“David Cameron has blood on his hands.” Yes, I dare to write those words because, apparently, that is the most evil and disgusting thing I can say — at least according to one judge in the UK — who fined a disabled woman £450 for saying the same thing.
David Cameron is leader of the the right wing Conservative Party and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. After the last election, he formed a coalition government with the Liberal Party having failed to win an overall majority. One of his main campaign issues was the creation of a Big Society: “We do need a social recovery to mend the broken society and to me, that’s what the Big Society is all about.”
You measure the degree of civilization of a society by how it treats its weakest members.
— Winston Churchill.
Or for the American audience:
The moral test of a government is how it treats those who are at the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadow of life, the sick and the needy, and the handicapped.
— Hubert Humphrey
In 1948 “From the cradle to the grave” became the tagline for the new welfare state in Britain — all kinds of benefits/payments including maternity grants, unemployment and sickness benefits, old-age pensions and a death grant were payable to families to assist them in times of hardship and along with a “free” National Health service.
The main intention was to keep Britain working and not to let people fall into the traps outlined by Sir William Beveridge’s report Social Insurance and Allied Services, published on 1 December 1942. These five traps were “want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness.” These benefits were to be paid for by National Insurance contributions, some deducted from the wage earner and some funded by the employer.
These were not “hand-outs” they were entitlements which you had contributed to.
The writing on the wall for the implosion of the “Welfare State” was apparent to me and my family as long ago as 1990 when it became clear that expectations my parents had about support in their old age from the contributions they had both paid into for nearly 50 years were false.
Yes they had their pensions, but their top up private pensions had already been raided by the state and subject to taxes. Yes they had their basic health care needs met — but nursing home costs, dentistry, eye care — NO. Thankfully my father died before his moral outrage at the situation became too much.
My mother on the other hand was faced with paying the full cost of her nursing home care and when her money ran out the state took all of her pension except for £17 a week pocket money and accrued the balance owing against the house that she and I shared. At the time of her death she owed the local authority that was responsible for her care over £87000.
Fast forward to today — the Coalition has been revisiting the welfare system and systematically destroying it. Being sick or disabled for any reason at all now leaves you at grave risk of losing any and in some cases all the support that you might have received from the state. Everyone in receipt of Disabled Living Allowance — an allowance paid to the disabled to help and assist them lead normal lives, go to work, get an adapted car so they have independence or to pay for a specialist carer or support — now has to have their entitlement reviewed by a private company called Atos.
Atos gets paid by results — it gets paid for each person it removes from benefit. These are some of their assessments.
These are just a few of the ways that the government are destroying the lives of the disabled people of Britain.
Now we have the assault on the rest of the poorest and more vulnerable people in Britain.
There is the bedroom tax that cuts housing benefit to less well-off people if they have a bedroom too many ignoring people who may use their extra bedroom for a night carer at weekends, foster parents and people with older children who serve in the armed forces. It also ignores people with serious health conditions for whom sharing a bed is no longer possible and people who use their “spare” bedroom for safe storage of medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders.
There is also a cap being placed on a whole tranche of other benefits which is currently less than inflation.
These new cuts will put 200,000 children into poverty.
This is all bad enough — but the whole government has the blood of democracy itself on its hands as well.
In early February Cait Reilly won an appeal in the House of Lords — the highest court in the UK against the government over the controversial Back to Work programme, and which required jobseekers to undertake unpaid work where directed or face the loss of their benefits. While encouraging the unemployed to obtain relevant skills might seem reasonable enough, the reality of the scheme for at least one jobseeker, Cait Reilly, was that she had to give up voluntary work in a museum to stack shelves without pay.
The appeal court unanimously held the regulations were unlawful because the claimants were required to comply with a scheme that had not been clearly set out. This opened the door to 300,000 jobseekers that would otherwise be entitled to seek compensation for being unlawfully stripped of their benefits. So what did the government do — they passed a new law which retroactively amended the botched rules they had drawn up to force people onto their mandatory labour schemes with the help of the opposition so what was illegal at the time is suddenly legal!
Now the worst part — because of all this with the poisonous rhetoric with undercurrents of hatred the sick and the disabled are now becoming the pariahs of society, they are called lazy scroungers, idle good for nothings — and that is just the polite terms. The sick and the disabled are being demonised. Attacks on the sick and disabled have risen by nearly 25% over the last year. This is ripping Britain apart at the seams.
Yes I am angry — yes I am helpless — all I can do is offer personal support where I can.
My parents who worked hard all their lives, fought in wars against Hitler’s Nazi Germany will be turning in their graves — their beloved country is turning into something they risked their lives to prevent happening. England is no longer a green and pleasant land.