Dave's Progress. Chapter 123: Hostile Intent.

" Don't hate nothing at all except hatred."
Bob Dylan
In a recent article in "The Observer" newspaper, it was claimed that disabled people are facing greater levels of hostility from strangers, largely since David Cameron's government launched its controversial benefits reforms. Victims of this increased hostility are tending to blame the notion that people with disabilities who are unable to work because of them are, basically, scroungers. A notion which has been veritably fed and created by our present oh so caring incumbents.
The statistics which back up the paper's claims come from a survey done by the the charity for the disabled, Scope, which suggested that "a majority" of disabled people were facing hostility, discrimination and even physical attacks from strangers every week. One man, who suffers from cerebral palsy, said that he was accosted by a woman when trying to park in a disabled parking bay. She demanded to know what was wrong with him and, in the end, he had to show her his walking sticks to dissuade her from the belief that he "didn't look disabled".
Admittedly, the survey focused on those with physical disabilities, but, if this is the sort of thing which they are having to face, one can only wonder at the effect the government's propaganda is having on those with mental health conditions. As many mental illnesses are not highly visible, one can only guess that such hostility may come to be faced by many with mental health diagnoses.
Indeed, in my own locality of Stoke-on-Trent, one only has to listen to some opinions given over the airwaves of our local BBC radio station to understand just how intolerant we have become to the more vulnerable in society. On a phone-in about child poverty, which a recent survey suggested now affects one in four children in Stoke, many refused to believe that such poverty even existed. "Africa. The Third World. Now that's real poverty", seemed to be the overwhelming response. Many also blamed the parents of the children for buying unnecessary luxuries and neglecting their offspring. It took someone from the charity Gingerbread to begin to talk sense, with him suggesting that levels of benefits in this country are actually lower than almost all our European counterparts, that levels of pay tend to be lower in this country as well and also that levels of unemployment, particularly in Stoke, are currently extremely high, with the number of available jobs dwindling. But no. It seemed all the public wanted to do was lay the blame at the feet of some of the most vulnerable people who live in our increasingly intolerant nation. No one, it seemed, wanted to lay at least some of the fault at the door of our economic leadership.
So, it seems, the Tories have managed to do it again. I remember during the Thatcher era the vehemence with which people like single mothers and even students were attacked for supposedly wasting tax pounds. Now, it appears, we have reached new lows, with the disabled becoming the newly demonised minority.
So, next time you see someone who you just suspect may be scrounging off the system, even though they may be in a wheel chair, why not just give them a good, sound kick in the balls, just for good measure. Failing that, report them to the DWP. Or you can ring your local radio station, and spew your hatred out to all those listeners who are sure to agree with you. Only thing is, I won't be listening. I'll be silently hoping that your hostile intentions soon get redirected to where they should be vented. Because, in the words of Bob Dylan, I don't hate nothing at all except hatred.


bazza said…
Hi David. I think because there clearly are at least some scroungers people choose to use this fact to berate and mistreat all claimants. There are probably more (and more) people who have undeservedly been taken off benefits than there are false claimants.
I do realise it's not just about benefit claimants but it makes the point.
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’
David said…
Dear bazza,
Yes, I know there must be some who abuse the system. But, to me, their number appears to be either falsely exaggerated or somehow misrepresented, giving people the idea that it's perfectly OK to, as you say, berate and mistreat claimants.
And, there are examples of people being taken off benefits who are genuine. Only the other day I heard of one woman who'd had a stroke who had lost the use of much of the left side of her body and couldn't even put her coat on so she could get out of the door to travel to her re-assesment interview. This, for some reason, roused the suspicions of the assesors and, after being visited in her home by them, she was judged as being "fit for work".
I simply cannot understand why peolpe seem blind to the fact that such people seem to be being used as scapegoats for our economic woes, when we all know that it's those at the other end of the spectrum who are to blame.
I find such things hard to tolerate myself and I think the government's demonisation of this minority group is not just wrong, but hateful.
Anyway, bazza, thanks for commenting once again.
With Very Best Wishes,
GEM said…
Hi Dave

Regrettably it's those "scroungers" who make people suspicious and tar everyone with the same brush. The media prey on the narrow mindedness of those individuals who find it easier to mistrust and disbelieve than to have the risk of being fooled or tricked. It is "safer" for their ego to find the person guilty before being proved innocent. We live in a very cynical world. Fortunately there are still those who have the open mindedness, humility and compassion to be non judgemental.

Take Care

David said…
Hi Gem,
Thanks for commenting.
Indeed, I believe too that there are those who remain open-minded and compassionate about such things, but they seem to be becoming rarer.
I think that the media can sometimes misrepresent the issue by concentrating on the odd individual case of when people have been found to be "scrounging". This leads to an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion of people who have every right to receive what they receive. The governmnet, also, I think, by making out that many are cheating to justify unnecessarily stringent cuts, have to take some of the blame for creating such a situation.
Thanks once again and Very Best Wishes,
dcrelief said…
Dear David,
Dylan's a favourite of mine. I appreciate his sense of 'fair-play' among humans. I hear his music today and feel the messages more deeply.

I'm concerned that 'the media' can make or break someone. And some media organisations could care less about the facts. They even write as if a disabled person is somehow a priviledged person (?) and should be more open to public scrutiny?

Good post David. Thank you for sharing your observations and experiences.

In peace,

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