Last night as I was psyching myself up for bed I caught a tweet from my Twitter-friend Katie highlighting the traumatic plight of a disabled woman abused for being disabled. It’s amazing less than a year ago we had the Paralympics in London. The feats of the athletes wowing the nation, their inspiring stories touching our hearts. But oh what a difference a year makes. The legacy and changing attitudes to disability has disappeared into the cosmos and apparently the collective memory. It seems such a distant memory when the enlightened people of Great Britain booed George Osbourne when he was introduced to present the medals during a medal ceremony. The shoe is very much on the other foot now. George, Dave & Ian have got the feral media to stir up such a tirade of lies and deceit that now the sick and disabled are sneered, abused because of the insidious and pernicious vilification by the Nasty Party & the Daily Mail.
There is one link from the Paralympics that still continues to destroy the lives of sick and disabled people up and down the United Kingdom that is the French IT firm ATOS who administer the controversial Work Capability Assessment. A simple google search will bring up many news stories about the assessment and why it’s so controversial. I myself blogged in the post A National Interest: Life As A Benefit Claimant about the effects it has had on me, I even cited it and the Nasty Party’s attack on the sick and disabled within my suicide note when I went, well you all know by now. I also urge you read the brave account by my friend Kimmie’s and how WCA has made worse her illnesses. Whilst you have such divisive rhetoric by the government (remember they keep talking about fairness) and the feral media, dehumanising IT based assessments you can only get an inequality that leads to people as I raised at the beginning of this post being abused by the wider public.
If you need any more convincing that it is happening, I have my own experience. I vowed I’d keep it between those involved but after reading the account last night I feel I should share my story in solidarity. Now As you will know from reading my blog I have stated that the constant not being believed and branded a liar by ATOS & DWP triggered off my underlying mental health problems. If you have been following my blog you will know that one of my biggest struggles is with being believed. This follows my parents not believing me when I said I was being abused. I don’t have a problem with being questioned, but the perpetual short term nature of wca has made me feel like that little boy again. Also well documented is that i cited this in my suicide note. Well I never meant for my note to go so viral so quickly but it did.
When I was discharged a week later from hospital I went to the pub with my friend to have a catch up and talk bout what went on. I expected some awkwardness and possible anger from my friends. What my friend, the landlady, some other friends and I didn’t expect was a so-called friend coming in and rounding on me. I was prepared and expected to take some backlash for the selfishness of going to commit suicide. I didn’t expect this person getting in my face so closely I could feel her breathe on my face. I didn’t expect the venom to be called disgusting for feeling entitled to benefits whilst she worked so hard. How I didn’t deck her, I guess by the grace of god she was female, if she’d been male I’d have got up and kicked off, after all I was a crazy person who’d just been released from psychiatric hospital. Now I know deep down she’s not a bad person, just had her mind warped by divisive rhetoric we all have been hearing for god knows how long. I also don’t believe entitled to anything, but hope that our society is compassionate enough to help those who need help when they need help, this is about everyone not just specific people. What this person forgot to acknowledge was how the work program put me on a personal development course negated my qualifications, constantly undermined my skills and language to the point my self confidence and self esteem were worse than before I started. Like many sick and disabled people I want to get back into the labour market, I want an equitable playing field, I want something both in a training scheme and job that can utilise my skills, whilst not being unsuitable for my physical and mental health needs.
Now there is an organisation called WoWpetition who are campaigning for a fairer system for the sick and disabled. They have an e-petition that will trigger a parliamentary debate when it hits 100k signatures. It is almost half way there, I urge you to look into them at www.wowpetition.com there’s everything you need to know there, and a link to the petition. You can also find them on twitter via the users @wowpetition & @wowpetitionchat or the hastag #wowpetition please if you haven’t and you believe in fair and equitable treatment for sick and disabled people please go check them out and sign the petition. Stand up, say no to a divided nation.