Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 August 2012

Paralympics, Atos scandal, Remploy closures... Con-Dems win gold for hypocrisy!

Les Woodward, national convenor, Remploy trade union consortium
2012 Summer Paralympics

2012 Summer Paralympics

Millions are watching the 2012 Paralympics. The Games aim to inspire young disabled people to take up sport, compete at the highest level and illustrate to the world that having a disability doesn't mean that a full, active and challenging life cannot be lived.

The ethos that despite being disabled, a person should be able to fulfil their own potential, through holding down a job and being a productive member of society, was also the ethos that eventually led to the setting up of the first Remploy factory in 1946.

Remploy workers protest at the closure of Remploy factories on the first day of the 2012 Paralympics in London

Remploy workers protest at the closure of Remploy factories on the first day of the 2012 Paralympics in London   (Click to enlarge)

The forerunner of the Paralympics started in 1948 in Stoke Mandeville Hospital as a way of using sporting competition as a form of healing and therapy for disabled ex-service personnel, many of whom were recovering from injuries suffered in World War Two.

2012 will be a memorable year for disabled people who will be part of the Paralympics, either as spectators or participants. It will also be a memorable year for the disabled workers of Remploy, but the memories will be poles apart.

UK Uncut and Disabled People against Cuts protest against ATOS, the Paralympics Sponsors, in Hartshead Square ,Sheffield, photo Alistair Tice

UK Uncut and Disabled People against Cuts protest against ATOS, the Paralympics Sponsors, in Hartshead Square ,Sheffield, photo Alistair Tice   (Click to enlarge)

The disabled athletes, their families and fans, will have joy and excitement. They will look back on 2012 as the year they came to the Games, and left with souvenirs and full photograph albums to record every joyous second.

The disabled Remploy workers and their able-bodied comrades, however, will have bad memories. Their factories, which have provided good quality employment for the best part of 70 years, will shut their gates for the last time. They will head, not for gold but for the dole and a life of poverty and deprivation as they get dumped on the scrapheap.

This will be then vastly exacerbated by the Con-Dems' cold cruelty: with benefits slashed and denied financial and other support to live independently, disabled people are also being demonised as "scroungers", and abuse towards them is rocketing.

In the Con-Dems' arrogance, brought about by the 'Born to Rule' attitude that they have all grown up with, they have ignored the big questions that will be on every working class disabled person's lips, especially if they are ex-Remploy workers or victims of Atos, sickeningly one of the prime sponsors of the Olympics and Paralympics.

London Olympics, photo Alison Hill

London Olympics, photo Alison Hill   (Click to enlarge)

Why is it that disabled people are encouraged to compete on the field of sport, partake as competitors in activities from which able bodied athletes are segregated, while being employed in a workplace alongside other disabled people in a supported environment is not acceptable? The government, some charities and, to their shame, some trade unions seem to find having fun together acceptable, but not working together.

Why should disabled people have to suffer the stress of the 'work capability' assessment administered by Atos? The sole aim of this cruel process seems to be to push as many people as possible off sickness benefits, as part of the 18 billion welfare cuts.

No Remploy closures. The factories should be run for disabled people, by disabled people, where people with all forms of disability can fulfil their employment potential in the short, medium and long term.

Fight all welfare cuts. Kick Atos out of the system. End the work capability assessment. A living wage and fulfilling work opportunities for all without compulsion.

Fight all cuts!

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, PCS, photo Suzanne Beishon

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary, PCS, photo Suzanne Beishon

"The TUC march on 20 October will be a massive display of unity. We need to ensure we use this to continue to build the fight against the cuts, and not only march together but strike together as well."

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union

Hear Mark speak at the National Shop Stewards Network lobby of the TUC on 9 September. Demand the TUC uses the 20 October demonstration to build for a 24-hour general strike against the government's austerity measures.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 29 August 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Paralympics, Atos scandal, Remploy closures... Con-Dems win gold for hypocrisy!

Build for a 24-hour general strike!

The Julian Assange case

Galloway's ignorant comments

Gove stole our exam grades!

Crisis services handed over to charity food banks

Them & Us

Socialist Party workplace news

Building workers fight pay cut threat

Sparks protest at London Crown House site

Local government pension scheme

Sheffield recycling workers to resume strike action

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lobby the TUC for a 24-hour general strike

Jobs and homes, not racism

East Midlands: Save our ambulance service

NHS: Unions must defend national pay bargaining

TUSC councillor rejects Walsall cuts 'consultation'


Prison work - 3 a day is exploitation for profit

Women's prisons - Con-Dems' 'reforms' mean cuts and privatisation

International socialist news and analysis

Norway: Mass murderer Anders Breivik gets life sentence

Kazakhstan: Human rights campaigner Vadim Kuramshin freed

Reviews and comments

Leon Trotsky: A revolutionary's life

Fight council tax benefit cuts

The 'madness' of building homes

Socialist Party news

Notting Hill carnival-goers support Lonmin miners

Socialist Party summer camp

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Save our computer server!


Home   |   The Socialist 29 August 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  

Related links:


triangleWe are all Daniel Blake: no more deaths from benefit cuts

triangleSocialist Party members join disability rights week of action

triangleVolunteering at the Games

triangleSheffield's disabled join Paralympic protest


triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleSupport for socialist alternative to pro-cuts New Labour at GMB conference

triangleCon-Dems' latest cruel cut: Disability Living Allowance

triangleWorkplace news in brief


triangleSalford nurseries consultation delayed

triangleBristol anti-cuts campaigners debate alternatives to the cuts

triangle8,000 strong petition opposes closure of Sheffield health services


triangleSwansea Labour council votes for cuts

triangleSocialist Party congress 2018


triangleTory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Russia, spies and nerve agents



Zero new homes 'affordable' in Blairite Manchester



Spring Statement 2018: Tory austerity staggers on despite economic and political weakness


What we saw

What we saw



Sainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for 10 with no strings!



Profits up Wages down



Determined UCU strikers: We're out to win!



Capitalism oppresses women - fight for socialism!


Them & Us

Them & Us



Women's oppression: the struggle goes on



Snow chaos showed the bosses' coldness - but also workers' grit



May's EU speech kicks the can down the road



Toys R Us, Maplin: worsening retail crisis claims more jobs



Corbyn's customs union dividing line: now stand firm for pro-worker Brexit



Corbynism shows 'Clause IV' still relevant a hundred years on

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018