Members of Parliament should work for less than minimum wage
Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, thinks disabled people should be ‘allowed’ to work for less than the national minimum wage. Well thank you for the privilege Mr. Davies, because £5.93 is a bit steep for us “scroungers”.
“If an employer is looking at two candidates, one who has got disabilities and one who hasn’t, and they have got to pay them both the same rate,” Davies said in the House of Commons, “I invite you to guess which one the employer is more likely to take on.”
I work as a self-employed journalist. Does Philip Davies, pictured, think I should be paid less than the next journalist, purely based on the fact that I have cerebral palsy? Clearly, I would not be the best person to stack shelves in a supermarket, and because of that I would not apply for such a role, but why would I be any less able to work at a supermarket check-out than any other person? A strong test of any progressive society is how it’s most vulnerable people are valued for their worth, rather than pitied for their faults. Philip Davies clearly places little value on the role of people with learning difficulties in our society; instead of celebrating their diversity, he chooses to reinforce the discriminatory myth that people with learning difficulties are more of a risk to employers.
His rhetoric is spoken in the patronising tone of the “well-meaning observer”; “if those people consider it is being a hindrance to them” Davies continued, in reference to the minimum wage, “I don’t see why we should be standing in their way.” Are we supposed to thank Philip Davies for his kindness? At last, someone brave enough to voice our views? No, Philip Davies, why don’t you let disabled people speak for themselves? In fact, it is not this national standard that is a hindrance to disabled people, but the attitude that Davies conveys in his comments, that allows not only employers, but many sections of the public, to continue to look down on disabled people as lesser or inferior members of society.
Philip Davies, on the basic MP’s salary of £65,738, is pontificating on the ‘hindrance’ of paying disabled people the same minimum wage as any other person. The clue, which he seems to be missing, is in the title. But Davies is living in the same bubble as many of his colleagues in the Houses of Commons. He seems to suffer from the same superiority complex; “we are all in this together, apart from us!” Well, here is a suggestion, why don’t you work for less than the minimum wage?
Only “if you want to”, of course.
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter