Philip Daves, Conservative MP for (to that constituency’s great embarrassment) Shipley: With this history, he should be the last person the Daily Mail asks to justify Coalition policy on the disabled.
Where, exactly, is the “fury” that the Daily Mail wants us to believe has been sparked by the UN’s decision to investigate breaches of human rights by the Coalition government?
Nowhere, apart from at the Daily Mail and the Coalition government!
The paper reported yesterday (correctly) that the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has launched a formal investigation into whether the UK’s Coalition Conservative and Liberal Democrat government has committed “grave or systemic violations” of the rights of disabled people.
It then went right off the rails by adding that Conservative MPs had branded the investigation as “politically motivated”, saying this country’s record on help for disabled people was among the best in the world. Take particular note of the word “was”.
“These people at the UN are idiots,” said Mr Davies, who is an imbecile. Nobody should accept his word on anything. The people of his Shipley constituency must be bitterly embarrassed that they ever elected him.
In fact, the paper is not wrong in saying the UK’s record was very good, as long as it qualifies that remark by adding “until the general election of 2010”. After then, disability policy went pear-shaped in a big way.
Even the box-out in yesterday’s article – which, one must presume, is intended to show how well the government is treating the disabled – shot itself in the foot.
“The disability living allowance (DLA)… has now been replaced by the personal independence payment (PIP),” it states. “In 2012, there were over 3 million DLA claimants in the UK, but the Government estimates 600,000 fewer disabled people will qualify for PIP by 2018.”
Take note of the wording; the paper accepts that the people losing benefit are disabled. DLA and PIP are intended to provide support for the disabled in their daily lives (including work), so this passage is an admission that the government is cutting disabled people off from the support they need.
Discussing the Work Capability Assessment “for those claiming Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Income Support”, the box-out comes seriously unstuck in its attempt to use – shall we say – diplomatic language to disguise what is happening.
“Almost two million people were assessed by health workers” it states. These people were not doctors – they were “health workers”. In fact, it turns out that these so-called medical professionals were almost entirely unqualified to confirm or deny the conditions of the people they were examining; their job was to put simple “yes” or “no” answers in a computer-based tick-box system devised by a private insurance company called Unum, for the purpose of denying benefit to as many people as possible.
“Those ruled unfit for work were then moved onto the new Employment and Support Allowance and were given another exam, again using a points-based system, to decide how much support they qualified for,” the box-out added. This is completely inaccurate, of course. People on the old benefits received just one WCA, to determine whether the government would allow them to receive ESA. They were, however, forced to undergo reassessment at uneven intervals thereafter, in a form of government-sponsored psychological torture.
The sheer volume of error caused by the system was such that no less than 10,600 claimants died between January and November 2011. We have no data on fatalities since then because the cowards in the Coalition government have refused to release them. In addition, the volume of appeals against WCA decisions skyrocketed – even after some of those who lodged proceedings died due to the stress of going through a lengthy procedure while having to survive on nothing but fresh air and the kindness of others.
In response, the government has changed the rules in order to make it harder for people to appeal.
Is this the kind of treatment that your government wants you to think is among the “best in the world”?
The main article also sideswipes UN special rapporteur for housing Raquel Rolnik, although a paragraph rehashing the abusive nickname ‘Brazil Nut’, coined by the Mail a few months ago, appears to have been removed from the web version.
It merely states that she “sparked a furious reaction from Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith after she criticised the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax'”. He wasn’t the only one. Grant Shapps had a few things to say about it too – and both of them were slapped down hard by her response, which demonstrated very clearly that their information was wrong and hers was accurate.
This one is particularly revealing about the Tory reaction to Ms Rolnik’s visit.
Here is information that shows Ms Rolnik was right and the Tories – and the papers supporting them – were wrong.
Finally, here is an article about the Mail‘s response to the UN poverty ambassadors who said Coalition welfare changes may breach the UK’s international treaty obligations to the poor.
Put it all together and there’s no reason at all to pay any attention to the Daily Mail or its coterie of Tory rent-a-quotes.
Samuel Miller should be known to all those of you who have followed the plight of the sick and disabled under the Coalition government.
He has written the following comment, which Wordpress seems keen to deny with an ‘Invalid security token’ warning:
“The Daily Mail’s fury at the UN’s inquiry into disability rights violations is predictable and frankly feigned. An initial analysis of its published news stories reveals that the tabloid has, for the most part, willfully ignored the welfare crisis for Britain’s sick and disabled people and has paid scant attention to the deaths associated with the draconian welfare reforms.
“As an experiment, take the names from this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=LmTI3NETGGs) and insert them into the site search of the Daily Mail, filtering by ‘most recent’, ‘oldest’, and ‘relevance’. You’ll easily find Stephanie Bottrill (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?sel=site&searchPhrase=stephanie+bottrill ), but be hard-pressed to locate other deceased individuals, such as Craig Monk (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2117718/British-people-committing-suicide-escape-poverty-Is-State-wants.html; thanks largely to the concern of journalist Sonia Poulton).
“Other welfare deaths covered by the Daily Mail include only Jacqueline Harris (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513284/Half-blind-woman-crippled-pain-killed-benefits-bosses-stopped-disability-payments–following-TWO-MINUTE-assessment.html), and Mark Wood (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2570144/Aspergers-sufferer-phobia-food-dead-judged-fit-work-benefits-cut.html)—the death of David Clapson, a diabetic former soldier, recently received coverage by both The Mirror and The Guardian, but was ignored by the Daily Mail.
“I wish to commend you for your tireless efforts and support, Mike.”
Thank you for the kind words, Samuel.
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