Friday 20 May 2011

Swearing against Disablism

Why do we swear?

To express emotions with the greatest force? To shock? To frighten?

I never swear on my blog. Other than the odd "bloody" or "crap" you'll find I always consider the reader who could be offended.

In real life, I'm afraid I swear like a trouper and you'll never know how often I'd like to resort to a damn  good cuss when I'm writing about politics or the issues facing sick or disabled people.

Earlier today, I wrote a fairly innocent post on food poverty. It was intended as a light-hearted swipe at well paid journalists trying to imagine living on £50 a week to feed a family of four. It opened with a recipe for Desperation Stew that I'd cooked earlier in the week and pointed out that millions of people already live on £50 or less.

The comments started to flow immediately. As the day has gone on, hundreds of people have commented across various social networks and on the blog itself, sharing their tips for surviving. People with MS and heart failure and bowel disease and every other condition you can imagine have shared their stories and it's a fucking disgrace.

A sickening, disgusting, shameful fucking disgrace.

Our country, the 6th richest in the world, has decided - with general consent - that it is OK for people with terrible illnesses or life threatening disabilities to live in abject poverty, scraping around for fucking scraps to make a bit of soup with.

On top of that, they have decided - with general consent - that it's OK to take away around a third of their already inadequate incomes. It's OK to make them pay an eye watering 10% of the entire deficit reduction plan. £9 billion pounds taken from people who already can't afford to feed themselves.

Banks are paying less than 1 Billion this year. I can't be arsed to work out what proportion of their income that is, but I'll lay money it's not a fucking third.

Britain : Get off your lazy arses and wake up! Read a paper or switch on the news.

The first place to start would be reading the comments on this thread. (Click the different colour bit). They should make us all fucking weep.


  1. Good for you Sue and we speak the same language.

  2. And I think we all agree Maria Miller is ¥À©]€e”V’n

  3. Wonderful Sue, and about time.

    Politeness is a luxory and is raraely practised by people who are enduring tough times, that is why eloquence means jack-xxxx in the military and jack left town.

    We need to shout about this and begin to defend the most vulnerable and bring them in to the rest of the people who have been mounmentally screwed by Corporate Parliament plc.

    Ralph Baldwin

  4. The big problem is the general consent. How do we get people to realise the problem? How to we get them to wake up and smell our that's-not-coffee-is-it?

    Maybe we need full page ads in national newspapers, and media consultants to tell us how to get through to people. I hope not, because how will we, as a group, ever afford those things?

  5. Sam - I wonder if that WOULD work? What do other people think? Full page ads making some brilliant point that showed clearly what's going on without too many words?

    In every major newspaper?

    (Forget the cash for a bit everyone, what about the idea?)

  6. Howard! Where are you when I need you? Hypothetically, do you think some devastatingly witty and clear full page ads in the national papers making some brilliant point somehow might be a good idea?

  7. People don't care though, do they? They support this stuff, they swallow the lies and the hate like it was mother's milk. And don't kid yourself that the Left are any better, either - between supporting extreme right-wing Islamic fundamentalists and provoking the police to attack innocent, peaceful demonstrators, they've shown that this madness and cruelty is generalised throughout society.

    Personally, for me it will be a secret relief when the bomb drops.

  8. Well said sue like you i never swear but in these times this government is enough to try the patience of a saint and more what with maria miller and IDS /David Cameron / constantly attacking us we have Andrew Ansley trying his best to muck up the NHS we then have Michael grove also doing his best to muck up our kids education we then have ken Clarke saying that there are all types of rape and there not all the same sounds familiar with maria miller talking about the sick and disabled trying to play one off against another with I'm sicker then you type of thing and then to top it all we have Teresa may trying to take away the police's pension can you believe as if we haven't got enough people in poverty
    I'm surprised any of us here are even sane let alone swear

  9. OK just a thought. Assuming money is an issue, in reality.

    Who buys what papers and why ? Are you really going to change the opinion of a Torygraph reader ? Grauniad addicts like myself are probably already on board. Murdoch rags, I don't know, but got a bit of an issue giving that bastard any cash. Give the Morning Star and Socialist Worker a miss. Watchtower and Catholic Times could be interesting, though.

    Ah, unless the ads for the Tory rags read 'How Dare You ?' - expletives optional. Interesting question, would the Dirty Digger take the money for an ad that read 'Up Yours Rupe' ? Yes, probably, laughing all the way to the bank.

    So someone would need a fairly sophisticated targeting radar.

    And of course I have never been known to shoot from the hip. Like fuck. So not sure I have anything useful to contribute on this one, actually.

    best wishes as ever
    Chris Morris

  10. Actually Chris, that probably says it all. It wouldn't actually change many minds would it.

  11. I know, I'll go on X-factor.

    When I get to the final and they announce me as the winner, I refuse to sing the final winners song and give a little speech on Welfare Reform, lol

    Now THAT would shock enough people to get a reaction.

  12. the cynic in me says they would just cut to the ads, but you gotta have hope, haven't you ?

    Go to bed and get some sleep if you haven't done so by the time this gets posted.


  13. I think it could work - it just wouldn't change everyone's mind, and it would need to be really good.

    As a mental exercise, I was considering how you'd design a poll/market research exercise to test proposed ads. It'd be straightforward, the stats would be easy, the model design would be easy - it'd just cost money that can't be avoided to actually gather the data. Okay, to get a pro to do the other bits would also be expensive, but perhaps not necessary. A good quantitative social scientist ought to be able to do most of it, especially if they know the political aspects as well. A pro might be able to tell you what would work without needing new data, but they'd advise trials to be sure anyway.

    I think you could reach telegraph, mail and red-top readers, if you tone it right for each. I have some ideas I'd have hopes for to persuade people that the WCA isn't fair, and so there really aren't so many claimants fit for work, but it's just vague ideas.

  14. Whilst I still live at home, I buy my own food most of the time. My mum was shocked this week when I told her I was almost two-hundred pounds overdrawn after picking up the last grocery shop. She says she will pay me back for it and is sorry for not asking what my balance was at the time. Having learned the recipe for Jamaican 'rice and peas' it seems to be all I eat any more.

  15. I like the idea sue, and it could be done, i for one am in the middle of constructing an e mail to a guy who writes for a daily and i believe could help our cause if i can persuade him through words.

  16. Sue, as another poster says on the Poverty Stew thread - find a way to send this thread to Jamie Oliver - really - find a way to make him aware of the situation ill and disabled people in his own country are in when it comes to healthy eating! He just might support us.

    His website says "Jamie wants to show us that anyone can learn to cook – and that it's fun, cool, can save you money and help you, your family and friends to live a healthier life."

    Maybe we need to educate him - not everyone can cook and not everyone can afford to eat. And those people are the ones who will be bearing the brunt of the cuts.

    I really think you should do this Sue, he is a great campaigner and has quite a bit of clout.

  17. Anonymous

    now that IS a good idea. Go get him, Sue.

    And maybe Titchmarsh on the growing your own food which was an issue flagged up in the comments thread ? Perhaps he would fetch up to help Oya's daughter. I would like to see that. Would surely get the communal vegetable patch off the ground in the sink-estate hell. We can pitch in with some seedlings (my missus is the gardener in what little spare time she has).

    These are people who like to be on the right side of the argument and may well be willing to get involved.

    Now can anyone figure out how to get Alex Ferguson on board - he is a known Labour supporter and would reach out to a whole additional demographic. And he plays to win.

    Get one of the sleb endorsements, others will follow. You've seen Jurassic Park ?
    [Grant sees a group of Dinosaurs drinking at the edge of a lake]
    Dr. Alan Grant: They're moving in herds. They do move in herds.

    best wishes
    Chris Morris

  18. Agree with the Jamie Oliver bit - he loves a "cause" & the payback would be that it raises his profile.

    I'm not sure that newspaper ads would have much effect tbh - peeps just turn the page when confronted with something they disagree with. We already know that some think we all just put on our disabilities to get a free car & a parking place, grrrr

  19. I've another idea - if people really think it's a good idea, why not follow up on it yourselves?

    I know that's probably come off as rather harsh - I feel like hell today and I'm struggling with coherency - but if you see someone you can get an idea out to, then I really encourage people to do it. Please do not drop it in another person's lap and then light a candle and Pray for Divine Help; it won't happen and the people of The Broken of Britain are already running on a very low amount of spoons as it is.

    Movements for change happen when people each find a bit they can take part in, and then do it - if folks merely wait for someone else to do the work, then it slows things down considerably, especially when people don't have a whole lot of energy in the first place.

    THAT is what the whole "Big Society" thing really is all about; and whether the Powers That Be truly realise that or not, I believe they may find out.

    So, write those emails to Jamie, and to the Rose Cottage, and to Sainsburys. If you really think it's a good idea then by all means, get a start on it yourselves if you can.

  20. Thanks Oya's daughter. You're exactly right. This isn't "my" campaign - sometimes people even ask me if I mind them writing about it!!

    Broken of Britain is just 5 very very unwell people who've had enough. ANYONE with a good idea, should just go for it! It's what we do every day. If you want to do it in collaboration with us, that's always fine. Anyone who's put a good idea together and written a pitch can always run it by us and we can see about adding the clout of the group's name. Anyone who wants to make this their life, as we have is also welcome to join!!

    But yes, we already make ourselves ill doing this and the more the merrier.

  21. I'M doing my bit in keep writing to the prime minister and IDS they never reply but i keep sending out the same letter every week they know about this blog that i do know because they cant have missed it as i put it in every letter
    I'll keep writing till i get a valid response

  22. Sue, I have written a reply to this on my blog because my comment was too long. Please read.

  23. @ Ophelia - I can't figure out how to get this on your blog, something about illegal characters, so I am posting it here. SUE - can you please pass it on ? Sorry I don't have the hang of it. Anyway:


    Your brother is just wrong. Your parents' response to your situation appears to confirm that. Do not beat yourself up. I know how that works from bitter experience. It's a good sign that you can cry.

    But time is truly a great healer and in due course the children will grow up and make up their own minds about you. Your brother must I fear have issues beyond your ability to resolve. Although some people are just bad.

    I don't have any comforting words to offer, except that the attitude being shown by the evil bastards who the electorate in their wisdom chose to govern us is self-serving bullshit, and there will be a reckoning. Trust me on this. I freely acknowledge that I am an arrogant bastard with an attitude, but someone has to be.

    I don't know what I can do to help, and I am wary of spreading anything I may have to offer too thinly to actually achieve anything. Just know that my metaphorical sword is at Sue's command if she wants it. I do have a life and will be away on holiday with my wife for most of June. But keep in touch with Sue. She is a class act and will I believe provide what is technically termed casus belli. Possibly some case law too. You know the legal ruling on Birmingham this week. Sue could also just be our Marianne - metaphor from the French revolution, if it needs explanation. Hopefully you will be able to sit back and enjoy the show.

    Can't argue with a confident man. And I have moments. If you don't know John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13 (the original), you have a treat in store.

    best wishes. If this goes well I promise to be in touch.
    Chris Morris