A Black Triangle member’s views on the “Atos Kills” controversy

Recently there has been controversy about the use of the phrase, or the bald statement “ATOS kills!” 

Atos’ reaction to this being the release of libel writs, attempting and succeeding to shut down social networks which enable desperate people to exchange experiences and make social connections, albeit at a distance. But these sites let those people know “you are not alone”, which is always good for any individual’s morale and thus fulfil an urgent need in today’s increasingly fragmented society.

I personally am always interested in other people’s point of view, but, like many others, am often disappointed by hearing the same three dreary arguments, through received opinions mass-produced by the media: Moral panics exacerbated by a biased press, endless “spin” and a distorted view of history.

My first point refers to the fact that theUK media has descended to such a degree that no one can seriously believe a thing that they say, whether printed or reported on television.

They’ve practically reduced adjectives to meaninglessness through overuse, for example.

My second point is to do with the fact that far too often we see our “elected representatives” reacting to public scrutiny by utilizing obfuscation, hypocrisy and resembling nothing more than frightened rabbits in headlights. They’re so terrified they’ll say the wrong thing, they don’t say anything. That is not a manifestation of democracy; it is a manifestation of rule by central diktat.

Thirdly, the roots of our current problems stem from the Thatcher era, when, through wholesale destruction, our economy was changed from being a place that made things, to a place that serviced things. M. Thatcher embraced Milton Friedman’s monetarist ideas with much enthusiasm and little vision.

It was understood at the time by the central cabal (Margaret Thatcher, Norman Tebbit, Ian Gow, Airey Neave, Keith Joseph) that adoption of these polices meant that there could be never be such a thing as full employment in the UK ever again; (2% of the total eligible workforce unemployed was regarded as full employment late 60’s’early 70’s). 

This was explicit in Friedman’s theories which, incidentally makes Norman Tebbit’s “getonyerbike” speech as one of the 20th Century’s truly breathtaking moments of political hypocrisy. In the Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao class, considering he’d been one of its’ (Thatcherism’s) central architects and knew damn well he was whipping up populist support on an utter fallacy and which he knew was a lie.

Anyway, because the UK at the time was much more unified socially, and whose post-war generation were used to choice in career opportunities; unemployment was a national scandal and figures were reported nightly on the news.

The government reacted by using the gutter press to vilify the disadvantaged in our society, a practice which has continued through successive governments, which led to fear of our neighbours and a near-fatal fracturing of our society.

In short, instead of facing the reality of the situation and dealing with it, we have been subjected to lie after lie and an open invitation to despise others, through an endless shifting series of empty aspirations, unrealizable goals and idiotic social divisions.

And all the time being painted a completely false idea of our nation, as any system based on a terrible human weakness, namely greed, is bound for disaster. 

And the NEWS is meant to reflect public opinion, not shape it.

Perhaps any feeling of national identity was lost in those days, but I’m not always sure. It was the old divide and rule policy, it remains to be seen how much it worked.

I have watched in dismay as begging on the streets, homelessness and the vilification of the disadvantaged have become accepted facts of life.

But as “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”, perhaps the converse is true, that truth can arise from this chaotic and preposterous set of hellish lies.

After all, in a worst-case scenario, utter selfishness can be a unwitting motivator to social change, especially when this government are, eventually, going to hit their own core support.

My logic leads me to the following inescapable conclusions.

The government knows that full employment is impossible.

They are pursuing policies which shall inevitably create more unemployment, with little chance of anyone finding a job as our economy declines in an ever decreasing circle.

Wealth is being transferred from those who need it most, upwards, to those who need it least.

The current economic crisis is due to entirely to the actions of an unregulated free market in the City of London and other financial centres blowing up a huge chewing-gum bubble, which exploded in their faces. The government felt that the banks were too big to fail and pumped billions of tax-payer’s money into these discredited and shady institutions.

Instead of doing what they were supposed to do, stop the casino banking, put liquidity into the market by helping ordinary people, and supporting small businesses; they carried on with their same ruinous polices, lost more money and paid themselves massive bonuses on top.

And all with tax-payers money, we in effect own the banks, but you wouldn’t know it.

Also tax-dodging has increased exponentionally, and this government proposes cutting the top tax rate even further, when there is no evidence whatsoever that creating more rich people benefits the society within which they live. They tend to invest overseas and do not conspicuously consume more than the average person, therefore wealth does not circulate in the national economy per se.

These policies are difficult to fathom, except within the realms of greed, stupidity, politicians-being-puppets, or all three.

Because if the reaction to an economic crash caused by the professional spivs of the world, is to suddenly turn on the most vulnerable in society, on the understanding that these polices are regarded as necessary by a significant minority of the electorate: We have fallen far in our level of civilization, and in a climate like that our system of democracy itself is in the greatest danger it has been in since WWII, from traitors within and the people acting as unwitting accomplices.

A point is, that once an odious idea, and a general picture becomes inculcated in the national psyche (the feckless idle, the “cosseting” of the disabled), it can be impossible to shift. That’s the power of propaganda, insidious, corrosive and eternal.

And utterly imaginary.

Meanwhile, after years of a bonanza for capitalism, with huge profits and massive bonuses, it transpires that the money that was meant to safeguard people in need or in their old age, has been gambled away by speculators and spivs, who expect profit to be “private” and loss to be “public”, leading to a situation where some people cannot lose. Others make up the losses, again and again and are treated with contempt for their trouble.

This government then decides that one of the answers to our economic problems is to give a lucrative, especially in financial terms, contract to a foreign company, noted for their brutality to the unemployed. Meanwhile Job Centres are closing and our own civil servants laid off, while this company cost far more to pay than to maintain our existing infrastructure.

Using an automated system which cannot possibly cover the complexities of each individual’s case history and ultimately cannot carry out anything which can be remotely be regarded as a professional or comprehensive review is then utilized, which as we all know, throws out ridiculous results. 

The company though; even if they do lose 50% of their decisions on appeal, get paid on “top-line results”, which are essentially meaningless in the long term.

Not to mention them employing tenth rate doctors, mercenary nurses and generally the desperate scrapings of the medical barrel, who will, doubtless, be working to some sort of system of payment by results. And staff who appear to have total contempt for the people they’re dealing with. They know they’re not there to help people, they’re there to destroy their lives by how many people they can shove off onto lower rate benefits for no other reason than to “save” ( a matter of some dubiety), in the terms of the national debt, a paltry amount if indeed they are saving anything at all. 

But, to the recipients of the benefits it represents an enormous change in their quality of life; to no apparent purpose but to appease the unthinking and the greedy.

The whole idea of the welfare state is that everyone contributes to a pool, so that the relatively few who need it, at any one time, can get it on demand. The thing is, one never knows when you suddenly need e.g. the NHS, and the same applies to the benefits system.

The system has become so skewed that its primary purpose, to help the most needy in society has become an abstract in a numbers game, and what use is any system to any human society if it ignores the needs of human beings? This is people’s lives, not figures on a balance sheet.

On a graph, benefits claimed fraudulently are minute (est £1b), benefits unclaimed are significantly larger (£15b), while tax-dodgers (£150b +) are too huge to fit on the graph.

In conclusion the questions which must be asked by any person of conscience are, what do ATOS do, and what possible purpose do they fulfill, in our current economic climate?

Even if everyone was fit and well, there is only one vacancy for every five unemployed, so what’s the reason for their existence?

That is the inescapable fact, which points to corruption, massaging of figures and downright lies.

ATOS are poverty pimps, and their policies kill. 

Ben E Fitzclement

Comments
  • silverfox August 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Excellent piece of writing, have shared with the hope more people will realise the atrocities happening under this sham of a government

  • Bill Kruse August 31, 2011 at 2:42 am

    In my view and as I’ve been saying on forum after forum and in comment after comment what Atos, indeed the whole welfare reform scam, is actually doing is enabling the transfer of hundreds of millions of pounds from the public purse into private pockets where it can later be divvied up by the crooked businessmen and corrupt politicians involved. You won’t get anywhere against Atos and the government until you start addressing this as the reality of what’s happening. It’s a raid on the public purse, nothing more. Chris Grayling and Ian Duncan Smith ought to be offering the facile irrelevant answers they fob the media and government opposition off with to hostile cross-examination in front of a jury. My guess is they’d very quickly find themselves where in my view they absolutely belong – in jail. The reason this is going to be hard to actually implement is prominent politicians from both major parties appear to be complicit in this; Grayling, Duncan Smith, Cooper (remember the imaginary wheelchairs?) and Purnell. I’d have Dame Carol Black and Maria Miller up on charges too, personally, Black as a co-conspirator and Miller as complicit through her sheer inertia. Political enthusiasm for prosecution, given the overwhelming and probably terminal emarrassment it would cause for both parties if what I consider to be the truth about what’s happening ever came out, is therefore likely to be muted.

    BB

  • caz December 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm
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