So I’ve seen the Bedroom Tax, PIP and a raft of other measures to make life harder for disabled people. What impact has the General Election debate had, and where is this disabled voter left feeling as a result? One word sums it up: Nervous.
Should the Tories be re-elected, further welfare cuts seem likely, and Jeremy Hunt seems to be making increasingly concerning noises about how long money can kept being put into the NHS and that’s only *if* the economy is strong enough to take it. Having seen the impact of healthcare privatization in the US, that really scares me. I fear being one of a class of people who faces an impossible choice between sky high premiums or poor coverage, and quite possibly ending up with both.
I feel quite frankly battered by cuts which seem to have impacted on my life in a number of ways and the thought of more of the same also really worries me. Add to this the lack of attention given to disability issues in the coverage I’ve seen to date and i’m left feeling sidelined by the debate thus far. Where has been the attempt to speak to the ‘purple vote’? What reassurance have I been given that things will improve?
Debate around public services, especially the NHS, matter so much when you know that you will be regularly using services and the way they are run will have an impact on your daily life. Social Care too is massive. From an early age I have known that the shape of social care will have a direct effect on my life and I want to try and plan my life so that I can live it to the fullest. Depending on the nature of the proposals, this could well effect the home you live in and the sort of life you can lead. It can be very easy to feel marginalised as a result when these issues are not aired – because I know the impact will be felt.
There is perhaps better news. This analysis by Disability Rights UK indicates that the party manifestos contain a range of proposals that are disability specific, some of which are more encouraging than others. Though this isn’t an endorsement, it is also good to see the Labour Party support for the Social model of disability at a time when we seem to have regressed to a medical model of thinking which has become increasingly entrenched in some circles.
It is also becoming easier to engage with politics. United Response have also continued their excellent ‘Easy News’ for the 2017 election, producing a highly accessible account of the election manifestos. Debate has also been lively on Twitter.
My sense of unease is still there though. In the closing days of the campaign it would be good to see greater prominence given to disability issues so that the ink that is clearly devoted to the manifesto pages can be bought to life. At a crucial election, it is vital that we all get the chance to have an informed debate about the kind of society we want to be a part of, so we can all live life in an inclusive way with one another.