Tuesday, 13 February 2018

the father of a PIP applicant speaks

When I'm writing this blog it's a very self-centered thing,  a way for me to sort out all the thoughts in my head and log my experiences and problems. If we're lucky then we'll have people around us who are also going through these tribulations alongside us.

A few weeks ago my Dad said that he had something he wanted to write. Here it is. 

History Repeating Itself or What Goes Around Comes Around?

My wife says nobody will wade through the potted history bit to get to the point I'm trying to make, I hope she's wrong! Here goes...

Before World War Two Germany was in dire financial straits. The powers-that-be decided they needed a scapegoat and decided on the Jews and all others they deemed a burden on the economy and society. During the war these same people came up with "The Final Solution" and subsequently handed the implementation of this policy to the SS.

With ice-cold logic the SS realised they could achieve their objectives more efficiently by utilising some of the inmates to organise the low level day-to-day running of their concentration camps. These inmates, known as Kapos, were often more brutal than the SS in the treatment of their fellow inmates. They were rewarded for their efforts with better food, accommodation and the removal of the fear of torture and death.

As the war progressed it became apparent, to the people at the top, things were not going to end well. Many started to distance themselves from the "The Final Solution", claiming it was not what they had intended and denying all knowledge of the death camps. The SS, realising they were in the frame for blame, again utilised their ice-cold logic. They came up with the now infamous mantra, "We were only obeying orders".

Well, that's all right then!

At the closing of the camps the Kapos gathered together expecting to be rewarded with freedom and congratulated on a job well done.

Consequently, their masters executed them. The SS regarded them with even more contempt than the other prisoners.

So much for old history.

Fast forward to the beginning of the 21st century. With the global financial crisis, the UK finds itself in dire financial straits. Austerity becomes the buzzword and the powers-that-be need scapegoats. I know what we can do! We'll use the same old reliable fall guys. Lets blame all our woes on the immigrants and the "liabilities" who depend on our inflated welfare budget.

Who are least able to defend themselves and least likely to kick up a stink if we attack them? You've got it! The people on welfare and the sick on disability allowance.

We have a solution. We'll get rid of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and replace it with a policy that is so difficult to qualify for, that many claimants will just give up when faced with its complexity. Some may even die before they get a result. We’ll rebrand it to placate the general population and we’ll call it Personal Independence Payment (PIP). Makes it sound like we are actually helping people.


The DWP can implement this new policy. They have the organisation to carry it out. With their faceless upper echelon, all they have to do is gather the data and make judgements from on high. No need to meet the claimants. No need for empathy. No need for sympathy. That’s pretty cool logic if you ask me.

How are we going to get all the data from the claimants? Easy. We’ll "out source" it (another new buzz word. It means palm it off) to organisations like ATOS. They can train people in 6 weeks, who are ten deemed qualified to make judgements and write reports on people they've met only once. It won't matter what kind of disability they have, or what their personal circumstances are. We have a one-size-fits-all qualifying criteria.

Anyway, ATOS are incentivised. The more claimants that fail to qualify for PIP, the better ATOS will be regarded and rewarded.

We are present day now.
PIP is failing, as indicated in the news recently that all claimants dismissed with mental health issues must now be reassessed. The original instigators of PIP are wringing their hands claiming it was not implemented as they intended and recriminations are in the offing.

The DWP will not doubt say they were only following instructions when some of their judgements are reexamined.

As for organisations like ATOS, no, they won't be taken out and shot. However, for the many times they have misinterpreted and misrepresented the claimants they have interviewed they should hang their heads in shame.

I'm not saying the government are Nazis, or the DWP are as ruthless as the SS, or that ATOS are as craven as the Kapos. But the similarities in the modus operandi are frighteningly similar

Just for the record this is not the ranting of some raving Corbinista. Just a political middle of the road father who has no truck with extremists of any persuasion.

I'm just in the unfortunate position of watching my once confident and proud son become embroiled in a vindictive and unforgiving system that is denying him financial assistance that he never envisaged needing. This policy is destroying, both mentally and physically, the most venerable and need-worthy in or society.

I am not so naive as to expect life to be fair. Or to think nice things always happen to nice people in the end. Or even that justice and right will always prevail.

But one thing history has shown is that eventually, for all injustices committed, someone has always been found accountable and the truth eventually comes out.

1 comment:

swisslet said...

Perhaps the most disturbing part of this is how little money - relatively speaking - they're saving by chasing after this (if any). It's absolute peanuts as they throw money away pretty much everywhere else. Ugh. Repulsive. A whole system designed to make ill people's lives more miserable in the apparent belief that some of them at least must be faking it.

Lovely to read another perspective and, as someone with a Masters degree in history, I enjoyed the history bit.