Collin Brewer, a local councilor in England, regrets having called for disabled children to be euthanazed: "I meant no offence by my remarks to you. I can see, in retrospect, that they were ill-judged and insensitive." [BBC]

93 Responses to “"Put down" disabled children, says local councilor”

  1. eldritch says:

    Christ, what an asshole.

  2. Boundegar says:

    Meant no offence?  Hey bro, none taken.  Wait, what?

  3. Hey Collin, you’re a tiny-dicked wrinkly old dick-wad.

    No offense.

  4. peregrinus says:

    I meant no offence, you defaming pox-ridden voters and commentators, may the lot of you rot in a sea of sewage contaminated filth and implore that a eugenics program relieve you of your everyday suffering.

    Oof sorry I said that, my collar was too tight.  Now, where were we?

  5. Peter says:

    Likewise, I would like to apologize for my current suggestion that said local councilor should be castrated with rusty surgical implements and be denied medical care.  I meant no offense, and I can see, in retrospect, that it was ill-judged and insensitive, and, with foresight, that my follow-up suggestion that he be tied naked to an anthill will also be ill-judged and insensitive.

  6. Mordicai says:

    Is he local councilor of the Province of Youtubecommentsectionshire?

  7. He actually said ‘put down’ so at least he didn’t bother with euphemisms. Growing up as a disabled child in the 1970s, I often heard people say that ‘the Nazis had some things right, like we can’t afford to keep handicapped children’. They never meant me, of course, because I wasn’t ‘really disabled’. One such charmer was a neighbour who dropped round to carry me upstairs to bed when I was in too much pain to walk, so there are nuances here. Sorry to raise the spectre of Godwin here, but this news item took me back to those times, and I just don’t want them repeated.

    Our lovely Tory government has engaged in a savage propaganda campaign labeling disabled people as ‘scroungers’ to prepare the public for a round of benefit cuts. So, rather than the actual fraud rate of 0.5% (one in two hundred), they jigged the figures to suggest it is 70% (by including all those who apply for help and the process rejects). Hate crime statistics have gone up and apocryphally disabled people are being spat at on the streets and sticks being kicked away to prove they are faking.

    These views, such as Cllr Colin Brewers, breed in the context of ‘nudge’ tactics used to justify depriving disabled people of the support they need to have a basic level of dignity. It isn’t just the 70s throwbacks hankering for the simple solutions of the 1930′s, it is also modern political machines playing with perception in order to push their particular economic ideology.

    • dculberson says:

       ”One such charmer was a neighbour who dropped round to carry me upstairs to bed when I was in too much pain to walk”

      Wow, I don’t believe I’ve seen a more straightforward example of the the humanity of even supposed villains.  People really are more complex than the labels we apply to them, aren’t they?

      • Christopher Waldrop says:

        A man must not despair of God’s Mercy; for Zardusht says: “I beheld one whose body, with the exception of one foot, was entirely in hell; but that foot was outside. The Lord said: ‘This person, who ruled over thirty-three cities, never performed good deeds; but having one day observed a sheep tied up a distance from her food, he with his foot pushed the grass near her.’” -Moshan Fani, The Dabistdn, “Gate the Fourth,” of The Hundred Gates of Paradise

        Source:
        http://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V42N04_194.pdf

      • You could say the same about most people. Whether it be a bigot facing a gay couple, or a racist bumping into a minority while taking out the bins – anyone with a shred of humanity will treat them like a human being – that’s what humanity is – the one’s that attack them (verbally or physically) are psychologically disturbed.

        But then that’s not really the issue I don’t think, it’s probably far easier to deal with people that are an overt detriment to society – it’s the backhanded, “everyone else is thinking it”/subtle forms of ignorance that cause the real issues.

        Take this, for example; we’re able to place this man on a pedestal and throw virtual rotten tomatoes at him. Whereas all the other politicians that also hate the general public carry on regardless.

        • blueelm says:

          Yep. No one is consistent. I have sociopaths in my family who are *nice* some times (still not worth it). I grew up in the south where old people some times would say things like “They oughta dig that n****r up and shoot him again” about MLK but then give the black lady down the road a ride to work for a week straight.

          Come to think of it I’ve never *met* a totally consistent person in my whole life, nor have I met some one who never changed during their life. All the more reason to call out bigotry when we find it. Every time. Because at some point some one will probably find a little in themselves.

          • C W says:

            “I have sociopaths in my family who are *nice* some times”

            I usually take Ash’s advice when dealing with sociopaths.

            “It’s a trick, get an axe”, but I’m sure he has a ton of other quotes useful towards that class of “person”.

        • monkey magic says:

           Part of the problem is generalisations.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        Wow, I don’t believe I’ve seen a more straightforward example of the the humanity of even supposed villains.

        Or the villainy of even supposed humans?

    • IronEdithKidd says:

      I really wish more people, planet-wide, were able to see through the divisive propaganda as cogently as you do.  Negative stereotyping has, unfortunately, worked like a charm in the US to the detriment of nearly every category of the disadvantaged.  Spread the word, fight back, and don’t let colossal shit stains like Colin Brewers succeed with their ‘austerity’ plans.  

    • CH says:

      But isn’t that how it always is? “Oh, I didn’t mean you!”

      • C W says:

        It’s sad, usually one with more hope could imagine that knowing a person could humanize any problem, but the existence of racists, homophobes, and other horrid creatures seems unswayed by reality.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      The UKIP tends to be self-Godwining. It’s the party for people who think that the BNP has A Lot Of Good Ideas, but don’t want to rub elbows with the chavs.

    • C W says:

      “They never meant me, of course, because I wasn’t ‘really disabled’. ”

      I’m sure they also had a lot of black friends!

  8. dpamac says:

    I have nothing to add. Idiot.

  9. dunkalunk says:

    Sounds kind of… Klingon. There is no honour in this statement.

  10. wysinwyg says:

     Wow, a politician actually taking responsibility for what he said and apologizing for that instead of for “offending people” or whatever. 

    I know, the bar’s pretty low when I’m actually impressed by this.  What can I say?  My basis for comparison is the Republican party.

    • danimagoo says:

      He may not have apologized for offending people, but he did say he meant no offense. Then he turned around and said he was trying to provoke a response …. which is kind of exactly the same thing as meaning to offend. So he’s still full of shit.

    • Except that he is, in fact, apologising for offending people. Unless I’m missing some sarcasm?

      • Stooge says:

        It seemed like a pretty modest proposal to me.

      • wysinwyg says:

        I can see, in retrospect, that they were ill-judged and insensitive.

        Giving him credit for this.  Again, I cannot imagine a Republican saying something like this unless it was for a gaffe like: “Well maybe there are some situations in which abortion makes sense” or “I do think there are reasonable steps we can take to make it more difficult for criminals to obtain firearms” or “I believe in business but we do need to take environmental damage into account as well”.

        • Maybe it’s all relative – but I read his response very much as “I said something you found offensive, so I’m sorry”.

          He meant what he said, he’s just bummed that people are offended by it. I don’t want sleezy politicians apologising for offending people, I want politicians who aren’t offensive.

          • wysinwyg says:

            Right.  My joke is that in Communist Russia Capitalist USA politician apologizes for being inoffensive.

          • rocketpjs says:

             The usual non-apology apology consists of an apology that others were offended.  “I’m sorry you were offended” – putting the offense onto the others rather than the offender.

        • It’s just pretty distressing to think it would take retrospection to see that suggesting disabled people have no worth is insensitive.

    • peregrinus says:

      Just words and hot air.  I would like to see him contribute 300 hours of his time to assisting people in need.

      Until a politician actually does something, they’re just saying things.  Using up my god-blessed oxygen.

    • He only apologised because he was forced to. It was a slap on the wrist. Rather than the standards cttee forcing him to resign they asked him to say sorry. Which he did in that ‘Sorry for causing offence’ way that really means ‘It is your fault for being offended, you wusses’. Once again, only when forced to. I’m sure even a Republican politician would find a way of saying sorry if it was that or lose office.

      • Stooge says:

        How exactly could anyone force him to resign? He didn’t commit a crime and no-one seriously maintains he believes what he said.

        • Actually the Standards Committee could have called for him to resign and his position would have been untenable. And I seriously maintain he believes what he said. People do actually believe this, and say it behind closed doors. He was unwise enough to say it to someone who reported it. As it is the Standards Committee asked him to apologise and he can say ‘no-one has asked me to resign’.

          He says he would ‘defend disabled children to the last’ now, when he is in deep trouble. ‘At first’, he casually called for the murder of all disabled children. Except, he used ‘put down’, a phrase used about animals. He doesn’t see people like me as human. 

          Disabled people are murdered and imprisioned for the crime of being them across the world, and us ‘Useless Eaters’ have fared even worse in the past. People mean this and show they mean it in the most practical way possible. 

          Luckily Cllr Brewer is in a minority in the UK, and I hope soon for the honorific that goes with his position in local government goes soon, and Mr Brewer will be seen as the loathsome outsider he is.

          • BunnyShank says:

            From the violence of his statement, he likely doesn’t see many people as human, including the person to which he said it.

        • Only if by ‘no-one’ you mean you.

    • marilove says:

      That was not an apology.  That was an, “OOPS!  People don’t like how I actually feel about the subject. I must apologize for “offending” them.”

      It’s a non-apology.

  11. Baanrit says:

    It’s amazing to see the degree to which a financial rough patch has brought out the savagery in some people. 

    • C W says:

      What makes you think these things have anything to do with a “financial rough patch”?

      They’d say this in the best of times.

  12. Just in a vain hope that people in the UK aren’t as horrible as our right wing conservatives, is it at all possible that what he said was taken out of context?  Could he possibly be pulling a Jonathan Swift — A Modest Proposal — bit of satirical hyperbole (or, as we say to its dumbed-down version today — trolling)?   
    http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html  
    In all honesty, I’m doubting it’s so, since it would have come up in his “apology” but I’m grasping at straws here.

    • Snig says:

      According to my British GF, there seems to be much greater gov’t support for people with disabilities than in the US.  He’s likely an aberration.  Both countries have their non-representative pinheads who display an inverse relationship in their intelligence and the volume of their statements. 

      • espritdecorpse says:

        I will hazard a guess that your GF hasn’t been living in the UK for the past few years?  Things have become VERY bad VERY quickly.  The country should be ashamed of what has happened and the repellent idealogues responsible should be on trial (instead they are still in government and in the media).  Meanwhile, those who are not directly affected are putting their hands over their ears and going ‘la, la, la, can’t hear you!’.  Truly shameful times.

        Not having a go at you (or your partner), but people need to know what’s going on.

        • Snig says:

          She’s been here for a number of years, but travels there regularly and  knows things have gotten worse in the UK.  She has family  with special needs over there, and friends with family members with special needs over here, from her second hand vantage it still seems mildly better in the UK.  Unfortunately, that’s damned by faint praise.

          • espritdecorpse says:

            I think the US had a head start in the race to the bottom, but we’re coming up on your shoulder and carrying a lot of speed into the home straight.

            Look on YT for George Osborne at the Paralympics (it’s worth it!).  The paralympics sponsored by ATOS (of whom I will say no more).

          • US was first with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but we weren’t far behind with the DDA and the Equality Act 2010 has a little more teeth still. General access and attitudes have improved massively in the last 20 years in both countries. 
            That said, the UK has two advantages.First, the marvellous NHS that every disabled person and their families I know loves with a passion. For crises and expensive long-term conditions it more than shows its worth. I would have bankrupted my family in the US, and I continue to benefit from top surgeons for free in adulthood.Second, we have the Social Model of Disability and all the ideological goodies it brings. Which is why we tend not to use the term ‘disabilities’ in the UK for reasons too geeky to go into here. Honestly, it is a theory that takes forever and a load of graphs to explain. Still, it does help culture shift.Reason the Conservatives and their Lib Dem allies had to mount such a propaganda campaign to portray Disabled People in a more negative light.

          • Snig says:

            Interesting, thanks for the background.

    • He explained a little more here and elsewhere. Apparently, he was angry about how much the council was spending on some disabled children, and was saying it to get a Disability Charity to explain their services. I’m afraid it wasn’t because he wanted to defend them, but because he wanted to cut them and use the money to prop up more general services. In this interview with local radio version he sounds broken and annoyed anyone would take his words to mean he had anything against disabled children and never really grasps how bad it was, and so is bewildered at all the fuss. http://audioboo.fm/boos/1236499-laurence-reed-speaks-with-councillor-collin-brewer#t=0m0shttp://audioboo.fm/boos/1236499-laurence-reed-speaks-with-councillor-collin-brewer#t=0m0s

      Also, when a Tory said something similar in a council meeting he got sacked immediately. I’m not exactly happy with the Conservative and Lib Dem demonisation of disabled people, but they don’t tolerate falling this low.

  13. timquinn says:

    This was meant for [comment removed] a quote from the wiki page on “unintended consequences.”

    “Possible causes of unintended consequences include . . . perverse incentives, human stupidity, self-deception, failure to account for human nature or other cognitive or emotional biases.”

    If you are still out there; you should read this over and over until it makes sense, then tell your friends about it.

    (Edited for cogency)

  14. He ‘represents’ the area that borders where I live. He’s always been considered a classic County and District councillor – in it for their own benefit – comfortably well off, have a look at his declared interests https://democracy.cornwall.gov.uk/mgDeclarationSubmission.aspx?UID=2060&HID=2829&FID=0&HPID=3520888

    He’s actually not a representative of any official party, quite a lot of the councillors down here are ‘independents’ although they group together and currently support the conservatives in a sort of coalition.

    Never trusted him, don’t think he can appreciate normal people when you realise that you drive past at least four of his houses to get to the next town.

  15. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    I thought maybe he took back the comment after someone explained it would apply to him as well.

  16. marilove says:

    “Breed”? Seriously?  These are people, not dogs.

    Eugenics! Yeah, it’s totally worked in the past!

    It amazes me how quickly people will distance themselves from their humanity when talking about a group of people that are different form them.

    Breeding … yuck.

  17. CH says:

    Could you first explain why you are asking? Or are you, too, just trying to “provoke a response and debate the issue”?

  18. marilove says:

    No.

    Aren’t you ~edgy~.

  19. Luther Blissett says:

    Even very bright people supported the idea of “eugenics”. One co-founded a Journal “Annals of Eugenics”, which had later the decency to change it’s name to “Annals of Human Gentics”. But even bright people write some stupid stuff. And, you, Sir, just did so. Please don’t do that again, it embarrasses everyone.

    tl;dr: Yo, troll, catch the fish. 

  20. peregrinus says:

    Ah, Doktor Mengele!  So the rumours of your demise are vastly exaggerated.

  21. CH says:

    Do you understand what a congenital disability means? From your question it seems like you don’t. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_disorder

    Anyway, your question makes you sound like an asshole (no offense intended, the statement was just intended as a factual statement), so I was just asking in case you had some reason that would make you a non-asshole.

  22. Brainspore says:

    If we can’t address touchy subjects here then we can’t address them anywhere.

    I think you’ll find that most commenters here, like most of society, has come to the conclusion that Eugenics is a Very Bad Idea.

    If you want to buck that trend and make “edgy” comments suggesting that we need to revisit such a “touchy subject” then you should expect a little disgust thrown your way.

  23. CH says:

    But your question doesn’t make any sense!

    (Although if your point is that should people who could pass on genetic disorders be “allowed” to “breed” then I would be interested in hearing what you think are the “pro”s for it… especially as that would leave more or less nobody able to “breed”)

  24. CH says:

    We all carry genetic disorders. Your move.

    Edit: Oh, and I’m not really offended. It’s just that people who have such ideas seem to fall into two types, either assholes or stupid, as eugenics don’t really work. Mostly it seems to be about killing whomever is “not one of us”, by whatever definition the person wants to put it.

  25. Brainspore says:

    I’m getting that you are offended by the mere question.

    A: “Should we enslave the lesser races? Let’s discuss the pros and cons.”

    B: “You disgust me.”

    A: “I’m getting that you are offended by the mere question.”

  26. peregrinus says:

    It’s not a “mere” question.  It raises the spectre of one of the most horrifying and abhorrent episodes in human history, and raising it in the absence of any kind of acknowledgement of that horror reveals a low level of socialisation and indicates self-confidence borne of isolation and lonely thought without challenge.

    Your salivating impatience for something to grip on to reveals an obvious bias in favour of eugenics, although I wouldn’t want to mistreat the word ‘obvious’.

    That said, you could enlighten us as to your state of mind and tell us what you personally perceive as the ‘pros and cons’ you stated were ‘obvious’ above.

    I’m a strong subscriber to the European Convention on Human Rights.  I’ve studied philosophy from utilitarianism to metaphysics.  I have a very hard time ever so much as contemplating siding with eugenics.

    The whole concept is disgusting.

    But please – those pros and cons.  Let’s have you out in the light where we can see you.

  27. CH says:

    I’m pretty sure you expected it.

  28. Brainspore says:

    I didn’t expect the righteous indignation wrath to be so… pure.

    I think that says more about your callous disregard for some of the ugliest incidents in our collective history than it does about the people expressing indignation.

  29. Dear, oh dear… The guest’s comment was removed because even with CH’s link there he STILL couldn’t understand that “congenital” means the opposite of “genetic”, OR that Boingboingers would all be answering the question in the same way, unimpressed. LOL.

  30. chgoliz says:

    Yup, that must be it.

    *facepalm*

  31. Brainspore says:

    Give me your opinion. What would you call a reasonable breeding control program?

    My initial reaction was “a nonexistent one,” but the more you write the more I’m apt to support a single exception.

  32. As much as I think eugenics is a shitty solution to the incidence of genetic disorders, the only reason people here are unwillingly to actually discuss the concept of a “Breeding Program” is because they’re afraid that mere discussion conflates to endorsement. But then, I can’t see J Greene’s posts.

  33. Brainspore says:

    I’ll happily discuss eugenics. Heck, I’ll happily discuss slavery or rape or torture. Just not in a “maybe this deserves another look, let’s talk about the pros and cons” sort of way.

  34. CH says:

    Yes, what Brainspore said. I love to debate more or less anything, and what’s more juicy than discussing controversial issues. (And believe it or not, eugenics is one thing I am interested in… but from the point of why… the history of it, and why some some, still today, see it as some kind of… well, as you stated it, “solution”. And my only answer so far has been… power.)
    But I honestly have no idea what was the point of the post that started this thread… well, I can think of several, but they are all just different reasons for being an asshole (as I stated previously). The question was stated incredibly… stupidly, in so many ways, and it didn’t get any better at any point. I mean “stupid” as in the way of “I really don’t understand the concepts that I’m talking about, and I certainly don’t know how to start a discussion”.

  35. peregrinus says:

    My beef horsemeat is that presenting the slightest ray light on the issue to such an ass simply slips you beyond the event horizon in to the soul-crushing vortex of nonsense that as sure as eggs are eggs would look like this:

    Me:  Eugenics was taken seriously in the early 1900s, partially as an insufficiently informed hence flawed logical outcome of a branch of utilitarianist thinking

    Ass:  See!  There you go!  You agree!  You agree!  You agree!  That’s all I wanted!  You agree!

    Me:  That’s silly, I’m building the breadcrumb trail of how this appalling school of thought rose and fell.  It’s a factual statement that we evaluate in the light of history and philosophy.

    Ass:  You agree!  You’ve got a swastika tattoo, right?  You agree!  Swastikas aren’t even bad, they’re from ancient … ancient … the east somewhere

    Me:  Stop it.  Shut up.

    Ass:  You’re one of us!  Come out, admit it, you agree!  All Boingboingers agree!  We are the light, the future.

  36. CH says:

    To be fair, congenital means something that developed before, at, or very shortly after birth (“born with” in other words), which may or may not be due to genetics. But most genetic disorders don’t show up until later in life, so by definition they are not congenital (and most of us will, at some point, exhibit some kind of at-least-partly genetic disorder… I have already a long list). So, yeah, the original question made no sense. 

    (Pro tip: if you want to discuss an issue, at least make a question that can be discussed. And especially in controversial issues state your own side first, so we can have something to discuss. I’ll show mine if you show yours first).

  37. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Me: So is that congenital?
    My doctor: Is your brain turned off? It’s familial.

Leave a Reply