A short blog with a poem for the election

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The sun is lovely when it’s out in London but the election is a gruelling, dispiriting experience, even with my efforts to avoid party political broadcasts and any hint of leaders’ debates.

Meanwhile, a poem to remind us of the type of people we are dealing with. Not much else to say this week other than bring on May 7th and I pray to any Gods that will listen that we do not have to suffer another five years of right wing greed-fuelled anti less-than-wealthy people, government.

Fraud

You poke and prod my pocket 

As servants clear your moat,

While I’m wheeling and I’m walking

In a ragged shabby coat.

     

You snatch and crush our wages

As servants shine your Rolls,

While we’re shouting and we’re swaying

In old seven-hand clothes.

You cling onto your work tests

A posh brat with a dummy.

While we scrape in our gutter

For a glimmer of some honey.

Granddad struggles in the morning,

Whimpers gently towards the night.

Sitting in his own hot shit

‘Cause his care scheme’s not paid right.

What kind of warped out world

Is this one I see unfolding?

Our rulers fudging porno, second homes,

And any chi-chi small holding.

Independent Living Fund

It helps us live full lives –

You want all cripples in a home

Our freedom to deprive.

Hypocrisy, it is on trend

And avarice shouts loud;

Bankers greed, bloats richest schemes.

Tax dodgers smirking proud.

We’re scratching and we’re scraping

At food banks for a crumb.

Recession, it’s a game of blame –

But decry the posturing election scrum.

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The Circus Is In Town and It’s Looking Rather Dull

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So it begins. Each time I swear I will hibernate or retreat to a cave to swear, and fume and howl.

Politics is banned in my home, particularly the TV ‘debates’ (more like sweaty mass-debates fnar fnar). There’s a saying: ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’ – which means for plebs like me: ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same.’ Much overused but I don’t care. Every time I hear a politician open their mouth, I’m in a time-machine of dreary rhetoric, promises made to be broken; the robotic banality of party leaders who are so enamoured of the media circus that they come across as not just squeaky clean but less than human, and when stripped down to their nasty bones, I suggest there’s very little that defines a difference between them.

Maybe they should have a fart debate – cue obvious joke about hot air.

The detestable Farage with his mock ordinary chap persona sickens me but the one positive glint – if we can call it that – is that he is memorable in his obnoxiousness. I hiss when he looms unexpectedly onto my TV, an emotional response not evoked by anyone else other than perhaps Iain Duncan Shit, who I am convinced is a robot, one that has certainly had his emotion chip removed.

I urge everyone to look at manifestos and pledges, even if for a laugh. It’s all so tiresome, though I must suppose that UKIP are going for the animal welfare vote by saying they will ban the live export of animals. Mind you, Labour will stop the badger cull, while in opposition, the Tories, with their hunting-shooting-fishing numbers, nervously say they will repeal the ban on hunting, saying the ban has done nothing for animal welfare. Er, unless you’re a fox…

There’s a good summary of the pledges here (BBC) which is as good a starting point as any. Although I note that not one of these mentions support to keep open ILF or ring-fence the money transferring to local authorities, which is crucial for severely disabled people to remain independent. Indeed, other than oblique mentions, the rights of disabled people do not feature in any significant way. Even while I cackle, grim faced, at the leaked document showing the Tories with their blooded axe held high proposing another £12 billion cuts to welfare, this isn’t to say I’m not scared. Damn scared – and angry.

I accidentally clocked stony-faced IDS on last Sunday’s Andrew Marr show and the deadly minister was in his element denying everything. In a parliament that has had endless cruel cuts, the suggested attacks on Carer’s Allowance, which saves the taxpayer so much money, has to count as one of the lowest.

As someone who has kept journals for 30 years, I’ve recorded the events of a fair few elections, from the dark Mordor days of Maggie to the glib spin of Blair; hopes raised, expectations halted. On it goes; on it goes.

Nonetheless, do push the bastards with verbals, with emails, with protests. Make them squirm. Make them give you answers. There are backbenchers who are good people, who will respond to you – who appear human. Engage with them.

We must vote. Those majority of us who are the Have-Nots. It’s all we’ve got.

The Theory of Everything but Not Quite Enough

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Imitating cripples and the winning of Oscars – by Penny Pepper – a disabled person

I took time out from the boredom of convalescence to watch this film. Yes, the story of everyone’s favourite cripple and his first wife Jane, the much cooed over, The Theory of Everything (TTOE).

It hasn’t been an easy blog to write, especially as Hawking appears to be lapping up publicity and endorsing Eddie Redmanyne’s performance from his appearance at the Academy Awards ceremony, to sound bites espousing ‘Well done Eddie, I’m very proud of you… at times I thought he was me.’

Thus freshly Oscar-ed Eddie Redmayne enters into the unhallowed annals of cripple impersonators – there should be a special award for this perhaps? A Spazzer? Spozcer? I’d suggest A Stephen but Hawking probably wouldn’t get the irony and it would no doubt be hijacked into something worthy.

So this year’s Stephen goes to… Eddie! In this perfect mimicry, Eddie drags his feet, curls his hands, twists his mouth a la Hawking for all he’s worth – the media is full of interviews about how he studied patients and even had speech therapy for this gold-star imitation. Oh my.

So, before judging any other aspect of this film I have to get this massive exercise in cripping-up out of the way. It sticks in the craw. I know the arguments against using a disabled actor and, you know, it’s not good enough and it is frankly shit.

It is not about urging casting directors into an equally disturbing ‘copy’ an impairment system. It’s to do with allowing disabled actors to bring their experience of what it is like to be disabled to a role about a disabled person. For fucks sake, let’s try harder, at least.

But I liked it – a bit, and more than I was expecting. And I like Eddie and think he’s an exceptional actor – he doesn’t need to cripple-mimic to show that.

I was slack in not realising the film is based on the book Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking, Stephen’s first wife, and this lapse meant I found the initial perspective confusing.

Presumably the screenplay fleshed out Hawking’s own pre-Jane story and the early scenes are platitudes of happy young Oxbridge boffins on bikes. Then we have the Sad Music Moments of Stephen in hospital corridors at his diagnosis; I almost expected the film to go into Black and White Land, and a droll voice to start asking for money, and a text number to donate now to save this suffering species…of physicist.

Non-disabled film-makers plainly can’t help regurgitate the idea of impairment as fearful tragedy and only tragedy. An individual might see it like that; other individuals do not, and as yet we have no balanced representations to show the experience of an acquired impairment in any other way than this. Hawking clearly hasn’t lived his life in a tragedy mode; it wasn’t the end of everything for him. I yearned for alternative metaphors – swirly black-holes, fiery supernova damn it – unconventional idioms to show the experience of the diagnosis, anything to get away from how film has handled this before (and before, and before).

While TTOE does sometimes strike me as a tame TV film, once Jane comes into the story, the film develops a tone of intimacy. I smiled at the scenes showing the couple in bed together, still making babies, still being ‘normal’. Sex and cripples, always a topic of intense curiosity, though of course the joke is this is a non-disabled actor pretending, so the taboo factor isn’t really much to go on about.

There’s many lost opportunities which would have expanded this beyond a staid biopic. Stephen gets what many disabled people would recognise is a Personal Assistant, Jonathan, albeit in an informal capacity at first. Swallowing my ire at the casting always, I enjoyed these moments when the family frolic on the beach, Jonathan enabling Stephen to get onto the sand, and to paddle his feet – something I myself have done through assistance of a PA.

It all swims along in a gentle, genteel manner, reeling out formulaic scenes of Stephen struggling, Jane Struggling, Babies Bawling, Stephen “giving in” to a wheelchair, a power chair and so on. Just occasionally we are reminded that Stephen is a genius and has disproved his own theory about black holes – yes, he is a physicist!

I must mention the TTOE pen scenes, (and I note with glee this was picked up on in a disparaging tone in a blog on The Slate). Early on Stephen-Ed does the weak hand tremble; he drops pens but he picks them up. Near the end of the film when on stage in his wheelchair, basking in applause and feted by his peers, a pretty woman drops her pen in the audience – and in his mind Stephen-Ed throws off that crippled body and strides to her side, an abled-bodied gallant, picking up the pen – before going back to the prison of his dreadful impairment (etc etc). I did swear aloud at this trite fancy – though of course, I cannot say if Stephen (or Jane) relayed this episode to the filmmakers. The film certainly holds up disability in a sickly glow of inspiration porn; a pure able-bodied perspective of a disabled person. The reviews effuse with off-putting superlatives and clichés. “Defy… impossible odds”, “earnest and profound”, “tasteful and affecting”. And so on, ad nauseam.

I did crave to know more about the practical and pertinent details of Stephen’s social care. I admit this wasn’t within the remit of this story, of Jane’s story. But how did he get his staff (eventually) in place? From a disabled person’s perspective, I need to know these things; there can be a strong validation in seeing aspects of your life echoed in that of a famous disabled person’s. After all, it doesn’t happen every day or even every year.

And I have to bring in class, sorry. Hawking the recognised genius, is supported by a devoted wife, and colleagues, as his impairment progresses. As Stephen is supporting the film, we can only trust that this is true – but it’s a long way from the struggle with disability if you are poor, working class and not remotely privileged. There’s a nod to Stephen being a –‘liberal socialist’ – but I get the sense that he was never on the rough end of a government sponsored drive to get scrounging disabled people off benefits, and that his extraordinary brain found him the gilded life at Cambridge, allowing him to bypass many of the challenges we ordinary cripples face. I also wonder if many a Con-Dem hasn’t speculated unhelpfully that if Prof Hawking can work, why can’t the bloody lot of you lazy shirkers? There’s much irony then that this film is primarily about the world’s most famous disabled person.

Did Hawking receive the now doomed Independent Living Fund, set to close in June of this year? The Prof does support our fight to stop it closing; the redoubtable disabled activist Gabriel Pepper has letters to prove it. A shame that our fight to save ILF, which supports severely disabled people like him to live independently, cannot link into the PR around this film.

I know that I’ve raised issues outside of the remit of a gentle and middling biopic made by non-disabled people and supported by one disabled person, who dare I say, seems utterly disinterested in disability politics.

Yet this film might purport to be a story about a rather engaging couple who find themselves in a set of unexpected circumstances, but especially as Eddie won the Oscar, it’s set to be a global phenomenon. It will move across the world’s movie markets and take on its own time travel. Hawking may be a genius but he ain’t no obvious activist. I’ll leave the argument of whether he should be for another day, but regrettably this film carries tired ideals and predictable messages about the fear of impairment, which do little to give average disabled person, the not-so-genius like me, anything much to celebrate.

I’ll end by saying like the paradoxes we are told exist in physics, this film is heavy with the contradictory – when considering Stephen Hawking, at the centre of it all, is the most famous disabled person in the world, and one I speculate, who is actually quite happy with his lot.

Bonds, Homes and Care for Profit: the Worth of Disabled People

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In light of Lord Freud’s so-called thinking aloud statement that some disabled people ‘aren’t worth the minimum wage’, it set me to think about how we – current society – assess the value of people.

First, some definitions from the OED, which is as good a place to start as any.

Worth – the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.

Value – the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something; the material or monetary worth of something.

Pretty much interchangeable then, and there is that word ‘deserve’ rearing its pitiful head. Of late it seems disabled people exist on a precarious tight-rope of deserving or not deserving, and this state is a variable as those flying through the political ladder-climbing post of Minister for Disabled People.

Sometimes, if not all times, you are more worthy if you were in the military and are now disabled. There’s still an added hierarchy it seems; limb loss and spinal injury evoke more worth than mental distress and conditions such as PTSD. We now have the royalty sanctioned Invictus Games; the rather scant website ‘offers us highlights of an inspiring four days of sport, as well as a personal thank you message from Prince Harry.’

Deserving – and inspiring. Another indicator of worth?

I’m not attacking disabled people who have gained impairments through their military service, although the hypocrisy of successive governments through endless conflicts leaves me incredulous. It strikes me as a juggling act by politicians of seeming to have a conscience and making an effort towards social justice.

“All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.” A quote from Orwell’s Animal Farm, published in 1948; a parable of socialist ideas perverted into the Stalinist tyranny. It seems apt to say some disabled people are deemed more equal than others. And, is equality the same as worth? They are inevitably linked, because human beings should be ‘worth’ the same in the sense of striving for equality for all.

There’s a lot of talk about downwards slippery slopes for disabled people, and I suspect one is that which sees our ‘worth’ as being a method to further the bank balances of private care-home owners.

It’s bizarre. Many of us may be deemed of no economic worth and yet, here we may have use – a circle of money, passing through us. Without touching the sides. Without actually valuing us other than assigning us as ‘products’, which can be used to syphon money from the state (mostly) and forward it to company owners and those who have shares in these care industry bodies. Reading market analysis of the care home market such as this, is enough to bring on a depression, wading through terminology of bonds and transactional yields. Irony is, apart from foreign investors looking to scoop up these institutions, it seems profits are down…

Let’s reach for a higher level. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

  • “…recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…”

The UDHR was drawn up in 1948 after the abominations of world war. I’m not sure we’ve progressed very far with this ideal, but for disabled people the rights towards equality we’ve fought for, are in danger of serious erosion.

The Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities, under pins the UDHR and adds more:

  • “…Recognizing the valued existing and potential contributions made by persons with disabilities to the overall well-being and diversity of their communities, and that the promotion of the full enjoyment by persons with disabilities of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and of full participation by persons with disabilities will result in their enhanced sense of belonging and in significant advances in the human, social and economic development of society and the eradication of poverty…

The language may be a little cranky and clumsy to our ears but it is important. We at least have ‘valued’ in there and it places us within a context of human beings that experience discrimination. Governments should take note. We are not the passive recipients of hand-outs that we once were. Indeed, article 19 of the CRPD may be helpful to the arguments to stop the closure of the Independent Living Fund.

November to December was UK Disability History Month – but let’s look beyond it to remember who we are, what we have done, what we might do – and that value and worth should never be interpreted in the coldest terms of monetary balance alone. That is to judge us by the worst aspects of capitalism unbridled.

And I wonder when those of us not protected inside the wealthy echelons of the few, will be told their dogs and cats et al are unreasonable extravagancies of no worth…

Don’t Bother Me with God.

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Feeling a touch grumpy with Xmas, when on FB especially, a lot of hypocritical psuedo-christian nonsense is thrown up by people with no religious practice whatsoever at any other time. Even in an excuse to be ‘British’/’English’ – whatever the fuck that means in the end – and the ‘right’ to have xmas.

I am not a christian. I hate all religious extremism, though I am not what I would call an atheist. I celebrate the midwinter festival in a secular way and to note the Solstice which pins the shortest day of the year to the calendar as an astrological phenomenon.

By all means have a religion. But don’t get all sanctimonious at xmas and put it in my direction. Keep it private and quiet, please.

And I hate to break this to you, but Jesus  was not by any stretch English (Anglo-Saxon) or British (‘Celtic’). (Bracing myself for hate posts…) I think that’s a well-supported fact. If we accept the evidence for him as a religious figure he was Jewish and lived in the Middle East. You know, a foreigner.

Let’s enjoy the midwinter moments together with loved ones. I like that we have this focus in the dark to reflect and look forward. The days will open up now, the gloom will turn away.

But keep God out of it – and be happy that the light really is returning. Slowly.

Crippled Scrounger Leaves Used Sex Toy in Christmas Harrods

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I thought I’d play with headlines today. It seems that a hint of scandal helps your blog go viral.

And maybe it’s true, my headline.

But as we hurtle into the festive splurge I find the government is on my mind. Or should I say politicians.  I didn’t watch the BBC’s Question Time with Brand and Farage because it would have brought on my angina.

I believe Russell means well. He also sat on my ex-husband’s lap recently. Now, that IS true. It was at a protest and I believe he was having a lark.

But aren’t we all sick of this biggest of pantomimes? And an increasingly nasty one, veering into right-wing slogan politics, replete with villians twirling their non-British bushy moustaches – Romanian non doubt – while making perfect sandwiches with the oh so violent Hungarians. And let’s not get onto beards. Beards: the terror of our nation. You should live near me in central London. Facial hairy-scary in hipster HQ Shoreditch.

Then there’s us, the sly-eyed peg-legged Tiny Tims, the melodramatic wailing loonies; the fake beggars all, sucking the state for hand-outs.

As for the left-wing – what left-wing? I realise that its scant presence in the media is precisely because the media is mostly Murdoch-driven right-wing, but also there seems to be a fear – an embarrassment – about being a socialist these days. When once it was a source of pride, as was living in a council house. Ed Milliband is plainly uncomfortable with being a socialist as he flaps around for policies to lure the electorate.

I wish all politicians would shit out their hypocrisies and let us behold the steaming turds of truth.  Tell us (more) of what they really think –  a la Lord Freud. I’ve been told the country cannot afford to assist me (and thousands) to work and live as an equal human being over many years, including though not exclusively, via The Guardian comments, when I write for Comment is Free.

So. Some people are not as equal as others. What next then? The whole picture is rarely looked at. We seem to enjoy living in bubbles, and certainly the privileged political classes revel in this. I’m all right Jack n Jill mentality. It’s OK to be disabled if you have money. Money removes many barriers; it pays for the reasonable adjustment enshrined in shiny gold the Equalities Act.  You can pay for your disabled child to go to better schools, have the best support, and even pay to bypass inaccessible environments to some extent.

Oh money. There is enough to go around. I am quite sure of it. Look at the Champagne Situation. Poor Lords, cheap nasty bubbly foisted on the dears. Tax payers cough up! Never mind granny in the  underfunded care-home sitting in piss, give our betters some posh drinkies. Don’t dare to tell me this is different. That the funding stream is not the same. Make it the same fuckers. Get a grip.

From Poor Lords to Poor Law. It’s been around for awhile, this idea of the deserving and undeserving. The Victorians loved this notion, as much as the men enjoyed the services of the massive population of prostitutes. But earlier still, 1388 to be precise we had this:

In 1388, the Statute of Cambridge (12 Rich.II c.7) introduced regulations restricting the movements of all labourers and beggars. Each county “Hundred” became responsible for relieving its own “impotent poor” — those who, because of age or infirmity, were incapable of work… Following this Act, beggars could pretend neither to be labourers (who needed permission to wander), nor to be invalids (who were also forbidden to wander). The 1388 Act is often regarded as the first English poor law.

There we have it. Restricting the poor and those pesky invalids. Nothing new under the sun.

And it remains; these days anyone outside those gilded echelons is a target – as a scrounger, as the underserving poor, the disabled poor, the working poor. The reality is more fluid and surprising, if anyone in government dares to step outside stereotyping, look at history, read a good book or two. We connect, over-lap. We are within the body of humanity. We are humanity-get over it.

I was going to look at the hypocrisy around the support given to disabled children – and premature babies even – for them to be discarded into an increasingly fascistic society as adults. Services undermined, closure of Independent Living Fund, attacks on social care, mental health services and funding that supports employment.

Another day, another year. Damn – 2015 – Election year. I’ll hibernate.

Oh well, perhaps, meanwhile, I can sell my sex toy story to the tabloids?

Scandal one: disabled woman has sex toy.

Scandal two: she’s in Harrods.

Scandal three: she can afford to be in Harrods.

Scandal four: Story is mostly fabricated.

Mostly.

Season’s goodwill to you all. Enjoy the midwinter partying. The light returns – and I hope that it will be in more ways than one.

Dadafest 2014 Blog 1: Scripts, Surprises and the Nuisance of Pain.

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It comes to my attention that family and some friends have a rather sweet notion that I lead a ‘glamorous’ life.

One minute I’m a sudden guest on Newsnight due to the Lord Freud debacle then, previewing Lost in Spaces at Soho Theatre, with its old insalubrious reputation bestowing a glint of the naughty, then off to The Royal Festival Hall to be naughty in Criptease – and now, look at me, the show-off. I am soon to Liverpool to the mighty DadaFest International 2014 to give my show a second airing – a fitting conclusion to nine months of intense development before the show tours in 2015.

I don’t wish to ruin their romantic notions of my life, but the reality is that for all those moments of glorious achievement, there are endless days of hard work – and the irritations of juggling different and complex impairments.

I’ll say it and be damned. Yes, there is pain too, a gnawing goblin in my bones. I hate it and always will. It gets in my way.  No, I don’t think life isn’t worth living, no I don’t want to go to Dignitas, and no, I do not support the Dignity in Dying Bill.

Because, amongst many other pleasures, there are the words. Mine.

Oh, words words words words words words words words words.

Words. Into forms. Into stories. My passion. If I don’t indulge this passion I retreat into myself and dissolve into a mute weepy puddle. Excuse the self-indulgent moment.

It’s all about that; and I am alert as I can be with Bethany, my director and project manager, as we make lists for travel, ensuring a stress-limiting journey to Liverpool, booking train assistance and streamlining props. You know what? It’s exciting!

After a quick lunch it’s time to revisitLIS hat the Lost in Spaces script.

I’m happy with the poems that feature in the show but want to tighten the structure. There’s a flow between the portrayal of stages in my life, coloured with music, photos and diary entries that must keep its focus. The visual must be supported with the spoken, and linking my life to the universal is key.

I do have a surprise for my Dadafest performance, a secret revealed only for the audience in Liverpool. If I tell you, I’d have to kill you, obviously.

 

So, watch my spaces!

Remembrance Sunday: the Crocodile Tears and Soft Hypocrisy of the Elite

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The Remembrance Sunday spectacle makes me gloomy. I will not make throw-away statements about it all being pointless etc. It needs more unravelling than that.

I am sad for the common people; my own ancestors who took part, others who were ‘conchies’ and played important roles in their millions. Ordinary people – my Dad was an evacuated war baby and later a Marine Reserve… And yet?

So much is for show, enshrining the rich, the privileged, reinforcing their status for us to ‘look up’ to, to underline a social order, that as a method of control seems very much to have the upper hand, because we instinctively want to remember and respect our dead.

Yet how many disabled service people get the support that need – long term? How about the elderly? Widows? I know these people are not supported well and I also know that the largely right-wing press does not cover the scandal as much as it should.

The writer in me cannot but help look at the stories beyond, to the individuals. And see links to the ongoing attacks on anyone outside the rich elite – unless it suits them in terms on flattering their own egos and guilt.

Therefore I am sad for all those deaths in war – perhaps some unavoidable with the fight agains Nazism/Fascism and its ilk – but I am also distressed that the hypocrisy and even cruelty, of our ‘leaders’ is so rarely acknowledged.

No, today is all about honour and bravery and respect, but blighted with the hideous crocodile tears of those is authority.

Death, Life and Wretched Words of Tragedy: today’s return of the Falconer Assisted Dying Bill

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I’ll start with some emotive words. Pain. Suffering. Tragedy. Incurable. I’ve had them flung at me since childhood. Sometimes well-intentioned in an effort at empathy but mostly from a lazy perspective of no effort to enter into my world, my actual world.

It seems there’s a lot of perplexity out there regarding any understanding of disabled people – and with the return to the Lords today of the Falconer Assisted Dying Bill, you can be sure of much hard copy extolling how many of us yearn for a peaceful death, aided by saintly doctors. There will be the usual muddle about terminal illness and the severely disabled, not helped by the supporters of AS who often have poster-people who are not terminally ill.

Ah, the Assisted Dying Bill. Surely it’s about common sense and compassion, after all, and putting in place relevant protections. We don’t let animals suffer, do we? And we all want that lovely easy passage of medical help to ‘pass on’?

No, I do not. My friends and colleagues do not. We say no to state-sanctioned death and refute the idea that this is a simple issue.

And so it begins again, the dripping sadness and distress and awful tragedy. Let’s throw in dependence. There is a growing belief that if we suffer, have pain, are dependent and, yes, are deemed tragic, then it is surely understandable – inevitable even – that we want help to die – terminally ill or not.

This debate is so often about fears of dependency, loss of autonomy, and horror about becoming a burden. Recently in the news is the case of Australian Martin Burgess, who took his own life three years after a diagnosis of cancer. A friend reported that “the idea of becoming dependent on someone or going into palliative care was ‘abhorrent’ to him.”

The Falconer Bill purports to be based on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. Ironically the statistics arising from this law show some salutary truths about why people chose assisted suicide, and also some scary facts about people out-living their terminal prognoses. As this report by Dr Peter Saunders shows, it’s not pain (or fear of it) that’s the key reason people decide to do it, but, “in 2013 93% cited ‘loss of autonomy’, 89% said they were ‘less able to engage in activities making life enjoyable’ and 73% listed ‘loss of dignity’.”

Not sure where that leaves me; dependent on others since my twenties – and in pain every day. Activities? I engage in them as much as I ever have – dependent on the level of social care and the barriers within society that I may face; factors that have solutions with the right will and funding.

I want to weep. If you’re on the fence, please look at the evidence, wake up and smell the dreaded deathly cocktail. We know Lord Freud thinks some disabled people are not worth the minimum wage – I went on Newsnight to declare my anger and alarm at those opinions. The government generally, and their media lackeys, are labelling thousands of innocent disabled people scroungers – or claiming we are too expensive to support. This is evidenced by the grossly unfair closure of the Independent living Fund, the chaotic replacing of Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments and highly underfunded palliative care. How convenient then, that we can be subtly coaxed towards a state-sanctioned death, which is better for everyone.

What is left for me to say? Immersed in medical care for much of my life and extremely familiar with pain, this issue is personal – but I am not anti-suicide or anti-choice (see my Guardian piece). I know I am a compassionate person and that is why I am against this bill. I fear it will be a charter for hurried death, a slope towards sly murder where, believe me, family and medical coercion can never be 100% safe-guarded against.

Moreover, it will inevitably become a duplicitous weapon in the undermining of the worth of those disabled people – of all impairments, medical conditions and illnesses – who dare to want to live, to contribute and to flourish for however long they have.

Freud and the Phoney Hypocrites in Power

And on we go. Have to reblog. This debate cannot go underground.

Telling the Story - Penny Pepper - The Naked Punk

A grey afternoon and on goes the Mac. I’m confronted with the face of Lord Freud, and quite as bad, the face of Esther McVey.

Along with the crazy tweetosphere, which sees him trend on #, a BBC report shows Freud was  “thinking aloud” it seems, caught out agreeing with a claim that some disabled people  “aren’t worth paying the minimum wage”. Other choice comments and misconceptions spew forth from this starting point.

I’m back from a pleasant lunch with a friend at a charming little cafe in Islington, spending a few quid of my tax credits (no £43 IDS type meals for moi). Freud and his ilk won’t ruin my good mood after this, but they sure as hell have refreshed my annoyance with the rampant hypocrisy of this government – and beyond it.

Labour seem cynical in seizing this opportunity to show up Lord Dodgy Freud for a cheap advantage when their…

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