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Sean Prentice - 25 Mar 2019


An assessment which is in many ways akin to the pseudo medicals which sent shell shocked soldiers back to the front in the Great War. Except in the Great War those making that call were doctors.

It has been a while. I thought I would share this with you:
Dear Theresa May,
I thought I would drop you a line thanking you for ESA and for PIP, the disability benefits I'm afforded and the humiliations and indignities I receive along with those benefits. I know you're busy with Brexit. I have never been a Conservative voter, but you have my sympathy, you really did draw the short straw there. It is likely that you will not even be PM by the time you receive this letter. Everyone is arguing about what kinda of Brexit there should be. Everyone has a different idea about what kind of Britain they want to live in.
Me, I'm disabled, I have a progressive congenital motor neurone condition, OCD, dyspraxia and other ASDs, and I already live in a Britain which plays fast and loose with my human rights and those of every other disabled person in or out of employment. I live in a Britain I don't want to live in. I already live in a dystopia. The UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities agrees. Although my condition is named and recognised as progressive and my symptoms are consummate with that condition I'm currently in my second PIP assessment process. I'm required to undergo another face-to-face assessment. An assessment which is in many ways akin to the pseudo medicals which sent shell shocked soldiers back to the front in the Great War. Except in the Great War those making that call were doctors.
In this case the corporates (Capita, Atos, Maximus) employ hardly any doctors and those doctors are hardly doctors at all. Instead I will be scrutinised by a Health Care Professional, a euphemism to cover a lack of expertise, to hide the fact that the assessor is a midwife, or a physiotherapist, or an optician, or for all I know a dinner lady from a hospital canteen. Add to this the culture of contempt for the disabled which is known to exist within these companies. Something like institutional racism but there is yet to be a catchy term for this order of systematic prejudice. I think the racist analogy stands however.
My brother in law, who is black said 'so this is like if I were to complete a tick-box about my ethnicity and a few years later they came back and asked me if I was still black?' Yes, it is exactly like that. My brother in law is still black. I'm still disabled and by nature my disability will worsen over time. I will never not be disabled. I will also never not be in fight or flight through these repeated procedures. I choose to fight but there is a cost to my health, to my mental wellbeing. If there was a process associated with the premature deaths of over 5000 British citizens of Afro-Caribbean descent there, quite rightly, would be an outcry and serious questions would be asked about the soul or Britain. If at the same time there was over a hundred reported suicides of British Asians connected with these processes...if 21% of British Asians undergoing these processes attempted suicide...a bystander might be forgiven if they concluded that there was something rotten and darkly racist at the heart of how British society operates. These are real numbers and real statistics however.
The suicide risk for disabled benefit claimants is overtly spelled out and British society is complicit in the suffering and death. It is not a racist agenda. It is perhaps something more insidious as society hasn't even taken it seriously enough to name and shame it. Whatever happens in Brexit I will, in a corner of my being be ashamed to be British but the shame will not be mine.
Yours sincerely,
Sean Prentice



Pascale Barrett

Shit isn't it. I feel for you. I underwent the same thing in 2011 after being hospitalised in a mental hospital in France it triggered Hypothyroidism! Don't let the bastards get you down.

I wish you all best keep strong and positive. X


Sean Prentice

Thank you Pascale. They do get me down...the bastards, their lack of compassion, their ignorant position but at least my partner and I (who is also disabled, and has been through all the same processes) are in a position to resist. Many others haven't our resources, our education, our overarching readiness to fight them, and are going it alone. It true I'm vulnerable...but (and I have to remind myself of this) I am not the most vulnerable.



Suzi Glantz

Excellent letter .... wonder if she actually read it! I doubt it very much xx

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