Monday, 16 December 2013

Open Letter to David Cameron

I can hardly bear it any more. Day after day after day. Terrible stories of suffering, despair and suicide.

I'm know you don't believe it. I know what you're told. "It's getting better, we're taking action, we're improving the process, these people don't try hard enough, they're not really sick enough."

People say I shouldn't beg. But I'm not proud. If getting down on my knees and begging you would make a difference, I'd do it gladly. I promise you now, you'll be remembered for this. If you're sitting at home right now, thinking about your legacy, I promise you it will be this. It will be that you turned away from the pain and suffering before your very eyes. I'll make sure of it if it takes me 20 years.

It will be that you allowed your Department for Work and Pensions to lie and cheat and mislead whilst people - millions of people - suffered.

I know, I don't usually click on video links either. But you found time to watch Strictly Come Dancing,you said so at the Downing St charity reception. And we know you loved Fruit Ninja. And you have time to take countless holidays.

So even if you're convinced I'm wrong, absolutely certain I'm just a trouble making leftie, please, I'll beg you, I'm not proud, find ten minutes - just ten minutes to watch

This film. 

Work Capability Assessments have been found in law to discriminate against people with mental health conditions. Your government appealed but the appeal was overturned. Not only are you on the wrong side of the argument, you're on the wrong side of the law.

You have to stop this. You can pause the migration of Incapacity Benefit claimants until the process can be made safe. YOU can do it. Today if you chose to. You could stop this dreadful social crisis unravelling before our eyes.

And I'm begging you. For what it's worth.


  1. Sue, That film would break your heart and if he had a heart, he would do something about it. Let's hope all your twitter followers send it to him. I know I will. @David_Cameron

  2. He wont listen sue just take it from me that some people in life are just scum
    it is hard to believe and as a Christian i should think better of people but the grim reality is that the only language they understand is money and death and if you've ever been to a mp's or lords funeral you'll have some understanding on how mentally detached the audience is

    The sick and disabled of the uk for the rest of their lives will at best be having to look over their shoulder every day when their out like i have been the past 33 years and at worst to frighten to go out and wish they were dead at worse

    All we can do is blog about our concerns and help each other in times of need and support each other but as for David Cameron stopping a policy of death that will never happen as the savings are too great

  3. I've tweeted the link to this post with your link to the film. btw I think the Wow petition ended on 12 Dec

  4. from1997-2010 contrary to those who think ( led up the garden path by party first filth ) it all began in May 2010 , 300,000 Disabled Sick and Infirm died of winter deaths, where was the outrage, where was the petitions? ( 11m Disabled in the UK a dribble have signed this labour led insult to them ) tens of thousands more have met premature deaths due to the impact of care home closures and the removal of resident sheltered housing wardens, a long list if I chose to go on ,every vile pond life trick has been played on them by labour as has been by the condems,. Stark reality is until and if ever the vulnerable get under one banner free from political parties and their snakes in the grass, the abuses against them will continue !

  5. This blog post and the attached video touched me deeply.

    People who are ill and desperately in need of support, both financial and otherwise are being discriminated against because their illness is not something that can be seen or measured and in this, the Government are failing those most vulnerable in our society.

    Although on average 1 in 4 people in the UK are diagnosed with a mental health problem each year (Mind, 2013) those who are still find themselves victimised, not just in society but within institutions also, as is seen in this video.

    There are laws in placed designed to protect those people with disabilities, including mental health issues; The Equality Act (2010) replaced the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) in Scotland where I live (Maclean & Shiner, 2011) Which made it illegal to discriminate against a person for a number of reasons, including disability.

    In fact in May this year a judge ruled that the ‘fitness for work test’ breached the above legislation and was illegal, ruling that ‘the test used to decide whether people are fit for work actively discriminates against the mentally ill.’ (Sivier, 2013)
    It is however apparent that those most in need are being failed when things have yet to change and the Department of Work and Pensions still discriminates.

    I sincerely hope that this is something the government plans to address in the near future.

  6. Disabled are no different than any other group in society when it comes to the duped deniers and deceivers with other agendas, here is a Disabled Dutch Pvda ( Labour ) minister, beware be very aware !

  7. as the link cant appear for those on twitter go to hashtag ' #klijnsma I,m not shocked in the least, some of you might be !

  8. Sue - my MP - Annette Brooke (LibDem) has replied to a recent letter I wrote to her about my concerns about the "Mandatory requirement to request consideration of revision before appeal" regarding WCA's. She wrote to Mike Penning, got a reply and copied it to me which, of course, was only generic. He ended by writing;
    "I recognise there is a concern that former ESA claimants will be either turned away from claiming, be automatically disallowed because they will simply feel unable to sign anything which suggests they are able to look for work, or be entitled but become a soft target for sanctions. With careful handling by advisors, and this will be done, none of these outcomes need occur. I am confident that the new process will achieve its goals, and enable disputes to be resolved sooner."

    I believe every word of course!
    Anyway - my MP has given me the opportunity to feed her a list of questions to be put towards Mike Penning as part of her meeting with him in the New Year. Are there any specific ones you'd like me to include that you may have yourself? Or anyone else have questions?

    1. Considering I've just seen someone have their JSA claim closed because they were appealing an ESA decision, so they're broke at Christmas, I don't believe an effing word that Penning says.


  10. lee we have to still focus on all the sick and disabled they have died over the past 3 years going through the welfare reform' the list is long and continues to grow so that has to remain the top priority and am sure sue will say the same

    we need to have some proper safeguards implemented by A CRACK DWP team that will be able to swing into action ASAP so that a person has or isn't falling through the cracks and that they are receiving the correct benefits to which they are entitled and that any discrepancy is made good ASAP with the aid of the persons doctor being informed as to what the current status is to the persons health

    1. Absolutely agree Nick. Just thought there was an opportunity to ask questions in such a way as to inform Mike Penning of the suffering a Minister for the Disabled should be questioning himself. We didn't vote for him - what experience and real knowledge does he have of the mental and physical torture this obscene coalition are inflicting? Of course I fear all the Tories and Lib Dems choose to ignore the evidence before them, that they need to be removed and sent to hell immediately! But a little squirming on his part could be good if there's an opportunity. Thanks.

    2. Nick, the problem with that is that you are appealing to the people whose policies are designed to hinder or otherwise marginalise in the first place. It is like asking, with the most sweet and syrupy voice you can muster, for a crocodile not to eat you

    3. indeed T but you still have to hit home that there are decent people in the UK

      many are not like IDS agreed but at the end of the day the public at the last election went with the conservatives so we have to highlight that was a bad choice

      At the end of the day the public will only vote for those that keep a roof over their heads with low interest rates and very little else they will not be thinking long term about any ifs or buts or food banks etc and at the next general election they will still be going down that road as there are no other political party's that offer my type of politics in which transperncy and fairness are the order of the day along with honesty and integrity

      we are many years away from my type of ideals of life and in all reality we'll never see them

  11. A friend of mine is a personal finance manager for a business bank. Bankers are widely regarded as the reason for many of the financial problems in the world. But my friend is not one of the type of bankers who takes chances with peoples money, so i don't dislike him for being a banker and i don't want to hurt him to make me feel better about the other bankers who are scheming and greedy. What i am saying is i would not punish him for the 'unwanted' company he keeps, so why should a genuine benefit claimant be punished because 'someone else' claims benefits to which they are not entitled. I thought David Cameron was well educated, but he and his political cohorts can't seem to put two and two together without making five. It seems common sense is something money can't buy, along with decency, care, kindness, truth, conscience, love, understanding, integrity, happiness, intelligence, humility...................................................................................................................................................................................................................

  12. To me, the big issue here is that the Government believes fervently that mental health problems are improved by work. I think that this is the idea that we need to challenge.

    You can see how a few selective studies and statements from people (like those in the film) that their mental health deteriorated when they lost their job have fed into this this simplistic (and convenient) belief. Of course for SOME people, at the right time, with the right job and the right support, this might just be true. (Actually, that is probably goes for all of us!) For many, however, being forced into work will be an unmitigated disaster and, as we all know, the WCA sausage mill is completely unable to distinguish between the two. Personally I think that it is the compulsion that is so damaging - if people were instead offered support and could move into work when they felt able the whole experience would be turned on its' head. But then that would need a Government that gave a damn.

    1. My last job actually CAUSED some of my mental health problems. I have that documented. Doesn't stop the "work helps!" mantra any sadly.

  13. This is just another clear example of how the government appear to generalise the public within our society. After reading your blog and watching the video I can only empathise with what these people must be going through, not only living with the anxieties that come with having a mental illness, but having daily uncertainties regarding if or when the 'support' might stop. Personally I do not understand how asking someone if they can touch their toes or make a cup of tea is in any way relevant to these people’s circumstances. I appreciate that there needs to be some form of assessment, however it must recognise the needs of the individual.
    Throughout social care and social work there is a development called the person centred approach. This involves building the service around the person; in my opinion the Work Capability Assessment should be no different. No two people have the same circumstances, so why should they have the same assessment, with the same questions.