Letters Monday 12 November 2012
Tony Simpson objects to the cartoon which depicts victims of Tory welfare cuts being herded into an Auschwitz-style concentration camp by “SS guard” Iain Duncan Smith (M Star November 6).
Yes, Auschwitz victims were immediately assessed on arrival if they were fit for work. Those who were not – old people, children and the sick – were fast-tracked to the gas chambers.
The German for that procedure was called “the work capability assessment,” chillingly similar to the current activities of Atos.
The nazis also used it in their concentration camps to brand alcoholics, the homeless, asocial, mentally ill and disabled who were all made to wear a black triangle on their already degrading striped camp uniforms while being used as slave labour. Many were worked to death.
Nowadays there are an alarming number of Atos victims dying after being found fit for work.
There are also a disturbing number of suicides among the sick and disabled due to these ideological benefit cuts.
A British government document talked of “cleansing” one million benefit claims, so yes, the cartoon is justified, even if we are not yet in the gas chamber. Not yet, anyway.
‘Predictable reaction misses the crucial point ‘
Letters Tuesday 13 November 2012
I was disappointed by Tony Simpson’s predictable response (M Star November 6) to the cartoon by Bluelou showing Iain Duncan Smith outside the Auschwitz death camp gates on top of which the familiar words “Arbeit Macht Frei” had been replaced by “Atos will set you free” (M Star November 3-4).
I feel no apology is due from Bluelou.
The message I take from her cartoon is one of the dangers of a lurch to the right.
This is a pertinent point, given that it was the conservative and nationalist politicians who facilitated Hitler’s rise to power.
Duncan Smith was not presented in the cartoon as “an SS type figure” as Tony Simpson claims.
He was dressed as a modern Conservative politician, in a sober dark suit and blue tie.
We need to get past the stock reactions to references to the nazis in commentary on modern politics and understand the lessons from history that the commentator is perhaps trying to point us to.