All my articles are important but this one is more important than most, and one I write as a Tory and as someone with over 25 years experience of understanding disability issues.
There have been numerous times that I have been told on social media by left wing activists that I can not possibly be a Tory and disabled because ‘we all know they kill the disabled’. While using the term ‘the disabled’, confirming our status in their minds of the people ‘other’ than those they consider normal, is a key indicator they probably do not have any understanding of the issues involved, this statement of supposed fact is used to cut any discussion on disability and politics dead before it is even started. As someone who knows the claim is total nonsense, it is extremely frustrating, especially since it appears to go unchallenged.
I would suggest that the claim is born of out the figures calculated from DWP’s own mortality statistics on people claiming disability benefits as shown here. The figure of around 10400 for a specific period, 43 deaths a week, has been used as the headline in many articles. These so-called benefit deaths also include people who left the system for other reasons.
These figures and these are the only figures that exist, do not suggest anything untoward, this figure would need to be compared to the national average and take into account the increased likelihood of death amongst people with illnesses and impairments. Even with all this, it is ridiculous to imply anyone is being killed. I could easily produce credible research of the percentage of people who ate Baked Beans 6 weeks before they died and then imply this shows that Baked Beans killed them.
In order to suggest the Tories are actually killing people, you need to show there are means, motives and opportunities, and this means getting personal. There is however no allegations, no police reports, no investigations and no court cases that suggest any disabled person has been harmed or killed by the DWP.
While there is a few suicides and indications within one or two Coroner reports which left activists are suggesting is evidence disabled people were killed by being found fit for work. Coroners will firstly be exposed to the general prejudices of the society that being disabled is a perfectly valid reason for killing yourself and it is wrong to challenge disabled people in any way.
Suicides are a complex and sensitive matter and while I agree applying for welfare benefits will be one of many stresses that may have played a part, it is an inappropriate precedence to start demanding legal responsibility for suicides, other than looking at how stresses could be reduced.
Here I should point out that I absolutely believe that it has been the way ‘death threat’ Labour and the left wing media and activists have made the welfare reforms toxic which has caused the greatest stress for many disabled people. Therefore, if anyone could be accused of killing disabled people, it is them!
I believe that the person who can be most credited for manufacturing the lie that the Tories kill disabled people, namely through assessing disabled people fit for work when ‘everyone knows they are all unfit for society’, is John Pring of Disability News Service. He is absolutely obsessed with building a layer upon layer of dishonest information to show that the Tories kill disabled people, and then openly berates any organisation who are not buying into his lies and responding with the politically correct outrage he expects of them. Just explore his website to see what the ramblings of a disability conspiracist looks like.
The person I believe most responsible for spreading his lies in the mainstream media, as well as causing the most distress and suicides amongst disabled people is Guardian journalist Frances Ryan. Almost on a weekly basis, she repeats the same dishonest information about disabled people being killed by the Tories, as well as running naked and starving because they do not get help with dressing and feeding. She is as controversial as Toby Young but because being bigoted against the inclusion of disabled people is fashionable, she is hailed a hero!
My biggest frustration is so far I appear to be the only Tory and disabled activist who is challenging this dishonest information, which does lead me into weekly fits of rage at the disgraceful behaviour of the left that society seems to accept. While this lie may not seem important to mainstream Tory activists, it is a lie most people in the public domain accept to some degree. This is supported by the fact most liberal charities and organisations, including Equality and Human Rights Commission, assume the Tories is the nasty party towards disabled people.
The Tories is disabled people’s best hope of social mobility and meaningful unprejudiced inclusion, and it is now time the party fought back to reclaim the moral high ground on this issue. This is an issue of identity politics that Labour is literally willing to kill for to win, as they see disabled people as simply pawns that offer no value to mainstream society.
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