I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted by six years of chronic illness and seven years of Tory rule.
It seems like every time I go on Twitter – and most days I don’t go on at all – there are multiple new items of the harm this political party is causing to my friends.
I don’t feel I can carry on. This is why I often avoid any news outlet. But I’m also a disability researcher, and I can’t remain ignorant of what’s going on. I have to keep abreast of the major changes.
So I check the BBC and Telegraph. I open Facebook and Twitter. And it hits me.
A man with a rare condition has been told it’s just his personal choice whether or not he has a bath/shower (the heat triggers neurological attacks). So he can’t get the disability benefits he needs to manage his condition.
There are 3000 ‘excess deaths’ every year. These deaths are associated with fewer doctors per bed and higher bed occupancy rates; i.e., fewer doctors and fewer beds are associated with higher death rates. It is entirely the choice of the Conservative party that the NHS doesn’t have enough money to pay for these services.
People like me are expected by the Conservative party to houseshare. But only 2% of houseshares will accept benefit claimants. Where are we supposed to go?
That was just yesterday, in a ten minute window of checking the news as it relates to sick and disabled people. In other news, the parents of four neglected children were sentenced to 14 months in prison. The children, all under three, were found by police during a search for the children’s uncle. They were in a house where they had no food, that stank of urine and faeces, with the baby drenched in urine and the girl trapped under a bed. The boys were wearing nothing below the waist.
Why isn’t this country in outcry against a political party that, whatever its words, blatantly cares only for those who already have what they need? Why are the Tories still seen as the party that can manage the economy after seven years of mismanagement, and almost four decades of Thatcher’s neo-liberalism? The inequality in the UK and the global crisis have their roots in neo-liberal economics that says inequality doesn’t matter, markets don’t need governing, and economic crashes don’t happen.
The UK’s problem did not start when it, like the rest of the neo-liberal countries, didn’t see the financial crisis coming. It started when social democracy – the governance of markets for the good of the powerless – was scrapped in favour of neo-liberalism.
The consequences are what I and my friends live every day. We are sick, and can’t get the healthcare we need. We are homeless, and can only get housing if our close relatives are rich enough to support us. We are cold and hungry, and can’t afford the basic necessities. We need peace, and all we get is the constant message that we are worthless unless we work, we don’t deserve even the modicum of support that we get, and it could be taken away at any time.
Chronically sick and disabled people just don’t matter to the Conservative party.