The Last Leg, the flagship Channel 4 comedy show known for its advocacy for disabled people, has just scraped the bottom of a barrel that was already pretty low.
Anna Soubry. On, again.
Anna Soubry was once again a guest on Friday 22 February. I say once again, because her last appearance resulted in uproar on Twitter. This led to host Adam Hills having to acknowledge [from 1:40] on the show that people weren’t happy. He subsequently questioned her on her voting record – to which she gave a non-answer.
Why the uproar? Quite obviously because Soubry was part of the Coalition government cabinet, and subsequent Tory-led one, that pushed through some of the most noxious welfare reforms in living memory. She voted for most if not all of them as well.
“Grave” and “systematic” human rights violations
These reforms were slammed by the UN as causing “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights, resulting in a “human catastrophe” for them. That was just two of five UN reports into successive governments’ treatment of sick, disabled and poor people since June 2016.
An Oxford University study found that at least 590 people had taken their own lives, due in part to the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Work Capability Assessment.
Tens of thousands dead
Meanwhile, nearly 30 people a day have been dying on the DWP’s watch, either waiting for benefit decisions or when the department told them they were ready to move towards work. Then, the DWP was forced to reveal 21,000 people died waiting for it to pay them money it owed them.
Sick and disabled people have been persecuted by the Tories, sometimes to the point of death. Hills himself said on The Last Leg that the Tories were effectively carrying out a “genocide” against disabled people.
So all that begs the question: if The Last Leg is such a strong advocate for disabled people’s human rights, why have a guest on who was part of ‘systematically’ violating them?
Since it began, The Last Leg has become increasingly ‘mainstreamed’. It used to be a fairly radical show, especially regarding its view on disabled people’s treatment under the Conservatives. But with ratings come restrictions, and it’s become more and more obvious that the programme is kowtowing to keep its prime time slot.
It’s probably a reflection of the show’s producers, whom one imagines have been salivating at the formation of The Independent Group. Centrist ejaculations all round.
But moreover, and lets be honest, Hills and his co-hosts Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker don’t live in the same world millions of disabled people do.
Middle class, utterly detached
Hills and Brooker specifically, having impairments, have probably never had the constant fear of a brown envelope dropping through their letterbox. They’ve probably never had to attend multiple fit-for-work assessments; desperately trying to prove how ill they are just to scrape together a few pennies under Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
And ultimately, these middle class, obvious liberals (the constant baiting of Jeremy Corbyn is a fairly good indicator) probably don’t give that much of a shit. Because if they did, they’d protest at their producer’s choice of guest in Soubry. The carnage her and her ilk have meted upon disabled people is unparalleled in modern Western society.
They don’t give a shit because their comfortable little lives are sustained by their now mediocre excuse for a comedy show, which will happily promote snakes and charlatans like Soubry – who feign care with one hand while metaphorically punching disabled people with the other.
Hills, Brooker and Widdicombe are disability carpetbaggers, making money off disabled people’s misery.
Brooker managed to ask Soubry a question about her voting record on welfare-related issues on Friday’s show. But as usual she fobbed it off with another shameless display of spin.
“Shameless” best describes The Last Leg. Because its hosts and its team should be ashamed of themselves.
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