Thursday, 16 September 2010

Disabled hit next in cuts

Jacob Marley: In life, my spirit never rose beyond the limits of our money-changing holes! Now I am doomed to wander without rest or peace, incessant torture and remorse!
Ebenezer: But it was only that you were a good man of business, Jacob!
Jacob Marley: BUSINESS? Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business!

There are two kinds of injustice: the first is found in those who do an injury, the second in those who fail to protect another from injury when they can.' (Roman. Cicero, De Off. I. vii)

Disabled hit next in cuts

Jersey's Health and Social Services Department will reduce funding to Les Amis, Jersey Mencap and Family Nursing and Homecare. As part of the 2011 Business Plan debate the States have been attempting to stay true to their word and achieve 50 million pounds worth of savings. (1)

It is, I think, a measure of how far our society has moved from principles or ideals towards a truly purely pragmatic approach that the States is deciding to introduce these cuts. Limited as it was in terms of understanding, the Victorian and Edwardian age did attempt to introduce provisions in the form of various institutions for the State to take care of those who are disabled either in body or in mind. We can criticise those institutions and rightly for regimes that were often harsh and uncaring yet the notion of having something in place was driven by moral values that looked to the suffering of the weakest, the most vulnerable, and said this should not be so. Those moral values derived in part from those parts of the Bible and the religious traditions which looked to praise the good Samaritan, and took to heart the commands to look after the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and all who were outcasts from society. These are the values that can be heard in both the words of Pope Benedict in Scotland, and his speech today.

It seems that these values have been decaying and in their place we have a purely pragmatic approach that looks for the easiest way of making cuts. And of course the easiest way is often the way which hits hardest at the people on the margins, those without power, those without influence, and often those with a voice that can easily be stifled.

If one compared the States with the salesman, the kind of values they now have of looking for the easy options such as targeting the disabled for cutbacks would make them the kind of salesman who was out for a quick buck, and easy sale, a get rich quick salesman and not a salesman who thought he had something valuable and worthwhile to sell, a pearl of great price.

And it is not as if they are bringing in "gift aid" as a panacea to try and boost those charities, like Les Amis, in their fund raising; on the contrary, when they take with one hand, they make a closed fist with the other.

A civilised society cannot afford to be totally pragmatic in this way. The kind of values that ignore questions of justice, of helping the weak and powerless, and simply pushing through something that works regardless of those considerations will end up creating a society that will devour itself. When the government of John Major decided to promote the value of families and traditional notions of right and wrong with their campaign to go back to basics, it fell apart when it became patently clear that the members of the government did not hold those values themselves and were sinking into a quagmire of sleaze. To lead by example and give the only example as one of expediency, of what works and is easiest to implement, is to teach younger generations either to enter politics and society to take what they can out of it, without any of the past traditions of service, of "putting something back in the community", or to buck that trend and try to act responsibly and help charitable events, and give freely of time, while at the same time despising those politicians who show by their actions in the States that they just don't care - however much members may go to a "token" gala event where they can be snapped by photographers - because when it comes down to making a real change, they don't care.

That is not to say that all States members follow this lead. Senator Ben Shenton in particular has criticised this position strongly. But others do not, and they seem to have lost their way. Perhaps they might consider helping for a weekend at Le Geyt, or Les Amis, and seeing exactly those vulnerable people who are being helped. They seem to lack the imagination to see these people; so perhaps they could reach out and touch. As Jacob Bronowski said: "We have to close the distance between push-button order and human act. We have to touch people." Instead, they seem to have distanced themselves, and it is easy to make cuts at a distance, when all that matters is words, and the people who are effected by the decisions are invisible. That is precisely the "push button" philosophy that Bronowski said we must reject, the deliberate deafness to the cry for help.

And Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur (who is himself a Catholic) seems, with these decisions, to be going contrary to over a hundred years of Catholic teaching on "the common good". Is ignoring that teaching as some kind of religious idealism what he means when he says "get real" and opts for expediency instead? Here are some key texts on Catholic Social teaching to ponder:

When there is question of defending the rights of individuals, the poor and badly off have a claim to especial consideration. The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State. (Pope Leo Leo XIII , Rerum Novarum, 1891)

"It is imperative that no one, out of indifference to the course of events or because of inertia, would indulge in a merely individualistic morality. The best way to fulfill one's obligations of justice and love is to contribute to the common good according to one's means and the needs of others, and also to promote and help public and private organizations devoted to bettering the conditions of life."
- Gaudium et Spes: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World
Second Vatican Council, 1965

There are needs and common goods that cannot be satisfied by the market system. It is the task of the state and of all society to defend them. An idolatry of the market alone cannot do all that should be done."
- Centesimus Annus (Donders), The Hundredth Year
John Paul II, 1991

Your forefathers' respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike (Pope Benedict XVI, Scotland 2010)

Links
1) http://www.channelonline.tv/channelonline/DisplayArticle.asp?ID=490849
Postscript:
The decision to make the cuts was in the business plan. The amendment to keep the support for Les Amis, Mencap, etc was proposed by Daniel Wimberley.
Draft Annual Business Plan 2011 (P.99/2010): thirteenth amendment paragraph 4 Third Party SLAs) 16 September 2010
POUR means keeping supporting the services with funding, CONTRE means taking away the funding:

Senator Terence Augustine Le Sueur
CONTRE
Senator Paul Francis Routier
POUR
Senator Philip Francis Cyril Ozouf
CONTRE
Senator Terence John Le Main
ILL
Senator Ben Edward Shenton
POUR
Senator Frederick Ellyer Cohen
CONTRE
Senator James Leslie Perchard
CONTRE
Senator Alan Breckon
CONTRE
Senator Sarah Craig Ferguson
CONTRE
Senator Alan John Henry Maclean
CONTRE
Senator Bryan Ian Le Marquand
CONTRE
Senator Francis du Heaume Le Gresley, M.B.E.
POUR
Connétable Kenneth Priaulx Vibert
CONTRE
Connétable Alan Simon Crowcroft
POUR
Connétable John Le Sueur Gallichan
CONTRE
Connétable Daniel Joseph Murphy
CONTRE
Connétable Michael Keith Jackson
CONTRE
Connétable Silvanus Arthur Yates
NOT PRESENT
Connétable Graeme Frank Butcher
NOT PRESENT
Connétable Peter Frederick Maurice Hanning
CONTRE
Connétable Leonard Norman
CONTRE
Connétable John Martin Refault
CONTRE
Connétable Deidre Wendy Mezbourian
POUR
Connétable Juliette Gallichan
EXCUSED ATTENDANCE
Deputy Robert Charles Duhamel
CONTRE
Deputy Frederick John Hill, B.E.M.
CONTRE
Deputy Roy George Le Hérissier
OUT OF ISLAND
Deputy John Benjamin Fox
POUR
Deputy Judith Ann Martin
CONTRE
Deputy Geoffrey Peter Southern
POUR
Deputy James Gordon Reed
CONTRE
Deputy Carolyn Fiona Labey
CONTRE
Deputy Collin Hedley Egré
CONTRE
Deputy Jacqueline Ann Hilton
CONTRE
Deputy Paul Vincent Francis Le Claire
POUR
Deputy John Alexander Nicholas Le Fondré
CONTRE
Deputy Anne Enid Pryke
CONTRE
Deputy Sean Power
CONTRE
Deputy Shona Pitman
ILL
Deputy Kevin Charles Lewis
OUT OF ISLAND
Deputy Ian Joseph Gorst
CONTRE
Deputy Philip John Rondel
POUR
Deputy Montfort Tadier
POUR
Deputy Angela Elizabeth Jeune
CONTRE
Deputy Daniel John Arabin Wimberley
POUR
Deputy Trevor Mark Pitman
NOT PRESENT
Deputy Anne Teresa Dupre
CONTRE
Deputy Edward James Noel
CONTRE
Deputy Tracey Anne Vallois
CONTRE
Deputy Michael Roderick Higgins
POUR
Deputy Andrew Kenneth Francis Green M.B.E.
ABSTAINED
Deputy Deborah Jane De Sousa
POUR
Deputy Jeremy Martin Maçon
POUR

2 comments:

Ian Evans said...

They will cut anyone who is not in their disgusting little circle!!!

"An Abyss is opening at their feet, and the wheel of life is slowly crush them."

Quote from when Caine & Master Po came across the murderer of Caine's parents, master Po told Caine to leave the murderer to his own devices as he was slowly turning everyone against himself.

Life would punish him, not Caine!!!

voiceforchildren said...

Tony.

This government has been out of control for some time and the Business plan has only served to prove that.

Not only have the elderly and diabled been hit but so have the children.