In this specially extended blog, I am providing my response to the ‘Spartacus’ report. This report claims to provide evidence that the government is lying about the amount of opposition to its reforms of Disability Living Allowance and has been written by Sue Marsh, who runs a blog called ‘the Broken of Britain’. Now before we will even start, the fact she proudly refers to disabled people as broken, and therefore presumingly worthless rejects, deeply offends me and I can have little respect for her. This blog is maybe more personally aimed at a name person because I feel she has made it personal by assuming she has the god given right to steal the voice of every other disabled person without consultation in a manner not seen before.
The report makes a big deal about the fact it has been written by disabled people themselves like it has never been done before and she is the first ever disabled activist ignoring the over 40 years of activism in much harsher situations which has given her the ability to mock the rights they fought for. The claim is spoiled when she adds ‘friends and family’ to this list of people who also helped write the report and it is interesting that disabled people can no longer can take any credit in their own right as carers slowly convince the government to give them all the power over their burdens.
In reading the small print, you see that the report has been backed by 300 so-called disability organisations, most of which are actually medical model charities run by middle class highly paid and maybe over paid non-disabled people. It is important to understand, and far too many people do not understand, these charities use hyped up campaigning based on poorly produced research to promote their services as a way of protecting these vulnerable people from the real world, their latest tactic is using the fear of hate crime to lock people away in their services. Their services use the right words and may be pleasant, but it is still about a lot of people being paid to carefully control the decisions disabled people make. Most of these services require a contribution from the user in terms of their benefits, which is often stolen from the people needing them and so this is why the charities will be against the government taking away their profitable income stream. Whether Sue understands it or not, she is doing the dirty work of the charities.
In terms of the report itself, I must confess that I only read the report once and that was enough. The report is full of irrelevant statistics, speculations and wild assumptions of what disabled people need, think and do like we are all the same, made in the image of Ms Marsh. It is important to understand that her report is solely based of the 500 respondents from the charities she selected which will clearly support her viewpoint as they profit from dis-empowering disabled people, rather than the full 5000 responses which were submitted to the consultation exercise. So like any industry lobbyist, her industry funded report is bias and useless.
One thing which did strike me was that she made it very clear disabled people would not accept their benefits being conditional to doing anything in return which I find offensive on a number of levels. Firstly, people with impairments who are not disabled seem to have a romantic view of whats it like to get all these benefits like ‘the real lot’ gets and have no understanding of how many hoops we have to jump through and the promises we need to make to get the support we need. I also believe it is no longer acceptable for disabled people to expect to be spoon fed by government without any responsibilities just because they feel like it. It is this rights without responsibilities culture which has corrupted disability in this country as people line up in the queue to be disabled, wanting all the benefits with none of the disadvantages people like myself have no choice about, and this has led to the government making these reforms.
It bemuses me why there is so much hatred for the fact the government is just asking questions and we now have a culture where it may be regarded as a hate crime for disabled people to be asked anything they find uncomfortable, which is utter nonsense. The problem with the report is the attitude it is from. These welfare reforms are demonstrating the real prejudices that still exist about disabled people, often by disabled people themselves. Miss Marsh clearly assumes herself to be a second class citizens and fights for disabled people to be second class citizens as she boils down the lives of disabled people to be worth at most £6000 per year, where this amount of money apparently means the difference between heaven and hell.
The middle class talks about how unacceptable it is to cut the benefits to these poor afflictions like this was an animal welfare issue and proves how backwards this nation is to what disabled people really need and want. Disabled people do need support in a wide range of ways from many policies that is outcome focus, that enables and empowers us to firstly like ourselves, then love ourselves, and then have the confidence and skills to make a meaningful contribution to society in a way we can, and I am not sure Ms Marsh even likes herself at the moment. Support should be about supporting people to help society, not to pay for every single thing they have decided relates to their impairment as we can all shout foul in that way, asking for guilt ridden pity. The system needs radical reform to push people forward and not keep them trapped on welfare.
This government is not doing it right and it will make a pig ears of the reforms, partly because they can not be as radical as they would like, but we can not make this a perfect opportunity for the charities to use the insecurities of people with impairments who are not really disabled people, those who actually see themselves as broken, to wipe out what disabled people have achieved over the last 40 years to further steal the lives of disabled people. But how can we have a proper debate when Miss Marsh as claimed to be the sole voice of disabled people? I therefore challenge her to stop hiding in the safety of blogland and meet me in person to explain to me why she felt she has the right to steal my voice and demand I live a second class live because of her own issues.
I am putting my foot down as I am no longer prepared for the lives of people with significant impairments, to be ignored, misrepresented and damaged as the fall out from the politics between government, charities and people with impairments who are not disabled. I know I am going to be called a lot of things and be subjected to ‘hate crimes’ for writing this blog and I do not care. I feel in many ways people do not see or understand I do make a difference but I do not dare try to represent disabled people but merely be an informed observer but I believe time will prove me right and I am here for the long game. For more information and to make your own opinion, I suggest googling this report and see what you think for yourself.