Blue badge parking permits to cover ‘hidden disabilities’ in England

Last night I saw on the news that the Blue Badge scheme is now going to be expanded to cover so-called ‘hidden disabilities’. They are going to allow people with conditions like autism and mental health problems to park in disabled spaces. This may be a bit controversial, but I’m not sure I  approve. Those spaces should be for people whose impairments effect their mobility. They are wider specifically to allow people in wheelchairs access to their cars; I don’t see how a person with a  condition which does not effect their mobility would qualify. It would surely mean fewer spaces for wheelchair users. What stops anyone with  such a non-physical condition waling as far as anyone else,  and  why would they physically need wider spaces? Forgive me, but it’s almost as if they want these badges to validate their claims to be just as disabled as those of us with  mobility impairments.


As someone with no choice but to speak with an electronic  American accent, the regional variations in how people talk has always intrigued me. I just came across this neat little  run-down of all the major accents of great Britain. I find it quite call, and was especially amused to see where they took their examples from – for the Liverpudlian accent, they selected Lister from red Dwarf. I’m fairly familiar with British accents, of course, so it would be interesting to now see if I can find a similar video exploring variations in how Americans or Australians talk (mind you, they all sound the same to me…)

Time to get into Bourne

I caught the first Bourne film on telly last night. I had seen it before,  of course, but not for a long time. Add breaks aside, I was quite taken with it. Bourne is not Bond: he is an agent at odds with the system which created him, unsure of his  relationship to it. I was impressed, and decided to do what  I did with the Bond series: sit down and watch them in order. Last night I glimpsed a character worth exploring. It has been a while since I diid any proper, decent film analysis so I’m quite  looking forward to it.

The point where you have to intervene

Acceptance and tolerance are all well and good when it comes to impairments and disabilities, but there comes a point where you just have to worry about some people. At the cafe in the park Lyn and I go to, there are quite a few regulars.  One of them is a man who has quite obvious mental health issues. I see him there almost every day, usually around the same time. The thing is, he always wears the same thing: two  rather thick jackets and a thick woolen hat,.

It’s boiling out there today – one of the hottest days I can remember. Heading to the park for a coffee earlier, I thought, if I saw the guy in question there, he would have to be wearing less today. I thought it impossible, in this heat, for him to be wearing the same thick stuff he always wears.

But I was wrong. Sure enough he was there in his usual clothes, including the hat. To be  honest, I was both alarmed and concerned: it must have been over thirty degrees out there; wearing so many clothes in heat like today’s could do serious damage to a body. I know he has a right to wear what he wants,  but surely there comes a point where we have to intervene.

I spoke to Mike, who owns the cafe, about it. He went over and spoke briefly to the guy. I heard a nonsensical response indicative of someone  with severe mental  issues, and Mike left him alone. What else  could he do? Should we have intervened? In today’s heat,  wearing what he was wearing, there was a real chance  he could lose consciousness. If someone saw me about to hurt myself due to my CP – if I was about to fall over, say – I would hope they would step in. Doesn’t the same principal apply here?

things I’m looking forward to

There are  now several things I’m looking forward to.  This morning I got  wind that the twenty-fifth Bond film will be released in December  next year. I think I have mentioned on here before how excited I was at the news that Danny Boyle is directing it. The gossip is that he now plans something completely new and original in this film – something which would make it stand out from the rest of the Bond canon. I’m something of a Boyle fan, and know what he is capable of, so I think we’re in for a real treat  next year. The guy who gave us Happy and Glorious will surely bring us something new to the franchise.

Before that I  have other things I’m looking forward  to though. In a couple of weeks  Lyn and I set off for  Poland to go to the same festival we went to last year. Immediately after that we’re going up  to Chester for Charlie’s wedding. That  will certainly be an interesting, adventure-filled  few days.

After that, I’m quite looking forward to the opening of Crossrail this December, believe  it or not. The  metropolis still fascinates me, and I feel this new rail network will add a new dimension to it.  We’ll be able to  go all  over the city so much easier. It will add something new to this fascinating place, and my explorations will probably increase tenfold.

There are other things, but you get the idea. I mentioned the biggie – the return  of Captain Picard –  the other day. When I think about it, I have a load of cool stuff to look forward to. My weblog archive should be restored soon too (hint to the Lukester there!). I lead  an awesome life full of great memories, both already existing and yet to be created Thus, as worked up as I get about politics, I can never get too down.

More Lea Explorations

Today I tried to do more of the exploring I noted here, getting the tube up to stratford and then trying to find the Lea.  It really is lovely up there, and very picturesque. I am certainly going to have to take Lyn up there soon. Oddly, though, I found it much harder going this  time. A lot of the pathways were  blocked off for work. I managed to make it back to the north shore of the Thames though, before getting the cablecar over the wide, majestic river and rolling home.

Two disability-related stories

I have probably been a rather lax disability commentator this week as I have failed to mention two quite large disability-related stories. The first is the news of a woman with dwarfism who allegedly held  up a train because someone refused to move their prom for her mobility scooter. I think that is disgusting: the woman was put through hell for sticking to her rights. The train company even tried to blame her for delaying the train. It’s a problem I encounter quite frequently on the busses, but I’ve never been as traumatised or humiliated as this woman was.

The second disability-related story I want to bring to everyone’s attention is the news that Dwayne Johnson will be playing a leg amputee in his next film, Skyscraper. It’s probably the former wrestler’s usual action-packed guff. The problem is, I’m not sure things like this should be acceptable. Of course, I’m all for as much onscreen disability representation as possible, but this is a clear case of an actor ‘cripping up’ to get attention. Surely characters with disabilities should be played by actors with disabilities. After all, it is definitely no longer acceptable for a white actor to ‘black up’ to play a black person; he has very little real experience of having a disability. Johnson has drawn widespread criticism from the  disability community for this, and frankly, so he should.

If only.

mp courage


Frankly, the whole affair is getting so pathetically stupid that surely it’s only a matter of time before they get real and call an end to the   entire Brexit episode.

The return of Captain Picard

Last night I set up a Google alert for Patrick Stewart and Star Trek. To be honest I haven’t been this eager for  news about something since the announcement of 007’s  involvement at the London Olympics or the  reunion of Monty Python – I might  be even more excited this time. I haven’t written anything about it on here before now because there isn’t really anything  definite to go on:  there is speculation that Picard might appear on Discovery in a cameo, or as an admiral  in his own series, or as a tutor in a series about Starfleet academy. As you can imagine, the fans are going crazy trying to glean anything they can from the sparse information we have at this point, and I better not join them. Nonetheless, this is a news story I will be keeping a very, very close eye on: the possible return of Picard,  my favourite Star Trek character, has me squealing like a kid on Christmas morning. I just can’t wait until we get a first glimpse of Stewart  back in that role, or even striding up to a replicator and uttering the immortal line once again:  “Tea, Earl Grey, hot.”