Sunday, 9 September 2012

Where Do We Go From Here?

As I write this the Paralympic's has just about finished and I am thinking what are my memories of it? Sporting memories will be covered in depth elsewhere so here are my slightly funky memories:

  1. The Royal Mail decided that disabled people were less worthy than non-disabled people and initially planned to offer disabled gold medal winners less recognition that non-disabled gold medallists. A public outcry followed on Twitter and the decision was reversed but amazingly the British Paralympic Association fully supported the decision to discriminate against disabled athletes.
  2. LOCOG thought it reasonable to charge disabled people a premium to access the Paralympic's through a Premium rate phone line. Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson is reported to support this position (I will happily edit this post if I am wrong) but it seems to me that we are suggesting it is OK to charge disabled people a premium to access services compared to non-disabled people who could book on-line without needing to use a premium rate phone number.
  3. It appeared to be difficult for disabled wheelchair users to secure "Olympic" seating with their families.Some reported on Twitter that staff at the venues bent over backwards to allow families to sit together but should the disabled have to rely on Charity in the 21st Century?
  4. Oscar Pistorius had a "hissy fit" and made life difficult for all of us that need "reasonable adjustments" at some time. Him of "blades fame" complained that a competitors blades were too long and gave him an unfair advantage. The blades in question were legal for Paralympic competition but illegal for Olympic competition. This gave support to the argument of "ablists" everywhere that the disabled ask for adjustments just to give them an advantage, NOT to level the playing field.
Glass is half full kind of memories. Maybe, but enough people are celebrating the achievements!

So what should be the legacy of the London 2012 Paralympic Games? I read a Tweet today from Christine Burns that to me encapsulated all I could hope for. Having asked permission to quote it hopefully you can see the magic in it.

RT : The lesson of the Paralympics is of what people can do if you redefine the rules to enable them, not about what they can't do if you don't.

Redefine the rules to access: Employment; Schools; Parliament; Shops; life?  

No comments:

Post a Comment