I was under the impression that here in the good old
we enjoyed the right to freedom of speech. It is one of the things that our fearless leaders are constantly bleating about when trying to impress upon the rest of the world – and indeed upon us – that UK is a model democracy. Then I heard a vague rumour, a rustling in the grass, to the effect that websites, discussion forums and blogs like this which are critical of Atos and the ESA system were being taken down and in some cases the authors threatened with legal action. Britain
Now as a mental health sufferer, I know how easy it is to become paranoid about things like this, but there is truth in the old joke that says “Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you!” It seems that Atos are indeed on the lookout for criticism on the web and are prepared to go to great lengths to silence their opposition! “Tentacles of Doom” lists a number of incidences of Atos’ attempts to suppress free speech, many of them successful. So Marriott Edgar may have had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he wrote in his monologue “The Magna Charter” [sic] that ‘In England today you can do as you like, as long as you do as you’re told!’ but there is yet another old saying which applies here – “There’s many a true word spoken in jest!”
And all this links back inevitably to my original post on this subject, concerning the derogatory and hate-filled headlines trumpeted by the organs of the tabloid press and endorsed by the ConDems. [And I am thankful to note that I am not the only person who is incensed by this propaganda.] Once you have successfully turned one half of the population against the other, who will care enough to support those whose welfare rights are being withdrawn and even their right of free speech suppressed?
So where do we go from here? What can we do to arm and protect ourselves against this avalanche of invective and the suppression of our rights? The answer is I’m not entirely sure BUT there are a number of campaign groups and organisations we can support or take part in. I highly recommend a website called “National Protest Against Benefit Cuts” by ‘benefitclaimantsfightback’. Check it out and see what YOU can do to stem the tide … There is also an excellent on-line petition directed to the Minister for Health at “Against DWP Reforms for the Genuinely Sick & Disabled” – I urge you to sign it!
These small actions may seem like a drop in the ocean but each little drop we add will increase the strength of the whole. Thanks to the incitement to indifference, if not to outright hatred, propagated by our government and their toadies in the press and media, we can’t look to the healthy, working population of this country for support – we are on our own and we must help ourselves however, wherever and whenever we can!