Wednesday 6 August 2014

What Free Press??

My disgust at our media has only grown over the last four years. Of all the things that make me sit in horrified wonder throughout this whole rancid mess, it's the lack of balanced reporting over Iain Duncan-Smith's "Welfare Reforms" and particularly, how they are decimating the lives of sick and disabled people.

Don't believe me? Think I'm paranoid or unreasonable? 

Let me prove it.

In March 2012 you might remember there was a national panic over some faulty breast implants called "PIP" some 47,000 UK women had these implants and had to consider having the implants removed.

So these women had CHOSEN to have serious surgery to get larger breasts and then had to face that they might need MORE surgery to put things right. A terrible story, certainly, but one of vanity matched with incompetence.

In 2010, it just so happened that the new coalition announced that they would scrap the main disability benefit (Disability Living Allowance or DLA) entirely and replace it, coincidentally with something called "PIP" (Personal Independence Payments). Incidentally, it wasn't in either coalition party manifesto.

Under these reforms some 3.2 MILLION sick and disabled people would be affected and a horrific 600,000 were projected to lose the help they get to leave their homes or pay for care. They would lose in many cases the very right to any kind of social life. They would lose their independence, their freedom to do the things everyone else takes for granted. When the new benefit was announced it was claimed that 20% of the existing "caseload" would be cut.

The DWP have since said
“We were aware that the vast majority of recipients of DLA were individuals with genuine health conditions and disabilities and genuine need, and that removing or reducing that benefit may affect their daily lives.”
Now, even if you don't open links that often, PLEASE click on the following three. The first is a page search from Channel 4 News which shows that 8 out of 10 of the stories returned are about a 3 month cosmetic surgery scandal, yet just 2 are about a 4 year welfare story that has now fallen into total crisis, leaving a quarter of a million sick and disabled people stuck in limbo with no assessments and no payments. 

The second is BBC News. This is a much more complicated picture as the results come up in date order. However, even now, in 2014, 2 years after the breast implant scandal, there are as many stories relating to that as to the disability benefit. More tellingly, look through the links and you'll see that incredibly rarely did the disability story make it from the website to the actual news. There are few video links whereas there are many more for the breast implants. 

Finally, and most spectacularly, here is ITV News. By the time I got bored of counting there were no fewer than 15 stories about the breast implants and just one - yes one - about the disability benefit affecting 3.2 million sick and disabled people and plunging further into utter chaos by the day

** Sky's news search is so appalling it just brings up random stories of all kinds. 

How do I sum up? My horror is so great, my fury so overwhelming, I just don't have the words. 
But I suppose I sum up by making it very, very, clear that it is only a matter of time before the full horror of these failures is known. I predict that by the end of this year, the misinformation and chaos at the DWP will be fully revealed and the public might be pretty eager to know how on earth all of this went on, under their very noses, yet no-one told them about it. That barely one journalist made it his or her business to challenge IDS properly or stand up to his bullying. 

Not one scheduler made it his or her business to make sure disability stories were slotted in, not one producer cared enough to make sure that sick and disabled people were heard. Barely any interviewers were brave enough to stand their ground, live on air and none would do so repeatedly.

Shame on them all. 


  1. Yes it's appalling that the breast implant scandal got such enormous publicity.

    However, you might want to reconsider your statement about vanity.

    Many of the women who had the faulty implants did not have them put in due to just wanting a bigger bust.

    Many of them had the implants as part of reconstructive surgery, post breast cancer and post several other disfiguring conditions, including congenital ones. This aspect didn't get much coverage in our lousy, corrupt media either. Some of the women these faulty implants affected are also women who are disabled or sick, and claiming benefits.

    Sadly, anything can be used as a stick to beat women with. Sad to see women being slighted in this way here on this blog.

    1. Marion, the idea that Sue is 'beating a stick' at any women is absurd and totally unwarranted. You should really apologise to Sue.

    2. You're kidding me right? Of the 47,000 women who HAD to have reconstructive surgery for reasons that wee somehow NOT vain (I've had 12 major ops to save my life - all reconstructive surgery comes from vanity, that doesn't have to be a criticism, but it's true)

      I apologise to those 2 or 3 thousand, will you apologise to the 600,000 you threw over so easily to defend them?

    3. Oh, and CHOSEN points to the fact that reconstructive surgery is elective. A simple medical definition. Not one of the 600,000 sick and disabled people affected by disability benefit reform elected (if you prefer) to be cut off.

    4. As ever then Sue, it's always a game of Top Trumps for you.

      Lets see you face thousands of women who have been mutilated by treatment for breast cancer and tell them, face to face that they are vain. Not to mention the hundreds of other breast mutilating conditions that require some kind of surgical reconstruction

      You sweetheart are lucky, your disease is on the inside, not the outside where you will be judged, mocked and abused for not fitting the norm of being female and having breasts.

      Blah, blah, blah to your 12 operations. You are not the only person in the world who has gone through and is still going through hell.

      Time you got over yourself and quit this spewing bullshit that so frequently dismisses and disdains anyone who isn't you.

      I really hope you don't get breast cancer or some disfiguring/disabling condition that requires reconstruction of any type. Because you never know when it will be discovered that any prosthetic implant of any type, for any purpose may be discovered to be faulty in the future.

      No, not all reconstructive surgery is elective, don't bother lecturing me on medical terminology or procedure. Nor should you try and distort the tragedy of those who have lost benefits to suit your own spiteful little ego. But with you Sue, it's win at any cost isn't it?

      Where is your humility?
      Lost up your broken arse I suspect.

      Shame on you.

      Utter shame on you for being so vile to women and the disabled.

    5. Well as you put yourself so eloquently, clearly, I shall change my mind immediately. To be honest, I usually just change things when people point things like that out to me. I'd have almost certainly just thought "Oh yes, good point" if you hadn't been so aggressive and rude in the way you approached me. The comment above shows how some online comments can immediately get someone's back up and before we know it we're stuffing humility up my bullshit spewing broken arse.


  2. Sue I share your outrage at how the press have ignored what has happened to us.

    I agree with what was said about the greens policy. However if all of us sick and disabled got behind them and spread the word, we could add to their portion of the vote. Now I am not a green party, or any party supporter, but will vote for something that seems a good idea.

    I would like to mention some things my jobcentre advisor told me when I saw her a couple of weeks ago. Sue, I did send you an email about this. I know you are busy but I have not had a response, so do not know if you received it.

    Despite still struggling with mental health and intermittant dizziness, I have been told I have to do voluntaey work or will be sanctioned. My advisor told me they are sanctioning anyone who will not do work related activity, and if they persist in refusing, the DWP are now force closing claims and shunting people onto JSA.

    I came away from this meeting in tears, but what choice do I have, I either comply or will have my benefit withdrawn.

    1. Hi Sara, I always reply to all of my emails within a day or two, so if I haven't replied, check the address and do re-send