Thursday, 11 July 2013

Open Letter to Paul Maynard

Dear Mr Maynard

I watched your passionate defence of sick and disabled people in the House of Commons during the Opposition Day Debate on a cumulative impact assessment yesterday with a mixture of pride and horror.

Just like you, I believe passionately in the abilities and potential of sick and disabled people too. I too have lived life through the prism of a disability all of my life and like you, I have never let it hold me back. Like you, I went to university and fought hard to work and be accepted for my talents despite very real barriers. Just as 60% of sick and disabled people do in our country every day.

When Labour introduced Employment and Support Allowance, I was horrified by how "disabling" I feared it would be. I fought then, as I fight now. Party politics has nothing to do with it. My own experiences convinced me that however determined I was, I would have to accept a little help from society at particularly difficult times. I hated to admit that. I felt like a failure, felt dismayed that despite my boundless belief in the potential of people to do extraordinary things, I was still only made of flesh and blood - and a particularly sulky tangle of intestines.

Every single day, I remembered how lucky I was. Some days didn't feel very lucky - laying on an operating table waiting for the little-death of anaesthetic or vomiting endlessly over a bowl, delirious with pain and dehydration. But I never forgot that I'd been born to loving parents in one of the wealthiest areas of the wealthiest countries in the world. A country that fought tirelessly to recognise my contributions and tear down barriers to my inclusion. I never forgot the natural gifts that made impairments easier to bear. I never forgot that I had been born with intelligence, determination and a confidence nurtured and tended by the hope and pride of those that loved me.

I used to ponder what my life would have been like if things had been different. Imagine if we were poor, surviving hand to mouth in the baked earth of some third world country. What chances would I have then? Imagine if I was unloved or even more disabled than I was, unable to fulfil any of the potential deep inside me without support. Imagine if I had none of the natural gifts that negate disadvantage. Imagine if my family tore me down rather than building me up, discouraging rather than encouraging. Could I have achieved the things I'd achieved? Can everyone do what I did? Were we all born with the strength and grit to battle on, every single day, even when battles seem lost and hopeless?

And so, I tried with all my will never to judge anyone else. I'd learnt in the hardest way possible that there but for the grace of God go us all. A defective gene, a moment too long in the womb, a skiing accident that breaks bones and futures in an instant - it could happen to anyone at any time and as a society, we owed it to others - and to ourselves - to do all we could to help people achieve their potential. Whoever they were, whatever their impairment or ability.

For some that might mean a full time carer or a little financial support but so be it. I would not for one moment accept indignity where none need occur. What civilized society would do less?

My dear friend is quadriplegic, yet he was the CEO of an international spinal research charity for over 2 decades. However, he only managed it because he had a live in carer, help from the independent living fund and DLA to cover the extra costs of his transport to and from work. A lifetime Conservative voter and supporter, he said the only time he had felt degraded by our social security system was recently, when an "assessor" came to his home and made him feel threatened. Made him feel like a burden when he had always been an asset. Can you imagine how that broke my heart?

Whatever arguments we make, however fervently we believe in the revolutionary brilliance of the social model of disability, however hard we fight for success and with however much determination, we must still exist in a society that is not equal. we must live on an un-level playing field. With all the determination and brilliance in the world, my friend will never manage to heal his own spine.

When cold hard cash is stripped away, for many, our support, dignity and belief are stripped away too. However much we may still want to achieve the miraculous, it simply isn't possible if - born with fewer of the advantages you and I enjoyed - you can't get out of bed unaided, can't wash yourself or escape the confines of home.

I'm sure you know this and so I go back to my opening sentences. I watched you with pride, an MP with with cerebral palsy, just the second in our history. A young man of passion and belief,
fighting with all he has to do his best for people.

But I watched in horror a man who has forgotten the help he had along the way. Forgotten that until recently, he lived in a society that urged him on and protected his right to achieve greatness in law. Forgot his great privilege, turned away from those fellow citizens who understand his life better than most.






32 comments:

  1. he wont listen to such extremist views..

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  2. I am not a Scrouger ..................... I am a disabled extremist!

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  3. Calling people derogatory names is something people often resort to when they can't support their stance through argument or with reason and logic. By retreating into ad hominem (personal attack) , Maynard's publicly revealed what many have suggested all along; the goverment can't justify what it's doing to the disabled.

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  4. I read your letter with tears - how hard you fight for others, and how shameful for some one to deny that help is required for those less fortunate who are not able to have a huge salary to help him on his way.

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  5. Have e mail from Mr Maynard dating 2011 after he was mocked in HOC totally different person now though

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  6. Could you email it to me zimmie? Wld you mind?

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  7. Sorry, email is suey2y at gmail dot com

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    1. Dont have a prob sending u e mail Sue but can i ask what you would be using it for. And i tried sending this to ur mail address but no joy

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  8. My family did tear me down, and always always discouraged me but I am stubborn enough to have become the person I am today despite them. Not the path I wanted to be on but I'm not like them thank God. So to hear Maynard spouting his bile really annoyed me and Bill, you were spot on. Sue, a great piece as always x

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  9. Who was the first MP with CP in our history?

    Shared your brilliance on Same Difference by the way!

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  10. 'Extremists'?

    Another day at the Big Brother propaganda machine then.

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  11. I too come from a family who gave me no encouragement or support, I managed as a single parent to put myself through university (a privilege for which I am still paying) to try and make a better life for me and my daughter and NOT be a burden to the state. I worked hard and paid my dues and was proud to do so until through ill health both mental and physical I was no longer able to do so. My mind may eventually heal with a lot of support but unfortunately my body never will as my condition is degenerative and yet again I have had all my benefits stripped having undergone the miraculous ATOS cure. My husband was made redundant and we are like most people are struggling to make ends meet. If my hubby doesn't find work soon we will lose our home too. Tomorrow I am being visited by an ATOS doctor to assess me for dla, I have little hope that the decision will go my way. Listening to Maynard yesterday made me physically sick, if us crips can't stick together what hope do we have? As ever a wonderful piece, I just hope that someone listens and has the courage to stop this persecution.

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  12. wonderful letter Sue. I can remember the old prejudices and hatreds even amonst medical staff. I can remember family being told to 'put him in an institution and forget about him'. We cannot go back to those times.

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  13. I was horrified watching him yesterday, it was actually bad enough to act as a trigger point for me and I was in bed for the rest of the day.

    It showed me that his Tory affliction was far greater than his physical disabilities. So much so, that he basically stated that disabled people should help themselves and if they can't, tough.

    I want to work. Like I explain to the DWP, I am regularly offered consultancy work at £500 per DAY. I could earn £10,000 for a month's work. Yes, I am *that* qualified and my skills are *that* in demand. I can't work. At all. My relatively recent disabilities prevent any employment.

    Least I'd expect is to be able to even get into the ESA Support Group. However, we're all scum just on benefits because it's better than working...

    I despair.

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  14. i don't think much of Paul Maynard he is just one of life's lucky guys the same as winning the lottery

    If that is the best we have from a disabled mp then the sick and disabled might as well give up now

    anne begg is also i may add not that good by a long shot speaks ok but always on the wrong topic

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  15. Awesome letter. You have managed to heal some of the anger I felt at Paul Maynard's betrayal of disabled people. It's not him I should feel angry with but the cynical ministers propping him up. One of your best ever posts for me.

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  16. @Nick he certainly won the lottery thanks to the Boundary Commission - Blackpool North and Cleveleys ( God's Waiting Room ) is a brand new seat , it used to be Blackpool North and Fleetwood , Fleetwood suffered in the 70's - thanks to the Icelandic Gun Boat - Cod Wars , and wasn't exactly thriving during the Thatcher and Major era due to " Social Engineering " and " Creative Destruction " by the new right . " Aunty " Joan Humble won it from the Tories in '97 for Labour and kept it thereafter .

    The other seat created was Lancaster and Fleetwood , Ollerenshaw got in for the Tories partially due to the natural Tories voting in the rural areas and daft students voting Lib Dem at Lancaster University splitting the progressive vote ...he'll be out in 2015 , once bitten , twice shy . They wheel him out on the Sunday Politics Show as the professional Northerner along with Pickles and McVey ...so we mere mortals can't call the Tories out of touch Toffs ...* rolls eyes

    I'm sorry if I sound too cynical , but a lot of what Paul Maynard said in his speech was verbose waffle , clever waffle but waffle nonetheless , probably deliberate to spin the time out , McVey has done that too . I was suspicious as soon as he mentioned the Paralympic games sponsored by ATOS , a lot of it was UNUM / ATOS derived Bio - psychosocial model pseudo science quackery - some of it was Ron Murray derived Neo Con rhetoric that IDS's Centre for " Social Justice " have recycled ...basically it can boiled down to - " it's all your fault " ...." and if only you'd buy into that cut throat Neo - Liberal Social Darwinism rhetoric more " . The so called Road to Damascus that he supposedly went on is a fallacy , his views are exactly the same as his in the 90s ....One of the Senior Church Fathers at Glasgow , Easterhouse has completely disowned him , as for the CV embellishment , if one of his DWP AOs or AAs pulled that stunt , they'd be dragged into the office , sacked , PCS rep or no rep and frogmarched out of the building in front of colleagues and claimants by private security guards . The Betsygate scandal was " interesting " , when legalese language like " Not ideal " is used , they are being very polite indeed ! .

    I'm afraid there was more holes than a sieve , once you started picking his speech apart . Very ill informed and poorly researched .

    There was a atypically Tory - Damn them for their impudence attitude from Maynard ......the comments about the so called extremism were ridiculous ...It's the " I'm right , you're wrong , anyone to the left of Margaret Thatcher is a raving Trot " ...a form of bullying in fact .

    As for the partisianism he complains of , it's laughable hypocrisy , there's been drip drip inflammatory hate filled , divide and rule rhetoric from recycled DWP Press Releases in the media for three years , the SPADs producing them tend to be far right swivel eyed loons , the statistics are very dubious , misleading and deceptive . Shades of 1930's Germany and Italy ...there are fine lines that can easily be crossed . I'm afraid it's a case of these precious , very thin skinned and indignant types don't like it up 'em as Corporal Jones used to say . If his ilk want Thatcherite Mk 2 class war , they can have a Toffs v The Toughs scenario .





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    1. thanks Mick :)
      i think you're spot on he is a very poor example of a disabled person who speaks of a typical fit person with the cavalier I'm all right jack and why aren't you type of speech

      As you say verbose waffle from a so called educated person a bit of a disgrace if you ask me

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  17. Paul Maynard as been given his 30 pieces of silver. He will look the other way just like they did with Hillsborough.

    Time is a great leveler, look at Hillsborough. Tory MPs scuttled around in the background libeling fans with the aid of the right wing media.

    Today they show fake concern "nothing to do with me" they say.

    Never forget, record and remember the deaths and suicides as the Jews and the people of Liverpool did.

    They will eventually be brought to account.

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  18. Maynard is a traitorous bastard - not all disabled people care about others you know

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    1. Dear Mr Maynard. You may have a 'disability' but you are a conservative first and foremost. You must be proud to be so sure. You are like a human bitten by a vampire, you have become the monster incarnate. God forgive you for your ignorance shown to many, many people disadvantaged and hoping for some common decency and help from their own countries government. Are you too busy saving money? How wonderfully Austere!

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  20. Maynard was left with cerebral palsy when he was strangled by the umbilical cord at birth, and he was also left with a speech defect

    this to my mind although a disability to some to me it's not i myself would treat him as normal as he acts normal ? or am i missing something here ?

    to me disability is where you are very restricted in what you can do like stand up or sit down without help

    having someone to wash you or feed you someone tied to the loo is another good example of disability

    being in constant pain but overall someone that has to rely on other people to function that is what i deem to be disabled


    Maynard is none of these as far as I'm aware and talks a load of tush in which a true disabled person would never do

    I think maynard is winging it and on that basis he's fired

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  21. Maynard has learned to survive in the bear pit by becoming the disabled version of a coconut

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  22. Sorry if that sounds round but he's the Tory patsy, doing their dirty work for them but he he's done alright by over identifying with his oppressors but he will never be one of them.

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  24. Do you know what? Look at what has happened, typical political deflective tactics. Puppet boy Paul Maynard has taken our eyes off the prize. While we argue amongst ourselves about his lack of sympathy for disabled people, the coagulated coalition is pressing on with their oppressive agenda. Namely, how many ways can they make being rich better than being poor. Answer: Only they know because they are rich. It's so simple, even a fool could work it out. Ha ha, they didn't think of that!!!

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