Labour six pledges just completely ignored disabled people

  • Post last modified:May 16, 2024
  • Reading time:6 mins read

After weeks of hearing the awful changes the Tories have got planned, the Labour Party took to the podium today to announce their pre-election pledges. While there was a lot of talk about Labour’s six pledges for change, there was notably one thing missing – none of the many many speakers mentioned unemployed people and especially not unemployed disabled people. 

Keir Starmer has said many times he will be the complete opposite of Rishi Sunak and this appears most notably for me to be the case when talking about disabled people and the challenges we face.

Whilst Sunak and his wet wipe army seem to view us as public enemy number one, disabled people are apparently completely insignificant to Labour.

A Labour six pledges roadshow about everything but welfare

In the over an hour-and-a-half roadshow of how a Labour government will transform the lives of working people, those at the bottom rung of the ladder who can’t work weren’t mentioned once.

Angela Rayner got the show on the road by saying

People want change and Labour are the only ones who can deliver that. 

She then set out many different types of people whose back Labour have got. Missing from this, of course, was disabled people and those who couldn’t work.

Rayner then touted the old chestnut “making work pay for working people”, a phrase which completely ignores anyone who can’t work or might need more support into work.

Next up came Rachel Reeves, who spoke about tough spending rules and that actually, by being stable and not messing around too much “stability is change”. Which was swiftly followed by a quick run-through of the reforms (changes) Labour will set out. 

There were reforms on employment rights, reforms on, bizarrely, planning but nothing on reforming the DWP. Of course, we don’t want the cruel reforms that the Tories are putting forward, but a bit of reassurance that Labour would make applying for benefits fairer would’ve been nice.

Even Miliband couldn’t save the day

Next, she introduced some people who supported Labour to talk them up. Firstly an ex-Tory donor housebuilder who spoke lavishly about how Labour would build more houses, but there was nothing on easing the social housing backlog.

They also showed the CEO of Boots talking about the importance of the High Street. I dunno about you, but I’m sure disabled people would love a high street pharmacy where they can access the consultation room and don’t have to get jabs over a bin.

I need to confess something here- Ed Miliband is my guilty pleasure. I was deep in the Milifandom, I met him at Labour conference a few years ago and was enthralled. That’s why it pained me that Eddie babes also ignored disabled people.

His focus on green energy is of course good and needed, but there wasn’t anything on people who can’t afford bills who are losing their government support. Ed, like others, mentioned working people, but those who are struggling most with astronomical energy bills are disabled and unemployed people.

In the crime section, we had nothing on about the rise in disability hate crime, in the schools bit we likewise saw nothing on SEND provision or working to make school life easier for disabled kids.

We reach the end of the build-up to Starmer Time and I realise we’ve heard nothing on welfare, the cost of living, or carers support.

Stop! Starmer time!

When Starmer takes to the stage it’s obvious the persona he’s trying to portray. Sleeves rolled up, no tie, lots of open-handed gestures, talking to the crowd. It’s straight out of the Man of the People handbook. 

Starmer talks about the human cost of the past 14 years, but by this he apparently means people who are struggling to buy houses or some bizarre analogy about a woman who showed him her bad eye in a service station.

He doesn’t mean the actual human cost – the untold thousands of disabled people who have died due to Tory cuts and cruelty.

Overall Starmer’s speech focused on working families and giving them hope, but there was no hope thrown the way of disabled people, especially those who couldn’t work. He closed by saying: 

 This is a message we can take to every doorstep across the country.

So I hope you’re all prepared to ask them about poverty and disability provision when they come knocking on your doorstep.

Labour: just as dangerous as the Tories

In my opinion, this announcement will appeal to the people who are sick of the Tories but who will never fear not being able to put food on their table. It was appeasing and surface-deep, with nothing for those of us who are struggling to stay above the surface.

Where the Tories have made unemployed disabled people the punching bag, Labour are acting like we don’t exist. And that’s just as dangerous.

Featured image via Guardian News – YouTube

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