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I'VE continued to protest in my own poetry collections against the scourge of claimant-scapegoating and its devastating effects on the unemployed, sick and disabled.
I'll be voting Labour in the upcoming election because its transformative and compassionate manifesto sets out to halt austerity, reverse the cuts that have scarred our country and heal the scars.
But the particular section which stands out for me is that on disability.
It stands with, and for, disabled people, challenges stigma and discrimination wherever it is found and supports the right of disabled people to live independently and be treated with respect.
The Tories’ rhetoric of “scroungers” and “skivers” has whipped up hatred of disabled people, with disability-hate crime skyrocketing — up 37 per cent in the last year alone. Labour will never demonise disabled people or the unemployed.
Labour follows the social model of disability— it is not people’s condition or impairment that disables them but society’s failure to adapt to those conditions and impairments — and it's committed to removing the barriers constructed by society and ensuring that disabled people can participate fully and equally.
The Conservatives have created a hostile environment for disabled people, who have borne the brunt of Tory cuts. The United Nations has said that the Tories have systematically and gravely violated disabled people’s rights by denying them the support they are entitled to and Labour pledges to end that hostile environment.
It will put into practice the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and amend the Equality Act to reflect the social model of disability, stop the dehumanising Work Capability and PIP Assessments, which repeatedly and falsely find ill or disabled people fit to work, and make sure all assessments are done in-house.
Labour is the only one of the three main parties to recognise the hostile environment for the unemployed and disabled and to put remedying it at the heart of its manifesto.
Our austerity-scarred society is crying out for healing, for a radical change of heart from the hostile environment of Tory rule to the hopeful atmosphere of compassion and openness that can only come with a Labour government.
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