January 13, 2012
What an amazing week for sick and disabled campaigners! Sue and I are so incredibly proud of everyone. We've lobbied, researched, tweeted, blogged and campaigned despite how very poorly many of us are. Through provocation and disappointment about media coverage people have remained calm, considered, rational and constructive, which is so important as we are finally breaking through to the mainstream media and that is because we have facts, reason and morality on our side. When the best justification the government can dredge up to cut benefit eligibility to the most vulnerable, those disabled during childhood, is that some of them might at some point inherit some money it is clear how dubious these 'reforms' are both morally and politically. We are British, our sense of fair play is hardwired into our national identity; the justifiable outrage people feel about benefit fraud will pale in comparison with the outrage ordinary, decent people will feel about the most vulnerable in society being targeted and bullied by a government who have already committed to overturn the considered judgement of the Lords by using antiquated laws.
This week we have been able to demonstrate to the wider public something we all knew. That we are not ranting for the sake of it, but that we have detailed evidence and clear alternatives to the government's proposals. Sue's appearance on Newsnight last night shows that the media are finally starting to understand that, and see us as a credible, powerful community.
We know how exhausted you all are, we are too. We know how much pain you are all in as we share that pain. We share your frustration and your fears. Just yesterday our community had to support someone through the terror of receiving their Work Capability Assesment notice, to comfort, to console them and desperately try and persuade them not to end their life. We take all such pleas very seriously as there have already been multiple suicides associated with benefit loss.
As long as we remember we are a community we can all get through this. We must support each other, agree to disagree where necessary and never forget we are fighting for a shared aim. We owe this debt to those disabled people who lived and died in institutions, abused, hidden and ignored. We owe it to those disabled people who found the courage to rise up, to protest against the conditions they were forced into, many of whom never saw freedom but fought to protect those younger than themselves from imprisonment. We owe it to those who's mantra was "Nothing About Us Without Us". We owe this debt to all of our community who are still institutionalised, still in 2012 being horrifically abused by those supposed to 'care' for them and to the public who's taxes foot the bill for that abuse. We owe this debt to ourselves, to ensure we do not have to return to institutional living, to being condemned, hidden away and ignored because we are 'stock' 'too expensive to sustain'.
We must continue to keep up the pressure lobbying the Lords for next week's DLA votes, contacting MP's in preparation for when the Welfare Reform Bill returns to the Commons, and sharing our stories with the public so they understand that we are them. We are their daughters and sons, sisters, brothers, husbands and wives. We are all Spartacus. Together we have taken on the leader of the Labour party and last night Sue was fantastic debating with Chris Grayling on Newsnight. As Spartacus we can continue our fight.
So long as we remember "Alone we whisper. Together we shout" then we can and will win.
With love to you all, from Kaliya and Sue
* A Report on the proposed changes to Disability Living Allowance
The Spartacus Report: Responsible Reform
Dr S J Campbell BSc (Hons) PhD et al
* Victory for sick and disabled as Lords reject welfare reforms
Samira Shackle, New Statesman / The One Click Group
* London Mayor Boris Johnson victim of DLA con trick
Steve Donnison, Benefits and Work