Thursday, 9 June 2011

Pontius Grayling has Spoken

So the Work and Pensions Committee had Chris Grayling over for a little chat, and the members chose to take him to task over the hatred of disabled people the DWP press releases on disability benefits are whipping up in the tabloid press, spilling out from there into the general population.

Mr Grayling promptly claimed himself "bemused" (not 'horrified'?) at how the tabloids chose to portray the DWP press releases, claiming he had been criticised for saying benefit claimants shouldn't be called 'scroungers' -- criticised by whom, Mr Grayling? Saying it when?

If DWP is so lily-white and innocent of all wrong, why exactly did it release press releases proclaiming 70% of people on IB were fit to work, when that 70% consisted of 40% in the Work Related Activity Group who by definition are not currently fit to work, and 30% placed on JSA, but still very much disabled. Why has DWP been trawling through the IB stats, looking for the most seemingly outrageous claims it can find? Why did the Prime Minister feel it necessary to proclaim on national news that disabled people whose disability causes addiction or obesity were not fit to receive benefits -- ever heard of Praeder-Willi Syndrome, Mr Grayling?

You have said much the same thing about being 'bemused' by the results before, Mr Grayling, and since then Scope has found it necessary to warn the government of the rise in disability hate crimes as a result of these press releases, so you can't claim to be surprised by the hatemongering headlines, and yet still your press releases go out. And each one seems to come with its anonymous quotes from 'a source close to the reforms', snidely wondering things like why someone with a mere bad back might need to claim benefit.

And then there is Polly Toynbee, on the list to receive all DWP press releases, yet strangely not receiving this latest one. And when she enquires about it, what is she told? That it was sent only to a small number of “key contacts”. That would be the Tory rags you can rely on for the 'bemusing' headlines, then Mr. Grayling?

So the DWP dug up the most extreme examples it could find, sent them only to the "key contacts" known to take the most outrageous stance possible, briefed them to take an extremely negative attitude towards people with long term spinal conditions, and yet Mr Grayling proclaims himself to be 'bemused'. Do you also proclaim yourself to be clueless, Mr Grayling? Or might your 'bemusement' relate to people actually having the audacity to try and hold you responsible for the hatred you are sowing?

Pilate, it seems, has washed his hands of responsibility for whatever the mob may do.


  1. I see Grayling is still spinning that old chestnut again, "claiming he had been criticised for saying benefit claimants shouldn't be called 'scroungers'". See:

    The disingenuous Ponce ('Ponce' being French for Pontius), I tried to take him to task with my question (re. him fuelling the fire of tabloid bile) on the rethink forum, and, dissatisfied with his spin - I even emailed (marked F.A.O. Chris Grayling M.P.) his office with the same question:
    Needless to say, I didn't even get a message received acknowledgement.

  2. If they're willing to actually provide supports to help potentially employable disabled people get and stay employed, then that's great.

    But if they'll just call us lazy for not working and deny us help based on that, then that's not good.