Monday 6 February 2012

The Criminalisation of Disability

What is going on with cuts to disability benefits in the UK? Today's Guardian reports that people with disabilities are feeling the wrath of an able-bodied population suffering from recession, high unemployment and government ministers who label many of those on disability benefits as 'work-shy scroungers'.

Nicholas could never be accused of being a scrounger or being work-shy. Recently, he applied for a job with EA Sports, suggesting that his disabilities give him the unique qualifications to evaluate Playstation Games for their useability by others like himself. He suggested that payment in free games would be fair reimbursement for his work.

I often say to Nick, "Never underestimate the benefits of a severe disability". He and I have learned that getting to the front of a line or meeting a celebrity are all easier with his visible impairments. If Nick suffered from mental illness or another invisible disability, would he have the opportunities that he currently enjoys? I don't know. But I also wonder about what kind of reception he would receive these days in poorer areas of the UK. The economy in Europe is going to 'hell in a hand basket' - that much is clear. But what happened to civil society? Individualism will never win back the economy or the social fabric of Great Britain.

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