Saturday, 29 January 2011

Final Call for DLA Consultation Submissions

There is little over a week now to send me your own contribution to the joint The Broken of Britain/CarerWatch submission to the consultation on DLA reform:

The submission will be sent off on the 10th of February by special delivery, to be certain that it arrives at the DWP by the 14th of February closing date. I will make every effort to include all evidence that is sent to me, or posted on the relevant threads in The Broken of Britain and CarerWatch forums. Having said that, please try to ensure that the evidence reaches me by the 7th of February at the latest so that I can edit the final document in time. To find out how to help me with preparing the document, click here.

The blog post below is written by Tony of the West Yorkshire branch of the Huntingdon's Disease Association. He has prepared his own submission to the consultation, and it is posted here to give you some ideas. The Broken of Britain/CarerWatch submission is being written on behalf of people who don't have the time/energy/inclination/spoons to write their own, but if you can and are confident in your ability to write, I urge you to send your own submission.

Huntington’s Disease and the proposed PIP 

HD is a genetic condition, if you had a parent with the condition there is a fifty - fifty chance you will inherit it yourself. The disease usually strikes in early middle age and involves a progressive physical and mental decline. The most pronounced symptom is the one that gave the disease its old name of Huntington’s Chorea, choreatic movements being uncoordinated and jerky. The cognitive symptoms can be many and varied and differ from person to person, as can the level of disturbed movement, the overall outcome however is always without exception an inevitable decline and death. My partner is at risk of developing the illness, her brother already has it.

Is the ‘Social Model’ of disability up to the job?

The proposed new Personal Independence Payment(PIP) will it is stated, rightly take account of the social model of disability but that model was never intended to be a universal one, there are some people with deteriorating neurological conditions such as HD for whom the social model just does not suffice. People with HD will usually have had jobs and been useful active members of society, it is their progressively worsening medical condition that has lead them to lose those jobs and to require help with their mobility and care. Of course the government should assist them to remain in employment as long as they are able but for the most part we are concerned here with people too ill to be capable of any employment. The ‘barriers’ they face are as much medical ones as social.

Is there a role for a new ‘PIP’? 

Where a PIP could have a role with regard to HD is through those people who are at risk of developing the condition. Imagine what it feels like to spend every day of your life wondering if you are going to inherit the illness that you have already seen kill your father or mother? There is a genetic test but as to be tested positive is to receive a death warrant with only the date left blank many choose not to take it. Because of the stresses the disease causes therefore, families of HD sufferers should be entitled to receive help from psychotherapy services currently almost impossible to secure on the NHS. The children of sufferers may need extra tuition to compensate them for missing school due to their caring roles. Such examples are legion and are demonstrative of some of the ‘hidden’ barriers people from HD families face in society currently, for which they receive no help.

The problem of individual assessments

With regard to personal or individual assessments of eligibility; the question has to be asked, what good purpose can this serve? The progression and prognosis of the disease are well known and not subject to massive variation. There has been an assumption, based on sound experience in the past that individuals with HD will have specific needs and the prognoses for the illness have not changed.
Having to undergo eligibility tests for any benefit is particularly problematic for HD sufferers for two reasons connected to symptoms of the disease. HD sufferers are prone to anxiety and obsessive behaviours and the two issues have an unfortunate tendency to come together around issues of benefit applications; many HD sufferers become extremely anxious that they will somehow ‘fail’ an application, and indeed they can become obsessive about it, feeding their anxiety in a vicious circle of behaviour that is incredibly distressing both for them and for relatives caring for them. The language of individual assessments is fine no doubt in many contexts but for some such as those with HD it is the prelude to a living nightmare that can not only ruin day to day living for weeks if not months, but may also through the stress involved actually worsen a person’s symptoms.

There is another reason to be very wary of individual assessments in the case of HD and that is that the condition often carries with it symptoms of denial, this is an organic aspect of the condition known as anosognosia and not ‘merely’ a psychological refusal to acknowledge symptoms. Victims of HD often simply cannot see that there is anything wrong with them; they will indicate that they can perform all sorts of tasks that are in fact way beyond their capabilities, if this is not a potential disaster area of botched assessments and time wasting appeals then it is difficult to conceive what is.

Does the PIP impose its own barriers?

It should surely be a goal of a non means tested disability benefit in a civilised society to ensure that claimants have a standard of living that allows them to live their lives in at least some comfort similar to their non-disabled neighbours, this is after all what the social model of disability is ultimately about. The current system of DLA allows for this in the case of HD sufferers, the proposed PIP however is far too narrow in its view of disability. There is for example little point in compelling sufferers to seek advice from anywhere as the only source of help for them in reality is likely to be the medical professionals they will already have been in contact with.

Finally; there is a danger within the consultation document, hidden but not entirely concealed that in introducing the PIP the government are doing exactly what they claim to be trying avoid namely placing barriers in the way of some disabled people achieving a moderate standard of life and stigmatising some disabled people who do not fall so easily into the paradigm of disability the DWP has decided it wants to help. Sometimes ‘focusing on the individual’ can become the language of the bully, the focus turns out to be intimidating, unwanted and unnecessary.

Friday, 28 January 2011


Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams MP has criticised the Con-Dem UK Government’s consultation on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reform, arguing that their welfare reforms are unfairly targeting and stigmatising claimants.

He accused the UK Government of portraying DLA claimants as ‘scroungers’ with the consultation drawing a supposed connection with claimants’ motivation to work and employment levels.

Mr Williams noted that DLA claimants tend to be older, less-well qualified, on benefits for longer, and in poorer health than other disabled people, and that this explained why so few were in work.

The Disability Living Allowance (DLA) helps people meet additional costs of disability such as extra heating, replacement of clothing and transport for those unable to help themselves.

The UK Government is planning to replace DLA with a new benefit – Personal Independence Payment and all claimants will need to undergo new testing.

244,110 people claim Disability Living Allowance in Wales – 213,780 of those claim it with the mobility component.

Mr Williams, a former social worker, said:

“The DLA is a payment which gives disabled people some independence and control over their lives, but the Tories and Lib Dems are trying to link claiming this with being unwilling to work.

“DLA is given to people because of their disability, rather than being means-tested. People get it because there are extra costs associated with being disabled.

“For example, people who are unable to walk any distance will need to take more taxis than someone who is fully able bodied, just in order to go shopping, to hospital or just to go out and take part in their communities.

“The government is trying to use a cause as a consequence. People who claim DLA tend to be older, less-well qualified, on benefits for longer, and in poorer health than other disabled people, and, therefore, are less likely to be working.

“They are not in work because they are disabled, not refusing to work because they claim DLA.

“People shouldn’t be punished for their disabilities, yet that is exactly what this Tory and Lib Dem government is trying to do with these changes.

“Nobody doubts that welfare reform is necessary, but this cut is totally unfair and will impact on the lives of the most vulnerable in society.

“There is no doubt that we need to reform the complicated benefits system - but people still need to be treated like individuals. Vulnerable people in our communities should not be penalised – that is the mark of a civilised society.”

Rhydian Fon James from disability group ‘The Broken of Britain’ added:

“I contacted Hywel on behalf of disability rights group “The Broken of Britain” to express concern about the reforms proposed to DLA.

“The UK Government has provided little or no reason to justify the changes that they are making which will have a substantial impact upon the everyday lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

“I am glad that Hywel has responded strongly to these proposals that would cause hardship for thousand of disabled people beyond his own constituency in Wales.”


Notes / Nodiadau:

Read more from Rhydian Fon James at:

Mr Williams’ EDM reads:


Hywel Williams

Jonathan Edwards

Elfyn Llwyd

“That this House expresses concern at the presentation of the case for reform of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in the public consultation published on 6th December 2010; believes that said consultation incorrectly confuses correlation with causation between DLA claimants and employment levels or motivation to work, and notes that DLA claimants tend to be older, less-well qualified, on benefits for longer and in poorer health than other disabled people; is of the opinion that that many of the claims made in support of changing DLA are unsubstantiated in the consultation text or supporting evidence; does not accept the argument that the identified problems with the present format of DLA are insoluble without the introduction of a costly new benefit; believes that the presentation of the case for these reforms is highly flawed and expresses concern that the language used in the consultation may mislead readers when drawing conclusions from the evidence presented and therefore influence their response to the consultation.”

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Thank you Daily Mail and Express (cross-post)

Cross-posted with the kind permission of Sue Marsh

Original post can be found here: Benefit Scrounging Scum

27th January 2011

To : Paul Dacre (Editor, Daily Mail)
Email : Tel : 020 7938 6000 The Daily Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street London W8 5TT 
        Peter Hill (Editor, Daily Express
Email : Tel : 020 8612 7000 Daily Express, The Northern & Shell Building, Number 10 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6EN

Dear Sirs,

I wanted to thank you so much for highlighting the disgrace of Incapacity Benefit (Now ESA, 26th Jan 2011)

This is a terrible situation that has been - until now - largely ignored by the UK Media andsuccessive governments, so to see not one, but two national newspapers printing the details on their front pages gave me hope that, at last, something would be done. Thanks to your excellent journalism, the entire country now knows that out of work sickness benefits are effectively a thing of the past in the UK.

As you pointed out, hardly any ESA claimants are being found unable to work. As I believe your excellent newspapers suggested, only 7% - 9% of those previously claiming help are now being considered incapable of any work at all.

At least 10 Million people suffer from a serious illness or disability in the UK. Only one in four of them claim out of work sickness benefits.

Official research figures show that:

300,000 people are diagnosed with Cancer a year
23,000 are Deaf/Blind
19,000 receive dialysis for Kidney Failure
40,000 have suffered a Spinal Injury
8,500 have Cystic Fibrosis
100,000 people have Multiple Sclerosis
180,000 people have Bowel Disease
3.7 Million live with Lung Disease
2.6 Million live with Heart Disease 
640,000 have Schizophrenia 
120,000 people suffer from Parkinson's 

As you can see, these few conditions alone bring us to well over 7 million already, yet only 2.6 million claim any out of work sickness benefits. Even those suffering from these extreme conditions often manage to work or manage alone without help from the taxpayer.

As you, and you alone were willing to point out, to suggest that almost all (91% - 93%) of those listed above can manage employment is ludicrous - even before you were prepared to highlight this atrocity, surely no-one in the country would seriously have put the figures anywhere close to that?

Of course, we all know that some people abuse the system. As a nation, at this difficult time we need to be determined as never before to weed out and punish those who make fraudulent claims and cheat the system. However, if you had paid National Insurance all of your life only to find yourself permanently disabled in a terrible accident or diagnosed with cancer, I'm sure most would hope that there would be some very modest support available. (ESA is less than £400 per month) Many gave their lives in successive wars to ensure that as a country we protected the most basic of human rights - a right to dignity for all - and to remove that right is a frightening echo of the past that most would agree we never thought to see.

Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for exposing this issue and pointing out to your patriotic and reasonable readers that some cuts are simply a cut too far.

On behalf of The Sick and Disabled of Britain
(Sent unsigned to avoid delay)

**If, like me, you want to thank these esteemed publications for finally bringing the horror of ESA and it's private assessors, ATOS, to a wider national audience, then do please use the contact details above and feel free to copy and paste my letter if you wish. 

Entitlement To Benefits Is Very Far From Consistent

After just shy of 30 yeras working in our esteemed NHS it has been apparent from very early on that entitlement to state support / benefit / call-it-what-you-will is far from absolute and very far from consistent. The trend seems to be that in times of plenty anyone with any level of physical or mental disability is encouraged to "go on benefit" rather than sign on for un-employment to keep the jobless stats down, and the same applies when there is a strong political imperative to do the same. As soon as cash gets tight, and especially under certain regimes (not all Tory) the push has been to "weed out scroungers" and push the "workshy" back into the labour market to keep the benefit bill down. No prizes for guessing which way the wind is blowing right now.

As a case in point Ned is fifty years old and until a couple of years ago was fighting fit and worked elsewhere as a lumberjack. Then Ned got chickenpox, which he had evaded as a child. Sadly his infection was complicated by encephalitis, a rare but well known complication. This fused his brain. Specifically that part that deals with short term recall. From that time on, though physically fit, Ned can't retain or process information. Last year he was assessed incapable of work for that very reason.

This year he has been reviewed. When asked if he can perform the standard physical tasks of the peronal capability assessment, Ned answers that he can, and freely demonstrates the same. So now Ned is again "fit for work". The only reason Ned made it to the assessment in the first place, and home again afterwards, is because his sister who is also his carer, made sure he did. Even if Ned found work, cleaning or asssembling or whatever, another employee would have to be tasked with watching and directing him every minute of his shift to keep him on task. His short term memory is shot without hope of recovery, but the latest assessor didn't think to ask, or disregarded the information. Now Ned, through his sister, is appealing the decision. I look forward to receiving the request for medical evidence to support his application, and I foresee a great many more "Neds" needing the same in the coming months.

As ever "Ned" exists as an abstracted representation of a genuine scenario encountered here this week. Names and details have been changed enough to preserve confidentiality.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

PCC Complaint Against the Daily Mail

Having further considered the option open to us, The Broken of Britain has decided to complain to the PCC about the Daily Mail's article, mentioned in the previous post.

The complain reads as follows:

"400,000 'were trying it on' to get sickness benefits: 94% of incapacity benefits of work" Daily Mail, 26 January 2010

The Daily Mail has exaggerated the latest figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on the processing of claims for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) to produce this grossly inaccurate headline.

People applying for the ESA have to undergo an assessment of whether they are able to work and the statistics cover the results of this assessment. Contrary to the headline the figures from DWP only relate to Employment and Support Allowance, which replaced Incapacity Benefit in 2008. Roughly two million of the 2.6 million people on incapacity-related benefits are on Incapacity Benefit, not ESA. Thus even if the 94 per cent figure was valid it would cover a relatively small proportion of those claiming benefits having been deemed unable to work. The Department for Work and Pensions is currently 'migrating' Incapacity Benefit claimants onto ESA and estimates that when they have completed the 1.5 million assessments 23 per cent of these people will be fit for work - not 94%.

The Daily Mail claims that those found 'fit for work' were "trying it on". Since ESA was introduced 396,000 of those assessed have been categorised in this way. However it is important to note that up to November 2009 33 per cent had appealed this decision, and in 40 per cent of cases a tribunal sided with the claimant. This resulted in 13 per cent of those found fit for work being changed.

The Daily Mail also uses the phrase 'trying it on' in relation to those who withdrew their application before an assessment could take place. The Harrington Review of the Work Capability Assessment completed for DWP actually found that one significant reason for withdrawal of claims was the improved health of the claimant. Given that DWP has previously said that it takes on average three months between a claim being made and an assessment taking place, this seems like enough time for a change in circumstances that would see claims withdrawn.

This 94% figure given in the article is based on results that show that 6 per cent of all those who applied for ESA were placed in the Support Group, where they receive ESA payments and are not required to engage with Pathways for Work. A further 16 per cent of applicants (or 25 per cent of those actually assessed) were placed in the Work-Related Activity Group – those who received ESA who are required to participate in Pathways to Work.

The Daily Mail arrives at the 94 per cent figure is by counting the 16 per cent of applicants who pass into the Work-Related Activity Group as 'fit for work' even by the Government’s own definition, such people are not deemed currently fit for work. This is a clear manipulation of the facts in order to produce a highly misleading headline.

The article resulted in this column by Harry Phibbs on the newspaper's website, drawing upon the same misleading data to make wild assumptions about benefits claimants which should also be subject to investigation under the same clauses of the Code of Practice.

The complaint is made on the grounds of these breaches of the Code:

1. Accuracy i) misleading and distorted information, ii) significant inaccuracy (multiple) and iii) not distinguishing clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
3. Harassment i) of disabled benefits claimants
12. Discrimination i) against disabled people

Readers are free to copy this post in order to submit their own complaint to the PCC.

Call for Investigation of Chris Grayling

Depending on whether your choice of paper is the Daily Express or the Daily Mail, you
will have seen that either 75% or 94% of Incapacity Benefit claimants are fit to work. On the off-chance that you read neither of these esteemed organs, you are urged to read these reasoned and informative debates.

We have long known that these newspapers (the term is used loosely) have set themselves up as the anti-scrounger tabloids and the only surprise is that ther is no matching headline in The Sun. We also know that the Press Complaints Commission - being a toothless, haggard attempt at industry self-regulation - will
not defend disabled people labeled as spongers, scroungers, workshy and variations on this theme. That said, The Broken of Britain is considering its options where misleading reporting is concerned.

However, the articles linked to above cannot be reported to the PCC as they are closely based on a press release issued by the Department for Work and Pensions yesterday. In, fact, they could be described as accurate summaries of this press release.

The Broken of Britain have asked the Cabinet Office to investigate a transgression of the Ministerial Code by Chris Grayling MP, Minister for Employment, in particular, and politicized statements issued from the Department for Work and Pensions in general, on the following grounds.

There are multiple example of politicized press releases and misleading Ministerial statements from this Departmen in recent months, and I will readily provide examples if required. However, this press release issued on 25/01/2011, including a statement by Mr. Grayling is a clear example.

The title of this press release - Majority of people found fit for work as Government presses ahead with reforms" - is highly misleading. The figures given in the text of the press release are "Fit for Work - 39%". This is far from being a majority. The first sentence of this statement is also problematic as the emphasis is placed upon "vast majority" and "fit to work". The only way to arrive at the "majority" mentioned in the title is to add the figures for those found Fit for Work and those whose claims were closed before the assessment was complete - the suggestion implicit in the opening sentence. However, there is no evidence at all that cases closed before completion of assessment equate to fitness to work, and it is a manipulation of data to do so.

This title and opening sentence has lead to newspaper stories closely based on this press release claiming that 75% (Daily Express) and 94% (Daily Mail) of Incapacity Benefit claimants are fit to work, damaging the integrity of disabled benefit claimants.

The press release continues by saying that: "The official statistics, published today, demonstrate why Ministers are determined to reform the welfare system and press ahead with the reassessment [...]". The reasoning behind this determination is unclear, as only 39% of IB claimants are found fit to work, and it is not mentioned that 33% of those found fit to work appeal the decision with a 40% success rate, rising to 70% when the appellants have representation. Thus the 39% figure is highly misleading.

Turning to the Minister for Employment, Mr Grayling is quoted in the press release as saying that it is "unacceptable that so many people have been written off to a lifetime on benefits". This is a clear manipulation of the facts, as the duration of the claims discussed in the press release is not specified. He also says that "these figures show just how many people are found fit for work, which is also untrue due to the lack of appeals data as discussed above.

It is hard to believe that a press release on a topic for which he is responsible and in which he is quoted was not written without the Minister for Employment's direction. As such, Chris Grayling has breached Section 1.2 d) and i) Section 6.3, and Section 8.4 of the Ministerial Code. Particular attention is drawn to Section 6.3, that : "Official facilities and resources may not be used for the dissemination of material which is essentially party political."

The Broken of Britain has also written to Mr. Grayling:

Dear Mr. Grayling,

I write to inform you that I have requested that Sir Gus O'Donell and the Propriety and Ethics Team at the Cabinet Office investigate your repeated breaches of the Ministerial Code over the past six months.

In particular, it is my belief that you have manipulated data and knowingly and flagrantly misled the public on issues surrounding Incapacity Benefit and Employment Support Allowance for party political purposes. Further, that you have used official Departmental machinery to further party political propaganda The most recent such abuse came yesterday - 25/01/2011 - when you issued a DWP press release entitled "Majority of people found fit for work as Government presses ahead with reforms" which showed that, in fact, it was a minority of people that were found Fit for Work.

Moreover, the text of the press release was riddled with inaccuracies and misleading statements. This calumny has led to two newspaper articles - 26/01/2011 - based on the press release claiming that 75% (Daily Express) and 94% (Daily Mail) of Incapacity Benefit claimants were fit to work and more negative press besides for sick and disabled benefit claimants.

I urge you to retract the aforementioned press release and to issue a personal statement of apology to Incapacity Benefit claimants, or risk losing credibility on this issue.

Yours sincerely,

The prospects for action are unknown to us, but it is important that Mr. Grayling, nor his colleagues, feel that they can make these statements and remain unchallenged. Please feel free to copy and modify the above in order to send your own e-mails to the Cabinet Office at and Chris Grayling at

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Early Day Motion on the Disability Living Allowance Consultation

The Broken of Britain is delighted to announce that an Early Day Motion (EDM) has been tabled in the House of Commons on the DLA reform consultation. EDM 1332 was tabled at our request by Hywel Williams MP (Arfon), who has a record of disability rights activism. The EDM reads as follows:


Williams, Hywel

That this House expresses concern at the presentation of the case for reform of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in the public consultation published on 6 December 2010; believes that the consultation incorrectly confuses correlation with causation between DLA claimants and employment levels or motivation to work; notes that DLA claimants tend to be older, less well-qualified, on benefits for longer and in poorer health than other disabled people; is of the opinion that many of the claims made in support of changing DLA are unsubstantiated in the consultation text or the supporting evidence; does not accept the argument that the identified problems with the present format of DLA are insoluble without the introduction of a costly new benefit; further believes that the presentation of the case for these reforms is highly flawed; and further expresses concern that the language used in the consultation may mislead readers when drawing conclusions from the evidence presented, and may therefore influence their response to the consultation.

Early Day Motion (EDM) is a colloquial term for a notice of motion given by a Member for which no date has been fixed for debate. EDMs exist to allow Members to put on record their opinion on a subject and canvass support for it from fellow Members. In effect, the primary function of an EDM is to form a kind of petition that MPs can sign.

This particular EDM must be signed by as many MPs as possible to get press attention. The Broken of Britain asks that you write to your MP urgin them to sign EDM 1332. A brief e-mail should suffice in this case:

Dear Member of Parliament,

Please sign EDM 1332: Disability Living Allowance Consultation, drawing attention to the flaws in the case for DLA reform published by the Department for Work and Pensions on the 6th of December, 2010, and expressing the House's concern that these flaws may influence the Public Consultation on the matter which closes on the 14th of February, 2011. DLA reform may well lead to real hardship and poverty for many disabled people, and it is important that you oppose any changes that may lead to such outcomes.

Yours sincerely,

Monday, 24 January 2011

A New Disability Rights Champion in the House of Lords

Dafydd Wigley promised to be a champion for disability rights as he took up his seat in the House of Lords today. Dafydd has a long record of campaigning on disability issues, including lobbying to ensure that access to polling stations were included in the Disability Discrimination Bill, and securing a compensation settlement for miners with lung disease. He was sponsor of the 1981 Disabled Persons Act and campaign manager for the 1986 Act, and vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Disability Group for ten years. The Broken of Britain will work closely with him and existing members such as Tanni Grey-Thompson in campaigning for disability rights.

National Day Of Protest

Today is a big day for the sick and disabled.

It is the second National Day of Protest against the cuts sick and disabled people now face.

The emphasis is on ATOS Origin, the company responsible for the astonishingly unsuitable medical testing of disability and sickness benefits. At their headquarters in London, Triton Square, and at offices in Edinburgh, Leeds, Tyneside and Burnley, sick, disabled and able-bodied protesters will raise awareness about exactly why the system was not fit for purpose before the Conservative-led coalition ever came to power and simply cannot take any more strain. ATOS uses "medical professionals" to assess whether someone is sick enough or disabled enough to receive state support, but they aren't doctors or nurses. They are paid on results, incentivised to find us miraculously fit for work. The assessments are demeaning and frightening too, and sick and disabled people find them so distressing that some are even forced to consider taking their own lives.

Perhaps David Cameron and George Osborne will be more concerned about the protests planned in Gloucestershire or Hastings or Islington. When Sussex and the Shires stand with Glasgow and Birmingham, the public start to realise that something must really be wrong. Hastings plan to lay a trail of red drops, all the way to London and the breadth of the protests show that this isn't a minority problem - it's affecting millions of people from all backgrounds, all colours and all creeds in every town and village of the UK.

As with One Month Before Heartbreak The internet will be awash with bloggers and linkers and tweeters and Facebookers telling the world their messages, so do please join in even if you just send this article to three friends - you will be making an enormous difference to how these cuts are perceived and getting the protests in front of a wider audience.

If you need a little inspiration, then please watch this on YouTube : "Danny's Speech, Brassed Off, 1996"

If you watch nothing else today, then click on the link above - just a moment away from the kitten that can count or the bloke who can put his legs up his nose. You see, we've been here before. We don't have the luxury of saying, "Oh well, they'll be fine, they'll get through, we all just need to tighten our belts" because sick and disabled people often can't get through. They can't get out to protest and they wouldn't have the energy even if they did. If the miners were broken men in the 80s, then imagine how those who can't physically fight will be affected as they are targeted in the same way in 2011?

For those who can get to a protest today, thank you. For every person there today, there are 10, 50, maybe a thousand people at home, willing you on and manning the keyboards. If the recently departed Pete Postlethwaite from the tremendous clip above is watching, then I think he would be willing you on too.

**If you want to read testimonials from the sick and disabled and learn more about why ATOS and politicians are making a dreadful mistake over ESA and DLA, please do take a few minutes to read some of their powerful stories by clicking on the One Month Before Heartbreak link.

By Sue Marsh