Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Our response to the Daily Mail's article (22.07.11)

In the past few days, The Broken of Britain has received many messages - via our email and Twitter accounts, expressing concern, outrage and hurt at the content of an article published by the Daily Mail (which can be read here).

This article is a continuation of the Daily Mail's campaign of aggression against the ill and disabled, perpetuating the wider social perception of those who claim benefits as scroungers, cheats and enemies to tax-payers throughout the UK.

Describing Incapacity Benefit and Employment Support Allowance as existing to "weed out the work-shy", the writer - Gerri Peev, the journalist behind previous Daily Mail articles targeting our community - deigns that the health problems cited are not justifiable reasons to be on benefits, unlike other "serious" conditions.

Of course, we all understand that the effects of the symptoms listed in the article, or the illnesses underlying them, can be incredibly debilitating; 'malaise and fatigue' is almost certainly a swipe at sufferers of ME and CFS, 'unspecified pain' a shot at those with Fibromyalgia, and 'sleep disorders' an attack on people living with Insomnia and Narcolepsy. We all know that just living with these, and the other conditions targeted, can be difficult enough, let alone attempting to hold down a job.

Once again, the Daily Mail have sought to isolate us from society as a whole, creating images of benefit claimants "taking home" swag bags full of tax-payers' money, swung over our perfectly healthy backs. The photograph of a "model" posing in a Mr Lazy t-shirt, surrounded by beer cans and cigarettes is an especially nice touch!

Though acknowledging that WCA is a "controversial programme", they give no indication as to why it is, leaving the reader to infer that we are screaming about having to get off of our backsides and stop sponging.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling kindly says that the government are right to be re-assessing as they don't want anyone to be "left stranded on benefits", saying that we need to be challenged. Yes, Minister and Daily Mail, that's all disabled and ill people need - to be challenged into work!

A lot of you have asked how we are going to challenge this article, and, after discussing it, the answer is that we aren't going to. Why? Because The Daily Mail simply do not listen to our complaints. On a rare occasion, they make a small concession, only to reprint the scrounger-bashing story under a new heading, with new figures from the DWP, a day or two later.

As a result of continuing correspondence with the PCC, regarding a previous Daily Mail article, we know that progress with a complaint about the above article would be incredibly slow and limited, and we want to make sure that our efforts count. We want to concentrate on projects and pursuits where a difference can be made.

You cannot reason with the unreasonable, so we do not want to expend our limited energy and time attempting to, when we could be making progress elsewhere. This newspaper will never come around to our side, but others might.

At The Broken of Britain, we want to make all of our voices heard. As a community, we can disprove the lies and dispel the myths told and created by The Daily Mail and other areas of the media. Not to mention the government!
So please, raise your voices with us - blog, tweet, write, send letters - because, as we all know...

"Alone we whisper, together we shout"

TBofB Team x


Sam Barnett-Cormack said...

That's possibly the most disgusting of its ilk yet. Although at least they admit the photo is posed. How there can't be some sort of general complaint made about this... is it possible to file a class action lawsuit for libel?

Oh, and as a sufferer, I have to say that sleeping disorders aren't like having small children. For starters, people generally choose to have children, and it's temporary. Narcolepsy, at least, is not like that at all.

Anonymous said...

I'm sitting here trying not to break-down. I know if I do I'll end up smashing the house up (again).

It's just taken me four days to get to the supermarket, (again). The dog and cats didn't get fed properly for two days.

Last week it was me that went without eating for more than 2 days because I was too scared to leave the house.

On the third day I was so hungry I couldn't sleep.

When I did force myself to go out, (in my role of town-nutter) I ended up spitting and shouting at people (again).

I can't help it, I have a genetic disease. My brain didn't grow properly.

I spent some of childhood in Special Schools, but my behavior was so bad I only did a few years, and then ended in care for the rest of the time.

I was living rough when I was 15 because I was threatened with borstal if I didn't go back to the care home. I've been homeless for most of my adult life.

I'm too old and too ill to cope with being homeless again. This is going to kill me. I'm not going out quietly. These people are killing us! I'm not going to end up as a two line report in some local paper about a mad man who threw themselves under a train.

Melissa (TBofB) said...

Please rest assured that our decision not to challenge this article does not mean that we have given up the fight.

It just means that we are focussing our fight elsewhere, in places where progress can be made, and with areas of the media where our message will be shared.

We will not be beaten!

Anonymous said...

How do we address this problem in going forward? well all the millionaires and billionaires should pay off all of these debts for starters as they have either contributed to the debt or have been the main perpetrator of it in the first place. They are worth trillions more then enough to pay off the debts and still have plenty and that excludes all of the millionaires around the world

Anonymous said...

As for the mail there as sick as the madman in Norway

Anonymous said...

It isn't only the Daily Mail, this morning the front page of the print Express carries the headline: "SICK BENEFITS: 75% ARE FAKING", subhead:"1.9m claimants could work but skive instead" and the online version also contains two stories about claimants found guilty of disability benefit fraud. The Sun's editorial today predictably supports the view that IB claimants are "trying it on". The Mail's headline, equally predictably, is: "The shirking classes: Just 1 in 14 incapacity claimants is unfit to work".

These stories now sell papers which is why they are on the front page of the print media and the tabloids have only one interest: circulation figures, the fact that their negative stereotyping of sick and disabled people has translated into the disability-related harassment which so many of us have experienced within our local communities is of no concern to them unless it leads to a story which will also sell papers such as the Pilkington case.

I don't think that you can change the way that tabloids report disability stories, their editors are not stupid, they know that these stories are irresponsible but their only interest is increasing circulation figures and furthering their careers and their proprietors are only interested in the profits to be made from increased sales :-(.

Anonymous said...

It should be forbidden for the likes of the mail to keep printing there hatred and lies of the sick and disabled which in turn can cause people to go mad
There is enough hatred in the world today without the likes of extreme right newspapers adding to it

Visually Impaired said...

Let me know under what section of the press complaints and I will coomplain again.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how I missed this one before. This is absolutely disgusting. As a sufferer for the last 18 years with "dizziness", to have such a hugely debilitating condition described in such derogatory and simplistic terms is hugely insulting. My dizziness leads to frequent losses of consciousness.. I would be interested to see how the Daily Mail editor would cope with the daily danger and fear of such a condition. Why the hell are we allowing the media to get away with this bullshit?!!! It's so incredibly damaging, and just seems to be getting worse.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see channel 4 program Murdoch: The Mogul Who Screwed the News

I think Hugh grant summed it up very well and i quote "what have you done to my country"
And to me that was spot on i have always thought of james and rupert and their conservative friends as all the same. They seam to be in a power struggle a sort of Sir Hugo Drax character from the James bond film

James Murdoch was quite chilling his goal was just money having styled himself on a character from another bond movie i think with the round glasses ?

Yes it was a good film who would have thought at the time of it's release that it was for real and about to be put to the test and that Rupert was going to be in control with full support from the governments of the day and no one would be any the wiser
And from me also i would say "what have you done to my country David Cameron " you have achieved what i never in a million years thought possible and that's to bring about a hatred from the press with regards the sick and disabled
A very wicked thing to have accomplished a true monster in the making if ever their was one

clive said...

If you don't challenge misinformation such as the Mail prints then you become as effective and useful as the various (government controlled) charities who claim to speak for disabled people/carers.

If you want to be taken seriosuly you have to fight, not talk, talking and behaving "resaonablly" gets you nowhere, and I said that some years ago while others where saying being reasonable is the ONLY way to go.

FYI, many articles like that uses models posing, ths isn't the first and won't be the last

Anonymous said...

If you don't challenge misinformation such as the Mail prints then you become as effective and useful as the various (government controlled) charities who claim to speak for disabled people/carers.

If you want to be taken seriosuly you have to fight, not talk, talking and behaving "resaonablly" gets you nowhere, and I said that some years ago while others where saying being reasonable is the ONLY way to go.

FYI, many articles like that uses models posing, ths isn't the first and won't be the last