Sunday, 1 September 2013

In Barnet, nobody can year you scream !

You can scream as loud as you like. You can bang your fists on the wall, smash your head on the stairs, cry your eyes out. If there is no one there, then nobody will care. One of my children asked me several years ago, when they were just out of nappies, what monster scared me the most. I said I would show them. I picked her up and said "don't open your eyes until I tell you, and you will see the most scary monster in the universe". I then picked her up and put her in front of a mirror and said "You can look now". She saw her own face and roared with laughter. Sadly, being three years old, she missed the point. In horror films such as Alien and Predator, the most evil monsters are grotesque aliens. In reality, ordinary people such as you and I are often far more evil.

Take the example of the most evil regime in modern times. Adolf Hitler and the NAZI's. It was ordinary people who enabled the NAZI party to take power. It was ordinary people who operated the trains which took Jews to concentration camps. It was ordinary people who made the munitions and sent their children off to the Hitler youth. Apologists say "well what would you have done, had you been living under the NAZI regime?" The honest answer is that I haven't a clue. I know what I wish I'd do in such a situation, but do I?

Of course, in Great Britain in 2013, we don't have a fascist dictatorship do we? We have elections, we have rule of law. I mean, Hitler never won an election, did he? Nope, he simply fronted a coalition. Hitler bent the legal system to his will. We would never see Great Britain embark on an illegal war would we? When the NAZI's took power, legislation was passed allowing "terrorists" to be locked up without due recourse to legal processes. In Great Britain, such things could never happen.

Who were the first victims of state sponsored murder in NAZI Germany? In actual fact it was the disabled. People who were deemed of no economic value. The NAZI party got away with it, because they convinced "decent" German citizens that the disabled and handicapped were a drain on the resources of the state and that the state "simply couldn't afford" to carry them. I pray to God that the UK would never go down such a route, but if you look, you will see signs everywhere that people who have special needs are being targeted by the central and local government to bear the burden of the economic mess inflicted on us by greedy and incompetent bankers. We are told that we can't afford decent services. In Barnet we have an organisation called "Your Choice Barnet" which is actively seeking to replace carers with experience and personal knowledge of their clients, with "race to the bottom" cheap labour. Personal needs of the elderly, the handicapped and the disabled are ignored because "we simply can't afford it anymore". Oddly enough we can afford a tax cut for the extremely rich.

I have heard terrible cases of disabled people, with unskilled carers, paid for with our taxes, who have simply ignored the clients to watch TV and play on mobile phones. Screams, tears and requests for help to the toilet have been ignored. This is at the mild end of the shameful stories I've heard. Some stories have been truly horrific. The common factor in many of these is that the staff involved have not been properly trained and are not aware of individual client needs. I have worked for many years with a charity which takes disabled people abroad. I have had experience of people, where care homes have lied on the forms, leaving unpaid helpers like myself in an impossible position. The worst case was a young man, with Downes syndrome, who had a death wish. I suffered a permanent and severe injury to my back, preventing him from leaping into a river. The form gave no indication of his behavioural issues.

When the carers picked him up, I made a casual remark about his death wish. The carer said "Oh, didn't anyone tell you that he is always trying to harm himself?". I am shocked at the attitude of many people to people with disability. I have a much loved cousin with Downes Syndrome. I think the world of her. Sadly people have made the most vile comments to my face about her, thinking I would find them funny. I don't. I believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and those who can't defend themselves need those of us who can to fight their corner.

As far as I am concerned, anyone who tolerates the abuse or vilification of the disabled is no better than Adolf Hitler and his evil cohorts. After all, it was public tolerance of those views in Germany that allowed his "coalition" to come to power. I don't think the United Kingdom in any way resembles Germany under the Nazi's but I do think that we are closer than a lot of people realise to adopting some of their attitudes and that makes me feel very uneasy.

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