Tag Archives: disablism

This casual disablist abuse is what the Tory electorate voted for

This didn’t happen: But you can bet the Tories would have wanted it.

Ever since the Tories sneaked themselves back into office in 2010, they have been tacitly encouraging us all to think of disabled people as scroungers, skivers, liars and a burden on society.

Consequently, disablist abuse has increased year-on-year since then, despite being mentioned many times by the national news media (who, although Tory-controlled, find it easy to divorce the symptom of this disease from its cause).

Here, the incident was relatively low-key – an able-bodied woman behind behind a disabled woman who walks with a stick complaining that she had a place to be and the disabled woman was walking too slowly.

On being informed that the woman she was criticising was disabled and could not walk any faster, this … lady… approached her again and said she had no business being out of her house and should stay at home.

It’s still a disablist hate crime.

It demonstrates the way we are being taught to think disabled people should be hidden away, out of sight, where prejudiced Tory “benefit” policies can quietly kill them off – as has happened to hundreds of people whose stories have been highlighted in the news, and probably tens or hundreds of thousands of others who haven’t.

In Scotland, the SNP is phasing in a new disability benefit that aims to treat claimants with dignity and sympathy.

But in England, it seems clear that the 40 per cent who vote Tory and thereby hold the rest of us hostage are determined to put the boot in.

Source: Disabled woman verbally abused by shopper in Middlebrook Retail Park carpark | The Bolton News

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Tory opinion poll asks ‘degrading’ question about disability – and it will help form national policy

As a man in a relationship with someone who has a disability, I can confirm that this is disgustingly inappropriate.

What do you think of this tweet by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire?

Four those who can’t read images well, the question is: “Do you agree or disagree that you would be happy to have a physical relationship with a disabled person?”

The implication is that people with disabilities are sub-human and should not enjoy the same relationships as the rest of us – and that shows despicable prejudice by the Tory government.

As I say, my own partner has a disability so I know this subject very well.

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Man thrown out of wheelchair and knocked unconscious in vile disablist attack

This is what happens when you have a government that promotes prejudice against disabled people in the media and on the streets.

Karl Dean was minding his own business, making his way back from the pub in his wheelchair on Sunday, when he was attacked from behind by another man.

This person threw his wheelchair over. Mr Dean, who has cerebral palsy, fell out and hit his head on the ground, the impact knocking him unconscious.

It will be interesting to see if the police exert themselves

There was no attempt to rob Mr Dean; the motivation for the attack seems to have been nothing more than hatred of a person with a disability.

Source: Disabled man left bloodied and dazed after thrown from wheelchair in cruel attack – Hull Live

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Commission’s refusal to probe disability deaths proves that some are more equal than others

Read this and draw your own conclusions about the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and the views of its members on whether people with disabilities are either human, or have rights:

The equality watchdog has rejected calls for it to investigate deaths linked to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), more than a year after an MP asked it to launch an inquiry.

Labour’s Debbie Abrahams, a former shadow work and pensions secretary, first approached the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in April last year with her concerns about links between DWP and the deaths of benefit claimants, and the wider impact of DWP policies on disabled people.

Eight months ago, the commission said it was reviewing what “potential” work it could undertake to tackle “discriminatory decision-making in the social security system” and would respond to Abrahams “in due course”.

Now, 14 months after she first raised concerns with the commission, and following another “holding reply” in February, EHRC has finally decided that, “due to the pandemic”, it will not be able to carry out an inquiry into DWP this year.

It only produced this response after being approached again by Abrahams and Disability News Service (DNS).

Source: Watchdog snubs call for probe into DWP deaths, after delay of more than a year – Disability News Service

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Ableism’s death toll of disabled lives grows amid politician’s pandemic failure | Foreign Policy

This is horrifying but accurate:

Throughout the crisis, global attitudes have been shaped by one clear and horrifying principle: Some lives matter more than others.

That thinking, whether it applied to pensioners, fat people, asthmatics, or many others with the range of preexisting conditions that make individuals more vulnerable to COVID-19, runs deep. It’s a form of what disability activists call ableism—the idea that non-disabled lives are simply more important.

In its extreme form, it’s the murderous politics of the Nazis, who deemed people with disabilities “life unworthy of life.” During the pandemic, similar attitudes have been less intentional but sometimes equally deadly.

The idea that letting older and vulnerable people die was part of the specific government planning in the United Kingdom is shocking. But it effectively pervades the American response too—at least as led by President Donald Trump.

Ableism has been part of the core of Trumpism since the start. Trump’s own fear of physical weakness—evidenced in his recent defensiveness over the simple act of walking slowly down a plank—and disdain for people with disabilities have long been evident.

He infamously mocked a reporter’s disability during his original election campaign and has cut services to people with disabilities while in government. Right-wing leaders globally have echoed the language of blame toward people with preexisting health conditions like heart disease and diabetes, such as Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil.

Even as the deaths have piled up in the United States, Republicans and coronavirus deniers have gone searching for excuses for them—usually focusing on existing vulnerabilities.

Catastrophic health consequences are deeply linked to prejudice.

So there it is. The UK’s Tories opened the disablist can of worms and, before we could say “backstabber”, it had spread around the world.

Note the way disabled people and those from black and ethnic minority groups are lumped together for discrimination, too.

And Covid-19 is making it worse because the bigots have an excuse now.

Source: Ableism’s Death Toll of Disabled Lives Grows Amid Politician’s Pandemic Failure

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Appalling police brutality in the UK, but was it racism – or disablism?

Police brutality: the man under the two police officers had a blue ‘disabled’ badge for his car. He was parked legally on a single yellow line when these two officers demanded he move the car. He refused so they beat him senseless, breaking a finger in the process.

This is not an incident from the demonstrations against police violence against black and minority ethnic people over the last week or so.

It happened last year – in London.

James McAsh explains it perfectly well in his Twitter thread so I’ll hand over to him:

Youness Bentahar, I’m guessing, is not ethnically “White British”. He also had a blue badge for disabled drivers (or those who drive for disabled people). As such, he was entitled to park where he was and the police had no right or reason to ask him to move his vehicle.

But they still beat him senseless, breaking a finger at one point and using handcuffs as knuckledusters to punch him (in the kidneys?) at another.

Should Mr Bentahar have meekly allowed police to arrest him? Mr McAsh argues that it would mean black people who have committed no crimes should allow the police to harass them or commit violence.

But as a disabled man – or somebody driving for a disabled person – he would also have had a responsibility, either to the disabled person for whom he was driving – to carry out the job he’d been asked to do, or to himself – to avoid being taken to a police station where the extra needs of his disability may be ignored (and let’s face it, that’s what the video evidence here suggests).

Who told these police officers they could behave in this manner towards a person from an ethnic minority?

Who said it was all right for them to victimise a person who was disabled – or was acting for a disabled person?

As this happened in London, we may conclude that these were Metropolitan Police officers.

Their commissioner would be Cressida Dick. Perhaps she would like to answer these questions?

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Try telling Errol Graham that ‘Black Lives Matter’. Oh you can’t – he’s dead

Errol Graham.

What? You think Errol Graham only died because he was ill? Your Conservative government is multiply-prejudiced and can ensure that people die for any number of trumped-up and ridiculous reasons.

Consider this:

Fair point?

Errol Graham was starved to death by a prejudiced Conservative-run benefit system.

My report on Mr Graham states:

He had been receiving incapacity benefit, and then ESA, for many years as a result of enduring mental distress that had led to him being sectioned.

The DWP stopped Mr Graham’s Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) entitlement – and backdated that decision to the previous month – after making two unsuccessful visits to his home to ask why he had not attended a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment (WCA) on August 31, 2017.

He had not been asked to fill in an ESA50 questionnaire, though. Why not?

The government department managed to stop an ESA payment that had been due to be credited to his bank account on October 17, the same day it made the second unsuccessful safeguarding visit.

Its own rules state that it should have made both safeguarding visits before stopping the benefits of a vulnerable claimant.

So the Tories cut off his benefits early, after a botched benefit reassessment procedure.

Here’s the clincher:

On an ESA form years before, he had told the DWP he could not cope with “unexpected changes”, adding: “Upsets my life completely. Feel under threat and upset…”

He said: “Cannot deal with social situations. Keep myself to myself. Do not engage with strangers. Have no social life. Feel anxiety and panic in new situations.”

The DWP had needed – but failed – to seek further medical evidence from Mr Graham’s GP, in order to make an informed decision about him.

In fact, it seems this would not have made much difference as Mr Graham’s GP had not seen him since 2013, or recalled him for vital blood tests or issued prescriptions since 2015, despite medical conditions including significant, long-term mental distress and hypothyroidism.

It was known that Mr Graham’s condition made him fear contact with people he did not know – like benefit assessors who turned up on his doorstep unannounced. But they still did it. And they still demanded that he attend a work capability assessment in a place full of people he did not know, without even having sent him a benefit claim form first.

They treated him unfairly. Isn’t that the whole point of the Black Lives Matter movement – that people of colour are treated unfairly?

As a result, he starved to death.

And the only reason we know this is his Housing Benefit was cut off at the same time as ESA, so he stopped paying rent. His body was found by bailiffs entering the house to repossess it.

The Tory-run Department for Work and Pensions would never have checked up on his well-being.

We already knew this. When I submitted a Freedom of Information request to find out how many people had died after the Tory government had cancelled their sickness benefit claims, the Department for Work and Pensions said it was unable to provide information for anyone whose claims had been cancelled more than two weeks before their deaths. It is government policy to leave these people to fend for themselves with no support at all.

Of course, leaving someone to starve to death in their home is not as dramatic as beating them to death on the street (or asphyxiating them, in the case of George Floyd).

But it is still prejudicial treatment.

So, what is the current outcry saying, if it does not include sick/disabled people like Errol Graham in its outrage?

Is it really saying some black lives matter more than others?

Let’s change that.

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Paper highlights government-created barriers to work for people with disabilities

Brick wall: Wheelchair-user Abbi Brown may have felt that using public transport was like running up against a similarly-impenetrable barrier.

This is a pleasant surprise.

I had expected an article in The Express about the way people with disabilities are kept out of jobs to be an attempt to pressgang them into inappropriate positions; it isn’t.

Instead, it highlights the problems faced by people who want to work but are hampered by attitudes to their disabilities.

So we read the story of the woman behind the Maltesers “disability” advertising campaign, whose journeys to work took twice as long as anybody else’s because rail operators have failed to make their journeys accessible for people with disabilities.

We learn about the man who struggled to get job interviews until he stopped mentioning that he is almost totally blind.

He works in information technology using adapted software and magnifiers that mean the quality of his work is not affected.

He was even put off attending an interview by one firm’s illegal attitude to his guide dog! While he did take part, after reminding the company representative of their legal obligation, the experience convinced him that he would not want to work there.

Finally, we were told about the man who tried to use the Tory government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme – only to struggle with asphyxiating bureaucracy and the short deadlines it demands.

These are real problems for people with disabilities who want to get into work, that the Tory government has done its best to ignore.

For example, nine railway operators have had the deadline for making their trains accessible extended after failing to do anything about it. What happens when they break the new deadline? Will it be extended again?

A fat lot of good that will be for people with disabilities.

And what happens to those who are blocked from work through no fault of their own?

They have to claim state benefits – and readers of This Site should know very well how badly the assessment systems are rigged against them.

We end up with a situation in which some of our brightest and best people may be thrown onto the street to curl up and die, simply because they are slightly different from the rest of us.

This is a timely article from the Express.

It reminds us that, while the UK is becoming demonstrably racist amid the controversy over Brexit, there is a terrifying undercurrent of disablism going generally unreported.

Source: How one million disabled people are shut out of employment in the UK | UK | News | Express.co.uk

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Will Labour take Hastings & Rye after Conservative candidate’s disablist remark?

End the hostile environment: Labour’s policies for the disabled really are kinder, gentler politics.

Hastings & Rye? That’s Amber Rudd’s old constituency, isn’t it? The one she held with an advantage of just 346 votes over Labour’s Peter Chowney in 2017? Well, it looks like he’ll take the seat this year!

Why’s that, you ask?

Well, it’s probably got something to do with the current Tory candidate being hugely prejudiced against disabled people.

Sally-Ann Hart was met with cries of “shameful!” after she told people at a local hustings that people with learning disabilities should be paid less than fully-able people because they “don’t understand money”.

What should we understand this to mean?

I think it means it is Conservative policy to rip off and shortchange people whenever and wherever they think it is possible.

Never mind whether they do a good job or not, if someone has a learning disability, the Tories are saying not only that you can – but that you should – pay them less money.

That’s exploitative – and probably against equalities law.

In response, one person shouted, “I’m autistic, and I want to get paid for the work I do!”

Quite right, too.

But we can see what kind of nation the Tories would create if they are elected into government again on December 12: one in which the hostile environment they have already built for disabled people would spill over into open contempt, with more pushed into poverty, and possibly even more deaths than we’ve seen in the last nine years of Tory misrule.

The one good aspect of this is that, with such openly prejudiced remarks, Sally-Ann Hart won’t be a part of it. Right?

Source: Man born without arms or legs told to prove he is disabled enough for benefits

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This casual disablism has infected the UK since the Tories took office

This trolley is in a space that should be free for wheelchair users.

A disabled woman was deprived of the wheelchair space she had booked on a train because the company said it was “policy” to park a catering trolley there.

It is a symptom of the casual disablism that has infected the UK since the Conservatives took office and started treating people with disabilities as less-than-human.

Hollie Brooks was told if a second wheelchair user had booked a seat on the train, she could have had her place.

Apparently her money, on its own, simply isn’t good enough. Charming.

A disabled woman was left feeling “like a second-class citizen” when she boarded a Greater Anglia train to find her allotted wheelchair space taken up with a catering trolley and boxes of food.

Hollie Brooks, a 29-year-old audience development manager and freelance journalist from Durham, was travelling from Norwich to Colchester on 30 August when the incident occurred.

Having booked a wheelchair space with a companion seat well in advance, Hollie was surprised to hear from a member of staff on the platform that the trolley was currently in her space, but was assured it would be moved.

Upon boarding, Hollie discovered that the cart was still in the space she had booked.

The member of staff who was manning the trolley told Hollie it was Greater Anglia policy to use one of the wheelchair spaces in first class for catering facilities if the buffet car wasn’t in use.

Source: Disabled passenger felt like ‘second-class citizen’ after wheelchair space on train blocked by catering trolley | The Independent

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