I must say, it is a truly beautiful and rewarding experience to open up various news websites and be told you should be put down. NOT! As with many subjects it has provoked righteous and I believe justified anger.
The case for the defence opens with Mr Brewer saying that he had had a hard day debating council cuts and he had got “hot under the collar.”
Fine. I love conviction politics, based on the premise of strong belief, coupled with strong action to back that up. To become hot under the collar, is a good thing. It shows your passion and it shows you care.
But this is where I part company with Brewer quite happily. However hot under the collar I got, I would NEVER, EVER suggest that people be put down.
Let’s be candid here though. What Colin Brewer is calling for here is legitimated murder, in order to save money. We can dance with euphemism and metaphor all we like. That is the truth of this quote.
His justification for this was that he wanted to provoke a debate around the costs of service provision. Well you have certainly a provoked a debate sir. It has just shifted a little bit from where he intended it to be. Thank you for making your character clear here.
The sincere, felt shock of MP’s, other members of the council, and parents is understandably palpable. Cllr Brewer is now no longer an Independent councillor, grouped with the other independents, for they too were outraged. He is now a standalone Independent sitting by himself thus reducing his political effectiveness.
You do not provoke a debate by advocating the ending of someone’s life, least of all an already persecuted minority. It is no half truth that minority groups, like women and those with disabilities are disproportionately and unfairly impacted upon by cuts to public services, and feeling the pinch of the tough economic times. Therefore, to make such comments to a charity like Disability Cornwall who are doing their best to support and help those with disabilities disgusts me.
If Collin Brewer had wanted to be effective, he could have provoked a useful discussion within the local council of Wadebridge as to where the disability budget is allocated. Instead he chose to de-humanise people and objectify them in the most disgusting way. He reduced people and their lives to an economic spreadsheet. His conduct was shameful and he does not deserve to hold public office now, nor should he have the opportunity to stand for it again in the future. His weasel worded apology is inadequate and does not in any way address the gravity of, nor the ripples of hurt which his remarks have created.
But let me explain why this feels raw and visceral for me. Firstly, when I was born, the chances of me living or dying were 50/50. Life, or death, then is as arbitrary as the roll of a dice. In my view, what he is essentially saying is that my life counts for nothing. That hurts, deep inside my heart.
Also, many people with disabilities suffer from chronic low self esteem, depression, and lack confidence. Collin Brewer’s outpourings represent a gigantic step backwards, to a time when disabled children were locked behind doors, in full institutions, with no stimulation, tantamount to prison.
I do not want this piece to turn into a debate about euthanasia, or assisted dying. However, many people with disabilities do experience frequent episodes of suicidal ideation, or thoughts, because they fear for the future, and do not want to be seen as a burden or strain upon the State. What I am saying is Brewer’s callous, ill-judged and vile comments, only add succour to the negative beliefs that we already believe about ourselves at times Congruently, it makes me feel more negative about myself than I did when I woke up this morning. However, it too shall pass because it has to. When faced with abject persecution, minorities have no other option option than to collectively rise up and be strong.
I am old enough at 32 to remember the brutal regime of the despot President Ceaucescu in Romania. Where those with disabilities were hidden away in numerous orphanages, crammed in cots designed for babies, several at a time as though they were inhuman and something to be ashamed of due to to their disability, left to rot in their own excrement and urine. Animals in the majority of zoos live in more favourable conditions than those housed in the orphanages that became a dark motif of Ceaucescu’s Presidency of Romania.
Also, where do we draw the line? Who do we kill first? Do we start with those with physical disabilities? I mean, they must cost a fortune! What about those with learning disabilities, like autism? Them too? What about those with glasses? Or hearing impairments. I mean those hearing aids need to be replaced fairly often! The mental health problems too, shall we just get rid of them overnight?
Disability is a wide spectrum the population will shrink beyond recognition.
In making this comment, Brewer has succeeded in aligning himself with some very illustrious company, including the Westboro Baptist Church, more infamous for their repulsive views of gay people, but also who, as if homophobia wasn’t a vile enough calling card, describe those with disabilities as mutants, and monsters.
Who could also forget a one Mr A.Hitler of Germany, who advocated the killing of those with disabilities because they were not perfect enough? Congratulations, Collin Brewer.
Finally, I wonder if there is any possibility of atonement for Mr Brewer? What about some voluntary work, for a good long period at Disability Cornwall? He could gain an insight into disability, while also examining his conscience! It’s a possibility.
For now though, I strongly feel that the only thing that ought to be put down without delay is his political career.