I’m not going to be as foolish as Neil Wallis and declare that petitions are competing but something has been playing on my mind along these lines. Pat Onions started a petition some time ago now asking the government to “Stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families”. This petition which closes in the not too distant future has only attracted 49,530 signatures. Meanwhile the petition to stop the badger cull has received 135,662 signatures in a much smaller space of time and a lot more media attention to boot. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge the badgers. I’m a vegetarian animal lover. Badgers are great. But how come the badger loving masses of old Britannia aren’t signing both petitions? Bottomface investigates.
Our first problem is that badgers are cute little blighters. We’ve all seen them, either in real life or on the television, scampering around in badger sets. It’s adorable. I wouldn’t be so bitter as to suggest this was a staged media event on the part of the badgers, but perhaps food for thought? Badgers are such visual ambrosia we’ve anthropomorphised the hell out of them. There’s only one thing cuter than a badger: a badger in people clothes. Thanks to Kenneth Grahame and Wind in the Willows I’d also suggest many of us are working under the misapprehension that badgers are sage creatures. I’d like to dispel this myth right now- there was a badger set in the nature reserve of my old school and not once did I hear a badger say anything that I would consider in anyway poignant.
People with disabilities, on the other hand, just aren’t that cute. I’m not saying that there isn’t the odd cute disabled person. There are plenty of cute kids with disabilities, my son who has autism has dozens of cute selling points, but as a collective whole disabled people just aren’t particularly cute. I’d go so far as to say that their marketing team is so appallingly crap they just come across as, well, people. Disabled people have also not had the same media glorification of the badgers. Half the time they just come across as grudge bearing misanthropes. We all remember Chris in Emmerdale.
So there you have it cuteness and marketability is clearly won by the badgers. I was going to argue that people with disabilities don’t spread TB, but then I unfortunately reminded myself that all people were pretty good at spreading TB for years. Alas people are prone to spitting on the streets and spreading all manner of crap. I’d like to think the wheelies aren’t responsible for this though; they know what it’s like trying to self-propel yourself amongst everyone’s detritus and filth without getting any of those shitty germs on your hands. So perhaps that is one in favour of disability after all. Yes, it’s tenuous, but I’ll take it. Badgers spread TB whereas disabled people are a lot less likely to. So, in your face badgers!
Another thing badgers like to do when the cameras aren’t rolling is giving any idiot who decides to stroke them a rather nasty nip. Now again I can’t argue that a disabled person has never bitten, or gotten pissed and thrown a punch, but when was the last time you saw a disabled person with teeth like this?
I’m not trying to use dirty tricks, just present you with the facts. If you’re going to sign a petition to protect these media courting hell mammals then why not sign one to protect loveable, peaceable disabled people too? Because, like the badgers, they do need saving. Disabled people are dying as a result of welfare reform. There have been numerous suicides already and the worst is yet to come. We have the startling fact that 32 people a week died after being found fit for work. Just because people are being found fit for work doesn’t mean that they can suddenly start doing a job, so what options are they left with? The situation is becoming increasingly desperate. So despite my having placed the badgers and people with disabilities in competition with each other, they actually have some common ground: they’re both at risk of eugenics. So sign the petitions, make a placard, save the badgers. They need our help. But please do the same for people who have disabilities, because disabled people are badgers too…. Or some words to that effect.
P.S. This is the bit where you visit Pat’s petition and sign, or write an email or letter to your MP telling them to stop these cuts and halt the, appalling not fit for work, work capability assessment. Oh and spare a thought for the badgers, and sign their petition too.