Now the referendum is over, let’s focus on disability


Posted by Bathing Solutions:

Britain has been concentrating on the Scottish independence referendum over the past few months almost at the expense of other issues, such as those concerning disability. Now that the referendum is finished with, we can go back to concentrating on issues that are just as, if not more important than, ancient rivalries.

Pages could be written about the injustices faced by many disabled people living in this country, problems that are often swept under the rug and left to rot in the hope that they will disappear. But there is hope in some quarters that this may be changing.

Disability Labour, an affiliate of the Labour party geared towards supporting the interests of disabled people, and run by a committee of disabled people, believes that David Cameron’s Conservatives are risking the wellbeing of disabled people.

The party has pledged that the bedroom tax will be scrapped  by a Labour government, because many people who are disabled need that extra room to store large equipment that is vital to their welfare.

Labour believe that many people who are unable to feed or wash themselves and aren’t able to leave their own homes are being abandoned by the current coalition government. They believe that a new national health and care service could be the way forward, although there are many who fear that a Labour government could be just as bad.

But as with every general election cycle, you can never be sure whether a party will fulfil its manifesto pledges once it wins power.  The 2010 election led to a coalition government introducing a swathe of policies that were not in either the Conservative or Liberal Democrat manifestos, including some highly unpopular policies and swingeing cuts to social security for disabled people. Who can say whether a Labour government would be just as slapdash and damaging to many disabled people as the coalition has proved.

Maybe the UN will be able to help disabled people in Britain. This is because Britain is believed to have become the first country to face a high-level inquiry by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, because of  “grave or systemic violations” of the rights of disabled people, the kind of breaches of the UN disability convention that were highlighted this summer by the human rights consortium Just Fair.

This is because Britain, along with many other countries, signed the optional protocol to the UNCRPD (the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), meaning that the UN has the right to launch a full-scale inquiry if it suspects there have been “grave” violations of human rights in a country.

We may have believed things were bad, but did we realise they had reached this level? It’s quite an eye opener and shows how badly the country needs change.

This country is neglecting a large portion of its population with ill-considered policies and reforms. Disabled people are sometimes seen as second class citizens by our governing classes, and this needs to change. Help is what people need, whether it’s with funding for a bath to help with arthritis or just general advice on care and support.

Change has to come soon for disabled people, whether it is tackling hate crime, addressing disability poverty, or stopping demeaning speech by politicians. We need to tackle disability injustice.

Bathing Solutions