The government believes the vulnerable have to subsidise the strong. Labour must force a climbdown
The discomforting truth is that the government is indeed paying for tax cuts for the rich and for its own economic failures through money stripped away from disabled people. And it believes it can get away with this with minimal repercussions. One of its hopes is that disabled people will simply be invisible. They are more atomised than, say, an organised workforce. Their mobility may be limited, and they may lack money, making it difficult to travel to, say, London to protest.
There are striking exceptions. Disabled People Against Cuts, for example, has staged determined, militant demonstrations against government attacks. Disabled activists have often used the world of social media effectively too.
But Labour must surely make this latest attack on disabled people a political priority. There are reports that even some Tory backbenchers are refusing to accept this latest attack – many of them have to meet disabled people in their surgeries, after all – and we often forget that the Conservatives have a small majority.
That some Tory MPs are jittery may reflect weakening public acceptance of cuts hitting disabled people. Labour needs to lead a public offensive with the aim of maximising a Tory rebellion, focusing on examples of individuals affected by these cuts: people relate better to stories, rather than statistics. The government was forced to partially climb down on cuts to tax credits. Our democracy has to prove that the rights of sick and disabled people matter: let another government retreat be the evidence.
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