Not Worthy of the Honour

On Friday the world awoke to leaks about the Queen’s New Years honours list.  Of all the people on this list, one name caught my eye.  Iain Duncan Smith is to be knighted.  I have to admit my jaw dropped.  I don’t know why I am surprised.  I suppose he is to be knighted to services to unlawful government sanctioned deaths.  Extermination of the poor and disabled.

 I have no printable words to describe my feeling and those of my colleagues and friends across the United Kingdom. I know he is probably responsible for my PTSD which started once I applied for help to enable me to stay in work.  DLA was, so I thought, there to help me when I started to experience the detrimental effects of my hidden disability. Then the DWP repossessed my Motability car due to their mistake, I might add.

 However, as tragic as this was for me, at least I was alive and could mitigate against it. The whole process left me with recurring PTSD every time the DWP contacts me. I believe giving IDS a knighthood is a kick in the teeth to every disabled person who has applied for benefits. Every Tory MP who has supported his savage regime is equally culpable in the damage done to so many of us.

The only recognition I would want for this cruel man is to recognise him as being responsible for for the deaths of 120,000 people. He led the the political choice of austerity and turned it in to an opportunity to recoup money lost by bankers, through cuts to services like social care and benefits such as Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit. 

Let him revel in this “honour” for as long as he holds it.  I am going to work with others to ensure when a Labour government is elected, he is tried for crimes against disabled people, the poor and disadvantaged. His title should be withdrawn.

At this moment in time, our government is rogue. The next several years will take all our courage and then some.  We need to be looking at all the methods we can use to bring the government to heel. Surely there should be more scrutiny of such honours? This award makes a mockery of the honours system. Disabled people are citizens too. We have been continuously attacked for having the audacity to be born with or having acquired an illness or impairment which left us to be victims of political choice.

I want IDS to be on notice, do not mistake weakness for helplessness. Those who followed us his wake, bear responsibility too, Crabbe, Green, Gauke, McVey and Rudd should also be held accountable. John Pring from DNS has made an excellent argument.

 Get some rest whilst you can comrades, for the New Year will be the start of the fightback. It will need every one of us. Either by supporting those who are struggling or by taking the fight directly back to the Tory government. A fight for our very lives, for our rights. We need to do everything we can to stop this government eroding our liberty and our dignity.

The Proof is in the Pudding

That was premise of The Great British Bake off and many a proud cook. The same could be said for this government’s treatment of disabled people.  When Marsha De Cordova MP asked her Parliamentary Question; (quoted directly from the website

NHS survey data show that, under the Conservatives, 43% of those in receipt of ESA have attempted suicide. Leading academics, disabled people’s organisations and clinicians have raised concerns that the work capability assessment is causing a mental health crisis.”

The WCA is not fit for the 21st century—it is outdated and is causing preventable harm—so I ask the Minister: is it not time that the Government scrap the WCA that is pushing so many people to suicide?”

It was shocking to hear the statistic and it will fuel the anger felt across the country. 43% of people in receipt of ESA have been so utterly devastated that they wanted to die. It leads you to wonder how many have succeeded?

Unfortunately, when it came time for her response, Sally Newton, Minister responsible for the DWP, first blamed A past Labour government for instituting the WCA in 2008. Followed by the fact that they, the Tories have been following independent advice to and try reform it, for 11 years.

Can you imagine a manager in a private company seeing that 43% of a company’s product was bursting into flames when it was plugged in then ordering a step up in production?  They would be more likely to stop production followed by the person in charge being put on gardening leave and speed dialing their law firm. However, this kind ridiculous response has become standard policy from the current government:

Our chief medical officer, Professor Gina Radford, has made it absolutely clear that the NHS data shows there is no causal link between applying for benefits and people tragically taking their lives.

There it was, the standard “oh no it isn’t” response in a debate. There are many people who have told ministers what is happening.  DPAC (Disabled People against the Cuts), ROFA (Regain Our Futures Alliance), and the UN amongst many, many others. The government chooses not to listen.

The darker reality of this statement is that the current government is utterly devoid of compassion. 5% of lives lost to suicide is too many. To add insult to injury, they allowed the decimation of mental health services so there is little help out there for those who are severely depressed or suicidal.

Unfortunately, they don’t sell compassion on eBay or we all might chip in to buy some and send a true care package to Number 10. 

Kathy Bole Co-Vice Chair
First published 17th October 2018

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