There were 30,000 excess deaths in 2015 alone in the name of Conservative austerity, according to an Oxford University report. Cuts to health and social care are likely to be the “main cause” of tens of thousands of British citizens losing their lives early. And on The Big Debate, senior Tory Dominic Raab’s response on the matter was utterly despicable.
Disability activist Fiona was making a desperate appeal:
Tens of thousands of disabled and sick people are dying every year… there have been hundreds of suicides… I spent 48 hours after the last general election trying to talk people out of killing themselves and I didn’t always succeed.
Unable to look Fiona in the eye, Raab responded:
Unless you’ve got a strong economy, creating the revenue, it’s just a childish wish list.
In an appalling statement, Raab essentially branded keeping British citizens alive a “childish wish list”:
‘Life or death’
Fiona was unequivocal about what voting Conservative in this election meant:
This election is life or death for us. Anybody who votes for the Conservative Party, who are going to further these cuts… they are complicit in these deaths.
Economic myths to justify cruelty
On the BBC, Raab appeared to make a startling admission about his government:
There are plenty of heartbreaking stories here.
That’s under Conservative rule. Then, he wheeled out the well-rehearsed Conservative justification for the cruelty:
The raw truth is that the money’s got to come from somewhere.
Previously, Fiona branded the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) an “act of violence”. Contrary to Raab’s response, the WCA has actually cost the government far more to administer than it has saved in reduced benefit claimants. In short, it actually costs the taxpayer money to put people through such trauma.
By contrast, investing in disabled and sick people is not a cost to the taxpayer. Welfare spending is not consumption, but an investment that powers the economy. As renowned economist Ha-Joon Chang lays out in The Guardian:
Increased spending on disability benefits and care for older people helps carers to have more time and less stress, making them more productive workers.
So welfare spending of this kind increases productivity and can empower disabled people to contribute to their communities. Yet Rabb brands such spending a “childish wish list” in the face of 30,000 excess deaths in a single year. No wonder he couldn’t look Fiona in the eye. Utterly despicable.
– Get out there and vote on 8 June. And encourage others to do the same.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also, read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
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Featured image via screenshot