Continuing my personal account of #Marxism2017 with two disability themed meetings.
Welcome to this continuation of my series about Marxism 2017. This post focusses specifically on the two meetings on disability, which took place during the second and fifth slots on the Saturday.
DISABILITY AND RESISTANCE
This meeting was scheduled for room 3E, but when the main lift at Student Central broke down and resisted all efforts to get it working again it was rescheduled for the ground floor. As soon as it was known that the lift was busted the organisers of the festival made it clear that refunds would be available for those who thought they could no longer enjoy the event (there was only one ground floor location remotely suitable for meetings, and three meetings in each session were scheduled for rooms on the 3rd floor, which was inacessible to the physically disabled without the lift working.). Although the ersatz meeting venue was not ideal it was the least bad solution for this meeting.
This meeting was packed full of inspirational stories from various campaigns. As an autistic person I identify particularly strongly with struggles for disability rights. I am a member of group of whom (UK figures – feel free to give me others from elsewhere in the world if you know them) 74% are unemployed, and 85% are under-employed.
Here are some pictures:
HOW CAN DISABLED PEOPLE WIN LIBERATION – RODDY SLORACH
The lift appeared to working again during lunch, but then packed up again and could not be coaxed back to life again, so again we were in the ersatz venue. There was an additional problem this time in that the machines in the cafe outside which we were based were shutting down, creating a lot of background noise. Although 6 hours had elapsed since the end of the panel meeting covered above this meeting felt in many ways like a continuation of the other, with every contribution being inspiring. Although I did not speak myself I was pleased to note that three other autistic people did make contributions. I conclude this post with a few photos:
Politics and nature combine to form one YUGE blog post!
In my part of the world there are local elections happening on May 4th, so I thought I would use some thoughts about them as the starting point for this blog. I will go on from that to sharing various interesting and important stuff, and of course there will be some of my own photographs.
Although my polling card is safely in my possession I have yet to receive any communication from any of the candidates, and can therefore talk only in general terms. I will definitely be voting. Since I became of voting age more years ago than I care to reveal I have only once failed to vote in an election I was entitled to vote in, and that was in the first election for Norfolk Police Commissioner. I will not be voting for any right wing parties or individual candidates. After their massive betrayal of those who voted for them (myself one of them) in 2010 the Liberal Democrats have much ground to make up and at this moment the odds against me putting my cross in that particular box are of the “write your own ticket” variety. While it is possible that I will be impressed by someone standing as an Independent candidate it is not very likely. This leaves me looking at two options:
Labour – if the candidate is of the right type and not someone who will use their entire campaign to bash their party’s twice elected leader I may be induced to vote for them.
Green – this party stands for many of the things that I believe in, and I am not going to hold the entire party to account for a mistake made by one of its co-leaders (Jonathan Bartley endorsing “light it up blue”, which readers of this blog will realise is an absolute guarantee of an entry in my bad books). If they can find a candidate with the qualities shown by Sian Berryin her campaign for London Mayor and subsequently in her work as a Greater London Assembly member I will certainly by influenced in this direction.
I will probably be voting Green because I see the way forward as being in a red/green partnership, and I think the Green side of that partnership needs strengthening. Also, a Green vote has the merit of being a vote cast unequivocally in favour of Proportional Representation.
After this start it is time for some…
I start with a piece by Richard Murphy titled “Time For a New Political Party?”, in which he looks at a suggestion originally made by Richard Dawkins in a piece in the New Statesman. While I would say that the launch of a new political party should be delayed until FPTP is replaced with PR (under FPTP the Tories have a built-in advantage that would only be strengthened by the addition of a new party) I believe that Professor Murphy is pretty well on the money with his suggestions about this new party. Please click on the screenshot below to access this post, and if so inclined add your voice to those commenting on it:
Next, from the Skwawkbox comes the most recent piece on the story I have dubbed Coynegate – the massive breaches of the Data Protection Act by right wing candidate for Unite general secretary Gerard Coyne. To read this story, titled “EXCLUSIVE: COYNE TELLS BBC HIS LABOUR DATA USE ‘CONCLUDED’. IT ISN’T.” please click on the image below:
My next link is to the homepage of the We Own It Campaign’s website. To find out for yourself what they are all about click on the screenshot below:
The focus, including my photographs is about to shift to Nature (note to my many fellow autistic bloggers although you do not feature in this post I have some of your finest stuff bookmarked for use in the very near future), and the turning point is a campaign against the large scale felling of trees in and around Sheffield. I have two links in connection with this. First, for the benefit of those of you who use social media, a Thunderclap, which you can boost by adding your own connections on facebook, twitter and tumblr. I link to it by way of the screenshot below:
The second link on this subject is to the page that lists all the campaigns in and around Sheffield that are now grouped under the umbrella of Sheffield Tree Action Groups (STAG). I link by way of a screenshot once again:
The last piece of shared content for today before moving towards my photographs comes to you from Sweden, and has a section to itself:
ANNA INTRODUCES EMMELINA
Anna is a Swedish blogger who needs to no further introduction to readers of this blog. As for Emmelina, that will have to wait for the moment. Yesterday Anna put up a post about a very curious little creature she had photographed on her door, which she called “Who’s This?”I thought that the little creature was a stick insect, but the reveal when it came today was far more interesting. It turns out that the creature is actually a moth that resembles a stick insect. Here is a link to the piece in which Anna reveals the identity of the creature. Finally, revealing the Emmelina part of the title, here is Wikipedia on Emmelina Monodactyla.
To end the post here are some of my own photographs…
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.
A SEGUE LINK
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.
A BUSY WEEK FOR DPAC
That title is no overstatement – this section contains a link to a post on the DPACwebsite 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.
Preparations for tomorrow, photographs from in and around King’s Lynn and pointing up a couple of things brought to my attention by DPAC
The links I am sharing in this post are to do with disability rights. I am also going to be setting the stage in this post for the main thrust of tomorrow’s blogging, which is where the autism part of the title comes in.
I will be attending an event in Dereham tomorrow morning which has been organised jointly by Autism Anglia and ASD Helping Hands. Dereham has been chosen as a location because we are dealing with a large area, and King’s Lynn to Norwich is too long a journey for most to consider acceptable (and even more so in reverse). Along with everything else, I have been making preparations for that.
GETTING THERE AND BACK
I have mad arrangements with someone who lives in Watlington and will be travelling by car to be given a lift. In order to avoid the necessity of the driver coming into the middle of King’s Lynn at what would be a busy time we have arranged to meet in the car park of the Gatehouse pub. It being fine outside I was up for a walk anyway, so I started by walking the best route between my house and the car park in question. Those familiar with this blog will not need to be told that in aspiblog terms when talking about walking routes “best” and “shortest” are not necessarily synonymous, and my chosen route is not by any means the shortest. However I class at as the “best” walking route because it minimises the amount of time I spend close to busy roads.
I set off at 13:31 (I needed to time this first section) and headed over the bridge across the upper Purfleet, across King Street, and down to mouth of the lower Purfleet, where I crossed the other pedestrian bridge to walk along the bank of the Great Ouse as far as Millfleet, from where I took the path around old Boal Quay to the Nar Outfall, and briefly rejoined the riverbank until I reached the path through Hardings Pits to Hardings Way, which I followed to its end near the South Lynn Baptist Church, where I crossed the road it joins, crossed the Nar and walked along to the South Gates roundabout, where one more road crossing took me to the edge of the car park which tomorrow morning will be my destination. Having recorded that I had got to the car park at 14:02, and hence been underway for 31 minutes I continued my walk by way of the cemetery, The Walks, Lynnsport and finally back into town by way of Bawsey Drain.
When I got back I found a facebook message awaiting me telling me that the ETA for my lift at the car park tomorrow was 9:20 – 9:30, so factoring in the timings for today and reckoning that if anyone has to wait it should be me I am planning on leaving my flat at approximately 8:40AM tomorrow.
Here are some of the pictures I took while out walking (including some in the first section which I was timing – where I go my camera goes).
A DPAC DUO
Disabled People Against Cuts have put out two very important pieces today. First, they draw our attention to a day of action against the vicious barbarism known as “Benefit Sanctions” organised by UNITE Community for March 30th. Please read this piece in full by by clicking on the image of an anti-sanction badge (from that post) below:
The second piece from DPAC relates the upcoming mayoral elections in Manchester. The Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People has developed a Disability Manifesto. This manifesto has been sent to all the mayoral candidates, and for those of you who use social media, a thunderclap has been launched to oput further pressure on the candidates to sign up to this manifesto.
A selection of political stories from the last couple of days.
This is the third and last politically themed post in this series that I have been putting up today (although I have held some stories that might be considered political back for the next post which will be the last – I will then create a page containing links to these specific posts for ease of reference).
TORY STEALS MOD SECRETS, USES THEM TO HELP ADAM SMITH INTERNATIONAL
This story, which shows Tories at their worst and most unprincipled was brought to my attention by David Hencke. To read the full story of how MOD secrets were stolen and used to load the dice in favour of Adam Smith International click the image below.
ANOTHER ANGRY VOICE ON TORY ELECTOTRAL FRAUD
Thomas G Clark who blog as Another Angry Voicehas more on the Tory electoral fraud story, in the form of whistleblowers who have admitted to unknowingly assisting the Tories to commit electoral fraud. Click the image below to read the full piece.
I have two pieces on Personal Independence Payments (PIP for short) for your attention. Firstly, DPACare asking for people who would be willing to be involved in a legal challenge to changes to PIP. If you are able to help DPAC, or would like to share their piece please click on the screenshot below.
The second PIP comes from 38 Degrees, in the form of a petition calling for people with mental health issues to be treated fairly under PIP. Please click the image below for more.
A situation that allows a party who gained 37% of the votes cast (under 25% of the electorate given the turnout) to form a “majority” government is obviously unacceptable. If you agree with this and are a UK resident please click on the screenshot below to sign and/ or share the petition, which is currently on 93,217 signatures, meaning that another 6,783will trigger a debate in the house. Just before putting up the screenshot link one final point for those who bring uop the orevious referendum on this subject: AV IS NOT PR
ROWSON SKEWERS HAMMOND
To end on a lighter note, below, with a link to the original, is Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson’s take on Philip Hammond’s budget:
A link to petition that needs more signatures, plus links to the supporting information. Some pictures, a few thoughts about the recently concluded test match and a couple of extra links.
I will be covering other stuff as well, but I am giving top billing to an autism related petition.
EDWARD TIMPSON MP MAKE BRIGHTON & HOVE DISTRICT COUNCIL CEASE ILLEGAL SECTION 47 SS INVESTIGATIONS
Here is the petition – main link is in the infographic:
Here is the opening paragraph of the petition:
Too many LAs are conducting illegal S47 child protection investigations and traumatising families. Brighton & Hove City Council is conducting at least one such an investigation right now against an innocent autism family (my own – autistic parent with autistic children), which indicates a pattern of behaviour is likely, as it wouldn’t be a one-off incident. Brighton & Hove City Council is conducting this investigation on the basis of entire autism ignorance (towards parent and children) and illegal disability discrimination. How can an autism parent perform their usual superhero job whilst being put through this trauma? LAs behaving illegally must be stamped out.
Here are links to all the updates that have been posted on this petition:
You now have access to all the information I have seen about this case and should know what to do. If in signing this petition you mention me and this blog I will receive an email notification telling me that you have signed.
After a large chunk of text it is time for some pictures. There are some from yesterday and some from today:
A TEST MATCH SETTLED BY A COIN TOSS AND A DISASTROUS 49 MINUTES
Test matches are scheduled to last for five days, and this one made it deep into the fifth of those of five days. India beat England by 246 runs and are to be congratulated, although as the title of this section suggests they were helped by good fortune. Winning the toss meant that they got to bat when the pitch was at its easiest. England’s disastrous 49 minutes occurred on the second evening, when they surrendered four wickets to end that day on 103-5 in reply to 455. Of the five wickets England lost that day only Cook got a really difficult delivery – the others assisted in their own downfall.
Facing 405 to win or 150 overs to survive on an increasingly difficult pitch England were never in the hunt, and the dismissal of Joe Root for 25 was the death knell, leaving the lower order to fight it out for as long as they could. Haseeb Hameed showed great concentration and determination at the top of the order before one shot along the ground to pin him LBW (a genuinely unplayable ball).
Virat Kohli demonstrated his skill with the bat, amending a decidedly dodgy previous record against England with scores in this match of 167 and 85. The latter was an innings that made it look like the match was taking place on two different pitches – at one end everyone else was struggling in the face of an excellent bowling performance from England, and at the other Kohli met every ball with the middle of his bat.
England showed enough to suggest that this series is not a lost cause, especially with three matches still to play.
A COUPLE OF LINKS TO FINISH
First, a petition on 38 Degrees calling for the scrapping of the ‘Sovereign Grant’ (I would prefer to scrap the Royal Family outright, but at least making them pay their own way would be a move in the right direction).
Some stuff about autism, some important links and some photographs.
Although this post includes some links that are not specific to autism, and of course some photos, enough of it is autism related to warrant the first word of the title.
AN IMPORTANT EVENT ON MONDAY
This Monday an ‘autism positive’ event is taking place at the Theatre Royal in Norwich. I will be present in the dual capacity of autistic adult and branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk. As well as a display with full information about our branch we will be distributing leaflets about efforts to get some adult oriented events and activities going. Apart from the official NAS branding and header which I copied and pasted from the website the leaflets are entirely my work…
Advertising attended to, the second part of this section relates to:
AUTISM AND EMPLOYMENT
First of all, here is the grim truth about autistic people and employment in the UK:
75% of us are unemployed.
Others are employed in low paid and/ or part time work, so that 85% of us are classed as underemployed.
So, what can be done about this? Well, recruitment practices need to change and here is for me the single most important thing that could be done:
Abolish standard interviews, which place one in a position that one will never be in when in the job, making skills testing mandatory instead. Many autistic people however mujch preparation they put in cannot do themselves justice in interviews, while if you have them do the kind of work that they would be doing in the job they will fare much better, and you will learn not whether they can say the right things but whether they can actually do the work.
As a segue into the next section of the post, here is a link to a petition created by an autistic adult (Chris Packham), which calls on the Government to:
I give the last word before the photographs to DPAC, who have prepared some online action to coincide with the Tory conference for the benefit of those who cannot make it to Birmingham but want to be part of the protest. Please click the link below to see how you can be part of…
Just some stuff I found in my inbox this morning and decided to share.
I am sharing a few highlights from this morning’s inbox – to comment you will have to visit the pieces I flag up..
SOME QUIRKY AND INTERESTING PIECES
My first item comes from…
TAX RESEARCH UK
This little squib comes under the heading “The Most Desperate Tweet Ever” – to see it you will have to follow the link, but here, from the comments section of the original post is a classic counter version: