May 282013

Many disabled people feel that none of the main political parties represent us: while the Condems are inflicting an unprecedented level of attack on disabled people’s rights and entitlements, we remember that it was New Labour who introduced Atos and the Work Capability Assessment and, much as Labour now tries to distance itself from the Blair and Brown years, they won’t even commit to scrapping the bedroom tax while failing to take a stand in defence of the welfare state.  

As things become ever more desperate for disabled people pushed into poverty and destitution, with independent living under greater and greater threat, people are searching for a way to escape the onslaught. One thing that is certain in these uncertain times is that UKIP is not the answer.

UKIP have undeniably rattled and inflicted defeats on the government. They have also succeeded in capturing the imagination of substantial sections of the electorate, pulling support away from the Tories. They are however nothing but bad news for disabled people.

UKIP has clearly been linked to racist, homophobic and disabilist attitudes. In December a UKIP county council candidate was investigated for advocating compulsory abortion of foetuses with spina bifida and Down’s Syndrome. Examples of racist attitudes displayed by UKIP members are too widespread to be disregarded as anomalies. The rise of a party linked so clearly to anti-equalities and intolerance of diversity is not something disabled people can afford to celebrate even when it does weaken the Tories.  

There does appear to have been a concerted effort by UKIP to reach out to disabled people’s groups to offer support and thereby contribute to building its own base. This does not mean that UKIP supports the principles of disability equality and independent living. Its policies are reactive, opportunistic and bigoted. Its focus on immigration is divisive, having the effect of shifting all the main political parties to the right, while diverting attention from the real issues, from the dismantling of the welfare state, the privatisation of the NHS and the attack on workers’ rights. They might succeed in blocking votes for the Condems but they are also holding back the development of a wider political consciousness that would actively fight for disabled people’s rights.

After the raft of benefit changes and cuts brought in from 1st April we saw real media attention focusing on welfare and a growing awareness among members of the public not yet personally affected by the cuts about the impact on disabled people – in spite of the lies and misrepresentations from Iain Duncan Smith. The rise of UKIP and their success in the elections has distracted the focus away from government attacks on the poorest and disabled members of society. Increasingly the problems caused by austerity are being blamed on government being soft on immigration instead of holding all political parties to account for the consequences of neoliberalism. 

UKIP is never going to protect the rights of disabled people but they are going to widen divisions in society and block the kind of collective mobilisation we need to effect the fundamental social changes necessary for achieving disability equality.


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  14 Responses to “Why the Rise of UKIP is dangerous for disabled people”

  1. I have just been to a pip assessment and to my astonishment got 0 points, i have been disabled for more than 20 years and my illnesses have become more acute but now because i could talk my jacket of and hold a pen i was deemed fit for work, Tories and labour pfft really talk about discrimination, what about when i cannot get out of bed or wake my wife up during the night because i have urinated due to bowel problems and oh did i mention my heart condition,triple bypass, angina stents,arthritis etc,sciatica, and more….

  2. Its terrifying to know what they can do only after the condems tear the first divides but the people who support them are worse than therr goverments as they reckon if you sterilize those out of work then it will help its disgusting and purely inhumain. If labour dont win we should all brace ourselves for the biggest nightmare society can face. Inside fighting riots and thats the start and if these dont happen then clearly its proof that our society has lost its humanity im not saying we should start riots but we cant let these scumbag goverment parties destroy the system that protects our most vulnerable. If there is a humain way to stop this stupidity please let me know because right now its absolutely neccassery.

  3. The Labour party HAS committed to scrap the bedroom tax.Evidence here 20 September 2013.

  4. Obviously, their attitudes are not news to most. The bit that scares me is that they may well hold some power in some councils after the local elections.

  5. I was a member of the Civil Service for 20yrs I was made redundent in 2009 I have hidden disabilities
    When I had to sign on for the first time the DWP staff member looked up my record and said “oh you were one of us” I really had to hold my tough from shouting back”I was never one of you barstewards”
    The scary thing is if UKIP got say a majority and the Tories, were in a position where they had to form a Coalition what would the fate of the most vunerable in society be? It’s terrible already but I dread to think what the future would be.

  6. on my second tribunal won the first only to get called back in for a further medical,if I loose this one i will appeal again.

  7. What goes around comes around. This apparent “support” of the DWP, which I expect is no more than a fake support, ie acquiescence/It doesn’t affect me so why should I care? Will come back to bite a lot more people. This is a situation that everyone needs to get involved in, but fear and apathy helps the divide and rule to continue for ever more. It is not even a party specific issue, but a lord/serf issue which will only be impacted by strong, consistent, mass dissaproval. Oh well, back to my armchair. 🙁

    • Well said, The DWP are at the centre of the problem head by the biggest bunch of idiots going

  8. Well said DPAC

  9. It is so true that UKIP are bad news – it’s no coincidence that their increase in support has happened at the same time as the demise of the BNP. They are almost trying to be the ‘acceptable’ face of BNP but, as the article above says, ‘Examples of racist attitudes displayed by UKIP members are too widespread to be disregarded as anomalies’. The Labour Party as a Party have effectively deserted the cause of those with disablities – I feel totally abandoned by a Party I have twice been a member of!! I do think, though, that the demonstrations that are taking place in the next few weeks may focus more people and, hopefully, the Labour Party in particular, to the savage way that people with disabilities have been treated by this Coalition Government and, over time, change their attititudes!!

    • We are living in frightening times, I agree that UKIP are bad news. So are the other so called main parties. I definitely DO NOT wont any of the far right parties or their members to gain any power in whatsoever form.

      At the moment after having another ATOS medical and reading the results! I am sadly seeing the line between Capitalism and Fascism getting thinner all the time. History has proven that it is always the down trodden, ill and disabled that are seen as easy targets for mistreatment. To me it seems that this capitalist society that we live in, we are nothing more than “Non Viable Economic Units”.

      Well they are wrong. We are a vast array of people from different backgrounds that do contribute to society through many different sources and media. We must protect and look after those of us who are unable or too ill to contribute to society. These parties and their foot soldiers dont seen to care about the welfare of any person who is not contributing to the money pit of this capitalist society.

      I add to these civil servants, party workers, MPs and ATOS that the defence of “I was only following orders” or ” I was told to do this” has not work in Crimes against Humanity Courts and did not work in the Nuremberg Trials, esp in the cases of gassing people including the disabled and people with learning difficulties.

      It takes only one person to look away for evil to happen. Thats why everyone in politics must be held accountable for every action they undertake and how they oversee people and outsourced contractors working for them.

      After reading my ATOS medical report I felt very angry, distressed at the complete work of fiction they wrote. I decided to appeal and fight them all the way.

      • So which party should we vote for ? i seriously have no clue anymore 🙁

        • Hi Simon. Interesting that you should ask such a question; it would appear you clearly want to vote but, even though you ask, it’s surely not for anybody but yourself to decide. My only 3 comments are 1) I think everybody should use their vote 2) it’s worth remembering that Hitler’s National Socialist Paty got voted into power in 1933 mainly as a result of total dissatisfaction with the Major Parties (and because of intimidation and misleading tactics!), and the consequences were disastrous for the World! 3) I am reluctantly voting for Labour in both the local elections and the European Union Elections, mainly because I want rid of this Coalition Government, and I have decided that I will use any opportunity to send that message to the LibDem/Conservative Coalition.

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