Thursday 10 September 2015.
Dear Mr Cameron,
Defending his record in parliament for getting more disabled people into work, Iain Duncan Smith made the most extraordinary statement, ‘I think the figure is now over 220,000, which I believe is the highest figure since records began, in proportionate terms, but the most important point is that we are looking to get that up to the level of normal, non-disabled people who are back in work. Those with disabilities have every right and every reason to expect exactly the same support into work that everybody else gets’.
Putting aside for a moment Smith saying ‘normal, non-disabled people’, let’s try to unravel what disabled people having the right to expect exactly the same support as everybody else gets means.
The end of the Independent Living Fund, ever increasing numbers of disabled people being moved off or denied Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and the ending of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for the much more restricted Personal Independence Payments (PIP) means that it’s true, disabled people will get the same support as everyone else – none. People free from disabilities don’t need the extra support specific to people with disabilities, so Smith’s clever mouthed statement means, as we know, he is determined to abandon disabled people. Of course what Smith does not say is that disabled people are many times more likely to be penalised and sanctioned in his vicious regime, so his drive to achieve a proportionate level of employment for people with disabilities as non disabled people is to brutalise and terrify them into work.
His use of the expression ‘normal, non-disabled people’ is much more than an expression of his own ignorance, which is boundless, it is a demonstration of how all people regard their life as their normality no matter their circumstances or their degree or lack of disability.
Smith’s demonstrable lack of any human understanding or compassion will be experienced by him as perfectly normal. Many people with his degree of mental illness remain ignorant of their disability until or unless they receive an expert diagnosis and support even though it may, as is the case with Smith, be obvious to a layman and, indeed, his many victims. The tragedy is that he is in a position to cause such incredible harm to others and that he surrounds himself, and even perhaps attracts, those with a similar disposition and condition to himself.