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The demonisation of the disabled is a chilling sign of ..... - Page 2 - Carers UK Forum

The demonisation of the disabled is a chilling sign of .....

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
A very thoughtful post Echo, and I hope you post often here because you have a lot to contribute.

Lets take away the label "disability" and consider all the other labels that are used now, or have been used in the past, to pick on people. It sounds ridiculous, we could include redheads, left-handers, Catholics, communists, gays, short people, war veterans, Irish, women, the list goes on and on.

I guess most of us are a member of some minority group or other. Believe it or not, I was picked on by a crazy woman in my neighbourhood as a kid because my Mum was a war bride, a "German", you know? I used to get picked on at school all the time by staff and other boys, it is a rite of passage for anyone who dares to be different. We all have tough times, and we all have to pick ourselves off the floor and learn to trust people again and again. Whats the alternative, after all?

So, we all need to toughen up, and find ways to defend those we love through forming close and strong bonds with others in a similar situation, and through insisting on inclusion. We are not going to change human nature, and laws wont ever force people to make friends of disabled people or even be civil, but at least we can work together at a local level, it takes a bit of effort but it is very rewarding.

My boy has DS, and he was training down the boxing club again tonight, the second time this week, working out with the guys. They are like most boxers, a bit rough and tough, a few broken noses and one or two with criminal records I suspect. Few with any qualifications. But he is treated as one of the guys and given respect. And those guys will look after my boy if anyone ever gives him any stick, he is one of them.
I wrote to my MP about this.
I do hope that you have read this article in the guardian.

The demonisation of the disabled is a chilling sign of the times
There is a climate of hostility towards people for whom life is already difficult and it is being fostered by politicians and journalists.
What happened to looking after the most vulnerable in our society as promised by your party?
This is his reply
Thank you for contacting me about the Government’s proposals for welfare reform.

I know that many people who claim benefits are amongst the most vulnerable in our society. I can assure you that the Government’s reforms to the welfare system are not intended to punish anyone, or to treat benefit claimants as criminals.

The preliminary estimate of total overpayments due to fraud and error across all benefits is £3.3bn; this is 2.1% of total benefit expenditure, which was £154bn in 2010/11. For Incapacity Benefit expenditure this was 2.4%, or £130m.

However, it is absolutely not fair that we have one million spare bedrooms being paid for by Housing Benefit. Many taxpayers would never be able to afford a spare bedroom in their properties. Nor is it fair for those living in overcrowded or poor housing conditions. However, I welcome the Government’s reassurance that is it not its intention to put something in place that would have a disproportionate impact on disabled people. If someone has had their property extensively adapted because of their disability, it makes no sense to move them to a different property and spend more money on costly adaptations. The Government has said that it will ensure that disabled people are protected in the best possible way.

In the Budget, the Government announced an additional £10 million in 2011-12 and an additional £40 million each year from 2012 - 2015 in the Additional Discretionary Housing Payment, to allow local authorities to provide extra support where it is most needed.

It also does not make sense that a family on benefits can receive more than a hardworking family. That is why the Government will introduce a cap on the welfare benefits that a workless family can receive, so that workless households can no longer receive thousands of pounds more in benefits than the average working family receives in take-home pay. On its introduction, the Government estimates that the cap will be set at around £500 per week for couple and single parent households. This is the equivalent of £26,000 net which in practice equates to gross earnings of £35,000 per year. The cap will be introduced by 2013, saving hundreds of millions of pounds. There are exemptions, such as for those who are making the right efforts to get back to work – those on Working Tax Credit – and those who are disabled, as well as for widows and war widows.

On the direct payment of the housing component of Universal Credit to individuals, the Government believes that there are advantages to paying it direct to individuals rather than the current system of payments direct to landlords. This would encourage people to manage their own budget in the same way as other households. The Government also recognises the importance of stable rental income for social landlords to support the delivery of new homes. It is developing Universal Credit in a way that protects their financial position and plan to retain a facility for direct payments to social landlords. The Government has also said that where it is encouraging more people to manage their own budgets, there may be a need for additional financial education and support. It is considering precisely what additional support services might be required in the run up to Universal Credit.

I hope that this reassures you and thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Yours sincerely,
And yes, it has taken him this long to reply Image
Perhaps you could write back Myrtle and say that you have noticed that he has not included Carers in his letter,and perhaps he would be prepared to indicate where he feels we are,workless or hardworking.
I am not certain why a widow would be exempt?
Sadly, the response seems to be merely political posturing, with little personal input. It matches most of the responses I have had.... except around election times, of course.
This has come up on the forum in the past - very thought provoking article tackling the rise in disability hatred
Luckily there is not a shred of evidence that this alleged "rise in disability hatred" is anything more than fiction. I thought the cited article was emotional and unbalanced. Carers UK, like many other campaign groups and charities, needs to apply much stricter and more rational criteria before they can be wholly trusted as reliable sources on social trends. I've been making this point for two decades, but our paid employees still seem to think that they can get away with this kind of unsubstantiated statement for some reason. Maybe we need to filter out the ones who fail to make the grade. We dont need toadies who tell us what we want to hear. We need staff who tell us the truth without fear or favour. Are you listening, Matt?
Scally, you may have come across no evidence of disability hatred, or a rise in it, but that doesn't mean it isn't happening. Perhaps because I live in the area where Fiona Pilkington and her daughter paid the ultimate price before anyone would listen, the police around here are responding more effectively when complaints go to them.

As for research that would meet the criteria you mention, perhaps you could suggest where to start? Statistics were due to be collected only from April 2011.
No-one wants to think that we are part of a race that labels and disdains. I think, to be fair, there is probably something in the genetic code, from the earliest times as a survival mechanism, that can bring us up short in the face of anyone 'different' from the main stream of society. A previous post quite rightly points out that we have always applied labels to minorities, and those minorities are usually subject to prejudice of some sort.

As a middle-aged, short, northern woman, living in the south, with Jewish/Catholic/Spiritualist/Methodist/Pagan background and friends who come from many races, rainbow coloured and following many faiths, and having two sons who are half french, I have at least a couple of handfuls of lables to my name, and have, at some time, experienced prejudice for most of them. It is a normal, if unpleasant, trait of our society.

When, however, the leaders of a society and the subliminal influence of the media instill an insidious idea that a particular prejudice is acceptable, then the society is in trouble. There are always those who follow the tide of opinion and some who swim against it, but the followers do tend to have the advantage in numbers.It is easier.

Most people are not overtly prejudiced, most folk would not even count themselves as prejudiced. Yet, sadly, the implicit permission in the language of many members of our government and media will influence how we feel able to deal with the different sectors of society. Human history, sadly, has too many examples of this sort of thing.