About Me

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I have been working to support disabled people to live as independently as possible and realising their individual potentials for over 20 years. I am qualified in Health and Social Care Management and Ethics and Social Welfare. All blog entries are my responses to issues I see affecting those I support and indeed myself as I joined the disabled community after surviving a stroke.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

100 Days of a ConDem Nation

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government reached its first landmark this week, one hundred days in power, or three and a bit months as most of us would call it. Once the soldiers of misfortune were chosen to take up their posts in this unique government, this period of power has been dominated by two issues, cutbacks on public spending and the launch of the 'Big Society'. I feel its a bit unfair to judge what has happened within this period of time but I'm going to do it anyway, because: a) that's just the way I roll, and, b) its an unfair world, get over it.

Now although I might not appear so, I am not very politically motivated, that is to say I believe in a society where everybody can get a 'fair crack of the whip', and I don't believe any of the political parties are capable of providing that, so I have no political axe to grind as I treat them all with equal contempt, but I have to say I was surprised when Cameron and Clegg joined forces in May, I didn't think their brands of politics complemented each other, however they do say opposites attract and I was intrigued to see how things would work out, and I still am.

We all knew difficult changes were ahead of us, the country was financially on its ar... in trouble for whatever reason and it was inevitable that public services were going to bear a large amount of financial changes to help pay some of the deficit. This shouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, it is commonly accepted that there is a lot of waste in the public sector, however this appears to have been largely overlooked and the onus has been put on so-called benefit cheats, and reforming the assessment process for people claiming Disability Living Allowance. has this challenged the benefit cheats it has been designed to catch? Not that I have seen, all it seems to have done is create panic amongst the most vulnerable members of our society (big or otherwise). I hate benefit fraud as much as anybody else, not only for the financial aspects but also because it stigmatises disability and creates suspicion around disabled people where we have to constantly justify ourselves.

And then we come to the Big Society, well I hate to be down on this because I would love it to work, but as I said earlier, its an unfair world and I don't think it can work. I was listening to Radio 5Live yesterday who had commissioned a survey on people's willingness to volunteer; the pool indicated that almost half of the population consider themselves too busy to volunteer particularly in the age group 35-44 years old. I really don't believe you can run a 'Big Society' without engaging the vast majority of society; I would say about 75% minimum to have any kind of noticeable effect, and I find it hard to believe their can be a swing of opinion as dramatic as that, it could even be argued that kind of statistical swing could be a change in culture which would probably take many years to bring about.

Okay so its early days a hundred days is nothing really, and we know things couldn't remain as they were, but so far it just looks like selective victimisation on those with the least means of being heard and replacing services with well meant intentions with little or no foundation. I want to be proved wrong so if anyone can please feel free to do so.

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