Several months ago, I applied for Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) ‘Access all Areas’ scheme that supports disabled campaigners to attend a party conference. My application was upfront about who I was and I believe on that basis, I was successfully selected to attend the Labour Party conference. Unfortunately, due to specific circumstances I was not able to go and I can now give my side of the story to this sorry situation.
Just by chance rather than anything else, I started blogging for the Huff in August and at the same time wrote an article for a so-called disability news service on why I intended to work with ATOS. These events collided into an explosive response from many so-called disability activists, and so I was attacked and demonised with vile personal comments simply because I dared admit working with ATOS, despite the fact that so many also do but are too cowardly to say so. For weeks I received so much hatred from these so-called activists, who in reality seemed to show their dislike for the human race in their abusive behaviour. I duly responded to some of their hateful tweets with some honest remarks I still do not regret as their remarks were farmore abusive to myself and true disabled people.
When the announcement came from LCD that I had been selected to attend the Labour Party conference many of these spiteful less disabled ATOS haters became extremely offended that a real disabled person, one they seemed to regard as too profoundly disabled to deserve a voice, had been selected, using my defence against their hate speech as an excuse to deny my free speech. According to a supposed bias journalist/blogger, one of the complainants was Ian Jones, on behalf of the WOWpetetion. The WOWpetition is the brainchild of Francesca Martinez, a middle class woman with CP who thinks she is the Bob Geldoff of disability as she tells the mainstream media the lies and myths of the so-called disability movement in a fashionable way.
The aim of the petition is to get the government to produce an anti-government report under the guise of a Cumulative Impact Assessment, which serves no real purpose other than wasting time and money. The potentially lengthy commission likely to be made up of the disability elite and non-disabled experts would simply allow the disability charities and others toline up to present their list of demands for more money to further disempower disabled people, in the name of evidence! While it is Francesca’s job topresent the petition as their angelic political correct thing to do, it now appears it has been left to Ian to eliminate the competition and to use his army of mindless ATOS hating robots to verbally, and possibly physically abuse, any disabled person who refuses to portray themselves as unemployable worthless victims in line with his self-loathing ideology. This is very odd behaviour for someone who claimed in a recent comment to one of my articles not to want to represent disabled people?!
You would have thought when his complaint was put in the hands of LCD it would have be dealt with in the sensitive manner it deserved? Well, no. The first I heard was when I got an email from a manager I did not know saying she was coming to see me the next day whatever without any explanation. As someone used to this kind of bullying from so-called professionals, I rang them up and they reluctantly told me that they had simply decided to withdraw their support for me going to the Labour Party conference because of my apparent abusive tweets. I asked them if they can at least give me a right to reply and they said no, nope, not at all and that this was a decision made with the support of the Chief Executive, Claire Pelham. I had to really wonder what was the point of meeting me if they already made they mind up other than to abusively rub salt into the wounds?
Let us leave their decision for one moment since that was their prerogative and focus on the fact they did not give me a right to reply: Some readers may be thinking ‘and so?’ Well the point is for a charity that provides care services and is supposedly inspected by the Care Quality Commission, this is certainly reason for grave concern and I will explain using another example. Say I am a service user in one of their care homes and a member of staff had made a complaint that I swore at them and in line with their supposed zero-tolerance policy I was given 24 hour notice to leave the service, effectively making me homeless without any right to reply. Because the matter was not investigated I could not explain the staff member had been hitting me and I was too scared to say. Unfortunately this abusive action it happened once, to me, could mean that it will happen again, especially when you remember the actions were at the direct approval of the Chief Executive.
After the BBC Panorama programme of the abuse at Winterbourne, everyone in the care sector, including LCD, promised it would never happen again. However, this is real evidence that within this charity, the ingredients that made grave abuse possible are alive and kicking. All I can do is bring my concerns to the public attention before someone less able than me suffers at the hands of LCD, or indeed the WOWpetition. There is a darker side to the disability field that we all need to take into account, as the voice of the minority protects itself from real voices like my own.
More information on the matter can be found at www.simonstevens.com/accessdenied