Thursday, 7 February 2013

My paralympics shame

Last summer I had the privilege of serving at the Paralympic games, big shout out for my employer Hurford Salvi Carr for giving me the time off.

It was a great two weeks which gave me experiences that I will unlikely get again, gave me a chance to be part of possibly the greatest event ever to be held in the UK. I met loads of really great people, including starting a great friendship with a guy I met on the first day who it turns out shares the same birthday as me!

But there is an aspect of the Paralympics that makes me ashamed. It was something I carried everyday on my ID badge or rather on my ID badge strap, in big capital words ATOS.

ATOS are company employed by the government to carry out work assessments to see if people are able to work and if they are they will then have their benefits removed. Now if someone is capable of working then I am all for a system that encourages them to do so. But if a person can't work because they can barely work, they suffer from a debilitating mental illness, they are suffering from a crippling illness or maybe they are in a coma* then I think this should mean they should continue to be supported through the benefit system. Unfortunately ATOS driven by the government targets and values did just that including writing to a man in a coma to tell him as he hadn't attended his work assessment his benefit would be stopped and they assumed he was fit for work

For a few more angles on this scandal read these links - just four of literally thousands

It is hard to think of a more inappropriate sponsor of the Paralympics and I had to carry their name around me at all times!

The only thing more inappropriate was the decision to invite George Osbourne to be part of the awards ceremony, thankfully that was something that provided an opportunity for the feelings of the nation to be shared in public and for a brief moment the reality of what the people think of the govt and these sort of policies was seen.

Even with these unfortunate connections it truly was the greatest show on earth and I can say I was there.

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