I’m so astonished and pleased to see this quote being attributed to this man that I’m gonna repost this image here. I just found it on facebook; I only hope it isn’t a hoax. I never thought Clarkson would be a Corbyn type of guy.
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It has been a terrible week for the tories. According to this piece in The Canary, the tories have suffered no less than nine humiliating defeats: it started on monday, when the Lords shot down IDS’s attempt to redefine child poverty, presumably in an attempt to hide the extent he’s making kids suffer. Then they had to abandon their proposed benefit cap for cares after it was ruled to be discriminatory and offensive by the high court. And then, of course, there’s their historic defeat over the bedroom tax. The list goes on, but the odd thing is, you would not know it if you stuck to the mainstream news. The beeb, for example, seems to be making out it’s just business as usual. Where are the calls for resignations or inquiries? Came there none. How can we possibly get rid of these jokes, these insults to humanity when, thanks to media bias, they come away from a week like this virtually unblemished.
I have long dreamed of a united world; a single world united as one nation. Yet, discussing this with Lyn recently, she pointed out that such an enormous state would be impossible to control. She was right: how would elections be organised, for one? It would probably require some kind of dictatorship where the diversity I love would need to be stamped out and the world would adopt a single uniform culture. Yet that would imply we cannot be united, and must remain divided into nationstates. However,follow that logic through and one must oppose the EU too, as it is born of the same idealism. Could I therefore be wrong about the European project? I dream of a world united without borders or devision, where humanity works together towards common goals; yet such a state would be so big that it could not possibly be democratic. The same could be said of europe as it moves towards ever closer union. After all, how could one government represent all humanity in it’s rich diversity. If that is so, then my utopia in which humanity’s petty devisions and disputes are outgrown cannot possibly be realised, and we are forever doomed to squabble as petty nation states.
I received some very worrying data from my colleagues at GAD yesterday. According to this, disability-related hate-crime has seen a sharp rise. ”15% of people have witnessed at least one hate crime or hate incident based on disability in the last year, according to research released today by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust on Holocaust Memorial Day (Wednesday 27 January 2016). In total, over a quarter (27%) say they’ve witnessed a form of hate crime or hate incident in the last year, defined as acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are. More than two thirds (69%) of those who’ve witnessed abuse of this kind say they regret not challenging it.” The report also states that abuse towards minorities on the whole is on the rise. Again, I can only add that it is a sign of the times: with resources being cut, those the tories and the right-wing press portray as scroungers are going to be ostracised and victimised more and more. Fortunately I haven’t experienced much abuse, but I’m beginning to think, given the way social attitudes towards people with disabilities are heading, it’s only a matter of time before I do.
I love to travel, and go a-roaming whenever I get the opportunity, so I find this story in today’s Independent quite disheartening. A woman with CP was forced off a British Airways flight from London City Airport to Glasgow last october. ”ParalympicsGB athletes are being encouraged to boycott British Airways when flying to the Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer, after the airline allegedly forced a disabled passenger off a flight and broke her electric wheelchair…She was told to leave after staff realised they would not be able to fit her electric wheelchair in the hold, despite being informed 72 hours in advance that she would be travelling with it.” As tenuous a link as this may seem, I suspect this is symptomatic of the times: with the cuts beginning to bite, society will see people with disabilities as more and more of a burden, so we can expect more crap like this to come.
My parents just paid us a visit. It was good to see them, catch up with family news and so on. As usual I came in for a bit of a nag for not writing anything more indepth such as magazine articles, but I suppose it’s true that I could write things with a bit more substance to them. Blog entries are all very well and good, but you can only go so far with this form of short prose.
However, Mum and Dad also told me something that made me raise an editorial eyebrow. As you may know, The Reith Lectures are this year being given by Stephen Hawking. When in London my parents stay at my grandmothers’; my uncle is also there at the moment. This morning, when he heard Hawking on the radio, he apparently called my mum ”Come quick! Matt’s on the radio!” It was, of course, an innocent enough prank, but I must say it gets my goat that people still liken me to Hawking just because I use a communication aid. Joke or not, it belies a serious problem. Other than the fact we both use VOCAs, I have very little in common with Hawking: I’m a writer, blogger and film maker, not a physicist, so why would people think it’s acceptable to liken me to him just because I supposedly sound like him? I’m not trying to get at my uncle, but the supposition which underpins his joke worries me. It is essentially grouping a set of people together because they share a common trait, and history teaches us that that can be a big mistake.
Yesterday was an incredible day. When, on Wednesday, Lyn told me that we were going to see Adele on Sunday, I assumed she meant we were going to a concert. I didn’t know Lyn was into her, I thought, but maybe she’ll perform the theme from Skyfall. Fortunately, Lyn had something far more awesome in mind. Yesterday was adele Drake’s birthday, and we had been invited to a get-together at the Royal Festival Hall on the south bank to celebrate.
Adele Drake is a remarkable woman – one of those people who stand out, and whose life stories makes one’s jaw drop in admiration and amazement. She once headed Drake Music, which enables musicians with disabilities to perform. Lyn was involved in it, long before I met her, which is why we were inited yesterday. It was great to see L, chatting away to old friends. I tried to keep to one side, as the day wasn’t about me, but socialite that I am I ended up getting into things. I spoke to adele quite a lot, even showing her my thesis on my Ipad.
By the time it came to go home, I was left wanting more; there were some truly brilliant people there yesterday. As usual, drake music has had to cut back a lot, but I got the impression yesterday that a few plans had been set afoot. It felt like the beginning of something, or at least a restart. The warm afterglow of the Paralympics having long since fizzled out, people with disabilities are becoming increasingly marginalised, making projects like Drake Music and indeed the Paraorchestra all the more important. Thus I hope something comes out of yesterday and can’t wait to see what it is.
I suppose you could say nothing unusual happened yesterday. After all, what is unusual about two mates going to a football match? It’s something lots of guys do of a Saturday afternoon. Yesterday, then, me and James went to see Charlton play Blackburn Rovers. We had arranged it over facebook, and I’d razzed down the hill a couple of weeks ago to buy the tickets. Yesterday, James met me here at two, pushed me down to the Valley, and we had a beer before watching a somewhat unremarkable game which ended in a one all draw. I was back here by five, rather cold and looking forward to dinner. Nothing special really – similar stories could be told about people all over the country yesterday. Going to watch a football match with a friend is quite a normal thing to do. Why, then, do I think it’s so cool, and feel so grateful to James for taking the timeout to do it with me?
I’m furious after just reading the closing line of this Welfare Weekly piece. The article is about an open letter from charities such as Mencap to the DWP, asking Iain Duncan-smith to urgently rethink his cuts to Employment Support Allowance. It details how, instead of helping people back into work, such cuts leave them more vulnerable and isolated. ”Jan Tregelles, who chairs the DBC and is also the Chief Executive of Mencap, said the poll ‘should make the government listen, especially when this cut seriously undermines their plans to halve the employment gap experienced by disabled people’. She said: ‘Not only are disabled people telling us loud and clear that this cut to ESA will make their lives harder, with both their health and chances of returning to work being harmed, but we also see how the general public are deeply concerned by these cuts to disability benefits’.” But instead of listening to such concerns as any human with a shred of compassion would, the tory scumbags dismissed this letter as scaremongering. I can barely believe their inhumanity or their arrogance. As long as they can hoard their money and cut tax, they don’t care who suffers or how many people top themselves after being driven to despair because of the cuts. On top of that they have the affront to claim to be making things better. The tories sicken me.
I just watched the first part of the beeb’s new series on the history of China, and found it fascinating. China is a place I don’t know much about: it just seems so different to what we’re accustomed to in europe, especially in terms of it’s language. The question I find myself pondering is, is there a common ancestor of the Chinese and Indo-European languages? They seem so different, you wouldn’t think there would be, but that would imply human language evolved twice in two separate places. It’s just one of those odd questions which has me pondering. I suppose we’ll never know given any such ancestor tongue will inevitably pre-date records. Something to look into nonetheless.