The government has cited one line in the guest foreward of a review of the work capability assessment as the reason why it refuses to meet with representatives of sick and disabled people. The line they objected to referred to wounded soldiers being sent back to the front by the Nazis.
As Michael Meacher MP said in Parliament “This work is evidence based, uses the DWP’s figures wherever possible, has never been challenged on accuracy.” He pointed out that it has been used by the Work and Pensions select committee, the joint committee on human rights, and in many parliamentary debates.
Mark Hoban, Minister of State for Work and Pensions, refused to meet Meacher to talk about the Work Capability Assessment and he flatly refused to meet representatives of We Are Spartacus. In Michael Meacher’s own words:
He simply replied blankly “I’m not seeing you”, and repeated it 3 0r 4 times. I kept on insisting ‘Why not?’ and finally he said “I’m not seeing Spartacus”. Again I was taken aback and asserted that in my view Spartacus had analysed hundreds of cases, prepared a very detailed and thoughtful analysis of the implications arising from these cases, and even if he disagreed strongly for whatever reasons it was his responsibility to meet them. To this he simply kept repeating “I’m not meeting Spartacus”.
Michael Meacher took it to the speaker of the house and arranged a debate to face Hoban in Parliament. Hoban didn’t turn up. Instead he send Esther McVey, Minister for Disabled People. Who publicly refused to meet disabled people. The reason given, eventually, was that it “wouldn’t be constructive”. The evidence presented was one sentence from the guest foreward of The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment.
The process is reminiscent of the medical tribunals that returned shell shocked and badly wounded soldiers to duty in the first world war or the ‘KV-machine’, the medical commission the Nazis used in the second world war to play down wounds so that soldiers could be reclassified ‘fit for the Eastern front’.
- Guest Foreward to The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment by Professor Peter Beresford OBE, BA Hons, PhD, AcSS, FRSA, Dip WP, Professor of Social Policy, Brunel University
The government have essentially invoked Godwin’s Law to get out of meeting the most effective campaign against their welfare policy. They are afraid, desperate, and grabbing at any way out they can find.