This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit disabilityarts.online.

Disability Arts Online

A climate of fear / 17 January 2014

The climate of fear that is being generated by this government is making disabled people think twice before participating in any form of protest against their callous behaviour.

But protest we must as everything that we need in order to remain independent and to play a productive part in society is being eroded. The rights that we have fought long and hard to achieve are being systematically dismantled, taking us back to the time when we were shut away in institutions, abused and forgotten.

The next major action, which is being planned for 19th February and will target 144 Atos assessment centres across the UK, has been called to protest about the unacceptably high level of deaths of sick and disabled people following the assessment process.

Atos, the company hired by the Department of Works and Pension (DWP) to assess people who are claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA) is also facing claims of deliberately  failing over 65% of claimants in order to meet government figures. This claim appears to be supported by the fact that approximately one in four of the claimants found to be fit for work by Atos have then had this decision overturned by the appeals tribunal. Interestingly the DWP continue to pay Atos even when their original assessment has been found to be wrong.

Talking to other disabled people about this Atos Protest I have discovered that many of us, especially those who have been, or are being made subject to the ESA assessment process, are  frightened that they will be identified and therefore lose their entitlement to benefits if they do  participate.

So, is it worth sticking your head above the parapet and joining with other disabled people to protest about this callous government and their draconian policies, or is it better to just keep your head down and try and absorb the punishment being meted out to us?
 
Or is it a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't?

What do others think?

Comments

C.G.

/
5 February 2014

Have others had THREATING letters-You did not attend your MEDICAL They will have to proof of posting the next one. I feel they must send by registered post then we sign for it. How can they accuse of not going if you not notified?? Really annoyed!!

Kathy Hanan

/
5 February 2014

I think its better to stand up for ourselves and fight for our rights. I understand that it depends how we are on demo day but let us try to make it.

Carl Green

/
18 January 2014

Aaron Benn said

"where are those who are in good health and able bodied ?"

We're out here fighting Aaron but I would agree there needs to be more of us. The Tories use lies to cover up and it is less painful for people to believe the lies than to face the truth, nevertheless we are growing in strength as we uncover more and more evidence. We have to have hard facts to put out to the public and this is where you come in, emails, letters and calls they all make a difference.

You are right to complain though, there are not enough fit & healthy standing up for disabled peoples rights and indeed their lives.

Celia

/
18 January 2014

There also seems to be division between those of us who are sick or disabled. I have a relative who has become sick/disabled and now has to claim ESA after being made redundant who simply doesn't believe what I tell him because as yet he hasn't encountered any real difficulties himself in claiming it - he has a lot of medical evidence and support from his doctor and consultant and he is also very articulate. I think there is a reluctance by the general public to believe what is going on. It seems to get more difficult to claim the longer you are sick or disabled and there is still great prejudice against people with mental health issues in this country.

John Waters via Face Book

/
17 January 2014

looks like smiths instilled a culture of fear and backstabbing in there. Looks like they're also all watching each others backs in there.

Angela Mitchell via Face Book

/
17 January 2014

Good idea. Just all wear masks!

Kevin James via Face Book

/
17 January 2014

Good Image Dave. Very Good.

Aaron Ben Acer Quinn via Face Book

/
17 January 2014

more importantly - where are those who are in good health and able bodied ? are they so afraid and fearful to not make a stand for those whom cannot defend themselves ? If someone in a wheelchair was being battered in the street, would the public just walk on by ? cause technically thats exactly whats happening....one death being caused by ATOS is one death too many.... sadly the figure is much higher

Lulu Agate via Face Book

/
17 January 2014

I have to think twice before I participate in my own washing up or housework neither of which could result in my having a criminal record so yeah, I think it does.

Nuala Whitfield via Face Book

/
17 January 2014

This is true but maybe able bodied friends and relations could go instead to show their support

Andrew R Miles via Face Book

/
17 January 2014

You just need someone to switch off their leccy...

David Bowns via Face Book

/
17 January 2014

Definatly

Daniel Linger via Face Book

/
17 January 2014

It's probably a small part of it. I'd say the majority of the reason why an awful lot of us aren't protesting is more simple than that though - we often have bad days, access issues and the like. Now, when you consider that we all get them, try to imagine a time where the majority of us are OK at the same time. It's hard enough to keep doctors appointments as it is.

Add a comment

Please leave your comments. They will display when submitted. DAO encourages critical feedback, but please be considerate. DAO reserves the right to edit or remove comments that don't comply with our editorial policy, which you can find on DAOs 'About' pages.

Your e-mail address will not be revealed to the public.
HTML is forbidden, but line-breaks will be retained.
This can be a URL of an image or a YouTube, MySpaceTV or a Flickr page (we'll handle the media embedding from there!)
This is to prevent automatic submissions.