What next for Disabled peoples organisations after UN judgement?
Here's a big shout out for all the Disabled peoples organisations (DPO’s) who went to Geneva to challenge our Government on their treatment of disabled people in this country. From me a big thank you for all your hard work and perseverance. It further gladdens me reading a report from Disability News Service to see a call from Disability Rights UK suggesting a boycott of involvement by DPO's. I fully support this action. But ask that it goes further and involves all disabled and voluntary organisations national and local.
Only yesterday I as the chair of Lincolnshire Independent Living drafted an email to my colleagues across the county calling for a similar thing at a local level. After years of involvement locally and nationally having participated in over 30 consolations local and national (since April this year), the majority of answers ringing the same across the country from fellow DPO's with little or no support, what else is there to do? When you are constantly asked for your voice then ignored. We can't keep talking if no one's listening. Worse still pretending that everything is ok and that this country is still a leader in Disability Rights when it is far from such. Over the term of this government's lead I have seen nothing but cuts. Cuts are one thing but these cuts are costing lives.
Unfortunately I see even further cuts happening after Brexit. Particularly after seeing in the Great Repeal Bill that individual ministers are going to be given powers to in effect bring in legislative changes without going through parliament. Can you imagine what’s going to happen all under the pretence of leaving the EU?
Without national action and the coming together of all Disability organisations standing together as one voice, Disability Rights has no future in this country, we will continue going backwards. It's time to put aside personal issues and not think about individual jobs or organisations we all need to work together. Over recent years many DPO's and disability related charities have all become too silent in my opinion. This has happened as most people haven’t recognised that to get government funding either national or local you have to now sign documents at commissioning saying you will no longer be allowed as an organisation to campaign against them. In all silencing the exact things they stood for. So many organisations I sit with regular will murmur behind doors and say there not happy but at the stage of actually voicing decent will be silent.
So often we hear we haven't got an endless pot of money, yet things that aren’t needed all of a sudden money is found for. It's not all about money, DPO's often have ideas that could save potentially substantial amounts of money, often these are suggested but ignored and the money goes on to other things that look good on paper but in reality do not change much or cost anything. For instance big praise for all those organisations raising awareness for hidden disabilities, by changing door signs but the actual toilets themselves are still too small for disabled users and for baby changing. Or the bringing in off legislation to enforce taxis stopping for disabled people, seven years down the road from when the legislation came out but still so convoluted that it only applies if they are on a local authority list....
It is time for all to stand together...remember a society will be judged by how it looks after its elderly, venerable and disabled. Look in the mirror yourself it’s not my job to judge, take a good look? Do you think you can stand there and say you or your organisation are doing your best to protect those in society that need it? After all a life unexamined is a life unlived. An unlived life isn't worthy at all.