Britain

Emergency on Planet Earth #23

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

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UPDATED: Cummings’s press statement has made his behaviour worse, not better…

Video: C of E Bishops line up to accuse Johnson of lying and call for Cummings to be sacked

Breaking: hospital closes A&E, turn away patients after new spike – 2 weeks to day after Johnson’s back-to-work blunder

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My good friend Julie Adams has written the following letter to the Conservative MP for Wrexham, Sarah Atherton. I fully support every word and I hope Julie gets the reply she deserves. It is exciting to learn that Dominic Cummings is due to give a public statement later today:

Dear Sarah,

I am writing to you as a matter of urgency regarding the actions of Dominic Cummings, as reported in several newspapers over the weekend (at least some of which have already been confirmed as true). As a senior aide to the Prime Minister, and someone who has sat in on COBRA meetings where lockdown regulations have been decided and revised, his position is surely now untenable.

Millions of people across the UK, including those here in Wrexham, have complied completely with the instructions to help minimise the spread of Covid-19, to protect our NHS and to save lives. This has resulted in people not being able to be with critically ill loved ones, not being able to be with loved ones as they lay dying, not being able to attend funerals or receive solace from immediate family members in person when bereaved, and in lengthy separations from family members and friends who don’t live in the same household. It is beyond contempt to ask people to a) continue to comply with regulations and b) not to feel huge frustration, anger, and resentment at there seemingly being a separate rule for Dominic Cummings and another for everyone else in the UK.

As you are aware, MPs, councillors and those who advise them are held to a higher standard of behaviour than members of the public, and are required to abide by the seven principles of public life. I notice that MPs of all political persuasions are demanding the resignation of Dominic Cummings. I believe this to be such a serious matter that it goes beyond accepting his resignation. I urge you to call on the Prime Minister to fulfil his obligation to the principles of public life and to show leadership by removing Mr Cummings from his position at the earliest possible opportunity . If this is not done, any credibility the Prime Minister has will be reduced to a level that may see his position become untenable.

In the middle of a global pandemic, with a very uncertain future and further job losses almost guaranteed for your constituents, they and the country do not need to be plunged into another constitutional crisis. What is needed now is strong leadership and timely, decisive action.

I sincerely hope you will act on the contents of this email, and deem it important enough to respond to during this two-week break. I am more than happy to discuss this with you further and you may contact me by telephone or email should you wish. My details are below.

Yours sincerely,
Julie Adams

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What is the point of a Bank Holiday during a lockdown? Fair enough when people are working flat out, but I highly doubt that anyone wants to spend anymore time cooped up in their house with the imbecile they wrongly thought they could spend the rest of their lives with. #justsaying

I need to write a separate blog about the situation I find myself in at the moment, but this morning I could clearly see the answer to something that has been frustrating me for the last 12 months at least – there is no doubt that I need 2:1 support to be able to function at my creative best.

I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, as it has taken me long enough to secure the 24/7 support that I currently receive. However, if I am to be on a level playing field with the rest of society I feel that I need the support of two people. I spend a lot of time at my laptop but since my dexterity has deteriorated  I can no longer type without support. There is no technology that can help this situation, so the only solution is to dictate to another.

The problem is that the PAs that I employ have other duties to fulfill during a shift – washing, toileting, showering, dressing, eating, drinking, cleaning, cooking and the like. I am often unable to get the thoughts that are locked inside my head on to paper whether it be a blog, poem or a piece of art. This obviously effects my mental health and I feel that I am constantly searching for a escape route from the prison of frustration that I have been sentenced to.

I will write more about this in the future, but for now I have to cut this short because we are perilously close to the end of a shift, and I need to eat as well as all the other jobs I have been putting off in favour of typing.

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Hang Your Heads

According to Wikipedia, Tanka (短歌, “short poem”) is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature.

A Tanka consists of 5 lines and 31 syllables. Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables
Line 4 – 7 syllables
Line 5 – 7 syllables

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have put together a collection of poems to reflect the struggles of disabled people in 21st century Britain. These poems were published in a collection titled Dancing on Thin Ice in November 2019.

I recently wrote another Tanka following the General Election, which stirred up a range of emotions for most people. Mine are reflected in the poem below:

Fucking idiots

Swallowed lies, rejected hope

To get Brexit done

Condemning those that suffer

To five more years of struggle

 

#GE2019: IT’S TIME FOR REAL CHANGE FOR WORKING PEOPLE AND THEIR FAMILIES. VOTE LABOUR ON DECEMBER 12.

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The following has been taken from the Labour Unions website and can be viewed by clicking here.

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Working people are finding it harder to make ends meet, jobs aren’t secure, and our schools and hospitals have been pushed to the brink. Britain simply cannot afford 5 more years of the Tories.

LABOUR WILL:

  1. Protect our NHS and improve patient care, with a £26bn rescue package, and increase GP training places so everyone can get an appointment when they need one.
  2. Introduce a real Living Wage of at least £10 an hour immediately, for all workers aged 16 and over, and ban zero hours contracts.
  3. Reverse school cuts, making sure every class has a qualified teacher, cap primary class sizes, give free school meals to all primary children and limit school uniform costs.
  4. Kick-start a green industrial revolution, creating a million good, skilled jobs in every region and nation of the UK.
  5. Win higher pay, more job security and a better deal at work by strengthening unions to give power back to working people.
  6. Build a million genuinely affordable homes over 10 years, including at least 100,000 council homes a year by 2024.
  7. Pay public service workers properly, with a 5% payrise in April, and above inflation pay rises every year.
  8. Support working families, giving all 2-4 year olds 30 hours free childcare a week, strengthening flexible working rights and opening 1,000 Sure Start Children’s Centres, so there’s one in every community.
  9. Make bus services work in the interests of passengers, re-opening 3000 bus routes that have closed under the Tories.
  10. Save people money on fares and bills by  bringing rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership and rolling out a publicly owned full fibre broadband network, free to every home.

VOTE LABOUR ON THURSDAY 12 DECEMBER TO REBUILD BRITAIN FOR THE MANY NOT THE FEW.

ENIL Press Release: Actions Over Words in the Next Five Years

Yesterday, I received the following email from the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), which I feel is essential reading for anyone interested in Independent Living for Disabled people.

It is really heartening to read that many Disabled activists across Europe are laying out plans to protect and enhance independent living for Disabled people with high support needs. On the flip side, it is disappointing that I may not be able to join this fight for justice due to the fact that Britain is leaving Europe. I have not had confirmation that ENIL will be closed to those of us trapped in the UK once Brexit finally happens, but I assume that this is the case. I need to find out the exact situation…

Whether I can play a part in this campaign or not, I would like to pass on my best wishes and solidarity to all those involved with ENIL.

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In Brussels, 3 December 2019 – Today, disabled people all over the world celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Just one day after the new European Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen, takes office, the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) highlights five key demands of Europe’s Independent Living movement for the new Commission. Rather than the usual words and promises about inclusion, we wish to see action in the next five years and new Commissioners that measure success by the positive impact that EU laws and policies have had on the lives of disabled people in Europe. 

ENIL, which marked its 30th Anniversary this year, suggests these five areas which  require  urgent action in the next 5 years:

[1] Ensuring that no private or public funds go towards institutional care services for children and adults with disabilities, such as group homes. Having launched the first case at the General Court in Luxembourg against the European Commission, for the use of European Structural and Investment Funds in Bulgaria, ENIL expects to see an end to investments that perpetuate the segregation and social exclusion of disabled people. Human rights abuses, such as those uncovered by Disability Rights International in group homes for children, have no place in 21st century Europe.

[2] Freedom of movement for disabled people within the European Union, but also in their own countries. Very little progress has been made in this area, and disabled people continue to be severely restricted in their choices of where to live. ENIL published a research paper with suggestions on how to move forward and give disabled people access to their right of free movement. One of the suggestions is to set up European information points about how to access the available support services and entitlements for disabled people in different Member States.

[3] The adoption of the new European Disability Strategy from 2020 onward, with concrete targets, timeline and budget, as well as an improved accountability framework, to ensure that Member States and EU institutions address the gaps in the CRPD implementation. Definitions of key terms, in line with the General Comment 5, on article 19, are crucial to avoid perpetuating social exclusion under the guise of community living. Independent living, and access to personal assistance, must remain at the heart of any future strategy.

[4] In line with the General Comment 7, on articles 4.3 and 33.3 of the CRPD, recognition of user-led disabled people’s organisations as key to ensuring that the newly adopted laws and policies address the barriers faced by disabled people. Whereas many stakeholders should have a say in decisions that affect disabled people, the lived experience of disabled people and their organisations must be prioritised over those of other interest groups and adequately funded.

[5] The Agenda 2030, with the Sustainable Development Goals, should be used by the EU institutions and Member States to mainstream disability within all EU policy areas, internal and external. Investing into inclusive education, employment, housing, health care and transport that is accessible to all must replace continued reliance on special service and facilities that keep disabled people on the margins of society.

[Photo: Participants in ENIL’s Freedom Drive protest in Brussels in October 2019. Taken by Enrica Laneri, Destination Everywhere.]

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The European Network on Independent Living (ENIL) is a Europe-wide network of disabled people, with members throughout Europe. ENIL’s vision is of Europe where all disabled people are able to exercise choice and control over their lives, on an equal level with others; where they are valued members of the community and can enjoy all of their human rights, as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). ENIL’s mission is to advocate and lobby for Independent Living values, principles and practices, namely for a barrier-free environment, provision of personal assistance support and adequate technical aids, together making full citizenship of disabled people possible. For more information, please see: www.enil.eu

What Do I Get?

The following blog is a random collection of thoughts from a sexually frustrated member of the disabled community in 21st Century Britain. 

I have a lot on my mind.  I will soon be starting my reassessment with an independent social worker, am working on an art exhibition related to the #SaveWILG campaign, am trying to work out how you publish a book on Kindle, and I continue to support all of my many friends and comrades within Welsh Labour Grassroots/Momentum and  Disabled People Against Cuts.

I am doing all of this of my own back, because it is the right thing to do. I have a strong set of principles and beliefs that I continue to live by. Without these, I am nothing. I don’t want to become part of the mainstream and hop onto the capitalist wheel that only goes round in ever decreasing circles and sucks the enjoyment out of everything.

I am lucky that I answer to no one. I cherish my independence and believe that I have achieved so much since leaving Inverness in 2009. The only thing that continues to evade me is the search for sexual intimacy and friendship. This is a particularly difficult topic to discuss on this blog as in no way do I want to come across as an inappropriate pervert who is only after one thing. This is not the case at all…

According to John Donne, “no man is an island”. I am enjoying my independence, but this island I find myself stranded on, does get lonely at times. It is important to underline that in no way am I looking for another wife. I have been there and done that. It was a miserable period in my life and I feel that I have achieved so much more when I have been able to focus on myself.

I guess I want my cake and be able to eat it. What is wrong with this? I believe everyone – male or female – has the right to be free and enjoy life for the precious time we have on this earth. Intimacy is surely a human right for all of us, something that is best explained in the following article by Chuka Nwanazia :

Sex care in the Netherlands – helping the disabled find intimacy

The above is an illuminating article that makes me wish I lived in Holland, rather than backward Britain where attitudes towards disability and sexuality remain almost Victorian in nature. It is not as if I haven’t tried, but keep hitting brick walls and outdated attitudes. Maybe the answer is to try to set up a sex care organisation of my own to provide disabled people across Britain with the intimacy they crave.

This is certainly something to think about while trying to get to sleep in my half empty bed…

 

(Something Inside) So Strong #SaveWILG

Dedicated to #SaveWILG campaigners everywhere.

To be fair to new First Minister Mark Drakeford, he is listening and making positive changes in the right direction. Solidarity to him and we look forward to working with the new look Welsh Labour in our quest to #SaveWILG.

The following song is about Apartheid in South Africa. Although I am not, in any way, trying to disrespect this, I do feel that this song has excellent lyrics that can also apply to the plight that disabled people find themselves in 21st Century Britain. I just feel it is a good rallying call to the 1,300 WILG recipients in the calamitous countdown to the end of the Welsh Independent Living Grant.

Things may look bleak at the moment, but the campaign is still going strong and we have some crucial irons with which to stoke the fire in the weeks ahead. Do not lose hope as things are certainly happening behind the scenes.

Please do not hesitate to contact me via the contact page above, or via Facebook or Twitter if you feel you can add to the campaign or would just like to find out more information.

 

According to Wikipedia, “(Something Inside) So Strong” is a 1987 single written and recorded by British singer-songwriter Labi Siffre. The song was one of the biggest successes of his career, and peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart.[1]

The song was written in 1984, inspired by a television documentary on Apartheid South Africa seen by Siffre in which white soldiers were filmed shooting at black civilians in the street.[2] He told the BBC’s Soul Music programme in 2014 that the song was also influenced by his experience as a homosexual child, adolescent, and adult and his inner Chi.[3] Siffre originally intended to give the song to another artist to sing, but could find no one suitable and was convinced to release it himself.[2]

The song has remained enduringly popular and is an example of the political and sociological thread running through much of Siffre’s lyrics and poetry. It won the Ivor Novello Award for “Best Song Musically and Lyrically”, and has been used in Amnesty International campaigns, a television advertisement and Alice Walker‘s film against female genital mutilationWarrior Marks.

The song has been covered by many artists, including country singer Kenny Rogers who featured it on his 1989 best selling album of the same name, and also by Pop Idol contestant Rik Waller who reached #25 in the UK Single Charts with it in 2002.

The song was featured in an advertisement for the Peugeot 307 in 2001.

“(Something Inside) So Strong”

The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The farther you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me
You can decide to turn your face away
No matter, cos there’s….Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Tho’ you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong

The more you refuse to hear my voice
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time
You squander wealth that’s mine
My light will shine so brightly
It will blind you
Cos there’s……

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Tho’ you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong

Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
When we know better
Just look ’em in the eyes and say
I’m gonna do it anyway [x4]

Something inside so strong
And I know that I can make it
Tho’ you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong

Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not enough
When we know better
Just look ’em in the eyes and say
I’m gonna do it anyway [x4]

Because there’s something inside so strong
And I know that I can make it
Tho’ you’re doing me, so wrong
Oh no, something inside so strong
Oh oh oh oh oh something inside so strong

WALESPOSTCARDFRONT001

Postcard Campaign Continues… #SaveWILG

It is time to breathe new life into our #SaveWILG postcard campaign. We already have hundreds of photos and would like to reach out across Britain to ask people to show their solidarity by posing with one of our postcard which can then be posted to the Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies.

It is essential that we keep up the pressure and show the Minister the depth of support that we have on this matter. I have added some photos that we took at the Caia Park Environmental Group Fun Day in Wrexham on June 9th.

These provide good examples of the type of photographs we would like. All you need to do is contact me to request a card and I can make sure you get one. All our cards include a message to Huw Irranca-Davies on the reverse and once you have taken photographs then you can pop a second class stamp on them and post it to the Minister. 

Many thanks for your support 🙂

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Colour Chart

Haiku is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature. A Haiku consists of 3 lines and 17 syllables. Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have put together a collection of poems to reflect the struggles of disabled people in 21st century Britain. I will publish these poems in a book to be released in 2018, utilising the team of illustrators I have assembled to help me add images to my words and create the type of book that I envisage.  I am speaking with students from Glyndwr University who are collaborating with me on this exciting project. Two of the talented artists who have agreed to illustrate my work are Julie Rogers-Owen and Heather Wilson.

I am aware that John Cooper-Clarke is performing at the Live Rooms in Chester next month. Unfortunately I was unable to get tickets for this event due to my lack of dexterity and lack of support. By the time I had the assistance that I needed to complete the online purchase form, the tickets had all sold out. I was planning on hanging around outside the venue to meet John Cooper-Clarke and get his advice on performing poetry, however I have just realised that I will be in Cardiff on the date in question as I have been invited to a cross-party meeting to give a talk on the Welsh Independent Living Grant, buggerations. I suppose this is what happens when you become a celebrity 🙂

Roses can be red

Violets considered blue

Envy is dark green

In the Shade

I was recently contacted by a journalist for the Sun newspaper who wanted to speak to me about my Blue Badge campaign after reading the following blog by Vox Political.  I was delighted that my story was taken up by Mike Sivier at one of the leading political blogs, but I was most surprised and conflicted by the subsequent interest of a dubious tabloid title.

After much thought of the pros and cons of associating myself with a Murdoch publication, I wrote the following email to the journalist involved:

Hi,

This is a rather difficult email to write. I do no doubt your journalistic credentials and your ability as a writer for the biggest tabloid in Britain. I would like to thank you for your interest in telling my story and wishing to highlight the issue of disabled parking in council car parks across Britain. The opportunity to have my say in a national newspaper would usually be welcomed, but I possess these annoying things called principles that prevent me from speaking to this particular title.

I do not feel that the newspaper in question is very sympathetic to the struggles of disabled people and your readership most certainly is not. It would therefore seem most unusual for you to support my anti-austerity campaign against a Conservative/Independent council.

Living in North Wales, I enjoy frequent day trips to Liverpool and feel I must show camaraderie with the City’s residents who boycott this newspaper. I will remain silent as a mark of respect to the 96 people who lost their lives at Hillsborough and their families.

Thank you for the opportunity and I hope you can understand and respect my decision. Let me take this chance to wish you all the best in the future.

Nathan Lee Davies
Disabled Activist and Author

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

According to Wikipedia, Tanka (短歌, “short poem”) is a genre of classical Japanese poetry and one of the major genres of Japanese literature.

A Tanka consists of 5 lines and 31 syllables. Each line has a set number of syllables see below:

Line 1 – 5 syllables
Line 2 – 7 syllables
Line 3 – 5 syllables
Line 4 – 7 syllables
Line 5 – 7 syllables

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have put together a collection of poems to reflect the struggles of disabled people in 21st century Britain. I will publish these poems in a book to be released in 2018, utilising the team of illustrators I have assembled to help me add images to my words and create the type of book that I envisage.  I am speaking with students from Glyndwr University who are collaborating with me on this exciting project. Two of the talented artists who have agreed to illustrate my work are Julie Rogers-Owen and Heather Wilson.

As well as the book, we are also planning an exhibition of my poetry in April in addition to the #SaveWILG exhibition – a collection of visual art, poetry and photographs produced by a number of artists across the UK, focusing on independent living as a whole. The exhibition will open on January 17th at 3pm in the Education Gallery at Theatr Clwyd in Mold, north Wales. It will continue until January 29th. Please come to show your support for this campaign and enjoy the powerful and emotive art created by people with passion and determination that are united in the belief that disabled lives matter.

​Both of these events are being organised with the support of Disability Arts Cymru.


Use your silver spoon

To stir up old prejudice

Spread lies and divide

Power and fortune is yours

Eternal damnation waits…

The Independent: Toby Young’s appointment to board of higher education watchdog sparks criticism