What bothers me, right now, is the degree to which unreality has taken over the WRB debate. There are those who, no matter how many House of Lords amendments Cameron reverses in the Commons, simply cannot see the writing on the wall, but cleave to the view that we are still going to win.
Well, some of us can see the writing on the wall, and it’s not good news. We – the chronically sick and disabled – are in remarkably deep shit. It’s possible Cameron might cave on some relatively minor point, just to make it look as if he cares, but as it’s just not in his nature to do so, and as he doesn’t have to, don’t bank on that.
The hard fact is that unless the WRB is voted down in the Commons, which clearly isn’t going to happen, any damage the Lords do can be reversed, because Cameron, should he need it, has the ultimate sanction – The Parliament Acts.
In a nutshell, this means that, subject to certain statutory delays, the House of Lords can effectively be neutralised, and pretty much any legislation forced through against their wishes. Even if the Lords had killed the bill stone dead, he could have resurrected it and steamrollered it though.
What, you thought this was a democracy? In your dreams! This country, now as ever, barring a few hiccups like the post WW2 Labour government, is run by the wealthy for their benefit – the hoi polloi are merely tolerated for the revenue stream they generate, and eliminating any reversals of that stream, like the Welfare State, has long been a Tory wet dream.
My feeling, based on events, is that the sick and disabled of this country are facing years, perhaps even generations, in the wilderness. I can see no more favourable extrapolation of current events.
Cameron is unstoppable by any legal means, and no amount of whistling in the dark, and wishful thinking, is going to change that fact. Even if Cameron, by some means, vanished from the scene, nothing would stop the juggernaut he’s set in motion – the constant insistence that victory is just around the corner, in the face of all the evidence to the contrary, is just giving false hope to the desperate.
That the people will turn on the government when they realise what’s going on is also a popular view, but I remain unconvinced, not least because I see no evidence that this is imminent, or even likely. There has been no secrecy surrounding Cameron’s intentions, and the WRB, so anyone actually paying attention should already be aware of what’s going on. If they are, they’re mostly keeping quiet.
The rise in incidences of abuse of disabled people, and even attacks on them, are certainly not indicative of a public that’s coming around to our way of thinking. Oh, they express horror and revulsion in the comments pages when these things happen, but that’s not translated into anything concrete, and I can’t see it doing so.
Why? Because the government has an anti-sick-and-disabled propaganda machine of such proportions and efficiency that Goering would have given his left nut for it, and a great many people either agree whole-heartedly, or worry that Cameron and Co might just be right. Those who believe the truth – that we are the victims of an orchestrated campaign of persecution and vilification – are, I fear, likely to be a minority.
And all we, the sick and disabled have is Twitter, and a bunch of bloggers, including me, mostly preaching to the converted.
Read the newspapers, especially the comments sections, whenever the WRB or disability in general is discussed, especially benefits – check out the venom, the pure, distilled, 24-carat, hatred. This is not generally considered to be a good sign. The big problem now, as in Germany in the thirties, is that most people prefer to keep their heads down and mind their own business.
A case in point is a friend, of Jewish descent, so he really should know better, who thinks that Cameron is simply uncaring, at which point words failed me. That’s like claiming Kristallnacht was a minor disagreement, and that, at heart, Hitler was misunderstood. He is, however, far from alone in failing to see the reality of what’s happening.
If Cameron gets a majority in 2015, I believe that some version of the events I described here will come to pass, of that I am absolutely certain.
Cameron really would annihilate us if he could, without the slightest hesitation – his hatred of us runs soul-deep, and is utterly irrational. On the subject of the sick and disabled, I honestly believe Cameron is unhinged – his words and actions, on this subject, are as much devoid of rationality as they are of truth, and compounded by the likes of Lord Freud, Cameron’s Master of Lies in the House of Lords, and IDS, who couldn’t tell the truth about us if you put a gun to his head, just like Chris Grayling.
Not to mention Maria Miller, the Minister for the Disabled, who is supposed to represent OUR interests but has proven, time after time, that her real role is the promulgation of government lies and disinformation. Which, of course, is her job description, and which is why calls for her dismissal are a complete waste of time and effort – she’s done nothing for which she should be dismissed. She’s simply done what she was appointed to do – lie, just like the rest of them.
And, sadly, the sick and disabled are, in some ways, their own worst enemies, beset by apathy and, for the most part – as far as I can see – waiting for someone else to do what they should be doing. And I do, more than many, understand how chronic illness can blight your life and sap your energy but doing nothing is never an option.
Take this petition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/20968 the purpose of which is to “Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families.” That’s something nobody can dispute, and there are millions of disabled people, their carers and their families (often the same people), whose names should be on that petition – and are not. The total, as I write, stands at an absolutely pathetic 31,397.
Why? Can it be simply a case of, “Oh, I don’t need to, someone else will do it,” or is it fear of putting their heads above the parapet? OK, I can understand the latter. I have little sympathy with the idea of people simply allowing others to put themselves, potentially, in harm’s way for their benefit.
I asked, in the past, who would speak for the sick and the disabled but, in all seriousness I would ask you this – if you won’t speak up for yourselves, how can you ask anyone to speak for you?
Just do it! Sign the petition, and ask your family and friends to do so too – that, at least, will be a start.
I genuinely do believe that, unless something utterly unforeseen takes place – the taking out of the Palace of Westminster, during next week’s PMQs, by a meteorite, has its attractions – we, the chronically sick and disabled, are screwed for the foreseeable future, and quite possibly into perpetuity, because the WRB, as much as, and maybe even more so than, the trashing of the NHS, marks the end of the welfare state.
Always remember, when the bill for the NHS went through parliament in the first place, every single Tory MP voted against it, not just once but at all three readings – that’s exactly how much the party of the wealthy and over-privileged values the well-being of the average person. As then, so it is now – but far, far, worse, thanks to Cameron’s obsession with culling what he sees as a burden on the state. To him, we’re not people, we’re simply cyphers. And if he does see us as real people, then you can be sure he resents the fact that we are alive and, by his perverted standards, “prospering” at the state’s expense.
Do not, either, look for any relief if Labour win in 2015, not if that mendacious oik Ed Miliband is still leader (why he’s still leader now is a mystery to me). He’s no better than Cameron, though he pretends otherwise – we’re not buying it, Ed.
And, regrettably, I no longer believe that words can save the day.