Government invoke Godwin’s law to refuse to meet disabled people

Esther McVey - Talk to the hand
Esther McVey - Talk to the hand
Esther McVey: Talk to the hand

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.

Please sign the WOW petition to call for a cumulative impact assessment of the government’s welfare reforms.

Michael Meacher MP: DWP Ministers run frit of seeing delegation on Atos Healthcare

Benefit Scrounging Scum: Polite? Constructive? Request to meet with Minister Mark Hoban 10/2012

We Are Spartacus: The People’s Review of the Work Capability Assessment

Where’s The Benefit: Is It Coz We Is Disabled?

A Latent Existence: Godwin’s Law Must Die

We Are Spartacus

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

29 thoughts on “Government invoke Godwin’s law to refuse to meet disabled people”

  1. Mark Hoban is a shambles of a minister, a cowardly example of a man who is not fit for any job let alone one in government. Myself and others are working hard to make sure this man and others who are complicit in the “fit for work atrocities” are held to account in a court of law for their actions.

  2. The minister for the disabled wouldn’t meet disabled people ‘ because it wouldn’t be constructive’ these people work for the people, the people pay them. Perhaps the people should sack Esther Mc Vey and Mark Hoban now that WOULD BE CONSTRUCTIVE.

  3. Sent this to my labour MP this morning.

    Hi David,

    Hope my email finds you on the mend.

    Do you or any of the few honourable labour MP’s left in the house following the debacle on Tuesday fancy asking this arrogant money grubber just who the hell she thinks she is? How can she call herself the’ minister for disabled people’ while she conducts herself in this manner? Any minister who refuses to speak to people they are supposed to be representing is unfit to hold office and should be removed.

    Get well soon, the country needs honest people to stand up in the house and do the right thing.

    Don’t forget , it’s only two years until you’ll need our votes although I suspect you know that, it may be as well if you found the time to tell Ed and the other useless individuals on the front bench!

    Cheers as ever for your time

    Gary Seddon.

    And yes, I’m a bit grumpy, wouldn’t you be?

  4. This just goes to show where Mark Hoban’s priorities lie, and it isn’t with the people; same for Esther McVey not meeting with disabled people, even though it is her job! Both of them should be ashamed of themselves!

  5. well if thats the case its against human rights and so deemed unlawfull not only because its german and NOT english

  6. OMG this is a GIFT to all disability advocates!

    Let it be sung from the rooftops and quoted on every blog, email and profile!

    Well done to Esther for digging out what is probably the most hard-hitting and accurate summary of the DWP assessment mill!

    Marie Antioinette’s dazzlingly eloquent speech will go down in history, AND be coming back to haunt the govt (and gorgeous, pouting Esther in particular) for years to come.

    So there we have it: the DWP dare not speak to Mr. Meacher or Spartacus, because they CANNOT REFUTE the evaluation of Prof. Beresford.

    Buy that old gal a double vodka someone, I’m sure she’s gonna need it.

  7. This is a government that is clearly not intending to be accountable, open, reflective of the public’s needs, and open to dialogue with the population. There’s a name for that…what is it…oh yes – authoritarianism

  8. I am not shocked that the Government have taken this stance as by their actions and policies it has become very apparent that they have n regard for the chronically sick and disabled of this country and indeed consider them to be the causative factor for the recession along with the unemployed. As for Godwins Law, I am sure that this is a smokescreen and that the only reason that they refuse to meet is that they are autocratic and are unable or unwilling to engage in any form of negotiation.

  9. Hoban’s response to any requests for him to do the job for which he’s paid very nicely, thank you, is to metaphorically stick his fingers in his ears and go “La, la, Le-la-la, I can’t hear you!”

    So, as he’s choosing to ACT like a kid, it’s high time we started TREATING him like one; take away his privileges, send him to his room – and don’t allow him out until he’s thought about his behaviour and has signed a sworn affidavit that he’s going to behave like a grown-up in future…


  11. Its a disgrace,they say they are making the assessment better and easier and less discriminating well its to late for some ill or disabled people they have died or commited suicide, its ok these ministers saying they are trying to make the system fairer, its not. Atos assessors are not even professional people in the field of any persons illness or disability. I had an assesment in february this yr, I didnt get asked anything about my health problems, the assessor read questions from a screen and then within 5 days I had a decision back and was deemed fit for work and put straight on job seekers without any help or support, (I am appealing against the decision). How can they make a decision in such a short time. Its not possible. If someone has medical evidence that they have an illness or disablity and dont feel well enought to work they should be left alone. Its people who claim these benefits and are working when there is nothing at all wrong with them, these people are scumbags. I think its disgusting the way the health ministers are avoiding the meeting with disabled people, they should be supporting them not avoiding them. This government is bringing this country to it knees. They dont live in the real world.

  12. My goodness – even Chris Grayling met Sue Marsh on Newsnight last year (I know the Beeb tried to do a hatchet job, with Emily Maitliss talking over Sue, but at least Grayling was in the same room as a Spartacan!). Hoban and McVey have really disgraced themselves and look utterly stupid.

  13. I can hardly believe how cold and callous this cruel, obnoxious government are. They’re making it blatantly obvious they don’t give a damn about the disabled. I don’t think evil is too strong a word to describe these people.

  14. Seems they are quite happy to do the deed, i.e take away benefits from disabled people who genuinely need them, but not able to face the results of their actions.


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