Sunday, January 20, 2013

Welfare reform half truths and propaganda not helping

It never ceases to amaze me how many people fall hook, line and sinker for political propaganda based on headlines and hype and not fact.  Many of then allegedly intelligent, thinking, rational individuals.  Some masquerading as ‘independent’ happily spreading blatant Labour propaganda thus saving them the trouble of doing it.

They happily gulp down the half-truths put out by people such as 38 Degrees without really examining the so called facts presented.  Take this campaign for example – to “Stop the Welfare Reform Death Scandal”  which refers to something called Callum’s list

It is headed ‘the welfare reform scandal has to stop’ but most of the links between the stories and welfare reform are tenuous to say the least.

The first report, tragic though it was for the family, was of a man who had already tried to commit suicide once a year before. The letter re benefits may not have helped his state of mind but it was not solely responsible for his death. That is sensationalism.

5 and 6 happened in 2008 and 14 in 2009 – hardly the coalition’s fault then, or the fault of welfare reform.

13 - Jobseeker committed suicide after being rejected for 200 jobs – dated April 2010.

15 - had worked as a supervisor at the Brierley Community Centre in Little Hulton for 16 years before it fell victim to spending cuts. The news tipped her into depression and she had already taken an overdose of pills eight days before she was found dead at her home in Walkden, just before 5pm on May 13. Mrs K, had been offered another post with the council but took voluntary redundancy

16 – this sad tale is of a man who committed suicide immediately after being told he was being made redundant, hardly the fault of benefit cuts then.

All of these tales are tragic to those involved, and I wouldn’t argue there are concerns over ATOS and some of their methods and decisions. Many are tales of people with obvious mental health problems and they should have received appropriate help for that mental health care needs drastic improvement across the UK, but to say they committed suicide because of government cuts is plunging politicking to new depths.   

There are tales of genuine hardship coming forward and they need to be looked at and the system changed if and where necessary, but this nonsense makes a mockery of those who are genuinely struggling.

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