The Work Capability Assessment remains a serious ordeal for people who have an illness or other medical condition that restricts their ability to do a normal day-to-day job.
Lizzie Cornish presents a savage indictment of a flawed system that has been allowed to adversely impact upon the lives of people who are already suffering. Although written originally in 2016, it is as relevant today as it was then.
I use the term 'Assassins' (in the title) in the context of those who have stolen, darkly, into our once democratic government with one mission; to kill the 'important people' who matter.
Those 'important people' are us..... They are MY people. They are YOUR people. They're the sick, unemployed, disabled and dying, and the 1950s and 60s women denied their state pensions for 6 years and left in hell. They are also The Miners, from whose private pensions Margaret Thatcher stole billions too.
These assassins have crept in silently over the past few decades, Ninja-style, destroying all that we once held dear in this country, our integrity, compassion, empathy, support, truth and justice...and they are now killing so many of us in the most cunning of ways, by simply removing our means to be able to live, doing so by stopping welfare benefits, by destroying our welfare system from the inside, out and by looting our pensions. And....like all assassins, they have no conscience. They actually believe that they are committing their crimes for a good cause. They are utterly ruthless and utterly insane
"Hey, Daisy Darling, there are people in this world who don't think like you do, they don't think like you do and some don't think at all..." (Extracted from the beautiful song 'Daisy' by Karine Polwart
I am now at the mercy of the people of whom Karine sings, those who, like the humans who enabled The Nazis to do what they did, are 'just doing their jobs'....even if their 'jobs' enable the modern day genocide of a whole section of 1950s/60s women, denied our pensions without warning, without notification until just before we were due to hit their wall of carnage.....
Yes, truly, there ARE people who don't think like you do..... Please, don't EVER forget this. Not....EVER
Every day now, I wake up not just feeling I've been abused, but knowing that I have...as have millions of others in Cruel Britannia too. You see, I was raging before I ever stepped into the office for my ESA Assessment, but that rage was nothing compared to how I feel now.....
I've been, quite literally, traumatised for the past two days, since Friday 26th August 2016....shut myself away, head down, cushions around me, my beloved animals surrounding me, my eyes only wanting to watch beautiful films, my ears only wanting to hear beautiful words of love and tenderness, my soul only wanting to still feel that good will always overcome evil in the end and that truth will always find a voice. It gave me back a drop of hope, of a feeling that 'somewhere out there' lies a land of Happy Ever After, even though it has always eluded me, personally....a land where others will be able to find happiness through the tears of this terrible time where our own government, here in the UK, this brutal, barbaric regime who now rule over us, who dictate our lives in the most heinous of ways, will have been vanquished by good men and women true, their horrendous evil dying with their reign of terror. Here is what happened:
It was a small waiting room. An old man sat opposite me, so obviously disabled that it almost hurt me to look at him, in the sense that I felt his pain and humiliation of having to be there too, to 'prove himself'. His name was Timothy. I realised that he was probably younger than me though...and that brought a shock of a different sort, for most of us stay around thirty-five inside our mind, so we forget that we are old too.....He was probably in his late fifties. I am now sixty-one (and one third) and believe me, that one third makes all the difference, for it means yet another four months lived without my pension, on a pittance of £10.33 a day. This is what I was here for, to prove to her that I was worthy of this £10.33 a day, you see....to prove that my doctor wasn't lying too, for no longer is the word of a qualified doctor (or surgeon) accepted by the barbarians now in power.
A door opened and through it was pushed an even older gentleman, even more disabled than Timothy, for this man was in a wheelchair. He was being pushed by the person, whom, I assumed, had just examined him, for he thanked the old man for coming and wished him well. My blood was at Boiling Level.....I wanted to shout, "For feck's sake, WHY are you doing this to us all!", but I bit my lip and kept silent. Timothy was called in before me. He hobbled slowly over to the man who'd bade farewell to the wheelchair chappie, then he, Timothy and his well-worn walking Stick, to which he clung in desperation, gradually disappeared from view.
I wanted to cry....not just tears of anguish, but of rage too, over what is going on in this country right now. But, I swallowed hard instead and brushed away the starting of a tear. I sat there on my own, but knowing my beloved son was just outside in the car, as he'd brought me to this assessment centre, as I simply couldn't face the bus or a train, let alone afford either. I'd rung in the morning to ask them if my interview could be recorded. They said that it could, but I'd have to come earlier as the tape machines had to be checked out each evening so my original appointment would not leave time for this to be done, thus my appointment was 3 hours earlier than first scheduled. I could only cope with this change because my son had taken the day off to take me anyway, so he could do an earlier time. I'd been getting palpitations the week leading up to this appointment....I'm still getting them now, so a phone call to my doctor, yet again, is in order tomorrow I think, for I'd hoped they'd subside once this interview was over...but I think my 'can't cope with any more fecking shit' gene is rising now.
I was on my fourth glass of water when I was called in, my thirst caused by my diabetes now running out of control due to the severe stress they were causing me - I think quite deliberately, their hearts joyous over what they are doing to so many of us....not just we 1950s/60s women, but also the sick, the disabled, the dying, the Timothy’s... She showed me to her room, giving me directions down the corridor, walking behind me, which I found odd, but of course, now realised was probably yet another 'test' to see if I could work out which was left or right and 'the last door'. I told her I'd follow her.
Good, kind people had advised me to dress down, in dirty clothes, to let my hair get greasy, to not brush it, to wear no make-up, to keep my head down, to not make eye contact. And I know they meant that in the most helpful and supportive way, for they knew of others who'd been through this and who had not been allowed to keep their £10.33 a day, who had been thrust back into the dark and Evil Horrors of the constant harassment of Job Seeker's Allowance....and they wanted this not to happen to me. But I've a problem, you see, for I am My Father's Daughter and my Dad was born in 1914, raised in times of great hardship, going on to serve in the RAF during World War II; a man who was greatly affected by that war, by that time of horror and terror. A gentle gentleman who, left to his own wishes, would have never fought a single soul, but who knew that he had to, for, as he used to say to me, when speaking of Hitler, "Sometimes, Liz, there are things which are so evil, that you simply cannot turn away, You have to make a stand."
All I could hear when I got up that morning was my Dad's voice saying to me..."Put on clean clothes, wash your hair, have a bath, put on your make-up, your sparkling eye shadow, put a flower in your hair and put your pearls on too. Go in there, Liz, with your head high and look them straight in the eye. Face this evil with courage and honesty and integrity. Do not play their game, no matter the outcome. Do not ever sink to their depths" So, that's exactly what I did......
She asked me to sit down. I sat. Instantly, the tears began to flow. She sat down opposite me, introduced herself, she was a doctor, apparently, then started the recording (a large box on her desk began to bleep as the tape started up and I felt like a criminal being interviewed over a crime. She started typing, furiously, whilst looking at me, no doubt writing down my appearance.
It was a good job Iain Duncan Smith was nowhere near me, else I'd have flattened him by this time. Cameron and Osborne too, along with Patel, Vara, Crabb, May and Hammond also, for all of them have brought me here, to this place. They all know the suffering that's being caused to so many, yet, they have done nothing to sort this out, to stop it immediately, perfectly content to let this go on and on. They are vicious, inhuman humans who care only about themselves and their rich, powerful friends. They are the kind of folks my Dad went to war to fight against.
She asked me to explain why I was depressed....so I did....and the volcano erupted. The tears of Lava-hot anger flowed from me and over me. She got the entire story, the whole lot, of what these evil people have done and continue to do to us. She learned all about gross negligence and manslaughter along the way. She was also asked why people in wheelchairs are being put through this abuse, why the sick, the disabled, the desperate and the dying are all being treated thus. I could see my ESA disappearing over the horizon, but I was past caring for months of stress poured out.
She asked if I'd thought about ending my life...and I told her that yes, it's on my mind all the time at present. But that I had to do it in a way that would leave my children thinking it was an accident because I didn't want to leave them any more distressed than I had to, if this is what needed to happen; and it will happen if my home is threatened, due to the debt I'm being forced into by these truly evil individuals This home belongs to my children and I will NEVER let these wretched people get it.
The questions came thick and fast......Did I cook; what did I cook; did I shower; was the shower over the bath; how often did I shower; did I take medication; if not, why not; what did I take; how often; how did my diabetes affect me; how were my feet affected; did I sleep; how did I feel when I woke each morning; was I right or left handed; could I carry things; hold things; stand; sit; did I use the phone; did I shop; where did I shop; how often; how long did it take me to get to the shops; how was my memory; could I read this; that; did I go out; what was my day like; did my GP keep in contact with me; if so, how often; had she given me the number of out of hours help; how did I get to the assessment; how long had it taken; had I been able to cope with this; could I cope with changes in appointments; had I had to cancel appointments; if so, when, where, how, why; how often did I hoover and dust?
On and on it went for well over an hour. Then, she checked me over, physically; my grip, my legs, could I lift them, move my feet up and down, hold my hands above my head. At which point I asked her if she wanted to check my teeth, like they used to check the teeth of slaves.
She stared at me. I stared right back. She went and sat down. I followed her...and lost it.....
"Tell me, do you think any of this shit is right? You see, I don't get it! I don't get that I'll be judged because I am wearing mascara and have a flower in my hair and clean clothes, when inside I'm dying because of the shit that's being done to me by total bastards who don't care, who don't think as normal people do! You want to know one of the reasons WHY I've got my make up on, my flower in? Because last week I was told I have bilateral cataracts, so, in the not too distant future, I won't be able to even SEE to put my make up on, nor if my flower is correctly put in, so....so I'm not wasting a DAY of being ABLE to see now.
“Did you know that Iain Duncan Smith went to Auschwitz in 2009? Seriously, did you know this? Are you aware that he walked through the gates, above which is that famous saying, 'Work Sets You Free'? Do you know, that in my view, this man is totally insane and that he's done terrible, shocking damage to hundreds of thousands of lives because I truly feel he saw those words and very possibly thought....'hmmmm...now THAT'S a good ethos to live by', and thus, here we all are!
"Do you know that thousands of people have already died or taken their lives, due to these assessments failing them? Do you think this is right? You see, I come from a time when people cared about each other and whilst I get that there were folks who were taking hideous advantage of our Welfare State and that had to be put right, what is now going on is beyond belief! Do know about the Royal Naval Doctor who blew the whistle on ATOS? Who went out there and said "No, this is wrong! People with motor neuron disease, who are so sick, dying, being made to prove they're not fit for work is WRONG!"..."
She was looking a bit taken aback by this point......
I continued; "Do you know that I've spent eighteen years of my life caring for my darling Dad, for three years and for Nanny, my ex-mum-in-law, for fifteen years, only finishing being her Carer at the start of this year, after which, I was spat into the gutter by my once beloved country - and now, at sixty-one, find myself not a Respected Pensioner, but a hated scrounger, having to sit here and justify myself/ Yet, YET, I've saved my country hundreds of thousands in care home fees, only to end up in the gutter, my pension stolen."
She started with some new questions, about anger. (Gee, can't think why...).
"Do you have anger issues?"
For the first time, I smiled....and so did she......"Yes", I replied. "Every day I wake up angry due to this shit. Every day I wake up raging due to my pension being stolen from me. Every bloody day I am angry because of the people who are doing this. I should be in the best years of my retirement now, forty-four years of N.I. paid. Instead, I'm here, in this Hell, now being judged too."
I told her that there were hundreds of thousands of 1950s women now hitting the wall, in the same situation as me, spiralling down, whilst this regime just watches us drown, holds us under. She asked if I had ever been violent. Or felt as if I wanted to be.
I said no, I was not a violent person, but, if she put the government in front of me, I could flatten the lot of them with just one look, so fuming am I.
She asked if I could use a computer. I explained I had to use a computer in order to search for jobs which I don't stand a hope in Hell of ever getting....then I got into the insanity of only being able to look for jobs via a computer and how it used to be, back in the day when sanity reigned over us.
Then, I was asked if I used alcohol or drugs to calm myself down, to take the pain away. I stared at her, then said "No, I loathe alcohol and loathe drugs."
She said something along the lines of: "What do you do to...er...numb the pain?"
"I cry. I cry and I cry and I cry! That is how I stay alive at present, by crying. I cry when my son isn't around. I put my make up on so that he doesn't have to see his Mum looking like a bag lady. I wash and dress in clean clothes for this reason too...for him...I cook, for him...I eat...for him...I try to stay sane on the outside, for him...for he's just twenty-two years old....but inside...I'm a mess. I will not let him see me like this! I already feel a burden to him now."
I'd cried through most of the interview. I also told her that stealing our pensions is a death sentence for many of us and that it would have been kinder to have put us up against a wall and shot us...than leave us in this hell for six years.
When it was over, she thanked me for coming, using almost the same words the other Assessor had used to the man in the wheelchair...and it made me shiver... I walked down the corridor, away from her. And I didn't look back. I'm not expecting to pass this assessment. So, I'll probably have to appeal....more stress, more anxiety, more rage.
When I die, just for the record...I'll die with my make-up on and my flower in my hair, dressed in clean clothes. But inside, obviously, will be a pool of tears, which may be written on my death certificate thus:
Cause Of Death: This Ol' Lassie drowned in her own tears and from a broken heart, due to her country betraying her and millions of others.
Recommendations from the Coroner to stop this happening to others: Overthrow this brutal, evil regime, as fast as possible to save others from drowning in their own tears and from their own broken hearts.
With thanks to Karine Polwart and her beautiful song, 'Daisy' which has been playing over and over in my headphones whilst writing this...and little did I know, many moons ago, when I saw Karine singing this song at Abbotsbury, on that hot summer's day in those magical gardens, that I would be bringing her words back to try to get across to others the shocking danger we are now in, due to those who do NOT think like we do......
Whether my Assessor thinks like I do remains to be seen, as I now have the added anxiety of 'the wait' to get through, for her report will be sent to someone who has never seen me, so they, they, can then judge me and decide if I am to be stamped 'PASS' or 'FAIL'.
Meanwhile, The Palpitations continue and my heart is, quite literally, in my mouth at present.....I really can't take much more of this......
"Hey, Daisy Darling, there are people in this world who don't think like you do, they don't think like you do and some don't think at all..."
© Lizzie Cornish 2016
The Work Capability Assessment was introduced by the Labour Government of 1997-2010. To find out more about the assessment and who was responsible for what, Kevan James’ book, ‘Comments of a Common Man Edition 3’ covers the subject in detail. Also covered is the NHS, Law and Order, age discrimination, housing costs and other subjects regarding life in the UK today. The book costs £9.99 and is available from Amazon
Since this article was originally written, a number of changes have been made to the Work Capability Assessment procedure to make it less of an ordeal. Nevertheless, it remains the case that these assessments are still biased against the claimant.
Image - Melvil/Wikimedia Commons