lost his leg in the line of duty. Sapper Karl Boon lost his left leg in a Taliban rocket-propelled grenade attack in Afghanistan in 2010 and has been stripped of his benefits by the Department for Work and Pensions and ATOS.

In signing the petition, I wrote: “More penny-pinching from the poor by the government that doesn’t have the guts to tax the rich. Here’s a man who has risked his life and lost a limb in the service of his country, and all his country’s leaders can think of doing in return is taking away his financial support – aided by a foreign company. We have witnessed many stories like that of Sapper Karl Boon over the last two years and it seems to me that there is no depth to which the current government will not sink. To those in government, I say: Prove me wrong. Give this man the respect he deserves and pay him what you owe him.” Too harsh? Think on this: At least Karl Boon is currently still alive.

Let’s also remember that we’re experiencing an enormous rise in hate crime against the sick and disabled, fuelled by government propoganda and a right-wing media that’s primed to support it. ITV’s Tonight programme reported last Thursday (August 23) that more than 65,000 hate crimes against the disabled were reported in the last year. You can read my article on this blog site to find some of the stories.

So why has Miliband sat on the fence for so long?

There are two issues to separate out here.

Firstly, there is nothing wrong with the idea of having regular assessments to judge whether a person on one or both of the disability benefits is able to work, or will be likely to be able to do so in the near future. The only people who can be against that are people who want the easy life, living on benefits and off the hard work of the taxpayers.

But the way the Coalition regime has gone about these assessments, through its private contractor Atos, is totally inappropriate and unfit for purpose. We can see that in the many horror stories that have come out over the last few weeks and months.

Why should those who are permanently disabled be forced to go through reassessment every few months? They’re never going to get better! But we have Atos reports saying an amputee will be fit for work as soon as his arm grows back (for crying out loud)!

Why are doctors’ reports ignored? I know there is an argument that doctors may be persuaded to sign people off work when they aren’t actually unfit but, if the assessments were carried out by properly qualified medical professionals, working in accordance with the standards their qualifications have set for them, those would be found out. Instead, we get unqualified assessors working to a tick-box questionnaire, that isn’t remotely adequate to the job and has been acknowledged (as we saw on both Dispatches and Panorama) to be designed to get people off benefit.

There is no realism to the questions in the assessment, no anticipation of the kind of work that a person will be asked to do. There is no acknowledgement of the ways an employer would have to stretch to accommodate people with particular disabilities. Signing somebody as fit for work because they have one finger able to push a button does not make them attractive to an employer and merely sets them up to fail, possibly on a life-threatening scale because, as we know and I make no apologies for repeating, 32 people are dying every week because of the assessment system.

So what’s the alternative?

A better assessment would refer to the notes made by a patient’s GP, but would also include tests by a medical professional to ascertain the current condition of the disability – that it has been correctly reported.

It would then go on to cover the patients’ ability to carry out the sort of work that they might reasonably be likely to see on offer. Would they be able to manage it with a minimum of bother to an employer? That is the only way we will see sensible assessments coming in.

Atos is not fit to carry out these assessments in any case. The company had a bad reputation in France before it ever got a British contract and does not deserve to be making money from the taxpayer by condemning British people to the death that many of them have suffered.

These are the arguments I would wish to hear aired during the Parliamentary debate on the subject.

What would you like to hear?

Ashamed to be British as prejudice and bigotry stalk the streets

“Too many people in this country wallowing in their own self-pity who will find the slightest reason to avoid doing a day’s work. Get them out to work by force and take their money off them. I dont see why I should work so hard and pay so much tax to pay for the lazy and workshy to sit at home.”

There is so much wrong with this statement that I hardly know where to start. It is a genuine comment, made in response to a BBC news article, and describes the writer’s reaction to a report that the National Audit Office has discovered problems with the contract between the Department for Work and Pensions and Atos, the company hired to carry out work capability assessments on people claiming Employment and Support Allowance. The test works on a points-based system – 0 points means you are ‘fit for work’, while 15 or more mean you must receive benefit.

The report sparked a debate on the suitability of Atos to be running the assessment system, the value of the system itself, and also the honesty of claimants – the last group inspiring the headline at the top of this article.

Let’s recap a few facts: Less than 0.4 per cent of disability benefit claims are fraudulent. The Work Capability Assessment is designed to ensure that 87 per cent of disability benefit claimants are pushed onto Jobseekers Allowance within a year of taking the test (as proved by both Channel 4’s Dispatches and the BBC’s own Panorama). That’s 217.5 times as many claimants as are committing fraud and therefore must include some people who are entitled to the benefit. The Work Capability Assessment is a computer-based ‘tick-box’ assessment that is carried out by people who are not medical professionals; the opinion of a claimant’s own GP is, it seems, ignored.

Now let’s look at some of the comments. All emphases are my own:

“The fact is our benefits system is clogged to the hilt with benefit cheats and people avoiding work.” So 0.4 per cent amounts to being “clogged to the hilt”? I don’t think so.

“Unfortunately the “bad back brigade” who have fleeced the system over the many years have wrecked it for the genuine disabled. Very sad.” This person thinks they know exactly what claimants are saying, despite never having experienced an assessment. I doubt they have even spoken to a person who has taken one.

“The whole problem has been created by the vast majority of malingerers who think they are entitled to something for nothing.” Vast majority – less than one-two-hundredth of claimants is a vast majority in this person’s mind.

“If you’re genuine and unfit for work then the test will show it. Please don’t worry. However, you fraudsters out there who sponge off us hard working taxpayers: It’s not on, that you can sponge like you’ve been doing for so long. Go and get a job or create your own way of earning a living. If it wasn’t for you the country wouldn’t be in such a mess, most of our taxes are given to you lazy sods.” Where do I start with this one? Try this: Less than one per cent of tax money is spent on benefit payments for the sick and disabled (according to the Daily Mail).

“As someone who knows the WCA very well I can easily say that 90 per cent of the so-called disabled people claiming are nothing short of fraudsters. Start giving these fraudsters 10 years for their deception and see how many continue to claim. Those who are disabled and genuinely can’t work have nothing to worry about.” We’ll get to comments from those who are disabled and genuinely can’t work, a little later in this article. Remember the claim, though: They have nothing to worry about.

“I can name a dozen who COULD work but are claiming disability! In fact, I’m begining to wonder if I’m the only bloody one working in my postal code!!!! One scrounger is off of work with some wrist injury, but doesn’t stop him [doing] cash-in-hand jobs or being at pub. I thought Dave “Everyone deserves an holiday” Cameron was going to crack down on this? I see no evidence of it whatsoever…” A classic case of someone seeing only what they want to see?

“There are people out there who abuse the system at our expense. We all know of at least one, maybe more, such case…. I’m no medical expert but I know if someone’s on DLA and out driving a taxi or whatever then he/she’s a fraudster. They should be reported.” For the record, DLA (Disability Living Allowance) is an in-work benefit; it is intended to make it easier for disabled people to manage the extra expenses incurred by their disability and make it possible for them to have a job. This person is completely mistaken.

“So many people use ESA as a means to escape having to look for work. I see it every single day.” Oh! This is a good one. For information, only the support group of ESA claimants get the benefit without having to look for work; the work-related activity group receive the benefit for one year only, during which time they are expected to attend interviews and courses intended to make it possible for them to get a suitable job. After the year is up, they are taken of ESA and put on Jobseekers’ Allowance (which is cheaper for the government as it pays less money). Those in the support group aren’t expected to seek work because of the nature of their disability and the high likelihood that their condition is terminal – between January and August 2011, official figures show that 5,500 people in the support group lost their lives.

All right.

To balance these views, below are some comments from people with genuine experience of the system – claimants or those close to them. Before we get to them, let’s remind ourselves that the UK is experiencing a dramatic increase in violent hate crime against the disabled, as I have reported in a previous blog. Since 2009, these crimes have increased by 60 per cent nationwide; in my own police force area they multiplied fourfold between 2010 and 2011.

My belief is that government propoganda, coupled with hysterical reporting of so-called benefit scroungers in the right-wing press, has served to whip up hatred against this tiny section of society – those who are the most vulnerable and the least able to protect themselves. Divide and conquer has always been the Conservative way. They don’t want people to be angry at them, so they create another bogeyman for folk to hate instead. It’s a strategy that worked very well in Germany during the 1930s.

So how do the disabled react to claims that they are mostly fraudulent, lazy scroungers?

“Absolute rubbish. Do you know the medical records of all these people you claim are fraudulent? Or are you just taking a guess. The media sensationalise the 0.5 per cent of claims that are fraudulent, but what about the stories of the other 99.5 per cent? The propaganda is sickening.”

“Genuinely sick and disabled people are judged as fit for work and demonised by the Govt. Little wonder that fools abuse the sick and disabled folk who are ‘officially’ labelled as scroungers.”

Let’s see how Atos treats benefit claimants, shall we?

“Took my neighbour to a tribunal [I think they mean a Work Capability Assessment], member of tribunal helped me almost carry her in. Result…. fit for work! Well done Atos, you’ll get YOUR money.”

“My sister has MS, an auto-immune disease that varies in severity from day to day. On the days she’s mobile enough to attend an assessment, she’s told she’s fit to work, and her benefits get cut. On days she can barely move or see, she simply has her appointment rescheduled to when she is better. It’s a catch-22, and the stress of it has landed her back in hospital on more than one occasion.”

“My daughter-in-law’s father had an Atos medical, he is on morphine for a severe back condition that he has had surgery for, his pain management clinic say he is unemployable, guess what Atos say he is?”

“My brother is severly autistic. He has no speech, can’t read or write, severe learning difficulties, epilepsy, and stays in residential care. My mum got a phonecall demanding a phone interview with my brother to assess his fitness to work. They then sent a completely inappropiate form to fill out (adressed to my brother) asking about his fitness to work. Whole thing was an upsetting disgrace.”

“I have had the same debilitating disease for 29 years, got the full 15 points needed for the benefit at my first medical, then on the second they decided to give me 0. After an 8 month wait a Judge upheld my appeal against the 0 points. And now three months later the government want me to go through the same medical assesment again.”

“Before I’d ever heard of ATOS, I received a phone call from them at home one Friday evening at 8 o’clock. The person demanded that I give them my name, date of birth and National Insurance number. I said I wasn’t prepared to disclose any personal information to someone I didn’t know, whereupon I was told that, unless I did, they would suspend my benefits. I hung up. Shameful, but typical, of them.”

“I was on ESA because I have fibromyalgia, and am often in so much pain, I can hardly walk. I was ‘assessed’ and found to be capable of working. The letter informing me of this decision had been backdated 1 month, making it impossible for me to appeal the decision (within 1 month of the date at the top of the letter). There was no proof I got the letter late, though, so it was no good trying.”

“I have won my case at two tribunals and now I wait for a third. Once I one the first DWP really wanted me hence my third tribunal. Each tribunal takes approx 14months to happen. Life is very difficult during the wait costing me dearly healthwise. I had no income since April 30th this year. Atos always give me 0 points the judge has always given me max.”

The stress caused by the Atos/DWP treatment of claimants means that an average of 32 sick or disabled people are dying every week, while going through the assessment regime or the appeal process after being passed ‘fit for work’.

Now let’s see some genuine accounts of how disabled people are treated on the streets:

“I get abuse nearly every time I go into town because of my disability. It’s not even worth going to the supermarket anymore, I’d rather get somebody else to go for me.”

“Me and my husband have degenerating arthritis and several other medical conditions. I get abused and called ignorant because people don’t look where they are going and expect me to jump out of the way of their trolleys in the supermarket because I walk too slowly.”

“When [X] goes to the supermarket to buy a loaf of bread, he can be subjected to sly comments and in some cases threatening abuse, just because he is youngish and using a walking stick. These same people will go next door to the bank and put on a nice smile for the counter girl. He now goes out when it’s raining when few people are about. I’m ashamed to be British.”

Many have been put off claiming the benefits that the law says they should receive, because of the stigma attached to them – which is, of course, what our Tory-led government wants. The aim of the exercise, as I mentioned above, is to get as many people off benefit as possible. How they live thereafter is of no interest to the government; it just doesn’t want to pay people what they are entitled. And the plan is working. A huge proportion of the population is failing to claim benefits to which it is due. Here’s what some have to say:

“I have had my biggest relapse of a long-term condition in 20 years and have been off sick 5 months. I have not gone on to benefits yet for fear of being penalised as have read the horror stories on many health related blogs.”

“Before I reach retirement age I will not be able to work. I am, frankly, terrified of the world I might live in by then and cannot help feeling that the hope of some is that we die before we reach the wrong side of the balance sheet.”

“It’s a scary time to be a disabled/ill person; if the condition doesn’t kill you the government are trying to do it through stress and uncertainty.”

But most are unbowed, and have vowed to fight to the end:

“I started working when I was 13 carried on until my wife’s accident. I have paid in far more than I will ever get out. I object in the strongest possable terms to being called a scrounger and fraudulent,” wrote one.

And another pointed out: “90 per cent of cases are won at appeal if you take a specialist advisor to your appeal. 40 per cent are won if you go alone. Don’t give up.”

As was once declared next to an airbrushed picture of David Cameron, on hoardings across the country, “We can’t go on like this”. But people won’t vote for the most popular alternative – Labour – unless that party vows to put forward a fair and balanced assessment process for the sick and disabled, ending the sick-minded prejudice against the most vulnerable in society.

I say: As soon as Labour promises this, let’s have an election.