Thursday 5 September 2013

Opinions please

Thank you all for the wonderful response to my call for your opinions on what we should bring up in the Spartacus meeting with Hoban on Tuesday.

Tomorrow, I will post about the results and lay out a set of "Demands" for the DWP to act upon immediately, with no more delays or excuses. I hope as many of you as possible will be able to read the post and tell us what you think of the "demands" in the comments below the article Also to feedback if you think we may have missed something vital. This will be a chance for ALL campaigners to decide a final agenda.

We will pick the issues based on 3 things :

Popularity - Ie, the suggestions that got the most mentions. That way YOU are all speaking for yourselves, not me or the others attending.
Achievability - I believe it is vital in this particular meeting to focus on things the DWP have promised to implement but haven't or issues that we believe they can have little or no reasonable opposition to.
Urgency - Some issues are now so pressing, they simply cannot wait another week.

Since I started campaigning 5 years ago, I've always been VERY clear that my intentions are to campiagn politically. Many of us have our own issues that we focus on - perhaps the removal of the Independent Living Fund, the PIP 20 metre rule, Atos...the list goes on and on.

But, for my sins, I took the political route, believing that no matter how broken our democracy might be, it's always worth fighting for change. I mean to elaborate on this in a longer post soon. From managing to get the Lib Dems to oppose WCAs as part of their official policy (though they were then whipped to go against their own grassroots :( ) to lobbying peers over the welfare reform bill. From Labour's appalling attempts at "tougher than the Mail" attacks on sick and disabled people to IDS multitude of failures, it's the political aspect of all of this that makes me come alive.

From producing the Spartacus Report to every article I've ever written, you might notice, if you re-read a few, that I am ALWAYS writing as though to an imaginary politician.

Spartacus fights for change using the democratic process. Any change. I believe the majority of the iron-tough people still wearing a Spartacus "twibbon" or promoting the #WOWpetition read this blog because they support that approach. I believe that any change, any improvements are worth fighting for.

Those attending will be Dave and I, Sam Barnett-Cormack (@narco_sam) and Stef Benstead (@stefbedstead). Obviously Michael Meacher will be there too, but in the interests of balance, I asked if Robert Halfon could come along. As one of the few Conservatives who have spoken out about Atos, I hoped he would add a little balance

As I said in the earlier post, My position on WCAs is that I believe they should be abolished. That hasn't ever changed any never will.

However, I don't believe that I can reject any opportunity to make things a bit safer in the meantime if I possibly can. If it saves just one life or one family falling into despair, it will have been worth it. If I go into the meeting demanding that WCAs are scrapped with immediate effect, that chance will be lost. I fought for over a year for this meeting.

This government simply will not scrap WCAs. As we all know and have learnt to our considerable cost, they will barely compromise on buying a few more recording devices to record assessments, never mind scrapping the benefit altogether.

However, one increasingly persistent campaigner insists that I ask your opinion on this. He feels that I am being undemocratic and arrogant. That's fine, it's absolutely his prerogative to disagree with my approach and any similar comments will be more than welcome on my blog.

However, I suggested his call for a vote was unnecessary. I've consulted you all every step of the way,  and hundreds of you have taken the time to leave feedback and suggestions for the meeting. I will be taking forward the issues you say are the most vital to you. Most importantly however, I see the comments thread as a vote in itself, open to all and un-moderated. I felt that this campaigner's suggestion was simply one of many. If enough people wanted me to go to the meeting and insist on full abolition of WCA's, and many comments had called for it, I would absolutely present that view. It's not about me, it's about all of you.

I don't want anyone to criticise this campaigner. He feels passionately about this issue, and believes he's doing the right thing to ensure that I act with transparency.

Unfortunately, the discourse hasn't always been terrible pleasant, but that still doesn't make me any more "right" than he feels he is.

With all of this in mind, here's a link to a very quick  "Yes/No" survey, written by this campaigner himself. I initially said I wouldn't post it. I suggested that if this issue was so very important to him, he should collect the evidence himself, and I'd gladly take it into account. After all, that's the "Spartacus way" lol

Often called "voodoo polls" votes like this have no real value as respondents are self selecting. However, it's harmful to all of our campaigns, if one of the "team" is unhappy and tweeting dissent that damages the overall movement.

With that in mind, the question is, would you vote for

A) Demanding full abolition of WCAs and refusing to discuss further compromises or improvements


B) Making it clear our position has always been to scrap WCAs, but also, raising some of the most punitive issues in the hope we can at least improve things a little.

You can complete the survey by clicking on this link

Please retweet or share to help spread the word if you can, as time is short.


  1. I've voted for the raising the issues bit - I wish the survey had an optional box to explain why.

    Any improvement before the WCA is scrapped will be immensely beneficial for the people going through it, it seems unethical to me to know we could have made it easier for them but chose not to.
    If no change is effected then returning (as the poll's author put it) to abolition being the first and only aim is not only not made more difficult or weakend but makes it easier and strengthened this approach because it show's the government's unwillingness to change.

    Sorry if that sounded garbled - low brain day.

    1. Hi Sue

      Just had 2 x 2 hour trip to hospital
      Too doowally to read recent post
      You're an inspiration
      Keep up the goog work
      All the best

  2. It's a sticky wicket - truthfully I'd say scrap the whole thing, and I do not think, and never will think, Labour is going to Save Us All, regardless of the faith of others. However, I feel we're currently stuck with what we have, and unless people want to do the uncomfortable and unpleasant (namely, to just do revolution as an option) then we're stuck with what we have and need to just struggle through with what we have. WCA is here. We're stuck with it. Even Labour has waffled on about how they're going to keep it. So the best we can hope for right now is to just amend it. It's not going to get scrapped - it never will be. To say we want it scrapped and insist upon it will get us no-where, because there is NO PARTY that exists which will get rid of it. End of. Again, not unless we're willing to completely take over and do all the unpleasant, gritty, horrible work of performing a coup is there ANY chance WCA will be scrapped.

    In the West we like to think we are "civilised" - and civilised means that we sit in a room with green benches and waffle on for ages and ages. I have my own views on that sort of thing but I do have to admit it's effective. Things have been reversed and revised and redone thanks to political pressure, because there are people who know how to do that political dance. I may personally prefer just to put politicians against a wall with blindfolds and cigarettes, but I doubt that won't happen.

    Sue worked on getting this meeting for a year - politicians have been adamantly refusing to meet with disabled activities for three years. I couldn't do this meeting; I'd turn into a raving "extremist" and need to scrub my skin for a week just to get the slime off me from being in close proximity. And that's exactly what these sods would want, because it would be easy to dismiss. I think they've been adamant about refusing to meet with Sue because they know she can approach from a place of compromise...she knows how to play their political game, and that scares the crap out of them because she's harder to just dismiss.

    I don't like the compromise. I don't like the Coalition and I really don't like the fact that we all still are such civilised sheeple that we think democracy still works. But this is the way things stand right now, and this is what I will support, because it's got more than a snowball's chance of actually working.

  3. I voted for option 1. I fully agree that the WCA must be removed and this must remain our long term goal. However, we have to recognise what is possible and achievable in the short term. Sue has worked for a year to get this meeting, going in militant and demanding abolition or nothing will acheive nothing and make future approaches less likely to be successful. Politics is the art of the possible.

  4. Thank you for those comments guys. It is and always has been very important to me that I only create the platform for sick and disabled people to be heard. What you want to DO with that platform is entirely up to all of you.

  5. I voted for option 1. I hate the WCA for what it does to people but I also know the reality of politics and the media.
    If we appear, even for a moment, to be the extremists they called us, we lose any hope of getting more support.

    I am disappointed by the survey. I am sure the other person meant well, but as a professional statistician who specialised in survey design and implementation I have to say this came over as biased. Swapping over the negative/positive lists and the difference in the style of the pros and cons drives people towards option 2.
    It is very difficult to design good questions when you are emotionally involved - if this ever happens again I'd be happy to help.

    1. That's exactly why I said I wouldn't publish it myself. Psephology is an incredibly complex thing but most ppl think they can write any old questions and (if only inadvertently) lead the respondents.

  6. Option 1 also; because what you have worked for and been given is the chance to engage with government. This means the only thing on the table is amendments to what is already in place. Going in and requesting WCA be scrapped would mean no more meetings, ever. This is because such a request is a protest demand, which sits outside on the streets or in the media.

    That's not to say that policy never changes as a result of protest; but the process is different.

    If Sue had requested a meeting and then put a 'protest' demand on the table, rather than realistic options for improving the current scenario, it would show extreme naivety and a complete lack of understanding of the political process. She would quite rightly be excluded from any other form of political engagement.

  7. Also for Option 1. I don't at all accept that trying to get some relief as soon as possible for people who are suffering rules out having the ultimate aim of abolition. Yes, I would prefer abolition - but I'm not prepared to say 'so other people should suffer for my principles while we pursue that distant aim'.

    1. I'm also a bit miffed that the guy who put together this (very biased) poll is now claiming he is 'in the right' because people are voting, therefore his poll is popular, therefore he is right. I only voted because Sue was open-minded enough to link the thing - it was in no way *at all* an expression of less than total trust in Spartacus. Seriously, I object to anyone trying to 'translate' my action like that.

  8. I've voted option 2 as I believe we should be fighting for social justice whatever the obstacles to our fight. WCA is clearly social injustice.

  9. I voted option 2 as that is the official WOWpetition campaign's position. But Realpolitik means I have to be pragmatic and realise in the current situation there is not a jot in hell's chance of main-stream political parties backing complete abolition of WCA's.

    I trust you enough, Sue, to make the best decision on behalf of us all. Whatever stance you take you have my backing.


  10. Sue, I, like most sick/disabled people, would love the WCA to be abolished but I don't believe it is going to happen and going into the meeting to demand that would be, in my opinion, a total waste of this hard-earned meeting. I hope you go with your original plan, given the large number of comments which show clearly the issues which concern people the most. I wish you all the best for the meeting and hope it goes well.

  11. I voted Option 1, but i would call for official NHS or private doctors medical consultation documents to be sufficient evidence of a claimants disability, not an Atos pen-pushers decision.

  12. I think it might be fair to say that many sick and disabled people want assessment by a medical professional who knows them to determine their right to benefits, but if this is not currently on the table there are also key changes that can make the WCA less devastating to people's lives in the immediate term. These changes need to be discussed with government, and it would be very sad to lose that opportunity.

    Political change does not work through oppositional protest only, and oppositional protest only works at all if the level of protest is very high (i.e. involving a very large proportion of the overall population.) For the rest, there always has to be engagement of the type that Sue is proposing. If others want to continue with a protest approach, that's fine; Sue's engagement doesn't compromise that.

  13. The United Nations will be looking in from now on this blog they tell me as i have convinced them all is not well with the welfare death rate on the rise and this will need to stop

    IDS will not be backing down UNTIL many more have died as he at this time is still in denial just as the Syrian president will not be backing down so we do indeed have a real problem and I just hope sue can get her message across to save lives
    If she fails then it is game over and will then have to think of something else

    AMBASSADOR TO UNITED KINGDOM AND NORTHERN IRELAND KURT ALLEYNE has also raised his concerns with me and any deaths or those at risk of death by the DWP should make contact with him for advice

    AMBASSADOR KURT ALLEYNE is also a good contact and friend of mine

  14. Well done Nick!! Those approaches to the UN must certainly have paid off

    1. you're welcome sue

      as i say KURT ALLEYNE is on the ball and any reports of deaths should be compiled and forwarded on to him as he has the best contacts he is also very busy as you can imagine dealing with hundreds of concerns around the world but he is very deeply concerned of sick and disabled dying having visited ATOS and then on the way home committing suicide

      also those found fit for work but then die shortly afterwords knowing that there last thoughts were they were a scrounger

      also those so stressed by their ordeal they die of there health problems like heart/lung/asthma in which they look like they have been gassed

    2. The UN have confirmed that they are to consider my research reports at their next meeting in November.

      Given that we have a UN rep now in the UK to investigate the impact of the 'bedroom tax,' it does seem that the UN are concerned at the disturbing activities in this country as the long-term chronically sick & disabled people live with ever increasing anxiety.

      It is hoped that the UK Government may take more notice of the UN than they do of the European Court.

    3. The UN do need to focus on how many people are dying through the full welfare reform that's the bedroom tax and those dying on the transfer over from IB to ESA the most very serious of undertakings o sick or disabled person will undertake in the uk has ever seen in which getting something wrong you end up dying as a result

  15. Interesting - was wondering about this survey and signed up for Option 2 which was my instinct. But I was a bit concerned about it, so have now voted again for Option 1. Actually, I think you have done the work and you have tried to collect people's opinions and you are the person in the room...It may be possible to do both actually. Push for reform, whilst making it very clear that majority of us want it scrapped, and maybe being sympathetic to how limited his options might be ie I know you'd do it if you could...

    Good luck - you are brilliant to have got this farx

    1. I think the fact you could vote twice tells us all we need to know about the validity of the survey eh Virginia?

      Those who put it together have done everything they can to "fix" the result - I imagine a few hundred of their own repeat votes will get the outcome they hope for

    2. I tested this to see if you could vote more than once and you can so very easy to 'fix' so as to get the result you want!

  16. I hope you will publish my comment Sue, because I want to put across my point of view, which is different from what is on your blog. I am aware that you think I am an alarmist trying to frighten people, but I was quite shocked this morning when I read on Twitter that you said that fewer suffer through WCA than you thought. You are talking about the number of appeals, forgetting about the reconsiderations and also forgetting that over 800,000 appeals have been received by the ministry of justice. We know the results for only half of them.
    You are forgetting the number of people (around 500,000) stuck into the assessment phase, sometimes for more than a year on reduced benefits. You are forgetting people who are not sick enough to receive disability benefits and not well enough to receive JSA. They have no income and they are not accounted for in the DWP figures. I think a lot more people suffered that we can ever imagine.
    For that reason, I am in favour of Option 2. There has been 3 Harrington reviews, and no progress. I know there have been mention of more people placed in the Support Group. It is true that this figure is over 20%. But if you calculate the % of people in the Support Group out of the total number of claimants, this figure is 11%. Any concession by the DWP has been a time saving exercise. Look at the Mental Function Champions. Where are they? Nobody knows and up to now only one has surfaced at a meeting with disability representatives and he could not even remember how he was recruited.
    The position has been: if we can save one life, it is worth asking for a small reform. If I was convinced that it was true, I would have ticked the first option. I am an ex aid worker, and it is a dilemma that you face everyday.
    But I do not. I have seen any improvement in the WCA, just the DWP getting more clever at hiding the truth. I am not trying to convince you or your followers to say to Hoban that you want the WCA scrapped, but an alternative point of view is necessary if people want to make an informed decision.
    Anita Bellows

    1. Thanks Anita. Of COURSE I would publish your comment!! I've never moderated a single genuine comment in three years. That's the saddest thing about the fuss others have made over this, they imply I'm not being open or democratic, when in fact I don't think I could have done more to ensure YOUR views are all represented.

      *I think personally that during a long and painful war, warriors become afraid of their enemy. As each battle rages, they trust their enemy less, they become more aware of their skills in battle, they start to imagine that their enemies strength is much greater than it really is.

      As the battles rage on and more and more lives are lost, a warrior may come to truly hate his enemy too. Any earlier ideas of compromise or peace harden.

      When at last the war is almost won, the warrior might be too afraid to make the killer blow. What would be left with nothing to fight? How can he possibly allow his enemies to save face after all the terrible deeds of war? How can he ever compromise with these people, who have become monsters in his eyes?

      Then, the warrior becomes afraid of winning at all! He feels it betrays those that fell. He is so cynical of his enemy that he can never believe he can truly defeat him and the warrior feels pain and anxiety over giving even an inch, or giving up a life of conflict that has become all he can remember.

      There are no ultimate moments, no killer blows, the warrior must simply win each battle, gaining a little ground along the way. One day he finds his enemy so weakened, so under attack from all sides, so exposed, that he fears him no more! He sees his own strength was always the greater by staying true to his goals and striving for truth wherever he could.

      In victory, the warrior can afford to be gracious, maybe even allow his enemy to save a little face amongst his own people. The warriors compassion shows the enemy why they lost in the end*

      I hope you don't mind my little allegory. You can look at it another way. In the end, Mandella had to work with his bitter enemies to find a peaceful solution. Gandhi had to negotiate with the British, Lincoln had to give a little to the confederates and so on and so on through every conflict in history. Just as one day, Israel and Palestine will have to compromise with one another, just as Syria will have to sit down at some point and find a way forward. Like Kosovo, Like Rwanda, like Northern Ireland. In the end, it is ALWAYS talk and compromise that win, the true cost is how many lives are lost along the way.

      John Major refused to "negotiate with terrorists" as did Maggie and it did them no good at all. People just carried on dying. Blair was determined to find an agreement and NI is transformed for it today.

      I am determined to win, and not afraid of small victories along the way. They don't weaken us, they strengthen us, bringing us a step, every day, closer to our goals.

  17. what we also have to remember that IDS and mark hoban are in denial of the many thousands of sick and disabled that have died on there watch over the past 3 years in the going through from incapacity benefit to ESA

    i myself have been very deeply disturbed by these ongoing deaths and by IDS'S attitude of the way he feels he's helping them?

    helping them to their grave yes helping them to mentality suffer yes?

    i don't think the sick and disabled need this type of help

    At some point the message will hit home that they have killed many sick and disabled on a failed policy that was badly thought out in the first place

    how long will this take for IDS and co to take in that they have in a very obscure way killed thousands of people ?

    and that's the main questhion as every part of the welfare reform comes back to that one question

    how do we as a country stop the negligent manslaughter of the sick and disabled ?

    history dictates that those in denial do at some point crack under the pressure Hitler did and all those since have

    all we can hope as a sick and disabled group that IDS cracks soon it's been 3 years since he's been in this welfare postilion so will be feeling the heat i would have thought

    also the question many will ask is that what drove him to punish the sick and disabled which has led to so many dying ?

    we may have to wait many years on why IDS has taken a stance like he has on the sick and disabled and only time will reveal his intended master plan

    if i were a mp what a debate we would be having in the commons a full house of the very finest of questhion being asked but also one of absolute tragedy

  18. I voted for the abolition of the WCA before the survey was posted on this blog. I have a great deal of respect for you and trust in you so much that had I clicked the link from your post I might have almost been persuaded otherwise. However, my gut instinct was to scrap it. It is so toxic and flawed that to achieve any meaningful improvement an entirely new assessment would have to be designed. WOW petition is campaigning to scrap it and with the backing of 53,000 people so far that remains my stance and long term goal.

    I realise that this time on a first meeting this won't happen and I don't think an all or nothing vote is helpful at this point. It will only cause division when ultimately we all want the same thing. I too accept that this current administration will not back down. Good luck and all the best with the meeting.

  19. Hi Sue

    Just had 2 x 2 hour trip to hospital
    Too doowally to read recent post
    You're an inspiration
    Keep up the goog work
    All the best

  20. Hi Sue,

    I'm hoping you've not minded my interjecting (@MotionRotation) with my somewhat belligerent manner. You're somewhat more diplomatic than myself which is probably why you succeed in this arena.

    I'd just like to state that I think you should stick with what you're doing. I don't like the idea of reforms over abolition of the absurd WCA but I don't for a moment believe that abolition will come overnight. Nor do I believe that abolition will come without numerous intermediate stages; something that Mr Jones seems to have difficulty considering. Without steps between, a complete stoppage of tests may never come and in the meantime any alleviation of suffering would be better than nothing.

    I don't believe I've ever seen any of Spartacus claim to represent all disabled people or have a mandate, just another pressure group trying to effect change, and as I've expressed before it is the right of every person and group to try to make themselves heard whether their views are popular or not. From where I'm sitting, all I can see is a vociferous bully trying to push you through dishonest means to take on his agenda, an agenda which was well represented by the members of DPAC yesterday.

    It is clear to me that he doesn't just want his view represented, he wants every other view shut down.

    So stick with it, say what you were always going to say. It may not be what we all want but if it helps even a little it will be worth it.

    Best of luck, Paul

    1. I agree with you, Paul. And I think Sue will argue best for what she believes in. We can all do our bit. What we shouldn't do is insist that one bit is better than others. I'm not voting in this survey because it's skewed. I'd rather trust Sue's judgement in this, it's not fair to expect her to argue for something she doesn't truly believe in. The individual concerned is free to start campaigning on his own behalf and go and see politicians himself.

    2. Amen, y0. There's always been shouting about what Sue "should" do ever since Spartacus started. One person however cannot do everything for everyone. This is why other campaigns exist - that's not divide-and-conquer, it's just "pressure from all sides". Where the divide and conquer comes in is when people get angry because another similar cause isn't fight the issues in the exact same way as everyone else. And so it goes at all times. Suffragettes all had different ways of fighting for votes. The Civil Rights movement in the 60's in the US wasn't just Martin Luther and Malcolm X. There was Medgar Evers, there was Angela Davis, there were dozens of other people, all fighting towards a goal their own way - there was probably just as much blame and infighting and finger-pointing then as there is now, but the point remains: all fighting for the same goal, in different ways.

      Sue was and is fighting for vulnerable people - she never said she was fighting for ALL of them, but she is fighting for Karen, which used to write on this blog and plead. She fights for the anonymous writers, some too scared to even put on their names, who used to beg for someone to save them. She fights for the people who are sending her plans of their suicide. She's been in and out of hospital and still fighting. And I give kudos for that.

      I despair: I despair at the seeking-the-spotlight stuff and sour-grapes I see crop up now and again in the disabled community. I despair at the not-quite-hidden racism in the disabled community. I despair at the backbiting and twitter-dramas and the disabled activists who are now so afraid of backlash from other disabled people they don't even post up the actions they're taking. I despair of a disabled man who claims everyone else is "fake disabled" but him, thinking somehow Spartacus is making thousands of pounds a month for its pretty much thankless work. I despair at claims of copyright for the word "Spartacus" ffs.

      Can't we all just...bloody....STOP and THINK for a little? Honestly?


    3. Totally agree with you Paul, you have said exactly what I have been thinking!

    4. I probably ought to nip this "Sue" thing in the bud too. This blog is mine. But the "Spartacus" meeting involves three people who have been involved since the start. They've worked on a variety of WeRSpartacus Reports.

      This particular issue came up when I was in hospital - Michael Meacher came to visist me while I was in. Many campaigners were half dead from bringing the 20 mtr rule of PIP to judicial Review. I took on ESA and asked for a team to work towards this meeting, once Meacher suggested it. The team produced ESASOS and there are a team of about 20 "Spartacii" researching it. They have put together a new report into the progress of all of Harrington's recommendations. It's not just a meeting! And it's DEFINITELY not just me.

    5. Never thought it was just you, but this issue seems both very much focussed on this meeting (in which you're representing the group?) and the attacks directed your way. Whether it's just you or not, you're copping all the flack.

      It was with the rest of the group in mind that I posted that comment but I addressed it to you as the person I have seen as most up-against-it.

      I could go on a long ramble of reasons why I'm finding current events so... disconcerting but I'm hoping this all makes enough sense on its own.

  21. For me, it's all about reform; not revolution. For what it's worth.... I feel entering with a pragmatic attitude whilst armed with a stack of constructive, evidential criticisms and alternative proposals would be the way to go. Hoban et al need to admit their underhand scapegoating tactics thus far and then be held to a fully fair, fully transparent, fully evidential, fully-disability centric approach to the issue of disability social security. We're not "fraudsters/extremists/stupid" to expect legitimate assessments carried out by credibly qualified assessors whose findings are fully transparent/accountable. There's no point in being repeatedly subjected to flawed tests by unqualified people when disabilities are permanent. Tests/assessments need to be far more realistic/representative of the workplace. Hoban et al need to stop conflating disability with injury/illness. McVey et al need to give it a rest with all that "disability confident" BS - as if the only thing that's holding people with disability back is a simple attitude shift by the disabled person. HTH? Cheers, Dino (@DinoGoldie)

  22. Sue, it is now becoming increasingly apparent that IDS does not wish to publish figures about the numbers of claimants that have died soon after ESA sanctions for non compliance etc. In their response to my FoI request(s) they concede that they record the data but refuse to publish on the basis of the "too expensive" clause within the FoI Act.

    The DWP needs to be open about this and to disclose, on a Jobcentre by Jobcentre basis, just how many claimants are deceased soon after sanctions are applied.

    I would urge you to press Hoban for an explanation as to why the Dept think it a good idea to withhold this information and to press him to publish this on the DWP website as soon as possible.

    They can add whatever riders they choose, but the basic facts must be published because of public interest and concern. Indeed parliamentarians of all parties should also be concerned at this lack of transparency.

  23. The Spartacus way has worked - I remember not so long ago that they refused to meet with Spartacus on the flimsiest of grounds - citing the quote by Professor Beresford. No government will back down overnight because they will have to admit they are wasting huge financial resources and spend money on implementing something new, whereas improving on whatever is in place by listening to service users' constructive criticism it the way to go. It has always been called the WCA for Incapacity benefit purposes, and hopefully in time it will evolve into an assessment that is fair and fit for purpose.Spartacus have a consistent, factual evidence based approach which is why they are being listened too.The group has come a long way in a short time and has achieved much. Making demands at this stage will blow everything apart.

    1. Totally agree with you. This is my opinion too and I just wish others would see all our opinions as valid and not try to force theirs through.

  24. It is B for me, Sue. I want to see the WCA abolished as soon as humanly possible but I think it is most important to alleviate the worst of what people are suffering in the meantime. And I think that, in order to demolish the WCA, we will really need to dismantle it bit by bit just as if it were a building in a dangerous state – make safe this bit, remove that really dangerous bit, then work out where to put wedges, crowbars, wrecking-balls, etc., to get rid of the rest of it. And what to put in its place...

    It is perfectly possible to say, it is our aim to remove the unfit-for-purpose WCA and replace it with a fairer, safer, more efficient and cost-effective solution but it is essential that a, b, and c, are corrected immediately. If you can make a link between whichever particular aspects of the WCA process become a, b, and c, and with vote-/reputation-losing problems vs. vote-/reputation-boosting solutions, then that might well help; as will reference to cost-savings, reducing duplication of effort, preventing extra burdens on the NHS and social/residential care services, distress and worsening of health-conditions, destitution, and last but by no means least, reducing unnecessary deaths.

    I agree with Dino (The CritIQ) on all points, and with so much of what other people have said in their comments. Brain fog descending so will leave it there.

    All the best,


  25. Hi Sue

    I'm more concerned about the apparent 'split' amongst groups all working to the same ultimate aim - a better life for disabled people.

    I recognise there are many different ways to approach this and each is valid in the opinion of it's own membership; what I fear is Politicians becoming aware of this disagreement and using it to further support their claims of us being extremists.

    I wish all groups and individuals fighting the same enemy would recognise the need for a multitude of actions and work together to achieve the common goal of improving our lives.

    Awaiting feedback with anticipation

    1. I think the real problem /I've/ had so far is that it's all fine and well to disagree and tell someone you think they're wrong and should come over to their point of view.

      The point at which it becomes a problem is when someone starts demanding you have their views or represent their views above your own. That's a controlling behaviour and is an act of oppression, bullying and abuse. Whether Spartacus represent many or few is not the issue, they've secured this meeting off their own bat and coming in at this late stage with a list of immovable demands is unfair.

      Maybe some still haven't seen Spartacus as that important until now, but I'm seeing a number of reactions which seem very surprised that anything is happening. I'm just sitting by the sidelines but I've seen Sue drop a few cryptics so if I knew something was coming...

      This should be a wakeup call as to better communication between groups for all concerned, but maybe it's also a call for other groups to not write-off certain groups or people just because they're not always in the spotlight or don't share the exact same goals. You can't spend half your time ignoring someone then be all up-in-arms when you realise they've got something you want.

    2. Jayne
      the main problem is that there is no split how could there be the needs of sick and disabled people are the same the world over

      the overall confusion is that the government wont to blame the sick and disabled for the deficit and in order to do that they have to convince the majority of the people of the UK that that's the case

      the people of the UK are convinced that the sick and disabled are to blame for the deficit so the government just keep bringing out new clauses to punish the sick and disabled

      The UK public see this as a strength in the government keeping costs down and will vote for them in the next general election

      everyone's bad health or disability is different no to people are the same even with the same condition as pain thresholds and how that person views things differ wildly person to person just as if we were served in a top restaurant a perfect meal there would always be a few with the view point of not bad or poor value for money

      no two people even think alike despite the love of the same things there will always be people on the outside of life that could never be helped under any circumstances as the brain in some people is just made that way

      the government strategy on welfare reform has caused many people to suffer and die and the government took that position knowing full well in that would happen and that they would implode among themselves in there desperate battle to save their lives

      and that is the true extent of the problem nothing more nothing less

  26. what i should also add in summing up and the looking of all the evidence from all of the other welfare blogs is that sue is by far the most accurate and balanced in her overall viewpoint of welfare reform

    The welfare reform bill was badly floored from the off and in my opinion only cant be rectified as the structures within are floored far to many pitfalls /clauses/"scenario" etc of which only the very finest of judges would be able to understand

    As for any option that to is floored for the reason options can only be given by a person of integrity IDS etc don't fit that bill so anything said at any meeting good news or bad news would be classed as null and void

    So there you have it a very brave sue who should be in the house of lords fighting IDS and co the masters of deception

    i think sue has a unique spirit and despite all the tears that i know she will have shed in getting in her mind the right direction to take at this forth coming meeting we should all be proud of her as without her many more would have died

    she without doubt has slowed the process of people dying of that I'm convinced and if she cant stop it just slowing it may help a few who are near to death like myself for example

    overall the main people to blame for this failed welfare reform bill apart from the government are the people themselves by accepting such a badly written welfare reform policy

    the poll tax got kicked out as that to was badly written and it got kicked out by the people mainly from the selfish people of the south east where i live

    These same people with regret don't care for welfare at all and when they are affected by long term ill health they prefer suicide as the way out so the sick and disabled wont be getting any help from this section of society

    and in reality with most of the selfish country thinking on smiler lines to those in the south east Surrey Berkshire etc. the sick and disabled future is clouded as could be without the slightest of hope in sight apart from sue with a 45 minute chat with a very deceptive person

    some will say sues mad for even attempting it the answer to that is you must have at least have one discussion be it good or bad otherwise we would all be left wondering what if

    so i say to sue do your best speak out hold your head up so the world can see how great you are and that's important if nothing else and for all sick and disabled people wherever they live in the world the very best of luck

  27. Haven't got the spoons to even look at survey. Sue, I trust as always you will do your very best for all of us and think your chosen group to speak to Hoban is a fair, intelligent representation of Sparticii (apart from Robert Halfon, but at least he had the balls to speak out against ATOS and agree a smart move to include him)

  28. just to clarify my point in that when i speak of sue i mean her and those who have played a part and help her on a day to day basis as hers is a team effort and always has been

    sorry for any confusion on my part in that sue worked alone as she never has and never will

    1. Let's also remember the conspiracy of the national press and now the BBC News too.

      The national press en-masse will not expose the links between the Atos assessments and Unum Insurance, and the BBC News will not report significant news items regarding sick & disabled protests, and let's not forget the carers too.

      The response by the BBC to my letter(s) on behalf of BT & DPAC have been ludicrous at best and now, this week, protestors made a stand outside the BBC HQ - and that failed to reach the BBC News too. My next letter will be to the Director General.

      I doubt much, if anything, can be achieved until after the UN have passed comment following their November meeting and, even then, there is no guarantee this government will pay attention as the death toll mounts. The UN have the research evidence and have said it is to be considered.

      Meanwhile, there is no problem if making sure this tyrannical and dangerous government are regularly reminded that we aren't going to go away and I for one will not be silenced.

  29. you also have to remember mo in that if you get caught making trouble with the government or stand in their way your benefit will be stopped and if you live on your own you could die as a result of your protest

    you cant just run around protesting or making waves otherwise you could end up like martin Luther king

    free speech is not free and never has been free a bit like the health service when i was a kid my dad was told we have a free health service it will only cost you x pounds a month so when i said to my dad what's x his reply x x bloody spensive that's what bloody x is (lol)

    1. Honey, I'm a disabled veteran, I don't depend on ESA, and I have a War Pension with DLA.
      Failing to silence me, the DWP made a concession and suddenly - and unexpectedly - announced that War Pensioners did not need to be reassessed for their DLA. If they come after me they'll need to deal with the Veterans of the UK and that won't make good publicity....

  30. Just raise as many issues as you possibly can. Expose them for the clueless **** they are, but try to make them want to change ... if possible.

  31. DPAC's blog on this makes me furious... so I added a long, pompous comment to their post, lol!