Sunday, 15 September 2013

Spartacus : Please write to the UN

I've just read the most heartbreaking email relating a story most of us are so very familiar with.

Failed for years by the NHS, no diagnosis, no support. In time, that meant failed by her family and friends too, who couldn't quite believe so many learned experts could be wrong. Failed by a career she could no longer do, failed dreams, failed ambitions.

Finally a diagnosis, life saving surgery and a new battle. A battle for support we should be proud to give without question.

Lost forms, Atos, wrong decisions, appeals, lost letters, more appeals, reconsiderations, brown envelopes of terror thudding on the mat like constant nightmares.

I read them all day, every day. Endless accounts of hardship and loss and despair. Lives clinging to something that isn't life. Something that is dark and cold and hungry and abandoned. Something small and broken. Just a glimmer of something steely and true sees them through. They try to end it. Not once but again and again. but there is no end. In their minds, this is all there is.

Well it ISN'T all there is. We ARE winning. We WILL win. Because however long it takes, however much pain we feel along the way, justice always wins. 

Raquel Rolnik, special rapporteur for  the UN has called for the UK government to scrap the Bedroom Tax. She will, it is widely reported, also call for them to scrap the Benefit Cap. They are unlawful under every global convention on human rights. 

She is now asking for you all to send in your stories and evidence relating to ESA, Atos and Work Capability Assessments. I want to beg every last one of you who has written to me, who has shared your story, who has filled in a DWP form, who has been mistreated and let down to write to her. 

Raquel Rolnik’s email address is:

You can also write to:
His Excellency Mr Ban Ki Moon
United Nations Secretary-General
UN Headquarters
First Avenue at 46th Street
New York, NY 10017

When I read emails like the one I read today, I am ashamed of my country. Disgusted by the horrors we are leaving unchecked. If you all tell your stories as faithfully and beautifully as you do when you write to me, I fear she will be a very, very sad woman when she reads them all - and she has pledged to read every one. 

If you have ever written to your MP because I asked you, or written to a local paper, or fought on against the DWP when all you wanted to do was cry, WRITE NOW. This is what Spartacus is, it is what we do. 

TELL YOUR STORIES. If you never told it before, this is the time to be brave and be heard. 

Please share this post everywhere. Make sure that everyone knows about this. I will be focusing on anything that relates to the 1 year Time Limit of ESA. If you have been affected by this particular part of ESA, please consider sending me your story via email and I will add it to the report I send Ms Rolnik. Obviously all details will remain confidential if requested.


  1. I posted my own email covering what I could about Tax credits, self employment, DLA and changes to SEN, everything I've had to deal with over the past three years. It's just one story out of many...but I suspect sending enough of them will highlight the issue. I don't expect the UN to be able to do anything - countries perform atrocities all the time, and they don't stop because the UN asks them to - but I DO think it will embarrass the UK government enough they'll have to do something to save face.

    Adding my own shout to the roar. I am Spartacus

  2. I hope those affected by these cruel policies who can find the strength will be able to do this. It's so exhausting when so many of us have barely got the energy to manage our lives and our benefit claims etc, but that's how the government think they'll win!

    If nothing else, it seems to me to be really bad PR for the government to have a UN bod criticising their policies.. They looked like idiots when the UN rep spoke against the bedroom tax, more of that can only be good.

    As I'm 'lucky' enough to be one of the housebound / bedridden people who's so far been left alone by the new policies, I presume anything I wrote would be non-specific and therefore not terribly useful? Of course I'm affected by the fear, dismantling of ILF etc but I know I've been very lucky (up to now at least) compared to most other people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. I imagine that targeted letters from people affected directly by specific recent policies (i.e bedroom tax or the WCA) would be most useful & don't want to dilute it by sending a general missive of misery!

    If anyone reading this thinks I'm wrong & it would be useful for me to write, do let me know. I'm very limited but wish I were doing more...

    P.S This is a link to my take on feeling genuinely lucky to be housebound & bedridden due to this system...

  3. well you know the battles sue i have had with the DWP over 33 years which could be a record ? leaving me looking like a prisoner of war. If i could get into a court room via the UN THEN IT'S GOOD BUY CONSERVATIVES FOR EVER

    Fingers crossed i could get lucky at some point although my life has been ruined beyond repair i fight on to prevent others from suffering the same fate

    as i have said before i don't need Burma I've already lived it worn worn the t shirt and still alive to tell the tale




    I have received a very large number of accounts of suffering at the hands of Atos, which testify to the devastation being wreaked across the country.

    Due to the distressing nature of these events and in honour of all those who have suffered or died after going through the Work Capability Assessment, a ceremony of remembrance and solidarity will be held at Parliament Square in London at 12 noon on Saturday the 28th of September. Led by the Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, with music, spoken word and contributions from a number of representatives of all faiths and none, and groups working to end the Atos Work Capability Assessment, we will try to ensure their memory is not forgotten. We will also demand that the same is not allowed to happen again.

    I would be delighted if you, your friends and your family could attend. All are welcome.

    Help us reach all those who would wish to attend

    Share the event with your Facebook contacts
    Share the web site, which contains the full details and background
    Tweet about it with the #10Kcuts hash tag

    Whether or not you can attend the ceremony, if you agree that the degrading Atos WCA should be scrapped please sign the WOW petition at

    The event will be accessible and stewards will be on hand to help if required. If possible, please wear some white clothing as a symbol of remembrance. If this is not possible, a white scarf or other small item would be useful. Please also bring a white flower if you would like to lay one in remembrance.

    Thanks and best wishes,

    Michael Meacher MP
    David Ison Dean of St Paul's Cathedral
    Ian Chamberlain and Alison Playford from the 10,000 Cuts & Counting group

    10 Thousand Cuts and Counting...
    28th September • Parliament Square • London • 12 noon
    Led by disability activists, Occupy activists, David Ison - the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Michael Meacher MP and others.

  5. I'll be advising against taking part. Meacher is a fucking hypocrite who has seen the chance to raise his own profile while pretending to be concerned about Atos but having a twenty year gaps between speaking about DLA. Then we have him using the most controllable group he could find with the most self-interested leaders he could find.

    1. Utter nonsense. Meacher is a total gentleman who has given up a considerable amount of his own time to support sick and disabled people since he became aware of what was going on.

      He works very hard for us and even came to see me in hospital when I couldn't campaign from home.

      He is a shining light amongst MPs, a kind and considerate man and a true ally.

      Typical of some to attack those on our own side. How about we save it for the real enemy?

    2. Micheal and i despite living miles apart keeps me in the loop as i do him

      he and Dennis Skinner are the only mp's including the house of lords who are in the know

      everyone else in the commons goes around blind to not upset their friends

      as i said above none of us who are normal can believe what has happened and is still continuing to happen to the UK society which can never be the same for many years to come

      As is stands now any sick or disabled person can be left for dead with no redress

      At the end of the day we are all at the mercy of our mp only and if he or she will not step up and help you you are then as good as dead as we have seen pure and simple

      this is not rocket science for everyone to take in there can be no excuses from anyone normal as to what is going on

      once the public as a whole tell the government to stop then they will stop end of story but until that day happens they will just carry on with just more negligent deaths and that will go on until the public as a whole tells them to stop and not until

      hopefully the public will wake up but if history is anything to go by it could all be to late for the majority of sick and disabled

    3. Although my perspective is from across the pond, I regard MP Michael Meacher as a brilliant and principled individual and a true champion of Britain's sick and disabled—as is Sue Marsh.

      Samuel Miller
      (Montreal, Canada)

    4. as i would also Samuel had i been fit i would have stood years ago as a mp and with much regret i joined the bank of england where my father had just retired from

      but if i knew the likes of David Cameron were being born you could of been sure 100 percent i would have stood as a mp as seen him off and
      his type and that of IDS would never have seen the light there is no room for the likes of David Cameron politics in the uk or indeed the world

      the first danger sign was when Mrs thatcher conned her way to the top on the back of a recession the same as Hitler and David Cameron with the public on all counts sleepwalking oblivious as to what mentally they would be unleashing

  6. True Meacher has been slow over many years but the remembrance day focuses on those that have died and meacher wont need to use those words to David Cameron

    you have to remember that these deaths are very painful even for meacher and the likes no one normal would create a framework of silent death only IDS and David Cameron

    you only had to watch channel 4 last night about Hitler with the sick and disabled this was the conservatives in action like Hitler on the right side of life full of blame on the Jews for making money a dislike of foreigners a dislike of the sick and disabled and to kill them off as they were a burden on the state and that was true today and it was true yesterday and if the Conservatives live on it will be true for ever

    The DNA of the conservatives has always been one of HATE/SLAVERY/DOMINANCE/Authoritarianism/DEATH/SELFISHNESS/GREED All dressed up in some weird logic on democracy

    Like Hitler IDS portrays the sick and disabled in a bad light so that there lives are destroyed mentally he punishes them with guilt they feel worthless they end up dead

  7. JUSTICE AND RETRIBUTION IS COMING. The smug gits in Westminster and so-called government will be terrified. You can all run...But you cannot hide from our pitchforks. We are coming to get you sods at DWP/Government/Westminster/ATOS etc. YOU WILL BE SEVERLEY PUNNISHED. WE THE PEOPLE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR SO-CALLED PETTY PROMISES AND SWEET TALKS TO US ALL.

  8. Anyone who missed the Hitler program last night on channel 4 needs to watch it ASAP

    Two-part drama tracing the young, developing mind of a burgeoning madman, following Hitler through his formative years

    It was in two parts episode one was last Sunday both need to be watched as you get a good likeness of what was then and now

    you will clearly see that those that were comfortable in life just like today were completely indifferent to the suffering that went on and carried on with their lives as normal while death and destruction went on all around them in secret

    A very chilling program IDS and his friends the BBC also like to turn a blind eye to any event where the sick and disabled are concerned as to be caught out broadcasting any event would lead the government to their downfall

    It only takes one persons abuse or death to trigger a panic in the government

    As it stands now the DWP just blame the claimant for not supplying the correct information with regards their health

    How a judge would see that however remains to be seen

    If i were the prime minister i would ask the police to track down all of those that were responsible for any death involving negligence i would also broadcast a party political broadcast telling the public what to do in the event of a wrong DWP/ATOS decision being made with a special hotline set up to deal with these errors so that all concerned were kept in the loop

    as prime minister i would take time out and make sure all was well and court punishment for all who were found guilty of negligence weather a death had occurred or not i would be taking control showing true leadership qualities of which this country has never seen

    this would ensure that the public felt safe at all times' yes errors can be made but personally i don't do errors where people lives are concerned I'm all about justice first second and third

    Hitler went on conning all of the German people including all of the mp's across the whole of their government and by the time they found out it was to late so we need to be mindful of what can happen when you take your eye of the ball

  9. I'd like to seriously suggest that as many people as possible also consider writing to Pope Francis (contact details below).

    This pope has been *very* outspoken on issues of social justice, especially poverty - as well as liking to surprise ordinary people with personal phone calls.

    Iain Duncan Smith endlessly pontificates about his devotion to the Catholic Church - however that church has a list of Sins which 'cry out to Heaven for vengeance', and they include defrauding workers of their wages and oppression of the vulnerable and poor.

    IDS's policies and the mounting death toll at his behest, are bringing the Catholic Church into disrepute as surely as the abuse crisis did. The Pope might want to investigete why this great heresiarchal beast has yet to be publicly denounced and excommunicated by the UK's bishops?

    For that matter, has anyone else noticed how EXACTLY the ESA Support Group vs. WRAG system is based on the Catholic Heaven and Purgatory? With JSA and Workfare as Hell and Atos as the devil incarnate? And IDS the failed Tory leader setting himself up as GOD. Britain's most vulnerable have all been press-ganged into playing bit-parts in the disordered and blasphemous phantasies of a megalomaniac.

    Perhaps we could petition the Pope to offer public prayers dedicated to the victims of Atos, Sanctions, and the Bedroom Tax, as he recently did over Syria.

    Following the UN's evaluation of the UK, there is no reason for Francis to remain silent over the horrific human rights abuses of Britain's unelected government.

    Contact Pope Francis:

    HH Pope Francis
    Apostolic Palace
    00120 Vatican City

    Twitter personal account, @Pontifex
    Pope Francis apparently does not have a public email address.

    1. Update:

      Pope Francis' email:

      This goes care of the Vatican Press Office - but it WILL be passed on.

      "Globalization has brought with it a culture where the weakest in society suffer the most and often, those on the fringes 'fall away', including the elderly, who are victims of a 'hidden euthanasia' caused by neglect of those no longer considered productive." - Pope Francis

    2. We don't have to ask the Pope to give public prayers. God hears the prayers of individuals and plenty of churches (and other faiths) pray publicly for issues of injustice, EVERY DAY.

  10. Don't know if this information is of any use. On the email it states your experiences with .... or any other welfare reform issue -

    I was on the old type invalidity benefit, whereby it is non-taxable.
    Last year I was assessed for a transfer to ESA. The ESA is slightly lower than my invalidity benefit so I get an extra £5 to make it up. I am in the support group

    The government said nobody should be in a worse situation. That is not true. As ESA is taxable it has impacted dramatically on our child and working tax credits. CTC has fallen by half, WTC by 2/3 and we can no longer claim support with prescriptions etc. Basically we have lost about £300 per month + prescriptions etc

    As a person who has medical problems (rated at 40% disabled) because of her military service I feel very aggrieved that the government has basically slapped me in the face.

  11. yes it's taxable and the average person with a small work pension with 2 children will lose all their tax credits and have to now start paying all prescription charges

    i did remind the government and my tory mp of the oversight in government policy and neither of us could get it overturned the letter we both received from the government was it only effects a few people and would look into it

    that was 3 years ago

  12. If anyone has information/evidence about the role of UNUM Insurance, its bogus BPS Model of Disability and UNUM's admitted influence over the gov't, Atos and the WCA, do please send it on to brief Ms. Rolnik and the UN. Especially bearing in mind that there seems to have been a government-ordained media lockdown over this scam for the past 20 years.

    I would try but I'm not well or coherent enough to sit at the computer to dig out links etc or make proper sense of them.

    Successive governments pandering to this corrupt organisation which should never have been allowed into the UK, seems to be the source of every abusive disability 'reform' and incursion on disability human rights since the early 1990s.

  13. Are you going to do a follow up article? Would love to know what happens next.

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