The 44-year-old – who has multiple complex disabilities and mental health problems – is in many ways living proof of beating the system. After four years of living in inaccessible social housing, Alex has a bit of dignity and safety. But I can’t help but think for a so-called civilised 21st century nation, there isn’t much to celebrate. In Alex’s words: “It feels like I’m still not living. Still trapped, made sicker by austerity.”
Alex’s story starts seven months ago in a cramped top-floor flat in Islington, north London. It’s the sort of story that could be happening to your neighbour right now – and embodies the pointless cruelty meted out in recent years by politicians to citizens who dare to be disabled.Yes, clearly, the current government is hell-bent on making lives like Alex's far worse. For no other reason than shits n' giggles, apparently.
Say, what's wrong with Alex, anyway?
A spinal and head injury, degenerative hands and feet and chronic fatigue mean Alex needs both a wheelchair and a hoist to move safely around their home. (Alex wishes to be referred to as “they”.)*blinks* Ummm, right. Clearly, this isn't going to be fixed any time soon, even if the council do get their finger out.
The council? I thought we were railing against the heartless Tories? Well, Frances is, because that's all Frances does, ever!
But it's actually the council that's screwing up here. You know, the ones the progressives always want to throw more money at.
Even when the council found a ground-floor flat for Alex in the spring, after three months the adaptations still hadn’t been completed for them to move in.No doubt 'austerity' will be to blame for this, not the legendary sloth and incompetence of local government.
Even when Alex moved in to the new flat, the council still hadn’t put in a video intercom, non-fluorescent lighting and anti-slip flooring – seemingly minor things that for Alex mean vomiting, debilitating migraines and losing consciousness.Alex, I'm afraid, seems to be too sick to live in the normal world. But thanks to progressive mental health policy, fortunes must be spent to help her do so:
As the new year approaches, Alex can’t help but think of the battles still ahead. Sitting in the new flat, Alex has calculated that universal credit will see their benefits cut by up to £80 a week. At the same time, like thousands of other disabled people, Alex will have to go through an assessment for personal independence payment – something that’s simply ”terrifying”.
“I thought moving in, this fight was over,” Alex tells me. “But because of austerity, you have to fight for everything.”You have to 'fight for everything' regardless, and always will, because of your complex issues. Issues that would be better off in a controlled environment like a mental hospital.
But that was blown out of the water by progressives like Frances, who demand that people unable to live in the real world should be allowed, nay, encouraged to do so.