Looks like O'Neill's made a twat of himself again.
We are now used to the Telegraph’s Brendan O’Neill wheeling out his increasingly tired rhetoric about the “hand-wringing” middle classes. Now his lazy method of attack has left him looking rather silly. On Tuesday he took the opportunity to smear Calum’s List, a website dedicated to compiling information about those deaths, particularly suicides, where welfare reform has been “alleged to have had some culpability”.
O’Neill used Calum’s List to exemplify what he called the “highly patronising… victorian-style pity-politics” of the campaign against welfare reform. Such campaigners, he said, lack “any constituency of grassroots support, any backing from ordinary people, and so must try to raise an army of dead people instead”. He contrasted such “pity politics” with what he saw as the much better “politics of solidarity”. Calum’s List he said were “exploiting” suicide victims.
The response from Calum’s List illustrated, with absolute clarity, the sheer baselessness of these assertions:
Calum’s List is written by the disabled, and by people who are bereft… a group of disabled people, widows, widowers, bereaved parents and orphans trying to find a voice
O’Neill’s line of attack, in other words, is simply irreconcilable with the reality of who Calum’s List are. They are not pity-mongers coming in from on high to pick over the carcases of dead benefits claimants. They are the disabled, who rely upon benefits, and the loved ones of those who have died. They are people binding together for collective self-defence – a phenomenon typically described, by everybody except perhaps Brendan O’Neill, as “solidarity”.