08 May 2010

My Email to the Lib Dems on a coalition with the Tories

I’m not usually a Lib Dem voter, my opinion tends to sway between Lib Dem, Labour and Green.

But I voted for you this week. Why? Because I’m terrified of a Tory government.

Terrified as a disabled person. Terrified they’ll take my benefits and leave me starving.

Terrified as a child of an even more disabled person. Terrified that despite my own impairment and health problems that I’ll have to give up what little life I have and become my dad’s carer when the Tories take his care hours away, expecting people to “volunteer”.

Terrified as a lesbian. The election campaign has been full of stories of Tory homophobia. Just google “Philippa Stroud”.

Terrified as a person with oodles of health problems. I depend on the NHS to live. Please don’t support Cameron in taking it apart.

And I voted for you for electoral reform. According to http://www.voterpower.org.uk/holborn-st-pancras my vote is only worth 10% of a vote. I want my vote to count.

Please read Johann Hari’s article on what Britain under the Tories would look like for someone like me: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/poverty-and-injustice-in-david-cameronrsquos-model-borough-1962318.html

Please don’t get drunk on the power of the possibility of a seat in cabinet with the Tories. Please work with Labour, Green et al.

If you do work with the Tories I will never be able to vote Lib Dem again.


Footnote pinched from Lilwatchergirl: If you agree, and want to share your views with party HQ, e-mail balancedparliament@libdemvoice.org . They've asked for views before 2pm today, but I'm sure they'd find views useful at any time this weekend.

02 May 2010

BADD 10: Discrimination by ignorance and the myth of the DDA

"But I thought everywhere was accessible now."

How I loathe that sentence. It usually follows my asking "so why did you hire somewhere inaccessible for your event? Because now I can't come."

For example, I've just spent the last 3 days at a film festival/conference tied to my course (and is why my BADD post is a day late). I arrived on Thursday, picked up my ticket and was told by cinema staff "it's in screen 2, which is not accessible."


And, of course, the "but I thought..." line swiftly followed from the director of the event who'd hired the venue.

At the end of last year I joined a masters swimming team in my vague attempt to be slightly fitter/healthier. Recently the pool has had some lane closures due to building work and a member of the committee wanted to move the session I usually go to to a different pool until the building work had ended.

"Can you please not, cos, you know, I don't wanna be excluded and I hear the other pool is not accessible."

"But I thought..."

Lots of people started boo-hooing when The Astoria got demolished. Me? I was thrilled because never again will I miss seeing a band because they had their one London date in that inaccessible venue. When I told people why I was so pleased it had been demolished (and demolished to make way for an accessible train/tube station no less!) I frequently heard "But I thought..." I'm sure even most bands playing there didn't realise all the fans that were being excluded because of "but I thought..."

(I'm sure Jim Davidson would've loved playing there though.)

I'm a big fan of the DDA. Yeah, sure, it's got so many holes it's kinda like a sieve. But it wasn't around for the first half of my life and in the last 15 years since it was written I've noticed that the world has become much more accessible and less cruel.

But it does have its sieve-like qualities which means that the world isn't as accessible as it should be. There's not really any excuse for a major west end cinema that's part of a huge national chain to not have full access. But the holey law means they get away with it.

Then the myth that DDA works makes the problem worse. People book venues in good faith assuming they're accessible. The venues then think "we don't need to improve access because the money's still rolling in." And I'm the one that loses out.

I don't know how we go about pointing out to the world en masse that they're mythtaken (thanks Buffy!): The world is not accessible so when booking a venue you need to check access. But that's one I'll have to tackle another day. Now I'm going to put heat pads on my painy ankle and shoulder from hauling myself up a flight of stairs repeatedly for the last 3 days.