I think I need to begin this blog by clarifying my use of the word ‘hate’ as I don’t use it lightly. The
English Dictionary defines it as having an intense dislike or strong aversion
towards someone, which pretty much actually summarises my feelings towards
David Cameron. Furthermore, I cannot think
of another human being that I would apply this word to. Sure, there are certainly tyrants and evil
dictators around in the world today, but none of them have the negative impact
on people like me that Dave has. Oxford
Going to have to stop him right there for a moment.
I get that he’s intense about this but perhaps he might intend for some people to stop supporting the Tories after reading this and that he intends to do it by a logical argument involving facts, a sequence of statements relating to the contention that Tories are bad for disabled people (I think they are, right now, but for slightly different reasons from his), with perhaps some rhetorical gloss or garnish to emphasise the emotional impact that these policies are having on him. It seems strange, therefore, that his first paragraph should end in obvious nonsense.
Here, for example, are two Downs Syndrome women) being on the receiving (and also on the delivering) end of a much more negative impact.
You can say many things about Mr. Cameron and his policies towards the disabled, but he never strapped explosives on them, unlike the Religion of Peace.
But seriously, folks.
A resistant reader might want some context here as to how even the Tories’ (admittedly economizing) provision for the disabled under Universal Credit and other reforms/cuts/feeding the blind and the lame to the sharks compares to most of the world. I suspect the countries where the minarets stand or where there remain the pedestals once boasting statues of Queen Victoria or Lenin aren’t so generous to the disabled. Also, some at least of the republics and kingdoms over which, before Operation Overlord, the swastika flew so merrily.
Disability Living Allowance is going. There will be a disability element within Universal Credit, but it won’t be a separate income. DLA gives additional incomes intended to make up for the extra needs that being disabled confers that being able-bodied does not; so the care element provides money for people to come in to cook or take you shopping or to take you to the toilet or help you to bed. There are two levels of mobility help with transport for shopping and other excursions. Certain levels of DLA confer privileges, such as being completely disregarded in income calculations for Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit, and also some DLA awards increase the minimum income (Applicable Amount) that a household headed by DLA recipients must be allowed before taking other incomes into account. Self-supporting family members usually trigger small, incremental and progressive reductions in Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit awards, but not if they are living with DLA (care) recipients.
Serious, valuable help especially for a single disabled person and also for couples. It’s sometimes either that or going into an institution for some. Some disabled can’t earn a living, and even those who could do so might not compete with the able-bodied in the employment market so this kind of help makes sense even to my ossified Thatcherite heart.
I believe that many of us here on the frothing, hate-filled Right don’t mind such things in principle for the unfortunate folk who physically or mentally can’t cope with good times or bad. We can argue with the Left about the details and amounts and the qualification criteria and all the rest, and still have a good faith, agree-to-differ argument of the old school; the way politics was occasionally thrashed out before we lost the culture wars and the brakes came off and there were never supposed to be any limits to what the government could do for us all.
(Pauses to feed the unicorn that farts money for the Welfare State anna likkle chillun.)
Of course, someone who both expects to be paid to get his lobbying of the party a possible future government…
Then, in 2006, I received an email inviting me to perform at a seminar on future policy around disability. Basically they wanted me to do ten minutes of comedy and then probably pose for the press with Dave to make him look more “diverse”. But as if this prospect wasn’t tempting enough, they expected me to work for absolutely nothing. They weren’t even prepared to pay my travel and access expenses.
…(unlike, presumably, all the Greens and the gay-marriers, and the social workers and any law-and-order or eurosceptic types still stupid enough to try to influence Cameron who went to the Jumbo Shrimp™) and who then decides to attend anyway just to annoy that party because it turns out he can afford to after all when you put it like that, might not be quite the go-to guy for good faith argument.
I can’t see Cameron, or any ministry that contains, him reducing that special kind of help to the helpless on purpose, though there’s always the incompetence thing.
Which leads me onto my main point.
Laurence Clark* is actually right.
Conservatives, in the old-fashioned sense of wanting to preserve the good and to deal with the world the way it actually is (rather than the one where Islam is Methodism Lite and utterly and profoundly non-violent, and the one where the Euro stabilizes countries’ economies and keeps extremist parties out of power,) rather than in the shiny new sense of conservative meaning being other Liberals in fancier suits than those rented or inherited by the sandal wearing cyclists’ usual choice of MP, tend to believe that people ought, for their own self respect and for the good of the rest of society, all other things being equal (and something not being equal), to work to support themselves. Even if just a little.
There’s the whole wanting to be useful thing, which actual conservatives like because it represents both an ancient instinct to be loyal to and productive for the tribe, and also newish civilised habits of fitting in and not dragging strangers down economically, and in also because it makes us healthy types feel grateful that these folk are at least trying and succeeding to earn a living.
So why the hell do this:
….the closure of Remploy factories whilst at the same time restricting the Access to Work scheme.
Institutions (kinda old ones, too) that employed disabled folk to produce value and feel (justly) that they’ve contributed to the wealth of our nation are closed down. A scheme to bung a few quid to the disabled with the bottle and nous to seek and be offered jobs is deleted.
In case Cameron and the Tories haven’t noticed, and they haven’t, as haven’t most of the Lib Dems (many of whom are off riding pound-farting unicorns) and of course Labour and all the Nationalists, our island’s population is a little too large to employ everyone in productive jobs at market rates. If our education system doesn’t go into overburner soon and turn out innovative, solidly-educated would-be entrepreneurs and innovators in sufficient numbers to employ said overpopulation per job it seems that the private sector alone isn’t going to provide the jobs that give people at least the semblance of self-sufficiency and proved the habits of punctuality, endurance and cooperation that might lead to better-paid employment as and when it becomes available (right after that education system afterburner thing cuts in: say 2027 when the US economy shuts down.)
Some kind of state support, therefore, for non-market-priced jobs looks to be the way to go if we don’t want to perpetuate a hereditary dole-class, or cull them. God forbid.
So closing Remploy and access to Work seem to be the exactly wrong direction to travel.
Might I suggest somewhere where money could be found (once Cameron’s focus-group and Lib Dem satnav have located his gluteus maximus in a rear-trouserly context) to subsidise both the disabled and the able bodied unemployed in public works schemes, or prison building or litter-picking (why should there be a single untidy street in Britain with our levels of unemployment?)
As well as stopping paying child-related benefits to every mother after bearing three kids, why not look a little closer at all those ‘self-employed’ recipients of Working Tax Credit who reiki one customer a week or who sell one painting a quarter? Tighten that jam stream up and get them to either seek more customers to support themselves in their chosen hobby/trade, or admit they’re unemployed and oblige them to look for actual employed work in the takeaways and offices that their barely-enterprising sensibilities have forbidden them to look?
There are a lot of such and I though think the idea of positive income tax (which WTC is intended to be), is a help in these jobless times, there are a lot of people out there trading very little and being paid Tax Credits either to indulge a hobby, or fouling their lives up with incompetence and negligence and passive fraud, or who show little or no profit, or to do nothing at all much and pretend to be working.
At least the Remploy folk manufactured stuff people bought.
*Nah. Different chap.
Picture from here.