Daily Mail begins priming Middle England for next ATOS Onslaught ~ The Iron Bridge



The Daily Mail published a less-than-responsible piece of journalism yesterday, detailing the apparent struggles of Norfolk resident Nina Friday, a lady with rheumatoid arthritis, who – according to the story published – is working 35 hours a week and is £300 per month worse-off financially than if she were on the disability benefits she was receiving previously.


The Mail is more than happy to describe Ms Friday as being “disabled”; whilst simultaneously showing pictures of her apparently working her poor sore fingers to the bone all the hours God sends her – photographs that would instantly result in Ms Friday being found “fit-for-work” if brought before the WCA team for means-tested disability payments. The Daily Mail has repeatedly insinuated that people found “fit-to-work” by these deeply flawed assessments are not genuinely disabled at all, and are in fact liars and scroungers of the most irksome ilk (though we know that not to be the case).

They also bring Ms Friday’s status as a mother into prominent position, right in the headline – “Disabled Mother” – right after “Putting others to shame” – the clear implication being that Ms Friday puts other disabled mothers to shame somehow. This is just strange, as Ms Friday’s children (at least the ones mentioned) are adults in their early 20s. While it is certainly true that a mother’s work is never done, science would probably agree that generally the bulk of the hard work is when your offspring aren’t legal adults yet. Ms Friday, according to The Mail, was a long-term, out-of-work, benefits claimant for the twelve years between 2000-2012 – for most of the latter part of her daughters’ lives.

One could start to wonder why the Daily Mail is lionising a mother who spent 12 years out of work claiming disability benefit for a degenerative disease, then promptly within a year of ceasing to claim, found herself fit to work 35 hours a week. They would have to look very closely through the mess of half-truths and outright lies scattered about the piece before they found the key to this particular puzzle. It’s in there, unhelpfully uncapitalised, but it’s in there:

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

Ms Friday, according to article, is in a relationship with her partner Charley. One can effectively deduce that Charley’s earnings are too high for the couple to qualify for means-tested disability benefits, as The Mail is referring solely to Ms Friday’s money; whereas couples in receipt of means-tested benefits receive those particular benefits jointly, so the Mail would be inaccurate to refer to it as just Ms Friday’s money if that were the case.

But it isn’t. DLA is not means-tested. Millionaires can claim it. Full time students can claim it. A person can claim it irrespective of their partner’s earnings, as long as they have a medically established disability that qualifies them for the extra support. Ms Friday would have qualified for DLA as a person who suffers from rheumatiod arthritis – a condition that can fluctuate and go into remission, but is ultimately a systemic autoimmune disease with a generally not-so-cheery long-term prognosis. With the information The Mail has provided however, it is entirely reasonable to assume that Charley and Ms Friday are too well-off as a couple to be able to receive any further top-ups, as the kids and all possible related benefits (universal or not) have flown the nest.

The maximum amount that a person receiving DLA alone can receive per month is £569. Ms Friday would not currently be entitled to any more benefit for her disability than that, if the Mail’s description of her current financial circumstances is correct. The Mail claims that Ms Friday gets £300 less than that per month – £269, or, £62.07 for… 35 hours of work per week?

This is where the irresponsibilty and misdirection become especially pernicious. The Mail quotes Ms Friday as saying that she has “been told” that she does about 35 hours of work a week. I believe that she does. I don’t however believe that Ms Friday does 35 hours of paid work per week, because the sums do not add up. They have included a website that she runs herself on the list of her five jobs; with no mention as to the time spent on that personal project, and how much it contributes to the 35 hour total given for her worked hours per week. They have not detailed how much of the remaining work (all good, useful stuff) is paid or unpaid. This is important, not because only paid work counts, but because only paid work counts when figuring out whether it is cheaper to be on benefits than in paid work.

This isn’t about any genuine concern for Ms Friday, who could work and claim DLA if she liked, thus rendering the whole dilemma pointless.

This is a very poorly written piece of propaganda designed to prime the readers of the Tory Tabloids into accepting the new, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) as a replacement for DLA – rolling out this April across the country. Now Atos and Capita will be running the same ridiculous, highly contested, maligned-by-medical-professionals-everywhere assessments to see who does and doesn’t qualify – and before a single test has been run by one of their “healthcare professionals”, they’realready aiming for a 20% reduction in the DLA/PIP funding by 2015/16. At least 20% of people found by their GP to have the requisite medical symptoms that should qualify them for DLA/PIP will, the Tories hope, have this extra support cut during this horrible time of economic crisis that disabled people did not cause.

The writer of this piece has used gross misdirection in order to have us believe that DLA payments are higher than the wages a person would earn by working a 35 hour work week, in order to spark the resentment necessary for the public to swallow another round of Atos purges on the sick and disabled. They have tried to make Ms Friday’s story sound as though it is analogous to the stories of those disabled mothers still legally responsible for their children, many of whom are in receipt of means-tested benefits such as ESA, and a substantial proportion of whom do not have resident partners in full time work. Ms Friday’s symptoms clearly do not make active work too much of a problem at this point in time, but it would be dangerous to assume that ‘most cases’ are similar in severity to hers when discussing the overall issue. The Mail has made no nods to such sensitivity, and in doing do has merely shown yet again that its editorial slant lacks social conscience; and that the paper is entirely deserving of the sneers that it so rightfully receives in educated circles.

It’s lies, bollocks and bullshit. Don’t buy it.


16 thoughts on “Daily Mail begins priming Middle England for next ATOS Onslaught ~ The Iron Bridge

  1. Bananamoose says:

    Sadly, the Tory mail readers won’t see this, nor will they believe it. They’ve read the mail, the damage is done.

  2. alan says:

    this is war tac tic propaganda mind games, olympic style, destroying the core of society, government manipulation of society are we fools

  3. Hypatia says:

    Perhaps the DM will run a feature on Professor Stephen Hawking next to ‘prove’ all disabled people, including those with severe learning difficulties, could be world class scientific geniuses if only their Social Security was kicked away?

  4. Laz says:

    If Her RA was bad enough the pain would stop her working.Lots of people work with disabilities that do not stop them working ,some do not claim as they are fit enought to work,others claim & work as their type of disability might entitel them to a benifit for mobility or assistance.Others have conditions that progressivly reduce their ability to work until they have to stop then claim benefits .Some are disabeled all their lives or suddenly by way of accident,war or sudden ilness.Others are disabeled for a long period of time but recover & return to work.The bottom line is their are many classifications but these undiniably politicaly motivated Nazi extremists use a misleading representation of disability to manipulate and sway public opinion which is starting to run in the direction of as long as I am alright then Sod everyone else cause we don`t care,even thought the taxes the disabeled payed whilst working and still pay on everthing they buy are not concidered.
    It would be wonderful if these politicaly misleading media companies were raised to the ground and their shareholders bought to book for acts of terrorism against British Citizens.

  5. Hypatia says:

    As an aside, aren’t Crapita the bullying, debt-collection thugs who harrass the poorest over the paedo-support tax of TV licences?

    Crapita’s involvement with disability benefits claimants, who may also be TVL reruseniks, would seem to give these goons an enforced access into the privacy of their homes.

  6. Aletheia says:

    So pleased the BT are balancing the spurious writings of the Daily hate Mail, by pointing out the truth, something the DM wouldnt know about if it slapped them across the face.

  7. mark blackburn says:

    DLA is money to live on. it is money to aid people with travel and other things they could not normally do without this money that even Olympians receive. daily fail what a joke

  8. jeffery davies says:

    i give up reading papers yrs ago bcause of their untruths but then it is a troy flag paper helping more lies to look good but then who are the social scroungers but those in parliment jeff3

  9. Joanna Terry says:

    There are many glaring faults with this story and I am pleased to say that the below the line comments did not immediately support the report. Many people wrote in to say that it was utter nonsense but the biggest thing that struck me was the pictures of this lady going about her work. I know RA can go into remission but surely that does not mean that the damage done also miraculously disappears as well. I have a friend with RA and although the disease has not progressed beyond her hands, they are still very much blighted by the damage done. this lady does not have the classic picture of RA and do correct me if I am wrong but I thought once your hands and fingers were disfigured they did not then straighten out again.
    The other point of course is how on earth did she mange to get DLA, I had to jump through more hoops than you see at an olympics, surely there must be a question about that?

  10. Pink Parrot says:

    Yes, a story full of holes…expect more of the same soon. One for every illness that might prevent someone from working – ‘I’ve got xxxxx and work, therefore everyone with xxxxx is capable of work…logic not being your average Heil reader’s strong suit, some people will fall for it.

    I’d like to ask Ms Friday – is she happy as a person with disabilities (?) to have her story used as a stick to hit others with perhaps the same disease whose illness has progressed to the stage where they are unable to work. If she has such a poor attitude to others with disabilities, I think she’s in for a very rough time, from a mental health point of view, if, probably when, she has to stop work.
    I’d like to know what her specialist say too, if she is even a real person.

  11. Linda says:

    My mother had Rheumatoid Arthritis. Within a few years of diagnosis, she needed two sticks to get around. She eventually became housebound, she could only walk very short distances. Her joints became terribly deformed and she was in a lot of pain. She needed carers to get her up morning and put her to bed at night. The last few years of her life she had to be hoisted in and out of bed. That is how bad RA can be.
    I would suggest that if this lady has RA, then it is perhaps fairly mild or she has gone into remission. Many people, like my mother can have a more aggressive form.
    Cleaning for a living, is the last thing someone with RA would want to do.

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