NAPOLEON was wrong. Britain is not a nation of shopkeepers but a nation of scroungers.
Successive governments have claimed that this country is full of malingerers claiming benefits to which they are not, never have been, entitled. We do so love the notion of a scrounger, don’t we? We’re forever peering at the neighbour with her disability parking permit to see if she forgets to limp when she returns from shopping. Or the neighbour who goes to sign on in a wheelchair but we’ve seen him up a ladder, cleaning windows in his spare time, haven’t we?
Now, in the so-called progressive society of 2012, people deemed too sick or disabled to be in employment are being refused benefits because the work fitness test is a total disaster area. The Government bangs on about disabled people being better off in work. Duh! Of course. But, not if they can’t.
Yes, I know there are scroungers out there. There always will be people who don’t want to work. The real problem is that we have created a culture of dependence among the able-bodied while, simultaneously, disempowering disabled people by putting them in a special box and leaving them there to fester. Why doesn’t someone DO something constructive for people on Incapacity Benefit instead of relentlessly plotting against them?
Introducing forms for claiming benefits which don’t take a year to fill in might be a start. Do politicians have any idea how unintelligible these forms are? How time-consuming? How impertinent the questions they contain?
We need to help claimants realise their full potential. You can’t do this by signing them off work for good and glory. You do it by sorting out their immediate financial problems and concerns. By all means help sick and disabled people aim for a job at some time in the future but don’t steal their benefits beforehand.
When you remove hope from those who have been labelled disabled, there is very little left. That is why making life even harder for the sick and disabled should be a criminal offence. Unfortunately, it is what we Brits do best.