Thursday, 27 September 2012

How Can Disabled People get their voice heard?

I have had a very interesting TwitCon this morning which in my opinion outgrew Twitter as a medium for discussing it 3 others and myself started by discussing Labours culpability for ATOS and the Work capability Assessment (WCA) and progressed to a "guerilla" campaign against marginal seats at by-elections. I have copied this conversation to the end of this Blog for completeness.

In my opinion the conversation was about how the disabled can mobilise to act as a political force and we got to the point where we started to discuss ideas.

My position.
  • I do not believe the disabled are represented adequately by any organisation. Each organisation has it's own agenda and there is an "I'm alright Jack, don't want to rock the boat before my honour for Services to the Disabled is announced attitude" amongst the leaders of our Charities/ Organisations.
My ideas are as follows:

  1. What should a disabled candidate at an election for parliament stand for? The choice is to either stand as: 
    1. A candidate with a manifesto covering all areas of Policy; or 
    2. A Single Issue Candidate standing on a platform of fair play for the disabled.
  2. What is our manifesto? What do we campaign for? eg. If we campaign against ATOS and the WCA what do we replace them with? If we campaign for a fair share of government funds for disabled issues what is fair and where does the money come from? These are answers we need to have.
  3. Can we defend the share of the welfare budget that supports disabled people and can we dispel the myths surrounding government support for the disabled and contrast this to support of non-disabled people through eg. housing benefits/ support of the old through pensions etc.
  4. What are our key manifesto commitments?
    1. What benefit levels and qualifications for access to them do we propose?
    2. Do disabled people have adequate access to society (eg Premium rate phone lines for tickets to the Paralympics). What do we suggest?
    3. Do Disabled people have appropriate access to the job market. Is equality of treatment the right measure or should different requirements be considered for disabled candidates? Isn't equality measured better by equality of access rather than equality of treatment?
  5. Can we paint a compelling picture for the Daily Mail reading public of just how the benefit changes are affecting disabled people. Can we personalise our issues (with permission!!). C4 made a start!!!
  6. Can we both find candidates to put up for election that will be able to get our message across and will we be able to raise the necessary money to fund the campaigns.
  7. What disabilities are we concerned with? Invisible disabilities and mental health issues are invisible and the public doesn't seem to understand or want to support them. Are we going to highlight this issue in phase 1 or is that a phase 2/3/4 issue?
  8. We are having this conversation. DPAC are fielding a candidate at the Corby by election. I don't care who leads us but in my opinion we need to have an inclusive organisation that can organise the response of Disabled People.
  9. Do we have any "Rock Star" supporters that would be prepared to give us the PR edge. Are any Paralympians prepared or able to put their heads above the parapet to launch and support us.
  10. Do we want to organise at a National level or do we want to organise at a local level with some kind of "franchise" providing support/ assistance and consistency of message?
I hope this is enough to kick start the discussion?

Please leave comments?


Far from scoring political points, is correct to blame Govt, not , for shambles. Govt designed test and oversees contract.

but designed and introduced and so some of the blame is theirs!

Absolutely. But both govt used as shield - outsourcing services also means shunning responsibility for wider failures.
< exactly, but the problem becomes who has the guts to sort it out. My MP has written to both Yvette Cooper & IDS
. a key thing here is that political parties don't see ppl as voting bloc to appease and please, unlike pensioners.
agree. Disabled people not seen as coherent voting group
Unseating or the threat to unseat a marginal does matter to all parties. Orginising is the all.
we gave a DPAC candidate in Corby, #@Adam4Corby Adam Lutun but it has gone quiet. Organisation???
I don't think putting up candidates is the way to goHe she will lose. Lobby and influencing mp is all
even if they did, still need majority of MPs to see ppl as a powerful voting bloc like OAPs.
It is not impossible...Even Simon Hughes is in danger. He has input in his own party.
need to target a number of constituencies. Not all
Exactly it must not be seen in any way as political. Our politics will differ anyway. One reason only

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