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Monday, 21 October 2013

We are the experts.

We are the experts.
A letter a day to number 10. No 545.
Tuesday 22 October 2013. We are the experts.
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Dear Mr Cameron,
Disability Minister Mike Penning said it is morally wrong people get welfare ‘for life’.
I think it’s time we cleared up a few misconceptions and distorted facts about disability and who has the right to make such judgements and it is certainly not Mike Penning.
The first issue is one of respect. The expert on any one persons disability is the person who experiences it and lives with it day by day, year on year. Doctors and specialists may well be experts in their fields of medicine and diagnosis but they are not experts in the lived experience of disability and how to manage it, that expertise belongs exclusively with the disabled person who gains experience and understanding year after year. For Mike Penning, who is several times removed from assessment, diagnosis and real experience, to make the kind of judgement he has is pure ignorance.
Doctors and specialists are support workers, no matter how expert they may be in their fields, if they fail to listen to their client/patient then they are as likely to do as much harm as good and only a fool could pretend otherwise.
The entire DWP and Atos assessment procedure is based on fundamental flaws and paternalistic attitudes towards people; that of treating the assessed as fools who know nothing of their own needs, of treating them as objects for others to make decisions about, as hostiles trying to milk the system and as a mere drain on the economy. The big mouth at the top is, of course, Iain Duncan Smith, who has no idea what he is talking about on any issue affecting ordinary people. He’s a well heeled, pampered, politician and as such he is as clueless about us as the day is long, but what a mouth he has!
We, disabled people, do not need disabling further by clueless career monkeys towing the party line, we need support. The current situation is not our fault, nor the fault of the sixty odd million other ordinary people in this country. All the failures are at the top, and those failures are being forced downwards by the arrogant and uncaring, ignorant.
Living with disability is not a money issue, though it is a vital side issue on which our lives do depend, but the real issue is how we manage our lives in the face of our disability. Mike Penning has got off on the wrong foot because, like you and IDS, when it comes to the real world, he has no idea what he is talking about. Take my word on this, because I am an expert, the able bodied are often the most disabled around disability, as Penning clearly is.
— in Peasedown Saint John.
Keith Ordinary Guy

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