It isn’t that I think that scrounging, lying or cheating are alright. They are not.
However, attacks on the disabled are not alright either. There is a long history of hostility to people who are different, whether through virtue of race, gender, education or capability. It is very difficult if you are disabled, either physically or mentally to get a hearing. Simply being around people who are crippled, mentally unstable, infirm or lacking ‘normal’ capacities MAKES US UNCOMFORTABLE.
Not one of us: all of us. It reminds us of the terrible vagaries of luck and the random distribution of misfortune – not just as a genetic lottery – but also down to accident, misadventure or a simple broken blood vessel or nerve.
Regrettably for the disabled, our discomfort makes it hard for us to empathise with them.
The last and present administrations adopted rather different strategies towards this unfortunate group. New Labour tended to throw money at it both through benefits, allowances and the health service. Perhaps this was abused, its hard to say specifically.
The Coalition have adopted the ‘if you can’t see it, it isn’t there’ strategy. This depends upon private contractors (who have targets set for their pay in terms of numbers back at work/off benefits), running an assessment programme – out of the sight of ministers or senior civil servants – that has no estimate or consideration of the effort – physical and mental – of struggling with disability; the sense of lost hope, lost ideals, lost opportunity. It simply relies on a number of tests of basic capability – the ability to pick up a pencil, go to the loo unaided and/or get around the office. No matter that you might have to travel six further stations to find one with wheelchair access…
It is a tragedy of this declining society that at a time when we are afraid for ourselves, we react by losing compassion for those who unsettle us. Not those who have bulging bank accounts, they remain a source of envy and deferential behaviour. But most of all for those at the very bottom of the ladder. Lazy conniving ****ers. We can’t kick ’em off the White Cliffs of Dover, let’s just torture them with unthinking bureaucracy and make them justify their pointless existence. That’ll make us feel better!
Except of course, it won’t. It will make us feel worse.