Then what about encumbrances of our own making? Obesity, alcohol and drug dependence and all the new behavioural diagnoses to excuse lack of effort and discipline in families whose very existence is nothing but a drain on our resources? Calling any of these things ‘disabled’ is an insult to the genuinely needy and it inflates our invalidity rate (and I use the word invalid in both its senses) to percentages so utterly implausible that the thick end of the electorate swallow it whole.
Friday, 12 April 2013
They limp among us.
Apparently, I am a hateful man. A vicious, evil, nasty product of an unfeeling, uncaring political ideology. That’s right. The Labour Party made me what I am. I grew up watching them do their craven best to accede to the demands of their greedy, self-serving Union paymasters and I would have watched a lot more of it had the power not been cut, night after night. From a naturally Labour voting family my first ever vote went blue for the simple reason that I had obstinately refused the tribal imperative and instead opted for making up my own mind.
I’ve done it ever since. Not that I can’t be swayed by argument and far from being actually (as opposed to ideologically) selfish, those who know me know I generally put my own needs second to doing a good job or helping those in need of what limited talents I may possess. I’ve always worked longer hours than I’ve been paid for and I frequently give up my supposedly free time to do things from which I don’t personally gain. Or, as I like to sum it up, I’m a bit of a mug, really
Whatever it makes me I’d rather thrive in a successful country than vote for a policy which might merely line my personal pocket. Mind you, that’s partly because I don’t pretend to have insider knowledge or sooth-saying powers, so I have no idea what is around the next corner. Accepting a narrow argument or voting on a single principle seems to me to be doomed to failure, or at the very least, ridicule. I think that’s reasonable.
Which is why I’m a tad miffed that I was harangued a bit last week for refusing to accept that, apparently, one fifths of the British population is disabled. The conversation – on Twitter, naturally (I have no friends in real life) – went something like this.
@Them 1 in six people in Britain are disabled, although only 17% were born with their disability.
@Me Bollocks. And by the way 17% IS 1 in six.
@Them You uncaring bastard. Here’s a link to a charity website which PROVES it www. blahblahblah.co.uk
The site actually states the 17% born disabled figure but also claims that almost one in five people are disabled. When I dispute this I get a mild toothless gumming for being a heartless bastard and then we just drift apart; Twitter is like that. But it reaffirms my belief in humanity; that humans are pretty gullible and believe any old guff, particularly if it casts them in a good light. In this case a caring, nurturing, we-must-never-cut-benefits light.
But stop and think about it for a moment. Really? One in five? Is it genuinely just me or would there have to be entire cities fully populated only by the disabled for that to be true? One in five? I live in a pretty downtrodden area and I’d say the true figure is probably more like one in a hundred. And that’s only if you count many of the aches and pains of old age. So what in the world of what-can-I-claim is going on?
Where does ‘not as able as some others’ become actually disabled? Is being a bit deaf a disability, or is it really a condition to be got on with and overcome? If you get fitted with a hearing aid that restores your hearing are you still disabled, or are you cured? If a prosthetic allows you to live a normal life and hold down a job are you still disabled? My father is nearly blind; he’s also nearly eighty. He wouldn’t take kindly to being called disabled, although he is well pissed off about it.
Whatever those who desperately need the figures to show heart-wrenching levels of misery believe, the fact that many hundreds of thousands of disability benefit claimants simply opted not to be reassessed is telling indeed. Wouldn’t we do far better by our citizens if we started telling the truth? Yes, Mr Normal, you are a fat bastard. I prescribe, “Get the fuck out of my surgery now!”
No, you're alright... I've got this.
Once we were called ‘The Sick Man of Europe’. They thought it was all over. Well, according to these inflated statistics, it is now.