On Thursday many disability activists across the country will be celebrating the fact that the 'Wow Petition', a government e-petition, will have reached the necessary 100,000 signatures to be debated in parliament. They will regard this as an important message to the government from the British public that they will not tolerate the alleged cuts upon 'disabled people'. I however feel saddened and frustrated at what I see is a petition that highlights the rise in politically accepted prejudices and pity towards disabled people as naturally inferior beings, rather than as citizens capable of making a meaningful contribution to society.
I have three main concerns to why I think this petition is a step backwards for disabled people and indeed the whole of society. The first is the absolute pointless nature of a cumulative impact assessment, which would be nothing more than a very costly and lengthy government funded 'bitchfest', enabling every charity, disability activist and general crackpot to line up to provide supposed evidence on how and why disabled people are suffering based on lies, myths and the general socialist assumptions that disabled people can not work.
If the assessment was done properly, it would show many disabled people are not affected by the cuts, but these are the ones who would never be heard. I am not sure what will be the benefit of such a costly exercise other than to provide the anti-cuts and perhaps anti-disabled activists the cement to turn their lies and myths into false facts, dooming disabled people to be regarded as nothing more than unemployable users of welfare by a movement that pities them.
My second concern is what exactly does the Wow Petition stand for? There is no official supporting evidence to the petition and I am not sure what exactly the MPs can debate in what is a garbled mix of unrelated and confusing demands where people can asked to fill in the gaps in the way they think best, making the meaning of the petition anything anyone wants it to be, as I have told again and again on twitter. Does it believe disabled people should be locked away in day centres or segregated in Remploy factories? What does it want happen to ATOS? Does it believe only people with learning difficulties, not all disabled people, should have an education? or is it offended people with learning difficulties get an education? Does it believe carers know best and should have control over their burdens?
There are so many questions and very little answers from its organisers, who I believe regard the petition simply to be an ideological symbol of support for any lie and myth the anti-cuts movement wish to peddle in their attack on the rights of disabled people as employable citizens. And this leads me to my final and gravest concern, which is that the fact the petition has raised its desired 100,000 signatures means it will be regarded as a public affirmation that the British public supports every lie and myths of Anti-cuts disability activists, that can be turned into publically accepted facts, like ATOS kills, every disabled person experiences hate crime, ILF users will be forced into residential care and of course I am a Tory who works for ATOS!
This petition will provide the anti-cuts movement a 'mandate' to continue its fierce attack on disabled people with pity and patronising assumptions on how they have no meaningful place in society and be simply swept under the carpet with label based compensation rather than enabled and empowered to be fully equal and included citizens. The petition will be an excuse to increase the negative portrayal of disabled people, turning the clock back 150 years, actually helping the Tories with their dream of a Victorian style society.
I am not worried about the actual parliamentary debate since the MPs will murmur the right noises with many backbenchers trying to score points by stating the well-rehearsed lies from the anti-cuts movement, and then the government will politely and professionally explain how the demand of a cumulative impact assessment is a load of rubbish and how it is never going to happen, whatever Government is in power.
I am however worried about the impact of petition will have on an already obsessed and paranoid anti-cuts movement, who see disabled people as footballs to kick around with little regard for the consequences in their desire to have the impossible dream of a socialist government. Thursday is therefore not going to be a day many 'real' disabled people will be celebrating as the wow is certainly taken out of disability.