Home > Uncategorized > Brief response to Matthew d’Ancona’s Telegraph propaganda.

Brief response to Matthew d’Ancona’s Telegraph propaganda.


:- it has that veneer of thoughtfulness that the spin of compassionate conservatism, trying to put us in the mind-set that disability discrimination is bad.  Whilst it mentions Galloway, it says little about the “gaffs” of Boris or Currie about the people with disabilities.  As if somehow only the left are prejudiced…

Nor is there mention of people being assessed as fit for work, either through being placed in the WRAG, or sent onto JSA, subsequently dying.  However, the article neglects facts such as the WCA being sent for judicial review for discriminating against those with mental health issues; and generally being condemned as being unfit for purpose; with a dodgy contact that is not enforcing penalties. (see a round up).

It quietly sidesteps the numerous cases of behaviour that most would consider abusive and discriminatory , for example:



 “We live in an age in which the state is living well beyond its means, an age in which the only question is where cuts should fall and on what basis.”

:-  it repeats the mythology that we have overspent, but says little about the causes and assumes that the only remedy is to reduce the welfare bill.

1)      http://www.redpepper.org.uk/mythbuster-welfare-reform/

2)      http://www.redpepper.org.uk/countering-the-cuts-myths/

3)      http://skwalker1964.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/the-lie-of-unaffordability-the-foundations-of-the-welfare-state-and-the-real-structural-problems/

So there is no mention of

  • Tax avoidance
  • Economic impacts of printing money, sorry quantitative easing
  • Bailing out the banking sector, and the continuing evidence of banking corruption, that has not been addressed by reforms.
  • There is no historical evidence that austerity measures work (see Austerity has never worked, Ha-Joon Chang  guardian.co.uk, Monday 4 June 2012, and The wilful amnesia of Europe’s austerity debacle | Paul Krugman guardian.co.uk, 31 Jan 2012 )
  • The regressive nature of our tax system, and examination of how much it costs to achieve what is agreed as a generally decent standard of living.
  •  It also assumes that there is some kind of Economic Nirvana where there are many decent-paying jobs for the unemployed sick and disabled; with compassionate non-discriminatory employers.
  • It equates being put in the Work Related Activity group as being capable of working immediately.  To my knowledge this is neither the legal case, nor the absolute expectation that people will be in work immediately.  It is probably too early to assess what impact WRAG is going to have.
  • In turn, the system is self-ratifying if people find work it is off their own backs and own talents, and the forward thinking of the new employer.  It is NOT due to the new system.  It is NOT due to a few sessions down the job centre.  If it doesn’t work it is because as Grayling and The Sun like to say, they are all shirkers, you know these people whose GP has said can’t work  and ATOS have said COULD work.

“The Games shatter the sinister, cod-Freudian notion that biology is destiny: a human being is no worse, or better, because he lacks a limb, or is blind, or has cerebral palsy.”

“Your” chosen private company for assessing such people has its employees semi-publicly declaring their clients as parasites and down-and-outs, leaving people in car parks, or making them crawl across the floor.  Black Triangle have noted that the WCA approach is based on  the biopsychosocial model, which even a cursory reading of Wikipedia will suggest it has not been used to validate any scientific models.  It might have appeal, and interest as a theory, but has little evidence for or against it.  Undoubtedly, illness and disability embrace a complex set of physical, psychological, social, cultural and technological factors, but it is not just an issue of “bucking up your ideas.”  Furthermore, the WCA as it stands bears little relationship to any of the biopsychosocial model’s writings.   So it is used for justification and politics, not generation of the tests.

2|) it has the logical paradox that

A) WCA was introduced by Labour, and

B)  WCA / ESA / PIP etx stands as a shining example of new thinking by the coalition.

“But it does show that the real choice for a governing party is not between mice and men. It is between adolescents and grown-ups”

:- Any government populated by ex Bullingdon members who have mostly worked in politics after Private Education and Oxbridge hardly strikes me as adult personality types.

:-Mice are complaining heavily about being compared to politicians

:-There is no evidence that Grayling is decent.  There has been provides no counter measures to a number of issues Johnny Void raised in his bio of him.  Are we to assume that as a fellow Oxbridge history graduate, the old boy must be a good egg.  But claiming £100K  in expenses rather than travelling 17-18 miles home isn’t a good start.

One assumes that JV has not received notification of legal action that the claims are currently uncontested

“In discussions behind the scenes, Grayling has warned consistently of the difficulty intrinsic to shifting from one benefit culture to another and the natural anxieties that such reform provokes in claimants – anxieties that can be overcome, but only with guidance and sensitivity. To take a simple example: Grayling inherited a system from Labour where those claimants were summoned to assessment by a computer-generated DWP letter; now, they are telephoned.”

1)      Reporting on discussions behind the scenes is not evidence.  Expressing reform as “Tough Love” aside from the sadomasochistic overtones is deeply patronising from someone who has not faced any real censure for dodgy expenses, and systematic lies about data (from Violent crime to Fraudulent benefits).

2)      Why is a phone call regarded as compassionate when a letter is not?  My mental health issues make dealing with phone calls from strangers extremely distressing.  Even worse is a call with no message left from a number listed as being ATOS.  The WCA nearly sent me back over the edge and I put my family on “Self harm or worse” alert.  This was not a process that filled me an overwhelming sense that I was being cared for and supported.

3)      Grayling has allowed numerous factually inaccurate press releases from the DWP and has consistently failed to reprimand the right wing press for publishing slews of articles based on spurious data.  Given the close relationship between the Tory party and the right wing press (i.e., country suppers and employing their ex-editors, however tarnished by scandal they are) I am sure something could have been said.

4)      He has also consistently used anecdotal evidence, which a) violates the privacy of the person concerned; and b) is not really the basis for policy.

See   Hansard Column 291WH –

Oh, and here – Question 17 –


Oh, and look – seems he used the same woman on a radio interview he did too –

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2124737/The-Coalition-want-people-mental-health-issues-working-And-work-then.html  [i]


“It is certainly true that some cuts to the welfare system have been driven by the deficit reduction programme. How could it be otherwise?”

Shows, to my mind, an author with little imagination about how to deal with issues.  But also conflicts with the view expressed that “But the ESA is emphatically not subject to Treasury targets:”

There is also a little evidence against this claim.  The channel 4 documentary showed that ATOS is behaving as if there are targets.  Without publishing the contract, nothing can yet be said in objective terms. However, why is a private company working against unapproved targets?  What official investigation have been started or reprimands have been issued.  If there are no targets, and the contract demonstrates this, ATOS are tarnishing the reputation of Grayling and the DWP, by suggesting that DWP do have them.

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