As the chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne has been very fond of telling us, “we are all in this together.” The pauper who struggles by on the minimum wage and the multimillionaire in his mansion: we are all making sacrifices for the national good. It’s only right, isn’t it?
It turns out that, yet again, Osborne has got his sums wrong. After being forced to abandon his cuts to tax credits for the working poor, he’s found out that he has still cocked up. He needs to raise more in taxes or cut more from public spending. It’s obvious who he will go after: the disabled.
Let’s be honest, if you need help to go to the toilet or get dressed, George and his mate Iain Duncan Smith have concluded that you can manage with a bit less money. Similarly, if you have a heart condition or simply need access to aids and appliances, well, you’ll have to manage without. And that’s only right. If you are reasonably rich, you might have to have one less visit to your holiday home, which just proves that we really are all in it together.
Here are some interesting facts regarding the changes to Personal Independent Payments (PIP):
200,000 people will lose £3000 a year.
400,000 people will lose £1400 a year.
200,000 people will lose their PIP payments altogether.
Let us be clear who these people are. I quote from the government’s own website: To qualify for PIP, you must have a “long-term health condition or disability and difficulties with activities related to ‘daily living’ and/or mobility.” We are not talking about the common cold here or someone who says they have a bad back. It’s people with disabilities. George Osborne is going to to cut payments to disabled people.
Don’t just take my word for it. Read the words of Phil Reynolds, policy and campaigns adviser at Parkinson’s UK: “This is a devastating step backwards for people with Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s impacts on every aspect of a person’s life and the government’s announcement that it will cut points in this way is absolutely senseless.” Mr Reynolds could be addressing his comments at any number of people with a variety of debilitating and degenerative conditions. This really is a scandal. And it’s a scandal that’s taking place before our very eyes and no one appears to be doing anything to stop it.
Osborne himself dismisses concerns about the effects on people: “Controlling welfare bills is part of what you have to do if you are a secure country able to confront the problems in the world.” Why didn’t he add: “And the best way of doing that is to take money from those least able to defend themselves.” The bully in the playground.
Hmm. “Controlling welfare bills”, says Osborne. He always does. He likes to separate those on welfare (a bad thing) with hardworking taxpayers (a good thing), always with the inference that the former are scrounging from the latter. I don’t want governments to piss money away but by the same token I want the most vulnerable to be looked after in the same way as I want a strong NHS to treat people regardless of their wealth or lack of it.
What grates with me, more than anything, is that once again we, the lumpen proletariat, are excluded from decision making. As with immigration, we are told what we must think by politicians and we are told we must accept it. They know best. You look at the politicians with their sharp suits and millionaire lifestyles, telling us what to do when actually they are supposed to be our servants. But have you ever been talked up to by a politician?
A full frontal attack on disabled people, many of whom suffer conditions we would not wish on our worst enemies, is government policy. I see little by way of democracy in Britain today, more an elective dictatorship where we vote every five years and politicians do what the hell they like in between.
Before he became prime minister, David Cameron always said we lived in Broken Britain. At the time, this was classic political spin, suggesting he was the man to fix it. Six years on, with the sick and disabled always at the forefront of his government’s attacks, the country is now far more broken than it was.
Margaret Thatcher started the job of destroying all that we hold dear in this country and Cameron is trying to finish it off. His vicious attack on those who are least able to defend themselves is a new low, even by Tory standards and somehow he must be stopped.