Disability rights

Tackling bias in justice

The topic of justice and in particular social justice has rightly been a big subject for discussion since the Black Lives Matter protests of last summer 2020. Vast portions of the population were newly educated as to the damage the so-called justice system does to the Black and Brown communities. What is less seen is the inherent solidarity that neurodivergent people have with the Black and Brown communities, how both communities with their respective intersections are treated in engagements with the police on the street and in the justice system itself. To understand this connection, it is...

Win on disability rights

Disabled people’s organisations have scored an important victory as the government has announced that local councils will no longer be excused from meeting their social care obligations. A year ago, the Coronavirus Act included provisions for councils to apply for “easements”, under which they would not have to provide assessment and care under the Care Act. Eight councils had used this provision, including — shamefully — two Labour councils. But campaigners had objected throughout the year and their pressure has finally been rewarded. This follows the withdrawal late last year of the...

Activist agenda: Student Uyghur solidarity; Safe and Equal budget day protest

Students at SOAS university in London passed a Uyghur solidarity motion by an 86% majority at an online union general meeting on 22 February. The Ugyhur Solidarity Campaign will be urging other student unions to do similar. ND Labour is supporting Safe and Equal’s Budget Day online protests (3 March) demanding full sick and isolation pay for all. Some neurodivergent people are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, especially those with mental ill-health and/or learning disabilities and those who live in care homes. • All links and info on these and other campaigns, and suggested words for...

Shortfall on autism training

The government is developing new plans to provide mandatory autism training to all health and social care staff. But it looks like the reality of implementation will fall below the ambitions of the original consultation. Then, it was said that “people with lived experience (of autism) should be involved in the delivery of training”. Even that was a watered down version of demands from autistic people that the training be “autistic-led”. The end result looks like a training package delivered by a litany of third sector organisations, combined with NHS trusts. Very few of those could honestly...

A win for Osime Brown

On 7 October, Osime Brown, a young man jailed under “joint enterprise” law, will return to his family home on his release from prison, rather than being taken to an immigration detention centre. This win follows many street and online protests demanding his freedom. But Osime’s fight is still on: the order to deport him to Jamaica (which he left at the age of 4, and where has no support network) still stands. No date has been announced, but Osime still has this threat looming. Campaigners are running a “Twitter storm” on 6 October, and ask supporters to keep signing and sharing the petition...

Free Osime Brown: stop his deportation, cancel his conviction!

Without urgent action, Osime Brown, an innocent 21 year old black learning-disabled man will be moved to a detention centre on the 7th October, awaiting deportation to Jamaica. This is a country he left aged 4 where he has no friends, family or support in. Osime's situation is a grim example of the racist and ableist nature of the British immigration and policing systems. We must urgently stop Osime's deportation, cancel his conviction, and fight to overthrow the brutality that puts anyone in this situation. You can read more about the case here. The campaign are asking all of its supporters...

Social care: control, markets and public provision

Jamie Hale (Solidarity 546) makes a number of points that strengthen the central argument in Solidarity 544 for public ownership of social care. A strengthening of workers’ rights for those in the sector, including higher pay, proper contracts, sick pay and holiday pay, would mean less rushed workers providing care and support for people without having to whizz round multiple people, with very differing needs, over a short space of time, and with minimal training. Jamie points to the importance of direct payments and the management of care institutions by those who live in them. A charter...

Threat to disabled people

Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) are objecting to the lack of adequate healthcare, the loss of social care support, the erosion of rights – and the ominous attitude that disabled people are somehow less worthy of life. At the onset of the pandemic, assurances abounded that people need not worry too much, as the virus posed a serious threat only to the old and those with underlying health conditions. These people were “someone else” in messages directed to the “normal” population. Even now that it has become clear that everyone is in danger, disabled people remain more vulnerable, not...

Emergency powers: who checks?

Yes, any government would need emergency powers in an epidemic like this, to shut down activities which endanger not just those taking part, but others near them, and endanger the NHS too. That does not mean that we should trust the Tories. The government agreed under pressure to have the emergency powers reconsidered after six months, not to run for two years as they first proposed. In this fast-moving emergency, that should be monthly. Parliament should go online rather than either shutting or being depleted due to self-isolation. Make the government accountable! The legislation gives...

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