Generalisations are always tricky, (Do you see what I did there?) but I think I can say fairly safely, that there is one question almost everyone in the western world has asked :
How did Hitler happen?
How did the German people allow Hitler to round up millions of jews and homosexuals and disabled people, cram them into cattle trucks and gas them to death? How did that happen? Why did tens of millions of presumably good, honest, compassionate German people turn a blind eye to one of the greatest atrocities of all time? It was going on before their very eyes! Bakers and lawyers and neighbours “disappearing” never to return, the rhetoric of hate that the government used to justify psychopathic murder – how did it happen? In Europe? Just 70 years ago?
When I asked myself the question, I decided some things are too terrible to believe.
I mean, imagine, right now, I told you that I had proof - absolute solid proof - that aliens were going to destroy the earth around teatime next Tuesday. You wouldn’t believe me would you? Your mind would immediately cast me into the “raving conspiracist” category of amusing fools. Your answer would almost certainly be “What this Tuesday? At teatime? Don’t be so ridiculous.
We saw the same thing happen recently with Jimmy Savile. How did he get away with the most disgusting and calculating abuse, in plain sight, for decades? Why did no-one say anything? Why didn’t they do something? Why were the victims almost unanimously dismissed?
Again, some things are too terrible to believe.
It was Jim! Jim’ll fix it Jim!! The Jim who ran countless marathons for charity, who raised millions for good causes. Children my age literally deified him and would have done anything to get on Jim’ll Fix It. Rumours that Savile was a paedophile did the rounds for years. We all just sort of knew and simply couldn’t bring ourselves to go there.
For the last two years, I’ve seen for myself that it’s true.
For two years, I’ve been saying very clearly, here on this blog that sick and disabled people face a very grave threat. Half a million people with disabilities will lose the support they rely on to leave their homes or to get them out of bed and dressed. A million more will find themselves forced to the jobcentre with cancer or Parkinson’s or heart failure. People are dying as a direct result of the policies this government have introduced.
Right here, in Britain, right in front of your eyes, this government is lying to you. They are not "protecting the vulnerable", they are not “making sure support goes to those who need it most”. What's more, they are making sure you turn a blind eye by making you hate us. You don’t hear me over the screech of “lazy feckless scrounger” propaganda when I say people will become bedbound or housebound; starving without the means to buy food; cold but unable to heat their homes.
When I tell you that we have a government so calculating that far from protecting the vulnerable - as they endlessly claim, - they are in fact attacking the one group of people they thought could never fight back. You are witnessing the biggest attack on the well-being and security of people with genuine and profound disabilities this country has ever seen. It’s happening, right now, here in Britain, right in front of your very eyes. Like every bully, they have picked out the weakest, who's voices are rarely heard.
But you don’t believe me yet – some things are too terrible to believe.
So when a 13 year old boy is writing to a government minister, here in the UK, to tell him very clearly, that his father is dead as a direct result of that minister’s policies, something is very wrong indeed. Kieran McArdle, 13, wrote this heart-breaking letter to Iain Duncan Smith last week telling him what so many thousands of others have tried to tell him but failed. That his ill-conceived, ignorant welfare “reforms” are killing people.
When someone with a disability embarks on a hunger strike so that you will listen to what they are trying to tell you, something is very wrong indeed.
How far will you let this go? What will it take for you to listen? What are you prepared to "turn a blind eye" to?
My father's generation hoped we would never need to ask these questions again.