Dec 312013
 

DPAC were sent this by terrorismodeautor 

English sub-titles should play automactically. Full transcript also below video

Beautiful democracy…

How did you reach the peak of your lowness?

Flying too high?

Crawling?

How far did you want to get?

Then you were nothing more than a stale formula, plastic and artificial.

You, beautiful democracy,

always playing to choose between daddy and mommy.

This familiar theatre of Capulet’s and Montague’s,

a prime time farce directed by government and opposition.

What did your wrapping hide but ignorance, cynicism and corruption?

Beautiful democracy,

you used to be a symbol of squares,

now you could only be seen under the guise of an entertainment drug…

…and the anaesthetic of department stores:

the sham of free choice.

How could you get that low?

An alibi for the Empire and its money.

You, beautiful democracy, a plastic bag ready to carry fear and impotence.

In one handle, law`s lie;

in the other, marketing and police.

When did this Stockholm syndrome start?

How did you manage to kidnap our desires and dreams?

Beautiful democracy,

you sick old whore,

dressed up like a vain youth, rotten with cosmetics…

Who will attend your burial…

…when all your merchants and pimps are dead?

Maybe those who were your parents?

No, not even them.

Because you, beautiful democracy,

were born a bastard, from illegitimate parents…

…and an orphan without a people.

Now you can die alone in peace.

Giving up faith in you will be our deliverance…

…and also our mourning.

Rest in peace.
________________________________________

With thanks to

terrorismodeautor

Dec 302013
 

As a grassroots campaign group DPAC wouldn’t exist without the dedication of all those who give their time to exposing what is happening: coming out on the streets, writing reports, researching, writing web content and policy critiques, heading up and being part of the growing number of local DPACs, organising events, engaging with social media and a whole set of other stuff that keeps DPAC vibrant, active and strong – its thanks to you that DPAC exists.  DPAC also want to thank the growing number of grassroots groups, individuals, academics, supporters, unions and organisations we’ve worked with in 2013.

2013 began with DPAC being awarded campaign of the year for our work in 2012 the year ends with DPAC being named as ‘people of the year’ by Owen Jones. In 2013 DPAC supported many local based protests on transport, the bedroom tax, ILF, local authority cuts and privatisation. We blocked roads protested against fuel poverty, fracking, the loss of legal aid, the bedroom tax, the closure of ILF and more. We set up Reclaiming our Futures 7 days of action joined by hundreds to celebrate the gains of the disabled peoples’ movement and to protest at the effects of imposed austerity on disabled people. DPAC launched the UK Disabled Peoples’ Manifesto which was followed by an EDM.We also published a number of reports.

There was cause to celebrate: the Government were ruled to have made the decision to close the Independent Living Fund unlawfully. Mental Health Resistance network succeeded in winning both case and appeal by the Government on the discrimination of the WCA. DPAC were approached by the UN prior to Raquel Rolnik’s UK visit to feed-in –her findings on the bedroom tax were devastating for the Government. DPAC led a whole range of events and join events on benefit justice to join together and fight the evils that this Government have imposed. While every protest, every campaign, every new network and every exposure of this Government is a success, we received growing numbers of emails from those left without money, food, homes and suffering cuts to their support.

In 2014 we must continue to fight and take all actions we can to change and expose the devastation this Government is causing to disabled people.

You can subscribe to receive all DPAC web posts or become a DPAC member at www.dpac.net.uk join us on twitter @Dis_PPL_Protest or on Facebook

 Key highlights of DPAC actions from 2013 below….

January

DPAC were awarded campaign of the year (2012) by Lipstick Socialists. They said: The fight back by disabled people as the Con/Dem Govt stripped some of the most ‘vulnerable’ sections of the community of their benefits. Their campaign against Atos (who made the decisions) during the Paralympics was inspiring and they have led the way in the fightback against the Con/Dem Govt. – See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/01/#sthash.tEoKp2ds.dpuf

Co-op Campaign: stop the Atos Contract! Launched to publicise that Co-op were thinking of renewing a three year Atos contract for occupational health-Eventual outcome Co-op publically state they wouldn’t renew the contract with Atos.

DPAC call Vigil on Judicial Review initiated by Mental Health Resistance Network on WCA

Benefit Justice organising meeting by Tenants, DPAC unions and others held in London. We also live streamed London DPAC meeting so that everyone could access it. Annie Howard exposed Atos and DWP in relation to the data protection Act http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/01/dwp-and-atos-make-a-mockery-of-the-data-protection-act/ Alan Shellbrooke a Tory MP said he wanted to introduce US style cards for those on benefits. We also linked with Fuel Poverty Action for the first of the 2013 actions on Fuel Poverty. We urged everyone to have their say on the Care Bill and to mention the ILF issues and posted advice on the Bedroom Tax and Discretionary Housing Payments and how to access them ahead of this inhuman misery. Condemn Love anti-Atos song by the excellent Kevin Robbins got it’s first airing

February

Victory for Daniel Roque Hall and Winvisable as Daniel is released from prison. Annie and Bob uncovered The Atos and DWP’s Land of make Believe http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/atos-and-dwps-land-of-make-believe/

Owen Jones donates some of his prize from young writer of the year (donated by Lord Ashcroft) to DPAC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/thank-you-owen-but-we-wont-count-on-the-money-until-lord-ashcroft-puts-it-in-our-account/

We publicised the workfare cases The judgment on cases brought by Cait Reilly and Jamie Wilson mean that all but one of the Government’s workfare schemes (Mandatory Work Activity) that force unemployed people to work unpaid or lose benefits have been deemed unlawful. As we know IDS went off and rewrote the law- See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/#sthash.jZLw1k5A.dpuf

We publicised an update on the Bedroom Tax, unfortunately not rewritten by IDS or anyone else. The post by Frank proved to be an unfortunate prediction of what was to come.

On ILF we produced a template letter for MPs and our collected FoIs on what Local authorities responses were to the ILF consultation http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/what-local-authorities-said-about-the-closure-of-ilf/

Whitehall Traffic was brought to a standstill outside the Dept of Energy and Climate Change http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/whitehall-road-block-brings-traffic-to-a-standstill-outside-dept-of-energy-climate-change/

Unum were finally nailed on driving Governments’ on welfare cuts http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/unum-finally-nailed-through-bragging-on-driving-government-thinking/

DPAC and Inclusion London issued a statement on ILF while our National English DPOs remained silent http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/defend-independent-living-save-the-independent-living-fund/

Annie Howard exposed the myths around the support group and ESA http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/11-was-never-intended-to-be-the-number-of-people-in-the-support-group-dwp-big-blunder-annie-howard/

Atos and the treatment of mental health users and survivors was further exposed through You Tube, while  Kate Belgrave asked where were the MFCs at Atos – we’re still looking… http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/harrowing-atos-assessment-and-where-are-the-mental-health-champions/

A letter from Ed Miliband was publicised after it was sent to us by a supporter http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/letter-from-ed-miliband-on-atoswca-but-is-it-enough/

DPAC joined the campaign against the privatisation at Barnet and the great Crapita takeover http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/urgent-stop-captia-10-years-plus-contract-for-council-services-in-barnet/

We launched a campaign against Colin Brewer who said that disabled children should be put down – he later resigned, but tried to put himself forward in a subsequent election process. http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/urgent-stop-captia-10-years-plus-contract-for-council-services-in-barnet/

We published an email from one of our supporters which asked SCOPE what it was doing to save ILF , SCOPE suggested they get in touch with  DPAC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/02/scope-and-ilf/

March

We reposted the excellent Nick on ESA Process in Chaos and the Government cover-up http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/dwps-esa-process-in-chaos/

As DPAC is on the working group of the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL)  against European austerity and its effect on disabled people we asked you to write to your MEPs to support  a push to get this debated in the European Parliament

March 13th was the court case on ILF in which 5 ILF users took the DWP to court against the proposed closure of ILF in 2015 We stepped up the campaign to publish stories of ILF users and those that would have benefited from ILF if it hadn’t been closed to new users in 2010 by Miller without even a dodgy consultation process. http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/independent-living-fund/

 The Benefit Justice Summit co-organised by DPAC in London brought together unions, grassroots groups, lawyers and tenants groups

We publicised news for parents of disabled children in the private rented sector and how they could claim money back from the DWP http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/urgent-news-for-parents-of-disabled-children-renting-in-private-sector-money-back-from-dwp/

Beth Tichbourne was fined £745 plus costs for saying that David Cameron had ‘blood on his hands’ in an outrage that we should never forget  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/bethan-tichborn-cameron-has-blood-on-his-hands5503/

We publish an update on ILF court case with video http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/ilf-court-case-update-and-implications/

 

DPAC and our sister org Black Triangle issue a joint statement on Labour and Bedroom tax http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/joint-statement-and-petition-by-dpac-and-black-triangle-anti-defamation-campaign-in-defence-of-disability-rights-on-the-labour-party-campaign-against-the-bedroom-tax/

DWP and Government lies on ILF closure are exposed by DPAC in previously classified papers and memos from the DWP to ministers http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/summary-of-secret-correspondence-from-the-dwp-to-mcvey-on-the-ilf-closure/

ESA appeals increase by 70% DPAC reposts Nick’s analysis http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/more-chaos-esa-appeals-up-by-70/

Disability charities consistent apathy for disabled peoples’ lives, but not for their high salaries for directors was highlighted yet again http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/03/how-the-big-disability-charities-let-down-disabled-people-again/

DPAC supported local protests and campaigns and also protests against staff cuts on railways and transport protests

April

April was the month that the condemns brought in more of their cuts for ordinary people the hated bedroom tax, the end of council tax support, the benefit cap and more http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/the-nasty-party-go-on-the-offensive-against-disabled-people/

DPAC and UKUncut served eviction notices on our ‘favourite’ MPs –they had too many bedrooms –a complaint was put into You Tube who were told to remove the videos of IDS’ mansion http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/eviction-notice-for-ids-and-oh-my-what-a-big-house-you-have/ http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/ids-home-occupation-videos/

The TUC disabled workers refuse to join the Government sponsored Disability Action Alliance hosted by Disability Rights UK (DRUK) http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/the-disability-action-alliance-or-whatever-happened-to-the-disability-strategy/

After news that the 5 ILF users that took the DWP to court had lost the case processes began to appeal the decision and still not a word of support from the big Disability charities or the aforementioned DRUK  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/claimants-to-appeal-high-court-decision-concerning-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund/

DPAC learns of a man who was arrested and tried in a secret court and jailed due to Atos –DPAC launches a campaign http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/04/man-arrested-and-tried-in-a-secret-court-after-atos-assessment-support-needed-in-nottingham/

We also supported and co-organised a number of Benefit Justice summits across the country, supported more protests on transport and privatisation and continued to support the Barnet crisis

May

We supported CSRF in protesting at the |PCS conference and their refusal to refuse to implement benefit sanctions http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/civil-service-rank-and-file-protest-at-pcs-conference/

We joined with False Economy in the search for the elusive Mental Function Champions at Atos , Dr Greg Wood  quits Atos and turns whistle blower http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/where-are-the-mental-function-champions-at-atos-and-other-atos-type-things/

DPAC publishes info on Hardship payments and budgeting loans as we get more and more emails from people caught in the poverty and sanction traps set by the DWP –the post has been shared over 36,0000 times  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/hardship-paymentsbudgeting-loans-and-short-term-advances/

Black triangle meet with Scottish Government to discuss regulations regarding Atos and GPs http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/esa-regulations-25-and-31-campaign-black-triangle-to-meet-with-scottish-parliament-welfare-reform-committee-chief-this-thursday/

The Mental Health Resistance Network win against Government on WCA , but spectra of legal aid cuts is raised too http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/will-legal-victory-by-mhrn-against-atos-tests-be-our-last-we-need-to-act-now/

DPAC and the TUC disabled workers block Tottenham Court Road in an act of solidarity http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/dpac-and-tuc-members-in-direct-action-of-solidarity/

DPAC publishes a critique of UKIP http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/why-the-rise-of-ukip-is-dangerous-for-disabled-people/

DPAC’s own Ellen Clifford talks to real fare http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/05/ellen-clifford-talks-to-real-fare-on-welfare-reform-and-protest/

June

June 1st marked a day of UK wide protests against the bedroom tax attended by DPAC

DPAC publishes stats by Nick that show the huge hike in sanctions under the Coalition  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/jsa-benefit-sanctions-sky-rocket-under-coalition/

DPAC holds a Birthday party protest for ILF http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/press-release-independent-living-fund-birthday-protest/

The fight against the Bedroom tax continues with protests and new groups springing up and supporting each other across the country http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/updates-the-fight-against-the-bedroom-tax/

DPAC publishes Lies, Damn IDS and Statistics  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/06/lies-damn-ids-and-statistics/

July

DPAC releases its program for 7 days of action, campaigns and protest: Reclaiming Our Futures http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/reclaiming-our-futures-7-days-of-action/

DPAC joins protest at Downing Street against the bedroom tax

DPAC joins Justice Alliance to protest against cuts to legal aid

DPAC joins vigil for case against bedroom tax outside the Royal Courts of Justice

DPAC posts a list of advice and legal resources as emails from people in severe hardship escalates further http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/advice-and-legal-resources/

Sisters of Frida go to Geneva to challenge the situation for disabled women at the UN http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/tag/sisters-of-frida/

We list the MPs that voted against a cumulative impact assessment http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/for-fellow-extremists-everywhere-how-your-mp-voted-on-the-cumulative-impact-assessment/

Southwark DPAC challenge local politicians http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/sdpac-challenge-local-politicians/

Government Issues ministerial statement on Atos http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/government-issues-ministerial-statement-over-atos/

Bromley/Croydon DPAC join UKUncuts Stuff the Banks http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/07/bromleycroydon-dpac-stuff-the-banks-update/

DPAC takes part in the anti-fracking protests at Balcombe where Caroline Lucas is arrested

August

Updates for Reclaiming Our Futures 7 days of Action http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/08/reclaiming-our-futures-29th-aug-4th-sept-updates/

UK Disabled peoples’ Manifesto launched http://www.inclusionlondon.co.uk/UK%20Disabled%20peoples%20Reclaiming%20Our%20Futures%20Manifesto

John McDonnell puts forward an Early Day motion on the UK Disabled Peoples’ Manifesto put together by DPAC, Inclusion London, ALLFIE and Equal Lives Norfolk

Early Day Motion 483: Disabled People’s Manifesto
That this House warmly welcomes the launch of the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto, Reclaiming our Futures, developed by disabled people and their organisations across the UK, which sets out the shared vision of disabled people for an inclusive and equal society free from economic, social and cultural barriers; and urges all political parties represented in this House to engage in a constructive dialogue with the disabled people’s organisations promoting the manifesto with the aim of achieving its objectives. – See more at: http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/early-day-motion-483-disabled-peoples-manifesto/#sthash.VWGXvrlo.dpuf

 

DPAC are asked by UN to assist Raquel Rolnik UN Special Rapporteur on Housing prior to her visit to the UK . The visit and her findings that the bedroom tax is regressive and unfair cause Tory ministers to say she should sort her own country out, she is a Marxist and produce other ridiculous statements in the right wing media http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/un-investigator-recommends-for-bedroom-tax-to-be-scrapped-immediately/

DPAC block the front entrance of BBC for non reporting of the true situation in the UK under welfare cuts as part of the Reclaiming Our Futures 7 days of action http://www.katebelgrave.com/2013/09/disabled-people-against-cuts-block-front-entrance-of-bbc-portland-place/

DPAC host art exhibition and night of entertainment, plus a day debate on the continued relevance of the Social Model with Anne Rae, Colin Barnes and Debbie Jolly

The Brilliant Kate Belgrave writes on protests and Government Extremism, protests are held outside the DWP, the Department for Education, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Health before moving on to Parliament to host the launch of the UK Disabled People Manifesto: ‘reclaiming our Futures on the UK Freedom Drive day part of the Reclaiming Our Futures week of action

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/protests-and-government-extremism-kate-belgrave/

 

DPAC posts UK Freedom Drive film by Reel News http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/uk-freedom-drive-the-film/

 

See also http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/dpacrof-4th-september-highlights/

 

 

September

 

DPAC works with Just Fair on Independent Living Issues ahead of a planned visit by the UN special rapporteur on disability http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/dpac-works-with-just-fair-on-independent-living-issues/

We publish George Berger from Sweden report on Atos, KPMG and the NHS http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/atos-kpmg-and-the-nhs-be-afraid-be-very-afraid/

DPAC launches a new report on the WCA http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/dpac-report-work-capability-assessment/

Two of the DPAC co-founders go to Strasbourg to join the European Network on Independent Living for the 6th ENIL Freedom Drive to march to the European Parliament and tackle MEPs. Debbie Jolly is elected to serve another term on the ENIL Board and presents on behalf of DPAC on protest and what is happening in the UK under imposed austerity http://www.enil.eu/campaigns/freedom-drive/

DPAC co-organises with Wow Petition for 10,000 Cuts Memorial for those that have died through Atos and in solidarity with all suffering under Cameron’s regime of imposed austerity http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/10k-cuts-and-counting-video/ see also http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/10000-cuts-and-counting-linda-burnip/

Dr Alison Wilde discusses the Paralympic Legacy http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/paralympic-legacy-but-which-one/

DPAC supports the Ontario Coalition against Poverty who Government want to follow the lead of the UK in denying people their entitlements http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/09/call-out-to-support-ontario-coalition-against-poverty/

October

IDS found misleading again http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/ids-found-misleading-again/

DPAC and Black Triangle consider legal action against GPs who refuse to provide evidence for disabled people and those with long term health issues http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/legal-action-has-your-gp-refused-to-provide-further-medial-evidence-for-your-dwp-appeal/

Anita Bellows write another stunning piece exposing the bedroom tax http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/bedroom-tax-the-policy-which-could-only-succeed-if-it-failed-anita-bellows/

DPAC organises vigil for Mental Health Resistance WCA case appeal by DWP http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/vigil-for-wca-case-support-mental-health-resistance-network-21st-october/

DPAC joins UKUncut to protest to save Justice

DPAC join in protests against staff cuts on London Tubes http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/boriss-latest-attacks-against-accessibility-and-safety-on-london-transport/ also see http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/unions-unite-with-campaigners-on-tube-and-station-cuts/

DPAC publicises Punishing Poverty a report on Sanctions by Manchester CAB http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/sanctions-punishing-poverty-new-report-by-cab/

DPAC publishes info on mandatory reconsideration http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/some-information-on-mandatory-reconsideration-in-force-from-october-28th-2013/

UK Disability history month kicks off http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/10/uk-disability-history-month-launch-event/

November

ILF users win appeal, Government say they won’t fight decision –a success but we wait for the Government next moves http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/gov-will-not-appeal-court-ruling-on-closure-of-ilf/

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/victory-for-independent-living-rights-in-english-appeal-court/

DPAC reposts the critique of the Henwood and Hudson report as some in the disability field still claim that ILF should close http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/why-the-henwood-and-hudson-report-failed-in-justifying-the-closure-of-the-independent-living-fund/

DPAC ask members and supporters to write to Penning on ILF http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/write-a-message-to-penning/

Anita Bellows asks why Litchfield as ‘independent’ assessor of the WCA when he was involved in its design http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/dwp-tactics-ask-litchfield-designer-of-the-wca-to-review-it-anita-bellows/

DPAC publishes info on fuel poverty as we receive more emails from people without heating or electricity due to sanctions and welfare cuts http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/fuel-poverty/

Independent Living rights News is published on DPAC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/independent-living-rights-news-17-november-2013/

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/independent-living-rights-news-edition-2/

Paddy Murphy writes on the apparent idiocy of DECC http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/disabled-people-and-fuel-poverty-what-does-decc-know-anyway/

DPAC attends the bedroom tax lobby at Parliament http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/report-on-the-bedroom-tax-lobby-meeting-westminster-tuesday-12th-november-2013/

DPAC , Fuel Poverty Action and the London Pensioners are joined by hundreds on the streets to protest at unacceptable fuel poverty and deaths while the energy companies continue to make huge profits http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/hundreds-protest-at-big-six-energy-companies-over-fuel-poverty-deaths/

http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/npower-protest-against-31000-fuel-poverty-deaths-this-year/

DPAC supports ALLFIE’s campaign on no return to segregated education http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/no-return-to-segregrated-education-please-sign/

DPAC and Inclusion London hear heartbreaking testimonies from disabled people affected by the cuts. We send them to the special rapporteur on disability.

DPAC and Inclusion London hold an Emergency  lobby at Parliament on Independent living to launch the DPAC report on Independent Living http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/independent-living-and-the-cumulative-impact-of-cuts-from-the-streets-to-the-commons/

Mary Laver and ILF user film on life without ILF is posted http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/an-important-request-on-ilf-from-mary-laver/

The Disability Crime Network write to the attorney General on disability hate crimes  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/11/disability-hate-crime-network-letter-to-attorney-general/

December

Anne Novis writes on hate crime http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/a-life-less-valid-when-is-a-hate-crime-not-a-hate-crime-by-anne-novis-mbe/

Belgium vote yes on euthanasia for minors now accepted as law http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/belgium-vote-yes-on-euthanasia-for-minors/

DPAC urges members and supporters to join Boycott Workfare in online action against workfare http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/take-online-action-against-the-workfare-conference/

We publicise Habinteg’s report on the effect of the bedroom tax on independent living  http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/what-price-independent-lives-a-new-report-on-bedroom-tax/

Government lose appeal against decision that WCA discrimates against those with mental health issues.  The Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) who instigated the case against the WCA celebrate another victory. MHRN a grassroots group were later joined by the charities, but without MHRN the case would not have got to the courts. http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/victory-against-wca/

DPAC joins Boycott Workfare in targeting companies replacing paid work with workfare http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/target-the-companies-replacing-paid-work-with-workfare/

DPAC support ALLFIE’s call for action http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/educate-dont-segregate-allfies-call-for-action-on-the-10th-december-1pm/

We publicise Equal Lives’ video on how the cuts effect at the local level http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/our-lives-equal-lives-norfolk-and-the-cuts/

DPAC posts video by Colin Barnes on the importance of the social model by UCU http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/interview-with-colin-barnes-what-are-the-origins-of-the-social-model-of-disability-and-why-is-it-so-important-to-equal-rights-campaigners/

DPAC attends open meeting with Mike Penning http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/feedback-from-todays-meeting-with-mike-penning/

DPAC publicises the case of Anthony  Kletzander’s  treatment in Ireland at the hands of ‘professionals’ as he is denied basic rights http://www.internaldpac.org.uk/DPACClone/2013/12/update-anthony-kletzander-needs-your-help/

Owen Jones names DPAC as one of his ‘person of the year’ choices for 2013 http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/who-is-your-person-of-the-year-9018337.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 182013
 

Want to improve your campaign skills, and get away for a week?

campaign bootcamp logo
DPAC and the Campaign Bootcamp are offering aspiring up and coming activists a unique and exciting opportunity to take part in a residential campaign training course in Spring 2014. The course; Campaign Bootcamp (www.campaignbootcamp.org) will run from:
 
Monday 9th March 2014 – Friday 14th March 2014
 
at a venue (TBC) in the outskirts of London. The venue will be fully wheelchair accessible.
 
Campaign Bootcamp is a new organisation which ran its first course in June 2013, to address the lack of opportunities young campaigners get to access quality, relevant training across all forms of campaigning. The course covers, amongst other topics; The Theory of Change, Campaign Strategy, Politics & Power and Working in Coalition. Attendees will also be matched with session facilitators to receive 12 months mentoring and support.
 
Course organisers promise ‘a week of experiential and practical training, using the best digital tools’. Previous attendees of the course include Aaron D’Souza (Deputy Field Organiser for Barack Obamas re-election campaign) and Rebecca Hay (formerly 38 Degrees & Love Music Hate Racism). Supporters include Action Aid, Friends of the Earth and 38 Degrees. Sessions were facilitated by amongst others Liberty, Greenpeace and Change.org.
 
Applications for the course close at 09.00am on:
 
Saturday 21th December 2013 (this Saturday)
 
and can be made by following the link below. (Application are processed by Campaign Bootcamp. Final allocation of places are made by Campaign Bootcamp and  successful applicants will be notified by Monday morning; DPAC plays no role in either process and simply acts as a link between organisers and disabled activists).
 
Campaign Bootcamp will support disabled activists through scholarship places to attend the course, i.e. costs will be covered. The exact number of scholarship places has yet to be decided.
 
Apply here:
http://www.campaignbootcamp.org/apply-to-campaign-bootcamp-2014-london/
 
The course will be a 5 day residential (applicants are expected to attend all 5 days). This means you will be living and learning at the same site. To make sure organisers can work with you and address any potential barriers, you will also need to let organisers know the following:
 
What support works for you in a learning environment (e.g. aids/equipment such as specialised seating or wheelchair accessible desks; or maybe support such as a PA or a scribe),
 
and 
 
What support works for you in a living environment (e.g. accessible accommodation, PA support for daily routine). Please let organisers know if you already have or can arrange your own PA support.

Campaign Bootcamp organisers said ‘Campaign Bootcamp is for any aspiring campaigner who wants to learn from the best about how to run internet-speed campaigns, so we’re delighted that DPAC is able to let your activists know about it.  It’s hard work but lots of fun – just like a real campaign. We hope that you not only come away with the confidence to run a campaign but a network of campaigners who can support you.

Linda Burnip from DPAC said ‘we are delighted to be able to offer our members the chance to take part in a new venture which can offer so much. There has been a real lack of quality training at a time when activists need it most, when their appetite for action is strongest. This course offers a programme which will prepare activists for every aspect of campaigning. Knowing that accessibility isn’t an issue means activists can get on with the important work – sharpening their skills for the fights to come’.

Dec 162013
 

With many thanks for all your great support……

On Friday 20th December 2013 Anthony was moved with his families agreement, by HSE, to a temporary accommodation. We will update you in due course as to how this accommodation works out. Anthony’s parents and sister visited Anthony in his new accommodation and Anthony typed “I am delighted to be out of that place”

Anthony’s Case Conference.

The farcical case conference, about Anthony Kletzander, at Redwood Institution ( run by the Talbot Group a private residential care company ) in Stamullin, Ireland on the 18th December 2013 really did have to be experienced to be believed.

In relation to Anthony Redwood’s practice is opaque and communication jargonised amongst consenting professionals. This is discreetly managed behind, closed doors!

I accompanied Anthony’s mother and sister for Anthony’s Case Conference, there had been no formal agenda nor any indication of professionals to be in attendance, prior to the meeting. We asked for Anthony to join us.

“We can’t have Anthony at the meeting because it is a professional meeting” firmly stated Ann Jackson, psychiatrist with Redwood,

“Anthony, is not invited to this meeting” said The Disabilities Manager, Geraldine Murphy from HSE, she continued ” Anthony can come in and hear what judgements have been made later”

We stated that we would not meet without Anthony presence and his participation.

Ann Jackson, said;

“Anthony would be overwhelmed by such a large gathering” We suggested, they should ask Anthony directly.

“Absolutely, not!” one of the growing number of professional suggested “these are clinical recommendations”.

We repeated we will not be attending any meeting without Anthony. With no sense of irony the Psychiatrist Ann Jackson exclaimed!

“We are a person centred organisation”

The Director of Redwood tried to usher us into the conference room, we repeated;

“Nothing about Anthony without Anthony”

If Professionals gather like a pack! Then if you critically question their status, and power by refusing to concede their dictates you are accused of ” bullying” “being aggressive” ” being intimidating”, “raising your voice” “finger pointing” individuals – this was the chorus from Redwood professionals. Psychiatrists, Psychologists, therapists, Managers and Directors all gathered around the three of us.

It is amusing that I was labelled as intimidating, because we refused to follow their instructions, when their offensive message, to a mother, that her son, was not allowed into his case conference was presented as reasonable.

One psychologist Ronan Gibney, then suggested Anthony be allowed into the meeting on just one condition: Anthony would

“not be allowed to use his communication light writer”

Ronan Gibney, said “his team” decided Anthony’s communication was not “credible”. I asked what evidence he had for making this judgement, since he had not observed Anthony type. He was unable to give a credible response.

There were about 15 professionals at the case conference, However, Anthony would not be present or be heard. We were there to listen to their conclusions.

Why would Redwood want to silence Anthony? If, in their words, Anthony’s communication “lacked credibility” It is because Anthony has been very clear and consistent in his communication that :

His dairy and gluten free diet stopped at Redwood.

Risperdal given despite pleas from his parents and the fact that his Family doctor advised of possible adverse reactions. All ignored by Redwood (still no formal explanation or apology from Redwood or HSE about Anthony’s emergency admittance to hospital, two days after Anthony’s parents met Ronan Gibney and following a series of seizures, days after he was given the medication. Anthony was still being given the antipsychotic medication at Rewood) Anthony never had seizures before and the hospital records which the family attained from their family doctor stated that Anthony did not have epilepsy. So what caused the seizures???

No one was prepared to use Anthony’s communication aid at Redwood ,despite it having been accepted, by Dr Corinne Pearson,Clinical Director at Redwood, in a conversation with Anthony and his parents prior to Anthony’s admission to Redwood.

Not surprisingly Redwood professionals are denying the very communication aid from which Anthony could describe in detail his experiences. Therefore, by dismissing Anthony’s voice as “lacking credibility” they continue to disguise their treatment of Anthony.

I stated to Redwood assessment team I was calling the response to Anthony as abusive, they were aghast that anyone could think such a thing let alone name it.

They asked me to leave the premises. I declined their offer. They said they would call the guards (police) I said I would wait. The police arrived, we went into a side room. We detailed events, I made a charge of abuse of Anthony to be formally noted. My allegations were recorded by the police.

Anthony’s mum was told the following day that Anthony would be discharged from Redwood immediately, back to the “care” of HSE, given that Joe Whittaker had made such an outrageous charge of abuse against Redwood.

We have no idea what the Redwood team had concluded in their reports. We know Redwood decision was made before the family arrived without Anthony being able to hear or comment on their judgements. The need for the family to comply in such a meeting would have given legitimacy to this illegitimate denial of Anthony’s rights. This we judged was why Redwood was desperate for the family to give Redwood procedures legitimacy.

How can any report, written by 15 or more professionals, regardless of their competence or academic qualifications, written about another human being, have any credibility if the voice of that human being has been denied during the compiling of that report?

The HSE insisted on and commissioned this spurious and unnecessary assessment of a young man who has been, drugged gagged and disorientated by damaging diet, at Redwood. An assessment that could have been conducted, over a couple of hours with Anthony, using his means of communication, who has consistently stated that he wants his own apartment, his own staff and attend university, as he had done before. HSE imposed this damaging assessment and turned Anthony’s life upside down.

Our immediate objective is to press HSE with Anthony to put in place Anthony’s legitimate wish to live independently.

In the long term it is important to press for a full and independent investigation into the treatment of Anthony at Redwood.

We will be contacting Kathleen Lynch, Minister of State with responsibilities for Disability, Department of Health ( kathleen_lynch@health.gov.ie ) to ask her to initiate an independent investigation. However, when we said to Sheila Marshall from HSE that this would be our next action, she shrugged and said that any representation to the minister would simply come back to HSE. We also have to challenge the implication of such a complacent comment.

Joe Whittaker
21st December 2013

Anthony is a young man of 25 and was living in his own rented apartment in Dublin for almost three years after many years of struggle. Anthony was enjoying the lifestyle he had chosen. This is the life of many young men at 25. However, Anthony has the label of Autism; he does not use speech but communicates very well by typing on his lightwriter.  Anthony has made many presentations to groups of disabled people in Ireland and the UK describing his struggle to get his independent life style.

Anthony had his own 24/7 paid personal assistants, funded by HSE (National Health Service of Ireland) Anthony was very active and very healthy, his parents had supported him all his life, they worked extremely hard with committed professionals from around the world to ensure he had an appropriate, well balanced gluten and dairy free diet with plenty of exercise, regular running along the beach near Dublin and physical activity in the local Gym. In addition, for a number of semesters, Anthony was attending classes at a University in Dublin; this was the highlight of his week.

Anthony’s chosen life style was brought to an end when Áiseanna Tacaíochta (AT Network) based in Dublin took over responsibilities for Anthony’s support package, without Anthony’s consent, within 8 months the support was so inappropriate for Anthony that he was forced into Redwood Extended Care Facility, Stamullenfor a period of “assessment”

 

Anthony had already had 20 years of being assessed by professionals. But many people will know that for disabled people ineffective professionals don’t accept previous assessments they set about insisting on more and more expensive and intrusive assessments, often to underpin their initial  prejudice. The irony of this ridiculous situation is that had the Senior Management at HSE had the wisdom to sit down with Anthony for a couple of hours and listen to him, they would have all the information they required.

Within three days of being in Redwood for “Assessment” Anthony was given Risperdral an antipsychotic medication and taken off his gluten and dairy free diet. Anthony made it clear to his parents that the “medication made him feel ill and very strange”. Anthony’s parents immediately protested to Redwood. They even had written evidence from Anthony’s GP of 15 years that the Risperdral medication could cause adverse reactions and his gluten and dairy free diet was essential to maintain balance within his body metabolism. Redwood refused to accept these representations, even when Anthony typed “make them stop giving me this medication”

Anthony’s parents met with Clinician at Redwood and again Redwood refused to accept their concern. Within three days of this meeting Anthony was admitted as an emergency patient to  Drogheda Hospital, after having had several seizures. (Anthony had never experienced seizures before entering Redwood. After his stay in hospital Anthony was returned to Redwood where they continued with the same antipsychotic medication and kept him off his special diet.

Anthony is denied his preferred communication at Redwood 

Dr Corrine Pearson, clinical Director at Redwood stated:

“when Anthony is using the lightwriter that he is not always looking at the keyboard whilst continuing to type a message.  As a team this raises concerns about the validity of Anthony using the lightwriter to communicate

This demonstrates a total lack of understanding of Anthony’s use of his peripheral vision when typing on his keyboard, common with many people who experience autism, but more importantly a blatant denial of Anthony’s right to use his preferred and essential means of communication, which he has used for over twelve years.

 On the 18December 2013 there will be a case conference of staff from Redwood to decide on Anthony’s future placement. Anthony’s voice will not be heard at this meeting. There is every indication that they will be recommending that HSE place Anthony in a residential institution attached to Redwood, using the same regime. 

I would urge you to contact Dr Corinne Pearson at Redwood and Geraldine Murphy at HSE in Dublin, Disability Manager and protest at this abuse of power, even a short message will help and show your concern for Anthony.

The more people speak up for Anthony, the more they will hear his voice.

Please continue sending the email until you get a meaningful response.

Please feel free to write your own detailed letter to Redwood and the HSE.  However, for those people who want to make a quick response I would suggest the following:

Dear Dr Pearson and Ms Murphy,

Re: Anthony Kletzander 

Please explain why you continue to give Anthony medication against his wishes and have stopped the diet essential for his wellbeing? 

Anthony is clear that he wants to live in his own rented accommodation with his own personal support, which he has already experienced. 

Please explain to me why Redwood and HSE are denying his human rights to direct his own lifestyle? 

Yours etc

Can I also suggest you copy your email to The Director of Redwood and Senior Officer at HSE, Anthony’s TD (Irish MEP) and me so I can monitor the effectiveness of this campaign? Emails below

Please circulate this information to as many people and networks that you know who will be disturbed by its contents. This denial of Anthony’s human rights cannot be allowed to continue for Anthony or for any young person in Ireland.

Thank You

Joe Whittaker

Friend of Anthony.

Please email:

Dr Corinne Pearson: Clinical Director at Redwood.
corinne@talbotgroup.ie

Geraldine Murphy: Disability Manager at HSE Dublin

geraldine.murphy1@hse.ie

Copies to

·       Director at Redwood

frances@talbotgroup.ie 

·       Sheila Marshall

        Director of HSE

        sheila.marshall@hse.ie 

·       Anthony’s  MP

Finian.mcgrath@oireachtas.ie 

·         Joe Whittaker

Whittakerjoe5@gmail.com

There is also an e- petition

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/help-anthony-kletzander?utm_medium=email&utm_source=system&utm_campaign=Send%2Bto%2BFriend 

Dec 112013
 

report back from DPAc member who went along to see what Mike Penning the minister for disabled people had to say to the select parliamentary committee on ILF, PIP and WCA.

Anne Begg, said, can you please tell us what you are going to decide with the future of the ILF, as 22,000 severely disabled people do not know what the future holds for this fund, and the future is so uncertain for them, in light of the appeal that the claimaints won, has the minister made a decision on the future of the fund, if to close it in 2015 or re design it?

Mike Penning said, I have read the decision from the courts and I will not be appealing the decision, I totally accept it.  I have not read the submission report as it has not been delivered to me, therefore i cannot make a decision when I have not have the report delivered to me.  When a decision has been made all 22,000 claimaints in receipt of ILF will be communicated to (his words) and there is the money to let them know what the outcome of my decision will be.

He was told by Anne Begg, you are causing high anxiety and stress to some of the most severely disabled in society, surely you can tell them something to put their minds at rest?  He said no, I cant and I wont as I have not read the report and as there is a court case around this, I do not want another court case on top, when the decision has been made on the ILF, all claimants will be notified.

It then went to PIP, Jason Feeney the operations director for PIP was also present as a witness,  the PIP stats for new claimants will be released tomorrow.  So far, 30,000 new claimants have been through PIP, and 15,000 claims were turned down, 1 in 7 claimants were denied PIP denial rate is at 50 per cent.   He plans to release in Jan/Feb 2014 the next regions to see the roll out of PIP, this will be done in stages.  The mandatory re assessment is set for October 2015 to finish in October 2017.  They plan to assess 155,000 a quarter, will be on budget and on time.

Penning plans to introduce the PIP form in PDF format over time, but is worried about security issues around this at the moment.

With the Atos contract for PIP in the areas where Atos have PIP there are financial clauses in the contract where PIP do not meet there contract targets, He said, Atos are in it to make money “well, we all knew that didnt we?”  The HCP are still receiving training to make sure the system works well, and understand there are delays with claimants, (we are now called “customers”) are experiencing at present, hence the staged roll out as they want to get it right.

Mr Penning, said, if claimants submitted enough supported evidence 17 per cent of people will not need a face to face assessment, and people with visual, hearing, and communication impairments can have an appointee speak on the phone to the PIP office on their behalf.  He said, in regards to the questionnaire where there is a four week turn around to get it back to the assessment centre, it can be extended to four weeks, but, then the claim will end.

In regards terminal conditions, they are working setting up in each region and benefit office a terminal office department so that people who have a terminal illness will have their claims done and completed with in 7 days.

October 2015 for mandatory re assessments stays for current DLA recipients, there will be no more delays.

With regards Dr Paul Litchfield, his fourth wca review will be published tomorrow thursday 12the dec, along with the new claimant pip stats.

There was not the time to discuss the WCA and Mr Penning has been asked to come back to the commitee in the new year, and bring Dr Pritchard along as a witness to discuss the 4th review.

Anne Begg said she would e mail when the date of the call back for the W.C.A is.

The WCA will be heard on 19th feb, so well done to wow.

Martin and me represented dpac for this today, and the two of us faced three armed police at gun point in the corridor outside the committee room, at the end of the meeting Mike Penning was surrounded by armed police and taken up the corridor while we were watched carefully.  Don’t know what they thought we were going to do.

I think we are rattling them big time, and the security level for all buildings has been raised to substantial as well.

 

 

 Posted by at 20:29
Dec 112013
 

For the past few months we at Disabled People Against Cuts have been receiving emails daily from disabled people and disabled parents with children who are being left without any food or any money for heating. They have had their benefits sanctioned and all money taken away from them for a period of between 2 weeks and 3 months. Disabled people who have never committed any crimes in their lives are being forced into shoplifting simply to be able to eat themselves or to feed their children.

The reasons they are being sanctioned are pathetic, looking for too many jobs, being late to sign on because they were at an interview for a job, having to help a pregnant partner before coming out and being 5 minutes late. Imagine being left utterly destitute in this way by a gang of uncaring, heartless millionaire politicians who think being starved will ‘encourage’ you to find one of the non-existent jobs. It is hard to believe that in a country which is still one of the richest in the world people are being deliberately and callously left to starve and freeze.

Surely democracy, if it exists, depends on government of the people by consensus rather than by the use of force or fear which is tyranny. Yet this week’s appearances by government ministers in front of the DWP select committee only highlights that no such consensus exists in the UK today.

And what of our own minister for disabled people – Mike Penning aka Machine Gun Mike and that DWP henchman Iain Duncan Smith. When the mere thought of being in the same room as a small group of disabled people exercising their democratic right to attend a select committee hearing drives DWP ministers to resort to mass protection by police guards heavily armed with machine guns pointed towards disabled spectators while they waited in the corridor to go into the rooms and after they came out of the meeting I think it is fair for all citizens to ask just what has this government become. Certainly they really cannot be viewed as democratic or legitimate in any way. Neither can they use the excuse that such ‘vulnerable’ people as us are in any way a threat to them – or are we? We are large in numbers and most of us are allowed to vote in elections.

One disabled woman who was there said

“we are being treated like terrorists because we are disabled people –  disgusting!”

and another said

“ A very disturbing sight to se an MP having guns pointed at 3 unarmed people in wheelchairs and about 8 other disabled people and carers who came peacefully to exercise their democratic right to sit in on a hearing.”

As if being threatened with a machine gun was not enough disabled people legitimately attending meetings in the House of Commons are now regularly being subjected to more and more ridiculous security checks. Yesterday when I attended the BIHR charter launch I was forced to remove not only my watch but the quite ordinary belt from my trousers so it could be scanned. What exactly could be hidden in a belt I have no idea and can only assume this was done to cause me to be humiliated. Needless to say I wasn’t I was simply left wondering how disabled people being treated in such ways could possibly equate to the UK government being viewed as ‘good’ on upholding human rights in other parts of the world.

However I won’t dwell further on that as the subject is fraught with problems if we start to remember the Blair years, Guatanamo, and other abuses carried out in the name of democracy.

I simply want to reiterate that the very fact that DWP ministers felt the need to be protected from us and to be hidden away behind machinegun carrying police in this way simply illustrates how successful we have been with our campaigning so far. Shame on them all.

See also this FOI request to DWP about the incident on Monday which was made by someone not known to DPAC.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/work_pensions_committee_machine

11 December 2013

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

My questions refer to security processes surrounding the Work &
Pensions meeting held on 9th December 2013 at 16:30 in the Wilson
room.

According to multiple witnesses (members of the public, mainly
physically or mentally disabled) who arrived to observe the above
meeting, they were initially met by standard airport and court type
security, metal detectors, belongings checked, they were frisked –
all pretty much what I would expect.

The public area was off camera (although some public members did
appear in view of the camera to find their seats and I did witness
one electric wheelchair user briefly on camera.

However the witnesses stated something rather disturbing which
wasn’t seen on camera which could explain their unusual silence
throughout the proceedings. There were several policemen or
security guards with machine guns, not pointed down, instead
pointing TOWARDS the public area throughout this meeting.

My questions are as follows:

1. Who from the DWP asked for these guards with machine guns to be
present?

2. Who from the DWP asked for these guards to keep their machine
guns pointed toward the public area?

3. Please provide the report which deemed it necessary to have
guards with machine guns pointed toward the public during this
meeting.

My fourth question is only for if you’re unable to answer any one
of the above questions.

4. Please specify the Government department I should send this FoI
request to if you don’t hold the above information on any question
I ask above.

(For public reference, the meeting can be watched here although the
public area and the guards with machine guns are off camera:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqJoGMKI… )

Yours faithfully,

 

 

 Posted by at 19:37
Dec 112013
 

Hundreds of people gathered to protest last Tuesday and you can see what happened at the Bring Down the Big Six action here: http://fuelpovertyaction.org.uk/


Our last event of the year is an open meeting on Thursday 12th December at 7pm

Our meeting on Thursday 12 December is open to everyone, and if you’ve ever thought about getting involved in Fuel Poverty Action – now’s the time!

We’re lucky to be joined by Jonas from the campaign to take Berlin’s energy grid into public ownership who will join in the discussion and share his insights about how they mobilised for their campaign.

• An introduction to Fuel Poverty Action for newcomers
• A discussion about public ownership of energy and whether this is what we should be calling for in the UK, what about community energy?
• A discussion about the next action for the “Winter of Action for Energy Justice”. Our first protest outside npower saw over 200 people out on the street calling for an end to the Big Six’s strangle hold on our lives, and democratically controlled renewables as a positive alternative.
• A few business items – a taster of what we’re working on over the winter.

Join us for interesting discussions & exciting plans!
at

Crossroads Womens Centre,

25 Wolsey Mews, (Just behind the Coop on Kentish Town Road)

Kentish Town,

NW5 2DX

Accessibility and transport information:

The building is fully accessible.

The nearest tube and rail station is Kentish Town (100 metres away) and the nearest overground is Kentish Town West. These stations do not have step free access. 

The nearest overground station with use of a ramp is Camden Road (700 metres away). If you need assistance TfL advises calling London Overground on 0845 601 4867.

If you intend to use manual boarding ramps on London Underground services you do not need to book in advance.

 

Buses that go from Camden Road, from outside the station at ‘Camden Gardens’ stop to Kentish Town Post Office stop : 134, 214, C2

 

Other buses that go near to the centre: 46, 393 (88, 29, 253, 274)

Join the facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/187053424829924/

Dec 102013
 

 

From University and College Union –

UCU has produced this film as a contribution to Disability History Month (22 November to 22 December). We have aimed to make this film accessible to all members and welcome any feedback. Please use this film to commemorate Disability History and as a trade union and teaching resource to raise awareness of the importance of the social model of disability. Please send any comments to: hcarr@ucu.org.uk

Dec 092013
 

Our Lives – Equal Lives: Disabled people in Norfolk speak about how personal budgets have transformed their lives and their fears of them being taken away. 

This video forms part of Equal Lives contribution to the Norfolk County Council consultation on the cuts.  The scale of the proposed cuts to adult social care will mean the end of personalisation and will result in disabled people becoming prisoners in their own homes.

Dec 092013
 

Frances Ryan, a journalist for The Guardian and New Statesman, is looking fo disabled people and those with a long term health condition willing to share their experiences of food poverty: both how we’re being affected by it and ways you’re dealing with it.  

Due to being a disabled person, have you had difficulty accessing out-of-home help like food banks? 

Have you been unable to buy food due to benefit changes? 

Have you had to rely on other ways to find food when you couldn’t afford to buy it? e.g. scavenging, skipping etc.

Has your impairment/long term illness worsened due to malnutrition?
Any experiences you think are relevant and you’d be willing to share, please get in touch on frances.ryan18@btinternet.com. Thank you. (Please email rather than write in the comments below as I wouldn’t want to miss your input.)
We think that it is important for people who have no idea what is happening to some of us to hear the truth so if you are willing to share your details with Frances we hope this will help let people know how disabled people, young children and others who have been sanctioned for bizarre reasons such as looking for too many jobs are being left to starve in the UK today due to the policies of the Condem government.

 

 Posted by at 20:31
Dec 082013
 

‘Can you afford Christmas?’

We will be singing anti-austerity carols and asking people to sign a giant Xmas card to Cameron explaining why they can’t afford Xmas. This is an Anti Austerity demonstration open to all groups and individuals.

Saturday 14th December 11am-1pm at the fountain, Canal Walk, Swindon town centre.

All welcome.

 Posted by at 16:48
Dec 052013
 

Crippen Gove is in bed with the ghosts of segregation past  and future

ALLFIE WILL BE VISITING THE DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION on the 10th DECEMBER TO DEMAND THE GOVERNMENT BANISHES THE GHOSTS OF SEGREGATION PAST BY WARNING ABOUT THE NEW GHOSTS OF SEGREGATION FUTURE

CALL FOR ACTION on the 10th DECEMBER!  

WHERE & WHEN:

Date:      10th December @ 1 pm

Meeting place: the Café in Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, Westminster London SW1P 3BU

Contact:  Simone/Tara at ALLFIE – 0207-737-6030                               simone.aspis@allfie.org.uk / tara.flood@allfie.org.uk  / www.allfie.org.uk

ALLFIE logo

THE FACTS:

Since 2010 the numbers of disabled children and young people being forced into segregated education is on the increase, despite the Government’s UNCPD Article 24 (Right to Inclusive Education) obligations to develop a fully inclusive mainstream education system. This year the Government is pushing through SEN reforms that will increase, even further, the numbers of disabled children and young people being forced into segregated education – this is despite David Cameron, in 2010, promising parents of disabled children he would do all that he could to support their choice of inclusive education.

Time and time again, the Government have refused to listen to disabled people and our allies about the damaging impact the SEN reforms will have on the rights for disabled students and pupils to be included in mainstream education –
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!

We must ACT NOW to tell Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Education) and the Coalition Government that there must be no return to segregation!!

Today we are presenting the following DEMANDS to Michael Gove and the Coalition Government:

  • Disabled children and young people MUST have a right to be included in mainstream education.

 

  • Disabled children and young people MUST have a right to receive support to participate in mainstream education in accessible buildings.

 

  • The Local Offer of services MUST support disabled children and young peoples’ access to mainstream education.

 

  • Local Authorities MUST continue to have a strategic duty to promote and develop the capacity of mainstream schools to deliver inclusive education practice as set out in the Inclusive Schooling Guidance.

    Join ALLFIE’s “EDUCATE DON’T SEGREGATE” Campaign now!
     
Dec 042013
 

After the death of Jimmy Mubenga on a forced deportation flight to Angola at the hands of G4S, many said ‘never again’ but nothing has changed: it is happening again in slow motion to Isa Muazu. 

 

There have been 19 deaths in immigration detention centres in the UK over the last 25 years. Many more are believed to have died in war or from torture and persecution after they were forced to return into the hands of their persecutors after being refused asylum in the UK.

 

Isa was locked up on the same day that he claimed asylum, and his asylum claim was refused with no right to appeal in the UK, despite his reports that he and his family have been persecuted by militants, the Boko Haram. He has been on hunger strike for over 100 days and on Friday endured a forced deportation attempt on a private jet, despite being declared too ill to fly by independent doctors. The flight was forced to turn around and Isa is now again locked up in a high-security, prison-like immigration detention centre.

 

Isa is one of thousands of men, women and children incarcerated in immigration detention centres around the UK. The UK is one of the few countries in the world that has no time limit on the length of time a migrant can be detained. Given this and the high death rate, it is not surprising that immigration detention is being dubbed by campaigners as the ‘UK’s death row’. 

 

Isa’s case is a precedent setting moment in which the Home Office have failed to listen to pleas of mercy, justice, independent medical experts and legal arguments in order to prove they are tough on immigrants to win political points. In flexing their muscles, they have shown how truly cruel and inhumane this government is.

 

We call on Theresa May to release Isa Muazu today and find alternatives to the indefinite detention of migrants in high security immigration detention centres.

 

Contacts: 

Lucy Ellinson

07946 537 839

freeisamuazu@gmail.com

lucy@mapping4d.co.uk

 

 

Dec 042013
 

Reposted from Boycott Workfare

Workfare hands companies free labour which means fewer jobs and paid hours for everyone. But direct action and online pressure mean tens of brands now steer clear of it. Let’s step up the pressure on companies who still think they can profit from unpaid work!

Take action today to shame these companies and make them realise that exploiting unemployed people might just mean fewer customers this Christmas. There’s new online action every day this week so please keep checking back!

Marks & Spencer

 

M&S: rolling out workfare in their stores. Unless we stop them!

Marks & Spencer’s use of workfare hit public awareness when they announced 1400 new placements in their stores and a benchmark of 2% of the workforce to be unpaid. But this isn’t the brand’s first encounter with workfare. Despite their CEOearning over £2 million a year, they are also profiting from unpaid work throughanother workfare scheme in Scotland, which targets single parents. It’s likely their involvement is much more widespread – we also heard from someone sent on a 4 week placement at one of their outlet stores.

Last time we took action, M&S was forced to disable comments on their Facebook Page. Several pickets and walks of shame will pay a visit to their stores this week. Please feel free to contact them with your thoughts as well:

By email: Using their online form
By phone: See this useful list of numbers
Facebook: Marks and Spencer
Twitter: @marksandspencer

B&M Stores

In May, B&M won an award from the workfare industry for its involvement. But the reality of this involvement is harsh. One person has reported: “B&M stores have started using workfare Jan 2013. Receiving free labour and stopping overtime for employees with contracts. The people forced to do this free labour are not happy and neither are the employees!” Boycott Workfare has had reports of workfare at B&M stores in Bangor, Glasgow, Manchester, Southend and Northern Ireland. Show them they can’t keep cutting their wages bill with unpaid work!

By email: enquiries@bmstores.co.uk or customerservices@bmstores.co.uk
By phone: 0151 728 5400 or more numbers here.
Facebook: B&M Stores
Twitter: @bmstores 

 

Leeds Unemployed Action Group exposed the workfare providers in their area

Asda

Asda has been at the heart of workfare in the UK, helping the government relaunch its “Work Experience” scheme last year. We have had reports that one of their stores in Manchester uses disabled people on workfare on the night shift. They are frank about their involvement here.

Asda contact form: Click here
Facebook: Asda
Twitter: @asda 

 

Don’t forget to sign the petition calling for an end to all benefit sanctions without exceptions.

 

Dec 042013
 

The Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN) who instigated the case against the WCA celebrate another  victory. MHRN a grassroots group were later joined by the charities, but without MHRN the case would not have been brought. Full press release below…

Government appeal against Work Capability Assessment discrimination ruling is rejected

 

The Court of Appeal today (4 December 2013) rejected the Government’s appeal against a landmark ruling by the Upper Tribunal that the Work Capability Assessment discriminates against people with mental health problems.

 

During a four day hearing in January 2013, the Upper Tribunal heard evidence from the 2 disabled claimants, from mental health charities, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and the National Autistic Society, as well as from the Government about the operation of the Work Capability Assessment[1], and the experience of people with mental health problems going through the process. In May 2013, having weighed the evidence, the tribunal concluded[2] that the process substantially disadvantaged those with mental health problems[3]. This was for two main reasons: first because the application process and the face to face interview can be particularly distressing and confusing for those with mental health problems; and second because of the great difficulty that many with mental health problems have in explaining their condition, which increases the risk that the benefit will be wrongly refused.

 

To remedy this disadvantage, the claimants, supported by the mental health charities and by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, argued that where ESA applicants have mental health problems, the DWP should consider obtaining medical evidence from the claimant’s doctor or psychiatric team at every stage of the process, and if a decision was taken by Atos or the DWP not to ask for medical evidence, this would have to be justified at each stage. This approach followed a recommendation made in November 2012 by Professor Malcolm Harrington, an independent reviewer of the process appointed by the Government.

 

The Government refused to implement this adjustment because it argued that the system did not discriminate against people with mental health problems. As stated above, the tribunal disagreed. It ruled that the adjustment to the process recommended by Professor Harrington might be a reasonable response to the “substantial disadvantage” it had found, and urged the Government to carry out a trial to see if obtaining further medical evidence earlier in the process would make the process better for people with mental health problems. Once the new process was trialled, the tribunal asked the Government to return to court for a hearing about whether – in light of the trial – the adjustment was reasonably necessary.

 

Instead of accepting the tribunal’s findings, and conducting an urgent trial, the Government appealed to the Court of Appeal against the tribunal’s finding of “substantial disadvantage”. It also argued that the two claimants did not have the right to bring the case because they themselves had not been adversely affected. Today the Court of Appeal rejected the Government’s arguments on both these points. In giving the main judgment of the court, Lord Justice Elias stated that:

 

“the Tribunal identified various ways in which [Further Medical Evidence] would assist [people] with a range of mental disabilities, and in my judgment there was sufficient evidence to justify the conclusion that [mental health patients] were placed, as a group, at more than a trivial disadvantage”.

 

The claimants solicitor, Ravi Low-Beer of the Public Law Project, stated:

 

“It is regrettable that the Government chose to appeal against the tribunal’s finding that people with mental health problems are disadvantaged by the current system, rather than take the steps necessary to improve it. Now that the Court of Appeal has upheld the tribunal’s finding, we sincerely hope that the Government will take immediate steps to improve the system. Disabled people, charities and many others are only asking the Government to implement the recommendation of the independent expert the Government itself appointed. This has been delayed since May 2013 while the Government appealed. It should not be delayed further.”

 

For further information contact Ravi Low-Beer on r.lowbeer@publiclawproject.org.uk or 020 7843 1264.



[1] The WCA is a face to face interview conducted by healthcare professionals employed by a private company, Atos Healthcare to assess eligibility for Employment and Support Allowance. Approximately 28,000 ESA claims (some 11,000 from existing Incapacity Benefit claimants, and some 17,000 from new ESA claimants) are made each week, around 40% of them by applicants who suffer from mental health problems. The speed and quality of the Work Capability Assessment interviews and the decisions resulting from them have been consistently criticised by disabled people.

Dec 032013
 

What price independent lives? – launched on the United Nations Day of Disabled People – highlights the combined effect of a range of benefit cuts on disabled people’s incomes and the particular threat this poses to independent living.

Analysis of Habinteg’s detailed tenancy data at a six month point after the introduction of benefit cuts revealed the specific financial hardship faced by disabled tenants as a result of benefit restrictions. It shows that two thirds of tenants affected by the bedroom tax are disabled people.

However the impact of this is deepened when the same people face other benefit cuts and variable policies by local authorities. The result is that the ability for disabled people to pay the additional costs associated with living an independent life is being severely restricted.

Key findings of What price independent lives?:

·         Two-thirds of Habinteg tenants affected by the bedroom tax are disabled people and of these, after six months of the new rules being in place, only a third had been exempted from paying by local authorities.

·         56 per cent of Habinteg tenants living in wheelchair standard properties have not yet been given exempt status from the bedroom tax.

·         Only 15 per cent of tenants who receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) but live in general needs properties have been given bedroom tax exempt status by their local authority raising concerns that disabled people in this group may be faced with additionally reduced income when tested for eligibility for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

·         The localised criteria for bedroom tax exemption has created a new postcode lottery for disabled people with an inconsistent and unpredictable approach which varies between local authorities. Such variation reinforces the barriers disabled people face if they want to move, whether for job opportunities or other reasons, and deepens inequality between disabled and non-disabled people.

·         Most tenants adversely affected by the bedroom tax are preparing to “stay and pay” in order to keep their existing property. The chronic shortage of wheelchair standard and accessible properties makes moving to downsize simply not an option.

·         Where local authorities do not agree exempt status, Habinteg is supporting tenants to apply for financial support under the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) schemes. However, where information is available, it suggests that many disabled people are being refused DHP support. Three out of four case studies in the report have been refused DHPs. Some tenants have been given this support by their local authority while others in similar circumstances have been refused. This inconsistency makes it difficult for housing providers to manage their response and support tenants.

Habinteg is calling for the Government to repeal the bedroom tax, especially in respect of disabled people, review their stance on Universal Credit which will not cover service charging on disability-related adaptations and revise their plans to cut benefit payments under the transfer from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments.

Habinteg Chief Executive, Paul Gamble, said: “Our report shows clearly the disproportionate impact from combined welfare reform policies on disabled people and highlights the very serious risk that the basic right to an independent life is threatened by the increased financial burden.

“We want the Government to acknowledge, understand and act on the cumulative impact of its welfare cuts agenda on disabled people. We are calling for the repeal of the bedroom tax, especially in respect of disabled people along with other steps to ensure their on-going right to independence and inclusion in their homes and communities.”

Baroness Rosalie Wilkins, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Disability Group, said: “Habinteg’s new research provides a rallying cry for choice, independence and equality. Independent living is a right not a privilege. The way in which the bedroom tax cuts the incomes of disabled people at a stroke and impinges on their ability to live independently is something that must be challenged.

“I fully endorse Habinteg in their efforts to persuade the government to listen to the evidence, call a halt to the bedroom tax and rethink a welfare benefits programme that is unfairly impacting on disabled people.”

A Habinteg tenant case study from What price independent lives? (who wished to remain anonymous) said: “I can’t begin to explain how stressful this whole process has been. It was a trauma to work out what I was going to do. I kept thinking why would they do this?

“I never believed that moving was an option as the lack of a purpose built one bedroom wheelchair accessible home gave me no choice but to find a way to pay.”

The full report can be found at www.habinteg.org.uk/whatpriceindependentlives

Dec 022013
 

On Monday 2nd December the welfare-to-work industry will be splashing out yet more tax payers’ money on their annual workfare conference in a plush Central London venue.

Workfare exploiters like the Shaw Trust and the Salvation Army will be gathering to discuss how to further profit from the huge increase in unpaid work. From April next year hundreds of thousands of unemployed people will be forced to work for free for six months or face losing benefits completely. The cost of this scheme is estimated to be £300 million. Most of this cash will end up lining the pockets of the welfare-to-work sector – companies like A4E, G4S, Ingeus and Serco who specialise in forcing people to work without pay.

Many of these companies will be present at Monday’s conference where tickets cost up to a whopping £534 in some cases. Claimants are clearly not welcome at the conference unlike Employment Minister Esther McVey and Matthew Sinclair from hard right think tank the Tax Payer’s Alliance who will both be giving speeches at the event. The Tax Payer’s Alliance recently released a report calling for permanent workfare for those out of work even if this is due to sickness or disability.

The conference is being organised by ERSA, the trade body established to represent the welfare-to-work racket along with the Centre for Social Inclusion (CESI).

Boycott Workfare will be holding a noise demo outside the conference from 12.30pm as part of the Week of Action Against Workfare and Sanctions . A day of online protest has been called targeting the sponsors of the event who hope to gain some positive publicity from being associated with this workfare love-in. Contact them on social media and let’s make sure that doesn’t work out quite in the way they hoped as they are named and shamed for their support of forced work.

Delegates at Monday’s conference will be tweeting using the hashtag #ERSA2013 so add this to all tweets. Don’t forget to tweet conference organisers ERSA and CESI themselves.

 

Sponsors of the conference include:

Learn Direct, who are on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/learndirect

 Work Programme providers the Shaw Trust are at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shaw-Trust/221553131217597

 Training charity Catch 22 who recently advised the Department for Education that the new unpaid Traineeships Work placements should be shown “to provide a commercial advantage to employers” can be found at: https://en-gb.facebook.com/Catch22charity

 Spirit Resourcing are sponsoring the delegate packs: https://www.facebook.com/spiritresourcing

 Welfare-to-work recruitment agency R3 Welfare & Skills will be sponsoring the pens at the conference.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/R3-Welfare-Skills/475538409128072

You can tweet direct through the Boycott Workfare site http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3124

 Don’t forget to sign the petition calling for an end to all benefit sanctions without exception

Dec 022013
 

Last Saturday was the founding conference of Left Unity attended by many DPAC activists and other disabled people. There were access glitches galore, yes…but it was a historic moment for a political party to be kicked off with so many disabled people in attendance as members and a couple speaking too. 

What went right was that the website asked people signing up to let us know if they had any access needs. Very few did, but we responded to them, providing documents on a memory stick for example – and in some cases went above and beyond, providing many large print copies of the conference documents.  The venue was basically wheelchair accessible and had a hearing loop and over 1,900 people viewed the livestreaming at some point during the day. We know this was important to disabled members who simply couldn’t travel. Organisers ensured that the chair and speakers were at floor level so that disabled people could speak. Posters around the venue showed disabled people, including a Disabled People Against Cuts demo.

So it’s true that lots went wrong! I’m not going to list it all here (others have already done so). I had failed to get the start time put back, though I did try. But the whole point of having a registration desk dedicated to disabled people was so that if they arrived with just a few minutes to go to 10 o’clock, or even after, their registration could be speeded through.

Some people ignored reserved seat notices and there were no announcements to the effect that those who needed the hearing loop needed to be in the first few rows…mainly because those of us who could have done that were still tied up on registration desks. Worst of all, a number of factors meant there were no access breaks although they’d been promised in writing and that was dire, there’s no getting round it.

But having been there from the beginning, I have seen the tremendous amount of work that went into making it as good as we could (at breakneck speed) and the genuine determination of everyone involved to keep getting better.  I have seen that we have managed to keep at bay those who would have wrecked the whole project so that they could empire build.

We have an immensely strong group of disabled people already (I believe it may be the largest of all the caucuses so far) so it CAN only get better.  It is a very difficult process. Most of us have never been able to be involved in mainstream politics before and so find it difficult to take the right initiative at the right time. And of course most non-disabled people have an equal mountain to climb in terms of understanding the social model and supporting us. But it has started and it will continue.

And what did we achieve? Well, the UK has a new broad left party truly there to represent working class people, not just owning classes and the ridiculously wealthy.  We will have at least 50% women on all national and regional bodies. We will be fighting capitalism (no I’m not sure how yet!) and campaigning alongside working class people in general and trades unions in particular, for a much more inclusive and just society, which respects our environment too.

If you are a member of Left Unity, do join us at ludisabledpeople@lists.riseup.net

 Posted by at 13:18
Dec 022013
 

ALLFIE WILL BE VISITING THE DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION on the 10th DECEMBER TO DEMAND THE GOVERNMENT BANISHES THE GHOSTS OF SEGREGATION PAST BY WARNING ABOUT THE NEW GHOSTS OF SEGREGATION FUTURE !

WHERE & WHEN:
Date: 10th December @ 1 pm
Meeting place: the Café in Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, Westminster London SW1P 3BU
Contact: Simone/Tara at ALLFIE – 0207-737-6030 simone.aspis@allfie.org.uk / tara.flood@allfie.org.uk / www.allfie.org.uk

THE FACTS:
Since 2010 the numbers of disabled children and young people being forced into segregated education is on the increase, despite the Government’s UNCPD Article 24 (Right to Inclusive Education) obligations to develop a fully inclusive mainstream education system. This year the Government is pushing through SEN reforms that will increase, even further, the numbers of disabled children and young people being forced into segregated education – this is despite David Cameron, in 2010, promising parents of disabled children he would do all that he could to support their choice of inclusive education.
Time and time again, the Government have refused to listen to disabled people and our allies about the damaging impact the SEN reforms will have on the rights for disabled students and pupils to be included in mainstream education –
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!
We must ACT NOW to tell Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Education) and the Coalition Government that there must be no return to segregation!!
Today we are presenting the following DEMANDS to Michael Gove and the Coalition Government:
• Disabled children and young people MUST have a right to be included in mainstream education.

• Disabled children and young people MUST have a right to receive support to participate in mainstream education in accessible buildings.

• The Local Offer of services MUST support disabled children and young peoples’ access to mainstream education.

• Local Authorities MUST continue to have a strategic duty to promote and develop the capacity of mainstream schools to deliver inclusive education practice as set out in the Inclusive Schooling Guidance.

Join ALLFIE’s “EDUCATE DON’T SEGREGATE” Campaign now!

 

View the petition

Dec 012013
 

In a shocking development Belgium came a step closer granting the right to die for children and babies in the Belgian Senate committee on Wednesday 27th Nov.

The panel voted 13-4 to allow minors to seek euthanasia under certain conditions, the communications director for the Senate, Patrick Peremans, told CNN.

The vote is one stage in a legislative process — the bill must clear other hurdles before it becomes law. However, many expect this to pass. Belgium passed legislation in 2002 allowing voluntary euthanasia for adults.

While some hail this as progress for liberalism, others say it sets a worrying precedent. It is not clear how this will be activated, but it is clear that despite soothing words to the contrary this is an act that holds many dangers not least the breaking of human rights in the right to life.  We are told ‘safeguards’ will be put in place, but it is difficult to see how safeguards for a 2 month old disabled child would come into play if parents decide that life would be easier if the child dies rather than lives.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/27/euthanasia-terminally-ill-children-belgium

INTERACTIVE: Euthanasia and the right to die around the world

READ: OPINION: Euthanasia: we can live without it…

 

Dec 012013
 

It seems that a hate crime is now not defined by the perception of the victim, his or her family or communities, as it should be in law. No matter how many times a victim has reported each and every time they are harassed, abused and attacked due to race and disability, or being perceived as ‘different’.

As has been highlighted by the case of Mr Bijan Ebrahimi, murdered by one man (assisted by one more), following years of abuse and hostility by many others who lived near him in various homes.

Let me list what we know happened to Bijan, a disabled Iranian man with mental health and physical impairments, bear in mind there is much we do not know yet;

Between 2008 and 2011 he reported harassment 14 times to police

Verbally racially abuse

Physically assaulted by people in a shared house

House broken into

Hot water thrown on his chest and feet

Threatened with hostility and death

Property and possessions vandalised

Driven out of his previous home by an arson attack

Mobbed by up to twenty people hurling abuse, threats and calling him names

Arrested when he called police for help

Falsely accused of being a paedophile

Beaten to death

His body doused with white spirit and set alight.

His family believe he was picked on as he lived alone, was disabled, vulnerable, and because “he was different”.

In a statement, the family said in one “callous act of unimaginable hatred” its entire world had been taken. …..we are gravely concerned that the actions of those men may have been made possible by the failures of the police and others to protect Bijan.

So as a disability campaigner and activist on disability hate crime for nearly two decades, knowing how hard myself and others have worked to raise awareness, improve reporting to police, changing the way police and legislation promotes justice for disabled people myself and others expected the Police, Crown Prosecution Service and the courts to recognise this case as hate crime from the outset.

Why? First because the police have already admitted they let this man down by their actions and poor responses to his experiences, the family had made it clear they saw this murder linked to all the other hate crime Bijan had experienced, and lastly because we have evidenced that many disabled men get falsely accused as being paedophiles as part of a campaign of hate and horror against their victims.

As Katharine Quarmby, a journalist, friend and coordinator of the Disability Hate crime Network stated in one of her blogs:

‘In just over one year, in fact, I found five such killings related to false sexual offence charges, including paedophilia. These included that of Sean Miles, who was stripped, stabbed and drowned after being accused of being a paedophile. Steven Hoskin was similarly accused, tortured, targeted and murdered by so-called friends, who dragged him around on a dog leash before pulling him to a railway viaduct and pushing him off. Now Bijan Ebrahimi takes his place on that sad list of murders – a grim pattern of disabled men falsely accused of sexual crimes they didn’t commit, and then killed with overwhelming cruelty by a lynch mob.’ 

Katherine and I had worked together on a groundbreaking report called ‘Getting away with Murder: disabled peoples’ experiences of hate crime’, we had also worked with others, advising the Equality and Human Rights Commission on its inquiry into disability related hostility.

Its report ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’, published in 2011, had stated that the false allegation of pedophilia against disabled people was a clear and present danger to their lives.

I have also produced reports cataloging over 70 murders of disabled people and hundred of attacks as evidence for this inquiry.

Through my own experience, work with victims of disability hate crime, and disabled peoples organisations I know any excuse is used to validate abusing, attacking and murdering a disabled person just because they are perceived as different.

From before birth, the abortion of disabled a foetus up to 40 weeks of pregnancy, to segregated education, euthanasia, assisted suicide, so called ‘Mercy killings’, the killing and segregation of disabled people has been justified for centuries and contributes to the attitudes disabled people face these days in society.

Add to this the current political and media stances about disabled people being a burden on the state, unsustainable, fraudsters and non tax payers we are facing vitriol and scapegoating for all the problems at this time.

In the media and in interviews about the murder of Bijan Ebrahimi interviewers have asked ‘Is it reasonable to expect at this time of financial cuts to be able to support and protect disabled people?’

My answer is absolutely Yes! for if we cannot support those in society who need support and protection what does that say about us as individuals and as a nation?

How much money does it take to do your job properly as a police officer, housing officer, MP, or judge?

No extra money at all for in this case, as in many others, it’s the poor responses to reports of hostility by disabled people to these agencies that can lead to deaths and a life of fear and abuse.

So the term used by the Nazi’s about disabled people having ‘ a life less valid’ echoes down the years as we face yet again the lack of justice for a disabled person who faced years of harassment, abuse and hostility before he was brutally murdered.

As for hate crime, I ask as many must do at this time, if Bijan’s experiences and murder cannot be recognized as a result of hate crime by the CPS and court, what can?

How much more evidence does anyone need to understand the lived experience of victims of hate crimes?

Shame on all the people who let this man down, who abused, harassed and murdered him, shame on the UK justice system for allowing such an injustice to occur and shame on those who try to ‘excuse’ such crimes by stating he was partially at fault due to making so many complaints which is what the prosecution used as a defence and shame on those who think it is unreasonable to expect such a victim to be protected.

So now across the country the question has to be asked: when is a hate crime not a hate crime?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 15:06
Dec 012013
 

Saturday 7th December  10am – 5pm

Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW

www.southlondonpa.org

Speakers include Francesca Martinez, Owen Jones and Josie Long.

There will be workshops on How we Can Save our NHS, The Housing Crisis, The Battle for Education, Building Unions to Fight Austerity and Environment and Energy as well as Austerity and Rascist Scapegoating, Alternatives to Austerity, Explaining and Fighting the Benefit Cuts and EU-US Free Trade Agreement.

There will also be a showing of protest films by Reel News and Kate Belgrave in the cinema and workshop sessions on banner making, leaflet design and performance and songs.

London DPAC will be running a workshop on disability, austerity and resistance. Disabled people have been at the forefront of the fightback against the Coalition government for the past three years. Our rights and freedoms are facing an ideological attack of unprecedented magnitude under the excuse of austerity that is resulting in misery, poverty and death. Disabled people are not letting this happen to us without a fight. This workshop will explore the range of campaign tactics and alliances that have been built and what more we need to do in our struggle for an alternative to austerity founded in social justice and fairness.

roger lewis 2-1

Chair: Roger Lewis,London DPAC

267683_10150237146049690_544729689_7488154_6718546_n

Ciara Doyle, Disabled People Against Cuts

Unites Sean McGovern on defending disabled peoples rights-1411-13127

Sean McGovern is TUC disabled workers’ committee co-chair and Unite EC and national disabled members’ committee chair

Picture 2

Denise McKenna is a long standing campaigner against psychiatric abuses.

Tickets are free if you are unwaged, £5 if bought in advance, £10 on the door.

For any access requests please contact contact@southlondonpa.org

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