MY reply to the responding letter of Ed Miliband,

Dear Ed Miliband MP

As a disabled woman who dared to consider you might understand the basic ethos of the Labour Party, I am totally appalled by your ‘response’ to the recent letter from Ms Sonia Poulton et al.

You state the Labour Party believes “Disabled people need support and compassion” and “in a welfare state that fulfils this principle”; and yet you follow this up with, what I believe to be a ridiculous comment; the need to separate out “ill health and disability from the decision not to work, which is taken by a distinct minority”.

The real problem is, this weeding out of, to use your own words of a “distant minority” then becomes your primary focus; it is the very fact that identifying this small number of people abusing the system, has become the principle goal, at the expense of all genuinely ill and disabled people.

How does sit with the Labour Party’s belief in disabled people receiving support and compassion  from a fit for purpose Welfare State?

You claim that you share ‘some’ of our concerns regarding the Work Capability Assessments (WCA), and acknowledge the high number of appeals and the expert views of Professor Harrington show the test needs improving, I agree you’re right to conclude this but, our concerns are only in part about the WCA.

We are also very concerned by disabled people being abused on a regular basis by the media, the use of skewed statistics to justify the ‘scrounging’ rhetoric that all disabled people are now labelled with; the rising rates of Hate Crime against us; and more importantly, the growing number of disabled people dying in fear and poverty.

Ms Poulton’s letter referred to all our fears, it was a letter Sonia scribed but we, as a disabled community by adding our names to it endorsed. Thereby, it became a letter from  all of us asking that you as the leader of the Labour Party, take note of the bigger picture, and meet with our nominated representative to discuss the range of problems experienced by disabled people as a result of your endorsement of what you agree with, is a flawed system.

Yours without much hope of a response

Jayne Linney

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25 thoughts on “MY reply to the responding letter of Ed Miliband,

  1. Realistically is anyone able to control what the likes of the Daily Mail writes demonising disabled people? Could a political party really do anything about it apart from highlight that it was a policy of the National Socialists in Germany to demonise the disabled, Jews, Immigrants etc? Still at least we – including Ed – agree on the core issues and problems surrounding ATOS. I would personally go for the fraud angle less than 1% for DLA etc whereas MPs expenses fraud was far far higher. If anyone does meet Ed they need to reiterate the concept of not having any ties with the likes of ATOS, A4e etc because if you sleep with dogs…

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    • The point about the demonisation in the Daily Mail is that it was fed by statistics produced by the DWP. The “78% of disabled should not get benefit” was lifted directly from a DWP briefing paper.

      If those parts of the DWP supposed to be lead by a government minister saw stats which totally misrepresented the actual position, they should have issued a strong correction. Instead they said, “See! This is why we have to have rigorous testing on a regular basis to make sure everyone receives the right benefit.”

      And now they are proposing to makes those in the WRAG liable for compulsory unpaid work under conditions like those of JSA. This stupid idea has already achieved one thing the DWP must have wanted: people on the blogosphere have started saying, “The people in this group are the ones who are really fit for work and just need a bit of encouragement (like a kick in the backside) to get back into employment.” So now only those who get into the Support Group are going to be “genuinely disabled” in the minds of the Daily Mail.

      And the DWP crafted this one all by their little selves.

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  2. Thank you Jayne, his complete contradiction of minority and the attacks made on the disabled by successive governments and the evidence in front of him proves without a shadow of doubt that Labour have finally sold out they are not for the people any more they are the bankers fops same as the tories. We need a split off of Labour let the neotories/nulabour like the Eds have the centre right and trulabour will reclaim the centre left, compassion, caring, support and equality. Nulabour is dead no one wants it, Blair toxified it with his sell outs to big business.
    I am sickened by the whole ATOS/WCA saga and I dont know what life is going to be like in the future for people like me, workhouse has to be the next step of the dickensian toffs running the country these days.

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  3. Jayne, it is important that the full copy of Miliband’s letter is seen as otherwise it is impossible to comment in a full and fair way! If I have missed you posting it then sorry but I can’t find it. I always find it is better to knock someone down when fully armed.

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  4. Miliband is far too busy coining it in with his non parliamentary income streams (£410,000) to be bothered with the likes of ordinary folk. Anything he says is merely designed to try and make him look sympathetic, when the reality is he couldnt care less. When will people wake up and realise that neither Miliband, nor the vast majority of the house are there for anyone but themselves? I despair…….

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  5. Excellent letter, although I would hope that you would include the most salient and burning question that is raised over these debates regarding disabled people who may be OK to work.

    The simple question is this – Doesn’t anyone believe that the best people to know whether a disabled person is capable of work, is the disabled person THEMSELVES?

    Even if you had the incredibly rare chance of finding a disabled person who has totally slipped through the net, and is fully able to work, it still does absolutely nothing in getting them work. Society will not change on the whims of some pathetic government assessment. It still remains over 5 times harder for a disabled person to get a job, and we all know that fully able-bodied people are finding that hard enough at present.

    I believe this to be the root of the problem in all parties – it’s not for them to “assess”. We already know what we can do, and the salient point of a tiny fraction of a percent that are believed to be fraudulently claiming shows that too.

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  6. Couldn’t agree more. The subtext of Mr Milibands letter was every bit as dismaying as all the other parliamentary nonsense regarding the WCA. Having watching this develop from the earliest mention of the Welfare REform Bill, and opposing it through it’s passage through the commons and the lords, it is exactly this kind of fence sitting that allowed it to happen. The WCA is not fit for purpose, and I believe that Labour should make an apology for instigating it. From that position they could effectively oppose it and champion the rights of disabled people. I feel angry beyond belief that there is still that element in his reply that is pandering to the notion that disability can be equated to a choice to not work. Struggling very hard at the moment to believe that we have an opposition that is credible. He needs to step back from thinking he has to please the readers of the redtops, and just get on with the business of taking a principled stand against what I can only describe as tyranny.

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