All this business about opening the tendering process for Social Care Commissioning to groups and organisations of Disabled people has brought in some interesting mails from fellow crips who have started to enquire about the process.
As the powers that be have included the words 'fully accessible' in the information explaining about the process, one would be forgiven for thinking that applying to tender for any of the services would be a completely barrier free experience.
Think again. In one Local Authoriy area the first hurdle we are faced with is the application form itself. Seventy four pages long, it reads more like a manual for dismantling ... something that's difficult to dismantle (!) than something that's supposed to be the open door to an accessible process! 'Fully accessible process', I think not!
Be interesting to see what else surfaces as we delve deeper into this new venture. If I was an old cynic (Ed: surely not?!) I'd begin to suspect that they didn't really want us to jeopardise the cosy relationship that they've had with all of the groups 'for' disabled people!
My mate Dawn has continued this debate on her blog. Click here to read on ...
It's that time again and Disabled people are being asked to consider who we think will actually commit to an effective strategy regarding access and the removal of those barriers within society that still disable us.
It's a bit of a no-brainer when considering the track record of the conservative party (Tories) and I can't imagine anyone would fall for their current rhetoric and the dubious charms of Mr 'just call me Dave' Cameron!
OK, the Labour Party haven't actually covered themselves in glory regarding our cause, what with dismantling the Disability Rights Commission and setting us back to being the poor relation of equality once again.
Perhaps if the Green Party came out with a more structured disability agenda there would at least be an alternative for us voting crips. Or maybe, as I've suggested before it's time we started thinking about forming our own political party. There's certainly enough of us out there and together we could form a pretty formidable force for change.
So, in the meantime perhaps we'll be better off sticking with the devil we know as opposed to trusting anything that the Tories might be offering. What do you think?!
I've created so many cartoons over the years regarding the bottomless pit called the 2012 Olympics. Bottomless insofar as any and all available funding is being systematically sucked into its gaping maw, with nothing of any long-term substance being generated for Disabled people within the UK.
OK, it's great if you're one of those who enjoy participating within the spectacle know as the Para-Olympics with all of its associated terminology about achievement and overcoming adversity etc. But if, like many of us, you see it for what it really is, you'll have already worked out that the money thrown at it could fund hundreds of groups and organisations of Disabled people and have saved those that have already had to close their doors due to lack of funding.
So, with Boris terminating the project to make the underground accessible and plans to change all of our main shopping areas into shared environments (an accessibility nightmare), we're left with just some tokenistic changes whose main aim is to ensure that we have access to this one-off political event.
When the term 'full access' is subverted to only mean being able to travel between Olympic venues and to enjoy the Olympic process, then something has gone sadly wrong. Surely it would be a more sensible investment to use these funds to identify and remove ALL of the barriers within our society which will continue to effect us long after the Olympics have come and gone.
Fifty years after the one of the worst disasters in medical history, hundreds of survivors of the thalidomide scandal have finally got an apology from the government and a new £20 million compensation package.
Mike O'Brien, minister of health, recently announced a new funding scheme that will help survivors cope with the changing needs of age. He also offered what campaigners said they wanted even more – an apology.
"The Government wishes to express its sincere regret and deep sympathy for the injury and suffering endured by all those affected when expectant mothers took the drug thalidomide between 1958 and 1961," he told the House of Commons.
"The apology is just as important as the financial settlement," said Guy Tweedy, one of those leading the campaign for a better deal."The money will help people to buy wheelchairs and adapt their houses and cars for a phase of life they were never expected to see. "They didn't think we would be alive today. They thought we would all be dead by 2007," he added.
In 1957, the World Health Organisation had warned the UK that its lack of adequate pharmaceutical regulation was courting disaster. It took the thalidomide disaster to reform the system, bringing in the sort of regulation we have today. The Medicines Act 1968 laid down stringent standards that had to be met for the safety and efficacy of drugs.
Sometimes when an old cynic like me thinks we are not making any progress and there’s too much of the same-old, same-old, I get a dig in the ribs and a reminder that us crips do occasionally have some influence. This nudge was another example of how we have penetrated the portals of policy and power.
Thanks to years of background work, solid research, lobbying, persuasion, arm-twisting and hard, under-funded graft by crips, disabled people’s (and carers´) organisations are now officially sexy and sought-after. There’s a big conference coming up this week run by the Department of Health on user-led organisations (ULO's). Of course lots of it now is in that impenetrable language – officialese – but there you go.
“The success and sustainability of User-Led Organisations is a vital part of the transformation of Adult Social Care and the wider personalisation agenda ... each Local Authority with social services responsibilities should have a User-Led Organisation in place by 2010. This conference is an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the successes achieved by ULO's ... ” goes the conference blurb.
Actually we do have something to celebrate here. These people just didn’t wake up one day and think “ah, let’s do something positive for the disabled [sic]”. Like with pushing for anti-discrimination legislation, like crips campaigning their guts out for direct payments (and individual budgets) and much, much more – being a thorn in the side of the Powers That Be does sometimes have an effect.
Before you think I’ve fallen into a vat of schmaltz and popped on a pair of rose-tinted specs, I hasten to assure you that the Crippen crap-o-meter is still pulsing. We need to see Councils putting some financial welly into all this to support crip organisations, properly and without strings attached.
We need to see this top-down rhetoric having a real effect locally – and – oh, please! – we need those medical-model, finance-gobbling, charity-focussed ‘for’ organisations to move over and let us take control of our lives.
A special thanks to Mrs Crippen for her invaluable input here.
Every now and then something catches my eye and I think, I've got a cartoon about that ... somewhere!
It was the same with an article that I was reading in a local paper someone had sent me from the North of England. In it the writer was telling her readers that if disabled people wanted to fit into society more easily, they should concentrate on looking more normal .... I kid you not!
I'd looked through my computerised cartoon catalogue (I've now got over a thousand cartoons in it!) and I still couldn't find the one about 'normality training' when I suddenly remembered. A little while ago I produced some cartoons for Colin Cameron, who had written an article for DAO regarding the Affirmative Model of disability. I'd actually produced about three cartoons for the article and I think our Editor (also a Colin) had ended up using all three. The 'normality training' cartoon was one of the three.
Now the cartoons that I produce for articles like this are filed in a seperate folder on the 'puter called special commissions. It hadn't occurred to me to place a copy of each of these cartoons in the general calalogue section. So there they stay, usually never seeing the light of day again unless something like this occurs. So I'm now going through all of the seperate commissions I've received over the past decade or pulling out the various cartoons and seeing if they'll do for the general catalogue as well, albeit with a few tweaks to make them less client specific. If I find anything else that I think is worth a second airing I'll post it up along with the story behind it.
By the way, if you missed Colin's article on the Affirmative Model please click on this link and it will take you to it. Thanks.
I thought we'd go the route of a little light relief this week, especially having lifted the lid of the so called 'assisted suicide' or 'mercy killings' again last week.
I often get asked for cartoons about specific situations, but it's rare that I get given an idea to develop as well. The other week a member of the Skegby Methodist Church, Alison wrote to ask if she could use a couple of my cartoons in an article she was writing as part of her course at University.
No problem ... and I sent her off some fresh computer images so that she wouldn't end up with a poor copy taken from wherever she'd seen them (I hate it when that happens by the way. You've only got to ask and, providing your a Crip or one of our allies I'll gladly send you a clean copy in this way). Back came another email thanking me for the images and also including the idea for this weeks cartoon.
Obviously based upon how Disabled people, especially wheelchair users suddenly become invisible when, for example queuing for something in a shop ("Oh sorry mate, didn't see you there" - having reached across the top of you to place his order!). It's a funny idea and I hope that my cartoon does it justice! Thanks Alison.