Marxism 2017: Two Meetings About Disability

Continuing my personal account of #Marxism2017 with two disability themed meetings.

INTRODUCTION

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:

ad hoc meeting venuePosters1DPMThe PanelPanel2

Amy advises the panel
Amy, organiser of the festival, speaking to the panel before the meeting started.

Amy and the panelchair and panelchairChair and panel 2Denise at the micBanner1Banner2Banner3

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:

internal mural
With two meetings being held facing it I got a good look at this ‘internal mural’.

Platform1Chair and speakerchair and speakerSpeaker and chair 2Roddy speakingChair plugging Roddy's book

Upcoming Local Elections

Politics and nature combine to form one YUGE blog post!

INTRODUCTION

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.

LOCAL ELECTIONS

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 Berry in 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…

POLITICAL SHARING

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:

TRUK

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:

coyne stopped amended

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:

WOI

Next, courtesy of DPAC comes a public service piece titled “Important information on how disabled people can enforce their right to travel on buses“. Although the title is on this occasion set up as a link, I also provide a screenshot below on which you can click to get to the original:

DPAC

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:

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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:

Sheffield Tree Action Groups

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.

PHOTOGRAPHS

To end the post here are some of my own photographs…

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The first bee I have caught on camera this year.

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Using a derelict shop front to explain the importance of King John to King’s Lynn’s history is sensible. My main quibble with the new statue of him being…
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That is bad quality work, not that it is of a bad quality human (though he was certainly that, in spades).

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The first ducklings of the year. I hope that some at least of them survive the marauding Herring Gulls (this is NOT a joke btw)

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I have bagged a number of peacock butterflies of late, but these light coloured ones fly both faster and for a greater percentage of their lives, so for the third time today this is a first of the year.

 

 

 

Network Autism

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

INTRODUCTION

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

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:

P18

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 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.

DPAC

PHOTOGRAPHS

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.

blackbird2WLC

magpie
A magpie near the pick up point in Lynn this morning

MNR3MNR2

MNR1
Three shots featuring a stretch of the Mid-Norfolk Railway in Dereham
Ecocity
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.

Ecocity - Editedblackbird4blackbird3propelleaf

 

Super Sharing Saturday – Politics 3: Bits and Bobs

A selection of political stories from the last couple of days.

INTRODUCTION

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.

rajadasgupta.jpg

ANOTHER ANGRY VOICE ON TORY ELECTOTRAL FRAUD

Thomas G Clark who blog as Another Angry Voice has 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.

PIP PIP

I have two pieces on Personal Independence Payments (PIP for short) for your attention. Firstly, DPAC are 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.

DPACss

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.

PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION

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

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:

Martin Rowson cartoon 09.03.17