I was feeling depressed at all the very macabre imagery people are using on the ATOS demo pages, lots of skeletons, death with a scythe, guns and torturers…it may all be appropriate to a greater or lesser extent, but does it make you want to bring your children or organize a supportive trip from your Mind group?

Rather than whinging, I have tried to come up with some positive suggestions. I had a lovely conversation with the originator of the ATOS demos and he wants a more community festival feel, so, many things clunk clicked around in my head until, hey presto: let’s use ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ as a hook, we can rewrite the song to have protest words, it’s horribly catchy (mwhahaha!) and hearts are really easy to draw etc and it’s Valentines day 5 days before…oh, cooking with gas now πŸ˜‰ hearts and flowers are very hippy, but very friendly and welcoming compared to the skeletons…those facepainted skulls are the worst, very nightmarish…

So tonight I have been chatting to people about this and some poets and a guitarist are going to come round and work on the song. I have been writing for the Facebook ATOS Demo page for Nottingham and am hopefully bringing a more welcoming, safer vibe to the event, so all in all, pretty good given I can’t spin round in a phone box πŸ˜€

I will write more, but this is what I’ve managed so far ( hurty hands remember, London wrecked me…)

“On Feb 19th, we want the community to turn out and show their support for any and everyone suffering under ATOS/CAPITA – which in turn is…EVERYONE. We all know people who manage with a disability, even when we think we don’t – lots of the people suffering most under the ATOS rules and ‘scrounger-slander’ have invisible disabilities, such as mental health issues, hidden pain, hidden chronic fatigue, autism (to a disabling extent, many people with autism are highly functioning) people with hearing issues and many more. Most of us weren’t born with disabilities, they came in traumatic accidents or as a result of long exposure to overwork, eg miners with bad backs, mill machinists with arthritis, factory workers now deafened…so this is a time for the community to recognize, the people claiming benefits are no different from the people who haven’t YET had that awful accident, work related injury etc., And you know what, if people pay National insurance contributions towards benefits when they are ill or disabled or in case they have children born with limiting disabilities: we/they are ENTITLED to those benefits WE PAID TOWARDS. Simple as that.

The Government has no problem breaking its election manifesto and paying bankers multi-million bonuses, but somehow honest people who paid their NI and tax with no dodging through loopholes are NOT entitled?

Somehow people with three houses and heated stables deserve subsidies while a woman looking after her husband of 50 years who now has dementia and double incontinence doesn’t, she has to break a hip before help is reinstated…

While we are angry at the level of disrespect and huge hardship the Government is putting people through, we don’t want the demo to be aggressive or triggering for people with disabilities, let’s keep it a community event, open to ALL the community.

If the ATOS/CAPITA demo is to be a community event, how do we make it open to everyone? Who could you invite to the event? It’s always easier to go to things in a group, so if you see someone on their own, perhaps start a chat? NOT during the minute’s silence πŸ˜‰

Keep some paths clear for people who need pavements for their wheels and sticks, and people on their way in and out – remember not everyone going in and out of the building works for ATOS, make space for someone with a hidden disability on their way to be assessed, or the workers from the office next door, even the ATOS workers mainly hate their jobs but are kept in line by fear of unemployment, be respectful. Slogans and placards about government policies are good, hate speech on anyone is bad. We have tons of excellent research proving these policies are failing, using the government’s own statistics adds a spice to that πŸ˜‰
These people have GREAT archives of who said what when and the latest breaking news on welfare:

Wear some red: this has become a symbol of solidarity for the over 11, 000 who have died within 6 weeks of losing their benefits (the Government insisted the count stopped at 10,600, but the coroners’ verdicts are still coming in…
There will be more, but nap time needed πŸ˜‰
And this morning I came up with, weather permitting, a good idea! I’ll take my folding card table and paper and markers so people can draw or write messages to the government – something to make kids to feel ok, hopefully πŸ™‚
Here is the website for more info:
and of course check your Facebook for

ATOS National DEMO @Β  your city