Tuesday, 28 February 2012

"Fun" in The Sun

The Sun have played a blinder. The day after they launch their new Sunday paper they are accused of paying for information on an industrial scale and the following days frontpage predictably ignores the story everyone else is covering.

They splash with the story of a woman on disability benefits living her life, or as they prefer to represent it, cheating tax payers of their hard earned cash because she has, according to her, a fluctuating disability and is pictured on a rollercoaster.

The front page seems to have her beginning  to explain what it means to have a fluctuating condition- which will be ignored as the paper plays to the gallery of hate baying for blame in these days of austerity. She’s been branded a liar and a cheat with the finest example of disability ignorance I’ve ever seen “She’s disabled? Well then how can she ride a roller coaster?”

My children are disabled. They ride roller coasters. They walk and talk and everything.

The dirty little cheats.

The scummy little benefits thieves I’m harbouring in my home, do many things without the aid of a wheelchair or cane or leg braces. They are prevented from doing many more because of their hidden disability, they are prevented not just by their condition but by the fact that society has always been uncomfortable with difference. Now it’s being actively whipped up to spout hatred.

As the Sun brings us smiling semi naked women on page three, displayed for the sweaty and sad to dibble over, it is, it assures us, more than equipped to preach chapter & verse on majority morality.

It is hell-bent on exposing the liars and thieves who live and breathe and lie and thieve their way to luxury mansions and cars.

Who needs facts when you are the gang leader? Who needs truth that fraud accounts for a tiny percentage of money lost by the DWP. The bullying Sun has a story to spin and and policy to bring.

Welfare won’t reform itself and if the majority ground isn’t well prepared then too many people will oppose the Bill. You only have to see the way the Health and Social Care Bill is taking a beating to know that. People love the NHS they are vocal in their concern and distrust and their voices are being added to everyday by Doctors and Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors.

Dear God if The Welfare reform Bill received the same kind of community questioning the whole thing may just fail. If people actually knew what is being planned for disabled people, which could be any of us at anytime, what then?

Everyone apparently “knows” a benefit cheat. Really? Do they? Or have they simply read about them in the filthy rags, which peddle the myth of disability cheat as the norm- not the exception. The propaganda myth is being deployed so effectively, so thoroughly that people are not stopping to question any of the rhetoric being peddled. The Sun is the champion of the “report a benefit cheat” hotline. The urban myth of the disability scrounger, liar and cheat is the most shameful propaganda peddled since Nazi Germany rose to power. This is bullying on a massive unprecedented scale and yet another day brings another headline.

But something truly frightening has evolved from all this nonsense. People have become so brainwashed so desensitized by the same tales churned and rechurned as news that they have stopped looking for people faking it.

A threshold has been reached and surpassed but people seem to have developed a taste for hatred and the scapegoats are “perfect” for bullies.

Because so many have a vulnerability, a fragility present since birth or acquired in life this doesn’t give anyone the right to vent their anger at the actions of bankers on Wall Street. A global financial meltdown has caused a trickledown of blame, which shamefully has caused disabled people to become the “perfect” target for the predators we are all becoming. Seemingly without even a pause, fingers are being pointed.

Sickening though it is genuinely disabled people are being routinely targeted by people on the streets with verbal and physical abuse. According to Scope this has risen by 75% in the last year.

So if you see this story and you will, thanks to the 24 hour news cycle, don’t be quick to applaud the outing of a liar. This woman has been given no anonymity millions of photos of her will be appearing everywhere tomorrow. She has no defence; she has been selected and targeted and the gangs of bullies who hate her and millions like her, will cheer.

When you see her photo remember that her life has been altered and ruined, altered by disability and ruined, by propaganda. Unlike the pampered luxury that many of our tabloid editors inhabit, disability isn’t a lifestyle choice. Disability chooses you not the other way around.

A ride on a rollercoaster isn’t a crime. When did that become the way we interact?  Why is she being treated like a criminal? We don’t have access to her medical records we don’t know the truth. We are being encouraged to arm ourselves with pitchforks and flaming torches and denounce someone we don’t know by The Sun.

(Here is the audioboo of this blog http://audioboo.fm/boos/688130-fun-in-the-sun )