For many disabled people working in the field as consultants and activists including myself, the welfare reforms have dominated the agenda since 2010 pushing so many other issues, like grassroot sport and quality of wheelchair services, to the sidelines. But the big question and frustration is in terms of disability, is it really possible to have a proper debate on the issues around the welfare reforms? I fear the answer is certainly not and I now have some direct and personal evidence that demonstrates this.
Just a few weeks ago I wrote a blog for Huff Post on some urban myths that exists in my opinion in terms of welfare reforms inviting people to properly explain them to me with some evidence, something I am still waiting for. At the same time and coincidentally I wrote an article on another website where I explained carefully and thoroughly why I was currently exploring working 'with' ATOS, someone I am 110% not employed by despite the urban myth that has now been created about me. Putting the two articles together and I would have got less flak if I have declared myself a Nazi!
I knew my articles would be controversial but I have received more abusive and hateful comments in two weeks than I could have imagined possible on Huff, on Twitter, on Facebook and on countless socialist and anti-ATOS websites. The comments have not been discussion points but hate filled personal attacks and trolling. I have been called everything under the sun and I had every aspect of my life judged on lies and myths. And if I defend myself I am have been met with more abuse and told to stop playing the victim of what is clearly the disability hate crime they so easily complain about when they feel it happens to them.
One Facebook 'like' of the urban myth article started yesterday afternoon has received so far 116 comments, mostly insulting who I am as a person rather than what I said. And I know this article will result in further abuse by people who will not realise the fact they are digging in own graves by their continued abuse of myself but simply see the word ATOS and simply see red mist. So just for them - ATOS ATOS ATOS ATOS!
I can now reach the conclusion that because of a minority of hostile sick and disabled people who have very sadly trapped themselves into being the victim in a government conspiracy they have created, too many commentators, politicians and activists are too scared to say what they really think as they do not wish to experience the same level of abuse I have and I am not at all surprised. I was bullied constantly at mainstream big school for many years and this has made me very thick skinned so I really do not care I am so hated.
Some poor unsuspecting people make comments on the issues not realising the trouble it will cause for them. An example of this is Dr Phil Peverly who recently said in an article that he believes if Stephen Hawkings can work than why can't most of the people he sees at his GP surgery who are sick and claiming to be unable to work. Like myself, he would had received a better reaction if he also declared himself a Nazi, which is a joke by the way, neither of us are Nazis before people start attacking us for being Nazis! As well as lots of abusing comments, what I find more concerning and unacceptable is that two extremist groups have published his work's physical address. In this age of social media, I really worry the only reason to do that is to incite someone to visit him with the intention of a physical altercation!
While we have some interesting TV programmes like Channel 4's "Benefits Britain 1949", which could be useful starting points to discuss the current and potential future reforms, they are dismissed as 'poverty porn' and government propaganda (despite it being a Labour government in 1949) by people who actually believe we live in George Orwell's 1984!
I once again have to conclude most people who understand the situation and the fear induced hatred that exists on the subject just do not know how to stand up and be counted. It is only a few brave souls or perhaps crazy idiots like myself who are prepared to properly stand up and fight to be heard. I am outraged that as a disabled person all my life, for four decades, I have had my own issues stolen from me by a bunch of sick and disabled people who will verbally abuse anyone who refuses to support their paranoid socialist victimhood ideology that berates me for working, for being positive and even for smiling.
It is therefore not at all possible to have any sensible debate on the welfare reform and I fear for many disabled people, free speech and the right to have your own political views are a thing of the past as mob rule certainly wins.