Take a look at this….
Does it breed trust for folk on benefits?
For your average citizen in the street?
For your average politician?
Contrary to what is written in the Telegraph, disability living allowance is a benefit for people who require support to live their day to day lives.
I can only talk from personal experience, but I don’t know anyone who’s on a disability benefit who hasn’t had to produce extensive information from their GP, social worker, and or consultant; who hasn’t had their benefits reviewed; and the many who have had their benefits stopped without warning or without explanation.
This fear is compounded when someone considers entering the world of employment.
Their benefits may stop in part or completely – this is often down to the individual at the department of work and pensions they are dealing with, or the local policies of that particular job centre that may or may not be written down.
Without trust there can only be fear, anger and prejudice.
For example – I find it nearly impossible to trust Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister, following the workfare debacle and now with a clear massaging of the disability living allowance statistics.
I’ve seen the polarised situations folk can find themselves in – on one hand trying to demonstrate to themselves, their friends and family how well they are – or how well they’d like to be, at the same time demonstrating to the benefits agencies the extent of their disabilities and/ or illness.
You may consider the fact that the government have contracted work out to private agencies with self professed experts in the area of disability employment, such as a4e, who have paid themselves ludicrous bonuses…
And so on….
The government enjoys the apocryphal tales of folk claiming benefits that they may not be entitled to…pedalling this to much of the media who appear to be more than eager to gobble it up and spit it out to the masses.
Fear, anger and prejudice.
I could come up with a zillion suggestions that might make the world more straight forward for me…
But that would be for me.
There are millions of people in the UK with a disability – wether it be a physical disability or a mental malady.
That adds up to millions of people with different needs, different goals, different abilities and different aspirations.
In politics there must be a constant push to be able to demonstrate to the mythical tax payer that something is being done – but within that there’s the danger of the knee-jerk reaction where half-baked schemes are set up at great expense only to be bombed out at a later stage.
There has to be a coming together of these 2 groups of people – the policy makers and those who the policies effect.
Other groups must be pulled in too – the educators, the employers, the carers and the providers of care and support.
With trust, people can come together and work towards shared goals.
With trust, people can say, “This isn’t working,” without fear of being judged – without feeling the need to blame – without feeling the need to judge or scapegoat others.
We need to start with a completely blank page (a really big one, roughly the size if Wales) that allows for as many ideas as possible to be written down and considered.
This cycle of bad policies followed by disparate media opinions and judgements followed by demonstrations followed by bad policies….is untenable.
It’s time for all sides to listen.
Then, only then can we begin to understand, to trust and then work together.
This is about walking miles in other peoples shoes.
This is so easy when that person is like you – who believes the same things you do.
It is so easy to seek refuge and solace with those who you know and trust – we’re not like those nasty politicians, those nasty Tories, those…those….Chris Graylings…
Where do we start?
Walk a mile