Friday, 3 February 2012

Losing my temper

Ahem. As my regular readers will know, I'm renowned for my considered, well-tempered and cautious approach to events.

Okay, so that's a lie.

But I do try not to lose my temper in debates as it just undermines the argument. And I also try, despite how passionate I feel, not to come across as too abrasive or insulting.

Unfortunately, given the number of times I've seen people been told lately, or been told myself, that concerns and dismay about the impact of the Welfare Reform Bill (passed thanks to Lib Dem MPs) is actually nothing more than "hyperbole" or "exaggeration" or "falling for Labour propaganda", I'm actually feeling rather fed up with it.

So that's why, earlier this evening, I said this in a comment thread in a Lib Dem facebook group. I've removed the names from it as I think it would be unfair to spread them around without the permission of the people in question.
[Name deleted], I've been researching and campaigning on this for well over half a year. Without wishing to be insulting, I probably know a damn sight more about this than you do. I doubt I'm the most knowledgeable about this within the party but I'm probably within the top fifty or less when it comes to the issue of the WRB's impact on disabled people. I'm not falling for Labour propaganda, I'm reaching a conclusion based on evidence and hundreds of hours of research. 
I'd suggest you listen to people like [name deleted], who is on the exec of the Lib Dem Disability Association. The people in he LDDA know what they're talking about - especially as they're directly affected by this. They're not being led astray by opposition rhetoric - they know damn well what's facing them. If this was the LGBT+ Lib Dems talking about an issue affecting them then I highly doubt there'd be so much sneering and claims that they don't know what they're talking about. 
Get your head out of the clouds. Our party is not perfect, and our MPs are perfectly capable of doing the wrong thing so stop acting like the sun shines out their arses.
But, to sum up, quite frankly, unless you have any actual FACTS to back up your assertions, I suggest you stop making sweeping claims about something which you seem to know very little about.
The reason I'm blogging what I said is because I think that, aside from the obvious irritation in my tone, the points I made are fairly valid.

And, because I was already asked what I meant about the comment about LGBT+ Lib Dems, here's my reply to that question:
[Name deleted], what I mean is that, when LGBT+ Lib Dems experience, for example, a legislative measure that discriminates against them and makes life harder or unfairer, such as the blood ban, if they raise their voices about it then their word usually seems to be taken at face value and they don't encounter anywhere near the same level of vitriol as disabled people are experiencing. 
In short, I suspect that there is, at least in part, an undercurrent of disability discrimination when you look at the way they are being treated when they complain about this. When LGBT Lib Dems complained about section 28 I highly doubt that they got people within the party telling them that they were "falling for propaganda", or being hysterical, or using hyperbole. 
Basically, while I'm not saying for one moment that racial, sexual or gender equality have been reached, people campaigning for them seem now able to do so with far less vitriol than the disabled encounter. 
You wouldn't for example, get a columnist for the Sun saying nowadays that homosexuality is a "choice" and that people decide to be gay just in order to get sympathy and because it's "trendy". It's simply unthinkable because, if they did, then they'd be immediately sacked following the public furore. 
Yet only last week we got Rod Liddle saying [in the Sun] that several severe, debilitating conditions, such as ME, were "made up" and "trendy". That's what I mean.


  1. I've had ME George. It's not something you would ever want, no matter how trendy it might be. God, is it debilitating? I'm much better now, but I have a feeling that it never leaves you completely and every time you feel a bit under the weather, there's an irksome thought at the back of your mind that it's back.

    And it's not new. I was first isolated in Northern Iceland in, I think, the late 40s, or early 50s.

    I's love to sit down with Rod Liddle and explain just how bad ME can be. I didn't have it half as badly as some people, and for some, it lasts and lasts... I'm not entirely sure where Liddle gets the idea that spending your life lying in a darkened room, too tired to watch tv or read but totally unable to sleep, is fun. Weird fun, if you ask me.

    Yes, I agree with you too about your claim that most people haven't a clue about what these new proposed laws involve.

    There will be homeless; there will be families split; there will be deaths.

    We're not all in this together at all.

  2. "If this was the LGBT+ Lib Dems talking about an issue affecting them then I highly doubt there'd be so much sneering and claims that they don't know what they're talking about."

    Were you in the conference hall for the debate on security measures?

    The sneering might not (often) happen to our faces, but trust me, it does. What we need to do here, George, is have solidarity between the two groups, not competition. There's a large crossover between our memberships, and if we start having a go at each other, then we lose sight of the real enemy.

    1. Of course Jennie. I'm not doubting that that happens or trying to disrupt solidarity. I'm just saying that, in my opinion, a lot of Lib Dems seem perfectly happy to take at face value what LGBT+ says, rightly trusting that they know what they're talking about when it comes to their own lives, but the same people seem less willing to do the same for LDDA. Just my opinion of course.

  3. I am delighted at your stand on welfare reform and greatly appreciate your efforts. However the coalition is pushing through a variety of awful bills which will change Britain for the worse, especially increasing inequality. The Tories are only able push through these bills with the support of the Lib Dems. If the Lib Dems left the coalition the welfare and NHS changes would stop until the next election. If the welfare bill and NHS bill go through it will because the Lib Dems did not have the courage to leave the coalition. Please encourage your colleagues to stop the coalition
    Chris Johnstone
    PS do you know Unum are advertising on your blog? Do you have any control over the ads on the blog?


I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

I will also not tolerate personation so please do not add comments in the name of real people unless you are that person. If you do not like these rules then start your own blog.

Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

The views expressed in comments are those of the poster, not me.