Brexit chaos has continued unabated this week with a petition to revoke Article 50 (A50) getting over four million signatures by 10am on 23 March. Also on 23 March was the #PutItToThePeople march in London.
Good for the “FBPE” crowd. Because while they obsess over the EU, there’s another petition out there. It’s calling for an inquiry into the deaths of disabled on the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) watch. Sadly it has only got around 0.25% of the signatures of A50 one. Perhaps a damning testament to how ludicrous the UK political arena has become.
So, we’re in a mess with Brexit. I won’t furnish you with an update. Because by the time I hit “publish” on this article the situation will probably have changed. But in the midst of all this chaos another petition is doing the rounds. It’s one that I think is far more important than the other, liberal wet dream.
Justice for Jodey
Justice for Jodey Whiting. Independent inquiry into deaths linked to the DWP…
Here’s the link:
If you want to read the full background and Jodey’s horrific story, please read John Pring’s Disability News Service article here. But as he wrote:
Relatives of six disabled people who died due to… (DWP) failings have backed a new petition to MPs that calls for an independent inquiry into deaths linked to the department’s actions.
The petition… says such an inquiry should also investigate potential misconduct by ministers and civil servants.
And it says that any evidence of misconduct contributing to serious harm or deaths of benefit claimants should be passed to the police for a possible criminal investigation.
The petition… brands DWP ‘institutionally disablist and not fit for purpose’.
And it calls on DWP to ‘urgently change its policies and administration of social security benefits to make the safety of all claimants a priority’.
Sadly, I think six people’s deaths under the DWP’s watch is just the tip of the iceberg. The figures back this up as well.
Tens of thousands. Dead.
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.
Meanwhile, 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.
This is on top of five successive UN reports, one of which slammed successive governments for committing “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights. And another which branded the situation a “human catastrophe”.
All of this is without the self harm, abject misery, poverty and mental torture which the DWP has had a hand in.
A bunch of odious shits
So, why so few signatures for this petition, yet so many for the A50 one? Of course, if you’ve signed both – I salute you. So please disregard this section.
Let’s be honest: of course the A50 petition would be more important to some (not all) of the FBPE group.
Some of them are Lib Dem supporters, who helped push through harsher DWP benefit sanctions in return for the Tories passing their 5p carrier bag charge. No, really.
Then, some of them are Labour supporters from the Blair school of thought. The same ideology that started the DWP on the path to a “human catastrophe”.
Also, some of them are ‘compassionate Conservatives’. You know the ones – the Anna Soubry’s of this world whom TV show (and alleged disability advocate) The Last Leg think is amusing to have on as a guest. Actually, Soubry and her ilk are the worst kind of Tories: feigning care with one hand while metaphorically punching disabled people with the other.
But moreover, politician’s and the media’s demonisation and “othering” of sick and disabled people over the years has got us to this point. A point where there can be tens of thousands of deaths and the public barely flinch.
Of course, sick and disabled people dying now (as in, right now, probably 30 today) is far less important than the self-serving motivations of these collective odious shits and their FBPE obsession.
Sorry, what do you want?
You can argue with me until you’re blue in the face that Brexit will make life worse for sick and disabled people. Maybe it will. But point me to the evidence of how the EU stopped five UN investigations, tens of thousands of deaths and immeasurable suffering caused by the Tories and the DWP, previously?
Also, explain to me how you will reform the inherently undemocratic, corporatist capitalist EU for the better, to improve the lives of sick and disabled people in this country – when the EU project itself will either implode, or become neoliberalism on steroids?
And tell me how revoking Article 50 and/or a People’s Vote will not play into the hands of the far-right figureheads, already embolden by the Brexit chaos, plus seemingly unrelenting in their racism even after the New Zealand massacre?
I personally think, as I did in 2016, we’re screwed either way. So we need to get on with the job of dismantling the current systems of power where we can affect them: in this country.
Stop the deaths, or get lost
The first part of that is to stop people dying. Unless my moral compass is completely skewed and I should be focusing on where people can fish after Brexit? Would that be better for you?
Seriously, screw the people who think Brexit is more important than people dying, right now, in this country. And screw the self-serving horse you rode in on. Also, screw those who’ll tell me ‘We don’t!’ yet can’t put the energy they have into the FBPE movement, into fighting for sick and disabled people.
Anyone else who has a shred of moral credibility and half a heart, please sign the DWP petition here.