It’s a bit trite to quote Martin Niemöller every time your government targets a new section of the workforce for cuts, or starts blaming a new segment of the population for all the woes of the rest of us.
But when your government has mounted a dedicated campaign of what can only be described as ‘visceral hatred’ against the disabled, then it gets increasingly hard to avoid 1930s Nazi-party comparisons.
Take a look at some of these quotes.
Some are from senior figures in the Conservative Party, in relation to their Welfare Reform Bill – a bit of legislation so extreme it received seven major amendments from a Conservative-led cross-party opposition in the House of Lords.
(Of course, so determined is our Coalition Government to enact a bill which dramatically cuts welfare payments to disabled children and terminally ill cancer patients, while making 20,000 other families homeless, that they’re enforcing Financial Privilege – a 1671 law which means they get to ignore anything the House of Lords has to say about the bill)
The other quotes are taken from the Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases, a Nazi Party welfare reform bill defending the forced sterilisation of disabled people, which passed on July 14th 1933 – the produce of one of the most hideous regimes the world has ever known.
Now of course the current British government aren’t as abhorrent as the Nazi Party – and I’m not suggesting that Cameron is about to call for the purging of any ethnic groups, even if he is uncomfortably fervent about reducing immigration from very specific parts of the world.
But, as that’s the case, it should be pretty bloody easy to identify which of the following was said by a Nazi, and which was said by a Tory, shouldn’t it?
The disabled are an unfair burden on society, with lives unworthy of living.
In many households no-one is working because welfare has become so available.
They are incentivised, many of these families, to find more children so that they can stay out of work.
Those suffering from hereditary conditions are reproducing unrestrainedly while their sick and asocial offspring burden the community.
Most of these ‘victims’ seem to be single mothers from overseas, many of them suffering from a range of exciting ‘disabilities’.
Our state welfare system is unaffordable and morally indefensible; we should no longer support people who make the mistaken choice to live on state benefits
My point isn’t really that the British government are turning into Nazis, because they aren’t.
Hitler & co. were a special kind of evil.
But Cameron & co. are certainly using some of their tactics, and they’re targeting some of the same people – the UK is in the middle of a serious recession, and our PM wants us to blame someone so that we don’t all start blaming him.
He’s well aware that his “it was the last guy’s fault!” excuse is out of steam by now – but he can blame our joblessness and poverty on the lower-classes. He can blame it on immigrants. He can blame it on the sick and the disabled.
Because while we’re all blaming each other for our poverty, we won’t have the strength – or even the inclination – to fight the deep and meaningful cuts to our vital public services which he keeps insisting are so necessary.
We aren’t all in this together. But we could be.