I just watched the bbc lunchtime news as usual and was appalled to see that there was nothing about the closure of the ILF on there. As I write, thousands of people with disabilities are protesting in Whitehall. I would have been there too had circumstances permitted. We are fighting for our freedom, indeed our lives, against a group of inhumane p’tahks who think it is more important to lower tax for the rich than to fund independence for people with disabilities. I cannot find the words right now to express my hatred and revulsion for the conservative party: thousands will suffer, yet they don’t give a shit. We’re expected just to sit back and allow these insults to humanity rule over us, preaching their doctrine of greed as if it is somehow noble to be selfish, while more and more people die. The welfare state and the nhs, the two great British contributions to civilisation, will be destroyed by the tories, and we can do fuck all about it – they don’t even allow our protests to be shown on the lunchtime news.
How wonderful it was to watch Sir David Attenborough meet Barack Obama last night. I was entranced. Say what you might about television history, use all the glowing adjectives you like, just to see those men chatting like old friends, putting the world to rights, was sheer joy. Mind you, I also found it very educational: the range of Attenborough’s knowledge combined with Obama’s warmth to draw the viewer in. My only regret was that there wasn’t more of it – the interview only lasted 35 minutes and was interspersed with cut-aways, so I was left wanting more. It was clear that both men were highly intelligent and vastly knowledgable, yet there was little in the way of detail. Oh well, a great piece of tv nevertheless.
(it’s no longer on bbc iplayer. Check it out here)
Lyn and I rarely discuss her financial situation, and I try not to pry much into that area, but Lyn is an Independent living Fund user. She has not said much about how she’ll be affected, and indeed I’m not sure she has received any information about it, but I’m very concerned about what will happen tomorrow. Many people with severe disabilities face severe cuts to their care packages: one need only look at what happened last Wednesday to see how scared they are.
I keep thinking about how wonderful Lyn is and the great things she has done, from the days when she used to come to see me up at uni to going to france together, to playing at the paralympics and the Liberty festival. She is a very independent woman, but when I consider that that independence could now be taken away, if not from her certainly then from many like her, my blood boils. How can the tories be so barbaric? How can they cut tax for the wealthy few while sending ‘us’ back to the institutions? With the right support we can flourish, from doing a masters to performing before the world; the tories would strip that support from us, sending people with disabilities back thirty or forty years in one greed-ridden stroke. I say that without a glimmer of hyperbole: the closure of the ILF means that is a very real prospect – tory lies about replacement funding soothing only the gullible.
Today, sunny though it is, a dark cloud hangs over the disability community. It feels like almost everything we have worked for for so long will tomorrow be take away by the tories, and, try as we might, we are powerless to prevent it.
Apparently a new episode of top gear airs tonight. I expect it to be the last new Top Gear, as frankly I can’t see the program surviving without the original team. Sunday nights won’t be sunday night without that semi-fascist car-oriented anarchy. For some reason we let these men whose views we’d ordinarily find repugnant get away with so much, like a collective guilty pleasure. Something about the antics of Clarkson, Hammond and May appealed to the children in us all. I can’t see anyone replacing them, as the dynamic will be lost. No doubt the beeb will try replacing the team, then shelving the idea and letting it pass into history. Tonight, then, probably marks the end of a television era.
As someone who does not buy into the ‘normal’ binaries of gender, sexuality and so on, I must say I find the news that gay marriage has now been legalised in the US awesome. Paul, our PA today, came in ecstatic about it. As he put it, amid all the bad stuff we hear about on the news, we finally get this glimmer of light; one fragment of progress which restores ones faith in humanity. Mind you, as monumental as this step is, there’s still a long way to go before LGBT people achieve true equality; and indeed it had to get past fervent opposition from right-wing conservatives. We better not be too jubilant, then, but I think we can allow ourselves to smile awhile over this.
I saw an advert for this yesterday, and of course was instantly stunned. On sunday evening, the beeb will air a program in which David Attenborough meets Barack Obama. It promises to be an incredible piece of television; the two great men are said to discuss the natural world, climate change and so on. I suppose it’s quite a coup for the bbc, although it was apparently Obama who requested the meeting. Something to look forward to, then – expect my customary rave on here on Monday morning.
Part of me feels guilty for not having been up there yesterday. A large part of me says that if there was any meaning behind all the political ranting I do, I should have been up in parliament yesterday, protesting, trying to break down the door of the house of commons with my fellow disability activists. Another part of me says I as right not to go; that, had I gone, there’s a good chance I would have lost my head, done something stupid, and would have woken up in a jail cell this morning. In that case, Lyn would have been fully justified in packing my bags and putting me on the next train back to cheshire. I owe it to her to be sensible – well, at least try to.
Yet the fact remains we need to protest. Disabled people are desperate and angry right now, and that desperation and anger need to be shown. I was glad to see news of the protest on both the BBC and Channel Four bulletins last night, yet I noticed the story slipping down the running order as the evening wore on. There was no word if this morning. Thus we need to keep it up. The country needs to be shown videos like the ones here. The truth about the tory cuts, rather than the blatant lies about ‘protecting people’ and ‘ring-fencing funds’ they spout, needs to be told. We need more actions like yesterday, and I hope by the next one to have grown some cajones and be hammering on the commons doors alongside my comrades. I’d just have to tex Lyn and ask her to keep my dinner warm.
I volunteer at school on Wednesday mornings, so turned down an invitation a few days ago to go to an Independent Living Fund protest up in parliament. I had been very tempted to go, but thought I better carry through on my other commitments. I’m now very pleased with that decision. I just checked the headlines and saw this! The crazy sons of bitches tried to storm the commons chamber: ”Protesters have attempted to enter the House of Commons chamber during Prime Minister’s Questions. The group, campaigning against the end of the Independent Living Fund, were prevented from getting in by police.” I’m stunned, astonished, and, I must say, quite impressed.
Further updates no doubt to follow.
Just to post a quick update on one of my favourite topics, I heard today that Paris has entered the race to host the 2024 olympics. I know that won’t matter too much to anyone reading this blog, but forgive a cripple his little obsessions. It just seems to me that one can read a plethora of international rivalries and attitudes into this process: countries compete for national prestige like nowhere else, as hosting the olympics is a huge international status symbol. Given that the french now seem quite desperate to win this time after their beloved capital was rejected three times, I think this contest has higher stakes than ever. They will throw everything into this bidding process, as will, I suspect, the other bidders, given rise to what promises to be a fascinating competition.
Turning on my computer this morning, I read of the sad news that James Horner, one of the all-time great film composers, has died in a plane crash. Not all that much has been written about the role of music in film, but, when you think about it, it plays a huge part in structuring emotion in film, helping to guide the viewer. Horner’s scores were among the best at that. With that in mind, I’d like to direct you here, to one of his greatest, and a favourite of mine.