Thursday, 8 December 2011


I’m angry tonight.

No, I'm not. I'm furious. Furious that the sick and the disabled are getting a good kicking from the privileged and powerful.

I’ve just watched Inside Job, Charles Ferguson’s Oscar-winning documentary on the 2008 global financial meltdown. The world is in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And it is the direct result of the recklessness, duplicity, greed, dishonesty, and downright criminal behaviour of bankers. Not forgetting the contribution made by the complete failure of regulators to do their job, risible credit rating agencies who were paid by the firms they were rating, and the market itself. Last, but by no means least, are the governments around the world who failed to heed warnings, failed to act, and have since failed to tackle the causes of this whole disaster. Meanwhile the people responsible continue to earn astronomical bonuses, after shovelling taxpayers’ bale-out money into the fires that keep them cosy and warm, while the rest of us shiver.

So what happens now? Never mind the billions that were blown by the bankers. Never mind the billions that corporations divert around the world to offshore companies so they can avoid paying tax. No, the UK’s ever-more terrifyingly incompetent coalition government decides on a different priority. Forcing the sick and disabled back to work. (See this article by Zoe Williams in today’s Guardian: No alternative to cutting disabled and ill people's benefits. Really?).

Let’s face it, if only we could root out the ‘millions’ of workshy liars and cheats on the sick, then our economy will rise like a phoenix from the flames, and we will boom once more!

The fatuousness of this argument astounds me. Of course there are benefit fraudsters. Of course there are people who lie about having a disability and cost taxpayers money. And they are contemptible. But they're a drop in the ocean compared to corporate villains. 

And the government’s Welfare Reform Bill scares me silly.

I dread the day my daughter has to do a “work capability assessment”. Prader-Willi Syndrome is a rare and complex condition, and one that even many doctors, with years of medical training, are unfamiliar with. 

I’m really worried that in a few years time, someone from contractors Atos Healthcare will be deciding what my daughter is and isn’t capable of on the basis of a 20 minute meeting. I’m worried someone with eight days of training in disability will sit with my complicated, unique, daughter and decide whether she will continue to receive benefits. I’m worried that we won’t have the money ourselves to give her the support she will need. 

It feels like the safety net she’s standing on is being tugged. And if we don’t get angry enough about this and shout and scream and stop falling for the government’s diversionary tactics of getting those of us at the bottom of the wealth chain to fight with eachother, that net is going to be whipped away. And unlike the tablecloth trick, where the crockery teeters, but remains standing, unbroken, she will come crashing down. And I won’t be able to catch her.

Video is Johnny Cash - The Man Comes Around. (I'm not religious, by the way. But Johnny's righteous anger seems appropriate). 
"There's a man going around taking names 
And he decides who to free and who to blame

Everybody won't be treated all the same"


  1. I feel exactly the same about my brother - he needs a live-in carer, works 6 hours a week for "pocket money." Something's got to change...I genuinely keep praying for a miracle which works in our favour and I'll keep doing it! MC x

  2. *doffs cap*
    Can't argue with any of that.
    And well written too.

  3. Just when you think our contemptible Government can't sink any lower, they come up with this stuff.

  4. I just hope people stay angry and vote against the present Government. The fact that the biggest spongers are the banks who are making billions thanks to Government guarantees is galling. A great post and thanks to Jo for pointing it out to me. Mark

  5. Thanks to Jo I read this. Can't agree more. I worry for my childrens future and they are fortunate enough to be in good health, I can only imagine your fears

  6. It was the last contemptible government that a) depended on the finance sector as they did not develop a diverse UK economy and b) spent borrowed money with no regards to how it would be paid back.
    Blame the Tories with pleasure but the last lot left this country f**ked.

  7. I'm not even going to begin on this one having jumped through the DLA hoops with my daughter for years - well written, Carolyn. Nic x