Monday, 4 July 2011

Charities mount legal challenge over cuts to Disability support.

This is a post from my good friend and campaigner @crimsoncrip
If I'd have written about the judicial review, this is pretty much what I'd have said. I particularly agree with the sentiments that by coming together we've achieved great things. Many thanks for agreeing to let me share it here. 

Win or lose DLA legal action is golden opportunity

As a group of major disability charities launch a legal challenge against changes to Disability Benefits, many activists are holding their breath. Its a move many of us ‘ordinary’ campaigners wanted, and know is needed, but couldn’t undertake, because of the skills needed, and the cost involved. The fact that many ‘major players’ think its worthwhile gives us hope. If they succeed then they will force a wholesaale review of the cornerstone of disability welfare reform, with the potential to stop changes, that mean many current claimants would have lost benefit or seen major reductions in entitlement. If it comes, their victory will be one for all campaigners, many of whom have fought reform over two goverments. The ‘death’ of Disability Living 
Allowance has long been heralded, but the fight to save it is now at a key stage.

There is no doubt we want the bid to win, and many will cheer till they are hoarse if they do. However we have to be careful, it will be a bitter battle, its not guaranteed, and it may be lost. If thats the case, their will be much disappointment, and for some it will become too much, they may stop fighting. However if handled 
correctly, the aftermath can actually become a different kind of victory.

Those who know me well know I have little time for ‘parent charities’, those who work for, but definitely not with us, who largely ignore us, and claim to represent us, without ever consulting us. I also have no time for the ‘more crip thn you crip’ game some organisations are known for, the view that only their target group matter, and that the rest of the disability community can fight a different battle. This time around our fight though difficult, has been made easier because all crips recognise common aims and problems, and along with the rep organisations we are working together, not just with each other, but with disabled people, as equals, to gain rights for all disabled people. Cynical as I am, I find it difficult to believe that this bid is anything other, at least in part, than a timely response to the concerns and views of ‘rank and file’ activists who have long and loud expressed the view that this is the only way forward, welfare reform had to be stopped, and it could only be done via legal challenge. No doubt many, I include me, would have preferred this to be crip led, but the skills needed, and the cost makes it impossible. I support this action wholeheartedly, it is the right move, at the 
right time, and by the right people.

There then is victory number 1. Like other minorities before us, we forget our differences, concentrate on our sameness, fight together for each other. We have also learnt to use our rep organisations skills and resources to further our cause. Probably for the first time in the crip rights fight we truely are ‘all in this togeth, the fightback has begun.’ We have recognised that there is strength in numbers, and joined together to reach 
common goals.

‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you’. A quote from a fellow campaigner, Sue Marsh. She used it to describe the stage we were at in our battle. I’ll add to it, then we fightback. This is the stage we are at now. I doubt the Government expected this, not in the textbook this one. Crips are meant to sit in the corner ‘basketweaving’. It is not expected, that a) we will recognise the law as the way forward, and then b) collectively use it to force major change. Purists will say its not crips but its the charities that are doing this, I’d concede that. I have though absolutely no doubt that the momentum and ‘climate’ change has come from ‘ordinary’ disabled people, who have sensed the need for, and embraced the changes in the rights movement that made this challenge possible and realistic. Those leading it, have had to do what diaabled people have also done. Forget the differences, embrace thew similaries and fight together.

Victory two then, finding the means to send the ‘enemy’ a strong and meaningful message, prove that you are up fpr the fight. Legal action is a pretty powerful message anyway, a judicial review is never undertaken lightly. Surely this time the Government will know we mean business, and will take our fight all the way to the wire. We are no longer the easy target they want us to be. They want to make laws to harm our rights, then they must accept that we in turn will use the law to stop them. Hit for hit, let nbattle commence.
Remember the pensioners, their rights were threatened untill they fought back, greypower means that now their situation is generally considered much more carefully before decisions are made. Crippower, my word for it, call it what you like, can do the same. Whatever the outcome, this battle as a whole has shown, that the collective force, and action of disabled people can make a difference.

Victory 3, Crip Power is born, disabled people supported by their representive organisations are a force to be reckoned with, because make no mistake, do this once, and we will have proved that, come the next fight we are no easy target. Mr Cameron you have had your ‘fun’, the gloves are off, and we now fight together to take our rights.

Make no mistake, win or lose, our rights movement will never be the same. The fights among ourselves clearly over, our fight together goes on, and our will to win will not be broken.

If any other organisations or individuals involved in the Judicial Review or in fighting this aspect of welfare reform wish to have a link in this piece please leave it in comments, and I’ll add it.
Thanks is due to anyone who has done anything, past or present, to advance our cause. Your collective actions are part of what we are now, a real force to be reckoned with.


  1. It should never have come to this with David Cameron having a disabled son. What he has tried to do since his sons death is a wicked way to treat the vulnerable and even to this day i cant understand his actions and never will do as it is out of order of the very highest degree
    The level of anxiety he has put upon us is unforgivable

  2. Totally agree fourbanks, trouble is he is not letting his own despair getting in the way of the welfare issue, for want of a better phrase he is a brave man. But a man who is messing with vulnreable people.

  3. David Cameron will at some point realize the serious error he has made and will probably retire from politics as it wouldn't be possible to continue with such a fatal flaw in one's character and also in all probability everyone else involved with such deeply flawed policy's will also have to step down

  4. Hope that's the case, Four.

  5. As they say in the House Here, Here

  6. I have just launched the "Atos register of shame", a website for all those having to undergo an Atos assessment, a place where you can send in the name of the HCP who took your assessment, you can use an alias it's perfectly OK, please pass on the website details.
    I thank everyone for their support.