DLA Cuts: Limbs Are Overrated Anyway

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And now a great sigh of relief echoes across Britain after the Paralympic Closing Ceremony succeeded in all aspects of tear-jerking stories, extraordinary talented people swinging about on wires, uplifting music, celebs, a bit of a boring speech and lots of empathy. The music brought everyone together to realise what had been achieved; it even blurred out of focus the lingering government DLA cuts. So, what now? Are we actually any better at talking about disabled people?

Blind Team GB footballer Keryn Seal, 30, relies on his £70-a-week allowance to get to training, yet the plans are geared towards saving money, so that only “those who need it most” will receive their DLA. So whilst we are banging on about opinions over disabilities changing, and how the Paralympics shifted the focus from disability to ability, the very heroes in question are being stripped of the very means that got them to this stage of ability.

Disability vs. Ability

The web is awash with new phrases like ‘it isn’t about what they can’t do, but what they can’, and no doubt the heroes of the Paralympics will receive honours from the Queen, but how will that fare against their Disabled Living Allowance being cut, or even taken away? A little tap on the shoulder from Queenie isn’t going to make their daily lives easier, is it? They will always be disabled.

David Cameron is happy to formulate a pretence in support of the sporting champions, giving out prepared speeches ready with a set phrase or two, such as “inspire a generation”, or “change people’s views about disability” being repeated as more important than the effects of government funding. How can a man with a set of fully working eyes, limbs, and intelligence (supposedly) decide what a disabled person needs?

Politically correct Cameron

‘Retarded’ and ‘challenged’ are words that are constantly swinging in and out of political correctness, and, oh how ironic, now that we have all suddenly realised that retards, spastics, the challenged and crippled are more human than we thought, it is an appropriate time for the representative government to treat them as unfairly as they might any other social group. Fully categorized and classified after the paralympics, are we forgetting that being disabled is hard?

Cuts will hinder independent living

No doubt Jonnie Peacock and Ellie Simmonds will inspire generations of disabled sportspeople, but we can’t forget about the people that aren’t good at sport, or music, or anything in which they can express themselves. When students moan about fees rising and graduates moan about no work, we should imagine doing it all without legs or speech or sight, and then add our grant money being taken away. Only then might we be a smidge closer to the position some people will be left in by the government’s actions. We’re not talking about cutting a few pennies here. If it is true we are not afraid of disability anymore, then surely we will speak out against these plans.

Sarah Smout

I have a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from UEA. When I'm not writing articles or poetry, I'm writing songs or cello-ing it up in my band. I tend to have the odd glass of rose when I write for creative purposes only. I bake good cakes, too.

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