That's what a minority of confused, frightened, frustrated people do these days: they "call out" disabled people who they believe are fakers. The government and The Daily Mail have done a scarily efficient job of demonising the disabled, these last few years. By making benefit fraud seem a far bigger problem than it actually is - bigger than, for instance, bankers needing unimaginable sums of money to bail them out of the trouble they caused for themselves - and casting doubt on the genuine nature of sickness and disability claims, the Welfare Reform Act created a culture of suspicion, paranoia and blame, directed at the poor, the ill and the disabled.
Clearly, genuinely fraudulent benefit claims needed to be dealt with. Yet to say that babies were thrown out with bathwater would be to grossly understate the case, given the horrendous consequences. Many, many thousands of ill and disabled people have reportedly died as a result of having their benefits taken away, after being systematically 'assessed' by the government-appointed company ATOS. The relative lack of uproar shocked me. Don't get me wrong: plenty of people railed against the madness. But on Twitter, I often felt I was seeing more people complain about other users employing manual RTs, for instance, than about this glorified social cull. Thankfully, protest groups like writer/comedian Francesca Martinez's WOW Campaign have taken the government to task and continue to pressurise them to officially assess the Welfare Reform Act's horrific impact. The United Nations are apparently also assessing potential human rights violations.
|A 'conker bowl', designed and created by Welsh Wallace|
Having emerged from hospital, she has a new lease of life and a new goal: she wants to get her online shop back up and running. The shop through which she sells her amazing clay work. The shop which she has sporadically had to close in the past, either because the verbal abuse became too much to take, or because her health faltered, or because she had to prioritise things like eating and paying bills, rather than buying clay. Given that she's an intensely proud and stubborn individual, it's very pleasantly surprising that she is finally asking us for help in getting the shop back up and running on October 1.
|Inside that conker bowl|
UPDATE: Wallace's initial £350 target was met in 24 hours! Her stretch goal now, if more funds are raised, will be to buy "a GPS guide that will allow me to walk outside without a guide giving me complete independence to go for a walk whenever I want without having to pre plan or save up to hire a guide." See her campaign update # 3 here.
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