‘Is anyone listening? Is this how the Nazis got away with so many atrocities?’ ~ by Fiona Goffe

Fiona Goffe
by Fiona Goffe on Wednesday, 13 June 2012 at 08:51 ·

There is a campaign of hate and bullying against the most vulnerable in our society – the sick and disabled.  

The changes in the system of benefits is causing people not just unneccessary suffering but people are dying because of it.

I hope that you will read this and share it.

It seems to me that unless people are directly affected they don’t want to know.  But this is something that could be stopped if there was enough of a public outcry.

My father spent time in concentration camps during WWII and was marched through the streets of Germany.  

The question he, and I, always asked was how could the ordinary German people have allowed this to happen?  

Now I understand.

They were too busy ‘coping with their own lives’, trying to make themselves feel better by partying, drinking, focussing on the good things, in denial, felt powerless etc etc.  And yet they stand accused of guilt by association.  

We all know they could have done more to stop what was happening.

The same applies to us, today.  And yet I find that, even on FB, it is only those people who have been directly affected that take an interest.

People can’t even be bothered to read stuff, let alone go to the trouble of pressing a button and sharing the stories that demonstrate the depth of this crisis, the despair that people around them are experiencing or even the horror at the number of deaths.  

People seem happy to share pretty, funny pictures, to share that they care about disasters and crimes in other places, to show their concern about animals, the environment etc etc.  And so am I, don’t get me wrong: But they don’t want to know about what is going on under their noses, in their name.

We all know that stress makes you sick.

If you are sick it makes you sicker.  

If you are very weak it can kill you.  

Trying to get the benefits you are entitled to to ensure you can live while you deal with illness is incredibly stressful.

The number of people who have died is horrifying and this is a crisis that could affect you, your family and anyone that you love.

Below are a couple of stories and an article that was written with some early statistics in. I feel so frustrated that we do not seem to be getting across to the general public how serious this is.  

The Motto of this government is that work makes people healthier.

Above the gates of Auschwitz is said “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work makes you free).  

Pretty similar eh?



First They Came – Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out 

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out 

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out 

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

 Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me


Paul Mickleburgh, one of the world’s longest surviving kidney dialysis patients is hooked up to a dialysis machine for five hours, three days a week. He’s also had cancer and pneumonia and suffers from spontaneous internal bleeding, brittle bones a twisted bowel and agonising joint pains as a result of his renal treatment. He’s had four failed kidney donations.

To top it all off, Paul has had 14 heart attacks in the last five years and believes his last attack was caused in part by the stress of trying to deal with the DWP.

Sadly, patients with chronic kidney disease are actually more likely to die from associated heart disease than from kidney failure itself.

In spite of this, Paul has been placed in the work-related activity group, meaning that he is someone who is expected to return to the workplace in the reasonably near future. Paul’s request for this dreadful decision to be looked at again came back with the same result – he should be moving towards a return to work. 

We hope that Paul is now appealing . . . and that his heart will stand the stress.”  (From the Benefits and Work website) 


RIP Karen Sherlock  (From diary of a benefit Scounger/Spartacus)

I just found out that Karen Sherlock, @pusscat01 has passed away. 

Here is here twitter profile : “Chronic Spoonie, lots wrong. ESA stopped by this inhumane government. Preparing for dialysis. Each day is tough.” 

Karen embodied our fight in almost every way. She was desperately ill. Her kidneys were failing, putting a huge strain on her body. Ultimately it seems she died of a cardiac arrest. An operation had recently been cancelled at the last minute, though I have no idea why or if it is relevant to her death. 

She had been found capable of some work by the DWP. Placed in the Work Related Activity Group, her Employment and Support Allowance was time limited to one year after the welfare reform bill went through. Not only that, but it was limited retrospectively, meaning that she only had a few months left to appeal for long term support (Support Group) before she lost everything.

I won’t go into more detail here. It’s not for me to list her complaints and trials, but there is one thing everyone in this country should know.

She was terrified. Beside herself with fear. She lived her last months desperately scared that her family would not survive the onslaught it faced. She was “the most vulnerable” whatever that is. The system failed her and she spent her last precious moments in this world fighting. For herself, for her family and for others. She was one of us. She was Spartacus. And now she’s dead and she died in fear because the system failed her, because cruel men refused listen and powerful men refused to act. She spent her last months fighting for the “security” of £96 a week and the reassurance that it couldn’t be taken away. She won her battle. Just two weeks ago she was finally put into the Support Group of ESA. After months of unbearable stress, resilient commitment and endurance beyond comprehension, she won her battle.But she lost her war and we must all make sure that whatever comes, we win that war in her name and in the names of the many thousands more fighting for life and dignity. RIP Karen. We WON’T forget you. 

(Karen’s funeral will be on June 26th 2012 in Fareham. You can send messages of condolence to Karen’s family by clicking HEREBlack Triangle Campaign)

From Scottish Law Blogspot:


OVER ONE THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE DIED as a direct result of ‘reforms’ to benefits payouts ordered by the Conservative Liberal-Democrat Coalition Government in Westminster, with likely to be HUNDREDS OF SCOTS also among the dead, according to information published by the media after Freedom of Information responses revealed over 32 people are dying a week after having passed through work capability assessments carried out by by private firm ATOS, on a £100million a year contract to the ConDem coalition Westminster Government. ATOS made a £42million profit in 2010 and paid boss Keith Wilman £800,000, a 22% pay rise on the previous year.

With the revelations of the numbers of dead, Scots may now be entitled to ask – “Would a Scottish Government of an Independent Scotland hire a French based firm for £100million a year to do the same to Scots citizens and cause as many deaths ?” (errm No ! – Ed)

The Daily Mirror newspaper reports :


More than a thousand ­sickness benefit claimants died last year after being told to get a job, we can reveal. We’ve highlighted worries about the controversial medical tests for people claiming Employment Support Allowance which are being used to slash the country’s welfare bill. The Government has boasted that more than half of new ­claimants are found “fit to work” – failing to mention that over 300,000 have appealed the decision and almost 40% have won. Instead, employment minister Chris Grayling says this ­”emphasises what a complete waste of human lives the current system has been”. 

We’ve used the Freedom of Information Act to discover that, between January and August last year, 1,100 claimants died after they were put in the “work-related activity group”. This group – which accounted for 21% of all claimants at the last count – get a lower rate of benefit for one year and are expected to go out and find work. This compares to 5,300 deaths of people who were put in the “support group” – which accounts for 22% of claimants – for the most unwell, who get the full, no-strings benefit of up to £99.85 a week. 

We don’t know how many people died after being found “fit to work”, the third group, as that information was “not available”. But we have also found that 1,600 people died before their assessment had been completed. This should take 13 weeks, while the claimant gets a reduced payment of up to £67.50 a week, but delays have led to claims the system is in “meltdown”. 

Mr Grayling admitted last month that 35,000 people are waiting longer than 13 weeks. Commenting on the deaths of ­claimants, a Department for Work and Pensions official said: “It is possible that the claimant had already closed their claim and then ­subsequently died, meaning that these figures may be overestimating the true picture.” Of course, they’re bound to include some people who died of ­something completely unrelated to their benefit claim. 

But there are plenty of tragic cases – such as that of David Groves (left) who died from a heart attack the night before taking his work ­capability assessment. The 56-year-old, from Staveley, Derbyshire, worked for 40 years as a miner and telecoms engineer but stopped on doctors’ orders after an earlier heart attack and a string of strokes. His widow Sandra said: “When Dave was called in for a medical, he felt like he was back to square one. “He was in a terrible state by the day he died. It was the stress that killed him, I’m sure.” 

Stephen Hill, 53, of Duckmanton, Derbyshire, died of a heart attack in December, one month after being told he was “fit to work”, even though he was waiting for major heart surgery. Citizens Advice told us it has found “a number of cases” of people dying soon after being found fit for work. “There seems to be a clear link between the cause of death and the condition they were suffering from that led to the claim,” said Katie Lane, head of welfare policy. 

“We have always supported the idea that people who could work and want to work should be helped to do that. But we are seeing a lot of seriously ill and disabled people being found fit for work. “We have serious concerns about whether the test used to decide if people are fit for work is the right test.” The work capability assessments are carried out by private firm Atos, on a £100million a year contract. The firm made a £42million profit in 2010 and paid boss Keith Wilman £800,000, a 22% pay rise on the previous year. 

The response to our FOI request:

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request of 16 February 2012. You asked: 

Can you please provide me with the number of ESA claimants who have died in 2011? 

Can you please break down that number into the following categories:• Those who are in the assessent phase• Those who have been found fit to work• Those who have been placed in the work related activity group• Those who have been placed in the support group• Those who have an appeal pending 

The table below provides data on the numbers of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants where the Department holds information on a date of death being recorded in 2011 and whose latest Work Capability Assessment (WCA) date (or activity towards assessment) was before the end of August 2011, the latest data available. 

In total, between January 2011 and August 2011, some 8,000 claims ended and a date of death was recorded within six weeks of the claim end. This represents about 1% of the total ESA caseload in May 2011 (the latest caseload data available). The table below shows the position of these claims when they were closed. 

Those in the Support Group receive unconditional support due to the nature of their illness, which can include degenerative conditions, terminal illness and severe disability. Note it is possible that the claimant had already closed their claim and then subsequently died, meaning that these figures may overestimate the true picture. Care should therefore be taken when interpreting these figures. 

WCA Outcome at most recent assessment and number of claimants with a recorded date of death :

Assessment not complete 1,600Work Related Activity Group 1,100Support Group 5,300 Total 8,000 

All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100. 

Data on the number of ESA claimants that have died following a fit for work decision is not available, as the Department does not hold information on a death if the person has already left benefit. The Department does not hold information on the number of claimants who died whilst an appeal was in progress. 

We then asked for: The total Employment and Support Allowance caseload figures most comparable with the ones in the FOI request, eg Jan-Aug 2011, showing how many ESA claimants are put in support group, WRAG group, fit to work or claim ended. Clarification on whether these figures are only new ESA claims or whether they include the transfer from Incapacity Benefit? Clarification on the six-week cut off figure – why was that selected?

We were told: 

“As at August 2011 there were around 730,000 people receiving ESA. In the three quarters Jan-Sep 2011, 380,000 people left ESA. 

It is not possible to provide the further detail you request. These figures only cover new ESA claims – claims from IB recipients are not included. The six-week figure is used routinely within the department when looking at where people go after leaving benefits.” See: Scottish Law Reporter

Fiona Goffe

34 thoughts on “‘Is anyone listening? Is this how the Nazis got away with so many atrocities?’ ~ by Fiona Goffe

  1. DAVID A SHAW says:

    The ignorant will never listen, but those of us who care are trust me, and this government and its cruel fascist and hateful regime can only survive as long as people do nothing as you say. When the next round of cuts hit at the end of the year, watch the screaming start, and then you will see a change i assure you. For those who are currently not affected by this governments policies will be so in a way they had not even considered. And in a nation where money is the prime mover, this will be a major issue. There is a lot of grass roots activism as you know i am sure, and Europe wide as the corrupt policies of the Banks and governments in cahoots with them bite hard, the people will have their voice, and those who thought they could take the blood of the vulnerable and drink it will find themselves facing an outcome even THEY could never imagine. THEY SHALL NOT PASS !

    1. Elaine says:

      I SO agree with you. I have only just found this website so the answer to my next question may be on here somewhere …….. what can we do to help and stop all this?

    2. DAGMAR LOFTS says:


  2. geoff hobbs says:

    this is a very sad article,i have had dealings with ATOS as a trade union rep and have found them tobe totally uncaring and incompetant,it disgusts me that we have become a nation that turns a blind eye to the needs of the most vulnerable in our country,those on benifits have been so demonised that they are now all viewed as scroungers and i really believe that some people in are nation would be happy to see these “scroungers” packed off to concentration camps,all people care about in this day and age are their own material gains and they view those on benifits as freeloaders who they are paying for and blame them for the economic crisis we are suffering and not the banks,the debt is being paid for with the lifes of the most needy and very few seem to actually care

  3. karen morgan says:

    we must stick together on this one, this is a mistake the government will regret for many years to come, some kind of reform, yes, but to target the sick and vunerable of this country, makes me ashamed to be British.

  4. jeffrey davies says:

    the storm troopers do not listen and smile with glee at every body whos taken off benefits as its one less to pay out to ,but they do they pay thier taxes like the rest of us i think not but put thier hands in the till daily paying for thier lifestyle in london while we go without and most couldnot keep the heat on in the winter as we cant afford it and its the same with food can not eat every day so skips meals and now they want us quite and gone but we still shout out but at the moment only a few hear but it will get bigger some of us will lose before we win but it gives the strengh to carry on jeff3

  5. Jaki Rundle says:

    I was on the phone last night to my mother. Just a normal, catch-up phone call. I happened to mention that I hadn’t been sleeping recently and thought it might be the weather. She said, maybe it’s all that’s going on with the disability benefits. I burst into tears. I am not in the dire straits that the people in this article are or have been in, but not only is it the financial worry, it is the attitude of people and the government behind all these changes. I now feel that I am ‘not allowed’ to be disabled. That somehow, I have to push and push myself to be as ‘normal’ as I can be. This is at the root of all this. It is having no understanding as to what it is to be a person with a disability and live with that disability. It is the subconscious (or not so subconscious) wish of many to irradicate ‘the disabled’ or at least, ‘normalise’ us all so you won’t be able to tell; stuck behind a desk somewhere out of sight and out of mind.

  6. Celia says:

    There will come a time when this government, their rich friends and lackeys will pay for every death they have caused. They have blood on their hands and we will not forget it!

  7. Socrates says:

    Aber nur Molotows aufhellen können diese Dunkelheit.

    Wir halten zusammen,
    wir halten einander aus,
    wir halten zueinander;
    niemand hält uns auf!

    We stick together,
    We endure one another,
    We hold onto one another,
    No one holds us back!

    1. JJ says:

      “But just to brighten the darkness of Molotov: We stick together, we keep with each other, we hold each other; and no one can stop us!”

  8. JJ says:

    Your Name: – Darren
    Email Subject – Yes, Fiona Goffe, I Am Listening
    Your Message: – I’m also writing, and comparing the UK today with Hitler’s Germany of the 1930s when the atrocities against the disabled, the mentally ill, the Jews and the Rom began. Check out my FB page at https://www.facebook.com/darren.lynch.796?sk=wall . I openly accuse the senior members of this government of being Nazi sympathisers, as it is known that Cameron himself has far-right-wing views and they are following him without questioning his projects. Indeed the likes of Iain Duncan-Smith, just like Heinrich Himmler, has taken it upon himself to get creative in the further attacks being made upon the disabled. Have a read, then drop me an email. Cheers

  9. Anita Bellows says:

    I do not fully agree with this. A lot of people who are not disabled are keeping informed and trying to fight this battle. A lot of them are not indifferent, they just do not how to engage with disabled people or disabled issues, because they feel that disabled people are in a better position to present their case and should be speaking for themselves. It leads to what seems to be a lack of engagement of their part, which is in fact an acknowledgement that however their level of understanding, they can never fully understand what it means to be disabled unless they share that experience.

    1. JJ says:

      Well, they’re not doing much of a job joining with us to change it, are they? Especially not in the Tory ‘Heart’lands!

    2. JJ says:

      “in fact an acknowledgement that however their level of understanding, they can never fully understand what it means to be disabled unless they share that experience.”
      – An interesting point. How can the gaps be bridged, then?

      I don’t have to be a member of an oppressed group in order to refuse to be a bystander while I see an oppressor attack, do I? They didn’t have to be Jews – in the example given by Fiona above – to know that they should have acted while her father was being carted off to a concentration camp.

      As Yehuda Bauer said:

      “Thou shalt not be a victim.
      Thou shalt not be an oppressor.
      But most of all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”
      — Yehuda Bauer

  10. Anita Bellows says:

    No, you are absolutely right, there are not doing much of a job joining you, but you are making my point, because as long as you keep dividing the world between them and you, you will make more difficult for them to join you. You cannot say on one hand that everybody should understand because they might one day become disabled, and on the other hand, emphasise the divide. I look at this as a human right issue, not only because it is an unifying factor which brings disabled and not disabled people together, but also because it is a human right issue.

      1. Anita Bellows says:

        No you are not. I am just uncomfortable by the distinction made between us and them in this context. The distinction is less between able and disabled people than between people who believe that the state has a duty to support the most vulnerable people, and those who are determined to destroy the welfare system because they believe that the market can be an adequate substitute. It is an ideological battle in which disabled people are caught, and it is where the line lies.

  11. paul barnard says:

    Anita Bellows
    No you are not. I am just uncomfortable by the distinction made between us and them in this context. The distinction is less between able and disabled people than between people who believe that the state has a duty to support the most vulnerable people, and those who are determined to destroy the welfare system because they believe that the market can be an adequate substitute. It is an ideological battle in which disabled people are caught, and it is where the line lies.

  12. jim says:

    There are too many humans on this planet. around 4 billion too many! this planet cannot sustain our race with our population this big! if you were the one wit the decisions on your shoulders how would you solve it?

    1. m. Lloyd says:

      Well, Jim, i say the first ones to do us the favour of topping themselves should be the biggots,. what ya think?

  13. Margaret Georgiadou says:

    Yes – I have been posting comments for ages just like many above. The true ‘chavs’ of this country are in government – feckless, irresponsible and morally dubious – not in the Job Centres or on Disability allowances. More is lost in tax evasion than is paid in benefits etc etc. Folk don’t want to know partly because they have been brainwashed into fearing the label – chav’; time we used it for the real layabouts led by Cameron, who want the 99% to work to keep the 1% in luxury.

  14. Ralph says:

    Making ill-informed comparisons to Nazism, and calling this government ‘fascist’ weakens your case considerably and makes your argument look stupid. It has the opposite effect to what you want to achieve.

  15. Jello Biafra says:

    It’s the unsupportable amount of mental illness diagnosis that burdens the state. One of the best things for someone experiencing mental illness is to move into simple constructive work. Irony is the stigma after diagnosis means they won’t get a job and a diagnosis legally disqualifies people from many professions. Psychiatry is like a religion nobody doubts it or questions it and it has no proofs. None of the illnesses are organic meaning they don’t show on any blood test or MRI (until after treatment) these diagnoses are never questioned and never changed nobody is expected to get better (being treated by psychiatrists) they last a lifetime. Psychiatrists need to keep themselves in business so more and more people are diagnosed.

    Consequentially the physically disabled are targeted and people will die.

    1. JJ says:

      That’s a deeply flawed analysis and it is outrageous to suggest that people with mental illness are not really ill and that physically disabled people suffer because of it!!!

      ‘It’s the unsupportable amount of mental illness diagnosis that burdens the state. One of the best things for someone experiencing mental illness is to move into simple constructive work’???

      ‘Irony is..’ : Wish it was you who was being ironic! This could heve been written by Iain Duncan Smith!

      You have a lot of self-educating to do on disability issues. Suggest you get cracking! :-(((

  16. jo says:

    Personally I don’t mind paying taxes which go to help the sick, the weak or the vulnerable in society. What I object to is paying taxes that go towards corporate tax breaks and ‘welfare’ for big corporations. The corporations that dodge taxes and the rich people with their snouts in the public trough are not being targeted. Quite the opposite. But then they’re the kind of people that Nazis like Cameron and Osborne grew up and went to school with. Wake up Britain.

  17. nikos zouros says:

    the only way to make a real change , is to get out of our little cells ,and care for the person near us.

  18. jim says:

    Nature lives in balance.. when an imbalance occurs natural selection re-balances. All arguments of Religion and Creation aside the simple fact remains that the human species does not adhere to this balance and thus we have approx 650,000,000 people worldwide who require extra support in order to lead normal lives. It is estimated that for every Disabled person 1 other person must dedicate their life or profession in order to care for them. This means that approx 20% if the worlds population are busy dribbling into their chairs or wiping dribble of chairs… In nature most of the dribblers would not be……………………

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