Delingpole on Friday: The dangerous disability rights mob

So just who are the most thoroughly unpleasant people out there on the internet? Well obviously with Piers Morgan and Sunny Hundal – and me, I suppose – the bar has been set pretty high.

But for pure, vicious, shrill malevolence, I have to say it’s pretty hard to beat disability rights activists. You can usually spot them on Twitter by the fact that they’ve got the name of a campaign group emblazoned across their photos, in that way everyone who is a complete and utter wanker seems to do on Twitter. (see also: Save the NHS; the red Labour rose, etc).

Anyway, this particular crowd’s speciality – and they really are very good at it – is using their victimhood as a deadly weapon: “We can be as utterly vile and intemperate and foul mouthed to whomsoever we want when we want. Because we’re disabled. Or we campaign on people who are disabled. And that makes us special, see.”

Last week, they claimed another scalp of which I’m sure they’re very proud. Philip Hensher wrote a piece in the Independent uncontentiously headlined “Some people on disability benefits are fit to work.”

Hensher cited some notorious recent examples – the woman who was discovered skydiving while claiming to be unable to walk; the Moulin Rouge dancer and keen badminton player who claimed more than £100,000 for a shoulder injury.

But there were, he noted, other problematic cases too. What about the nearly 1000 people on capacity benefit through obesity? What about the thousands off work with depression and anxiety? Surely, he suggested, rather than being kept on benefits in perpetuity these people should be examined sceptically and helped back to work as quickly as possible.

For this, Hensher was vilified by the disability rights bully mob. He received death threats. The comments on the online version of his piece grew so intemperate they had to be closed for “legal reasons.” Hensher drew so much hate on Twitter that he left for good.

When I learned about Hensher’s travails from his Facebook page – he was evidently very shaken and needed some comfort and a mate to have a drink with – I felt an odd mix of sorrow and joy. It wasn’t schadenfreude: I took no pleasure in his pain. Rather, it was that delicious sense of relief you get when, just for once, you see some other poor bugger taking the flak.

Now one option after a scare like that is to say: “No more” – have yourself declared LMF by the station medical officer and never have to fly another mission again. In the real life Bomber Command, this would have been a fate worse than death: you’d be stripped of your rank and spend the rest of the war in ignominy. In Hensher’s case however, it wouldn’t be nearly so bad. He could just stick to writing about some of other subjects he does very well – music, literature, Afghanistan, academe, gay life – and forever steer clear of anything more politically contentious.

But I do hope Hensher doesn’t choose this – sorry, but it is – coward’s way out. If he didn’t know it before his skirmish with the disability rights thugs, he certainly does now: we’re fighting a war here, a war on many fronts. And for a man of Hensher’s sensitivity and intelligence, it should be pretty plain what the consequences will be if the wrong side wins. At times as dark as this, shirking simply cannot be a conscionable option.

In the case of the disability rights issue, Hensher set out the problem very clearly. Currently, Britain spends 2.4 per cent of its GDP on disability benefits – more than in US, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. This – to use the other side’s favourite buzzword – is simply not sustainable. If ever Britain is to reduce its deficit, let alone pay off its debt, it has no option but drastically to reduce public spending. And so far – despite all the impressive noises made by George Osborne – this simply hasn’t happened. On the contrary, as Allister Heath recently noted, it actually rose last year. In 2011, according to the OECD’s figures, spending hit 48.6 per cent of GDP. In 2012, it hit 49 per cent.

I’m not suggesting for one second that a single one of the shrill, disability rights fascists who hounded Hensher is remotely aware of these figures. And I’m sure they wouldn’t care, even if they knew what the figures meant. If you’re in the mindset where you’re at once mired in self-pity and burning with your overwhelming sense of entitlement, you’re hardly going to care about the nation’s broader economic wellbeing are you?

Here’s what worries me: the longer we go on burying our heads in the sand and failing to rein in out-of-control public spending, the deeper and more intractable this great recession is going to get. As our economy shrinks – or, at best, stagnates – so there will be less and less money available from the ailing productive sector of the economy to pay for all those public sector handouts which our increasingly socialised society has come to see as its due.

This will have consequences for all of us, able-bodied and disabled alike. I want to live in a world where a soldier who has lost a leg in Afghanistan gets provided, gratis, with the very best prosthetics and rehabilitation, foever. I want to live in one where those who are truly incapacitated, either physically or mentally, can always rely on the safety net of state healthcare provision to see them through..

What I don’t think the disability rights mob realise – indeed, I know they don’t realise it, for they’d never carry on the way they do if they did – is just how perilously close we are to leaving that secure, socialised world  which for the last fifty years we’ve taken for granted. When the government runs out of money – and it will: indeed it already has, which is why it has to borrow from countries less profligate than ours, such as the Chinese – there will be no more hand-outs for the fake disabled. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there’ll be no money properly to care for those genuinely in need. Is that really what their so-called champions want?

  • http://jazz606.wordpress.com/ jazz606

    ‘……..The bad news is that there’ll be no money properly to care for those genuinely in need. Is that really what their so-called champions want?…….”

    I’m afraid they’re too thick to understand. For many people there is a complete mental disconnect between money and the need for it to be earned.
    Cameron and Osborne almost certainly do understand the problem, what they have failed to realise is that there is no prospect of finessing their way around it.

    • John richardson

      ‘……..The bad news is that there’ll be no money properly to care for those genuinely in need. Is that really what their so-called champions want?…….”

      I’m afraid they’re too thick to understand. For many people there is a complete mental disconnect between money and the need for it to be earned.

      No.

      This is a spiritual battle.
      Face the truth; these people are not THAT thick, nobody is….
      They are diseased spiritually and they are more than comfortable with the prospect of us all drowning together.
      We BOTH need to grow up.
      They always knew money did not grow on trees……..

      The BNP are not today’s social predators.
      Neither are Big Oil.
      It’s the ‘caring progressives’.
      They want your blood whether they know it or not.

      All that matters is your resoponse…do you deserve to survive them?

      • http://jazz606.wordpress.com/ jazz606

        “……..these people are not THAT thick, nobody is….

        Want a bet?

      • http://www.repealtheact.org.uk Philip Foster

        “It’s a spiritual problem”

        Indeed. Here’s a classic case in John’s gospel of ‘living off benefits’ mentality. Jesus asks a direct question but the invalid won’t answer it, but instead complains…

        When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
        “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no-one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

        Jesus does heal him. Result? The guy goes off and reports to the thought police Jesus’ un-PC activity and there’s trouble.

  • Virgilius

    It is staggering how few people “get it”. We are deep trouble yet the socialists believe the gravy train can continue forever.

    One small story.

    Just after Christmas I met a paramedic and I was asking her if she had been busy on Christmas day. She told me that she had been called out at 2am by a man with tooth ache. He wanted the ambulance to take him to a 24 hour garage to buy aspirin!

    Now this is a tiny story but she could have told me others. This country has been taken over by the entitlement mob who believe that it is the government’s duty to take care their every desire. When this proves impossible – as it most surely will – then social unrest will not be far away.

    As to cuts – what cuts? If the debt continues to grow as it is then radical surgery will be required as James points out in his article.

    Sadly this is not going to end well. Selfish, stupid and over benefited by the burgeoning state they can not even begin to understand the dangers that lie ahead.

  • Masked Rabbit

    I would love to survive them , but I get all my money taken off me in taxes. If I don’t cough up I end up in prison.

  • Simon Roberts

    The money won’t run out – politicians will not allow that to happen.

    Consider the current situation – no actual cuts (despite a mandate to make them) and even so the Government is tarred and feathered by the BBC and the public sector is starting to lash out (Andrew Mitchell stitch-up). Imagine what would happen if they were really to make some cuts.

    The welfare state will continue to maintain its sacred cow status and devour more and more resources. Even Blair wasn’t able to reform it. Remember that he enlisted Frank Field (considered to be ‘sound’ by the statists) and when he reported that the current situation was unsustainable he was sacked!

    What will happen is that they will continue to borrow until one (or both) of two things occurs:

    1. Interest rates rise – debt service becomes unmanageable and taking on additional debt to cover it becomes so expensive as to make it too obvious that the debt is unpayable. Lenders stop lending and the government starts to print money.

    2. Lenders wise up – realise that they aren’t going to get their money back. By ‘money back’ I mean money with anything approaching the same value of course, they will always get pieces of paper. It’s just that they will be worth a lot less than they originally cost. Then the government starts to print money.

    And it’s when the printing starts that the real problems will begin. At the moment, governments are at least constrained by the arithmetic of what they can tax and what they can realistically borrow. Once they control the supply of currency, the gloves will come off.

    We need to bear in mind that the government will always follow the path of least resistance. Most people these days don’t understand what ‘printing money’ even means, let alone the consequences – but they do understand BBC reports on starving pensioners.

    The most damaging outcome is also, sadly, the most likely.

    • dr

      I agree with the general thrust of your comment, but I was suprised to read “And its when the printing starts that the real problems will begin.”
      How is quantitative easing not printing money?

    • dr

      “lenders wise up – realise that they aren’t going to get their money back.”
      I believe that its important to realise that many of those lenders are final salary pension funds together with some defined contribution funding arrangements.
      How will middle class voters react when they realise that the government has stolen their “private” pensions?
      This theft happens by the government encouraging the investment of pension funds into Gilts, knowing that the quantitative easing programme, is depresisng the yield on those same Gilts, and that many of the investment assumptions underpinning the pension funds require much higher returns than the manipulated low returns of Gilts.

    • http://jazz606.wordpress.com/ jazz606

      “……The money won’t run out – politicians will not allow that to happen……..”

      The money won’t run out…!!!? Well it will either run out or it won’t be worth anything. Not much difference really.

  • Hilton Gray

    James, as one of the chaps on your ricochet program said – the left is just too thick to get it. And these are all hollier than thou lefties! Maggie warned – the problem with socialism is sooner or later you run out of other peoples money!

  • http://libertarianmoney.wordpress.com LibertarianMoney

    It’s sad to see them come up with absurd programs and advertise them as social equality when they’re really only special rights. The programs always end up hurting the people that they intend to help more than they help them.
    It gives real social equality a bad name.

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  • dgforbes

    The government hasn’t run out of money, it’s run out of income which may sound like not a distinction at all except that there is still plenty of wealth in private hands.
    The catch for the pols is how to get their hands it on in view of the fact that most people think they are already overtaxed.
    This is why we get so much demonisation of “the rich” and accusations that tax avoidance by companies and indviduals, which is perfectly legal, is a moral affront.
    Taxing the rich by itself will not plug the gap between what the government takes and what it spends. But the rich have to be seen to be hung out to dry before the ordinary citizen will accept the higher tax burden for himself which is inevitable.
    It’s inevitable because no social democrat government in the West – i.e. all of them- has the slightest intention of committing electoral suicide by cutting the amount of money sloshed into the public trough.
    Such a government would be strangled live on television by its political opposition, the vested interests and the media who are more interested in a punch up and blood on the carpet than in rational debate.
    So, for the moment, there’s still plenty of money around. It’s just a question of getting it out of the wrong hands, your’s Johnny private citizen, and into the right ones, those of the government and its clients.
    Of course, some day it will run out but what use is a can if you can’t kick it down the road?

  • http://theshotoverdiaries.blogspot.com Colonel Shotover

    One of the most important things any society can do is to make sure its weakest members are decently looked after. That’s why urgent reform is needed. The government takes almost 50% of GDP, but still fails the most needy. The vested interests must be tackled, or we will fail in our fundamental duty to help those that need it most.

    • Davvy

      Well said !!

  • Davvy

    It’s totally unfair that the Government keep cutting benefits from the needy without coming up with any answers to the unemployment situation. They sanction people with a loss of 3 weeks pay (all £226 of it) if they miss an appointment & for a friend of mine, that was due to him not receiving their correspondence. They wouldn’t take into account he’s had 5 postmen since xmas & that he and his neighbors keep passing back & forth each other wrongly posted letters. He’s now fighting to have all his correspondence sent recorded delivery ??

    Sounds a bit dumb doesn’t it & how would the workers feel if they lost 3 weeks money for every sick day taken. I’m guessing it would stop people pulling sickies, but is it FAIR ?? Well ignoring the notes from someones own GP, putting them back into the box of ‘capable workforce’ & expecting an employer to choose them over the 300 applicants all in good health is a policy dreamed up by someone who clearly lives on a different planet.

    If folk would like to see the deficit plugged, maybe we should take a look at the tax free pension schemes that soak up public money or how much we have to pay the EU ?? Hell, why not how wasteful government spending is even ?? Constantly blaming this on people that can’t work for WHATEVER REASON is sick, I hope that some of you start to feel your shame

  • http://facebook. jim kimber

    money… not worth anything anyway. the rest of the humanity looks at us and laugh’s !

  • http://compoundfiasco.wordpress.com/ Skip Greenwood

    There is no such thing as the deserving poor.

  • Jingleballix

    I live at the sea-side – there is a fairly lengthy slope that leads up from the beach to a road along which people can park.

    This road is also steeply sloping. At the bottom, nearest the beach access, the parking spaces are reserved for those with ‘Disabled’ labels.

    Fair enough, the aged, infirm or crippled should be given this benefit……..though my 80yr old father seems to cope well enough with walking 40yrds up hill.

    However, these ‘disabled spaces’ are FREE……..and what gets my goat is that judging from the type/brand of cars that park there (better than mine) the people who own them can certainly afford to pay the few quid the able-bodied pay for parking.

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