Vox Political readers are right – disabled badges on the Tube are a BAD move!

[Image: Transport for London].

[Image: Transport for London].

What was I thinking? I can only blame yesterday’s lapse of judgement on the medicine I have been taking for the cold I caught last week.

Of course badges indicating disability – hidden or overt – are a bad idea. If Transport for London thinks differently, perhaps a reminder of the infamous ‘black triangle’ badges in Nazi Germany is required?

The black triangle badge was used in Nazi concentration camps to mark out people deemed to be “asocial” or “workshy” and experience suggests that ignorant people here in the UK would consider TfL’s “Please offer me a seat” badges as sure signs that the wearers are scroungers of some kind, rather than genuinely in need.

Only today I was reminded that too many people still consider people on sickness or disability benefit to be there due to choice, rather than genuine incapacity – despite official evidence showing that benefit fraud is practically non-existent in this area.

Remember what happened when refugees in Cardiff were given armbands, or the ‘red door’ controversy in Middlesbrough,in which asylum-seekers became clearly-identifiable to the public – and were then targeted for abuse?

That’s what this policy will do to people with hidden disabilities. It will make them targets for aggression when all they want to do is sit down.

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14 thoughts on “Vox Political readers are right – disabled badges on the Tube are a BAD move!

  1. Zippi

    Although I understand what you are saying, how do you propose we alert people to the fact that those with no visible disability may need to sit? There appears to be a fear of abuse at work that is dissuading people from action Why should we allow what others might do dictate the way in which we behave? There is nothing to force people to wear the badges but what if they do what they are intended to do, allow people who need to sit to do so? The badge doesn’t attract a payment, or any financial incentive, merely the opportunity to sit, if the wearer needs to. If the badges create debate, so much the better. The only thing worse than people talking about this is people NOT talking about it and people, like me, suffering in silence for fear of being laughed at, or worse, ignored, if they dare to plead for a seat, because nobody will believe them.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It’s a real dilemma, isn’t it?
      I don’t know the answer. I was mulling it over all the way through writing the article and I can’t see any way of making it work without attracting abuse.
      Anyone?

      1. Stu

        There is never a simple answer, we are dealing with complex human behaviour.
        I firmly believe that the root of the problem lies within the lack of common decency and respect for others.

        You could blame Cameron’s divisive strategies, 90% of press and media encouraging greed and selfishness but whatever the cause in order to make a difference we all need to look at ourselves and how we view others.

        Wearing a physical label is a personal choice, I choose not to and will integrate with society and educate others as problems arise.
        Others may choose to advertise their disabilities and demand sympathy and understanding as a right – I admire their courage but nobody likes to be told what to do.

        For far too long we have lazily relied upon Politicians to act in our best interests, how they did react was to inflate their own egos and pockets and we were left without any support .

        It is up to us as individuals to educate those around us in the hope that the lessons learned will filter upwards and make a difference.

        Perhaps I’m idealist but it’s a lesson I learned as a Brit left destitute in a dangerous South African township for 3 years where I survived solely by being a decent human being who cared passionately for the feelings and welfare of others.

  2. joanna

    Good on you Mike, it is refreshing to read a great journalist who will look at the bigger picture, I, at first thought it was a good idea, but that would work, if there were understanding people, but because of the way everyone suffered it has caused a lot of people to be out for themselves, and I can’t really blame them. The tide has to turn soon!!!

  3. mohandeer

    It hadn’t occurred to me either that too many Brits are lacking in any moral ethics and whose humanity is eclipsed by their self serving bigotry and their rabid ability to hate so akin to the nazi Lebensraum of the 30’s and 40’s. What a lovely nation we have become that we tolerate such people. They are of course, all cowards in that they harass the most vulnerable who are unable to defend themselves. Like all ingrates and mindless morons, they should be identified and dealt with in a severe manner.

  4. Zippi

    The paradox, Joanna, is that, if there were understanding people, we wouldn’t need badges, however, the £ondon Underground has been a pit of selfishness for over 25 years. People shouldn’t need to be told to offer seats to people who, obviously, have difficulty standing, yet they do and still they fail to [offer their seats]. What hope, then, is there for people for whom it is not obvious? At least badges would put the issue into public consciousness, even if, on a practical level, it fails. Just something to consider.

  5. John

    A lbetter approach which should find acceptance would be for people with disabilities to carry a folding white stick, like the ones used by blind or partially blind people.
    It would then be apparent that they have some form of disability which could prompt other travelling members of the public to offer them a seat, instead of this twee idea of a badge which almost demands that people give up their seats.
    This sort of approach – to my mind – is very much one I would expect in the USA.
    It also reeks of the “nudge” approach that is all the rave among certain Blairites.
    My initial reaction on seeing the headline was to think of yellow Star of David badges.

  6. rockingbass

    Yes I had second thoughts about it last night…..My wife tells me that even when using her disabled parking badge she and her driver sometimes get “looks”….let alone all the able drivers who park in disabled parking bays without a care in the world. A very sad sate of affairs…Well thought through Mike

  7. casalealex

    Due to the examples of hate and disrespect shown to each other on a daily basis by politicians; the incessant wilful and malicious utterings from the media; the government’s infamous scourge of the state etc., is it any wonder, that these evils have, to some degree, rubbed off on a number of people who have lost their humanity?

  8. Neilth

    Another idea. In France a few seats on any public transport are defined as for people with disabilities with a ranking for those with priority staring I believe with injured military personnel and including elderly, pregnant women, mothers with infants etc. Such designated seats with the support of a law to make it a finable offence if someone uses one who doesn’t qualify might help. Social pressure in shaming offenders would discourage those who don’t need the seats from using them. A card explaining why those with an invisible disorder that could be shown if challenged would support those in genuine need and not draw attention to the people ordinarily.

  9. Fibro confused

    My thought’s when I first saw the scheme was eek if you wear that badge be prepared to carry documentation to prove your disability, it’s what I ended up doing during the height of the Govts rhetoric of work shy frauds, I was approached the first time by my car after parking in a disabled space, after that I just wanted to shut anyone else up who decided I didn’t fit their criteria of a disabled person.

    The thought behind the scheme is to be applauded, as we know it’s a breakdown in society that needs to be challenged, but how do you fix it? I suppose by introducing old fashioned values back into school life, like never judge a book by it’s cover, and that saying to go on posters with people of all disabilities hidden and obvious, on TV ads too, education to undo all the damage done by the bloody Tories and backed up by an awful lot of Labour.
    Any better ideas? you never know who might read this and run with someones idea

    1. Zippi

      That should certainly be the long term goal. The difficulty is the immediate issue, given that most of the perpetrators are people who should already know and know better.

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