Monday 20 September 2010

Clegg's cuts will "destroy lives"

Our Twitter followers drew our attention yesterday to this article in the New Statesman on Nick Clegg's interpretation of what welfare means.
As hot-button political issues go, welfare reform isn't a whole lot of naughty fun. It's not as exciting as Lady Gaga's meat purse, or William Hague's room-sharing arrangements, or what particular piece of priggery the pope has stuck up his cassock today. For those who rely on state benefits to live, however, it happens to matter a great deal that the Liberal Democrat leader has just articulated his support for the coalition's plans to smash up and sell off what little remains of the welfare state and call it progress.
Laurie Penny's article is an eloquent analysis of the just how far the Lib-Dems' leader has strayed from his own party's policies and principles when it comes to looking after those in need, not to mention his own pre-election promises.

Yesterday, I marched through pouring rain in Liverpool with 4,000 other angry people to protest against the looming spending cuts. I was struck by the absence of a disabled grouping among the demonstrators, who were largely public sector workers waving colourful trade union banners. Proof, perhaps, that disabled people remain invisible even when they - we - sit on the frontline of the cuts carnage that is imminent. The cuts will take away the last vestiges of supposed equality we have and render us more invisible.


  1. Just how many disabled marchers would you expect there to be? That's the reason for picking on the disabled; they won't be able to demonstrate about it because they're ill and can't fight back. That's the whole point of the exercise.

  2. Well, of course it's harder for disabled people to fight back - we are an easy target, but I'd argue that it's not the *whole* point of the exercise. And I'd also argue that some of us at least are not ill all the time or unable to get out and about. I'm able to manage and be mobile a good 99% of the time, for example. Factors that may have kept some of us away yesterday include the built environment and the weather, rather than being too disabled to show up.

    As to how many disabled people I expected to see, the answer is I don't know. There was me and I saw a woman in a wheelchair and I also spoke to a reporter from Disability Now who also expressed surprise at not seeing a contingent of us. We are agreed on this given the large amount of chatter prior to the demo suggesting that there *would* be a turnout. Where were the DAN activists for example?

  3. I think a lot of disabled people who want to protest but have limited money/energy, assistance/hours to go to a protest/etc are saving all of the above up for the Tory conference.

  4. What Lisa said. And I'm out of the DAN loop, but I get the impression they're mainly protesting around local causes, probably also due to lack of energy, funds or resources on the part of the members.

  5. See also - details of protest at Tory conference.

  6. Ack, wrong link, sorry - this is the right blog - which also has worrying recent news about a situation that looks like it's going to deny disabled people a chance to participate in this protest. If none of us are there at Tory conference, there will have been a reason. Sigh.

  7. Could it be guys that the link between fighting against public sector cuts supported by unions is quite different from the fight against welfare cuts.

    The self interest of the unions is there and the platitudes they give to welfare cuts is that, an adjunct to doing nothing as history has taught us.

    The real fight will only come about when we establish our own identity as a group, with a focused agenda that is not idealogical and equal in strength to unions.