Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Love Labour's Lost


 By The Broken of Britain's own Melissa Smith
When it came to voting in an election for the very first time, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I would vote for Labour. Working class born and bred, nerdy Politics student who knew a Green vote would be wasted in our First Past the Post system, couldn’t bear the Tories, and saw the Lib Dems as an ‘also ran’. Yep, my X was definitely going in Labour’s box.
Much to my joy, Labour won the first election I voted in. I didn’t agree with all of their policies, or even like Blair all that much, but they represented my ideals and my background far more than any of the other parties. So I was happy; my little, wonky X had helped them to victory.
Fast forward to last year’s election. I’d spent all day at the hospital, but it was a close run campaign, and I was determined to vote. Dad had to wheel my chair right up to the booth, but I hauled myself up, read the papers repeatedly for the sake of my easily confused tired out brain, and then made another wonky X for Labour.
When the Tories made a coalition with the Lib Dems, I was achingly disappointed; the idea of spending at least four years under their supposedly joint government was almost painful. I knew all too well how the Conservatives treated the working class and those in need, like me, and it was plain to see, right from the start that Nick Clegg and co. just filled the benches. They soon came to be known as the ConDems, and along with my ill and disabled friends, I quickly realised just how apt that moniker was.
It wasn’t long before the ConDems started targeting the sections of society that they perceived to be the easiest: people with disabilities and illnesses, their carers, the elderly, and those who are vulnerable. Cuts in services provided by councils were happening at an alarming rate, the cost of services for those who need them rose dramatically, carers were being put under even greater strain. And then the vicious, painful rhetoric started.
Disabled and ill people have long been treated with contempt and even cruelty, particularly those with invisible illnesses or mental disabilities, but now the government seemed to be encouraging it, fanning the fire of distrust with words, and turning it into hatred.
Making those of us with disabilities and illnesses synonymous with ‘scroungers’, ‘benefit cheats’, the work shy and irresponsible lay-about, draining society with our greed and idleness actively increased disablist content in the media and actions in society: people have been verbally abused, vile notes have been left on cars where Blue Badges are displayed, carers have been spat at, and even worse.
As this situation worsened, Labour supporters like myself were certain Ed Miliband would speak out, defend us, and make clear the distinction between those of us who cannot work – however desperately we want to – and those who won’t work and have no desire to. We hoped that he would support us, and tell the world how we loathe those people who are making careers by faking the pain, trauma and misery we often live with, through no choice of our own.
But Mr Miliband stayed silent, ignoring our plight, and eschewing any hint of Socialism Labour had left – society sharing what it has to ensure everyone is supported.
Then the unthinkable happened; Ed Miliband began to use the same kind of language as the opposition. Truly, I could’ve cried. I, and many others, had been waiting for Labour to oppose what their opponents were saying: to show the discrepancy between the percentage of benefit fraud rates and the percentage of the government cuts; to state that the ATOS tests are ridiculous and give false results, as a man declared “fit for work” died just two weeks later, of the illness he was deemed to be exaggerating; to support carers and explain the millions they are saving the country by not leaving their loved ones to be looked after in care homes or hospitals; to tell the country that we are not scroungers, and that every single healthy person is just an illness or injury away from being in our position.
When Ed Miliband announced Q&A sessions on Twitter, many of us hoped they would be the way to engage him, to garner his support, or just get a 140 character statement that we’re being treated unjustly. Disability campaigners, individuals and on behalf of groups, sent tweet after tweet, hoping one would be seen, as did our Twitter friends with physical or mental health problems. Amongst untold tweets from our “community”, only one garnered a response, which could have come from any ConDem – all tiers of society have to be responsible, from the bottom to the top. The implication that we are at the bottom cut like a surgical scalpel.
Throughout each Q&A, we waited for more responses, thinking that surely we would be acknowledged? But no, favourite muffin flavours and other trivial nonsense was more important than Labour supporters who were desperate for his help.
When I think of the next election, I feel completely lost. The ConDems are marching ever closer to being my worst political nightmare come true, but for the first time ever, I truly do not know if I can bring myself to vote Labour. The party I’ve always supported has no support for me, or my friends. Ed Miliband spends his time parroting whatever David Cameron has said the day before, leaving voters like me to be spat at, to be deprived of our basic daily needs of food, cleanliness, human contact, and to be so fearful for our futures that some become suicidal, or actually take their lives.
I’ve always been adamant that those who have the vote should use it. Especially women, for whom the Suffragettes fought so hard for, and when women around the world are still be kept away from the voting booth, like an underclass.
Now we, who have disabilities and illnesses, are becoming an underclass, and so our ability to vote is a treasure.
But who on earth do we vote for? Labour, Conservatives and Lib Dems have all merged together, creating a three-party system that strikes fear into anyone who cannot care for themselves or needs support. A vote for any other party is a wasted one. So do I not vote at all?
When I stand, wobbling, in the booth at the next election, I have no idea where my wonky X will go. Or if it will go anywhere at all.
Thanks to you, Mr Miliband, I’m another love Labour’s lost.

9 comments:

Jan said...

Really good post, thank you. I'm another who naturally gravitates towards Labour, or possibly towards anything that isn't Tory, but there are no words to express the disgust I feel for this lot, there really aren't.

I would like to point out to Miliband that disabled people are amongst the most responsible in society already. Dealing with our conditions and trying to find ways of squeezing more value out of each day take enormous responsibility. If anyone is trying to engage, feel free to make that point. I keep trying to compose an email, but the nature of my complicated mental health problems makes it very difficult to express myself without using threats, so nothing's been sent yet.

Simon said...

Great post, it puts into words what I've been feeling recently, I try not to show the worry to my wife who is disabled but I fear for the time ATOS comes and claims she's fit for work because she can walk to the bathroom unaided. Even gone as far as talking to the local Co-Op store for consideration for a job just in case.

Beth - fibrogirl said...

You have so eloquantly put into words how i felt yesterday, I with each sentance he uttered my fear and anger grew. My family have bene connected to the Labour Party one way or another since the early 1920's. My grand father a man of great compassion and integrity would have been appalled.

I do agree about responsibility, and im living proof you are only 1 step away from needing help - I was once the person supporting for people, now i am in need of that support.

Ed and those in power within the party may be trying to appeal to the "squeezed middle" but it is a dangerous game and one that will have untolled consequneces. I will continue to lobby, campaign and raise my voice along with others..but the party I have been a memeber of all my life has abondoned us.

fourbanks said...

Lovely post Melissa

I have always known having worked in the bank of England and in my very young years how politicians operate and how they think irrespective of political party and have also known many in my time and along with those in the House of Lords

Personally I have always found them to be odd some in more ways than one they invariably sound educated but when pressed on something deep they then seem to be at a loss and have to back track which I always found odd they could never ever give a straight answer to a question they also had a tendency to always look at you as why are you questioning me like this

As for ever voting at an election I never did as I truly believe that you should only ever vote for someone like myself who is man of honesty and integrity there can be know shortcomings as it's crucial as a leader to have those qualities and regretfully I never found that in any of the prime ministers in where I could vote since 1974

What we have today like in the past are leaders who have been chosen by their political party and not by the people which would make a hell of a lot of difference in the way this country is run

As that will never change you will always end up with maybe the right party but then have the wrong leader and on that basis you have a very flawed system and therefore I'm out

Only a very evil way of thinking from an early childhood with parents also of the same mind would you get to the position we have today in where you would cut from a sick or disabled person whose life was already in tatters that can never be right under any circumstance's

Hitler was never right in where he attacked the Jews and David Cameron is also not right for making the lives of sick and disabled people worse than they already are

For Ed he too is not right his parents fled the Nazis so you would have thought that of all people the sick and disabled would be safe with him sadly not
Now you know why I have never voted and never will do as I have been very close to these types of people and the last thing I would ever do and that would be to vote for them and there is no way they could ever win me over and they wouldn't even try as they would know it would be a lost cause

I do regret going in to the bank of England at the age of 18 and realize I made a fatal error as I should have gone into politics but these things happen when you're young I also rejected an offer from the queen at the time to work at Buckingham palace
The main reason I chose the bank was to follow my father there who had just retired and at the time it was I believe the right call but 37 years on I can now see I was wrong but as i said these things happen and now the sick and disabled have to pay the price and that includes me

fourbanks said...

Lovely post Melissa

I have always known having worked in the bank of England and in my very young years how politicians operate and how they think irrespective of political party and have also known many in my time and along with those in the House of Lords

Personally I have always found them to be odd some in more ways than one they invariably sound educated but when pressed on something deep they then seem to be at a loss and have to back track which I always found odd they could never ever give a straight answer to a question they also had a tendency to always look at you as why are you questioning me like this

As for ever voting at an election I never did as I truly believe that you should only ever vote for someone like myself who is man of honesty and integrity there can be know shortcomings as it's crucial as a leader to have those qualities and regretfully I never found that in any of the prime ministers in where I could vote since 1974

What we have today like in the past are leaders who have been chosen by their political party and not by the people which would make a hell of a lot of difference in the way this country is run

As that will never change you will always end up with maybe the right party but then have the wrong leader and on that basis you have a very flawed system and therefore I'm out

Only a very evil way of thinking from an early childhood with parents also of the same mind would you get to the position we have today in where you would cut from a sick or disabled person whose life was already in tatters that can never be right under any circumstance's

Hitler was never right in where he attacked the Jews and David Cameron is also not right for making the lives of sick and disabled people worse than they already are

For Ed he too is not right his parents fled the Nazis so you would have thought that of all people the sick and disabled would be safe with him sadly not
Now you know why I have never voted and never will do as I have been very close to these types of people and the last thing I would ever do and that would be to vote for them and there is no way they could ever win me over and they wouldn't even try as they would know it would be a lost cause

I do regret going in to the bank of England at the age of 18 and realize I made a fatal error as I should have gone into politics but these things happen when you're young I also rejected an offer from the queen at the time to work at Buckingham palace

The main reason I chose the bank was to follow my father there who had just retired and at the time it was I believe the right call but 37 years on I can now see I was wrong but as i said these things happen and now the sick and disabled have to pay the price and that includes me

Terry said...

Could it be that Mr Miliband has figured that the 'squeezed middle' is where the votes are to be won?
As someone posted earlier, I too moved from supporter to needing support in the blink of an eye. Cancer diagnoses do these things.

fourbanks said...

[QUOTE]Terry said...

Could it be that Mr Miliband has figured that the 'squeezed middle' is where the votes are to be won?
As someone posted earlier, I too moved from supporter to needing support in the blink of an eye. Cancer diagnoses do these things.[/QUOTE]

E'd speech was to convince us that he would support the 'squeezed middle' but the reality is that wont happen the much wider problem is Greece who for the next ten years like the sick and disabled in the UK will be paying the overall price and whose standard of living which is already low will be at rock bottom so what will it mean ?

What it will mean is that the sick and disabled wont be able to afford to go out at all other then to do basic shopping if their lucky for most they will have to stay housebound and the same for the people of Greece

If Greece bails out of the EU as i would suspect they will then we could find ourselves here with a very severe banking crises that will hit not only the sick and disabled but also the middle classes as well and they to like the middle classes in Greece will have to remain at home and not got out and spend for the very simple reason there will be no money left for the average person to spend

The UK over the next ten years is not the place to live and that's a fact and for those fit and well there best bet is to move out to a country outside of the EU LIKE AUSTRALIA CANADA OR ONE OF THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS

It may not sound ideal but it probably is your best bet if your able as staying here in the UK isn't really viable

DeusExMacintosh said...

The rest of us need to save up our pennies and INVEST in Australia and Canada (which don't accept disabled immigrants). I've decided to contribute to a pension over there where the system actually works - it would just be dead money in the UK.

Anonymous said...

its a shame its come to this, but what did we expect to be honest. the guy is a tit but a tit who is in power well so called. will he change not until many people have died and it becomes news only then will he challenge the other two tits.