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Thursday, 3 November 2011

The Government really needs to think about where it is heading

Faced with the prospect of a WCA, just the worry of what might be ahead can have a devastating effect on some disabled people, let alone the experience itself and on top of this there is an increasing amount of pressure being (not too subtly) applied in the background as in the article below from the DT.

It is not in my nature to be dramatic, but it is hard to read the article below without comparing its philosophy with the  expression “Arbeit Macht Frei”, which I’m sure the Tories would not like drawn to their attention and would attempt to dismiss it as insulting and offensive.  The expression is accurate enough, it is just its awful association that resonates.

Indisputably the Government and sections of the media are deliberately or otherwise slowly turning public opinion into wrongly believing that the vast majority of the sick and disabled are perfectly capable of working and are little more than benefit scroungers.  If they successfully create this atmosphere of mistrust, it will slowly permeate through the whole of society and affect day to day attitudes and life.  This will make a difficult situation very much worse for people that are already highly vulnerable and as always there will be sections of society that go too far and we will inevitably see an increase in hate attacks on the disabled as the idiot perpetrators will think they have at least some popular support.

Whether we like it or not, society (at least for the time being) runs on the capitalist principle and work is the means through which value is added to create wealth (admittedly some more than others).  If the balance has shifted such that by the old “rules” it is no longer possible for the numbers able to “input” to support the numbers who can only draw “output”, something obviously has to change and it is the Government’s job to bring this about in the most palatable, sensitive way possible, at times setting an example and taking the moral high ground where we ourselves do not.  If one of the outcomes is that a few lines have to be redrawn, so be it, but the Government has to implement the changes in the right bloody sequence.

If some people on the fringes (and there are always some that are) who in the past have not needed to work now do and can, the first step is to make sure that there is something suitable available for them.   It is stupid to dump people who are already very aware of their limitations from one disadvantaged group to an even worse one – their limitations are no different, but now they have an even lower income and are tainted with being "unemployed", which still carries a stigma at least amongst the employed.  They are of course competing in a job market where they are also disadvantaged and run the risk of eventually loosing financial help altogether. 

The Government will obviously point to the raft of discrimination legislation to show there is no problem, but as always it cannot tell the difference between theory and practice.  To Quote Chris Grayling “For those that need additional help our new Work programme is up and running and will tailor support to people’s needs so that they can overcome whatever barriers they face." apart from the barrier of there being no jobs of any kind let alone those appropriately adapted.  In a job market that is patently and undeniably still rife with the less emotive issue of age discrimination (illegally of course), on what ground does he believe that disability discrimination legislation has been any more effective?

Anyway, this article represents a VERY worrying trend and should prompt a few moments thought about where it could lead..

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