In recent weeks we’ve had an anti badger-cull petition which reached the necessary 100,000 signatures in record time, while a petition asking the government to review welfare cuts that are falling disproportionately on the chronically sick and disabled, their families and carers failed to reach 60,000 before running out of time.
One thing, then, is clear – in this fucked-up country people care more about animals than they do about their fellow human beings, people who are dying in their thousands as a direct result of the insanely punitive policies of Iain Duncan Smith, who has effectively made it a crime to be sick and disabled, and people are being punished, even unto death.
Does that have people taking to the streets in their hundreds of thousands in protest at policies that could, at the drop of a hat, destroy their lives as effectively as it’s destroying ours?
It’s not hard to understand. In the spring of 1984 I was on my annual backpacking circuit of the Peak District. Exactly a year later I was effectively and very successfully running a pub in Mid Wales. By the autumn I was unable to walk and, very shortly thereafter, I got my first wheelchair. 27 years later, I still don’t know why for sure, and I’m still in a wheelchair. And I am by no means unique.
So, is there anyone out there who is not yet a member of the sick and disabled community purely because they’ve missed picking up a devastating virus, or they – or their child, perhaps – has unknowingly dodged a catastrophic accident, and who really does not understand that what’s happened to me, to us, could just as easily happen to them or theirs?
If the welfare system continues to be demolished, it could, potentially, affect the future survival not just of millions of sick and disabled people, but of any able-bodied person reading this. At the moment it’s us, and you’re on the outside looking in, feeling mystified and doing nothing.
How would you like to be, suddenly, on the inside looking out at people just like you used to be, who are also doing nothing except putting badgers above people? Just how angry and frustrated would you feel then? How impotent?
That is why we, the chronically sick and disabled minority, many of whom are physically or mentally incapable of taking to the streets on our own account, urgently need the support of the able-bodied majority, because you can do what so many of us cannot – physically carry this battle to the enemy.
Or, at the very least, sign the right petitions.
Assuming, that is, we matter more than badgers.
And do you really understand that you, your children, current and as yet unborn, your extended family, are no more than a celestial coin-toss away from being us?
I put the following in a comment, but thought it might benefit from being moved up to here:-
I wrote this after watching a programme about the Freedom Riders last night, and it was clear that a great many white people supported the movement. See:-
And it struck me that if white people could work alongside, and support, black people** in their campaign against segregation, then there is no logical reason why the sick and disabled community shouldn’t try to enlist the support of the able-bodied population. I am, though, realistic enough not to hold my breath.
**I’ve no idea what the current, politically correct, term is. Don’t care over-much either.