Sunday, 14 October 2012
WHY ARE PEOPLE ATTACKING THE DISABLED?
The recent success of disabled athletes at the Paralympic games has done much to change the public’s perception of disabled people and show them in a positive light and focus on what they can do and not portray disabled people as a bunch of lazy good for nothing benefit scroungers who will do anything to avoid a day’s work.
But how did we get to a point where disabled people are vilified and attacked in the media and in the street and have become in some people’s eyes the reason for much of the country’s problems.
In this blog I will touch briefly on why I feel we have got to this point and what may happen in the future. I will add now that I am myself disabled with a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome and waiting for results from an MRI scan for brain damage.
Where to start? Well the recent financial crisis has a lot to do with it. People seemed to have a free rein in how they dealt with other people’s money and who they lent it too without much regard as to how this money was going to be paid back. These people had and more than likely still have tremendous power and influence not only financially but politically as well. This resulted in the bankers taking a lot of flak and blame in the media for a time but most people knew this media attack wouldn’t last and so the government where faced with who to blame next as necessary budget cuts are implemented.
The previous government is an obvious and predictable target but even that target is unsustainable in the long term because you can only blame what has happened in the past for so long because people will lose confidence in you as you reel out the same story time after time and wonder if you are all talk and no action.
So a scapegoat is needed but whom? Immigrant’s and ethnic minorities are out because of accusations of racism. Women are out because of gender discrimination. Both subjects are highly charged and could result in lawsuits and a government collapse with the loss of so many voters that the damage done could be beyond repair.
As in the past with Margaret Thatcher’s government the easy target is people on welfare benefits. The main reasons for this as I see it are because people on welfare benefits are often poorly educated, have little or no influence, are more likely to suffer from mental health issues and drug and alcohol problems. People seen at the bottom of society may well have had a very different upbringing to other classes of people which can have an immense influence on how someone’s outlook on life and their life chances.
So the disabled are at the moment an easy target for the government because so many disabilities are hidden such as mental health problems and those with visible disabilities have many people have been find guilty of defrauding the system and taking many thousands of pounds they were not entitled too. But the problem is that every single disabled person has now been tarred with the same brush and is seen by many people because of the media and political attack on them as simply work shy and living an amazing lifestyle at the taxpayer’s expense.
Now any rational and sensible person with an ounce of intelligence knows that this is simply not true but to many people who believe what they read and hear in the media as gospel truth they believe this and now feel that they have a valid reason to attack the disabled. The sorry truth is that the problems of the disabled will not simply vanish overnight and all of a sudden they can return to work. Things may very well get worse because of this unwarranted attack on the disabled.
But where does this leave the disabled? Are we going to see disabled people stopping in their homes afraid to go out for fear of attack? People will mental health problems may find their condition gets worse because of all this and may see suicide as the only way out. Or will they be admitted to hospital and put in the care of social services putting even further strain on an already overstretched system? Are we living in a society that is happy to see a whole class of people simply dumped and forgotten about simply because of a government’s ideology? I hope my worst fears do not come true but unfortunately I feel that they might.