DWGism (dwgism) wrote,
DWGism
dwgism

#BADD2011 What’s Wrong With Our Society?

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2011

 

It’s Blogging Against Disablism Day, a day for writers to turn their skills against the disablism that makes living with disability so much more difficult than necessary. I’ve already written a piece for Where’s The Benefit, but my conclusions there started me thinking.

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, felt able last week to launch a hate-filled attack on disabled benefit claimants whose disabilities happen to make them subject to addiction or obesity. Never mind it would be disability related harassment under the Equality Act if addressed to an individual (and I would like to see the case for generic harassment addressed in court – I certainly felt attacked and threatened, no matter my disability being something else entirely), never mind that it was in clear breach of Articles 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 16, 19, 22, 27 and 28 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled People, never mind that it is certain to exacerbate the already worrying rise in disability benefit related hate crime (‘he’s disabled, he must be on benefit, he must be faking his disability, get him!’ – logic isn’t the bigot’s strong point), there he was on national news, confidently spouting his bile with that arrogant smile of his, saying how he was sure that the little man would agree with him.

The attack, and the sycophantic repetition in the press, stretching even onto the BBC,  drew plenty of condemnation from disability groups and individuals -  we had three different responses on WTB alone, but the best Labour could manage as the flagship party of Opposition was Stephen Timms, the Shadow Employment Secretary, wetly agreeing with him. That is, unfortunately, not too surprising, there has been a deafening silence from Labour over the onslaught on disability benefits and the demonization of disabled people as benefit frauds, possibly because those attacks started under our last, Labour, government, and possibly because all the new ideas and policies, even the ludicrous ‘imaginary wheelchair*’ are ones that were planned while Labour were in government. So the Government are confident that there is nothing to be lost in demonizing disabled people, the Opposition were confident that there was nothing to be lost in demonizing disabled people, and the right-wing press are absolutely overjoyed to have a new minority group they are positively encouraged to torment now that the Moslem thing is growing old.

The politicians don’t think it will lose them votes, the press don’t think it will lose them sales, the only conclusion you can draw is that open disablism has become socially acceptable, that it is so widespread in our society that the people who will take offence can simply be discounted. And that is why I think that there is something very wrong with contemporary British society.

 

* The ‘imaginary wheelchair’ is a proposed new tool for assessing mobility disability: if you are a person with a mobility disability and an assessor decides, potentially in direct contradiction to the opinion of your specialists, that using a manual wheelchair (and whether you have or can afford one or not -- hence 'imaginary') you could self-propel for 50m, then you won’t be eligible for mobility benefits, one of which is the disabled parking 'blue badge' that a wheelchair user would need to actually get into town in the first place - logic really isn't the strong point here. 
Tags: disablism
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