*** Trigger warning for some links and comments ***
Apart from talking about problems with the 38Degrees process, David Gillon’s guest blog post “On being demonised” – a disabled 38 Degrees members’ perspective [38 Degrees] is a comprehensive summary of what government policy is doing to sick and disabled people. It makes a depressing read. But that isn’t all. Today Lisa Egan has written what she sees in the future for sick and disabled people in Not OK [Where's the benefit] and it is not looking good. It’s downright scary, in fact. These quotes aren’t hyperbole; these are realistic impact of what the government are doing.
“Those proposals contain something I never saw coming: From the end of 2013 I will no longer be eligible for the benefit. At all. Like I said, I was perhaps expecting a fight during the reassessment process but the idea that the goal posts would be moved quite so far had never occurred to me.”
“Quite simply without my DLA I will not have a car so I will not be able to go shopping. Without the benefit I will not be able to afford online deliveries as an alternative to shopping myself. I will not be able to bring my medication home from the pharmacy. With not being able to get food or medication I can’t see how I can possibly last long.”
“all hope is lost and I have that deadline of 2013 when my life will actually become unliveable. ”
“The anti-cuts movement chose to fight to save libraries rather than lives. There’s nothing quite like that knowledge to really make you feel despised.”
Add into the mix what Phillipa Willitts has written in You’re frightening me [the f word] and this is starting to be quite overwhelming. Today I also read what Emma experienced at Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market 2011 In A Wheelchair [Pseudo-living] and it doesn’t present anything positive about progress towards an accessible society for all. In fact people seem to be getting more prejudiced and discriminatory. Two Thirds avoid disabled people [4-traders]
The only positive thing that I have read today is this article in which former speechwriter for David Cameron, Ian Birrel, slates Ian Duncan Smith and the Department of Work and Pensions for feeding benefit scrounger and disability misinformation to the press. The demonisation of the disabled is a chilling sign of the times [The Observer]
Unfortunately, much blame rests on the shoulders of the media and certain parts of government. There has been a new dialogue overdisability, characterised by the constant drip-drip of stories implying vast numbers of disability claimants are bogus, that benefits are doled out without proper checks and taxpayers fund free cars for thousands of children with minor behavioural disorders.
Many emanate from the Department for Work and Pensions, which has twisted facts, manipulated statistics and distorted data to win support for its drive to cut costs and crack down on benefit fraud. This cascade of spurious claims and scandalously spun stories ends up demonising the disabled. It does no credit to Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary of state, who proclaims himself a compassionate Conservative. Ministers say they cannot be blamed for the actions of the media, but they know how the game is played.
This isn’t positive in itself, but I’m pleased to see that more people are recognising the hateful rhetoric that is targetting sick and disabled people in the UK.