bigleyma is thinking…

Who am I? ‘Who *is* she?

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The ‘About’ tells why I’m doing this.

Very simple.

Like a growing number of people I have fallen foul of something new and pernicious in our society.

I am old enough to remember something called Sickness Benefit (a nice simple clear title, did what it said on the tin: paid benefit while you were too sick to hold down a job, certification through your GP, contributed to via your NI). Though I have never been disabled the impression I held was that that concept too was fairly clear. Can there really be much controversy over whether someone is disabled. Surely not. We have an instinctive understanding of what that means.

Well all that was in the past, the ‘old’ methods according to thisgov, can no longer be trusted to be ‘accurate’ enough. New models of illness and disability must be created. Models that can take account of an updated modern mind and body presumably, and different notions about such things as ‘capability’ and ‘work’.

And seeing as we are living in such a digital world we can rely on the good old pc to make sure things are most efficient and objective. Because computers are incapable of error, isn’t that right kids? Unless, of course, you have actually had any experience with software and understand the term: ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’.

Cut a long story short:

I.T. company ATOS created software not to diagnose conditions, breathe a sigh of relief, that’s still in the hands of actually trained medical personnel (for the moment) but to assess physical and mental functionality. Aha.

Pick up a pen? You can pick up a hundred pens (an hour, on an assembly line, perhaps). Walk across the floor? You can walk across a hundred floors, madam, today, tomorrow and the next day. In fact that could be your next career. Frankly we don’t care what happens to you as a result of our assessments because we simply tick the boxes and pass the buck to the good old DWP ‘decision-maker’, who only has what we give them to go on, but frankly, not our problem. We are ‘functionality‘ assessors and the computer is in charge, therefore no responsibility can adhere to us.

See how it works.

Well, part of it.

I don’t want this to be too dry and academic from the outset, but obviously there are some complex reasons as to how this has come about, and how ideas have been selected to feed into it. I will try to highlight these in time. Some contributory factors arise from political ideology, some from (dubious) academic perspectives on illness and work. Some are historical continuities, and I mean historical, as recent as New Labour, but as ancient as hell, too.

So, enough of that. On with the show. I’m fairly new to blogging so it will be a learning curve how best to organise and present things and finding WordPress’ limitations, but I’ll do my best.


Written by bigleyma

July 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Posted in General

Tagged with , , ,

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