Life should be treated with awe and respect, not penalised

12_october_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,228

Monday 12 October 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Just in my area this past week a 15 year old said she wanted to end her life and a young married man with two children has taken his life and these are only the ones I know of. How many more people live locally in such desperation I do not know, but what is certain is that there will be others.

It is easy to judge, to claim the moral high ground and dismiss suicide as the ultimate act of selfishness. For sure, such extremes of misery and distress are self focused, such that it is impossible to think straight, impossible to grasp anything or rationalise overwhelming pain.

Compassion takes a bit more effort because compassion engages, it doesn’t walk away, turning its back.

What can drive a life to the point of self destruction? It doesn’t happen in a vacuum, there are always circumstances, always a circle or cycle of events which give rise to such desperation. Even genetically determined mental illness has social implications and impacts.

Whatever Iain Duncan Smith may believe or pretend, he clearly has no feeling or respect for the value of life itself in others, quite the reverse. His punitive welfare reforms are nothing more than economic warfare being waged against the most vulnerable. Sanctions against disabled people are reported to have risen to 3,000 a month with those with mental health conditions or learning difficulties being disproportionately sanctioned.

Iain Duncan Smith has repeatedly said there is no provable causal effect between benefits and mortality despite a recent court judgement finding just that and on which the DWP has been entirely silent, and in 2013 Stephanie Bottrill left a suicide note to her son saying, “Don’t blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the Government”.

What cannot be questioned is the profound distress caused by Iain Duncan Smiths welfare reforms, the bedroom tax, sanctions, the closure of the Independent Living Fund and cuts to carers allowance, to name but some of the multiple cuts and reforms that are affecting peoples lives. Only a feeling-less monster devoid of sense or reason could possibly claim other wise.

Life on Earth is both precious and wonderful, Mr Cameron, it doesn’t take a genius to work that out. It is not some economic commodity to be used and abused as your government does. Life is a miracle of the universe, each life here for a finite time. That life emerged at all on the third planet from the sun, in just the right place with just the right conditions to create an abundance of sustainable life is worthy of awe and wonder, not punishment. We live in a land of abundance, that is obvious to even a casual glance, that people are dying in want under the misrule of a punitive government is utterly despicable and without excuse.

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