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The Conservative Party: An Apology

Over the past year and a half I may have given the impression that the Conservative party was in an unseemly rush to reform the welfare system to swiftly disadvantage a majority of disabled people with a focused ruthlessness you might reserve for a mortal enemy, acting purely on prejudices that have accumulated among their ranks due to stultifying affluence.

It is shaming to have to admit that I have misunderstood their motives. In the light of the recent Equality and Human Rights Commission report demonstrating that harassment and bullying of disabled people is more common nationally than had previously been thought, it is now clear that the welfare of the vulnerable in society is in fact a top Tory priority.

Reclassifying as many disabled people as possible so that they are no longer considered to be disabled turns out not to be some callous cost-cutting measure but a brilliant method to move them out of harm's way. Society will attack you if it thinks you are handicapped, the Cabinet is saying, but look! We have stripped you of your benefits and told the media that you are fit to work if only you could be bothered, for one reason only—so that no-one will hassle you! Not that you should really try to find work anywhere, obviously; asking companies to accommodate your special needs will only draw attention to yourself and provoke exactly the harassment we're trying to prevent. Just stay at home quietly and try to cost less.

In the wake of detailed reports of serious harassment and even occasionally murder of a vulnerable section of society, it takes a certain kind of bravery and dedication to persist with a policy that on the face of it might appear to incite more of the same. I thought I had the measure of the Conservative party when it came to welfare reform. It turns out that I did not, and indeed that I have entirely underestimated them. For that, I apologise.

(NB - Obviously the Liberal Democrats are also playing their part in this heroic effort but, as others have pointed out, this may well prove an irrelevance in the long term if their “wheeze of delivering cuts in government and campaigning against them at the next election fails to persuade”.)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 19th, 2011 11:36 am (UTC)
Ah, those scrounging disableds. They do it deliberately, you know. All that falling-over-when-you-take-their-crutches-away. It's just showing off for attention.

I'm interested in the fact that it's not just feeb-bashing that's shot up recently (and by "recently", I'm afraid we can go back further than this government's term, but I should make clear that I do think this government has made the phenomenon of specifically targeting disabled people more socially acceptable with its welfare policies); gay-bashing and anti-Semitic attacks have also been slowly on the increase in recent years.

I think Peter Hitchens is sneaking into the main depots of the water companies, and sprinkling his morning shavings of evil into the water.
Sep. 19th, 2011 03:56 pm (UTC)

my previous career was in caring for the severely disabled. It was so stressful that I didn't notice the nervous breakdown, and just sort of. kept. going.

the thing that I thought made it hard was those people being very demanding. But I slowly figured out that the problem was actually the system I was working in. Once I noticed this, I tried doing things in more sensible ways - tailoring the care, if you will, to the client

[in home care there are no patients]

this resulted in a series of meetings where people from the Social Work Department would ask me pointed questions such as 'why are you not following these guidelines, which were written only 6 months ago' to which I would reply 'I'm not following them because they bear no relevance to my clients whatsoever. Following them would make everything I do take considerably longer, and be vastly less effective'.

there is something deeply special in having to repeatedly tell people *with no hands-on experience whatsoever* that the rules they want you to follow do not fucking work.

Then, very curiously, people start talking about costs. I cost too much. Services cost too much. Administration costs too much. Transport costs too much.

For one client [a tricky old bugger with Motor Neuron Disease], I watched some £50,000+ being wasted on services and equipment that he would not use, and which were not fit for purpose. That does not include the costs of *providing* said articles, just the things themselves. Such as a laundry service that would not take soiled clothing, meaning I had to scrub everything out before they would launder it. By hand. Or electric armchairs that didn't anatomically fit him, and broke. Additional care staff that would stay for a few minutes, completely fail to figure out what to do, write a note to that effect and leave.

the nursing staff for that gentleman eventually referred to myself exclusively for all feedback and advice, coming to conclude that I was the only person that had the faintest clue what was actually going on.

after 8 years under my care, he was taken to hospital. I won't go into that set of details. I gave the nursing staff there all the advice I could. They didn't follow much of it [frankly it would have been near impossible for them to do so]. He lasted two months.

the agency I worked for radically overhauled their working practices, care guidelines and introduced a carer protection system, all because of my experiences and feedback.

as the manager put it, I was put in extremely dangerous circumstances *all the time* because I was the only staff member they knew could handle it. One of my supervisors had told him that the fact I could never meant that I should.

he only understood this after the SWD demanded my head on a plate. He apologised profusely when he fired me.

I've never been so grateful for bad news.

My Daughter [ASD] is another story entirely, and I still haven't worked out everything that's wrong there. Except that her life would be vastly easier - and far better supported - if she had ADHD.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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