By John Charles Dyer, UK Correspondent
17 Jan 2013. Parliament back benchers debated ATOS’ performance of Work Capability Assessments for those receiving benefits based on disability. It was more damnation hymn in round than "debate." All sides of the Commons’ several sides laid out in detail the many failings of the Work Capability Assessment process conducted by ATOS under the direction of the Department of Work and Pensions. Many -- including Conservatives -- demanded that the government dump the contractor if not the entire programme.
Then Mark Hoban rose to speak.
Mark Hoban is the most recently appointed Minister in charge of the government’s programme. Hoban allegedly attended the debate to listen and respond constructively. Hoban’s reply, however, more resembled Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s “Speech at the Front Door” at Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama. Where Wallace snarled, Hoban sneered. Hoban’s reply simply wasn’t up to the standard of the debate either in quality or tone. It was an anti-climax after so many clear, impassioned, thoroughly researched and documented -- and sometimes awe-inspiring -- backbench speeches.
Muttering I returned to U-Tube
I had been listening for sometime to Sweet Honey in the Rock. This remarkable group and its music embodies the challenge, the energy, commitment and courage of the American Civil Rights movement.
Theirs is a type of music that has been a part of my life since I was a small child. My parents had been missionaries in the West Indies. My mother’s fondest lifelong dream was to replicate that experience in Africa. It was not to be. She nearly died from Malaria shortly before I came along. My father loved his time in the West Indies. He was blessed with a remarkable voice. The spirituals and gospel of choirs almost exclusively "of colour" -- sounding much like Sweet Honey in the Rock -- resonated within my parents' souls and in our home. It -- and the sense of connected mission -- helped bind the family together.
American Civil Rights Movement
The music of Sweet Honey in the Rock reconnects me both to my roots and to that very special time in American history called the Civil Rights movement. 15 January would have been Martin Luther King Jr’s 84th birthday. As the world knows, he became the inspiring and unifying face of the American Civil Rights movement. Almost uniquely eloquent, his “I have a dream” speech etched itself into the consciousness of a generation.