Last year, I caught the Telegraph red-handed in a politically-driven smear campaign on the NHS, as it slipped up and left instructions to its sub-editors not to remove a damaging paragraph from a front-page article where it had no relevance. The ‘newspaper’ is also on record as co-ordinating its stories with private health companies to sway public opinion.
The paper is so closely linked to the Tory political agenda that it marches in lockstep with the Conservative party. It distorts information shamelessly and functions as a barometer of what the Tories are up to, if you know what to look for.
Well, they’re at it again – and this time the target is (not for the first time) the disabled. Here’s a headline published by the Telegraph at 9pm last night:
Note the sections underlined in red. The Tories are busy making swingeing changes to disability benefits that are putting hundreds of thousands of people into poverty, and have been stooping to any depths of deceit in order to justify this ‘liberation’ of people from a half-decent standard of living.
Reading the Telegraph’s headline, you would naturally think that it was to do with changes implemented under the Tories and showed how many ‘scroungers’ had been driven off benefits by the threat of proper scrutiny. And if you’re a typical Telegraph reader, you’ll likely think ‘Great, sort those scroungers out! More of the same, please!’ And if you hear stories of hardship and despair, you’ll think them exaggerated ‘sob stories’.
And word spreads – the poison leaks out into the wider consciousness, which is exactly what it’s intended to do. But – as usual – all is not what it’s made to seem.
Because I’m always suspicious of how this government used statistics, especially when it’s via the Telegraph, I went looking for these ‘latest government figures’. And I found them.
As you can see here, this is what I found:
The government’s ‘latest figures’ currently go up to 2009 – the year before the coalition government took office. This is corroborated by a slightly more honest news source - MSN News:
Iain Duncan Smith and his slimy allies are attempting an all-too-typical demonisation of the disabled that tells us:
We’re cutting people off from support and making them jump through hoops to get benefit – and already we’ve exposed almost a million of them who must have been pretending, because they didn’t want to go through the test! We must continue the process and drive out the many scroungers who must remain!
Or, in Minister Grant Shapps’ own, wormtongued words:
Welfare makes up a third of this country’s spending – so it’s our job to make sure it’s getting to the people who really need it.
Our reforms are about freeing people from a system of dependency that’s trapped them and their families for decades – and people are getting back into work as a result.
These figures demonstrate how the welfare system was broken under Labour and why our reforms are so important.
When the real meaning of the very same figures they’re presenting is very different:
In 2009, the Labour government was already taking steps to focus benefits on those most in need of it. As a result of those changes, almost 900,000 opted not to go through the assessment process to remain on disability benefits.
Many of the 900,000 might have been genuine but were intimidated by the prospect – but those who are still on DLA, ESA etc are those who did choose to go through the tests, because their need was genuine and they couldn’t get by without that support.
Yet the present government is targeting them, demonising them and pushing hundreds of thousands into poverty anyway.
Leave them alone!
As I showed in a recent post on the NHS, context is everything. The Tories and their press allies are past masters at stripping away the context so they can use the resulting distortions to attack their victims with impunity or even the approval of an ignorant public.
It’s shameful. Damnable. Criminal.
And entirely typical of the odious bunch of worms and snakes who are pretending to run the country while lining the pockets of their friends and backers.