Monday, 22 August 2011

The Left and Remploy

The Left is somewhat shy when it comes to Remploy and disability in general. I'm not sure why this is so; after all, we're considered the progressive political wing, a thesis I'd agree with.

When it comes to supported employment there does appear to be a divergence in opinion within the left. One school of thought dismisses this type of employment as perpetuating discrimination of disabled workers. Within the disability movement itself this school of thought tends to be more prevalent amongst 'better' educated people. Ironically, the kinds of people who perpetuate this purist line tend to work within the disability industry at a white-collar level.

Of course many of those working in the disability industry as advisors or consultants are directly or indirectly paid via government funding, centrally or locally; this is in itself a form of supported employment.

However, nobody is going to criticise a personalisation broker who earns her or his money from an indirect subsidy. But, woe to the poor ill-educated disabled worker who, through employer prejudice or co-worker bullying, finds working in a Remploy factory a safe and welcoming experience.

What a shame the Left feels so little for unfashionable causes such as Remploy. Indeed, our Comrades in Remploy need the support of the Left more than ever. We need support; we need solidarity; and, more than anything we need ideas to push forward our struggle - you must appreciate we exhausted a lifetime of ideas four years ago on the original Remploy campaign.

So, the invitation stands.   

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