Friday, 7 January 2011

Lambeth Pan Disability Forum

The next meeting of the Lambeth Pan Disability Forum will take place on Thursday 13th January at 336 Brixton Road from 2 pm until 4 pm. Please, make every effort to attend the meeting; there is much to be discussed and done over the next few weeks with the impending welfare cuts.


Invoking Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies

I’m very uneasy about comparing the difficulties disabled people in the UK are, and have been, undergoing for some time now with what happened in Nazi Germany. The anti-disability stories in the press; the aggressive pursuit of disability benefits’ cheats; governments’ reactionary responses to Incapacity Benefit and DLA; the government’s insistence in using a one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to employing disabled people; the vicious cuts in adults services soon to be rained upon us.

We are indeed beset by an uncompromising regime ideologically bent on dismantling the welfare state; and, if in the process this sees us, disabled people, as part of the collateral damage, well just as Thatcher’s regime thought mass unemployment a price worth paying, so this crew will view the plight of disabled people in the same way.

Having said this, and being fairly confident that things will worse for a lot of us, I cannot sit back and accept the arguments that what we’re going through is in any way comparable to the systematic processes of eugenics and then murder, by means invented by the most awful of minds, visited upon disabled people in Hitler’s Germany and across occupied Europe.

Please, we need to have a sense of proportion here. While the Tories are wrong to impose such draconian, most importantly totally unnecessary, that is ideologically rather that fiscally driven, measures upon us we are not being herded into institutions and systematically killed. Nor are we having the most fiendish of experiments carried out on us, often without anaesthetics.

Yes, the Tories are the nasty party; yet, they’re a far cry from the Nazi Party. When we invoke Godwin as a comparator; when we attempt to show all bad governments in the same light as the Nazis; we do ourselves a disservice. Not only that we actually diminish the horrors of the Nazi regime.

Personally, I don’t view the Tory regime under which we’re suffering as a fascist or Nazi party. The draconian measures they’re imposing on me and people like me are harsh, yes; but, I’m not going to end up in a camp; nor am I going to be experimented upon, dipped into freezing vats of water continuously to measure my resistances to cold; or, have areas of my body subjected to heat in order to find treatments for burns, etc. These were the kind of experiments that Nazi doctors carried out on disabled people, Jews etc.

Finally, I’m no apologist for this Tory crew we are saddled with. I despise them with my heart and soul; and, would call out to all disabled people who are able to take part in any local actions that are taking place against the cuts. I’d also like to invite you all to the TUC’s March for the Alternative: Jobs – Growth – Justice on 26th March in Central London. I’m speaking with the TUC, the demo’s organiser, about allowing disabled people to be at the front of the march from start to finish.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Suspected victims of Nazi euthanasia found in Austria

A construction project excavation in the disused grounds of a psychiatric hospital in Hall, Austria revealed the remains of possibly hundreds of mentally and physically disabled people murdered by the Nazis between 1942 and 1945.

The ghosts from those dark pages of our history still haunt us today, and quite rightly. I don't want to forget the depths into which men plunged in order to pursue a wicked and twisted ideology.

Those murdered thousands may now only be a footnote in history; but, they were once alive like us. They once had dreams, just like us; but unlike us their lives were stolen from them. Their futures became part of our history.

RIP all victims of man’s inhumanity to man...

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


ILF is now only allowing recipients to hold up 4 weeks payments of ILF funding. So, once your bills, tax, insurance etc have been taken into account any surplus must be returned to the ILF.

Aside from statutory payments, according to the ILF, we’re not allowed to accrue more than the four week amount. In other words if, for instance, my full-time PA goes off sick for two or three weeks and I’m forced to use agency care I’d probably not have enough money in my contingency fund to cover the ILF portion of the bill.

Despite three fairly lengthy conversations with ILF staff; I’m getting exactly the same response. Any monies over and above normal outgoings (wages, tax and insurance) and four weeks ILF payments must be returned to the centre.

ILF are also suggesting that we hold their payments in separate accounts to any other DPs. ILF also pay at a lower rate than LAs. Following advice I raised the ILF rates to those of the LA when the pay last pay rise took place in April 2009 – the contingency I’d accrued enabled me to do so.

Therefore, I’m subsidising the ILF portion of my care package. The situation I could find myself in now is one where I have to go back to my PAs and inform them they’re looking at a cut in their hourly rates by x and y respectively – standard and enhanced hourly rates.

While I cannot pay my PAs at different rates to one another for doing a job of equal value; it seems I may have to pay them a LA rate for part of a shift and an ILF rate for another part of the same shift; doing this at a flat rate and an enhanced rate.

On bank accounts, it looks as though in order to separate the different streams of money two accounts will need to be set up. This is despite being advised from the outset, by both the LA and ILF, that lodging both pots of money in the one account was not only acceptable practice, but probably easier to manage than having separate accounts.

Currently I pay two PAs; one full time; while the other works weekends. Two sets of time sheets are produced; and, I pay out two sets of wages on a four-weekly basis. If I’m forced to toe the ILF line it will mean I have two bank accounts from which I pay two employees four different rates of pay – LA flat rate; LA overtime rate; ILF (lower) flat rate; ILF (lower) overtime rate.

Up until now I have, quite happily, dealt with wages, tax and insurance deductions, holiday pay, etc. If I’m compelled to change the, in my view reasonable, way in which I’m being asked to handle ILF affairs, then I’m in danger of losing my independence over the whole DPs system of care provision.