Last week's Question Time, Thursday November 8th, included Jane Moore of The Sun who at one point talked about 'helping the genuinely vulnerable and disabled'. Now coming from one of The Sun's mouthpieces, it was a small step forward, that the vulnerable in society even got a mention.
She immediately killed it dead with that one word 'genuinely'. That one word speaks volumes and we're hearing it more and more. By inserting that word before the 'sick and disabled' (where it is usually inserted) these media and government spokespeople are causing untold damage. They know exactly what they're doing, of course. They don't have to spell it out because the inference is deafening: there are a whole lot of ungenuine sick and disabled people out there who are, in more popular parlance, 'faking it' or 'scrounging off the state'. Such use of language is dangerous and brutal. The rise in disability hate crime has coincided with this vile propaganda.
Jane Moore, then trotted out another of those sloppy platitudes. 'Those who can work, should work'. Again, what are the implications here? That some are 'choosing not to work' or 'choosing a lifestyle on benefits'? I am sick of hearing these hollow and brutal phrases that fail to address the fact that in order to have choice, there has to be an alternative. But with its aggressive pursuit of austerity, this government has taken away the alternatives of meaningful work with a decent income.
Who would choose to live on £71 a week (or even less if you're under 25), with threats of sanctions at every turn and cuts to housing benefits, not enough to eat, to keep warm or clothe themselves?
It's high time that the government and the media that they own took responsibility for their choice of words.