Thursday, 26 June 2014

CALLING ALL SPARTACII - URGENT ADVICE

I am working on a very high profile, very daring campaign. I'm not 100% sure that I will be able to go ahead with it yet, but the planning has been positive and I think it could be the most important thing all of us could do, if we all get behind it and give it everything we've got.

It will cause enormous waves and would open me personally up to scrutiny on a level I've never experienced before. It makes Spartacus Report look like a nice friendly chat.

It's a very specific campaign and I can't share the details with you yet until I've taken legal advice and done some more groundwork. It will require fundraising on a level we haven't attempted yet. This will need trustees etc and a whole new level of organisational accountability.

The Spartacus Network is non-partisan. It has always fought scrupulously to engage with any party who is willing to listen to us. I am not, and I make no secret of the fact that I am a passionate Labour member.

This is a political campaign and will require an enormous degree of message control and strategy. There must very very clear aims that all sign up to. It will need very broad support from all progressives and anti-austerity campaigners. It will not be Spartacus led.

However I look at it, it just can't work unless we work with all parties equally. I can pretty much guarantee that this won't include the Conservatives, they are the major partner in the government inflicting the policies we oppose, but it's vital we win the support of all the other parties. It can only work if it appeals to all. It will need supporters, both physically and virtually, and it will need donors. If we limit that, it will limit the success of the campaign.

The brutal reality of "non-partisan" is that it does exactly what it says on the tin. Tribal politics should be totally irrelevant to a non-partisan campaign and it means we have to be open to working with anyone who is prepared to genuinely engage.

This campaign will need to engage with Labour, Lib Dem, Green and UKIP supporters. It must give each of them equal opportunity to benefit from the campaign. It fundamentally will NOT endorse any Party - quite the opposite, but it will be of benefit to all of these parties, if they choose to engage. How much of a benefit will be up to them. As official parties, they will NOT be able to donate financially, but we might need to share networks, contacts and information. Donations will have a maximum limit to exclude any undue influence from any powerful group.

So the question is, if in one very specific campaign, it is in all of our interests to help UKIP - as we help all other parties - do we stick to the true principle of "non-partisan" and all that entails?

This will NOT help UKIP nationally, or any other party, though the ramifications might. It will NOT endorse them in any way (or any other party) and it will NOT imply that on any issue other than the very narrow and specific issues of the campaign, we endorse policies of ANY party.

In all of my planning, the only concern has been over this. We are a broadly Progressive movement and there is deep anxiety over working with UKIP in any way. If this is to succeed, we will either need a mandate to include UKIP on this, or clear indications that there is no support for working with them in any way and a decision that this must remain a "Progressive" campaign, compromising a claim to be "non-partisan" and undoubtedly excluding a chunk of support we will need.

I should make it clear, that any political campaign will inevitably benefit some parties more than others. That's just mathematics. This campaign is entirely unconcerned with that and the outcome is not the point. I know it's hard to understand that when I can't say more, but the campaign will succeed or fail on meticulous planning and I need space and some more time to do that. I have to ask you to bear with me.

I should also point out that UKIP will play a key role in this whether we include them or not. It will be harder without them.

This is an open comment thread, please, I'm urging all progressives and campaigners of any group or none to share their opinion. Spartacii, I need you to help me make this a consultation and help me get it out to people who need to comment.

Finally, I will not be bullied by any one voice. I don't care how loud anyone might shout this is a decision we all need to make and this thread and this thread alone will decide what we do. If the majority want to stay truly non-partisan, then that is what I will do, putting all personal interests aside. If the majority believe we must never work with UKIP under any circumstances, then I will take that path. I will also not allow any one group to take over the thread or influence it in any way. It's vital all feel they can leave their opinion in an open and confident way, knowing that their opinion will NOT be derided or attacked. Bullies will be moderated immediately. Also remember, there are people who will believe passionately you don't work with Labour/Greens/Libs under any circumstances either. Our personal opinions might be strong, but it's important to remember they're ours and that not everyone shares them.

You are all entitled to leave any comment you wish and to be as robust as you wish, but leave your colleagues and allies alone!

Please help me with this, it might be very, very important.






184 comments:

  1. As a disabled person and knowing where most of the UKIP members have come from, I cannot support something working with UKIP. Sorry Sue.

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    1. Totally understand. Hopefully, if anything ever does come of this, and I sincerely hope it does, and you get to see the detail, you might feel differently, but I totally respect your view and others have made it to me privately in the planning.

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    2. Personally, I'd work with the Devil himself to stop & change DWP Policy. If it can change Welfare across the board then I will support.

      Do not let Dogma blind you to progressive new ideas & avenues. Dogma is the one thing that stifles, strangles new opportunities... be bigger... be better than that.

      I Trust Sue & know her to be honest & progressive. Give her a chance, I'm sure the 20 to 30,000 that have died so far would shout out to you to try something...anything that will break up what is transpiring the now.

      I Support.......james beagan

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    3. UKIP have a disabled member,And where exactly do UKIP come from?please explain

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    4. Where have UKIP come from? The Tories. I don't doubt they have disabled members but don't forget disabled people can be biggots too.

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  2. Pending good arguments from other people, currently I'd say to include UKIP. It could strengthen the campaign to include a party to the right of the Tories - it's then clearly not an anti-right thing. In theory all parties should do what the evidence says is the correct thing to do, regardless of their ideology, so all parties need to know the evidence. Also they do have public support; they might not get any seats but they seem to be a strong protest vote and the interest in UKIP is not just media hype.

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  3. If it involves educating UKIP, IMHO, that's OK.

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    1. Yes, that was a mistake. Now we know better, it won't happen again. Problem solved, stop worrying mate, thanks.

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  4. I think you make the argument well in your blog. Whatever you have in mind, if it is to isolate the Tories, or particular Tories, then I can see the advantage in including UKIP. Good luck.

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  5. Im concerned. I was under the impression that most UKIP members were against anything that in any way supported disabled people (or anyone on welfare). How could they be of benefit to us? Please advise. IMO, from what I have seen in the press (which of course cant all be believed) they are not a party I would want to vote for and I have yet to see a positive spin on their policies. However, as Jan says perhaps it could be a good thing if it "educates UKIP" and for that matter any party, as they all need their eyes opening.

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    1. That's a vital point Fibrography, thanks. The UKIP disability spokesperson is Star Etheridge. She is a tireless campaigner and has given speeches at UKIP conference, she writes a blog and passionately tries to expose where the government is trying to attack disabled people. If her party end up with a decent approach to disability - and we don't know that yet - it will be almost totally down to her. So for this particular campaign, I don't need to know any of their other policies, they're irrelevant and we absolutely will NOT be encouraging anyone to support them. But it will mean discussing their disability policies with them - and broader welfare issues - and if they end up with a good policy, that helps us and may, inadvertently help them. But it is for a good reason. Hope that makes sense.

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    2. Sue, Thank You. As, like many people, I had only seen the negative issues from the individual councillors and those the press chose to publish. I was not aware of Star Etheridge and it is great to hear that they have someone like her in the party. I hope, that with her help, they will learn some valuable lessons. Should your endeavour be realised then I look forward to hearing more about her and what she stands for.

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    3. Some have criticized her on the thread and I know very well that different people respond differently to different people. I can only say that for me, she has been keen to engage, she has sent donations to Spartacus funds because it is beyond both of our politics and I agree with at least some of what she says on disability. To be honest, I can't say much more of any of the parties. So I generally decide to speak as I find and trust people that choose to trust me back. You'd be surprised how rarely I'm let down x

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    4. It is a difficult one but there is a need to be as inclusive as possible if this also influences UKIP policy towards the disabled then that is all to the good. It is also quite obvious that none of the mainstream parties have done enough (including the Labour party, sadly)to assist the disabled in this struggle, and struggle is what it is.

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  6. I note that you do not include SNP, Plaid. Is this an England only campaign or are disabled people in Scotland and Wales less worthy of your attention.

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    1. Sorry, I should have explained. It's quite hard to here, but they won't be relevant in this very specific campaign, but may absolutely wish to support it. So no, it's not an English campaign, but for this specific quandary I need help with, happily, they won't be involved. I really am very sorry I can't be more clear.

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    2. The "happily" is because I see both as allies in this, sorry, I'm not doing very well here.

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    3. Essentially, then, Sue, it's Westminster-focused?

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    4. I trust your judgement Sue and although it goes against the grain to include UKIP, if it will help change the coalitions hideous approach to disabled people I'm with you.

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  7. Gut feeling says include ukip... but that's without knowing what the project is haha :) personally I think that there are a huge number of ukip supporters who actually wouldn't support the party if they had a real grasp of their ethos. And if the tories are out then it won't be poss to call the project non-partisan without ukip on board...

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  8. Ithink any campaign should be open to all, regardless of who they represent politically or otherwise. UKIP would not be alone in facing charges of opportunism and hypocrisy and the right message can convince anyone with an open mind. I would leave all bridges unburned and I hope the results surprise you x

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  9. Thank you all so far for being so open to discussing this reasonably. Please, try to encourage as many others to comment as you can.

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  10. We have no option but to include the likes of UKIP and other new political parties that are coming to the fore...we are going to end up with yet another coalition administration, and regardless who is involved we must push forward with our aims...as an independent person who has no affiliation with any party what-so-ever, we must work with everyone - dare I say it?, even the Conservatives....I'min to do what ever I can in this endevour...Adam...

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    1. Thanks. There would certainly be nothing to stop individual Conservatives from supporting our aims. Not everyone is so tribal they support their party in every policy area, and Spartacus and other groups DO have Conservative supporters.

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  11. I have always felt that despite your own leanings you have presented balanced information and feel if we are trying to educate and change minds about disability and how it is perceived we need to follow our own advice and be inclusive, that includes engaging with parties we don't agree with as well as ones we do.

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  12. I would not be very happy about including UKIP as their policies towards excluding other groups do not bode well for disabled people

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    1. I understand. Do take look at my reply to Fibrograohy above, just in case it makes you feel differently xx

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    2. Sorry but to many people have wrong views about UKIP,Read to much propaganda and smears againt them,Ukip all the way

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  13. Include and educate UKIP members and anyone else you wish to. The more education the better. Not a party I would vote for, but have always been in favour of political education. :)

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  14. I feel you need to elaborate on this statement Sue:

    "I can pretty much guarantee that this won't include the Conservatives, they are the major partner in the government inflicting the policies we oppose, but it's vital we win the support of all the other parties."

    Given the position of non-partisan campaigning, this feels like a contradiction.

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    1. Yes, I totally see what you mean, I feel it myself. Spartacus is non-partisan, other groups have their own approaches. But there's no getting away from the fact that the thing that broadly unites us is that we are horrified by the policies of this coalition and that it is the Tory led side that controls and dominates the welfare policies.
      So if we oppose those policies, it's unlikely many of their supporters will be very interested. That's NOT to say this campaign won't attempt to engage them, it definitely will I just meant it's unlikely to be a very fruitful area for this. Hope that's clearer.

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    2. That's clearer thanks Sue.

      I would point out that there are different constituencies as others have said in the thread: The Parties, individual MPs, individual members of parties and supporters of those parties.

      If I were Spartacus, I would make the offer to all parties, members of those parties and supporters of those parties to join your campaign and allow them to choose to participate or not. I would also offer different levels of participation if that's possible. Criticial friends are often more helpful in defining and improving campaigns. Allowing for dialogue would also mean that Spartacus actually practises what it preaches when it criticises MPs for not engaging in dialogue. They don't have to like the campaign but allowing engagement would be more powerful.

      There are unprogressive voices in all parties as well as progressive ones. That someone shouldn't cut their nose off to spite their face is a good motto here. Its the design of engagement that counts if you are looking to build a consensus around a campaign. Achieving some positive change is more important than feeling right and ignored.

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    3. Thanks. The practice what we preach thing is so important to me. I simply won't behave like them, it undermines everything I say.

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  15. Whilst I personally wouldn't touch UKIP with a bargepole, the sad fact is that a significant proportion of the electorate would. So I think you should include them Sue. Good luck with the campaign.

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  16. Hi Sue.
    My name is Mostyn Coombes
    I have Crohn's too' house bound with weight loss. I thank you for what you have done so far and in the future.
    On ESA,DLA (lower care)also trying to look after my partner. But I hope I can help on twitter or other social media?
    I just don't want company's making money out of disabled people like Atos, G4S. Empathy is good.
    @CoombesMostyn

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  17. Non-partisan is an ideal, and ideals need to be enacted or they become impotent.Just another set of well meaning but, ultimately, useless words.

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  18. we don' need representation, no need to elect the latest fellow from Eaton, the closest to your mindset lol We can go for direct democracy, check out www.thereset.org they are not a party, we will have no reason for parties. .

    They will merely fire the contractors (MPs) and instal a grass roots system... abolish all taxation and implement a 1% transaction tax on banks.. this will increase the amount of money to spend on our fair land by a factor of almost three.. to just under 1.5 trillion... lets redistribute the wealth!!

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  19. Until we know the UKIP policy on disability and welfare we shouldn't rule out working with them. They have definitely got some bad apples but then all the parties have!

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  20. I'm very uncomfortable about UKIP being involved. But if that's what it takes for the scheme to work, that's what it takes.

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  21. I am of the opinion that we should include ALL parties/political groups.It is democratic to give everyone an opportunity to voice their opinion,be it good or bad. To isolate any one group would be wrong.As much as I dislike UKIP, they are here and should be included.

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  22. Sue,

    I think it is important to consider the UKIP issue in a very pragmatic way, not in an ideological way. Why? Any political campaign is surely aimed at VOTERS not PARTIES. I would suggest that few voters will agree with all the policy positions of the parties they end up voting for - after all, few voters are members of political parties - I'm not, because none of them represent my most important political views.

    Most of the people who voted for UKIP in the recent local and EU parliamentary elections did so because UKIP offered a choice that was important to them and was offered by none of the other parties. In most cases it will have been either UKIPs position on EU membership or immigration. For many it will also have been a protest against the failure of the political system as a whole to properly represent them, rather than only a narrow and powerful elite.

    Surely, it is these ordinary voters we would be trying to reach with any issue focused political campaign - not the very small party membership who we probably disagree with on many issues.

    To change minds you have to get into a conversation, an exchange of ideas. This inevitably leads to the need to engage with people who currently hold views we do not agree with.

    If including UKIP enables the campaign to reach and engage with the huge pool of potential UKIP voters to the overall benefit of the campaign, then that must be the pragmatic choice, however distasteful some of us may find some of the policy positions set out by UKIP in the past. Also, bear in mind we do not yet know what future policy positions UKIP may set out as they come to grips with becoming a more significant player in UK politics.

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    1. That's such a great comment. People understandably respond emotionally to politics. As a campaigner you ALWAYS have to respond pragmatically. If anyone wants to stop and think for a second about how I feel about including UKIP in any of my plans as a Labour supporter, clearly I have those emotional responses.
      But that has absolutely nothing to do with why you all read my blog, or what most of you support me tirelessly to try to achieve.
      I have tried to make it very clear above that this ISN'T relevant to UKIPs policies, hard though I know that is to accept, we WON'T be endorsing them in any way and it WON'T help them nationally.

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    2. Hi Sue, I'm very glad that the post by djp above has articulated my thoughts far better than I could. I'm Labour to the bone but there's a reason working class people are flocking to UKIP and we ignore that at our peril. Without knowing what the campaign is about it's difficult to give an informed opinion but, in principle, I'm supportive and please do keep me posted.
      Sue McCafferty

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    3. Note to self: don't comment when so tired you don't think it through beforehand and then can't delete comment! Just to make it clear, I wasn't giving credence to UKIP's inflammatory and wholly execrable neo-fascistic policies on immigration: it was more that they do seem to be tapping into a general dissatisfaction with an out of touch London elite. But I hate them. Obviously. Sue McC (hashtag no spoons left!)

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    4. Also feel same re UKIP on several fronts but if engaging helps here then support it whilst really not liking idea, as trusting it won't actually show them any support in your plan

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  23. Many who voted for UKIP don't support their ultra Thatcherite policies. There is latent liberality in there.

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  24. As much as I dislike UKIP and what they stand for, I think excluding them would be unwise. What I wouldn't want to see is the likes of Britain First - IMO that would afford them a legitimacy that is unwarranted.

    Sarah B

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  25. I hate UKIP and all they stand for, their policies on immigration scare me but I know nothing about their policies on disability and I would say on balance that it's better to have them inside the tent p*ssing out then outside and p*ssing in.

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  26. To be honest UKIP scare me to death, i have MS -WC user and do receive ESA/DLA everything I have read tells me UKIP are totally anti disabled worse than the Tories , I would need strong reassurances that UKIP wont bite me before I even entertain them -I am scared- downright scared Sue

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    1. I think lots of people feel exactly that way. It's a very valid comment xx

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  27. I'm very wary of engaging with UKIP given their views on disabled people & their far right views generally but I trust you & if you believe it's necessary then I accept that.

    MJ

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  28. Given UKIP’s antipathy to all the support systems that sustain disabled people, from the NHS to state benefits, their advocacy of a flat-taxed, ‘nightwatchman’ state and market-driven politics, I find this post mystifying - if not alarming - and would urge you to think twice, then think again before destroying any credibility you have worked so hard to achieve.

    My own view is that any alliance with UKIP is destined to end in tears and will certainly alienate a large section of the constituency you seek to protect.

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    1. I do understand that and really appreciate you commenting. I would reiterate that it would NOT endorse them or their policies in any way or help them nationally. It would simply be that the campaign might benefit them if they chose to engage with it. So indirect benefit NOT direct, and I wanted people to be aware of that.

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  29. I appreciate what you are trying to do in an non partisan approach and Star has been following various disability campaigners for a while trying to engage; Having said that i was recently talking to a UKIP candidate who did the usual social security rhetoric on scroungers/NHS/homosexuality etc. whilst it can be considered an isolated case there have been many published cases of attitudes mirroring this.
    I appreciate it's best to be at the table discussing than outside i am in two minds. UKIP have no MPs or control of any councils. We also have no idea until their manifesto is issued as to their full intentions around social security. It however could be useful to push them to highlight plight of disabled etc as they seek any platform that might get them power. But can we trust them?
    George Galloway and Respect have backed call against disability reforms will they also be approached given all their problems?
    It is difficult one and not knowing full facts i am if honest in two minds.

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  30. Actually, I hadn't thought of Respect, yes, it's very possible they will be involved too, so the same questions above apply to them. Really important point, thanks.

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  31. Given UKIP's stance on a lot of welfare issues, while I'm all in favour of reaching out to them and educating them, I honestly can't see them having any desire to play ball because their attitude tends to be even more hardline than the Tories!

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  32. Hi Sue,

    As much as it might stick in my craw, I think it's important we don't exclude UKIP - provided they are behaving lawfully!!! UKIP's policies may be 'exclusive' but tit-for-tat politics just doesn't work, not if we want to actually be inclusive ourselves. Otherwise we risk the legitimate charge of hypocrisy. This is especially true if UKIP is addressing disability issues with competent campaigners within their own ranks.

    If UKIP exclude themselves, that's a different matter altogether, but let's give them the choice rather than anticipate it for them. Who knows? We might ALL learn something!

    And thank you for asking, Sue :)

    Love

    Dee xxx

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    1. I really love that comment, I'm trying to keep my own opinion out of this as much as I can.

      But OF COURSE I have one.

      In everything I've done, my guiding principle in everything is "do the right thing." Not the easy thing or the safe thing or the comfortable thing, the RIGHT thing.

      I will never be able to explain the very painful and difficult decisions this has caused me and the times I've had to stand firm against WAVES of opposition, but If I am hypocritical or weak or partial, I lost everything I've worked so hard for.

      I won't compromise that for anyone or anything.

      In this very specific situation, I believe engaging with UKIP IS the right thing to do. I HAVE to put my own politics aside and there must be no accusation whatsoever, at any point, that I am pushing my own political interests above my campaign.
      Perhaps it's unfortunate in that case that I AM a Labour girl, I have to be MORE scrupulous and make MORE efforts to ensure that what I do doesn't favor Labour over any other party.
      To be honest that's my personal issue, aside from all of the issues above. If I go ahead with this, Labour will benefit too and there as many people uncomfortable with that as uncomfortable with UKIP in many ways.
      If I DON'T include UKIP, I HAVE to show favor to Labour by default, and that's another overall consideration.
      Perhaps I should have made it clear above but I didn't want my own opinion to have dominance.
      I hope that anyone who is genuinely interested in debating this sees this comment too

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  33. Without knowing the details of the campaign, but, if it's going to educate people like UKIP, then surely the Conservatives need to be included. If you use the "Scattergun" approach, maybe you will hit the few Conservative MPs that are teetering on the brink of falling off the party line.

    I am aware that using the blanket approach may mean that the majority of Conservatives and "Anti-Welfare" league just throw any documentation in the bin, but they may read it, and it may change their point of view.

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  34. I'd join forces with the devil if he was against the Tories.

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  35. you're absolutely right Tony, I wasn't clear enough, there's another reply from me above on this.
    It is inevitable that the Conservatives as a party will oppose this campaign because it challenges their key battle ground of welfare. That's not to say that ALL Conservatives agree with ALL policies and you're absolutely right that should any want to join us they will be just as welcome and I can assure you that the campaign targets them as heavily - if not more heavily - as all of the other parties.

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  36. I would talk to ukip's disability representative Star Etheridge, to try and get an idea if they can be included. If they will make on the record assurances re bigotry etc it could be possible even though the party as a whole is a nightmare.

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  37. My instinct is to reject anything that would benefit UKIP. And based on what I've seen from their members, that's no bad thing. I just don't think enough of them give a crap about disabled people. If it helps, ask yourself this: Would I ask the BNP for help? Or Golden Dawn? Or Front Nationale? They are all cut from the same cloth after all. UKIP just have a better PR machine. If there IS a reason to involve them, it would have to be a bloody good one.

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    1. You know me my friend, it's a bloody cracker. But I totally appreciate your comments too ;)

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  38. I think this is presented the wrong way round but means the same as I'm just about to suggest.

    I STRONGLY recommend what we have done with the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign. Separate out individuals from parties. a. have terms of ref which state you are politically unaligned and a community campaign - this can be as small or large a community as you want. b. be open to anyone and never ask them how they vote unless they want to tell you c. public fundraising via a website with clear audit etc d. tell all parties what you want as a community not as a politically aligned entity and don't let any of them slap a party label on you. You will find that what you do weeds out people - and parties, both positively and negatively.

    People who have voted UKIP may want to support you - but you may never know they have and if they did they probably didn't know the reality of UKIP policies - thanks in the main part to the BBC. They will soon know the horrible reality by engaging with them.

    Any group who just continues to talk to itself just won't progress to full potential.

    Keep it simple in structure and welcoming in culture x

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    1. Jos, you outline pretty much exactly how it would work. I hope everyone reads your comment, as tho is exactly what it would be. You were also VERY successful at building a board coalition in Lewisham and your opinion here is so valuable.
      Any benefit to UKIP would be entirely incidental of exactly the type of campaign you describe above, I just wanted to be aware that it might exist.

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  39. How can we possibly offer an informed opinion about something so important that it "makes the spartacus report look like a nice friendly chat" without knowing -

    What is this about? What is motivating it? What are the principles governing it? What are it's aims/purpose? Why might it involve UKIP but not Plaid or SNP? etc etc

    Too many unknowns for me to contribute responsibly.

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    1. Sure, I do understand that an this is far from ideal. It's just that if I try to plan it, I am taking steps people might not endorse, so I have to be clear about that from the start. So even to plan, I need to know that I'm doing the right thing, but can't share the plan until I have enough together to take legal advice. I think you will speak for many and I apologise for it again.

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  40. Count me in

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  41. Hi Sue, I can't work with UKIP. I despise everything they stand for they want to harm me, they want to dismantle the NHS and remove the support I have. They are planning to get rid of the Human Rights Act which provides protection for all of us.
    They want to remove our emoyment rights, our benefits, and I couldn't trust them as far as I could pick them up and throw them.

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  42. As long as it works,we must include anyone and everyone....as much as I don't like UKIP and their policies,if we can use them and the other parties to get what WE want then I am all for it.

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  43. Sorry if this replicates. It ate my comment. I think that every party with a 'voice' needs to be included in a politically angled campaign otherwise it is laid open to criticism, complaint and disregard

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  44. I would not have anything to do with UKIP's Star Etheridge. She and her husband pose proudly with golliwogs and on Twitter she refuses to discuss UKIP's disability manifesto with anyone she considers a 'Lefty'. Many UKIP supporters are racist, homophobic, anti-abortion and misogynistic. Star has not written their disability policy yet, they have no manifesto and I would not trust them to be inclusive or supportive to disabled activists. They make my skin crawl.

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    1. I loathe UKIP. I also think Sue is right about them.

      As for Star Etheridge, I wouldn't engage with anyone other than a friend on Twitter on any serious subject at all, Twitter simply isn't the right forum for that so I can't condemn her for not engaging with "Lefties" or anyone else on disability issues - the constraints of Twitter can too easily lead to misunderstandings.

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    2. I am a disabled lefty female but I experience a total cognitive dissonance over how anyone who thinks they support vulnerable members of society can accept the systematic culling of the most vulnerable group of all: the unborn. How could anyone who questions the cull of disabled adults by Tory welfare policies, fail to question the execution of a baby because he or she is considered a 'burden' to someone in some way - through having a genetic disorder, being a financial 'drain' to keep, or being just plain unwanted and inconvenient? Isn't it for exactly similar reasons that the Tories are trying to get rid of US?

      If Etheridge opposes the slaughter of the defenceless, at least she's got SOMETHING right.

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  45. Dialogue is key. Knowing one's enemy is another. I say include UKIP.

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  46. I would be uncomfortable with working closely with UKIP I think but don't think we should exclude them from it, all support is good support as long as it doesn't influence you...
    The way I see it is that while I dislike UKIP and basically everything they stand for if they are willing to learn about and contribute properly to a campaign then that is ultimately a good thing. I can't say a lot about their involvement with this campaign without knowing details, but if (and I really hope not) they get any MPs in 2015 then it has to be better for us that they understand what we want.
    It's not going to effect their national campaign because people don't choose to vote UKIP based on their disability policy the choose it generally based on anger or anti-EU sentiment. (I'm pretty sure only disabled people/their families choose who to vote for based on disability policy.)

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  47. UKIP is the oddest political party to ever come about headed by as always someone in the know with a comfortable lifestyle

    They will not cause any problems at the next general election and will still be without an mp so they will be playing no role whatsoever in uk politics despite what the news tells you

    One person however gifted like Nigel Farage will get nowhere as he is only gifted in one small area of politics and will only please likeminded individuals on the EU

    If sue could get them better educated on a full working mandate then that would be wonderful but it's unlikely to happen as Nigel Farage lacks a balanced mind a key ingredient in any truly worldwide great person so she could end up wasting her time

    sues best bet is to stick with a labour style of mandate and to get her party to bring about long term change as an influencer in which she is a specialist in and that's looking out for the sick and disabled and to make sure there not forgotten but are fully supported at all times through the welfare system
    sue really needs to be working within the house of lords so that a proper understanding and balance is maintained because at this time all we have is David Freud, Baron Freud talking a load of twaddle whilst not understanding at all the many thousands that have died in going through welfare reform and when theirs deaths are going to stop





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  48. Sue, AndyLucia following on from our conversation on Twitter ....

    The negatives, as far as I can see, stem from UKIP's voting record in the EU where they have consistently voted negatively even on the things they campaign on; for example, they make a lot of noise about the plight of the UK fishing industry but actually voted against change when it went through the Parliament. Coupled with the negative comments made about the disabled, and benefit recipients in general, I have serious doubts that they can bring anything useful to the table.

    The positives are, as others have mentioned already, is a potential opportunity to educate a sector of society about the REAL issues not the garbage they read in the red tops; and also the credibility of being able to demonstrate a wider spectrum of support for the Spartacus cause.

    But I still just get the itchy feeling that although they will contribute nothing of worth they will use if to boost their own profile; it will be more tokenism, a boost to their credibility and little or no gain for you .... and, as you say, this (whatever 'this' is) will expose you in a way you haven't been exposed before.

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  49. Not sure I've worked out how to log in correctly here, but...
    Given what I've heard of opinions about disability voiced by UKIP members & candidates, personally it's hard to think of any common ground I could have with them. But knowing how much careful thought you put into this, if you think it's worth including them then we should remain open to most things.
    P. @oldfirehazard

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  50. I will stress that although I know it seems impossible, their policies are irrelevant to this. I'm very aware this is an unsatisfactory response.

    This is the latest UKIP statement on disability though absolutely no guarantee whatever it will come anywhere near policy. I just find it rather hard to discount. But remember as I said, policies are IRRELEVANT to this, any benefit to UKIP will be purely incidental.http://www.staretheridge.co.uk/a-taster-of-a-few-policy-proposals/

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    1. Is this related to the undermining of previous campaigns on party political grounds and in order to prevent those arguments being used against this new campaign, it is vital to disassociate it from all political party links? So that campaign can rise above politics and call on people as humans to care about individual suffering x 1,000s, and to achieve a human response to help those in need? A stab in the dark, but I trust and respect you and will do what I can to support you. Rebecca Devitt @CarbonisedPleb P.S. Just promise this will not involve you coming to any harm. Your family need you + you can't help any one if you are too ill. Take care + be as well as you can be.

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  51. Lets' all also remember this is NOT about UKIP at all. They are merely a tiny, incidental part of an enormous picture. This issue I'm trying to make open and transparent today is merely something I wanted people to be aware of, NOT in any way actually relevant to what we'd be fundamentally trying to do.

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  52. I understand people being uncomfortable with engaging with UKIP. However they destroyed their own manifesto and went into the Euro and local elections with just 2 policies (a vote on Europe and immigration). I don't think they will get away with this for the general election. We can't assume that the views they have been associated with will be part of their new manifesto. After all when their candidates express extreme views they are usually thrown out by the party. UKIP are very opportunistic and if they see that there are votes there for them then who knows what policies they may adopt. They may have a strange mixture of both right and left as they try to be all things to all people. Bearing this in mind I think it is ok not to rule out UKIP completely at this stage, especially as engaging with them could help to shape their policies.

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  53. Of course include UKIP. And keep the campaign focused on disability. Allying with causes such as sexual politics will lose a lot of sympathy. This is not an umbrella movement and such allies put people off.

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  54. I see no problem with engaging with individual ukip members, some, but not many do not fit the template of the average ukip supporter. At the very least, engaging with them about social security should smoke out what ukip's policy proposals are and as a result, perhaps, persuade some of their supporters to think again. I suspect a fair few of their supporters are receiving social security and/or know people who do.

    Like you, I am a member of the Labour Party, but I persuaded a ukip supporter to vote Green on 22nd May. I made the case that he was wasting his time, if he thought he could persuade ukip to adopt green policies and that he really should vote for the Greens.

    I think a similar approach with Conservatives, as distinct from Tories, may prove fruitful too.

    John D Turner

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  55. If anyone made hugely sweeping generalisations about other parties that are being made about Ukip supporters, we would be up in arms. I truly have no idea if we would be better in or out of the EU but I would never vote Ukip, their leaders make my skin crawl. Their supporters however, are often just people who long for strong leadership and a return to the values of their youth. A return to the fifties because that was when a lot of them were happy. It's just nostalgia through rose tinted glasses. Engage these people, many of whom will be carers or know people who are disabled. In engaging them we may be able to steer them away from the slime of Nigel Farage or even perhaps, steer Ukip policies to a better place, which will encourage the less savoury followers to abandon Ukip and show their true colours.

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  56. I'd agree that engaging with UKIP makes sense (unless something is discovered about their policies or approach which puts them in the Conservatives' camp of being firmly anti-Spoonie). I'd also agree that engaging with UKIP supporters is a very good idea. But don't expend a huge amount of effort on the party itself - UKIP are not going to be shaping UK disability or benefits policies in any serious way.

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  57. Hi Sue,

    Initially I saw more of the party line & as I have followed politics more I have adopted the belief that if a party has implemented a policy that is wrong & harmful, they should be called up on it regardless of the party. I still have my political party direction but I don't believe direction should stand in the way of what is right or wrong.

    Without knowing what you're thinking of (I know you can't say) my main belief is that although I may not believe in a party's policies, that these parties need some kind of platform. Otherwise they almost get an artificial platform because they highlight that they are not being heard so therefore what they are saying must be valid & their opinions are being suppressed & this just leads to people believing in more un truths. If they are given a platform most reasonable people see through the lies & the spin.

    However, my main thing that I will say which you have probably already considered is:

    You may set out for no party to benefit from what you're planing to do but we all know that people can twist things & parties have used events to their own ends in the past. Also would you work with them if it could be seen that they support your campaign but at the same time are victimising another group?

    However, I totally see where you're going, if you exclude them you will be considered a lefty extremist (I think we probably all are already) but if you include them you will be condemned by some for working with racist extremists.

    I think your best bet is to avoid party lines as much as possible & to go with what Jos said & work with the individual. That's what we are after all, we're all from different backgrounds.

    Either way I'm with you

    Amy x

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  58. I think as disabled people and a marginalised group we need to speak to as many willing ears as possible you never know who will listen. I'm no fan of UKIP but leaving aside the anti-europe, anti-immigration policies (reasons why I'm not a fan) I don't know what else they stand for apart from some discriminatory soundbites, even then they from lone voices. They're sentiments on the NHS aren't promising but again they are from lone voices and as such other voices may have an alligance to disability rights.
    In truth they don't seem to my mind at least to be fully formed enough to be a credible fringe/parliamentary party yet such is their focus on two policy areas, so perhaps working with them will help shape they're views on disability related policy. Look forward to hearing more about your idea.

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  59. When the back bench business committee considered the WOWpetition it was stated that it wasn't a party political issue. Instead it was an issue of doing what is right and fair. Disabled people have been "screwed" by politicians of all hues but necessity requires that we still engage with them or exclude ourselves. From what I can make out of the plan (!!) if the question is should we engage with all parties then the answer is yes? All parties will have disabled members and if we exclude any because of their fascist/ neo-liberal/ socialist policies then are we not creating our own class of deserving and non-deserving disabled people? Are we going to say you're a liberal so you have no right to an opinion on disabled people!
    You may be surprised by what they say and if you are not you can edit them out!

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  60. It's almost impossible to know what to say while everything is still at such a cryptic stage. But I fail to see why UKIP would want to work with *us*. They hate disabled people. They hate the welfare state. They hate paying taxes to contribute to the welfare state.

    Even if the network decides that working with UKIP is morally OK; how on earth would you convince them to work with us? Would the hook be "we're trying to boot out the Tories; so working with us is in UKIP's best interest?"

    And if that is the hook to convince them to work with us: My instincts (without any of the details) would be to say "no". If we're trying to boot out the Tories, the last thing we need is to replace them with someone worse who wants to reduce the rate of ESA down to being the same as JSA, etc.

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  61. Probably not a very helpful and insightful comment but I'd really be interested to know more and probably like to help if at all possible.
    Benefit Scum Crip (@MarkWomersley)

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  62. But you're right Lisa, it's a bout whether it is morally right or not to go ahead with a plan that might INDIRECTLY benefit UKIP as it will other parties.
    So this is not a normal situation, it's simply about that moral question at this stage.

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  63. Really really unhappy about this. If you are basically already saying the Tories can't be changed and won't be interested by whatever this thing is, I don't see how UKIP will be considering their disgusting precedents on the way they speak about all minorities. It gives me no faith in the project that you think this way and it allows for making excuses for people's behaviour when it suits you.

    Haven't you heard the anti welfare rhetoric from UKIP? Most of their anti immigration stuff is built round 'welfare tourism' which means they have allied the disabled with migrants as a group to bash and blame things on. Any party that builds itself on hating or distrusting one minority group will be turn on the next when it suits them. I'd consider UKIP the most anti welfare party out there as many Tories do still believe in the welfare state but don't understand how the system works. UKIP just hate welfare. And women. And gay and trans people. And migrants and immigrants. And have dubious views about disabled children and adults. Working with them is two fingers up at any disabled people who don't fit the average box but have intersecting needs.

    To work with them is to condone this and to seek out UKIP influence while ignoring Tory influence makes me feel highly uncomfortable. Either aim it at everyone equally and democratically or don't pretend to equal about it. This smells fishy already.

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    1. I must stress that it is absolutely aimed at everyone equally. It's just that includes UKIP of course and that might make some ppl just too uncomfortable. Thanks for expressing that view for others

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  64. I'm in need of more specifics. Is this an election campaign, with an emphasis on electing any political party but the Conservatives? Or, is this a campaign to demand changes to the welfare reforms, particularly as they impact the lives of sick and disabled people?

    (Montreal, Canada)

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  65. If the campaign is to ask all politicians to put on record their support for specific proposals you're putting forward, then that should not at the outset rule out anyone from registering their support - that would apply to a Conservative politician as much as a UKIP one. However, if 'working with' involves some suggestion of on-going relationship, or collaborative deliberations with the party (as opposed to individuals), then you need to be aware of the danger of being used to legitimised a party that at its core is opposed to the state's role in providing a fair and effective safety net for all. We all remember how, in the run up to 2010, the Tory leadership reached out to campaign groups to signal their 'deep' support for the NHS, for improving welfare, for the green agenda, & even for reining in the banking sector. The constructive reception from campaign groups was used to legitimise the Tory Party as having abandoned its nasty identity. After the 2010 elections, everyone realises Tory support is actually so 'deep' that it will never see the light of day. It's hard to tell if the working with UKIP you have in mind would run the same legitimisation risk, but in many ways, that's the main difficulty - without knowing what kind of campaign it is, it's hard to say more. But political parties, esp those with an image problem in some quarters, are very adept at seizing upon the goodwill of others to legitimise their stance.

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  66. I say: "Use those blaggards in UKIP, and if they turn against our hordes, the to the ramparts we stride!!"

    J Blimp (Colonel)
    The Happy Eggplant Sanatorium
    Britain
    BR1 1BR

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  67. On Twitter I came out on the side of including UKIP because it would compromise our non-partisanship to do otherwise. Here I can elaborate more.

    In my eyes, every party is included except for where laws, norms and rules make such inclusion impossible or irrelevant. The exception is where those parties *exclude themselves*, like the Conservative party has excluded itself from any serious factual debate about the history, present stae and future of social security and the welfare state. We didn't leave them out, they pushed us away. For individual MPs and Lords it's another matter, but when the concern is about a whole party we can't meaningfully include them, at least not in the main body of a report. For those willing to go off-message or give personal views that are not merely sound-bites, we could include an appendix- a minority report.

    Regarding UKIP specifically- extremely important to ignore the media, including statements the party itself gives to the media. Almost every bit of communication coming out of political parties now is intended for media consumption, not public consumption. For non-partisanship, we can not favour or disfavour based on policies they may have which we disagree with unless those policies specifically put them in a position of self-exclusion, IE: can't have meaningful input about changing rules of royal succession to allow first-born girls to become monarch with a republican party for whom the position is that the issue should not exist at all. It can however still feature in an attached minority report that can give a fuller picture by pointing out particular stances which sit just outside the remit of the main report.

    The UKIP leader has distanced the party from their previous manifesto, but I did read the part specific to benefits and it was basically a collection of sound-bites that play well in tabloids but no policy detail. For the disabled it's that weird thing where they are 120% behind the disabled needing the right support without question, but at least 120% of the disabled are fakes. I'm going to venture to UKIP sites and absorb whatever their current stance is, mainly with the objective of finding points where they can be constructively engaged with.

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  68. I'm more concerned with defeating the Conservatives in the next election because the plight of sick and disabled people won't be ameliorated if the Cameron government is re-elected. It's important not to lose sight of that fact.

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    1. I would go along with your views Samuel 100% whatever happens the conservatives need to be stopped at any costs as they are responsible for the loss of many lives and that will only get worse should they be reselected

      As i said above the public will not be voting UKIP in the general election in any numbers irrespective of what the bbc or anyone else tells you

      you don't get to 60 years of age and from the establishment like myself without seeing a crystal clear picture of the uk's future

      it's just tragic the public in general just go along for the ride in general elections and then spend the next 5 years complaining that they made an error




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  69. I am extremely concerned about UKIP and their policies, but would back you on this completely. We have to practice what we preach, and engage whomsoever will listen and act in the right way.

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  70. for all who read this blog i should remind everyone that sue will always do her best come what may and that Samuel Miller to will always do his best to get justice for those that have died and to see things improved so that loss of life comes to a halt irrespective of who comes into power next

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  71. Bring it on now is the time for all good men/women to come to the party!

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  72. Hard of course to make a recommendation when we can't know what the project might be and therefore what the decision might entail. But obviously the constraints are unavoidable at this stage.

    I think the Tory's absence from your list is not just because of particular policies implemented by a particular government. Those policies are inevitable because of their position on the political spectrum. UKIP is even further to the right on that spectrum overall so in that respect I think it is less true to say that UKIP are "another party" among the rest than that they are Tories-plus. It follows from that, that if the Tories are not part of this, then Tories-plus cannot be either.

    But there's another thought here. Somehow "spectrum" makes it sound all so rational and easily described - Being "Left" means this. Being "Right" means that. But those things keep shifting and are many shaded. And a lot of it is actually very muddly and not rational at all. So the other thought is that UKIP is less a political party as such, a point on a spectrum, a set of policies, than just a space for dissatisfaction and disaffection, which has a membership and a following but not a single MP. It may be a highly opportunist space, in its attempts to assume some real shape. Cause to be careful and watchful of it but not I think to link to it in any way. It is a sort of negative image of all the other parties. Following this thought too I don't think UKIP should be considered in the same light as the other parties under consideration. And I think that whatever it is that you are planning here just needs to accept that it is an issue for "progressives." You sound as if you think it might be a bit weaker for that ; I think ultimately it would be weaker still, in a different way, if UKIP were involved.

    Is it naive of me to think that if the right things start to happen, if anxiety and rage have less to feed on, much of what fuels UKIP will simply evaporate ?

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  73. I'm like many others in that I'm very reluctant to have anything to do with UKIP, but will go along if that's what it takes. I'm sorry I can't give any real input at present but you and most of the others will understand why. I'm going through torment with ATOS at present, I have tried for 2 months to get to a WCA because they don't have an accessible centre in Norwich, but they keep sending me appointments for Ipswich, with printed maps/instructions how to get there by public transport!! My Doctor wouldn't do a letter for me to get a home visit/taxi, for his own reasons, I was advised to change Doctor/Surgery but I couldn't face the stress of it as have moved a lot in recent years, have major family serious crisis going on, health, physical and mental going downhill. I'm a pretty mentally strong person who has coped with a lot over the years, I wasn't disabled til about 10 years ago, have brought up a disabled son (in better times than now) did his DLA forms for years, did endless campaigning, school/hospital stuff, have worked at DWP, but this last few years being first on JSA (I refused to go on ESA because of what I knew) then thrown on the shocking Work Programme and finally having to give in and go on ESA last November. This has nearly finished me, despite contacting my MP, getting help online etc., etc.,

    So though I said I couldn't offer much at present, from what I've said and my current and recent experiences, ( have also been involved locally with DPAC, People's Assembly and left Unity, going on protests) there has never been more need for something more as we are being slowly exterminated, driven to despair, having eugenics practiced on us and I don't say this lightly.

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  74. I think we need to define what's meant by non-partisan, and what we want from it's supporters. If we want support from political parties as an item of party policy, then it's not non-partisan. We might say we're open to all parties, but would you really want to associate with BNP or England First? I'd say avoid the issue, define the campaign and leave it to individuals and organisations to decide whether they support it.

    WRT UKIP, I'd trust them as far as I could comfortable spit Nigel Farage (Douglas Adams may have said 'comfortably spit a rat', but linking rats to UKIP is unfair to rats). As Lisa pointed out, their initial policy was openly (and proudly) anti-disabled people, and called for a single universal benefit set at the level of Young Person's JSA, so we'd all be expected to survive on £54 a week. They've since stopped talking about their policy towards us and put Star up as their cuddly disability spokesperson. The problem is, I'm not convinced their policy has actually changed, or that Star is in a position to influence it (not that Star has particularly impressed me with her grasp of facts, I caught her blaming Brussels for a decision made in Westminster). About the only UKIP statement WRT their policy towards us this year has been raising the possibility of charging for GP visits, which suggests the basic hostility towards us is still there. UKIP are both an ultra-right wing libertarian party (the UK version of the Tea Party) and a party built on the politics of hate (which makes them the Tea Party crossed with the Front Nationale). The first of those means that any form of Welfare is anathema to them, the second means that as soon as they shut off immigration, they need to create a new enemy, or lose their reason for existence, we're clearly in that firing line and we collaborate with them at our peril.

    To consider even the most tentative collaboration with UKIP, we'd need them to have published their 2015 electoral manifesto, with a clear and comprehensive definition of their policies towards disability and welfare that is acceptable to us (the chances of this are roughly the same as pigs not just flying, but launching a successful mission to Mars), and we would need Farage to have publicly stood behind those policies in the media (and I still wouldn't trust them to stand by their word). But even then they would remain a racist party (not to mention the homophobia and the sectarian hate), many of whose members are openly hostile towards disability - I remember UKIPpers protesting a couple of years ago when the party axed a candidate calling for compulsory abortion of disabled babies, saying 'he didn't say anything wrong'. I simply don't see any way I at least could cooperate with UKIP, they represent the antithesis of everything I stand for as an equal rights campaigner, not just a disability rights campaigner.

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    1. On the subject of Star, it's worth remembering that she's openly racist. Google "Star Etheridge golliwogs".

      Not all disabled people are white...

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    2. Oh, ick! 'campaigners against political correctness' *headdesk*

      I'd filed her under 'misguided', clearly that was misguided.

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    3. It's important to say again this is NOT a collaboration, it is exactly what Jos outlines above.
      The question is if it INADVERTANTLY helps ANY party, are we OK with that. Also, Stars actual speech is better than most parties, we don't trust any of them to follow through, what's different? FYI, I posted her full speech in a reply above

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    4. The right decision can still lead to bad things and the wrong decision can still cause good things- it does not mean that the end justifies the means and that we should compromise.

      Even intentionally leaving a party out without honest reasons can help or hinder that party. The parties know this, so the decision to participate has to be mostly theirs.

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  75. At the moment I don't have a problem with UKIP, but the Lib Dems......please.
    I am disabled, and was part of the Spartacus campaign when the welfare bill went through.
    So I want nothing to do with Clegg and his party.

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  76. Well Sue, you asked for honest views, and it's hard to comment without really knowing what you are planning, but as far as UKIP are concerned, I wouldn't touch them with a bargepoll.
    Specifically - because I read their disability spokeswoman's interview with John Pring for DNS and was very unimpressed. They don't yet have any disability policies (so it is obviously very low down on their agenda) Also, they don't like the ECHR which is a major safeguard for disabled people.
    UKIP councillors have made comments about disabled foetuses being aborted. I am wondering what else they are planning if they ever were to get real power, maybe much worse than even the Tories.
    I may be paranoid, but its it not possible that they appear to be helpful to infiltrate the disabled community to split it or discredit it?
    You have many views here, but my own gut feeling is no, no, no.

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  77. I can't tell you how much I loathe UKIP and what they stand for but I trust Sue's judgment more than I hate UKIP so I'm willing to give this proposal a chance on that basis.

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  78. Claudine Lewis
    sues judgement is way better than UKIP'S and as you say more trusting

    the only reason ukip has a voice in the first place is because David Cameron is in power who has the same views as ukip

    the only difference between the two man is that David Cameron likes slave labour from other countries where as ukip do not

    the conservatives history has always been about slavery in all the countries that it has evaded over the years

    blanking out the EU population would never work anyhow so that's a non event immigration there again not a problem it just need to be implemented the same as most of the rest of the world have implemented theirs

    there again a non starter for a topic

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  79. UKIP are, individually, a lot of crackpots and weirdos, but that's not a reason to rule out working with them - they're not BNP or Britain First. On an equal basis with other parties, and without endorsement, I see no reason not to give them the opportunity to be involved. Not sure I see all the reasons *to* give them that opportunity, but that's a separate question.

    Curious as to why the Conservatives are ruled out as having brought in the problematic policies, but the LDs aren't, though.

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  80. keep you friends close and your enemies closer.

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  81. Much as it goes against the grain, I think UKIP have to included for this to work.

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  82. Did I miss a reference to the NHA? They seem to have sympathetic aims and organised well for the last election. I don't like the idea of giving any possible legitimacy to UKIP or sharing a bed with the Lib Dems now either, but depends what is planned.

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  83. ukip are a one man party

    Nigel Farage has only the very basics of understanding of real people and on how people think

    he means no overall harm but because he has such a narrow outlook he has to play on the fears of others in this case the EU and immigration

    what we have to ask ourselves is could he change for the better and become more central with his thinking

    My gut feeling is he could as he's a person who ultimately wants more power and to get that power he has to change

    To get that change however he needs to be exposed to people that can lead change and influence which is never easy but not impossible

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  84. Considering my own dealings with Star was far from pleasant, I'm a no. Maybe I have too many morals but if we are talking "right from wrong" then offering an olive branch to open bigots isn't exactly right in my eyes. And if one really thinks any collaboration won't be taken as an endorsement, I despair.

    What I am a bit "hrm, what is the point again of asking?" Is there are comments above of "no bloody way" which which stand as is, but points which say "yes by all means" have warm replies. At which point it seems your mind is already made up as to how it's going to roll.
    Resounding "no" from me - tbh a group which has done more behind the scenes than anything UKIP has waffled on about is Sisters of Frida -and they're mostly women of colour, who gave had to form their own faction because no one else seems to care about disabled women of colour. I'll give them my energy before I go near any of the political parties -because making deals with the devil just means the devil deals with everyone.

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  85. Fundamentally I think it is morally wrong to engage with UKIP. While it may be right that there is a “latent liberality” amongst some of their supporters, there is no evidence of this amongst the leadership and elected representatives. Excluding an invitation to UKIP doesn’t mean excluding individuals who support UKIP but also support the rights etc of disabled people.

    One of my concerns is that by including/inviting UKIP to this campaign, it is giving a legitimacy to a party that is at heart bigoted and reactionary. While they may deny that they currently have a manifesto of any sort and tried to distance themselves from their last one, this has seemed a disingenuous ploy utilised to prevent any real engagement with them on fundamental issues. Previous manifestos/policy comments are anti- benefit claimants, human rights, public services etc. They endorce paying for GP consultations and speak out vociferously against benefit claimaints..

    While I agree with comments that all parties have policies I don’t agree with, UKIP doesn’t have ANY policies I agree with. Further, you say that they would not get direct benefit from being invited into this “project”, but you/we have not control of how they use the invitation/involvement to garner legitimacy and hence indirectly we give them encouragement/endorsement.

    I appreciate that if I knew the full details of this project, it might temper my views, but on the basis of your blog details, my answer is a resounding NO!

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  86. It's not what we think - it's how UKIP will use and manipulate such apparent vindication - what will that then do to this campaign?As the old saying goes, When we lie down with dogs, we can expect to get up with fleas.
    So I'm a no.

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  87. So, if we were to, for example, develop sensible, comprehensive and coherent policy of our own, in order to figuratively "throw down the gauntlet" on disability rights and issues, then the various political parties' response to that would dictate the stance we take towards them, individually, thereafter? Is that the sort of challenging thinking you are aiming after? To be proactive instead of constantly on the back foot when policy is made on the issues that affect us?

    We all know that because of whipped-up public prejudice and terrifyingly callous government policy, people are dying out here. I don't see that we have anything to lose by trying your suggestion, Sue, even if we must sully ourselves on UKIP in the process. A lot of UKIP support is older people, and for all we know, disability rights may yet prove to be an open door on which we need push but lightly; if not, we can at least expose the unhelpful for what they are.

    God knows, I have no better suggestions of my own, so if I can help, I will.

    @Nanna_Baps.

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  88. Not sure how to sign with my name.
    From Anita Bellows
    I am writing here in my personal capacity and not as a member of DPAC. I want to say that as a non-British person I am offended by people willing to consider overlooking what ukip members are saying about foreigners just because it might help the disabled cause. It feels to me like a terrible betrayal. Whatever Star Eldridge is saying and whatever her good will, I have engaged with ukip supporters, and I cannot as a foreigner, and as a person who believes that disabled people should have the same rights as any non disabled person, engage with such a party. As a disability campaigner, if I break the law, I can be arrested and be subsequently sent back to France. Although it is unlikely, there is absolutely nothing which protects me from this any more in this country, thanks to ukip influence. ukip has moved the agenda to the right for the coalition as much as for Labour, and if today disabled people are saying that as long it is useful to the cause, whatever ukip is saying about other people doesn't matter, I have been fighting the wrong fight.

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  89. I'm no UKIP fan and the Tories are even worse as they have money and power and what they have done is inexcusable, however I do trust you and still believe that there are good and bad in all groups no matter the colour, religion, sex or political party etc., and education is key. Count me in!

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  90. Third time lucky!!! The post keeps running away from being published - damned thing.
    Anyway, the most terrifying thing that could happen to this the UK, is for a Conservative/Ukip coalition! It could happen and we have to do anything and everything we can to stop that happening.
    Maybe, just maybe whatever Sue is up to could stop that happening, even in just a tiny way.
    I'm all for the disabled, the long-term sick and carers being looked after and treated with dignity and looked upon as just human beings - I for one have some major disabilities but I'm human first and disabled second.
    I'm all for Sue doing what she has to do and will support her in any way I can. Whatever is going on must be vitally important for other parties being involved - IF they want to.
    Forget Ukip, they are irrelevant.

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  91. Anything that gives UKIP credibility is selling out the future of disabled people, for a possible short term gain.

    UKIP amongst other unpleasant things, UKIP are a party of libertarians, akin to the Tea Party in the U.S. they believe in "Small Government" low as possible taxation and that means No Social Security, No Healthcare and no services.

    Whatever short term benefit you might get from this scheme, you'll lose 10 times over if they ever get anywhere near governing this country.

    Don't do it.

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    1. Agree, nice to see some clear thinking

      Delete
  92. Discussing the possibilities of working with UKIP is one of the most depressing things I have seen for a long time. Depressing in terms of the state of disability today means that such desperate measures seem like they might be needed, and depressing that the state of British politics and activism seems so low that we take seriously a far-right anti-party who work with self proclaimed fascists in europe travellers. @PollyPeachum

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  93. sorry the 'travellers' was left over from a different sentence about 'fellow travellers'. oops

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  94. I think we should all know exactly what we are getting into before we commit ourselves and our finances. As has been said before UKIP will use anything to big themselves up.. So until such times as we know what we are all signing up for I cannot agree to it as we will end up in an even worse position than we are now

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  95. I have a feeling some people are jumping to huge conclusions. Sue cannot say much, but please dont ASSUME quite so much... just trust what little information Sue has given, and answer the question she asks - not react to an outcome that you have in your heads that are miles off target!

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    1. In that case, just don't ask me what I think. That was the whole point of this, surely, to see what people think?

      If you KNOW that others are miles off target then maybe you are privy to information that I am not.

      But so far I have seen nothing about UKIP as a political party that inclines me to want to embrace them, shake their hands or go anywhere near them.

      Delete
    2. Its the over-focusing on ukip. Sue says its a daring campaign - and no-one gets excited about it! Come on - have we all decided that our campaigns should be dull reports and a hashtag?
      Its election year - lets live a bit and get into the mix, and maybe put ourselves front and central as a real force to be reckoned with with all the parties (though the tories already know it).

      Delete
    3. There are other ways to "live a little" and campaign other than frolicking along with a xenophobic group. It's exactly this lack of intersectional understanding of trying to claim someone's concerns are invalid that I have moved to be more involved with people of colour than with Spartacus. And trying to ally with anyone who keeps insisting of blaming foreigners like me for the welfare reforms (which I have heard repeatedly from people in ALL walks of life, hence UKIP's popularity) has filled me with dread. I don't care about "dull", I care about supporting a viewpoint which wants to kick me out of the UK and separate me from my son, and I have seen very little work done to negate that xenophobia from any campaign at all. Whether labelled non partisan or not, I don't believe for a moment any party will have the grace not to try and twist results to their own ends.

      But hey, it's just my opinion, right? And only my life, and the care and life of my son if I get shuffled off UK soil, so no big deal...

      Delete
    4. Whilst you have a genuine fear of being "shuffled off UK soil" (which wont happen under any party), millions have a genuine fear of the Tories. Being shuffled off UK soil would be a blessing given what I imagine those bastards have planned - and UKIP dont stand an icicle's hope in hell of getting anywhere.

      Please dont accuse me of a "lack of intersectional understanding" because I highlight that Sue suggests we do something daring - thats a bit of a quantum leap.

      As for frolicking - well I wish. A good frolic right now is probably exactly what the doctor would order - but try as I might I cant find any mention of frolicking in what Sue wrote.

      I also seem to have missed the bit where (your infer) that Sue or her campaign is "supporting a viewpoint which wants to kick me out of the UK". There is no suggestion of the proposal supporting UKIP, quite the opposite - UKIP may support Sue's campaign.
      At least thats my reading of it.

      Delete
    5. Feel free to continue to invalidate my opinion.

      Delete
  96. Without more details I don't feel I can give a helpful response. I admit that I do find it hard to understand when you say that this is a political campaign, but that parties' policies are irrelevant to whether we should engage with them.

    But with the information that you have given... no. Sorry. I have no problem engaging with UKIP supporters - just as I would have no problem engaging with Tory supporters - to try and educate them and gain their support, but engaging with UKIP as a political entity? No. I would worry how getting into bed with UKIP (even on one issue) would be spun in the media and by other parties.

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  97. Sue, like mothers here, I am wary of UKIP, but I think that we should at least look at engaging with any people in the political arena who will engage with us in order to improve the current situation for people with disabilities and I trust your judgement that it is safe to do so in this instance.

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  98. Political activism requires compromise, negotiation, discussion. Disabled people have a range of political perspectives. Between us there will be a wide range of opinions. Mine is that if you think that you can achieve something fundamental that will significantly improve the position of disabled people then you should try and bite the bullet and do what you can with whoever you can. But make sure that you look after yourself throughout it all so that in the weeks and months ahead you can live with your decisions. And when you need support, ask for it.

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  99. I'm sorry, but I feel that (from my perspective at least), anything involving UKIP is something that I would feel very uncomfortable with. They do not have our interests at heart, and also I do not feel it is particularly helpful, to be engaging so closely with people who will chew us up, and spit us out later. Secondly I disagree with asking for funds for a project that there is little information on. Actually, I fundamentally disagree with asking vulnerable people for money, full stop, especially when so many people are struggling financially. You will say that there is no obligation, but I do worry that people will feel that they 'should'. Obviously, I'm not saying these things to be difficult, but I do feel that these issues need to be addressed. Lastly, I wouldn't want to find ourselves in a situation where things are made worse rather than better, so I would hope that there would be a lot of consultation before any decisions were made

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    1. To be fair I have not asked for funds and will not until I have a clear plan I can present.

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  100. I think that this will just make the whole thing worse as with the welfare reforms , yes it highlighted the plight of the disabled but it also rubbed people like Iain Duncan Smith up the the wrong way . You will jsut attract the wrong sort of attention.

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  101. I havent read all the responses so if I trip up and say something someone has already said, sorry in advance.
    My feeling is that any one from any party that you can engage and have on side is a worthy partner, be it ukip tory or labour. I personally know a couple of tory voters who are astounded and ashamed by their parties view on the disabled and sick, although they themselves are healthy and hale in old age, they have not forgotten the founding of the welfare state or the nhs. By contrast a friend who is a labour supporter feels that those on benefits needs to change because too many are giving the working class a bad name, so he welcomes making people work for dole etc... I personally think that he doesnt understand the true nature of the reality but still, every ones reality is different.
    My point being that people from all walks of life are unhappy and uncomfortable to what is happening to this country, and that means from all parties across the UK, and no matter what the tories say, life is very different out on the streets, and most people recognise that the soap opera trash on tv is a microcosm that isnt real at all.I wish you luck in all that you do x

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  102. My opinion is that a non-partisan campaign should reach out to anyone. For all we know, there may even be a number of Conservatives - members, if not party bigwigs - who regret their party's decisions over benefits.
    If the people you approach decide to rule themselves out, well, that's a matter for them and people can pass judgement on it as they please.
    I'm a Labour member myself and if you've read my blog lately you'll know that UKIP and its members... annoy... me. Still, I'll reblog you in a few hours and let you know what everyone has to say.

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  103. I would be concerned that UKIP could turn the campaign on its head by blaming immigrants and the EU for cuts in services for disabled people. You know from their performance on Question Time that they do this on every topic. The Etheridge 'golliwog' incident occurred when they were members of the Tory party and they were subsequently thrown out because of it. They were also organisers in the Campaign Against Political correctness, which for some of that bent includes words like 'spaz' and 'nutter' etc. as well as 'golliwogs'. The Etheridges do seem genuine re. disability but their stance on other issues could land any campaign they are associated with in hot water. I hope Star Etheridge will not be at the forefront of this campaign.If she is I would be totally opposed...Lesley Farrington

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  104. Insufficient information to make proper judgement, but can see that talking to/ informing members & supporters of nearly all parties (not BNP members though, must be some limit) is needed to bring change. Ministers/ shadow ministers may be mostly a waste of time but some MPs are listeners & less concerned about furthering their own career than about what is right. Need to make sure they are all informed.

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  105. If it is going to be run on the lines of the Lewisham Campaign as discussed in Jos Bell's comment will probably be acceptable. Don't forget the NHA party, who also worked on Lewisham Campaign
    Carole Ford

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  106. I represtent @WomenDefyUKIP I think it would be a mistake to include a political party that does not have an mp in parliament. Also, as they do not have a manifesto, there is not clue as to what their attitudes to disability and welfare policies will be. While these are unknown, they should not be included. Whatever your campaign is can be done quite successfully without them as only 15% of the national electorate support them.

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  107. I don't think UKIP will engage usefully or support anything you want to say. but I think it's worth a shot, I loathe UKIP (am a member of women against UKIP above) but if something you did made them last abhorrent (maybe 90 on a 1- 100 scale) that's positive.

    Sadly, lots of people do like UKIP. I don't understand them or want overly to engage with them, but they do, and cutting a set of people out of the debate won't help.

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  108. I have been thinking about this since yesterday. I loathe and detest UKIP's policies, but I reluctantly have to agree that, given the non-partisan nature of the undertaking, support from individual UKIP members should be welcomed

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  109. Whilst happy to converse with Star Ethridge, as an individual, I cannot condone involving UKIP as a Party with their misogynist & ablist philosophy Sue x

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  110. I'm with you Sue.

    Please keep things in proportion though. UKIP are only politically important due to the press and the potential damage they could do to the Tories. As with others I wouldn't trust that you get a genuine response from them or if you did that the response would not be twisted by other parties.

    Do have dealings with Tories that are interested in our point of view. And don't assume that a Labour government will be the promised land.

    I'm cynical about the lot of them, spivs liars etc. I may vote 'none of the above'

    Wishing you well and my support is with you whatever you decide!

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  111. My own feeling would be that unless you are legally obliged to include UKIP by Electoral Commission rules - don't. UKIP are not a true political party - they don't have a manifesto, they don't have MPs or MSPs, they only win elections with such a low turnout rate that their extremist supporters can make a difference.

    If you *are* legally obliged to include UKIP because of EC rules, then I would make that clear from the outset - that in order to do what you intend, you have to include in UKIP as in England it is allowed to be a "major political party" by the Electoral Commission.

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  112. I'm robustly non-partisan and with you all the way Sue.

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  113. I've not had a chance to read all the comments but I feel that anything which 'educates' those from all parties has to be a good thing. In that case, as much as it pains me to say it, one would have to include the Tories. Something which splits the Tories (there may even be one or two compassionate ones left) and UKIP to that matter may turn out to be a good thing.

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  114. I think it is the height of naievety to consider, even for a second, the idea of working with UKIP. The suggestion they are somehow better/less harsh/more empathic/ less ruthless than the coalition represents the height of political foolishness. In addition i think it is wrong and unfair of you to invite any kind of endosement for such a contentious political campaign in the absence of even a single clue as to your campaign aim, objectives etc. Just wrong.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  115. I totally trust your judgement Sue.

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  116. More detail would be necessary to a decision. UKIP is ideologically rooted in the politics of suspicion and division, in principle and action. It's only appeal is in defining a 'them' in order to blame and subjugate in self-interest. I would of course be happy to see something that would change that mindset...

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  117. Nothing more to add that hasn't already been said above (and yes, i've read every post..) phew! I am in awe of what you and other Spartacii have achieved so far Sue. So you get my unconditional support!

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  118. I love your blog, Sue. You're a very lucid and engaging writer. Some of your topics have been thought provoking and useful. Where we part company is your unipolar support of Labour. I hate to say the project feels like a stealth Labour campaign in its present form.

    If the Equality Act et al are to mean anything shouldn't you apply its principles? No dogs, no blacks, no Jews? No dogs, no blacks, no Tories sound very similar. Perhaps you could consider being genuinely inclusive but define objective criteria and strategies to bridge the gap - enable Tories to have an active role and feel welcome otherwise aren't they just going to continue feeling confused and hostile?

    I also think by putting Equality Act principles into practice people may learn more themselves. Perhaps, discover new insights and ways of working. New problems. New sympathies. Demonstrate by their own actions it is a useful law. Show the state sector and private business a better product... and nothing sells better than placing a demonstration in peoples hands.

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  119. Interesting PhD essay here..you may find interesting/useful?

    http://www.disabled-world.com/news/uk/catastrophe.php

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  120. need more information to make meaningful decision

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  121. It's hard to say without knowing exactly what the plan is, but my instinct is that you have to include them, not least because the Tories are scared of them and if you can outflank them from the right as well as the left, it would be helpful.

    But also because UKIP attract a lot of disaffected voters, a fair chunk of whom are disabled and suffering from the ConDem govt policies and who need to be made more aware of the issues (I don't know if that's possible to do within the scope of what you're trying to do without further info, but I'm assuming it might be a possibility).

    And because, like it or not, (and I HATE it), UKIP are a party with elected officials and a significant part of the vote and to be non-partisan you have to include them.

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  122. Being someone who has backed BNP & UKIP I can tell you that a hand of peace from the Left Wing will only be accepted if all stereotypes are dropped. This means cut the usual Unite Against Fascism rant.

    The thing which separates the far-right from the left is the immigration topic, The majority of those on the far-right are anti-immigration full stop and tend to speak their mind. At best they are separatists and prefer to keep to their own flock. They want a referendum on the EU and will most likely oppose any group who tries to block it.

    However just because far right voters are anti immigration doesn't mean they are automatically pro corporatist tools like the Conservatives.
    The BNP has Socialist beliefs where as UKIP differ and have Libertarian beliefs.

    A common goal has to be found to which all can agree to. We might all want different shades of colour but what most of us would agree on is we would all want some where to apply our shade of colour. Just as there are different cultures in the UK and a lack of council housing stock. The majority of us agree that we should build more council housing instead of resulting to class war.

    Personally I am a Socialist against the monopolies which Corporatism favours. But I do believe in a lot of right-wing beliefs as we as left-wing beliefs. I'm part of a minority and that voting group is divided.

    I feel that no platform against UKIP/BNP/ANTI immigration would be doomed from the start. It would just be another Occupy branch but for disabled people.

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  123. Oh and Sue I need your email address.
    If you want help from the far right including UKIP I can put you in direct contact with most head activists for a whole range of political parties.
    I have the misfortune of talking to them daily.

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  124. Right now I feel the country is being sold out to the highest bidder and those not working are driving down the price. Watched the debate the other night in despair. Party politics just kills the chance of anyone taking resposibility and sorting out the mess. Suffering is nothing to scoring points. Kinda felt until all the parties joined together and worked for a common good, not seats or vested interests we will have this damaging chaos. Don't know how I can help but if you let me know what's required on here I'll try to be useful. It can't be about party's it has to be about commited intelligent people working for good and their fellow man. Right now it seems it's about clinging on to your seat and lining pockets The country is being sold out. Welfare is just one facet of that. The debate the other night highlighted for me yet again the insanity I wrote a poem to vent. Sorry haven't yet figure out getting a profile. AL

    Another Healthy Debate

    They batted insults and statistics to and fro like pros
    and sob sob stories too to make your curl.
    For each sad tale, a better happy one was told
    to prove the policy working.
    Til finally,
    an Elder Statesman true and on his reasonable feet
    told of Lazy Feckless Fit Young Man
    pleading poverty because,
    he could not afford. . .
    To go to The Zoo,
    as was his Human Right.
    The ZOOOO!
    He wanted to go to The ZOO!
    Did you all hear that?
    The horror!
    The Hard Working, should give him more Benefit, to cover what he's due. . . A life of leisure and Trips to The ZOO!
    Game set and match, I think, to true Blue.
    Those myriad collected tales of long suffering, hunger and death, are nothing now to the disgusting shame of one man's expressed entitlement to. . .
    A free trip to The Zoo.
    Was there a kid at home who excluded, hankered for a normal life like his friends?
    Do we care?
    Not if we can score a point and hit it home. Hard.
    This one poor man. Ignorant. Lazy. And weighed against the many,
    Epitomises the feckless greed so feared, that still pervades the shameful underbelly of Our Proud Country.
    We will correct the fault.
    At any cost.
    We all agree don't we? That it's worth any cost?



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  125. Indeed a troll. How can the commenter be a Socialist and have lots of right-wing beliefs? Oh hang, on National Socialism as per the Third Reich

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    1. Not a troll. Just someone who likes to remain anonymous.

      Socialism isn't a left or right wing idea. Never has been. It has existed even before Marx wrote the Communist manifesto.
      The whole reason why socialism has been shunned is because when people think of it they immediately think of Communist revolution.

      But whatever. Call me a Nazi.
      I say the bigger Nazi is the Corporatist who will allow open door immigration to pitch worker against worker in a race to the bottom.

      But of course what we need is more infighting. That is right! That is why the whole left wing has dozens of little groups arguing over the slightest shade of grey. I mean that must be going great for you.

      Delete
    2. There are many types of Libertarians. I don't have to bow to your almighty supreme classifications.

      Delete
    3. Moggy the political compass of left & right no longer exists. Having 1 dimension of view such as hot & cold or good & evil cannot be applied to modern politics today.

      Go to this website. http://www.politicalcompass.org/
      I got left-wing libertarian. And I pretty much am that.
      I believe in a Capitalist state which has some Socialism in it like the NHS & the welfare state along with rules & laws to prevent Corporatist monopolies.

      You claim that I give myself away by criticizing the left-wing. Ha! I criticize everyone. That is a poor argument.
      But let me entertain your fantasy or the smudge of non-sticky paint which just rolls off me.

      Barrack Obama claimed he would revolutionize the American health care system by giving free healthcare insurance to all americans. He told everyone healthcare insurance costs would not increase. He claimed he was doing this for the working class.

      ............................

      What happened was Obama made the whole american healthcare system more expensive and insurance premiums went up. Most poor americans who could just afford insurance no longer couldn't and had to opt for the medic aid program.

      But the biggest betrayal was. Obama made it possible for his chums in India to reap huge profits from the american citizens.

      Now that is outrageous isnt it? A left-wing Government making things harder for the working class?

      Most democrats want Obama & Clinton replaced now. Are they all secret right-wingers too?

      Delete
    4. Anon
      By definition a dimension has two ends. So your example of hot-cold is a continuum from very hot at one end to very cold at the other. All qualities, behaviours, characteristics will fall somewhere on a dimension or continuum. Ergo if you did research and found out everyone's political beliefs they would fall somewhere on a continuum. In fact it makes sense to break down those belief systens eg not just into left and right but a whole host of other policies too. But for the sake of generalization and simplicity everyone would fall somewhere on the left/right spectrum. You might fall in the middle, you might fall to the right. I would fall towards the Left end. As for Obama I don't consider him any more Left than I do Gordon Brown, because Left is relative to other issues eg Corporate Capitalism. We live in a Corporate world where polictics have over several decades shifted inexorably to the right, ergo Tony Blair was far more right than Ted Heath was. I'm sure you get my drift

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  126. I will be part of this Sue. I trust you.

    You're talking about something that could lead to your life being made even more difficult BUT you're willing to do that, put your own political views aside and do whatever it is you're planning, simply to try and make life better for those of us with disabilities.

    I loathe UKIP, I was ashamed to be British when I was with my friends from Romania, Slovakia and Poland. The disrespect that Farage et al. showed for the EU last week made everyone in the UK look bad.

    However, my friends from the EU have watched me suffer when I was appealing my benefits decision. I ended up in tears when they would "accidentally" leave £10 behind after a visit where they'd brought food with them, because they knew I didn't have any.

    After discussing this idea with them, they're ok with it. As one of them put it, "if you dig a well to give water to a village, you may have to share water with a criminal. This does not mean that you support what they do, even if the water helps them."

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  127. SUE OVER HERE!!

    In my experience the left wing or middle ground labour will not budge on their views. You should know this. You should already know the answer.

    No Parasan.
    No Platform policy.
    Etc.

    You risk being kicked out of the looney left fan club with your current views. Dont take offense. Your doing something very noble and I've been there myself.

    Don't waste your time with the dinosaurs. They are as stubborn and as vicious as a old grumpy man.

    If you want a genuine answer from the disabled people of the UK you should head over to the YOURABLE forum.

    As someone who is an outcast on a social, political and economic level I can tell you that there are many disabled people who are UKIP followers just as there are many who are Labour followers.
    However your find that there tend to be an increase in UKIP followers because Labour have been ignoring the whole anti-immigration issue for a long time.

    There are those who favor Corporate monopoly indirectly by being to warm and friendly to immigrants. By allowing open door immigration you also allow Corporations to manipulate labor.
    This is where the left-wing has stuck their head in the sand but it has literally destroyed a part of labours votes.

    Even Dennis Skinner highlights the effects of mass immigration.

    So theres your problem. Remain to be a part of the disease which is indirectly destroying us. Sympathy for another human being can be manipulated!

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    1. Actually, it's the neo-liberal (fascist) part of the labour party that is 'going along' with the tories on the reduction of social security status and the provision of decent care in a system that is shot to peices. The labour party are part of the PROBLEM not the solution

      Delete
  128. Does anybody know where Ed Milipede is - haven't seen him for ages?

    Is he opposed to opposition?

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  129. I am veru concerned about any disability project being involved with UKIP, there are very many people who vote for them who one could say are basically caring people who are frightened of change, etc but the leadership is different, it is a libertarian cohort who I suspect do not see the welfare state as a positive thing. If there was a way to reach out to the former, then that may be a way forward.

    However, I also agree with posters on here who have concerns this could be a labour election stealth project: the L/P brought in ESA/ATOS, etc and there are plenty of M.P's like Simon Danczuk who calls claimants scroungers, they are not our allies.

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  130. You ask for help with something, but you can't explain what it is.

    Sorry, I can't do that.

    Frankly I've seen zero interest from anyone involved in anything like this every time i've spoken. What's the point? You seem more interested in cosying up to the Labour party which IMO is monumentally naive.

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  131. This is confusing as you say this thread will decide matters but we don't know what we are giving an opinion on. Personally I cannot support UKIP today based on self interest. What about tomorrow?

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  132. Hi Sue, I have slept on this and my clear feeling is that we should not help UKIP. This will not help us or anyone else. Is this based in some hope you saw in Star Etheridge? She is a far right wing politician, that in itself should be enough, please listen to your own inner voice as well as ours. Your campaigns have been a lifeline to those of us who live in fear of this government but I cannot and will not support you in this. There is a bigger picture here and we ignore it at our peril.

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