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Handicap & Soutien

Les réformes du bien-être au Royaume-Uni sont-elles une forme de haine ou de crime de haine contre le handicap?

Auteur: Paul Dodenhoff : Contact: Paul Dodenhoff: Bio

Publié: 2020-02-18 : (Rév. 2020-04-20)

Synopsis:

Paul Dodenhoff écrit sur les crimes de haine liés au handicap et sur une possible question sensible et controversée parmi les organisations de personnes handicapées et les groupes de campagne.

Points clés:

  • Les crimes de haine commis contre des personnes handicapées sont aussi vieux que les collines, ce n'est donc pas un phénomène nouveau et il n'est donc pas causé par un parti politique ou un autre – ni par aucun gouvernement.
  • Les politiciens ont autant de préjugés que le reste d'entre nous, ils ne sont qu'humains après tout et sont sans doute armés de diverses faiblesses humaines.

Résumé principal

J'ai longuement réfléchi avant de décider d'écrire cet article, car il peut s'agir d'un sujet controversé parmi les organisations de personnes handicapées et les groupes de campagne – tous avec une approche différente. Mais c'est une question qui m'a sans aucun doute été posée à maintes reprises par des personnes handicapées individuelles – et pendant plusieurs années.

Certes, certaines personnes handicapées se sentent en effet ciblées spécifiquement par le gouvernement, abusées par le système en raison de leur identité, humiliées par le Work Capability Assessment (WCA) et certaines personnes soumises à tant de détresse et d'angoisse qu'elles se sont suicidées. . Même les coroners des États ont fait part de leurs préoccupations au gouvernement au sujet de l'AOC et des suicides ultérieurs. Les personnes handicapées elles-mêmes se sont souvent senties isolées et marginalisées de la société, faisant parfois face à l'humiliation, la cruauté et des douleurs physiques lors de l'évaluation. Donc, dans l'ensemble, les conséquences physiques, émotionnelles et psychologiques de la réforme du bien-être du gouvernement ne sont pas différentes des conséquences des crimes de haine commis à l'encontre des personnes handicapées.

Cependant, il pourrait être judicieux pour le moment de continuer à traiter les crimes de haine commis contre le handicap; discrimination en matière d'emploi ou de logement; et les réformes du bien-être au Royaume-Uni en trois entités différentes et complètement distinctes. L'un ne cause certainement pas l'autre et il peut brouiller les eaux en ajoutant une complexité supplémentaire à un sujet déjà très complexe en les reliant tous ensemble. Elle pourrait également saper la campagne contre les «crimes de haine» en affirmant que nous la «politisons». Quelque chose que nous ne devrions jamais essayer de faire.

Les crimes de haine commis contre des personnes handicapées sont aussi vieux que les collines, ce n'est donc pas un phénomène nouveau et il n'est donc pas causé par un parti politique ou un autre – ni par aucun gouvernement. Mais cela ne veut pas dire que nos politiciens et nos médias toxiques ne peuvent pas exaspérer le problème. Bien sûr, ils le peuvent et bien sûr, ils le font. Vous pouvez voir la trace de la rhétorique politique et sociale contre la mendicité, le vagabondage, la paresse, les railleries et la déviance dans presque chaque décennie – pendant des centaines d'années. Il existe également des preuves suggérant qu'une rhétorique politique négative ou une couverture médiatique sensationnelle d'un sujet peut en effet provoquer des «pics» de crimes de haine. Quelque chose que les Nations Unies ont même souligné après le référendum de l'UE en 2016:

"Les politiciens britanniques ont contribué à alimenter une forte augmentation des crimes racistes de haine pendant et après la campagne référendaire de l'UE ".

(Comité des Nations Unies pour l'élimination de la discrimination raciale, août 2016)

Il y a même eu un «pic» de crimes de haine liés au handicap peu de temps après le référendum sur l'UE, bien que cela puisse être lui-même lié à d'autres facteurs tels que de meilleurs rapports de police et un meilleur enregistrement des chiffres. Cependant, nous ne le savons pas avec certitude et il est clair que certaines personnes handicapées ont estimé que le résultat du référendum européen était une validation pour toutes sortes de croyances odieuses et ignobles.

Mais oui, pour les personnes handicapées, ils ont le sentiment que l'État se liguent contre eux et commettent de la «haine» contre eux – et ciblés uniquement en raison de leur identité de personne handicapée. Quelque chose qui les rend «déviants» s'ils ne peuvent pas travailler à cause de ce handicap. En d'autres termes, «improductif» et «économiquement inactif» aux yeux des pouvoirs en place et inactifs dans un monde politique où «l'éthique du travail» est sacro-sainte. Certains se sont en effet plaints à moi, qu'ils ont été dépeints au public britannique par les politiciens et les médias comme étant principalement un groupe de jeunes, faux et malins.

Il suffit de se référer aux immenses souffrances de la communauté juive de l'Allemagne nazie pour voir comment la «  politique '' peut en effet susciter, promouvoir et générer la haine, l'animosité et, éventuellement, le meurtre en masse de millions de personnes ordinaires, complètement innocentes. Donc, s'il y a une ligne à tracer entre la haine et la politique, elle sera sans doute toujours très mince. L'histoire nous apprend malheureusement cette leçon. Par conséquent, nous ne devons pas avoir peur d'avoir une discussion où nous oserions parler de politique et de haine ou de crimes de haine du même souffle. Les politiciens ont autant de préjugés que le reste d'entre nous, ils ne sont qu'humains après tout et sont sans doute armés de diverses faiblesses humaines.

D'autant plus que nous ne savons toujours pas avec certitude ce qui cause les crimes de haine et en particulier les crimes de haine commis contre les personnes handicapées. Bien sûr, la plupart d'entre nous identifions toujours la cause comme étant principalement motivée par des préjugés et des préjugés envers ceux qui sont perçus comme étant «différents» d'une certaine manière – ou même craint. Bien sûr, cela ne nous dit pas grand-chose sur «pourquoi» certaines personnes se sentent ainsi ou motivées à faire quelque chose. De même, nous pourrions soutenir que la discrimination n'est peut-être que l'autre face du crime de haine, l'autre côté de la médaille qui est également motivé par les préjugés et les préjugés.

Mais qu'en est-il de la réforme de l'aide sociale? Après tout, la réforme du bien-être au Royaume-Uni est motivée par ce phénomène redouté – la «politique». Donc, ça ne peut pas être un préjugé? J'ai soutenu pendant un certain temps que la réforme du bien-être au Royaume-Uni est en effet largement motivée par des arguments politiques entourant une «éthique du travail» érodée et que le bien-être de l'État n'encourage que la paresse, la dépendance et la déviance. Certains politiciens ont même soutenu que vous pouvez même gagner plus grâce aux prestations sociales qu'en travaillant.

D'après mon expérience, essayer d'obtenir de l'argent de l'État est beaucoup plus difficile que d'extraire le sang d'une pierre. Voilà la réalité. Cependant, je reconnais qu'il y a une occasion étrange où l'État semble être remarquablement trop généreux – pour quelque raison que ce soit. En témoigne l'indignation des médias qui en a résulté lorsqu'elle est devenue publique. Cependant, pour la majorité des gens en Grande-Bretagne, l'aide de l'État a quasiment disparu et vous pourriez aussi bien siffler Dixie que de perdre votre temps à le demander. L'ordinateur sera toujours programmé pour dire ….. non.

Mon argument est que la réforme de la protection sociale au Royaume-Uni est en fait entraînée par une sorte de préjugé ou de peur que les personnes pauvres soient en quelque sorte paresseuses, déviantes et irresponsables. Mais ce n'est pas un nouvel argument. Revenez à l'époque d'Henri VIII et vous avez souvent trouvé ceux qui étaient dans la pauvreté battus, flagellés et humiliés publiquement s'ils étaient considérés comme des mendiants et des vagabonds. Et oui, d'être perçu comme paresseux, déviant et irresponsable. Particulièrement après la dissolution et la fermeture du monastère lorsque les pauvres, les malades et les handicapés qui étaient autrefois sous la garde de l'église, ont ensuite été jetés dans les rues pour se débrouiller seuls. (www.tudorplace.com.ar/Documents/poors.htm).

Par conséquent, remplacez Henry VIII par Iain Duncan Smith et remplacez la dissolution des monastères par une réforme du bien-être et rien ne change sans doute en ce qui concerne les attitudes négatives affichées envers les pauvres par «  l'establishment '' britannique – depuis les années 1500. Ce n'est pas une suggestion aussi facétieuse quand on considère le nombre croissant de sans-abri vulnérables au Royaume-Uni qui ont en fait été condamnés à une amende et emprisonnés pour mendicité et sommeil violent (The Guardian, 20e Mai 2018). Et si vous pensez qu'une amende ou une peine d'emprisonnement pour ceux qui n'ont pas de domicile, pas d'argent ni aucune perspective réaliste d'obtenir un logement est vraiment le moyen de résoudre le problème de l'itinérance, alors vous avez besoin d'une greffe de cerveau.

Lorsque j'ai commencé ma propre recherche sur les crimes de haine liés au handicap, certaines personnes handicapées suggéraient en effet que la rhétorique politique et médiatique négative entourant l'État providence et la fraude aux prestations étaient responsables d'une augmentation des abus publics, du harcèlement et de la violence envers eux-mêmes. Je me suis dis dans le passé que Iain Duncan Smith et le Center for Social Justice ont eu une influence extrêmement négative sur la perception du public en ce qui concerne les personnes pauvres, y compris celles qui ne travaillent pas du tout.

Cependant, nous devons toujours indiquer clairement que les crimes de haine perpétrés contre le handicap existent depuis toujours. Donc, nous ne pouvons et ne devons pas épingler tous les crimes de haine commis contre le handicap sur Iain Duncan Smith ni sur les tabloïds toxiques de Grande-Bretagne. Cependant, à partir de mes recherches, je suis certainement tombé sur un certain nombre de cas qui semblaient principalement motivés par la perception des «scroungers» et des «malingers». Alors, faites comme vous voulez. Mon opinion personnelle est que certaines personnes peuvent en effet avoir été influencées par la toxicité générée par nos politiciens égoïstes et leurs copains médiatiques. Ou plus que probablement, utilisaient cela simplement comme une excuse pour exercer les préjugés qu'ils ressentaient déjà.

Mais en raison de la complexité des «  crimes de haine '' en général, nous devrions avoir un récapitulatif des motivations potentielles que les chercheurs ont jusqu'à présent mises en évidence, avant de discuter du même sujet la réforme du bien-être au Royaume-Uni et la «  haine '' envers le handicap.

La motivation des crimes de haine

Ce sont les motivations possibles des «crimes de haine» en général. Accrochez-vous à vos chapeaux, nous y voilà:

  • Honte et fureur: Dans une étude sur des personnes condamnées pour des infractions aggravées par la race. Ray et al (2004) suggèrent que le crime de haine raciale peut être compris en termes de honte et de fureur ressenties par les auteurs de violences multiples. Ces sentiments de honte sont ensuite projetés sur d'autres – qui deviennent des boucs émissaires.
  • Masculinité toxique: Cela se rapporte à un ensemble de normes, de comportements et d'attentes étroits quant à la manière dont les hommes devraient se comporter. Attentes et normes de groupe qui valorisent la domination, le pouvoir et le contrôle sur les autres (Thompkins-Jones 2016).
  • Famille et éducation: McBride (2015) suggère que la plupart de nos préjugés sont appris à un jeune âge. Walters (2015) suggère également que des préjugés peuvent être tirés de la communauté dans laquelle nous grandissons.
  • Influence médiatique: Le signalement sensationnaliste d'événements tels que des incidents terroristes peut entraîner des «pics» de crimes de haine. Quelque chose que nous avons également vu après le référendum de l'UE de 2016 (Roberts et al. 2013).
  • Chercheurs de sensations fortes: Pression des groupes de pairs et jeunes hommes en quête d'excitation (McDevitt et Levin, 1993).
  • La défense: Menace perçue des «étrangers». Parfois lié à l'évolution démographique d'une communauté (McDevitt et Levin, 1993).
  • Représailles: Un cas où un «groupe» est perçu comme ayant été attaqué ou manqué de respect par un groupe «extérieur». Souvent déclenchée après un incident déclencheur (McDevitt et Levin, 1993).
  • Mission: Motivé par l'idéologie et la haine d'un groupe particulier afin de débarrasser le monde d'une source «maléfique» perçue (McDevitt et Levin, 1993).

Ma recherche

Bien sûr, tous les arguments ci-dessus ne sont pas issus de la recherche sur les crimes de haine liés au handicap – mais peut-être certains peuvent-ils être appliqués. J'ai déjà mentionné le rôle négatif rhétorique politique et médiatique peut avoir eu sur les abus, le harcèlement et la violence commis envers certaines personnes handicapées. Dans mes propres études, ce sont ceux qui ont des handicaps physiques assez évidents qui semblent supporter le plus gros de ces attaques – c'est-à-dire ceux qui sont en fauteuil roulant, qui utilisent des aides à la marche ou qui sont stationnés dans un compartiment de voiture pour handicapés. En revanche, les personnes souffrant de troubles d'apprentissage ou intellectuels sont rarement confrontées à la rhétorique du discordeur / de la tricherie.

"Recherche de sensations fortes' et «Masculinité toxique'sont d'autres évidents à mentionner. Comme la plupart des crimes de haine en général, les auteurs de mes recherches étaient également de jeunes hommes (mais pas exclusivement). Et quand j'ai été mis au défi par leur comportement, j'ai entendu «rire seulement» argument à plusieurs reprises. 'La défense' peut être un autre aspect, surtout lorsque des personnes ayant des déficiences intellectuelles et intellectuelles plus évidentes emménagent pour la première fois dans un quartier ou une communauté. Oui, j'ai rencontré des gens appelés des noms tels que «retard», «monstre», «mong», «violeur», «pédophile» et «idiot». «Dafty» étant celui que j'ai entendu utilisé principalement en Ecosse. Appel de nom qui accompagne souvent les abus, le harcèlement et la violence, ainsi que les appels à leur «retrait» complet de la communauté. Et vous n'avez qu'à parcourir ce sujet sur Google pour trouver des cas où certaines personnes ont été définitivement supprimées de la communauté – en étant assassinées.

Qui est lié à "Représailles' où je me souviens une fois d'une maman qui me parlait de l'autisme de son fils et comment il avait été attaqué à plus d'une occasion par ses pairs, simplement parce que certains pensaient qu'il était 'grossier', 'insultant' ou simplement agissant de manière générale 'bizarre' pour leur. À plusieurs reprises, son fils a été frappé au visage après avoir été accusé d'être «gay». Ainsi, nous devrions être en mesure de voir que certaines des recherches menées sur les crimes de haine raciaux, religieux ou homophobes peuvent également être pertinentes pour les crimes de haine dirigés contre le handicap. Pourtant, le crime de haine lié au handicap est également unique.

Le crime de haine des personnes handicapées en tant que crime unique

Chakraborti et Garland (2012) ont fait valoir qu'épingler le «  crime de haine '' uniquement sur l'identité de la victime (dans notre cas, l'identité de la personne handicapée) a ses limites – en particulier les crimes contre les personnes âgées et les personnes handicapées. Ils ont proposé que les concepts de 'vulnérabilité' et 'différence' devraient être les points focaux des crimes de haine perpétrés contre ces types de victimes. Cependant, la seule chose que je dirais, c'est que la plupart des comportements criminels peuvent être considérés comme motivés par la «vulnérabilité», de sorte que cela n'explique pas non plus pleinement les crimes commis contre les personnes handicapées. Les pirates informatiques recherchent la vulnérabilité des systèmes informatiques avant de tenter d'y pénétrer et les voleurs recherchent souvent la cible la plus facile à voler. Mais sans doute existe-t-il souvent d'autres facteurs de motivation pour ces types de crimes au-delà de celui de la «vulnérabilité». Un voleur peut dépouiller un besoin économique, que nous soyons d'accord ou non avec l'action. Il y a aussi une bouffée de blâme de la part de la victime dans ces explications, ce qui revient à dire qu'une femme a été violée simplement parce qu'elle portait une jupe courte ou d'autres vêtements «  provocateurs ''. Donc, nous devons être prudents lorsque nous empruntons la voie de la «vulnérabilité», car cela ne nous dit pas grand-chose à part les saignements évidents.

Bien sûr, certaines personnes handicapées peuvent être ciblées simplement parce qu'elles sont perçues comme une cible facile et donc vulnérable. Mais cela n'expliquera certainement pas tous les cas ni la véritable motivation sous-jacente du crime. Surtout les cas où des personnes handicapées ont été maltraitées, harcelées et agressées par des membres du public alors qu'elles se trouvaient en compagnie d'amis, de partenaires et de membres de leur famille. Alors, ces victimes sont-elles «vulnérables» lorsqu'elles sont en compagnie d'un groupe – ou tout simplement lorsqu'elles sont seules?

Une compréhension commune du terme «crime de haine» implique généralement les crimes opportunistes, les agressions physiques, les abus et le harcèlement lorsque les auteurs n'ont généralement pas de relation avec leur victime. Bien qu'ils puissent vivre dans le même quartier. Mais nous pouvons voir un élément unique du crime de haine lié au handicap dans ce qui est devenu «crime de compagnon». Actes de cruauté, de criminalité et de tromperie qui peuvent impliquer de se lier d'amitié avec une personne «vulnérable» dans l'intention de les exploiter d'une manière ou d'une autre, par exemple financièrement, physiquement ou sexuellement. Comportement perpétré par des personnes connues de la victime telles que des amis, des voisins, des soignants, des partenaires et des membres de la famille (Thomas 2011). Il s'agit donc bien d'un domaine de différence unique par rapport aux crimes commis contre la race, la religion, l'ethnie ou la sexualité. Mais si certaines de ces victimes peuvent être qualifiées de «vulnérables», la principale motivation du crime peut être variée.

Ma propre recherche (qui en est maintenant à ses huit ans) a repris exploitation angle d'invalidité crime de haine presque dès le premier jour. Exploitation principalement engagée contre les personnes ayant des troubles intellectuels ou d'apprentissage, tels que l'exploitation financière, l'exploitation sexuelle et l'utilisation des victimes comme une sorte de divertissement ou d'amusement bon marché. Amusement qui peut commencer petit, puis dégénérer en quelque chose de beaucoup plus sinistre et violent au fil du temps. L'exploitation n'est pas seulement financière, mais peut également comprendre le vol de la propriété de quelqu'un ou le simple fait de déménager sans y être invité et de l'utiliser comme le vôtre. Cependant, de nombreux autres aspects peuvent être impliqués. Mais il ne se limitait pas exclusivement aux troubles intellectuels ou d'apprentissage, j'ai eu un cas de crime de haine de handicap physique qui pourrait être considéré comme une exploitation sexuelle.

L'une des choses que j'ai certainement relevées est qu'il peut y avoir un préjugé sexiste dans les crimes haineux liés au handicap. Bien sûr, les hommes représentaient la majorité des cas et certainement dans mes études, beaucoup pouvaient être classés comme affichant une «masculinité toxique». C'est à peu près le prix standard. Cependant, j'ai trouvé que les hommes étaient beaucoup plus susceptibles de harceler, de maltraiter, de pousser ou d'attaquer ceux qui avaient des difficultés d'apprentissage et que les femmes étaient beaucoup plus susceptibles de commettre une exploitation financière envers ces victimes. Les hommes représentaient également la majorité des attaques contre les handicaps physiques. Cela dit, avec des handicaps physiques, les hommes et les femmes semblaient sauter sur le récit «scrounger» et «layabout» dans un nombre à peu près égal. Bien sûr, rien ne peut jamais être considéré comme totalement excusant pour un groupe de genre. Ce sont des problèmes très complexes.

Une autre chose que j'ai trouvée vraiment intéressante était le sentiment que beaucoup d'actes n'étaient pas des actes opportunistes ni instinctifs, mais ciblés au point d'être presque systématiques. Certes, plus opportuniste en ce qui concerne les handicaps physiques, mais il y avait aussi un certain nombre de cas de handicap physique où la victime avait le sentiment d'avoir été suivie (ou traquée) pendant un certain temps avant que l'agresseur n'agisse. Dans les cas qui pouvaient être classés comme étant principalement des «crimes de compagnon», il y avait certainement un certain niveau de «toilettage» en cours à l'avance par les hommes et les femmes.

Cela dit, il convient de souligner que mes études sont des études qualitatives à relativement petite échelle, composées de moins de 60 entretiens approfondis et d'une trentaine d'autres cas de qualité variable. Ainsi, mes résultats devront être testés de manière plus robuste au fil du temps et de préférence avec une recherche quantitative orientée. Malheureusement, mes recherches ont dû être menées sans le soutien d'une grande université ou même sans une grosse liasse de fonds de recherche. Au cours des dernières années, j'ai dû faire tout cela seul, à mon temps, avec mon propre argent et généralement sans aide extérieure ni soutien financier. Quelque chose qui m'a coûté beaucoup, non seulement financièrement et en termes de temps – mais aussi émotionnellement. Parler aux gens et discuter des expériences de «haine» peut être un enfer émotionnel pour toutes les personnes impliquées. Mais je ne regrette certainement rien.

Cependant, je n'aurais pas pu faire ce que je fais sans le soutien de Disabled-World et bien sûr, d'une partie de l'incroyable communauté de personnes handicapées de Grande-Bretagne. Ce qui est également étonnant, c'est ce qui peut être réalisé avec un peu d'entêtement individuel et collectif à tête de cochon. Et bien que ces découvertes ne puissent sans doute pas changer la vie ni bouleverser la terre, elles ajoutent une couche supplémentaire de couleur au débat sur les crimes de haine liés au handicap. Par exemple, j'ai trouvé une différence générale dans les types de «crimes de haine» vécus entre ceux qui ont un handicap physique et ceux qui ont un handicap intellectuel. Plus particulièrement dans le type de langage et la terminologie utilisés dans les incidents, ainsi que parfois dans les comportements. L'un des plus évidents est les termes péjoratifs utilisés en rapport avec la maladie mentale et la déficience mentale qui sont souvent jetés contre les personnes ayant des troubles d'apprentissage – des termes tels que idiot, fou et idiot. Comparez cela aux termes désobligeants de fer à repasser, d'infirme et de piquant souvent jetés à ceux qui ont un handicap physique. Ainsi que le type de maltraitance des malfaiteurs et des malfaiteurs, bien sûr.

Il est intéressant de noter que des incidents se sont également produits lorsque la victime n'a pas été dans une position particulièrement «  vulnérable '' (c'est-à-dire pas seule) mais en compagnie d'autres personnes. J'ai également eu des «conversations» par courriel de deux groupes de parents distincts décrivant leurs expériences des «crimes de haine» perpétrés contre leurs enfants alors qu'ils étaient en public avec eux. Le type d'événements qui soutiennent les travailleurs ou les soignants ont également été mis en évidence. Mais compte tenu de la façon dont le Royaume-Uni considère généralement les enfants comme des processions très précieuses, presque au point d'obsession clinique, il est intéressant de noter que le «  handicap '' peut parfois également l'emporter sur cette norme sociale très forte.

Des crimes haineux qui reflètent l'histoire?

D'après mes propres recherches, les crimes haineux commis contre le handicap peuvent refléter ou imiter le traitement du handicap dans le passé. Je les ai répartis en quatre groupes principaux, bien qu'il puisse y en avoir d'autres:

  • Accusation
  • Exploitation
  • Incarcération
  • Divertissement

J'ai déjà fait allusion à 'Accusation' avec des aspects de la dénomination dans les crimes commis contre la déficience intellectuelle. Les accusations de crimes sexuels ou d'autres comportements déviants ont également une longue histoire sociale en Grande-Bretagne (Quarmby 2011). Mais bien sûr, les accusations de paresse, de déviance, d'improductivité, d'obstruction, de trucage et de malice peuvent également être assez courantes à l'égard des personnes handicapées physiques. Si l'on regarde en arrière dans l'histoire, on trouve aussi les pauvres, les malades et les handicapés accusés d'être principalement paresseux, déviants ou simplement à la recherche de quelque chose pour rien. Allons un peu plus loin et nous pourrions affirmer que la «médicalisation du handicap», sans doute une forme de contrôle social et de domination médicale qui s'est développée au cours des années 1800, est également une forme d '«accusation». Accusations de différer d'une «norme» quelconque, en particulier d'une «mesure» médicale. Pourtant, ce sont sans doute des indicateurs artificiels et subjectifs de ce qui est considéré comme normal et de ce qui n'est pas considéré comme normal. En particulier, lorsque les connaissances médicales elles-mêmes changent, se développent et évoluent avec le temps. Mais juste parce que quelque chose ne semble pas correspondre à la moyenne, cela ne signifie pas nécessairement que ce n'est pas – normal.

"Exploitation' J'ai déjà mentionné l'exploitation comme étant un aspect de la criminalité conjugale. Pourtant, remontant à l'époque victorienne, nous trouvons également l'exploitation des personnes handicapées dans les «freak shows» et par le cortège médical lui-même, qui mettait parfois les personnes handicapées à la disposition du public. Ensuite, il y a le commerce du sexe. Selon la recherche (Rogers 2009), la prostitution sévissait à l'époque victorienne en Grande-Bretagne, totalisant environ 80 000 femmes à Londres seulement. Beaucoup d’entre eux auraient sans aucun doute été des personnes handicapées, en particulier des personnes souffrant de troubles de l’apprentissage ou intellectuels. L'une des «dames de la nuit» handicapées les plus célèbres est Elizabeth «Betty» Steel (1764-1795), qui aurait également été la première personne sourde à être également transportée en Australie pour des infractions pénales (informations fournies par le site historique d'Angleterre). Et selon les rapports, les personnes handicapées ou souffrant de maladie mentale sont aujourd'hui beaucoup plus susceptibles d'être ciblées par des trafiquants sexuels que les personnes non handicapées ou souffrant de maladie mentale (Informations fournies par le Center for Victim Research).

Ensuite il y a 'Incarcération'. J'ai rencontré plusieurs fois des aspects de l'incarcération. Tels que les personnes handicapées qui ne peuvent pas vaquer à leurs occupations, poussées dans des cabines téléphoniques / cabines téléphoniques, empêchées de monter ou de descendre des transports publics – ou même de quitter leur propre maison. J'ai également considéré, lorsque des personnes handicapées se font renverser, se faire botter des aides à la marche ou se faire renverser des fauteuils roulants, que c'est aussi une forme d'incarcération. Il maintient les gens au même endroit pendant un certain temps au moins, et agit peut-être comme une forme de contrôle indirecte.

Il n'y a pas si longtemps, les personnes handicapées ont été complètement retirées de la société, contrôlées et séparées dans des foyers, des établissements psychiatriques, des hôpitaux et des écoles. Donc, ce n'est pas un tel acte de foi géant d'imaginer que c'est ce que les gens peuvent refléter et imiter involontairement ou inconsciemment. Lisez toute enquête sur les crimes haineux liés au handicap et vous trouverez des personnes handicapées signalant que leur quartier ou leur communauté ne veut pas réellement que cette personne y habite. Quelque chose qui est particulièrement vrai pour ceux qui ont des troubles d'apprentissage ou intellectuels.

J'ai également rencontré un cas où une école secondaire ordinaire a empêché un jeune enfant souffrant de troubles physiques et d'apprentissage de se présenter à son concert annuel de Noël à l'école. Et simplement à cause des plaintes d'un certain nombre de parents qui ne voulaient pas regarder un enfant handicapé. Choquant oui. Discrimination oui. Exclusion oui. Marginalisation oui. Mais est-ce un crime de haine? Sans doute pas, mais cela a les mêmes conséquences.

Bien sûr, l'école avait tout à fait tort de donner suite à la demande ou à la plainte, car l'enfant a été effectivement «retirée» de l'école (temporairement) sans que ce soit de sa faute. Mais cet exemple peut aussi imiter la suppression du handicap et la ségrégation du handicap que nous aurions sans aucun doute constatée il y a quelques centaines d'années. Bien sûr, les gens peuvent ne pas aimer voir des enfants handicapés en public, car cela peut les déranger. Mais les personnes handicapées qui sont visibles dans la société peuvent également aller à l'encontre des perceptions sociales et des normes sociales profondément enracinées qui entourent le handicap, à savoir que ces personnes devraient en effet être séparées et séparées du reste d'entre nous.

Ensuite, il y a le 'Divertissement' aspect du crime de haine, comme le comportement de «recherche de sensations fortes» ou d '«amusement» noté précédemment. Mais quelque chose pas si éloigné de la voyeurisme médical que nous pouvons trouver dans le passé, ni les spectacles de monstres victoriens. Si nous regardons la littérature ou les films au fil des ans, nous constatons que les personnes handicapées sont généralement représentées comme des victimes, des êtres institutionnalisés, non sexuels, des monstres, des méchants ou parfois des personnes inspirantes – et tout cela dans un souci de divertissement. Ce sont des images et des thèmes qui peuvent également façonner la conscience du public sur ce qu'est le handicap et à quoi ressemblent les personnes handicapées. Les personnes handicapées deviennent donc des figures de plaisir et d'amusement légitimées socialement, et certaines personnes peuvent penser qu'il est par la suite acceptable d'utiliser des personnes handicapées pour leur propre divertissement.

Comparer le crime de haine à la réforme du bien-être au Royaume-Uni

Comme nous pouvons le voir, les crimes haineux liés au handicap peuvent contenir des comportements motivés par:

  • Masculinité toxique
  • Recherche de sensations fortes
  • Divertissement
  • Influence médiatique
  • La défense
  • Représailles
  • Accusation
  • Mate Crime
  • Exploitation
  • Vulnérabilité
  • Différence
  • Incarcération ou isolement

Pour ma part, je crois que la réforme du bien-être au Royaume-Uni est tout aussi toxique pour les personnes handicapées que les crimes de haine liés au handicap et la discrimination. Je pense également qu'il est largement basé sur un parti pris et des préjugés envers les personnes en situation de pauvreté, y compris les personnes malades et handicapées. Les personnes pauvres sont traitées et perçues comme non seulement paresseuses, mais irresponsables et déviantes. Donc, c'est une coche dans la case «crime de haine» pour moi, au moins. Jetez un œil à ces citations de trois anciens premiers ministres britanniques:

"Je pense que nous avons traversé une période où trop de gens ont été donnés pour comprendre que s'ils ont un problème, c'est le travail du gouvernement pour y faire face." J'ai un problème, je vais obtenir une subvention. " «Je suis sans abri, le gouvernement doit me loger.» Ils jettent leur problème sur la société. Et vous savez, la société n'existe pas. Il y a des hommes et des femmes, et il y a des familles. Et aucun gouvernement ne peut rien faire sauf par l'intermédiaire des gens, et les gens doivent d'abord se tourner vers eux-mêmes. . Il est de notre devoir de prendre soin de nous-mêmes et, ensuite, de prendre soin de notre voisin. Les gens ont trop à l'esprit les droits, sans les obligations. Il n'y a rien de tel que le droit, sauf si quelqu'un a d'abord rempli une obligation. "

Margaret Thatcher (1987)

Comme nous pouvons le voir, Mme T fait valoir que nous avons tous le devoir de prendre soin de nous en premier et de ne pas regarder automatiquement vers l'État pour nous aider. Il n'y a pas de droit sans avoir d'abord respecté nos obligations – et cela signifie sans doute aussi les uns pour les autres, pas seulement pour le gouvernement. Sans doute, ce n'est pas une suggestion choquante, mais si vous vous retrouvez sans-abri sans faute réelle de votre part, comme le sont certaines victimes de maltraitance d'enfants et de violence domestique, alors souvent il n'y a personne d'autre vers qui se tourner. Si l'État n'aide pas, qui le fera? L'hypothèse est que les «personnes» ont trop «droit» au soutien de l'État. Mais où est la preuve que cela est réellement vrai? Si vous travaillez avec des sans-abri, des personnes en situation de pauvreté, des personnes handicapées ou des toxicomanes ou alcooliques, vous trouverez rarement un sentiment de «droit» parmi les «victimes». Vous trouverez certainement une ambiance d'appréciation écrasante, même pour les plus petits plus gentils offerts. Mais le droit? Et sans aucune preuve suggérant que des millions et des millions de personnes exploitent le système de cette manière. Des accusations et des suggestions qui non seulement semblent larges de la marque, mais poussées en grande partie par un préjugé «  d'établissement '' profondément enraciné envers son propre peuple.

Malgré ce manque de preuves, nous avons eu plus de 40 ans de telles accusations, au cours de ma vie certainement. Écoutez le Premier ministre travailliste Tony Blair parler quelques années plus tard et il y a un thème similaire:

"Dans le domaine social, depuis trop longtemps, la droite a laissé la division sociale et le chômage chronique augmenter; la gauche a plaidé pour les droits mais était faible sur les responsabilités. Nous croyons passionnément à donner aux gens la possibilité de retirer des prestations et de travailler. Nous l'avons fait pour 1¼ million. "

"Mais il y a des centaines de milliers d'autres qui pourraient travailler, compte tenu de la chance. C'est bon pour eux, pour le pays, pour la société. Mais avec cette chance, une responsabilité incombe à l'individu – saisir la chance, faire quelque chose de leur vit et utilise pleinement ses capacités et son potentiel. "

"C'est la clé de Job Center Plus. Il incarne d'une part l'État providence propice, propager des opportunités – et d'autre part notre réforme des services publics, en tant que nouveau service réactif axé sur les chômeurs. Mais pour que cela fonctionne, il doit être fondé sur la responsabilité mutuelle. "

«Le gouvernement a la responsabilité de fournir aux individus de réelles opportunités d'acquérir des compétences et d'accéder à un travail payant. Mais les individus ont également la responsabilité de saisir ces opportunités.»

"Toutes nos réformes ont les mêmes principes sous-jacents – opportunité, équité et responsabilité mutuelle. Nous voulons donner aux gens la possibilité de réaliser leur potentiel. Nous voulons élever les attentes des gens et leur confiance en eux-mêmes, en leur donnant les outils pour s'aider eux-mêmes. . "

(Tony Blair 2002)

Bien sûr, il est question de «responsabilité mutuelle» et d '«équité», mais en fin de compte, la responsabilité et la responsabilité incombent à l'individu de «saisir» ses opportunités et ses chances. Comme nous pouvons le voir, la «gauche» est considérée comme ayant été faible sur la responsabilité individuelle et c'est une responsabilité non seulement envers la société, mais le gouvernement ou l'État. C'est une responsabilité «mutuelle». And it was under Tony Blair that the Work Capability Assessment was developed, aimed totally at sick and disabled people, and shifted the goal-posts away from ill-health and impairment – and towards 'functionality'. You may be sick or disabled but there is still work that you can arguably do, that's why 'ability to 'function' is tested. I will go into more detail about that in a second, but for disabled people this was arguably the beginning of an extremely hostile policy that was aimed primarily at sick and disabled people only.

Clearly, Mr Blair didn't trust disabled people nor the ability of the medical profession to weed out the abled-bodied shirkers from the genuine disabled claimants. From day one, disabled people complained about a system of jumping through hoops like a performing seal, in order to prove their disability. And yes, arguably equivalent to providing some kind of cheap 'Entertainment' or weird amusement for WCA assessors. The campaign group, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) put together a YouTube video in 2017 in which advocates, lawyers and claimants outline the main fundamental problems with the WCA and its adverse effects. Where assessments are suggested not only to be humiliating but where some assessors are argued to be 'rude' and even 'cruel' to sick and disabled people (https://dpac.uk.net/category/wca/). An assessment where some disabled people may also be in large amount of pain and extreme physical discomfort.

So, what about David Cameron, Prime Minister from 2010 to 2016. What did he think of this new Thatcherite and hostile regime towards sick and disabled people that was seemingly put together under the previous Labour government in 2006?

"……we have, in some ways, created a welfare gap in this country between those living long-term in the welfare system and those outside it. Those within it grow up with a series of expectations: you can have a home of your own, the state will support you whatever decisions you make, you will always be able to take out no matter what you put in. This has sent out some incredibly damaging signals. That it pays not to work. That you are owed something for nothing. It gave us millions of working-age people sitting at home on benefits even before the recession hit. It created a culture of entitlement. And it has led to huge resentment amongst those who pay into the system, because they feel that what they're having to work hard for, others are getting without having to put in the effort."

David Cameron (2012)

In short, it pays not to work and no matter what dodgy decisions you make, Brits expect the state to look after them afterwards. Yep, millions of people sat at home on benefits, a culture of entitlement etc., etc. Despite not being any real evidence to back those accusations up. Certainly for me, people like Thatcher, Blair and Cameron have simply and cynically exploited this argument to the hilt over the passing years, and primarily to sell damaging welfare reform to the British public. Particularly surrounding unemployment and economic inactivity. In short, it's an argument where state welfare is presented as costing far too much, over-generous and creating a dependency culture where people expect the state to support them if running into trouble – particularly when it's their own fault. But once again, it is work ethic that becomes the primary focus and any deviancy from that norm of work and productiveness becomes a major concern to our political big brothers and sisters. It is therefore ideology not economics that is the focus.

And as we all should know, there are far less disabled people of working age in employment compared to non-disabled people. In 2012, that was 46.3% of working-age disabled people in employment compared to 76.4% of working-age non-disabled people (www.gov.uk). Of course, the term 'disabled' may give a very good clue to why that gap is so large. Not to mention the 'discrimination' angle. But that discrepancy is all our politicians and our toxic tabloids need in order to insinuate and suggest that those stats indicate laziness. And why not? Our politicians generally think all Brits are lazy and unproductive anyway and "among the worse idlers in the world" – as a group of Conservative MP's alleged in 'Britannia Unchanged' (2012). The Financial Times (2018) call it a 'productivity crisis'. The London riots of 2011 were even blamed on unproductivity, as well as upon family breakdown and a benefit system that had helped generate a 'growing underclass' of people living unproductive lives (Iain Duncan Smith, as reported in the Guardian Newspaper, 3rd October 2011).

So, yes we could put a tick in the 'Exploitation' box and argue that sick and disabled people may have indeed been exploited in order to sell welfare reform to the British public. Ok, ok, it might seem a bit of a tenuous link, but no doubt public attitudes towards welfare benefits have indeed changed over the years. For example, support for welfare spending and for increased spending on welfare fell from 43% in 2001 to just 28% in 2011 (British Social Attitudes 29). While, those who thought unemployment benefits far too high and only discouraged working, more than doubled from 1991 (27%) to 2011 (66%), according to the same source.

In 2012, nearly half of all people with disabilities believed that attitudes towards them have worsened over the 12 months previously, according to a survey by the charity, Scope. A survey in which 64% of disabled people said that they had experienced aggression, hostility or name calling. With many indeed blaming the negative and political rhetoric surrounding benefit fraud and benefit cheats (Learning Disability Today, 2Dakota du Nord August 2012). And research released in 2011 by the Glasgow Media Group and the Strathclyde Centre for Disability Research, found that there had been an increased politicisation of media coverage of disability during 2010-2011 compared to 2004-2005 – together with an increase in negative stories about welfare benefit fraud.

We know that Iain Duncan Smith and the Centre for Social Justice worked tirelessly from 2004 onwards in order to influence public opinion on state welfare and reform. That is documented and recorded for prosperity, shaping political policy that was finally introduced in 2010. And as I said, arguably 'exploiting' sick and disabled people along the way in order to sell those reforms to a gullible audience. Whether this is indeed actual exploitation of sick and disabled people as defined under 'hate crime' literature is of course, open to debate.

But what about the comments made in 2014 by Lord Freud, a government welfare reform minister who was suggesting that some disabled workers were simply 'not worth' the UK national minimum wage. And that perhaps, such people should be paid as little as £2 an hour. Something that we could certainly consider to be 'Exploitation'. Particularly when Disabled World itself reported in 2010 how the practice of paying people with disabilities smaller wages compared to the able-bodied has actually been legal practice across much of America since the late 1930's.

The Smoking Gun of the Work Capability Assessment

If we ever needed a smoking gun in arguing that government welfare reform is indeed a form of 'hate', the WCA may well provide it. As I said previously, you can easily trace the UK's treatment of poverty, sickness and disability throughout time, going back centuries. And the usual cure is not care but control and punishment. Take a look at the crime prosecution service's (CPS) definition of hate crime:

"The term 'hate crime' can be used to describe a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim's disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity."

Poor people in the UK have certainly been hit the hardest through welfare reform from 2010 onwards and the gap between rich and poor increasingly widens on almost a daily basis. The Disability Benefits Consortium (a consortium of around 80 organisations) released research in 2019 that argued that disabled people had actually been hit four times harder than non-disabled welfare claimants under cumulative cuts in the system since 2008 (Daily Mirror 16e July 2019). And 2008 is an important date for us to remember. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) argued in 2017 that the poorest households in the UK were disproportionally hit the hardest by government 'austerity' measures. With disabled people, single parents and women amongst the biggest losers (The Guardian 17e November 2017). In 2016, the UN's Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) even concluded that welfare reforms had led to "grave and systematic violations" of disabled people's rights (BBC 7e November 2016).

So, as a minimum, there is enough evidence to suggest that the poorest in the UK have been hit the hardest by UK welfare reform that undoubtedly began in 2008, not 2010. With disabled people not only primarily bearing the brunt of reform, but to the point of it being an abuse of their human rights. In 2017, David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, argued:

"There is a real concern that disabled people are being increasingly marginalised and shut out of society as they bear the brunt of the accumulated impact of cuts in public spending."

(The independent, 23rd August 2017).

It is clear that welfare reform and cuts in public spending have indeed marginalised and excluded many disabled people from society. With some disabled people almost 'incarcerated' within their own homes or indeed forced back into residential care. Cuts to welfare benefits, the application of benefit sanctions and changes to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) seriously impact upon a growing number of disabled people who used such money in order to live independently. So much so, we are not only dangerously close to shutting disabled people out of society, we are also in danger of moving straight back to the 1800's. With disabled people once again segregated from society and placed into 'care'. Or control, as the case may be.

Some disabled people have already given up independent living completely because of welfare reform, reform that was argued to be necessary in order to make people less dependent on the state. The MS society highlighted in 2017 that care homes specifically designed to meet the needs of older people were actually being incorrectly used to house thousands of under-65s with disabilities (PSE 14e November 2017). Also in 2017, the Guardian newspaper reported that the NHS were introducing rules that would force up to 13,000 disabled people back into institutions or care homes. A plan that was described as the 'warehousing' of disabled people (The Guardian 25e January 2017). A move that was criticized by disability campaigners as being the beginning of the re-institutionalisation of disabled people.

We should also remind ourselves that the closing down of institutions and other facilities in the 1980's in order to implement policy such as 'care-in-the-community', wasn't just driven by a campaign for disability equality and equal rights, but by governmental desire to save money. It was considered far cheaper for the state to move those who had been living in large institutions for decades, back into the community. A policy that became quickly dubbed care-by-the-community, when the responsibility for care for those with long term sickness or disability seemed to be increasingly removed from the state and slowly pushed back towards family, partners, friends and the community as a whole. Not only economic policy but a social behavioural one.

Despite those changes, with an increasingly older population and arguably a growing disabled community, the powers that be are still looking to cut costs in care and in any way they possibly can. We've already seen huge cuts to disability welfare spending, including PIP, which was introduced by Iain Duncan Smith himself in 2013. However, the cost of care may actually be a secondary concern when compared to concern over all Brits being lazy or irresponsible – something that can be argued to be simply a form of 'class bias'. But, if disabled people have borne the brunt of current UK welfare reform, have they been specifically targeted and singled out? More importantly, is it 'hostile' behaviour?

According to the UK's CPS, there is no legal definition of hostility, so the CPS uses an everyday understanding of the word within its understanding of 'hate crime'. A definition that includes:

  • Ill will
  • Spite
  • Contempt
  • Prejudice
  • Unfriendliness
  • Antagonism
  • Resentment
  • Dislike.

I've argued that Iain Duncan Smith and the Centre for Social Justice have had a huge influence on both the public perception of those on welfare benefits being cheats, scroungers and irresponsible – as well as upon welfare policy itself. What Iain Duncan Smith was arguing for from 2004 onwards, he has undoubtedly achieved when gaining power. And if ever a man displayed traits of 'toxic masculinity', it's this clown.

A politician who was never been slow at displaying prejudice and hostility towards those not working for any reason – be they claiming welfare benefits or not claiming benefits. Here's what the Centre for Social Justice had to say about the 'economically inactive' in 2009:

"Today, there are 10.4 million working-age people not working in the UK. Of these, 5.9 million are claiming out-of-work benefits." (A Policy Report from the Economic Dependency Working Group, page 15, September 2009, Centre for Social Justice).

Of course, almost half of these people were not officially classed as being unemployed' nor receiving unemployment 'benefits'. However, that didn't stop Iain Duncan Smith from alleging in the preface to this report:

"…….we must also recognise that few of those out of work would look upon work as a moral choice".

Despite there being little evidence to back up this rather sweeping generalisation that more than 10 million Brits, who are actually not working for a variety of valid reasons, have a problem with morality. But the Centre for Social Justice itself can be argued to have had much more influence on both political policy and the public consciousness then any of the UK's toxic tabloids such as the Sun, The Daily Mail and the Daily Express – or indeed its toxic editors and owners.

In 'the Myth of Broken Britain (2012)' Tom Slater indeed put forward this argument, where the CJS primarily focused public attention on arguments that Britain was 'broken', broken by its perceived dependency culture, particularly by those at the bottom of the social ladder who were simply irresponsible, deviant and lazy. A dependency culture were over-generous welfare payments not only encouraged people not to work, but where you could earn far more by being out-of-work than being in it.

So, if we're ticking any 'hate crime' boxes, you can certainly tick the one marked "Media Influence'. But as a taster of what was to come, when finally becoming Work and Pensions Secretary in the Conservative/Liberal Democratic government of 2010, Iain Duncan Smith not only quickly introduced his long thought out reforms on universal credit, but arguably also enacted the most punitive sanctions towards the poor that any British government had ever introduced. Actions such as:

  • Disabled people forced to attend 'work preparation' programmes and expected to find work.
  • Lone parents with children under five expected to attend 'keeping in-touch' interviews and to prove that they are preparing themselves to work.
  • Those 'fit to work' and on Jobseekers Allowance forced to accept any available job. If none were available, then they were to be placed onto 'Mandatory Work Activity' programmes.

In a newspaper interview in 2010, Iain Duncan Smith also reportedly said "The message will go across: play ball or it's going to be difficult" (The Telegraph, 6e November 2010). Something similar to when speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme in November 2010 when Duncan Smith argued that it was a 'sin' that Brits didn't take up the jobs that were available at jobcentres, and that:

"The message is clear. If you can work, then a life on benefits will no longer be an option. If people are asked to do community work they will be expected to turn up. If people are asked to apply for a job by an adviser they will be expected to put themselves forward. If people can work and they are offered work, they will be expected to take it. This is the deal. Break the deal and they will lose their unemployment benefit. Break it three times and they will lose it for three years."

A clear signal that the perceived lazy and irresponsible behaviour of the poor was about to change or be punished for not changing. Or to put this in terms of 'hate crime' research:

  • Accusation – Accusing millions of people not working for any reason as being lazy, irresponsible and deviant.
  • Defence – Arguing that the concept of 'work ethic' was being eroded by state welfare and that therefore needed – defending.
  • Retaliation – Targeting those not working with 'punishment' of some kind. And by 'incentivising' sick and disabled people back to work by the removal of welfare payments and the application of benefit sanctions.

As I keep saying, there has never been any evidence presented that indicates there are millions of Brits who have never worked and do not want to work. It does not exist. In addition, many disabled people want to work but often come up against a wall of discrimination. So, many of the arguments presented by Iain Duncan Smith that such a 'culture' of laziness, often seem based upon the most flimsy of evidence. Usually by taking 'economic inactivity' statistics as being an indicator of the deviancy and laziness of a nation. A group of non-working people who don't just include disabled people, but stay-at-home mums and dads looking after children, students in full-time education and those taking early retirement.

But these are indeed the numbers often used to frighten the rest of us into believing that such a dependency culture exits – and that the work ethic is indeed under threat. From 2004 onwards, Iain Duncan Smith and his Centre for Social Justice has arguably been on a 'Mission' to rid the UK of its lazy, irresponsible and deviant people. Perhaps not intending to kill people off as such, but certainly by changing their behaviour. However, statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2015 revealed that during the period December 2011 and February 2014, 2,380 people died after their claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) ended after being found fit-for-work via a Work Capability Assessment (WCA). That amounts to 90 people a month not only being wrongly classified as fit-for-work but dying after being wrongly classified as fit-for-work. Arguably, you cannot be fit for any type of work if you die soon after an assessment. And if people are dying, then we seriously need to raise the question of why the system repeatedly thinks such people are indeed fit enough to work.

But the WCA is so basically flawed in its design and logic that is indeed what it is saying. You may be ill, disabled and terminally ill in many cases, but you are still fit to do some kind of work in the interim. Arguably, the WCA is therefore only doing what it is designed to do. Of course, Iain Duncan Smith inherited the WCA from the previous Labour government, but he was officially warned as early as 2010 of its danger to vulnerable welfare claimants, at least. The fact that Iain Duncan Smith failed to make the WCA safe or scrap it completely has opened himself up to accusations that he deliberately ignored those warnings in order to use the WCA to remove as many sick and disabled people as possible from the benefit system. Even those dying from terminal illnesses.

A system that as also seen many disabled people commit suicide and others starve to death. It's so much of a failure that the Disability News Service in December 2019 even called for a criminal investigation into Iain Duncan's Smiths time as head of the Department of Works and Pensions from 2010 to 2016. But of course, we can't pin the introduction of the WCA on Iain Duncan Smith. But we can ask why he continued with a system that seemed so badly – 'flawed'. We can also pin benefit sanctions on both himself and the Department of Works and Pensions.

In 2011, a 'whistle-blower' told the Guardian newspaper that staff at his jobcentre were given targets of three people a week to refer for sanctions, where benefits were removed for up to six months. It was argued to be part of a 'culture change' that had led to competition between advisers, teams and regional offices (The Guardian, 1st April 2011). Iain Duncan Smith later appeared on TV to claim that the story was simply 'claptrap'. However, email evidence emerged highlighting that targets were indeed being imposed to stop people's benefits, and in some cases staff claimed that they also had been threatened with sanctions themselves if they did not reach those set targets. The DWP subsequently issued a statement confirming the practice but that it had been going on in some offices only due to a 'misunderstanding' between the DWP and some jobcentre managers (The Guardian, 8e April 2011).

But even if such target setting were a genuine mistake in 2011 (and that is not a certainty) in response to a freedom of information request in 2017, the DWP duly indicated that central government had indeed been setting targets to turn down the vast majority of benefit sanction appeals. A figure set at around 80% according to the Work and Pensions Select Committee (Disability Rights UK, 14e December 2017). So, if they have admitted setting such targets, what target setting have they not yet owned up about?

If we take a look also at DWP figures released in December 2017, these highlight that out of a total of 947,000 claimants who were reassessed for the Personal Independent Payment (PIP) in the year up to October 2017, 22% had their benefits reduced and 25% were disallowed or withdrawn altogether. Figures that mean 443,000 people (47%) will have had their benefit claims reduced or removed in the course of one year alone. That should be a massive eye-opener for those who still doubt that welfare benefits are being systematically removed from sick and disabled people – and solely for the sake of political ideology. And if disabled people are being singled out for hostile and prejudiced behaviour, then that surely is 'hate'.

But the real smoking gun in the argument of welfare reform as a form of 'hate crime' may be found in the ideology underpinning the Work Capability Assessment itself. If we refer back to Labour's Welfare Reform Green Paper of January 2006, key thinking surrounding the WCA focused on:

  • The right to work.
  • A changing national economy.
  • A rapidly aging population and a falling birth rate.
  • An assessment process focusing on potential capability and capacity to engage in the labour market, rather than incapacity.
  • Reform of the exempt to work category.
  • Framework of both rights and responsibility. Refusing to engage in the help and support offered could see benefits progressively reduced in stages, to the level of jobseeker's allowance.
  • A goal of an 80% employment rate.
  • Older workers to remain in employment longer.

Arguably, even in 2006 we can see Britain's political elite showing huge concern over a shortage of labour due to an aging population and a falling birth rate. And with an employment goal set at 80% (the current rate being around 75%) the sick, disabled people and the elderly were all arguably being targeted as an alternative labour force.

So, for a start, we can see where Tony Blair was leading when he talked about 'mutual responsibility'. But in reality, there was a much bigger emphasis now placed upon the individual's responsibility to the state rather than the state's responsibility to the individual. Or towards each other. There is also an underlying assumption at play here, that most of those who are not working due to ill health and disability could in fact work if they really, really wanted to. Again, there is no evidence to really suggest that level of fraud. And as most people will be aware, disability increases with age, so also forcing or encouraging elderly people to stay in work longer, means more will undoubtedly also be struggling with a disability.

Take a look at the Green paper that introduced the WCA 2006 and the WCA was always designed to be a key player in getting sick or disabled people back to work, and by a shift in thinking that now focused on what sick and disabled people can still do and not what they can't. An assessment process focusing on potential capability and capacity to engage in the labour market, rather than incapacity. So, rarely is anybody absolved of working regardless of ill-health or disability. Evidenced by the following newspaper headlines:

"Severely disabled 19-year-old with a mental age of just five is ordered to have a fitness-to-work test despite not being able to read, write, talk or even sleep on her own" – The Mail, 26e November 2014.

"Man left with half a head after surgery following a stroke has his benefits slashed as officials tell him he is fit to work despite suffering paralysis and memory loss" – The Mail Online, 14e May 2016.

"Woman with mental age of a toddler had benefits stopped because she missed her DWP appointment" – The Echo, 29e January 2017.

"DWP tells man with incurable brain tumour he is fit for work, says GP" – The Independent, 3rd May 2018.

"Man born without arms or legs ordered to prove he can't work three times in a year" – The Daily Mirror, 7e December 2019.

Surely, this system could not have been designed to be any crueller? We can actually compare the WCA to the previous assessment system by taking a brief look at a research document that was produced for the DWP by Barnes, Aston and Williams in December 2010:

"Staff felt that, compared to the Personal Capability Assessment (PCA), the WCA was a more objective functional assessment, and noted that the descriptors were improved, eliminating some duplication and dealing better with certain conditions, such as severe mental health conditions. Other conditions were viewed as somewhat more problematic to access using the WCA, as the HCPs (Health Care Professionals) felt they had less discretion. Conditions which were specifically mentioned in this respect were fluctuating conditions, some mental health conditions, and multiple sclerosis (MS). HCPs also noted that the move to the WCA represented a considerable shift in the threshold for claiming a sickness benefit. The reassessment of existing incapacity benefits customers for ESA, using the WCA, was noted as representing a considerable challenge."

For a start we can pick out 3 key differences of the WCA:

  • A more objective and functional assessment
  • Health Care Professionals felt that they had less discretion over fluctuating health conditions and some mental health conditions.
  • A considerable shift in threshold for claiming welfare benefits.

That last point is a key one for us considering that it was now arguably more difficult from day one to claim welfare under the WCA than it was under the old PCA. Therefore, the assessment not just focuses on different criteria but is arguably a far tougher assessment to pass. The WCA therefore sets the bar at an almost unachievable level. Representing a considerable challenge according to staff. Here's a quote from page 49 of the report:

"Staff who had previously worked under Incapacity Benefit (IB) recognised that the WCA was intentionally stricter than the Personal Capability Assessment (PCA) and that the threshold for benefit eligibility has risen significantly. However, in some cases, staff felt the WCA had gone too far the other way."

There you have it. Even in the early days of the WCA, staff felt that it was intentionally stricter and that it may have actually gone too far. A document that was produced for the Department of Works and Pensions itself and under the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith in December 2010.

Summary and Discussion

I've tried to address the argument that UK welfare reform should be classed as 'hate crime' perpetrated by the state towards disabled people. For sure, you may be able to tick a few of the following 'hate crime' motivators:

  • Hostility
  • Prejudice
  • Toxic Masculinity
  • Media Influence
  • Defence
  • Retaliation
  • Accusation
  • Entertainment
  • Exploitation
  • Incarceration or segregation

You may certainly tick them, but getting anyone in authority to take this seriously is another matter. So, let's remind ourselves of The CPS definition of hate crime:

"The term 'hate crime' can be used to describe a range of criminal behaviour where the perpetrator is motivated by hostility or demonstrates hostility towards the victim's disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity."

We certainly have a degree of hostility arguably displayed towards disabled people by the DWP, hence the following newspaper headline from 2018:

"The hostile environment? Britain's disabled people live there too" (The Guardian, 26e April 2018)

An article where Francis Ryan argues that the injustice of the Windrush scandal and the deliberately generated 'hostile environment' policy surrounding illegal immigration, will be familiar to disabled people who have gone through something similar. But as the CPS definition perhaps indicates, is this actually a 'crime'?

Sick and disabled people have undoubtedly borne the brunt of welfare reform. But of course, other groups have suffered too, perhaps not to the same degree, but nonetheless they have suffered. So, we can't say that disabled people have solely been targeted for hostility and prejudice by 'welfare reform' in general. I've argued myself that it is the poor as a social group that always seem be the subject of state monitoring and punishment. Iain Duncan Smith certainly picked on the 'economically inactive' but they also include mums, dads, students and early retirees, not just disabled people.

Undoubtedly, benefit sanctions and government target setting to turn down the vast majority of sanction appeals, is indeed hostile towards sick and disabled people – showing unfriendliness, contempt, antagonism and spite. Especially when we consider the words of Iain Duncan Smith when he was filmed on the 10e March 2016 claiming that benefit sanctions helped people to 'focus' (The Guardian 11e March 2016). Or when he defended benefit cuts by bragging he could live off just £7 a day, only for it to emerge that he used taxpayer's money for a one night stay in a hotel costing £193 -including £39 for breakfast (The Mirror, 4e April 2013). If that is not showing contempt or being antagonistic, then what is?

As argued above, the CPS uses an everyday understanding of the word 'hostility' within its concept of 'hate crime'. A definition that includes:

  • Ill will
  • Spite
  • Contempt
  • Prejudice
  • Unfriendliness
  • Antagonism
  • Resentment
  • Dislike.

Many of which seem to fit our argument over welfare reform, especially if reform is designed primarily to punish deviant behaviour and incentivise good behaviours. The CPS also regard hate crime as containing the behaviour(s) of verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property. So, if the DWP can be proven to have made threats to unfairly remove welfare benefits or have harassed, intimidated and bullied welfare claimants, then that may indeed be considered as 'hate crime'. As DPAC argued in their 2017 video, some WCA assessors not only display incredible rudeness to disabled claimants but also cruelty.

There is also an argument to be had that the state (both historically and today) display prejudice towards many of its own citizens – and primarily the poor. Certainly, being 'poor' is an identity characteristic, or to put it another way – 'poverty identity' (Banker et al, 2018). But sick and disabled people also make up a significant proportion of those in poverty. An estimated 14.3 million people live in poverty in the UK (Full Fact, 27e September 2019). The Social Metrics Commission argued in 2018 that nearly 7 million of those live in a household with a disabled person (48%).

But the Work Capability Assessment, the main weapon any government has in forcing sick and disabled people back into work, was specifically targeted at only sick and disabled people. It is also based on the false assumption that sick and disabled people can do far more than they say they can – or could work if they really wanted to. If such an assessment can be proven to be harmful and is targeted towards sick and disabled people purely because of their identity of being sick or disabled, then that sure seems not just hostile and reckless behaviour, but prejudiced and hateful.

Here is a newspaper article from 2002:

Blair Launches Attack on Britain's 'sick note' Culture

"Britain's 'sick note' culture, where millions of people who leave work due to illness never get another job, will be attacked by Tony Blair in a major speech tomorrow. The Prime Minister will say that people on incapacity benefit will be expected to attend regular assessment meetings to ensure that they are still unable to work. In a move that is set to be controversial with disability groups, Blair will draw on statistics that show that 90 per cent of people claim they expect to go back to work within five months when they are first signed off sick. But after five years only 20 per cent have found another job. Many use their illness as an excuse not to find work."

(The Guardian, 9e June 2002)

The article goes on to give examples of people who claimed to be ill or disabled and claiming welfare benefits, but who were later discovered to be fraudulent. But arguably these are rare and extreme instances out of millions of sick and disabled people. Sure, there needs to be a robust system in place that roots out fraud. But, the accusation that 'many use their illness as an excuse not to find work'? Where is the evidence that out of millions of sick and disabled people claiming welfare benefits – 'many' of those millions will just be fakes? Millions and millions of fake claimants?

But as we have seen above, the reasoning behind the Work Capability Assessment was arguably not primarily about combatting benefit fraud at all, but about removing as many sick and disabled people as possible from the system. So that they would be forced back into work. The primary concern was therefore over a falling birth-rate and an aging population, not fraud. Of course, this is how it was sold to the general public, but read the reasoning contained within the policy papers and something else emerges.

We find that the key motivators for bringing in the WCA as being:

  • The right to work.
  • A changing national economy.
  • A rapidly aging population and a falling birth rate.
  • An assessment process focusing on potential capability and capacity to engage in the labour market, rather than incapacity.
  • Reform of the exempt to work category.
  • Framework of both rights and responsibility. Refusing to engage in the help and support offered could see benefits progressively reduced in stages, to the level of jobseeker's allowance.
  • A goal of an 80% employment rate.
  • Older workers to remain in employment longer.

The Work Capability Assessment therefore is designed to be a different type of assessment from the previous one. One that focuses on remaining 'function' and with the bar set so high that rarely is anybody absolved from the requirement to work. Therefore, the assessment is arguably orientated to refuse welfare to as many sick and disabled people as possible – and simply by setting the bar at an unbelievably high level. C'est prejudice et discrimination as a minimum. It begins with a false accusation and not just in defence of the work ethic but in effect, becomes a form of retaliation.

But what percentage of welfare benefit is lost to benefit fraud anyway? A survey in 2013 suggested that the public believed it was about £24 out of every £100 spent on benefits. However the real figure at the time was around £1 (BBC 5e June 2017). Back in 2012/2013, £1.2bn of the £166bn welfare bill was lost to benefit fraud (0.7%). However, £1.4bn was estimated to have also been underpaid to claimants due to both claimant errors and official error (0.8%). But you usually never get to hear that side of the story. Of course, these are huge sums of money involved, but the public perception that 24 times more money is lost to fraud than what was the case, indicates how much the general public may have been conned into believing that benefit fraud was a much bigger problem to the taxpayer than it generally was.

Not a criminal offence in the political world, even if it stinks to high heaven. However, if you conned somebody in real life and money was involved, you would more than likely get a visit from the police. We know that evidence exists to suggest welfare reforms have hit disabled people the hardest since 2010. Although, there are other groups that have been hit too. But we know that the WCA was aimed completely at sick and disabled people only, and that the DWP ignored warnings from at least coroners that vulnerable people were committing suicide after involvement with the process.

But is it a 'hate crime'? As I argued previously, the British establishment seems traditionally and historically biased and prejudiced against those in poverty, including disabled people. In general, those in poverty are viewed as being lazy, irresponsible and deviant. And as we already know, hate crime is argued to be motivated by bias and prejudice too. Of course, 'hate crime' also needs something to happen that can be defined as an actual 'crime' under UK law. But if the DWP has conducted itself in a way that leads to a risk of bodily injury and death then that could indeed be classed as criminal negligence. If the DWP has failed in its duty of care towards disabled people then that may be a case of corporate manslaughter. However, these are complex legal arguments that are best left to the legal experts.

That said, the Disability News Service (DNS) reported in 2019 that coroner Tom Osborne first raised official concerns to the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) about the suicide of Stephen Carré in 2010 – writing a rule 43 Report to the DWP itself. A report sent to: "a person, organisation, local authority or government department or agency where the coroner believes that action should be taken to prevent future deaths". The DNS claim that both Iain Duncan-Smith and Chris Grayling would have most certainly seen the coroner's report in their roles as senior DWP ministers, but failed to take the appropriate actions highlighted by the order to make the WCA safe. Exposing hundreds of thousands of other disabled people to life-threatening risks. Iain Duncan Smith as head of the DWP had a clear legal duty to respond to Coroner Osborne's letter within 56 days. He failed to do so and did not reply until February 2016. A response claimed by the DWP to have been drafted in the autumn of 2010, but that was neither signed nor dated and only emerged publically in March 2016. The Disability News Service has now called for a criminal investigation into alleged misconduct in public office by Iain Duncan Smith and other senior Department of Works and Pensions figures. So, it will be interesting to see how those allegations pan out.

Barbara Perry (2001) arguably offers the most comprehensive definition of hate crime to date that takes into consideration 'politics':

"Hate crime… involves acts of violence and intimidation, usually directed towards already stigmatised and marginalised groups. As such, it is a mechanism of power and oppression, intended to reaffirm the precarious hierarchies that characterise a given social order. It attempts to re-create simultaneously the threatened (real or imagined) hegemony of the perpetrator's group and the 'appropriate' subordinate identity of the victim's group. It is a means of marking both the Self and the Other in such a way as to re-establish their 'proper' relative positions, as given and reproduced by broader ideologies and patterns of social and political inequality."

For Perry, hate crimes are directed at 'stigmatised' and 'marginalised' groups. Perry therefore defines hate crime much more widely than simply perpetrated towards race, ethnicity or religion. Under this definition we would certainly place disability but also those in poverty in general, as not only marginalisation but stigmatised. And stigmatised by government not just groups of the general population. For Perry, 'power' and 'oppression' become an intrinsic part of hate crime, and where power is exercised over marginalised groups. And that power may be not only make the victim feel powerless but may also open them up to systematic abuse, violence and exploitation. The fact that powerful groups are also in a position to push their preferred cultural or social norms, means that these norms and values become the most dominant within society and anything that seems deviant to those norms, represented as a serious threat to society as a whole.

The most interesting part of this hate crime definition is that the oppression of stigmatised and marginalised groups is not just reflected through individuals or groups acting out or protecting those perceived social norms, social ideologies or power hierarchies that seem to be keep being reproduced over time – but also through political inequality.

With the Work Capability Assessment aimed purely at millions of sick and disabled people in Britain, surely that is a sign that sick and disabled people are arguably the most politically 'unequal' people in British society today. Particularly, as the WCA affects all or the majority of sick and disabled people, with very few not being classified as 'fit-for-work' – and many dying soon afterwards. Clearly having no political voice and absolutely no say in what basically happens to them, and certainly no political power to alter that situation.

But with the UN continuing to argue that one of the most serious consequences of UK welfare reform is the violation of the 'human rights' of British disabled people – this has arguably also become an international issue. Not simply a domestic dispute between the UK government and some of its battle-wary citizens over welfare provision. This is an attack on the basic human rights of people who are already marginalised and treated as second-class citizens within their own country. If that happened in France, Germany or Russia, our government would be making a giant noise of it and quickly scoring political brownie points.

I'm certainly torn between viewing the appalling mistreatment of Britain's sick and disabled as being either 'hate' or a 'crime'. For me, it certainly fits with most common definitions of what actually 'hate' is – an intense dislike or loathing. We only need to refer back to Gordon Allport's work on prejudice to argue that while 'anger' may be a transitory emotion, hate or hostility seems habitual and much longer lasting.

In addition, refer back to research on hate crimes committed towards race, ethnicity, religion or sexuality, and most argue that these sorts of crimes are primarily opportunistic, transitory crimes that are mainly committed by complete strangers to the victim. Even 'spikes' in such crimes may be driven by public anger driven by a highly public or publicised event. However, research on hate crime committed towards disability generally highlights something entirely different.

That these are not always opportunistic events but sometimes targeted events, sustained and repeated over time, sometimes committed by people already known to the victim – such as friends, relatives, partners and carers. So, these are not usually transitory events driven by momentary anger. And as such, I've indeed come to view these events as being driven by 'hate'.

Of course, this phenomena will undoubtedly be much more complex than that, but if 'anger' is transitory and 'hate' habitual and longer lasting, then some disability hate crimes can be argued for now at least, to be driven by the emotion of…..Hate. But what about welfare reform? Prejudice displayed by Britain's establishment towards those in poverty is clearly habitual and longer lasting than 'anger' towards those who some believe to have caused their own poverty by either acting irresponsibly or by not working hard enough.

Many people currently unemployed will have worked before, despite the political and media rhetoric. Those who are 'economically inactive' may also only be inactive for a short space of time – and are often not claiming welfare benefits anyway. And for sure, many of the long-term sick or disabled will have worked most of their lives too. In Britain, disability is not something you are generally born with, but acquire through life itself. Therefore, those who live in 'poverty' in today's Britain, do not deserve to be constantly called lazy and irresponsible – nor beaten with a big stick.

Refer once again to Allport's work on prejudice and we may find five such stages of prejudice within society:

  1. Antilocution: This stage occurs when an 'in-group' actively promotes negative images of an 'out-group'. These include 'hate speech' but they may simply be jokes made about or stereotypes cultivated around certain social groups. 'Having a laugh' at disabled people's would certainly make this category, but so would political rhetoric that represents disabled people as being lazy, irresponsible and deviant.
  2. Avoidance: Members of the in-group may actively avoid people in the out-group. No direct harm may be intended. Research indicates that the able-bodied sometimes do actively avoid disabled people. My own research recorded occasions where people in wheelchairs felt that they had actively been excluded from conversations. Then, there is the school incident mentioned earlier, where parents wanted to avoid 'watching' a disabled child perform in a school concert.
  3. Discrimination: Disabled people prevented from education, jobs or simply from achieving their goals. With welfare reform argued by a number of organisations and charities as actively eroding independent living in many cases. The Work Capability Assessment may also actively discriminate against those with long-standing health problems and disability. Arguably, no other social group in Britain has to go through such a rigorous benefit assessment – especially one of 'functionality' in order to qualify for state help. The able-bodied claiming housing benefits or universal credit and pensioners receiving the state pension do not have to go through such a rigorous assessment. Arguably, they also do not have to face government target setting that refuses large numbers of claims or requests for benefits Disabled people are also sanctioned for often the most minor of perceived DWP 'rule' breaking.
  4. Violence/Physical attack: Physical harm done to members of the out-group. We know for a fact that some disabled people have committed suicide after coming in contact with the WCA. The WCA has also been officially highlighted as in need of reform in order to be made safer for vulnerable claimants with mental health issues. None of which has arguably happened, to-date. Listen to groups such as DPAC and disabled people not only complain of humiliation but of the physical pain often endured during the assessment process.
  5. Extermination: The in-group seeks extermination or removal of the out-group. Of course, none of us are going to argue that any UK government has intended to physically exterminate large numbers of disabled people. But there is some evidence of the re-institutionalisation of disabled people, often against their will and back into care homes or similar institutions. The Work Capability Assessment is also argued to be a tool that reclassifies disability or terminal illness as something that is not necessarily a block to working. In many cases, even people dying in hospital have received messages from job-centres cajoling them to turn up for their allotted appointments or have benefits sanctioned. Therefore, the system is effectively geared up first and foremost to retirer sick and disabled people from the benefit system rather than supporting and helping people. It may not be 'extermination' – but it is a certainly 'removal' of sorts.

Conclusion

I'm going to leave the reader to make up their own mind on whether UK welfare reform is indeed a 'hate crime'. However, for something to indeed be a crime, there needs to be a criminal offense committed. Certainly, there is hostility, bias and of course, prejudice being quite clearly displayed from the state and it's institutions, towards disabled people. This arguably originates primarily from a view that 'work ethic' is the number one goal, if not the only goal in the political universe. Disabled people are clearly 'economically' valueless if not in employment of some kind. Indeed, up until the 1980's, people in retirement may have often faced the same view.

The thinking and logic behind the Work Capability Assessment certainly seems based largely on the goal of getting more sick and disabled people filling vacant jobs, rather than a concern over benefit fraud. As we can readily witness from reading the Green paper that introduced the WCA in 2006. However, it was a Labour administration that introduced the WCA and arguably one that also viewed the UK's benefit system as encouraging dependency and entitlement. Particularly where sick or disabled people are concerned.

Of course, benefit fraud costs the UK taxpayer £billions, but not as much as official error and arguably not as much as welfare reform itself. But although we can argue that welfare reform opportunistically used the 2008 global financial crash as a ready-made excuse in order to introduce 'austerity' policies, the WCA itself was carefully planned out well before 2008. And it would have been introduced regardless of the global financial meltdown.

Only sick and disabled people go through the WCA. Even people with only a body and a head left, have had to go through this process. And I'm not joking. It is a process that is completely different to previous state work assessments and one where the bar for claiming state welfare is set so unbelievably high. Of course, having a disability doesn't necessarily mean you can't work, but you may need extra support from employers and you may face discrimination for employment and discrimination while in employment. Talk of scrapping minimum wage laws for 'some' disabled people also opens up all disabled people to potential exploitation in the future. Therefore, these are particularly dark times for disabled people in Britain today.

What this 'article' or discussion is primarily aimed at, is to get people talking about government welfare reform in a much fuller way. Than merely accepting tired old arguments that government reform was simply about saving taxpayers money or combating welfare fraud. There is an ideological component at play within current welfare reforms that was on display even before the days of Prime Minster, Margaret Thatcher. A post-war consensus over the provision of state welfare that had been systematically eroded, and to a point where that consensus is now in the completely opposite direction. If we take the reasoning of the WCA as a key indicator of this new thinking or new stance on welfare, it is primarily aimed at keeping sick and disabled people within work, regardless of circumstance. You can be dying but you are still expected to stay at your post. The driving and real reason of reform – a shortage of British workers. And it is such a shortage of labour that it views elderly people as also being the solution of the future.

But it is surely sick and disabled people who have currently borne the brunt of a brutal and hostile government assault. However, it is Britain's political system that has conducted that assault, not just one political party or the other. And a system that has been prone to doing precisely that over the decades and centuries, and primarily over concerns over the 'work ethic'. Read the Beveridge report of 1942 and Beveridge wanted to eradicate the five giant evils of want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. Yes, even idleness. The welfare consensus may have ended but concern over the 'work ethic' of British people is always consuming.

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