Saturday, 22 October 2011

Hardest Hit protests Today.

Today, up and down the country, sick and disabled people will be taking to the streets to raise awareness of the issues facing them in a series of "Hardest Hit" events.

After the brilliant success of the previous march in May, do please try to get along to your nearest rally. It was the largest protest of sick and disabled people in UK history.

Details of your local protest can be found here

And if you can't actually attend physically, there are lots of tips and suggestions here

Do please try to get along. Whether you are unwell, disabled or simply an able-bodied supporter, horrified by cuts that are leaving people terrified and desperate, please show your support.

For anyone who might be interested, I will be on Radio 5 Live tonight at 11pm discussing the events and the wider issues that make them necessary. It's a call-in show, so if you want to join the debate, I'd love to hear from you.


  1. Will be there, even though i fear it will make no difference what so ever.

    Just to add has anyone else had a letter from motabillity regarding a car if you are on higher rate, i find it strange that the DWP passed on my details to them in first place

  2. Sue, I'm expecting they're going to wheel in some idiot from a Right-wing 'libertarian' think-tank in for 'balance' reasons. If it's Matthew Sinclair and he pulls the canard out about there being a second PIP consultation, call him a liar because there isn't one. If they try fobbing you on the spending ("the government are spending more/the same"), point out the real-world costs of cutting projected spending. They either need to boot people off or deny new claims. Either way perfectly legitimate claimants in desperate circumstances are made to suffer.

    Also try to sneak in that after three years, more than half of ESA claimants are still in the Assessment Phase. I can't seem to get anyone to listen.

  3. Mason Dixon, Autistic - How odd that you should suggest Mr Sinclair, cos I had a feeling it would be him too.

    You're right, they've briefed me and there will be an anti-welfare raver.

    Say WHAT about the 3 years???? I thought it was a 13 week assessment period? Where did you get that from? More than HALF?????

  4. Ask who ever it is specifically, what their experience of disability is. Question their whole reason for being there and emphasise that it has nothing to do with their almost certainly non-existent experience of disability.

    And yeah I been banging on about the ESA statistics for months but can't get the Guardian, BBC or well anyone to take a look.

    This is the DWP data in a time series by phase of claim:

    The specific data only goes back to February 2010, I don't know if the DWP only started recording it then or if they had only just decided to start publishing it, but you can look at the duration of claims and phases for each of the quarterly dates that the data is available and see that there are lots of people in the 6-12 month brackets in the Assessment Phase and the 1-2 year bracket and even eight-thousand people in the 2-5 year bracket.

    The proportions are the same for each quarterly date, but here is the latest which is February 2011:

    This was the last big post I did about it with graphs in August:

    and a follow-up for when the February data became available:

    You'll notice how these figures differ from what the DWP press releases said about people 'yet to be assessed'. They can only be both true if many in the Assessment Phase have in fact had at least one assessment already and will be assessed again. That's suspicious because Atos are paid per assessment.

    This was made even more confusing when a Freedom Of Information request revealed that Atos have actually been doing less assessments this year. Since the IB-ESA transition started, they were predicted to increase their caseload to 11,000 assessments per week. Instead it's closer to 11,000 per month.

    It means there is either a major fraud happening or the system is broken beyond what even Malcolm Harrington or the government are prepared to say.

  5. More on the possible canards the 'balance' person will try to put out.

    If they keep trying to change the subject to the 'need to cut the deficit', point out that disabled peoples needs are not an expenditure that can be cut: someone MUST pay, the balance can only be shifted. Shifting the balance from the welfare bill means shifting it to disabled people. Are disabled people better able to afford it than the Treasury?

    You could also mention that these benefits were designed to be cost-saving anyway; it costs less to give ESA and DLA to a person every week than it does to keep them in a residential care unit or hospital for a single day.

    The needs do not go away because the government wants to make savings.

  6. I'm not much of a rhetorician but if you bring up the ESA figures they'd be best phrased as:

    "According to the latest publicly available data, more than eight-thousand people have been in the Assessment Phase for ESA for over two years, fifty-thousand for between one and two years and sixty-five-thousand between six months to a year. Taken together with new claimants this adds up to just over half of ESA claimants still being in the Assessment Phase yet ESA was introduced three years ago".

    That's accurate and emphasises the numbers. Contrasted with the DWP press releases, it is also representative of the way the government has said things which are completely at odds with the evidence and reality for the last year.

  7. Sue, good luck for tonight, we'll be listening, and you'll be a match for whoever is fetched up 'against' you, no problem. Just back from the event in Norwich, and having a glass or two of vino. Quite a day, good turn out, passions running high, as well they might. One person in particular who made an impression upon me - a nice middle-aged lady with MS, who just mentioned ( in a matter of fact kind of way ) that she may well look at suicide as an option if things continued to go the government's way. And she meant it. How chilling is that? What the hell kind of people do we have at Westminster these days, when too many people are saying stuff like that?

  8. I do not know if it will be used in an attempt to show that fraud is rife in DLA claims, which we all know is extremely low but the general public does not, but today of all days the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph are carrying a story about changes to the Motability Scheme which is intended to reduce misuse and remove high-performance cars from the list available through Motability, the press release the stories are based on can be found on the Motability website.

    In response to Anonymous @11.53, I too received a letter, etc. in the post today from Motability, with so much uncertainty about the future of DLA/PIP I would be surprised if they get many expressions of interest.

  9. Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has previously said "genuinely" disabled people have "nothing to fear" from the proposed welfare reforms.

    Yes but there is a big problem here in that IDS is not doing the reviewing process but some other very extreme right wing company called ATOS who are just in the business for financial gain at all costs irrespective of how many life's are screwed up or deaths in the process a company that is all to powerful and so powerful that it has the power to kill you with mental torment that just goes on and on and on until you take your own life

    Any discussions on the radio need to focus on that element only it's the brutality that i have lived under that is wrong and still live under and have always lived under

    I'm lucky or unlucky as I'm not well enough to attend today's rally as the DWP have banned me from that sort of thing but in a way I'm lucky that I've not attended as the stress of the day would have killed me that i do know

    You need to focus sue on any radio broadcast of the mental torture that the sick and disabled have to go through each time a brown envelope drops through the door wondering if their house is going to be kicked in at any time or the threats that you get on the phone i have lived it with a body to prove it and at the end of the day i know i have to keep on fighting along with my care worker

    I have been fighting for over 30 years the DWP and still have 12 years to go before my official retirement so in all i will have done the same as the Libyan people and that to have lived under 42 years of repression

    I think if the Libyans have done 42 years of repression i think they are the most remarkable people in the world 42 years is a hell of a long time I'm struggling badly at just 30 years with the DWP

    If i do make out to 42 years i think the queen should give me a knighthood as i will as sure as hell have deserved it

    Good luck sue with your broadcast :)

  10. I agree fully with all above. I have been listening to Radio 5 it’s like a gladiator arena Good luck Sue ;))

  11. Guys they cancelled!! If you waited up, I'm so sorry.

  12. I'm not at all surprised sue i hope they gave you a valid reason for doing so

  13. Sue Marsh -did they give a reason?

  14. I'm always up at that time anyway. Seems to me that our protest was overshadowed by St Pauls being closed.

    What annoyed me the most after listening to the show anyway was that these people didn't really seem to know why they were there. I think probably there is a general disillusionment but once again that means we are pushed aside.

    Next time we should occupy a famous place of worship and look all innocent and surprised when we get attention.

  15. Sue tweeted earlier that the BBC said developments in the OccupyLSX news crack-pipe had pushed the slot she was going to be in off the schedule. The vital developments were: they set up another camp about a mile away and there has been a break-down in communication with St Paul's and the occupation. Thrilling stuff. Yawn.

    They always have this excuse where they say they have to go with 'what's in the news', never realising that *they* decide what the news is. The Occupy Movement has been around for a month now, it will be here for a little or a lot longer, it isn't going anywhere. But no, the BBC can't let go of just twenty minutes to cover a nationwide protest by disabled people that followed the unprecedented one a few months ago which they also barely covered.

  16. Yes it was overshadowed but its far more complex than that in many ways these protests are interconnected with our own we need each other. There are vested undermining interests at work and the ever present control “jump…how high” commands. The media twin agenda was to focus on the closure of St Paul’s and to portray the protesters as “having no clear list of demands” and to blame for closing St Paul’s however, for example it was later established that the ten members of St Paul’s committee who made the decision to close are not religious at all but are drawn from the ranks of big business and bankers surprised? Furthermore, the London fire dept. wrote in to state there was in fact no fire hazard and they were happy so things are not always what they seem. But then we should know that from our own experiences. There was a lady caller who read the Daily M….oh I give up ;)

  17. That's a real shame, was looking forward to you wiping the floor with whatever right-wing mouthpiece they fronted up.

    I have read your entire blog, all of it and I reckon you would have destroyed any argument they put up.

    Seems like the politicians are at the "fight you" stage, but the BBC are still at the "ignore you" stage.

    They can't hide from this story forever....

  18. Further to my earlier comments, having seen this article: is possible that the huge numbers of ESA claimants in the Assessment Group are people who appealed their decision and because it is taking so long to resolve for them, they create a strong statistical signature. This does at least point the evidence away from fraud(a huge headache for me if it were true) and more towards a system more shambolic than anyone will admit.

  19. The abuse and corruption appears to be everywhere and on all levels from top to bottom can anyone name anything that’s not? Like a dirty house every now and then its needs a complete spring clean or germs will spread. Can you imagine taking undercover spy work to the level were you get married and have children with one of the members you are spying on and years later your partner discovers this deception?
    Mark Kennedy was a long-haired, tattoo-covered undercover police officer who had been living for six years as an environmental activist. But the covert agent with a long-term activist girlfriend was about to set in train a chain of events that would result in one of the most intriguing scandals in policing history.
    The accusation that police deliberately subverted the judicial process, and at worst sanctioned perjury, prompted outrage among lawyers and parts of the judiciary and led to the last-minute postponement of a major report into undercover policing of protests by the newly appointed commissioner of the Metropolitan police, Bernard Hogan-Howe.

  20. Mason - I did check with a wonk friend and he seemed to think it correlated with how many go to appeal.

  21. Having read a lot more this morning, all I can get is conflicting reports.

    From what I gather, the Cathedral's representative from the church is just one person in a 10 person committee who took the decision to close down the cathedral. IF this is true, then blaming it solely on the church is unfair. It also begs the question of who the other 9 are, who they are affiliated to and what their interests may be.

    Regarding the health and safety reason given for closing the church: the two opposite sides give two very different stories.
    The protesters say that they have worked with the fire service, complied all their orders and that as far as they know they are happy that there is not a breach of safety.
    The spokesman for the Cathedral on the other hand says that they received "strong advice" that it was unsafe. Was this from the fire service?? Did they actually say they should close down? I have to say I find the language used ambiguous and more worthy of a politician than the church.

    I don't think I will get any further answers though. It would probably take me phoning up the fire brigade: "please sir, can you tell me in your own words what you told St Paul's?". :P

    As for the protest itself, I have supported it from the beginning even if it does not appear to have any clear goals. Just showing that people are not happy with the way things are to the point that they are willing to take to the streets is a major thing!

    I am just very disappointed that it overshadowed our own clear cut protest yesterday. But as some pointed out, that is hardly the protesters' fault. The media choose what to report on. And as we have seen time and time again this year, disability is not one of them.

  22. What is a genuine case for the DWP that needs to be established abouve all things i keep hearing genuine people will be looked after but who is genuine

  23. The way the conservatives see this type of action is that if you can go out to a function irrespective of what that function is then your fit for work and David Cameron /IDS wont budge from that view point

    If say a disabled person were to set fire to himself like the guy did in Tunisia to make a point that was applauded worldwide and by David Cameron then the government would be under more focus from the BBC etc so yes that would help but only in the short term as David Cameron mindset is you cant go out and if you do it should be to work ?

    It's the mindset of values that David Cameron has which are wrong and they cant change as that is his viewpoint you cant change peoples beliefs

    The church in general at bishop level will not support the sick and disabled and the likes of Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams visit to see Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe on human rights issues was not successful as Robert Mugabe knows full well that the human rights of the sick and disabled people in the uk are in disarray so why should he Robert Mugabe be any different ?

  24. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and David Cameron are abusers of those that are to weak to fight back and will abuse anyone via their governments administration to either control someone life in the case of myself or destroy someone life in the case of someone mentally unwell

    Their should be no if's or buts the damage being done to the sick and disabled be it on a physical level or a mental level should be stopped

    We have only just got rid of one mad man in Gaddafi eairler in the year we disposed of the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt but we still have some way to go with Yemen and certain other Arab/African countries to go along with David Cameron and co

    Getting rid of all of these mad people throughout history is and has been a long process will we ever achieve it i hear you say ?

    Probably not as the people that get involved in politics are or have in one way or another a mental undisclosed disorder which only shows itself when they actually have the power over others

    Normal people with normal ways of thinking just do their best for others as and when needed but their are those who think they could do better if they could get the ultimate power and become the prime minister these people are always a failure and have been in most countries worldwide

    David Cameron will fail and that is certain and the country will rejoice just as the peole in Libya have done

    David Cameron represent a very sinister type of politician and it's anyone guess as to how the future will unfold

    For me i haven't had a life over the past 30 years as such so I'm not missing anything and that's never going to change for me anyhow
    There is nothing i need or wont in financial terms but if i can get piece of mind for all the sick and disabled then yes that's a goal worth aiming for

  25. It was a good trick to have the protesters be made to go St Pauls as it diverted attention from the REAL point to one of focusing on a national building.
    The occupy movement has grown worldwide and now its being stamped on by the powers that be in the great land of the free that is the USA ...not long before it gets the same here.The govt doesnt want people to know about Occupy or any other protest wether that be a disability or any other thats why it has not recieved more news coverage.Camping out where they tell you is not a protest its state organised patronization....