The Paralympics are exploited to make the disabled feel guilty

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Opinion digest: the Paralympics, education visas, and political wives

LAST UPDATED AT 10:29 ON Fri 31 Aug 2012

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WE CAN’T ALL BE OSCAR PISTORIUS

ROBERT JONES ON THE PARALYMPICS

Robert Jones writes in The Guardian: “I won't be following the Paralympics”. This might seem strange, as “I’m disabled” and the Paralympics, promise the opportunity “to show that disabled people are not work-avoiding stay-at-homes glued to daytime TV”. The problem is that the Paralympics comes with baggage. The implication is that if "the disabled" would only “throw away their crutches, dispense with their wheelchairs” and make an effort, “the rest could stop having to pay for them”. But “I have as much in common with the Paralympian Oscar Pistorius as you, gentle reader, have with Usain Bolt”. Yet able-bodied people aren't expected to reach the standard of Bolt. “If Paralympians are role models, let them inspire able and disabled, rather than be exploited to make us feel inadequate and guiltily dependent on the hard-working taxpayer”.

IMMIGRATION POLICY DAMAGES OUR UNIVERSITIES

RICHARD LAMBERT ON EDUCATION VISAS

Higher education is one of the UK’s largest and most rapidly growing sources of international revenue, writes Richard Lambert in The Financial Times. Fees from foreign students account for more than a tenth of higher education income in England while foreign students contribute to cultural and intellectual life in the UK. This success is being put at risk by government attempts to cut immigration. Now the UK Border Agency has “dropped a depth charge on London Metropolitan University by revoking its licence to sponsor visas entirely”. LMU’s administration has had many failures, but this decision puts legitimate students’ futures in doubt, and undermines a university that serves locals. It also sends a message that the UK does not want foreign students. Sticking to its present course implies the government “is more interested in meeting its short-term political targets than it is in the long-term health of one of the country’s most successful sectors”. 

SPARE US THE SPOUSES PUTTING ON A SHOW

JAN MOIR ON POLITICAL WIVES

This week Ann Romney made her first bid to play the part of First Lady alongside her husband, presidential candidate Mitt, says Jan Moir in the Daily Mail. Her job is to make hubby “look like some approximation of a human being”. It’s no easy task. Mitt is a Mormon multi-millionaire with some rather unpalatable views. Enter Ann, the glam mam of five, who has suffered multiple sclerosis and breast cancer and tells us she is the daughter of an immigrant labourer. She also tried to convince us that Mitt was an ordinary guy, not mentioning their fantastically wealthy lifestyle of mansions and trusts. “Politics becomes more like showbusiness with every passing year.” And, unfortunately, wives are called upon, “to provide the unctuous marinade that tenderises the political meatheads”. · 

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