Monstering the disabled is one of those easy hits for our free and fearless press: it’s hard to forget the vicious glee with which the Mail, with unfunny and tedious churnalist Richard Littlejohn in the vanguard, maliciously lied about the Motability scheme in order to whip up hatred and snigger as some of those in greatest need had their cars taken away from them. And today the Murdoch Sun has joined the game.
Indeed, such is the glee with which the inmates of the Baby Shard bunker have gone about their task that they have put today’s selected victim on the front page. “Exclusive … Christmas Fury … Benefits mum splurges £2,000 on presents for her six kids and … YULE PAY”. Laugh? I thought I’d never start. The article is even nastier.
“DING DOLE MERRILY ON HIGH Benefits mum-of-six Claire Young hits out at criticism and says her six kids shouldn’t miss out on Christmas gifts … Defiant dole mum, Claire Young, 29, has defended blowing £2,000 on Christmas gifts for her children”. Yeah, terrible innit, some poor woman puts aside £50 a week from the benefits her family receives, so that they can at least have a decent Christmas. I mean, that’s almost 40% of what the Sun’s editor typically blows on one of his gourmet evening meals out.
It’s only when readers drill down into the small print that they see it’s a disabled person who is being bullied here: “ex-barmaid Claire, who hasn’t worked since 2012 because she has a painful condition called fibromyalgia … Claire, whose fibromyalgia causes chronic fatigue”. Want that translated? She suffers from M E. And if you look in the list of benefits the Sun has helpfully provided, you’ll see her husband also has a disability.
Apart from Housing Benefit, which the family don’t see as it goes straight to their landlord, there are two tell-tale items: “£62.10 ‘Carers allowance for husband’ and £75.25 ‘PIP for Claire”. You don’t get PIP for nothing. She has to be suffering from some kind of disability to receive that. Still, the usual mean-spirited Tory MPs have willingly chipped in.
Despite Ms Young stressing “We go without over the summer holidays and I have one pair of shoes so I can save for Christmas for my children”, up pops Alec Shelbrooke to bluster that hard-working people “will be appalled by those apparently playing our social security system for a fool”. He didn’t bother to check his facts beforehand, either.
Also not bothering with such trivialities as facts were Andrew Rosindell, thundering “This is a flagrant abuse of the generosity of our benefits system … To spend so much on so many gifts is a disgusting extravagance” (being thrifty clearly is sinful in his world), and David Davies (not the Brexit secretary) talking of “people who are choosing not to work and still manage to live the high life”. That’s the “high life”? What’s he been supping?
Davies, one of the more revolting Tory back benchers, also ranted “This kind of taxpayer-funded extravagance shows that while we have made steps to encourage people into work, there is still a lot to do”. THEY’RE BOTH SODDING DISABLED. ER, HELLO?
Still, makes a cheap hit for the Murdoch goons before they all go off to spray their wads up the wall, eh? One day, some of them might even locate their consciences.