There is however a name conspicuous for its absence in this story. The name is that of the man who must have been responsible for creating the story - Chris Grayling, the Minister of Employment. The Broken of Britain pointed a finger at Grayling when the Mail and Express printed a similar story a couple of months ago, based on a distinctly dodgy press release he had issued the night before.
The Cabinet Office investigated at our request, but found that Grayling had not breached the Ministerial Code, despite issuing a politically-motivated press release.
This time, the Mail and the Express constructed their fantasies, printed on the 21st of April, from a set of figures released by the DWP on the evening of the 20th of April.
Chris Grayling is the person who has direct authority to order DWP staff to compile figures on out-of-work benefits including Incapacity Benefit. He would have known that the data would be compiled in the form of a list of the reasons for incapacity, rather than the underlying cause. Chris Grayling is the man who appeared BBC Radio 4's Today programme to hype his own figures, on the same day as the story appeared in the Mail and the Express.
The Guardian posted an online story saying:
The employment minister, Chris Grayling, has said the government will launch a "revolution" to help people "turn their lives around" as figures revealed that more than 80,000 people are claiming incapacity benefit for obesity and addiction to alcohol and drugs.
Grayling said the figures – which show that 12,880 alcoholics and 9,200 drug abusers have been dependent on the benefit for more than 10 years – told a "pretty sorry tale".
Chris Grayling knows- he must know as Ministers have more advisers than brain cells - that debilitating obesity is most often caused by the side-effects of prescription medicine or health problems; that alcoholism and drug abuse lasting over 10 years likely signals some underlying mental-health problem or disorder.
There are obvious questions to be asked here. Does Chris Grayling direct DWP staff to issue politically-motivated data for the righit-wing tabloids to pick up, and use the furor to self-publicise and to push his anti-disabled people agenda. If you look over his 10-month period in office, you will note the curious correlation between DWP releases the night before Mail and Express article and radio interviews with Chris Grayling. Correlation is, of course, not causation - still, it is food for thought.