If there is a time in British History that mattered for disabled people then this is it! The battle between welfare and inclusion, a medical model approach or a social model one, and between the past and the future is clearer than it has ever been and the issue is set to become clearer. if the welfare reforms have done anything then it has brought the prejudices towards disabled people by the welfare activists to the surface for everyone to see.
Before this time, the concept of inclusion as a goal was publicly unchallenged out of a desire of political correctness for a whole decade or two, but that does not mean everyone deep down believed in the full inclusion of disabled people. Now, in the name of welfare, those who oppose inclusion have found a voice and ability to justify themselves in terms of protecting the vulnerable, a misuse of the concept of hate crime to frighten people back into institutionalised support, as well as scaremongering over supposed poor ‘rushed and impersonal’ care services and unfounded poverty.
It looks like welfare campaigners have seized the moment but they have merely gained a voice, and it in now time for the inclusion activists like myself to gather evidence and plan the next stage of the battle as people realise it is time to pick sides, and those who commit to both have in reality committed to neither.
This is the moment that matters for disabled people and I hope it will be the moment where the welfare agenda made way for the inclusion agenda to ensure all disabled people are seen as fully contributing members of society, not just objects of pity.
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