Tuesday 18 December 2012

The Malefic ConDems' Idealogical War on Welfare

This is a personal account of my journey from inert citizen to politicised activist.

In whose name?

[Video description: Kaliya Franklin's speech - you may know her better as Bendy Girl; © Graeme Lamb Media via Youtube.]

"Over two hundred people rallied in Manchester’s Albert Square on Saturday in opposition to government cuts to support for disabled people. Similar demonstrations were held across the country as part of a national day of action called for by the Hardest Hit campaign." (Manchester Mule)

I was one of those two hundred or so people freezing in the Mancunian chill & damp on Saturday 22nd October 2011. At forty-seven I was attending my first ever political rally and in a wheelchair to boot. The evil done and which continues to be done in the name of and at the behest of the Conservatives and their lackeys, the misnamed Liberal Democrats, via the unconscionable wraiths in the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) and Office for Disability Issues (ODI) has had and is having dire consequences that ultimately will touch most families. Disabled people are committing suicide, attempting suicide, harming themselves, starving, freezing, deteriorating because of withdrawal of all or some benefits and/or support or even just from the threat of it. And this in twenty-first century Britain - I can no longer bring myself to use the term Great Britain! I have written elsewhere about the similarities between what is happening in the UK and what occurred in fascist Germany (Nazi Treatment of Disabled). I was asked this past week by a fellow-sufferer where on a scale of 0-10 I thought we are in respect to a potential genocide; I responded about 1934.

[Image description: the author in wheelchair, helper & a fellow activist behind being interviewed by reporter from Manchester Mule (manchestermule.com).]

On Tuesday the twenty-eighth of August 2012 I went on my second ever political demonstration, this time outside the offices of ATOS in Manchester. This inevitably required the storing of spoons and the expense of taxi fares for the eighteen mile round-trip from and to my home. Thankfully I did not have to do much self-wheeling as a fellow activist loaned me his strapping son for the occasion.

My comments are quoted several times in this Manchester Mule article (q.v.), in this article (q.v.) by Black Triangle (blacktrianglecampaign.organd in this article (q.v.) from the very personable and witty Lipstick Socialist (lipsticksocialist.wordpress.com). I personally am non-partisan but have voted throughout my life for candidates belonging to the as was Social Democratic Party (SDP), the as was Liberal Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, the Green Party or independents. I would have been a Macmillan-type Conservative, but Mrs. Thatcher and the Tories lurch to the right repulsed me, as did the Labour Party's concomitant destructive and unappealing in-fighting. I am a liberal with a lower-case ell. This means I am open-minded. I want to see the evidence and judge for myself. The evidence that has been accumulating under the current coalition government's duplicitous austerity drive is one of harm, destitution and in some cases death.

[Image description: the author holding a placard which reads, "32 die a week after failing test for new incapacity benefit [ESA]."]

Since the demonstration the figure of thirty-two deaths per week occurring within six weeks of the notorious work capability assessments (WCA), the DWP's own earlier figure, has been revised upwards to more than seventy per week (q.v.) per Disabled People Against Cuts (dpac.uk.net) at the end of November 2012!

Not in my name!

No-one in power it seems is going to stand up for disabled folk. I have chatted (q.v.) with the president of the LibDems, Tim Farron, and asked a direct question (q.v.) in person of the leader of the opposition and the Labour Party, Ed Miliband. Neither of them was willing to make comments in support of disabled and/or chronically sick people. Neo-liberalism or neo-capitalism holds sway amongst all major parties. The weak are left to fend for ourselves. And so, I have become a sort of activist: I tweet & retweet; I sign & share petitions; I facebook news items; I blog about our troubles.

And now I am actually directly involved in the WoWPetition, against this phony war on welfare, or social security as it used to be more aptly called. I have paid tens of thousands in taxes and national insurance contributions on the understanding that the State would support me if my circumstances became straitened. Such has occurred for me and many, many others. And now the State has unilaterally pulled out of the contract despite having taken the dues. If they were an insurance company they could have been sued via the courts. Unfortunately courts in England tend to side with governments, so it is unlikely we could seek redress there. And, in any case, any such action would take years, in which time thousands more are likely to suffer and many more die.

The WoWPetition website, wowpetition.com, and the attendant forum, wowpetitionforum.co.uk, will over the coming days and weeks provide facts & figures, true tales of disabled and/or chronically sick folk and much more besides. Please visit them if one requires more information. To join in with conversations:
on Twitter @WOWpetition & @WOWpetitionchat; or,
on Facebook WOWpetition.

Join my name!

Whatever, I hope each and every reader will sign the WoWPetition either via the official website (click link above) or here. If you do sign, I should greatly appreciate if one would add a comment below to that effect.



  1. I have signed.I attended the rally in Nottingham on the same day as you.I have not been on a demonstration of any sort since the early '80's as a student when it was almost compulsory!I am not disabled/sick myself,my wife happens to be.I do not want to spend my time by fighting against my own Government and am sickened that I feel I have to.What I thought had been hard won consensual givens are being ripped up and with a usage of language which should not be in any part of reasoned debate.WE will happen to be OK,many others will not-we must fight for decency.

    1. Thanks for signing, Adrian, and also for your comment. I also have that sense of shock at the sudden removal of all protections. It just demonstrates how feeble democracy really is and why we must always be vigilant.

  2. Lots of figures are given here about deaths of people, it seems linked to the removal of benefits, can substantiating facts be given.

    I am as disturbed as the next person regarding such potential outcome, and if is the true picture what measures can be put in place to protect citizens from such.

    It is fine comparing the Nazi's to this current Government, if you wish but it does not resolve the conditions under which many seem to live.

    I think this system is moving to a US style system, and it seems Britain is no longer a compassionate society to the degree it once was. What I saw of the US was very harsh I feel, and would hate to see similar here today. 'Welfare to Work', is a US phrase and we see a lot of that used too, in fact along with the term 'welfare', not so common here.

    1. What do you need to know tactictaylor: how 'substantiating' does a fact gotta be for you to believe the harsh reality that roughly 32 people/week are ending their lives over this stuff?
      You a journalist by any chance?

      What measures? None but our ever-growing resistance movement it seems

  3. i have signed Sir. I live with both physical and mental health challenges ( serious understatement) and I look after my five yr old daughter somehow. Without the seven meds i have to take each day, I would be dead
    Why does the govt want to kill us?