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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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