Sunday, 13 March 2016

Tory MP told to resign by disability charity

In March 2016 the Tory party concluded a vicious assault on sick and disabled people by voting to slash social security payments to sick and disabled people in the ESA group by over £1,500 per year.

Not only did the Tories vote en masse to load the burden of their ideological austerity agenda onto sick and disabled people, they also deliberately wrecked a plan to conduct an impact assessment on their planned cuts.

The absurd Tory justification for slashing disability benefits is that they would somehow be more likely to look for and find work if they are made £30 per week poorer is not backed up by any reasonable evidence and is hotly contested by opposition MPs and various disability organisations. In fact, many opponents of the cuts claim that slashing people's subsistence incomes will make them less likely to find work, not more likely, because they will have less money to pay for stuff like travel costs, smart clean clothes, printing CVs, or just keeping themselves healthy enough to even look for work.

By voting to throw out a proposed impact assessment into their plans, the Tories clearly showed they they don't have any faith that their own ridiculous justification for the cuts would stand up to evidence based analysis. The Tories clearly want to continue to believe in the ancient Tory notion that in order to make the poor work harder they must be made poorer, and in order to make the rich work harder they must be made richer, but they don't want that belief to be subjected to any evidence based analysis.

Kit Malthouse (MP for North West Hampshire) was one of 309 Tories to vote in favour of impoverishing sick and disabled people. Not a single MP from any other political party voted in favour of the plan. The following week he was asked to resign as patron of Andover MS Society. Donna Birch, the chair of Andover MS Society said that "due to recent events we no longer feel that Kit Malthouse is a suitable patron, so we have asked him to step down from this role".

Kit Malthouse is far from the only Tory politician who voted in favour of impoverishing sick and disabled people whilst maintaining their involvement with disability charities. Another much higher profile example is the Tory candidate for Mayor of London Zac Goldsmith, who is a patron of the charity Richmond Aid. This charity strongly condemned the Tory impoverishment of sick and disabled people, but they have not chosen to sack Zac Goldsmith, presumably because they feel that the loss in donations caused by vengeful Tories cancelling their Direct Debits would be more harmful than having a brazen hypocrite like Zac Goldsmith as a patron.

If Tory MPs like Kit Malthouse and Zac Goldsmith had any integrity at all, they'd surely never have voted in favour of this hideous ideologically driven economic assault on sick and disabled people when there's no evidence to support the Tory justification that impoverishing sick and disabled people will make them more likely to look for and find work.

That they do chose to believe that ideology trumps evidence, and voted to impoverish sick and disabled people regardless of the actual impact, but didn't even have the decency to resign as patrons of disability organisations that opposed the cuts, just goes to show what kind of utterly shameless people they are.

If you oppose this ideologically driven Tory economic assault on sick and disabled people you could take a few moments to sign this petition.

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The Tory ideological mission
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies