Saturday, November 24, 2012

Iain Duncan Smith's callous contempt for the dead




I pretty much always attempt to write about politics in objective journalistic style. I feel that I engage more readers with this style of presenting facts, conducting rational analysis, and attempting to restrict my own personal opinion. However, in this case, I'm going to say what I really think without self-censoring the anger and bad language.

Just take a look at the embedded video below, which is a clip from Question Time on 22nd November 2012. In the clip, the panel are discussing the question of government welfare policy and the author Owen Jones (who wrote Chavs: The Demonisation of the Working Class) tried to confront Iain Duncan Smith with the names and circumstances of death of just two (of the thousands) of severely disabled/terminally ill people that have died having been declared "fit for work" by the Tory - DWP -Atos "disability denial factory".

Iain Duncan Smith's response to these details of people's deaths was a palpable demonstration of the man's utter lack of human decency.


 
Here's a transcript of the discussion:

Owen Jones: "There is a point that has to be made about the treatment of disabled people in this country. There's two names I want to give Iain ... Brian McArdle, 57 years old, paralyzed down one side, blind in one eye, he couldn't speak. He died one day after being found "fit for work" by Atos. Another example, Karen Sherlock..."

Iain Duncan Smith: [interrupts angrily] "Hang on a minute, we've heard a lot from you..."


So there you have it, Iain Duncan Smith cares so little about the suffering and death of actual, real, named people that he would disrespectfully interrupt the description of the circumstances of their death with an angry political tirade.

Viewers never even got to find out the circumstances of Karen Sherlock's death, thanks to Iain Duncan Smith's interruption and David Dimbleby's cowardly decision to shut down the debate (instead of chastising Iain Duncan Smith for interrupting so disrespectfully, or intervening to allow Owen to complete his point - as any decent moderator would surely have done).

For those of you that are interested in the circumstances of Karen's death, here are a couple of heartbreaking links detailing the appalling suffering of this poor woman, much of it directly attributable to Iain Duncan Smith's Welfare regime. (RIP Karen Sherlock, Karen's story - pieced together from her own words). Seriously, I challenge you to read either of these articles and remain completely unmoved by her suffering. If you do remain completely unmoved it must be that you, like Iain Duncan Smith, lack a single shred of empathy or basic human decency.


Anyone with a shred of decency would have waited for Owen to finish speaking of the dead, then offer condolences to the families of the dead before attempting a counter-argument, but not callous Iain. He clearly couldn't care less about the families of the deceased.

So there you have it; in video and in writing. Iain Duncan Smith has no respect for the dead, or for the families of the dead. In fact, hearing about the dead actually inspires him to launch into angry and defensive political tirades. One of the most shocking things for me, was the fact that Iain Duncan Smith's revolting display of disrespect for the dead actually elicited a round of applause from the crowd. I'm not normally one to blame the collective for the actions of individuals within the collective, however, as British people we should all hang our heads in shame that people amongst us would actually applaud such a revolting display of callous disrespect for the dead.

Lets try a simple thought experiment: Say a Question Time panellist is detailing the tragic circumstances of death of some British soldiers in Afghanistan, when he is angrily interrupted by another panelist who happens to be a Muslim. She points her finger and shouts "hang on a minute, we've heard a lot from you..." followed by a tirade against Britain's foreign policy. Even if the criticisms of British foreign policy made by our hypothetical Muslim panelist are entirely accurate, would you expect her to get a round of applause from the audience after disrespecting the dead? I hardly think so. In fact, I'm fairly sure that our hypothetical Muslim panelist would be booed by the audience and then be rapidly transformed into a national hate figure by the right-wing press for her display of contempt for the dead.

I really don't know what else to say. If you're a tribalist Tory voter, you'll continue to vote for grotesque people like Iain Duncan Smith, no matter what they say or do. If it is wearing a blue rosette, it doesn't matter whether it is a donkey or despot, you'll vote for it. No matter how demonstrably revolting the Tory regime becomes, and no matter how much evidence people like me will present to you, you'll still jump to Iain's defence because you're so mired in confirmation bias, that you will continue to swallow every feeble Tory justification narrative and remain steadfastly incapable of even acknowledging any alternative side to the debate.

You lot are such die-hard Tories that you'd even applaud Iain's callous disrespect for the dead! you sicken me almost as much as he does, but your saving grace is your ignorance.

Iain Duncan Smith is an cunning man that knows exactly how harmful his disability scapegoating campaign has been: You are perhaps too intellectually challenged to accept the reality that thousands of people are dying after being declared "fit for work", 100,000s more are suffering unimaginable stress, the Tories and the right-wing press are deliberately  orchestrating a disability witch-hunt and, there has been a massive rise in disability hate crime and unprovoked violent attacks against the disabled.

Even if all of that doesn't bother you, surely you can't approve of the vast waste of public money as 10,000s of absurd "fit for work" rulings are expensively overturned in court, at the expense of the taxpayer (at no cost to Atos, the company that made the often appallingly bad decisions to find so many terribly disabled and even terminally ill people "fit for work" in the first place). Perhaps, despite all this evidence you still side with Iain and prefer to continue blaming the victim.


I know I won't convince people like you with my usual strategy of explaining things clearly, presenting evidence and conducting rational analysis, so just this once I'll allow myself to express my feelings instead.

Iain Duncan Smith is a callous, disrespectful, self-serving monstrous shit of a man. It sickens me that a man with such a demonstrable lack of basic human decency could have risen so high in British politics. He is odious and obnoxious and vile. He is so malicious he sorely tests my pacifist stance. I sincerely believe that violence begets violence and almost always worsens any given circumstance. Despite this, I imagine that I'd find it extremely difficult to resist the urge to smack this guy hard in the mouth. If a nefarious cretin like Iain Duncan Smith can work himself into a rage when confronted with the names of dead people (real people with actual lives that have been lost, and actual families that mourn for them) then I think I can be excused for allowing myself, for a moment, to express my feelings of revulsion at this odious moral vacuum of a man in emotional (rather than objective) language:
Iain Duncan Smith is an odious shit.

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