Organisers of an online campaign to raise awareness of the importance of disability living allowance (DLA) in the face of government cuts and reforms say they are “overwhelmed” by its success.
The One Month Before Heartbreak “blogswarm” encouraged people to post blogs about disability over the three days from 14 January – one month before the end of the government’s consultation on its DLA reforms, on Valentine’s Day.
More than 170 blogs have been posted and read by thousands of people, although the final figures have not yet been compiled.
Kaliya Franklin, who blogs under the name Bendy Girl and helped run One Month Before Heartbreak, said: “What we are doing is reaching people who wouldn’t traditionally have engaged with disability rights, people who would not have seen themselves as disabled because they are ill.”
The posts will be used to inform an official response to the consultation, being put together by disabled campaigners from The Broken of Britain blog.
One blogger, ‘Jimboeth’, wrote: “DLA is not allowing anyone an outlandish lifestyle (unlike say, bankers’ bonuses). It merely allows a small number of people in this country a life. It allows them to live. That’s what the ‘L’ in DLA stands for. Living. As in ‘not dying’.”
‘Latentexistence’ wrote: “Disabled people were treated badly enough by the previous government. The actions of this one in cutting benefits and making the criteria even stricter are despicable.”
Tim Rushby-Smith wrote: “It’s easy to shout loudly about benefit fraud and the ‘Nanny State’, but a small amount of scrutiny soon reveals that the majority of those affected by the cuts will be people who depend on relatively modest state support to allow them a reasonable quality of life.”
And Sue Marsh posted about “the culture of fear” created around so-called “benefits cheats” and her right to take advantage of the rare moments when she is well enough to dance, play with her children, or take a motorbike ride with her husband.
Franklin said she was “overwhelmed by how well it went”, with almost 20,000 blog pages viewed so far, and this number rising all the time.
She said: “I don’t believe the British public want this at all. They believe that people in need will be protected.
“David Cameron should look at this and hang his head in shame. The way the students are personally angry with Nick Clegg, disabled people are angry with David Cameron.
“Disability is like an international family, it links us. Ivan (Cameron’s disabled son, who died two years ago) was very much part of that family, and there is personal betrayal felt by disabled people of all kinds of political allegiance – we all had a degree of trust in David Cameron because he was Ivan’s dad.”
21 January 2011