There was another student protest today up in London. Ordinarily I feel very eager to go, and I have to fight the urge to get on a bus to go join my fellow students in rebelling against the system. Admittedly, it’s not a strong urge, and is usually overcome by the need to do other things, but it is, nevertheless, there. I want to see for myself these protests; I want to show my opposition to the injustice. Today, however, the urge was overruled completely by the weather. Frankly, in this snow, going anywhere in my chair is suicide. I went to school this morning, which was scary enough, and that’s just around the corner. I guess my curiosity about whether the authorities will allow a guy in a wheelchair be ‘kettled’ will have to wait for better weather, as will my eagerness to rebel. I know this is a cop-out, but I guess I have to be a fair-weather revolutionary.
I am suddenly rather pleased. I just checked the cricket score, expecting to read of the Australian victory, only to find the match was drawn. This is terrific news, as it means we’ve already improved on the last tour of Australia. It means England are saved from the indignity of a five-nil drubbing, which, to be honest, was all I was hoping for. I’m sorry if this sounds negative, and I know the English team are much improved, but, after the fiasco of three years ago, it’s quite a relief.
And I know this has nothing to do with anything I’m supposed to write about on here, like crip-related stuff, but there’s nothing more important in my book than ashes cricket.
If I ever become prime minister, I think one of the first things I’d do is legalise the use of guns, but only for disabled people and only in specific circumstances. I ordinarily oppose the use of violence, but there are times when I have badly wanted a gun, such as last night. We were in a pub, having a quiet beer, when a guy started to talk to us. At first he was okay, but he soon got offensive – very offensive. He started to insult our PA, Marta, trying to tell her how to do her job; he was condescending and rude, and he didn’t understand why he wanted to go away. I became very angry – Marta does her job very well indeed, and I will not have her insulted. At that moment, I whish I had a more effective means of making the guy clear off, like a gun.
I admit this might not be my best idea: letting inebriated wobblies like myself use firearms may be particularly unwise. Yet the fact is, people like me and Lyn seem to get this abuse quite often, ad I’m starting to tire of having to put up with it.
I listened to the first hour of the cricket, hoping to hear an Australian wicket or two fall, when I suddenly thought ”Man, I could kill some VB”. VB, or Victoria bitter, is a local brew down inn Sydney and Brisbane; it’s nothing special, but I missed it last night. It didn’t seem a day since we were there at the last ashes tour, sitting in the sun, singing with the barmy army. We were on the holiday of a lifetime: I had not one but two helicopter rides; we saw Uluru and spent a day on Moreton island. Sitting on the sofa late last night, listening to Jonathon Agnew describe the scene, brought it all back, and I suddenly felt thirsty. Cricket is the only sport I know with such evocative power.
I was watching Michael ‘Pob’ Gove’s announcement on education yesterday, and I was shocked to hear that he plans to remove the emphasis from coursework and put it back on exams at GCSE. I was genuinely taken aback: I know the Tories are stupid, but I didn’t realise they were that stupid. Coursework gives a far more accurate idea of a pupils ability, especially in the arts; it gives you a chance to build arguments properly, rather than hurridly and under pressure. Moreover, it places people like me at a huge disadvantage: if all my qualifications had been exam based, I doubt I would have passed many of them – in exams, one tenses up, tires, and cannot work at your best. Thus this move constitutes a huge step backwards in terms of disability equality.
I can’t believe they are doing this. all the progress made over the last thirteen years is being undone to suit the Tories’ narrow, bigoted view. It is utterly wrong – even callous. They may pretend to be forward thinking and progressive, but you only need to look at Howard Flight’s remarks to see what the Tories really think. They are nothing more than a bunch of arrogant arseholes with no right to be in power, but they think they are somehow superior to the rest of us, and can undo things that ensure equality for the sake of their narrow-minded ideology.
I was going to say something about Australia today. The ashes, of course, begin tomorrow, and I was going to write about our trip there during the last ashes tour of
Australia. I was going to write about Uluru and Darling Harbour and rides in helicopters. Yet, as coincidence would have it, I received this link today. Annie
Macdonald, one of the leading lights of the disability rights movement and an inspiration to everyone who heard about her, died last week at her home in Australia. I remember reading about her in university after Becca told me about her: she was institutionalised between the age of four and eighteen: because of her CP, she was supposed to have severe learning difficulties, but through sheer will and determination, he managed to show herself and free herself. I suspect, from what I have read, that she would object to this eulogising, yet I fear the disabled community and human-kind itself has lost one of it’s biggest characters. Through her writing and through her being, Anne Macdonald made us ask questions about ourselves no other person could. I deeply regret never contacting and getting to know her.
I just watched something on the news that I am quite disgusted at: a city ‘academy’ in London has rejected an application from a girl with cerebral palsy. The school, which professes to be inclusive in it’s prospectus, claims it cannot cater for the girl because ”the school had narrow corridors, small classrooms, steep disabled ramps, only one disabled toilet and two lifts.” This sounds like a pisspoor excuse to me, and the fact that this is still happening makes me furious. I know that inclusion is not the black and white issue I thought it was, but surely people have a choice about where and how their kids are educated, and that choice shouldn’t be infringed by disability. Anyway, go read.
I was speaking to a friend online the other night. He said he had stopped reading my blog because I’d become predictable. I think this is certainly a valid point: I do tend to go over the same ground again and again. I guess I try to give readers an idea of what life is like for a twentysomething guy with CP, settling down and building a family in the infant years of a new millennium. This is why I sometimes write diary-type entries. But I think the guy I was talking to was referring to my political blogs, and my attacks on the government. Here he definitely has a point: I am a student of film and writing, not politics. I am no political pundit, and I certainly don’t fully understand the economic situation. My entries on politics may well be becoming repetitive and tiresome because of this. yet politics is something I am very angry about, and, as evidenced here, I’m not the only one. Many people, especially those with disabilities, are very worried about the government; for the first time in centuries, there is a faint whiff of revolution in the air. I’m not the only one who sees this government as illegitimate, and the Lib-Dems as traitors. I therefore think I’ll continue to blog as I have been, attacking the Tories, trying to show things from my perspective, but I will try to write on a wider variety of topics from now on.
Tonight is children in need night; a night where we are all supposed to give to help the poor innocent children. I still don’t quite know what to make of charity. On the one hand, I know it can be a good thing, based on selflessness and compassion. Yet charity traps those they claim to help into a cycle of dependence – they become slaves to the organisations which help them. It’s scary how swiftly the urge to help becomes the urge to dominate. This is why I prefer state organised forms of welfare, bit with the Tories in power, I suspect those who need a helping hand are trapped into dependence for the time being.
We were just at Charlton house, having a leisurely cup of coffee. Lyn was telling us how, at the turn of the millennium, she could see the dome from where she then lived so she watched the fireworks there first-hand. It made me think of how different my life was back then, and how radically things have changed over the last ten years. In 2000, I was still at school – a quiet, out-of-the-way special school with very low expectations of it’s students. I suppose my expectations were equally low: after school, I expected to start at Macclesfield college and stay there for a long time, commuting every day between my comfortable life with my parents and a comfortable life at college. University was a pipe-dream, but I was still kind of scared of thee prospect of ever leaving home, so I intended to put it off for as long as possible. After all, I thought, who would look after me? The idea of ever finding a person to love me was frankly ludicrous.
Looking back, I was young and immature. I’ve grown so much over the last decade, or at least I think I have. University taught me so much: in a way I grew up there, for it gave me so many experiences, and I met so many friends there that it revolutionised my whole being. It turned me from a young, home-loving child to a young man, eager to try new things, meet new people. I am no longer afraid of life away from home, or, rather, I have found a new home, and a new family, safe in the knowledge that the one I left up north will always be there for me. The last decade gave me so much in terms of life experiences and friends. Who would have thought, as I watched the fireworks on television that night ten years ago, that the woman I would fall in love so deeply with was watching them from her bedroom window.