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Oct. 10th, 2011

On the plus side, last week the education committee did finally finish scrutinising the education bill. They took two hours rather than the one they had been allocated but taking twice as long as planned is par for the course for them, so no-one cavilled too much over that. Also on the plus side, the committee room, specially chosen to accommodate participants and observers with mobility issues, was not impractically full, so everyone was catered for.

Rather heavily on the minus side, though, this:
Baroness Campbell of Surbiton: … the Committee will know that I was one of the people who complained bitterly about coming into this Room. I am afraid that I am not happy that we are here. Yes, I love this lovely desk and the fact that my PA is able to help me to drink, but... no one asked me what it was going to be like for me to participate in this Room. No one came to us, and that is the lack of consultation that we often complain about outside this building to local authorities. In the Disability Discrimination Act, the number one rule is that you must consult, but no one consulted me personally... (T)he reason why I have that office on the Principal Floor, probably three minutes away from the Chamber, is that at any moment I may have to leave the Chamber and go to my room where I might be assisted to breathe properly. It is dangerous in this Room. I wanted Members to think about that and remember that consulting the person who experiences impairment is the number one rule. [Hansard]
Just to be clear, then, the government made great play of the fact that—for the sake of, let's face it, the disabled—the committee would be relocated at some inconvenience and expense to a more suitable location, but then airily overlooked some of the people they were accommodating. Some were consulted; Baroness “Oh for God's sake just call me Tanni” Grey-Thompson was certainly asked whether the room would suit but, for example, no-one ran it by the almost entirely paralysed woman with spinal muscular atrophy. It's almost as if attitudes and practices inside the building are as shit and thoughtless as they are outside it.

To be fair to the government, though, there's only so much faux politeness you should be expected to dish out to the very people you're busy demonising. Smiling and being solicitous to them while choosing your words carefully to put paid to any quaint 20th-century notions of “disability rights”, let alone having them in the room watching you beadily as you parade your ignorance about how easy it must be for them all just to go out to work, is something I think we'd all find pretty wearying and unrewarding—and there are at the very least 10 more days of this committee to go.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
undeadbydawn
Oct. 10th, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
*sigh*

dealing with exactly this sort of shit on a daily basis is why I will not go back into nursing or care work.

the extent to which people make these decisions _without checking with the people they affect_ is utterly insane. I battled for 8 years to maintain the life standard of one man with MND, and towards the end got to the point where I stopped asking and just did whatever was required. The Social Work Department hated me for it.

to which I say: fuck you. it isn't my problem that you couldn't understand how fucking wrong you were.

[watching said individual having full-blown rage attacks when his SWD agent entered the room was a massively revealing experience.]
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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