I wrote yesterday about the importance of simplicity, patience and compassion in our daily lives. Sometimes, decisions are made that make it very difficult to keep my peace or feel anything but revulsion for those that are imposing them.
It’s already become clear that the financial measures that are being put in place by the government will directly and adversely affect our poorest and most vulnerable. But when they start gleefully and spitefully kicking people when they are down, something has to be done.
As an example, let’s look at the reviews that are being considered for the Disability Living Allowance. The DLA is a necessary safeguard, allowing those of us unlucky enough to be unable to work through ill-health to carry on, funding mobility allowance and help with care. I see no problem with this. You’d like to think that, should you need it, the state would give you the funds you need to continue functioning as a useful member of society. To contribute, rather than be stuck in a hospital or care home. To have a life rather than an existence. Lisa Elwood on the UKUncut blog puts a contemporary spin on a very old saying when she points out
“The moral health of a society can be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
If that’s the case, then modern British society must be very sick indeed. The poisonous attitude spread by the government and certain media outlets (I’ll leave you to figure out which ones I’m talking about) is that claimants are scroungers, layabouts and leeches on the state. Worse, that a lot of “them” (notice the anonymous, amorphous terms that begin to be used in arguments like this, taking away the individuality and humanity of the people concerned) are fakers, plain and simple. In an interview in the Sun on the 1st of December, Iain Duncan Smith went so far as to try to partly blame claimants for the fiscal deficit.
What a horrible way to think. What a STUPID way to think. The changes to the current system are rushed, flawed and un-necessary. Worse, they’re invasive and upsetting, forcing people into needless reassessments and retests, even for chronic or untreatable conditions, conducted by private healthcare assessors, not doctors. And of course, there is the insistence of cuts to the caseload of the new service. The figure of 20% has been bounced around, with no clear method or reasoning as to what the new guidelines might be, or what constitutes a pass or a fail.
It is clear that the changes that are being considered for the DLA will force more people under the poverty line, and make it more likely that an greater number of disabled people will be unable to fend for themselves. This is desperately wrong. No-one chooses to be disabled, and to have further indignities and ill-informed spite piled up on top of everything else you have to deal with on a daily basis must be close to unbearable.
A Nanowrimo mate, Emma, has launched One Month Before Heartbreak, a blog that tells the stories behind the lying headlines and snarky commentary. It lets the people that will be directly affected by the cuts tell their story. It’s an absolute must-read. I’d like to quote from one poster, who makes the point:
One Month Before Heartbreak was envisaged as a weekend campaign to highlight the issue, but I see no reason why it should not carry on to be a vital resource. Certainly, Emma has now opened up the submission deadlines, so if you have a story to tell contact the website.
Further work? Right then. Here’s a link to a petition asking for a recall on the consultation work being done. There is still time to stop this, and to make sure that the people that most need our support to lead meaningful and fulfilled lives can continue to do so.