My morning routine involves going in the shower, getting dressed and eating breakfast before looking on Twitter to see what is going on. I use the list of ‘Trends’ to find out breaking transfer news (usually not Arsenal related) or to see if any celebrities have passed away overnight (pretty morbid I know). Thursday 18th July was no different. However, instead of being shocked by a death (like I was by the news of Cory Monteith a few days earlier), I could not believe that one of the topics was #DisabilityConfident. Two words that certainly do not go together.
I had my John McEnroe moment (watch this younger readers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekQ_Ja02gTY) when I discovered that the hash tag referred to a new government initiative. David Cameron stood up at a Disability Employment Conference in London (where the campaign was being launched) and without a hint of irony, delivered a speech about “doing what is right for disabled people”. Talk about a joke. It was hard enough to be disabled before 2010 but the vicious cuts that the ConDem’s are making lives even worse. Yes, Britain has to make sacrifices but the tightening of pursestrings is coming in all the wrong areas.
The whole ‘let’s get disabled people into work’ is a smokescreen and actually shows that ministers have no clue about the complex nature of disability. Of course, increasing the amount of disabled people in full time employment would mean less benefit claims and make the cuts seem insignificant. It’s not that easy though. The Government cannot just click their fingers and suddenly a disabled workforce appears. Other changes and improvements need to be made in society before employers are addressed. #DisabilityConfident is supposed to imply that disabled people have a bright future but like I said last week, all the signs are there of the UK returning to the dark ages.
Another problem with the conference was that the people at the top clearly don’t understand that every single disabled person is different. You wouldn’t say all black people are the same but it has become acceptable to suggest all wheelchair users are similar to Paralympic athletes. Some unemployed disabled people (like me) cannot actually work because of the physical and mental strains. I haven’t got it in me to work a job. It’s not that I’m lazy and choose to, my disability wouldn’t allow me.
That’s the real reason why I left University. My condition has got worse over the last year but more inside so it’s not noticeable to everyone else. Some days I struggle to get out of bed and my body just won’t let me work (that’s why I didn’t blog yesterday). At Uni, I used to go for a sleep in the day because the energy would drain from me instantly. Stress is another reason why a full-time job is impossible for me. I ended up in hospital with heart issues because of a stupid essay deadline. Soon after, I realised it wasn’t worth it. Leaving higher education and just writing when I can was the best decision I’ve ever made because it means I feel more like myself.
I just want people, especially Cameron and his cronies, to realise that not everyone can work. Yes, there are people who exaggerate illness to avoid getting a job but most would love to be able-bodied and employed but unless a cure is found, that is not going to happen. Also, think of a better name that reflects the truth. Maybe #VanishDisability or what you’re all thinking, #DisabledSkivers.
Bye for now!