Point of Order re Pat’s Petition

September 19th, 2013

 

Many of you will remember the Parliamentary debate Pat’s petition secured just 2 months ago. The motion calling for a Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) was led by a powerful speech from Liam Byrne. Other Labour MPs were just as supportive for us in their knowledge of how disabled people and carers are facing such unjust hardships under this Coalition government.

Speaking against the motion was a Tory MP – Paul Maynard. His choice of words angered and upset so many of us especially when he named Pat’s Petition team as ‘extremists’. In the days immediately after we corresponded with him in a series of open emails.  He agreed to follow Parliamentary procedure to gain a further entry in Hansard.

 

parliament-uk-logo

 

True to his word an entry appears in Hansard on September 2nd 2013  ….. details here

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. May I clarify for the record that, in the Opposition day debate on 10 July, I did not intend to suggest that I regarded either Pat’s Petition or We Are Spartacus as extremist groups?

John Bercow (Speaker)

That is commendably clear and pithy, and we are grateful to the hon. Gentleman.

Pat

x

 

 

Pat goes to Carers Parliament – Scotland this time

September 9th, 2013

The first Carers Parliament took place at Holyrood in October last year.

Carers Parliament 1

Places were limited for those wishing to be included so a ballot was held. Carers from each of the constituencies were invited to put their names forward and then were drawn by the steering group. I was unfortunate in that ballot, but, undeterred, I tried again this year.

A phone call from Rhonda Fitzpatrick, Carers Scotland, told me I had been successful. I was delighted!

This years theme is to be ‘Carers Rights’. After presentations and Q&A in the Scottish parliament during the morning, there will be workshops. Delegates will come from all over Scotland with their views, stories and ideas.

In these times of financial hardship and cutting back to the bare bones for any social care, the role of carers is becoming ever harder.

At Pat’s Petition, our message has always been for a cumulative impact assessment of the changes on all disabled people, their carers and families. This is something I look forward to raising at this years Carers’ Parliament.

***************

Report from Maz’s blog after she attended last years event

 

Stop the Bedroom Tax – Newcastle Rally

July 30th, 2013

 

The delegation from Scotland consisted of Susan Archibald, Citizen Smart and myself – all travelling down in Susan’s van.  Arriving at Newcastle Civic Centre dead on 1.30pm we were delighted to find such a huge crowd milling , waiting, banners at the ready. Wheelchairs, buggies of all shapes and sizes. White canes, a Guide Dog, police, children and people with all their faculties in tact.

pic courtesy of Gail Ward

pic courtesy of Gail Ward

A buzz of excited anticipation greeted us. It was a little unfortunate that the police directed us along a road which was blocked by a locked electric barrier which was not for moving. Bit of clever limbo manoeuvres got everyone through. Spreading ourselves out along the pavement we made our way chanting towards the pedestrian crossing. Being at the front we had no idea that the back of the march got caught as the lights changed to red. Thinking about it afterwards it would have been in the spirit of the day if the police had just stopped the traffic for a few minutes.

Making our way up through town, weaving around bollards in the precinct, expertly guided by officers in their high vis jackets we arrived at Grays Monument. it was hot. Very hot. Gail Ward, our MC, brought the speakers on. Some disabled, some not, but all had a message to share and they were all passionate in their words. Some only spoke a few words, while others could have gone all day such was their message.

Citizen Smart entertained us with his music especially written for the day. People sang, clapped and stomped their feet where they could. The whole atmosphere was quite amazing. Peaceful yet powerful. Anger, outrage even, with a few tears from a lady standing next to me. People came and listened because they care. They took part because they will be affected and they joined in one voice.

Pat x

Videos’ of the Newcastle event can be found here

Evening chronicle report here  -  ‘Bedroom tax’ demonstrators protest in Newcastle

Many thanks to all those that helped organise this event

 

 

Paul Maynard MP requests to have Hansard corrected re ‘extremists’ comment

July 17th, 2013

The debate last week was a great day for Pat’s Petition team, and other campaigning groups. The MPs who spoke in favour of our petition could not have done more to support us. And it is a massive change to have the full support of the Labour Front Bench for the first time. This only the beginning.

The only sour note was the extraordinary accusation from Paul Maynard that
we were ‘extremists’. The term is offensive to us.

We contacted Mr Maynard for further explanation. We were pleased that, as a result of these communications, he agreed for the word ‘extremist’ be excised from the record. However, Hansard have now replied to him saying this is not possible. We have therefore asked him to write a correction on the copy of Hansard in the House of Commons library. (Awaiting response)

Wednesday 10th July was a great day for the whole disability movement and once this issue has reached a satisfactory conclusion,  we would like to move forward and make sure that the government ‘stop and review the cuts to benefits and services which are falling disproportionately on disabled people, their carers and families ’

Exchange with Mr Maynard below.

Letter to Mr Maynard July

Reply from Mr Maynard

Letter to Mr Maynard

Reply from Mr Maynard today

Cross over of emails

Letter to Mr Maynard      22nd July

Letter from Mr Maynard    22nd July

 

 

 

 

 

Report – OPPOSITION DAY – EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE

July 14th, 2013

 

Wednesday 10th July 2013 was a great day for Pat’s Petition.  After a year of working to get over 62,700 signatures we finally had our debate  in the House of Commons.

Two of our team travelled from Scotland and the North East to watch the debate live from the gallery. Pat is blind, and Rosemary is a family carer, but they made it.

On arrival at Kings Cross they met with Rick and Jane from WOW petition, ( please sign and share as widely as possible), and then all made their way to Westminster. There they met with more campaigners, Ian, Andy and Adam.

Following a short chat it was time to gain admission to the debate. Jim Hood MP, who had secured the tickets to enable Pat and Rosemary entrance to watch/listen to the debate live arrived, and pointed out that HoC business was running late. This caused all previous plans about meeting up with other campaigners afterwards to be changed.

Following section from Pat and Rosemary.

Having to hand over phones meant we were unable to keep supporters informed as to how the debate was going but we knew many many people were watching the event on parliament tv, and engaging with each other via social media. We were later informed the hashtag #CiaDisability had trended for over 2 hours, peaking at UK trend no 3.

The MPs who spoke in favour of our petition could not have done more to support us.  Coalition ministers that spoke were unable to name an individual, academic, grassroots group, a charity – that agreed fully with their policies. Instead many names were reeled off that were against these reforms/cuts. Facts and figures were given, and yet from governments front bench there appeared to be an attitide of boredom,  and total disregard for the situation many disabled people now found themselves to be in. They showed no interest in what opposition members were saying and at times their bodies were partly turned, away from whomever was speaking at that time. This was more noticeable when Tom Greatrex MP was speaking.

As the debate progressed you can imagine our horror when Mr Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, suddenly made an impassioned speech calling us ‘extremists’, and saying that we didn’t represent disabled people. We will be taking this further.

Me, Liam Byrne Pat

In between the votes, we met with Liam Byrne, and issues concerning both disabled people and carers were discussed. It was agreed how evidence is going to be more vital in future, for people to also contact their MPs and explain how the cuts are impacting on them. More importantly, our campaigning continues.

The vote on the motion itself was lost… Ayes 227, Noes 296 – but the day itself was not.

These last few years with cuts raining down – the whole solid brick wall against us – Labour and Tory both supporting the cuts and the charities having to fit in somehow, was beyond belief.

Brick_Wall

Now the consensus is broken there will be far more open debate and we may start to get somewhere.

Independent campaigners from many groups  took the lead in breaking down this wall. This experience has shown all of us that grassroots campaigners are essential to the political process.

We need to stay vigilant

We need to keep fighting

We need to ensure any promises turn in to real action.

 Well done every one.

But the Fat Lady hasn’t sung yet.

URGENT CALL TO ACTION FOR DISABILITY CAMPAIGNERS

July 9th, 2013

 

What a weekend! We have done an amazing amount of work over these last few days, and amazing to see all our supporters rally round.
At the beginning of last week, no way could we envisage the events of this weekend just gone.
 
Call for action
 
On the sunniest weekend of the year, we have been sweltering inside, organising blog posts, booking train tickets, desperately trying to arrange seats to watch the debate inside the House, contacting the many MPs who have been sympathetic to us, finding out about pauper’s picnics and now asking every one of you to make one final push for Pat’s Petition.
 
You have rallied around. Supportive MPs have now found seats for Pat and Rosemary so that they can be there on this important day.
 
The debate on Wednesday will be the last chance to get our voices heard in Parliament for some time. MPs will break up for the summer recess and then return, after their Party Conference, in October.
 
We need to make sure they are all briefed to understand the impact of Government Policies on disabled people and carers.
 
They need to know we are watching this debate. They have to be aware that they are under scrutiny on this issue.
 
We need them to vote for a Cumulative Impact Assessment. They have continually said this is impossible and too complicated, and we have answered that they wouldn’t conduct huge experiments with anything else, so why do it on disabled people? We have now heard that “the publication of cumulative impacts is a Coalition initiative” so our hopes are raised that they will now agree that this needs doing for disabled people and carers.
 
take action
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
 
 
1. Write to your MPs asking for their attendance and that they back this motion. You can find their details here
 
 
 
That this House believes that the Government should publish a cumulative impact assessment of the changes made by this Government that affect disabled people (to be published by October 2013).
 
2. Use social media to broadcast all messages with the hashtag  #CIADisability
 
 
3. Sign and share the link to WOW Petition  
 
And it is vital that you watch the debate live on the day here
 
We have learnt an incredible amount by watching debates.
 
You can see how full or empty the room is!
 
See if your MP is interested in your issues.
 
Hear who really understands the challenges faced by disabled people and note who mentions the impact that falls on carers and families too.
 
And you can join in the twitter conversation at the same time as watching it all.
 
It will be a historic day for us – we hope you’ll be there too.
 
 
 
 

Letter from Samuel Miller to Liam Byrne

July 7th, 2013

Permission has been granted to copy this letter here, that was originally posted on Twitter.

Subject:

July 10th Parliamentary debate: Cumulative Impact Assessment (‘The effect of Government Policies on Disabled People’)

3:36 PM (1 minute ago)

To:

Rt Hon Mr. Liam Byrne, MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
House of Commons
London, England
SW1A 0AA

Dear Mr. Byrne,

I am a 56-year-old Disability Studies specialist from Montreal, Canada who has been reporting frequently and voluntarily, since January 2012, to senior United Nations officials (see attached) on the crisis for the United Kingdom’s sick and disabled. Austerity measures, consisting of draconian welfare reforms and “sham” means-testing (Atos Healthcare U.K. and the Department for Work and Pensions) are ostensibly to blame for their plight—with disability hate crime and inflammatory media attacks factored into this mix.

I am writing you regarding this Wednesday’s Parliamentary debate on the effect of government policies on disabled people (http://carerwatch.com/reform/?p=1697), and in your capacity as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

It is vital that such a cumulative impact assessment include a Read the rest of this entry »

OPPOSITION DAY – EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE – How to take action

July 6th, 2013

Pat’s Petition welcome this debate on Wednesday 10th July 2013 regarding ‘The effect of Government Policies on Disabled People.’

Over 62,000 people signed Pat’s Petition calling for this debate.  And 48,905 people have now signed the WOW Petition . Please add your name if not already done so and then share asking as many others to do the same. ( 5 months remaining ).

We, along with many others, have continuously asked the government to conduct a Cumulative Impact Study to assess the cumulative effects of the myriad of changes in policy falling on disabled people and carers. The government refuses on the grounds that this is too difficult. It is totally irresponsible to conduct an enormous experiment like this on disabled people without attempting to predict or measure the effects on disabled people and carers. It wouldn’t be allowed in any kind of building project – so why is it possible to experiment on disabled people without checking that it is safe.

With recess 18th July – 2nd Sept,  followed by Party conferences 13th Sept to 8th October , this will be one of the last opportunities to get disabled peoples’ voices heard for some time.

Here at Pat’s Petition we will be sending briefing papers to MPs from all parties, but it is vital you contact them too.

It is personal stories about how these changes to benefits and services are affecting you and your families, that they need hear. This will help them understand why a Cumulative Impact Assessment is a necessity.

 

take action

 

 Actions you can take

 

1. Write to your MP and ask them to back the motion. Contact your MP   via this link

Here’s the motion in full:

 

That this House believes that the Government should publish a cumulative impact assessment of the changes made by this Government that affect disabled people (to be published by October 2013).

Ask them to attend and speak on your behalf

2. Watch the debate live on the day using this link

3. Share the information with all your friends, family, work colleagues, local media.

 

4. Don’t forget to use social media to raise awareness of this Disability debate.

Share the details on Facebook, and if you use Twitter we will be using the hashtag      #CiaDisability

 

Times are hard for everyone, employment, housing, cost of living – are problems for us all. We are all supposed to be in this together. But disabled people are not in this together because they often have far fewer options.

Support disabled people on Wednesday

 

 

OPPOSITION DAY – EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE

July 5th, 2013

Opposition Day (5th allotted day, 1st Part)

WEDNESDAY 10 JULY

EFFECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY ON DISABLED PEOPLE

Edward Miliband

Mr Liam Byrne

Hilary Benn

Andy Burnham

Mrs Anne McGuire

Ms Rosie Winterton

That this House believes that the Government should publish, by October 2013, a cumulative impact assessment of the changes made by the Government that affect disabled people.

You will be able to watch live on the day here

Pats Banner

Pat’s Petition

Team PP meeting

FURTHER INFORMATION ADDED SOON

 

 

 

Having a serious diagnosis doesn’t cut the mustard any more

June 29th, 2013

Taken from the Guardian

“At almost any other moment in the past 60 years, announcements of spending cuts of this scale would have created a storm,” says Institute for Fiscal Studies director, Paul Johnson . “The scale of cuts would have caused social unrest in any other era.”

So why this eerie silence from the public?

But social unrest doesn’t just consist of demonstrations and days of action. The millions of people affected by austerity know what’s happening: they have television and the internet. They know that this country hasn’t got any money and they are each busy fighting for their own security.

Times are very, very hard as the Spending Review  made clear. Every one is struggling – whether it is housing costs or lack of jobs or the rising cost of living. And we are all in this together.

Or are we?

Somehow rich and wealthy people aren’t quite in this with every one else.

And there is another group of people who are not in this together. People who are ill and disabled live in the community and are facing exactly the same difficulties as every one else. But when it comes to changing and adapting and fighting through these hard times disabled people are not in the same position. They have less options.

We know that disabled people can be strong, courageous and fearless – it goes with battling for services, and experience at negotiating life every day with less options. But a lot of ill and disabled people do need support. Those of us who were born fit and became unwell or disabled know the difference. That doesn’t mean we’ve given up the fight to show our abilities. We just want recognition that it’s ok to expect that society will support those members that need support - and that could be any of us at some point. We expect the right to safe state support.

mustard

Freud and Purnell and Iain Duncan Smith have out played us by redefining what a disabled person is – just having a serious diagnosis doesn’t cut the mustard any more – not if you can pick up a piece of paper from the floor.

They have eliminated the concept of disabled people which was a perfectly well understood concept. If we, or ours, get sick we go round to the doctor and ask for a diagnosis, not whether they can pick up a piece of paper. This concept has now disappeared in favour of images of cheats, Stephen Hawkins, Paralympians, and disabled people going off to work. This totally ignores the challenges of finding employers who can be flexible to the needs of disabled people, or that regular employment may itself cause relapses, or that people are unable to pick up that piece of paper from the floor.

Our mission at Pat’s Petition is just the same – we need to get the message out about what they are doing to disabled people and carers – past the image of the cheating football referee or the capable Paralympians.

wow-splash So keep fighting with us for disabled people – sign WOW  petition.

Send us your suggestions for getting this message across to the public.

 

You can read about Pat’s Petition at change.org

 

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