While I was on holiday I was keeping up with my Twitter feed, and I was amused when I had a tweet from Sue Marsh on Boxing Day threatening to ’sue my pathetic arse’ for slander and the many things she believed I incorrectly said about her. My first reaction was that it was very odd for her to lose her cool and perhaps she had one too many Sherrys in the indulgence of Christmas, especially as she usually gets some of her many minions to do the insulting on her behalf, since the boss never likes dirty hands, do they?
Sue’s threat was not the first I had in 2013, and I assume there will be plenty more this year. I know there are all hot air, especially if there was made in the apparent safety of Twitter, where they are trying to impress their followers more than anything else. If people would to email me with a sensible rational email that avoid the usual and unusual insults, then maybe then I would take it seriously. Even if it was serious, I am honestly not frightened and I really look forward to the fun of what would be a hilarious court case.
To successfully sue me for defamation of character’, they would need to prove what I said was incorrect, and I mean everything I say. While my weakest and strength is that I get straight to the point, I am more than happy to join the dots and there is a theoretical creditability to everything I say, which I don’t others realise I have since they may just say things without thought.
Then to claim damages, the whole point of this very middle class action, Sue and others would have to prove my actions had lost them earnings. This is very interesting since this would firstly be a huge admission that I was someone quite important to them, and secondly, what lost earnings can they declare if they are supposedly on benefit and unable to work?
So as the threats keep flying as I expose the truth behind the actions of many so-called disability activists, I say bring it on and if you have money to waste on providing me some great entertainment, I look forward to it.
As the year of 2013 draws to a close, it is time to think about 2014 and consider what it has in store for disabled people on a political level, and I am not sure there is much good news here. While I have, as always, high hopes for my own situation in the coming 12 months, I fear for disabled people on a political dimension that there will be a continuation of the confusion, lies, mistruths and negative portrayal that has dogged us since 2010, and that does not include the actions of the government!
I feel disabled people’s biggest problem right now is that the issue of disability has been well and truly hijacked by the anti-cuts movement as they use the issue as their main weapon of attack. This is also true of what I am now calling the ‘work shy’ movement, a movement that likes to call themselves the ‘sick and disabled’ movement but I feel it is unfair and wrong for these people to claim to represent all sick and disabled people, when they are simply about one way of thinking, and that is a way I find quite offensive.
The ‘work shy’ movement is led by people like Sue Marsh, and Kaliya Franklin (better known as Bendygirl), who represent a negative ‘medical model’ way of thinking about disability, where ignoring 40 years of disabled people explaining they are citizens who face societal barriers, believe disabled people are naturally inferior who therefore can not work, despite them both now working as full-time ‘work shy’ activists. Their thinking is made worst by a pro-welfare ideology that assumes disabled people, as well as the unemployed in general, have a greater right to be dependent on the state, because of the pity of the middle class, than the right to be fully contributing members of society. The fact Sue Marsh invites members of her ‘work shy’ community to shred tears at the sight of people she considers too profoundly disabled for her imagination to bear, which would include myself if she did not know who I was, demonstrates the damage to society the workshy movement is doing.
The life of this parliament has been shadowed by the actions of the newly formed ‘work shy’ movement and the only hope I have for 2014 is that the possibility that is success of this terrible movement has peaked and that we can now start to move forward as we approach hopefully a new Labour government. There is only so many times this movement can complain about cuts that has not materialised in the all out chaos they hoped, so many times there can turned the fact the government, particularly Ian Duncan Smith, has misquoted a statistical figure by 0.1% into a media scandal, and so many times they can publish reports they claim contain facts where they refuse to provide evidence, describing themselves as political prisoners to excuse their CIA-like actions.
It is interesting to note that the big project of the ‘work shy’ movement in 2013 was the ‘Wow petition’, a desire to turn disability social policy back 150 years, and while it did reached the necessary signatures, considering the supposed public support it had, it just managed to limp past the finishing post, offering real disabled people hope that maybe, the tide is turning and we can begin to focus on more positive things, that are actually relevant to the real lives of real sick and disabled people.
So as 2014 sees the race to the next general election begin and where people, including the media, will be looking for solutions, rather than an another round of “I told you so”, the holes of the ideology of the ‘work shy’ movement may be further exposed, not just by brave or stupid souls like myself, and their creditability may be shattered, as history could and should regard them as a short-lived movement that was a small scar on the liberation of disabled people. If this is indeed the case, and 2014 will see the demise of this dreaded movement, please do remember you heard this prediction here first!
For many disabled people working in the field as consultants and activists including myself, the welfare reforms have dominated the agenda since 2010 pushing so many other issues, like grassroot sport and quality of wheelchair services, to the sidelines. But the big question and frustration is in terms of disability, is it really possible to have a proper debate on the issues around the welfare reforms? I fear the answer is certainly not and I now have some direct and personal evidence that demonstrates this.
Just a few weeks ago I wrote a blog for Huff Post on some urban myths that exists in my opinion in terms of welfare reforms inviting people to properly explain them to me with some evidence, something I am still waiting for. At the same time and coincidentally I wrote an article on another website where I explained carefully and thoroughly why I was currently exploring working ‘with’ ATOS, someone I am 110% not employed by despite the urban myth that has now been created about me. Putting the two articles together and I would have got less flak if I have declared myself a Nazi!
I knew my articles would be controversial but I have received more abusive and hateful comments in two weeks than I could have imagined possible on Huff, on Twitter, on Facebook and on countless socialist and anti-ATOS websites. The comments have not been discussion points but hate filled personal attacks and trolling. I have been called everything under the sun and I had every aspect of my life judged on lies and myths. And if I defend myself I am have been met with more abuse and told to stop playing the victim of what is clearly the disability hate crime they so easily complain about when they feel it happens to them.
One Facebook ‘like’ of the urban myth article started yesterday afternoon has received so far 116 comments, mostly insulting who I am as a person rather than what I said. And I know this article will result in further abuse by people who will not realise the fact they are digging in own graves by their continued abuse of myself but simply see the word ATOS and simply see red mist. So just for them – ATOS ATOS ATOS ATOS!
I can now reach the conclusion that because of a minority of hostile sick and disabled people who have very sadly trapped themselves into being the victim in a government conspiracy they have created, too many commentators, politicians and activists are too scared to say what they really think as they do not wish to experience the same level of abuse I have and I am not at all surprised. I was bullied constantly at mainstream big school for many years and this has made me very thick skinned so I really do not care I am so hated.
Some poor unsuspecting people make comments on the issues not realising the trouble it will cause for them. An example of this is Dr Phil Peverly who recently said in an article that he believes if Stephen Hawkings can work than why can’t most of the people he sees at his GP surgery who are sick and claiming to be unable to work. Like myself, he would had received a better reaction if he also declared himself a Nazi, which is a joke by the way, neither of us are Nazis before people start attacking us for being Nazis! As well as lots of abusing comments, what I find more concerning and unacceptable is that two extremist groups have published his work’s physical address. In this age of social media, I really worry the only reason to do that is to incite someone to visit him with the intention of a physical altercation!
While we have some interesting TV programmes like Channel 4’s “Benefits Britain 1949”, which could be useful starting points to discuss the current and potential future reforms, they are dismissed as ‘poverty porn’ and government propaganda (despite it being a Labour government in 1949) by people who actually believe we live in George Orwell’s 1984!
I once again have to conclude most people who understand the situation and the fear induced hatred that exists on the subject just do not know how to stand up and be counted. It is only a few brave souls or perhaps crazy idiots like myself who are prepared to properly stand up and fight to be heard. I am outraged that as a disabled person all my life, for four decades, I have had my own issues stolen from me by a bunch of sick and disabled people who will verbally abuse anyone who refuses to support their paranoid socialist victimhood ideology that berates me for working, for being positive and even for smiling.
It is therefore not at all possible to have any sensible debate on the welfare reform and I fear for many disabled people, free speech and the right to have your own political views are a thing of the past as mob rule certainly wins.
I know there are certainly a few readers out there who would happily label me a Conservative although it is far from the truth as I simply shudder at some of their policies, others you know me better may argue I have certainly Labour but again, I don’t like all their policies. The reality is that my personal politics is made up of policies for all parties and includes my own ideas. I do not support or berate the government as a whole and examine each policy individually based on my own opinion, not what I believe I must think to please others.
I will work with any government and any political party which I believe can assist me in delivering my personal goals of improving the lived experience and life opportunities of all disabled people, particularly those with significant impairments. As I have send before, it is getting involved to make a real difference, not simply throwing rocks from the outside, and being political does not mean having a sign up to one way of thinking.
Regular readers may have realised I am not a fan of collective movements and the supposed power of ‘we’. My experience and indeed bitter experience has made me realised no one individual can represent a whole group of individuals and they are foolish to do so.
As a consultant and activist, I report what I see including the diversity of opinion which may exist on an issue. I have what I believe to be the best interest of disabled people in mind but from my perspective and without claiming to represent the body of disabled people.
I therefore get offended when others try to impose their beliefs as the beliefs of all disabled people because it suits their agenda. How many people, and disabled people, really care about ATOS or hate crime outside the small political force which dominates the current politics of disability?
People can have a opinion on anything but the minute they claim to have the mandate to represent me as a disabled people especially the new movement who keep their identity secret while writing on behalf of ‘the people’, they have overstepped the mark and I for one refuse to have my voice stolen in this way.
If you like what I say, have a look at my website at http://www.simonstevens.com or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74
In exploring further what some disabled people mean when they talk about hate crime, the recent issue that keeps coming up in their concern at how newspaper portray people who are claiming disability related benefits. They incite a few articles that they say talk about “benefit scum” although I have not read these articles. And by newspapers, they are talking about ‘the Sun’ and I do question if that can be used a newspaper.
I think we are going down a very dangerous path if we are challenging free speech because we don’t like what we are. Those who are fighting against free speech in the name of hate crime are often making wild accusation and spreading hatred of individuals and organisations themselves with far less editorial restraint than the newspapers they are complaining about.
I believe we must protect free speech at all costs because when we start questioning what people can and can not say then we give it greater status which makes it more attractive as a underground believe no one can challenge. Free Speech is our only safeguard to ensure we can challenge what others think.
I used to consider myself a liberal until I realised it was a out of touch thinking which remains the luxury of the true middle class as I play chess and intellectualise the lives of others. Please understand that I do believe in many of the principals of liberalism like fairness and equal but in the context of the real world.
The liberal response to the welfare reforms has really stuck me at how my views has developed and how even amongst disabled people, the real medical model pity for disabled people has shined bright even when it is wrapped up in the myth of so-called social model civil and human rights, which has been corrupted to keep disabled people empowered.
The most worrying thing to see is how a liberal desire to protect the rights of people with minor impairments to be disabled, often delaying their emotional recovery, rehabilitation enablement and empowered, they are inadvertently putting the lives of significantly impaired people at risk.
The constant calls for unity amongst ‘disabled people’ will see the secret slaughter of those now seen beyond help as the minor impaired fight to make myself appear worthless victims. An misplaced unaccountable trust in families and carers and the excuse of hate crime is being used as a reason for parents and probably soon professionals to murder the new sickness and disability movement’s own economic draining undesirables.
The war against real disabled people is not from the government but from the liberals who claim to be protecting us while in reality simply allowing others to steal our lives.
I was talking to friend and colleague a few weeks ago about many of my political beliefs and I was remarking that I support some of what this government is doing but not others. He responded, as regular reader of this blog, that I focus of ideas rather than politics or specific grand ideologies.
So rather than sticking as a fan of either socialism or capitalism, or somewhere in the middle, and just taking the consequences of supporting that, I look at what I specific want to see and what ideas I have to improving the life opportunities or experiences of everyone in a bigger picture. I believe in low taxes and value for money with a small effective efficient government but also a balance of enterprise, national policy and local government that ensures equal opportunities, fairness and ability those who make the effort regardless of their backgrounds. In each of these points, I have in my head I have detailed ideas of what I would do regardless of what political party may wish to claim as their own ideas.
So I am an ideas man and this is why I prefer working with the civil service on implementing change where the small detail matters rather than doing the hard core politics of winners and losers.