Sunday 21 October 2012

My Speech at Oct20 Rally

As most of you will know, I spoke at the October 20th Rally in Hyde Park yesterday.

I've been ridiculously ill and am waiting to go back into hospital for yet more surgery. For weeks, all I've really done is stay in bed being sick and writhing about, or attend bizarrely important stuff. I don't know if I can sum up how very odd that is.

My amazing GP allows me the meds I need to get through it all and I get unsteadily to my feet, pull on a frock, paint my puffy, tired face with an inch of make up and somehow transform into confident, insistent campaigner.

Yesterday, my twitter account was never quiet as hundreds of you thanked me, but it's an enormous privilege. It really is.

The life that so often seeps away from me has so much purpose. Every single time one of you tells me it gives you hope, it gives ME hope. The talents that sat dusty in my mind can be used for a great good and that is a truly amazing thing. I'm privileged that you let me be your voice and that others have been so generous in facilitating that.

To that end, a HUGE thank you to Brendan Barber for asking me to speak and to the TUC generally for supporting our campaign at many events and conferences now.

So, here's the video of my speech yesterday, and a transcript. Another HUGE thank you to James Albury (@alburyj) for recording it and to Steve Sumpter (@latentexistence) for posting it t youtube for us.

Friends, every last one of you that marched today believe in one thing above any other. Justice.

You couldn’t sit at home while injustice and exploitation are closing in on us wherever we look.

You are the faces, here, today, of so many millions more who are shocked and frightened by the careless way this coalition of clowns are ripping our communities apart.

But there is a casual cruelty taking place that is so inhumane, so calculating, right now, here, in the UK in 2012, that it shames us all.  

When you get home tonight, home to every corner of our nation, tired but exhilarated, weary but filled with pride – When  you see the vast,  defiant crowd, speaking with one voice, I beg you, to remember this :

For every one of you who marched today, a seriously ill or disabled person will lose the Disability Living Allowance they rely on to live with dignity and a little security.

This parliament of fools use numbers lightly. They count their losses in billions, their debt, in trillions, those thrown on the scrapheap of their incompetent policies in millions.

But THIS - this here, today - is what half a million people look like.

But there’s more :

A million more - TWICE as many as you marching here today - will be “reassessed” by the French IT company, Atos as fit for work. Their only income ripped away on the hunch of a few millionaires. Every single “report” or “committee” or “enquiry” into Work Capability Assessments have found them “Unfit for purpose”.

Coroner’s are reporting this “reform terror” as cause of deaths. Doctors demand WCAs are withdrawn immediately. Appeal tribunals warn that they are swamped to crisis point and beyond. 

Hundreds of thousands of profoundly disabled children will see their support cut by an impossible 50% while Osborne’s “Bullingdon Budget” gave millionaires £40,000 extra. Each.

The Independent Living Fund – Scrapped

Severe Disability Premiums – Scrapped

Social Care packages - slashed

They are not numbers Mr Cameron, they are LIVES!

They are our mothers; our brothers; our daughters and sons.

Disease or Disability can strike any one, at any time.

We are the sick and disabled people of the UK, so under threat are urgently crying for help against the wind, like a drowning man. 

And so, I’d like to leave you with the words of Edmund Burke :

 ”Justice will NOT be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”


PLEASE get outraged, because sick and disabled people in the UK need you as never before. 


  1. excellent. saw the video last night, it made me cry.

  2. Sue,
    I wish to join all the others in thanking you for all the effort you put into being our voice. I could not go on the Glasgow protest due to still recovering from pneumonia, but I've tried my best to post on twitter and Facebook news items on Oct 20. We have got to get the population to wake up it can't happen soon enough.
    I hope you get the medical help you need and please it sounds like you have reached time when it's now important that you put yourself first.

  3. Great speech Sue! I will re-post on Think Left.

  4. Thanks everyone and thanks Syzygy Sue xx

    1. So sorry to hear that you are still waiting to get 'sorted' ... and yet again gobsmacked that you've managed to pull off the rally so brilliantly in spite of! Let me know if I can help in a more practical way. Syzygysue xx

  5. Very moving speech Sue , have sent a copy to my Tory MP .

  6. Great speech.

    In my day job I deal with about three or four people a week who have had their benefits stopped because of the work capability farce. Nearly always I've helped get payments reinstated.

    It does make me sick. Not just because of the suffering it causes, but I know there are many more who do not seek any help and are left to worry and endure the Tories' vindictive stupidity without support or hope that things can change.

    So please keep on speaking up for those who feel voiceless and alone.

  7. Just remembering the question on my DLA form about stumbles and falls - 'Do you need help to get up'

    I pondered how best to answer it in the context of my circumstances that would make the fact that I stumble every day and sometimes fall meaningful to the decision maker. I live alone. There is no one to catch me when I fall, but reading your carefully researched and accurately written blogs, before even hearing your speech, reminds me that there are others who stand proud beside me. Thank you.

  8. Great speech sue and keep well don't overdo things OK :)

  9. Great speech, great words, great publicity & delivered with great heart. Thank You. Get well.

  10. Absolutely fantastic. Solidarity!

  11. Another great speech Sue!

    Please rest up now, you have to think of yourself as well as you do of others.

  12. Thankyou Sue for all that you go through for the disadvantaged,you give us hope,hugs Tony

  13. Thank you Sue, because of you these issues are represented at these marches and protests in a way they never were before. Hope you rest well.

  14. so proud to stand up with you, Sue! x

    (even when 'stand up' is a euphemism for lie down/sit/lean on/collapse...!)

  15. Thank you Sue - amazing speech - the bit re comparing the numbers marching to those of us who will be affected was inspired ♥

  16. You are an inspiration to all of us. Thank you.

  17. This is a very heartfelt article, and there are so many truly dreadful stories of individual suffering out there.
    And yet, and yet. The current system is not sustainable in the long term. Expenditure on DLA last year was £12.6 bn. The numbers claiming DLA have risen by a third in the last nine years, from less than 2.5 million to 3.2 million. But disability per se has not risen in that period. In fact, despite the difficulties faced by the NHS, general health indicators continue to improve, as they have done since the 1950s.
    So what to do with DLA? The only way I can see is a root and branch reform of DLA, reassessing everyone who has claimed it, because the problem with DLA is that once it is awarded, it tends to be ignored. This is why the numbers continue to grow so massively and unsustainably.

  18. Peter H - Rubbish. DLA goes up because people find out they're actually entitled to it. Except for extraordinary cases it's reassessed every 5 years at *most* (usually less, more like 2-3 years) with medical evidence and endless forms to catch you out. DLA is a benefit that allows many disabled people to work who won't be able to if that is removed from them. The tax-avoiders the government lets skate by could pay for all the welfare cuts the government has put in place and more if they paid what they owe.

    Don't read the papers. Read the government's own reports they try to downplay, they're the important ones.

    1. Tesria, sadly you are falling into the trap of 'rubbishing' any opinion which does not align with your experience.
      OF COURSE there are individuals who are reassessed regularly. But it is DWP reports which indicate that under the current system 71% of people get the benefit for life without systematic checks.
      Human nature being what is it, there are very few who will relinquish a benefit even when morally they should no longer claim it. Consequently, the bill rises inexorably

  19. Peter H - I was reassessed after one year of my mobility award, which without, I would be virtually housebound. My condition is one that one that can only degenerate further, which it has, and for which there is no treatment or cure. I agree with Tesria wholeheartedly, the rise in claim levels is because people are understanding the eligibilty criteria which the government does exactly advertise.
    Many disabled people live alone, like myself. It is the assumption that for every disabled person there is an able bodied person available to help at the drop of the hat. My DLA affords me choices of independence that non disabled people take for granted. It gives me a measure of dignity, rather than pity, and sometimes hatred. My motability car has been referred to as a free one by one neighbour. Five years ago I was able bodied and working full time in a profession. High price to pay for the privilege of not working, income to live on - ESA for the rest of my eligible working years and higher rate mobility allowance which is going straight back into the economy.

  20. Your portrayal of real disabled people based on lies upon lies as no more than worthless victims is a ploy so the fake can refuse to work which is the biggest danger for real disabled people since Adolf Hilter as you fuel the eugenics agenda. You have to portray real disabled people as better of dead so your secret army of "sick" activists and attackers who loath themselves and disabled people can scam the welfare state. I challenge you to meet me in person and tell me to be face why you believe you have the right to judge I am worthless and why you want me to give my work and my life, lying on a beanbag so like all socialist leaders, you can live like a corrupted queen demanding absolute pity from your subjects?

  21. Well done on your speech. Don't give up.

    You may be interested in my debate yesterday on 'The economy, growth and benefit cheats'

    Short URL:

  22. I was not allowed to go to this by my union NASUWT because I am off work with work related stress.They feel it would not be right if parents or my employer saw me in the media. I was bullied over many years by managers and said in May 28th enough after a particularly degrading event.
    My union stopped supporting me so am so sorry i could not be in London to hear you but appreciate your struggle and efforts. I am taking my employer to tribunal and as for NASUWT ........well what can I say.......are there any teacher trade unions who actually represent the membership?

  23. Sue,

    You are the best advert for welfare reform why not ask these questions during your speech?

    1. Why is £80 bill being spent on welfare for WORKING age ppl?

    2. Why are people able to get £60k of housing benefit and live in the poshest properties in the UK?

    3. Why is the benefit cap higher then the average wage?

    4. When people are better off on welfare why should they bother working and be worse off?

    5. With educated working people leaving the UK faster than ever who will pay for your lucrative benefits in times to come?

    6. WHy should blue badge holders park for free on the street? I see several spanking new BMWs mercs etc with a blue badge on the dash! Are benefits that lucrative? to kath above i heard u can get bmws on motability cant be bad can it?

    Stop welfare if there was no welfare would be no arguement and this exponential rise in benefit claims and dla crap etc. To point out 2,000 people claim DLA in the UK b/c of acne yes thats how easy it is to get easy money in the UK.

    Would the last hard working taxpayer to leave the UK please turn out the light. Soon the only people left will be those who think its ok to leach of others. When the 'others' dont exist then what will you do?!

    1. I am not sure if you are a troll, or you actually believe the nonsense you write. I hope it is the former, because the level of bile if you are sincere doesn't bear thinking about.

      Living with a disability is hard. But living with the bitter resentment - not to mention some pretty unsustainable beliefs - that you want to display must be a source of constant, relentless, possibly incurable misery. As a hard working tax-payer myself I do not have too much of a problem with a proportion - quite a small proportion - of the money I have contributed over a long working life going to ease some of the problems that come with illness or disability.

      I hope that job of yours, and your health, are secure. Don't think you would cope that well with finding that Daily Mail fantasies do not have much to do with reality.

    2. he like the prime minister wont let up Liz to their dying day there'll always think the same and yet neither of them will have ever spent any time alone with a sick or disabled person outside of their family in David Camerons case

  24. just because you see BMWs and Mercs on the street with blue badges displayed - it doesn't mean they are motability cars. A blue badge holder is entitled to display it in any vehicle that someone is using on their behalf to take them somewhere that they need to go. You don't have to get DLA to get a blue badge entitlement either.
    Each time you post on this blog you make an even bigger fool of yourself.

    1. your so right Kath that guy is so like the prime minister bumbling on without a clue and digging himself further in a hole

  25. Nick - I feel a song coming on. Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz. My friends all drive Porsches. I must make amends. I worked hard all my life with no help from my friends..............

  26. I hear it Kath lets see what c93f60a6-12f9-11e2-a1c3-000bcdcb471e take on it is

  27. Ok folks why not answer the other questions then? You must be really laughing at us fools that work and are worse off than u guys. thats ok the battle lines are drawn.

    i agree ++ with other poster DLA claims are going up even though health measures are improving b.c ppl know how to game the system now so v.easy to claim DLA for bs like acne, bizarre phobias.

    dont worry nick, kath hopefully when welfare is stopped that will wipe the smile of yr faces that u have had at those fools like us who have no choice but to fund it for all these years.

    battle lines are drawn momentum is gathering for the anti welfare movement. bring it on.

    1. you don't make any sense people like me are virtually housebound weather i had a pound benefit or a million pound benefit it's doesn't matter a jot my life cant change

      what does matter is that many have died and continue to die by the welfare reform bill and the bbc tell me that has to remain a secret and we will not investigate your concerns

      now that is a very big worry

    2. k nick since u feel even a pound benefit wont help u why not give a call today and stop claiming yr handout then if u feel it doesnt help?! who is holding a gun to yr head forcing u to claim?

      why should i bother working with portions of my income going to fund ppl like yrself? i would be better off on welfare have already calculated that myself but pride is a big thing nick maybe think of that next time yr next free wad of cash appears.

      the anti welfare movement is growing faster than you can believe. nothing is enshrined in law anywhere you should get something for nothing so why u think u got the right for others to break their backs to fund yr life?

    3. Bills have to be paid and costs in general are higher when you have to stay home like heating special diets hospital trips etc.
      We are all working hard just to keep going just to stay alive and 150 pounds per week in benefits just about going round in our families' case

      I do pay my rent and council tax in full although I don't have to so I'm told but I do as a matter of principal and my pay for my drugs bill with a one year annual ticket

      It is not a lifestyle anyone would choose and you need to be very thankful that you don't need to but you can never tell what tomorrow brings so just be grateful you have good health and are in work as that's the best place to be when you're fit like yourself

  28. Brilliant speech. Thank you.

    (Also thanks for the transcript - it was appreciated over here in deafieland).

  29. c93f60a6-12f9-11e2-a1c3-000bcdcb471e; I tried to reply earlier... but ironically the anti-troll measure made that harder for me. People not responding to your hate-filled rhetoric does not equate to agreement.

    It's hard to challenge your arguments, since you don't quote sources or provide references. We can't do all your thinking for you.

    One of your more glaring errors: Your "Acne" claim. The "worst" stats I can find refer to 20 claimants, not 2000; and do not specify if that is the sole reason, or comorbid with other conditions. But what's a 100-fold error when there are Goats to Scape?

  30. Pedants Log, supplemental:

    Reagrding your point 1, concerning money paid to working age claimants. Assuming your figure is correct:

    - Because illness does not respect age, and won't ignore people just because they are between ages '14' and 'dead', which is one definition of working age? (Of course, children cannot claim for themselves, so technically ALL welfare goes to working age people, even if it is to be spent on dependents).

    - Because minimum wage is NOT a living wage, and employers can legally pay less than a fair rate of pay; forcing the taxpayer to subsidise their profits and keep their workforces from deprivation?

    - Because NI alone took in £96.5 billion in 2010-2011, far more than you say has been paid in benefits, thus suggesting the system is theoretically quite balanced?

    Just some food for thought.

    I'm not leeching off anyone, I'm briefly reversing the flow of cash betwixt me and the state. That's one way a healthy society works: sometimes you're 'ahead', sometimes you're not. It isn't a race to cross a finish line with exactly matched ingoings and outgoings.

    You see, dignity isn't just a ship. At work; I kept fit, made friends, learned things, helped people, gained respect, and of course earned money to pay my way and set a little aside. I'm insulted if you think I don't want to work.

    I have paid into the mandatory national scheme for many years. Temporarily, I am claiming something back due to illness. Later, I will pay in again.

  31. Bravo - the facts. I paid in too - and like you earned a living wage - and all of the above statements fit my profile. Unfortunately our attacker doesn't understand the meaning of the word insurance, which I would like to remind him is paid on a sliding scale as a percentage of earnings.However, at the end of your working life this doesn't count in terms of the amount of state pension you will receive.
    Nick, thank goodness for someone who also has a sense of humour! Had forgotten the TV ad. Like you I have been virtually housebound. I miss the challenges of my work, and the comraderie of my colleagues.
    These verbal assaults only serve to make other bloggers find out the facts and strengthen our case.
    To 'Alf' who identifies himself with a long anonymous number - It's not what you think that matters - it's what we know. Have a nice day and don't break your back on my account.

  32. [QUOTE] what does matter is that many have died and continue to die by the welfare reform bill and the BBC tell me that has to remain a secret and we will not investigate your concerns

    Now that is a very big worry [/QUOTE]

    Just to clarify this point that I posted?
    The BBC is well aware of the deaths that have been related to the welfare reform bill and have indeed published on their main page the odd one or two

    however THEY were not aware of how large the numbers they thought it was a very small number and I bringing to their attention that it was potentially well over a thousand and rising fast from when I first contacted them two years ago now tell me that is way too many and cannot be reported upon so therefore will remain private and confidential as no way could these welfare reform deaths of that number be reported upon without dire consequences for all those involved

  33. so latest proposal no more benefits if more than 2 kids. have the benefits crowd got any objection to that? why should others pay for them? if u want more why dont u pay for them? seems obvious.

    at the minute kids are used as £££ tools and also to get bigger houses etc just pump more kids out. why shouldnt benefits be capped at 2 kids??

    also why should blue badge holders park for free? if they had their own spaces but had to pay u would see abuse of the system drop to zero period!

  34. Great speech Sue, feel proud to read it that i did'nt watse my time.
    Ben Linus,
    Click Here