Post image for Guest Blog: The Hardest Hit march in London by Holly Wilkins

Guest Blog: The Hardest Hit march in London by Holly Wilkins

by Sasha Wilkins on May 10, 2011 · 30 comments

Tomorrow lil’sis & I march on Parliament as part of The Hardest Hit march to protest against the cuts in welfare for the disabled. I say march, but actually I’ll be the one walking, as lil’sis, who has relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS) will be in her wheelchair, as standing for the rally at 1130 on Victoria Embankment & then marching for an hour to Westminster is far beyond her capabilities. I have asked her to guest blog on LLG about why we are doing this.

So please welcome on LLG for the first time: Holly aka lil’sis:

“In this Age of Austerity most of us have been grazed by shrinking budgets, but the knife is plunging deepest into one of the most vulnerable sectors of our society; those who are sick and disabled through no fault of their own.

Has there been an outcry? No. In fact the attempted evisceration of their existence has raised barely a murmur of support from the chattering classes. Yet half a million people were mobilized to save our forests. Do we really care more about trees than the sick and disabled?

It would seem so. Vilified as scroungers, malingerers and even fraudsters, we have become an easy target. No one would argue that there are a few who abuse the system, but the scythe is being wielded so indiscriminately that all risk losing their safety nets. The first salvo in the battle against this supposed scourge of society was the abolition of IB (Incapacity Benefit) and its replacement with ESA (Employment and Support Allowance).

This fiscally obscene multi-million pound exercise replaces doctors with computers. Hardly surprising then that  perverse conclusions are drawn: an ability to pick up a small empty box off a table shows you are capable of meaningful employment. Without context this ‘proof’ of ability means nothing.

Raw statistics about the initial results of these nonsensical inquisitions have been published as the first weapon in this ideological warfare. And these have been lapped up and regurgitated by the popular press who willfully ignore the obvious: that one of the  real obstacles to employment for the disabled is a lack of both suitable jobs and flexible employers.

Next in the firing line is DLA (Disability Living Allowance). This benefit (and how misleading is that word), which allows many to live rather than barely survive, is being reformed in the same manner as Incapacity Benefit. Only a tiny fraction of the deserving will be eligible for any type of help.

And for those who would seek to quieten me with cries of “Calm Down Dear. Not YOU”, yes ME and thousands like me; caught in a no mans land, where illness and disability renders us incapable of so much, yet not incapacitated enough in the eyes of government and the media to be worthy of support.”

Please join lil’sis & me tomorrow in Westminster for the Hardest Hit march and show that those with disabilities are not malingerers or scroungers, but human beings, members of our society that need help. And remember, there but for the grace of God go you and me.

Information on the march is here.

Screen shot 2011-05-10 at 14.18.59

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

A Girl, A Style May 10, 2011 at 09:34

Oh Holly, it is lovely to see you on here, though I’m so sorry it’s under such sad circumstances as trying to make people realise how important safety nets are for those with disabilities and long-term illnesses – something we should all be aware of and sympathetic to already, yet sadly, so few seem to care. (I can attest to this given I work in a politician’s office and see what people write about – like you say, half a million stood up to save our forests, yet so few are actually speaking out against this).

Apart from sending you both all the love I can muster, I give you my word I’ll do whatever I can in my day job to fight this (I don’t work for on of the Ministers involved, but hopefully it will have a small influence nonetheless).

Briony xx

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Lola May 10, 2011 at 09:39

This is so moving. I’m a little lost for words, this is very well written and I couldn’t agree more. I can imagine your illness poses severe restrictions on your life and I hope you continue to cope with these with the fortitude you display in your post. X

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Fran May 10, 2011 at 11:30

Hi love
Can’t be there tomorrow as am one of the so-called silent carers but with you in spirit 100%. Thank you for this wonderful post. (This old Dear not very calm either!) Fxxxxx

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Fran May 10, 2011 at 11:33

p.s. Obviously people avoid confronting this grim stuff because it is glamour-free and depressing and most people are seeking glossy escapism. So it’s bloody excellent that you have written for Sasha’s blog – I’m sure some (newer) readers may be surprised that LLG isn’t all handbags and glam rags – even fashion folk are affected! Fx

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Hannah Chan May 10, 2011 at 12:08

I really do feel for you Holly and although I cannot be there in person, you will be in my thoughts. My dad fell fowl of cancer when he was 47 and was then diagnosed with ME after years of poor health. He never returned to work and due to the poor benefits offered by this country, which he has had to fight to hold on to each and every year, he had to resort to drawing his pension early to get by as well as my mum having to continue to work to support them. They are now 61 and 62 years of age and my mum finally gave up working last year to ‘enjoy’ their retirement on the ‘should have been adaquate but now measly’ pension.

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Rosemary May 10, 2011 at 12:37

I will be with you in spirit as I live in the states. Cuts are being made all over for all vulnerable poplulations. Those who can afford to pay more are not being asked to do so and those with most to lose are at risk. I sincerely hope that this march will have an effect on the government. I fear for the humanity of our citizens here in the US and in Europe.

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La Preguiceira May 10, 2011 at 13:28

Hi Holly,
You are such a wonderful writer and over the last couple of weeks, you have moved many people to express their support for you.
Your song is beautiful, angry and sad and people should take notice of you and your struggles – especially those in power.
with huge respect,
your friend…K
xxxx

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Khatija May 10, 2011 at 14:41

See you there tomorrow, girls. I couldn’t agree more – I work with young carers, having been one myself, and can tell you how devastating an impact the cuts are having and will continue to have on welfare provision. This government is all about short-term gains, not seeing the extent of the long-term damage they are causing.

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Laura May 10, 2011 at 14:47

Absolutely agree with you both Sasha and Holly. Both of my mother’s brothers have severe MS and certainly could not get by without government support. They could both pick up a small empty box off a table but are limited in so many other ways. I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow – well done for taking a stand. x

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Mo Thompson May 10, 2011 at 15:49

I can’t be at the march tomorrow but you have made me sit up and think about something that doesn’t affect me and I wasn’t aware of. I hope you have a huge turn out tomorrow. x

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