Dave's Progress. Chapter 123: Hostile Intent.
" Don't hate nothing at all except hatred."
Bob DylanIn 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.