Tuesday 20 December 2011

The Men in Black

How totally odd my life has become.

I wrote an innocent little post about my own DLA application and then spent 48 hours in the eye of a twitter/media storm.

The DWP press office got at least 300 messages over the weekend, it was the biggest post on Labour List ever, celebrities and politicians were re-tweeting it, articles were written referencing me and twitter was flipping messages at me so quickly, I don't think I will ever be able to reply to everyone.

Some really good publicity came out of it though, and hopefully, there will be more.

The DWP scored a terrible own goal and made it worse by only issuing a very short statement claiming they "do not comment on individual cases" Immediately, twitter bombarded them with all the "individual cases" of fraud they have been quite happy to comment on. They have been asked repeatedly for confirmation that they stand by their statement, but so far, have not replied.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, the DLA research I'm working on gets bigger by the day. More to do, important people to bring on board, media contacts to prep, delegation to do, referencing to finish (yuck!)
Had you been a fly on the wall of my car yesterday as I tried to co-ordinate project-chaos from a Peugot 406 somewhere on the M25 while fielding calls from C4 and the BBC about the blog post, you'd have made me a nice sweet tea and sent me for a lie down.

(The irony of all this happening on a trip to hospital did not escape me - fit for work Iain Dunky-Smith??)

Anyway, I've been wondering more and more at which point the Men in Black knock on my door? Maybe I'm getting paranoid, but it's easily done, considering. I wonder if there really is a Department for Silencing Annoying Girlies. or perhaps an Operation Intimidate Bloggers that no-one knows anything about?

I wonder if, as I type, a zoom lense is trained on my washing up from last night? (Thai food take out Mr Pap) Perhaps some private dick having a little rummage in my recycling? You know that bloke I keep seeing in the blue car.....

I exaggerate. No, no, I'm sure a nice little dollop of discrediting would do it eh? I can see the headlines now - "Sue Marsh and her Jammy Dodger obsession" "Disability Campaigner has an aunt who has a sister who eats babies" "Silly girl gets facts wrong" Something like that eh? We've all seen it 100 times. Fortunately, there is zero chance of anyone finding me dogging in Camden or dressing up as a Nazi, so that's OK.

Perhaps I just need a nice little rest.


  1. More power to you Sue!

    I am also one of the benefit scroungers my Government is going to be coming after which is ironic as I served it faithfully as a military spook for many years until I became ill.

    I roared with laughter at the Men in Black references!


  2. Howard - How funny! I must admit I laughed too. A little nervously perhaps.....

  3. Thank you so much Sue for allowing yourself to become famous, your effort really does boost my morale.

    I'll be spending Christmas gonked out on tranks waiting for my Hateos interview.

    Yup, I'm jumpy in the supermarket from spotting imagined private dicks, who are probably people on benefits who think I'm a snoop.

    It's getting decidedly East German out there.

  4. "allowing myself to become famous"

    That's exactly it AA. Unlike, it seems, 90% of the country I have absolutely no desire for fame whatsoever. Nonetheless, it is apparent that the fame helps the campaign and then the campaign increases the fame and so on.

    Just start chaining yourselves to things if they lock me up OK??

  5. "i always feel like somebodys watching me"
    song from 80's i think.

  6. There not men in black there women and if were to step out of line or tweet something they would stop my benefit I've been warned more then once already
    I'm allowed just one hour a day on the computer and that's my lot as for going on marches or tweeting or getting together with other sick or disabled people that's strictly forbidden
    so be careful out there walls and cars have ears and so do trees if you have some near your house to put up a camera
    You don't wont the DWP banging on the front door in the early hours of the morning it's enough to give anyone a heart attack

  7. You may be shocked you to learn that the “The Men in Black” are indeed very real and that there is such a department. The NDAA Act was passed about two days ago and although it’s USA it applies worldwide including UK. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW-e7z7S6VI
    I too have just been given my DWP Christmas letter. I am too ill to cope with it in any way, shape or form and have no one who can help me so I guess my suffering will soon be over.

  8. When I first watched the film The Lives of Others, I was glad that the UK had never been like that.... now I realise that it already is. But you're an inspiration to us all Sue, and none of us can afford to give up the fight. Sometimes fight is all we have left!

  9. Disabled man forced to crawl home on hands and knees after gang of muggers steal his crutches

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2076456/Disabled-man-forced-crawl-home-hands-knees-gang-muggers-steal-crutches.html#ixzz1h4NmfUYD

  10. You might want to change the access code on your voicemail and get Max Clifford on speed dial ;)

  11. your too famous now, the government cant shut you up :)

  12. Yes, it's true, isn't it - when individual cases of fraud arise, a minister or two pops up to say 'it's cases like this which show...'

    And so what does a case like Sues show, Lord Freud, Mr Duncan Smith? Don't curtail your enthusiasm now.

  13. I so love your 'exciting' life Sue..... Envious beyond belief. Keep up the good fight. X

  14. The BBC? That's interesting.

  15. Well, if you dressed up as Nazi you'd probably be better off - notables who do that sort of thing include the Shadow Chancellor, MPs and the fourth in line to the throne. So clearly there's a correlation between being a despicable moron with a Nazi fetish and being able to influence the way the country is run.

  16. Hi sue,
    Glad you are back up and fighting. I didn't read your post till yesterday and was shocked and upset. For you, for all of us. If YOU cannot get DLA, then none of us can.

    I never dreamed that in this country, I would live to be afraid of my own government, but I truly am. I never thought being ill would cause people to look at all of us with suspicion not offers of help.
    I never expected that having an incurable illness would make me surplus to requirements in this brave new world. I never expected a PM with a disabled child would be the one to make the disabled fear for their lives.
    I wonder what Ivan would say, had he lived to grow up, hated as we are, as a drain on "hard working taxpayers" in the society his own father helped create. They can put a gun to my head and I still will not be able to work.

    Interesting you got a call from the BBC. What do they plan to do about it, since they have been as bad as the Daily Mail, in helping to vilify us?

    They have a programme on Radio 4 tonight at 8pm about the Atos assessments "Can You Touch Your Toes? We shall see.

  17. Sue, your research fund has reached 101%. I'm so happy you would think it was my own page!

    Now would you please set up a fundraising page for yoyr DLA appeal process so your many online supporters/friends can start really helping you?

  18. Hi Sue - glad to hear too that you are up and fighting - you are really brave. So glad its gone national. Was appalled when I read your blog the other day - have been following this board for a while and update friends and family about how your campaign is going - told them all about your DLA rejection, they were appalled - so its even going around by word of mouth. Good luck - keep fighting, for yourself and all of us.

  19. Sue - Please keep your donation page up and running. Any excess (hopefully lots) can be used to pay for a barrister's opinion on the legality of all this re: the UN Convention on the Rights of the Disabled and the recent EU warning to governments that the disabled should not be made to suffer as a result of the banking crisis. We may not be able to take our own cases to court as individuals but together we can!

  20. Sue, I am in awe of your strength and persistence against such tremendous difficulties. You are one of the people who change the world.

    I wish you enough health, strength and support to continue your work. People are listening.

  21. The police minister, Nick Herbert, has tried to calm fears that the police may adopt new tactics of shooting arsonists with live ammunition in any future riot. What a “Brave New World” we live in.


  22. Hello sue.Glad you are up and about so to speak.WEll you will be famous after all the interest and doubtless the media interest will rack up a whole lot more.The thing is with this particular animal you have to know how to handle the beast so maybe somebody knows someone who could give you some proper media coaching if you havent already done something like that.The more notice they take the more theytry to knock you over as we hage seen with the phone hacking scandal so please be very wary of the whole lot of em.I was just reading the above posts and i do wonder if now is the time to get that solidarity union thing moving as it would help take some of your load too as the more you do the more famouse you become the more pressure comes your way and i am sure there must be a lot of people among the sick and disabaled who have experise in the fields needed to set up and run our very own sick/disabled union and help you with this battle that you have taken on....and please before anyone says,as one did before, i aint trying to hijack anyones posts or blog here but you know maybe it is time to do it

  23. Thankyou and bless you Sue, I can only echo what people have already said about your inspirational qualities and selfless determination. Thanks also to the commenters; it does make one feel less alone to know so many are of one mind, though also desperatey sad and angry that there is so much suffering and anxiety because of these wretched "reforms".
    Re publicity and media etc., yes "speechless" is right, you need to take care. Is it completely mad to get Max Clifford on board? Or Ian Hislop has had a lot of dealings with the law, and Private Eye has very recently done articles about the iniqities of UNUM.

  24. [QUOTE]Anonymous has left a new comment on the post "The Men in Black":

    Sue - Please keep your donation page up and running. Any excess (hopefully lots) can be used to pay for a barrister's opinion on the legality of all this re: the UN Convention on the Rights of the Disabled and the recent EU warning to governments that the disabled should not be made to suffer as a result of the banking crisis. We may not be able to take our own cases to court as individuals but together we can![/QUOTE]

    As i have said before the DWP only deal with individuals not groups and a EU barrister may have some clout in a legal area that we are not aware of but would be expensive owing to the time scale involved which would be considerable

    Max Clifford is also very expensive but this is well out of his remit so would be useless i feel
    If he were to help us he would have said so by now as he's not daft but he hasn't so therefore wont
    Ian hislop the same

    You have to remember everyone and i mean everyone knows of our plight and no one has yet to come forward for reasons unknown other then the time scale and the associated cost's involved which would run into millions of pounds

  25. I dont believe everyone knows the plight of the sick/disabled as the media biase proves.The govt drip feeds it own propaganda on any subject to manipulate public opinion.I mean really does every sick/disabled person realise the extent of Unums influence in this country? I doubt it very much so the general public will niether know nor care becuase the media spout the mantra that we are all thieves cheats and scroungers and are costing the TAX PAYER money that they shouldnt have to pay and they believe it.Now it may be that mr clifford would not be interested but he too has a disabled child i believe so you never know and private eye are at least one of the ones who shine a light on all issues regardless of party so again you never know.Good generals use all available means against an enemy....to rule out any potential form of help is folly and if you dont ask you dont know...so why not ask em...
    AS for the dwp only dealing with individuals wel that may be the case but legal precedents are set by test cases brought by individuals too and this can be for and on the behalf of all and funded by all so again do not rule that out.AS for funding well maybe we can do it again if we dont ask we dont get and if there is one thing that this SoliDarity idea could achieve it could be in this area...rule nothing out because they the govt along with the lobby firms on behalf of vested interests surely dont so we shouldnt either...

  26. What doesn't help is the way newspapers like the Daily Mail demonize benefit claimants, the way they make headline storys should as *1 million people fit for work* blah blah without stating the whole facts, like the fact appeals are pretty much successful for most people.

  27. Flies cannot make sweet tea. Or any type of tea. They're a bit rubbish that way.

  28. i have tried 9 times to get dla and refused each time-the fact i cant dress myself or carry anything or walk more than 15 metres without the need to sit apparently al this doesnt matter nice that the 30 yrs i worked as a civil servant counts for nothing.

  29. @Anonymous above me

    What medical condition do you have? And do you have any evidence to support your claim? I find it hard to believe you could be refused 9 times if you had adequate proof to support your claim. I myself when providing evidence get put on middle rate care and low rate mobility as I need help with some day to day things, and need guidance outdoors, such like not being able to go to unfamiliar locations on my own without someone with me. My sense of navigation is also poor, I basically have the few places I go to in my town mapped out in my mind, anything more I struggle.

  30. Contacting Max Clifford, even maybe tweeting him, isn't such a bad idea? According to wikipedia (gospel of truths) he has had his fair share of hardships. He developed epilepsy aged 46, has had cancer, has a disabled child and lost his first wife to cancer after a long marriage. He has a disgust of lying politicians, does a LOT of campaigning and charity work, fought to bring down John Major to protect the NHS, and is a traditional working class background Labour supporter. Oh, and he happens to have a bit of influence in the media. Sounds like the ideal man to help get the message out?

    Look after yourself dear lady. I don't think they can lock you up for being ill and talking about how sick and disabled people are treated. Fame must be scary though! It shows that people are starting to listen. This is a GOOD thing right?

  31. I don't know about zoom lenses and rummaging through your recycling waste, but some bloke you keep seeing in a certain type of car, well... That's a possibility.

    Don't know how it works at a national DWP level, but when I worked briefly for my local council, it did have a small team of investigators. Their job was to follow up the nice little letters that came in from 'concerned citizens' writing in with a nod and a wink about 'so and so up the street'.

    I used to call them the Cheka. I think one of them overheard me once and was quite pleased with it. The Checker, I think he took it to mean.

    Don't know how he'd have taken if he knew I meant the forerunner of the KGB...

  32. The trouble with the concerned citizens is that they seem to think they have X-ray eyes and can see exactly what the person they reported told the DSS, despite the whole medical confidentiality issue!

  33. Aww! This made me laugh out loud. Nice to see you've still got your sense of humour, and very glad all the coverage of your predicament went viral.

    Unfortunately this is how it usually works - it takes an extreme case sometimes to raise the issue in the public eye.

  34. Anonymous 00.58 Well go figure?? How did I not know all of that? Phew that really is rattling the cage though eh? *gulp*

    You realise that is chew-you-up-spit-you-out levels of PR? *ponders*

  35. Hello Sue good reading carry the good work. I wonder if you could drop me an email I have clear proof of the criminal activities of the DWP and the APPEALS TRIBUNAL. Thank you Al


  36. That Radio 4 programme still available to listen to online "Can You Touch Your Toes!" I seem to remember everyone won their case even if it took some time(could this be because they were being featured on a National radio programme)

    Remarkably an ATOS Dr was interviewed anonymously(but he put the ATOS line across)and there were two press officers present and when things got too close for comfort they stepped in and brough the interview to halt. Most of the programme the presenter was banned/stopped from accessing anything to do with ATOS...there's a surprise.

    I cannot remember the reason why but being seriously ill(life threatening at the time)could be again, strong drugs with side effects etc...I could never get Incapacity Benefit but was awarded DLA and I manage only because I am not alone but if as it looks likely my Mum will pass away, that's really all I have and if they assess me as they will sooner rather than later and that is removed, heaven knows what I'll do.

    I wish I had been older so I could've missed the increase in retirement age and once retired I'd be left alone because at least I'd have my state pension but its not worked out that way.

    Fancy having to wish you are older to try and avoid being hounded.

    Sue, I wish you well with your attempts to get DLA reinstated.

  37. Keep smiling, keep going and THANK YOU.

  38. Sue, I just want to say Thank you.

    It is a very small word, only 2 syllables, but my goodness we owe you so much for shouting for us all; you have your own problems, more than many I suspect, but you still shout & all I can hope for in 2012 is that someone somewhere listens.

    So I'll say it again, THANK YOU.

  39. touch your toes, lift your arm bend your leg, yep fit for work, next please

  40. @Anonymous above me

    That or waste your time speaking for 40 minutes about your disability, only to find the person hasn't noted half of what you've said, failed you on the rest of the points and gave you as many points as she could to avoid passing you(12).

    Then recieve a letter from the DWP saying yup fit for work, despite them not using the overwhelming amount of medical evidence in the system for me(They really didn't, only the top 2 boxes were ticked, the decision maker decided he or she didn't want to bother with my evidence).

    I'm honestly dreading recieving a report about the reasons why they refused me and what Atos put, I know it'l piss me off to no end.

    - Matt

  41. fourbanks, with respect, I think people who arent disabled or sick themselves, or dont have relatives who are, really dont know the plight we're in. As Sarcboy says, the reporting on all matters to do with benefits is so hopelessly skewed and biased in the governments favour. During the course of his work my partner has recently met a doctor who deals with Parkinson's, and a man whose wife works for DWP, neither of whom knew anything about the incessant attack on sick/disabled, so its doubtful the general public do. It really does need someone savvy and high-profile to help. Sue, I suggested you consider Max Clifford, scary thought I know, but a possibility? or John Pilger? but unfortunately I think people not of his persuasion tend to switch off from him.
    Apologies by the way for being an Anonymous, I'm not v computer-minded and am a bit hopeless about profiles,blogs, accounts etc., will try eventually to put right when feeling less ill and brainless!

  42. Anonymous said...

    fourbanks, with respect

    Sorry for that confusion i meant the mp's/lords press etc not the general public

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