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Free text versions of cartoon books

Just a quick heads up about the text versions of my cartoon books that are available on the web. I've just completed the 'Sex and Sexability' book and it should be up on the site early next week. The idea is that you'll be able to download these for free.

If any one has any problems with their screen reading software and these text versions please let me know and I'll get on to the magic man, Ken Scott, who does all of my web work (you didn't really think I handled all of that side myself did you - I still need my grand-daughter to set the video for me?!). I'm hoping to get all of the other books translated into text over the next few months ... I'll keep you posted.

Here's the link to the Crippen products page where the text versions should be sited:

http://www.daveluptoncartoons.co.uk/crippen/products.html

Posted by Dave Lupton, 30 April 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 30 April 2009

Facebook

It had to happen I suppose, I’ve joined Facebook, or rather I’ve had to join Facebook; not that I mean that I was forced to join, just that if I wanted to find out more about the ‘We shot Pudsey Bear’ movement I had to be a member of Facebook, so I joined (still with me?!).

As I understand it, the ‘We Shot Pudsey Bear’ concept originated from that young fireball Clair Lewis who wanted to recreate the energy of the Telethon demos that a lot of us were involved in during the nineties. Clair, as many of you will know, is also the Manchester focus for the Direct Action Network (DAN) and spends a great deal of her time networking with other crips via the internet (as well as writing and performing some of the most powerful crip anthems that we’ve heard from within the movement for a long time).

The Telethon protests provided a real focus for our ‘Rights Not Charity’ message and did a lot to bring it to the attention of the non-disabled public. It was also great fun shouting at the various celebrities who turned up every year to be seen doing their bit for the poor unfortunate handicapped. I can still recall Terry Wogan coming across to a crowd of us at the barrier outside of Broadcasting House and informing us that we were doing a great disservice to Disabled people (his wigs weren't as varied as they are now by the way!).

“Image what would happen if the public stopped giving to charities” he asked us in all seriousness.

He really didn’t understand why we all fell about laughing, and had gone by the time we got ourselves together enough to explain that this was the whole point of the exercise!

Linked to this Facebook group are links to other projects, such as the one that suggests that we boycott any programme featuring Jonathon Ross due to his continued patronising attitude towards disability and his equally unfunny disablist jokes and put downs. I personally found his juvenile drivel so irritating that I stopped listening to him years ago (so I suppose I’m already a member of this group by default!).

Having already mentioned an earlier version of Terry Wogan, it seems that he’s made no move at all towards any real understanding of Disabled people or why we should still be protesting about the way in which we’re portrayed by him and other so called celebrities. Indeed his bizarre fixation with this yellow stuffed toy seems to have increased as the years have rolled by. Perhaps the time has come to start producing little stuffed Wogans?!

In fact I think I’ll start a new Facebook group – ‘I shot Terry Wogan's wig’!

By the way if you’ve never heard our Clair sing, give yourself a treat and log on to her page on My Space ( http://www.myspace.com/clairlewis ) where she’s got four great songs listed - and for an extra bit of therapy click on the video link and sing along!

Posted by Dave Lupton, 23 April 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 23 April 2009

A2W Experiences

Fellow crip Lorraine Gradwell at Breakthrough UK is asking if you have had any positive or negative experiences of the Access to Work scheme (A2W). If so, she’s asking you to write in and tell her about it. The hope is that this will maybe help others avoid some of the pitfalls that still exist.

This is hot-on-the-heels of the government announcing an additional £8 million for the A2W scheme (designed to support Disabled people at their place of work). This now takes the funding to £77 million, which is available over the next 12 months.

Jonathan Shaw, Minister for Disabled People, said that even in the present economic climate the government is (still) committed to contributing to supporting Disabled people to live independently. He’s also stated that the government has also promised to increase A2W funding to £138 million within the next five years (so at least not all of government funding is going towards the bloody Olympics!).

As you probably know, A2W (which is handled by Job Centre Plus) offers a variety of different facilities to assist Disabled people at work. These include financial help with specialist aids and equipment, adaptations to premises and equipment, and funding for travelling to and from work. It also includes tailored Support, with each support package being tailored to the specific requirements of each person and their employer – and apparently there’s also no upper limit on each individual support package.

It should be noted that it’s you as the employee who needs to get the ball rolling on this issue and not your employer. You’ll need to speak to your Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) or your Regional A2W contact to find out if you qualify for the scheme.

So, if you want to help out with this project then please contact Lorraine and her colleagues at Breakthrough UK by email on: advocacy@breakthrough-uk.co.uk

You can also read their autumn 2008 Free Wire magazine which looks at the A2W scheme in depth and tells you how Disabled people have navigated some of the problems in the past. It’s a PDF document which you can read on screen or print off. Here’s the link for that:

http://www.breakthrough-uk.com/documents/FreeWire6_001.pdf

Lorraine has asked me to emphasise that this is for A2W experiences only. Also, that they can’t handle requests for advocacy unless you live in the Greater Manchester area – sorry (although if she got enough requests from other areas of the country perhaps she could get more funding and expand this excellent crip run service?).

Posted by Dave Lupton, 17 April 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 17 April 2009

All change?!

Only eighteen months down the road and people are already abandoning the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) like the proverbial sinking ship!

The chief executive, Nicola Brewer, is heading for pastures new along with the organisation's group director for strategy, Patrick Diamond. Commissioner Kay Hampton has already departed, and now our old mate Sir Bert Massie, former chair of the Disability Rights Commission and one of the 16 commissioners who run the body has said that he also might resign - depending on who was appointed to replace Brewer as chief executive.

What’s this Bert? I thought you were in there for the long haul, representing us crips and holding our end up amongst the other areas of equality? Trouble is, Bert, you’re one of the few allies that we have in the EHRC who has the experience of working within an organisation of this type, especially one that’s wallowing in its own bureaucracy. You and your team did a pretty good job at the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) after all, so we’ve had an inkling of what you’re really made of. Don’t you think it’s about time you took off those kid gloves, stopped holding the corporate line and started a bit of old fashioned scrapping?!

Admittedly Bert is not the only high profile crip involved with the EHRC. We also have Jane Campbell as a commissioner and others on the EHRC’s Disability Committee. I know that they all work hard in lots of other areas, but this is a pretty important issue at the moment and we could do with them speaking out a bit louder. We’ve lost that feisty campaigning in which the DRC used to indulge (we sometimes didn’t particularly like some of the approaches they took, but at least it was there – commenting, taking a pop at those who weren’t doing things right, arbitrating, pushing the boundaries, developing policy and good practice and being pretty focussed for the most part).  There was at least a sense that it was a cohesive organisation on a mission.  The other individual Commissions were also on the case in all sorts of ways. 

Bert is on record as saying that there is mounting anxiety within the EHRC that the commission is not performing as well as it might, and that there is a general unease about the direction it‘s going. This begs the question, who’s steering the bloody thing if it’s not him and the other commissioners then?!  It seems to be the case that the organisation is spending too much time examining its own navel (and apparently wrangling over the state of that navel) rather than listening to their ‘constituency’, rolling up their sleeves and getting on with the job in the very public way that is needed?  One of its major failures is a complete lack of effective, high profile campaigning.

Sources close to the organisation said there was also unhappiness about the style of leadership shown by controversial chair Trevor Phillips, especially about some of his comments on race. If you remember, he was widely criticised by race organisations in January when he called for an end to the use of the term "institutionalised racism" (perhaps he meant to call for an end to actual institutionalised racism and got confused?!)

All this is happening at a particularly unfortunate time as any moment now the government will publish its equality bill and there’s already been disquiet about what’s in it and what’s likely to be left out. And this is the legislation that is designed to streamline the country's anti-discrimination legislation and set out the government's equality agenda, don’t forget ... oops!

Listening to other crips, it seems that another key area of concern is the changes that the EHRC has introduced with regard to its role as a regulator. There now seems to be more of an emphasis on ‘fairness’ and much less focus on ‘equality’ or ‘discrimination’.  However, as one anonymous, equality lawyer put it “Unfortunately the problem with 'fairness' is that, unlike equality, it has no basis in law”.  And fairness is more about trying not to upset anyone, judging by their approach, rather than ranting against discrimination. Which sort of defeats the object of having set up the Commission in the first place I would have thought.

Or am I missing something?!

Posted by Dave Lupton, 7 April 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 7 April 2009

Ed's Art

I’ve decided to show another Disabled cartoonist’s work in this week’s blog slot. Probably shooting myself in the foot here aren’t I?!

You may have seen some of Eddie Freeman’s cartoons running in Disability Now over the past several months. I’ve known Eddie for many years and during this time his style has changed a lot. He now uses avatars as his main character base which provides his cartoons with a high tech, modern look when compared against the more traditional method.

Eddie sent me this cartoon which he did after hearing President Obama make a disablist joke on American national television. The joke centred upon him comparing his own poor bowling skill with competitors participating in the “Special Olympics”. Oops! You can imagine George W rubbing his hands with glee when he heard that Super President was able to put his foot in his mouth just as easily as he used to!

Great cartoon Eddie. Thanks for sharing it.

(Eddie is contactable on EdsArt@sky.com if you want to use any of his work)

Posted by Dave Lupton, 2 April 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 2 April 2009