Bit of a fright - and a grave insult: my name in bold type juxtaposed against a photo of Maria Miller. OOOHHHHHHHOOOO.
For the sake of accuracy I asked my wife and a friend and, thankfully, they confirmed it isn't me!
I don't know if it is my fault or that of EDP editing but some explanation of my bracketed 'accepted' is needed:
NIGHTMARE! filling in the application forms for DLA - part of the 'processes.' Even more of a NIGHTMARE completing these forms with or on behalf of people with mental health problems. In my time I've wrestled with hundreds of these NIGHTMARES and the inventive twists and turns that have had to be made (without actually lying) is so stressful - for me too, but more importantly for people whose affect is so brittle that the processes have pushed some over the edge so that extra support and treatment has been needed. Without exaggeration those forms have been sometimes been unnecessary torment for vulnerable people. Keeping copies of the completed forms (works of art!) was absolutely essential.
Yes, this part of the DLA processes has long been railed against by those practising welfare rights and the service users at the receiving end. Consultation with government departments and campaigns against the DLA processes by user groups and welfare rights associations have been going on since DLA was introduced. I can remember, on behalf of the BASW Mental Health Special Interest Group, speaking to a Social Security Central Committee in the early nineteen nineties about these serious problems. Some minor changes and improvements were subsequently made (I'm not claiming they were due to my intervention - the Committee had held a major review).
And when the application forms had been completed, the assessment of the applications tended to be arbitrary; carried out by unqualified civil servants and qualifying for DLA sometimes depended on an out-of-the-blue phone call - sometimes to people rendered inarticulate by the medication they were taking. The appeals tribunal too was/is labyrinthine and unnecessarily formal - some of the tribunal chairs having illusions of grandeur.
So all these processes and structures are in need of reform and simplification. But what Maria Miller refuses to look at are the cuts in benefit rates which are going to be part - designed into the reforms; the cuts to living standards and incomes the ConDems (Maria Miller is a deeply brainwashed Tory) are bringing in; and the consequent cuts local government is making to social care services (yes, not just adult social care!) and independent living resources for disabled people. And of course ATOS is already putting vulnerable people though sheer hell. Ms Miller turns her face away from these - that's why I feel so insulted at being associated with her photograph.