bigleyma is thinking…

A Rant About Social Policy and Some WCA Horror Stories

with 5 comments

One of the depressing aspects of researching into the WCA and all its associated material, such as the connections between Big Insurance and our welfare system, and how academics have willingly lent their credentials to a pseudoscientific base for it, has been to discover just how long it has been going on. A fairly recent example at DWP Examination ‘Another Horror Story’ has comments spanning over two years from July 2009 to September 2011. Each time the story is virtually the same. And those are not by a long chalk the earliest accounts on the net.

The WCA is just the latest instrument that the government has dreamed up to cut the welfare budget, but what an instrument! The process has been refined, adjusted over time to make it increasingly hard for the sick and disabled to be considered so. It has been necessary for an accompanying ideology to justify those changes, the overarching notion of which has become: ‘There is some form of work that impaired people can do, even if it is just pressing a button’. This concept is underpinned by an unquestioned assertion that ‘Work is always good for you’. Both these ideas are so weak that they do not even stand up to common sense understandings, let alone sociological interrogation.

Due to my academic background it is not difficult for me to visualise the form that a really robust criticism of the WCA, the ESA regulations and the political ideologies that have ‘informed’ them would take. There is some personal irony for me in the fact that I bloody hated Social Policy as a module. Why? Because it is an abuse of reasoning, the misuse of so-called statistics towards a pre-set agenda that has been informed by a political ideology. Social Policy arises from biased motivations and is scientifically unsound yet declares itself valid on the grounds of certain ‘evidence’ provided by academics who already partake of the ideas that the government wish to propagate. It is untruth and I am sociologically allergic to it. The Orwellian aspect is that these policies are always enforced under the guise of being the best solution to a problem, or will lead to a positive outcome for the greatest number of people, when in fact, as we are seeing with the WCA, they often lead to increased suffering.

So… while I can conceive of a vigorous intellectual savaging of this Welfare policy there are one or two hurdles, not least of which is my anger, and the fact that it is a demanding thing to take on and do justice to. I made a start early on in my exposure to all this,  in the form of a critique of the WCA from a social science perspective. That was before I knew as much as I do now and is just a sketch of the main flaws. To be an acceptable academic piece it would of course need strengthened by inclusion of statistics, references etc. Anyway, it is here.


Written by bigleyma

September 24, 2011 at 11:14 am

5 Responses

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  1. The whole process began way back in 2008 when the Labour party introduced the Personal Capability Assessment (P.C.A) and hired ATOS healthcare, a French private company to carry out alleged “medicals” on behalf of the DWP. This was changed later to the more “robust” (the Governments description not mine) Work Capablilty Assessment (W.C.A.). This was then “improved” by the present Tory led Government with the support of the Lib Dems and is still known by the same name. This “tool” of oppression is being used against genuinely disabled people daily and is now the method used to “migrate” disabled people from Incapacity Benefit (I.B.) to Employment Support Allowance (E.S.A.). This new and improved test has several key questions like “Can you go up or down two steps without help from another person”?, and “Can you move from one seat to another right next to it without help from someone else”? All questions Iamsure employers will want to ask at interview. The assessment is flawed it does not “test” how disability affects the patients ability to work, it is administered by a private company which relies on its profit margin to survive, it does not meet the needs of employers, the alleged Healthcar Professionals can be anything from a newly qualified physiotherapist to a retired, sacked or struck off Doctor or Specialist. Many people have complained about being assessed by an Auxilliary Nurse and not achievig sufficient points to retainthier rightsto Benefits, despite being seriously and in some cases terminally ill. You can read more about this on our blog at http://www.dwpexamination.wordpress or our forum please visit and give us your support in fighting against this cruel test. Remember, it could be you or a member of your family, some time in the future who require these Benefits and if we dont fight to keep them, they will be gone.

    DWP Examination

    September 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm

  2. well very eloquently put -( i have filed this for future reference ) – and obviously the product of some thought – well said indeed

    as to IF any of the “educated idiots ” in power will take any notice of reasoned argument – well as someone once observeed – AYE, and there in lies the rub


    September 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm

  3. Excellent.


    September 24, 2011 at 9:53 pm

  4. Thanks for the comments everybody 🙂
    We all thrive on feedback, don’t we? Helps us feel less like we’re on a different planet to everyone else!

    I keep thinking there must be some academic criticism of/opposition to all this, and apart from Jonathan Rutherford (whose marvellous piece dates back to 2007) and Steve Griffiths (‘Dark Times For Those Who Cannot Work’) there seems little. And Margaret McCartney appears to be the only doctor willing to stick her neck out.
    The WCA and its highly suspect supposed epidemiological base just seems such obvious nonsense to me. It’s difficult to believe it was implemented without opposition, and that enquiry, such as from the Select Committe, comes up with such mild conclusions while people are being driven to destitution, or worse.

    The Guardian is at least keeping it current, but there should be a general outcry, because its an outrage.
    Anyway we’ll just keep on pushing stuff out here on the net, and sharing till it (hopefully) builds up to some critical mass that they can’t ignore 🙂


    September 25, 2011 at 9:43 am

  5. I knew we would have this problem regarding ATOS UNUM and WCA when New Labour started to implement the New Deal for Disabled policy in 1997, I warned many disabled friends that it would lead to this horrendous state of affair no-one believe that a labour government would implement such heinous measures against the disabled.
    The Conservative government just rubbed their hands in glee!!!!!!!!


    September 25, 2011 at 11:10 am

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