Once Proud Nation
Once Proud National
With regards to how 2014 started for people with disabilities or long term conditions, well to say it was a worrying start would be under stating significantly. 3 years of coalition has seen both the NHS and the welfare state effectively dismantled with their vicious engines of social change working overtime. ATOS, amongst others, the wielder of a sickle that slices through the lives of the most vulnerable, unflinching as even the terminally ill are declared fit for work. Case after case is highlighted by the papers and yet the agents of change without any emotion dismantle another person’s life and that of their loved ones, and another, and another. This continuous bombardment and attack on the most vulnerable has negatively affected more people than the Nazi Bombers did in WWII across England. We are now talking about millions of people negatively affected and still they find more to do to make the hardest of lives even harder. We have laws now about hate crime to protect the most vulnerable, the disabled, the people with Learning Disabilities, the people with long term conditions and terminal illnesses, from abuse and neglect by other people.
These laws were put in place after time and again people living in the community took their own lives due to bullying and harassment. Now we have people taking their own lives due to being assessed as being more capable then they could ever be, and yet there are no laws to stop this type of attack which is as vicious as the bullies and the tormentors ever were. We have a Coalition that demonstrates every day that they hate those in receipt of and needing the support of the state, a system we were once proud of. In reality this is now not the case as the welfare state is starved of money, leaving those we should be protecting starving themselves, increasing homelessness, increasing poverty, increasing misery. Yes there are people that cheat on their benefits but this is a micro number compared to the genuine cases, yet the Coalition starve the welfare state of money until it is on its knees falling apart, starving councils of money to support the citizens they are supposed to protect, having their attack dogs such as ATOS go after those least likely to be able to defend themselves. This is the point I find most distasteful, most sickening, the Coalition are going after those that really can’t fight back, as they are spending all their energy coping with conditions that others cannot even imagine. To then be effectively assaulted by the state is too much for them to bear, as they were only just surviving before the cutthroat attack against them. But yet the rich are getting richer, the mansions are getting bigger and the Tory heartland prospers whilst others bleed to keep the Right Wing content.
So what do they do, this Coalition of hate and lacking any moral fibre? They announce yet another £25 billion in cuts to the welfare state, and how are they going to achieve this? By more cuts to councils, who are struggling to meet the basics of their statutory duties already, and by attacking the youth, the next generation. About 380,000 aged under 25 are currently getting some form of housing benefit and therefore also being penalised by the ‘Bedroom’ tax, but this isn’t enough for the Coalition. Of these 400,000 about 200,000 are parents, mostly single Mothers, and 70,000 are working, 30,000 are disabled, and 100,000 are looking for work. The reasons for people under 25 being unable live at home are varied and obviously each individual has their own story such as parents have died, there wasn’t enough space at the parental home, moved away to take up a job or for educational reasons, some suffered abuse and neglect, some have left ‘care’, or simply have been kicked out. Latest Coalition figures said last year alone over 10,000 under 25’s were kicked out of their parental home and such figures grow year on year. Is this because of Coalition cuts to family support, so all that they are doing with their cuts is to move the problem from one place to another, increasing the number of under 25’s being forced out of their parental home.
So what do the Coalition decide to do, they decide to cut housing benefit to under 25’s, that’s right, 400,000 adults/young people will lose their housing benefit support, even though many were already paying the awful ‘Bedroom’ Tax. Currently in London the number of under 25’s sleeping rough in London has doubled in the last three years and 8% of under 25’s say they have been homeless in the past 5 years. I wonder what the withdrawal of housing benefit will do to these figures. Is it a coincidence that this is also the age group least likely to vote, so does that mean they can be treated less than human? Well it would seem to this Coalition it does, and you can add into that anyone needing state support in some way.
If this wasn’t bad enough there was released to the press that the Coalition are now going to judge people on how much they contribute to society. Before allowing people to have expensive lifesaving drugs there is going to be a judgement made on how useful that person is, how much that person contributes to society, especially when it comes to the age of the person. I really did have to do a double take, shocking that this will affect the elderly more as they are more likely to need expensive treatment, even though they have paid into the state all their lives.
Dr. Paul Catchpole, of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, told The Daily Telegraph: “It is concerning because, under the new appraisal system, cancer medicine might do less well because older people aren’t as beneficial to society. You might have a cancer treatment for a severe disease but because the majority of the cancer patients are elderly they aren’t generating wider societal benefits, they are more likely to be generating costs.” Effectively new drugs will only be made available on the NHS if they help people deemed to be a benefit to society under proposals that prompted fears elderly people could be denied treatment. David Taylor, professor of pharmaceutical and public health policy at University College London, said the plan was “a real threat to the public well-being and a real threat to the well-being of older people”. I am appalled.
This is one of those blogs I wish I did not have to write but I am incensed that people are now judged on their contribution to society and not respected for their worth as a fellow human, a fellow member of our society irrespective of the level of support they need. But this is our reality, this is the nightmare that is unfolding, the Coalition is targeting anyone that needs support of any kind from the state, especially those at their most vulnerable, those that they feel will not fight back. If you are as appalled as I am we have to start letting our politicians know, we have to fight to save the welfare state, the NHS, to protect those that need support not our silence. We need to have a revolution to reverse the cuts; they have gone too far, too deep, crushing people’s lives just because they need support. Councils need proper funding so that they can deliver care and not further cuts, care not cuts, we are not deficits on the Chancellors budget sheet we are people with disabilities, with needs, with feelings and lives. The Coalition have no right to judge any of us on our value to the state, they are so right wing that this is bordering on Fascism and all the hate for the vulnerable this entails and it needs to stop now!
We need openness and not oppression, care not callousness, support not suppression; people that need support are not a drain on the state but people and families that need our empathetic unconditional kindness. It is a fact that at some time in our lives nearly everyone needs the support of the welfare state or the NHS, it is the envy of the world but is now being crushed by the Coalition and it is time be raised our voices in protest, enough is enough!
Yours most sincerely
Smiling Cat Ventures (www.smilingcatventures.org)
Innovative Minds @ Work (www.innovativemindsatwork.org)
Mind the Step (improving accessibility)
Able Politics (increasing disabled peoples engagement in politics)
Face Book: Disability in Business
Linked-In: Jonathan Wade (Innovative Minds at Work)