Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas is coming and Atos is getting fat...

...stealing the pennies from the old man's hat.

The very wonderful people at National Protest against the Benefit Cuts have a neat idea for Christmas. Call our friends at Atos and tell them what we think of them. Please phone Atos 0800 783 3040/020 7830 4444 #atos & support mass phone complaint this week http://t.co/4k1zHA74

And if you're lost for words, why not sing them a seasonal carol?

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen,
let nothing ye dismay,
For Atos your good saviour
will take your pains away,
And lead you down to Tesco
To work till Christmas Day

Oh Tidings of Comfort and Joy, Comfort and Joy
Oh Tidings of Comfort and Joy.

(with thanks to the Atos Miracles FB guys)

The First Nowell, Atos Healthcare did say
To certain poor claimants in beds where they lay
Their legs where they lay, too painful  to sleep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
You’ve done our assessment & now you are well
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
You’re fit for work now so go out and sell

Good King Atos he looked out
On the feast of Stephen
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even
Brightly shone the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
struggling with his fuel

Page and monarch went upstairs
Up they went together
Ignoring  claimant’s wild lament
And the bitter weather

"Sire, the stairs are too steep now
I can go no longer.
"Hither, page, and stand by me
If thou know'st it, telling
Yonder claimant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence
Underneath the mountain
Right against the forest fence
By Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring my laptop, bring my pens
Tell him to come hither
Thou and I will question him
When we bear him thither."
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I wish that
 I was  stronger."
"My laptop tells me different son.
No points means you are fit now
So go and get yourself a job
Quick get on with it now”

So the claimant left the house
Too tired to make a protest
Weak and ill and failing fast
he lay in the snow to rest
Therefore, Christian men, be sure
Wealth or rank possessing
Ye who do not bless the poor
Won’t yourselves find blessing 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Coalition Cancer

Every time we read about this government's approach to benefit claimants we despair. Today, we heard this - that all cancer patients in stage 1V chemotherapy are to be put onto ESA, just like those in stage 1V radiotherapy -http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/2011/12/government-cancer-pr-disaster.html?spref=tw

For those who are uninitiated in cancer speak, Stage 1V cancer is the end of the road. Being on Stage 1V chemo means that you're not going to beat your illness, you're not going to be one of those jolly survivors the media love to celebrate. What you are going to do is create a little bit more time on earth with the people you love to say goodbye. Anyone who has witnessed a friend or relative have radiotherapy or chemotherapy can testify to how unpleasant it is. On top of an already painful and debilitating illness, the person will be constantly vomiting (on chemotherapy) or so weak they can hardly get up (on radiotherapy).  How in God's name anyone with that degree of illness and in the middle of treatment is supposed to be work ready we cannot fathom.

Furthermore, if any of us were at this stage of end of life, what we'd want is to be to enjoy the last bit of time we have with the people we love in peace and dignity. The last thing a seriously ill person needs is to be worrying about WCA and whether they have enough money to pay the bills.

Yet another example of the cancerous heart of this coalition government. And another reason to stand up & shout ENOUGH.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


So here's the deal...

The current Government, that bunch of millionaires with enough in their collective back pocket to keep the NHS going for a few more weeks, have already pushed through unpopular health care reforms. The ones that are making doctors responsible for implementing the NHS budgets. Whilst there are some advantages to this (clinical views can inform good commissioning) it potentially creates a situation where GPs will no longer be able to prescribe on the basis of need, but on the basis of what's affordable. And we all know where that will lead...

To add insult to a very very big injury, the newest proposal from our millionaires in Westminster, is that GPs will no longer be responsible for determining who is well enough for work. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15801515   Because of course there are long queues of sick malingering bastards outside GP surgeries, conning those softie doctors into allowing them to stay at home...You know, the ones with mental health problems, or depression, MS or cancer...Leeches on society, the lot of them. If they were back at work the economy would be functioning SO much better wouldn't it? Of course those millionaires in the government, who will never have to worry about getting sick or old or stressed, would endorse a process that allows an "independent tribunal" to determine if someone is well enough to work.

It's not just Atos sick and disabled people will have to contend with. Hey, look, now they can go through the whole degrading, humiliating process again with a bunch of strangers who, no doubt, will not have a medical qualification between them.

Makes you feel sick doesn't it?

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Why language matters

This week Ricky Gervais caused a twitter storm by suggesting it was OK to use the word "mong" because noone thought it was insulting to disabled people anymore. There was a rightly outraged response and as this excellent blogpost demonstrated, many who didn't find it funny at all. It seems the debate then rather deteriorated into a bit of playground namecalling, which didn't help matters. However, it does seem that, thanks to a number of comedians having sensible conversations with Mr Gervais, he has softened somewhat. In fact, we've just seen this one and it does seem that Mr Gervais genuinely didn't think the word was offensive anymore. We're glad to see him enter into thoughtful debate, and  hope parties on all sides  have learnt something.

Language matters. The old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me" is only true if those names don't have any power to hurt. And that's only possible if the people being called the names have an equal status with the name-callers. Which is clearly not the case for people with disabilities who never start from a level playing field, and despite the progress of the last century are facing an unprecedented government attack on their rights at the moment. Disability hate crime is on the up, fuelled by the government targetting those on benefits, ignorant comics and the disablist rants of the likes of  the Daily Mail (In a rare move, they had to apologise for this one, as they completely misunderstood the basis of mobility allowance, but that hasn't stopped them from continuing to attack the "benefit scroungers" on a regular basis).

Today, as thousands of disabled people and their supporters take to the streets for the Hardest Hit protests, we have a choice. To continue to believe that those who object to the use of a word are just humourless, politically correct dinosaurs. Or to stand alongside them and challenge anyone who perpetuates the evil lie  that people with disabilities are a drain on society's resources .

When one group in society is not considered as equal as another, the whole of society suffers. Language ALWAYS matters. We should  be careful how we use it.

Saturday, 15 October 2011


We thought the government couldn't sink any lower, but, apparently not. According to a NewStatesman article, they've caught on to the fact that 40% of Atos appeals are successful (this figure rises to 70% if people are represented).

You'd think that the high success rate of appeals might give them cause for alarm. That it might just make them think that something is filthy and rotten with their system. You'd think it might make them stop and wonder to themselves, are we doing right by the sick and disabled?

Think again. The response this time is callous in the extreme. Instead of making the system fairer, the appeals easier, they've come up with an even better wheeze. If people appeal their Atos assessment, the government is suggesting it might remove people's benefits all together. http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/10/work-fit-appeal-ruling Of course, they promise to reimburse those that win, but only after people will have struggled on with illness or incapacity and NO money for the 9 months it takes for an appeal to be heard.

Compassionate Toryism anyone?

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Kindred spirits

We love the internet and twitter for bringing people together in a common cause.

We just met these The Atos Register of Shame today, who are also collecting ATOS stories and publishing them online. So  if you want your story online too please do email them too at atosvictimsgroup@gmail.com & follow them on twitter @AtosVictims1.

They're doing great work!

Monday, 5 September 2011


Who are we?
We are the Atos Story Collective.

If you don't know about ATOS you can find out more here, here and here
We want to tell the stories that ATOS would like to ban.
We have no names in solidarity with all the voices that ATOS has silenced.
What do we want to do?
We want to hear from people who have experienced  ATOS assessments. We will use these stories to create a piece of drama that tells the world the truth about ATOS Healthcare.  We recognise that some people will wish to remain anonymous, and will respect that anonymity, but will credit those who wish to make their face public. If we collect too many stories to put into a play, we will publish the rest as a downloadable document for people to share to support each other and assist with campaigning.
If you'd like to share your story with us, please send it to atosstories@gmail.com  by 31st December 2011. We promise to acknowledge every story and make sure to use it as effectively as we can.

We will test this play with audiences to fine tune it. When we are satisfied it works we will put the script up on this website. We want people to download it and put it on in their communities in the build up to the 2012 Paralympics.  We will encourage people to video their performances and upload them on this website.
On August 29th 2011 we intend to perform Atos Stories in Tower Hamlets to coincide with the launch of the Paralympics. We will invite followers of this site to do the same wherever you are.
So if you give a toss, spread the word, send us your stories,  and then join us in telling them to the world.