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Crippen looks at the portrayal of Disabled people as being the problem

The following excerpts were taken from an online newsletter, written by Disabled people for Disabled people. If even we can’t get it right, what are the chances of the mainstream press understanding the issues around barriers and the Social Model understanding of disability?!

‘A teenager has triumphed in his A-levels after refusing to let his cerebral palsy hold him back at school … ’

I would suggest that it’s not his cerebral palsy holding him back at school but the barriers that exist within our educational system that created a lack of access for him!

‘A Welsh woman has overcome [her] disability to win an award for her painting skills ...’

Again, it’s not her ‘disability’ that is the problem. It’s the barriers within society that she had to overcome in order to demonstrate her true potential!

A young Welsh student speaking about the poor access to university classes, libraries, bars and leisure facilities on campus said: "I knew that because of my disability I would have less choice … to [be able to] decide on the right university.”

Altogether now … It’s not because of her ‘disability’ that she has less choice. It’s the barriers that exist within our higher educational system that prevent her from a full and active participation!

Remember - WE are not the problem. The BARRIERS that exist within our society are the problem.

We are Disabled by these barriers within our society, be they physical or environmental, attitudinal, concerning information or communication, or are institutional, organisational or administrative. All of these barriers conspire to rob us of our human rights to enjoy full and unlimited access to our society and the right to participate fully in its continuing growth and development.


Got that?!

Posted by Dave Lupton, 31 August 2009

Last modified by Anonymous, 1 September 2009

Crippen looks at the reality of BNP politics

An article caught my eye earlier today which contained the following quote from Counsellor Pat Richardson, leader of the BNP group on the Essex council. This follows a kidnapping at knife point of a local muslim man and firebombing of his home: Cll. Richardson said her party was not behind these attacks.

"Firebombing is not a British method. A brick through the window is a British method ..." she said.

Oh, that's alright then!

The link to the article, which appears in the Guardian is:

Daniel James - Some of you may have noticed that I've recieved a response to a blog I posted back in July about the assisted suicide debate. The response is from the younger sister of Daniel James who chose to end his life back in September 2008. She's obviously still experiencing a lot of pain over the loss of her brother and I would ask people to respect this and to not add further comments without taking this into account. Thanks guys.

Posted by Dave Lupton, 27 August 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 27 August 2009

Crippen provides some political links

There’s usually a lot happening within the world of Cripdom; Disabled people around the world continue to struggle against the apartheid that still exists, despite new laws that have been passed to identify and remove the many barriers within our respective societies that disable us. Thanks to the internet this news can now be shared around the various disability networks that we have - although this never seems to reach the national or international press (why are we not suprised?!).

Political Voice - Disabled people are also finding an additional political voice and are joining together with other oppressed minority groups to voice our outrage against the blatant discrimination that still exists within our societies.

 One such example of this is the recent petition organised by the organisation ‘Hope Not Hate’ to ban an anti Islamic march planned by the far right through Luton. Due to the thousands of people who signed up, including many Disabled people, this has now been stopped. ‘Disabled People against the BNP’ and ‘Not in my name’ have also established themselves as voices to be reckoned with.


Political Cripple - A relatively new face on the disability scene is someone calling themselves Political Cripple. They’ve been extremely active on Facebook over the past several months and have been feeding some pretty useful information into the various Disabled People’s networks that exist there. One of the main issues that Political Cripple has taken on is about the current threat to the Disability Living Allowance/Attendance Allowance and in this respect has organised a petition against the changes proposed. here’s a link to the site which I hope you’ll visit.

You can also add your comments to the current Green paper going through Parliament. Here's the link:

There's also some more involvement from the organisations Benefits and Work and you can read more about this on their site:

Social Model - Through this blog and the Facebook networks that I subscribe to it’s apparent that the Social Model understanding of disability is alive and well and is slowly spreading into other countries around the world. As part of this growth and as a contribution towards the sharing of information between our brothers and sisters in Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, etc., I’m offering a free copy of my book ‘Cripes it’s a Crip’ in downloadable PDF format which contains one of the best explanations of the Social Model I’ve ever come across. The explanation was taken from an article by Richard Rieser who’s the Director of Disability Equality in Education (DEE). The web site address for DEE by the way is:

Send me an email with ‘Cripes PDF request’ in the subject heading and I’ll get a copy to you:


Jo Blogs - Some very witty and informative material about disabled driving is being put out in her blog by an Australian woman who writes under the name Jo-Blogs. It seems that many of the problems we enjoy within the UK are alive and well and thriving down under!

Take a few minutes to visit her site which is:

Lollipops - And for a bit of fun you can award the most patronising person/charity/group/organisation a lollipop for thier trouble: Visit:

Posted by Dave Lupton, 25 August 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 26 August 2009

Crippen looks at MMR and Autism

I've recently been commissioned to produce some illustrations to accompany a talk on Autism. It seems that the various groups associated with Autism are now including most of the associated neurodiverse conditions within their remit, such as Asperger's Syndrome, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia (numeracy dyslexia), etc. Some groups are also moving towards an understanding of the Social Model of disability and are interacting with groups and organisations of Disabled people in this respect.

Several people that I've been speaking to recently are working at celebrating their differences as people who have Asperger's and identifying what they have to offer to the Disabled People's Movement in this respect.

This cartoon is one I created after a discussion about the benefits of the MMR vaccinations available to parents and the concerns that they could create Autism in the children who have them.

here are some links to the various Neurodiversity sites ...

Posted by Dave Lupton, 19 August 2009

Last modified by Anonymous, 20 August 2009

Crippen gives a heads up about the appearance of Liz Crow on the Trafalgar Square plinth

Our Disabled sister and fellow artist Liz Crow appeared on the Anthony Gormley plinth in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 8th August at 2200 hrs. And as promised, she presented a dignified but powerful statement against extreme right wing politics in its worse manifestation.

Initially clad in a cream coloured blanket that covered her from head to foot, Liz sat quietly in her wheelchair for the first 10 minutes before pulling it away to reveal herself wearing the uniform of the war time Nazi party.

Again she sat quietly as the voice of DAN activist Clair Lewis could be heard singing at the base of the column. Then pulling a collapsable pole from beneath her chair Liz unfurled a red flag which read 'Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me - Resistence'

A further 10 minutes elapsed and Liz began to shed the uniform, throwing it down in disgust at her feet. All of the time she kept the flag flying high above her head ...

At one stage a message was shouted up to Liz from her supporters on the ground: "It's alright Liz, they all get it!" Meaning that the general public, who had been watching understood what her protest had been about.

The general public in the area joined in the cheers and applause as Liz was eventually lifted from the plinth after her hour was up and she was able to join the other Danners, friends and supporters at the base. 

A powerful performance by a strong and courageous woman.

Posted by Dave Lupton, 4 August 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 8 August 2009

Crippen brings your attention to the closure of the last wind turbine blade manufacturer in the UK

Many of us green crips are spreading the word as far and as wide as possible about the closure of the VESTAS factory on the Isle of Wight. This not only means the loss of 600 jobs to the Island (a huge blow in itself) but also that there will no longer be any manufacturing of wind turbine blades within the UK.

By having to import these components, this strengthens the argument for those people who are opposed to wind farming and who say that the cost of obtaining and erecting the windmills makes this alternative technology non viable for the UK!

Here is the link to a song, written and performed by the folk group 'Seize the day' in support of the boys on the balcony at VESTAS. Please pass it around your own networks folks ... thanks.

Posted by Dave Lupton, 2 August 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 4 August 2009

Crippen's introduction to the world of Asperger's Syndrome

I've started to create cartoons based upon people who have Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. This has mainly been due to the contacts that I've been making through Facebook and the new networks of Disabled people that I'm 'meeting' through this facility.

It's a difficult area to work in I'm discovering, as the various people involved in this area of impairment tend to have different points of view regarding their position in the Disabled people's movement ... or not! Obviously, those contacts I'm making from the States and other areas outside of the UK tend not to use the Social Model understanding of disability and therefore don't see themselves as being Disabled people (people Disabled by the barriers that exist within our Society). They don't relate to being described as Disabled people and especially not people who are Learning disabled.

Equally though, some people in the UK with Autism, Aspergers, etc., don't relate to the disability side of their impairments whilst still arguing that it is Society that creates the problem and not the way in which they function (so not a million miles from the Social Model understanding).

I originally created this cartoon for someone over in New Zealand and ended up having to cut out the reference to disability in the cartoon (I changed the punchline to "... doesn't he have an off button?"). I think perhaps the cartoon works better for those of us within the movement who are challenging the way in which some fellow Crips see themselves as being exclusively 'physically' impaired and therefore 'proper' Disabled people!

Hopefully this will highlight the issue that only by being inclusive, and understanding that barriers are more than the physical ones that we encounter everyday, will we attract people to the movement who can bring with them the creativity and 'out of the box' thinking that we need in order to survive.

Here are some links that might interest you.


Posted by Dave Lupton, 1 August 2009

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 1 August 2009