Former Tory Oliver Flitcroft is urging disabled people to vote Labour in this Disability Now article.
This is DPAC’s response to his suggestions that they are the least bad option.
Labour must join Disabled People protesting on the streets. Until then, it can not have our support.
In the midst of a crisis, with Disabled people bearing the brunt of all government spending cuts, there have been few if any voices coming out in our support. Where we speak, we are not heard. Where we stand we are not seen. Society has turned its back on us. Instead, it faces the screens of the televisions where daily doses of government propaganda and ‘scrounger rhetoric’ convince all those unaffected directly that ‘the disability problem’ is one that this country would be better off without. And so, among other tactics, we take our protests to the streets.
Disability Now yesterday published an interview with former Tory councillor Ollie Flitcroft appealing for disabled people to vote Labour. An appeal seemingly based on the notion that Labour are the ‘only viable alternative’ to the ConDems. Further claiming that “the tactics used by groups like Disabled People Against Cuts are not sophisticated enough to result in any long-term progress”.
To this, DPAC responds by clearly saying that not being Conservative or Liberal democrat is in no way a strong enough reason to vote for Labour. It suggests that we must settle – settle for the devil we don’t know, because the Devil we do know is so bad, nothing else could be worse. But Flitcroft forgets that we do indeed know of this other beast. We know it was Labour that implemented the Work Capability Assessments that are driving Disabled people to their deaths – the ConDems have simply taken this Labour toy and played with it. We know that, despite all that has unfolded since about the toxic nature of these tests, Labour has refused to stand up, admit their mistake, and apologise to the disabled community for the havoc it has wrought. We know that Miliband has, on several occasions, actively attacked disabled people. We know that he has, famously, met a man with only one arm, and saw fit to use this man as an example to open his speech on welfare reform as an example of someone ‘not taking responsibility’ and ‘shirking their duties’ for not being able to find work in today’s massively competitive and unsupportive job market where one can work with only one arm. We know that, time and time again, the Labour party have not only failed come out in criticism of the huge assault on the rights and very existence of disabled people in this country, but have at key points actively participated in the widespread cultural deamonisation of the disabled. And in response DPAC say that we will NOT settle for the lesser of two evils. Why indeed should we cast our votes for a party that is open in their hatred of us, just a little less hateful than the others?
DPAC, and other allied groups such as Black Triangle, protest from time to time on the streets. Street protests are one of many tools, and sometimes necessary. A street protest forces those who will not hear or see to walk around us. It says ‘We are here. We have an issue. Why are you not listening?’ DPAC also work closely with many other disabled peoples organisations, and together we have drawn up the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto, recently launched in the houses of parliament. This manifesto lays out seven priority demands, which not only clearly demonstrate what we as disabled people stand for but how and why they can be achieved, for the good of all. That spokespersons for the Labour party not only have not signed up to this manifesto, but do not even know of its existence is testament to exactly why we must keep campaigning on the streets as well as elsewhere.
And when the Labour Party join us on the street, join us, stand (or sit) sholder to sholder with us, and sign up to our vision of a truly inclusive society, then, perhaps, we could consider voting Labour. Until then, we must deal with a divided so-called ‘left’ that is mostly indistinguishable from the right. We must look with hopeful anxiety to newly forming parties such as Left Unity for it is clear that the Labour party are not listing.
The UK Disabled People’s Manifesto: Reclaiming our Futures can be downloaded from: https://dpac.uk.net/2013/09/uk-disabled-peoples-reclaiming-our-futures-manifesto/