At the end of BBC’s Question Time (25/11/2012), Owen Jones tried his best to mention a couple of names of disabled people who’d died as a result of, or sooner than necessary because, of their loss of benefits after being wrongly assessed as fit for work.
I didn’t catch the first name*, but I heard the second one, possibly because I was already aware of it: Karen Sherlock. You can read of Karen’s last years, in her own words, by clicking here.
Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, decided his best argument was to shout Owen down
IDS’s final words before the programme ended were “We’ve heard a lot from you!” followed by a rant about how he was proud of changing people’s lives. In a rare moment of honesty, he omitted the words “for the better“.
Well, Smith, you are wrong. You may not have wanted to hear any more from Owen Jones, perhaps due to a guilty conscience (though one you studiously suppress), but we (myself and many others) wanted to hear more. What we got instead was childish, petulant rudeness from someone who thinks he has a divine right to rule, and to treat people outside his circle of rich friends as disposable nuisances. Disabled people cannot be made well by you or your ATOS lackeys telling them they are fit for work, nor can unemployed people be helped into work by stripping them of benefits if there aren’t enough jobs.
With any luck that angry outburst will dissuade enough people from voting Conservative at the next election to keep them far away from power. I just hope the deaths that are to come because of government policy are few in number.
It’s probably a forlorn hope.
*A better account, by someone who was listening more closely than I was, can be found by clicking here.