Twitter, Disabled People, Benefit Fraud… and Pubs


Following yesterday’s post, I find myself in the position of needing to write another rebuttal of something that Nadine Dorries has said. Guido Expose

She provides a link to a blog where someone has found one of the tweeters she was talking about yesterday.  Her comment is

The left wing Twitterati have apparently gone into overdrive today, and so they should. Guido informs me that his expose claims to be a Labour activist web site organiser for Bedfordshire – or something similar, AND she writes porn [link to the porn website] Nice lady.

Is anyone else thinking that Ms Dorries wouldn’t have such a problem with this person if the word Labour above had been replaced by Conservative?

I’ve had a look at both the website that was linked and the twitter account.  I can’t say the website is to my taste but there’s nothing wrong with porn whether you write it, read it or whatever.  And there’s nothing wrong with twittering as we discussed yesterday.

The tweeter in question has written a very good response to Ms Dorries.  Well worth a read.  It backs up a lot of the points I tried to make yesterday about disabled people and twitter.  Plus, it’s calmly written.  Something I’m really not sure I could have done had I been so attacked.

If Ms Dorries had just provided the links that would be one thing.  None of the Disability Voices team would have been very happy about it but it wouldn’t be a big thing.  Unfortunately, however, that’s not all she wrote about.

She noted that the following points were made For Clarity.

If you are genuinely disabled, or like my mum, retired and love to use the internet to chat to friends etc (she makes me look like a luddite) then that is fantastic and I wish you many hours of pleasure.

If you Twitter all day, every day about claiming disability benefit in one tweet whist arranging a night out in the pub in the next. If you tweet about claiming six months rent from the social fund whilst tweeting how bad your hangover is and if you stride into political meetings and shout the odds with energy and enthusiasm with no sign of any physical disability and if you claim to work for the Labour party and write porn at the same time as claiming your disability benefit – then don’t expect someone like me not to a) inform the authorities and b) tell you to get of your Twitter and get a job.

Yet another member of the government is forgetting that it is both possible and legal to claim DLA and work.  It really is no wonder we’re all seen as scrounging, fraudster scum is it?

And benefit claimants shouldn’t be going to the pub?  Nobody tell her that I went to a knitting group in a cafe bar on Wednesday night!  I was drinking sprite and eating flapjack, horror of horrors!

Just because people have disabilities or claim benefits for other reasons, doesn’t mean that they can’t have a social life.  If someone said to her that as an MP she can’t have visits to the pub she would scream loudly for all to hear about her rights.  But as disabled people, we are supposed to agree with her and do as she says.  Or at least that’s what she thinks!

I’m a bit stuck for what to say because I don’t want to repeat too much of what I wrote yesterday.  Nor do I want to get into a defence of the specific person she attacked (who deserves one but seems to be doing a good job of that herself).  This isn’t just an attack on one person.  Disabled people as a group are one of the most vulnerable in society.  I don’t know any statistics but I imagine that unemployed benefit claimants would also be a vulnerable group.  This needs to be dealt with on the scale Nadine Dorries generalises it too.  All disabled people, whether or not they are on twitter.

Several people have tweeted that they are scared by Ms Dorries comments (and most of the ones I’ve seen were posted before the last comments).  I am concerned by them too, it appears that Ms Dorries wants to return to the days when disabled people were hidden away and never seen.

Benefit fraud is a problem in the UK, there’s no point in denying it.  A bigger problem is the number of people thought to be entitled to benefits but not claiming them – those numbers are substantially higher.  Why aren’t the government doing something about that?

I already know someone who says they won’t reclaim when their DLA runs out as it’s too stressful.  My concern is that comments such as those made by Nadine Dorries over the last couple of days will increase the number of people who don’t feel they can or should claim benefits.  Again, the entire Disability Voices team disputes these remarks and will continue to campaign for the rights of disabled people to claim benefits, use twitter and even go down the pub if they want to.

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About Writer In A Wheelchair

Emma describes herself as mouthy and independent, something she's very proud of as it helps her to campaign on disability issues which she is very passionate about. She loves knitting, sailing, swimming and reading. One day she'll be paid to be a writer a goal she's determined to make happen. In the meantime she writes and rambles in many places online including her blog, http://writerinawheelchair.co.uk
This entry was posted in Campaigns, mainstream madness, politics. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Twitter, Disabled People, Benefit Fraud… and Pubs

  1. Pingback: What Do You Think, Mr Cameron? « Same Difference

  2. I would love to be in a position where I am fit enough to be capable of going out and getting a hang over, the only hang overs I get are from the constant medications I use to allow me to be alive lol.
    I understand the point of “too stressful” to apply for benefit. I am sick of being treated like a criminal for the money I deserve. When I was well I worked 60 hour weeks. I didn’t get ill on purpose. I don’t want to be in this position, it is not my choice.
    It seems disabled people are bullied when visiting the DWP. “You must take any job we decide you could do, even if you cannot do it, because you are disabled, you have no right to choose any form of employment”. “You must stay in and not meet with other people, if you can do that you can work”. Well the latter, I cannot do, and the internet is the ONLY way I can have a “social” life. And it isn’t as good as a real one. I’d prefer a real social life.
    We should all be in work apparently, yet my mother who is fit and well, has just been made redundant, she is a civil servant and worked for 10 years in her job. She is struggling to get any other job, because there isn’t enough employment out there. She isn’t being picky either, shes applied for every job there is out there. But with increased cuts about to take place, including in the DWP where are we who are not fit for work supposed to get jobs if fit and well people cant get jobs?
    I hope I see the patronising idiot who told me I am setting a bad example to my daughter by not working, even though I am ill, and have vast evidence to support my case, in the signing on queue in a few months. Perhaps then, she would not be so flippant and understand.

  3. Pingback: Nadine Dorries Has Whip Withdrawn Over Her Decision To Appear In I’m A Celebrity « Same Difference

  4. Pingback: Nadine Dorries Has Whip Withdrawn Over Her Decision To Appear In I’m A Celebrity | Disability Voices

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