If you are Deaf, you may, like me, have been sad and disappointed when one of our alleged supporters, Malcolm Bruce, voted to unleash a whole load of vicious social security cuts against Deaf and disabled people. Sad because of the misery and distress it will visit upon them, disappointed because Bruce holds a number of positions in relation to Deafness, including former trustee and current Vice President of Action on Hearing Loss. Vice President of the National Deaf Children’s Society. He also heads the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness and used to appear on See Hear.
Well, neither your sadness nor disappointment will be soothed by the latest news that Bruce has voted against carrying out a cumulative impact assessment on the effects of cuts on disabled people.
Let us be clear what was being asked for here. They were not asking for the suspension or reversing of any cuts, but simply that the impact of all these cuts on disabled people be measured – that is all. If the government is satisfied that they are doing the right thing by disabled people, why would they have any objection to this sort of request? Why would they not want to reassure disabled people who are concerned for their future and well-being?
If that was not bad enough, Bruce and his fellow bullies of disabled people voted in favour of an amendment praising the government’s record on disability. So, basically, they are saying ‘we don’t care what you, disabled people, think about how you are being treated, we have decided that we are treating you very well.’ To put it mildly, the principle of ‘involving disabled people’ seems to have been lost.
I don't know about you, but if I had to cast a vote that directly affected other people - especially people who could be said to be vulnerable and seldom heard - I would want to ask them what they think. Remember they were asking only that the impact of all the cuts on disabled people be measured. Mr Bruce chose not to do that and stuck his nose up in the air and swapped their judgment for his own. Now that takes a particular brand of contempt and arrogance.
Sue Marsh on Disabled people's lives will be ruined by sweeping cuts to services.
Michael Meacher on The Commons debate on Atos & government treatment of the disabled.