Wednesday 7 December 2011

Did Freud "Mis-Speak"? Hansard think so. Do you?

On Tuesday 8th November, the welfare reform bill Grand Committee debated Time Limiting ESA to one year.

Bns Hollis (Lab leader) pushed Lord Freud (Gov sponsor of the bill) to provide a financial breakdown of how much the measure would cost.

In reply, Lord Freud seemed to say, quite clearly,

"Well my Lords, you can see the process here clearly as you move through the bulge of effectively, stock, taking on the transfer from IB to ESA....."

As you might imagine, twitter (we were live tweeting the debate to a wider audience) immediately exploded with indignation. "Did he just call us STOCK?" one person asked and many tweets followed, astounded to hear us referred to in such inhumane terms.

Stock - what does it make you think of? Cattle? Commodities? Perhaps when discussing human beings there are worse connotations.

Well, it would appear that the Hansard report has this transcript,

"My Lords, one can clearly see the process here, as you move through the bulge, of stopping as you take on the transfer from IB to ESA."

This now makes no sense at all. I am assured that the job of those transcribing for Hansard is to make sense where they believe someone has spoken in error or where the grammar is not clear. With this in mind, perhaps they simply could not discern Freud's meaning and changed it to this garbled phrase.

However, it seems rather coincidental that a word that caused such offence, such fear and shock, should be the very word unavailable for posterity.

I'll leave you to judge. You can watch from 17.43 and decide for yourselves.


  1. Yes, I know from my correspondence that 'stock' is one of the words used to refer to ESA claimants.

  2. I believe that it's used in management-speak to refer to *anything* when you have a collection of existing cases being moved from one system to another. Using it to refer to any sort of human case, especially people who are, by definition, vulnerable, is particularly disgusting, but it's likely to be thoughtless rather than malicious.

    Hansard's attempt at correction is more potentially sinister to me. Did they show the minister (Freud) the first-pass and ask him to explain what he meant, and he realised how bad it looked so produced something garbled that he thought was a plausible mishearing? Who knows.

  3. Heard it clearly, and it was definitely not'stopping'. Perhaps the Hansard people should watch the recording.

  4. Is there a process of complaint to Hansard?
    I just watched the video in question. The word used is NOT "stopping" and is quite clearly "stock". As an ESA claimant I feel I have the right for people to know exactly how I am considered by the people deciding my fate and not for it to be hidden away if deemed embarrassing.

  5. One wonders how much of Hansard has been similarly rewritten.

  6. I posted the following comment on the Dawn Willis blog on the 9th November as Sam may recall.

    Begin Quote.

    I suspect I would need to read/listen to a significant portion of Lord Freud’s ‘speech’ in order to make any sense of the quotes. Out of context they make no sense at all, to me at least. Having said that I suspect he may have meant ‘to take stock’ i.e. to scrutinize or size up something; to assess a situation.

    End Quote.

    My personal view is that there is little to be gained by revisiting what might or might not have been said. Indeed, if in the end the truth is proved to be innocuous we end up with 'egg on our face'.

  7. If you carry on listening to that small section, the fact the Lord Fraud pauses significantly as he says -

    "you can see the effect clearly of moving from one year to two years reduces as you're through"

    seems to me to confirm that he was thinking carefully about how to describe us - maybe he realized what he just said?

  8. Chris - I thought the same last night. However, when I watched the relevant bit, he so clearly says "stock" I think people should be allowed to decide for themselves.

    I don't make any conclusion, but to be honest, so many of these "coincidences" now seem to happen, that I write them up more to keep my own "Hansard" of this entire welfare reform car crash for posterity.

    Finally, I see no way on earth that either myself or Freud could "prove" what he did or didn't say. To me, he clearly says stock. Of all the people upset about this on twitter, only one is unsure, everyone else believes he said stock. I asked three people with no knowledge at all of the wrb what they think he said. They all said stock.

    I simply throw it out there in the event that if he did indeed use the term stock, he might think twice about using it again.

  9. I'm going to pin my colours to the mast more than usual now... I'm convinced he said stock. However, the caveat is that it's unclear enough that I could just about believe that some people might, conceivably, honestly thing he said 'stop', and from there the grammatical correction process of Hansard could turn it into 'stopping'. I don't think it's likely, just plausible.

  10. One way to decide is to get a professional lip-reader to examine it. If he did say 'stopping', as the word contains what linguists call a bilabial consonant (spoken by both lips joining - in English this only occurs with what are called the stops 'm', 'b' and 'p') they'll be able to say for certain. To my semi-trained eye as a film dubber (we write to the lip movement), I see absolutely no full closing of the lips.

  11. To me I heard it as "stock taking" and took it to mean taking stock of the situation. But then I am not severely disabled so not as sensitive to the nuances. There is plenty of evidence to show that we all are just items to be manipulated by this evil regime more so for the most vulnerable.

  12. Sue, Sam et et al,

    I did not assert that he did not use the word "stock". I'm simply suggesting that if you transpose the words "stock, taking" to "taking stock" there is a glimmer of sense in the quoted text. If Lord Freud *did* use the word "stock" in an intentional pejorative sense I'm sure there will be future occasions when we will be able to make a case 'beyond any reasonable doubt'.
    I just get a little concerned as I have seen this specific 'Lord Freud event' included in recent blog discussions as if it was fact, You may consider Lord Freud a lost cause and you may be right. However, given the possibility that you might be wrong, Lord Freud is one of the large cohort of 'doubters' that we need to try to persuade as to the legitimacy of our case. Demonising our 'opponents' may make us feel a little better in the short term but it definitely does not help our case.

  13. I wouldn't even bother to listen to the drivel spoken by lord fraud as the man hasn't nor ever had a clue on what he's been talking about

    As lord sugar would say he's talking FUD of the highest order plus the fact he is not even an honest man and anything he did say could never be taken serious by anyone nor would be taken serious by anyone

    It is the likes of lord fraud that keep the world in turmoil and the thriving of terrorist groups it's no wonder that Europe plans to get back to the old days of abusing the sick and disabled as Europe can know longer afford to keep these people alive

    You'll find that in around 20 years time all disabled people born with a defect will be killed at birth as that i fear is where this government along with the rest of the world is heading and for the long term sick forced euthanasia

  14. David Freud is not a doubter. He is of the inner-circle that completely believe in what they are doing and he has not been above misleading peers in the Grand Committee to browbeat opposition.

    He was the only minister to apologise for conflating fraud and error with just fraud, but this didn't stop him doing so again multiple times since then. It seems that apology was as sincere as everything else he says.

    There is no 'getting him on our side'. He would not have played his role across two governments if it were possible and as one with absolutely no experience of disability or benefits he would have been the first to say he was totally unqualified to lead Welfare reforms through the Lords.

  15. huh, Chris, I hadn't thought of it like that. You probably have a point.

    I DO tend to think of Freud as a totally lost cause. I see no glimmer of honesty in him at all. I couldn't say the same of IDS though. Grayling I think is just too thick to be really interesting, Byrne seems to me to have a glimmer of possibility, but could go either way.

    I can't help but have instinctive responses to all of them I suppose.

  16. I never saw that broadcast but i have known of lord fraud in the eighties and he was not up to much then and his way with words would have been stock he would call the likes of me boy a man out of Oliver twist days

    he as far as i know never ever spoke to anyone below his level and would never speak or be in the same room as a disabled person

    As i have said above his words are completely meaningless and only a fool would be taken in by him

    He would destroy you as much as look at you if he could

    All of us here are way above his level and that hopefully is the way it will stay but in listening to the likes of him is to be quite frankly very depressing and best avoided

  17. [QUOTE]Peter Rbson said...

    To me I heard it as "stock taking" and took it to mean taking stock of the situation. But then I am not severely disabled so not as sensitive to the nuances. There is plenty of evidence to show that we all are just items to be manipulated by this evil regime more so for the most vulnerable.[/QUOTE]

    Indeed items to be manipulated would be correct

  18. I simply feel I’m been herded along with a big stick to a foreboding place mooing seems to have little effect ☿

  19. with luck lord fraud will make a big error at some point like Jeremy clarkson did the other day and say what's really on his mind and what long term he would like to do with the sick and disabled
    Walls have ears and my bet is he'll slip up at some point and the prime minister will then have to get shot of him people like him always do slip up in life i have found

  20. Hi..
    'Stock' is the word used but the word 'taking' follows v quickly.. So to me he said..'as we go through the bulge of, effectively stock, taking on the transfer from IB to ESA'.. If, however you move the comma he says 'as we go through the bulge of effectively, stock taking, on the transfer from IB to ESA'..
    Either way we cannot surely know whether Freud meant stock or stock taking.. To my mind our discussion on this reflects as much how we feel, which in my case is hunted & broken down again..
    I had to laugh yesterday at us going over this when so much is at stake but that's the irony because the laugh was inbetween the desperate limbo tears that i'm now in day & night... & whatever Freud 'means' it's Hansard text that seems wrong..
    My physical disabilities eg. chronic epilepsy, recurring labyrinthitis & vertigo all get worse depending on severity of anxiety disorder & depression.. The latter 2 were best in my life from 2000 to 2009 when i had acknowledgement, good support & friends close by.. First i lost my home of 10yrs & then my GP retired & then The coalition formed & began the hunt.. As a result of being vulnerable i formed an obsession with the changes & am now receiving 'some' crisis care.. I am in a permanent anxiety state which has eventually led to depressive relapse which compounds epilepsy, dissociation etc.. My depression is as much about the fact it didn't need to happen & i don't know if i can improve again i feel so disheartened...
    How do I explain at a WCA that I have become much more ill as a result of fearful obsesssion OF THEM that i see no resolution to.. I have become a gift for them to destroy...
    2 yrs ago my ability to cope with stress was best in life now 1 more bit of bad news might finish me & that is a direct result of changes in benefits & the language & intention of the government & media & my response to it.. I am completely alone, unable to shower or eat & need to move back near 2 friends who are actually willing to buy small flat & rent it to me & care for me.. I MUST DECIDE but instead am frozen with fear of not getting new 2 bed rate (which i am entitled to unless they redefine my needs) or of being constantly reassessed & forced to discuss the traumas which made me ill.. I find it disgusting that i've been stuck for 18 months unable to improve my health because this government has made me afraid to do anything!!!

  21. I think the thing that disturbs me most is the connotation between stock, and cattle. Doubly disturbing when you consider Aktion T4...

  22. Indeed david Action T4 would be very much in lord frauds mind given the chance
    Whoever put him in charge of the welfare reform job must have known his background and his thought process

    But then that is today's conservatives and that what these think tanks in the universities talk about
    my daughter is studding international politics at uni and is very well of the current ways of thinking among conservatives

  23. I should add we have got a long hard haul in front of us as they lord fraud and co will never give up until the day they die in their quest to make our lives as difficult as possible
    Only the good lord will be able to help us and even then it will be to late for many

  24. STOCK or stocktaking...whats the difference really.If he said stocktaking that means he still considers us stock as if you are stocktaking you are counting your STOCK...cheeky well paid tax payer funded ,add whatever you want here,...who the hell is this person to call anyone that..ATOS MACHT that what he has in mind.

  25. What we are seeing is that conservatives will never buckle just like we are seeing in Europe
    They are being caught out as a insular party and wont all the power like china to create a power base and anyone who stands in their way like the sick and disabled and Europe will have a hard time

    Now the people of the uk who voted conservative at the last election don't care for the sick and disabled and they like the many conservative polticans don't wont to be in Europe so the prime minister David Cameron has a problem he to doesn't like Europe but is stuck as we in the uk don't have the skills to go it alone

    Europe doesn't care for the sick and disabled either and never has done but their are a few high rank people in Europe who do so it's best we stay as we are as if we were to be isolated from Europe in a referendum we the sick and disabled would be well and truly sunk without any representation from anyone in the world

    Sure we have Anne begg mp but she is way off the mark in what she has done so far on our behalf and the likes of David Cameron would never take her seriously and she knows that yes she's a nice person so am i but to have the position that she has as chairman of the select committee for the DWP reforms she has not performed very well hence our struggle continues and if i were her would stand down as you need someone like myself to be chairman someone that will get stuck in and be heard so that it resonates to everyone in the uk on what's going on behind the scenes and the damaged lives that have been brought about and will continue until someone fulfils that chairmen's role and says to IDS straight out (How many people do you wont to kill this month)

    And then hit him so hard with the facts and figures to date so that he will be lost for words
    That's the person i am and that's what this committee is missing some blatant truth

    I would run so many rings around him he and David Cameron would get slung out if the people of the uk knew of their long term master plan

    So we fight on as a group and hopefully get lucky at some point even if we dont Europe will show David Cameron in his true colours as a very selfish man i cant wait

  26. "Work actually helps free people" - Iain Duncan Smith on the television.

    I think those words kind of make their own gravy.

  27. He said stock. I guess if you think of it that way it's easier to cull the herd.

  28. If he said stocktaking, it would be completely out of context. A bulge of stocktaking?

    In any case there is then a clear pause between the two words (which would be wholly unnatural if stocktaking were the intended meaning), and the stress on stock is not just primary word stress but seems to be clause-final stress, which contrasts with the much quieter "taking" which belongs to the next clause.

  29. the DWP yes!

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