Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We Have A Dream Speech #hardesthit

We have a dream. This is our dream.

Three score years and six ago the welfare state was formed. A vision of Britain as Jerusalem for all, a beacon of hope in a country battered and bruised by the ravages of war. Principles so important that despite the crippling debt of the post war years, our grandfathers and grandmothers made sure their dream of a society caring for all was a priority. Despite two world wars and countless people disabled in the pursuit of justice it took another 25 years for disabled people to start our own road to freedom..  
Now is the time to remember the founding principles of the welfare state. Now is the time to rise up. Now is the time to remember ‘rights not charity’ Now is the time to make equality of opportunity apply to all people, now is the time to measure our worth in talent not gold. 

It is obvious that Britain has defaulted on it’s promissory note of welfare for all, a famous note signed by Lloyd George, Beveridge, Attlee and Bevan with their hopes and dreams of a better world, a fairer future for all. A beacon of hope carried forward some 25 years later by Lord Morris with his Chronically Sick And Disabled Persons Act , the first in the world to recognise and give rights to people with disabilities. 

We refuse to accept a system bailed out by the taxpayer is so bankrupt it can no longer meet it’s obligations to the basic welfare of all people. 

We refuse to believe in a world which bankers choose to increase bonuses whilst disabled people choose between food and heat. 
We refuse to believe local authorities deem it right and proper to save money by leaving old ladies overnight in their own urine, we refuse to believe that removing respite care can be right. 
We refuse to believe that we should be blamed, targeted, made less human by those who sip from the cup of success.

It may now be a nightmare, but we too can dream. To dream is a right for all humans and the first step on the road to justice. Without our dreams we have no hope, and we all have hope. Our rights, our dignity, our existence can all be threatened, but the flame of our hope cannot be extinguished. The hope of a world in which all people are seen as human first, human, with fundamental rights; to eat, to drink, to live, to love, to be free, to dream. We can dream of a day when all children grow together, learn together, play together regardless of ability. We can dream of a day when those children become adults, accepting adults who see the world as equal, a world of ability not disability. We can dream of a world of people with the right to have their basic needs met in whatever form they arise.

We are asked “when will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as those rights, first enshrined in statue are under threat.  We can never be satisfied as long as disabled people are victim of unspeakable horrors. We can never be satisfied as long as we remember Fiona and Francecca Pilkington, driven to such desperation by disablist bullying that suicide seemed their safest place. We can never be satisfied as long as we remember Christine Lakinski, urinated over as she lay dying in a doorway. We can never be satisfied as long as we remember Colin Greenwood, kicked to death by teenagers he couldn’t see. We can never be satisfied while disabled people kill themselves for fear of the DWP. We must embrace our diversity, our differences, our talent and work together until we can dream the dreams of all.
We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with fatigue cannot gain access to the transport, to the workplaces, to the leisure spaces of our cities. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are segregated, denied appropriate aids and parents broken by the lack of support.

We make to you this promise. We will not cease from mental fight. Nor shall our pens sleep in our hands. Til we have built a new accessible Jerusalem. Til we have built a Jerusalem we can again be proud of, in England’s green and pleasant land.


Jackart said...

Sorry, BG... you're going to loose people with this article. Sure you might have the hard-left jumping up and down, but everyone else?

"disabled people are victim of unspeakable horrors"

Yeah... I've seen "horrors" and 'a little less money' isn't it.

"We can never be satisfied while disabled people kill themselves for fear of the DWP"

Are peeople topping themselves more than when Labour were in power? Really? Let's have some stats not an isolated example. People top themselves all the time. The given reason is not usually the real reason.

As an example of the people who are being asked to pay for all of your wishlist of "rights", that sort of Hyperbole pisses me off.

"We refuse to believe in a world which bankers choose to increase bonuses whilst disabled people choose between food and heat."

Allow me to paraphrase: "Bankers have money. I wants it. Waaa!" Remember rich people aren't taking your money (economics is not a zero-sum game), you're demanding theirs and attempting to apply emotional blackmail to do it. How do you think that goes down? The top 1% of tax-payers are responsible for almost 25% of income tax receipts. YOU WANT MORE? Bailouts I hear you bleat? The Government will get all (and more) of that back.

And paraphrasing Jerusalem and the Gettysburg address? You're overdoing it, I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

I do like you Bendy but I'm with Jackart on this. The welfare state at the time of it's formation was a provider of the necessities of life. It is now a monster.

Your Jerusalem cannot be built because you want more than is possibly affordable. Disabled people will be looked after, always, but probably not in the style that they have become accustomed to. The public purse is exhausted. The real world will become harder for us all.

Hossylass said...

I suggest that both the commentators have a look at Maslows heirachy of need.

Basic needs should be met.

If you are a prisoner in a british prison you do not have to "slop out" as this is seen as degrading and inhumane.
And yet disabled people are regularly told to use a commode in their bedroom.
So criminals get treated better.

Remember disability is not a lifestyle choice, neither is poverty, or lying in your own feaces.
And yet society is happy to ignore that this happens.

This isn't about wanting more, this is about fighting the fact that the Government want to give us less, and in a lot of cases, nothing.

But I supose until you have lay in your own shit, without having a drink for over 12 hours, in unbelieveable pain and unable to take your medication, then I guess you just dont get it.

Its not about "more", its about removing the susbsistance allowance that disabled people currently have.

Nancyrowina said...

They are not just going to give us a little less money jackart, they are going to try and take everything away and treat us as if we are not disabled at all. Sounds like you've fallen for the tory "people on benefits are all work shy scroungers" propaganda. I hate to say this but after reading your comment I hope you fall too sick to work and have to apply for ESA and go through the humiliation of being treated like a liar and drain on society, then see how you feel about what this lady is writing.
And to anonymous up there, I know what you are saying there is too much being spent, but many people really cannot work. And for those who possibly could there has to be investment in making workplaces suitable for the disabled and educating employers about things like issues surrounding disability and mental health issues before they can expect us all to successfully find employment. And showing an advert where a man asks a colleague about his mental health issues without prejudice is NOT ENOUGH.
To just throw us all on JSA and expect us to compete with the millions of unemployed people who are fit to work and have only been unemployed a couple of weeks is just ridiculous.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Jackart/Anon: I think you've missed the point of this speech. I do consider it to be unspeakably horrible that there were so many victims of disability hate crime we could have listed in this speech. How can someone being pissed on as they lay dying not be unsppeakably awful? That's not a benefits issue, none of those named in the speech died during the coalition govt's rule. Suicides seem to have increased but with no real stats it's only a 'seem' to have atm. I know of one directly related to benefits while Labour were still in charge, and I've heard of three since. To be very clear, it's my personal opinion those suicides would have happened if Labour had got back in as it's the Labour policy of ESA causing such problems.

Calling for access to workplaces etc also has nothing to do with benefits, or cost in this context. I certainly know you support as many disabled people working as possible.

This isn't a speech about more money. Certainly, welfare benefits are a part of all this, but the main thrust is about principles, values, the expectations disabled people should have of ourselves and a desire for a better world. All things I'd have thought you would agree with

Wheelie said...

And I know of two in the last year who had their ESA/IB or DLA reduced or stopped who will never show in the suicide figures, because they simply gave in.

They stopped doing what they needed to do to maintain their health either by not eating regularly, or began eating and boozing heavily. They stopped taking their medication or took it irregularly. They just didn't care any more. Slow suicide.

Just as bad were the reactions of their 'friends' and family. Because the presumed 'medics' at reassessment reduced or stopped their benefits, when I corrected their friends and family when they used comments such as "I always knew they were trying to max out their claim" Top rate care and mobility? How? I was yelled at big time.

It's the state, the state hire experts, they must be right. Cobblers.

The public misconception of assessment and reassessment is way out of wack.

Thanks for pushing public education BG. Public perception needs to be challenged.

There's another angle. Finance companies and banks are all too ready to lend to people on DLA, because it's considered a regular income. Should the DLA stop, their stuffed. Creating another underclass.

See what you're saying about principles and values, tho' I reject the better world bit. Not going to happen.

One bigot is always going to be a poisoned apple in the bottom of barrel. There's always going to be those who are going to bitch that someone they perceive is having something more than they have. I think we have to live with that.

Jane said...

I was shocked to see that there was no mention of The Hardest Hit march on the BBC News last night (Wednesday). Please join me in complaining to BBC Newswatch about the lack of mainstream reporting perpetuating our invisibility, so it's more likely our complaint will be aired on the Newswatch programme on Friday evening (BBC News Channel, Fridays at 8.45pm). Thanks everyone!

Wheelie said...

As a stroke survivor who uses a wheelchair when he needs to. Who can't go out unaided or accompanied, well, yeah, it's an annoyance, and an embarrassment and demeaning. But that's the nature of having bit's that don't work.

I have no problem competing with others for work. It's the name of the game. And, yup, I do understand there are those who should never be asked to work.

What I do object to is going through the routine of finding work, only to find that I have to go through yet another medical, sorted by the prospective employer, totally independent of, to assess the bloomin' risk to the employer and/or the risk to their insurers. Massive fail.

In fact, I want to be assessed. Not because some monkey wants to work out what I can't do.

But to work WITH me to help me do that I CAN do, to the benefit of both of us. Well, me actually.

It's all back to front. It all comes across as sorting 'wheat from chaff', playing on popular prejudiced of a weakened, unwilling, unresponsive, despondent and unwanted underclass.