Thursday, 16 August 2012

Flag of Independence

On a week where Lord Morris (a well-known disability campaigner and law changer) has died; Tony Nicklinson with locked-in syndrome from a stroke in 2005 lost his high court case for the right to have assistance to die and the government having a mini U-turn on social care cos they're now thinking about using a capped figure. With disability being in the news it's brought to mind the importance of independent living. Disabled people have spent years trying to live in the community just like everyone else; it's a shame that this coalition government seems set on destroying this objective.


Living on your own is not easy when you have a disability, granted. Couple of weeks ago my smoke detector developed a fault. The detector is wired into the mains and decided it would go off every 10 minutes, it just so happened this was between 11pm and 10am - until my Dad came round with a step ladder to remove the offending item and put it in the garden shed! Now, if you can imagine, I'm 5' 2" and wobbly with coordination challenges (!) attacking the smoke detector with a broom handle (trying to hit the off button). Suffering with sleep deprivation the attacks were getting angrier as the hours passed. In this case you could say disabled people should be safely put into sheltered accommodation where they can get cared for. Now fully recovered from lack of sleep I would disagree. It's been entertaining for friends and family to hear this story, I'm sure if and when I have grandchildren it will become folk lore.


We all realise that disabled people living within the community is difficult but with the personalisation strategy in theory this should become easier. However, government tends to meddle with what works perfectly well and the money directed towards making disabled people's lives easier seems to dwindle, this is from a government who have stated repeatedly that they would protect the most vulnerable in society. Charities seem to be disappearing every single day so assistance for the old and disabled are being affected; the benefit system review has to my mind attacked disabled people despite being told this is to catch benefit cheats. Surely it takes little intelligence to work out that if you're a professional benefit cheat you would work out the new rules and find ways around them but is that me thinking too simplistically?


I read that people on disability living allowance will have to undergo assessments. This amuses me as for people like me born with a disability, such as cerebral palsy are not going to wake up one morning and be cured! So I'm going to have some doctor with a list of questions and no doubt hidden criteria, see me for 20 mins and assess in that time my life history and whether I DESERVE Disability Living Allowance. I wonder how many other groups in society actually go through these harrowing ordeals. Of course I've just realised the media who are whiter than white have painted the disability community as benefit hanger oners, they seem to forget that many of us have jobs, families, vocations just like well, everyone else, funny that 'init? Am I angry, yeah, I am! I feel because the country is in financial meltdown they pick on the weakest, if we just stopped and looked at how we could use the skills disabled people have maybe the economy would pick up, also having disabled people living in ordinary houses in ordinary streets allows children to see how boring and ordinary we are and we start to lose discrimination.