It’s become “traditional” to blame Atos for the shortcomings of the ESA WCA and, to a degree, that’s fair enough. Let’s never lose sight, though, of the fact that ESA was structured to funnel disabled people onto JSA, with a minimum moving through to support, and that Atos are doing exactly what they’re being paid for. It was never intended otherwise – it’s a government-engineered cull as people transfer from IB to ESA, just as the transfer from DLA to PIP will be.
Placing the blame entirely on Atos is like blaming a firing squad for an execution. Both are doing what they’re assigned to do. OK – one difference – Atos is milking the taxpayer for vast sums for, apparently, totally abandoning their principles – assuming they ever had any.
The real target is the DWP which, under IDS has developed a lie factory – a propaganda machine that would have Joseph Goebbels wetting himself with envy – who else do you think is placing the constant parade of lies and disinformation in the press and broadcast media?
My prime suspects would be IDS’ Special Advisors, three women who may well be the “sources close to all the welfare reforms” who are probably feeding the toxic drivel to the media (hat tip to http://disagreeableweasel.wordpress.com/2011/06/ ). If not them, then who? IDS himself? Quite possibly (he at least must have sanctioned the lie-fest), his public pronouncements about DLA fraud have been – how can I put this? Ah yes, a useful expression from an earlier Tory, Alan Clark – he’s been economical with the actualité. Damned economical!
Criticise Atos by all means, they’re at the sharp end, they’re scum, and the scrofulous computerised checklist is their work, so they’re not at all without blame, but always remember where the real fault lies – firmly in the lap of Iain Duncan Smith. The buck stops with him – and Cameron and Osborne, of course.
A true Axis of Evil if ever there was one, especially if you have the misfortune to be chronically sick and disabled.