Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday 27 December 2012

Daily Mail Kicks The Disabled Again

Today, the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre has returned to one of its favourite subjects, that of state-disbursed benefits, with another piece under the overarching title of “Benefits Britain”. Readers are told “Britain leads the world in handing out disability cash: Nation spends twice as much as U.S. and six times as much as Japan”.

What's f***ing wrong with fact selection, c***?!?

Note that, in Dacreland, disability benefits are “handed out”, and that disability is in this article lumped in with “taxpayers fork out more than £4million every single year on incapacity benefit for people who are obese ... two thirds of them have been languishing on the sick for more than five years ... sharp rise in the amount paid every year in IB for drug addicts and alcoholics”.

Moreover, in a reprehensibly sloppy piece of journalism, disability benefits is also connected to “it also emerged earlier this week that record numbers were receiving winter fuel payments from the UK despite living abroad”. The article gives every impression of having been put together to make the disabled look undeserving and workshy, but this is just not true.

Almost half of all disabled people of working age – 48% of them – are in work, and so are paying the same work related taxes as all other employees. So let’s desist from painting the disabled as an amorphous mass of shirkers: it’s not only not true, but demeaning and defamatory. And then we can have a look at the source of that headline, which to no surprise at all is not new news.

The source of the figure of 2.4% of GDP paid in disability benefits comes from the OECD statistics for 2010 – it’s two and a half years old – and a little further study suggests that what each country categorises as “disability benefits” may vary. For instance, when you look at sickness benefits, the UK is not third out of 34 countries, but 22nd. Taking both together puts us in seventh place.

And the ignorance on display extends to Matthew Sinclair, chief non-job holder at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, whose rent-a-quote intervention is “Welfare is there to help the most vulnerable but for too long it simply consigned people to a life on benefits regardless of what they were capable of ... Reforms must ensure that help is available to get those who can work into employment”.

So he either ignores the 48% of the disabled that are in work, or doesn’t know what he’s talking about – which latter would appear to put him into the same category as Daniel Martin, whose name appears on the by-line of the Daily Mail article. Because what we have here is a slice of knocking copy that cherry-picks figures in order to make the disabled look bad and set the Mail’s readership against them.

Plus it’s another example of the Mail’s inability to perform investigative journalism.

No comments: