Thursday, 20 April 2017

Vote Tory To Kill Your Disabled Neighbours…


It's been a hard few months for me. Nearly six months down the road, and I still have NO care plan due to the national social care crisis. However, even if my toilette is not regularly seen to, I am now eating more regularly and taking the vast majority of my meds and at the appropriate times. Still awaiting after nearly two months to hear from DWP about PIP decision, after taking me six weeks to complete the claim-form (forty-plus page booklet!). My state of health remains poor and my cognitive abilities weak. There has thus been a dearth of blog-posts. My apologies therefor.


[Image description: white background, black triangle to the left; to the right the slogan -
I will be voting
Against the
Tories
In Support Of
Disabled People
(sic) courtesy of Black Triangle]

This morning I was sent a link to a blog-post by Fiona Robertson aka @knittingquark on Twitter on the Commonspace website.

Fiona has very kindly given me permission to reblog the post in full. Please read and share either the original or my reblog, but please share it as widely as possible on any social media platform the reader happens to use. Fiona's writing is concise and lucid and makes the arguments way better than I could.

If a state "nudges" folk to suicide, then that state is guilty of murder. This IS what has been happening in the UK since 2010 due to deliberate policies of our elected government, policies that have been criticised by the United Nations.

We disablies and our carers & supporters need to let the British populace know that if they vote for the Conservatives they will be complicit in, depending on numbers, democide or genocide.

 

[Image description: blue background, EU ring of stars to the right; to the left the slogan -
Let's make June
the end of May
© n/k]

The article is entitled: 

*

Voting Tory in #GE17 is a vote to kill people like me, and you need to know why

 

Disability activist and writer Fiona Robertson says the UK's most vulnerable are screaming for help

IT IS to their credit, and to our collective doom, that the Conservative Party are masters of controlling narrative. 

Although, much of the groundwork was done during Tony Blair’s days of rhetorical tricks and language manipulation to sow doubt about the veracity of a person’s disability, to seed suspicion and harden attitudes. It is these linguistic and narrative tricks which have been used to make people think of the tens of thousands of deaths under austerity as a sad but necessary evil, or to make people ignore them completely.

They speak as if what they say is reality, and we usually just go along with it until it is.

Theresa May’s General Election announcement included a lot of these narrative devices, accusing anyone who doesn’t agree with her of treating politics as a game, and framing the vote as entirely a vote regarding Brexit and the mandate she needs in order to negotiate from a place of strength.
We cannot, under any circumstances, allow the Tories to reframe the concept of a General Election.

This is not just a vote on Brexit, it is a vote on their entire manifesto and a judgement on their policies on everything from crime to social care to housing to international relations. Voting for the Tories may well be a vote for Brexit, but it is also unquestionably a vote for certain death for some, and permanent damage to the health of tens of thousands of disabled people.

Never, ever forget that.

When I and my fellow disability activists woke up on the morning after the last General Election, we spent an unrelenting few days tag teaming as we tried to keep people in our community alive. We were not always successful. Over and over, hour after hour, we saw iterations of the same message: "I do not think I will survive this government."


The day of the election, we had all taken a few moments to remember the people who were not there to vote because of the actions of the coalition government. We took a moment to think of the people who would not make it to the next election if we lost. 

Amid the elation so many in Scotland felt at the sweep of SNP seats, we disabled people also felt utterly betrayed and hopeless, because the population of the UK had voted to enforce extreme, frequently lethal, damage to our health.

If you do it again, if you do this to us again, we will never forgive you. You can't pretend you don't know, you can't pretend that other things are more important, that it’s not the killing of disabled people you’re voting for really; it’s the other stuff. 
 
The point of civic nationalism is that we have to take responsibility for the choices we make as part of a society. We cannot tick a box and say 'I didn’t know', or 'I care about this bit but not the other bits'. 

We have to weigh our decisions, weigh our actions and inactions, and live with the results. We have to accept responsibility, and we have to ensure that others accept their responsibility. We have to not look away.

There were 30,000 extra deaths in England and Wales in 2015 as a result of cuts to health and social care, according to research by Oxford University. There were hundreds of suicides by the very lowest estimates, though we who spend our days working with people who are struggling to survive this government know there are more which aren’t counted; that there are many, many deaths because the stress and fear and pain and malnutrition and isolation exacerbated a person’s condition to the point of lethality. 

More than 50,000 people have lost their motability vehicles and become chronically isolated. Every one of those is someone who was considered disabled enough to require high mobility care until the Tories changed the narrative of who deserved assistance, against all the evidence from expert organisations who responded to the consultation. 

There has been "almost universal" deterioration in and frequently permanent damage to the mental health of people going through the Work Capability Assessment.

We have to be completely clear to the people we speak to. We can no longer afford to mince words or be neutral because, again, the narrative is that neutrality is rationality. In situations like this, anger and bluntness are the only rational responses.

We need to tell them, with no platitudes or appeasement: "You will be voting to allow the government to kill us. We will not forget, and we will not forgive."

Nothing else is more important than this.

Do not let them change the conversation.

*

BREXIT is not as yet a fait accompli: it can still be stopped. The rights of disabled family members, friends, neighbours and disabled folk in the wider community can only be safe-guarded for the long-term within the EU and under the Council of Europe. At the moment the UK government blithely ignores international laws and treaties. Outside Europe it will be at liberty to do as it wishes with disabled and chronically sick folk. Please support us.

 

I have lost the credit for the above poster, however the creator stated that she was happy for it to be used and shared.



Thursday, 30 March 2017

BREXIT: no party is innocent


I am very much pro-Europe, but am less than enthusiastic when it comes to the European Union. I have said since joining the Euro was proposed, that the UK should not do so until such time as the EU begins to bring its own house in order.

However, on many levels, the EU is far more democratic than the UK, and we should be learning from it and improving our own democracy. Instead, little Englanders & Welshies stubbornly insist on perceiving what the neo-liberal media feeds them as being reality rather than the propaganda it is. How else to explain the gullibility of accepting the promise that the NHS would receive the £350million.

Human Rights legislation comes from the Council of Europe (not to be confused with the European Council), NOT the EU itself. Those laws were drafted with guidance from Britain. To reject laws we helped create is quite bizarre!

The following article is worth reading: the EU is not innocent of machinations & unreasonable stubbornness. The termination of an affinity is very rarely the fault of just one side.

Britain’s divorce from the EU will be bitter. Yet the failure is Europe’s too


Monday, 27 February 2017

No Food, no Meds, no Care in Trafford


[Image description: assortment of medications in their packaging]

Some of you may have read my blog-post "Disability Discrimination in Trafford" from just over a fortnight ago.

Last week, in a surge of anger I went on to twitter and vented my spleen at anyone I thought might listen at how dilatory Trafford Council have been. Then I slept through the following two days totally exhausted from a combination of the DWP's PIP claim-process and expressing my frustration. I have been physically and emotionally drained ever since, until I woke up this morning with a supply of energy.

Today, I have written to my social worker who had decided to go with two thirty minute slots, one at lunch-time and one at tea-time, but missing out bed-time. [A breakfast call is not suitable for me and is thus not included.] I responded:

Dear [name of social worker],

Thanks for the update.

However, you are wasting your time. Please refer back to the correspondence with yourself, with [name of social care assessor], and my suggested care plan. Your suggestion will mean some 20 mins wasted of a morning session and no assistance for bed-time, with the result I would continue to miss my night-time meds.

The lack of meds over the past few months has meant some of my symptoms have deteriorated sharply.

The fact that neither you, Re-ablement nor the social care assessment team have ensured that you have put in place carers even for the previously assessed needs (Sept 2016), mean Trafford Council has seriously let me down over the past four months. I continue to miss two out of three sets of meds most days and some days all meds. I continue to miss one of the two meals a day I need each and every working day and any day that [name], my housemate, is away at the weekend. During most weeks I am lucky to get one shower/bath now. The situation is outrageous.

Please immediately devise a plan to ensure I am supported appropriately to my needs.

Please immediately sort out some care.

Please immediately forward details of the complaints procedure - although the situation is so egregious, I am considering whether I ought to pursue legal action.

Yours,

Colin

I sent some fifty tweets to media outlets, politicos, disability organisations, etc. I received back just two responses: one from the council asking me to ring them - which I cannot as I do not use telephones due to disability - and the other a link from the CAB abut moving into a new area - yes!?!

So here I am still not being fed (except by housemate of an evening), still missing out on most of my medications and still not receiving the personal care the local authority has already stated and assessed - per their own document - that I need.

Throwing my hands up in the air in total exasperation! Any suggestions?

I am not supposed to get myself stressed: but my heart is pounding, my blood-pressure is up, my temples are throbbing and I think I may need to have a nap.

 

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Disability Discrimination in Trafford




[Image description: the writer in his wheelchair]

Since October 2016 I have been waiting for Trafford Council (Greater Manchester, England) to offer me a care-support package. They already know I need the assistance from a review done earlier in 2016. Since then I have been eating just once per day (at most) and missing most of the two out of my three lots of medications per day. From unused meds, I calculate I have missed a minimum of 77 (seventy-seven) daytime sets of meds. I have missed innumerable meals (I have memory issues so cannot say exactly how many; but if we say one meal X five days X thirteen weeks, that comes to a minimum of sixty-five (65)). During the week, I have had no-one to help me change my clothing nor help me clean myself. So, I am left abed without help and unattended till my housemate comes home each evening around six to seven. I have limited energy, which means it usually has to be used for eating my one meal.

If I am not considered a priority, goodness knows who is. A social worker did finally visit on 19th January, but I am still awaiting the assessment & recommendations. The situation has not been this dire for disabled folk since the creation of the Welfare State.
 
Thankfully, I have a housemate (who has no legal nor contractural obligation) who checks on me and feeds me of an evening and at weekends when at home. What happens for those totally on their own?

Apparently, the article in the Guardian (link below) apprises that this situation is now widespread throughout at least England (who knows about the rest of the United Kingdom).

We disablies are often forgotten - including by ministers of the government who only speak of "the elderly" when mentioning social care. This is overt disability discrimination and quite possibly disability hate.




Monday, 2 January 2017

New Year's Resolution [poem]


New Year's Resolution

your brother was there
but you were nowhere
to be seen
the hour of nine
your usual arrival time
long anticipated
came and went
my heart sank
yet my hopes
were soaring high
quarter past
half past
and still no sign

I didn't see you enter
I just looked up later
and you were there
in the flesh
though pale and gaunt
eyes rimmed
as if with violet eye-shadow
the deep bruising
of sleep deprivation
or alcohol abuse
sitting on a stool
at the edge of the circle
of friends
more like acquaintances
they made no attempt to
draw you into
their conversation
their laughter
I noticed you smiled wanly
laughed once or twice
half-heartedly
lost and alone
like so many urbanites
in crowded places

I wanted to come over
and give you a hug
tell you that you're loved
but ever conscious of your
fragile machismo
the barrier to my
soothing your ego
I remained at a distance

one of these days
I will make you happy
or at least I would try
if you'd let me


*


I have made no resolutions for 2017: my declining cognitive abilities combined with physical atrophying militates against expectations of much more than attempting to survive with a smile upon my visage.

My annual tradition, however, is that the first blog-post of each year is a poem. I could see no reason not to continue with same. I considered posting a poem about partying. However, given the past year, I considered that something a tad more subdued to be appropriate.

Wishing all my readers, occasional or returning, the very best in all your endeavours in the year ahead; happy New Year one & all!