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On Entering the Save the ILF Postcard Campaign Photo Gallery / 10 May 2014

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I have barely taken to the streets to Save The ILF. I’ve done a little but maybe not enough. It’s not apathy. I always had something else to do.  I campaigned for independent living before I even knew a fund that supports independent living was at risk. I chanted Free Our People with the best of them.

It was more a case of redirecting my energies. I advocated for direct payments. I found employment with Merton Centre for Independent Living. I was committed but further away from the streets than I had been for a while. I created a Sick Note to use as a basis against welfare reform which identified targets but I couldn’t see the link in campaigning for that and stopping the traffic but some activists wouldn’t listen to the voices of those who wanted to do things a little differently. There was a lack of creativity and it annoyed me.

And then the tone changed. The Save ILF campaign saw Independent Liver’s making and posting videos. Penny Pepper wanted to ‘Fuck The Cuts’, Katherine Araniello demonstrated that the Independent Living fund could make art an every day event, Ian Saville contributed a magic trick, Graeae linked the three penny opera to saving the ILF and then out of nowhere appeared a Save The ILF Postcard campaign on facebook.

It looked fresh, exciting. Someone was contributing digital artwork that pronounced Save The ILF. I loved this site. I could participate. My organisation got behind it. Celebrities moved away from the self-aggrandisement  of charity and got behind a rights campaign. Ordinary, everyday people, trade unions, dogs were printing out the postcard, taking selfies and putting themselves up on the page saying I support Save the ILF.

This is something we wanted. I had an opportunity to meet people who were using direct payments, self directed support. They were the same people I had in mind when I was an activist. They were saying yes to this but can’t we do it in another way, without the forms, without the strictures of social work departments who were implementing a system that is unfriendly and unsupportive of independent living. Professionals are soiling the ethos of the idea by removing flexibility, choice, control, and making us ever more subservient to carers and agencies, I was uplifted by their enthusiasm but down pressed by the lack of freedom the system was upholding. What they wanted was the ILF. What people on the ILF were now being offered was a return to this lesser style of  independent living, where hoops were put in place to jump through – eligibility, fair access to care (a real misnomer that one) , the wrong thinking of authority. Fear is well placed. A return to institutionalised living is on the cards.

So I spend time on the Save the Independent Living Fund Postcard campaign. It heartens me. Cheers me. The politics of participation is invested in this artful page. I recommend you visit. The photos are here. Like it.