Posts filed under ‘News stories & hot topics’

Everyone has the right to take their own life

The title of this piece is a line taken from the Channel Four programme Let our Dad die last week.  Its true to a point,we have the legal right, but what good is a right you can’t claim? (more…)

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June 24, 2012 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

Cameron’s Tourettes jibe speaks volumes

David Cameron says facing Ed Balls  is like sitting opposite  someone with Tourettes. A remark, he made, and resulting apology, made mostly by his spokeswomen,  that shows us exactly what we are dealing with in my opinion.  Forget the policies for a moment, agree with them or not, most activists rightly don’t, you could argue they are part of his job.  I wonder though just how on earth this disablist remark can be justified.  The answer to me is simple, it can’t.  There have been      many incidents of senior,and not so senior politicians  making ‘off the cuff’ remarks, look closer, and they are anything but.  They are, as I believe this to be carefully planted.

For most of this Parliament disabled people  have put up with almost constant ‘abuse’ and put downs all wrapped up in the supposedly, not really, polite language of politics.  We are  it seems, the cause of the country’s ills, we are, benefit cheating, workshy, burdens  on decent citizens,  Harsher and harsher policies are being put in place to control us.  The Cameron Government pledge to strip away  our benefits, support services,and ultimately many of  our hard fought rights.  A media campaign fuelled by much misinformation, has helped reinforce the ‘justice’ of these policies in the mind of the masses, many of whom cannot be expected to understand disability, or the effects the changes have, because it hasn’t touched their lives. 

So exactly what are we dealing with?  The remark certainly had no place in the serious political arena, nor can it be excused  as ignorance, Mr Cameron has experience of disability,  a fact we are never allowed to forget.  Many activists, me included,  have maintained that its not just policy, but an attitude of ‘demonising’ the disabled’ to make their point.  Right now probably we should thank Mr Cameron for proving our point, the stystemic ‘hate campaign’ against disabled people is not just political  need, but personal bias, bias likely to be seen by many as disabilism.  Yet again we have been used to score cheap points, but this time, it has nothing at all to do with policy.

Mr Cameron is educated and asute enough to realise what he has done, that his ‘off the cuff’ remark could cause distress and harm to disabled people, whether or not they have tourettes.   His excuse of an apology means nothing to me, or likely other disabled people.   The incidents merelyadd to the already horrific damage this Government has done.  As far as I am concerned, the gloves are off, disabled people have been made to fight for survival, to justify every single right they have.  Now he has proved he is merely prejudiced, and not fit for purpose, the only just outcome is that he is made to fight for his political life ,and fails. 

I wish to make it clear  that while I have every sympathy for the Cameron family’s loss, I have no respect for those who use such a loss against others. 

When I wrote this I  incorrectly named Ed Milliband as the wronged party, not Ed Balls.   This has been corrected, and as asked by a reader I apologise unreservedly to Mr Milliband and Mr Balls.    

January 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm 12 comments

Rights Not Charity

I will start bysaying I am not against charities, and I recognise the valuable vital woek they do, I’ve worked with several.  However there was one item on  ITVs Text Santa last night that left me fuming.

Prime Ministter David  Cameron pledged £25oK  of Government money to the appeal.  Yes it was a good thing to do,and yes its what most people would want, but lets just think for a minute.  The country is in financial straits, services are being  cut and many people are feeling the effects. I know that charities,  and those involved are good ones,  help the vunerable. The cuts  though are falling hardest on the most vunerable, the very people who need the help of the charities, even more so because of the cuts. 

What many people, ie those not affected don’t understand, is that the cuts don’t just affect the most needy financially.  The cuts to services affect rights, changes to benefits,  support provision, and general public services such as transport, all alter how those who rely on them, and its not just disabled people, can participate in society.  The cuts are taking away not just money but people’s ability to be a full citizen, their choices and rights.

I really hope that Mr ‘call me Dave’ Cameron and his cabinet monsters enjoyed their  ‘nice guy’ moment, its probably the last  they will get for a  while.  In my mind the gesture showed them up for what they are, rights thieves, who think that ‘stealing’ from us can be forgotten, by shoving a few quid at us in charity handouts, they couldn’t be more wrong. We want rights, not charity, but  because our rights are being ‘stolen’ by  the Government, many will be forced to rely on charity handouts instead, just to survive.

December 12, 2011 at 9:19 am 6 comments

Disability Hate Murder Sentences Doubled

Murders fuelled by disability hate will now get sentenced to up to 30 years.  Along with those against transgendered people, it now brings it into line with other hate murders. I welcome any change that takes crimes against  disabled people seriously,  I still worry that less serious hate crime  is being ignored, and in some cases endorsed.

Most disabled people won’t get murdered, but less serious hate crimes and incidents  are commonplace, and very few people will escape it completely.  Being screamed at in the street, some types of discrimination, and threats among others can all count.  Try reporting these though and you don’t always  get the response you deserve.  I have heard of many situations where blamedon the victims, along the lines that they misunderstood the situation, and are somehowin need of protection, and not able to cope.  Whilst additional support would genuinely help some, it is very wrong to ‘blame’ the victim, and excuse the criminal.  Support needs to be in place ifor victims, whilst crimesaredealt with appropriately.

We live in difficult times and right now disabled people seem to be the target for society’s anger and frustration.  We are the ‘burden’ the country can’t handle, and it seems like we are to blame for anything from the banking crisis to global warming.  The result is that we have become objects of hate, and hate crime incidents are increasing.  This is not, in my opinion, just happening, in many cases, the ‘gun’ is being loaded by the Government and media, for the general public to fire.  The daily diet  of stories of benefit fraud, and the Government stance of persistent’ relience on state handouts, by those who could work. aimed us, enforce the idea that we are here only to put in our place. There are too many people in this country, only too happy to teach us a lesson.  These hate crimes however are nottaken seriously, we are just expected to accept that they are part of our life.

I repeat any progress is welcome, but all hate crime must be taken, and dealt with seriously.  Above all the Government and media must stop fuelling the hate, and must play their part in stopping it.  Fiona Pilkington and her daughter did not die as a result of hate murder, however their deaths were as a result of hate crime. Further the authorities failed them, neglected their duty. It must never be  allowed to happen again, but it will, many times, if it hasn’t already, unless all hate incidents/crime, and the effects on victims  are taken seriously.

December 11, 2011 at 8:37 am 1 comment

Crimestoppers joins forces with DWP to tackle Benefit fraud

You can now report suspected benefit fraud via Crimestoppers who are working on a joint campaign with DWP, that will mean everyone sleeps safer in their bed, won’t  it?

Make no mistake, their are very few disabled people who would  not welcome any wellmanaged  campaign to stop fraud, whilst fraud in disability benefits is low, any fraud gives geniune claimants a bad name,  and makes  their lives harder.  I know disabled people who have reported incidents where they have substantial concerns.  I support their right to do this, reporting  wrongdoing  protects the innocent honest claimants.

Whilst I would never suggest that Crimestoppers  does not have a properly managed set up I do worry that this is too easy.  In all honestyand in general terms, disabled people are not very popular, in fact many face regular hate, just because they are disabled. I worry that the ‘shop a claimant’ may become attack a crip.  Its quick and easy, too easy, reporters don’t have to  identify themselves. Benefit fraud is the 3rd most worry causing fraud, not surprising since the public are fed the idea, almost daily that its rife, mostly committed by disabled people.  Unlike them  I will let facts get in the way of a good story.  Fraud when quoted, is often lumped together  with official error, DWP mistakes, despite having the facts.  Fraud in disability benefits is less than one percent.  The decision making process is strict, decision makers usually seek medical advice even if claimants do not get assessed directly by ATOS.   Success at appeal is high suggesting many failed claims are faulty decisions.

Someone accused of fraud faces a strict interview, often under caution, is likely to have benefit suspended, meaning they struggle to survive. They also face the stigma of being accused That would be bad enough for anyone, but ifyou have health issues, the stress could cause illness or even death. It will catch some, but potentially needlessly harm many more.  Hate crime made easy is a step too far  

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December 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm 8 comments

Demonising the Disabled

Disabled people like other minorities have long faced discrimination and hate.  Recently though we have just about reached the point of if its wrong, blame the crips.  We are an easy target, and for many the attacks just keep coming.  (more…)

December 5, 2011 at 8:23 am 2 comments

Jeremy Clarkson attacks ‘selfish’ suicide victims

Jeremy Clarkson has caused a barrage of complaints for two seperate incidents, the first, suggesting that strikers should be shot, sinane tupidity, the second, which I will discuss here, nothing short of dangerous, as well as grossly insensi (more…)

December 4, 2011 at 11:46 am 7 comments

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