Wednesday 10 July 2013

Disability, The New Axis of Evil

The House of Commons debated an Opposition Day motion today calling for disability benefit cuts to be subjected to a cumulative impact assessment – the radical idea that if you subject someone to not one cut, but two, three or even six or more (DLA, ESA, ILF, Bedroom Tax, Benefits Cap, council care budget cuts, and the list goes on, and on, and on) you should actually add up everything they’re losing.

The standout contribution has to have been from (disabled) Tory MP Paul Maynard (Blackpool North and Cleveleys).

“dragged to this Chamber by Pat’s petition, We are Spartacus and other extremist disability groups that do not speak for the overall majority.”

Pat’s Petition, extremists? Spartacus, extremists? Damn, better hope the accessibility at Guantanamo Bay’s up to scratch for when they line all us uppity crips up for Extraordinary Rendition.

“The cumulative impact assessment is a very narrow tool by which to judge the contribution of the disabled community in this country, their potential and what they can achieve. I think that it borders on the offensive”

Actually I think we wanted to judge the Tory’s contribution to the disabled community, or more accurately what they’re taking away from our potential and what we can achieve - sort of an anti-contribution, but I can understand Paul Maynard misunderstanding it in his horror that we uppity crips have been refusing to properly tug our forelocks and say ‘Thank You, Master’ to that nice Mister Duncan Smith. He is right on one thing, there is definitely something offensive to disabled people at work here.

“We as a Government are seeking to edge towards greater recognition of the social model of disability, and that means not paying attention to the labels that too many want to hang around the necks of disabled people.”

That would be labels like ‘poverty stricken’ or ‘desperate’ then? As opposed to the ones favoured by IDS and his coterie at DWP, labels like ‘fraud’ and ‘shirker’.

“we help them to do that in my constituency surgeries. I hope that Labour Members do so, too, rather than store up a treasure trove of Atos scare stories”

So my Atos WCA didn’t really include the doctor fighting desperately to avoid having to record the piece of evidence that qualified me in its own right? Glad to have that cleared up, clearly as a poor, silly, extremist crip I must have misinterpreted what was happening to me.

“Page 34 states clearly: ‘Young people’s aspirations can decline in response to their growing understanding of the world’. Listening to Opposition Members, I am sure that young people’s aspirations will decline because of the negative messages they are getting.”

It seems Mr Maynard would prefer disabled people to behave as proper mindless sheep with no knowledge of, or concern for, the way the world regards us, sort of a messier, wobblier, dribblier version of H G Well’s Eloi from The Time Machine. God forbid that some dangerously radical extremists (like the Office of Disability Issues) should want to tell them they might face having only 53% the likelihood of non-disabled people of finding a full-time job, a 58% higher chance of unfair treatment if they do find a job, or anything up to a 39% higher chance of being a victim of crime.

“We are told that an increase in the reporting of hate crime is evidence of the Government’s war on the disabled. I find that disgusting. It is personally abhorrent that people should campaign in a partisan way on the backs of those in the most vulnerable section of our society”

Clearly I must have misheard the three complete strangers who screamed at me in the street. I could have sworn they yelled: “This is the DWP, we know you’re faking, we know where you live”. Silly me for thinking that someone must have taught them to see disabled people as 'skivers' and 'scroungers'.

What motion did the House finally vote in favour of? This:

This House welcomes the Government’s leadership in furthering the rights of disabled people; recognises the UK as a world leader in disability rights; notes that approximately £50 billion a year is spent on services for disabled people, including adult social services and including an investment of £3.8 billion in health and social care services in England to deliver more joined-up services to disabled people; further notes the £350 million allocated by the Government for programmes and support for disabled people to move into and stay in work; and acknowledges the Government’s collective determination to build upon the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and create a legacy which shines a light on the abilities and achievements of disabled people.

You really couldn’t make it up.

Update 17 July:

It seems Mr Maynard has realised he may have been a little extreme himself, as shown in this exchange of emails with the people behind Pat's Petition. On the other hand, I am still struggling to understand how any reasonable person could disagree so vehemently with a petition by disabled people and carers that simply asks for a cumulative impact assessment on disabled people hit by six or more separate cuts. If and when Mr Maynard does meet with Pat's Petition I hope they press him to explain exactly how that is unreasonable. Understanding the breakdowns in communication between two groups is after all vital if they are to be brought together, and there seem to be some gaping chasms in understanding between disabled people and carers, and the professional politicians of the Conservative Party.


  1. What a total waste of time. My husband will still feel threatened when he walks down the street. Still stress that his only mode of transport will be taken away and worry how we are going to pay the mortgage

  2. The rhetoric today from the Tories was a disgrace to the human rights of every sick/disabled person in this country and "society" should be horrified too that they are being ignorantly complicit in demonising sick and disabled people with such extreme measures. Hate crime 60% rise, foodbanks used by mainly low income working people up 200%. the rhetoric is fuelling this and to stand representing the electorate at mocking sick and disabled people and justifying this abomination is twisted by any stretch of the imagination. I think it is time they felt the laws of EHCR/UN come down heavily and these people in power, they should be prosecuted and jailed for crimes against humanity like any other government around the world they are ready to depose of as dictators.

  3. The old divide and conquer government system hasn't changed since the time of the Roman Empire and the tories have given us the circuses in the form of the Olympics and the Royal Jubilee and the celebrations for the new royal baby to come. We've had the wailing and breast beating at the public mourning for a hated ex leader and now the remnants of the ruling government swarms to pick the carcass of the UK clean before disappearing with the spoils behind the walls we paid for. Westminster fiddles while the rest of us burns.

    1. Nicely put, and I wish I could disagree, but we're definitely into Bread and Circuses, we even had IDS's own 'Let them eat cake' moment with his 'I could survive on £65 a week'

  4. And an equalities minister and disabilities minister who voted against the motion

    1. Miller, Miller the Cripple Killer and the even more odious 'they get better' McVey. No surprise there.

  5. Of course we crips don't want Pat's Petition, Spartacus and other "extremist" organisations speaking for us, we positively RELISH the idea of a future spent on the streets because we can no longer afford our housing costs. That's if we haven't already died from malnutrition or hypothermia due to cuts in welfare spending. Or from neglect due to the abolition of the ILF and cuts in social care spending. I have no idea what Maynard's disability is but a non-functioning moral compass seems to be high on the list of possibilities.

  6. "It is personally abhorrent that people should campaign in a partisan way on the backs of those in the most vulnerable section of our society"

    So what the hell are the Tories doing, if not exactly that? Personally, I find it abhorrent that such utter hypocrisy should not only exist, but be deemed acceptable by so many.

  7. Excellent comments. Re the 'extremist' label, this has been assigned to the ME community for some years, because they have dared to object to their mistreatment at the hand of medics and the state. A whole smear campaign has been waged against ME sufferers and their supporters for several years now in the media. Some of this smear campaign relies on unsubstantiated claims and innuendo, but what is consistently portrayed as 'extremist' has been legitimate activities such as complaints via official channels, writing to the press, FOI requests etc. in other words, publicly accessible processes. And obviously this is the context in which Maynard used this term yesterday. In many ways, what is being done to disabled people at large now, has been practised on the ME community for many years now. For various reasons, I'd argue they were the original guinea pigs for this current attack on disabled people.

    1. There's a definite parallel, isn't there!

  8. Good article, good comments. Angela Kennedy you are spot-on about the "extremist"label levelled at people with ME by some media.
    shame on Paul Maynard for his comments, and shame on the Tories that so very few MP's even bothered to turn up to the debate to listen to the truth as spelled out by such good people as Anne McGuire.
    Hopefully, this programme might be a step towards undoing the "scrounger" rhetoric:
    BBC1 9:00pm tonight – ‘We All Pay Your Benefits’.

    "Margaret, after visiting many individuals for the programme, found that a grand total of zero were “living ­comfortably” on benefits, adding: “We didn’t see any of that at all.”

    Nick, host of Channel 4 quiz Countdown, is hoping that viewers will come away with a “more balanced” understanding of the benefits system.

    “Fraud is like this,” he says as he pinches his finger and thumb together. “One per cent.

    "But that’s what we read about and it makes us think that everyone’s at it. Living off the state, on the fiddle.

    “If this helps people to know the truth behind some of those Daily Mail headlines, I’ll be very pleased.

    "I don’t think we saw any out-and-out scroungers. Not everybody is living in a bloody mansion in Holland Park."

  9. Maynard is from the newly created Boundary Commission fiddle seat Blackpool North and Cleveleys ......Cleveleys is basically " God's Waiting Room " full of Daily Blackshirt and Daily Diana readers .......beforehand it was Blackpool North and Fleetwood ...a port that had suffered firstly in the 70's with the Icelandic Gun Boat Cod Wars and then in the 80's under Thatcher ..." Aunty " Joan Humble won it for Labour in '97 and held onto the seat . Whatever her faults were - I'd rather have her representing me - than some Damn them for their impudence and Let them eat cake ! ...Tory

    Callow lost control of Blackpool Council too ...this was the one that invited dole claimants to come to the seaside and was report-ably charging £1-2K to oil the wheels and grease palms .

    It's " interesting " that Pat Onions got the dreaded brown envelope - I'd imagine Tory Boy Maynard would prefer to have her stood outside all day selling matches . Maybe the DWP's dangerous dog ATOS could arrange this ? .

  10. that's the You Tube link of Maynard's speech to copy and paste

    I'm sorry but in reality it's just a lot of verbose waffle ...probably deliberate to spin the time out , McVey does this too's an oxymoron in any case ...A Tory Minister for the Disabled . Good clever waffle but when you start picking it apart , there's more holes than a sieve , basically it's parroting out the Tory line , some of it is the Unum / ATOS pseudo science and quackery , some of it Ron Murray Neo Con stuff from the US , that the Centre for " Social Justice " have recycled .

    As Corporal Jones used to say " They don't like it up 'em ....I'm sorry that he thinks people are so partisan and tribal but what did he expect ? with all the deliberate demonisation ...his ilk will get a Toffs versus the Toughs scenario

    Let's hope he gets kicked out in 2015 along with former wooden weather girl McVey on the Wirral , and Ollerenshaw further up the Lancashire Coast ....he only got in because of another Boundary Commission fiddle to suit the Tories .....Fleetwood would be Labour , daft students at Lancaster University voted Liberal splitting the progressive vote ...the rural parts would naturally vote Tory .

  11. Many thanks to ilegal:

    "The DWP minister who continually reminds us all of the thousands parked on the long term sick for the last decade has every reason to feel utterly embarrassed. His own department's figures reveal that his wretched Work Programme has failed to help one single person from any incapacity group in his constituency in to a job.
    Equally abysmal results are to be found in the Prime Minister's constituency and those of the ministers for employment and disability...."