Monday, 31 October 2011

We all know someone who could work but doesn't - Don't we?

Well, there's that Jim at number 27. Have you seen his garden?? Out there all weathers he is. It's like the bleedin Chelsea Flower Show. Now you can't tell me he couldn't work? 

Jim is 62. He has epilepsy. He was born with it and back in the 50s, most people still thought you were possessed or evil if they saw you having a fit. His mother never used to take him out for fear he would have a seizure in public. He's never been able to drive. He gets "warnings" before the 4 or 5 seizures a week he has, allowing him to get inside to somewhere safe. No-one ever sees his disability - he wouldn't dream of talking about it with a neighbour.

He still never leaves his home. The shame he grew up with never really left him. His garden is his life. It gives him joy and purpose. Somewhere beautiful where he never feels lonely or ashamed.

It's just got ridiculous! There's this girl in our village - never done a day's work in her life....and she jogs!! Hours she runs up and down with those earplugs in, round the village, out on the quiet country roads, sometimes she goes out in the morning and she runs til lunchtime!! Why should she get my hard-earned tax money just to do nothing?

Laura is 26. From the age of 6, both her uncle and his friend used to sexually assault her. She never told anyone, they said they would do it to her brother if she did. As she grew up she became more and more withdrawn. Sometimes they hurt her physically and she had to try to hide the bruises away.

She never made any friends and ran away from home when she was 15. Living on the streets, people took advantage of her and she soon became a prostitute with a crack habit.

At 18, she managed to get a place in a hospice and with the amazing help of mental health workers, counsellors and a safe environment, she got clean. She moved away, moved to a nice safe village, kept working on her past and found solace in running. All the time she runs, music pounding in her ears, she can forget. She feels free and alive.

She has managed to start volunteering in a local centre working with other young people who've been through what she went through and hopes that one day, she might be able to make a career of it.

She has never spoken to any of her neighbours, she's still too damaged, and she certainly wouldn't tell them about her childhood.

Do you remember Doreen? She never stops that woman, out at work all hours, looking after the kids, running em here and there. And all her husband ever does is lie around on the sofa watching daytime TV! 16 years it is since he worked! The man must have no shame. 

Karl served in the army for years. He lost many good friends. One night, just after midnight, he and his men were taking cover behind an old burnt out coach. A bomb suddenly exploded and every last man but him got blown to pieces. He was taken away and held for days with little food and light. They questioned him at gunpoint until he soiled himself, then left him sitting in the mess. He saw women raped and children left to die at the side of the road, their eyes pleading with him as he marched past.

Since then, he's suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He has terrible periods of depression, flashbacks, sweats and night terrors. He can't sleep and when he does he wakes up screaming. He barely pays attention to his family, and though the television might be on, he never sees the programme. He only sees one programme now, running through his mind every minute of every day.

He makes Doreen promise she won't ever tell anyone what he goes through. She wouldn't dream of talking about it with her neighbours.


The BBC seems to be running a "Scrounger" season. You are being asked to judge our social security system in a flurry of documentaries, based on anecdote. A GP who "feels" it's unbelievable that we have so many people on sickness benefits, random women in the street who share stories like the ones above.

No evidence, for the evidence is most certainly not with the programme makers. Rather they feed into a stereotype that is being used comfortably by all main political parties and the media to push through welfare reforms. We already have one of the toughest welfare systems in the developed world with the toughest sanctions and among the lowest rates of fraud. But you will never hear that from these documentaries. You almost certainly won't believe it now, but it's true. Pesky evidence.

No. These "documentaries" ask you to ignore the stories that make up the person and simply judge your neighbour.

Nasty eh?


  1. In future when my neighbours whisper about whether I'm fit for work or not, I'll ask them questions about whether they live within their means or get into debt each month and criticise how their children are behaving and dressed. After all, my taxes paid for the banks to be bailed out and for their rugrats to go to school and use the local playground. I demand to know how they spend MY money and deem whether it suits my arbitrary ideas of right and wrong.

    What's that? That would be rude and unfair? I'm only allowed to have the high moral ground if I'm well enough to work? Even if I go to work and spend a good chunk of time pissing about on the internet and drinking tea? OK, got you now....

  2. yes - the Daily Mail style anecdotal " evidence " from their medical " experts " ....all frothing at the mouth after reading the latest lurid headlines ...based on very dubious statistics from the latest DWP Press Release long as there is plenty of green arrows ?

    " I heard in the chip shop " , " The Assistant Manager in Wetherspoons said " , " I know someone at the gym / golf course " , " them four doors down the road " ; " the BMW / Bentley Mobility Car " , " they have a DVD player ! " can buy one from the Boot Sale for a fiver ...though it'll be a few generations behind technology wise , " they have a flat screen TV !!!! "

    there's also a vast army of Trolls , some organised by well known right wing bloggers , some from Conservative HQ with their multiple aliases , avatars and log ins .

    IDS's SPAD is Susie Squire , ex of the Tax Payers Alliance , The British Version of the Tea Party ...........a rent a quote organisation for lazy journalists

  3. Judge people on facts, not stereotypes

  4. Powerful words, well said!

  5. So very, very true.
    My daughter is registered disabled, after years of M.E. She's trying the graded exercise programme to try and kick it; so she goes to a gym. She's utterly knackered after she's been but she's done herself some good. Every muscle hurts. Some days I have to brush her hair. When she has good days and walks down to the shops, you'd not know how ill she is except for the stick.
    Judge not, les you BE judged.

  6. this is the sad but true story of most of us who are ill. I have had particularly bad neighbours who do this and make comments when they see me come out. It is a daily thing now with people asking me for a detailed breakdown about my current heart condition and my diabetes. I find it incredible that so many people take an interest in me to find out what is wrong with me but do not care enough to actually help in a positive and constructive way. I have had a taste of David Cameron's big (small minded) society

  7. You ALWAYS make me cry, it's a cruel world with an even crueler government.

  8. Great post. Too many people get judged by others in this country and too many 'others' have too much to say about people they don't know :)

  9. I think this is why it's hard to really develop into anything better than 'standard.' Everything you do has a critical or condemning eye cast on it - "oh well if you're capable of this, then you can surely work." But it doesn't work like that.

    I don't mind the twice yearly assessments, just make them fair and give me someone who understands, from a medical stand point, my illness. My neighbours all keep to themselves (thankfully, sounds bad but I don't have the energy for friendships and small talk) and luckily we don't know each other's business but my immediate neighbour cuts our grass because he knows we're just not able - it makes a world of a difference from outdated dinosaurs who believe work is a new religion.

    Anyway, can I ask what do these 'tax payers' do? Save lives every day? Find a cure for cancer? To those that do we owe so much (and they are usually on the front line, seeing all the problems and don't hold such judgemental views) but to those that squander their employers time, money and resources - why are they so great? I've worked jobs where I pestered people in a call centre and looked after children (worth while) and I felt so worthless when I worked in the call centre...also I didn't hold any grudge about paying into a system that helps those who really need it and no one else should. They should be ashamed of themselves...

  10. Also...I'm a tax payer. I pay VAT on everything I buy, I pay for my TV licence and I pay my council tax. I pay with my savings so in essence anyone who says anything to me regarding tax can just kiss it and not miss it!

  11. I don't always *look* ill - but I am.

  12. and they say..."we have nothing to fear but fear itself" !! REALLY..I think that we have to fear the BBC and many other journalists at this time, along with the current government who see those of us on benefits as nothing more than lab rats and shit on their shoes. I want to scream out so loud I could burst my vocal chords - I WANT TO WORK - but I can't :( my body and mind won't let me. I suffer every day with severe pain, anxiety and depression. Find me an employer who wants me as a member of staff - a person who, may or may not show up for work, who may or may not be dressed cos their clothes hurt them, who may or may not spend the day crying at their desk with no possible explanation why, they just have to, or someone who is more than likely going to fall asleep at some point just after 11am, 1pm and 3pm because they didn't sleep the night before or in fact the week before, and even when they do sleep they are still tired because their body says so! And the real kicker ? Who wants to employ a 36 yr old woman who needs a chaperone (usually her mother) to go out the house ??!!

    Oh yes, and 1 more thing.... There are NO friggin jobs anyway!! 1.5 million unemployed and only .5 million available jobs... erm... I know maths is not my strong point but even I can do that one !! As an employer - faced with 50 applications for 1 job, you select 10 of the best, you interview them, and, let's say for the figures in this hypothetical situation, you discover 3 have disabilities, 2 of them (like me) have many issues that would affect their ability to do the job effectively on a day to day basis... What do you do ? Spend time and money trying to train me, only to have to let me go 2 weeks later because I have only turned up for work 3 times, and I forgot everything you taught me on the 1st day? Or hire the best candidate for the job? The one who hasn't had a day off sick in the last 3 years, who has a healthy glow about them, and doesn't look like they are about to throw up on you out of fear! Come on be honest, no matter how much you believe in disability rights in the workplace, you are never going to hire me, are you?

    I'm scared to spend time in my garden for fear my neighbours think of me like they do of 'Jim', even on my good days, when I have the energy (and limited pain) to go outside and potter, I worry about who might see me and assume I'm fit for work. I even worry when I hang out the washing ffs.
    So, BBC, ITV, SKY et al, let's have some REAL information from REAL people in these situations. How about a FAIR trial, and a little bit of those things they call *COMPASSION*, *EQUALITY* AND *HUMANITY*. Consider your families and friends. Surely you all know at least 1 person, that suffers from an illness or disability, that you are DIRECTLY hurting with these programmes and newspaper editorials you are producing.

    A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

    The state or quality of being equal; correspondence inquantity, degree, value, rank, or ability.

    All human beings collectively; the human race; humankind. the quality of being human; kindness; benevolence

  13. I've had one very successful business two last year which I had to stop doing because I quite literally couldn't do it anymore; Access To Work programme was cut so there went any budgeting or volunteers who could have helped me keep going. I've been trying to force myself to keep on as a writer and artist and once again have been told in no uncertain terms that I have to STOP working. "Stop before you kill yourself" actually was the phrase.

    This coming year I am therefore cutting my hours down as much as I dare - no, I won't stop working entirely, but as my work is creative I see it as beneficial - but I'm sure a lot of this stuff could apply to me. Apparently for whatever reason we're supposed to suffer in a one room house and eat gruel for...some reason, I'm not really sure other than we're apparently living for "free".

    I'm sure the examples you give Sue, will be called "anecdotes, not facts", but then we've tried facts too. People who want to refuse to listen will continue to do so even if they were forced to meet each and every one of us face to face.

  14. It might give all my regular readers a little cheer to know that for some reason, many many more people are now reading my blog regularly.

    This month has been by far my biggest. Every now and then that seems to happen and surely in the end, more and more people will hear and get some sense of what we are trying to say.

  15. I think this post will strike home with many people, me included. Living with someone with hidden disabilities, and who are extremely proud is very hard.

  16. Great news that the blog is being more widely read!

    I wonder how many of them are non-disabled and if they are helping to spread the truth to their misinformed friends and families, contacting their MPs, complaining to the media, etc.

  17. Tragic stories, every one, and I have only sympathy for the victims of misfortune who are left unable to work.

    Still: "Karl served in Kosovo. It was brutal time and he lost many good friends. One night, just after midnight, he and his men were taking cover behind an old burnt out coach. A bomb suddenly exploded and every last man but him got blown to pieces."

    Oddly, the official account of casualties in Kosovo (extractable data from
    doesn't seem to know of any such incident.

    I hate to be cynical, tragic stories aren't necessarily true. Did you get the story from Karl himself?

    How many of the other stories, not so easily checkable, are true?

  18. Well anonymous, I read it almost certainly as hypothetical examples. Perfectly plausible examples.

  19. If only people were this diligent about bankers, politicians and multi nationals we would have nothing to worry about.

  20. Anonymous - Say what? You find it impossible to believe that there are ex-servicemen suffering from PTSD? Men like Karl who are still suffering today?

    I change the names in my posts, and as it happens, I changed the place in which Karl's tragedy unfolded in an attempt to protect him.

    Do really think that by "proving" it didn't happen in Kosovo that means none of what I wrote is true? Pathetic.

  21. If fact, I challenge you - the incident did happen, but not 16 years ago and not in Kosovo. You are clearly someone who loves to verify facts, so fill your boots! Dig around until you can find where it did happen and to whom.

  22. 'It might give all my regular readers a little cheer to know that for some reason, many many more people are now reading my blog regularly.

    I'm not surprised Sue, leaving aside you are a great writer, etc, i think the Occupy movement, etc and the clear brutality and arbitaryness(sic) of the reforms is waking up a number of people. When I used to post on the benefit issue/welfare reforms issue a number of years ago on CIF, the only replies would be from the misanthropes, which was disheartening, now welfare issues get hundreds of supportive replies,

    NL still don't get it though...

  23. Maybe the sick and disabled should do a bit of occupying it seems to be having an effect .
    The Church of England is facing an escalating crisis after a THIRD senior cleric resigned over the Occupy movement's protest camp outside St Paul's Cathedral.

  24. Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but I was booked to give a lecture tomorrow at #Occupy on behalf of sick and disabled people at St Paul'

    I've been dreadfully ill all weekend so haven't made any publicity about it yet, but if I can possibly go tomorrow, I'll be there.

  25. Not entirely convinced it all rings true. Karl, for example, would have a WPS, a war pension.

    And if we're going to get into the game of making up illustrative stories, well, we can all play at that game, can we not?

  26. Tim - I don't care what you think.

    I said it wasn't made up - believe me or don't

    The point was not the individual story anyway. If you don't believe there are ex service personnel suffering from PTSD you must be willingly choosing to.

    To try to discredit my article over this is pathetic.

  27. Sue: I do not for a moment doubt that there are ex-servicemen suffering from PTSD. I have never questioned that. Straw man, I'm afraid.

    What I did question, and you admit I was quite right to do so, was your tragic tale of Karl's experiences in and since Kosovo. The way you told it, that story wasn't true, was it?

    I'm afraid what you wrote is technically known as "doing a Hari".

    And you know: once you admit that one of your tragic tales, complete with heart-wrenching circumstantial details, didn't actually happen the way you said it did, well, there goes a teeny little bit of your credibility, doesn't it?

    You say you were trying to protect Karl: I don't see how you did.

    Yours in the cause of honesty in blogging

    1. People like you make me sicker than I already am. I am one of the invisibly ill, though these days as I have to use a cane or rollator to stay on my feet I am more obvious than I used to be. You are missing the point entirely & your deliberate obtuseness is an example of why the article was written. Why is it, that people who are already suffering & have lost so much are then treated like criminals by the rest of society because they may be lucky enough to have a day where they are well & can go out, or they have a hobby that brightens what is otherwise a bleak existence? I've just spent an even more sleepless night than usual in casualty from the side effects of a drug that is making me worse, but if I'm lucky may eventually begin to ease some of my symptoms if I can just stick it out for a few more months. In the last year I'd begun choking regularly & unexpectedly on my own saliva on top of all the other pain, loss of motor skills, etc, etc. Yet on the outside, apart from looking tired, I look ok. Until I move. I have been abused because I'm not out there hunting down those who may be cheating the system by people like you, complete strangers may I add. I've had ex workmates that I knew during my last remission make snide remarks about how nice it must be laying about doing nothing. If you can find me an employer who will employ a person who has to lie down most of the time & types very slowly with 2 fingers & who will also accept there will be many days where my condition is so bad I can't even do that, then Yay! I'll take the job. This has taken me 45 mins to write & numerous corrections, as my condition means I can no longer spell correctly & I often type one word for another, even with the super slow typing. I have to go through & try to fix all the errors before I post anything. People make snap judgements all the time, things like you're online aren't you, that must mean you can work. They don't see what it takes to read or post, they also don't understand that being online may be that person's only social contact, grimly fought for to prevent isolation.

    2. Hey, who on earth cares if 'Karl's' story didn't happen where she said it did...
      Fact is, it happened.
      My father had PTSD, as a result of WW2, and became an alcoholic. He had an arsenal in a cupboard, and was eventually arrested for it, charged and psychiatrically imprisoned - ironically, that helped somewhat - as we kids finally knew there was something wrong.
      This happened in New Zealand in the 1960s, and as very few New Zealanders had ever 'seen a door slammed in anger', to use my father's own words (he was English) no one understood or cared.
      It affected all our lives, and we didn't understand!

  28. Oh, I've had comments like this before though.

    Passive aggressives who don't want to engage with the ACTUAL issues (which are that thousands of men like "Karl" exist and suffer, too ashamed to get help)

    Passive Agressives who think they're so smug and clever, breathing a sigh of relief that because I am unwilling to use real names - which would be ridiculous and exploitative - they can go home to supper and ignore all the issues I raise.

    If you had any care at all for the Karl's of this world, you would worry about his story. Instead you real so terribly clever for distracting me over semantics.

    As I said, pathetic.

  29. my own personal experience - I am 31 and went to the local papershop on my mobility scooter due to my disabillity I have difficulty walking.

    Met an elder gent (around 65ish) going into a local shop a few days ago

    MAN - so what's wrong with you then
    ME - I have a condition called eds similar to arthritis and ms.
    MAN - well your walking better than I can
    Me - oh what's wrong with you then
    Man - I have arthritis in my knees

    few minutes later after we've been served I'm getting into mt scooter, he swings a leg over a push bike and rides off

  30. Ooooooh, silly me, I just realised I posted this on the Conservatives Facebook page today. This ALWAYS happens when I do that.

  31. What was I just saying about people saying "Oh, it's just anecdotes?" mate here in town is married to Karl; not actually his name, not actually the person Sue is talking about...but it's him. He WAS in Kosovo and came back busted. He's just an anecdote to people here of course, but I've met the man. It's a hellish situation, and whatever pension they'd get doesn't amount to a hill of beans when you have to hold down a full time job, raise a family and take care of a bloke who came back so broken there isn't enough glue in the world to fix him.

    But what do I know? His name isn't really Karl...therefore he doesn't exist.

    Any more than does, I suppose. After all, he just writes a blog. He's not REAL, is he?

    But then, in my world, neither are the anonymous who feel the need to talk big on a blog but will never leave a real name.


  32. @ Sue,

    re the comments you are making about Karl, as with the other posters above, "something" doesn't seem right. I don't doubt PTSD or whatever, it's just that you seem really adamant that he is a real case, just that you've changed his name and the dates. If on the other hand he is illustrative of the point you are making, why not just say so? I don't think it harms your wider argument.

    I'll take up your challenge about fact checking, but to slightly bound the problem, can you confirm that Karl served in the UK army (as opposed to any other army), and that he was involved in an incident of a bomb explosion, his mates being killed, and then him being taken as a prisoner?

    Possible conflicts to be checked are Northern Ireland, the various Gulf Wars, all the Yugoslavian wars, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan. That should keep me going for a while.


  33. Well, he is a real case, or I'd say wouldn't I? I'd have no reason at all not to. It was earlier than Kosovo and yes, he served in the UK army.

    The bit I don't get is why it matters so much???? there are thousand's of Karls out there, who served in many different conflicts - why does it matter where when and how?

    Why does that matter more than the condition, what he goes thorough - and the point of my post - why he'ss ashamed of his suffering?

  34. When you talk about facts, they're only interested in stories.

    When you talk about stories, they're only interested in facts.

    You can't argue with professional point-missers because they are not interested in an argument. They are bull-shitters, not liars.

  35. I feel bad for you. checking all these conflicts. It was Northern Ireland in 1986 or 87. I have no idea if it was officially recorded or not. The reason I didn't name NI, was because I felt it was too sensitive and might be a little inflammatory.

    He did go on to serve in the gulf, which is where some of the rest of the story comes from.

  36. Mason Dixon - This is the sadness. If I write a post about individual stories, they ask where the facts and figures are.

    If I write about facts and figures, they say no-one is really affected.

  37. well now you have it...some of you are attacking the very integrity of the woman who helps us all by taking the time to write this blog.Get out of here if you dont believe her.WHY does it matter to you all so much if the story is illustrative or not.I have friends who have served and do have ptsd and i would never tell you thier names or where they served either...
    Grow some balls and go and attack the very people who need attacking and you all know who they are and thats where it really matters ...or are you just out trolling on halloween.

  38. Northern Ireland in 1986 or 1987? Women being raped and children dying in the street? You're having a laugh, either that or someone has told you a huge lie which you failed to fact check.

    No British soldiers were held prisoner by any faction in Northern Ireland. Some were captured and killed, none ever captured and released after a few days. Nor were any taken prisoner in the Gulf, not unless your fictional Karl was a Tornado pilot.

    You do the cause of PTSD no favours whatsoever by making up stories. Why not choose a real example? Particularly as the intellect heart of your argument is a plea to deal with facts, not made up scare stories.

    I am also now extremely suspicious of your other two examples, both of whom would never dream of talking to their neighbours, but somehow you get to hear the dreadful story passed on to you by a random woman in the street.

  39. Right this is my last reply on the matter - In my comment I said the coach part was Ireland, the rest Gulf.

    You make me sick .

  40. It's bollocks. Maybe you were told the story and believe it, but it's bollocks. No British soldiers were captured in the Gulf. There are no instances of women being raped and children dying in the street in the Gulf while British soldiers were in the area. Maybe some Kuwaiti women and children were treated like that after the initial invasion, but British soldiers were not around.

    Someone's made it all up. Either you, in a spectacularly effective way of destroying your public credibility with easily checkable facts, or someone who has told you a whopping lie, and you demonstrate that you don't have the nous to do your own fact checking.

    No need to reply.

  41. Brilliant blog, as ever Sue.

    Trolls, Sue is a blogger, she`s not getting paid for this stuff. *Doing a Hari* what absolute crap. She`s a very ill woman who, with guts and determination,chooses to spend her time hi-lighting injustice and helping sick and disabled people. She`s not glory hunting...she`s not earning anything, let alone the fortunes of the media establishment.

    You have to wonder about the mentality of people who are so gloriously happy that sick and disabled people are getting treated like shit, that they'd pick over illustrative anecdotes.


  42. Brilliant blog Sue - thank you for writing it you are very much appreciated and I salute your bravery. If I told Sue personal details about my condition for her to use in a blog I would probably ask her not to use my real name due to the troll thing. Ive got enough to deal with without all the sort of malarky exhibited by them on this blog.

    Re prisoners in 1st gulf war - theres more to that than you are aware - for a start off if you have read Andy macnab's book you will be aware that him and some of his colleagues were held prisoner and tortured. Coincidentally he served in Northern Ireland before that!

  43. Sue, He/she cant even say who he or she is.. Funny given the fact that they seem so sure of their facts! Sadly there will always be cretins criticising everything you write. I imagine they live sad lives themselves. Having missed the whole point of the article I imagine they have missed the whole point of their own lives!

    If you ever want to use me as an example then I am more than happy Sue.
    Having been diagnosed with PTSD after finding my partner hanging dead, I couldn't save him. I still can smell the vomit that he spewed like the devil after I had filled his lungs with air trying to save him (its quite normal apparently) I still see him hanging so clearly. And I feel so much guilt for not realising he was going to kill himself.
    And worse of all I felt consumed by so much guilt that my 14 yr old walked in the house first, that I couldn't protect him but he has been so much stronger than me, thankfully.
    I am still suffering the consequences. I have spent many weeks in hospital and just when I think I'm better it can smack you in the face when you least expect it.
    As a result I lost my home. I lost my Job, I lost my mind and things will never be the same again.

    I also have MS so I can never make life better.. Its gonna get worse.

    So when I read what complete tossers have written in an anonymous guise I think to myself You haven't suffered have you?
    You haven't got a clue
    But one day you might, and that my friend is life.
    No matter who's life it is I respect it because there for the grace of good go you
    But I wouldn't swap any of it to have your outlook on life Anon.. I'm the lucky one


  44. Great post. Speaking as a taxpayer, I'd rather see my tax money spent helping the people depicted in this blog to heal and rebuild their lives, rather than see it spent on harrassing, terrorising and turning them into scapegoats for the problems created by wealthy and powerful individuals, those who have considerably more control over not only their own lives but ours as well.

  45. Someone who posts as "Anonymous" claims you have destroyed your public credibility??

    Even if specific details of these "cases" were changed-to-protect-privacy or are even factually incorrect, the truth of the stories remains.

    So many people have already replied saying that they recognise themselves or others in these stories, as well as the prejudice and stereotyping that adds insult to injury. They recognise the truth in these stories.

    For myself, for a year during a serious depression I left the house twice a week and only then because I had to. Strictly speaking, four times a week if you count putting the bins out and taking them in again.

    Some weeks I managed to arrange things so I only went out once. I was polite and as friendly to people as I could manage.

    My reward for that is that some people now tell that, because they didn't notice anything wrong with me, that I must have been OK really and I could not have been too bad. Really??

    When I was nearly well enough to go back to work and had a return date, I went away on holiday for a week. A coach trip, because I knew I would be shepherded from place to place and if I got disoriented and lost, that I would be missed and hopefully found!

    My GP asked me if I didn't feel guilty about going on holiday - the assumption being that I should. All I could say was the truth: that I regarded it as part of my recuperation and recovery and to some extent a test of my ability to be "back in the world". I am glad I could afford it at the time. It was terrifying at times but I survived it.

    Anyone who has not had depression and wants to understand what it can be like, I would recommend reading this "comic":

  46. @ Anonymous 18:56
    Can you please confirm the facts on this and report back to me. Being a stickler for facts I know you won’t let me down and you will be contributing something worthwhile to society.
    From reading this website few would comprehend that the “products” produced are in fact genetically modified mosquitoes and that they are being released into the wild to breed with “wild ones”.

  47. Sue,

    I posted a question on this same blog that appears on Labour List, and thought I would do the same on your own blog. I can see in earlier comments that you've had a bit of a battle already with other posters! However, as my question has already pretty much - if rather aggressively - been answered, may I address a deeper one?

    The core argument you make is a need for accuracy and honesty in reporting and debating these really sad cases, and I fully agree with you. There is too much inaccuracy around this subject, and it gets people upset on both sides. What however can be done to bring people around a common set of real facts when both sides of a debate invent their own facts or wilfully misstate things to suit their own purpose?

  48. Actually I thought Sue makes a very good point about the stories behind the stories. Many people who are unwell are too proud to make it abundantly clear to neighbours, or indeed family.Around eight years ago I was very deeply depressed and ceased work for about three years, the times I left the house no one would have realised I was ill , but my mind was in utter turmoil .It was only when my family begged my doctor to come and see me at home I ended up getting the medication and treatment to get better to face the world again. I'm pretty sure for those three workless years I was the scrounger at number 60.

    The disabled, ill or unfortunate have had the entire weight of the political establishment and press turned against them.They are now 'non people' and the 'tax payers' are 'normal' people. Even though I'm now back in work I for one am glad people like Sue are out there, because without her, and people like her,there wouldn't be anyone spreaking up for the disabled.

  49. The wars in Kosovo if my memory is correct eight British soldier were killed, I think 116 American but of course these were UNPROFOR which means under UN rule. In of course Kuwait of course British military were captured two pilots were shot down and we all remember them being mistreated, also if I remember correctly a few SAS had a few near misses.

    But in the end it does not really matter if a person see a person killed or you shoot somebody the stress related illness our troops go through must be massive.

    You will always be open to attack on these polical sites because you have so many people who agree with the New labour and Tory media attacks.

  50. It matters not one jot whether the precise details of the stories Sue has written about are 100% true or not. She's a writer, not a journalist. She writes on a blog, not in a newspaper. She's not manipulating statistics in order to manipulate your opinion and then asking you to pay for the privilege. You're free to read her blog and free to make your own conclusions from it. A wee bit of poetic license is completely necessary when you're writing about disability issues because the cold hard reality of disabled people's lives is rarely glamorous or succinct enough to capture the fleeting interest of the vast majority. Sue does a cracking job of raising such issues in a manner interesting and concise enough for regular folk to bother reading. Something your average journalist is neither arsed or talented enough to do. I, for one, really appreciate it. You're free to naff off whenever you wish if you don't.

  51. In addition Robert you are relying on the deaths, captures and mistreatment the government actually tell you about.I wouldn't call myself a conspiracy theorist but I have a very healthy scepticism for ALL official government information and stats.

  52. My take on this is that the government cares as much about those who serve in the wars as they do about the welfare of the sick and disabled and that my friends is not a lot and never has been

    In the commons and out and about when talking to the BBC about those at war they the best the bees knees but in reality the complete opposite in private your just a mug with a capital M

    You've no job to came back to you have no priority for social housing no one gives you any credit for what you have done or tried to do and if your unlucky and have died and depending when you've died you'll lose a weeks or so pay as outlined last week in the news

    It is indeed very tragic but then the government are very tragic

    I know you do a great job when at war but if we if the UK had a better type of government one of honesty and integrity there probably wouldn't be any of these wars in the first place

    wars are caused by bad government's only don't forget with one set of governments like the uk and USA always poking around the oilfields looking for a way to get a foothold in the door and then you have the other governments hell bent in trying to keep them out and from not trying to take over

    If you have no oil then the UK government will leave you alone so Robert Gabriel Mugabe the President of Zimbabwe you'll be OK or in the case of north Korea there to powerful so like all bully's will leave you alone also

  53. Not at all Brian I was in the RCT, I was a driver.

  54. @ WheelingNable,

    it DOES matter whether what Sue writes in this case is true or made up, because her argument in the post is AGAINST other people making up scare stories. You can't have it both ways.

  55. My ex husband was epileptic. You couldn't tell by looking at him, unless he'd fallen during a fit and injured himself (which he did quite often). He worked when I met him but it was the same story with every job he had. He always told them he was epileptic but as soon as he had a fit he would be sacked on health and safety grounds. He suffered from grand mal seizures. He got no warning, he could be walking one minute, then on the floor fitting the next second. He was the type of person people see at the shop and think "nothing wrong with him, why doesn't he work?"

    I have an auntie who is registered blind and has marfans syndrome. She has an aortic aneurysm, working could kill her. Unless she had her guide dog with her, which she doesn't use when she's out with someone, you wouldn't know she's disabled. She's had many arguments with people in car parks about her blue badges who think a disability is always visible. She's also the kind of person people see and think "nothing wrong with her, why doesn't she work?" She did work for a while, in a benefits advice centre untill her sight got so bad it was impossible for her to manage anymore.

    Great post Sue. Keep up the good work!

  56. ...then they fight you, then you win :)

  57. Jamie T,

    "it DOES matter whether what Sue writes in this case is true or made up, because her argument in the post is AGAINST other people making up scare stories. You can't have it both ways. "

    This was not her point.

    The problem with the way the media portray benefit claimants isn't that it is false (and seeing as no one denies that ineligible people claim benefits they are not entitled to, this doesn't influence our criticism of it), it is that it is not representative. It is misleading.

    In the spirit of the season I'll go all V For Vedentta here: the problem with them is that they use the truth to tell lies.

    Here, Sue is being attacked for using 'lies' to tell the truth. She's forced to because to actually give specific details about the stories would be unethical. She didn't pull them out her ass; they are based on what people have told her. On that basis when the argument boils down to story against story, then Sue suggests that those telling the 'scrounger' narrative are dependent on deliberate omissions to make their case.

    Her point is so good, they decided to change the subject so that it is a case of stories against facts, but Sue isn't asserting facts and they are engaging in a fallacy to act as if it is so.

    Funny that when we talk about actual benefit fraud prevalence, the usual suspects are never short of stories. Heads they win, tails we lose.

  58. Laura's story might as well be mine. God knows I don't speak to my neighbours either, even after they've called the police thinking I'm being attacked because they've heard me screaming in my sleep. I have nothing to say to them. People who support the Government and media on this issue, you are not only idiots, but filth, the scum of the earth. There's no point trying to take the moral high ground, you surrendered it a long time ago.

  59. @ Mason Dixon,

    with respect, I do believe that the point Sue was making was that others invent and make up stories to suit their own ends, that she believes that's wrong.

    Look at her post. Three "examples" posted in narrative format, then a little line and a couple of paragraphs saying that is wrong, and that we should debate from a perspective of facts.

    Then examine how at least one of her examples is equally shown to be made up? Don't you see the logical fallacy? There are some frankly aggressive posts above that call into question the other two examples, but I have no means of knowing if that is justified or not. However, some doubt at least is raised in my mind.

    The other points you make are beyond the facts in discussion here, but are probably true enough. But my contention is that it is wrong to complain that one side makes things up, to say that facts should be key, but to illustrate your case with lies.

  60. Once again excellent posts from mason dixon.

  61. Jamie T:

    "with respect, I do believe that the point Sue was making was that others invent and make up stories to suit their own ends, that she believes that's wrong."

    And I see no evidence of that. At no time in her OP did she state or imply that anyone else's story was untrue or the ones she added were true. Even in the comments she has stated they are based on stories she was told that she believes to be true.

    The stories of the welfare regressives lack context, they omit inconvenient bits and use innuendo. Sue's counter-examples did not. Read her post again too and please point out where she asserts a statement of fact in order to counter a statement of fact. She uses stories to illustrate the problem with incomplete, context-free stories. There is no contradiction in administering a poison to cure a disease and then telling people to avoid poison and disease.

    Where is the fallacy that you're seeing?

    Would you rather be lied to with stories that might be true or told the truth with stories that might be false?

  62. @ Mason Dixon,

    firstly, if Sue has been told these stories and believes them in good faith then that's one thing. As per the comments above, it does not take much to investigate the Kosovo story, and I think that she should have done that before posting it on her own blog.

    But, I am sceptical. Sue has an agenda. It's an agenda that "mostly" I see merit in, but I'm funny in that I don't believe all that I am told at face value. I investigate. In this case, a couple of minutes on Google shows that the third example is clearly false, as she has reported it. So, on finding that, I investigate more.

    We would probably disagree on your analysis of her argument. It seems crystal clear to me that she is decrying the fact that other people make up stories about welfare and benefit fraud, but she chooses to illustrate her article with at least one example that is equally made up.

    I'm also not convinced by your views on poison and disease. I am medically qualified, and at a superficial level your argument has some merit - I think of vaccines principally, but antivenins are another example. Technically, neither are diseases, but we'll pass on that as your broader point is still valid. However, given that Sue's argument contained nothing more than a generalised entreaty to avoid falsehoods, it is not clear to me where either she - or you - make the argument that falsehoods are OK in rebutting previous falsehoods.

  63. Work guidance for long-term sick
    Doctors will be asked to encourage the long-term sick to stay in or return to work under proposed new guidelines.

    The draft Good Medical Practice guidance issued by the General Medical Council (GMC) says doctors must help empower patients to improve and maintain their health when caring for themselves.

    It goes on: "This may include encouraging patients, including those with long-term conditions, to stay in or return to employment or other purposeful activity.
    The proposed new guidance, on which the GMC is currently consulting, follows the Government's move to shift people off incapacity benefit.

    Since January 31, no new incapacity benefit claims have been accepted and would-be claimants are now advised to seek employment and support allowance instead.

  64. If you can stock up on food, water, medication now and pray it’s never needed.
    Jobs crisis threatens global wave of social unrest

  65. Jaime T,

    I'm starting to think you're doing this on purpose. You keep somehow spectacularly missing the point and whilst able to use Google you manage to avoid the even simpler level of investigation required to see where you're going wrong here. Reading what Sue has actually written would be a start. Pointing out where she has actually described anyone 'making up stories about welfare' as I have repeatedly asked you to, rather than ignoring me, would be a second step. That is why we disagree: you're selectively sceptical, within a very narrow window that presupposes a premise you're refusing to even debate.

    Falsehoods to rebut falsehoods? WTF. Please re-read everything again and then amend that so it actually reflects what has been said.

  66. This is invariably the problem I have with the whole "debate"; this isn't a debate for me, or for many others like me. This is our LIVES, not merely an intellectual argument exercise. It is very difficult to try and cut all personal experience, emotions, anger, isolation, despair and a thousand other things which is LIFE into something which is flat and impersonal and "just the facts" without having it completely utterly dismissed as a mere fable.

    But the idea that a total stranger on the internet can demand the most intimate of details out of me before they'll "believe" that I actually live the life I do is nothing short of dehumanising - and believe me the DLA forms do that more than enough for me, ta. It has taken a considerable amount of courage for anyone in the disabled movement to stand up and challenge what is currently happening, not the least of which is due to the fact that there are people out there who want to pick apart minutae to find a fault, or to demand that the activist in question PROVES that they're really disabled, in fine detail, and back everything up with "facts" which are probably not going to appear on Wikipedia.

    I could explain that the action my mate's husband is probably not going to appear on Google because it is classified - so classified the government refused to acknowledge the action had existed and therefore he was discharged without any pension: he hasn't been the first, and I doubt he'll be the last. I could explain that demanding the minute details of a total stranger on the internet repeatedly before you'll deign to listen to them is incredibly rude and rather naive - I don't even post photos of my son on the internet as he has autism and is therefore a walking target, who knows who could be browsing the net. I could suggest that there have been numerous fact-crunching posts on Sue's blog, all of which have sources if you're really wanting to "do your research" in which the human element has been blissfully removed.

    But...then I also realise that there's really no damn point, is there?


  67. Sue would not make something up and neither would i and my posts are much more extreme then anyone that post's here

  68. Guys, you're falling for the oldest trick in the book!

    Jaime T is not silly - in fact he is very clever. He knows very well that the point of my post was to make people think about the stories behind the scrounger narrative.

    He tries to make it about something else. A tiny tiny detail that he thinks he can use to discredit me and therefore make himself feel better.

    By making you engage with a "debate" I have dealt with, he manages to take the focus away from what really matters -


  69. I'm not going to get involved but from now on when going on to labour list or allowing labour list to use articles it's best to stick to facts, we all know what you were doing, but Labour list likes to see it's self as the left of the labour party, but it's not.

    So for these people facts are what matters.

    If you needed a story to prove that soldiers are treated like the rest of us there are dozens around.

    On here it does not matter because we know about disability and governments, on labour list or any political site you make an error, or you use a non factual argument look out.

  70. They were facts. I just used Kosovo instead of Ireland as I thought that at the moment the Irish situation was a little sensitive.

    Anyone who can't deal with that is just nit-picking - in an attempt to ignore the real issues.

  71. They are not facts Sue. Look at CAIN. It never happened. Nor did the prisoner incident. Nor did the rape and child deaths incident, at least while British forces were in the area.

    Why do you need to make stuff up?

  72. Many many years ago we all stated if your dead, your a hero, if your injured your a zero, that was a motto many soldiers had.

  73. 'I fell in love with realism because it deflates the myths, the unexamined ideas of fantasy. It confronts them with forgotten facts. It uses past truth--history.

    I love fantasy because it reminds us how far short our lives fall from their full potential. Fantasy reminds us how wonderful the world is. In fantasy, we can imagine a better life, a better future. In fantasy, we can free ourselves from history and outworn realism.

    Oz is, after all, only a place with flowers and birds and rivers and hills. Everything is alive there, as it is here if we care to see it.

    Tomorrow, we could all decide to live in a place not much different from Oz. We don't. We continue to make the world an ugly, even murderous place, for reasons we do not understand.

    Those reasons lie in both fantasy and history. Where we are gripped by history--our own personal history, our country's history. Where we are deluded by fantasy--our own fantasy, our country's fantasy. It is necessary to distinguish between history and fantasy whenever possible.

    And then use them against each other.' Geoff Ryman.

    I think Sue has the right idea.

  74. Anonymous @ 1 November 2011 13.48

    You, and those who have posted similar comments, are doing a truly wonderful job of proving Sue's point. You see lies and fraud where they do not exist purely because the case studies do not APPEAR to you to be true just as some of us are judged as liars and frauds because we do not APPEAR to be disabled to those whose only qualification to judge is to have been taken in by government and media stereotypes.

    Brilliant post, Sue, one to which I too can relate


  75. anonymous at 1530,

    Sue has already admitted its a lie. No such event ever happened, not as she told it.

    If you went to whoever has to judge your disability and said a complete pack of lies to him or her, despite actually being disabled in some way, would you expect to be believed? Why not tell the truth to start with?

  76. After 22 years in the military it is understandable. There is help available but you must take the first step. There is no point in trying to run from it to Oz or anywhere it will only follow you there. Good luck on your recovery.

  77. The point is, irrespective of place. time and precise detail, PTSD is a REAL disability suffered by men and women who served time in defence of this country, allowing you foul-mouthed, insidious little gripes the "right" to post on these blogs and type in your so-called "freedom of expression".

    None of you know how it is to live like that, and none of you remember that lives can change in a second. Instead of sitting at home picking holes in a genuine argument, try understanding the reasons BEHIND it all.

    Seriously, if one of you had the courage of your convictions or any truth to your words, you wouldn't be posting under "Anonymous" now, would you?

    Unless you can prove "Karl" or thousands like him don't exist, shut the hell up.

  78. Has the definition of 'make stuff up' changed recently? I've always considered case studies which are a gestalt of 'based on true stories' to be quite a few degrees from 'made up'.

  79. "Why not tell the truth to start with? "

    Because people like you don't listen to the truth to start with.

  80. I've changed the post to take out any references to any conflicts.

    My intention was never to cause any offence and certainly not to dismiss people who know very much more about conflicts than I do.

    My apologies.

  81. Best to make sure in the future as sad as this is you use information of which you can link to, I know it's sad but that politics to day. Good article from Balls on labour list about Nye Bevan, Balls trying to tell us Bevan is his hero, I knew Bevan although through a child eyes my wife family knew him well, but Balls trying to be associated with Bevan, given me strength.

  82. very true Robert ed balls is no bevan if anyone is bevan it would be someone like myself hard hitting getting stuck in and keeping the sick and disabled as a high priority

    How they the sick and disabled got to be the whipping boys and girls for the recession is not only and act of madness but of evil on the part of the government and press

    There has been much evil over many years now worldwide and to bring about the very idea that the sick and disabled were scroungers was a very cruel and wicked thing to have done and the lord will show no mercy to those that have and are to blame

    You will have to face the lord at some point and he will certainly not show any mercy upon you

    you will die like all other types of dictators before you old and alone as ruthless as you have been to others in life others in your hour of need will be ruthless to you on your death

    History has always proved this to be the case worldwide

  83. Doctors told to do more to keep the long-term ill employed

    Politically sensitive draft GMC guidance says doctors should enourage patients to stay in or return to work

    'The guidance adds: "This may include encouraging patients, including those with long-term conditions, to stay in or return to employment or other purposeful activity. You may also advise patients on the effects of their life choices on their health and wellbeing and the possible outcomes of their treatments."

    This is very worrying, and an increase in the growing role of the GP as a functionary of the state and DWP, a medical policeman if you will. It's recent incarnation began under Nl with its introduction of the 'Fit Note, and advisers in surgeries. The implication GP's can be punished for not being as rigorous as the state would like is particulalry ominous.

    having said that, this is an area where patients could make serious challenges to these GMC diktats..

  84. Sue-I think everybody knew they were illustrative and not to be taken as neccessarilly factually correct, to make valid points. It is hoped that the "questioners" of your post show the same demands and usage of their critical faculties when presented with the plethora of illustrative examples of "massive fraud " among people receiving benefits/allowances in relation to having a disability/illness.

  85. To anonymous

    If details of knowing who someone is is so important to you for credibility, then tell us your REAL name?And what you do apart from trolling?

    Of course Sue cannot put up real names or identifiable incidents in the interests of confidentiality.

    Why is it so important to you to nit-pick, when disabled people ARE terrified, ARE being abused in the street, disabled hate crime HAS gone up and people really do think they now have the right to decide who "looks" disabled without knowing the facts and accuse you accordingly?

    Here are some facts for you, since you want them so much: 12 documented suicides over the flawed medical assessment process now in full swing. How many more deaths do you need to accept there is a problem? See Calum's List:

  86. Guys it's really nice of you all to defend me.

    However, I thought about it over night, and had I been at any of the conflicts mentioned, had I seen any of the horrors service personnel see, I too might have been incredibly offended to see what might have seemed a casual disregard for accuracy.

    Assuming that my critics are genuine (which I confess I didn't at first, but now feel I ought to at least consider) then this might annoy them as much as when we hear that "75% are being found fit for work"

    Just in case, I've changed the post and repeat my apology.

    No harm in admitting when you're wrong. If only the Daily Mail and government would do that, life would be so much easier......

  87. Contact details

    House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
    Tel: 020 7219 4778

    Hutton Business Centre, Bridge Works, Bentley, Doncaster, DN5 9QP
    Tel: 01302 875462

    i have spoken to his secretary Dinne and she will inform him of the deaths and of this blog
    i have told her that this nonsense has to stop and stop now

    as i say sue make sure you keep the death record up to date at all times as she said ed will need to see the full list to date

  88. I have also spoken to Jessica the secretary to Anne begg mp who will be informed of these latest deaths
    she does read this blog sue so my phone call to her office was just a reminder

    keep up the good work sue we will win at some point i believe but will take many deaths I'm afraid

  89. Fourbanks,

    Your will need to help me out here what deaths?.

  90. Well i have these to hand but I'm sure sue or someone else has more to hand or knows of someone who lives in an area effected by a DWP death

  91. Albert Einstein famously defined
    insanity as doing the same thing
    over and over again and expecting
    different results.

  92. Must see

    Drones to Be Used Against civilians – correct me if I’m wrong the UK as ordered them too.

  93. This was first put forward in 2009/ 2010 nothing wrong with drones, they are not going to look at the disabled, but will be used instead of expensive helicopters for road and anti social problems like gangs, it's no different then having an helicopter watching you.

  94. Albert Einstein famously defined
    insanity as doing the same thing
    over and over again and expecting
    different results.

    Then he has never worked in a factory......

  95. ell i have these to hand but I'm sure sue or someone else has more to hand or knows of someone who lives in an area effected by a DWP death

    Interesting I will need to do a bit of digging, I mean on the internet.....

  96. They may not be all current Robert but am sure sue is on the ball with anything local that has gone on recently
    It for me seams a never ending battle and with this blog just over one year old it feels like a lifetime and were far from the finishing line

    To those who have tragically taken their lives because of the DWP/ATOS/ my heart goes out to you and your families and i know that i speak here for all of the regulars that post in this blog

    Our battle with the government is far from over and my talks this afternoon with the secretaries of both Anne begg mp and that of Ed milliband have helped me as they both share my views and values on these matters on the welfare of the sick and disabled

  97. I'm sick to death of having to differentiate between the "good Anonymous" and the "troll Anonymous". Can I plead with anyone who supports Sue and the wonderful work she does on this blog, to use a name? It doesn't have to be your real name, you can use Google Blogger, or any name you like. Just leave "Anonymous" to the sad, hating, point-missing people who think their Aspergers could use another airing.

    In fact "troll Anonymous" should look in the mirror and see someone who would pass the Work Capability Assessment test for ESA straight off, due to personality disorder and mental disabilities.

  98. Freedom of Information requests to the DWP on the number of people who commit (or attempt to commit) suicide due to a request to attend for assessment or after failing the assessment have been answered with the DWP does not hold such information:

    Freedom of Information requests on suicides go unanswered by Health and Safety Executive.

    Baroness Murphy descripes death reports as nasty innacurate tosh.

    It is clear that the government has been informed and takes no action.

    Meanwhile the NHS Information Centre has recorded an increase of over ten per cent of hospital admissions for intentional self harm in the past 3 years.

  99. Yes Jan that's true they don't have to supply any details about what's going on the police can only get involved on a death where something suspicious has gone on beforehand like
    either phoning or writing to a sick or disabled person and using words that may be of a threatening nature or be misunderstood by that person who then goes on to take his or her life on the spur of the moment as they have panicked by the phone call or letter and been caught on a bad day

    threatening nature or be misunderstood could be like using words that your scrounger you will be losing your benefit from a certain day your going to have to work or else and so on

    these letters may be coming through to your home weekly i can vouch for that it was only when someone called the police round to my house did it stop for a while but soon starts up again if you let it

    We have to as a group stick together and forward any details of death or self harm to mp Anne begg as that is what her secretary has asked us to do

  100. At what age do the sick and disabled get treated as Adults? Human beings even?

  101. @ Sue,

    I'm glad you have edited your main article, and indeed in a comment above also express a realisation that some people would indeed get very angry with your initial assertions.

    Please let me be equally open. I served for 22 years with the Royal Anglian Regiment, from 1973 to 1995. I did seven 4 and 6 month tours in Northern Ireland, and retired as a Colour Sergeant. I know the nasty ends of Belfast like the back of my hand. I have stood in line being petrol-bombed, and coffee-jar bombed. I had a small fridge dropped next to me from the roof of a tower block near to the Divis Flats (next is a euphemism for "about 18 inches away"). I have been under fire when a riot parts like the Red Sea and a gunman jumps out to fire 15 or so rounds at us before the crowd combines again and we could not fire back. In turn, I have cracked a few shoulders with my baton, and once smashed my rifle butt into a face (she deserved it - trying to stab with a carving knife). I have shot back at some silhouettes, without any public result. I have also shovelled - literally - human remains into bin liners after bomb blasts. That's not uncommon among squaddies of my generation.

    During those tours, I was helped to cope by my senior ranks, and then gave back that support to the Privates and junior NCOs. "Coping" was what we called it, "combat stress" is what they call it now. Since leaving the service, I have had a business career go bad, and now am an employee. I spend a day a week with the ACF, and also am on a phone bank organised by my old Regiment to talk with other soldiers and ex-soldiers about combat stress, and more generally about transition from the forces to civilian life. Some weeks, it's only a couple of calls, other weeks it's 5 or so hours a week. Sometimes we meet up, as the Regiment is territory based in East Anglia.

    I know I have irritated some of your regular posters on this topic. I'm sorry, but your article really inflamed passions. Your were wrong to make up a story, but I also know you are right in trying to draw attention to a topic. It was unfortunate for you that you chose examples that I could easily disprove. I don't think it's right to make stuff up.

    I'm also sorry that I posted something that you deleted (and rightly), in which I used the phrase "you know fuck all about" maybe 6 times. It's true, you don't know anything about combat stress, but my language was over the top.

    And for all of those who hate me being "Anonymous", I'm sorry. I hardly ever post any comments on the internet, so I don't have a callsign. If you really want to know, my name is Tom Waley. My army number was 24190795. I did my basic training in Bassingbourn Barracks in 1973, then was posted to 1 R ANGLIAN in Germany. I spent most of my time with the 1st Battalion, but also two postings with the 2nd Battalion.

    Please Sue, don't ever make up examples about combat stress again. It does no one any favours. Your story about Karl was like a sitting duck.

  102. Tonights Panorama programme is pure Gov't propaganda, it apparently is going to show 'benefit fraudsters with Bentleys and Yachts'' I wonder what percentage of claimants that applies to?

    we should all get in touch with Newswatch about the BBC bias, etc...

    To think Panorama used to cover the real issues such as genocide in Cambodia, African famines, the Vietnam war, etc...

  103. Thanks for the generous reply Tom.

  104. Re. that programme with John Humprhies the other night - during one of the worst recessions ever, the BBC chooses to make a programme about benefit 'cheats'? Typical. I would have liked one about banker cheats, MP cheats, multinational cheats.
    And as for blardy neighbours, just tell them to STFU and mind their own business. Okay, I know that's not easy for people like me, brought up to be polite and thinking people have got a right to know stuff about me. But try it once and it does get easier.

  105. After Sue's apology and Tom's elequent piece can we now draw a line under the 'combat stress' issue, noting that Sue and ourselves would be their strongest defenders if and when disabled ex-servicemen and women lose their entitlements as they surely will...

    this is a great site and sorely needed

    RIP, ATOS victims...

  106. Handing out spoons and group hugs :)

  107. This is such a fantastic post and so very true.

    I have severe M.E. I hardly go out but when I do I suffer payback for days, yet people assume when I'm out that I'm well, despite the stick and wheelchair.

    People will always talk and judge and it makes me sad that we live in such a society like that. :(

  108. Thanks so much for your blog, Sue. Great post.

    I have just had to switch off the Panorama programme as I can't believe the unsubstantiated generalisations they're making ("everyone knows a fraudster") or the way they're inflaming an already difficult situation for genuinely ill and disabled people. When did the BBC become like the Mail? And yes, this programme is like something from the Mail. The government stats on IB fraud suggests 0.4% fraud, the lowest rate of any benefit. Where is that stat in the programme? I noticed the stats they cited acutally suggest that there is three times more 'error' than fraud' in the system, but that isn't made explicit either. Meaning that government error is a three times more significant problem (which may, among other things, include the cost of all those appeals against wrong 'fit for work' ATOS decisions, and perhaps all those pointless investigations of genuinely ill people that reveal the person isn't a fraud.)

    The alarmist tone and lack of balance in the prgramme is really worrying. It is actually making me frightened, the way the BBC is towing DWP line on this whole subject and not doing critical, investigative journalism.

    Thanks again for your blog, Sue.

  109. The ONLY good thing in tonight's Panorama was their exposé of blue badge fraudsters (kudos to them for that). But, how important was that in the general context of the total lack of balance involved in the rest of the programme? Trivial, I'd say.

    NO mention of tax evasion and its cost to the country.
    NO mention of how disability benefits are lower in fraud than any other
    NO mention of people WORKING and CLAIMING JSA
    NO mention of how vast the "unclaimed benefits" total is
    NO mention of the Daily Mail (and others') disability hate campaign
    NO mention of sick and disabled people being wrongly found fit for work

    The BBC make me sick.

    Arbeit Macht Frei

  110. Ex-benefit claimant3 November 2011 at 22:41

    As the economy gets worse and the disabled are picked on more and more, it's devastating to think how many will end their lives rather than go on. With benefits no longer covering London rents, the situation is becoming more and more acute.

    I personally doubt that anything will change before people see these government, media and personal attacks as directly political, and before people choose not to die broken and alone, but publically like the Tunisan hero who kicked things off there.

  111. You ALL miss the point, there are people that cheat the system. I grew up in West Belfast where benefit and disability cheating was a past time and a poke in the eye for the (British) government. I don't support the current DWP strategy but there ARE cheats and we should address those issues

  112. Ex-benefit claimant has left a new comment on the post "We all know someone who could work but doesn't - D...":

    As the economy gets worse and the disabled are picked on more and more, it's devastating to think how many will end their lives rather than go on. With benefits no longer covering London rents, the situation is becoming more and more acute.

    I personally doubt that anything will change before people see these government, media and personal attacks as directly political, and before people choose not to die broken and alone, but publically like the Tunisan hero who kicked things off there.

    I think what happened in Tunisia will happen here but i doubt it will change anything Tunisia is not a capitalist country the uk is run by very powerful people like the prime minister they can all bail out if the ship sinks and only they and they alone knows what is going on

    you have to remember that money and power brings about evil on others
    That scenario is the same as said by Hitler in the war he said that the German problem were the Jews he did not say anything about killing them but by clever means he still managed to do so with the majority of Germans unaware of what was going on behind the scenes

    The same here the majority haven't a clue about the treatment of the sick and disabled and what's really going on and never will do like in Germany until it's to late
    If it means sacrificing the sick and disabled to keep the country afloat then that is what there'll do make no mistake about that

  113. Anon @ 23:28,

    No, we have not missed the point. You will not find a single regular poster here that thinks there is no benefit fraud. If you have not grasped this, then it is you who have missed the point.

    Address the issue? The trash tabloids can't help but address the issue almost every week. It's hardly neglected. But some balance is needed and it isn't there.

  114. Anonymous 23:28 - no YOU miss the point. The DWP's own figures show that disability fraud is the lowest of any (well under 1%) and also that disability benefits are the HARDEST to claim. Have you seen the DLA claim form?

    Your parotting of "Yeah I know lots of people who cheat the benefits system" is no more accurate or rigorous than the average Daily Mail headline that Sue's blog is intended to counter.

    And why aren't you getting your knickers in a lather about tax evasion, which is the real black hole here?

    And why aren't you out on the streets persuading people to claim the even larger figure of benefits they are entitled to but aren't claiming?

  115. Anon of you well know there was a much a political agenda behind as you put it 'cheating the system' the years you you refer to so they can hardly be considered either indicative or indeed anything to do with the current situation and yes if there are cheats then fine address that but dont cloud the current issues with events from the past.Times and situations were so very different then and are not relevant to any welfare arguments today.That is not to dismiss the wider politics of those times either but the two situations cannot be compared.

  116. brilliant blog! so many people judge others before finding out the facts first... I know... I've been on the receiving end!

  117. An admited 1% fraud rate; largely down to internal human errors.

    Recent increases in numbers largely to so with aging population.

    An acknowledged large number of persons not knowing they can claim (upto 50% more perhaps).

    A Goverment target to drop current costs (claimants) by 20-30%.

    A media that starts simulataneously pumping out lazy greedy claimants stories, to rise up the angry mob.

    You do the math.

    (Sources: Work and Pension Commitee, Oct 2011)

  118. Anonymous - 04.23

    Now that it's very unlikely anyone will come back to this thread and read the comments, (probably including you, lol) I would like to share the real story of Karl?

    He was my Dad. Dad fought all through the Second World War. He was a spitfire engineer and it wasn't a coach, it was a plane they sheltered behind.

    He was taken POW by Rommel, but luckily, it was only for a few days as the war ended!

    He often says that the hardest images he has to live with are those of shocking abuse of ordinary civilians, sometimes even carried out by his own side :((

    Men of my Dad's age saw atrocities I suppose we can only imagine. Then they were all told to go home, stop killing people and fit in to "normal" society.

    I don't imagine there was much in the way of PTSD diagnoses in those days - I suppose "shell shock" was the term they used then.

    Anyway, I believe it took my Dad until he was nearly 80 to recover. For years, his prop was drinking too much. Drinking to forget. He never spoke of the war at all. Ever. He gave up drinking just before he reached 80 though and is a completely different man to the one who raised me. So much more at peace.

    I suppose he was finally able to lay some of those horrors to rest.

  119. 1. Rommel was never accused of war crimes and he was known for his honourable and humane treatment of PoWs.

    2. "He was taken POW by Rommel, but luckily, it was only for a few days as the war ended!"

    Rommel committed suicide a year before the war ended.

    I'm not a regular reader of your blog, but having been caught fabricating extremely emotive stories, it casts extreme doubt over the veracity of many of your postings.

    Either you have been told a story you have failed to fact check, or you have fabricated one.

  120. For goodness sake!!! I posted this in the spirit of friendship. My Dad's 89 - this is the story he always told me, but hey, perhaps I got it wrong, perhaps Rommel was leaving Africa or in retreat or Hey!!! Perhaps my Dad's memory is not what it used to be, I don't fucking know.

    I tell you what, he's got Parkinson's now, but I'll go back to him and clarify, just for you, exactly what happened.

    Lesson learned., Never try to engage with anyone in a pleasant way - they only want an excuse to call you a LIAR - how fucking dare you??? Check back. I will check just for you you insensitive bastard, and when you get the full story, I hope you're really really fucking proud of yourself.

    If this is the kind of treatment you give veterans, then you make a fucking poor advocate.

  121. I am not the Anonymous Northern Ireland vet who posted above.

    I find it incredible that you put so much effort into trying to bust the myths of the Mail, Sun, and the Express and yet be so utterly economical with the truth yourself. You have written these ludicrous stories that are so emotionally exploitative it becomes impossible to engage with them on a rational level.

    None of your claims stand up to scrutiny or logic. The fact you have been caught doing a 'Hari' on multiple occasions on this blog post makes me skeptical that you will be an honest advocate of the truth in future. So no, don't speak to your father.

    But if you want to fabricate another historically implausible, crass fictional straw man again please be my guest.

  122. No Sue, you have been lying all through this post. If this is the kind of treatment you give to veterans, who have enough problems without you wading in with lies, then you are - as you observe to someone above - a fucking poor advocate.

    I don't for a moment believe your transference of Karl to your Dad in North Africa (the Desert Air Force history site shows precisely no instances even vaguely similar to the bomb / prisoner incident, nor children being killed), it is possible that you have been lied to by your Dad. The RAF's desert air bases at the time when the Afrika Korps surrendered and left were 180 miles (at the closest) to the front line, and the Afrika Korps did not attack a British desert air base within 9 months of the surrender.

    You are a lying little minx, and what is really sad is that you are trying to do it in order to support a really noble cause. Look back at this thread and for a moment why not just ask yourself "wouldn't it have been simpler if I hadn't made up all of these stories?

    Frankly, you are a disgrace. As far as your own campaign is concerned, I will withdraw my emotional support and instead support others trying to achieve something, but without stepping into lying.

    Tom Waley

  123. Well now I see just how nasty it can get.

    You're sick. I suggest you phone my father and ask him.

  124. Tom i have met many veterans in my time taking about the war and about what they've done etc
    But your tone with sue is way off base here the government don't care about war veterans and never have how do i know ? well those that i know tell me so and i can tell by how poor they are you don't need to be Einstein
    If this is about Karl at the start of this thread then sue from my angle is spot on and her point is valid i myself have known many Karl's in my life and worse what's the problem

    The bottom line at the end of the day is that if you are in need irrespective of age or disability the government couldn't give a damm about you the facts underpinning my argument is that we have well over one million people in this country abusing drink and drugs because of depression so the bottom line is this country is a failure to many educated or not educated end of story and certainly not what you fought for during the war.

    Had this country not have such a disastrous social record then your point might seam more valid but as it stands sue augment is far more truthful then most and more importantly very believable

  125. According to RAF records and the Imperial War Museum, no enlisted men were casualties in 601 Sqn from after leaving the UK for Egypt in 1942 (quite a few pilots were) until a fuel dump explosion at Bellaria in Italy on 16th March 1945 (SAC Johnston and Sgt Peters both wounded with burns).

    The only place 601 Squadron served in which had Rommel on the other side was North Africa from 1942-1943. The closest airbase at which 601 Squadron were based from the front line was Ben Gardane in Tunisia from 21st May 1943 to 15th June 1943, around the time that Rommel and the Afrika Korps were defeated and left Tunisia for Sicily and Italy. The airbase on Google maps is 120 kilometres from the front line. It is out of range of any German artillery shell fired from their own lines, or from a ship offshore. It can therefore only have been attacked from the air, but the German's air force were completely destroyed and absent from Africa after March of 1943. Squadron records do not show any Squadron member being captured at any time by the Germans apart from 5 pilots shot down over northern France in 1940-1942, and two in Italy in 1945.

    All of this stuff is easy to find out: it's all on the internet and RAF historical and museum websites. That lot took about 30 minutes to find out.

  126. I am 'Laura' minus 6 years. I have good days and bad days, good days are the days that people see me, outside of the house, maybe at the shop or on a really good day i'll be in town. Because i'm 'okay' on that 1 day people think I am a lazy scrounger, they don't see the other days that I can't leave the house out of fear, they don't sit up at night rubbing my back while I cry because I had another nightmare, they don't call for help because i've hurt myself again and they most certainly don't live with my head. Thank you for this post, it helps to know that i'm not the person they think that I am.

  127. Dear Sue -

    I think it's a bit shocking that you're getting so defensive and banging on about a 'story behind a story behind a story', when the point of this article was supposed to be that people are making assumptions about people living on benefits when they don't know the true circumstances of their incapacitation! Why would you demonstrate a point like that by making things up?

    This article has actually made me question how many people are fabricating issues to further themselves, because that's exactly what you've done here.

  128. One more thing -

    What's the story Sue? Karl in Kosovo? Karl in Northern Ireland? Your Dad in North Africa?

    Stop being a manipulative liar. Do you want to know why everyday taxpayers don't trust people on benefits? It's not because of the Daily Mail. It's not because of the big bad government. It's because of bored little liars like yourself, who go on about they hate to complain and think all the exaggeration is oh-so shocking, and yet have a fucking blog where they whine about their problems and make up ridiculous attention seeking stories about veterans who just want to be loved.

    Oh and by the way, my brother just died in Afghanistan. That was a lie.

  129. alethea
    your the very type of person who like the prime minister are responsible for the way people behave today as they do in the uk and that's completely unbalanced

    Your way of thinking is just so extreme it's hard to believe but your entitled to your view

    What i will say is that with people like you in the country this country has no future because people like you are only ever interested in an argument and people like you are the majority of this country which is selfish and extreme and that is the making for a very unhappy place to grow up and a wonderful place to die young

    I hope sue doesn't respond as it would just be the sort of encouragement you crave

  130. I'm not disabled, tho a certain amount of depression over the last 4 years has meant that I manage my life very badly sometimes, often lose time & can't go out for days (and couldn't explain to anyone or even myself why), earning very little money indeed in my self-employed work, badly overdrawn at the bank, fear I'll soon run out of options.
    It's obvious to me from reading Sue's blog and the comments that things r now VERY bad for disabled people, and going to get worse. Been reading here for hours this evening after a Facebook friend posted a link, and am totally gutted - I didn't know how bad it is, even though I personally know at least a dozen people unable to work because of either physical or mental problems (or both). Just want to say there will be LOTS of people who would be appalled at your sufferings my friends, and the abuse you receive, if they only realised. Keep fighting Sue, & the rest of you, because unfortunately you have to. Build that Union. What you endure is awesome, it really is. I really hope we can make a proper compassionate society where we look after each other, either tomorrow or the day after. Love to all xxJS

  131. Oh, and by the way, Alethea:
    "Do you want to know why everyday taxpayers don't trust people on benefits?...It's because of bored little liars like yourself..."

    This is vicious, and untrue. It's because we are all capable of both kindness and unkindness, and our society generally is in a pretty UNkind phase right now, reinforced & getting worse daily by the sneering finger-pointing at disabled people from some journalists (papers, radio, TV), some politicians, and unfortunately, far too many "comedians" who should be helping us laugh with delight at ourselves and all the funny little oddities in life but who are instead making us bray with hostile laughter at children with disabilities (is it really "laughter"? - it has nothing at all in common with smiling, and kindness, and affection - which are the things that really make the world go round - did you not know that?)

    And let me tell you, Alethea, there are MANY "everyday taxpayers" like myself who would vigorously agree with every word I'm typing in this post. They only need their attention drawn to the way things actually ARE - with so much other bad stuff going on, the plight of people with disabilities is all too easily passed over.


  132. I worked hard all my life up and of course was a taxpayer during that time, that is until 2 years ago when I fell ill, became unable to work, was diagnosed and lost my job. I am now classified as disabled and have been receiving ESA and LDA, but because I was careful with money and saved, have had no support at all with anything else. My tax contributions over the years seriously outweigh any benefits I have had or may continue to need, but it won't be long before I can't afford my rent as my savings are dwindling. I also keep a low profile from my neighbours, which is isolating and even give the impression I "work from home". I would love to work again, even in a small way, but it would risk being detrimental to my health if my employer were unaware of my condition... and if aware... well who would employ me rather than a fully healthy person?

  133. I agree with Anon (I am Laura 6 yrs on) both me and my 11 yr old son have problems, he actually gets DLA and motorbility because of his problems and I get IB but if you saw us you would probably think nothing is wrong. I see people looking as I park in disabled bays, legally, as if to say yeah you look disabled, I,ve even had stand up arguments in the street because of it till I pull up my sons jumper and show them the tube coming out of his stomach. We dont look disabled and yes I can walk and move about but come home with me after and see the tablets Im on and notice the shadows under my eyes from lack of sleep due to severe pain in the night or me crying because I cant take the pain anymore!! See my son run about then in tears after that he hurts or he is so tired he cant get up for school due to his conditions. Watch him while his friends all eat nice things that he cant because all he can eat is a few bland foods!!! It makes me cross that you are expected to look disabled before people believe you,disability comes in many shapes and forms!Does this mean though that I shouldnt go out, do shopping, meet friends, tend my garden or walk a dog? Should I just stay in hidden away with no life due to having an illness that cant be cured? Should my son not ride his bike, play with his friends, go places, restrict his life even further JUST because people might think we are lying benifit cheats? It tires me all this nastyness and bitterness against others we have no knowledge of but think its our right to judge!!! At the min Im really worried that If I lose all this money which will include the car, which is need for my son, I will lose everything inc my house because I cant afford to live and provide for my 2 sons. I would love to work at some point but feel so ill most days and in severe pain no employer would want to take me on plus with all hospital appointments, clinic appointments, phone calls from the school at least once a week my son isnt well how could I keep a job that would be that flexible? Its actually frightening how this goverment can turn its back on people in need but welcome every Tom, Dick and Harry from here there and everywhere and set them up for life with money, houses etc without a worry!!! These are the benefit frauds we should be targeting not the disabled and like another person commented it is nearly impossible to fraud DLA as the forms and contacts are so extensive your lucky now days to even get it even if you are genuine!!! Yes I know a few slip through! Sue I dont care if your stories are made up or not but if you can help even if its just by making people aware of this problem , good for you girl its a shame we dont all do more and I include myself in that!!

  134. Tom Waley, Sue's ability to see and remember her Dad's illness of course much better than your ability to find a problem with her argument.
    She said that she made the story a Case History at first which means that detailed are changed due to unreasonable feelings of shame surrounding Post Truamatic Shock Disorder.

  135. But on your belief that she should know in detail her Dad's service in the 2nd World War, I believe before she was born or when she was below 10 years of age I think you are being more than unreasonable.
    When my younger brother did a family history project in Sixth Form I was mildly suprised to find my Grandad talking very briefly of how pretty the women were in Italy. My Family is Irish though I was born here and before that I had only been told that my Grandad brought his wife and children including my mother over the Uk when my mother the eldest was about 17.
    So I felt surprize that I had not been told he had lived in the uk before that but as I said it was mild surprize because I knew from History books that many Irish men joined the uk armies as Eire a new country choose not to stop this, while remaining a neutral country for complex political reasons.
    Later on maybe 7 years later when sadly arranging his affairs a British Medal is found among his things in the house he shared with my grandmother. She and my aunts are speak in dim sad voices that no one know what it is for and it is decided to burying with him.
    My brother and Mother have spoken of since that family history prodject of a head injury and an op repairing it with a metal plate. Something about tanks and Italy and that is all I know.
    My Grandfather though I know well, I remember him tall and strong as men can only be to their little girls going off to fix cars so early in the morning when we stayed for a week at half term. I remember being bought ice cream down the local shops from his house and lemonde and crisps while I while I watched him drink his Sunday pint with his friends.
    I can see his health after the 2nd world war during the years I was old enough to rember him and make judgements, he had the health to work and see his friends. So although you think you have disproved Sue case history you have proved her to be a constant obsevser of her Dad's illness. If you wish to tell me I can not prove my Granddad was wounded in the 2nd world war you are right, I had no interest in finding out how I could find one Irish man called Patrick out from so many other brave men with the same name. But I can prove that I knew nothing of this until my brother's school asked him to do this project. I had left home and was struggling with illness at Uni often too weak to feed myself and my first thought was had he lied about his age? I could not even work out how old he was supposed to be in the 2nd world war so poor was my health.

  136. This is a great post. I personally do not think that Sue should stoop to engaging with the haters who want to pull her writing apart, there is such a thing as poetic licence and it does not invalidate the point made.

  137. It is noticable to me that you have asked no details of how his illness affected Sue's Dad or anything else she could have observed.

    If her Dad dealing at a much lower level than Rommel in the imperfect and biased news situation at the time, Churchill said that truth was the first calsulty of war and both sides conscentrated on misreporting the news to keep their side fighting; made a error on whom was in at the highest level in charge of the soliders who captured him, that does not mean he was not captured.

  138. Just read the comments ,served ten years in military if you believe the time scales and troop movements/positions during ww2 then you are a major numptey.The methods employed and tactics used are not public knowledge.Deception is a huge tool in warfare NEVER FORGET THAT

  139. i know of a soldier who lost an arm and a leg suffers post traumatic stress...and has been deemed fit for work... this is the truth and quite common...this is happening

  140. It's worrying that if a lie is told, other areas could be questioned.

    In fact all Sue's scenarios about her illness could be qestioned. Not doubting that her illness is genuine but demonstrating the repercussions of making up scenarios!

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