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Accessible?!

Most of you have gathered that I’m now down in Spain much of the time. ‘Do I stay in the UK and put up with aches and pains brought on by the cold and wet, or do I spend most of my time in sunny southern Spain?!’ Bit of a no-brainer really! dropped cartoon

The only down side is that living out in the sticks as we do, the concept of accessibility is virtually non existent (you may remember the tale of a wheelbarrow being used to get a Disabled neighbour down the mountain!). There has been some new-build in the town which has had accessible parking bays laid out in the road in front (this is apparently due to latest European legislation which is slowly creeping into Spain). But this might as well just have a sign on it saying ‘free parking for everyone!’. The last time I tried to park there it had a donkey tied to the signpost and a small tractor and trailer parked on the pavement!

We do have local police who are supposed to monitor these bays and I have seen them taking the numbers of people who have parked in an accessible bay without a blue badge. But that seems to be the extent of their involvement. People still park there, and I end up having to park out on the edges of the town and try and clump my way in, in stages!

My Spanish is slowly improving and I’m looking forward to the time I can say ‘Sorry mate, you can’t park there unless you’re a Crip’ without getting my tenses mixed up and asking them to disable me!

Enlarged image - If you want to see an enlarged version or get a description of any of the cartoons on this blog, then just click on the middle of each cartoon and it will open as a much bigger version along with a description for your software to read.

Posted by Dave Lupton, 26 November 2008

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 28 January 2009

Negative images

I had the opportunity the other week of either running with a cartoon about the continuing adverse effect that disability charities have with regard to the portrayal of Disabled people, or one about a woman with big boobs. I chose the boobs! Creatures cartoon

I’d like to say that it was a subtle and clever use of metaphors, but unfortunately it only came to me after I’d uploaded the boobs cartoon and then read an article in the on-line Disability Now about a debate organised by RADAR earlier in October. It was based on whether or not Disabled people’s organisations could campaign effectively for social justice without the need to ally ourselves with non-disabled campaigners.

David Morris (he’s the senior advisor to the Mayor of London on disability and deaf issues) told the debate that we need to challenge the big corporate charities which pump millions of pounds into advertising campaigns which ‘perpetuate indignity and the denial of basic human rights by promoting negative images of disabled people’. He then went on to mention the Leonard Cheshire Disability's Creature Discomforts campaign.

Er, nice one David. I really can’t argue with that one. And it’s nice to know that Boris has got somebody on the case. But what do you think we’ve been doing for the past several decades?! Perhaps you’ve missed all of the DAN actions at various Leonard Cheshire institutions around the country or the articles that have been written on this very subject?!

I don’t claim to know David, and he’s probably a very nice guy, but I think maybe he deserves a copy of my 2007 cartoon collection book (in which this cartoon first appeared) for stating the bleedin’ obvious don’t you?!

Oh, by the way. The 2007 cartoon collection is still available if you’re interested in a copy. Here is the link for the product’s page of my web site.

(How did I know that this was going to be another plug for his cartoon books?! – Ed)

Enlarged image - If you want to see an enlarged version or get a description of any of the cartoons on this blog, then just click on the middle of each cartoon and it will open as a much bigger version along with a description for your software to read.

Posted by Dave Lupton, 14 November 2008

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 28 January 2009

Sweetener

The UK government’s plan to start work on building five new eco-towns has emerged from the second round of the government’s public consultation on eco-towns which started at the beginning of this month. Sounds like it could be a very good thing. Exciting huh?! ecotowns cartoon

There’s mention of good quality, low priced, environmentally friendly homes and the need to get the housing market moving again during this economic downturn – great, all commendable - , but … nope, just checked again; not a mention of accessibility!

We must assume of course that all these new homes will be built to lifetime homes standards. Here’s an opportunity to start from scratch and create state-of-the-art accessibility in the eco-towns … but … Perhaps it’s just me being my cynical old self (Surely not?! – Ed) and they are including Disabled people in this consultation process, and it’s just an oversight that they haven’t used the term ‘accessible’ once in their recent statements?!

But what if it isn’t and we’re not being included again in yet another decision by this government regarding an issue that ultimately affects us all? I would suggest that Disabled people, above others in any other walks of life (no pun intended) should be involved at all levels of consultation when it comes to housing and having somewhere accessible to live. Please someone reassure me that someone, somewhere in government has had the bright idea that these new towns should be fully inclusive and accessible to all citizens at all points in our lives.

OK. Who wants to start the response … When Disabled people are provided with independent accessible accommodation, linked to an accessible education, an accessible transport system and accessible places of work, the economy can only benefit (as it’s done in the U.S.A). Can we start afresh with these eco-towns maybe?

Remove the barriers that disable us and we can start to play a more fundamental role in society. We can become bigger consumers, paying more taxes and health benefit contributions and adding our skills to that of the general populace. It’s a win-win situation, and as soon as this government and society in general get their heads from out of their collective arses and realise this, the better we’ll all be.

Roll on the revolution, that’s what I say!

Enlarged image - If you want to see an enlarged version or get a description of any of the cartoons on this blog, then just click on the middle of each cartoon and it will open as a much bigger version along with a description for your software to read.

Posted by Dave Lupton, 7 November 2008

Last modified by Dave Lupton, 28 January 2009