Disability Hysteria

The ‘Guardian’ has been running a string of increasingly more and more strident and alarming articles warning of the terrible consequences of the ConDem actions to change the welfare bill, feeding from pressure groups for the disabledwho have been forecasting woe and damnation for a while now.

This culminated the other day in some ‘reader stories’ from the contributors to those threads.
Let’s just take the first one as representative, shall we? The other three are mostly the same:

Isobel Glenelg, posts as IsobelGlenelg

Having no visible signs of disability (unless you count an almost permanent pain-induced grimace) has its drawbacks. In the early days of my blue badge ownership, I was often glared at disapprovingly. I’d simply smile weakly and say I had multiple sclerosis… When I first appeared in public using them reactions were mixed, but mostly I found I’d suddenly become draped in Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak: studiously ignored. This suited me fine. Then last summer, things changed. Articles in the red-tops talked about disabled scroungers living the life of Riley on hardworking taxpayers’ cash. The day after the tabloids screamed “free BMWs for disabled”, I stupidly left my house to go to the supermarket. Returning to my car, I found a boot-shaped hole had been kicked in the front bumper. I’ve hesitated to display my blue badge since.

My patience has run out with those who feel they have the divine right to interrogate me. When it first occurred I usually responded politely, now I just hobble away as quickly as I can. I certainly feel there’s a correlation between the tabloid “disabled scrounger” splashes and the increase in verbal abuse. On days when the media runs anti-disabled stories, it’s safest to stay indoors.

So, to recap: a few rude (or maybe just curious?) people have made remarks, so all 65 million of us must ‘hate’ the disabled. Someone vandalised her car, and it must have been a ‘hate crime’, because bored little feral youth never vandalise random cars, do they? And this is all being driven by the media who…

*looks out of window*
Ooooh, there goes that guy who lives down the road and walks with a stick! Excuse me a moment.
*runs downstairs to kick the stick away*
Right, back. Where was I?
Now, far be it from me, but might all this hullabaloo and whoo-ha from the disability campaigners be the sort of stuff that’s frightening the bejeezus out of all the other people with disabilities? I can’t recall the last time I saw any of my friends or relatives abuse a disabled person but that’s possibly because my friends and relatives are all nice people.
Maybe I should start a new slogan: ‘Media outlets don’t abuse the disabled – feral ignorant scumbags do’…

18 comments for “Disability Hysteria

  1. cuffleyburgers
    February 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Call me a right wing looney but if she can drive down to the shops she could get a part time job in an office, and not need to be on benefits?

    Just saying…

    • February 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      We don’t know that she is. All we do know is that she has a blue badge.

      • February 18, 2012 at 6:56 am

        Good point, but if she was being accompanied to the shops, why would she need to fear going out?

    • Mary
      February 17, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      Longrider’s observation demonstrates why it might be justifiable to call you a ‘right wing looney’ [sic].

    • February 18, 2012 at 10:24 am

      In the case of multiple sclerosis, the disease progresses differently for each patient. In some cases it can be like an inconvenient condition to be managed but in others relative dependency will set in quickly. It’s just down to how your luck goes.

      For example, I know of one woman who received a diagnosis two years ago and was warned she might be on a short limit. However, she is still runnning her own outside events catering business although she has to rely more and more on employees. She has no way of knowing if tomorrow that will be possible. But then, as she philosophically points out, actually nobody absolutely knows if they are going to wake up tomorrow or have a freak accident. All anybody knows is a little about the odds.

      What can be said is that an employer faced with a choice between someone who is known to have an unpredictable illness and someone who is not, would be irrational to choose the one already known to be less reliable, no matter how many lorry-loads of legislation is passed.

      So in answer to your question, no, she’s most unlikely to be able to find work in an office if she is not already in a job.

      • February 18, 2012 at 10:32 am

        An exception being in the public sector, where they need to adhere to a quota system to satisfy HR…

  2. Mary
    February 17, 2012 at 9:12 pm
    • February 18, 2012 at 4:53 am

      Mary, this was your best comment – and I agree with you.

  3. Dembones
    February 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Unfortunately, it is all too easy to pick on the disabled. I have had to defend someone with learning difficulties. Usually, however, there is no-one to speak up and many who will turn away.
    Of course 65 million do not hate the disabled, just as all disabled are not benefit cheats, but there are many who will not stand up for those that can’t.
    Misfortune can strike without warning.
    I am pleased you have not witnessed this type of behaviour but hope that should you do, you will be just as forthright against the perpetrator/s.

    • February 18, 2012 at 6:55 am

      Probably, I’m not known for my shy and retiring nature… 😉

      I do often see a blind woman on my regular train to work – she’s never, ever short of assistance to get through the gates, and not from the station staff, either – from fellow passengers!

      • February 18, 2012 at 10:51 am

        The blind don’t count. Everyone likes the blind because they can’t make snap decisions based on what you look like and therefore become instant candidates for My Best Friend.

        This goes double if they have a dog with them. David Blunkett built much of his career on being blind and having a dog. This is true: firms absolutely hated it when he visited them without the dog. What’s the good of that? The employees on the line wanted to see the waggy woof-woof. He’d have done better to keep his mouth shut and to send the dog alone. He’d have been PM by now.

        Luckily, nobody pointed this out to Gordon who remained coy about his failing eyesight. If I’d been given the devil’s shilling, I’d have had a treacle-eyed golden labrador at the dispatch box and that’s it, it would have been Life President Brown of Britain and Emperor Brown of Rome.

  4. nemesis
    February 17, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Ive read reports that between 50 -70% of blue badges are fraudulent and this costs government £46m a year.
    There has got to be a better system than this !!
    Im thinking – why do they get free parking anyway? If you are wealthy enough to own and run a car then surely you can afford parking charges. If disabled people are entitled to disability benefits then allow them to prioritise their own needs and how they spend that money, be it on running a car, using public transport or whatever.

    • February 18, 2012 at 6:58 am

      It’s quite a scam in some areas, yet it never seems to be a priority issue, and then you read about people having it taken away because they still have one leg!

      It seems everything bureaucracy touches, it ruins…

    • February 18, 2012 at 8:20 am

      It isn’t about parking charges, it’s about location. The assumption being that parking closer to their destination will be helpful.

      • February 18, 2012 at 8:38 am

        Agreed. Quite few of the local shopping centres do charge for disabled spaces, and at the same rate as for the others. They are just nearer the front.

  5. February 18, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Maybe I should start a new slogan: ‘Media outlets don’t abuse the disabled – feral ignorant scumbags do’…

    That first tag, Julia- was it cu*ts?

    • February 18, 2012 at 6:57 am

      You know me, James, would I even think that..? 😉

  6. Andy Nicholas
    February 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    Hmm,having become terminally ill recently, which puts me in reciept of higher rate DLA and a blue badge, not sure what to say here. Still working by the way and paying tax.

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