I’ve seen a lot of talk on the internet recently about libel and how it is unfair to wrongly and without truth bring down somebody’s good name. Yet disabled people who rely on benefits have the same thing done to them and it is treated as if it is all right.
This is done in a lot of different ways, including portraying things in a way that is not true. For me one of the biggest lies is this idea that disabled people fall into either one of two neat groups – fit for work or not fit for work. This ‘either or’ fallacy ignores a large grey area – limited capability for work. The fallacy is put forward by the hateful media, but it usually begins with the government itself. I know it is wrong for all sorts of reasons that come up in my head, but I can think of two officially recognised reasons too:
The fact that there are provisions relating to people doing ‘permitted work’ while on Incapacity Benefit and now ESA means that it is officially recognised that it is not as ‘black and white’ as being either ‘fit for work’ or not. This is like an accidental confession that the DWP and government are aware of this.
Secondly, the fact that there is a ‘Work Related Activity Group’ of ESA in between the support group and JSA shows the same thing – that it is not as ‘black and white’ as being either ‘fit for work’ or not.
Yet the media and even the government keep putting forward this ‘false dilemma’ even though they know that it is not accurate and that it promotes suspicion and even hatred of disabled people. It is a ‘libel’ against a large group of (often very vulnerable) people.
The sad thing is that this witch-hunt does not help anybody. It just causes a lot of stress, worry, poverty and illness which push people further away from the workplace.