2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,200 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Ian Duncan Smith gets a pasting …

IDS Skeletons (Small)

There are some fascinating blogs around at the moment giving that loveable old rogue the Right Honorable Ian Duncan Smith a bit of a pasting.

I personally think that the blogs of Tom Pride and Edinburgh Eye have got the edge at the moment. See what you think …

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Face Book monitoring?!

Face Book monitoring

Crippen’s cartoon about Face Book monitoring

Be carefull what information you give out over those social network sites folks. Sites like Face Book are full of bogus ‘friends’ pretending to be someone they’re not. Some of them with the sole intention of gathering as much information about you as possible.

There’s not just the scammers to watch out for, there’s also those people who collect information about you for their own ends. Such as those people working for benefit offices and assessment centres.

Do you know who all your friends are on Face Book? I mean really ‘know’. Have you met them or know someone you trust who has met them?

ATOS have recently been seen to use web cams to monitor people arriving at their assessment centres, who’s to say that they don’t have a department monitoring what you say and do on line?

It pays to be paranoid in this current climate so just be carefull …

Just after I’d finished writing this, the following news item popped up. Scarey eh?!

Catch 22

Crippen's cartoon about the ATOS catch 22

Crippen’s Catch 22 cartoon

The thinking behind the ATOS Work Capability Assessment has obviously originated from somebody who is familiar with Joseph Heller’s ‘Catch-22’.

A Catch-22, as most of you will know, is a ‘heads you lose, tails you lose’ situation – there’s no way around a difficulty because of the contradictions within the issue. Often, solving one part of a problem only creates another dilemma … which ultimately leads back to the original problem. And so on. Catch-22s often result from being at the mercy of rules, regulations or procedures over which an individual has no control.

For example, in some cases we’ve heard examples of disabled people being failed just because they were able to make it to the assessment centre. The Catch-22 being that if they can manage to get to the assessment centre (which, if they don’t, will result in a loss of benefits) then they’ve apparently demonstrated that they are fit for work and therefore no longer entitled to benefits! Duh.

It’s a bit like when DLA first came out. If it caught you on a good day, then you were usually assessed as not being eligible, despite the fact that on most days you were incapable of doing the things that you’d been able to do on the ‘good’ day (still with me?). This resulted in disabled people being advised to complete their application forms using their worse case scenario as the yard stick. It made sense, it was understood by everyone and – mostly – it worked.

The ATOS Work Capability Assessment, apart from being ‘not fit for purpose’ has also been loaded with other ‘incentives’, such as the bonus that ATOS receives for every disabled person they take off benefits and by meeting government targets (both denied by ATOS but substantiated by whistle blowers inside of the ATOS organisation).

My cartoon is not all that funny when you realise that this ancient method of assessment could really be the next step …

The Welfare vultures are circling!

Crippen's cartoon about the Welfare vultures

Crippen’s cartoon about the circling Welfare vultures

You’ll know all about the biggest vulture, I take it? The French company ATOS who’ve had the contract to get as many disabled people off Benefit as they can.

Well, ATOS is now sub contracting out some of its work to other vultures like SALUS (part of NHS Lanarkshire), who have been carrying out PIP consultations on their behalf. So ATOS doesn’t even have to work for all it’s money – it just creams off the profits whilst sub-contractors do the work – all jostling to make large profits from their involvement.

Hang on though … Don’t these profits come out of funding originally allocated for disabled people!

Where’s my bloody bird gun?!

Read more about this in Crippen’s DAO blog

The death count continues to rise

Crippen's cartoon about the Tory spin on benefit deaths

Crippen’s cartoon about the Tory spin on benefit deaths

In my Disability Arts on Line (DAO) blog this week I am looking at the large number of deaths that have arisen amongst disabled people who have been part of the ATOS Healthcare’s Work Capability Assessment process.

The total of 10,600 is a figure that has been released by the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) last week when responding to a freedom of information based enquiry. This is for the period January to November 2011 and averages out to over 70 deaths per week during this period.

Now it could be argued that some of these deaths, let’s be generous and say half, are to be expected as many of the people claiming benefits could be seriously ill or disabled in a way that may result in an early death. But even allowing for this, it is now estimated that some 35 of these deaths per week are as a direct result of people being subject to the actual stress of the assessment process.

In the DAO blog I also include some figures taken from a recent survey amongst GPs in the UK. The survey shows that a percentage of these deaths are as a result of suicide as some disabled people are unable to face the draconion measures that are being employed by ATOS Healthcare.

When I’ve mentioned this to non-disabled people I meet their response is one of disbelief. Surely, they say, such a high amount of deaths would be making headline news in the newspapers and on television?

So, why isn’t it making headline news? If 35 disabled people were shot every week by the government there would be a public outcry and people would demand to know what was happening.

Or would they? After all we’re only disabled people!