If you wonder who originated the current campaign of lies, disinformation and hatred aimed at the chronically sick and disabled community, look no further than David Freud** (aka Lord Freud now he’s a defected from Labour and become a Tory), an extremely wealthy former City banker (banker – well, that’s almost right…), who claimed in an interview with the Telegraph, in February 2008, that IB medical assessments were done by people’s own GPs, that 5-7% of Incapacity Benefit claimants are working in the black economy, and that two thirds of claimants should not be receiving IB at all.
The problem is that not a single word of that was true – it was all simply plucked out of the air (as was pointed out by the many people who wrote to the DWP to complain). GPs did not carry out disability assessments, and still don’t (though perhaps they should – who knows the patient/claimant better?), and the other nonsense simply isn’t supported by the DWP’s own figures (then or since – see this post).
Freud at the time, had begun advising the DWP “on commercial and commissioning strategies and not with the design of the benefit system or its administration.” So wouldn’t it have been a good idea if he’d shut the fuck up and stopped commenting on matters that are way outside his remit and, as far as I can see, beyond his intelligence to understand? Unless, of course, it was all entirely deliberate, and part of a campaign of lies and disinformation sponsored by the government. Paranoia, I asked at the time? Clearly not, the way things have panned out under the coalition of liars, propagandists, and carpetbaggers.
At the time, Stephen Timms, Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform, made a half-baked attempt to distance his department from Freud’s lunatic comments by claiming, rather oddly, that “the contents of Mr Freud’s recent press articles were not prompted by research commissioned by the Government, and reflect his own views.” Or, put another way, he was lying through his teeth.
And that was garbage anyway. Freud was, in effect (and still is), employed by the DWP, which was, then, within Timms’ area of responsibility, and was speaking ex officio, so it was 100% Timms’ responsibility, and it was incumbent upon him to ensure that Freud publicly recanted. Of course, he never did, and his lies persist to this day.
By failing to publicly condemn and correct Freud, Timms – and by extension, the government – was tacitly endorsing Freud’s lies, giving them an entirely erroneous veneer of truth. I would urge those of you living in Timms’ constituency to bear that in mind when the general election comes around.
And the way things have gone since I originally wrote that in June 2008 (republished by request, and because I have a lot more readers now than then), those of you living in Duncan Smith’s constituency might care to do likewise.
And let’s not forget that Freud’s Labour playmate, James Purnell (about whom I wrote this, along with much else), gave us the egregious and dishonestly-administered ESA (intended to be that way, still operated that way), with, I suspect, no little input from Freud.