Following on from my last blog about the passing of the law proposing changes to the National Health Service, I have since had more information passed to me about a document called the 'Health Bill Transition Risk Register'.
Never heard of it? Then you're not alone.
Apparently our dear Prime Minister and his cronies are desperate for us not to see it. They've even gone so far as to refuse to comply with a ruling by the information commissioner to publish it!
The reason that they don't want us to see the Risk Register is because, according to Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, it clearly demonstrated the high level of risk involved with pushing through with the government's controversial health reforms.
According to a draft version of the Risk Register leaked to the health writer Roy Lilley, one of the main reasons highlighted is that if the proposed changes go through, the emergency services could be seriously effected!
Ms Lucas has also advised in a letter to her Brighton Pavilion constituents that despite the fact that the Health and Social Care Bill has now passed into law, there are still opportunities to campaign against the planned changes, especially given that many of the measures will need what is known as secondary legislation before they can be implemented.
She added: "It is, therefore, of the utmost importance that pressure is kept up on the Government ... and in particular with regards to the Transition Risk Register."
So, why not ask your own MP why they haven't been pushing for the Risk Register to be made public ... it would be interesting to hear their answers!
Nicholas Watt and Randeep Ramesh report on the Risk Register in the Guardian at http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/mar/27/health-reforms-damage-nhs-risk-register
I realise that it might appear to be a 'closing the stable gate after the horse has bolted' type of scenario, especially as the government's health changes have survived their final parliamentary test and are set to become law. But I can't help feeling that there's something we can all still do to forestall the seemingly inevitable conclusion.
I suppose, having received treatment through the National Health System (NHS) several times over recent years, I can be forgiven for appearing more focussed on its imminent demise than on other 'cuts' issues.
Most people would agree that the NHS certainly needs a good sort out, but I fail to see how by sending in the Tory bovver boys who's only experience has been based upon private health care (along with their private education) anything good can come out of this. It would be, for example, something like making Boris Johnson Mayor of London; unthinkable and utterly unworkable! (Ed: Er Dave ....)
As many of you will be aware, over the past year or so I've been working with the Socialist Health Association to raise public awareness about the proposed changes to the NHS. Along with other protest groups, such as 38 degrees, they put up a stiff resistance to the proposed changes and hopefully made a few MPs stop and think before they voted earlier this week.
Both of these groups are still fighting and I still intend creating cartoons for them in order to hammer home the valid points that they are continuing to make. Please click on the following links for more information.
Having been out of things for most of the last 12 months I was saddened to hear that the political activist and god-father of the disabled people's movement Vic Finkelstein had recently died aged 73.
Originally deported from South Africa in the 60's for his support of the anti-apartheid movement, Vic was the main architect of 'The Fundamental Principles of Disability', published in 1975, which argued that the problems faced by disabled people were caused by society's failure to take account of their needs, not by their impairments.
In 1972 when Paul Hunt wrote his now famous letter to the Guardian, calling for a radical new disability organisation to be formed, Vic eagerly got involved along with other politically active disabled people in the UK.
It was the resulting organisation, called the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation, that published 'The Fundamental Principles of Disability'. Not only was Vic a key participant in the discussions that produced this document, but he was the main drafter of it.
He was also prominent in setting up the British Council of Organisations of Disabled People in 1981 and became its first chair. In the same year he represented Britain at the first world congress, established by Disabled Peoples' International.
'To deny or not to deny disability' by Vic Finkelsteinhas been hugely influential to countless numbers of both disabled and non disabled people new to the Social Model. Both simple and profound, it shows how that it is society that creates the barriers, and not our ‘defective’ minds and bodies, as the Medical Model would have us believe.
Vic was also instrumental in setting up the first Open University Disability Study courses, working with Colin Barnes and others at Leeds University.
My own memories of Vic are based around the comments he used to send me whenever one of my cartoons had caught his attention. Not one to mince words was our Vic and I learned a lot from him in this way. He'll be sadly missed.
The Guardian's obituary of Vic, by Mike Oliver, can be found by clicking on this link.
I have also reopened my Crippen Cartooning Blog in conjunction with this blog on DisabilityArtsOnline web journal.
Non-disabled people are warned not to visit this other blog if they are of a delicate and sensitive disposition.
Like my work on this blog, all my cartoons have text description inbuilt. Just click on the cartoon to bring it up.
You can view Crippen's Cartoon Blog by clicking here
Hi boys and girls.
You'll be pleased to hear that I've made about 200 of my more recent cartoons more accessible by uploading them to a unique Flickr site. The cartoons have been split into sets and you'll find a hot button for each set on the right hand side of the page. Alternatively you can hit the 'slideshow' link and see them that way.
If you want to use any of them as part of our continued struggle towards full equality, please do so (you can cut and paste).
All I ask is that you direct people to my web site - www.crippencartoons.co.uk - Thanks.
Click on this link to access the Flickr site.
One of the main problems affecting many disabled people at the moment is a lack of income. And, as a result, a reduction in the ability to make those choices that affect the quality of our lives.
Until recently, many disabled people earned a reasonable income from providing professional services to organisations which provided disability equality training for their workforce, as part of complying with their legal obligations in relation to employment and providing services. But recently this, and other equality training, seems to have slid right down to the bottom of the agenda - if not off the agenda completely.
Crippen the cynic believes that this is all part and parcel of the present government's efforts to undermine our status as equal citizens in society. First, they labelled us all benefit scroungers and a burden on society. Then this gave them licence to go ahead with their cuts in support services, giving a bit of encouragement along the way to those charities that claim to represent disabled people. So this - among their many other evil acts - has resulted in a reduction in funding everywhere and signposts a one-way route into residential care for many of us.
Many disabled people spent several decades wrestling disability action and equality training away from the "simulationists". Those were (and alas still are) largely non-disabled people, who think that making people wear a blindfold for 5 minutes enables trainees to understand what it is like to have a visual impairment or sending people out into the high street in a wheelchair shows trainees just how brave it is to tackle life on wheels. Having slogged to make disability equality training more meaningful, apparently now our skills are no longer recognised as valid or having any value.
Apart, that is, in those organisations which seem to have revived the old tradition of inviting a disabled people to come in and talk about their own experiences, providing them with a cup of tea and a sticky bun for their trouble.
So if you are one of those crips providing your services for free, could I just remind you that it took years of hard graft to establish our role as professional disabled people in the field of equality training. The last thing that we need is for our disabled brothers and sisters to undermine us in this role and to devalue the importance of this work.
It also goes without saying that we need to earn a living and be in a position to fight against those right wing bigots who don't want us to have any part in their Big Society!