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Blogger Neil Crowther has responded to yesterday’s report on the letter to Ban-Ki Moon, calling for the United Nations to condemn the Conservative Government for dismissing its findings on the violations of human rights here.
The Tories have been found guilty of systematic violations of the rights of people with disabilities, according to the UN.
Mr Crowther suggests that complaining to the UN is “wasted energy”. Unfortunately he goes on to suggest two courses of action that are themselves a waste:
- The whole point of the inquiry was to shine a light on UK government support for people with disabilities – that work has been done; and
- It is pointless to discuss the amount of money spent on UK government policies when it has already been established that the policies themselves are at fault.
The article does make some very good points about the timing of the UN report’s publication – forced to take place during the week of the US Presidential election thanks to the complicity of the right-wing Mail on Sunday, so it would be buried beneath coverage of Trump.
But the fact is that this effort has quite clearly succeeded, therefore a new angle is needed, in order to revive interest.
A letter to Ban-Ki Moon is a new angle; revisiting arguments that have already been made is not.
Some have concluded that the government has complacently dismissed an inquiry report by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into the devastating impact of austerity measures since 2010. I believe they are wrong and the government is on the run.
Why try so hard to bury bad news if you are so confident that the news is inaccurate, or its implications so light?
Perhaps it’s because this is the beginning not the end of a process, one that will refuse to go away for some time and which will become tougher as time goes by.
As President Obama would say, now is the time to focus. Complaining to the government, or to the Secretary General of the United Nations, about the tone of the government’s response is wasted energy. Did anyone really expect them to say ‘its a fair cop’ and to embrace the criticism? Instead our focus has to be on unpicking the government’s arguments:
- Yes, money isn’t everything and there’s more to life than social security, so let’s shine the light on how well government is supporting people to escape poverty, to exercise choice and control and to participate fully in practice – what is happening to people’s everyday opportunities? Just how far will the proposals in the Green Paper, or action to implement the Care Act go to address these issues?
- But with respect to the money, let’s not let the government get away with its glib claim to be spending more today than in 2009-10. Let’s ask how much it would have been spending were it not for cuts, count the human cost of those cuts, and also scrutinise just how well the considerable amount of public money is being spent in support of human rights.
In forcing publication of the UN Committee’s findings and its own response and publishing the Green Paper the government has provided a major opportunity to put it to the test.
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