Entitled liberals just don't care – By Scorpio

Published 1/8/17

After the chaos, confusion and turbulence of the recent election it's important to look at what it all means for disabled people. Let's start by highlighting some of the positives to come out of the last two months (I know it does seem a lot longer doesn't it).

The newly elected House of Commons is the most diverse ever. Record numbers of women, black and minority ethnic, LGBT and disabled people are reported to have been elected. Amongst them are Marsha de Cordova and Jared O'Mara who are disabled activists.

Turnout at the election was at its highest since 1997, with young people, in particular, enthusiastically participating. Whilst no official figures are available, with #cripthevote regularly trending on social media it seems that disabled people were also significantly involved.

All the major political parties produced manifestos aimed specifically at disabled people and the majority were made available in a variety of accessible formats. The Labour Party's manifesto, 'Nothing About You Without You', broke new ground by committing the Party to adopting the Social Model of Disability.

For many of us, the government losing its majority and the declaration of the end of austerity was by far the highlight. However, it's probably best to exercise a degree of caution at this point as it's still unclear what's going to happen to the billions of pounds of cuts still to be delivered from previous budgets.

So far, so good.

But that's about it for good news, because in spite of thousands of printed column inches in the newspapers, hours of television broadcasts and endless on-line ads and social media traffic disabled people rarely featured in the campaign.

Even the admission by Penny Mordaunt (Minister for Disabled People) that we are the most discriminated against section of society, including by government, barely received any attention let alone condemnation.

Occasionally our issues were highlighted, but usually in relation to the mainstream agenda; for example when Tory candidate Dominic Raab was challenged by a disabled woman, during a broadcast, about the failure to support independent living his arrogant, dismissive, reply ('that's just a childish wish list') was seen as part of the magic-moneytree narrative rather than an example of the failure of social care. Raab was rewarded for his rudeness by being promoted to Minister after the election.

Social Care did become one of the biggest issues of the election but we continued to be ignored. The focus was on the 'dementia tax' proposed by Theresa Mayhem and the resulting outcry emanating from the entitled elite worried that they would lose their 'right' to pass on their home to their children. Barely a murmur about Mordaunt’s announcement that disabled people could face being forced into institutional care. If we're going to do the time let's make sure we do the crime and choose prison as our institution rather than an abusive home.

The sense of entitlement also reared its ugly head in the Green Party manifesto in relation to assisted suicide. At the time we are continuing to fight Do Not Resuscitate orders and court decisions on quality of life being used to remove treatment we don't need doctors being moved from life-savers to life-takers.

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of the election could be found on social media. The number of disabled people proclaiming their support for the Tories was astonishing, especially as their rationale was that they hadn't been personally affected by cuts and the belief that only scroungers and fraudsters had seen their benefits and support services removed.

The quietest input into the election came from the parasite disability charities. Many claimed that revised charity rules prevented them from speaking out. Others were unable to be critical because they have accepted the 30 pieces of silver and jumped willingly into bed with the government.

Above all it was disheartening to see just how many progressives and historical allies were either unaware of, or unconcerned by, the dehumanisation and demonisation we have faced for much of the last decade.

So now is the time for us to reflect upon how we build upon the positives and tackle the negatives. One thing is for sure, if we don't reinvigorate our organisations, renew our fight and build fresh alliances then we will continue to be pushed out of society. The fight for a free, just and equal society was never more urgent.