Tuesday, 18 January 2011

I Wonder What You Were Thinking

… when you informed on me to the DWP?

Did you believe the yellow rags, the Scum, the Heil, the Vexpress? Do they shape your every thought when they label us fakers and fraudsters and the cause of all your woes?

Did you believe Ian Duncan Smith when he blamed us for the banking collapse? George Osbourne and his lackeys when they label us workshy?

Do you envy me ESA’s £95 a week, which with Benefit Reform will soon enough be £0 a week?

Did you thrill over giving me an imagined kicking for my sins, not knowing I might still feel every punch, every blow, physical act or none?

Did you wonder about practicality, think how I might manage to hold down a job, when I’m lucky to get out of the house for a whole four hours in the week?

Did you realise that it was you who was committing the crime, not I; Hate Crime, spite crime, little-minded bigot’s crime? 

Or do you simply despise me because I’m disabled?


  1. Details of reports should be held, so that if *and only if* they are found to be *malicious in nature*, the caller can be investigated and reprimanded. What's the statistic? Only 1 in every 600 "shop a scrounger" calls are found to have any basis in fact? Isn't wasting the authorities' time generally considered criminal? You're right, your false accuser is the one committing a crime.

  2. A lot of people who are weak and or abused at home and consequently feel powerless will look for someone weaker, unable to defend themselves, to take it out on. They're the ones with the problems.

  3. This is Cameron's Big Society, we're all in it together.

    Just some feel more 'entitled' to be part of it than those who, for whatever reason, aren't able to take full part.

  4. David, I'm so sorry this has happened to you. It's something I dread - once, a neighbour (who works for Dial-a-Ride) noticed the blue badge and said "You're not disabled, are you?" - but then I realised I'd only ever spoken to him in my front yard, in the 2 metres between my front door and my gate, where I wouldn't necessarily have been using a mobility aid. Still, it made me worried - if a neighbour thought that, what might a passer by think?

    I know from your blog how hard the ESA interviews have been for you - even the seating wasn't accessible and caused you pain just to be there - and to think that they will put you through investigation, probably including more painful interviews, is horrible.

    I always remind people that you can't tell how much pain someone is in just from looking at them, or how much they have to rest afterwards as a result of whatever activity you see them undertaking. I read an article recently where a woman was determined to go to Glastonbury Festival - but was out of action for a month afterwards as a result. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12182854) There is so much that people don't see, that it's just mean and vile to be judged on the little they do see.

    I hope you get this sorted out quickly. After all, it's not like you are faking dislocations!

  5. I was evicted when I first became disabled because my landlady had decided I was putting on mobility problems to go "on the sick". Thirteen years on I'm still disabled with even worse mobility problems and she has grudgingly admitted she was partially wrong, but that I'm lazy and not trying hard enough to fight my disability.

    You just want to grab these people by the collar and shout at them "Have you ever considered that you might be WRONG!?"

    Unfortunately this kind of thing won't count as a hate crime because you're being accused of NOT being disabled rather than being attacked because of it.

  6. Jan: reprimanded? We're talking about libel and disability related harassment, I want them a damn sight more than reprimanded. They have quite literally broken the law.

    Bill: My experience of bullying, and that's what this is, is that it is often those with a degree of power who are the worst.

    Flash: I don't actually dislocate, which is why my bendiness is still not a formal diagnosis, but it's even more difficult to fake the results of a bone scan showing discs pressing on the spinal cord! You're right about the invisibility of pain and the after-effects, my record for time taken to recover from a holiday is a full year later.

    DEM: I don't seem to have been accused of not being disabled, but of working while claiming ESA -- as I'm in the WRAG I'm supposed to be able to work in some fashion even with my disability. I also can't see any way in which I can reasonably be assumed to be working, as I say I barely leave the house, so that makes it deliberate harassment because I'm a disabled benefit claimant, disability related harassment is a breach of the Equality Act and a hate crime.

  7. Bill Kruse said...
    A lot of people who are weak and or abused at home and consequently feel powerless will look for someone weaker, unable to defend themselves, to take it out on. They're the ones with the problems.

    Problems? They're not the ones who face losing their income, home and dignity.

    Are you disabled Bill? It's just you always white-night for the oppressors, you advocate pitying abusers. The moral high ground is only a place you can get to if you have the means to do so. Someone maliciously accused of benefit fraud doesn't have that option.

  8. Minor self-correction, it was the MRI that showed the impinging disc, the bone scan showed a different bunch of problems!

  9. Um... that's what I meant o_0. It was an attempt at being supportive, but I don't know the proper legal terms, which I guess is why it didn't work.

  10. Sorry, I expect that sounded snide. It's an angry day today, so I'm probably best ignored.

  11. This is why when I was off sick from JSA for 2 years and then later for a month from work with balance problems related to my disability that I got my GPs at the time to specifically state in their records that "walking around and about" was part of my rehab.

    I think a lot of it is lack of awareness, but the malice of the press and political campaign against us means that ignorance leads to spite because ALL disabled benefits claimants are scroungers, liars and wastrels.

  12. Jan: No problem, no offence taken.

    Barakta: It's not just disabled benefit claimants, but all disabled people at risk from this. I've been verbally abused on the street as a benefit fraud at least half a dozen times, all but the last of those occasions while I was in full time employment and claiming no disability related benefits whatsoever (and for the last one I was claiming JSA, not ESA). And even when I was working I really didn't get out much (less than now, in fact, given how much pain I was in). I will be astonished if there are not disabled people who have been physically assaulted with benefit fraud as a supposed justification.

  13. Just to follow up, someone from JCP came out yesterday (apparently it's easier to come to me than to make their office accessible), and seems perfectly happy that it was a malicious allegation, but that still doesn't mean it hasn't been a thoroughly unpleasant experience with three days of miserably increased pain levels.

  14. I don't suppose there'd be a case for suing the Daily Heil and other media spewing its bile on the grounds that they incite hate crime like this?

    Except, oh wait. It's not "hate crime" it's a good citizen doing their public duty by watching to ensure public money is wisely spent ... /sarcasm mode/

    Sorry this happened to you. This seems to be a more pervasive problem in the UK than it is in the US, and I can't help but think that media has a big role to play in that. :-(