Tag Archives: Disability

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Clutches of Maximus


When Atos walked away from the government contract to run the “fitness for work” tests, or Work Capability Assessments, some thought that things would improve for the many sick and disabled people suffering at their hands. There was never a chance of this government doing the sensible and decent thing, and scrapping the WCA and starting from scratch, but maybe the next company chosen to run these tests might have a bit of integrity.

Not a fucking chance.

The company tipped to succeed Atos, Maximus, has an abysmal record in the USA.

I won’t list any of the examples of this company’s corruption; I don’t need to. Others have done the work for me, so the government cannot claim the information is difficult to find. One useful, but by no means exhaustive, list can be found at Pride’s Purge. Click on that link, and you’ll find a list of just some of Maximus’s lawbreaking.

It’s almost as if the DWP, and Iain Duncan Smith, have deliberately sought out the most criminally-minded company they could find to pick on disabled people.


See also:

Maximus Are The New Atos: Destroy Maximus (johnnyvoid.wordpress.com)

Here We Go Again – DWP to Repeat the ATOS Disaster ? (jaynelinney.wordpress.com)


Capita – The New Punishers of the Poor


As Atos desperately try to extricate themselves from the Work Capability Assessment contract. Capita stands ready to take up the reins. The coalition government, and IDS in particular, must think that, as Atos have made such a mess of the job, Capita will give them some breathing space, and any difficulties would be described as “teething trouble”.

The problem is, Capita have already blotted their copybook in their dealings with people on benefits. This is the company that’s responsible for Voice Analysis Tests, which several councils are eagerly spending millions of (taxpayer’s) pounds buying.

Lie detectors aren’t noted for their reliability when they’re used in controlled circumstances, but these are telephone tests. They supposedly detect stress in a callers voice but, even if they work, they won’t be able to tell what causes the stress. It might be that the caller is lying, as Capita claim on their website, but people on benefits, at whom this pseudo-scientific technology is aimed, have many other reasons to be stressed and, when you throw illness and disability into the mix, there are even more.

Whether Capita is as bad as Atos, time will tell. There’ll be a lot of us watching.

BBC Capitulation

Tory Press

The WoW petition has smashed though the 100,000 signature barrier, so tomorrow, at 4.30pm, Iain Duncan Sith will be hauled over the coals by the Work and Pensions Select Committee  to answer for his lies and brutality. It could be very embarrassing for him, especially if the proceedings are shown on the BBC Parliament channel.

Which, it seems, it won’t be.

Instead, there’ll be a tribute to Nelson Mandela.

When complaints were made, the BBC had this to say:

We have received complaints from viewers and listeners who felt there was too much coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela. Some audience members felt there was not enough coverage of the storm affecting the UK.

We also received complaints from viewers unhappy about the disruption to the BBC One schedule on 5 December.

Response from BBC News

Nelson Mandela was one of the most important world leaders of the 20th century whose long and complex life story represents a moment of historical change for people in South Africa and around the world. His death was something we regarded as sufficiently significant both to break into our scheduled coverage and extend our news programmes. His political and cultural influence was global and as both a UK and international broadcaster it is important that we reflected that, and the range of reactions to his death, to all our audiences.

BBC One viewers received updates on the storm in their area during regional bulletins broadcast at 2250 and in a weather forecast at 0030, on the BBC News website and on BBC local radio stations throughout the night. We are continuing to report on the aftermath of the storm.

Response from BBC Scheduling

Interruptions to programmes are rare but we regard the death of Nelson Mandela to be of significant public interest.


“…we regard the death of Nelson Mandela to be of significant public interest.”

Well so do I, but why does a tribute to him need to be shown at such a specific time. The select committee hearing is important to millions of people, and deserves to be shown live. There are plenty of slots on the Parliament channel, that are usually padded with recordings of sessions in the Commons, often from several months earlier.

And the BBC assertion that the complaints were of ” too much coverage of the death of Nelson Mandela” may be true in some cases, but not at all true of every complainant.

The BBC seem intent on continuing their cover up on behalf of the government, and will even slander the public they’re supposed to serve to do it.

Yet Another Daily Mail Assault on the Disabled

George "Gideon" Osborne flouting the law. Again.

George “Gideon” Osborne flouting the law. Again.

Remember that Facebook campaign against disabled people, attacking their “privilege” of having parking spaces reserved for them?

Well now the Daily Mail has stepped up that campaign.

After the Chancer of the Exchequer (and no, that’s not a typo) was photographed getting into his car which was parked in a bay reserved for disabled people, Liz Jones, a harridan of ill repute, wrote an article yesterday, in which she bragged of deliberately parking in those reserved spaces, despite not possessing a Blue Badge, the permit required to park in the specially marked parking bays.

Ironically, she is deaf, and so entitled to get a Blue Badge, but finds it too much of a bother, claiming that her mother once had one but “the red tape required to get the sticker required a PhD, beaten only by the fact it had to be renewed every year, just in case she was miraculously able to walk again.”

So, rather than “doing the right thing”, to borrow a phrase from the government front bench, she chooses to park illegally, even parking at “at a crazy angle“, so it’s likely her Land Rover takes up more than one space.

Of course, what she’s really doing is trying to encourage other people to park illegally. Disabled people, to her and her ilk, should be kept indoors unless, like hers, the disability is invisible.

It all helps the right-wing crusade against the most vulnerable people in our society.

After Jones called  Holly Willoughby’s lack of make-up in public a  “betrayal to women”, Willoughby’s “This Morning” co-presenter, Phillip Schofield, said “I swear there can be no greater force against all womankind than Liz Jones. She is inconsistent, bitter, nasty and unhinged.”

I quite agree.

Why the #Wowpetition Matters So Much

Eugenicist The original of the picture above showed Colin Brewer, an independent member of Cornwall Council, holding a pamphlet titled “The Code of Conduct”. He should have read it before making the comment, at a Disability Cornwall stall at County Hall in Truro in 2011, “disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down”. He has apologised.

So remorseful was he that it took until very recently to apologise.

So contrite was he that he didn’t apologise until the Standards Committee demanded that he should.

So penitent is he that he has refused to resign, in spite of the widespread demand, even claiming that there haven’t been any calls for him to do so. He has even said “I have no intention of resigning. I don’t think I have done anything wrong. I have apologised.” If he thinks he hasn’t done anything wrong, then the apology is insincere and worthless.

The WOW Petition calls, very precisely, for “a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform, and a New Deal for sick & disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions”, but it is more than that.

Making people aware of the problems faced by sick and disabled people is just as important, and bigots like Councillor Brewer are a huge part of that problem, especially when they are in positions of responsibility.

The Standards Committee haven’t the power to sack or suspend Brewer, as many people have asked for. That decision will be in the hands of the voters of Wadebridge East, who he purports to represent.


UPDATE: After some pressure from many people on-line, Brewer has resigned, and he has even admitted that he was in the wrong. What a pity he took so long to realise that.

Some Petitions – Please Sign

Via Wowpetition.com on Twitter:

“Thanks for following us and already signing Francesca Martinez’s epetitionhttp://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154

We have a NEW THUNDERCLAP which we are very keen that you authorize on twitter by clicking “Support” here: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/1066-wowpetition-com This enables the site to trigger an automatic 500-strong tweet on 31st January. It only works if we get 500 people by then though. We need to let Government know – we aren’t going away.”

There is an upcoming Panorama documentary on Monday 28th January at 20:30http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qgk9h dealing with the companies who have been paid billions by Government to find Disabled and Sick people work.
We ask that you are ready on internet forums, Twitter, Facebook, etc to apprise newly concerned people of WOWpetition.com during and after during media coverage of the programme. This is so important that people know there is a place they can express their concerns about the situation.

We also ask that you continue to sign other petitions:

Lynn’s #SignSaveLives Petition to exclude people with severe mental health sufferers from DLA assessments epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35092

Sometimes we need to amplify people’s individual experiences and concerns about Welfare Reform. It is not just about principle, but because of SPECIFIC reasons and cases that the WCAs are problematic.

“Stop the intrusive black and white ATOS medical questioning for survivors of assault”
@ohdearyme has a petition asking for better support and facilites for victims/survivors of abuse/sexual abuse http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44718 More info http://ohdearyme.com/

Set up after WWII for injured veterans to find work, Remploy was the UK’s biggest employer of Disabled People until the Coalition tore it asunder and put great numbers of Disabled People out of work.
Save Remploy Factories saveremployfactories.co.uk and Innovate to Stop Closurehttp://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/31056 #saveremploy

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant”

We know we ask a lot, but we believe that the petition system is growing all the time and more of a difference can be made. Make Government listen by continuing to raise awareness of these issues. The tide is turning.”


I’m using this image in forum signatures to link to this page – feel free to download it for your own use.

#WowPetition – Please Keep It Going!

Who's been at the communion wine?

Who’s been at the communion wine?

When I started this blog, I intended to write, for the most part, about religion, and my continued opposition to it. I seem now to write, almost exclusively, about social justice and, lately, the ConDem government’s War on Welfare.

I suppose I could shoehorn religion in, by mentioning Iain “Duncan” Smith’s devout Roman Catholicism, and noting that his faith does not, contrary to the many claims of religious apologists, make him a good person. To emphasise this point would, however, be to ignore the many people who are religious who stand firmly against all that Smith stands for. It would be wrong, as well, to ignore atheists in government, like the Quisling Nick Clegg who, at the very least, stand idly by while Smith hounds sick and disabled people, sometimes to death.

So, just as members of the government, religious and non-religious alike, can join together to persecute the poor, so I will happily stand with my religious friends to fight them. Some people, on either side of the religious divide, will call me opportunistic, but I don’t see it that way. Sometimes, one principle has to make way for another.

Of course, the government side has the best armaments, having better access to the mainstream media than us, and it has been suggested that on-line petitions and social media aren’t going to help so “why bother?”

This defeatist argument often comes from people who are well aware of the role of social media in the “Arab Spring“, so I don’t understand why they’re so sure it can’t work here.

In any case, it’s worth a try, and it’s better than just rolling over and accepting defeat so, if you haven’t already signed the Wow Petition, please head over to http://wowpetition.com/ and do so and, whether or not you’ve signed, you could also help by passing the message along to your friends.