Monday, 10 September 2012

The biggest crime

This entry is my latest submission to Your Thurrock although I somehow doubt it will be posted (for obvious reasons) so I have decided to post it here - just in case.

Following my enforced break from this column, due to putting work in on trying to set up a new project for mental health service users and carers in Essex, I have returned to expose the biggest crime perpetrated in the UK.  I like to believe that my column always makes my readers think and this column will do so by presenting you with some questions and some definitions in order to engage you actively in the process.  About 99% of my readers will be astute enough to work out where this piece is going before I get to the destination, but for the 1% who cannot, I will spell it out in big, bold letters at the end that you will be able to see all the way from One Tree Hill.  Let us begin…
Question: Is it acceptable in a civilised society to accept crime directed at a specific group of people based on gender, age, religion, sexuality, ethnicity or physical or mental disability?
Definition: Crime – an act that is against the laws laid down by the government of the country.
Fact: Slander is a crime.
Fact: Libel is a crime.
Fact: Incitement to hatred of a group based on their gender, age, religion, sexuality, ethnicity or physical or mental disability is a crime.
Definition: Disability – any physical or mental problem that affects an individual’s day-to-day life.
Definition: Hate crime – an act that is directed at an individual or group based on the victim’s gender, age, religion, sexuality, ethnicity or physical or mental disability; to persecute an individual based on their gender, age, religion, sexuality, ethnicity or physical or mental disability.
Definition: Persecute – (1) subject (a person, etc) to hostility or ill-treatment; (2) harass, worry.
Question: Should a civilised society allow crime to go unpunished?
Now we have set the scene with our questions, facts and definitions, we shall start our journey in earnest, filling in extra facts and posing extra questions as we go…
The current administration of this country, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition or ConDums (yes, I did mean to call them ConDums), in the interests of cutting the budget deficit, have instituted the largest plans for public spending cuts in living memory.  These cuts affect many of the people who rely on welfare benefits to survive day-to-day.  Nowhere is this more keenly felt than in the people who are reliant in disability and health-related benefits.  The ConDums, however, allow the richest people and companies in the country to get away with tax avoidance on a huge scale and refuse to institute a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on banking transactions all of which would obviate the need for such savage cuts to the welfare budget.
Question: Who should carry the burden of deficit reduction plans – the rich or the poor and most vulnerable?
Part of the welfare shake-up involves taking claimants off benefits such as Incapacity Benefit and putting them on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which has two sub-groups – the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and the Support Group.  In which group a claimant is placed in is determined by putting them through a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) by a company called Atos, who have no healthcare experience but who are paid approximately £150 million to administer the WCAs.
Fact: The changeover from the old benefits to the ESA is highly cost-laden.
Fact: The WCA has been proved to be ‘not fit for purpose’ for those claimants whose ‘disability’ is a mental health problem.
Fact: A high proportion of WCAs have resulted in a successful appeal overturning the findings of the WCA, costing the country money in legal expenses.
Fact: Calls are being made with the express intention of getting the WCA criteria changed so that they are deemed fit for purpose.
If a claimant is put into the Work Related Activity Group, the claimant will be asked (or forced, depending on who you ask) to undertake activities in order to prepare them for getting into work, some of whom will actually be unfit for work due to their disability but wrongly declared fit for work by the WCA.
Fact: If a person fails to comply with a work-related activity, their benefit will be reduced or temporarily withdrawn.
Question: If an individual has to stop a work-related activity due to their disability, how are they expected to survive on reduced or no income?
Fact: The Government plans to cut the benefit of a disabled claimant by £71 per week for failure to comply with a work-related activity.
Fact: Plans are being put in place so that the disabled and those on health-related benefits will be forced to do unpaid work placements for an unlimited time. 
Fact: People claiming JobSeekers Allowance (JSA) are only expected to work in unpaid work placements for three months.
Of course, all of this is academic as the Government are proposing to abolish ESA and all other benefits and combine them all under the umbrella of Universal Credit (UC) at a huge expense to the country.
Fact: Proposals for Universal Credit are, at present, vague and ill considered.  They are also, at present, highly prejudicial to people with disabilities and health-related incapacities.
The ConDum’s austerity measures have barely begun to bite with currently mentioned figures being mentioned of only 6% being made so far and the Government is, in fact, increasing the budget deficit rather than reducing it.  The UK is in the grip of a full-blown double-dip recession, something the austerity measures was meant to prevent and yet the ConDums have given tax breaks to the rich and fail to collect the vast amounts of unpaid/avoided tax money.  The poor, on the other hand, are bearing the brunt of the cost of an economic disaster not of their making and the disabled and those on health-related benefits are being hit the hardest.  All the while, companies are failing causing more unemployment to add to those in the publicly funded sector who lost their jobs due to cuts in public spending.
Fact: One of the victims of the austerity measures was an organisation called Remploy, a company that employed hundreds of disabled people.
Question: Why have the public accepted such prejudicial tactics to be used against the disabled and those on health-related benefits?
I will answer this question for you.  The public have accepted such measures because they have been subjected to hours and hours of ConDum propaganda designed to make the public think that the disabled and those on health-related benefits are the cause of the problem rather than the victims.  They are seen as leeches on the belly of society, sucking away millions of pounds from the public purse.  By demonising the target group, the public are less concerned with the affect the cuts to public spending are having on that group.
Fact: For an extended period, Iain Duncan-Smith and Chris Grayling have demonised the disabled and those on health-related benefits in the media.  David Cameron allowed this.
Due to the highly prejudicial view of the disabled and health-related benefit claimants promoted by the ConDum administration, the levels of hate towards those groups has risen and will continue to rise in the future.
And so we reach the case against the ConDums on the charge of the greatest disability hate crime in the UK.
“If it pleases your Honour, based on the evidence presented above, I would like to proceed with the case for the prosecution of Her Majesty’s Government on the charge of hate crime against the disabled and health-related benefit claimants of the UK.
It has been established that hate crime is wrong and unlawful.  It has further been established that slander and libel are crimes and that persecution of or incitement to hatred of an individual or group based on gender, age, religion, sexuality, ethnicity or physical or mental disability are likewise crimes.
On behalf of my clients, I wish to submit the following evidence -
Fact: According to Government statistics, less than 1% of claims for health-related benefits are fraudulent.
Her Majesty’s Prime Minister has allowed speeches and comments of a highly prejudicial nature to be given by certain ministers of his administration giving a view of my clients as being work-shy or fraudsters.  This amounts to slander against 99% of my clients.  These speeches and comments have made their way into the printed media, which amounts to complicity in spreading libellous statements about 99% of my clients.
Further to these charges, the current and planned legislation of Her Majesty’s Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government are highly prejudicial to my clients as are the cuts to public spending that are currently underway.  I refer, of course, to the closing of Remploy establishments, the excessive punishments incurred for failing to comply with work-related activities and the unlimited duration of unpaid work placements for disabled/health-related claimants.  These amount to persecution of my clients.
Finally, thanks to the slanderous and libellous statements, my clients have been seen as figures to be hated by the rest of society.  It is true that many held this view before the current administration took power but the statements given by Ministers of the Crown have acerbated the problem.  This amounts to a hate crime against my clients, made even more offensive as it is against a group who are among the most vulnerable in society.
I submit to you that the current Government of this country is guilty of all charges and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The case for the prosecution rests.”
Fact: David Cameron called himself a ‘compassionate Conservative’.
Question: If Cameron really is compassionate, why would he allow such disgusting tactics and policies to be used?
There are other regimes who probably have similar hostile views of the disabled and those with health-related incapacities although one springs to mind immediately – the Nazi Party of the 1930s and 1940s.  If you were disabled in any way, physically or mentally, your life expectancy was not going to be long.  You would not have been sent to the gas chambers with the Jews who were mercilessly persecuted but your life would have been curtailed in some other way – lethal injection.  Like the Jews, Romany gypsies and homosexuals, the mentally and physically challenged were persecuted as not being Aryan material.  They were demonised by the Nazis and turned into figures of hate, much like the disabled and health-related benefit claimants of the UK today.  At least, however, Hitler and his party were open in their hostility and did not hide behind the lie of trying to help the vulnerable whilst enacting legislation designed to kill them.
Fact: There have been many deaths directly attributable to the changes and cuts in welfare benefits for the disabled and those on health-related benefits.  A lot of them have been covered in the media.
With so many deaths directly attributable to benefit changes, perhaps we should add manslaughter or murder to the list of charges against this Government.
Things are not going to get any better whilst we have a corrupt, dictatorial regime in place that will push through legislation regardless of its detrimental effect on the citizens it is supposed to protect.  How can you call this a dictatorial regime, you may ask; it was democratically elected.  So was Hitler, I would counter.  And he had a greater share of the vote than the Conservatives did in the last General Election.
For some dark reasoning, the ConDums have it in for the disabled and those on health-related benefits.  The economic strategy that was built on adherence to austerity measures has failed.  The economy is in decline where under Labour it had started to grow.  The ConDums have no plan for economic growth and Cameron has been recorded as saying that he sees no end to the austerity measures that were originally meant to last only five years, the longest term for austerity measures in living memory.  The Government is increasing the deficit it had promised to get rid of within its five-year term.  The ConDums strategy seems dependent upon convincing the Great British public that the disabled and health-related benefit claimants are the cause of all the ills the UK is facing whilst letting the rich prosper and avoid paying their due taxes.
Why are the rich being molly-coddled?  Because they are the ones who vote Conservative and because they are the ones who are in power.  Why are the poor and disadvantaged being hurt the most?  Because they have no voice.  The people in the middle-income bracket hate the poor and disadvantaged because they fear becoming poor and disadvantaged themselves and because the ConDum administration instils hatred towards them to ensure their monstrous plans go ahead unchallenged by the public. 
The only step that Cameron and company have not taken is the one where the State institutes a campaign of forced euthanasia against the mentally and physically challenged – yet.  One wonders if this is to be the next step in the persecution of the disabled and health-related benefit claimants though.
Anyone for a waterless shower?  Cameron’s Final Solution.
Until next time…

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