davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

I slept through election night (well, actually I played Crusader Kings 2 until God Awful O'Clock, at which point exhaustion overcame stress) and only just woke up. Having nerved myself to look at the election results, my reaction was pretty much along John McEnroe "Jesus Christ! You Cannot Be Serious! You Can Not Be Serious!!!" lines

Now I can understand the desperation to stay in power on May's part, but the DUP? Seriously?

To give non-UK readers some context: the DUP are anti-gay-rights, anti-abortion, anti-Catholic, the closest thing the UK has to US hardline, religious Republicans (and remember, the UK as a whole is well to the left of the US, so really, really out there). They attack Corbyn for links with the IRA, but were themselves linked to the worst of the Protestant Paramilitaries. And now they're in power, and can threaten to take their ball home any time Theresa May does something they don't like. 

davidgillon: Text: You can take a heroic last stand against the forces of darkness. Or you can not die. It's entirely up to you" (Heroic Last Stand)

Trump's nomination of Nikki Haley as US Ambassador to the UN prompted one of my online friends to link to this poem by South Carolina's Poet Laureate, Marjory Wentworth, which Haley's staff cut from her inauguration, allegedly for talking about slavery.

Over and above the politics, I think it's a gorgeous piece: One River, One Boat

Some background on the cut.

Some background on Haley (fairly hopeful in that she's the daughter of Sikh immigrants, OTOH Tea Partyista)

If nothing else, she should set Steve Bannon's teeth on edge...

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

A petition demanding a 60% supermajority* on a Brexit vote with a turnout of under 75% is already at 2.29m** signatures. I've signed, and I hope Parliament has the guts to grab it and run with it, but it will be horrendously divisive if they do.

*How could Cameron be so mind-numbingly stupid!

** And in the time it took me to write this it jumped to 2.31m
davidgillon: A pair of legs (mine) sitting in a wheelchair (GPV)
 Just heard from a wheelie friend that our local council are proposing selling off the disabled parking spaces on Rochester High Street for development and replacing them with extra spaces in a car park that's further away. And I've had to rewrite this because the crafty sods aren't increasing the provision of disabled spaces as I first thought, they've simply listed all of them in town as if they're new, whereas in reality they're simply relocated the six on the High Street to the new multi-storey, which is at least 250m off the High Street. One of the listed alternatives had me speechless in awe at the sheer cluelessness of the proposal. They're claiming two spaces in a car park that's over a kilometre away, and at the top of an extremely steep hill are an alternative. It takes me at least 10 minutes, probably closer to 15, to cover half the distance between the two, and I struggle with the height increase - and that's the proportionally flatter part of the trip! (I'd always though those two spaces were residents parking provision for the flats opposite, I have no idea why they're there if they're meant to be public provision, there's nowhere nearby in terms of wheelchair access!)

The disabled car parking situation on the High Street is already pretty dire, I think I've only ever managed to park in there two or three times because it's always full, but this is just going to make it worse.


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
In terms of our liberal democracy and constitutional order, Trump is an extinction-level event.

Fascinating and worrying article
davidgillon: Text: I really don't think you should put your hand inside the manticore, you don't know where it's been. (Don't put your hand inside the manticore)
Seriously considered opening bottle of champagne. Settled for white wine as the rest of the Tories are still there.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
A Conservative majority is the worst of all possible results for disabled people, and I'm genuinely scared of what the future may bring.

What little moderating effect the Lib Dems had is gone (I'm actually surprised they got as many searts as they did), leaving the likes of IDS and Freud, and Osborne, free to take a knife to disability benefits. In fact they don't even need to bring in anything new for things to get massively worse for disabled people as so many of the disability cuts have had the worst part of their impact delayed until after the election in order to disguise their impact from the electorate.

The Tories have promised £12Bn in further benefit cuts, and we know from leaked documents that DWP think the only way to achieve that (given pensioners have been bought off with the promise of no cuts affecting them) is for absolutely savage cuts of disability benefits, cuts so controversial that the Tories will have to unlease the worst of scrounger rhetoric in order to try and justify them.

It's a scary time to be disabled in this country.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
 Tweeting last night about fact the Greens released their manifesto with accessible versions, had one of their candidates replying telling me he was on the manifesto working group, and disability had been a priority, but they had chosen to launch without the accessible versions. I advised him to stop digging, the hole was deep enough already. Meanwhile I'm damned if I know whether the Tory or Labour manifestos have accessible versions because their websites are as clear as mud. Labour's is particularly a mess and clearly wasn't subject to an access audit. They have lots of options to 'create your own manifesto', likely in an attempt to profile you at the constituency level - it insists on full postcode, and the option to download the full manifesto is tucked away at the bottom as the very last of about thirty options. I barely found it, God help anyone trying to get through with a screen reader. (I don't think UKIP or the Lib Dems have launched yet).

Highlights so far, the Tories are now officially fat shaming in their manifesto, they threaten to cut the benefits of anyone disabled and obese if they 'refuse recommended treatment', with the clear implication that anyone who does is a lazy scrounger. The idea of compelled treatment is bad enough, but obesity in disability is generally the result of disability, not vice versa, which means the Tories are deliberately instigating disability hate as a manifesto policy. Meanwhile they want to repeal the Human Rights Act, which is of course how we defend ourselves against things like compelled treatment. Labour, meanwhile, is proposing a massive overhaul of Social Care, but carefully doesn't mention the fact the Independent Living Fund is being shut down in two months, that the funding for that won't be ring-fenced when it transfers to Local Authorities, and that there is no transition plan to cover ILF users between then and the start of the new system in however many years time. Meanwhile they're hellbent on keeping the WCA, never mind what we think of it.

Oh, and yesterday the Tory candidate in Cambridge tried to argue people with mental health issues should wear coloured wristbands to identify them to police etc. Another political party tried that once, but re-implementing Nazi policies isn't usually considered an electoral positive.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
I'm anything but musical as a rule, but I've had an idea nagging at me for a couple of days to take O'er the Hills and Far Away and turn it into a protest song, and this morning I hit on a lyric that fits the original tune. 

The Original (TW: violent combat scenes)

If anyone has any thoughts, or lyrics that'll scan better, I'd appreciate comment. (For non-Brits, 'King Iain' is Iain Duncan Smith, the minister for misery).

Screw ‘Em Over and Make ‘Em Pay (aka the Decision-Maker’s Lament)

(To the tune of O’er the Hills and Far Away, with apologies to John Tams)



O'er the hills and o'er the way

Through austerity and come what may

King Iain Commands and We Obey,

Screw ‘em over and make ‘em pay


Here's thirty silver on the drum

To those who volunteer to come,

To 'list and shaft the poor today

Screw ‘em over and make ‘em pay


Through recession, poverty and hell,

False truths and hate, are ours to sell,

We’ll press and screw the poor today,

Screw ‘em over and make ‘em pay


When Evil stalks upon the land

I'll neither hold nor stay me hand

But fight to aid the rich today,

Screw ‘em over and make ‘em pay


Paul Dacre twists the truth today,

The Mail needs hatred, it’s their way.

We’ll demonise the poor some way,

Screw ‘em over and make ‘em pay


The bloody crips, they know the law,

Our Atos champion they laid low.

But Maximus will roll our way,

Screw ‘em over and make ‘em pay


Let kings and tyrants come and go,

I'll stand adjudged by what I know.

A tyrants life I'll ne'er gainsay.

Screw ‘em over and make ‘em pay


Now time has past and fortune gone,

King Iain’s legacy is none,

I screwed the poor, I’ll rue the day,

They threw me out and made me pay.



O'er the hills and o'er the way

Through austerity and come what may

King Iain Commands and We Obey,

Screw ‘em over and make ‘em pay


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Labour have spent the past 10 days being deliberately evasive about whether they support ILF or not, then Kate Green emailed a constituent about it.

I'm not sure what worries me more, the evasion, the apparent incompetence, or the fact that even if we take what she says at face value, it'll take years to put in place, and the ILF closes in July (and I don't like her use of 'sustainable' - that's usually code for cuts).

I've been caustic about it on Where's The Benefit*: So it turns out we can't trust Labour on the ILF

* No posts in six months and then two in two days, I guess I'm back.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
 ... to disability activist Lucy Glennon from Kaliya Franklin, who knew her much better that I did,  Lucy Glennon  3/12/1985 - 29/1/2015 It celebrates her life without once straying into inspiration-porn, and absolutely excoriates Cameron (personally as well as politically - read the storify of when Cam met Lucy) and the Tories for what they did to her.

In other disability news, I had Labour canvassing at the door, and the guy I ended up speaking to is apparently head of the Labour group on Medway council.
'Can we depend on your support?'
'Only if Ed guarantees to save the Independent Living Fund'
'Ah, he did that last week!'
'Er, sorry, no, Labour HQ has refused to confirm that what he said last week actually means keeping the ILF'

If Labour have even their own senior councillors confused as to what their policy is, then it's not exactly a good omen, is it....

(And their candidate for the general election looks about 12 {sigh})
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
... when the waiter stepped into the doorway and blocked the UKIP canvassers from coming inside :)

No Britain First this week thankfully, and police on the corners just in case, but the High Street is full of news crews and UKIP and Tory supporters (and one lone Lib Dem). Getting back to the car was like threading your way between Scylla and Charybdis. I want my High Street back!
davidgillon: Text: You can take a heroic last stand against the forces of darkness. Or you can not die. It's entirely up to you" (Heroic Last Stand)
It's bad enough we have UKIP on the streets of Rochester because of the by-election, but today we had the fascists of BritainFirst blaring patriotic songs and waving Union Flags and the St George's Crosses in front of the War Memorial.

The friend I was with was shopping in the grocer's across the street and I was quietly seething at everything they were doing - when they started playing Jerusalem I commented that it was like Springtime for Hitler In Germany come to life and that they'd have been better off with Wagner.

They were leaving as we came out of the shop and I realised that 8-10 of them had surrounded a young black woman who was sitting on the wall. Apparently they had demanded to know if she was English. She was holding her own, but she was one small woman surrounded by 8-10 racist thugs, all but one of them male. I just though 'Oh, Hell' and walked into the middle of it, gesturing with my crutch and saying 'There's none of you ever more than 5 seconds away from becoming a minority and being attacked in the street by people like you.'  I certainly didn't calm the situation, but I diverted half of them on to me, and I had the chance to tell them that I despised them, that I particularly despised them parading in front of the memorial to people who died fighting against everything they stood for, and that if they really love everything England stands for then they should emigrate ;)

It went back and forth for about five minutes, with amongst other stuff the Britain First woman (ETA: who I've now identified as their candidate and deputy leaderr Jayda Fransen) trying to claim mosques were centres of terrorism, but a couple of them (they'd be the really dangerous ones) realised that being seen harassing a slight young woman and a disabled guy probably wasn't the image they wanted (though it's the only one they'll ever have) and they beat a retreat.

I imagine they'll claim they weren't harassing anyone, but that's belied by how upset their victim was afterwards (and kudos to her for standing up to them).

One of the people who came up afterwards (and if I have the right guy he's a local folksinger who writes some absolutely haunting stuff about social deprivation in Medway) commented that the UKIP supporters and the England First thugs had been being very pally with each other earlier - takes one to know one, I guess....

I'd been thinking about Pastor Niemoller's prayer while I was watching them, I guess I passed.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Humanity Despairs as Daily Express And Mail Celebrate The End Of Human Rights

What they said! *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

(I really shouldn't expect better of the Hate Mail and the Vexpress, but hope springs eternal, etc)

"the paper which has just been produced by my colleague Chris Grayling includes in it a number of howlers which are simply factually inaccurate"

Yeah, Grayling has history for that at DWP as well (though mostly we just called them lies).


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon

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