Monday, November 02, 2009


As surely as night follows day, the election of a National government is followed by benefit cuts and the economic victimisation of the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. But they have really surpassed themselves this time with their plans to force people off the invalids benefit. The benefit is, as you would expect from its name, for invalids - people unable to work due to ongoing sickness, injury, or disability. Its paid to terminal cancer patients, people with no limbs, and the totally blind. Work-testing these people, particularly against a background where disability is the most widespread form of workplace discrimination, is simply an exercise in sadism.

But in National's eyes, these people are simply malingerers, to blame for their own condition. Quadriplegics should be out there in their motorised wheelchairs, dragging themselves up stairs by their lips to knock on doors in the search for a job. Anything less makes them unworthy of charity. And so we will waste millions hounding these people, and millions more on pointless and humiliating medical tests to confirm that no, there haven't been any miracles, and that they still have cancer, motor neurone, paralysis, or whatever other condition robbed them of their career. As I said: sadism - and a particularly expensive and wasteful form of it.

Its not just sadistic - it is also simply indecent. But it is so very, very National.