Posts Tagged ‘Michael Douglas’

‘Gaslighting’ and Private Eye on February 2013 on Further Restrictions to Disabled Claimants by Atos

March 4, 2014

Yesterday I reblogged one of Mike’s articles from Vox Political, reporting that Atos/ OH Assist was trying to bully blogs criticising them into taking down their posts. Atos/OH Assist was demanding that they do so as these articles encouraged hate towards their members and staff, some of whom have received death threats. This looks to me like another example of a rich and corrupt corporation trying to silence its critics through legal action, regardless of whether the criticisms levelled at the company are true or not. Mike’s article has extensively rebutted these claims, to which I’ve added the classic Private Eye response to bullying, unfounded threats of legal action ‘Arkell vs. Pressdram’.

Atos/ OH Assist is hated, because its administration of the Work Capability Assessment for the DWP has resulted in thousands of the poor and desperate being thrown off benefit, to die in poverty and starvation. Some have taken their own life. The actual numbers, who may have died after being assessed by Atos and then had their benefits stopped by the DWP may be as high as 38,000. Commenters on Mike’s blog have suggested that it is no accident that Atos/OH Assist have made these accusations of threats and intimidation now, just when they are trying to get out of the government contract.

One of Mike’s commenters, Kittysjones, has identified Atos/OH Assist’s tactics as ‘gaslighting’. She says

Gas-lighting on a political level is a manipulative strategy used to prevent us forming a secure picture of reality. In its most basic form, gaslighting involves modifying evidence and falsifying information for the purpose of making the intended victim question his or her recollection, memory, analysis, and perception of events or behaviours. Gaslighting is commonly used by the military and other high-level organizations for socio-political operations. It is sometimes used by the mental health profession as a concept to describe a particular form of psychological manipulation in inter-personal relationships. A common form of gaslighting is victim-blame , where the perpetrator attempts to convince others that the targeted victim is the aggressor,and the perpetrator is the victim. These tactics are commonly used by psychopaths to control and manipulate others

The language manipulations and redefinitions of this govt are attempts to distort and control your view of reality. As are the denials of the terrible impact of their policies

Sometimes, gaslighting can be as simple as knowingly denying something took place. This is a common behaviour exhibited by perpetrators of child abuse, who will sometimes deny completely that abuse happened, intending to make the victim doubt his or her own recollection.

Other times, gaslighting can involve the creation of elaborate schemes, experiences, and situations that cause a person to question their own judgment and recollection. There are a good number of con games based upon the concept of gaslighting, almost all of which are designed to steal money from the victim.

A brilliant example of gaslighting is the Michael Douglas movie The Game. It is one great series of gaslighting from beginning to end

So basically, Atos here are blaming their victims in order to divert attention from their own heinous persecution of society’s most vulnerable.

It is interesting after hearing these accusations by Atos/OH Assist, to read an article from February last year in Private Eye, that reported that the company was making the tests for disability benefit even more stringent in order to have more claimants declared ‘fit for work’. The article is as follows:

Fitness to Work
Ill Thought Out

Despite cross-party condemnation last week over the way thousands of sick and disabled people have had their benefits axed after the private company Atos wrongly found them fit to work, the government is trying to sneak in new measures which will make the problem worse.

It has tabled amendments to employment and support allowance legislation which, academics and campaigners say, will lead to even greater suffering by the genuinely ill.

Plans include withdrawing benefit if an assessor decides that a claimant’s ability to work would be improved by aids, such as guide dogs, walking sticks or prosthetic limbs – whether or not the claimant has access to them or can use them. Atos assessors already have the power to carry out an “imaginary wheelchair test” when they decide that a person could work if they used a wheelchair – even if they do not have one.

Under the changes people will also lose benefit if an assessor decides that adjustments could be made for them in the workplace – whether or not those changes have been made. The amendments also include plans to consider physical and mental health problems separately, instead of looking at the combined effects of mental and physical health on a person’s ability to work. As is common knowledge, some disease impact on both mental and physical health, and treatments for one can severely impact the other.

The changes, due to take effect at the end of the month after no public debate, have been condemned in a briefing by Ekklesia, which says they fly in the face of “coalition claims to be protecting and supporting sick and disabled people in a climate of austerity, cutbacks and hardship”.

MP Tom Greatrex, a critic of Atos, said: ‘The fact that people can be assessed as fit for work on the basis of an imaginary guide dog, without taking an account of the availability of guide dogs and the time taken to train both dogs and users, highlights just how far the DWP seem to be prepared to go to find people fit for work without the support they need to make work a reality.”

Last week the Commons heard of may cases where patients had died, or committed suicide, after being assessed as fit for work following “a demeaning process that was making sick people sicker”. Under coalition proposals there will be many more such cases.

(Private Eye, 25th January 7th February 2013, p. 20.)

It looks like after the DWP made the conditions for passing the Work Capability Assessment even more severe and restrictive, Atos/OH Assist found themselves even more unpopular than they were already. They are thus trying to salvage some kind of positive image from the public by trying to get out of their contract. The accusations and claims of death threats by their staff are merely attempts to deflect the blame for a cruel, callous and punitive system intent of throwing as many of the disabled off benefit as possible. Not only does Atos need to go, but the whole DWP also needs to be comprehensively reviewed and overhauled.

The Tories as the Party of Gordon Gekko: Part 94 – The Boris Johnson Years

November 30, 2013

I’ve commented several times before that the Conservative Party has all the morals of Gordon Gekko. Remember him? He was the monstrous incarnation of ruthless corporate greed played by Michael Douglas in Oliver Stone’s 1980s film, Wall Street. This had the now notorious scene in which Gekko makes a speech in front of his fellow financiers praising greed. ‘Greed is right’, he intones, ‘Greed is good. Greed … works’. The film ends with Gecko himself ruthlessly betrayed and discarded by a younger protégé, a man Gekko has been raising up through the corporate ladder according to his own set of amoral principles. Here’s the speech:

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out like this in real life. The global banking system nearly collapsed due to the colossal greed of leading bankers and financiers through a system of toxic debt and a web of complex fraud. This brought down Lehmann Brothers and a whole host of other firms in Britain and America. The system itself has been saved by a massive bail-out by Gordon Brown, amongst others, with the result that Cameron’s coalition has seized on this excuse to curt welfare services even further under the pretext of ending the massive national debt this incurred.

And the bankers and Tory politicians have learned absolutely nothing. Indeed, they have become every more like Gekko. On Have I Got News For You last night they reported a speech made by London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, this week, in which he expressed pretty much the same appreciation for greed as Stone’s fictional anti-hero. Greed, according to Johnson, was a good thing, as it could, in certain circumstances, lead to economic growth. Now greed as the motor of economic growth and material benefits, with private vices becoming public virtues, was first proposed in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century by Bernard Mandeville in his Fable of the Bees. This was so shocking to the Christian culture of the time that he was bitterly attacked for his immorality, and denounced as ‘Man-Devil’. The idea was gradually taken up by other economists, including Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations. Nearly three hundred years later, the idea is now so widely accepted that Johnson thought he could make it without adverse comment to his audience in the City. This is despite the banking collapse, and the recession and rioting, which then followed. One is reminded of the comment about the restored Bourbon monarchy in France after the Revolution: They have forgotten nothing. They have learned nothing.
And they are determined to act more and more like Gordon Gekko with no trace of self-consciousness or irony.

As an aside from this, one of the very few good things to be inspired by Yuppie greed in the 1980s is, in my view, Queen’s I Want It All. The song’s title and chorus seems to me to have been taken from the Yuppie culture of avarice. Unlike Yuppie culture, the song is genuinely bright, optimistic and fun. So to cheer everyone up after this post, and remind us just how great Freddy Mercury was, here it is: