Sit in the corner and keep quiet. Lessons disabled people can learn from Nadine Dorries.

It is now clear that Nadine Dorries MP had a specific target in mind when she wrote her two blog posts on Twitter and benefits claimants yesterday.

Her original target is:

a) a constituent

b) previously known to her

c) Emphatically Not a Conservative

d) also disabled

e) not actually on benefits and

f) an all round lovely person.

You can read more about the bizarre tale here and here.

Its all a bit beyond me. How an MP thinks this is acceptable behaviour is mindboggling. Although I was sent this link this morning by @Arsenalise365, of an Assistant Attorney General in the USA, trying (and failing badly) to justify carrying out an apparently homophobic campaign against a college student. So it seems that its not just British public servants who like to target the ones they should be serving.

Anyway. In addition to the agro/distress caused to the stoic, yet entirely human, Humphrey Cushion, those blogs have further implications.  Let us remind ourselves again of the salient points of the blog in question. Bearing in mind that this is the official blog of a Member of Parliament.

Blog a:

Is there such a thing as Twitter addiction? How can anyone live a normal life who can do that? Surely these people cannot be in employment because if they are, how can they work? if they aren’t then it’s time they got a job which involves being sat at a key board because there’s nothing much up with their fingers, brain or attention span!! 

I wonder if very soon someone is going to identify a Twitter syndrome and we get to read about people who have become compulsive Tweeters. Will we hear stories of people who Tweet, oh I don’t know, say 50 times a day and need to go into re-hab?

I will put money on that being a Daily Mail story one day. In the meantime, do you know of anyone else who has Tweeted more than 35,000 times in less than six months? If so, email my office and let me know. Or, better still, if it’s someone you know is on benefits, contact the DWP.

Blog b:

If you are genuinely disabled, or like my mum, retired and love to use the internet to chat to friends etc (she makes me look like a luddite) then that is fantastic and I wish you many hours of pleasure. 

If you Twitter all day, every day about claiming disability benefit in one tweet whist arranging a night out in the pub in the next. If you tweet about claiming six months rent from the social fund whilst tweeting how bad your hangover is and if you stride into political meetings and shout the odds with energy and enthusiasm with no sign of any physical disability and if you claim to work for the Labour party and write porn at the same time as claiming your disability benefit – then don’t expect someone like me not to a) inform the authorities and b) tell you to get of your Twitter and get a job.

From these scribblings we have learned the following:

Disabled people (only those on benefits of course, does she include DLA I wonder; payable to disabled people in work as well as unemployed) are not allowed to do the following:

  • Tweet too much. How much is too much? 35, 000 every 6 months. That is 5833 a month. Or 1346 a week. 192 a day. That might sound quite a lot actually. Except if you regard tweets in the way I do, which is part of a conversation. Go and sit in a cafe Nadine, for a couple of hours, with 4 or 5 friends, and see how many times you open your mouth. Then pop home and talk to your family about what you’re having for tea. Then chat about what to watch on tv. Maybe talk about the pain you’re experiencing, what’s in the news, the fact you’ve run out of milk and can’t go to the shop due to anxiety, or the fact your joints have popped out again. 192 tweets in a day, given that each tweet may be only one word, or a sentence or two, is not a lot.

  • Go to the pub. Is this because of the alcohol served in a pub? Disabled people aren’t allowed to drink alcohol? Is this some new form of right wing morality I’ve missed? Or is it the going out after dark part she objects to? Socialising with the ‘norms’? Or going out of the house at all? She would prefer it that all disabled people be kept out of sight and mind? Possibly she needs reminding of the recent SCOPE survey which found that  90% of people have never (knowingly) had a disabled person in their home. And that disabled people are among the most socially excluded in our society.

  • Be politically active. Now, she does qualify this. Not just being politically active, but also striding into political meetings, using your voice, being enthusiastic, and not having ANY SIGN of physical disability. OK, so if I’m in a wheelchair, I’m allowed to come to political meetings, as long as I keep quiet, don’t show too much interest and don’t go to the pub afterwards. If I have Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia or Autism or Epilepsy or have any one of a number of invisible disabilities or variable conditions then I should stear clear of politics, just in case someone decides to shop me to the DWP.

  • Write porn. This clearly is absurd. Disabled people don’t write porn. As everyone knows, disabled people are completely asexual, we have no interest in sex and porn is completely off limits to us. Ahem.

If this woman wasn’t a democratically elected Member of Parliament this would just be funny. However, its really quite disturbing. Not only is she using her platform as an MP to define what is and isn’t appropriate behaviour for a disabled person in order to qualify for benefits, she is also calling for others to report us to the DWP if we don’t conform to what she deems acceptable.

I’m not the only disabled person to find this offensive and ridiculous.

Here and here are the reactions of Bridget Orr, a blogger with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Incurable Hippie, a disabled activist, talks about the wider implications of threatening benefits claimants with being reported to the DWP.

Cathy Reay, who also writes for Disability Now magazine, is baffled and in despair at Ms Dorries’ blog.

Edit: Ms Cushion has now put together a list of all the blogs and articles written in response to Nadine so far.

Another Edit: This is my favourite response to Ms Dorries so far.


4 thoughts on “Sit in the corner and keep quiet. Lessons disabled people can learn from Nadine Dorries.

  1. Pingback: Nadine Dorries is a Twat (AKA Why I Love Twitter) » Confessions of a Serial Insomniac

  2. do you want my address i’ll give it willingly, 3 years of discrimanation from DWP with evidence to back up my statment. went through all the complaint procedures only to be told because of the time lapse they couldn’t do any thing about it. took brake down as a result and being hospitalised. 5 months waiting on an appointment now to get help. went without monies for all those months living on the small amount of savings i put aside for my kids. only used twitter couple weeks and now its been taking away also as i don’t feel comfortable with the surrounding stigma. only been useing it to get some form of help with writing by reading others blogs. well done coalition for voting in assissted suicide by the back door.

  3. Good blog post! Only just noticed your blog! Um – I’m not crippled, BUT more-or-less permanently ill – can I join your company? (That’s one reason I never use my full name on Twitter; or anywhere much else, tho.)

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