I read an article in the Guardian last night. It had chilling echoes for me of a previous situation where a government decided they didn’t like something and would legislate against it, regardless of the actual facts of the situation.
Basically, what is going on is a government that caters to the rich (mainly by not bothering to collect tax from them) is attacking the most vulnerable. Ppl who rely on DLA (disability living allowance) are not “benefit scrounging scum” as the media would have it. They are ppl with illnesses, with disabilities. They are ppl who would love to work, but can’t as no government so far has done anything to really support flexible working policies, and no employer wants to take the risk. And if they do manage to earn a little, it endangers the benefits they rely on when they can’t work. They are ppl with children with problems, and nowhere to turn.
DLA is not an abused benefit. The rate of fraud is incredibly low – not surprising when you find out how difficult it is to claim. The difficulty, and perceived humiliation, of filling in a DLA form puts off families who could be entitled to it, and that in turn shuts off their access to other benefits they are entitled to. Is this really the world we want?
If, god forbid, you woke up tomorrow to a world in which you, your partner, or your child were suddenly disabled (it can happen – car accident, illness, disaster) you would expect that our enlightened society would support you, wouldn’t you? You could well be in for a nasty shock. You might find that charities in this Big Society are your only support, and they are getting less money from their supporters, who are similarly squeezed by the financial environment. And you might find that the welfare state you thought you had supported when you didn’t need it has been diminished beyond a hope of recovery, by a government that is happy to break rules, ignore the public and attack those least able to defend themselves.
If any of this sounds like something you don’t want to support, there are actions you can take. Tell your MP that you think it’s disgraceful that this consultation was shorter than the required period. That it’s disgusting that legislation was laid before parliament *before* the consultation ends. That it’s awful that the media is being allowed to go on about benefit fraud that barely happens (and certainly doesn’t cost the country anything like the tax deals that are made day in day out by HMRC with huge companies).
Read the Spartacus Report and blog it. Tweet links to it using the hashtag #SpartacusReport. Ask the blogging networks you’re in (I’m looking at you @MumsNetBloggers and you @NetMums to feature it). Share it on Facebook, but above all else, make a noise.
Because today the governement is coming for the disabled. And if we don’t speak out for them, who will be left to speak out for us?