I made a comment this afternoon which was construed as me taking disablism to a whole new level.
This was the point I was making. For my entire lifetime, political debate for many people in this country has been little more than trolling. The debate politicians offer on welfare, is accusations they KNOW are false. We KNOW they are false. This means that instead of discussing the very important relationship welfare has with our economy, ,and the economic inequality it should allow us to measure- we have people responding to accusations noone believes. Spartacus showed that.
Trolling being the flinging of accusations to elicit a response, or keep everyone busy. Instead of discussing our public services role in society, we are defending ourselves constantly from unlimited accusations. It used to be just the ill, the unemployed, increasingly over the years, disabled people, (not that that ever died off really). In the years since the banking crisis ‘ended’, the pool of people subject to that trolling has widened considerably. The trolling a necessary side effect of the positions of all political parties.
We are now actually seeing people in receipt of Disability Living Allowance, the benefit that has nothing to do with anything but disability, being attacked by our political establishment. People whose children are disabled. People who live in rented houses after a property boom intersected with inequality to mushroom the housing benefit bill. Even older people, being trolled while they lose those homes and the social care which is meaningless to Westminster.
It doesn’t matter how much evidence is thrown at these accusations, it doesn’t matter how wild they get. It doesn’t matter that this discussion appears to be more important than the economic cliff we are flying towards. It doesn’t matter that the pool of people being trolled is now so wide, that it includes workers who are being attacked for doing the job the government employed them to do, mothers. Hate crime is on the increase. With full parliamentary approval and little press challenge it is the norm.
The ONLY role for the people at the heart of this in mainstream debate is defending themselves from it, or being grateful when the left perpetuate it by taking part in the discussion about which people are disposable.
The point I was making was that political debate on so many issues now was trolling, that we perhaps have to stop having the debate on those terms. Instead of special interest group against special interest group vying for the attention of a left who perpetuate the problem by offering defences rendered useless by their lack of understanding. Because this debate has had since the late 70s to move on. Ask why our media have not done this.
We are told equality is a vague thing. We are sold equality in pictures of various ‘identities’ competing, and noone brings our attention to certain facts. The welfare state masks clear measurable economic inequality. Inequality is measurable. And the inequality that the welfare state masked is being felt across many groups, who have all suffered the same thing. Inequality has been exploited, and made worse because those suffering it are structurally invisible to political debate.
That inequality a problem we have to get to grips with, if we want any kind of credible economic alternative. It cannot not be adequately explored, if we view disability in isolation and in competition with other aspects of who we are. Even if disability is at the root of the poverty faced.
We could look at Leveson, and ask whether what is being revealed there has anything to do with why our political discourse has been little more than trolling for three decades? The received wisdom that allowed this trolling crumbled this year.
My point was not that disability does not bring in
equality. I am an able bodied woman, and I have very limited experience of living in a world not set up for the way my body works. I have no experience of that.
My point was that disability was only ever one part of someone’s identity, and that inequality like identity, is made up of many intersecting things. That it may be more effective to address the root of the problem, and stop refuting increasingly ridiculous accusations about moral fecklessness. Especially as those accusations come from the one part of our society that is on trial for it’s complete lack of morality. That that might be more effective than have the symptoms of a problem competing with each other. And that when the reason people were targeted was their invisibility to political debate, it was up to those who had visibility to remember we were fighting because they don’t have the ability to. That by definition those hardest hit would not have that ability.
Rather than complying with the structure of debate our media offers- which IS special interest group against special interest group, vying for the attention of the left. Providing stories sad enough to make the ‘right’ salivate and the left feel pious. Maybe it was time to learn from the past year, and have the debate on different terms and start asking questions about the implications of what we have learned about the way our political establishment operate. Start demanding answers instead of defending against accusations.