Listening to Yesterday in Parliament (Radio 4), this morning, to no-one’s surprise James Purnell’s farrago of oppression and persecution of the chronically sick and disabled community was ushered through the Commons with minimum impediment yesterday. The only hope now is that the Lords will have the sense, and the balls, to kill it, or modify substantially (though the Parliament Act means that the Lords can be over-ruled).When the general election rolls around, people, I hope you all remember this day, and demonstrate your anger at the ballot box (though bearing in mind that the Tories are just as bad, and the Lib Dems a lost cause, we’re pretty much screwed – still, it would give me pleasure to see Purnell dumped from office, if nothing else).
Incidentally, I’ve searched today’s papers online, and there is not mention of the bill at all – why is that, I wonder? Even the Daily Mail, which never passes up a chance to put the boot into the sick and disabled, is silent.
Chief Fuckwit Purnell was heard to say that absolutely nobody should expect to get benefits while doing nothing for them. Doing nothing?!WTF?
It is not money for nothing, it’s for being unable to work – it’s for being in severe, intransigent pain 24/7/365 since 1983, when I was struck by lightning; it’s for suffering the interminable horrors. pain and profound disability of ME/CFS in the face of almost universal disbelief; it’s for having no immune system to speak of; it’s for being unable to breath properly due to severe COPD (I’ve never smoked; I suffered from the precursors to my COPD all my life); it’s for life in a wheelchair, and for a great deal more.
This is not free money, Purnell, you dumb bastard – I pay for it every moment of my life. As do many thousands of chronically sick and disabled people.
(Yes, I know I’ve said that before – it’s something that bears repeating, especially for Daily Mail readers!)
One thing that got right up my nose, though, was that in a move to sooth opponents of this deeply damaging bill – what’s next, a return to the workhouse? – there was an agreement to pay increased DLA to 26,000 blind people (or 20,000 – estimates vary). That’s all I know right now, but whatever the details, it simply isn’t acceptable.
DLA is a national benefit, and everyone gets the same rates (they don’t always get the same components, but that’s another issue). There is no justification in breaking the rules for a relatively few people. If this 26,000 need more money – and I have no problem with that – then create a new benefit to provide it, one which, if we meet the conditions, we can all have a chance to access.
It is entirely improper to create an elite class of DLA claimants in this way. Still, when has Purnell ever cared about what is proper?
Addendum:- Apparently, the blind people aren’t going to get a special, higher DLA payment as was reported, they’re going to be awarded the higher mobility rate. That’s still wrong in my book, as to get the higher rate your walking ability has to be seriously impaired. Being blind generally doesn’t affect a person’s ability to walk at all. Check out this post’s comments – a guy with no legs, COPD and a stoma, LOST his higher mobility rate when he applied to try and get an increase in his DLA care component. Where’s the justice here, people? Are blind people, by some mysterious alchemy, somehow more deserving, in this context, than someone with no bloody legs? WTF is going on?