Friday, 17 June 2011

Oh look, a bigoted Conservative politician!

It's nice to see how far equal opportunites has come along since the days where only the healthy, wealthy, white men were allowed rights.  But look!  I see a healthy, wealthy, white male politician who thinks that a disadvantaged group should be treated less fairly than others.

Phillip Davies, the MP for Shipley, suggests that those with mental health disabilities should be able to opt out of the national minimum wage to be more competitive at the work place.  Because, according to him, disabled people are less productive in the work place.  Yeah right - I'm sure my dyslexic, dysphraxic and depression-prone hard-working friends would be very pleased to hear that.   Especially the following quote made by him.
“Given that some of those people with a learning disability clearly, by definition, can't be as productive in their work as somebody who hasn't got a disability of that nature, then it was inevitable that given that the employer was going to have to pay them both the same they were going to take on the person who was going to be more productive, less of a risk, and that was doing those people a huge disservice.”
Apart from discriminating based on disability being against the law, I don't see how anyone with a learning disability would be less productive.  Many people cope in work with a learning disability and prove themselves just as capable.  In fact, in some cases, even more so because they feel like they have to work twice as hard as "mentally abled" people just to prove they can do it.  Some of the most successful people in history and in the world have proven themselves to be far more successful in life because they refuse to let such prejudices get them down.  In fact, I did a quick Google search to prove the point; apart from Richard Branson and Winston Churchill whom the Telegraph listed, we also have

  • Hans Christian Andersen (dyslexia)
  • Daniel Radcliff (dyspraxia)
  • Beethoven (dyslexia)
  • Leonardo da Vinci (dyslexia)
  • Agatha Cristie (depression)
  • Michaelangelo (depression)
  • Anthony Hopkins (dyslexia)
  • Albert Einstein (suspected dyspraxia, Asperger's syndrome)
  • Bill Gates (Asperger's syndrome)
I can go on, but then I would overload this post with names.  Fact is, often so called mentally disabled individuals are the most mentally abled of us.  They are more determined to overcome what people would assume to be a disadvantage and provide role models for others.

Despite the critism and the outrage, Philip Davis is unapologetic, claiming that disabled people have to "prove themselves" before moving up the payscale and that "left-wing hysteria" is to blame for the criticisms he received.  Well, sounds like this MP needs a pay review because if we were to follow his suggestion, I think he is earning far more than his brain cell states he should earn.


  1. "Well, sounds like this MP needs a pay review because if we were to follow his suggestion, I think he is earning far more than his brain cell states he should earn. "

    Well said!

  2. I agree with everything that Mr. Davies is saying.

    I'm 49 years old, have Asperger's syndrome and have never had a job.

    I need to be able to offer an employer something so that he will at least just consider giving me a job; and I reckon that his being able to pay me less than statutory minimum wage might just do it.

    I doubt I would be any worse off than actually being paid a proper wage because of the complex interactions between the various benefits I receive and the amount of money I have to pay to social services for my care. In effect a wages subsidy would be in operation.

    I desperately want to work, and need to work, so that I can fully contribute to, and participate in, society; and strive to become the best person I'm capable of becoming - and the minimum wage legislation is hindering me in my search for employment.

  3. Good post!

    A similar argument was recently made in one the States recently. A Maine politician wanted to reduce the minimum wage for children while increasing the hours they could legally work. He argued that children were at a disadvantage in the labor market because they were less competent than adults.