On 1 June 2011 Jon Cruddas and Jonathan Rutherford wrote an article for Comment is Free entitled “Labour shares the blame for mental illness tragedy”.
RedMiner, who portrays himself as the voice of the former manual working class, quoting an earlier poster who’d posted that “Incapacity benefit is used to hide the true number of unemployed people” responded:
This is an urban myth.
There is not a shred of evidence to support it. If you have some, by all means produce it. I’ll take your silence as an inability to do so.
At the time I was posting as 10jiao and it didn’t take long to show that RedMiner’s “urban myth” had in fact been carefully researched and documented in Has the boom in Incapacity Beneﬁt claimant numbers passed its peak?
by Michael Anyadike-Danes & Duncan McVicar 2007
The number of working age people claiming IB in Great Britain has grown from under 1 million in 1971 to over 2.5 million in 2006.
However, as we have shown, this ’paradox of IB’ – that even as the population has grown healthier, the numbers on IB have grown larger – may give a misleading impression about the causes of the expansion in IB claimant numbers. It is not the ﬂow onto the register which has been responsible for its growth (male inﬂow has been declining, female growing very little), rather it is that the ﬂow off the register has slowed. More speciﬁcally, up to the early 1980s around 80% of those on the register for a year had left before the end of the following year, by the mid-1990s the proportion leaving had halved to just 40%. And, of those who remain more than two years, the average annual proportion departing thereafter has never been much more than 20%. This is the ﬁrst paper to quantify so precisely these different contributions to IB register growth.
The full paper can be downloaded from here.
RedMiner declined to respond to this evidence and thereafter resorted to abusing other posters who disagreed with his point of view or posting details of personal cases rather than statistical evidence .
Later I asked the following question for the writers of the piece, quoting from their article:
“….. approximately 1 million on incapacity benefit were, in fact, “hidden unemployed”. This figure is the number of incapacity benefit claimants who might reasonably be expected to have been in work in a genuinely fully employed economy.”
So are you saying Jon Cruddas and Jonathan Rutherford that these 1 million are really fit for work?
If this is the case are these not the people who are the worst enemy of those who really are incapacitated? And if this is the case, how can the conundrum be resolved?
Indeed the writers of the article had made the same point:
We need to address some home truths about the Labour government’s welfare changes because they did not make a proper distinction between the unemployed and the sick. As a consequence, they have seriously eroded the protection of disabled people and those with limiting long-term illness. The methodologies that underpinned much of our argument are questionable.
ArecBalrin then rejoined the thread to post about the Anyadike-Danes & Duncan McVicar research with among other things:
I’m reading through the document 10jiao linked to earlier and have to say at a few pages in I’m annoyed.
The paper repeatedly states that ‘IB has grown from 1 million to 2.5 million over X number of years’. The numbers usually referenced are from the 80s until mid-2000s or around that ballpark period. This is misleading.
This is not exactly the most honest response as the research paper covered the period 1971 – 2006 or three and a half decades.
At this point BeautifulBurnout joined the thread with this blatent attempt at censorship:
“I’m reading through the document 10jiao linked to earlier and have to say at a few pages in I’m annoyed.”
You see, there’s your problem, identified for you in the very first sentence… :o)
I ignored the censor’s intervention, as did the moderators and replied to ArecBalrin:
In fact what the report says is:
The number of working age people claiming IB in Great Britain has grown from under 1 million in 1971 to over 2.5 million in 2006. This at a time when the general health of the population has improved and unemployment has fluctuated wildly (2.7% to 12%)
That’s the conundrum.
ArecBalrin’s response was to suggest that the rise had been caused by the closure of psychiatric wards and care units but was unwilling or unable to provide the figures to back up this claim, which clearly contradicted the Anyadike-Danes & Duncan McVicar research findings.
After having several attempts to dismiss other research from Hallamshire University, BeautifulBurnout once again resorted to another attempt at censorship:
10jiao Your slip’s showing again. (meaning I know you’re Bitethehand and I want everyone else to know)
There followed a long exchange with me providing evidence that despite her denial increasing numbers of people with disabilities and long term sickness problems were being employed, particularly in the public sector. I used the example of David Blunkett:
Blind since birth, and coming from a poor family in one of Sheffield’s most deprived districts, he rose to become Education Secretary in Tony Blair’s first Cabinet following Labour’s victory in the 1997 general election. He went on to become Home Secretary, one of the highest political offices in the land
You know with your politics BeautifulBurnout I’d really have thought David would be one of your heroes, whatever his mistakes once fame and fortune took hold of his critical faculties.
Let’s hope this won’t ever happen to you.
During this protracted exchange RedMiner not to be outdone in the censorship and abuse stakes came in with this:
Perhaps our indefatigable champion of disability-denial factories, known to all and sundry as Bitey (fill in your expletive), missed my earlier post:
To their credit, the moderators refused to censor the debate and the thread closed at its scheduled time. It was another ten days before a combined assault by BeautifulBurnout, GoloMannFan and Backtothepoint managed to achieve this, probably over this post.