Monday 9 January 2012

I am Spartacus

I know I set up my Scars Inside blog to avoid dumping all this campaigning stuff all over my nice happy crafting blog, but today I want to reach as many people as possible, so I'm repeating my post.

Today a report was published.  It is a report that has been researched, written by and funded by sick and disabled people and their carers.  This report is called the Spartacus Report and it addresses the proposed change from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments.

This report, which can be read in it's entirety here, has revealed some interesting facts.
  • The Government broke its own code of consultation over the DLA reform
  • The Government has entirely misrepresented the views submitted as part of the consultation, giving a partial and biased view.
  • The Government claim that DLA must be reformed as claims have risen 30% in 8 years - the report has found that these statistics are entirely misleading and give a "distorted view"
  • There is overwhelming opposition to the new benefit, Personal Independence Payments
  • Some elements of PIP appear to already be going ahead, despite a rejection of the plans and before legislation has passed.
  • The Government are repeatedly warned that proposals for PIP may break International and UK equality and Human Rights legislation

This research was the source of all the headlines you saw over the weekend regarding Boris Johnson and his claims that removing DLA and replacing it with PIP is unlikely to help sick and disabled people, and is more likely to harm them.  In order to find out the above, the researchers had to obtain the responses to the Consultation under the Freedom of Information Act. This is how Boris Johnson's views were discovered.

What appalls me about this report, is that it was needed at all.  Why were sick and disabled people and their families forced to conduct their own research into something that the consultation process has hidden and twisted.

Sick and disabled people have been subjected to all sorts of lies and misrepresentations since this Government came into power, we have systematically been torn down so that we can be stuffed inside our quiet homes, where we can't disturb the fit and healthy. We are abused in the street because of our disabilities, so we are already afraid to leave the house, so removing our access to transport isn't going to make much of a difference is it?  You can almost hear the cogs turning as they work out the best way to cut the benefit bill.

Well this time the cripples have not shuffled off to stand in the corner to count our blessings for being alive, the way the Government would want us to. This time we have had our gladiators fighting for us.  Sue Marsh and Kaliya Franklin have swallowed their pain meds and dragged themselves into the arena.  They, and others like them, have been battling tirelessly, not only to get out of bed every day, but to strive on our behalf.

They shame me that I have not done more.  I donated a few quid to get the report printed and posted, but that was it.  I've tweeted a bit and I've emailed MPs and Peers, oh and there is the odd blog, but it has all been done from the comfort of my own home.  These women have struggled to face down our detractors and demand they get answers to the hard questions, and each time they were ignored or ridiculed, got up again and kept on going.

Our champions do this on our behalf because we can't.  They do it because it needs to be done.  I wonder how many people would do the same for their fellow human beings?
If you believe that sick and disabled people and their families have the right to be heard and not have their views twisted into a vague resemblance for political expediency then please email your MP.  You can do this via the House of Commons Website.  Please ensure that you include your name and address when you do so, to ensure they understand you are a constituent.  A suggested email could read:

Today a report has been published relating the reform of Disability Living Allowance. This report is available via this link: 
This report into Disability Allowance Reform has been written, researched and funded by disabled people. As one of your constituents, I am very concerned by its findings and the misrepresentation of disabled people that it exposes. Please will you read the report and support sick and disabled people in calling for a pause to Personal Independence Payments in light of this new research. 
I look forward to your response,
Then you could let your friends and family know about it via Facebook or Twitter (using #spartacusreport) or email.  Please help get the word out into the public arena about what this Government have tried to do and hide from you.


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