General Election

#GE2019: Select Tweets

As we get ever closer to the General Election on Thursday, December 12th, I will be sharing a number of Labour Party  tweets in this blog post, to encourage any undecided voters to #VOTELABOUR and end the suffering that so many of us have experienced under Tory mismanagement . We need a government that will look after the many, as opposed to the select few.

Without further ado…

ENIL Busts Myths on EU Funds and Independent Living

I am taking precious time out of my campaigning for the General Election to share the following email from the European Network on Independent Living (ENIL), concerning independent living with my readers on International Human Rights Day. 

I do not fail to see the heartbreaking irony of posting the following email that concentrates on EU funding for independent living at a time when certain sections of the UK seem obsessed with Brexit, never mind the consequences. 

I won’t go into the rights and wrongs of Brexit at this point, but I just wanted to share the following email as a show of solidarity to my European brothers and sisters. 

 #VoteLabour2019 #JC4PM2019 

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In Brussels, 10 December 2019 – To mark the International Human Rights Day, the European Network on Independent Living – ENIL is launching its second Myth Buster, this time on “EU Funds and Independent Living”. Illustrated by our European Solidarity Corps volunteer, Hatiye Garip, and published as part of the “EU Funds for Our Rights” Campaign, the booklet challenges the most common misconceptions about how EU taxpayers’ money is used with regard to disabled people. It is aimed at all those advocating for EU Funds to be used to support disabled people’s right to live independently and to be included in the community.

Despite ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Member States and the European Commission continue investing in institutions for disabled children and adults. “Those people have nowhere to go and no one to take care of them”, “Small group homes are just a transitional measure”, “Not all EU funded projects are 100% perfect” are among the excuses that Independent Living advocates hear. The result is continuing human rights violations against disabled people, funded by the European Union – as witnessed by Al Jazeera in last week’s hard hitting documentary.

EU Funds have great potential to improve the quality of life of disabled people when used well. They can contribute to the closure of institutions and improve access to community-based services, including personal assistance, early intervention services, housing, education, employment, health care and transport. On the other hand, when misused, EU funds can further delay the process of deinstitutionalisation and lead to segregated facilities being in use for years to come.

It is time for the Member States and the European Commission to take their human rights obligations seriously. We hope that this Myth Buster will serve as a useful tool to all those human rights defenders working to make Governments and the European Union accountable for their actions.

Download the Myth Buster here

Suddenly

**MUSICAL INTERLUDE**

No wonder Mr Anderson is angry, so would you be if you had his dentist.

I wish I could stop watching TOTP 1988 on BBC Four. I was watching it last night and watched Angry Anderson perform his one and only hit, propelled by the popularity of an Australian soap opera.

I always had the subtitles on when watching classic Top of the Pops, so that I can enjoy the lyrics being sung. I usually end up catching on to one particular line from a song and correlating it to my own life. I don’t know why I am admitting this, but I am. Last night, I found myself  wishing that somebody would read my Open Letter and “suddenly see me, just the way I am”.

It was with this profound thought that I finally fell to sleep, but not before I found out who was keeping Anderson off the top spot. Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan were at number 2 with Especially For You but I should never have stayed up to see who was on top of the charts. As soon as Caron Keating announced that week’s biggest seller I began to grab for my remote to switch the TV off. Unfortunately, my fumble fingers are too slow to react so I had to endure thirty seconds of the awful earworm that is Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard.

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I know this was back in 1988, but my worry is that I have never trusted the British public whatsoever as I always seem to disagree with their opinions. This is particularly concerning ahead of the most important General Election in a generation.

It is difficult to gauge what exactly is going to happen on Thursday, as it is impossible to trust the nonsense that is being peddled by the mass media. I am preparing myself for the worse possible scenario, but at the same time I have faith and belief in Jeremy Corbyn and his Cabinet.

I am growing ever more anxious as we edge ever closer to the General Election. I am doing all I can to get the Labour message out there, but due to my disability this is largely confined to sharing stories on my blog and social media. I have also got Labour posters in my window. This would have more of an impact if I didn’t live on a cul-de-sac, but it is a bit late in the day to be moving house to a more prime location. If I could do more, I would, but circumstances dictate.

My friends and neighbours who receive Xmas cards before Thursday will be reminded on the envelope to Vote Labour while I am also giving a poetry reading at Glyndwr University on Tuesday, dressed in a Vote Labour t-shirt. Every little helps…

#VoteLabour2019 #JC4PM2019

 

THE SKWAWKBOX: VIDEO: TORY PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE SAYS DISABLED SHOULD BE PAID LESS AS ‘THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND MONEY’

The following blog is from the excellent SKWAWKBOX blog  that is a rare bright left-wing light shining through a sinister mainstream media.

I will be sharing random posts from SKWAWKBOX as we edge ever closer to the General Election as I attempt to get the Labour message out there. I am doing all I can, but due to my disability this is largely confined to sharing stories on my blog and social media. If I could do more, I would, but circumstances dictate.

Anyway, please read and digest the following blog. Even if you just watch the video, it may help make up your mind to #VOTELABOUR on  December 12th.

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Staggering arrogance and condescension

Tory candidate for Hastings and Rye Sally Ann Heart has provoked outrage by defending the idea that disabled people should be paid less than able-bodied workers for the same work.

Heart claimed that the article was ‘in support of employing people with learning disabilities’ – to the loud anger of the audience at a constituency hustings:

Sally Ann Heart is hardly a one-off among Tories. Tory MP Philip Davies caused a huge public outcry by saying in 2011 that disabled people should be paid less than the minimum wage.

Twitter user ‘James B’ commented:

James B@piercepenniless

When the Tories tell you who they are – and by god is one of them doing that here – believe them. https://twitter.com/Rknepper_/status/1202686219546742793 

Rosie Clarke@Rknepper_

Conservative candidate Sally Ann Heart defending her view that Disabled people / those with learning disabilities should be paid less as they ‘Don’t understand money’! Actually unbelievable. Audience do not agree… #GeneralElection19 #tory #jc4pm

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630 people are talking about this

Hastings and Rye was until this election the seat of Amber Rudd, who as Home Secretary was complicit in the Windrush racism scandal and as DWP secretary defended the Tories’ despicably cruel Universal Credit system that blights the lives of millions of vulnerable people, including the disabled.

Rudd came within a whisker of losing her seat in 2017. Let’s make sure her replacement gets nowhere near it.

Skwawkbox view:

With every second that passes, it seems the Tories reveal more of what and who they really are, in spite of their best efforts.

James B is absolutely right.

Vote Labour.

Guide on Voting for Disabled People

Shaping Our Lives have created this fantastic Guide on Voting for Disabled People below, which I’ve just seen (thanks to the GMCDP!). Please share this with your local Disabled Staff Network and other relevant contacts – and please use your right to vote!

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All voters have a right to vote independently and in secret and local authorities in Great Britain have been told they must take proactive steps to ensure that polling stations don’t disadvantage disabled people.

If you have any problems on election day (Thursday 12th December), you should call your local authority to try to resolve this. You can also call the Electoral Commission on 0333 103 1928 or the Welsh language line on 0333 103 1929 for further guidance.

The role of the Electoral Commission (wording adapted from their website) is to monitor elections and referendums to make sure they are fair and to promote public confidence in the democratic process. Another part of their role is to make sure that elections are accessible to everyone with them stating ‘We believe that anyone eligible to vote should be able to do so’. They have been working with charities such as Mencap and RNIB to ensure this occurs. Further information about the Electoral Commission is available at: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter.

The BBC have a straightforward guide on their website explaining a bit more about how our election process works: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49826655

The Electoral Commission have a factsheet for disabled voters (available on the Hammersmith and Fulham council website – https://www.lbhf.gov.uk/councillors-and-democracy/elections/help-disabled-voters).

It contains the following information:

  • Local authorities now have to take proactive steps to ensure that polling stations don’t disadvantage disabled people.
  • All voters have a right to vote independently and in secret. A person who is registered to vote or who has been officially appointed as a proxy voter cannot be refused a ballot paper or the opportunity to vote on the grounds of mental or physical incapacity.
  • Polling station staff must ensure that disabled voters are not offered a lower standard of service than other voters and should be able to explain what assistance is available to disabled voters wishing to vote in person at a polling station.

Disabled voters are also entitled to:

  • The right to request assistance to mark the ballot paper – Disabled voters may request the assistance of the Presiding Officer to mark the ballot paper for them. Alternatively, they can bring someone with them to help them vote (this person must be an immediate family member over 18 years old or a qualified elector).
  • Tactile voting device – This is a plastic device that is fixed onto the ballot paper so visually impaired people or those with limited dexterity can mark their ballot paper in secret.
  • Large-print version of the ballot paper – A large-print version of the ballot paper should be clearly displayed inside the polling station and a copy can be given to voters to take with them into the polling booth. A voter can’t vote on the large-print version, but it can be used for reference.
  • Assistance to electors unable to gain access to the polling station – It is the responsibility of the relevant council to designate polling places [decide the places where people can vote] within their area and to keep these under review. In designating polling places, the council must have regard to accessibility for disabled voters. If an elector is unable to enter the polling station because of physical disability, the Presiding Officer may take the ballot paper to the elector.

The information on the Gov.uk website states:
If you’re disabled, your local Electoral Registration Office can tell you about:

  • physical access, for example wheelchair ramps and disabled parking spaces
  • low-level polling booths
  • equipment for voters with a visual impairment

For further information, visit https://www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk

The RNIB have been working with the government and the Electoral Commission, as voting for blind and partially sighted people remains unsatisfactory. RNIB have worked with the Electoral Commission to develop new resources for election staff, including an update to their training guides, a checklist of what should be in every polling station before it opens, and also a training video.
https://www.rnib.org.uk/campaigning-current-campaigns-accessible-information-campaign/voting-and-elections

Videos about accessible voting are on the gov.uk website and are being used as guidance for staff – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/accessible-voting-for-all

The National Survivor User Network (NSUN) have done a useful article entitled ‘What match is there between political parties’ election manifestos and NSUN’s 2019 manifesto? A bird’s eye’. Details of this can be found via the following link:  https://www.nsun.org.uk/news/match-between-party-political-manifestos-and-nsun-manifesto

#GE2019: Volunteering Opportunities

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I received the following email from Team Labour this morning, encouraging members to help out with campaigning to ensure the British public elect a Government for the many, not the few.

I am doing all I can on social media and via this blog, as my disability prevents me from being an effective campaigner in other ways. For example, I would struggle with both door knocking and telephone canvassing due to my poor hearing and slurred speech. This is a great shame as I wish I could pound the streets to spread the message, but all I can do is make sure everyone that I come into contact with online is in no doubt who to vote for.

In addition, I will make sure that every time I leave the house, I am wearing a Jeremy Corbyn badge or t-shirt and I also thought that I should try to find a Vote Labour car sticker. I don’t know if this has already been thought about, but I think it would be a good way of spreading the message as we inch ever closer to December 12th.

Below, I have included the email I received this morning from Team Labour and would encourage all Labour Party Members to try to help out in some way to ensure that Jeremy Corbyn will soon be moving house…

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Nathan, in 19 days we’ll either have a government for the many, or a government for the few.

The power to decide is in your hands.

From the first debate to the manifesto launch, we’ve got the country’s attention. We’ve got the policies, the energy and the people power.

Now is the time to persuade voters, to get out on the streets, to meet other Labour volunteers, to give the country the government that it’s been needing for the last decade.

Don’t miss this opportunity.

SAY YOU’LL VOLUNTEER: Thousands upon thousands have already done it. As people start to see through Tory lies, our movement is beginning to tip the balance. But we need more people – we need you. Will you sign up to volunteer today?

JOIN OTHER CAMPAIGNERS: Find members like you nearby who need your help!

SPREAD THE WORD: We have a radical manifesto that will truly put wealth and power back in the hands of the people.

MAKE A CALL: Dialogue is our phone banking tool. It’s chock-full of great new features for the election, and you can campaign from the comfort of your own home. Get your mates over and start a phone banking party today!

REFRESH YOURSELF: Feeling a little rusty? Not campaigned in a while? Not to worry – we’ve got some online training sessions and events just for you.

Nathan, the Tories are using dirty tactics to undermine us. Let them try. We know the real power is with the people. And the people will win.

We have no time to lose, and everything to gain. This is your chance to play a part in the most important election of your lifetime. Make sure you take it.

Thanks,

Team Labour