The sordid tale of how I was censored by Straight Pride UK

Oliver Hotham

Straight-Pride

A few weeks ago, when thinking of interesting things I could write for this blog, I remembered a weird organisation that gathered some attention on the internet a month or two ago.

The organisation is called Straight Pride UK. It’s a strange group which believes that the tide of Gay rights has gone too far, and that now heterosexuals have become the oppressed minority. Essentially their philosophy  is spun from the same reactionary cloth as “Men’s Rights activists”  –  the notion that, having essentially run Western society for most its existence, progressive demands that Christian white straight males share some of their total grasp on power is somehow a removal of their rights.

Anyway, I wrote to Straight Pride asking that they answer some questions. Stipulating that I was “a freelance journalist”, I sent them some questions, about what they do and what they believe.

About a week later…

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I am George Zimmerman: What Bugs Taught Me About Race Relations in America

an ezv truth

By: Eris Zion Venia Dyson

Image
As I celebrated my 29th birthday with family and friends the verdict for the Zimmerman case was announced. The evening that began as a celebration of life, quickly turned into an introspective night of sadness, anger, frustration, and a whole heap of questions. My cousin, who is the father of a 3 year old son said “it’s safer for my son to be gay than to be black in this country” lamenting on the recent Supreme Court decisions. My mother reflected on the lack of congruency for what is a convictable crime. She spoke about the Michael Vick case where he served 21 months of jail time for hosting an illegal dog fighting ring. We talked about Jordan Davis, the teen shot in cold blood because his music was ‘too loud’, and the police officers in Cleveland, Ohio that fired 137 shots at an unarmed…

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Glenda Jackson leads the Labour Party

Edinburgh Eye

Glenda JacksonWho is that Ed Miliband chap again?

This is the MP I want to lead the Opposition. Because today, she did.

‘When I made my maiden speech a little over two decades ago, Margaret Thatcher had been elevated to the other place but Thatcherism was still wreaking, as it had wreaked for the previous decade, the most heinous, social, economic and spiritual damage upon this country, upon my constituency and my constituents.

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the void

Militant actions by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and Boycott Workfare were the high points at yesterday’s TUC march which otherwise was depressingly reminiscent of the ever decreasing returns which demolished the antiwar movement at the start of the century.

Union leaders have repeatedly threatened campaigns of direct action or civil disobedience aimed at austerity which have never materialised.  Yesterday hundreds of people decided to ignore their speeches in Hyde Park and take part in the mass shut down of workfare exploiters on Oxford Street or  join DPAC in blockading Park Lane.

The Radical Workers bloc, called by Solidarity Federation, which joined the unofficial feeder march from South London, was well attended and spirited.  Determined and disciplined fitwatching along the route of the march ensured that police intelligence gathering was kept to a minimum.

On arrival at Trafalgar Square a large portion of the march outwitted the heavy police…

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the void

The poorly redacted tender documents for the Personal Independence Payment have now been ‘disappeared’.  The PDF documents, which when converted into text files revealed a host of confidential information about successful bidders Atos, are no longer accessible via the parliament.uk website.

Luckily hundreds of people have spent the afternoon downloading and distributing the documents – a process that has been going on discreetly for almost two weeks now.

The documents were contained in the Deposited Papers Library, which is used by Ministers to make written information available to Parliament.  Ministers are warned in the guidance to using the library (PDF):  “Deposited Papers are made available to the general public via the Parliament website as supplied by you. You must ensure that the security of the format used reflects the sensitivity of the information contained in the documents (e.g., that redactions cannot be reversed) “

Despite this guidance, simply copying…

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the void

Bungling DWP officials have published the Atos tender document for the new Personal Independence Payment and given away reams of highly confidential commercial information in the process.

The documents contain pages of technical information about Atos’ internal systems, financial information and even the names of people who will be involved in managing the new PIP benefit assessments.  Other documents reveal how Capita will be involved in the assessments.

Atos, who notoriously carry out the Work Capability Assessment for those on out of work sickness and disability benefits, have been given the contract to manage the assessments for PIP.  These assessments will be based on the same crude computer based tests as the WCA and are to be used to re-assess disabled people currently claiming Disability Living Allowance.  The stated aim is to strip benefits from 20% of disabled people.

Astonishingly Atos claim in their tender that they have a “successful…

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Further to my heads up re Benefits & Work newsletter story on DisRightsUK & Capita

the void

Once again the DWP are reduced to scurrying around trying to hide documents after their lack of competence at the internet has been revealed to the world.  And once again they’ve been caught out by the notorious google cache.  The tender documents for the Personal Independence Payment contracts on the parliament.uk website have now been changed to protected PDFs, meaning information can not be copied and pasted therefore the redacted material cannot be viewed.

Unfortunately for Atos and the DWP, the documents are still available by googling the original urls on which they were hosted and then clicking on Quick View.

So the Atos Tender for London and the South east, complete with bodged redactions, can be found by clicking: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1399/A-Atos_Doc4Part5_TenderForm_Lot3.pdf

To find out the names of sub-contractors visit: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1399/Atos_Doc4Part6Annex2_Lot3.pdf

To download as a PDF go to the File option on the top left of the screen and select…

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Some “Claims” about DisRightsUK – the charity behind #HardestHit (AMENDED)

News on @DisRightsUK from Benefits & Work Email last week (originally tweeted via Twitlonger here, here & here).

The email is now publicly available in the B&W News Archive here.

 

DRUK WORKING FOR CAPITA ON PIP
We can also reveal that leading disability charity Disability Rights UK (DRUK) has signed up as a paid sub-contractor to Capita, to help the company carry out personal independence payment medicals in central England and Wales. There is no information on DRUK’s website about the arrangement with Capita.

The deal with Capita was sealed some time prior to 2nd May 2012, since when DRUK continues to claim it is considering bringing a court case to prevent PIP being introduced. The charity also still leads the Hardest Hit campaign against benefits cuts and heads up the Disability Benefits Consortium.

Capita’s bid document quotes DRUK as saying:

“Disability Rights UK is delighted to endorse Capita’s approach to learning, development and continuous improvement.”

Capita make it clear that they are paying DRUK not just to advise them on accessibility issues and to recruit senior disabled staff, but also to pass on information gained from DRUK members. The bid document explains that:

“. . .we have committed to employing a resource within DRUK dedicated to capturing the views and experiences of claimants and those impacted by PIP. DRUK has over 1,000 member organisations which should allow for broad capture of ongoing claimant experiences.”

You can download the successful Capita bid documents for Wales and Central England here:

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1399/A_Capita_Doc4Part5TenderForm_LOT2.pdf

http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2012-1399/Capita_Doc4Part6Annex2_Lot2.pdf

 

DisRightsUK is headed by the odious Liz Sayce, responsible for the Sayce Review “which was commissioned to look at how the £320m protected budget for disability employment could be used more effectively to support thousands more disabled people into work.”

DRUK & their partners are clearly working to a specific #fitforwork ideology given their shafting of Remploy – and this latest action as a so-called ally of disabled people shows just how twisted the Hardest Hit Campaign & Disability Benefits Consortium are also.

 

EDIT:

Disability Rights UK have updated their website to disavow havuing a contract with Capita, stating:

We are shocked that anyone could think Disability Rights UK would get involved in any way in delivering PIP assessments. We oppose the cut which will mean 500,000 disabled people are made ineligible for support. (A private competitor has claimed Disability Rights UK is seeking a role in delivering PIP assessments. This is incorrect).

Our only role is to ensure that disabled people have access to the best possible, independent information and advice on our rights, which we hope to provide for free. We are not sub-contracted by Capita. We advised Capita on how to ensure people got good advice on their rights. We are not capturing disabled people’s views or doing anything relating to Capita’s delivery – we recently turned down an invitation to be part of their reference group.

We did have discussions with Capita – but decided we would not work with any PIP contractors other than in our core role as providing rights based information and advice to disabled people. There is no contract.

 

Interesting that ATOS is lying re DPAC and DRUK claims same re Capita.

Note (1):  the PDFs that Benefits & Work included in their story regarding DisRightsUK & Capita are no longer available via the specified URLs.

Note (2): A couple of the PDFs referred to by Benefits & Work are accessible via Google Cache:

Thank you to @boycottwokfare for the tip. Both files can be saved to Google Docs and downloaded via Google Drive.

See also:

Tender documents for the delivery of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Assessments [redacted]. 75 docs.

PQ 119481, PQ 119482, PQ 119483, PQ 119484 and PQ 119485

 

Thank you to johnny Void for the tip.

 

ADDENDUM: Changed “Facts” to “Claims” in title in a cynical bid to calm down Poverty Pimp defenders.

 

Related Information:

Hynd's Blog

This is a guest article from Eugene Grant. Eugene works in the third sector as a public policy advisor on poverty and welfare, and comments regularly on disability and issues of social policy. He blogs at Dead Letter Drop.

Over the last few months we have seen a continuous drip-feed of stories which have promoted a range of inaccurate and generalised accusations against disabled people with long term health conditions. As a result disabled people have faced greater hostility from the public, with many claiming that they have experienced hostility, discrimination and even physical attacks from strangers.”

So starts the National Union of Journalists’ opening statement on media coverage of disabled people.

Last summer, a report strongly criticised some sections of the media for the way in which they reported stories on disability benefits. Specifically, the pejorative language such as the use of terms like ‘work shy’…

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