The Broken of Britain – The Disabled Peoples’ Campaign – has invited people to take part in a Blogswarm. It’s a month before the consultation on proposed changes to the Disability Living Allowance ends on 14 February.
You may be wondering what all this has to do with you. You’re not disabled. No one in your family is disabled. You have no disabled friends or acquaintances.
But you are angry about your kids’ university fees. Furious about the changes to Housing Benefit. Depressed about rising prices. Teed off about a million and one inconveniences that make your life more stressful and less full of savour.
So why should you be at all bothered by some obscure consultation exercise on a bit of the welfare state that you never even knew existed. Try starting here in The Guardian from last week.
This piece and the growing noise around the #ombh hashtag on Twitter should wake all of us up. Here is a group of our fellow citizens telling us they believe the help they need to live will be taken from them.
By the way that’s ‘need to live’ in the sense of necessary for survival not in the sense of ‘how will I pay my cleaner without the child benefit?’
Maybe I am a relic and hopelessly old-fashioned but I was taught that any society claiming the status of being civilised needed to pass a series of tests. The chief of these being how it treated its most vulnerable members. Whatever The Big Society or The Good Society mean surely one thing each must stand for is a regard for the interests of those whose voices get hard to hear. They are drowned out by ill-informed prattle in the hunt for votes or pursuit of circulation and ratings.
Judging by some of the stories about the high-life of our disabled fellow citizens it’s a wonder there isn’t a black market in causing injuries sufficient to qualify for the munificent DLA.
I know it’s unusual in this era of principle (not evidence) based policy making but I have profound respect for and pay attention to the opinion of experts.
Here we have a community of experts – and who is more expert than those living with these challenges every day and every night – telling their fellow citizens that the proposed changes to DLA will ruin lives.
I don’t think it’s a political point to say that we should park our own concerns just for a little while and listen to what our fellow citizens are telling us.
We just might learn something important.