Tanya Marlow
Ethics & Morality

An open letter from a disabled Christian to Conservative voters

This is a guest post by Tanya Marlow – a disabled Christian and founder of Compassionate Britain, and author of Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty. She was formerly a lecturer in Biblical Theology with a decade of experience in Christian ministry. Now housebound with severe ME, she blogs about suffering and the search for God in hard places at Thorns and Gold


Dear Conservative-voting friends,

While you were quietly pleased on May 8th, I was sobbing. You were sympathetic, but surprised – why couldn’t I accept that the best man won?

My reaction probably seemed extreme, but I can explain it in five words: cuts to disabled people’s benefits.

I am writing because I know you to be committed to Christ, intelligent and compassionate, and most definitely not an “amoral monster“.

Everyone – no matter how they voted – needs to know the truth about what the cuts have done to disabled people. Let me take you on a guided tour, and see if you understand my tears by the end.

It’s obvious, but worth repeating: it is expensive to be disabled. In order to simply live –  eat, drink, be washed, go to the toilet, move about, go upstairs or out of the house, get a job – it costs money, which is why disabled people need extra financial support to pay for carers, guides, wheelchairs, stairlifts, hoists etc.

Disabled people have been affected by the austerity cuts nine times more than the average person, and severely disabled people nineteen times more. Austerity should mean that everyone tightens their belts, and yet the sharp edge of the cuts has fallen repeatedly and disproportionately onto the most vulnerable. Disabled people have been cut so deep they are collectively bleeding.

Bedroom Tax

The Bedroom Tax hit disabled families hard – two thirds of the families affected by bedroom tax are disabled, using their spare bedroom for a carer, for example, or to store bulky supplies of adult nappies.

Some people have been forced to move out of the home they took years to specially adapt. Others are going hungry. Bedroom tax is a tax on disabled people.

ESA Assessments

Everyone knows about Atos, the now-notorious private company paid £500m for assessing Employment Support Allowance. It’s great in theory: weed out the fraudulent claims by getting independent assessors to get capable people back to work, saving the country money. But the government give Atos strict ‘targets’ to meet – fewer than 1 in 5 claimants are ‘expected’ to receive the maximum benefit. When they make wrong decisions later overturned at tribunal (170,000 appeals won at a cost of £66m) they receive no penalty for incompetence. Staff (who are largely physiotherapists and OTs) are therefore incentivised to refuse the benefit in as many cases as possible.

This is the mess of Work Capability Assessments: taxpayers’ money pays a private company to employ lesser-qualified staff to overrule the advice of specialist NHS doctors.

The system is not only broken; it is breaking people. People with terminal illnesses are spending their final days fighting for their income. Some were declared fit to work only to drop dead a few days later .

To have the Government say you’re not as disabled or sick as you know you are, and to know that your entire income and future depends upon that faulty assessment, is to be in a terrible and precarious position. Some people took their own lives after their application for ESA was declined.

The Government is currently investigating 49 deaths, alleged to be directly linked to the removal of benefits. It is likely that this is only the tip of the iceberg.  This is worth pausing over: these welfare cuts are not paper exercises in balancing books; people’s’ lives are at stake with these choices.

Disability Living Allowance

Meanwhile, Disability Living Allowance (a small allowance to help with the extra costs of being disabled) was targeted for cuts, and replaced with an alternative (Personal Independence Payment) that was designed to save money, not to root out fraud. Half a million genuinely disabled people lost their support, although neither their care needs nor their costs had decreased.

Independent Living Fund

What about those who are most severely disabled? Were they protected? Previously, the most severely disabled received an additional Independent Living Fund, which enabled them to have a carer so they could live independently. Some undertook degrees and got jobs for the first time because of this benefit, paying back into the system. This was scrapped by the Government – the last payment will be next month.

The Government has said that the local councils will step into help: but their funding is being cut, and already two out of five disabled people “are now unable to eat, wash, dress of get out of the house due to underfunded services in their area”. 18,000 severely disabled people are likely to lose their freedom.

Legal Aid

I predict that benefit appeals will fall in the next few years: not necessarily because the decisions will improve, but because Legal Aid has also been slashed, so the poor are now denied justice in the face of the Government’s mistakes (you are twice as likely to win a tribunal if you have representation).

These cuts have been taken, irrespective of need, failing to protect the most vulnerable. Already one in three disabled people live in poverty. And we are promised more cuts to come.

At this point you may tell me, “Don’t despair. Surely it’s better when the Church does what the state fails to provide?”

There’s no doubt that Christian charities and churches do incredible good with relatively few resources, and Christians have stepped in sacrificially to meet needs. The Trussell Trust foodbanks are one such example.

But before you say that the Church will solve this, please consider the scale, urgency and the ongoing nature of the problem. Usually disabled people have additional needs for the rest of their life. This requires indefinite commitment, not a temporary fix.

These people are not theoretical problems; they are a physical reality. The Church is not an imaginary force; it is you and I, our local churches.

This is my honest question: are we, the Church, going to wipe the bums of 18,000 people who’ve lost their Independent Living Fund?

In my conversations with Christians over the past few days I have been heartened that so many – across the whole political spectrum – are keen to speak up for sick and disabled people.

There are so many in the world who view sick and disabled people as sub-human; parasites on our economy. Christians who affirm the humanity and dignity of disabled people, who see their suffering and want to speak out against it, are a powerful witness to a watching world. Whatever our political persuasion, it is our compassion that will distinguish us as Christians.

I’m calling on compassionate Christians to hold the Government to account to protect the most vulnerable as they administer budget cuts. I’m starting a website called Compassionate Britain, which will join together Christians across the whole political spectrum, with resources to help you write to your MP.

Sign up to keep in touch. Let’s join our voices and say we want to help the Government work exactly for that – a more compassionate Britain

Thank you for listening.

Your friend,

Tanya Marlow
(a bleeding heart liberal).

  • Inspector General

    Dear Ms Marlow. This man concurs entirely with what you say, even if you do need to rely on hyperbole to make further your valid points. The problem, your problem, is this. As it stands, everybody reliant on state support comes under the umbrella of ‘claimants’. Like it or not, that lumps you in with the lazy idlers of this country, sucking the GDP out of the country.

    There can only be one solution. A ministry for the Disabled. After all, we don’t lump in the Old Age pension with the benefit general, now do we? So, there you have it. A worthwhile aim to busy yourself about.

    As you commit yourself, you might want to free yourself from the mawkish and any attempt to put the rest of us on a guilt trip. It may annoy to realise that when we put our X on the ballot, few of us consider our neighbours stuck in bed. Why should we?

    • magnolia

      We really need to separate the genuinely disabled from parents claiming because for instance their child has asthma while they smoke countless cigarettes indoors, partly paid for by the benefits. Unfortunately stringent tests sometimes put off the exhausted genuine whilst proving an interesting challenge to the more energetic fraudster. There must be some good methods of doing this, but I am unclear as to what they are precisely.

      • Inspector General

        For the vast sums paid out in benefits, it remains unknown to the Inspector why the money is delivered to recipients who are then abandoned to get on with it. There is no reason on God’s earth that each case should not be reviewed within a maximum time of 6 months. Perhaps the reviewers might also care to bring with them a list of local job vacancies too, and ask if there is any reason why the ‘unfortunate’ cannot apply.

        That’s for the unemployed. Much goes for the disabled too. We should not abandon them also to a life of idleness, despite their no doubt vociferous objections that they are beyond help. Anyone know if the ME sufferer, one of the new age illnesses, will ever get better?

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          “Anyone know if the ME sufferer, one of the new age illnesses, will ever get better?”
          Mean time for recovery is c. 4.5 years, but there is a considerable spread.

          The younger it is contracted (if that is the right word) the more rapid the recovery tends to be.

          Teenagers are often okay after a year and 100% within two years.

          • Inspector General

            Does sound rather like glandular fever. Of course, when the Inspector was somewhat younger, nobody gave up if they came down with that. Whereas ME seems to be {Ahem} “not so temporary”

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            ME (Myalgic Encephalitis) is normally called chronic fatigue syndrome nowadays and has been known as post-viral fatigue syndrome. A preceding viral infection, such as glandular fever, is not uncommon.

          • I don’t know how old you are, but ME used to be known as ‘atypical polio’ and a few other things, and post-polio syndrome is very similar. Just because you have not heard of something, doesn’t mean it doesnt exist.

            For your edification and education – [from http://www.thegracecharityforme.org/what.asp%5D
            It is an injury to the Central Nervous System(2). usually triggered by an infectious disease process, e.g. a virus, or by chemicals over stimulating the immune system(3). (Some researchers believe that M.E. is only ever caused by a virus [e.g., Drs. Dowsett, Ramsay, Richardson, Hyde]. Others have commented that the same symptoms can be caused by chemicals [e.g., Prof. Hooper commenting on the Vojdani & Lapp paper; see endnote 3]).

            M.E. is a multi-system disease, affecting not only the neurological system but also the immune, musculoskeletal, endocrine (hormonal) and cardiovascular systems(4).

            Prognosis is variable depending on how much and which part of the brain has been damaged(5). Complete pre-illness recovery is rare but possible (around 6% of cases.)(6) Some improvement, even marked improvement (different from full remission) is more likely than complete recovery, although relapses can occur several years after remission(7). Most cases stabilise at varying degrees of disability(8). Around 30% of cases are progressive and degenerative and degeneration of end organs may result in death(9). (One quote of early death rate in M.E. is 10%.This figure includes suicides(10). Early death from cardiac pathology is put at 2%(11). Pancreatic failure can also contribute to early death(12).)

          • Kooljeff

            “Anyone know if the ME sufferer, one of the new age illnesses, will ever get better?” Did you really say that? ME is NOT “a New Age” disease. It exists and has a medical pathology. Basically you are saying the author is faking it.

          • Inspector General

            No. The author is not faking it.

          • Complete recovery from M.E. is sadly much rarer than you are implying. http://www.thegracecharityforme.org/what.asp

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            That website is what is technically known as ‘a crock of sh*t’.

            “M.E. may or may not be the same as CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)”
            As they are both names for the same condition*, de definito ME & CFS are the same thing.

            “Please note: we DO NOT promote or encourage GET (Graded Exercise Therapy) or CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) for M.E. sufferers”
            As double-blind trials have shown that GET & CBT are effective in helping people with CFS then that is pretty stupid.

            “There are some treatments, mainly supplements, which might be worth trying”
            And not listed are the SSRI & SNRI drugs which, again, double-blind trials have shown to be effective in helping.

            Some people have this a lot worse than other people. There is a tendency amongst some (but only some) of the people who have this very badly to say that they have ME, which is serious, whereas someone who has it a lot less severely ‘only’ has CFS.

            So if you make that, totally false, separation between ME & CFS then you can say that the recovery rate from ME is low. Doesn’t make it true.

            * I say condition and I am well aware (unlike Tanya Marlow and that website) that CFS is not at all well understood and that most definitive statements about it are unfounded. It may turn out to be a number of related conditions, or even several groups of unrelated conditions with similar sets of symptoms.

            As an example of how little is known about this, SSRI & SNRI drugs are used to raise the neurological level of serotonin. When used to treat other conditions this is what they do. When used to treat CFS they do not raise the serotonin level. But as they work (by an unknown mechanism) they are used.

          • Kooljeff

            Crock of horse puckey – CBT doesn’t work for all patients with mental health problems. ME/CFS are physical medical conditions not mental health ones.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “CBT doesn’t work for all patients with mental health problems”
            Who said it does?

            I said that standard medical trials had shown that it works for CFS, which is true. That does not mean that it a 100% treatment in 100% of cases, no medical treatment that I am aware of meets that criterion.

            “ME/CFS are physical medical conditions not mental health ones”
            I am glad that you know so much about it. Perhaps you could enlighten the medical specialists who have worked in this area for years and who say that they don’t understand CFS.

            What I think you actually mean is that some, but only some, people with CFS do not want to admit the possibility that there might be a mental component to the condition for whatever reason.

            However they, and you, are creating a false dichotomy. The brain creates, uses and is influenced by chemicals. Hence chemicals introduced to the brain can affect the way that it works. Those chemicals can come from inside by changing the way that the person thinks or from an external source.

            If this were not true then psychoactive drugs would not work. The fact that the physical and mental are not separated is further shown by the way that most ‘mental’ illnesses area treated. This is a combination of drugs (normally the first step) and one or more of the talking therapies. Neither on their own has more than minimal impact but both together is effective.

          • Kooljeff

            Perhaps you should keep up with the latest medical reports that have found and described the PHYSICAL causes of ME/CFS. Google is your friend.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            I am aware that there is one (at most two) paper that speculate about a possible cause of some cases of CFS. Notice the words, ‘speculate’, ‘possible’ and ‘some’.

            I also, clearly, know more about science that you do. Research (of any sort) is done on small samples. Positive results may be re-tested on larger samples. If the results are still positive then larger samples still will be tested, and at different places, maybe different countries.

            The standard is that to be positive a result has to have a 95% probability of not being a coincidence. This means that 1 in 20 positive results are just a coincidence. Hence research starts with small samples.

            If, and only if, those results are reproduced in much larger samples, by different researchers using different methodologies will this be regarded as anything like reliable.

            I also clearly know about medicine than you as well. Even is there is an underlying physical cause to CFS that is absolutely not a bar on a psychological treatment being effective.

        • Your last paragraph is downright offensive.
          You are implying that disabled people are not sick or disabled but ‘idle’. You seem to be implying that ME is not real (‘new age illnesses’). I don’t know if the reason you are asking about my health is to question whether I am ‘genuinely disabled’. I have a specialist doctor assess my disability and thorough and humiliating DWP assessment. I don’t need someone I have never met presuming to measure the levels of my disability. You may not be doing this, you may be asking after my health – but it’s a funny way to do it, if so.

          If you are genuinely asking after my health – me, a person, on the end of this conversation, who has had my life absolutely wrecked by a hideous illness, that means I had to give up a job I loved; I cannot walk beside my husband; I cannot take my son to the park, that I grieve everyday for the loss of the person I was – then, no, I don’t know if I will ever get better. Some put the prognosis of complete recovery at 5-10%, are others more optimistic at 25%. For most people with M.E., about 50% of sufferers, they make some improvement but they are never back to full health. For about 25% they never improve. 25% of people with M.E. are housebound or bedbound. It is unlikely you will ever see them unless you had a prior relationship with them. Some sadly deteriorate, some are in constant agony for decades and die early of cancer or heart failure. Some live in agony, unable to move out of bed, unable to speak, unable to tolerate light or noise without experiencing severe pain. It is rare that cause of death is given as M.E., but it does cause death, and has been written on death certificates as cause of death. In the past two years i have known four, five people to die from M.E., and a couple more committed suicide because they couldn’t take the pain any more. They were in their thirties. I don’t know whether I will be one of the few to recover. I have had it for a number of years and have deteriorated. My prognosis is not great. I very much hope that now you know the reality of this illness you will not make such offensive and unkind comments about M.E. ever again.

          • Inspector General

            Thank you for your detailed information on the condition. Those of us who have been around since before M.E. ‘existed’ welcome insights into this apparent disease of modern life…

        • Kooljeff

          Sorry – why should some one with a terminal condition or a degenerative disease be constantly reassessed – they are NEVER going to get better? Limbs are NEVER going to grow back. Blind eyes will NEVER see again and so on.

          • Inspector General

            One was not alluding to those on determined ill health.

      • Kooljeff

        Firstly Magnolia – the WCA test is NOT a medical. It says so on all DWP ESA 50 form. It is not carried out by doctors or psychiatrists in the main. It is carried out by what is euphemistically called “Health Professionals”. This can include nurses, retired nurses, foreign doctors NOT qualified to practice in Britain, physiotherapists, chiropractors etc. It is a tick box exercise on a computer – the computer programme was designed by an American Insurance company to deny disabled claimants their insurance pay-outs. These people can over-ride GPs, consultants and other properly qualified medical practitioners, even if the patient provides, copious notes, x-rays and other documentation. Atos have found dead and dying people fit for work. Your example is also coming from the wrong angle. The disability benefit is going to the CHILD who does have asthma. You seem to want to punish the child for the alleged sins of the parents. Whether the parents smoke or not, the child has asthma and is therefore disabled and entitled to those benefits. As for this mythological fraud here are some stats from the DWP. Total benefit fraud 0.7% Error committed by the DWP 0.8% (notice error is higher than fraud?) Unclaimed benefits annually £16 Billion. The rate for disability benefit fraud = 0.3%. That is 30p in every £100 spent. It is negligible, practically non-existent. These are the cases you see in the Daily Mail. Did you know, referring to your last question, that the DWP had its own medical assessment team, that was thorough and robust. IT was staffed by fully qualified doctors and was cheaper than paying Atos (now Maximus who are getting twice as much as Atos).

        • magnolia

          I was not making a case for ATOS. I don’t know how they run things, and it seems all too likely that gross errors are on both sides of the equation. I was remembering a case from the programme called something like wife-swapping where a spouse from either side swapped homes, from years back. The problem was rectified, and consisted of parental smoking causing asthma which then triggered the claim. This is far from fair on the people who have real disabilities, who suffer ridiculous suspicions because of this kind of case. There was also the case of a man supposedly unable to walk who was photographed playing golf. Again most unfair. Of course these cases are the minority, but for the sake of us all they need excising.

          In the wake of the elections my faith in statistics is severely dented, so I wouldn’t care to hazard a guess. Personally I think those who do try to pull a fast one should be dealt with by juries full of genuinely disabled people; that would cause folk to think many times over before trying it on.

          • Kooljeff

            There are no errors on the disabled side – you are either disabled or not. So you are basing your expert knowledge of disability and benefits on a “Reality” TV programme – here was me thinking you had genuine insight and knowledge. Again, the smoking will NOT have caused the Asthma – it might exacerbate it but it will not cause it. here are some gross errors for you, all down to ATOS/DWP. Woman in hospital, she had suffered many medical problems including having a heart and lung transplant. She was slowly dying in hospital, drowning in her own fluids when Atos and the DWP declared her fit for work and stopped her benefits. She died a week later. A man paralyzed down one side, part blind with a heart condition, found fit for work – died the next day. A young woman went for an Atos test – the examiner asked her “How long have you suffered from Down’s Syndrome?” Another “medical professional” asked another woman “I have never heard of Crohn’s Disease”. She was, of course, found fit for work. There are hundreds, if not thousands of similar cases.

          • magnolia

            Of course I don’t agree with those, but all you are doing is quoting case histories. As I was, so the difference eludes me. Yes they are horrible case histories. Of course I do not support idiocy and inhumanity. Why would I? They exist both ways, and I would think you should be angry about the fakes. It is like people who are in prison and guilty of a crime faking innocence, who make life harder for every genuine wrongly imprisoned person. Every liar makes life harder for the genuine, and they should be hauled to account for it, just as someone with neither a visible nor an invisible disability should not park in a disabled parking space. Sorry but I am being very uncontroversial here. And smoking can cause asthma.

            I have had a few genuinely disabled friends and relations, and encountered all the ghastly testing, some of which was ill-designed, esp. for the deaf, and humiliating for them. I think you are mistaking a friend for a foe!

          • Kooljeff

            No smoking CANNOT cause asthma – it can bring out an already existing problem but it cannot CAUSE it. I quoted case histories you gave an example from one episode of a “Reality” TV show – not the same. Give me an example of the “idiocy” (your word not mine) of disabled people? A friend wouldn’t make excuses for the bad treatment of the disabled. A foe would play the divide and conquer game with the deserving and undeserving disabled. The fact is even if there are 0.3% of people claiming fraudulently why persecute the 99.7% who don’t? That’s using an Atom bomb to crack a nut. Plus it would be CHEAPER to do nothing.

          • magnolia

            If you interpret my words the nicest way you can you will have the correct interpretation is all I wish to reply to that!

            We disagree on the likelihood of your 0.3% being correct.

            I also think the case I quoted was discussed at length throughout the country, which is actually more intensive than a case study.

            I make no excuses for bad treatment of the disabled where it occurs, whatsoever. Nor do I wish to associate myself with some of the cringeworthy statements made by some towards disabled people on here, but only with my own comments.

            It is ultimately up to you whether you see a hidden malicious meaning to my words; all I can say is that there is none, and the idiocy merely referred to the mistakes you quoted of the assessors, plus that of those who cheat the system. Idiotic insults or insinuations flung towards or dangled before disabled people is an activity that leaves me entirely cold, and repulsed, and is not at all funny.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      A few, somewhat disparate, thoughts:

      1. “After all, we don’t lump in the Old Age pension with the benefit general, now do we?”
      Well actually we do, in that when ‘benefits’ is shown, say as a proportion of government spending, then it includes old age pension, disability benefits, out of work benefits and in work benefits. Muddied waters or what.

      2. “A ministry for the Disabled”
      I understand your point and am broadly sympathetic. As ever the problem is in keeping the organisation lean & focused.

      Lean because bureaucracies tend to grow, the more disabled people registered with this ministry then the more staff it needs and the more important the people running it feel.

      Focused because it is easy to slacken the criteria just a bit to allow one more person in, which then leads to lots more people of the same status, and then to a further small slackening of the rules, and so.

      Without great diligence and strength of character (to say ‘no’ and to take the abuse that follows) it will soon be paying out to:
      – ‘parents claiming because for instance their child has asthma while they smoke countless cigarettes indoors’
      – ‘[those] who claim for a bad back, but in reality need to loose a couple of stone’
      and so forth.

      3. On the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax’, I do wonder why this is raised in a piece headed ‘Dear Conservative-voting friends’.

      This change in housing benefit was introduced by the pre-2010 Labour government. At that stage it only applied to privately rented properties. The change that the Coalition brought in was to make it apply to all rented properties that received a state subsidy.

      4. I find pieces like the original one very irritating because they show great inability or laziness in thought. The government is spending c. £100 billion p.a. more than it takes in. That is creating a huge burden for generations yet to come, amongst who will no doubt be many disabled people.

      The government needs to spend considerably less – there is no magic money tree. In making cuts that affect millions of people sometimes those least able to cope will be hit harder than is fair. That is regrettable but I cannot how it can be 100% avoided. Fallible man will make mistakes.

      If those cuts are to be avoided (and this is where the mental lack or laziness shows clearly) then substantial cuts need to be made elsewhere. Nowhere does the original piece say where alternative cuts might be made.

      And those cuts will have to affect be in the areas of benefits, health and education. No other areas of government expenditure are anywhere near large enough, see
      for an illustration.

      • Inspector General

        One is aghast that pensions are labelled benefits if they are. By the time he gets his, God willing, your man here will have been paying into his Old Age pension for 50 years. He ain’t no Johnny Come Lately from the EU expecting everything the same for paying nothing.

        As for your other points, the authoress, Ms Marlow, is now out and about and will no doubt ‘put you right’….


        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          Inspector General
          See the chart at the end of my previous post. The ‘social protection’ segment covers all of the things that I mentioned.

          “your man here will have been paying into his Old Age pension for 50 years”
          Except you have not been, ‘paying into’ that is. Though I am sure that you have been paying.

          In private pensions, money is put aside as you go along in order to pay for the pension later on. For the state pension, today’s tax receipts pay today’s pension liabilities. So when you come to claim you will be paid out of that day’s tax receipts.

          This system has a great deal in common with a Ponzi scheme, and there is a good reason that Ponzi schemes are illegal.

        • Kooljeff

          Just like to point out that the vast majority have been paying in for their benefits through tax and National insurance – they are entitled to claim. Your comment about EU people claiming “benefits” fails, as usual, to take into account reciprocity. In other words Brits can claim in the EU. Plus there are procedures in place for governments to balance the books. If Britain hasn’t got these systems in lace it is the government’s fault not the EU migrant. The British public are woefully ignorant and plain wrong on anything to do with benefits. For example Brits think 400,000 people from the EU claim benefits – the actual figures less than an eighth of that.

          • Inspector General

            Looks wonderful on paper, doesn’t it?

  • Slack Alice

    Since when did Cranmer start having a “Comment is free” section? Too many flaws in this article to be bothered with.

    • Inspector General

      We knoweth which is of Cranmer and which is not that way. The contrast is markedly impressive, is it not?

    • Dear Slack Alice,
      Thank you very much for reading my article. Do tell me if you think there are any facts or statistics that are inaccurate or need clarification.

      • Dreadnaught

        It was a very good article – Cranmer is fussy about his guest posters. Take no bloody notice of Slack Malice. Well done you for being accepted.

      • Slack Alice

        Your “facts” and “statistics” are the least of the problems in this article. Anyway, my comment was mainly addressed to Cranmer for allowing it to be posted, not with you. You’re free to do what you like.

        • carl jacobs

          Are we just supposed to take your word for it, or are you going to (you know) make an argument? All you have done so far is make assertions as if you are some kind of unimpeachable authority.

          • Slack Alice

            Not making assertions. Just commenting on the quality of the article and the arguments put forward by the writer. Not the usual standard we have come to expect from Cranmer’s pages. Some things are just too poorly written and weakly argued to even be bothered with dissecting. There would be no point. Not going to change the writer’s mind. How about, “Disabled people have been cut so deep they are collectively bleeding.”? Or, “This is my honest question: are we, the Church, going to wipe the bums of 18,000 people who’ve lost their Independent Living Fund?”

            And, of course, the notion that a “biblical theologian with over a decade in Christian Ministry” thinks a) that this is a solely political issue and not one to do with community, family and neighbours, b)that it somehow is more of a “conservative-voter” issue than any other group and c) does not even attempt to define “disability” for the sake of her article, just makes the whole thing another tedious whine.

          • Kooljeff

            3.6 million people who claim disability benefits will be £9 billion worse off, in total, over the period 2010–2015. Figures agreed by a coalition of disabled organisations and charities and NOT disputed by the DWP. The figure for two thirds of households affected by the Bedroom Tax is accurate. And puts a lie to Cameron and IDS who said disabled people were exempt (Hansard on numerous occasions). The Independent Living Fund is to be axed for 18,000 of the most severely disabled who need extra help with getting in/out of bed, toileting, getting dressed and bathed and other help – and some even work. IDS even went to the Appeal court to appeal a lower court decision preventing him from axing the ILF – he won. Seems to me you are objecting on Party Political ideological reasons rather than knowledge or spiritual reasons.

        • Politically__Incorrect

          Slack Alice, since Cranmer is the owner of this blogg, I think the matter of who is invited to write for it is entirely his, and nothing to do with us.

  • len

    The Inspector in his usual (blunt to have gone beyond the point of civility) may have hit on a valid point’ a Minister for the disabled’ who could put forward the case for the genuinely disabled .
    It is a mark of the moral position of a society as regards how they care for the disabled and anyone who goes by the name of ‘Christian’ is commanded to care for the sick the disabled and the disadvantaged.
    Of course the Government need s to define those who are on benefits because they genuinely need them from those who do not, much as Jesus Christ will sort of the ‘sheep’ from the ‘goats’…………….

    • Inspector General

      Rather more than a ministry as such, Len. We are talking here of splitting disability benefit away from Unemployment / Income support. In other words, no more DSS. It needs to be superceded by two easily distinct and obviously different agencies. There may even be overlap, for which a solution will need to be found.

      • len

        I think that would be well worth looking into

      • Kooljeff

        Splitting ministries would cost the tax payer more.

        • Inspector General

          Thanks for the school boy’s view of government….

    • “It is a mark of the moral position of a society as regards how they care for the disabled and anyone who goes by the name of ‘Christian’ is commanded to care for the sick the disabled and the disadvantaged.” I heartily agree. The idea of ‘genuine need’ is a fiercely contested one, of course, and I agree that it is a difficult job for any government to do. I don’t think there can be much argument in the case of those who were receiving Independent Living Fund. It is also worth noting that the government’s own statistics for benefit fraud show them to be very low (under 1%). Thanks very much for taking the time to read my article.

      • Kooljeff

        Keep fighting, keep promoting the Truth, and keep supporting other disabled people – I found your article concise, factual and written by somebody who knows what is really going on. Funny, I expected more charitable opinions and support for the disabled on a Christian site. Obviously I was wrong. Seems a lot are in favour of the money changers. Fraud (All) 0.7%. DWP Error 0.8%. Disability benefit fraud 0.3%.

    • Kooljeff

      The trouble is it will fall on deaf ears IDS has already said he knows better than his Cardinal and his Pope and will continue his persecution.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    Tanya, welcome to this blogg. i hope this won’t be your only visit. Firstly, you are no “bleeding heart liberal”. Everything you said is reasoned and informative to those of us who are not so familiar with the challenges faced by disabled people. I have never felt comfortable about cuts affecting those who clearly and genuinely need the support of the taxpayer. I personally think our governments, of all political colours, have often spent the taxpayers money unwisely. By that i mean spending it on projects that deliver prestige or votes instead of delivering real benefit to those who need it. I have no doubt that if those in power managed the nations finances in the interests of this nation, then we could provide a better deal for people such as yourself.
    i have subscribed to the Compassionate Britain updates

    • Inspector General

      Ah, it’s you PI. Once we’ve split the various benefits from each other, we can then talk about ring fencing Disability. That way, the Conservative party can go into an election and be free of the accusation that to support the Conservatives involves a certain degree of cruelty in one’s nature, which our Ms Marlow delights in reminding us, albeit by the back door…

      • Politically__Incorrect

        My point exactly Inspector. i want to see help sent to those who genuinely need it, not to those with fictitious grievances

    • Dear Politically Incorrect,
      Thank you so much for your warm welcome to me – that’s very kind of you. I too am concerned – and not especially for myself, but for those who have greater needs than me, and are struggling with the double-weight of poverty and disability together, so I am grateful for compassionate people like you. I am hoping that the majority of the MPs in power will be thinking similarly to you, and that we can find a way through that helps people who genuinely need the support of the taxpayer, whilst still enabling people to work and clearing the national debt.
      Thank you very much for subscribing to the Compassionate Britain updates – I really appreciate it.

  • I’d just point out that it was the Labour party who started the atos regime and they actually have been replaced because they didn’t want the contract due to the negativity surrounding the way they made assessment decisions. I agree that using computer algorithms in a one sized fits all package was and is bonkers, but to portray this as evil conservative verses messianic labour (who started this) makes me less prone to listen to be honest.

    Secondly left wing hysterical responses has led to disabled fear they’ll loose their benefits. The government could find £12 billion in cuts by getting rid of or trimming the complex tax credits (if abolished that’d save £30billion), which were another socialist invention, so complex you’d need a PhD in mathematics to get how they work it out.

    Thirdly, as inspector has said there is a lumping everyone together here. There are disabled people who could find meaningful and appropriate employment , depending on what their disability happens to be and there are those who clearly cannot work for various reasons (“the severely disabled”) need to be looked after by society. There are also the “Onslow” type characters who claim for a bad back, but in reality need to loose a couple of stone and who sit in front of the tv, whilst drinking cheap larger and I think we all want to stop that kind of abuse of the safety net . Of course one can ask whether it is the state who should be doing this or private charity or the community at large.

    But to my mind it is actually a positive and non discriminatory move to suggest that those disabled people who can should work and get their own money, which gives dignity and self control, rather than reliance on the state . The key is providing those who can work with any help that they may need. But I’m fed up with people writing off disabled people and that’s what “the system”often does. The “system” needs to provide the helping hand for disabled people to be successful in the workplace like able bodied people.

    Another point is have a mature discussion about the allocation of resources. An example, in the realm of physical disability, : replacement legs, for those who’ve had amputations, the “ordinary” types cost a couple of thousand pounds, but ground breaking bionic legs cost many tens of thousands. But should the more expensive legs be available to all or, say, only paid by the state for war veterans only or should the state only pay for the “cheapest” option? What about money to make a house disability friendly ? What about wheelchairs, does the state provide the most expensive or least expensive? These are the difficult choices to be made , when it is clear that there isn’t a magic money tree.

    • Kooljeff

      *YAWN* Tory propaganda straight out of IDS’ play book. Yes Labour did introduce Atos – shame on them. But being against Tory persecution of the disabled is NOT the same as supporting Labour. The funny thing though it was the Tories that made the system more draconian, changed the descriptors on the WCA and introduced de facto targets not based on clinical need. 5 reviews of the WCA have highlighted shortcomings and unfair and dangerous practices, especially with regard to Mental Health. None of those recommendations have been implemented.
      Stop reading the Daily Mail we are not talking about “bad back syndrome” – we are talking about people with terminal cancer found fit for work and spending their last few weeks of precious life trying to get benefits to east and sustain their lives for as long as it lasts. One man with terminal cancer died last month, still fighting for his benefits.
      Here is another fact for you – disabled people want to work – employers will not employ them. In an anonymous survey of businesses last year 97% of employers said they would not employ disabled people because of the cost.
      Benefits like the ILF and DLA (now PIP) are designed to help people manage a career (neither benefit is an Out-of-Work benefit). Every single one of our Paralypians were on DLA. All disabled people would give up every single penny of their benefits if they were whole and healthy again.

      • Dude

        You’ve misread me. I want to help disabled people back to work and I’d say if it cost a pound to save a pound I’d rather see that going toward getting those that can into work. I also said that the atos was crap and useless. The reigme which used a computer programme to decided cancer patients could work was despicable. I’m not here to spout Tory propaganda, although to be perfectly clear, I am what you’d describe as a conservative (lower case) of he Disraeli one nation paternalistic tradition . I’ve also got no time for those who compare what a going on to Nazi Germany, pogroms and genocide (see above ).

  • Shadrach Fire

    When will Gillan and His Grace stop playing ‘Political Tennis’? One shot to the left, one shot to the right. They need to start singing from the same Hymn Sheet.

    I would have voted for a conservative party that had a social conscience.

    We acknowledge the extreme conditions that this lady live with and no one would deny her the help that she needs. It just seems that the way the system is set up, it does not deal fairly with the really needy. It seems mind boggling to pay a private company £500m for assessing Employment Support Allowance.

    This is probably a drip in a bucket but I know of people who live a seemingly normal life on benefits for a condition that is clearly extremely intermittent or not at all.

    • Kooljeff

      Atos has been replaced by Maximus (Atos quit, IDS did NOT sack them as he claims). Maximus are being paid twice as much as Atos for the same job.

  • IanCad

    Tanya, we will be judged by how we treat the needy.
    Cutting 20% out of education. Scrapping obsolete weapons systems (aircraft carriers, F-35, tanks and top brass {Reinvesting in modern systems with some of the savings} [targeting welfare fraudsters] and giving more to the truly needy)
    Of course! scrap H&SE. Review overseas aid; forget HS2. Dig more coal, build nuke power stations. Forget Green. We need a new Industrial Revolution. Smoke means work. Work means money. Money makes the world go round.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Heard on the radio this morning that there was a suggestion that Conscription should be re-introduced. Might have been Harry.
      It was said on this site that the scallywags and scroungers should be conscripted. No cost as it would be a transfer from Dept. to another. They might even turn out decent people.

      • carl jacobs

        Conscripted into the army? That’s a horrible idea. The Army isn’t a social welfare organization. It does not exist to reclaim lazy scroungers from the welfare roles.

        I can see the point of universal service in a country like Finland where size requires a large reserve. I can see the social argument behind conscription in that a volunteer military will tend to create a self-selected military “caste.” But don’t give the military the lazy, the shiftless, the vagrant masses yearning to live work-free. They don’t make good soldiers. They would likely get screened out during initial training anyways.

        • Dreadnaught

          Twas ever thus:
          In a letter to Henry, Third Earl Bathurst, from Huarte Spain, on 2 July, 1813, Arthur Wllesley Duke of Wellington wrote, “we have in the service the scum of the Earth as common soldiers.”

          • Dominic Stockford

            They frighten me, so God knows what they do to the enemy….

          • Dreadnaught


      • IanCad

        Although it is true that a conscript army is usually better than a volunteer one; given that in times of peace and prosperity only the unemployable enter the service, I would not be for it.
        Far better IMO, is for low skilled but physically demanding jobs be reserved for the young. Think picking strawberries, hoeing weeds, digging potatoes. In short, jobs done by thousands of Eastern Europeans.
        Sure the farmers will howl because our native lads and lassies are whiners and weak. Pay would have to be based solely on productivity. Safety rules would have to be relaxed. Cuts and minor injuries are to be expected and go with the territory. It would be a great opportunity for our pampered and conformist youth.
        Save the taxpayer a bundle. Lower the school leaving age to fifteen.

        • James Bolivar DiGriz

          “Although it is true that a conscript army is usually better than a volunteer one”
          Do you have evidence to support that? My understanding is the exact opposite. In a conscript army all have to be taken including the incompetent, the lazy, etc. In a volunteer army those who do not fit, for whatever reason, can be rejected.

          • The IDF?

          • carl jacobs

            The IDF … please.

            Yes, now there is a completely transferable situation.

            Really now. How “conscripted” is the IDF in truth? Isn’t there really a shared understanding of a personal responsibility to the nation? Israel is a small country under constant threat. It can’t provide for a large standing army. So there is a shared understanding of the necessity of universal service. For goodness sake. Avi had a son who joined the IDF. And he’s a Canadian. Canadian! They don’t even allow Nerf guns in Canada, and they aren’t too fond of water balloons either.

            “Conscription” in such circumstance is really just a formality. If there is one country in the world that shouldn’t have trouble with “conscription” it would be Israel.

          • Dude,


            Scotch and herring all round.

            Yes the IDF is a citizen army (even a certain sister of mine volunteered to serve as a foreign national) and we all know that a fight is a fight , so we can never afford to loose.

            PS in my experience Canadians can be quite feisty when they want to be.

          • carl jacobs
          • IanCad

            James, I did address this in my first paragraph. Only the unemployable join the military in years of plenty.
            We only have to look back to the Abu Ghraib hearings.
            To quote Senator, Ben Nighthorse Campbell: “Where did we get these people–“
            Further evidence is from the Georgian Navy. With few exceptions the pressed men were better than the volunteers. Again, only the desperate would voluntarily join the service.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            “I did address this in my first paragraph”
            No, you suggested a possible cause. You did not give any evidence that it is true.

            Where is the comparative evidence between conscript & volunteer troops supporting your contention?

          • IanCad

            Well, certainly Sen. Campbell was pretty shocked over the performance of the volunteers.
            CJ. Marcus in his “Naval History of England – The Formative Centuries” pp.375 compares the two systems.
            Herman Melville describes the selectivity of the press in his novel “Billy Budd.” Only Able Seamen, in good health, were fit crew for fighting the French.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            Okay, I will take that as a no to you providing evidence.

            You have twice referred to Senator Campbell (which seems like anecdote rather than evidence) but not linked to his testimony so it is not possible to read his words in context.

            One page of one book published >50 years ago, might make a thin case – about military service several hundred years ago.

            Melville’s “Billy Budd is, as you point out, a novel. And what you draw from it undermines your case. As they were choosing amongst ABs (i.e. men who had already volunteered to work at see) then this is more akin to the selection process of a volunteer force than a conscript one. And again this is hundreds of years ago.

            Finally your earlier mentioned the Georgian Navy but have now omitted it. If your source is the modern (post 1989) state then I would expect it to be online. If it is about the Georgian Navy of hundreds of years ago then it is not very relevant.

          • IanCad

            The quote from Marcus (1961) referred specifically to the Georgian Navy.
            I know the very idea of a conscript force being better than a volunteer one is counter-intuitive but, in general, such is the case.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            You still have not said what you mean by “the Georgian Navy” but from the book’s title it is presumably hundreds of years ago, so not very, if at all, relevant.

            As conscription is, at the earliest, a late 19th concept anything from before then will offer little, if any, insight.

            “I know the very idea of a conscript force being better than a volunteer
            one is counter-intuitive”
            Only because it is untrue.

            “but, in general, such is the case”
            However you seem unable to provide a single piece of evidence to support that.

          • Kooljeff

            You do realise it is 2015 not 1815?

          • IanCad

            James, Reading again, your last paragraph I would question your contention that all have to be taken. The sorry fellows you describe would be classified LMF and, therefore, ineligible for service.

          • James Bolivar DiGriz

            I see that you don’t know much about this subject.

            LMF (Lack of Moral Fibre) was a term used principally (exclusively?) by the RAF in WWII for men who had been on combat missions and refused to do any more, typically they had PTSD. The men were reduced to the lowest rank, made to do menial duties and denied all privileges.

            It was used as, essentially, a punishment to force everyone else to keep themselves in control and not to crack under the pressure.

            As such it could not be applied to recent conscriptees. In a mass-conscription situation (e.g. Britain & Germany in WWII) someone had to be in a really poor state to be marked as ineligible for service. Otherwise many people would just be a bit lazy and be rejected.

          • IanCad

            “LMF (Lack of Moral Fibre) was a term used principally (exclusively?) by the RAF”
            Wrong!! Although the term is somewhat archaic it is still commonly used in our household.
            By my wife; in reference to me.

        • The British young mostly those of the farming families DID do all those jobs you mention before the Eastern block hoards pushed them out.

        • Kooljeff

          Although it is true that a conscript army is usually better than a volunteer one…” Evidence? Proof?

      • Kooljeff

        The army (nor other services) neither wants conscription seek its re-introduction. Today’s modern services is not like 1940s/1950s square bashing painting stones white. It is skilled and semi-skilled with electronic and technological battlefield ordnance, not some benefit claimant with no education or skills, nor less one who doesn’t want to be there. Secondly the military are hard put to muster troops and equipment as it is, spending £Billions on conscription is going to deplete the coffers even more

  • magnolia

    What would Jesus do? What did Jesus do?

    • Dude

      Clearly , Jesus would have voted Labour or Green. Possibly SNP on a good day and gone on a few demos against the wicked austerity being imposed by the nasty, big bad bully Tories …. who are the “Pharisees” of today.

      • IanCad

        “–who are the “Pharisees” of today?”
        The same question was asked at a recent church service I attended.
        After about one second the pastor asked “Will all the Pharisees please stand up”

        • Dude

          I was being somewhat sarcastic….

        • Kooljeff

          So how many Tory voters stood up – being honest in the sight of God?

    • Can’t see ATOS saying to a claimant “Pick up thy bed and walk” being too well received, Magnolia.

      • Inspector General

        One is reminded of the scene in ‘Life of Brian’ where the Messiah ruins a perfectly decent cripples begging livelihood by healing his complaint, thus making him fit for work…

        • Dreadnaught

          Hahahahaha – you B!

          • Inspector General

            Yes, you whatever, one said ‘cripple’ not new age illness sufferer….

          • Inspector, some day you will find yourself – and wish you hadn’t.

          • Inspector General

            Save it Jack…

          • Jack is just trying to widen your perspective, ’tis all. It’s hard to get the big picture when you have such a small screen.

          • Inspector General

            We either have a burgeoning benefits system, or we have armed forces. It is becoming clear we can’t have both. We cut one but not the other. Why?

          • It’s actually the health and social care system that’s expanding at a greater rate of knots than the benefit system. The benefit system needs a fundamental shift in focus, agreed, but every nation has to decide between ‘guns and butter’.

          • A lot of those disabled people are armed forces!

          • Inspector General

            The finest people we have Marie, the armed forces personnel. Thankfully, Help The Heroes is now there for them who need it.

          • Kooljeff

            Serve your country, put your body and life on the line. RiP David Clapson – killed by IDS’ “Reforms” – so much for gratitude and the “Military Covenant”.

          • Inspector General

            You’ll appear much more grown up here if you desist from relying on individual tragedies to make a point…

      • magnolia

        No, but how do we interpret “he who believes in me will do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do because I go to the Father.”?

        Because by and large most Christians cannot and do not do “greater works” and I think we thereby short-change the handicapped as the Church.

        All too often Church people are too embarrassed or unwilling to pray for the ill and the handicapped, or just don’t know how to do it, or think it will be offensive. In fact it is far more offensive to be unwilling to pray, and fob people off, and to treat handicapped people like a strange subset of humanity rather than just other people with a particular difficulty.

        And there are some people who have handed in disabled parking badges, buggies and benefits after being healed if not for ever, as we all die, but for a long and productive time after going to genuine as apart from fake (of which there are all too many) Christians with the gift of healing. They are following what Jesus did, quite patently, and find a ready audience, just as he did.

      • Kooljeff

        Actually that is exactly what Atos (now Maximus) do say – they call it “Fit for Work”. And they also find the dead fit for work – several times a year.

    • Dreadnaught

      He got cross and then got hammered.

    • Kooljeff

      Jesus cured the sick and disabled, preached charity and giving, tolerance and understanding. Definitely not a Tory – they work for the other side.

  • In the socialist republic of Scotland, the disabled and elderly are entitled to up to £450 ‘support towards the cost of their homecare and/or day-care. Thereafter, there is a sliding scale, based on an income assessment, for extra care needed. Alternatively, one can apply for and receive personal budgets, based on assessed need, which can be used to design personal packages of care as chosen and directly employ carers or use the money in other ways they decide. Carers are also entitled to have their needs assessed and receive services in their right. In addition, grants are available for home adaptations, such as putting in extra bedrooms, down-stair bathrooms, stair-lifts etc. Furthermore, the local authority has been given monies and can off-set the ‘bedroom tax’ at its discretion.

    Is none of this available in England in Wales? The article focuses on one aspect of the total welfare system. It overlooks and stays silent on the social care part of the system provided by health services and social services.

    • Hi there. Thank you very much for reading, and for commenting on the situation in Scotland. Local authorities could potentially be part of the answer – but their already-strained finances are being cut further, so it is hard to know how they will be picking up the substantial slack. I refer you to this part of the article: “The Government has said that the local councils will step into help: but their funding is being cut, and already two out of five disabled people “are now unable to eat, wash, dress of get out of the house due to underfunded services in their area”. ” Best wishes.

      • Hi Tanya – then surely you need to focus on ensuring the local authorities meet their statutory responsibilities which are clearly defined? The answer to all the issues you refer to isn’t income maintenance. As the law stands, once a disabled person has received a needs assessment there is a legal duty to meet those needs – and in particular the basic needs you have outlined. Meeting the needs of care, especially when it has to be tailored, isn’t best achieved through an organisation that is charged with providing finances for the purposes of rent, food, living expenses etc.

        The other aspect which you haven’t mentioned is actually encouraging disabled people to reengage with the community through employment. For too long to be labelled ‘disabled’ means no work, whereas, in fact, the type of work is what is restricted and not work per se. The Equality Act provides considerable protection for disabled people in this area too.

        And, let’s be honest, some people do take advantage of the passport provided by being designated ‘disabled’. It is perfectly proper for the State to independently verify the nature of disability and ascertain whether it meets certain specified criteria for additional benefits.

        • Dude

          I agree with this post (?!?). Must be the Jewish side of you shinning through 🙂

          PS : Hannah’s in the Negev. Hope she’s kinder to the camels this time round.

        • Rachel Allen

          Unfortunately, as Tanya highlighted, the written law is quite different from practical reality.

          For example, if I’m not offered a job because of a reason related to my health, the only redress is to sue under the EA at my own expense.

          While companies say they have home working options, meeting software, etc; they often don’t actually use these because it suits most others not to.

          Thank goodness we have the EA, but ignoring it is not a criminal offense, and many disabled people can’t afford to challenge ignorance in court.

          • ET’s are fairly informal affairs and one does not need costly solicitors or lawyers to lodge and then litigate a claim.

      • Old Blowers

        Enjoyed your article, my dear and as someone disabled I know the difficulties in worrying where your next ‘helping hand’ will come from.

        As I have complained regularly here, rather than the government chase after the abusers of the systems, they are just too lazy to go after the miscreants and so use a one net catches all approach. It does not work, does it?

        Do ignore some of the halfwits posting here…Most are refusing to take their meds, despite being warned of the dire consequences to mind and soul should the lithium tablets not be taken regularly.

        Expect to receive the odd post response from Napoleon, Hitler, Colonel Blimp and whoever momentarily springs to mind!

        God must truly love, unconditionally, stupid people. He made SOOO many, as you are witnessing comment on this august blog.

        Love in Our Lord and may He be your fortress and comforter at all times.


        E S Blofeld

    • Phil R


      They are the socialist republic as our expense and generously funded by the rest of the UK.

    • Dude

      £450 a week , that’s about £23,000 a year plus extras…. But does this tailored system pay for love swings as well?

      • Actually, independent, personalised budgets are available in England too. Jack knows of one case where it was used by a person to visit a (ahem) “massage parlour” to meet certain (ahem) otherwise “unmet need”.

        • Dude

          Good to know, we shall consider making a claim . My wife to be is wheelchair bound you see , so we are both intent on maximising our love making experiences (disabled people have sexual desires and libido too).

          • We all do …. Jack is sure you will rise to the occasion and not require state assistance.

          • Dude

            Really?! My better half is extremely independent. I got a great big slap in the nuts for suggesting I’d help her : I was told that I was her love and lover and not a social worker. The only time I will be allowed to help her dress is when undressing to do the “marriage stuff “.

    • Spoonydoc

      Scottish elderly people perhaps,working age disabled people no. Their social care provision is fully means tested including any income from earnings (after tax). This means there is little point going to work (other than the obvious advantages of morale etc) as all salary above income support level is taken to pay for care. Your benefits are also taken, including DLA or PIP, as well as any extra disability premiums you might be receiving if you are not working (something most people are unaware of).
      In England things are slightly better. While most of your benefits go straight to social services, you are allowed to keep your salary (after tax). This is to avoid there being no financial incentive to go to work if needing a lot of social care.

      • “This means there is little point going to work (other than the obvious advantages of morale etc) as all salary above income support level is taken to pay for care.”

        So everyone should pay instead through taxation?

        In one sentence you reveal your position. One works not because it boosts morale but to pay one’s own way and be self reliant. To not work when you can, simply to avoid contributing to the cost of your care, is, at best, a manifestation of the “dependency culture” and, at worst, dishonest. It is this mind-set and behaviour that the government changes are intended to alter.

        • Spoonydoc

          The social care situation in Scotland prevents you from paying your own way and being self reliant as you cannot save money or make any reasonable budgeting choices. You can’t save up to get a house or anything else others take for granted.

          You are also subject to two systems at once. Either we accept that we have to pay tax to finance services for everybody, or we pay for our own. A working disabled person in receipt of social care in scotland does both! First they pay the same taxes as everyone else. Then the rest is taken away to leave them with subsistence level income equivalent to someone on income support.

          Personally I am very relieved that I live in England and did not face this. I paid my taxes like everyone else and was happy to do so, but was able to invest the rest of my salary as i wished. So yes, i do think the scottish system is currently flawed. If you have already paid your tax I don’t see that you should have to pay again as an individual. This situation does not arise elsewhere that I can think of unless by choice (eg private healthcare, private schooling).

          As to what I said earlier, I did not at any stage counsel that someone shouldn’t work. You are making assumptions there. I simply point out that the system ensures that the disabled person does not get the financial reward that they should for the work they do.
          They are treated differently to everyone else. They are, in effect, taxed at a higher rate to all other citizens, based on what services they use (this could be argued to be a valid way of doing things, but either we do it for everyone or not at all, not single out certain groups). I do not feel this is right.

  • Phil R


    There is a person in my village who gets a free car every year because they are too fat to walk.

    They also do not work. Her kids also seem to have medical issues that stop them working.

    Many working families in my village will never afford a new car their entire lives.

    The older kids (apparently are also “disabled”) were moaning that nobody ever gives them a chance. So I suggested that they come and work for me for free for up to three months to gain experience.

    The offer was refused.

    The system is unfair and is broken.

    • Nobody wants to work for nothing Phil! Offer them a little Saturday job or holiday job that’s paid and see how they get on.
      As soon as I was 16 I got a Saturday and school holiday job in a shop I loved my new found independence.

      • Phil R

        They said they has “done the college courses, but nobody would give them a chance”, so I said that I would arrange for them to be picked up and dropped off later. I told them they would not be paid but I probably would have given them a few quid depending on how they did.

        The point is that I would have given them a reference and they would have experienced real work and learned how their “college course” works out in practice.

        They should have jumped at the chance and in my view, offered to pay me.

        Instead it was easier to refuse and to go back to moaning.

        • ’cause pesky stuff like “minimum wage” shouldn’t apply to disabled people?

          • Phil R

            The minimum wage needs to be abolished.

          • Christopher Parker

            You know, I have yet to hear that from anyone who has ever had to rely on a minimum wage job for their livelihood. I’ve heard it from people who’ve worked minimum wage jobs while living with family, using the extra money for their own ends while not needing to worry about things like rent, bills or food, but I’ve never heard it from anyone who relies on that money just to keep a roof over their head.

            Fact of the matter is, minimum wage exists for a reason – because people like you think that some people don’t deserve to earn enough money to eat. We already have people working full time jobs for minimum wage who rely on benefits to pay the rent and bills and still have some money left over for a couple of meals a day; if we got rid of minimum wage, you’d have people working full time jobs relying on food banks and homeless shelters…

          • Phil R

            “if we got rid of minimum wage, you’d have people working full time jobs relying on food banks and homeless shelters.”

            Why exactly is this my problem as an employer?

            Since you ask the question, you are right, I have never lived on minimum wage or anything remotely like it.

          • Christopher Parker

            Wow, you really are quite selfish when you get right down to it, aren’t you? Fine, how’s this? Imagine minimum wage laws vanished overnight, and suddenly the entirety of the unskilled and semi-skilled labour pools are basically out of their homes because they’re no longer getting paid enough to pay the rent. That’s tens of millions of people right there. If you make that many people homeless, make them unable to feed their children, and they might just decide it’s time for a redistribution of wealth. That’s why it’s your problem as an employer – who do you think your employees first target would be?

      • Phil R

        I am not a charity.

        • DanJ0

          You’re all heart.

          • Phil R

            I gave them a chance of a life, self respect and the opportunity to gain skills the world values.

            They chose not to take it. I therefore have no sympathy for their moans.

      • Mike Stallard

        Sorry, no can do.
        The regulations demand all sorts of insurance, taxes and inspectors. Have you noticed that there are no paper boys any more? That’s why there aren;t.

        • Kooljeff

          Better tell the paper boy round here that he doesn’t exist then.

    • Yay! Work for nothing – why would anyone not want to leap at the opportunity of improving the profit margins of a bigot like you without being paid a penny for it?

    • Kooljeff

      “…There is a person in my village who gets a free car every year because they are too fat to walk….”

      I do love to see posts from Doctors with X-Ray eyes who can instantly diagnose someone at a glance.

      Right, let’s get rid of the old chestnut first. NOBODY gets a car for “free”. Disabled people can LEASE a car, they do not own it, they cannot sell it and it must be returned (usually every 2 -3 years). It comes from their mobility component of DLA (now PIP).

      Secondly her weight could be caused by her disability – it is not the disability itself – unless you can prove otherwise. As you have no access to her private medical records you cannot. Her children may or may not have a disability. What is certain is not all disabilities are visible and many are fluctuating.

      • Phil R

        My point was that there are many hardworking families in my village who can only dream of (having the use of/ owning a new car like she has. The situation lacks morality.

        She does not work and has a nice lifestyle, they work hard and mostly have just enough money to pay their bills and taxes.

        She eats a lot, is fat and drives a new car. That is what the village sees and the mostly Labour voters who work hard to give her a better lifestyle than they have are not happy and I suspect, many did not vote Labour since a Tory got in again for a second term after being a solid Labour consistency for years. UKIP were a strong 3rd.

        I think the wind is starting to blow in a new direction.

  • Dominic Stockford

    And next week’s Party Political Broadcast will be on behalf of the Socialist Workers Party….

    • Inspector General

      Indeed Dominic. Scott is a blasted nuisance in that respect. Trying to push his lefty rot at us his (obvious) superiors…

      • Shadrach Fire

        Did you see my post earlier?
        When will Gillan and His Grace stop playing ‘Political Tennis’? One shot to the left, one shot to the right. They need to start singing from the same Hymn Sheet.

  • Phil R


    A disabled friend of mine since childhood sorted his own life. Despite being born without the use of his legs and presumably other issues he never talked about, he always took control of his own future. He told me once that he did not want to be treated any differently, but he needed to be better than able bodied people in everything that he does. He struggled to get into uni but is now working in the US with his own software security company that earned him over a million US last year.

    When we were in our 20s he asked me to take him out on a boat It was Wales it was winter. When we arrived at the coast a full storm was in progress. He asked me If I had ever seen it so bad and I said no. He said lets go.

    I tied him to the front of my boat and the waved were huge, each one submerging him in freezing cold water for several seconds. I was very scared and I was not tied to the boat.

    When we returned he was blue, caught pneumonia was in hospital for several days.

    He always remembers our day in the storm and thanks me for what he describes as the time of his life. He says it is one of the experiences that shaped his life.

    People must stand on their own two feet whether they are disabled or not.

    True my friend could have drowned, or died later in hospital. It was a big risk. The sensible option was not to do it and to put him in front of the TV somewhere and made sure he was nice and warm.

    That day though he LIVED his life. It changed him and I like to think contributed to the successful man he is, rather than what he could have been and perhaps what you seem to be suggesting, a cossetted vegetable on benefits.

    • I’m so sorry that I don’t know you. Having pneumonia is top of my “to do” list. Oh, wait, that killed one of my relatives last year. I don’t actually want to catch pneumonia. I already have quite enough purpose in my life without haters like you wishing to exploit and underpay me or make me beg for money.

    • “People must stand on their own two feet whether they are disabled or not.” Unfortunate phrasing, all things considered.

      Thank you for reading my piece and for telling your story about your friend. I notice you are making a dichotomy – ‘live your life’ like my friend (who very nearly died of pneumonia), or watch TV “like a vegetable” (again – please note your offensive language – people are people, not vegetables). I find it to be a false dichotomy that does not take account of the complex and various needs of the complex and various disabilities and chronic illnesses. Disability costs disabled people an average of £550 per month – just to live. This is not just about out of work benefits (I notice a few assuming that disabled people do not work – in fact, it is the disability benefits like DLA that provide funding for a car so that they can work). Some disabled people cannot work, just as most elderly people cannot work. I wouldn’t suggest that the answer to elderly loneliness is to tie them all to boats or take away their pension. I see some people in this thread doing this: ‘I know one disabled person who is like X, so therefore all disabled people are like X’. You are going in a different direction – ‘I know one disabled person who is like X, so all disabled people should be like X.’ This is massive overgeneralisation, and I have been very careful to quote facts and statistics rather than one-off cases, so that you can see the scale of the issue. If you still don’t understand it, please spend some time talking with disabled people who need carers to assist them to walk, talk, feed themselves, wash themselves, or a person with Down’s Syndrome and autism.

      It is great that your friend was able to work and study – and many other disabled people also work and study and go on boat trips. It doesn’t negate any of the points I made in my piece.

      Thanks very much for reading my piece and taking the time to comment – I really appreciate it.

  • Mike Stallard

    You must know, as I do, that the system has been abused for years. We can all give instances of abuse and of people fudging.
    The problem is this: why should I support people who are pretending to be ill or who live in much larger houses than I do without lifting a finger to even try to work. I can take you to several such houses?
    The government are pretty useless at sorting out people like yourself from the bludgers. Get used to it.
    I would like to add that I also know several people who happen to be immigrants who are living in appalling conditions with children involved too. But, hey, who cares about them?
    The Ghanayans have a proverb: Ebio ye bu: life is a battle.
    Where I live the Church is right there at the forefront of searching out people genuinely in need and doing something about it. All in all, I think things seem to be improving actually under this government. Remember when the Poles came under New Labour?We didn’t half work then!

    • Jay

      “We can all give instances of abuse and of people fudging” all bs stories from media because you are incapable of thinking for yourself

      • Mike Stallard

        I was on the dole throughout the 90s. Believe me, I know what I am talking about!

    • Kooljeff

      “….The problem is this: why should I support people who are pretending to be ill…”
      You are not – you are supporting the vast majority who are genuine. Why do want to punish the majority for the actions of a tiny minority?
      Let’s apply your logic to tax. As there a minority of people who are tax dodging we will tax everybody at 75% (including PAYE) and then they will have to claim back the difference and prove they are not fiddling their taxes.

  • Rachel Allen

    So disappointed with the ignorance of some comments here. You cannot judge people on the basis of one friend or neighbour you may or may not know as well as you think you do. There is a difference between being chronically ill and being disabled, and while many are both this isn’t necessarily so.

    My claim for ESA was the subject of maladministration, for which I was awarded hundreds of pounds in compensation after lengthy battles. My claim for working tax credit was then also mishandled, which resulted in payments being stopped. Rather than quit my job and go back on ESA again I had to fight, surviving off my savings, and it took nine months before my complaint was upheld and compensation with backpayment paid. I share this because compared to many other claimants I’m more able to write letters, interpret legislation, understand decision notices. What happens when you can’t? Nothing special about me, this kind of maladministration is not uncommon.

    I have an MA (in disability studies!) and can only manage to work part time due to my condition. I have a low paid job as jobs paying more require me to travel, which I can’t physically do. I want to work. Many workplaces are not physically accessible. Many employers do not have positive attitudes towards disabled applicants.

    This is not an issue about your friend or neighbour. It’s an issue about our attitude as a society. Not only is the government taking support away from those who really really need it, but administration is so incompetent and this costs the taxpayer. Only it often goes unchallenged because people are unable to access support to make complaints or not well enough to fight.

    To those feeling the government’s position is a righteous one, I’d ask you please to consider how you’d feel if you got sick, or if you lost your job and couldn’t get another. You’d most likely look at me and dismiss me because I look healthy enough. But then we shouldn’t judge on appearances should we?

    • “Only it often goes unchallenged because people are unable to access support to make complaints or not well enough to fight.”

      Come now, there’s a whole network of voluntary agencies and law centres assisting people to challenge and complain about the decisions made by state representatives.

      • Rachel Allen

        Is there? Have you ever needed to rely on one? I live in rural area and there is one centre that could offer me limited help but I was out of their catchment area. It was due to their expertise, and answered prayer, that hmrc resumed payments. If I haven’t had savings to pay rent and bills I’d have no choice but to follow dwp advice to stop work. It really isn’t as simple as it appears to be. Even for those who can get to law centres, cab, etc there are often long waits. Even bus fare can prevent access to such services. hmrc for example has no time limits on answering complaints, what do you do in the interim? If your benefits are sanctioned in error and you can’t afford to phone dwp on 0845 no, what do you do?

        • Phil R

          I have an MA (in disability studies!)

          I am surprised that anyone will give you any job with such a pointless qualification. The only jobs will be taxpayer funded, that flows from that sort of non qualification.

          Get a real qualification then moan.

          • Rachel Allen

            Sorry I didn’t realise I was moaning.

            What is it about my qualification you consider pointless?

            If you don’t like that one how about my business degree or various professional qualifications? I only mentioned it to demonstrate I have insight beyond the scope of my own experience.

            Isn’t that something we should all seek to have? Particularly if the extent of our experience involves one fat neighbour.

          • Phil R

            Read my posts.

            You can either give up or succeed despite your disability.

            We only encourage people to give up it seems.

            Yes it did come across that you were moaning. You are a Christian, you have nothing to moan about.

          • Louise

            ‘We only encourage people to give up it seems.’

            Sorry but that is rubbish. My mother is both physically and mentally disabled, she spends large proportions of the year hospitalised, and you know something no one has ever encouraged her to give up.

            In fact for the past year now she has been trying to get back to work and has received nothing but support. Beyond this following her accident she has learnt to walk again, to talk again, to get back some independence. All of which has taken time, required money, help from careers and the use of specialist equipment. It has been tough and has taken almost 18 years to get to this point.

            However what I want to point out is that despite the fact that she is unemployed the welfare system has allowed and encouraged her to succeed. This success is not measured in economic value but in how she has conquered personal feats
            something that a lot of people don’t appear to realise. I’m proud of my mother for her success and I am proud that my taxes will be used to provide a safety net for other vunlerable people in similar situations. It is wrong that this support is being cut and unfortunate that people don’t seem to realise the significant impact that these cuts are going to have to millions.

          • Phil R

            I am sorry that your mother had an accident and became ill.

            I agree that it can take money to improve outcomes for people.

            The question I think we are trying to answer here is where should that money come from?

            Should it always be the state? If the answer to that is yes then the state will take your money and spend it for you in ways that you have no control over. It will also leave the vast majority so taxed that they are dependent on the state, because that it its intention. They have no money left over to care for others, or even make their own provision for disability through insurance. Once the state gets your money, it is going to keep it and make you have no alternative.

          • Louise

            Thank you, that is a very important question and I completely see your point. A reform of the system does appear to be required but not to the detriment of the people that it was designed to help.

            If state support is going to be cut then it seems only right that the appropriate systems are put in place to bridge these expenses/services before the cuts are made to protect people in the mean time.

          • Kooljeff

            Only one problem.
            “Reform” = Toryspeak for draconian cuts.

          • Your faux solution is for people to beg for help in order to survive, or for employers should be allowed to discriminate against them.

        • Jack has experience of these situations – in rural areas too. CAB do organise home visits, Sype and telephone consultations. Your MP is also there to assist and if there are unreasonable delays and/or maladministration, the Ombudsman is there too.

          Btw, don’t HMRC and DWP all use 0330 numbers these days – which are free?

          • Rachel Allen

            Not sure if they do now jack but it was 08… When I needed. My neighbour kindly let me use her phone.

            Cab don’t do home visits in this area. They do have an outreach in next town (£5 return on bus) and waiting list is 4-6 weeks. I couldn’t go however because I was at work when outreach was scheduled! Thankfully the law centre was able to help via phone.

            I did contact my (labour) MP and he was really helpful. If it hadn’t been for his involvement I’d perhaps be in very different circumstances now.

          • Good job you weren’t relying on Ed Balls – too busy for his constituents, you see.
            Your Conservative MP would have assisted you too.

          • Kooljeff

            Oh really? new Minster for the Disabled voted against benefits for child cancer patients.
            You ask disabled people who have asked for help from their MPs like Maria Miller (refused to see disabled people), Mark Hoban (refused to see disabled people). Or Esther McVey, IDS, and a slew of others – they’ll tell you they got no help whatsoever.

          • Have you tangible and verifiable evidence that Maria Miller and Mark Hoban have refused to meet with constituents with disabilities?

            Maria Millers “sin’ was to close Remploy factories. Were you in favour of these sheltered factories supporting people with disabilities as opposed to assisting them into mainstream employment? They had lost contracts and people were sitting around doing nothing.

            Hoban’s ‘sin’ was to refuse to meet with ‘We are Spartacus’. Why? Such a meeting would not be constructive. He’s entitled to hold this view. ‘We are Spartacus’ had written demanding a meeting, including the following statement:

            “The process (WCA’s) is reminiscent of the medical tribunals that returned shell shocked and badly wounded soldiers to duty in the first world war or the ‘KV-machine’, the medical commission the Nazis used in the second world war to play down wounds so that soldiers could be reclassified ‘fit for the Eastern front’.”

            As for Justin Tomlinson. He voted in line with the government on the Welfare Reform Act in 2012. He voted against protecting extra benefits for disabled children and for adult patients with cancer – not against benefits for children with cancer. There is help and assistance available for the parents of these children so do not use them in such an uninformed and cynical way.

          • Kooljeff

            No they are not

    • Phil R

      “You cannot judge people on the basis of one friend or neighbour you may or may not know as well as you think you do”

      She was very fat, she said she could not walk far so she got a free car because of her lifestyle choice.

      The decision was wrong. It sends the wrong message into the community.

      • Rachel Allen

        I think you’re referring to the motability scheme for those on higher rate DLA. If you feel your neighbour has claimed fraudulently I’d encourage you to report her.

        Thing is though Phil, if you were my neighbour you’d probably think ‘there’s nothing wrong with her’. If she can’t pay her bills she should just work more hours. She’s always smiling and chatty so she can’t be all that bad. Looks like she’s alright to me.

        Only you’re not there when I’m Curled up on the sofa, crying in pain. You don’t see me when I’m just too exhausted to smile or to speak. You don’t know that the walking you saw me do left me in agony hours after. And you’ll not be the one I call when I go to hospital or can’t get out of bed.

        Its not about weight. It’s about judgement.

        Ps) I don’t qualify for dla and I couldn’t get representation to appeal. So no free cars for me.

        • Phil R

          I am sorry for your suffering I really am.

          Is more state money really the only answer.. How about a plan B? It seems that plan Bs are not even considered.

          • So what’s your plan B?

          • Phil R

            I a no expert but it seems silly to me to have leads of people suffering all over the place when they could be put in one big building where help and different forms of work could be available, within the same building.

            That is just one plan B. Don’t like it? Then you come up with one that saves money rather than spends more.

          • A workhouse? How delightful!

            I prefer to prioritise saving dignity, thanks.

          • Phil R

            Your plan B is? No don’t tell me, pay them the minimum to let them rot at home, without perhaps human contact, certainly no self esteem.

            The current system is broken so what is your plan B which saves money at the same time?

            Dignity? You have no idea what the word means

          • No, he’s got a point. People like to be around and associate with like minded and abilitied people, it’s human nature, so rather than be stuck in a flat alone it would be nice if maybe disabled people lived somewhere big enough to give them good size individual rooms with en-suites, but also had a big communal lounge for socialising and big kitchen, storage for equipment, bin cupboard.and a laundry room all set up for disabled people. A guest room or two depending on how many occupants the building was for and all managed by a full time live in or out house manager.
            We had a firm called Remploy which employed disabled people to make furniture but it closed down due to the state badly mismanaging it.

          • Jo

            You’re describing a residential care home. There are lots of them, many are excellent. They’re appropriate for some and not for others, and they tend to be short staffed because care work pays poorly. It is also often difficult for these homes to provide regular transport for one client to go to work for example, because their responsibility is to the whole group of clients and if another client is ill or a staff member is on holiday, the team gets stretched. Living independently and being free to organise their own time and individual commitments is for many disabled people as much a sensible goal as it is for those of us without disabilities.

          • Shadrach Fire

            What is dignity in this context?
            Disability people have to come to terms with their disability. They can never be completely like a health person again unless they have a miraculous healing. So dignity is about accommodating their disability into a new kind of lifestyle. The most common requirement in society is friendship and fellowship. Many old people keep going to work after retirement because they don’t want to miss out on their comradeship with their fellow workers. And so it could be for the disabled. Spending time with others takes their mind off their own problems.

          • You don’t care about her suffering. You want to see her beg for money.

        • Rachel

          Rather than you cry on the sofa, here is a Jewish joke to make you laugh 🙂


          “Three men were sitting around bragging about how they had given their new wives duties.

          The first man had married a Catholic woman and bragged that he had told his wife she was to do all the dishes and house cleaning that needed doing at their house. He said it took a couple days, but on the third day he came home to a clean house and the dishes were all washed and put away.

          The second man had married a Mormon woman. He bragged that he had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, the dishes and the cooking. He told them the first day he didn’t see any results, but the next day it was better. By the third day, the house was clean, the dishes were done, and he had a huge dinner on the table.

          The third man had married a Jewish girl. He boasted that he told her that her duties were to keep the house clean, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry done and hot meals on the table, every day. He said the first day he didn’t see anything, the second day he didn’t see anything, but by the third day most of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye. “

      • Liz Carter

        Goodness Phil, I think you might have just swallowed the Daily Mail there. Are you aware there is no such thing as a free car? A Motability car is paid for by the disabled person with theiir mobility allowance from DLA/PiP, at great expense, often with a substantial downpayment for any adjustments. The level of fraud for DLA/PiP is less than 0.4% so people who get a motability car overwhelmingly have a great need for it. You are being terribly offensive and terribly ignorant. Imagine a life on medication which makes you put on weight, a life where you cannot exercise due to pain or breathlessness, and then you are judged not only for ‘not looking disabled’ but also for ‘being fat.’ Please think about the way you are talking about a person here, a person of value, loved by God. I’m amazed at some of the rhetoric on this thread and keep upholding my lovely friend Tanya’s wonderful words.

    • Anton

      What on earth is an MA is Disability Studies?

      • Shadrach Fire

        A bit like an MA in reading the newspapers. These stupid uni courses that teach you nothing and get you nowhere.

        • There speaks a man who has never been assaulted in the street for walking while disabled, or screamed at as a scrounger for being disabled in public, Discrimination against disabled people is very real, do you really thing it’s unreasonable to study and analyse it in order to try and make sure it goes the same way as all the other primitive hatreds?

          • Anton


            It’s an evil, not a subject for academic study.

          • So how to we fix it? The academic study you deride has shown that children pick up their negative attitudes to disability from those around them in early childhood. That tells us where we need to start working on fixing it, making sure that it isn’t an attitude we see in the next generation.

          • Anton

            Doesn’ t need an academic (actually pseudo-academic) study to test that. I deride it as an academic subject, yes.

          • Anton

            Fixing it is not for academics to state, but politicians; I’m all for fixing it, of course.

          • And how do you fix it if you don’t understand the issue? You demand evidence when you think it will make our case harder to make, refuse to listen to it if it doesn’t mesh with your beliefs.

          • Anton

            I don’t think it takes academic-depth studies to understand the issues.

      • A Master’s level study of the ways that disabled people and the rest of the population interact, Unfortunately that means that all too often it is a study of the way that disabled people are discriminated against or exploited by non-disabled people. You may not agree with taxation, but do us the courtesy of allowing us to study the way society fears and discriminates against us,.

        • Anton

          Study all you want on your money. Taxpayers’ money should go to courses with some intellectual rigour like mathematics, physics, biochemistry, classics, mediaeval history, English literature before 1900…

          • Taz

            English literature before 1900? Classics? Mediaeval history? Nothing against them, but seriously – disability studies has potentially far more useful applications in actual modern society, so be careful where you’re throwing “intellectual rigour”.

          • Anton

            You are joking aren’t you? Classics, history and literature teach someone deeply about the meaning of their own culture and its past and thereby enable them to thrive in it. Since Major and Blair decided to encourage half of the population to go into higher education the standard of courses has had to drop since most people can’t do the difficult – and therefore worthwhile – subjects. Hence “Disability Studies” and other rubbish.

          • My degree is in Computer Science with a minor in Operational Research (an applied statistics discipline that also looks at human factors), as a disabled person I’ve participated in several people’s theses as part of their Disability Studies courses. Their academic processes were at least as intellectually rigorous as any other discipline I’ve looked at, as were the papers I’ve read. The most recent disability studies paper I looked at was an analysis of references to disability in current early reader books using the current set of favoured tools for literary analysis, so how is that not as intellectually rigorous as applying the same set of tools to ‘English Literature Before 1900’?

            On the other hand I can point you at DWP research papers, used to justify DWP policy towards disabled people, that were built on surveys which openly stated they had decided on the conclusions in advance of the survey and had structured the survey using well known prejudices to deliver the desired answers. It was papers like this that resulted in the UK Stats Authority invoking their statutory powers to regulate DWP’s publication of such papers. Maybe that might be a better focus for your worries about taxpayers money and intellectual rigour?

          • Anton

            Glad you’ve got one degree in a genuine subject. To say that Disability Studies is not a proper subject is not to disparage the disabled.

          • Yes, it absolutely is. ‘Not meant to disparage’, or ‘can’t you take a joke’ and the like are the classic coward/bully’s way of getting their kicks in while denying the person being abused has any right to be offended.

          • Anton

            I am content to let readers here decide for themselves whether disparaging “disability studies” as a subject is to disparage the disabled. for the avoidance of doubt I mean no disparagement of the disabled.

          • Shouldn’t it be disabled people ourselves who get to decide whether we’re being disparaged? That’s the basis UK law works on.

          • Anton

            I’m disparaging the academic industry that has turned Disability Studies into an academic subject. If you want people, I’m disparaging lecturers in it, not the disabled themselves. Elsewhere on this thread a couple of days ago I described discrimination against the disabled as an evil to be stamped out rather than the subject of academic study.

  • Virginia Moffatt

    For those of you saying the system has been abused for years. Can I refer you to the DWP’s OWN figures on benefit fraud is 0.7% https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/427739/Stats-release-v3.pdf Which means 99.3% of people claiming benefits are genuine. I am a Christian and I would ask my fellow Christians on this post – why should people in need be punished for the sins of the tiny amount of people who abuse the system? And how do you think Jesus would have responded to disabled people needing support? Cutting their benefit? Sanctioning them? Making them pay the bedroom tax? Making them suffer? I don’t think so.

    • Shadrach Fire

      I would not believe the DWO’s figures on benefit fraud if I was on the rack.

      • Hmmm …. never been on a rack, have you? Jack would be happy to oblige and arrange said ‘treatment’ and put your assertion to the test.

      • Tim Carlisle

        And yet the DWP are the ones who have been saying that they need to tackle fraud in this area – and not just under this government but under the previous (Labour) one too. The issue is that it’s essentially founded incorrectly in that bastion of truth, fairness and balance that is the Daily Mail who started the whole ‘we have masses of benefit fraud’ during the Blair/Brown years as an attack on the left wing which was mostly a work of fiction (I’m not saying fraud isn’t a problem – there are probably thousands claiming benefits they shouldn’t – but the biggest area of fraud is those claiming benefits for not working when in fact they are rather than disability type benefits which are the most rigorously checked of all benefits) and that fiction has persisted in the media if not in politics because as we know the media have masses staked on various outcomes.

        • alternative_perspective

          No, most of us have experience of living and growing up with such people. Take the family next door. Each one in receipt of benefits but only the lad is severely disabled and even then with appropriate training and education he could contribute to society. People are only too willing to write him off even though he has latent and untapped skills and abilities.

          The family’s problems lie not in their lack of wealth but in the crass and uneducated lifestyles they embody. They are lovely people but typical of the labour dependency culture created over the last few generations. They and their children will repeat and incarnate this cycle of irresponsibility, amorality, poverty and state dependency for generations to come.

          Please, please, please do not get me wrong. They ARE lovely people and I get on with them very well. But they are fine examples of what exactly has gone wrong with the culture we live in.

          • Kooljeff

            Arrogant, snobby, Holier-Than-Thou, Social Darwinist and those are your good qualities

      • Kooljeff

        Funny how the Right Wing believe the figures that suit their agenda but disbelieve the ones that contradict them.

    • Phil R

      Make no mistake Virgina. Families in my village are paying more taxes than they need, to keep fat people in new cars.

      The system is not just wrong, it is utterly immoral.

      • Rachel Allen

        Please don’t dismiss everyone who is sick because you have a neighbour who is fat.

        • Phil R

          It is symptomatic of a system that is broken.

          It is not an area that the state needs to or should get involved in.

          • You want disabled people to work, yet you refuse to employ them on equal terms, and now you claim that the mechanism intended to ensure they have the chance to get to work is victimising you. I know what I think is immoral, and it isn’t Motability.

          • Kooljeff

            No it is symptomatic of that one case – you cannot extrapolate that to everyone claiming disability benefits.

          • Phil R

            “It is not an area that the state needs to or should get involved in.”

            I meant benefits in general.

        • Please don’t assume that people are disabled because they are fat, it’s almost inevitably the other way around. There are a horrendous number of drugs with significant weight gain as a common side effect, and all to often that’s combined with a disability that greatly restricts the ability to exercise. It’s sadly acceptible in society to attack people for being overweight, but so few realise that means they’re also attacking people for being disabled.

      • Your desire to exploit disabled people for your own ends is the immoral thing.

    • Rachel Allen

      Excellent point Virginia. If Jesus were physically with us at this time, he would be at the food banks and with people in their suffering. He wouldn’t accept whatever the daily mail print as an accurate reflection of the sufferings of those who are struggling!

      I’d really love to see the government agencies responsible for service accountable when mistakes are made. If for example they have to pay double if a sanction is erroneously applied or interest in payments withheld in error those who don’t get it may start to.

      • Phil R


        You often read in the Bible about Jesus campaigning for more state handouts to the disabled. In fact Jesus did not call upon the state to the involved at all in the lives of the poor.

        Now in the OT there were plenty of laws, gleaning, sabbath years, all designed for the poor to help themselves.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Jesus did not join a political party either. Therefore, using your argument, no Christians should join a political party.

          • Phil R

            I do not belong to any political party and I have not voted since I was 18.

            Whether or not Christians are members of a political party is a side issue, provided they do not start to worship the organisation.

          • Kooljeff

            You are certainly no Christian

          • Phil R

            Cos you say so…that’s nice

        • If there was one thing Christ despised, it was two faced self-righteousness.

          And, shocking as it may seem, the Bible’s attitudes to disability are distinctly problematical. I don’t want to be cured of my disability, it is a huge part of who I am, I do however want society to be cured of treating me as some sort of lesser being because I happen to be disabled and I do want the equality of opportunity that most people take for granted. The Bible might not mention wheelchair ramps, but I’m pretty sure Christ would be behind me in demanding them on the doors to the temple. And I’m pretty sure he’d look on DWP and Atos with exactlly the same jaundiced eye he cast on the moneylenders.

          • Anton

            “I don’t want to be cured of my disability, it is a huge part of who I am”

            Do you want to retain it in the New Jerusalem in your resurrection body?

          • Jesus’ resurrection body still had scars.

          • Anton

            But not wounds. He had been healed. I’d still like DGillon’s reply. I don’t understand the mentality of anybody who prefers to be disabled.

          • If you take away my disability, I won’t be me any more (literally, I’m neurodiverse alongside the physical disabilities). If God made us in his own image, then surely that implies an acceptance of disability.

          • Anton

            The image of God that man was created in has been distorted by the evil one since the Fall and that is why people have disabilities. The gospel is explicit about that. Please would you answer my question? I accept (without understanding) that you would rather not be healed of it in this life but what about the next?

          • So now disabled people are literally Satanic!?! And people wonder why disabled people find the attitude of so-called Christians problematic.

            And I have answered your question. Being neurodiverse (and also being dyspraxic) are part of my brain development, take those away and I literally would not be the same person. You’re asking me if I want to kill the person who is me.

          • Anton

            Kindly stop distorting my words. Disability is the work of the evil one. That in no way implies that disabled people are satanic and for the avoidance of doubt I do not believe that.

            Have you not understood St Paul? We ARE to be put to death and then resurrected as we should always have been.

          • You may also wish to consider this:
            Hate incident – the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) defines a hate incident as: ‘any incident, which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any other person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate.’

            I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in thinking that if someone tells me disability is the mark of Satan that they’re being motivated by prejudice and/or hate. Might be time to sit in front of the mirror, look yourself in the eye and ask who is more likely to be doing the Devil’s work, the person campaigning for equality, or the person condemning them as bearing the mark of Satan.

            If you really don’t get how goddamned offensive this is, imagine saying to someone from a non-white ethnicity that their skin colour is the mark of Satan, and how they are likely to feel (start with kicked in the teet and work down). And for your sake I hope you understand that analogy.

          • Anton

            I thought you were a Christian. If you are not, my apologies for making that assumption and I need to explain better where I am coming from. Please would you tell me your beliefs? Please also refer to the reply I made a few minutes ago to your other comment, in which I explain that I believe disability is the work of the evil one because I believe God created the world perfect and the evil one marred it. I too am marred, albeit in a different way.

          • I am a Christian. I am a Christian who finds the concept of Original Sin obscene. You stated that being disabled was a sign of Satanic corruption, that means that you consider disabled people to have an even bigger helping of Satanic corruption than the rest of the population. As a disabled person I find that offensive and I would hope the overwhelming majority of other Christians, and people of all religions, or none, would find it similarly offensive.

          • alternative_perspective

            Jesus did ask the disabled man at the well whether or not he wanted to be healed.
            Healing only comes through desiring that healing. In my opinion all disability, sin, deviant behaviour all rebellion and rebellious states of being irrespective of choice, irrespective of origin are embodiments and re-enactments of our original sin – however one understands this.
            There is no condemnation for those who have been forced to eat the vile fruits of this fallen-ness unwillingly but sadly they must suffer the poisons until the kingdom in its fullness comes upon them. But like Lot, his wife and Sodom; one must never identify with this corruption, justify it, legalise or embrace it, for to do so is to: justify, legalise, embrace and identify with the same.

          • I’m sorry – just to clarify – are you saying
            A) that disabled people are disabled because they don’t want to be healed?
            And B) that disability is equivalent to sin and deviant behaviour?
            It sounds Iike that’s what you are saying, but I’m sure I must have misunderstood that.

          • I consider people who equate disability with sin to be the worst kind of bigot, and no kind of Christian. It doesn’t just write us off as lesser beings, it renders us tainted, taboo, and justifies people in their ‘I’m more worthy than they are’ selfishness.

    • As Jack understands the government agenda, it is not exclusively focussed on fraudulent claims. Claims may be quite legitimate within a system that creates dependency and casts its net too wide. It’s the structure of the system that is being addressed.

      So, for example, the change to the ESA involved a shift from a personal capacity assessment to a works capacity assessment. By focusing on what people could do, rather than what they couldn’t do, inevitably meant certain people were judged to be fit for work, rather than simply taking for granted a disability or long term chronic illness meant they could do no work.

      This is not about punishing people and all this emotionalism and attempts to pull on the heart-strings, does not advance the debate.

      • The change in name didn’t actually reflect a change in underlying philosophy. Significant parts of the test were kept pretty much the same, and it’s still about what you can’t do – they just rhetorically claimed it wasn’t.

        There are a range of activities, you score points if you can’t do them. Enough points, you qualify. Same as it was in the PCA.

      • I’ve been through WCA, it had nothing whatsoever to do with my ability to work, what it was focussed on was deliberately obscure questions intended to create a false reason for removing benefit – which is why some 170,000 WCAs have been overturned on appeal. As an example answering ‘yes’ to ‘do you like watching TV’ is taken to mean you can sit for 8 hours a day. As I told the Atos assessor, I like watching TV, but my disability means I have to do it lying down – and it took a concerted effort to force him to record that information, even though that one fact, that I can’t sit for longer that 15 minutes, automatically qualified me for ESA at that point.

        Dismissing the impact of benefit cuts as ’emotionalism and attempts to pull on the heartstrings’ is very easy for you to say, it’s less easy for the disabled people who have to live with the consequences. And ultimately some people cannot live with those consequences, and the cost in lives is rising.

        As for ‘it’s not about punishing people’, actually it is, the DWP version of the bio-psycho-social model of disability is based on the concept of disability as socially deviant and needing enforcement to drive people back to work if they are deliberately deviant by refusing to get better (sadly, 26 years into active disability I’m still waiting for my miracle cure). Similarly for sanctions, which are based around the hope that punishing people will drive them out of the benefit system, even if that means punishing a learning disabled man who can’t tell the time for being 5 minutes late for an appointment, to quote one spectacularly egregious example raised at Westminster.

      • Kooljeff

        Here is an actual set of tests used by the DWP/Atos/Maximus to test “ability to work”. These are real. Can you move this empty cardboard box from this table to one 6 feet away. Do it once. If yes – fit for work. Can you pick up a penny from the floor, do it once. If Yes, fit for work. Can you take a pen out of your top pocket. Do it once. If Yes fit for work.

    • Anton

      Bedroom tax be blowed. How can the removal of a benefit be categorised as a tax? You might have fallen for propaganda phrases emanating from one party but I’m not going to. As for that 99.3% figure, it is about as trustworthy as government inflation or employment stats.

      • Shadrach Fire

        Those figures are absolute nonsense. Gov just wants to say what a great job they are doing and there is no problem. (I see no ships said Nelson).

        • So let me understand this, DWP press office is doing deep data mining of the benefit statistics to try and find disabilities it can misconstrue as frivolous, and claiming that ‘75% are faking’ (even though the WCA figures actually said nothing of the sort) and claiming disability benefit fraud is a massive problem, yet at the same time they’re deliberately underestimating the disabiity benefit fraud rate? Do you perhaps see a logical flaw here?

      • How can you justify trying to force people to leave their homes when in most cases there aren’t smaller homes available for them to move into? How can you justify it in cases such as those mentioned by Ms Marlow?

        • Anton

          Don’t put words in my mouth and then condemn me. My point is about loaded phrases. But I would add that the market would rapidly adapt to the removal of what you call the “bedroom tax” by filleting more large Victorian/Edwardian houses into one-bedroom flats.

          • Your belief in “the market” is touching. But we all know it’s bad at providing affordable housing.

          • Anton

            Your belief in throwing other people’s money at the problem? Eventually you kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Where there is demand, free market will generate a supply. Speaking not about the disabled now, it is deeply unfair to privilege one set of people over another of comparable income in the housing market as council housing now does. We all know that council estates are hard to break out of – harder than the low cost housing that would have been built otherwise. Housing costs are high for everybody but there are several reasons for this and they are not all susceptible to solution by throwing money at them: family breakdown meaning two houses are needed where one would have done; low interest rates mean that people can ask more because interest payments are less on the same capital outlay; banks willing to lend a larger multiple of annual income; the market gearing itself such that mortgages become based on two incomes (bringing difficulty when a couple want to start a family; this is a case of feminists shooting themselves in the foot). Also daft planning regulations. For these reasons housing is a major expense for everybody. What would you do about it?

          • Kooljeff

            No it wouldn’t – the Bedroom Tax only applies to Social housing, not Private rents in converted private property. The government knew 18 months before it’s introduction that there not enough smaller properties for people to move to. Oh and a 1 bedroom private rent costs more than a two bedroom social rent. Therefore it is costing the tax payer more.

          • Anton

            Hopefully “social rent” which is as unfair a market distortion and council housing and rent subsidy will be gone soon too.

      • When you say that 99.3% figure is wrong, you’re saying that you can spot disability at a glance, that you have a better feel for the situation than disabled people themselves, that you can spot which of us are fakes, Trust me when I tell you, we don’t think this makes you our ally, it makes you part of the problem, the problem that means we all have to be wary of being attacked in the street as scroungers,

        • alternative_perspective

          Do you not also see that you are as biased and prejudiced as Anton, only in the opposite direction?
          Once aligned with a position one tends to become overly uncritical and credulous of all cases pertaining to that position.
          The truth most likely lies somewhere between.
          But may I point out one thing. Anton hasn’t been overly critical of you, only of the statistics. He’s merely stated that you believe that the removal of a benefit is the same as a tax… which clearly isn’t the case but this is the same language games the left plays to justify its positions. You on the other hand have called him part of the problem. You have attempted to suggest he will attack you and lambast you as a scrounger in public.
          In your self-victimisation you have set him up as an enemy to be reviled, you have implied he will attack you and you are using this, self-created framework to justify your political stance and beliefs towards him. He hasn’t threatened you, nor has he condemned you. He’s questioned your apprehension of the language of taxation – but on this basis you’ve objectified him, de-humanised him, turned him into an enemy and thus created a system to permit hate, nay, to justify and encourage it. Irrespective of Anton’s beliefs, that’s not good.

          • There is no more corrosive a term introduced by the Tories than ‘genuine disabled’, it’s a term designed to make people look at the disabled person in the street and think ‘75% of them are faking’ (to quote a calculatedly lying headline from the Mail). Surveys say the average person is convinced the benefit fraud rate is around 27%. Yet the real figure, given by an organisation with every interest in artificially inflating it, is 0.7%. Anyone who says the real figure is wrong is participating in the demonisation of disabled people as scroungers and frauds, and I am absolutely justified in calling them on that.

            You accuse me of ‘self-victimisation’ – I have been: physically assaulted once, verbally abused by utter strangers on so many times I’ve lost count, had people meeting with me in professional venues note that ‘they’re all at it’, been the target of a four year campaign to force me out of my job with a household name multinational, and had an anonymous complaint made to the DWP alleging I was committing benefit fraud. All for no better reason than I happened to be disabled in public, and my experience is by no means unusual. That’s definitely victimisation, but it’s absolutely not self-victimisation.

            And I find it utterly ironic that you accuse me of dehumanising someone while elsewhere telling me that my disability is the mark of sin.

      • Kooljeff

        The BEDROOM TAX is a purely a Tory invention. When it was going through parliament it was called the Spare Room Penalty – a penalty in financial terms is a TAX. It was only later they changed its name to “Subsidy”. Which had never existed before. If you read all housing and benefit legislation for the past 100 years there is NO subsidy. Oh and the disabled and poverty campaign community coined the phrase “Bedroom Tax”, the Labour party adopted it. And opposing Blue Tories is not the same as supporting Red Tories. A plague on both their houses.

        • Anton

          “a penalty in financial terms is a TAX”

          Might I suggest you look up your dictionary?

          • Kooljeff

            Where do you think I got the definition?

          • Anton

            Do give the reference.

          • Kooljeff

            Do your own research – Google is your friend.

          • Anton

            From the Oxford English Dictionary online: a tax is: “A compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income and business profits, or added to the cost of some goods, services, and transactions”. So what you call the bedroom tax is indeed a misnomer.

  • carl jacobs

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is the gap between being able to work and the supply of employers willing to hire. Disability imposes costs on the employer and so he has an incentive not to hire. Equality Laws can’t necessarily address that problem in a practical sense. At least that is my (admittedly American) experience.

    • Tim Carlisle

      I think that is the case in the UK too. It would be nice to see governments in any country taking the route that they will essentially pay companies to employ disabled people (assuming they are the best candidate!) any additional costs that they then have to meet – a grant system or something….

      • Phil R

        In a nearby town there was a factory that employed disabled servicemen making woolen blankets etc. I don’t knw if it is still going, but that seems an excellent use of taxpayers money rather than paying money to let people rot at home.

        • Dreadnaught

          The last government closed down most REMPLOY establishments which I think was despicable. They took away not only people’s jobs but their dignity.

        • Just FYI, Phil R, people who aren’t in paid work aren’t necessarily “rotting”.

      • Anton

        “It would be nice to see governments in any country taking the route that they will essentially pay companies to employ disabled people”

        The money doesn’t come from nowhere! Please let economics be of the joined-up sort on this thread.

        • Tim Carlisle

          It makes perfect sense if the total outgoing to commerce enabling them to employ disabled people without disadvantage to themselves is less than the amount of money saved on benefits. There is the added advantage for governments that companies look at the overall costs of employees when reviewing salaries so it is entirely possible – and economically sensible that they would get a higher salary too (if they are worth it) potentially (and I mean potentially because it depends on the salary level etc) reducing further their benefit level.

      • Kooljeff

        97% of employers said they would not employ disabled people in a recent anonymous survey.

    • Phil R

      The reality is that disabled people need to be better than able bodied to be hired. You know that they are going to cost more, but if they have other attributes then you are gling to overlook the disability. Able bodied will always get hired in preference otherwise.

      You actually make up you mind on people’s state of health quite quickly after meeting them. Poor skin, bad teeth, hair or overweight, means if others are available, you won’t even be given the opportunity to show you can do the job.

      • carl jacobs

        Which essentially confirms my point. You say on the one hand “Get out there and work.” On the other hand, you say “Of course, we won’t hire you.”

        • That’s capitalism for you Carl – the amoral laws of supply, demand and profit margins.

          • carl jacobs

            Which means you work with the system to reduce the cost of employment. My problem isn’t with benefits. It’s with means tested entitlements.

          • Subsidise the employer?
            What’s wrong with means tested benefits as opposed o universal benefits?

          • carl jacobs

            Because I want to make moral distinctions between applicants. That’s not possible if the benefit is triggered merely by need. Some people need help but don’t deserve help.

          • What’s the moral distinction? If someone cannot work – through disability or unemployability for other reasons – where does deserving/undeserving come in? The system’s being tightened to ensure the eligibility criteria is met.

          • carl jacobs

            There is a difference between someone who isn’t employable because of MS and someone who isn’t employable because he doesn’t consistently show up for work on time (or at all) in a consistent manner. The former deserves help. The later doesn’t. That’s the difference.

            You might ask “What does the later do to live?’ And my answer would be “He goes hungry.” You don’t deserve a living because you breathe.

          • What a disgusting attitude. “Don’t work don’t eat” is cruel and vindictive when there isn’t enough work for everyone and we produce more than we need.

          • carl jacobs

            Oh no. You have called my attitude disgusting. Whatever shall I do? However shall I go on?

            If that isn’t clear enough for you, try this. I don’t care a damn what you think of my attitude. I am not going to reward sloth and indolence with leisure. If Bob can’t get out of bed on Monday morning because he has a hangover from drinking himself into oblivion on Sunday night, then Bob can go hungry. Those hunger pains will work wonders in improving his attitude towards responsibility.

            when there isn’t enough work for everyone

            While people are busy kicking the sh*t out of Phil R on this thread, they might pay extra special attention to one thing he said.

            I would move more of my business abroad.

            There are many people who seek after work, but there are precious few who are both capable and willing to provide employment. You can order employers to pay all manner of benefits and taxes. You can subject them to all manner of regulations. What you cannot do is order them to employ people. Neither can you order them to stay in business. If you want work for people seeking work, then you better understand that employers aren’t a resource to be mined. You had better cater to their needs, and protect their interests. Otherwise, one of two things will happen. They will either move elsewhere or they will go out of business. And then what will you do? The financial burden imposed on employers to pay for the benefits of the welfare state become a de facto cost of labor. If you want more jobs, then you need to decrease the cost of labor.

            If you don’t like that, I’m sure the people in Poland will be delighted.

          • I look forward to Phil R moving as far away from me as possible. However, I feel sorry for the people living overseas whom he intends to exploit.

          • carl jacobs

            He isn’t moving to ‘exploit’ people. He is moving because the cost of doing business in the UK makes it impossible to sell a competitively-priced product. His alternative is failure. And this great concern for “exploitation” is in fact nothing more than a concealed desire to remove competitive advantage. The point is to maintain employment locally. It’s nothing but making a virtue out of self-interest.

          • He’s already explained that he wants to underpay disabled people. Of course he wants to exploit the weak.

          • carl jacobs

            A salary lower than what would be paid in the UK is not the definition of “exploitation.”

          • But his desire to pay disabled people less is both illegal and immoral.

          • carl jacobs

            Think about this for a moment. Suppose a business hires Bob at a rate of $10 per hour. Bob must create (say) $12 per hour of value to justify his salary. But because Bob is disabled, his employer incurs an additional cost of $3 per hour to accommodate Bob’s disability. The employer thus perceives the cost of employing Bob to be $13 per hour. ($10 per hour plus $3 per hour accommodation cost.) That means Bob isn’t worth employing at a salary of $10 per hour. So the employer says:

            1. I will hire Bob at $7 per hour. That restores the original balance. The $3 accommodation becomes a salary in kind.

            2. I will hire Bob if he produces $15 per hour of value. That means the employer recovers the accommodation cost though Bob’s increased productivity. He earns more for the business.

            In both cases, the employer is making Bob responsible for the cost of his own accommodation. That’s what Phil was saying. “I am not a charity. I won’t pay that cost.” Now what you are saying to the employer is “Eat the cost. It’s your moral responsibility. It’s the law.” I could just as easily argue that to be an immoral involuntary taking of money. Who are you to tell someone to employ Bob at a loss? He is not individually responsible to carry the burden of Bob’s disability.

            If Bob want to be treated equally, then he must produce $12 of value for a $10 salary just like everyone else. To force the employer to absorb the cost for Bob’s benefit is not equal treatment. Which is why the Gov’t could help the employer by subsidy or (better) perhaps a tax credit for employing Bob. Then the cost is socialized.

          • He’s openly stated he considers disabled people’s campaign for equality ‘a cancer’, he’s said he would only employ a disabled person if he could do it on a lower wage, or if they contributed beyond their worth, and that he would move abroad rather than meet the law of the land on this matter. In other words he has explicitly stated he would only employ disabled people if allowed to exploit them, and would move abroad if stopped. If his business cannot function legally, then it has already failed.

            And forgive me, but illegal discrimination can in no way be described as ‘a virtue’. An abomination in the face of God, perhaps, a virtue, no.

          • carl jacobs

            When did I call illegal discrimination a virtue? I was making a general point about the reality of employment. You cannot keep burdening employers to fund the welfare state and hope to keep those employers. They cannot fund it. They will not fund it. Economic reality will not allow it. They will either go out of business or move. Then what will you do? You can demand that water flow up hill. It won’t listen to you – no matter how virtuous you consider your arguments. Do you want work for your people or not?

            I don’t know about legalities in the UK regarding what Phil has said. I understand him to be saying that he won’t pay the marginal cost of employing the disabled. He wants to either recover the cost in lower wages or higher productivity. That’s why I suggested subsidy. Others have suggested this isn’t a real cost burden. I don’t know the numbers. But I suspect aiding the disabled is in the noise of the welfare state.

          • What he is talking about is expressly illegal under the Equality Act 2010 (and the Disability Discrimination Acts before that). Disability may not be considered in an employment decision (outside some very narrow safety grounds), and disabled people may not be employed on different terms and conditions due to their disability. Disabled people also have the right to ask for ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make sure they can do their jobs. The Access to Work fund exists to pay many of the incidental costs of disabled people, and IIRC they’ve stated in the past that this typically involves one-off costs in the low hundreds of pounds. When I was working (before a manager decided he didn’t want a disabled person on his team) I had a range of agreed reasonable adjustments, most were simply additional flexibility around hours and of zero cost, the only one that actually cost anything was an individually fitted chair and AtW support would have been available for that. AtW will cover ongoing costs such as needing a taxi to work and so on dependent on an assessment. Not only is he refusing to obey the law, he’s refusing to do it when any major cost to him would already be covered, but his bigotry towards disabled people is so intense he refuses to acknowledge that.

            AtW makes a 1.4:1 ROI for government based on the additional receipts to the taxman as a result of people being enabled to work. When the Tories took power they immediately cut AtW – that’s right, they cut an organisation that made a profit on every pound spent. This resulted in a fall in disabled people being assisted from something over 38,000 to around 30,000. It has slowly crept up to around 37,000, but they are about to impose a new range of limitations which they openly admit will have a major impact on Deaf workers, particularly those dependent on a BSL interpreter, and who comprise one of the largest single groups of AtW users. At the same time they criticise disabled people as scroungers for not being employed in greater numbers, while pretending that widespread disability discrimination in recruitment does not exist (even the recruiters admit it exists). You keep talking about the welfare state as though it’s a negative, but, when run properly, the whole of society benefits, even in financial terms.

          • Anton

            They don’t have to work for him.

          • Yeah. You saw how mean he was about the people who refused to work for him for 3 months without pay.

          • Anton

            Well said! I’m reluctant to get into the fight that this thread is turning into but it is vital to make the point that, just as the government giving money is a moral issue, so is the government taking money.

          • You demand we pay attention to what Phil R says, and indeed we do. We pay attention to his statement he would not employ us on equal wages, we pay attention to his statement he would demand higher standards, we pay attention to his casual abuse of disabled people. All of these things are illegal. He in fact openly states he would rather move abroad than obey the law.

            If he will not obey the law in this matter, how can he be trusted to obey the law in any other matter? How can he be trusted to keep a safe workplace? How can he be trusted not to pass shoddy goods off on you? How can he be trusted on anything. I spend a considerable proportion of my time campaigning to make employers understand the reality of disablism, and that the reall block to disability employment is not disability or the willingness of disabled people to work, but the willingness of employers to employ them, when in fact many recruiters openly acknowledge that the recruitment market is massively and systematically disablist,

            If he won’t employ disabled people, if he is so open in his hatred and contempt for us, then clearly he is no loss, in fact the sooner he shuts up shop as a bad example, the better.

          • carl jacobs

            then clearly he is no loss, in fact the sooner he shuts up shop as a bad example, the better.

            I’m sure the other people who work for him will rejoice at the thought of being sacrificed for the sake of your desire to remove a bad example.

          • He’s openly stated he is not prepared to obey employment law, in fact he expresses an utter contempt for them. He therefore cannot be trusted to obey other business related laws such as health and safety laws, meaning anyone working for him is at risk, as is any customer going onto his premises. Remove him from the market niche he currently occupies and it will still remain, and will presumably rapidly be filled by a company that is prepared to obey the law.

            I’m curious as to why you are so eager to defend a self-confessed bigot. Are you really so convinced of the rightness of a pure capital system that you would support sacrificing the rights of anyone who is a little bit different to the great god mammon?

          • Well dude,

            I was told from a young age :

            “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return”

            And the rambam

            “Great is work. God’s presence only rested upon the Jewish people when they began occupying themselves with useful work.”

          • There are an awful lot of disabilities which lead to randomly varying fatigue and a lack of predictabillity in the ability to meet fixed hours, with poor understanding of that reality on the part of the general public. MS actually falls within that category, but it’s profile actually works against the less well known fatigue based disabilities gaining better understanding. However all it takes is a bit of flexibility on the part of the employer and it may be easily possible to work around those limitations – been there, done that. I spent 15 years successfully working around my disability in order to hit every deadline needed, it was only when a manager decided to be deliberately obstructive that things became an issue.

          • People with MS may be employable and perhaps the government should financially encourage to companies to take them on.
            But what of the person who cannot find employment or who people who employers like Phil deem him unsuitable because of skin pallor, hair, teeth or weight? What of them?

          • carl jacobs

            Suppose Bob goes to a job interview and hasn’t taken a bath in the last two weeks. Would the resulting stench be a legitimate criteria by which a potential employer may judge Bob? It doesn’t have anything to do with Bob’s qualifications, after all. Once you say “Yes” you have opened the door to other criteria. You will simply be parsing them according to your own arbitrary preferences.

            Some of the things you ask about may raise legitimate concerns in the mind of the employer. I wouldn’t be willing to construct a blanket prohibition. Have you for example ever seen an over-weight unattractive female news anchor? No and you never will. That’s an invitation for the audience to change the channel. Which they would do in droves. So then. Are teeth, hair, and weight illegitimate concerns in that circumstance?

            Besides which, it would be extremely difficult to enforce the law as you envision. Employers are good at getting around laws like this. They have lots of ways to legitimately avoid hiring someone. It’s hard to prove that a rejection was caused by prohibited criteria. Inducement is a much better solution than coercion.

          • Suppose “Bob” wanted to take a bath, but has a coin slot gas/electricity meter which he cannot afford to feed.

          • carl jacobs

            Not one potential employer on God’s Green Earth will care.

          • In Jack’s world Carl it isn’t about the law at all. And it isn’t about crude market forces. It’s about an attitude that sees past surface and matches horses for courses.
            In his time, Jack has been responsible for employing a number of people who “appeared” unacceptable. He judged potential. They just needed coaching and finishing. Indeed, Jack himself was employed in such a way by his ex-probation officer – haircut and shave, and ditched the jeans and tee-shirt, and he was a new man.

          • Kooljeff

            What if their time keeping and absences are due to their disability?

            “…You don’t deserve a living just because you breathe…”

            How very Christian of you.

          • carl jacobs

            Actually it is. It’s not my fault you don’t understand the faith. And I generally don’t receive criticism that originates in a lack of understanding.

          • Um, no, the system is being tightened to save money. As several people like you have pointed out already.

          • I don’t recall the bit in the Bible where Jesus decided to only heal or feed “deserving” people …

          • carl jacobs

            2 Thes 3:10

          • Yeah, I was talking about Jesus, not the slavery-supporting sexist St Paul.

          • Anton

            You know about them both from the same source.

          • … not forgetting homophobe.

          • carl jacobs

            They both spoke with the same authority.

          • Kooljeff

            Err no they didn’t – Paul insinuated himself into the holy Church. And can a mortal have the same authority as the Son of God?

          • Kooljeff

            Snap – I spotted that too. And the Right always misuse that quote, it doesn’t mean what they think it does.

          • magnolia

            Paul was actually very pro-women, kind to slaves and non-racist if read accurately. How revolutionary was it to write Galatians 3.28? Don’t swallow the oft-touted myths without examination!! Some are actively out to mislead you.

          • Kooljeff

            You read it wrong. Paul was a misogynist and Homophobe.

          • magnolia

            Exactly how do you interpret Galatians 3.28 in that way? I will find it entertaining to watch you attempt that!

          • Kooljeff

            That wasn’t Jesus. That was religious convert and Zealot Paul.

          • carl jacobs

            Your grasp of theology is (shall we say) lacking. Go and learn what theopneustos means before you try and instruct me.

          • A means tested benefit will inevitably exclude some people in need, a universal benefit will not. It’s as simple as that.

          • Hmmm … you’d still have define “need” and the degree of impairment it resulted in. That’s why it cannot be universal.

          • DLA, and it’s successor PIP, aren’t means-tested. Just FIY. The out-of-work ones are, of course, except if you get contributions-based.

            If there were proper, pro-active enforcement of the Equality Act, that would help a lot.

          • Phil R

            “If there were proper, pro-active enforcement of the Equality Act”

            I would move more of my business abroad.

          • Here,let me help, the sooner we’re rid of employers with bigotted attitudes like yours, the better.

          • Oh, yay, so you could exploit workers who had less legal protection. Jesus would love you.

          • sarky

            Phil, would you care to name your business here???
            Its just im sure many of your customers would love to hear your views. I’m sure it would be great for business.

        • Phil R

          I will hire them, but they would have to cost less, or do a better job.

          I could be subsidised to take them on.But in my view the money would be better spent in a specially adapted workplace for groups of disabled, or spent on increasing their skills/worth.

          • carl jacobs

            Which again is exactly the point I made. You aren’t disagreeing with me. You are however undermining your own “take control of your life” argument. It’s extremely difficult to “take control of your life” when you are shut out of the labor market by physical disability.

            And I am not sure that subsidy really solves this problem. People fear disability – especially in this secular materialist state. They don’t want to be confronted it with it. Customers could choose to go elsewhere to avoid seeing it.

          • Phil R

            People are not really repulsed by the disability rather the attitude that seems to go with it.

          • What “attitude” is that, Phil?

          • Phil R

            The attitude of moaning about everything all the time. It is like a cancer in the workplace.

            You read it in some of the responses by commenters here. I have such a terrible life etc. You don’t, you are a Christian, now act like one.

          • You really are one of the most offensively disablist people I’ve had the misfortune to come across. You’ve just admitted you would not employ a disabled person on equal terms and would demand higher standards from them, now we’re a ‘cancer’ – well better a cancer than a bigot!

          • Ah, a new term – “disablist” …. oh, goody.

          • Kooljeff

            Err – no – the term has been around for years

          • Not at all new, but one far too many people are in denial of. And a term that describes people like me being treated as second class citizens, or attacked in the street for being disabled in public (BTDT), so forgive me being unimpressed by your sneering dismissal.

          • DanJ0

            Much as it grates to defend Phil, I have to point out that it’s the alleged attitude he considers a cancer in the workplace, not disabled people themselves, though it wouldn’t take much to infer one from the other given the broad sweeps of Phil’s other comments.

          • Seeing as I consider my disability a fundamental part of myself, my equality a fundamental right, and my fight for those rights a moral imperative, then if someone attacks that struggle I’m going to consider it an attack on me personally.

          • You don’t seem like a Christian at all.

          • Phil R

            Because of what? I don’t agree with you?

          • Kooljeff

            No because you don’t practice Christian values in what you say, your attitude and by your own admission your actions.

          • Phil R

            So an Atheist lecturing me on Christian values.


          • Kooljeff

            Why am I am atheist – nowhere have I said that I am?

          • Phil R

            Just the arrogance regarding another person’s faith

          • Well, I’m certainly repulsed by your attitude!

          • What attitude? Your attitude? Your attitude stinks. As does your assumption that disabled people neglect their personal hygiene.

          • Dreadnaught

            Fully agree … well, I mean the attitude that a disability is either a gift or a retribution from God. Repulsive!

          • Wow, you really are a piece of work aren’t you? I ran into a manager like you once, he said disabled workers should be forciibly retired, he said I was a threat to his schedules, he lied through his teeth to try and force me out of my career, and ultimately succeeded, though it took him three tries as I kept turning his dead end jobs into notable successes. It seems to me it’s not the disabled workers who are the problem, but managers with disablist attitudes like yours.

          • sarky

            Phil, you never fail in your ability to disgust me.

          • Kooljeff

            Concentration Camps I think is the phrase you are looking for.

          • Phil R

            No I am not. I am looking for better outcomes for less money.

      • “Poor skin, bad teeth, hair or overweight,” – so many disabilties that can cause those, and it’s illegal to consider disability in an employment decision.

    • The reality is that most disabled people have fairly trivial cost overheads beyond those of most employees, and pretty much nothing on a recurring basis. Yes, you may need to make your office accessible so I can get my wheelchair in, but that’s a one off cost and why isn’t it accessible anyway? What happens when your biggest customer shows up using a wheelchair….

  • DenisV

    Although the New Testament doesn’t say much about the disabled, it’s interesting to read how the early church treated widows.

    From Acts 6, it appears that the church in Jerusalem was feeding widows because it says “the Hellenistic Jews[a] among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food”.

    It seems that the church kept up this practice for a long time because Paul said a lot about it in 1 Timothy 5, which was written 30 years later. For example verse 7 says,

    “No widow may be put on the list (of beneficiaries) unless she is over 60”.

    Now I don’t know if this represents a “cut” in benefits compared to the church’s earlier practice? But given that people probably didn’t live much beyond 60 back then, it probably meant that few would be elegible for this “benefit”. That sounds pretty restrictive, and no doubt it would incur the wrath of many today. But what was Paul’s rationale for this?

    “But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” (v4)

    “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (v8)

    So Paul said the main responsibility for caring for widows (and probably the disabled) fell not to church, nor the government, but to their families. So when we think about benefit cuts from a Christian perspective, maybe we should take this into account?

    Now I appreciate the assistance the government provides to the disabled. My brother has Downs Syndrome, and for the past decade he has been living in a rest home, paid for by a government benefit. But for over 50 years prior to that, he lived at home being cared for by my parents. So although my parents weren’t Christians, they were certainly doing what Paul said.

    • Phil R

      Your family were not only caring for your brother, but also caring for loads of others through the tax system.

      People need to be freed from taxes so that they can operate under Biblical principles.

      • Mike Stallard

        A moral point, yes.
        In fact we in the churches are incredibly efficient. We know each other. We can trust each other. We can say things without getting into trouble. We work on a shoestring. We also know who is bludging and can name them. We also know who needs help – our Church Photographer was warmly supported through the last stages of prostate cancer by our congregation for instance.
        Nursing. OK. I take the bums point. But please do not underestimate us.

        • What about people who aren’t in a church? Where do they get help? Are we going to reach out and make sure people across race, religion and lifestyle are cared for?

          • Phil R

            That was always the thing that most surprised the pagans about the early church. It helped everyone, not just their own. In fact they could not get their head around it.

          • Royinsouthwest

            The early church helped pagans as well as Christians but it did not help “everyone” in the Roman Empire. That would have been a practical impossibility.

          • But you clearly don’t believe in following their example. You divide people into us (able-bodied) and them (disabled) and seek to exploit the latter by under-paying them.

          • Kooljeff

            They soon made up for that with religious intolerance in Mexico and South America, not to mention the Inquisition.

          • Phil R

            Mass murdering atheist states were lovely places I suppose.

          • Mike Stallard

            That is exactly what we do. Here are some names for you:
            Regina, Julia, Carol, Vitalis, Leo, Mika, Ice…
            And do you know what? They are my best friends!

        • “We also know who is bludging and can name them. ”

          Would that be like the person who reported me to the DWP for benefit fraud claiming I was working full time? Never mind that I was lucky to be out of the house for 4 hours in the week? That triggered the worst flare-up I’ve ever had. Non-disabled people are convinced they can spot someone who is faking, disabled people know better – there’s a reason we talk about invisible disability.

          • Mike Stallard

            You may have friends who work like that: we don’t.
            I won’t name the bloke from Lithuania who hung around our centre for months while he was “sleeping city.” We tried everything. Eventually he sort of drifted off.
            I won’t name the …
            I won’t name the …
            But you get the point.

          • Oh, indeed I get the point, you want to feel justified in shopping people you dislike as benefit frauds, no matter the reality, no matter the damage done. Did you know that 96% of calls to the Benefit Fraud hotline are either malicious or utterly mistaken? That most disabled benefit claimants will be able to talk about the fear of a DWP investigation through bitter experience. That DWP refuse to release a demographic breakdown of people falsely accused of benefit fraud?

          • Mike Stallard

            “Did you know that 96% of calls to the Benefit Fraud hotline are either malicious or utterly mistaken?”
            Would that be Marenkowicz and Free: UCBC 2014 by any chance?

          • No, it’s a stat that’s been about for several years.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I was going to ask about people who are not church members but I see that Maria Muffins below beat me to it. The sort of “welfare” system you and Phil R envisage is one full of holes like a sieve. Perhaps you would also want the health service to be organised in that way.

          • Mike Stallard

            “Nursing. OK. I take the bums point.”
            All I am saying is that in fact, in real time, we offer trust, love and understanding. Very very often these go a hell of a long way. I wonder how much love, trust and understanding there actually are in government institutions. North Staffs anyone?

        • You’re an actual expert on hidden disabilities? Ha, ha, ha, of course you are. And I’m a supermodel. #NotReally

          • Mike Stallard

            Of course not. And we do not pretend to be either.
            But we do know people – and I am including immigrants from all races too – very well. Some we have known for years. The bludger who walks into the dole office could be anyone.

          • Yeah, didn’t Jesus say something about treating all strangers with suspicion? Oh, wait …

            Seriously, job seekers have to prove they are seeking work and frequently get sanctioned for trivial reasons or for having to go to funerals. How is that fair? People on disability/illness related benefits have to prove they are disabled/ill, yet there are people on this site ignorant enough to suggest otherwise.

          • steroflex

            Unlike many other contributors, I have myself been on the rock’n’roll and I have a disabled wife.

      • Rights not charity. I don’t want your charity, with your judgement, your selective kindness. Everyone deserves support, everyone deserves a life, and I’m extremely glad it is not up to you.

        • Phil R

          Rights don’t work in practice. As we are finding.

          • Dreadnaught

            What gives you the right to say that?

          • Phil R


          • Phil R doesn’t believe in rights or democracy. Not sure what he does believe in, but it’s probably something scary.

        • Anton

          Everybody deserves not to be taxed to shreds too. It is wrong to look at the morality of only one of the income and the spending of the government.

          • You do understand that disability benefits are actually a small part of the overall benefits bill, most of which actually goes towards the old age pension? If you want to demand fairness in the costs and outlays of the benefits system, then clearly disabled people facing 9 times the impact of others, and disabled people needing social care 19 times the impact, while pensioners get a pass is something that demands reassessment. But will society be willing to see granny pay the price for treating disabled people equally? Will they be willing to be taxed to ensure fairness for all?

            If people are dying because of austerity, and the goverment is cutting expenditure still further, then isn’t the only moral question why aren’t you demanding they fix this?

          • Anton

            The government is still spending more than it takes in taxes and the next generation is going to have to pay the interest before it even considers repaying the capital. I refuse to discuss welfare without also discussing taxes. Please say more about people dying because of austerity.

          • “Please say more about people dying because of austerity.”

            Disability groups have a list of around 80 disabled people who have committed suicide following a benefit cut and where it has been shown the benefit cut was the reason for the suicide. This was compiled from newspaper reports of inquests and the like. A systematic survey would probably turn up more.

            Several people have died as a result of heart attacks, epileptic siezures or other worsening of health due to the stress of a WCA.

            DWP admits to at least 49 secret reviews conducted into people who have died as a result of benefit cuts, at least one in five of those involving people who had been sanctioned (one presumably being the well-reportedd case of the sanctioned ex-soldier with multiple disabilities found dead due to diabetes who had lacked the money to pay for electricity to refrigerate his insulin – when challenged about this by his family, DWP minister Esther McVey, who thankfully lost her seat at the election, said ‘It’s complicated’). DWP’s reviews have made recommendations for changes in process in the majority of cases, but they refuse to release any data on what those changes in process are.

            DWP have been fighting for two years not to release figures on people who have died within 6 weeks of an ESA claim ending, after the previously released figure showed 10,600 deaths. These figures will need careful analysis, many of the claims will have ended because of the deaths, it’s the ones where the ending of the claim predates the death that need particularly careful examination – is the death rate greater than would be expected? Was the ending of the claim the reason for the death. However the refusal of DWP to release the figures inevitably raises suspicions as to what will be revealed. DWP have just lost a case in front of the Information Commissioner and have been ordered to release the data.

          • Anton

            We can agree that the system should be improved, but as for “stress of tests” how else would you oversee the spending of taxpayers’ money?

          • You genuinely believe that people dying is a reasonable exchange? I’m not sure ‘Christian’ is a term I would associate with that attitude.

          • Now you want to redirect money from the care of the elderly and the universal benefit of the old age pension?

          • When we have identical needs, but as the smaller, less politically influential group we’re singled out to be hit at 9 times the average rate of cuts (or 19 times in the case of those dependent on social care), while the larger group escapes any cuts at all, then is it unreasonable to point out the discrepancy?

      • PaulR

        Which is precisely the point. I pay taxes and I want to live in decent humane society in which the vulnerable are not blamed for being so but supported. I would much rather this was done systematically by well run, properly funded public services. Services staffed by professional people who are respected as such. No such system would be perfect of course but it would far superior to the chaotic nonsense you propose. Don’t leave these things to chance.

        Do you actually want the disabled to suffer? So that you can graciously help them? Clueless.

        • Do you have any idea how inefficient and wasteful state run bureaucracies actually are?

          • PaulR

            Do you have any data to demonstrate the comparative efficiency of public organisation and private. And which takes full account of those costs which are normally “externalised” (i.e. which we all sooner or later pick up)? Also I believe that the “cost” (if there really is one) of living in civilised society is well worth it.

          • Jack has 40 years personal experience of working in a range of public service organisations. He’s witnessed the waste. There’s plenty of comparative data to back this up. Do the research.
            It’s not a measure of a “civilised” society to spend beyond our means today, wreck the economy and load the burden onto the shoulders of our children and grandchildren.

      • sarky

        I doubt the 96% of the population who are not christians have any interest in operating under bible principles.

        • carl jacobs

          You mean like equality, for example? That is a Christian concept based upon moral equidistance from God. It is incomprehensible without that foundation – which is why atheists tend to just assert it without any foundation whatsoever. They crib it from Christianity but cannot justify it. The unfortunate truth is that man is relentlessly unequal – and will be shown so by any and every empirical observation you can make. So why should he be treated otherwise – in the absence of an overarching moral reference I mean? A moral reference that atheists are decidedly incapable of producing.

          Suddenly you don’t follow the science to its obvious conclusions. Wonder why?

    • magnolia

      You say the NT doesn’t say much about the disabled, when actually it says heaps about disability (though not much about benefits) there!! But only, if I remember correctly, in the context of Jesus healing them, or, in Acts, Peter, Paul and the other Apostles!

      • DenisV

        Yes you’re quite correct. So I’ve made a small change to say “caring for the disabled”. Thanks magnolia.

        • magnolia

          And I like John Ch 9, where Jesus heals a man born blind, after being asked by the disciples the LCD religious question , “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind.” Hinduism and Buddhism incidentally would believe it was one or the other too. Not Jesus, for he answers, “Neither..but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in Him.”

          There are still those who wish to apportion blame, when Jesus wishes to proclaim release to the captives, and love and good news to all who are suffering, through Christians, not through virtue of their goodness but because we know who is the greatest Doctor in the Universe.

    • brianb49

      Since when was becoming a widow (or a widower – it happens to men too) considered to be a disability. Being a widow is a state that can be changed by the widow(er) her/himself. The state of being “Disabled” (I prefer the term “Impaired”) is not under the control of the impaired, it can never be changed, and, as stated in Tanya’s letter, any attempt to gain even minimum control of it can be immensely expensive.
      I followed a link to this notice board from a Social Networking site where someone had posted Tanya’s letter. I am sadly not surprised to discover that “The Church” is still full of the bigoted, sexist hypocrites who drove me away from my church 40 years ago.

      • DenisV

        In Paul’s day, it was the men who earned the income by doing physical work. So by losing her husband, a widow was deprived of her source of income and was dependent on others.

        That’s not so different from a disabled person, I would have thought?

        • brianb49

          “That’s not so different from a disabled person, I would have thought?”
          And therein is the reason why you are not qualified to comment on this thread. Go out and meet a few of us cripples, then you might have something relevant to bring to this discussion.

          • DenisV

            It looks like you didn’t read all of my comment or else you would have seen the part at the end about my Downs Syndrome brother.

            Maybe a less arrogant attitude could qualify you to comment on this thread?

      • DenisV

        And since when did it become “bigoted, sexist and hypocritical” to say that families should be responsible to care for their loved ones?

        • Ever since the socialist leaning groups successfully insisted that “society” through the “state” was responsible. Jack knows of situations where spouses and parents are employed via personalised budgets to provide care to their family members.

      • sarky

        And thankfully they are still driving people away. As usual it is left to us non believers to show a bit of compassion.

  • Well said and well written, Tanya. The situations you describe are why my friends and I set up 5 Quid for Life, a mental health safety net. Like the Trussell Trust and its foodbanks, we’re an organisation that shouldn’t be necessary, but sad to say we are. What this government is doing to its most vulnerable citizens says it all and it beats me how anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus could support such an administration.

    • Phil R

      “we’re an organisation that shouldn’t be necessary”

      So why are you?

      “What this government is doing to its most vulnerable citizens says it
      all and it beats me how anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus
      could support such an administration”

      Is supporting “vulnerable” citizens the state’s role? If you think it is, then tell me where Jesus said it was specifically the state’s role.

      • Royinsouthwest

        … tell me where Jesus said it was specifically the state’s role.

        What a ridiculous argument! You might as well ask “tell me where Jesus said he was in favour of democracy.” Nevertheless, I suppose you are in favour of democracy despite it not being mentioned in the Bible.

        • Phil R

          As it happens, I am not in favour of democracy and never have been.

          • Who do you think should make the decisions? You?

          • sarky

            I hear North Korea is nice this time of year. Good luck with your church attendance over there.

      • sarky

        Didnt someone once say ‘ a society should be judged on how it treats its most vulnerable’?
        I for one don’t mind being taxed to help people less fortunate. After tax, what I have is more than enough for our needs.
        As my daughter would say “you need to check your attitude”.

        • Define “society”. Jack would much prefer to spend the money compulsorily removed from his earnings (now pension) in ways he deems compatible with his values and beliefs. Perhaps a percentage – say 5% – could be donated to health and social care charities from his income tax.

          • sarky

            That could never work could it. Imagine the chaos if we all decided where our money went. We have to trust the government of the day to spend our money wisely. I for one would rather my money went to the disabled than to bail out bankers and give tax cuts to millionaires.

      • Why are we necessary, Phil R? For all the reasons Tanya has outlined in her letter. Because without us stepping in when the system failed, several people would probably be dead. Because this government is destroying vulnerable people. We’re necessary because of people like you who, on the basis of your comments here, lack compassion — but hey, if I’ve got you wrong, you’ll find our bank account details on our website 5quidforlife.org.uk so you can make a donation.

        As to where Jesus said supporting the vulnerable is the state’s role: that would be in same place as he said his followers should use electricity, access the internet, iron their clothes, have running water in their homes, take out pension plans and home insurance, make telephone calls or eat bananas. If you need J’s say-so before you’re willing to adopt an idea, you’ll never do anything much in life.

        Here’s what he did say, however: he said love your neighbour as yourself. He said a despised Samaritan had a better idea of what being a neighbour meant than the religious leaders of his day. He said treat others as you’d have them treat you. He said those who failed to clothe the naked or feed the hungry failed to clothe or feed him. He said what we do to the least of those around us is what we do to him. For Jesus, it’s personal; and for us at 5 Quid for Life, it’s personal.

        And for me as a UK taxpayer, it’s personal. Last century this nation took a major step forward when it developed the welfare state, developed a system that we all contributed to and we could all draw on in times of need. I’m not about to sit around and watch this government of millionaires who haven’t got a clue about what it means to face hard times dismantle that system and take us back to the Victorian era of workhouses and street urchins.

        Perhaps you’re incapable of making the connection between Christian discipleship and the development of the welfare state; but I thank God for those can see that connection; and I thank God even more for those who don’t need the Christian discipleship angle to understand the duty of care that our common humanity puts upon us as a society.

  • Anton

    Dear Tanya

    I write as one Christian to another. I believe it is not unfair when dispensing the money of taxpayers – who are taxed considerably more heavily than God arranged in the Law of Moses – to make sure that it is properly spent. Assessments of people’s need is a necessary part of that process. I recognise that assessment is not pleasant for the recipient but please think of the government’s duty to the taxpayer – especially when a great many people “on the sick” are perfectly capable of working. I know personally a vicar who offered to get one wholly capable man a job and found an employer but the man declined out of basic sloth. On the other hand I have a friend who is rightly on disability benefits who has been concerned each time a tightening up was announced during the Coalition, but she has consistently been assessed fairly and I have no reason to doubt that she will continue to be.

    The other point is that the government treats everybody as an individual but most people live as part of a family and it is reasonable that familial love should be part of the solution.

    • Christopher Parker

      Assessment of need is necessary – a hard cap of 20% of applicants being assessed as requiring aid is not.

      • Anton

        Whence that figure, please?

        • Christopher Parker
          • Anton

            Thank you; that is not a good way to go about things. But if the ethos is that most claimants are fraudulent, then those with genuine disabilities should be furious about the others.

          • Christopher Parker

            Except that the DWP’s own figures (again, mentioned in this letter if memory serves) say that only 1.9% of benefit payments are made in error; 0.4% due to office error, 0.9% due to claimant error and 0.7% due to fraud. That leaves a little over 98% of the money going to people who genuinely need it. There is barely any fraud to reduce; the only way to cut £12 Billion from the benefits budget is to take money away from those who clearly do need it.

          • Anton

            Only 0.7% going to fraud? Based on a pretty elastic definition of fraud?

          • Christopher Parker

            Ah, hold on – the figures I gave were for benefits in general. Specifically for disability benefits (the Employment and Support Allowance) 0.9% of money goes towards fraud (down from 1.3% last year) – a total of £120 million. Considering that we spend approximately £150 billion a year on benefits, it’s practically negligible. The largest amount of fraud is 2.7% of job seekers allowance – about £80 million. If they eliminated all fraud, they’d save about £1.1 billion; a lot of money to be sure, but a great deal short of the £12 billion they’re aiming for. Even if they eliminated all overpayments and didn’t eliminate the underpayments (0.9%), they’d still only get a little over a quarter of the way there (£3.2 billion)…

          • Anton

            Well something has to give because we are unfairly loading debt on the next generation as the government is still spending more than it takes in taxes. Do you want to raise taxes or do you want to throw more interest payments – before any thought of repaying the capital – on the next generation even as they pay benefits to people in their own time?

          • Christopher Parker

            I never claimed there were easy answers. We were always in for a rough ride ever since a bunch of bankers went and collapsed the global economy on us.

            That said, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, housing benefit is the most expensive benefits bill by a long, long way – and more of that gets spent on people who work full time for minimum wage than gets spent on the unemployed. The only real ways to reduce that are to either increase the minimum wage such that people can actually live on it or to invest in more council housing and not sell it off to private landlords as is currently happening under the Right to Buy scheme.

            Secondly, we have job seekers allowance. The only real way that that’s going to be brought down is if there are more jobs available for unskilled and semi-skilled workers. While it can be argued that the coal mines needed closing down in Thatcher’s day, the fact of the matter is most of those areas still haven’t recovered; with many of the people in those areas chronically unemployed simply because there are no longer any jobs where they live and they can’t afford to move. There needs to be more industry in places like that – which in turn means that more money needs to be invested into infrastructure.

            More money being invested into apprenticeships would probably help here too. The fact of the matter is, university is not the only way out of unskilled labour – nor should it be treated like the default. This would help increase the number of people skilled in a trade, while at the same time reducing the number of graduates competing for graduate positions. If the age brackets for government subsidies were increased, this would also give companies an incentive to take on older apprentices. As it stands, there are very few means for adults in bad situations to turn their lives around.

            Another thing related to unemployment is substance addition – it costs the NHS nearly half a billion pounds a year, and the fact of the matter is, substance addiction is rarely connected to the thing to which a person is addicted. There’s a reason why the vast majority of addicts are poor, and it isn’t that the rich aren’t buying drugs. Unfortunately, google isn’t providing me with many figures on this, but by and large, addiction tends to afflict those who are cut off from society at large – which unemployment does to people.

            Homelessness is another thing that costs the country hundreds of millions every year – and funnily enough, Utah of all places has all but gotten rid of chronic homelessness. They’re saving huge amounts of money on what they used to spend, and the way they’re doing it will probably sound pretty daft at first – they’re just giving the homeless people homes. Not just beds in a shelter, but actual homes, with their own front door and their own key, subsidised by the state. Then, once the people are secure in their new homes and finally start to trust that it isn’t going to be taken away from them any moment, they start working on the problems that led the person to be chronically homeless in the first place. And, so far, it’s working. In this instance, generosity is saving them far more money in the long run than any actual attempts to save money might have.

            The thing is, this country has far worse problems than can be solved by austerity. Not to mention that we’re not going to pay of the national debt within our lifetimes; Britain has been in massive amounts of debt for hundreds of years, and will continue to be for hundreds more – and that’s even assuming we move away from an economic model wherein money and debt are literally the same thing.

            Unemployment is costing the country money, but the solution to that isn’t to punish the unemployed (the vast majority of whom do in fact want to work, but quite rightly refuse to work for free), it’s to help them get into work – which involves spending money in the short term to save money in the longer term.

            Low wages are costing the country money – people working full time on minimum wage pay relatively little income tax because they’re barely earning enough to enter the lowest tax bracket – and then they’re often entitled to a significant portion of that money back in the form of housing benefits.

            Finally, unpaid taxes are costing the country a huge amount of money. As of the 2014/2015 fiscal year, Britain was losing £119.4 billion in unpaid tax. For the sake of scale, that’s almost enough to fund the NHS by itself. We lost £18.2 billion in owed tax; that is, tax which was owed but simply not paid and couldn’t be recovered. Tax avoidance (that is, legally avoiding paying taxes by using legal loopholes) accounts for another £19.2 billion, and tax evasion (that is, illegally failing to declare taxable transactions or claiming expenses to which they are not entitled) accounts for the remaining £82.1 billion. That’s a staggeringly huge amount of money. Compared with tax evasion, benefit fraud is practically a non-issue. Maybe instead of punishing the poor for their misfortune, we should be hiring more investigative staff for HMRC, and investing in getting back some of that unpaid tax. Even a fifth of it would more than cover the money that the Conservatives currently want to cut from the benefits budget…

            And yes, I’m aware that that isn’t an easy answer either – tax evasion can be hard to prove and harder still to prosecute, but that’s a massive amount of money which could be put to really good use if it were actually being paid.

          • Anton

            You are very free at proposing what to do with other people’s money. But socialism eventually kills the goose that lays the golden egg. You show some concern about the national debt but all your proposals except dealing with tax evasion (about which I agree with the principle but question your figures) would increase it.

            Housing benefit has mainly pumped up the cost of renting. It is deeply unfair to those who pay taxes and find themselves subsidising others in comparable accommodation. The government can in response introduce rent controls or gradually taper out of housing benefit. The former leads to delapidated properties; so then you get an army of inspectors demanding that landlords upgrade properties without having the income from rent to do so. Just how much government interference with people are you happy with? Please do some joined-up thinking. The landlords then sell up and put their money into other things. Right to buy is the way to go.

            You say of rundown areas that “There needs to be more industry in places like that – which in turn means that more money needs to be invested into infrastructure.” As I said, you are very free at spending other people’s money. What is needed in such areas is a bottom-up approach to helping people – the kind of thing that churches are good at – rather than top-down. If you want more unemployment, by the way, increase the minimum wage. The solution is to free up the labour market from union-won privileges which mean it is far more onerous to hire a Brit than an Eastern European, and bar the Eastern Europeans.

            Concerning drug addiction, so far as I am concerned drugs should be legal and taxed to the hilt. But there is another addiction stalking the land today: benefits addiction. (NB I don’t mean the disabled.)

          • Christopher Parker

            As regards drugs, I think you and I agree pretty much completely – you save huge amounts of money on drug enforcement, recreational drug use would remain pretty much the same, and it would reduce the amount of money criminal gangs were making – because people would be buying drugs from legal sources.

            The problem with keeping minimum wage low is that you then have people working full time and depending on benefits to keep a roof over their head. There isn’t some dichotomy of people who work versus people on benefits; between working tax credits, child tax credits and housing benefits, full time minimum wage staff actually cost the country more in terms of benefits than the unemployed do – and the only way to reduce that bill without making most of the labour pool homeless is for either their rent to go down or their wages to go up. Neither is an easy answer; one of these makes it harder for landlords to fulfil their responsibilities, the other means increased unemployment as smaller businesses can no longer afford to pay the wages. The problem is, if you don’t do either, then you basically have to continue paying large sums of benefits to people in work.

            Right to Buy, meanwhile, currently benefits two kinds of people – the people it’s theoretically aimed at (people who have only ever lived in council accommodation who need it as a means to buy a home), which I’m all for, and private landlords who buy up the affordable housing and jack up the rent. The problem is, the latter are by far the larger group. Council housing is pretty much the only means of reducing homelessness – and it has been demonstrated in America and Canada that subsidised housing costs the tax payer far less than leaving the homeless on the streets.

            The thing with investing in economic growth is that it is not charity. This isn’t giving money away freely – only a fool would suggest that as a long term strategy. Take investing more money into apprenticeships as an example: this obviously costs money. But think then of the people who finish their apprenticeships. By and large, they aren’t going to be doing minimum wage jobs when they finish; they’re typically going to be doing reasonably well paid jobs, which means that they’re not going to be costing the country as much (if any) money in benefits, and they’re going to be paying more taxes. Not only that, but they’ll be buying more stuff, which means more money coming in in the form of VAT. It costs more in the short term, but saves money in the long term.

            As for the national debt, again, we’ve had one for hundreds or years; it’s not going to be paid off in our grand children’s lifetimes, nor their grand children’s. The fact of the matter is, it can’t be; if all the nations debt were paid off, we wouldn’t have any money. I mean that literally too – the cash in your wallet is money owed by the government to the bank of England; the money in your bank account is money that the bank owes you; if you take out a loan, the bank creates that money to give to you, and destroys it when you pay it back (minus the interest, which it keeps for itself). All money is debt.

            Don’t get me wrong; I’m not entirely against budget cuts; they’re an unfortunate necessity, and the government is probably going to have to do some very unpopular things in the next five years. That said, there is very little consensus among economists on the matter – while they all seem to agree that long term investment is key to ensuring that multinational businesses continue investing in the country, and the all certainly agree that bring the deficit down is important, there is a lot of disagreement as regards the optimal pace of reducing the deficit. Some believe that it should be a medium term goal; done reasonably quickly but not so quickly as to result in mass homelessness, while others believe it should be a longer term goal, with a greater focus on increasing the amount of money coming in over decreasing spending. Both sides consider tax increases and spending cuts to be essential; they pretty much only differ in the pace.

            As regards tax evasion, the figures came from here (25 page
            document; most of the numbers are up front, with sources sited at the
            end): http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Documents/PCSTaxGap2014Full.pdf

          • Anton

            Well, we agree about drugs and the rationale for legalisation.

            Gordon Brown hugely complicated the system with his tax credits, and the reason was fairly obvious: the more people who get government handouts, the more people who vote Labour. Like the national wage these too should go, but for the sake for humanity you taper them over a period. The Left says that people will be evicted but more likely is that rents will gradually go down. When one person says to a landlord “I’m getting less income, I can’t afford your rent” he gets evicted, but when many do the landlord won’t be able to find another tenant at the same rent and rental values fall. That is what needs to happen otherwise government is just transferring taxpayers’ money to landlords.

            Government money spending as investment? Yes but VERY carefully. Apprenticeships are OK but HS2 isn’t, for instance.

            A national debt is not something to panic about – although it is not a good thing – but a growing national debt is, at a time when interest rates are inevitably going to rise (they couldn’t fall!)

          • Christopher Parker

            I highly disagree with getting rid of the minimum wage for one reason – it’s only legislation like that that protects employees from unscrupulous employers. I was in my early teens when the minimum wage was introduced; prior to that, my mum worked in a factory. She worked ten hour days (with half an hour for lunch), five days a week, and only barely earned enough for two meals a day (we lived in a council house). As far as I’m concerned, yes, treating your staff like that should be illegal.

          • Anton

            Let us agree that higher minimum wage, fewer jobs. We disagree – and can agree to disagree – over the size of the minimum wage (from zero upwards) and the number of jobs consequently lost.

          • Christopher Parker

            Yeah, I can agree to disagree. Huh – makes a change to have a civilised debate in a website comments section. Thanks for proving that it is possible ;).

          • Liz Carter

            Thanks for all these really helpful stats. The tax ones are mind boggling, aren’t they. And yet they send hundreds of DWP workers after the benefit ‘scroungers’ and only a handful after the tax avoiders. Says a lot.

      • And remember the Tories already imposed a 20% cut on people in receipt of PIP instead of DLA, even while acknowledging that the people losing benefits will still be disabled (if you can walk 20m you will not now get Higher Rate Mobility – how many of you can get anywhere useful in 20m?). Meanwhile the Equality Impact Assessment for the Access To Work Changes says ‘We’re absolutely certain deaf people are going to be shafted by this – tough’ (What makes the AtW changes utterly tragic is AtW actually makes a £1.40 return for every pound spent, they should be throwing money at it, not restricting it),l

    • 170,000 Work Capability Assessments overturned on appeal, an overall failure rate of one assessment in 6, a safety-critical failure at that given the demonstrate tragic consequences of several failed assessments. Tell me again why you are so sure your friend will be fairly assessed?

      I’ve actually been through the WCA, and one of my professional skills is systems analysis and design. I am absolutely certain that the WCA was deliberately designed from the standpoint that all disabled people are fakes and any method that tricks them into revealing a reason for excluding them from benefits is morally acceptable. This includes almost every question having deliberately obfuscated conclusions – ‘do you like watching TV’, answer yes and the assumption is that you can therefore sit at a desk all day, and you aren’t told anything to let you know that, even if the reality is that you can only watch TV by lying flat on your back. And when I answered yes, and that I did it from my back, and revealed that I knew exactly what the question was asking, I faced the most extraordinary struggle to force the assessor to record that information – even though that one piece of information qualified me for ESA in it’s own right. If someone wasn’t prepared to shout down a doctor, and many people aren’t, then they wouldn’t have passed the assessment I went through. I passed, but it was such an abusive process I haven’t been able to make myself go back.

      I also analysed leaked WCA statistics in an article for the Guardian, people wondered why people with permanent disabilities such as CP were being told they would be better in 6 months (or 3 months), it turned out the targets being imposed on the assessors would only let them label one person a day as having a permanent disability, even though they were expected to see half a dozen or more. So if your friend walks into the assessors office, better hope they haven’t seen someone with a permanent disability already today.

      • Anton

        “Tell me again why you are so sure your friend will be fairly assessed?”

        Because she has been through several assessments and always been fairly assessed. 0% error so far. I am aware that mistakes are made and no system is perfect but that means improving the system rather than throwing more taxpayers’ money around.

        • 1 in 6 failure rate, Keep rolling the dice.

          • Anton

            Define “failure”. Also an appeal system is available.

          • Yeah, more stress. Whoopee.

          • Anton

            There is stress on taxpayers too. I am not arguing against disability benefit and am open to discussion about its magnitude but I am not willing to discuss welfare policies aside from tax policies as they are two sides of one coin.

          • I’ve done quality control work, I don’t think I’ve come across many people who would regard a 1 in 6 failure rate as acceptable. WRT appeals, the purpose of an appeal system is to deal with the exceptional failures of the system, however the WCA system has normalised failure. Equally the cost to a disabled person of undertaking an appeal is significant, and potentially incompatible with their health (I may not have had to appeal WCA, but I did have to take a multinational to a tribunal for disability discrimination and there was a definite cost to my health). Equally the existence of an appeals system is little comfort to the families of the several people who have died as a direct result of the stress of a WCA.

          • Anton

            We can all agree that tests should be improved in accuracy. As for the “stress of a WCA”, the taxpayer has a right to have it verified that his money is being well spent. How would you ensure that?

      • Jack has participated in a professional capacity in this process and agrees some of the assessors can be blinkered and have to have correct information provided. A hostile attitude on the part of the person being assessed is not uncommon and it is not helpful.

        However, to claim they are deliberately intent on tricking you displays a somewhat militant and aggressive resistance to the process. Bigotry even towards fulfilling their responsibilities. Fundamentally, you have no “right” or “entitlement” to enhanced benefits unless you satisfy certain criteria. The reason for the suspicion in the system is because of the abuse of the system.

        • The entire structure of the WCA is based on obscuring the conclusions being drawn from the information being asked for, which denies the disabled person the opportunity to present additional relevant information – as I demonstrated in my example. I’ve designed complex work processes, I’m used to analysing what a process is intended to achieve as opposed to what the surface beliefs are, and I stand by my analysis of WCA as intentionally designed to deceive. I believe the WCA directly contravenes the principle of informed consent (and BMA has explicitly stated people being assessed are the patient of the doctor involved at that moment in time, meaning informed consent is professionally required).

          WRT the ethics of doctors involved and whether the approach of claimants is unnecessarily militant. I’ll remind you that BMA had to issue a reminder to all doctors involved in WCA work that “basic honesty is a professional requirement” and that there is an extensive history of assessors being found to record fictional information, while excluding essential factual information. Our distrust of the accessors is not simply warranted, but was acknowledged by their own professional body.

          In my own case the doctor involved told me that I shouldn’t listen to any of the wild stories on the internet, then proceeded to demonstrate the absolute truth of them all as he tried to avoid recording absolutely vital information. I quite literally had to shout him down (and what percentage of claimants will be able to do that to a doctor, especially those claimants dealing with mental illness?). I then reached a point where I told him “I have to stand up now or I’m going to be sick” and that seemed to be the first time he truly looked at me, I don’t know what he saw, but he literally went pale and his whole attitude changed to one of panic as he realised everything I had told him about my pain levels was the literal truth. I passed, because I was strong enough to argue with him, and because of that moment when he looked past his prejudices, but 170,000 other disabled people have had to go to tribunal to demonstrate that they were telling the truth, no matter what the assessor said, while god knows how many more have simply vanished from the system in utter disgust or self-preservation. From where we stand, the hostile attitude of the assessors demonstrably warrants the distrust in which we hold them.

    • “it is reasonable that familial love should be part of the solution.”

      Is it though? That means placing any family with a disabled member at potentially a considerable disadvantage, It means placing any disabled person at the mercy of their family, no matter how abusive they may be (and rates of abuse towards disabled people are considerably worse than vs non-disabled). It means a disabled young adult being placed in a dependent position towards their parents, at a time when they would normally be expecting to break free and make their own way in the world. Infantilisation is one of the ways that society abuses disabled people, and demanding that we be dependent on our families markedly worsens the problems of infantilisation.

      • Anton

        As someone else pointed out on this thread, St Paul said in 1 Timothy 5 various things about that. Verse 7:

        “No widow may be put on the list (of beneficiaries) unless she is over 60”.


        “If a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” (v4)

        “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (v8)

        I quote verbatim from that other comment on this thread: So Paul said the main responsibility for caring for widows (and probably the disabled) fell not on the church, nor the government, but on their families.

        • I don’t particularly care what Paul said (and let’s remember, Paul wasn’t just a tax man before his Damascene conversion, he was a tax enforcer and may therefore have been labouring under certain misconceptions about those in need – just as we find with the problematic attitudes of many DWP staff). Paul was writing for a Classical era society, with the expectations of that society, We’ve had 2000 years to work out better ways for society to function, better ways for us to recognise the equality of all. Biblical society would have treated me as an object of pity at best, and I might not have known enough to understand the fundamental contempt towards me in that viewpoint. But I’m not in Biblical society, I’m a fully functioning member of contemporary society who isn’t prepared to be treated as anything less than a fully equal, fully independent adult. And if ensuring I, and everyone like me has that equality, means that all us pay a fraction of a penny extra on our taxes, then damned right I’m going to insist on it. Because a society that treats any person as less than any other person is a society that is broken, or bigoted.

          • Anton

            You have no right to “insist on it” for, like me, you are one vote in a democratic society. You might be right; you might be wrong; but I am not going to discuss this without considering the morality of taxing people as well as the morality of welfare payments. Calling a society “broken and bigoted” is not an argument.

          • “Calling a society “broken and bigoted” is not an argument.”

            No, it’s a statement of the literal truth.

          • Anton

            That’s your opinion. And Paul was never a taxman; that was Matthew.

          • ” I’m a fully functioning member of contemporary society who isn’t prepared to be treated as anything less than a fully equal, fully independent adult.”

            That’s very commendable.

            “And if ensuring I, and everyone like me has that equality, means that all us pay a fraction of a penny extra on our taxes, then damned right I’m going to insist on it.”

            However, that statement rather contradicts it.

            “Because a society that treats any person as less than any other person is a society that is broken, or bigoted.”

            ‘Society’- what is this thing called “society”. And what its this “equality” you seek and demand as a “right” from “society”? And who“treats any person as less”?

          • “what is this thing called society”

            It’s the thing that ensures there is food on your table, that there is a school for your children, a hospital in time of need, and that enables every other facet of your life. I don’t know about you, but I consider that fairly vital.

            “And what its this “equality” you seek and demand as a “right” from “society”?”

            Simply the same opportunity of outcome as anyone else.

            “And who”treats any person as less”?”

            Far too many people out there, from those who call disabled people scroungers in the comfort of their own homes, to those who abuse us in the street, to those who write lying headlines like “75% are faking”, to the DWP Press Officer who fed that story to him, and the Cabinet Minister who sent him out to say that, while professing to the Work and Pensions select committee he had no idea where these stories came from.

          • What you describe as “society” – this thing – is, in reality people. Jack doesn’t want a State ensuring and enabling all the things you list. As Mrs Thatcher said in a much misrepresented speech, there is no such thing as society. There are individuals, families and communities who help and assist one another.
            Now, this “opportunity of outcome as anyone else” you cite as your right, what is it? What do you mean? And by what right do you claim it?
            As for the rest, do you deny the State’s right, on behalf of its citizens, to operate a welfare system that we can afford and one that is not misused? Jack also thinks you are overstating the so called abuse you experience.

          • If you really think quoting Thatcher to the grandson of miners will get you anywhere, keep wasting your time.

            I claim my right to equality of outcome under Article 27 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which the UK has acceded to by treaty. For a quick definition of the nuance of equality of outcome, consider the difference between ‘job applications should be made at the top of the stairs’ and ‘job applications should be made at the top of the stairs, the wheelchair lift is to your right’.

          • Pubcrawler

            “Paul wasn’t just a tax man before his Damascene conversion, he was a tax enforce”

            He wasn’t even a tax man, he was a tentmaker. You’re thinking of Matthew.

          • Who cares …. they were both bigots …. probably.

          • Pubcrawler

            I’m sure Giles Fraser has an opinion on that. Which he can keep to himself — oh, except he probably can’t.

          • Poor Farmer Giles – diarrhoea of the mouth; constipation of ideas.

          • Ad hominem!

          • Of course …. good though!

          • You’re right, my mistake, it’s just so easy to confuse an ideologically driven persecutor with the taxman once you’ve dealt with DWP.

  • Inspector General

    Inspector back. He notes the indignant disabled on benefits are arriving in greater numbers here. Already, the bigot card has been played. Well done you whoever you are. Yet none of the benefitees have made any small tribute of gratitude to those whose tax keeps them going. Such is the way we are in our natural ingratitude.

    One of the best comments comes from Marie. What kind of lonely hell do we put the disabled through to expect them to survive on their own. Those who fall into that category should be offered the chance to be part of a commune where they can all muck in together and help each other and, importantly, keep each other company. All they would need is their own room. Plenty of disused factories out there to be converted to accommodate….

    • You are being sarcastic, I assume.

      • Inspector General

        Try not assuming that….

        • I can only assume you *are* being sarcastic when you suggest you want disabled people to be uprooted from their homes and placed in former factories.

          • Inspector General

            Speaking as a single man, and not a young one either, it would offer an acceptable solution if one became incapacitated….

          • So you’re not disabled, but you want disabled people to leave their homes and go and all live together. Why?

          • Inspector General

            Now don’t be silly. It was put forward as a suggestion. Nothing compulsory about it. Just think of all the company you’d have..

          • What makes you think disabled people are lonely?

    • What makes you think we’re on benefits? And why would that matter? Whi should any of us be grateful for accessing a right we have paid for? And for that matter please explain why I should be grateful for a system that labels me a scrounger and nods and winks at those who abiuse and assault me in the street?

      And now here you are suggesting we should be ghettoized – you might want to study a little bit of disability history, and the tragedy of generations of disabled people lost in asylums, before being quite so ready with glib and thoughtless solutions.

      • Inspector General

        The jury will disregard DGillon’s leading questions.

        DGillon. Stand up, if you can, and take this into you. The Inspector is not on trial here, and neither are you. Now proceed in a dignified manner…

        • Oh, your attitude is absolutely on trial here, and usefully so as it demonstrates the attitudes we face in fighting for equality. And if that sits uncomfortably, consider the snide abuse wrapped up in ” the indignant disabled on benefits” and your demands that we doff our caps and show you proper gratitude, guv’mor. Society has moved on, thankfully so, and respect nowadays is earned, not demanded,

          • Anton

            Respect should be the default and it is then lost if someone maltreats others too badly or consistency. The attitude that respect has to be earned is behind a lot of bad things.

            If his attitude is on trial here, so is yours.

          • I’m quite happy to be judged, I know I’m the one fighting for greater equality here. And when someone opens with a snide attack on disabled people, that’s really all I need to know about whether he has earned the right to my respect. It’s equally apparent that it is only the pro-disability voices in this debate calling people on their disablist statements, no matter how egregious they are. When you criticise me for saying that respect is earned, but don’t criticise someone calling us a cancer, then forgive me if I don’t value your opinion highly enough to care.

          • Anton

            Where did someone call you a cancer?

    • There’d be room for a nice garden too then Inspector.

      • Inspector General

        Maybe for a dog too, Marie. Possibly a cat, if a cat there must be….

        • We know you’re a cat lover, Inspector.

    • Anton

      “none of the benefitees have made any small tribute of gratitude to those whose tax keeps them going”

      They are victims of the Rights culture. Victims not financially but because the rights culture dehumanises people.

      • Jack actually agrees with that. It’s the greatest fault in our approach to state welfare. It ‘compels’ taxpayers to support those in need and it creates dependency and a sense of entitlement in those receive assistance. Incidentally, this also allows family members and the community to pull back and to pass the responsibility to the state.

        In Dorothy Day’s words, a very radical ‘Left’ Christian, it’s “a great defeat for Christianity. It is an acceptance of the idea of force and compulsion” on working people and employers and encourages the cynical attitude of Cain – “Am I my brother’s keeper?” If people do not give through generosity of heart and if people do not receive in a similar spirit, it causes division.

        It is this division socialist orientated groups exploit. And the ‘left’ always play the ‘victim card’ to promote the entitlement culture. Jack has spent 40 years witnessing the corrosive effects of this.

    • brianb49

      Why should we thank you, we owe you nothing. Your God, my God, decided I would live all of my life with a Chronic Illness (that never stopped me working for more than a month) and that I would acquire a degenerative physical disability 20 years ago that robbed me of the last 10 years of a happy and fulfilling working life.
      I have never felt the need to remember the teaching of the Bible but I do remember God saying that he made us in his own image. I am able to love the disabled part of my God, and to sup with him in the mansion for the disabled that he built in his house. I feel very sad for you, and will pray for you, because you clearly are unable; disabled perhaps; from doing these things.

      • len

        I cannot believe that God decided anyone should live with illness of any sort……..

        • Ivan M

          Either god did or he is helpless in the face of it. You cant have it both ways.

    • Liz Carter

      What, you mean like a workhouse? Great idea that. The ‘indignant disabled?’ goodness. What a very sad and ungraceful view.

  • brianb49

    Since when was becoming a widow (or a widower – it happens to men too) considered to be a disability. Being a widow is a state that can be changed by the widow(er) her/himself. The state of being “Disabled” (I prefer the term “Impaired”); is not under the control of the impaired, it can never be changed, and, as stated in Tanya’s letter, any attempt to gain even minimum control of it can be immensely expensive.
    I followed a link to this notice board from a Social Networking site where someone had posted Tanya’s letter. I am sadly not surprised to discover that “The Church” is still full of the bigoted, sexist hypocrites who drove me away from my church 40 years ago.

    • This comment saddens me more than any of the others I have read. I’m really sorry on behalf of all Christians for how some people on this forum have talked about disabled people and people on benefits. It should be noted that the readership of this blog is wider than the few who seem to dominated the comments (mainly anonymously, I note). The ‘church’ is made up of so many messed up individuals, and I can only imagine the hurt that you received 40 years ago.
      I am part of the church, and on behalf of the church, I am truly sorry. I am grieved that the church drove you away, and I am grieved that the church is driving you away again here. I’m hoping that you can find glimpses of Jesus and goodness even so. I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and comment.

      • Anton

        I’d wait to hear what the “bigoted sexist hypocrites” had to say about brian’s departure before taking a position.

        • I don’t understand what you’re saying.

          • Anton

            When someone quits a church in high dudgeon there are always two sides to the story and it’s not possible to get an accurate picture by hearing only one side years later. I would not assume that brian was “driv[en] away” without more information which is why I would not say more than that I regretted the falling out.

      • What saddens me is the ultra left wing socialists who are suggesting that the current situation is like a pogrom or Nazis Germany or when I’ve made what I’d consider to be reasonable bi partisan comments that I’m spouting Tory propaganda. I DO actually care. If I didn’t I wouldn’t bother.

        • Let’s work through the logic of our claim
          Starting in September 1939, disabled people were subject to a pogrom in Nazi Germany under Aktion T4. The German government suggests 250,000 deaths, other figures range as high as 300,000.
          Aktion T4 was preceded by a period of anti-disabled propaganda by state organs such as the Rassenpolitisches Amt der NSDAP (Racial Policy Office of the Nazi Party)
          Headlines such as ‘75% are faking’ (Daily Mail, 27-10-2010) are likely to inflame disability hate crime. Particularly when the actual fraud rate according to DWP is 0.3%. The Work and Pensions Select Committee repeatedly challenged IDS, and Grayling when he was at DWP, over the origin of these stories, they professed themselves perplexed.
          Another disabled scrounger story, featuring specific numbers of benefit claimants with very rare disabilities that were easy to misconstrue as trivial, could only have been produced by someone conducting specifically targetted datamining of DWP databases.
          The appearance of that story in multiple right wing newspapers on the same day points the finger of suspicion at either the DWP Press Office, or IDS’s personal SpAds.
          These weren’t occasional stories, they were appearing at the rate of one or two a week.
          If you accept the thesis that either DWP Press office or IDS’s SpAds were coordinating the scrounger-rhetoric campaign, and disabled people believe the evidence is overwhelming, then that’s two known propaganda campaigns against disabled people being organised by governments in power. One in the UK under the Coalition, the other the NSDAP in Germany in the 30s.
          We can’t think of any other governments where a similar campaign of villification has taken place, making this the only valid comparison. If you can think of one, please let us know.

      • Trevor

        I honestly tell you that if for example the Apostle Paul was still alive as a human on earth,
        he would be even more unpopular than he was in his day.
        because he was faithful to god and had genuine love for god and people
        which affected the way he viewed people and treated them.
        he appreciated the mercy and love shown to him by God
        and spent his life and time there after trying to help as many people gain god’s mercy and love by sharing his strong faith.
        the bible shows that though many listened believed and Joined him in sharing the good news about god’s kingdom,
        many opposed Paul and sought to get rid of Him.
        that was and is to be expected when we realize that the world we Live in is controlled by Satan and the Demons.

  • Pargoluthon

    A Conservative (Tory) government entails the death of more disabled people than would otherwise be the case. This is categorically known.

    A Labour (Socialist) government entails the industrialised extermination of property owners. This, too, is known.

    The voter who perceives these realities faces a real quandary. Issues such as immigration, the economy, defence, the Union, self government, justice and the national debt are trivially irrelevant. The only thing which counts is one’s answer to the question: for the death of which group in society is one prepared to inculpate oneself?

    Let me speak personally for a moment, albeit as a non-Christian in the sense in which Tanya giveth it some.

    I know people in wheelchairs; I know people who own things. (I have therefore always found voting rather difficult, and prefer to toss a coin.) My wife once pointed out to me that one of our friends both owned a flat and was in a wheelchair. Even though it was unclear to me at the time whether or not our then friend owned the wheelchair, was occupying it under a rental agreement or was enjoying it by way of a public gift I found this an intellectually vexatious amalgam, and so divorced my wife.

    Happily, that friend is now dead; though in the current context I should note that this occurred under the late Blair administration, did not appear to have anything to do with the welfare system and according to the coroner had nothing to do with my wife either, even though they had been to the same school.

    Returning to the quandary: whom to vote to kill? Handicapped folk? Or people with mortgages?

    As I say this is such a tricky one I generally prefer to toss a coin. Hats off to Tanya, who has shrugged off the burden of her MBES for sufficient time to propose launching a website on the subject. Coming so soon after a general election this surely indicates a bipartisan, neutral, apolitical attempt to raise awareness about all this, and I for one am happy to rise to the challenge.

    Tanya: I promise you, that if you have not died of not-being-arsed-to-get-yourself-up-itis by May 2020, I will visit your bedsit personally and permit you to toss my one “aye” voter’s coin.

  • brianb49

    Those of you using historic biblical record to advocate the potential benefits of familial intervention for those of us with impaired functions might not want to see these statistics from: http://www.efds.co.uk/resources/facts_and_statistics

    “At 30 per cent, the poverty rate for disabled adults in the UK is twice that for non-disabled adults.
    Disabled children are more likely to live with low-income, deprivation, debt and poor housing.

    Parents of a disabled child are more likely to separate.

    A disabled child is more likely to have a disabled brother or sister.

    Parents of disabled children report their children face barriers not only to education, but also to taking part in leisure or play.

    Young disabled people are more likely to experience bullying.”

    Shame we don’t all families like yours eh.

  • Paul Hayes

    “Austerity should mean that everyone tightens their belts, and yet the
    sharp edge of the cuts has fallen repeatedly and disproportionately onto
    the most vulnerable.”

    In fact austerity has been and is irrational and immoral policy irrespective of its patently unjust distribution: http://mainlymacro.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/destroying-state-is-no-accident.html And of course there have been irrational and immoral reforms to the social security system which weren’t justified by the ‘need’ for austerity: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21360 http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret-penal-system

  • I think it’s really lovely that self professed christians are not letting that get in the way of genocidal bigotry towards disabled people. Well done!

    • IDS does profess to be a Christian.

      • & a fine one he is too, lying, killing & bullying. A true inspiration to us all. He also extends his charity to warm friendly links with European Neo-Nazi groups, what a truly wonderful Christian.

        • He is a fine Catholic. Please specify where IDS’s policies contradict Catholic social teaching.

          • Mostly the lying and murder.

          • Have you reported these crimes to Scotland Yard?

          • They have been, but as with the rape & murder of children the MPS have an aversion to investigating govt ministers. Thus, lack of prosecution ≠ no crime, as you are inferring.

          • No what Jack was inferring is that your critique is motivated by your politics which appear to be statist.

            Jack has witnessed the confidence and self esteem of mentally ill people being undermined by false Jerimiahs who proclaim the disabled are all about to die because the wicked Tories will take their “rights” away and they will not be able to cope. It’s not a productive approach.

          • So you refer to yourself in the third person and think opposition to genocide is ‘statism’ and unproductive, how fascinating.

          • You and your ilk sap the morale of the vulnerable with your noise and demands. And peddling terms around like “genocide”. What on earth are you talking about?

            Btw, are you a “first personist” bigot? Jack has met them. Nasty judgemental persons they are too.

          • I have ilk? Cool, I always wanted ilk. We can have a clubhouse and maybe a badge, and like, special trips on bank holidays, excellent!

          • Jack is sure there will be a Labour Party social club somewhere nearby where you can get all the validity you need.

          • But I’m not a Labour Party supporter, does it help you to hold your beliefs if you think any countervailing information comes from a political source and can therefore be safely dismissed as partisan lies?

          • You don’t need to be a member or a supporter – a comrade will sign you in. It’s not your information but your abusive accusations towards those who disagree with you that betrays your allegiance.
            Btw, shouldn’t you be in bed – work in the morning.

          • You are as Christian as the Taliban are Muslim. Good luck with that.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, it would seem the Labour Party is too right-wing for you. At least that is the conclusion one will reach by perusing your comments.

            Not the comments here. The comments that may be accessed through your profile.

          • Chuka has a great club, private bar, steaks at £150 and cognac at £4,000. Why would champagne socialists wanted mix with the great unwashed at the working men’s club?

          • Anton

            Too much spilt ilk.

          • ZX10

            Reported by you was it ? as you seem to have all the evidence to make such comments if not why are you doing nothing ? in on the conspiracy are we ? why are you hanging around here bleating instead of fighting the good fight ?

          • What makes you think I can’t do both?

          • Phil Lee

            Even the UN are making their first ever investigation of a government for human rights abuses over the massive death toll caused by welfare cuts (over 10,000 additional deaths on benefit in the year after IDS implemented his “targets”, according to the DWP before they were prevented from issuing any updated figures – that first year is all we have available, and doesn’t even take into account those who died after being denied benefits). The matter has been referred to the International Criminal Court, with a view to indictment and a trial at The Hague. This is because the same political masters control our police as set IDSs targets for him, and it’s all down to political ideology. So yes, the crimes have been reported, and I for one remain hopeful of a prosecution, probably involving most of the cabinet and many additional MPs.
            Under the Tories, the rich have got richer, and the poor poorer, and if our armed services ever figure out that their disabled veterans are among the worst hit, they are likely to make justice where the present government has failed them, and take over, imposing a new and fairer electoral system, which does not allow extremist groups like the Tories to gain power, but forces politicians to pass laws they agree on, instead of laws they differ on.
            The whole need for austerity is a con anyway – we had higher debt, as a proportion of GDP, when the NHS and welfare state were established, and both have HELPED the economy, not harmed it. The current dismantling of both is doing irreparable harm to this country, and anyone with any pretence at compassion, Christianity, or morality can possibly support this idealogical vandalism. The ONLY ones benefiting are the top 1% of earners (strangely, the same group who largely fund the Cons). So you can see who they really work for by simply following the money (and the “free” publicity supporting their aims, provided by the media, which should be treated as a campaign contribution, but conveniently get forgotten when deciding if the tories overspent the legal maximum).

          • Jack read all about this so called “austerity genocide” and the “pogrom against the disabled”. What ridiculous expressions and what a daft campaign to bring the government before the Human Right’s Court at the Hague – started by a Canadian academic too. Bully boy tactics and hysteria by the left again.
            Did you know 100 men a week commit suicide in the UK. Is this the government’s responsibility too? What a society we have become where people neglect their neighbours and point the finger at the government when tragedies occur. Where families rely on the State to care for their sick, disabled and elderly members.

          • Actually the UN’s investigation was triggered following the UK’s compulsory report on how it was implementing UNCRPD and a dissenting report by UK disabled people. The UN appears to have decided on it’s own that there is a case to be investigated.

          • Bernadette

            Hi Jack, I am an Associate of the Christian think tank Ekklesia, and a Catholic. I wrote this piece about Iain Duncan Smith and Catholic Social Teaching a few years ago, and I believe the situation has deteriorated since then. http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17235

          • Here’s your politically loaded statement:

            “This principle promoted by the Church, that everybody, simply by virtue of being human, and irrespective of work, has a right to a decent life, would appear to be a completely alien concept to Duncan Smith, the DWP and the CSJ.”

            Define “decent life” – and not “everybody” has the “right” to have this provided by the state. You’ve failed to acknowledge that IDS sees to route to providing care and support to the vulnerable via a different route.

            “As sick and disabled people and the unemployed face increasing hardship, and feel increasingly stigmatised and pressured, his department really does seem to be wielding a sledgehammer to crack a rather fragile nut.”

            “Hardship” is a subjective term and is not a measure for determining actual level and type of need and benefit to meet that need. As for “stigmatisation” and feeling “pressured”, Jack doubts the public are directing this at the chronically sick and disabled.

      • He’s a Roman Catholic actually and knows more about the Church’s social teaching and the dangers of the dependency culture (very evident on here) than Cardinal Nicholls.

        • Speaking as a Roman Catholic, I find precious little relationship between the teachings of the church and the beliefs of IDS.

    • Dude

      Don’t get the genocide reference. Where are the calls for concentration camps, the ovens, the signs saying no disabled here. Where are the calls for sterilisation of disabled people and the calls for abortions for disabled babies? Have disabled been grouped off and relocated ? Your post is overly hyperbolic and hysterical.

      • Sterilisation? yes. Relocation? yes. Abortions? yes. So um, guess you just really aren’t paying attention. But never mind, every pogrom needs useful idiots to look the other way.

        • You haven’t actually provided any evidence, just snide rhetoric. Also how the feck can you suggest a liberal democracy like the UK is anything Nazi death camps.

        • “every pogrom needs useful idiots to look the other way.”

          What a git you are :this is nothing like a pogrom. If you had any sensibility or brains you’d see that.

          • Yes my conscience is pricked when a guy tells a Jew who is betrothed to a disabled Jewish girl that he is among one of the “useful idiots” that looks the other way over a pogrom. And a pogrom that doesn’t exist . And my conscience is also pricked because my great grandparents and grandparents suffered from a REAL pogrom way back in 1941. You’re full of shit.

          • How very sad, so someone who should be at the forefront of fighting this is in denial and resorting to vulgarity. Such a shame.

          • I speak as i find citizen Rick b

          • So look harder.

          • No, you give me some evidence to back up what you’ve said about

            “Sterilisation? yes. Relocation? yes. Abortions? yes”

          • You do understand that before there was the oscenity of the Holocaust, there was the obscenity of Aktion T4, and the murder of possibly as many as 250,000 disabled Germans, Austrians and Poles?:That the techniques for murdering Jewish victims were honed to evil perfection on their disabled foregoers? When disabled people talk about similarities between now and the thirties in Germany we do it because we know the history and many people don’t. There is a reason we adopt the black triangle as our own, a symbol with the same resonance to us as the Judenstern to a Jew,

            But don’t take my word for it, here’s Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers, talking for Holocaust Memorial Day 2012 about the legacy of the Black Triangle http://rabbidebbie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/holocaust-memorial-day-black-triangle.html

            And what am I to call it but a pogrom when I and pretty much every disabled person I know have been abused and/or assaulted in the street, for the sin of being disabled in public. Hell, I’ve just been told I bear the mark of Satan in the postings on this page.

          • Grow up. Stop comparing the shoah to the current UK government. I’m switched off, frankly.

          • I talk about Aktion T4 and you tell me to grow up?

          • Dude

            It’s the comparison with the UK government today and the Nazi regime. Yes, yes, I know it’s “Iain Duncan Sith”.

          • Oh and my final thought for a couple of days is to say I’m NOT the enemy of the disabled-my soul mate is disabled and wheelchair bound. My nephew is severely disabled.

            but regardless. I note that Tanya wanted to post this as a bridge to moderate conservative people such as myself as others (despite the lack of her courtesy in responding to my posts, darter’s posts and my sister’s posts).

            all I’ve had and other moderates here have had is blowback from militants and left wing socialists, by way of response is extreme hyperbole , rhetoric which stands up to no reasoned argument and you and others have not given any olive branches or anything. We were this blog posts target audience, but we’ve been ignored or scorned or bullied by ridiculous comparisons to the third Reich.

            So Tanya’s efforts been in vain.

      • A Cornish councillor resigned, and was re-elected, after saying disabled kids were too expensive and should be put down – he actually said ‘if it’s a sheep like that, you just swing it against a wall’. Ultimately he was forced to stand down again.
        A UKIP candidate in Kent called for compulsory abortion of disabled babies. After the party disowned him dozens of UKIP members protested on social media that he had done nothing wrong and was only talking sense.
        Several prominent medical ethicists hoid the view that a disabled life is a wasted life. A paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, sister journal to the BMJ, discussed the possibility of ‘post natal abortion’ of disabled babies. When disabled people objected, the medical ethicists denied that we had a right to an opinion.
        It was UKIP policy in the 2010 election to call for the relocation of learning disabled people in camps.
        The closing of the Independent Living Fund, which provides for the care costs of those with the most significant care needs is widely expected to have many councils attempting to force disabled people out of the community and into homes. As disability specific homes mostly no longer exist they are expected to be placed in old age homes. A disabled friend of mine was actually forced into such a home for almost a year in their early 20s. It’s possible the readers here may not find these prospects frightening, disabled people do.
        Scrounger rhetoric and stories about the costs of disabled people to the tax payer bear distinct similarities to ’30s era Nazi propaganda that made statements such as “60,000 Reichsmarks is what this person suffering from a hereditary defect costs the People’s community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too.”
        I know several disabled people who have had utter strangers walk up to them and tell them they should commit suicide.
        Medical sterilization of disabled people never entirely went away, While we think about Nazi Germany as the worst example of eugenics, compulsory sterilization of disabled people in the West predated Aktion T4, and continued long after, with the US being perhaps the worst, and, surprisingly, Sweden having the programme that lasted the longest, into the ’70s. Individual cases still happen every year where the courts hold there is a reason for them. I’ve heard of at least one case in the UK this year.
        I reported someone to Twitter about a fortnight ago for urging a disabled friend of mine should be put down and calling for either compulsory abortion of disabled babies or sterilization of their mothers, it wasn’t entirely clear which and may have been both.
        These attitudes are out there, with government whipping up scrounger rhetoric, disabled people have every reason to be scared.
        Random violence against disabled people is something very real (I’ve been assaulted myself, so have many of my friends), I make it a practise not to leave the house on the day after any ‘benefit scrounger’ programme as the risks are simply too high.

        No, we aren’t yet at September 1939 and the start of Aktion T4, but the similarities to the early 30s are clear for those who know both their German History and their Disability History.

        • I’m not a UKIP supporter and I don’t hate disabled people.

          • I wouldn’t imagine you were, but these views are out there, and the rise of views like those of UKIP, which haven’t gone away, make this a scary time to be a disabled person in the UK.

  • I haven’t read more than a few comments. I think I’d get angry if I did.

    To those without compassion, I’ll say this…

    Along with many people, just as bad or worse than me, I’m called a
    scrounger now. Why should other people pay their taxes to support me?

    It only takes a split second to have an accident that leaves you, your partner, child, parent, sibling, friend or neighbour, crippled and in need of serious help for the rest of your/their life.

    It only takes one illness to develop into something sinister that prevents you living a ‘normal’ life, that disables you for the rest of your life which becomes a daily, even hourly struggle…

    Ten years ago, I never, not for one second thought that I’d end up like I am today. I couldn’t and didn’t understand.

    I cannot walk or talk for long, without oxygen, my leg is dying, swollen to bursting, bleeding, dripping yellow fluid and may one day need amputating. I am in constant, severe pain that makes me cry sometimes. Yes… cry. A 6foot 4 bloke crying with pain until the morphine kicks in. Every breath I take hurts me. Eating is a chore, where it used to be fun. I can rarely make my wife a cup of tea. It gets worse…

    I know I’m not alone by any means. I try and not complain. I try to carry on with life as best I can and help other people in some small way if I’m able to.

    The daft thing is… if you ended up like me, I’d probably try to help you too.

    But I never, ever expected I would end up like this. You could be next.

    Don’t mock. It really, truly could be you next. It really could.

    • Dear man, no person of sound mind would call you a “scrounger”. Given the range of severe need you have described, you would have no difficulty at all accessing the full range of benefits available and a full package of health and social care support for you and your carers. And Jack thoroughly supports you doing so.
      Keep your chin up and understand the hostile comments below are directed at the noisy vanguard of the militant few who ignore the need to reform the system and who are opposed to a welfare state based on assessment of need and targeted aid, and not universal benefits based on self-assessment.

      • Wow, way to miss the point, Jack. Disability-related benefits are not based on self-assessment and as far as I know never have been.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      As you say, it could happen to anybody. I would have to presume that those who disagree with the state funding of care for the disabled, if they were misfortunate enough to become disabled, they would (a) refuse all state assistance, (b) pass the burden of care solely onto their families, or (c) be content to be totally abandoned and fend for themselves.

    • magnolia

      Yes it could. I have had disabled relations so the last thing I would do is not sympathise. You expect more understanding than you get when you are actually in that position. Most of those posting here do not know that, and think there is oodles of understanding out there. Equally gruesome is those who think they have a right to talk down to you if you are ill or disabled. You are a “person” who is having difficulties not a “disabled person” who is a subset to be patronised.

      I also know that what Jesus is recorded as doing is loads loads better than all the tedious trips to hospital, doctors, nurses, special needs assessment meetings, and so on and so on. I have heard morphine is a decidedly mixed blessing too. In some places the Church is following Jesus in his ministry of healing. In others it is not; overall I suspect we get somewhere between a B- and a C+ in how far we allow ourselves to be used. For that we need to apologise, for we are ignorant, weak, low in faith,and sometimes just lazy, and we often do not do those good works that the Lord has laid out for us.

      Money is quite useful, but far better to encounter someone like St Peter at the golden gate, saying,
      “Silver and gold have I none. But what I have give I thee…”

      That is really, when it comes down to it, what most disabled people need and want. There are some terrific stories out there, but most have little to no access to those who could and would pray, and pray regularly, repeatedly, persistently, and with some skill and flexibility, which is our shame. It should not be left only up to their close families and friends, who need “carrying” a bit even if they are strong Christians because of the amount of basic physical needs they have to meet.

    • Phil R

      Hi Paul

      I am genuinely sorry for your accident and I understand that you are annoyed by some of the comments. (Probably some of mine!)

      I think what we are discussing here is whether throwing more money at the state to provide help is really the best way for society and indeed for the individual that needs help.

      Perhaps, some sort of insurance scheme would in fact be better as you perhaps would have more control over your own treatment.

      I believe that a new way forward needs to be found before the money runs out and we are completely bankrupt as a nation.

      As for paying taxes to support you. I don’t know if that is really both the best and only way we should operate in the longer term.

      I think we still need to debate this difficult topic that we hope will never affect us personally.

      • “Perhaps, some sort of insurance scheme would in fact be better”

        We could call it National Insurance, oh, wait….

        You have to remember many disabled people will never be able to work in a conventional sense. Many more could work but for the attitudes of employers (some of which we have seen here). Any system has to allow those of us who can’t work equal dignity with those who do, not expect us to throw ourselves on the random vagaries of charity. The current system can provide that if administered without political whim, I’ve not come across another proposal that both meets our needs and treats us with equal respect.

        • Phil R

          First National Insurance is a tax pure and simple

          Secondly employers cannot run their business as a charity they will go out of business as there will always be employers who don’t

          Third. The country is broke we are borrowing money just to keep going

          Come back at me if you want. I just cannot see how we can change reality

  • Having read this thread, Happy Jack gives thanks to God that the country was spared the blight of an SNP/Labour government.

    • bockerglory

      What’s happened to the assisted suicide bill? That is the left wing dream?

      Coupled with selective abortion there will be no disabled in 100yrs from now. This is how the left deal with suffering.

      ATOS and the DSS clearly need a review and quite clearly wheelchair bound people will have less opportunities to get a job.

  • grutchyngfysch

    Ms Marlow, there is much in your open letter that ought to concern and challenge Christians of all political persuasions. I don’t intend to challenge any of your assertions about the fundamental need for greater compassion in our relationships with our neighbours, but also in how we seek to build a society that defends those in need. I would like to offer two observations from a different perspective.

    The first is that compassion ought not to be conflated solely with the provision of need. There is certainly a lot of overlap here – in many cases non-familial support workers and carers exemplify compassionate service in what can only be described as vocational employment. But there is also a fair degree of institutional indifference, which was not introduced when the Coalition came to power. My point isn’t complex: yes, you are correct to note that it is naive to imagine that individual service can as efficiently supply need, but it is also important to remember that mere provision of need is not the same as compassion. A more compassionate society may well see greater provision of welfare (in an ideal world), but it would, I think, also be somewhat different from the “Big State” vision that is often pushed as the alternative by the left. I’d go further, actually, and say that in the long run, a Big State may well end up being substantially less compassionate. When welfare is reduced from social justice rooted in bonds between people to mere provision of need, I wonder if you can see how in areas such as abortion and euthanasia we might see “progress” which ultimately goes in a very different direction from compassion for men and women.

    The second observation regards the addressees of your letter: the Conservative voters. (I will note at this point that on the basis of this election, I do not qualify as the intended audience.) Judging by much of the tone and content of your letter, I suspect that whilst you do not wish to accuse your audience of malice with forethought, you do still assume some form of indifference or indirect malice by ignorance. But I wonder if you have perhaps considered whether there might be a possible view which is aware of the kinds of cuts which have been carried out by the Coalition and still sees it as the more “compassionate” option.

    I am not talking here about motivating the supposedly feckless or catching fraudsters. Those are all peripheral in any case. I am talking about the economy. Rightly or wrongly – I don’t intend to start a debate about the accuracy of these views – it would be fair to say that many people perceive that a central issue in current politics is the soundness and stability of our economy. Suppose for a moment you are one of those people, and you perceive that you are being offered a choice between a party which you believe will make genuinely painful cuts, even to the point of severing limbs, to save the whole body, and one which will emote and feel the pain of the body but will ultimately fail to stop (and indeed may actively accelerate) the gangrene which has set in. Your focus has been (I am not criticising this) on the pain that will result from a Tory government. But perhaps those Tory voters have been setting their eyes on the pain ahead – the pain that would result from an economy that fails, pain which would drag immeasurably more people down in the long run. Even if the accuracy of that perception can be questioned, I think there would be substantially more ground to say that just as you write your letter out of a desire for greater compassion, it was with compassion that some people chose to vote for the Conservatives. These things are not mutually exclusive.

    The question can be simply put: do you imagine that the disabled and the poor have had their lots substantially improved by generations of socialist spending and welfare spending in Greece?

    Thank you for taking the time to outline how compassion informs your politics and activism. I hope it is possible for you to see how it may be that compassion has informed the decisions made by your opponents.

    • Having read some of the comments there, I am more convinced that Conservative voters are motivated by malice than I was before.

      • Anon1

        Nice way to avoid the question. You have no idea how those responding voted. It may be that they voted for UKIP, or no-one, or BNP. Assume Tory if that fits your pre-existing bias, but I’d have more respect if you assume nothing and try and answer the above.

      • grutchyngfysch


        It can be tempting to read comments as representative of a political mindset – but I try to avoid it, since most people don’t post comments on political websites (we are all very much outliers, particularly on niche news sites like this one).

      • Not everyone who comments here are Conservative party voters.

    • Thank you for your comment, and for reply with courtesy. I shall address your questions briefly, but first I want to make it clear that I am not attempting a war on left wing versus right wing. I think people of all political persuasions can support the idea of giving need to the most vulnerable in society, and not letting the cuts fall most heavily on some of the most powerless in our society. Cameron has gone on record saying he wants more money to go to severely disabled, so I feel fairly confident in the assertion that this is something that Conservative voters can get behind.

      1. For what it’s worth, I am not wedded to the idea of everything being provided by the state. For several reasons I think it’s better done by the state than by the church or charities, but I’ll leave those to the side for now. You say ‘compassion does not equate to provision of need’. Fine – but now I’m thinking of the parable of the Good Samaritan. To put it in Christian terms – what does it mean to be the neighbour of the 18,000 disabled people losing their Independent Living Fund? I also think it is a significant leap to go from helping disabled people to advocating euthanasia and abortion, and not a fair association to make with this particular campaign.
      2. If you start talking about disabled people as necessary limbs for amputation in order to save the whole body (ie the country), I’m going to feel uncomfortable with that suggestion on several levels. I could argue with you about the economy, and I think there is a way to be compassionate whilst not being naive, but there’s not the space here, and others are more equipped to deal specifically with the economy. Re motivation – I’m not intending to accuse anyone of malice. I am hoping that once people see the needs they will be moved to act with compassion and mercy. Is that pretty much what you were saying? I’m not dictating how cuts should be made, I am questioning the targeting of the cuts onto disabled and severely disabled people. I am hoping that among Christians, who believe that people’s worth is not in what they do but the fact that they are made in the image of God, will be able to support disabled people to be able to live with dignity and enjoy some of the everyday rights that able-bodied people so often take for granted. I’m hoping that Christians will say ‘these people are valuable and we want to support them’. If someone, out of a conviction that the state should be small and the charity sector large, wants to start up a charity or raise money for the excellent disabled charities that are already out there, then more power to ’em. Let’s work together in this. Hate crime against disabled people is at its highest rate since records began – and many people attacking disabled people are doing so with the verbal insults of ‘scrounger’ and ‘benefit cheat’. It would be wonderful if Christians could be the first to counter this kind of thinking. That’s where I’m coming from – wanting to utterly affirm the value and dignity of disabled people.

      • Politically__Incorrect

        Tanya, I think it is a great pity that so many on this blogg have tried to force you into a defensive positiob over this. My understanding is that your piece was intended to highlight the plight of those who through no fault of their own (and could included anybody commenting here) finds themselves unavoidably dependant on the goodwill of others. It’s a pityt that some people here couldn’t respond even with civility, let alone goodwill. I’m glad to say it is generally not my experience that Christians are like this. I have known many who have bent over backwards to help others less fortunate than themselves. For me it’s not a party-political issue to look after the genuinely vulnerable. It is a Christian imperative, and I think anyone who denies that also denies Christ.

      • grutchyngfysch

        “to utterly affirm the value and dignity of disabled people”

        This is it precisely – and that’s why I brought up abortion and euthanasia, because whilst you and I will approach this through the lens of Imago Dei a great many people, across the political spectrum, will not. You mentioned bullying – that was in my mind also. Very often the abuse invokes the idea that it would be better if a disabled person had never been born, or at the least had the decency to kill themselves. Where does this idea come from? It comes in part from the absence of the fundamental truth known by Christians of the innate and divinely authored worth of mankind, but it also comes when the World reduces everything into its economic worth (whether by the left or the right – the metaphysical consequence goes the same way). How often have we heard people describe abortion and euthanasia as compassionate? It would not be too difficult to round up people whose response to genuine and abject suffering would simply be: why not end it?

        “To put it in Christian terms – what does it mean to be the neighbour of the 18,000 disabled people losing their Independent Living Fund?”

        That’s the real question isn’t it? I don’t think it is possible to be the neighbour of 18,000 disabled people. But I am the neighbour of several disabled people. The point you make about the efficiency of state distribution over private charity was one I alluded to above: I don’t for a moment imagine that it is possible for private giving to be as efficiently leveraged in providing uniform support. I think there are enough models in Scripture where the Temple or the Church authorities are charged with organising service to those in need to see that welfare is an outgrowing from the burdens we bear for our neighbours as individuals. I am not against or hostile to welfare in principle or in practice. But I am very much for looking with a clear eye at what that means in the cold light of day.

        You mentioned discomfort at the surgeon analogy I used – I didn’t use that language to be either offensive or to ram home a point emotively; I used it because this is a subject which is fundamentally uncomfortable. Pain always is. I have an elderly relative who requires quite expensive cancer treatment. They will likely receive this on the NHS. Am I glad of this? Absolutely. Can I see the way in which this treatment will underpin their value as an image-bearer? Yes, I can. But I also know people – far younger than my relative – who have not been able to receive the treatment they need because it is too expensive. Because too few people will benefit – or because the benefits (in some cases maybe only extending life with only a moderate quality for a few years) are deemed to be too small. How can I not be uncomfortable? Yet these are the dilemmas which face healthcare providers on a daily basis – they are the dilemmas which face governments. OK, I might well ask how many lives might have been touched by a banker’s bonus being appropriated – and perhaps there is some truth in that: perhaps sufficient money could be gathered at such cost to ensure that all UK citizens get the treatment they need. But it won’t help the poor and dying anywhere else – all those image bearers with no NHS or health insurance – and I think even the most optimistic redistributionist would ultimately have to admit that radical redistribution will never be able to overcome finite resources. Truisms can provide false comfort and false confidence, but it isn’t far wrong, I think, to note that no matter what path is taken, someone somewhere will pay the cost. Like the poor, the sick and the disabled are always, prophetically and powerfully, with us.

        This is not an argument for inaction, or whataboutery intended to defuse the challenge you make in favour of a passive status quo. I am in no doubt that our society is rotten through in the sight of Heaven. It is our duty to hold authorities to account in the name of the Lord. I’m signing up to your website because I agree with you on that point. But the point which I have been trying to make regards a second obligation which falls to the Church. It is the obligation to teach people, by example, how to live in need and want and pain, and still say “God is good”. It is to stand beside our neighbour – not figuratively for masses that we cannot possibly come to know – and walk with them in tears and discomfort, embarrassment and suffering. It is to take up those things when they fall to us to suffer, with that unearthly Grace which falls down from Heaven. Bodies will still need tending, bums will still need to be wiped, but there will be a witness in that need to the God who restores and revives. “When I am weak then I am strong.” We have to live differently, both in abundance and in want.

  • Jo

    So many comments here miss the point, suggesting that it would be better for disabled to work rather than rely on benefits, and asserting that Tanya and others like her want to see disabled people sitting at home like lonely vegetables rather than out making some kind of meaningful contribution and giving themselves a life worth living.

    They miss the point that for many many people, the benefits that are now being cut are what enable them to do precisely that. For a wheelchair user who needs an adapted car, or depends on taxis for reliable transport, the mobility component to their DLA allows them to get to paid or voluntary work where otherwise they would be unable to do so. For the deaf professional, access to an interpreter allows them to work to their fullest ability and succeed in jobs that otherwise wouldn’t be open to them. These are the benefits that are being cut – the ones that seek to level the playing field to give as many people as possible the opportunity to live a “normal” life as far as they can, contributing to society and to the economy.

    One would hope that the most basic care is not under threat, but if anything beyond staying clean and eating enough to survive is deemed a luxury, we will end up treating human beings with disabilities worse than we do our pets. Those of you who equate the concept of “living independently” with loneliness and isolation should realise that without access to adequate support, that is precisely what living independently will come to mean for disabled people. The ILF and access to work scheme provided that “extra” help to enable people to go out, socialise, work, volunteer, etc. The cuts to these funds makes life harder for a lot of real people who want nothing more than to do the everyday things most of us take for granted, the things that many commenters here are urging them to get out and do!

    On a more personal note I’m quite astonished by the vitriol of some of these comments and the personal attacks on Tanya and her illness. ME/CFS is not well understood and seems to often be diagnosed when doctors have ruled out all other possibilities – as such it might incorporate a range of illnesses with different causes and similar symptoms, from the relatively mild to the very severe. This though is hardly the fault of the patients, and though I know Tanya only via the Internet, there are two people close to me who prior to becoming ill were energetic, active and hard working. Their illnesses are unfortunately very real. As one other commenter said, it’s hard to judge the genuineness of an acquaintance’s disability from afar – seeing what someone goes through behind the scenes is often a whole other story.

    • What interests me WRT ME/CFS is I know several people who have received the most abhorrent abuse over their ME/CFS diagnosis, accused of being fakes, scroungers and all the rest, and yet in the past couple of years a couple of them have had their diagnoses revised to mitochondrial disease, which does now have a genetic test for it, and what do you know, it turns out they absolutely do have the disability they said they did. And still they’re abused as fakes and scroungers.

  • Paul Dean

    My doctor wife for a while was doing assessments for DLA and came across so many who simply didn’t need the money the were getting, many blatantly lying about their conditions (e.g. identifying the wrong limb as disabled!). Those who need it should get it, without a doubt, that is not the question at all. The question is how to make sure that the money goes to those who do need it and is not squandered on those who don’t. To make this a debate on simplistic Left-vs-Right terms is to actually do a disservice to those in genuine need.

    The only way to make it absolutely fair, as I see it, is to bypass all these assessments with the universal “citizen’s income”, that lonely good policy of the Green party.

    • Anton

      Properly funded and set, it’s actually not such a bad idea. And I have had congregation Elders who were/are doctors and echo what your wife says.

      • And the ESA appeals are full of reports by doctors that talked about entirely the wrong disability, never mind entirely the wrong limb (and one or two that didn’t even get the sex right). I am absolutely certain that the doctor who assessed me had concluded I was lying before he ever entered the room, and was admant in that belief until the moment I said ‘I need to stand now or I’m going to be sick’ and he actually looked at me for the first time (about 30 minutes into the assessment),. I don’t know what he saw, possibly the way I was shaking, but he went white and spent the rest of the assessment desperately enquiring if I could continue. Were those stories your fellow churchgoers told you about simply people like me, but who weren’t fortunate enough to make their assessor look past his prejudices and actually see the patient?

        • Anton

          What happened to you is wrong and we need to work to improve the system.

  • ZX10

    It;’s not a ‘bedroom tax ‘ legally or in way really , it’s a reduced subsidy ! the use of labour party dog whistle code words shows more then I need to know about this person and her politics but just in case I was wrong I checked her out and nope she is full on Labour !
    Tanya Marlow
    [email protected]_Marlow
    To the disabled, ill, unemployed people in the UK who are terrified about what this may mean for you – I am lamenting with you today.
    Tanya Marlow
    [email protected]_Marlow
    May 8
    @pilgrimKath thanks for keeping Caroline, though. We had a marginal seat and Cons was reflected by 400 votes. Gutted doesn’t even come close

    • Do you mean to say that you discount an argument based on the voting habits of the person making it, irrespective of its merits?

      • grutchyngfysch

        Coming from the camp that is often described as “heartless Tory scum” before we even open our mouths, I’d say it’s an approach that is endemic (and therefore not improved upon when it’s turned round against the left).

      • tjamesjones

        it doesn’t have a lot of merits Tanya. The number of unemployed people in the UK fell from 2010 to 2015 by was it 2 million, and while you can’t credit any government with most economic activity, it’s a pretty tough argument to say that the Labour party would have done better. Pro-employee workplace rules (which Labour loves) have a negative effect on employment, and e.g. unfair dismissal rules work against the unemployed. High minimum wages work against the unemployed. Rigid employment rules that make it harder to hire, fire make it harder for successful businesses to take on new staff and unsuccessful ones to shed them. That’s capitalism Tanya and that’s the lifeblood of this country’s economy.

        • Unfair dismissal rules force employers to be very certain they are pushing out an employee for a legitimate reason and not because some manager takes against them in a fit of pique. The balance is still in favour of the employer, but it forces them to take the care that should be taken, There are still loopholes in the law that allow outright discrimination, my employer found one they thought they could get away with, but they had to admit their first several approaches would not have stood up in court and that their characterisation of me as lazy and unable to do the job was not in fact true (note that the manager making that allegation in public was absolutely clear with me in private that the reason was actually my disability and his belief that any disabled worker should be forcibly retired or otherwise got rid of).

          • tjamesjones

            Obviously I have no idea what is happening in your situation, though your representation of your manager’s view is a little implausible. The nice thing about the private sector is that fundamentally business is about making a success of things, which is not a goal achieved by sacking capable staff. It is a goal that is hampered by being unable to sack difficult or incapable staff. Discrimination laws are a shopping list for anybody in a “minority group”, and I have seen a number of cases where the employer has got bogged down by some spurious discrimination claim.
            It’s not always the nicest and performance is judged harshly, but it’s my believe that capitalism with few restrictions delivers the best outcome for the most people. Which does deliver taxes for those who are genuinely unable to fend for themselves.

  • Inspector General

    For all those who posted here and gained an opportunity to air their hatred of Conservative voting types, you do realise you have done your cause no good at all.

    You people have only ‘lost’ the election if you want it that way. But then, your self centred needs and requirements come first, don ‘t they?

    And as a result, you will be avoided when your views should be taken into account.
    Bloody well done!

  • minidvr

    Tanya Marlow makes an impassioned plea for compassion from the Government towards people in their greatest need and is met with sneers and abuse on a blog, which proclaims that it is Christian and from some commentators who profess a form of Christianity that I’m thankful not to be part off.

    Jesus of course suffered sneers and was mocked. He was spat on and cruelly handled on his way to the Cross. He was beaten, crowned with thorns and finally nailed to a cross, forced to drink vinegar and finally pierced by a spear for making the very same argument that Tanya has done. To love each other as he loved his disciples.

    I don’t see much of that in this conversation.

    • Anton

      A government cannot provide compassion. It can only provide money. And there are two sides to money: how to raise it and how to spend it. Tanya Marlow is entitled to put one side but commenters are entitled to put the other. not many people have suggested pulling the plug on disability benefit for the genuinely disabled rather than malingerers and I am certainly not one.

    • Inspector General

      Nobody ‘forced’ Christ to drink vinegar. Adding vinegar wine to the dodgy local water supply to sterilise it was a sage idea.
      Having got that wrong, you must ask yourself what else you have misunderstood. Here’s a clue – the answer is ‘plenty’.

  • Anton

    There was a far higher proportion of the population disabled after two world wars. What was the government approach then?

    • Stella Abbott

      more than a few were sheltering in shop doorways still wearing very worn army greatcoats at the local UCP tripe shop when I passed as a child, a couple of years after the war ended. (Born 1939)
      (P.s. That the pea soup smelled very fetching had nothing to do with the government of the day.

  • grutchyngfysch

    “What would Jesus do” when confronted with the sick and disabled?

    Heal them.

    • William Lewis

      But only if they wanted it. Not everyone does, apparently.

      • clark ellis

        So now the sick are to blame for not wanting to be healed, too? Or have I misundersttood?
        I am ready to be healed. I have that faith. Yet time and again the people I ask to pray for me demonstrate that they do not possess the required faith: they are reluctant, and place limits on God’s power with the words they choose to use. What I really need is someone to come pray for me, who like me, truely believes that God can heal me.
        Till then, I need support – financial support, to keep a roof over my head, and sustainence on the table. Until I was sicki was a higher rate tax payer for years and I paid a lot of money in tax to help support those in need. Now I am in need, But what help do I get from those lucky enough to be well and have the joyful blessing of being able to work?

        The thing is, when people who are well think on this topic, too often they convince themselves that it could not happen to them or their loved ones, and that those who are disabled have plenty and can manage with less, and that many of these people are scroungers, undesirables anyway – maybe even fortunate that they get to stay home and watch tv (wouldn’t that be nice? No actually!) but all without any personal experience of what it is really like to be sick, to be disabled in this country.
        You may not realise it but your thoughts and actions are judgements on the sick, which have real consequences; if you do not aid them then no one else will. Do not believe that you are excempt from responsibility just because it is indirect through the govt that represents you.

        Is it right that the most vulnerable and in need (through no fault of their own – many, once, working hard alongside people just like you) with the lowest disposable income (often bill) bare a disproportionate burden of this countries austerity?

        This isn’t about who is in govt it is about what is right and wrong. I urge you to pressure your MP (whatever party they represent) to do what is right.

        If you think that hard, then do the easier thing and go pray, with faith, that the sick and disabled be healed and no longer in need from this country.

        • William Lewis

          “So now the sick are to blame for not wanting to be healed, too? Or have I misundersttood?”

          There is someone on this thread who said that he does not want to be cured as his disability helped to define him. And Jesus asked someone if they wanted to be healed so He clearly didn’t take it as read. However, I have not made any comment about the sick deserving their illness/disability nor about their possible lack of faith (or that of those who pray for them) prolonging their predicament. Nor do I believe it. I hope and pray that you will be healed.

          “Is it right that the most vulnerable and in need (through no fault of their own – many, once, working hard alongside people just like you) with the lowest disposable income (often nil) bear a disproportionate burden of this countries austerity?”


          • That was me saying I don’t want to be healed. I could do without the chronic pain and fatigue, but walking is overrated and my neurodiversity is fundamental to the person I am. The desire for a cure is actually much less common than non-disabled assume and among several disability communities (Deaf and Neurodiverse particularly) is very much a minority position. I fully admit that among groups like those with SCIs not wanting to be cured would be the minority position, but you need to talk to us to understand that the presumption by non-disabled people that every disabled person wants to be cured is arrogant in the extreme.

            The assumption that we want to be cured for a lot of non-disabled people is based on a presumption that a disabled life is somehow less. You might want to give some thought to what that says about your views on our individual worth,

          • William Lewis

            We are all handicapped in some way or other. Some in obvious and perhaps debilitating ways, others in hidden or far less obvious ways. Some through no fault of our own, others through the choices that we make. We are all sinners and yet we are all valued by God. My view of an individual’s worth has never been governed by their apparent physical or mental abilities.

        • magnolia

          There are some good prayers for healing on Youtube by people who do believe, and use quiet commandment rather than emotive and/or uncertain pleading. You will know yourself who are most genuine, who are less, and who are not at all, and with whom you feel comfortable.

          All the best. God bless.

  • CharleyFarleyFive

    I always try to approach these articles with an open mind, but as soon as I read the words ‘bedroom tax’ I know that the author is politically motivated. It’s important if we’re to have a grown up debate to jettison such politically motivated nonsense.

    I have some experience, I have a disabled child with a number of complex needs. At no point over the last five years have our child’s needs not been met and at no point have our child’s benefits been reduced.

    Whether this indicates that cuts have not yet reached children with disabilities and have only affected adults or that benefits where the claimant is clearly genuinely disabled have not been affected I tend to assume the later.

    I cannot think of one Tory voter I know who wishes to see benefits reduced for the genuinely disabled.

    • tjamesjones

      exactly. it’s entirely political, partisan and usefully vague about details.

      here are some open letters Tanya could have written to the Labour party:

      “Dear Labour Party, could you please stop using the dishonest phrase ‘bedroom tax’ when talking about the Coalition’s plans to manage the welfare budget? It’s not a tax, is it!? And using it gives the impression that you don’t really care about how the welfare budget is used, you just want to make political points. Much better if you explain, with facts, the potential negative impact of the policy, which is no doubt a side effect of its stated aim which is to provide government housing of the smallest possible size to people who need it. Because you use the phrase Bedroom Tax, a lot of voters will conclude that you don’t really care about how their taxes are spent, and that you are simply appealing to the votes of anyone who is a net beneficiary of state handouts”

      Or here’s another one:

      “Dear Labour Party, do you think you could stop bashing business and high rate tax payers! It’s businesses and their employees who pay the taxes that actually let us operate a welfare system and a national health system. George Bernard Shaw once said that any policy that robs peter to pay paul will have the support of paul. But you seem to want to take it one step further and abuse peter as well! It’s not very appealing to the majority of UK voters, and I fear that this sort of slander could cost us the election”.

      More available if you’d like.

      • Indeed, and yet she wasn’t talking about those matters, she was talking about whether the lives of disabled people get better or worse, and Labour doesn’t have any power to make the lives of disabled people better than worse (other than by joining the Tories in the use of scrounger rhetoric, which I criticized Simon Danczuk for earlier and have repeatedly criticized them for over a period of several years).

        Meanwhile we know that the Conservative government will make our lives worse because of measures passed in the last parliament and already underway, many of them deliberately pushed back beyond the election in order to deliberately describe their impact. Most notably we’re expecting the closure oif the Independent Living Fund and the full implementation of PIP/

        You might remember David Cameron promising to look after the “most vulnerable in society” immediately prior to the 2010 election. Immediately after the 2010 election he announced the closure of the Independent Living Fund, the scheme that provides the care needed for the most severely disabled people to live independently in the community. The full closure was delayed until next month, conveniently post election. There will be a transfer of funding to local authorities, but that funding will not be ring-fenced and many councils have said disabled people in receipt of ILF will see a cut in their care budgets. It is predicted this will result in an unknown number of disabled people seeing their care budget cut below the amount needed to keep them safe, and those disabled people then being pressured to move into some form on institutionalized care, most likely old aged people’s nursing homes.

        Turning to PIP, the 20% cut which is explicitly part of its design will automatically exclude 20% of people currently in receipt of DLA from the new benefit, even though their level of disability will not have changed. This is particularly designed to hit people with mobility impairments. If you can wobble 20m you will not now be eligible for Higher Rate Mobility Component (versus 50m previously). I don’t know about you, but there’s not one disabled parking bay locally that is within 20m of anything, never mind a bank, a post office, a chemists, and the bus stops are worse. Lose Higher Rate Mobility and you lose eligibility for Motability and any wheelchair or car you lease from them. That’s around 280,000 disabled people expected to lose HRM and 90,000 of those expected to lose the wheelchair or car that allows them to be a member of the community, to go to work, to pick up their kids and so on.

        And beyond that we have the £12Bn of further cuts, the cuts the DWP says can only be achieved by extremely radical cuts, such as preventing under 25s claiming disability benefit.

        Does any of that sound like a positive move?

        Or does it sound like something that would clearly scare disabled people who are dependent on those benefits for having any sort of life outside the home?

        Does it sound like the kind of thing that might drive them to ask Christians for their support?

        Does it sound like the kind of thing Christ might have thrown himself behind without a moment’s thought?

        • tjamesjones

          I didn’t read all of this, but I don’t need any convincing that anybody who relies on state handouts would prefer they come with the fewest possible strings attached. That doesn’t make it the right policy because there is a limited amount of money & handouts are open to abuse. This is, apparently, a right wing pov.

    • Honestly, I don’t mind what you call it – I called it the bedroom tax because that’s what every newspaper headline was calling it, and I wanted it to be instantly recognisable so that people would know what I was talking about. As to political motivation – if Labour were in power and doing these things I’d be writing exactly the same. I’m not out to declare war on the Conservative party – simply gather Christians who are interested in helping the government keep their promise to be compassionate. I’m glad that funding cuts have not affected your child. My understanding is that the cuts are falling onto disabled adults rather than children. I would urge you to use caution in assuming that ‘everyone who is genuine will be believed by the government’. Please read through some of the stories even in this thread, consider the fact that assessments are undertaken by physiotherapists, not doctors, and consider the fact that the DWP’s own estimation of fraud for disability benefits is less than 1%. That is 99% of claimiants who are genuine, being affected by the cuts. Some people use ‘genuinely disabled’ as a shorthand for ‘disabled in a particular way’ or ‘more severely disabled than the disabled person I know’ or ‘physically disabled rather than mentally disabled’ or ‘not lying about their disability’. I am not sure which of these you are referring to. If it is the latter, consider the relatively rate of successful appeals, and the DWP’s own statistics for fraud. If it is the former, please consider that even for some of the most severely disabled people in our society – by anyone’s reckoning – they are experiencing the cuts. I hope you will find something in there that is worth supporting. Thank you for your time.

      • CharleyFarleyFive

        It’s called the spare room subsidy and its intention was well meaning, to ensure that those families who were cramped into small accommodation and needed extra rooms might be moved into properties occupied by those who didn’t require the extra space.

        Calling it a bedroom tax is dishonest and designed to appeal to the narrative that it’s nothing other than a way of getting at the poor and disabled.

        Are you aware that more than a third of the total number of people claiming sickness-related benefits chose not to have an assessment when the rules were changed? The amount of people who were on long term incapacity benefit and are now back in work is extraordinary, while many would have been content to sit at home living off of the state I’m sure many others are happy to have meaning to their lives again.

        In all of this there is no doubt that there will be unfair decisions, however things simply couldn’t be allowed to continue as they were.

        Of course be angry at the poor decisions and any failures in the system, but also be angry at the previous government who allowed benefits culture to run out of control, be angry at those people who dishonestly claim benefits, thus tarring all claimants with the same brush but most of all please don’t believe that Tories sit at home counting their money and dreaming up ways of heaping more misery on the poor and disabled.

        It’s both offensive and naive.

      • Trevor

        I know its easier said than done,
        but try not to worry about what the MP’s are doing even with regards to the bedroom tax.
        My school friend took his own life after the bedroom tax was introduced
        which shows Just how much it has affected many people.
        But this is where Faith in god can be of great help and strength.
        I now know that my friend Will be among the zillions that will be resurrected
        and I also know and am encouraged by knowing that in due course our heavenly father will intervene in human affairs and set things straight.
        so in the meantime Try to look to god for Strength and encouragement
        and we can be sure he will help us
        because Jesus provided proof of god’s support and love for people
        by his loving consideration towards the Jews in the past.
        they were under immense pressure from the Romans at that time
        and resented them as many people resent modern political rulers.
        However resentment of Modern day rulers isn’t recommended
        because they only rule because god has permitted them to rule for the present.
        but in due course they will be removed and replaced by the ruler ship of Jesus and his co rulers in heaven
        and they alone will guide the human family to peace.

        • notme3

          No he didnt. He would have took his life for a whole host of reasons. £14 a week wouldnt have been it.

          • Trevor

            thanks for your response notme3.
            how are you feeling today?
            I feel a little better
            had a stressful day yesterday.

    • Paul Hayes

      “I always try to approach these articles with an open mind, but as
      soon as I read the words ‘bedroom tax’ I know that the author is
      politically motivated.”

      You claim to have an open mind but you follow with an absurd non sequitur which demonstrates the opposite.

    • I’m afraid it’s a case of cuts haven’t yet reached disabled kids due to the fiasco that is Universal Credit not yet being fully rolled out. A report by Disability Rights-UK (formerly RADAR) predicts a cut of £28/wk for disabled children under UC, see http://www.channel4.com/news/disabled-benefits-welfare-cuts-tanni-grey-thompson (And a whole bunch of other coverage of the story at the time),

      Equally families in receipt of housing benefit with disabled children needing the use of a spare room for medical reasons were being hit by the bedroom tax (or whatever you prefer to call it), with DWP adamant they should not be exempted from it and only backing out at the last moment from an appeal to the Supreme Court. The current situatuion is that there an exemption for disabled children, but only for children in receipt of middle or higher rate care, children receiving lower rate care and children in receipt of mobility component only don’t get the exemption as far as I can see.

  • William Lewis

    It’s good and right that government agencies that make mistakes or have biases (deliberately or not) in their assessments should be highlighted and brought to account. But phrases like “The bedroom Tax”, which is no such thing, show just how pervading welfare dependency culture has become and how important it is to reform it.

    • I don’t mind what you call it – I scanned all the newspapers’ headlines and called it by the name that as most commonly used. I wanted people to recognise what I was talking about. I’m not interested in making this a left wing versus right wing debate. If Labour were doing the same I would be writing the same. Regarding ‘welfare dependency’ – it is worth pointing out that most disabled people are dependent people. If you can’t move about, you need someone to push you. If you can’t eat, you need someone to feed you. Let’s remember that, and also remember that 8 out of 10 disabled people were not born with a disability – we are all only an accident or a virus away from becoming ‘them’.

      • William Lewis

        I don’t have any problem with the taxpayer helping out genuinely dependent people with disabilities and I think it is important that if the necessary changes to welfare are unfairly affecting those in real need, then it is right that that is highlighted as you are doing. The problems of state provisioned services are manifold.

      • Hi Tanya

        Thanks for an informative post.

        Regarding the bedroom tax, I looked this up on the shelter website and it isnt a tax, but a cut in the benefit :basically the rent payment to that landlord is cut by 14% if one bedroom isn’t used and 25% for 2 bedrooms, which means the occupant has to pay the difference. Isn’t it fairer then for people in the situation to downsize to smaller properties and thus avoid the loss of income ? If you are a couple without children or single isn’t running a two, three or four bedroom house expensive anyways?

        Actually , this post has got me thinking and doing some research. From my brief foray into this , as I’ve only today got back from Israel, I see how much the benefits system needs reforming : from what I can understand the housing benefit system itself is wrong as it pays the landlords for their rent, if you qualify for the benefit. A private landlord can basically overinflate the rent because they’re o.k whatever happens, as they’ll get guaranteed money and a better return because the taxpayer is paying profit into a private concern (crony capitalism)? So the only people who gain from housing benefit are in the long term private landlords . So this whole benefit needs to be looked at.

        I’m thinking that it would be better to pay disabled people a “scaled” and tailored stipend for their basic cost of living, with grants available for stuff like cars and wheelchairs, which wouldn’t automatically be taken away if they earned money through work. Better that than the taxpayers money going to private landlords.

    • Paul Hayes

      At least the phrase ”bedroom tax” refers to something which exists. The phrase “dependency culture” does not: it’s a myth (see e.g. the JRF study) which shows just how pervasive the victim-blaming, anti-social security culture has become.

  • One thing that hasn’t been addressed by anyone is where the £70billion that we don’t have is going to come from, it’s the same as the election when the politicians were promising this that and the other, forgetting economic reality . The government cannot print money and borrow indefinitely and maintain the UK as a rich first world country : large taxes rises are unpopular and will in any case choke off an economic recovery. So that means a lot of savings have to come from cuts. The issue is where from. I’ve said I’d cut £30 billion by abolishing tax credits. But then that leaves a further £40 billion to find in further cuts and tax rises. Any government and not just the conservatives would have to deal with this brutal reality. If they didn’t then you’d see us going to the IMF, with austerity akin to Greece, which is far more severe than anything in the UK or what the nasty Tories have done.

    • Politically__Incorrect

      “But then that leaves a further £40 billion to find in further cuts and tax rises”
      Or, we could scrap HS2? Plenty of evidence this is going to be a waste of money, and will probably come in over-budget too.

      • Anton

        Call it H2S; it certainly has a bad smell.

      • Oh I agree it’s a white elephant vanity project, just like wind turbines. But my plan would save money today : in one year the deficit would dramatically go down. The money spent on large projects is done over years, so cancelling hs2 (which I agree shouldn’t go ahead ) is like “saving” the hundred billion the left allocates to replacement trident, which at best would be the total aggregate expenditure for the forty of fifty year lifetime of a nuclear weapons replacement.

  • Jill Houlden

    More money can be found. Many of us could pay more tax. Some folk could pay a lot more tax. We could still have fairly comfortable lives. These would then mean that sick, disabled and other disadvantaged folk would be looked after. Greed is a good part of the problem. Read what Jesus said….the Sermon on the Mount is a good starting point.

    • William Lewis

      The Sermon on the Mount pertains to individuals not governments. But if you believe that the Sermon on the Mount can best be lived out by providing the government with more money then I have some good news for you; you are actually allowed to pay more tax to HMRC than is required by law. Simply send them a cheque. Though I should warn you, it will probably just go towards interest payments.

    • Raise taxes , especially income tax, will simply mean the really wealthy will either leave (as the wealthy French did when they introduced a top rate 80% tax) or employ good accountants and solicitors. In fact the ones who will be hit hard will be the squeezed middle class, which is why Labour lost as the squeezed middle is the decisive force in British politics. You’ll more likely get more revenue by reducing taxes and it’s not greedy to work hard for a salary and enjoy the fruits of one’s labour.

    • Hi

      It’s a mitzvot to give 10% of our income to charity, but I don’t think giving
      more money to the government is gonna help. I mean we’ve had the welfare state for jonks and poverty hasn’t gone away….

    • Phil R

      Is more money and more taxes the only option?

      We desperately need a new plan

  • Elizabeth Selway

    Tanya- It’s a shame you haven’t got the facts right and are rather misguided in your opinions on health professionals. OTs & PTs do not make decisions on PIP, ESA or any other benefit. That’s always done by DWP ‘decision makers’ i.e. read untrained civil servant, probably an administrator. This is the major fault of the process- OTs (and any other health professionals) are bound by their various codes of conducts and therefore cannot be ‘incentivised’ or ‘bribed’. If Drs and allied health professionals were left to run the healthcare in this country, I believe this would lead to a much fairer system for this reason. Targets & tick boxes have no place in healthcare where we are dealing with individuals with fluctuating conditions. I would rather have an OT carrying out my assessment than any other health professional because they are comprehensively trained. They are able to assess how any health condition affects any activity that we do in daily life and also in vocational rehabilitation. There is no other profession that has this skill base. Why on earth would you put your faith in a Dr over an OT- just because they have the word Dr in-front of their name?! I’ll take the minimum 3 year degree level training that any OT has, plus the years of additional training & experience they are required to have before they go into the assessor role for the DWP, over the internet course and 2 days training assessors get. (and before I get lambasted, I have ME, yes I’m an OT and I’ve done the assessor training!) The problem is that so many ‘disabled’ people have convinced themselves they ‘can’t work’- whilst I agree that the Government’s strict definition of work needs changing to reflect less than 16 hours work also, the fundamental point stands. Work is good for people, in whatever form is suitable- it helps to maintain physical and mental health. Research has proven this and I would add that it has been absolutely true in my life too which is why I’m such a strong advocate for it. This is a very complex point which I cannot adequately explain right here and now and I also don’t want to throw in too much medical jargon. But, it’s all about finding the right work for someone and getting the right adjustments made. I could go on about some of the other points made too, but this is already long enough!

    • Kooljeff

      Disingenuous. There is lots of incontrovertible evidence that WCA assessors deliberately lie on the assessment to make their quota. This born out by up to 70% success rate on appeal. Or that assessments recorded don’t seem to find the majority “fit for work”. The DWP Decision Makers make their decisions on the reports submitted by the OTs and PTs and merely rubber stamp them. This has been born out by five reviews of the WCA which found that the DWP were not even sample testing the minimum number of reports mandated by their own rules. As for professional codes of conduct ensuring fair, robust and unimpeachable behaviour. Here is one example of a “professional”. A registered nurse who completed hundreds of WCAs was found to have been drinking on the job, not at lunch times, but taking drink disguised as soft drinks into the Assessment Suite. The Nursing and Midwifery Council struck her off for breaking their code of conduct and bringing the MNC into disrepute. Both Atos and the DWP refused to retest any of the disabled people she assessed. Then there was Dr Wood who resigned from Atos and turned Whistleblower highlighting many of the things you deny. As for your assertion that an OT knows better than an Oncology specialist, or over-rules a consultant psychiatrist because they are “better trained” is laughable. here is another example of Atos “Professionals”. A man had a heart attack in an Atos Assessment Suite during his assessment. They made him comfortable and called an ambulance. he was whisked to hospital and survived. The Atos “Professional” put on his Assessment report that he REFUSED to complete his assessment and the DWP stopped the man’s benefits.

      • Elizabeth Selway

        Precisely my point, as to why regulated professions with codes of conduct need to be the ones carrying out assessments AND making decisions. There will always be bad eggs, like Harold Shipman- that’s inevitable. If the whole system were run by medical professions then audit would be mandatory and errors such as you describe would not be likely to be occurring. And in regard to all this rubbish about ATOS needing to employ top medical staff- what nonsense! I’d far rather that top cancer specialists, neurologists etc are spending their time finding cures for these diseases and performing complex surgery, than assessing people’s fitness for work. The people performing those assessments are perfectly well trained to do so and in no way is there any relevance to that role for someone so specialist who should be focussing on conducting research in their field. As for these third hand stories you are peddling, I cannot comment. If the man went into hospital his benefits would have stopped anyway, so it seems a moot point indeed.

        • “As for these third hand stories you are peddling, I cannot comment. If
          the man went into hospital his benefits would have stopped anyway, so it
          seems a moot point indeed.”

          Wow, harsh indeed. Actually ESA does not stop on being hospitalised, some related payments may stop, but none stop immediately. Severe Disability Premium (fairly rare) would be the first to be lost after 4 weeks, and others after 20 and 52 weeks. Tell me, what’s the average hospital stay for a heart attack? About 6 days isn’t it?

          As for whether this is a third hand story being peddled, 30 seconds of googling turned up: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/sick-benefits-claimant-heart-attack-3098219

    • Elizabeth Selway I think you’re a bit naïve. Like Tanya says in her letter,
      ATOS are paid by the government to find savings so that’s their
      incentive. It is all about making cuts and that means they do have
      targets in order to be able to achieve the amount the government
      states it wants. ATOS are not going to spend money employing top
      medical staff as assessors.

      Occupational and Physiotherapists are employed to find people fit for work. If
      you can do certain movements then their report to the DWP will state
      that you are fit for work regardless what disability and illnesses
      you have. For example if you have crumbling vertebrae and are in
      agony everyday, but demonstrate that you can lift your arms up then
      you are fit for work. They are there solely to take away money off
      the poor and give it back to the government so that the already rich
      MPs can reward themselves with an 11% pay rise.

      • Elizabeth Selway

        I am not naive, I see the system from both sides- from working it that field and from having a disability myself that requires these assessments. BTW- I do not work for ATOS/ as a disability analyst. In the end I chose another career option, after completing their training and not because I disagreed with their system either. The Occupational Therapists or Physiotherapists are categorically NOT paid to find people fit for work, they are paid to assess how their disability impacts on them. I do exactly the same role for a private insurance company. I send my independent, unbiased report and I am not involved in the final decision. In the same way, neither are the Disability Analysts completing these reports for ATOS/ the government. I am amused by all these comments from people who ‘think’ they know what goes on- have any of you got disabilities that actually require you to undergo these assessments? Are these stories you are bandying about your own, or hearsay? Do you work as Disability Analysts/ have you undergone the training? If not, then all your comments are third hand and fairly meaningless. A large part of the disabled community seems to have missed the point of these assessments- if you have a crumbling spine- it does not necessarily mean you can never work. You may take pain killers and you can learn to manage your condition. You will get a great deal more fulfilment from your life by getting out of the house and having a meaningful and productive role, than you will sitting at home focussing on your pain and feeling sorry for yourself. As I said before, there are many different types of jobs- it’s just a case of finding one that is suitable. There are very few people in reality who will never work, some of my clients with profound and multiple learning disabilities are good examples of those who should be supported by the State. Stephen Hawking doesn’t sit at home on benefits, he has found ways to work around his disability, however difficult. I am someone who has also found ways to work around my disabilities and work, albeit part-time. And in regard to all this rubbish about ATOS needing to employ top medical staff- what nonsense! I’d far rather that top cancer specialists, neurologists etc are spending their time finding cures for these diseases and performing complex surgery, than assessing people’s fitness for work. The people performing those assessments are perfectly well trained to do so and in no way is there any relevance to that role for someone so specialist who should be focussing on conducting research in their field.

        • I’ll report back to you here in a fortnight.

        • “have any of you got disabilities that actually require you to undergo these assessments?”

          Yes, and my assessment was so psychologically damaging I’ve dropped out of the benefit system rather than go through it again, no matter that I passed my first WCA (well technically 3rd if you count the 1st one they failed to provide the requisite reasonable adjustment for and the 2nd one they claimed I failed to attend never mind that I was in too much pain to get downstairs to read the mail after that 1st one, and that they were contractually obligated to ring me about it, but didn’t. To quote DWP when I told them ‘Oh, for gods sake, not again’). My WCA featured a doctor who tried to browbeat me for having read up on the process in advance, then tried everything in his power to avoid recording a fact that scored me 15 points outright, an automatic WCA pass, even when it was clear that it was true and that I knew the implications. It was only when I told him ‘I have to stand up now or I’m going to be sick’ that he really looked at me, and whatever he saw, he went pale, and spent the rest of the assessment going ‘Are you sure you can continue? Are you absolutely sure you can continue?’

          Frankly I consider ‘Are these stories you are bandying about your own, or hearsay?’ insulting to the hundreds of thousands of disabled people who have suffered through these assessments. Remember 170,000 of these assessments have been overturned at tribunal for being factually incorrect, in some cases so factually incorrect that they could not possibly have been about the person in questiom. Remember that the Courts and Tribunals Service was stretched to breaking point by WCA appeals alone. The truth of these stories is well established and the truth was so damaging to Atos that they paid to be able to walk away from the contract.

          ‘Stephen Hawking doesn’t sit at home on benefits’

          Stephen Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, he is a once in a lifetime intellect who held a once in a lifetime position that was both uniquely suited to his disability and able to provide the extensive support he needed, a level of support most disabled workers could only dream of. Disabled people are frankly sick of non-disabled people using Stephen Hawking as a club to beat us with and I’m extremely disappointed to see a medical professional doing the same.

          It was asking for a trivial reasonable adjustment that triggered a four year campaign by my nationally known ex-employer, which proclaims itself a leading light on equality, to force me out of the door (a campaign incidentally in which the company OH physician was prominent and pro-active) and I was regularly running across disabled people in similar positions to my own throughout the period I was fighting to stay in work. The real world situation for disabled workers is nowhere near the idealised position of readily available support you make out. Every time we ask for a reasonable adjustment we risk triggering a campaign to force us out of the workplace, no matter the value we may add to the company – at the same time the campaign to eject me was underway, other managers were praising me and trying to hang on to me,

          Remember that just in the past couple of weeks the government has published their Equality Impact Assessement on changes to Access to Work, which proposes denying deaf workers dependent on BSL interpreters the ability to employ an interpreter for more than 4 days a week and openly admits that this is likely to profoundly affect the employment and career prospects of deaf people. Equally they suggest that self-employed disabled people may be similarly
          badly hit, but are unable to predict how severe the impact here will be. AtW numbers as a whole are still not back up to the 38,000 they were before the 2010 election, but they have recovered somewhat from the 30,000 they fell to as a result of the Tory cuts imposed immediately post election (no matter that AtW made a 1.4:1 ROI – i.e. they cut an allowance that made a profit on every pound spent). Figures are finally improving, so what do they propose doing, cutting some more.

          Meanwhile the Government’s ‘Disability Confident’ scheme tries to pretend that workplace disability discrimination doesn’t exist, and that the problem than means 2 million fewer disabled people are employed than should be is really just managers feeling awkward about disability. There was a slight rise in the number of disabled people working last year, which the government crowed about. There was also, due to demographic changes, a rise in the number of disabled people not working, the government said rather less about this. Even if there is no further increase in the number of disabled people not working, last year’s rate of increase in the number of disabled people who should be in work will take 13 years to eliminate the shortfall.

    • It has been repeatedly found by the government appointed independent assessors (both senior Occupational Health medics) of ESA and the WCA that DWP decision makers were extremely unwilling to overrule the decision of the Atos (and now Maximus) assessors ‘they’re doctors, they know more than we do’, with over 90% of assessments going through unchallenged. The de jure fiction was that DWP decision makers made the decisions. a claim Atos were extremely eager to propogate for obvious reasons, the de facto reality was that the Atos assessor made the decision in all but a tiny percentage of cases.

    • I’d like to pick up on your point that ‘work is good for people’. In general that’s true, but the reality of my working was that I was in major pain by mid morning, and often curled up on the floor in the foetal position by mid-afternoon, in so much pain that I wasn’t able to think straight (which isn’t a good place to be when you’re writing safety critical code for fast jets), It would often be the early hours of the morning before my pain levels returned to normal. I might have fought tooth and nail not to be kicked out of the door, but my quality of life since I’m no longer putting myself through on a daily basis that is immensly better. There are a very significant minority of disabled people, mostly with pain or fatigue based disabilities, for whom ‘work is good’ for you is simply not the case.

    • “OTs (and any other health
      professionals) are bound by their various codes of conducts and
      therefore cannot be ‘incentivised’ or ‘bribed’.”

      However they can be bullied and pressurised, as documented by Doctor Greg Wood, the Atos whistleblower. And the existence of that pressure was responsible for many of the bizarre assessments, such as people with CP being told they would be cured in 3 months, that we saw coming out of Atos. Essentially an Atos assessor was expected to see 6 to 8 people per day and the quotas built into the system would only allow them to log only one of those people as permanently disabled (reassessment in 3 years), anyone else they had to log for reassessment on a much more frequent basis, or as not disabled at all, or find a non-medical manager breathing down their neck, threatening them with having to redo the report, or face retraining, or face the sack (it was when put in this situation that Dr Wood became a whistleblower). The provision that allowed a doctor to say that it was not safe to declare a patient fit for work could only be invoked for one patient in a thousand. I documented this in an article for the Guardian based on the report from the Centre for Welfare Reform that looked at a leaked set of Atos monthly figures.

  • Phil R

    Thank you for the 50 or more people who posted (often multiple comments condemning my posts yesterday) I will just make one response here.

    It is interesting that they had time to post in the middle of the night when I and most other tax payers had gone to bed to be up early to earn the taxes so they don’t have to work!

    Minimum wage.

    You are worth what people will pay for your skills. That is why the minimum wage is a joke. I would employ a disabled worker at below the minimum wage but I would not pay them the same as an able bodied worker, because in the main they cannot do the same work.

    Some of you objected to me suggesting that the unemployed should work for me for free to gain valuable skills. I have changed my mind, I think it is unreasonable for me to offer work and training for free, it would be more valuable and more helpful for them to pay me for this opportunity.

    Disabled people’s “rights”

    I was told that the country would be better off if I did less in the UK because I disapproved of paying the disabled the same. don’t worry, many firms have done exactly that and is the reason that my children will be indebted in the future to pay for your “right” to benefits and idleness today. You have no right to benefits. So shut up and be thankful to God that you have any.

    It cannot last and is another moral failure.


    Most people seem to think that they were morally entitled to the minimum wage or benefits paid for indirectly from working people’s taxes. Let us be clear here. You have no moral right to another person’s money. We are obliged by God to help you, but that should not take the form of the state robbing each and every one of us who works to spend and waste as it sees fit.

    New Cars for Fat People

    I say again hardworking, tax paying families in my village cannot afford new cars and most likely will never be able to drive one. It is an absolute disgrace that she gets it paid for by the state.

    BTW it is not relatively well off people like me who get new cars every year who are saying this. It is solid and until recently, mostly Labour voters who are sickened by the fact that to get a decent lifestyle, you play the benefits. however, if they are thrown out of a job after paying taxes for 30 years or more they get hardly enough to live on and certainly not enough to put them back on their feet.


    Unemployment and most of the other benefits should be scraped and replaced by suitable insurance schemes, designed to pay more and so lessen the shock of unemployment, but not to pay you to sit around for years and refuse all chances offered. Nobody asked me and I do not wish to pay taxes to pay for and encourage your idleness.

    • sarky

      Why don’t you crawl back under your rock before you become more hated than Katie Hopkins!

      • Phil R

        This is precisely the sort of attitude that is so corrosive in the workplace and is why the country is going nowhere. You don’t offer solutions to enhance lives, you offer hopelessness and dependency.

        If you you do offer anything it is the same failed solutions that do not respect or offer even hope for the individual. You want everyone brought down to your level both mentally and materially.

        You also do not allow people to face up to the choices they have made.

        • sarky

          Like the choice to become disabled?
          You really did get hit hard with the thick stick.

          • Phil R

            Still offering nothing but sarcasm and insult I see.

            Your answer to improve disabled peoples lives is………………………………..????????????????

            You don’t know because you don’t have any answers, just ignorant insults and no answers.. None at all.

            Like many on the left (and I include Camerons Conservatives in with the left) underneath it you just don’t care. The unemployed and the disabled are too big a problem for you. So you just throw money at them, like throwing a few coins at the beggar in the street.

            You have no interest in changing lives for the better, because it would show how empty of hope your values are for people.

          • sarky

            And what are my values?

          • Phil R

            I’m sorry, I assumed when I should not.

            Do you have values Sarky?

          • sarky

            More than you it would seem.

          • Phil R

            No you don’t Sarky. You have no ideas whatsoever. You name is correct and if you are in the workplace you are the one that shoots down ideas and makes unhelpful comments without contributing a single idea of your own

            Don’t kid yourself, we all know why that is.

            You have none.

            That would be so sad if we were not discussing real people with real suffering who desperately need new ideas and ways forward, that will give them better outcomes for the future.

            Your kind makes me sick, pretending to have a moral high ground when you have no interest in helping people at all

            None at all.

          • sarky

            Is that right?

          • Phil Lee

            You really are a swivel eyed loon if you class Cameron as being on the left. Unless Adolf is your benchmark, I suppose. Even the Labour party are right of centre now.
            The simple fact is that to support people with disabilities costs money, and that money has to come from somewhere (taxes, in other words). In any society with any pretence at being caring or Christian, never mind moral, this is an obligation WELL ahead of most government spending, and certainly far more important than giving tax cuts to a few of the party’s rich donors in the top 1% of “earners” (nobody really /earns/ that much, even if it is what they get paid). Taxation is a sensible way (if done properly) of sharing out the burden of government expenses. And it’s pointless taxing (or trying to tax) people who don’t have enough to live on already, and sensible to tax more on people with more disposable wealth than they can possibly have any use for. And to close loopholes which allow them to squirrel away money in offshore accounts.
            If you want to cut waste, that’s fine, but the first thing to do is to make sure that nobody on benefits pays any taxes (local or national), because that’s just money going round in circles, and costing even more money to administer. And stop spending huge amounts of money trying to reduce the tiny percentage of fraudulent claims. Just take some simple precautions against them. The money would be FAR more effectively spend going after the tax dodgers, who cost this country FAR more than fraudulent claimants. Clamp down on the Starbucks, Amazons, and Apples of this world, and make them pay tax on the money they earn here, just like everyone else has to. And take away the ability of the tax office (if they ever legally had it in the first place) to “forgive” tax dept on some of those huge tax dodgers. If they don’t pay what they owe, confiscate assets to cover the debt. It’s what would happen to a small time fraudster with a county court judgement against them, after all – so if “we are all in it together” it should be just as true for the big boys.
            That lot would be a good start, at any rate.

    • Ivan M

      Your theory of how the minimum wage works is quite useless. If you don’t believe that a new hire is worth it then don’t hire him. Why hire an unskilled person at all to do computer programming? But having hired him, it is to your benefit and his, that his skill set be enhanced beyond the minimum wage. I find it difficult to believe that having gone through countless obstacles to secure a job, a disabled man or woman would just lounge at the water-cooler all day.

      • Phil R

        Read it again. I have not said either of these things.

        BTW. You make a valid point about training. But I have no obligation to enhance his skill set at all. I employed the individual for a specific job. If the individual wants a better job then they should pay for the training to do so. Themselves and in their own time.

        I have no obligation to spend money to make the individual more marketable.

        • Ivan M

          That you do not want to hire a person or train him is your affair as an employer. My point is about the minimum wage. The minimum wage just provides a floor. It is unlikely that a disabled person can do much in a job near the minimum wage, say cleaning and scrubbing the floor, or flipping burgers, thus he will not be eligible for it. So when he does get a job it is for a certain marketable skill set, that already puts him above above the minimum wage. You may not have any jobs for him but the issue of the minimum wage is moot in the case of the disabled.

          The minimum wage when handled properly keeps people off the dole, but no one wants to be on the minimum wage for long, as they cannot plan their future on it.

    • Les Stuart

      Phil R, I worked and paid into the system from the age of 15 to 50 never a day unemployed, never claimed benefits, until my spine was crushed in an accident, now I have very limited mobility, suffer depression, have developed arthritis, barrets oesophagus, hiatus hernia, and diverticular disease, enlarged prostate, and am double incontinent, I also was diagnosed with copd this year, so please explain to me how it is I am not entitled to benefits as I paid national insurance and tax for 40 yrs, tell me how it is after paying into this system for so long I have no entitlement to my income! How dare you say think it never mind say it, I became disabled at 50 yrs of age, otherwise I would still be working, your small and narrow minded views are quite shocking and I pray that you are never put in this position

      • Phil R

        Les I am sorry for your accident.

        But the fact is that you do not have an entitlement to your benefits as your money was paid to the state.

        If you had paid into an insurance scheme, both would you then know the level of benefits you would receive and you would have an entitlement to those benefits.

        The state is not an insurance scheme. It hoovered up your money for 35 years to spend on whatever it likes then gives you the minimum it can. If it gives you anything at all.

        • sarky

          The state is not an insurance scheme?
          Why is it called national insurance then?

          • Anton


          • dannybhoy

            The awful truth is that by and large governments are able to use (some) tax money for whatever purposes they deem necessary, -for example their political survival, to meet international contractEUal obligations, defence, disaster- you get the picture.
            Personally although I believe in balancing the economic books (and have personally never found that spending more money to get more money has ever worked..)
            I do believe we as a nation have an obligation to look after our elderly, infirm and impaired.
            Even though I accept the necessity of making these cuts, I was and am against the spare bedroom tax and frightening disabled people who already have enough to worry about.

          • Anton

            I was being cynical about politicians, which I think you’ll understand. As for the disabled the point is to separate the genuine from the malingerers – any GP will tell you that there are plenty of both.

          • dannybhoy


          • Phil R

            It is just another tax Sarky.

            The funds collected are not ring fenced.

          • Anton

            Moreover insurance schemes do not take into account the individual’s ability to pay, whereas Gordon Brown changed NI from a fixed sum of money paid to a percentage of income. THAT’s a tax.

          • Also I’d say that if the national insurance was in the private sector it would be in liquidation as it uses current premiums to pay previous liabilities and has no assets to back up payments. But the ni tax is another inhibition to growth as the employer as well as the employee pay the tax. We’d be better off getting rid of it and merging it with income tax. But it’d make a psychological difference to think they the basic rate is really more like a third than a fifth of you money (and much more if you pay the higher rate at 40% ,which thanks to fiscal drag I’m hovering under).

    • Christine

      Did it ever occur to you that some of us might post in the middle of the night because of insomnia caused by pain or other medical reasons?
      (And benefits are already being ‘scraped.’)

      • Phil R

        It did occur to me. However, perhaps you need to consider the impression that you give.

        Hopefully we can still discuss sensibly without emotion, better outcomes for disabled people whilst at the same time, reducing the tax burden for those in work?

        • Christine

          What, exactly, is the impression that I give?
          FYI I am chronically ill with mitochondrial disease but I DO NOT CLAIM ANY BENEFITS. My husband is permanently disabled but is enabled to work because of DLA and the so-called ‘free’ car, which actually incurred a sizeable down payment and for which he pays the running costs.

          • Phil R

            “Hopefully we can still discuss sensibly without emotion, better outcomes
            for disabled people whilst at the same time, reducing the tax burden
            for those in work”

            I am still waiting.

          • Phil Lee

            So are we – you haven’t posted anything sensible to respond to yet.

          • Phil R

            No, OK perhaps we will go along with the current “consensus” for a moment. Ever more costs for employers and ever higher taxes for those that work.

            For many it seems this simply just leads to ever poorer outcomes for the very people you claim to want to help.

            And eventually no wealth to tax

  • Darter Noster

    Dear Tanya,

    Apologies for joining the discussion late.

    I very much sympathise with much of what you say. My girlfriend is a wheelchair user and lives in dread of the summons from Atos, at which she will have to prove that she can’t walk 25 yards or have her DLA (or PIP now), including help with her car, taken away. She desperately wants to work, but has been turned away from various jobs because there is no parking nearby, no one can guarantee to help open the door for her, the building has steps, the fire escape is inaccessible, no one can give her a hand to get to the loo; you name it, she has been given it as a pathetic excuse not hire her as soon as the employer knew she had a disability. She had her Jobseekers Allowance taken away because she turned down a painting and decorating job that required her to climb ladders (I kid you not).

    My best mate is profoundly disabled and requires 24 hour care. He will never, ever work. I am sick to death of arguing with tosspots who claim that people like him have no right to life, should have been aborted, should be left to die (sorry, let nature take its course) if they get sick, are a waste of resources, and basically life unworthy of life, aided and abetted by media pundits who laud severely disabled people who want to kill themselves to the skies but have no time for those who want to live.

    I used to be press spokesman for one of the Uk’s biggest disability rights groups; I have spent much time arguing against knob-ends like Phil R., who advocate a ‘devil takes the hindmost’ society without seeming to realise that the vast majority of disabled people become disabled later in life as a result of accident or illness, after many years of working and paying taxes, and that for a small amount of up-front support they could make a net contribution, if only small minded bigots didn’t stop them getting basic help.

    However, I have also been a conservative for many years. I worked for the then Conservative shadow minister for disabled people for a while. I worked for the disability rights group under a Labour government, and did not notice that we could suddenly stop campaigning because everything was alright. Your message is specifically addressed to Conservatives, but decades of Labour government have not ushered in peace and prosperity for disabled people either.

    I believe absolutely in supporting disabled people, but I cannot believe that disabled people would be any better off under the ‘anti-austerity’ supporters who cannot explain where the money is coming from. Bankrupting the country through borrowing and spending more than we earn will not help disabled people, and I greatly dislike the implication that wanting a smaller state and less government spending automatically means being less ‘compassionate’ towards disabled people.

    Most disabled people I have met do not want compassion; they want equality and the chance to contribute like everyone else, and I do not see Labour or any other left wing party offering them that.

    • Phil R


      You seem to spend most of this post both in the main agreeing with me and then denigrating at the same time.

      You also do not seem to have any concrete policies to help the very people that you claim to have a monopoly of compassion for.

      So what do you really want done for disabled people and how are you going to fund it, bearing in mind the need to drastically cut finding.

      • Darter Noster

        “You seem to spend most of this post both in the main agreeing with me and then denigrating at the same time.”

        Sorry, at what point do I agree with you? Let me know where I have said a single word or phrase that sounds like “my children will be indebted in the future to pay for your “right” to benefits and idleness today. You have no right to benefits. So shut up and be thankful to God that you have any.” or “I would employ a disabled worker at below the minimum wage but I would not pay them the same as an able bodied worker, because in the main they cannot do the same work.” and I will immediately go back and edit it.
        As for the denigration: me and a small army of others. You’ve brought that upon yourself with crass, bigoted and ill-informed comments like those above.
        “In the main they cannot do the same work.” Really? A wheelchair user cannot type, do paperwork and use a phone? A deaf person cannot program software or design buildings?

        • Phil R

          If you had bothered to read my posts Darter you would have seen that a friend of mine from school is extremely successful despite considerable disability.

          I have no prejudice and I am sure that your friend will make a net contribution as mine has done.

          You don’t like comments like this

          “You have no right to benefits. So shut up and be thankful to God that you have any.”

          Where is the error in that statement. Yes we can all call people names, so lets stick to facts.

          BTW I don’t discriminate. If they can do the same job they would get it at the same pay. What you want me to do is discriminate in favour of disabled workers.

          I think it is high time that disabled workers were given their respect back in specially adapted workplaces.

          “Stop the idiotic refusal of Access to Work support for work experience
          and voluntary posts, which for a vast range of jobs is the only way in.”

          Again if you had read my posts I suggested this at the outset. I was pissed off because my offer of work and training to some “disabled” (fat) unemployed, was refused as it was more comfortable to sit at home and moan all the time.

          Your 2 and 3 above are yet more examples of more costs for me as an employer. If you carry on the way you are going more and more worthwhile and well paid jobs will move overseas.

        • Phil R

          I would add it was David Blunkett i think that said that he would never have made it as far as he did without the special school for the blind (now defunct? — all inclusive now it seems) he attended

          It also seems to me that disabled people will not get back into meaningful work without specially adapted workplaces. To me it seems sensible that these are centralised in some way.

          (That does not mean passing legislation to make me pay for converting every single workplace on the off chance that a disabled worker could do the job.) Again, it adds costs (Not shared BTW by my competitors, who don’t have to comply with any of this equality nonsense) and makes me wonder even more about investing further in my own country.

          It is not unpleasantness or bigoted behaviour at all. It is just realistic if we are to continue (start to?) to pay our way as a nation and perhaps start to have (genuine — not borrowed) money left over to help those who cannot help themselves.

  • Bill Kenny

    Oh dear Ms Marlow this post seems to be aimed at boosting your opinion of yourself and those you approve of.Who are these people that ‘view sick and disabled people as sub-human parasites’, name them. Obviously not you and your Guardianistas fellow travellers safely huddled in the polenta bubble weeping into your fair trade cappuccino.
    There will always be real challenges in every society in ensuring the best quality of opportunity as well as care for ‘sick and disabled people’ Looking down your nose whilst simultaneously dragging your superiority complex round behind is not however the best way to meet those challenges.
    Peace and Love

  • Phil Lee

    You are certainly evil if you have any part of the over 10,000 extra deaths on benefit that occurred in the year after IDS set targets for benefit sanctions. An accessory to murder, a criminal, and guilty of human rights abuses so serious that the first ever UN investigation of a government for human rights abuses has been opened into this, and the case referred to the International Criminal Court. Are you a party to that? Or just one of the mugs who didn’t realise or believe it was happening, like most Germans in the 1930s?

    • DanJ0

      You need to grow up.

    • Hi

      YES I voted conservative and NO I’m not evil for doing so. That is a ridiculous reply and does nothing to do what this post was intended to do. I think you are being utterly disgusting and clearly disturbed to make a comparison and equation with Nazi government in the third Reich and the UK government of 2015.

      As for the UN, what a joke to claim this as some form of glowing human rights arbiter . This will be an organisation stacked full of dictatorships, with crappy human rights records and countries which don’t let women have any freedoms, where gay people are hanged from cranes, where one member’s president openly said they wished to wipe Jews off the map and who have zero in the form of the welfare system that we have in this country…..

  • Graham Miller

    I welcome Tanya’s attempt to initiate a conversation about how Christians should play an active role in society. I agree we must ensure that the needs of the weak and poor are not ignored in the headlong pursuit of wealth. We lack political parties offering perfect solutions to the issues of disability and poverty, but we can challenge, cajole, encourage and hold to account those we have elected.

    Christians have a number of ways to impact society in a positive way by:
    1) Praying regularly for our leaders
    2) Reaching out to those in need by befriending elderly neighbours, the disabled, the asylum seekers in our community
    3) Joining church activities which help the marginalised with Foodbanks, CAP courses, prison visiting, Street Pastors, District visitiations
    4) Advocating for those who find it hard to stand up for themselves by writing to MPs, councillors, government ministers
    5) Supporting Christian political lobby groups on left and right (Christians on the Left, CCF, CSJ, Compassionate Britain) which highlight the Christian duty to care for the widow, orphan, and immigrant
    6) Supporting Christian charities already active in the space of caring for the marginalised: Salvation Army, XLP, London City Mission, Pilgrim Homes, Trussell Trust

  • Old Blowers

    I am utterly astounded that His Grace and Gillan Scott gave so easy full reign for the socialist gospel to put across the blog in pseudo christian terminology after reading the ‘Thorns and Gold blog by the author.

    Who is Tanya Marlow. What ARE her christian beliefs EXACTLY? “redletterchristian?”
    Does Jesus want full bellies first and for His message to be refused to be spoken by His ‘followers doing the feeding as ‘shy christians’? or the empty belly saved first and food/need taken care of shortly thereafter..
    “32”For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33″But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34″So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

    She states she want’s to reach Conservative voters yet this blog is more influenced by Christianity rather than mere conservatism..hence the major griping and whinging by we here so was the article twofold..(1)to get a social gospel a hearing and (2)to show how Christians who are NOT socialist would probably respond (Very poorly in my opinion and giving the adage dear to the cultural marxist busom that conservatives are basically a nasty callous bunch of B&^$%^&£ at that, when provoked!!!)

    I do not think the Lord would look very favourably on the deception used within the post nor the uncharitable comments posted.

    Should I therefore write an open letter as a disabled christian riddled with spinal stenosis and crippling Sciatica, on the consequences of Labour’s plans to mis-manage the economy again from 2015 onwards, after losing fortunes with financial and regulatory mis-management and crippling PFI with private companies that had destroyed our economy and nearly wrecked my chances of even keeping my DLA that supports me whilst I go to work daily now?

    I would have expected a similar response from the blog, unfortunately, if Tanya or Giles Fraser had posted on the joys and love of the same sex brigade and our need as Christians to recognise the Whole Bible is utterly mistaken or being taken completely out of context regards homosexual behaviour and for us to offer ‘progressive’ support by writing letters stating ‘I am Gayicus’ to any bigoted Christians that would read or listen.

    Socialists see the gospel completely differently from other Christians, especially bible believing ones, who believe that God ESPECIALLY looks after His own. The world has a chance to accept His Grace and therefore His care yet rejects it outright.

    The socialist christian says we should ignore God and His personal pleas to sinners to repent and believe on Him first and make up the shortfall because of HIS callous calls to fallen man to want something in return. The sinner MUST believe first!!!

    How could a God of love do this to fallen, suffering man..to heal, cloth,feed and care for him but ONLY on God’s terms.

    As the red flag song must go at certain progressive church hymnals..”Onward christian socialists, marching as to war..With NO CROSS of Jesus, going out before.”

    God must surely condemn you for your political ‘christianisation’ of His gospel and the rude commenting by some on here, provoked by what you suggest as must be rightly seen as acting as truly Christian only.

    I know in whom I trust “The LORD is righteous in all of his ways and graciously loving in all of his activities…and The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed.”

    It’s so simply a ‘trust’ issue and God help the socialist when the Kingdom does come and they find Christ demanded obedience to the word of God, whether from Himself, or as Giles Fraser might say, the bigoted Apostles! Cannot wait to hear what the King says to those who disobeyed and denied His commands through the Holy Spirit.

    Perhaps His Grace and Mr Scott could get Mark Driscoll,from Mars Hill church to post on the need for probity in church financial matters, why Jesus didn’t know what He was talking about as a man trapped by His culture and how to best delegate to church elders without appearing a bombastic tyrant?

    E S Blofeld

    • alienfromzog

      Speaking as a Bible-believing Christian and a socialist… What on earth are you talking about?


  • Well , my final thought on this, for a couple of days is to say I’m NOT the enemy of the disabled-my soul mate is disabled and wheelchair bound. My nephew is severely disabled.

    but regardless. I note that Tanya wanted to post this as a bridge to moderate conservative people such as myself as others (despite the lack of her courtesy in responding to my posts, darter’s posts and my sister’s posts).

    all I’ve had and other moderates here have had is blowback from militants and left wing socialists, by way of response is extreme hyperbole , rhetoric which stands up to no reasoned argument and you and others have not given any olive branches or anything. We were this blog posts target audience, but we’ve been ignored or scorned or bullied by ridiculous comparisons to the third Reich.

    So Tanya’s efforts been in vain.

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