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Marking European Day of Disabled People – 3rd December, 2019

The cost of living is always rising

As our natural world is slowly dying

But the Human Race still cries out for more

So, Whiggish Tories introduce their own Poor Law.*

To eradicate those of us they label, ‘Useless Eaters’

And silence all the ‘benefit scroungers’.

The lessons we should’ve learnt from our shared history

Have taught us nothing about living with disability.

Doctors pat themselves firmly on the back

As they patch another ‘broken’ body up

But with, ‘life changing injuries’, how do we survive

In a society that still wishes we were, not alive?

The Ancient Greeks, I’m told, chose to sacrifice us,

By throwing damaged people off rugged cliffs.

I thought we were better, that we’d have more choice,

Yet no one is listening to our collective voice.

Herded like cattle through spurious assessments

Poked and prodded to save banker’s investments

I wonder if future generations will be more forgiving

When they learn we put individual wealth before living!

We pride ourselves that people are living longer

And humanity is growing faster, smarter, stronger;

But with new technology and ground-breaking science

Our blood is still staining humanity’s conscience.

*The brutal 1834 Amendment Act introduced by a Whig government

The Cost of Living is an echo of an earlier poem, Scars, by Simon Brisenden. It is a cry for society to stop repeating the mistakes of the past. Disabled people are still being ignored, victimized and murdered. I recently heard the harrowing story of Mark Stuart, a young man with autism, who experienced a horrendous catalogue of failures that left him in excruciating pain and resulted in a slow death. Mark joins a long-suffering chain of victims that emerges from the murky mists of human history; a history that is so damaging to our belief that we are now civilized human beings, that it has been conveniently lost in the dusty depths of academia.

You can find a copy of Scars by Simon Brisenden in his 1997 poetry collection, Poems for Perfect People:   https://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/library/brisenden-Poems.pdf