McVey Out – Petition By DPAC

A petition launched by DPAC to get rid of Esther McVey. This is really DPAC’s post, so to comment please visit their original.


Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) have launched a petition calling for the sacking of Esther McVey for lying to Parliament. More details about their reasons can be seen in the post they put up to launch the petition.


Below is a screenshot of the petition which I have formatted as a link so that you can sign and share this important petition

McVile Out

Network Autism

An important autism related meeting in Dereham plus a few shares and some photographs.


As well as my title piece, which as promised yesterday, is about the meeting in Dereham organised by Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands that I attended this morning. Karan and I were a little late arriving as she could not leave before the person who would be looking after her son had arrived and I had arranged a meet up point at The Gatehouse since while I was definitely up for the meeting I was not up for forking out the £11 it would have cost to me travel there and back under my own steam (at some point I will be putting up a post on public transport that will highlight why this particular shortish journey is so extortionate – for the moment suffice to say it has nothing to do with logic, reason, meeting passenger needs or anything else that has any place in the proper running of a public transport system). This meant that although we were able to introduce ourselves we missed most of the other people’s introductions. 


The meeting had been arranged to discuss amendments to an autism strategy document which as it stood was laughably incomplete. Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands were effectively doing the kind of outreach stuff that Norfolk County Council should have been doing but weren’t. The County Council’s own meetings about such matters are invariably in Norwich, generally with a requirement that one arrive by 9:30. Before moving on to NAS West Norfolk’s role in the events of this meeting I will mention two things from the preliminary talk that caused hackles to raise. First, Norfolk County Council’s person responsible for co-ordinating matters relating to autism appears to have his fingers in a suspiciously large number of pies, and extending from this seems to be overly averse to scrutiny (as a West Norfolk resident who has the incinerator debacle seared on his memory I am naturally inclined to be mistrustful where Norfolk County Council are concerned – although we eventually won that one and the thing did not get built). Secondly there is the role of Norfolk Steps, who seem to have a monopoly on training provision for parents and carers and to be very reluctant to see that change – one person at the meeting had tried to use their materials to provide training and was told to desist. Another strike against Norfolk Steps from our point of view is that their training is not autism specific.

The key pages of the inadequate document that we were trying to improve were pages 16-19, and there was little we could do about what was on page 16, so as we seated around three tables each table was assigned a page to look at and make additions to. Ours was page 18:


I have already covered a lot of the problems with Norfolk Steps, but there is one extra point – they have recently had their funding reduced, and no longer offer “steps plus” to parents. 

There were a few additions to point 5, which started our page. Point 6 was the single most inadequately expressed point in the whole sorry document. For this point to be worth the ink and paper it has to contain chapter and verse – the specific Act of Parliament and the specific clauses contained therein that are of most relevance. 

Anne Ebbage of Autism Anglia will be passing all the points raised at this meeting on to the council, and if the final version of this document is not massively changed and enlarged there will be trouble.

This was a very useful and productive meeting, and I hope it will play a role in dragging Norfolk’s approach to autism and autistic people out of the dark ages wherein it seems to have been stuck for some time.


The first part of this post has been about autism, and so I introduce the remainder of it by way of a link to an interesting piece by The Inked Autist. My views are rather different to those expressed in this post, but I recommend that you read it here.


That title is no overstatement – this section contains a link to a post on the DPAC website and two embedded videos. 

The post, which gives this section of this post its title, can be accessed by clicking the DPAC logo below. Then you can find the two videos, which are both about a protest outside Parliament. The first video was created by Let Me Look TV, the second by Steve Topple of The Canary.



I had planned to include more stuff in this post, but a malfunction has prevented that – I have just lost a large amount of stuff that was in here and have no way of getting back, so here are the photographs.


A magpie near the pick up point in Lynn this morning


Three shots featuring a stretch of the Mid-Norfolk Railway in Dereham
One of the “Ecocity” towers near Swaffham – even in this picture, and still more so in the further edited version the observation room near the centre of the propeller is clearly visible. The original shot from which this picture and the next were both obtained was taken through the window of a moving car.

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Some Autism Related Events

Information about various autism related events coming up in the future, plus a few extra links.


I have a few other things to share as well, but the focus of this post is on some information I have just received by way of NAS West Norfolk.


This came to me formatted as a word document – and as well as the screenshot below I have included a link to the original:



This event is taking place at the John Innes Centre, which is located close to the University of East Anglia, a little outside town (though there are regular bus services from central Norwich to UAE). Below the flyer I have included a screenshot from google maps.



This is taking place on June 4th, at Ingoldisthorpe Social Club. For more information, and/ or to support by the event by liking and sharing its facebook page click the image below:

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature


Not long ago a case involving one of Britain’s leading bus companies went to the supreme court, where it was established that bus companies, and by extension bus drivers are legally obliged to grant access to wheelchair bound passengers. Therefore, this story from disabledgo about an incident in Wakefield where the driver not only refused to allow on a wheelchair bound passenger but then allowed/ encouraged passengers to blame the wheelchair user for the subsequent delay looks even worse than normal. 


This next piece comes from To read it please click the image below:



This piece, titled “Big Wheels Old and New”, showcases seven of the lots going under the hammer at James and Sons’ next auction, which feature the Gigantic Wheel that stood at Earls Court between 1895 and 1906, while also mentioning the London Eye. Click on the picture of lot 1286 to view my piece and the picture of lot 1295 below it to view a full auction catalogue:



Earlier today I featured a superb post by Heather Hastie on this subject. Sam Harris, distinguished author of many fine books such as “The End of Faith”, “Letter to a Christian Nation” and “The Moral Landscape” has produced his take on this issue, which you can read here.


Disability groups hail court’s support for wheelchair user on bus : Welfare Weekly.

A victory for disability rights (brought to you by Welfare Weekly and DWP Examination by way of the Guardian)…

Bus drivers must now pressure passengers to make room in ruling described by Doug Paulley as ‘significant cultural change’. This article titled “Disability groups hail court’s support for wheelchai…

Source: Disability groups hail court’s support for wheelchair user on bus : Welfare Weekly.

Southern’s rail plans will breach Equality Act, says disabled access expert | DisabledGo News and Blog

More trouble for #SouthernFail. They should lose their franchise forthwith, either being run direct by the government or being put under the umbrella of TFL…

Plans by an under-fire rail company to change the way it staffs its trains will lead to “unacceptable” and repeated breaches of the Equality Act by denying disabled passengers the support they need to travel, it has been claimed. Southern – which operates train services across parts of south London and southern England – is planning to replace conductors with “on board supervisors” (OBSs), whose job will not include stepping onto the platform at stations. Campaigners fear that introducing these supervisors will mean that disabled passengers who need assistance on platforms at unstaffed stations could be left stranded and unable to board their train. Southern is also planning to allow OBS trains to operate with only a driver in “exceptional circumstances” – which is likely to make travel even harder for disabled people – and has also admitted that two-fifths of its trains are already driver only operated (DOO). Southern is embroiled in a long-running industrial action over its plans to

Source: Southern’s rail plans will breach Equality Act, says disabled access expert | DisabledGo News and Blog

Links, Pictures and a Test Match

A mixed bag – a brief account of test match, some very important links, especially regarding disability rights, and some photographs.


The pictures and some brief comments on the Test Match that finished yesterday between England and Pakistan not withstanding, this is mainly a sharing post.


This is nominally a home series for Pakistan, being staged in the United Arab Emirates because Pakistan is still considered off-limits for security reasons. For four and a half of its allotted five days this match had all the makings of a high scoring bore draw, Shoaib Malik having scored 245 for Pakistan on pitch devoid of life and bounce, and Alastair Cook retaliating with a monumental 263 in 826 minutes for England who ended up leading by 75 on first innings. Then a combination of some horrendous misjudgments by the Pakistan batsmen and some good bowling, especially from leg spinner Adil Rashid (Yorkshire born and bred btw) left England with 99 to win, and they were within 25 of doing so when the light closed n sufficiently for the umpires to call a halt, it being at the same level it was when they had done so the previous evening. This is the second time in only just over two years that the current light rule has been horrendously shown up in a test match involving England – the other being at the Oval in 2013.


The links I have for you today come in three sections…


As some of you will be aware, Britain has recently achieved the unwelcome distinction of becoming the first country to be investigated by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I have three links relating to this very important issue to share with you…

First, this wonderful piece from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) which explains exactly why this investigation is happening.

Next comes this from disabilitynewsservice about the early stages of the investigative process.

Finally, comes the text of a question and where you can post it (as I have already done) to ensure that it gets asked at next Prime Minister’s Questions. The question we want to ensure that Mr Corbyn puts is:

The United Kingdom is currently being investigated by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities because of allegations of “grave and systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights. Shamefully we are the First Country ever to face such an inquiry. The Inquiry itself is has been widely reported in the press and DWP have confirmed the inquiry was initiated by the campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts.

Will the Prime Minister now commit to the government publishing in full the findings of the committee when the report is sent to the government next year?

You can put the question on this link:


The bizarre situation at universities in Texas whereby one can carry a handgun concealed about one’s person with impunity but not a water pistol has provoked one very brave and principled professor to resign his position in protest. The full story has been covered by whyeveolutionistrue in this post. Here for you to view is the resignation letter itself:

Resignation Letter

My other international link comes courtesy of the wonderful Heather Hastie, whose blog I heartily recommend. This piece, under the heading “Winner of the Week” talks about the sadly endangered pangolin, taking a battering because of the vile superstition that its scales have medicinal qualities (I like to think that even if I was not allergic to woo this piece would have provoked the kind of reaction it did in me).


Vox Political have been pursuing the DWP over claimant deaths for a very long time, and it now looks as though that department have landed themselves in a whole heap of trouble, as explained in this post.

Finally, a link to a piece in the Guardian about Jeremy Hunt (he of rhyming slang fame) and his current target, junior doctors.


Today’s selection of photo’s also divides into two, starting with some of my usual pics from around King’s Lynn…

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My remaining pictures come from Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin, one of the books mentioned in this post which I reblogged from whyevolutionistrue.

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An Extraordinary Test Match

A personal account of the Lord’s test match, some infographics, links and photographs – enjoy.


I have a selection of infographics, photos and links to share, as well as my main piece.


England 30-4 in the first innings. After England recovered from this dismal start to reach 389 early on the second morning New Zealand spent the rest of day 2 compiling 303-2. By the end of day 3 England were two down in their second innings and still nearly a hundred runs in the red. Day four saw the big momentum swing, the creation of three individuals, Cook, Root and especially Stokes. The last named scored the fastest hundred ever in a Lord’s test match. This meant that England closed the day with an already substantial lead. By the time England were all out on the fifth morning (yesterday), New Zealand needed 345 for victory in 77 overs. Two wickets went down without a run, but the really decisive blow came later in the day and was struck by that man Stokes (the most obvious man of the match in test history) who cleaned up Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum with successive deliveries. Thereafter, although the New Zealand lower order showed plenty of fight it always looked like an England win, and the eventual margin was 125 runs.

I do not withdraw my earlier criticisms of England’s selection policy, and I point out that it was not until deep into day four that the possibility of an England win showed up an anyone’s radar. Also as an aside New Zealand won the toss and chose to put England in, and even though they did take early wickets, as such a course of action requires, they still ended up beaten.

I hope that the second test match lives up to this one (a pity that there are only the two rather than a proper series – ICC please note that two tests DO NOT CONSTITUTE a proper series).This will require England not to adopt a “what we have we hold” approach.


I have a variety of infographics to share this time, starting with a couple from people in favour of keeping the hunting ban…

FHB Keep The Ban

I take a very strong line on disability rights both here and on aspitweets and my next infographic is in keeping with that.


Those of us fortunate enough not to have had to use a food bank may wonder what exactly they provide – check this scary infographic to find out…


My last two infographics both relate to a smear campaign being run by the Daily Mail against Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham (which has naturally influenced me in his favour!)




I shall start with an anniversary, courtesy of Faraday’s Candle. The birthday girl is astronaut Sally Ride.

Having started on a science theme, two more links, the first of which introduces the second. The twin themes are asteroid strikes and probability:

1) Intro piece

2) The whole shebang


I found the result of this referendum very exciting, and I was not the only one, as these two links, one from the Independent and one from Patheos make clear in their different ways:




My last links both refer to important social issues, one to our railways and one to the bedroom tax. First of all, I thank the Liverpool Echo for this article about the much loathed bedroom tax. Secondly, The Mirror provided this marvellous article about Network Rail.


Just before putting up my final few images I would urge you all to share this post or at least the parts of it that appeal to you. My thanks to all of my followers.

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These maps all come fron the front of Harry Sidebottom's "The Caspian Gates" which is a marvellous read and a book I would recommend to anyone.
These maps all come fron the front of Harry Sidebottom’s “The Caspian Gates” which is a marvellous read and a book I would recommend to anyone.

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I saw this picture on twitter and was very struck by it, so here it is.
I saw this picture on twitter and was very struck by it, so here it is.