Paul Atherton

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history

Paul Atherton is a director and TV & film producer in London. He was born 20 March 1968 in Cardiff, Wales.[1]

Filmmaking[edit | edit source]

His work is praised for the use of art as the social commentary, tackling tough subjects such as racism (Colour Blind), sexism (The 'Feminist Car Commercial' Film), domestic violence (Silent Voices), and prostitution (Sex in Public).[2]

Paul's most recent work is a film, Our London Lives that documents 16 years of his son's visits to London from Cardiff. The film is divided into several short episodes of about 10 minutes or so, allowing it to be viewed on Paul's Twitter account. It was originally screened at the Museum of London.

“What was spectacular to note as I went through all the footage was how many years I'd been wheelchair-bound with CFS, but hadn't picked up on it from watching the film. In the scene showing Charles outside the Royal College of Music, he constantly pushed me around in my chair on that day, but you couldn't notice from the shot.”[3]

Health[edit | edit source]

When he was 21 years old he developed ME/CFS, and still suffers from it. At his most severely affected, Paul was bedbound for two years.

“I've had M.E. since a bout of glandular fever when I was 10 years old, but wasn't diagnosed until a massive crash during my university years at the age of 21...Every day is an immense challenge and my biggest fear is being derailed by something trivial or menial.”[4]

It's been 27 years since Paul first got ill, and he still struggles with the difficulties that come with this illness. On Jan 2016, Paul blogged:

"CFS sufferers are the masters of Cost Benefit Analysis. Every decision has to be weighed up and merited for its benefits. Do I shower OR wash-up, won't have the energy to do both, which is the most beneficial. Shop or Cook? Eat or drink? We work in 10 minute chunks, we know the distance and energy required to get to a shop, but If the products we are going for have moved 3 shelves inside, we won't make it. We'd planned and exerted perfectly but any deviation, we'll be reliant on the assistance of someone to get us home."[5]

Paul Atherton appears in the UK documentary about ME/CFS called What About ME?[6]

DWP[edit | edit source]

On 13 February 2019 Atherton took the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to the Royal Courts of Justice for Judicial Review for a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decision to refuse to communicate with Disabled Claimants by email in breach of both his Human Rights and the Equality Act. [7] Whie the case Paul Atherton v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (who at the time was Amber Rudd) was dismissed, Judge Jeremy Johnson QC made it clear that the DWP had failed in all it's duties and had breached Atherton's and other disabled claimants rights and in so doing changed Case Law:[8]

The approach of the DWP to the Claimant, and to many other disabled benefit claimants, failed over a period of years to comply with its statutory obligations under the Equality Act 2010 (and, before that, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995). Those with disabilities that meant that they had difficulty communicating by post were, in many instances, unable to secure a satisfactory means of communication with the DWP. This in turn meant that some went without benefits that were essential to them. At the time this claim was filed the DWP had still not complied with its statutory duties in respect of the Claimant.

Talks and interviews[edit | edit source]

Tate Modern - Talk - Welfare and the digital lie, problems of Digital Exclusion for the poor and the vulnerable in the UK by Paul Atherton FRSA - Beta Society in Tate Exchange - 6 March 2019

Regents Space - Things To Do Today In London: Wednesday 27 March 2019 - "WITHOUT A HOME: An Evening With Paul Atherton" - 27 March 2019

Online presence[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]