Sunday, 2 December 2012

My Response To Lord Freud's Heartless 'Funeral' Comments

I was stunned by Lord Freud’s comments the other day. Something twisted in my stomach, and I wanted to throw the nearest object!

The ‘well, what do you expect?’ type attitude I got from some people I spoke to afterwards, didn’t even begin to cover it!

Firstly, ‘the poor should take more risks because they have less to lose’ idea doesn’t even make sense to me, and I don’t think it would to anyone who understood what it is like to struggle financially.

For those that have to live on a tight budget (and in more and more cases lately) have to choose between heating and eating, the idea of taking risks with what money you do have is a scary one. You can’t take risks with little or no ‘disposable income’ because every penny counts and you spend most of your life hoping that the proverbial ‘rainy day’ never comes.  

To me and many others those comments alone showed a fundamental lack of understanding that has been central to this government and their policies.  

 According to a May 2012 article in the Telegraph, the cabinet is worth seventy million pounds (source:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9290520/Exclusive-Cabinet-is-worth-70million.html ). How then can they possibly claim to understand the hardship increasing numbers of people e are facing in today’s society? They can’t!

Many of them have been wealthy from birth and have had all the privileges and opportunities that go along with it. This brings me (albeit briefly) onto another important point. Why are we allowing ourselves to be so many clearly ‘out of touch’ elites?

Personally, I think it’s time for some big changes. There should be no more so called ‘career politicians’  who have been fast tracked as a result of who they know, where they went to school and how much money their family have. We need people who have at least lived a ‘real’ life and known what it’s like to do a ‘proper’ day’s work.

I’m a big believer in the idea that the experiences you have in life shape you as a person. If you haven’t experienced an ‘everyday life,’ it is going to seem distant from you and you will view things differently. The decisions being made will not have any impact on the people making them, so they don’t concern themselves with the consequences of their actions.

All this ties in rather nicely with further comments made by Lord Freud in the same interview. He was asked what he knew of a life where having ten pounds less to spend would make a difference? I was impressed by the guts of the interviewer in asking such a question, but the Minister’s response made my blood run cold. He said  

“We have a lot of information feedback and listen a lot, so I think we can absorb the information about what it takes and what’s required…I think you don’t have to be the corpse to go to a funeral, which is the implied criticism there.”

Several expletives and a calming conversation with some friends later, I had just about resisted the urge to throw something at the radio!

What hit me first was the total insensitivity of his comments. There is an average of seventy three deaths per week as a result of Welfare Reform. Deaths of the most vulnerable, ill and disabled people in our society who have either been found wrongly ‘fit for work’ by ATOS and died later or those who had been left feeling so fearful and desperate at the thought of life without vital benefits, that they saw no option but to take their own lives! With that in mind those comments are even sicker than they might first appear.

I was disgusted at the heartlessness of the man. These deaths are happening as a result of policies which he has put in place and to me it felt like he was rubbing our noses in it.  

I couldn’t help but think of the corpses of the people that have died as a result of this, and it isn’t an image any of us campaigners really want to be reminded of. It adds to the anxiety and fear that we already feel on a daily basis. We are confronted over and over again by the reality of what’s happening to us – just because we have the misfortune to be ill and disabled. His comments compounded all that and actually, made me feel physically sick.

May I remind you Lord Freud, that when you attend someone’s funeral, it usually means that you cared about them,  and you valued their life. You have no such feelings about the lives of the poor, disabled and ill. Your comments showed that we are worthless to you and your government. If we weren’t you would never have made them!

If it was up to me, Lord Freud would resign. His comments were despicable and unforgivable. The attitude of this whole government towards the sick and disabled is embodied right there, in the attitude of one man. I was left feeling worthless temporarily, but it made me more determined than ever to fight back, and I did that through writing this article.

I am not a corpse! My life and the lives of thousands of others like me, has meaning and value even if you and your government can’t see it!  It is you that are the corpses because you clearly don’t have an ounce of understanding or compassion. You have no right to make judgements on us.

1 comment:

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