Thursday, 1 March 2012

We are Spartacus

When they think about Spartacus most people think about Stanley Kubrick's film and Kirk Douglas as slave Spartacus. You're mind will then probably go to the scene at the end when the slaves are asked to identify Spartacus in exchange for leniency; at which point each of the slaves proclaims "I am Spartacus".

The Spartacus Report and campaigns are all about welfare reforms that effect sick and disabled people. The name could not be more appropriate, because we are all in this together. 

All of us. Nobody plans to become sick, nobody plans to become disabled. Nobody wants to become reliant on benefits to make sure that they can live the life the life they want to live; the life that everyone else takes for granted. Today you are able bodied, today your body does what you tell it, today everything works as it should. But who knows what is around the corner. Perhaps tomorrow you will be Spartacus too.

Benefits have had a bad ride in the press whilst the Welfare Reform Bill (which passed into legislation last night) made its way through Parliament. The media like to focus on the 'cheats' and the 'scroungers' - those that they consider work-shy or undeserving in some way. The media is horrified that people can go to work and still claim some sort of benefit; or that they can be photographed (as recently was seen in the press) living and apparently 'normal' life.

Benefits enable the sick and the disabled to do these things (the things that most people take for granted). Being disabled can get expensive. A dozen things that most of us do every day are difficult or impossible for disable people without some sort of aid. Often little things to help with dressing, bathing, around the house - but little things add up. Sometimes big things to make sure that mobility inside and outside is possible. Big things add up too.

It took me a long time to accept that MS made me a disabled person; and I count myself fortunate that generally I am still able to do most of the things that I want to do - but a lot of the friends that I have made in the online community aren't; and I'm always conscious that one day I might not be able to either. This is an important issue... some people affected by these reforms aren't readily able to speak for themselves - so those of us that can, must.

If you'd like to read more from people who have been involved in the campaign see the links below:

Take some time, read a bit about it, and maybe join in the campaign - because one day, it might just be you that needs some help.