Caught in a Trap by Andrew Arthur

There’s a shortage of political news just now but here is an interesting comment piece by a Daily Express writer. The point is, he’s largely right.

Back in the Thatcher years people were actually being advised by Jobcentres to sign on as sick rather than just unemployed. This was a blatant bit of Government fiddling designed to produce an apparent reduction in the unemployment figures.
Instead of being counted unemployed people were now counted as sick, a separate register. Most of those people were signing as sick due to things like depression, bad back, dodgy hip joints and other things which may be genuine but equally are easy to fake. So it came about that large numbers of people with no forseeable work in the offing were signing up for sickness benefit and have remained on it ever since. Miners, shipbuilders, heavy engineers were all languishing on the dole because there_were_no_jobs.

Then that idiot Norman Tebbit opened his gob about getting on your bike to find work. But as those claiming the dole pointed out… cycle to where? The whole country was stricken by a jobs shortage and basically it has been that way ever since. When there is a shortage, the deaf get pushed aside.

Tony Blair, at the beginning of his tenancy was asked to sort out the benefits problem and he famously shied away from it. He knew that Labour would get terrible flak for doing what the Tories are doing now. Read his memoirs, it’s in there.

The problem now is that there is a whole culture out there who have never known work. They have always claimed benefits, whether deserved or not simply because there is no alternative. The problem for deaf people is that we are frequently considered unemployable by the hearing world. Somehow hearing people are put off by the idea of employing a deaf person, as I have seen time and time again. Once the deaf person shows what they can do then hearing people tend to admit that they were wrong about what a deaf person can do. Essentially we are not much different to everyone else but we need to work in a slightly different way.

Employers just won’t accept that, except for a few like the Civil Service or the BBC who make a point of employing disabled people.
Outside of that little world the ordinary factory or shop manager just can’t be bothered with deaf people and so they never get a chance. When the Government has a purge on benefits claimers they assume that everyone is fit and able to work. They don’t mind getting tough with people whom they see as not trying very hard. But what about people like us, for whom the door is so often closed?

On the one hand we are being made ineligible for benefits because we should be out there looking for work.

On the other hand employers don’t really want us and so the balance never tips in favour of deaf people when there are hearing available.

I think this is something that should be campaigned for by *all* deaf people. It is blatantly unfair that we should get saddled with this situation due to Government policy. That’s one for our MP’s to tackle, but we have to ask.