Monday, January 16, 2012

#Spartacusreport : challenging the government

Over 2011 a group of disability activists got together and decided to challenge the government's welfare system reforms.

Headed by Sue Marsh, blogging on Diary of a Benefit Scrounger and tweeting on @suey2y, and by BendyGirl, blogging at Benefit Scrounging Scum, they conducted interviews, researched the meanings of the proposed reforms, analysed the data and developed conclusions on the proposed changes.  This was all pulled together into a document titled Responsible Reform and launched last Monday.  The twitter hashtag is #spartacusreport.

Before Christmas, Sue found out her application for DLA had been rejected.  Instead of appealing that, she elected to continue working on the report.  Several activists involved with the report made themselves ill and ended up in hospital, because of the workload.  These activists are all sick or disabled themselves.  The reforms will directly affect them.

There wasn't much national media coverage on the Monday, or the Tuesday.  Despite the fact that national organisations such as Mind, The Papworth Trust, Scope and United Response support the report.

But on Friday Sue Marsh went on Newsnight, with Chris Grayling, Employment Adviser to debate the Thursday night discussion in the House of Lords.

This is a victory for grassroots activism, and a victory for the cause itself.  It is amazing what these activists have done, and it amazing (in a very different way) what the government is trying to do.

Mega mega kudos to Sue and her colleagues.  Take a gander at the links, especially if you live in the UK.  I reckon most people who don't have direct personal experience of sickness or disability won't understand the implications of the proposed reforms.  Why would you?  But they ain't good.  They are being proposed purely to save money. 

This government is placing a greater importance on saving money than on providing a decent quality of life and standard of living to it's citizens.

This government thinks money is more important than people.

"...And that's what your holy men discuss, is it?" [asked Granny Weatherwax.]
"Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment on the nature of sin. for example." [answered Mightily Oats.]
"And what do they think? Against it, are they?"
"It's not as simple as that. It's not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of grey."
"There's no greys, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That's what sin is."
"It's a lot more complicated than that--"
"No. It ain't. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they're getting worried that they won't like the truth. People as things, that's where it starts."
"Oh, I'm sure there are worse crimes--"
"But they starts with thinking about people as things..."
--from Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett.

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