I think I ought to flag this excellent speech by Catherine Bearder MEP up today. She made it a couple of days ago in high Wycombe. It’s a clear articulation of what a total and utter fuck-up Brexit is turning out to be: no planning, no trade deals, a catastrophic effect on the Northern Ireland peace deal. All this talk of respecting democracy is fine, but we have reached the point where you have to say enough is enough – this stupidity must stop. She also points out, quite heartbreakingly, the contrast in the spirit of the uk in 2012, when we welcomed the world, to the far darker spirit it has taken on since 2016. It feels like a completely different place: far more vile and unwelcoming. Fortunately a growing number of people such as Mrs Bearder are rising up to call an end to this utter shambles, and to restore the country to the welcoming, tolerant place it should be.
I really think I should flag this quite excellent piece by my old friend Chris Whittaker up. In it, Chris looks at the two contrasting ways to represent disabled people in the media – that of the scrounger and that of the valiant hero – and draws some fairly interesting conclusions. As he points out the increasing portrayal of people with disabilities as burdens on society has lead to a worrying resurgence in medical model thinking: it is not society which imposes barriers upon us, but, trapped in our abnormal bodies, all we can do is beg for scraps off society’s table. Thus, as Chris says, ” The case for the ‘contribution’ based narrative [which frames people with disabilities as having a positive effect on society] should also continue to be made in an assertive way.” That is precisely what I seek to do in my writing and film making.
I still think Ted Shires is one of the most eloquent – and indeed funny – disability advocates out there. His latest video can be seen here. In it, Shires responds to questions he frequently gets asked about having Cerebral Palsy. His answers are both very amusing and highly intelligent, and I think it is this self-knowing wit which makes shires stand out. He makes people laugh, but makes very good, valid points at the same time. As he says, there are a lot of misconceptions about CP out there, but it is only through people like Shires addressing them head on that we can hope to deal with them.
Today is my brother Luke’s thirty-second birthday. I saw Luke last week at Grandma’s funeral. Both he and wife Yen are fine. To be honest, it was great to see them, despite the solemnity of the occasion. He is well, still clearly loving life as a researcher; it’s just a pity we don’t see eachother that often. I’d just like to wish him a very happy birthday – have a good one, bro.
I just came across some awesome news: Holly Isabel Flackett born this morning at 8:08 am weighing in at 5 pound 10 ounces. Mother and baby are perfect. My hearty congratulations to my good friend Chris and his beautiful wife Melissa. It’s been too long, guys…
I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help chuckling at this Guardian article about how Tories are coming under attack online. ”Conservatives are losing out on social media because supporters feel unable to share their views without attracting abuse, the Conservatives’ new party chairman has said.” It goes on, Tory chairman Brendan Lewis said that ”If you look at what happens on social media, if somebody on the right or the centre puts out a message, the attack from the hard left is sometimes unbelievably abusive and vitriolic.” If you ask me, they deserve every word of that vitriol for the suffering they have caused and the harm they have done to the country.
Of course, this is partly due to the anonymising effect of the internet: you can say things online which you would never say to a person’s face, so people feel more free to give vent to their frustrations. Yet I also feel that we are becoming angrier and angrier, whipped up into a fury by utter travesties like Trump and Brexit. Such things fly in the face of every liberal, tolerant value we have, but we also feel powerless to stop them. The web gives us easy, anonymous access to those who support such insults to humanity, so I suppose more and more of us are losing our restraint. I’m as guilty of it as anyone, but I can’t help worrying where all this rage and hate is taking us.
The truth, it seems, will out. According to this Descrier article, leading outist Daniel Hannan now admit that all the predictions made by so-called ‘Project Fear’ are correct. Everything the Remain team said would happen if the UK was foolish enough to leave the EU is going to happen. He also contends, however, that voters made an informed decision and actively voted to become poorer, but that’s bullshit. It’s becoming painfully clear that we were manipulated into voting for something manifestly outside our best interests two years ago. As I’ve said repeatedly, Brexit is all about turning the UK into a deregulated tax haven where the haves are free to persecute the have-nots, and cannot be allowed to stand.
I could never go up into the woods above congleton park. The paths through it are steep and cut through with steps. My chair could never get up there; yet I was always told that those woods were filled with bluebells, and my grandma always called them the bluebell woods. She often said how beautiful they were, before giving a whistle.
The paths through maryon Wilson park are wide and smooth. I often take them these days on my way home from school or charlton park. Going through the wooded London park last night, many miles from my old family home and thinking about my grandma, I suddenly came across a beautiful clearing carpeted with bluebells. And, in my mind, I heard grandma whistle.
It was grandma’s funeral today, held at the small Sussex village where she grew up and spent most of her life. All my family was there, and it was truly great to see them. If the occasion hadn’t been so sad it would have been a lovely day. Sat there in the same church where my great grandma was buried, I thought about the bluebells in both parks. I have many happy memories of my grandma and will certainly miss her- we all will.
I just got a short article published on the Cenmac website. Tracey at school asked me to write something about my experiences with AAC a few days ago, and I’m quite pleased with it. Check it out here.
Just another Brexit-related link today: I just came across a reference to this quite impressive website. Is it worth it appears to be a balanced, level-headed approach to an issue which many people are very, very passionate and upset about. It asks as objectively as possible whether leaving the EU is actually worth it. To be fair, I think such an approach is something many people, including myself, could do with getting back to right now.