Thursday, 13 March 2014

Suggestions of Awesomeness

Hello all.

I've been asked to put together a list of leading social security experts and campaigners. I'm very very bad at this. This is one of the reasons I never do #ff ("Follow Friday's" on twitter) I just know I'll leave out somene vital, and they'll think it was intentional and that I think less of them than the people I do remember, and...and... See? I'm hyperventilating just thinking about it!!!

Here's my very first, top-of-the-head attempt and I'd be so grateful if you could leave any other suggestions in the comment thread.

Again though, please remember that if you're not on the list, I am a foggy, broken spoonie who often forgets her own phone number, never mind a list of welfare-warriors.

  1. Jane Young
  2. Caroline Richardson (aka "@hossylass on twitter)
  3. John McCardle, Black Triangle
  4. Andy, DPAC
  5. Paula Peters, DPAC
  6. Nick, mylegalforum
  7. Michelle Mahler, WOW Petition
  8. Ian Jones, WOW Petition
  9. Pat Onions, Pat's petition
  10. Kaliya Franklin
  11. Joe Halewood, Tax and Benefit Justie Campaign
  12. Mo Stewart, Independent corporate welfare investigator
  13. Susan Archibald, Independent campaigner
  14. Simon Duffy, Centre for welfare reform
  15. Simon Barrow, Ekklesia
  16. Sue McCafferty, Bedroom Tax
  17. Tom Pollard, Mind
  18. Frances and Rosemary from Carer Watch
  19. Johnny Void, The Void
  20. Clare Glasman, Winvisible
  21. Steve Sumpter, LatentExistence
  22. Jayne Linney
  23. Mike Sivier, @midwalesmike, led on campaign to uncover how many pple died within 3 months of "Fit for Work" decision
  24. Sarah Ismail, Same Difference blog
  25. Sam Barnett-Cormack, ESA researcher and commentator
  26. @Goldfish - Blogging against disablism
  27. "Mason Dixon" Autistic
  28. Dawn Willis - Great mental health advocate/blogger
  29. Mark, @markoneinfour MH campaigner
  30. Inclusion London
  31. Jules Clarke, ESA advocate and campaigner
  32. Tracey Lazard, Inclusion 
  33. Anonymous author of the 2 PEople's Reviews of the WCA
  34. Greg Wood, ex Atos-doctor turned whistle-blower
  35. Richard Excell, TUC
  36. Kate Belgrave
  37. Neil Crowther, independent and member of taskforce
  38. Amy Jones, @thisisamy Cerebral palsy, told her condition wld improve within 6 months to the point she wld be fit for work!
  39. Charlotte Walker, @bipolarblogger 
  40. @halfabear 
  41. Gordon McFadden of United Amputees
  42. @kabieuk Autism campaigner
  43. Jos Bell, Save Lewisham Hospital campaign and fierce ESA expert/campaigner
  44. Steve Winyard, RNIB
  45. Neil Coyle, RNIB and ex DRUK
  46. Catherine Hale, Work Programme expert 
  47. Lisa Egan - @lisybabe
  48. Dave Gillon @WTBDavidG
**Just to be clear, this list is for an event, so for groups (ie DPAC, Inclusion, WTB etc) only one or two names from that group are listed. It definitely doesn't mean others in those groups aren't fantastic campaigners. 
*** Also, it's in no particular order. Numbers do not denote level of awesomeness 


  1. Carol Ford @fordcarol
    Ian Jones @Edwinmandella
    Laura @ambir
    George McFarlane @Georgenecs All fab WOWpetition peeps

  2. What about.... every single person with a disability/illness?? what better expertise would you need??

    1. A person is an expert on their own experiences. Expertise outside of that requires pro-active investigation and practice in understanding things which are not exclusively personal experience. In essence- it's the ability to make predictions and to give another expert in the same area but with different specialisation a sufficient tutorial that even they can also make those same predictions.

      When I tell other Autistics about my experiences, only some of them will understand even though they are also Autistic- those without that advantage are less likely to get it. But when I tell someone with a similar understanding of social security, the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and statistics something about them which relates to Autism- they have a much greater advantage as an expert than they would from just being Autistic.

      An Autistic can tell a minister how policy will affect themselves, but I can tell a minister how a policy will affect most Autistics without claiming to be speaking for other Autistics.

  3. Paula Peters

  4. Would it be rude of me to suggest myself? In addition to campaigning I provide advice on the WCA process and ESA.
    Independent campaigner.

    And presumably you are on this list?

  5. Helen Sims - Radical Direct Radio ... top notch Disability Campaigner.

    1. Radical Spirit Radio and i second that . Helen is brilliant

  6. Inclusion Scotland:

    1. Bobby, that's a good point. I have Tracey from Inclusion London, but Scotland re v active. I've generally only put one or two people from any org so who would you recommend from Inc Scot?

  7. Michelle at Fightback

  8. lisa from london...I cant remember her twitter name!

  9. it is lisa egan of course! xxx

  10. See someone's already beaten me with Lisa Egan/ @LisyBabe, should also include Philippa, @Incurable_Hippy, whose surname escapes me right now, plus the rest of the Where's The Benefit team (which, embarassingly enough, includes me).

    1. It's @IncurableHippie, not @Incurable_Hippy. Also she mostly tweets as @PhilippaWrites these days. I think she set @IncurableHippie as private now.

      Also, you really, really, should add @goldfish from Blogging Against Disablism Day.

    2. I really really should and so sorry once again for forgetting the WTB team. Absolutely not intentional, you're all very important and articulate fighters

    3. You really don't need to keep apologising. It's fine. If I was going to make a list of awesome activists, my name probably wouldn't even spring to my own mind.

  11. Paula Peters for her dogged determination and campaigning day in day out regardless of her own needs to benefit for all whom she cares about passionately

  12. Gail Ward supports individually and collectively

  13. Replies
    1. Awww, Jamie totally rocks, but I've already got 2 Spartacii and don't want to swamp the list unbalancing it towards a particular group. Ditto for ALL of the WTB team or ALL or the DPAC team etc. I will add Paula though because as you all say she really is a tireless fighter.

  14. Gordon McFadden of United Amputees campaigning on behalf of the amputee community daily with directness

  15. The bedroom tax campaigners maybe should be included. I know it's not a disability benefit as such but the majority affected are sick or disabled. Specifically Eileen Short, Linda Burnip, Ellen Clifford and the magisterial (according to the Guardian) Joe Halewood. Cheers, Sue McCafferty

    1. Should have mentioned the organisation involved which is the Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Campaign. Joe Halewood has a blog called 'welfare writes' (used to be Speye) and has all your bedroom tax, and appeal, related needs.

    2. Sue, I'm so sorry I added you later. At first I was trying not to add too many Spartacii, but you were independent really.

    3. Thanks Sue.x

    4. Oh, and forgot to say Joe Halewood is also an independent, not actually linked to the benefit justice campaign. Sue Mc

  16. Hey you can't be leaving out the brilliant Another Angry Voice. That geezer is absolutely top drawer. Good list tho. Just shows how many talented wonderful people have emerged to fight the cause!

  17. Sue, I hope you see this, forgot to add this person's name earlier; Claire Glasman from Winvisible.

    1. THANK YOU!! I thought of her last night and for the life of me I couldn't remember her name.

  18. Sue,the trouble with lists is,everybody has a name/suggestion for inclusion on that list. but everybody on that list is a hero to us all.
    Some very well known names in that list :) xx

  19. Er...make sure YOU are on that list Sue ! :)
    ,,,and don't forget Eric Knight from 4UP ...they are an incredible group...they brought me back from the brink of suicide...
    Michelle and the Fightback team....
    also Michelle Kent doing great stuff down in Cornwall...
    Also the wonderful Keith Ordinary Guy for his daily letters which support us all...