I've been feeling rather guilty about it actually. WtB was, after all, my idea. I should be leading from the front and posting regularly. But how can I write intelligent, well researched posts about benefit reform when I can't even muster up the spoons to call back the Choose and Book people about my referral to the migraine clinic?
The one small contribution I have been able to make to WtB over the last few weeks is that I've been able to post links and other really short updates to the WtB Twitter account and the WtB Facebook page. Tweeting and Facebooking only takes a few seconds and doesn't require much brain function so it's something I can do using my iPod in bed, in the dark, when I'm too ill to be anywhere else.
Today Tory MP for Mid-Bedfordshire Nadine Dorries said on her blog about people who tweet a lot:
if it's someone you know is on benefits, contact the DWP.
That was 2 paragraphs after saying that people who tweet a lot should:
[get] a job which involves being sat at a key board because there's nothing much up with their fingers, brain or attention span!!
That's right; she'd like to see me reported to the DWP for having the audacity to write 140 characters from my bed when I'm too ill to get out of it.
Lots of disabled tweeters have hit back. @beccaviola Tweeted:
Thank you, Nadine Dorries. Obviously, being able to Tweet via assistive tech indicates that I am in fact not profoundly disabled after all.
Becca also points out that:
I tweet usually immobile from bed, using switches, inbetween nursing visits and personal care.
While Mind in Flux and Writer in a Wheelchair have both written passionate blog posts in response to Dorries.
While Dorries implies that we're scroungers if we're capable of using Twitter it's worth remembering that when it comes to scrounging: The pot probably shouldn't call the disabled kettle black.
Edit: She's written a follow up post!
If you Twitter all day, every day about claiming disability benefit in one tweet whist arranging a night out in the pub in the next. If you tweet about claiming six months rent from the social fund whilst tweeting how bad your hangover is and if you stride into political meetings and shout the odds with energy and enthusiasm with no sign of any physical disability and if you claim to work for the Labour party and write porn at the same time as claiming your disability benefit - then don't expect someone like me not to a) inform the authorities and b) tell you to get of your Twitter [sic] and get a job.
Or as @TaobhCle paraphrases:
you can't be disabled and express political views. 'Stfu and be glad for your benefits'
Edit #2: Blogger and tweeter Ms Humphrey Cushion has revealed that she is the Twitter user Dorries was referring to today.