In the last Parliament, people with disabilities who challenged government cuts were labelled extremists. Political opposition was weakened by a fear of being seen as on the side of ‘scroungers’. But with more cuts coming, perhaps that is about to change. As more and more lives are affected, awareness of just how bad these policies are is growing.
People with disabilities or a long-term illness, having borne the brunt of welfare cuts in this Parliament, fear what will happen after the General Election. With the Conservatives promising a further £12 billion cuts without specifying where the axe would fall, they fear the worst.
The Conservatives are refusing to give details of where £12 billion of further social security cuts will come from, but Iain Duncan Smith has said, "there are some things that we will do, and want to do, that are of life-changing, dramatic effects."
For a few weeks I’ve been trying to write a general critique of welfare reform, addressing each policy point by point, looking at the assumptions on which it was based, what it aimed to achieve, and the effect it has had in practise. It’s been a disturbing and depressing experience.
In politics it is more constructive to focus on policies and ideas than on individuals, says Bernadette Meaden. She suggests, however, that a politician may become so wedded to a policy that their personal reputation and the credibility of the policy become inextricably linked. She argues that this is now the case with Iain Duncan Smith.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), a government department which appears to be increasingly and inappropriately fashioned by the the ideological welfare-cutting politics of secretary of state Iain Duncan Smith, displays some interesting communications priorities.