Black Triangle is today calling for a boycott by paralympians and the wider disability rights movement – UK and worldwide
By John McArdle
Thursday 8th September 2011
(‘International Paralympics Day’)
Yesterday was an extremely bad day.
There were two articles that really upset me. Upset me to such a degree that I felt it absolutely necessary to get drunk, such was my sense of outrage at these two pieces of information that put me in a state of turmoil – fulminating with impotent anger and tears of frustration.
It was reported that the Government’s so-called ‘independent’ Professor Malcolm Harrington “who is responsible for overhauling the troubled disability benefit assessment process, is “staggered and shocked” at the estimated annual £50m cost of appeals against decisions. He warns that the number of appeals could rise further and admits that the standard of assessments throughout the country remains “patchy”.”
So I take it he knows fine well the absolute living hell people are going through daily trying to subsist on £50 per week ‘reduced rate’ while they appeal their decisions!
I also take it as read that the rotten professor, a quintessential academic ‘poverty pimp’ par excellence, is also well aware of the chaos and anxiety that people experience in the face of this cruelty, and that there have already been numerous cases of self-harm and suicide as a direct result of the WCA régime over the past 12 months, of whom, our patron, Paul Reekie was one!
However, the professor goes on:
“Asked whether the system was now working to an acceptable degree, Harrington’s response is very cautious. “The answer to that question, if I can modify it slightly, is: I think the system will be working to a more satisfactory degree soon. Is it working like that all over the country now? No, it’s patchy. But it will happen. I’m telling the charities, ‘Be patient.’ I think things will get better.”
Some risk assessment, that! He’d be struck off for saying that alone in a proper profession such as medicine!
In my mind’s eye, I can just see him now bought before a Court of Ethical Justice, with the judge saying:
“You THOUGHT the treatment would work to a satisfactory degree ‘soon’? Are you telling us that you were unable to see that it had already resulted in a large number of fatalities, and that to carrying on down such a path would be to entirely fall short of the highest ethical standards which we, as a profession, uphold?”
Well, in a perfect world…..
The article continued:
“In his first detailed interview since taking on the review, the former professor of occupational health at the University of Birmingham, refuses to be drawn on the wisdom or otherwise of pressing ahead with such a vast project to reassess 1.6 million people at a rate of 11,000 a week, using a flawed process.
“People said to me, ‘Why didn’t you tell the minister to stop and wait until your recommendations go ahead?’ That’s a political decision,” he says. “My view is that the government can decide to do what it likes, in what order it likes. I’ll just monitor the situation to see whether it works.”
I am reminded of this image from a cannon of our western literature :
“When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.” (Matt 27:24)
Well, Harrington. How does that feel? Good? You believe that you’re able to retreat in to some fictitious, oak-paneled ‘ivory tower’, free of the bloodstains which have been shed all over your highly-paid government employment contract ??
“Might it have been better to pause and get it right? “Not my decision. I deliberately avoided having an opinion on that,” he replies flatly.”
“Maybe we are going in the right direction, we’ll see.”
“You have a massive number of people going through a huge government department, dealing with a big multinational that has got to see a lot of people. It’s bound to take time,” he says.
“The evidence we’ve had so far is that people are still complaining about atrocious behaviour by certain Atos assessors. But who’s going to write in and say, ‘It was wonderful. I enjoyed going through the whole process’?”
“There will be people on the wrong side of the improvement. But you can’t just grind everything to a halt while you fix things.”
I posted on the thread:
“When the next spate of suicides happen – and when the next group of people die whilst waiting for their appeals to be heard – it will be YOU that we will point to Professor!”
“J’ACCUSE! You are COMPLICIT in this massive injustice! SHAME ON YOU!”
I find his attitude repulsive.
He exhibits the attitude of one who is simply an observer in some great big experiment.
WORDS FAIL ME
We urge a boycott of the Harrington Reports.
These are sham consultations. The government said that it accepted his recommendations in full. Yet it has yet to implement ANY!
The government is heading towards a car crash.
And we as a campaign fully intend to be at the forefront of this juggernaut. May they be crushed quickly!
The next article, which led me to go all ‘Krakatoa’ (volcano) was this:
Atos founder Bourigeaud appointed to IPC Governing Board:
Let Bob Williams-Findlay, of our sister organisation Disabled People Against Cuts speak for us here as I am quaking too much with rage to formulate my thoughts:
“If there were any lingering doubts about Harrington; that he was just a naïve academic from an ivory tower who was out-of-his-depth, his pronouncements found within a Guardian article should’ve blown them clean away.
He was supposed to be independent, impartial and seeking a “fair” assessment process – in reality he’s using sticking plaster and perfume to hide the belching sewer designed by Atos for the DWP.
We now know he has no intention of changing his course of action.
Harrington seemed more concerned with the financial cost of appeals which are overturning decisions; nowhere is there any sign that he gives a shit about the lives of those people who are being forced to appeal because the Government and Atos have screwed up their lives.
How dare this man who lives a secure middle class existence casually request that the “charities” be ‘patient’ while he tinkers around?
Nero fiddled whilst Rome burnt; Harrington complacently acts like a complete tosser as people with little or no money live in fear and utter dispair.
He’s a Government puppet and it’s time he was held to account by those who are being oppressed as a result of his duplicitous actions.
The chief agent of people’s oppression currently in the UK is Atos, and whilst I fully understand the outrage over the appointment of Bernard Bourigeaud as a co-opted member of the Governing Board of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), I can’t say I’m surprised.
The reason I’m not surprised by the IPC decision to invite another fat cat capitalist to join their gravy train is because they have a similiar culture to the IOC and FIFA.
Bourigeaud was founder and former chair of Atos Origin – which is an IPC worldwide partner. And whilst western capitalist states may be slashing their welfare budgets, global corporations such as Atos, continue to exploit the potential markets surrounding medicine, ill health and disability.
Money buys power – power makes yet more“
We as grassroots disability rights activists find it utterly unacceptable and an affront to our fundamental human dignity that these two individuals, oppressors of disabled people, complicit in this pogrom against the sick and disabled are able to thrive in our corrupt and subverted sham of a ‘democracy’!
On the one side we see Harrington, a completely apathetic, amoral, bystander.
On the other, Bourgiraud, a perpetrator.
On January 27, 1998, Yehuda Bauer, professor of Holocaust studies at the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, delivered a speech to the German Bundestag.
“I come from a people who gave the Ten Commandments to the world. Time has come to strengthen them by three additional ones, which we ought to adopt and commit ourselves to: thou shall not be a perpetrator; thou shall not be a victim; and thou shall never, but never, be a bystander.”
Harrington is the bystander. Bourgiraud a perpetrator.
BLACK TRIANGLE CAMPAIGN SAYS:
“WE ARE NOT YOUR VICTIMS! WE ARE NOT YOUR SLAVES!”
Today, the charity SCOPE released this on their website:
“As London marks International Paralympics Day (Thursday 8 September) and the tickets for the 2012 events go on sale (Friday 9 September), the survey also asked disabled people, their families and carers about the role the Paralympics could play in improving attitudes towards disabled people.
- More than half (57%) of disabled people asked said they were going to watch some of the Paralympics.
- Some 64% of all respondents see the Paralympics as an opportunity for disabled people. If you take just parents of disabled children that number rises to 74%.
- Some 40% of disabled people feel either excited, included or see the games as empowering.
- 39% of people thought the games would have a positive impact on either attitudes towards disabled people generally, disabled people’s participation in sport, job opportunities or transport for disabled people.