Tory press cheers Iain Duncan Smith’s plans to force mentally ill people to work

Is there any cruelty the right-wing papers won't endorse?


Is there any cruelty the right-wing press won’t endorse?

Today they cheer on work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith as he promises to close the ‘disability employment gap’ – a nice IngSoc term for ‘make sick people work, they’re only faking or being lazy anyway’.

His plans to ‘reform’ (read: destroy) the Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and tests for sickness benefits could be dangerous. As the Times reports today, the charity Mind said four out of five Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants with mental health problems found Duncan Smith’s back-to-work schemes ‘made their mental health worse or much worse’.

On Thursday IDS will finally reveal how many people have died after having their disability benefits cut or stopped.

Despite all this, most of the Tory rags think his latest wheeze is a grand idea.

The Daily Mail is pleased the government is tackling our ‘sicknote culture’, while the Telegraph was so excited it forgot to quote, or even acknowledge, any possible opposition from charities and campaigners. Not even the Mail or the Sun did that.

Speaking of the Sun, the country’s favourite paper complains that ‘only 90,000 people have come off sickness benefit’, and says of IDS:

“Work and pensions secretary Mr Duncan Smith is a man the Left love to hate. But that says far more about them than it does about him.

As today’s changes show, he is dealing with the dependency culture created by Labour that has trapped so many people on benefits.”

It will come as news to people who cannot work because of illness, and who rely on state support to live, that they are ‘trapped on benefits’, or that they should hate the Labour party for making them ‘dependent’.

The argument IDS makes – parroted by the press – is that the options ‘fit’ and ‘unfit for work’ are too narrow, and that some people can work a bit, or do some kind of work.

No doubt attempts to remedy this will be administered with his trademark care and transparency. 

But perhaps only 90,000 out of over 2 million have been kicked off sickness benefit because many people really are sick and need those benefits. 

This seems too much for Iain Duncan Smith to process. To him, they aren’t working and they should be.

If there are other points of view, he’s unlikely to find them in newspapers so abject they won’t even scrutinise his policies.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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55 Responses to “Tory press cheers Iain Duncan Smith’s plans to force mentally ill people to work”

  1. remarx

    This man is a repugnant reptile. This vindictive, personal and down right Victorian attack on the most vulnerable people in this country is shameful. How many more people have to die to satisfy his ‘school bully’ mind? One more dead claimant is one more ‘burden’ off the books – job done.

    There is also the a high risk of deaths and violence against the public. Remember Thatcher’s ‘care in the community’ failure? People died. History has a nasty habit of repeating itself. Reinserting mentally ill folk back into an uncaring and pressurised workplace is a bomb waiting to go off.

    Why oh why do people support this fascists (yes, he DOES fit the dictionary description, “a person who is dictatorial or has extreme right-wing views.” check it out). Surely Cameron and co are not happy to be associated with the vehemence of this worm and his views? How can this ‘purge’ be happening in 21st century Britain?

    Sick people legitimately unable to work live in fear of the ‘brown envelope’ through the letter box. This has become synonymous with the ‘late night knock on the door’. Rarely does it contain good news. Personally, as one who suffers both chronic physical and mental health problems, I live in constant fear of the ‘summons’.

    God help the sick of this country.

  2. remarx

    Few deny that a healthy person should work, but the point here is sick and disabled persons should not have to. Benefits paid to those too ill to work ( I, after 30 years in the workplace, am one of them) , do not allow us a life of luxury. Yes,they are enough to live a dignified life – just – which should be the case in a first world 21st century democracy.

    The ‘righteous’, vindictive vilification of ONE group in society – by this man – is starting to show shades of a dark time in Europe’s history. Beware.

  3. Harold

    Hi in light of recent events I cannot let it pass without commenting, the impact on people who thought it was only others has happened. Even the supporters of the policy, not including Osbourne and IDS, seem to be having second thoughts. If Osbourne backs down, the tide might be turning.

  4. Simon Smith

    Why doesn’t this organisation combine with other organisation, find a way to take delegation to the United Nations to demand, DEMAND an earlier release if it’s report into the Conservative Government, and tell the whole world, of the Conservative Party’s barbarity???

    We have a right under international law! We have had virtually all our Universal Declarations of Human Rights destroyed by these Conservative animals, and we have a RIGHT, under the Convention for the Prevention & Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, to demand that health care ‘professionals’ at Atos and Maximus, who have violated their Hippocratic oath be struck off and face charges under Articles 2 & 4 of this Convention along with Atos, Maximus, Job Centre Staff and Managers, Osbourne, Cameron and their Heinrich Himler Henchman especially: Ian Duncan Smith, George Osbourne, David Cameron, Esther McVey, Lord Freud etc etc etc, that I for one, for the suffering and deaths they have caused, will settle for nothing other than death by hanging!

    This HAS to be the Punishment for mass murder on this scale!

  5. Simon Smith

    I also call for the United Nations to put the entire Conservative Party on trial and that this Party and its members, for banned from political office for life!!!

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