It seems that politicians are wedded to imposing conditions in return for benefits and that sanctions will remain part of that regime. However, employment support providers know that you achieve most with jobseekers when the relationship is positive, providers are trusted and jobseekers want to work.
Disability will be talked about through the bitter election ahead, but when the term is banded about as a synonym for poverty, it is important to question if this is merely political hot air, or really what a range of disabled people believe and think? I doubt in most cases it will be the latter and I fear the general public will sadly remain fooled into seeing disability as just a welfare issue without ever hearing from all disabled people.
Securing a positive future for all sick and disabled people will not come from dirty politics and cheap headlines, but rather it will come from putting our differences aside and digging deep to reveal and challenge the prejudices against us, even those from within, that have existed since we were living in caves. Only by doing this will the issues of welfare and assisting dying be framed in a new and positive way.
People with learning disabilities are an important group, who don't often get heard. If anyone does speak for them it's usually well-intentioned professionals or family members. This tends to encourage the false belief that people with learning disabilities are a rather strange and unfortunate group, who need pity and charity. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Most of what costs the bulk of our spending on the welfare state - and the part whose cost is rising as the population ages - are the things that nearly everyone benefits from as they move through the life cycle - schools, the NHS and pensions, on top of child benefits and tax credits for families when they have children.
The recession means that, whoever governs we are now in the grip of austerity politics and will be for some years to come. Because we faced that challenge our economy is now recovering. But this makes that other challenge, the task of lifting children out of poverty, much harder and much more difficult.
Dispatches didn't feel the need to offer 'context' by touring the areas where those appearing lived, showing graffiti and broken windows, shouting kids on BMX bikes and people drinking in the street and asking us to judge all residents as morally lacking. It focused on issues instead of personalities, and viewers came out actually understanding the problems as a result.