Saturday, 18 February 2012

Guest Blog : The Disabled in Barnet deserve better by John Sullivan

What do you do when you have a problem? I had a problem with my car the other day so I called a mate of mine who is a mechanic and asked his advice, prior to that I had a leak at home and called another mate who is a plumber again for his advice. Strangely enough I tend to call a solicitor if I have a legal problem or a doctor if I am unwell, or an electrician if I have an electrical fault.

I know I am pretty good at DIY along with a medical dictionary can resolve  many of the above problems myself, however I have always found it wise to speak to people who deal with these different problems on a daily basis to be sure what I am about to do will not make matters worse. I probably do this because I like to be cautious and I do not think I know it all, and I value the advice an opinions of people at the coal face on a day to day basis.

Sadly that is not the opinion of Barnet council when the future of support services for people with a learning difficulty or the disabled in general is concerned, they know it all they need no advice from the parents/carers who 24/7 look after their disabled children/wards loved ones. They do not value the opinions of these coal face workers, in fact they have nothing but contempt for their opinions they know it all.

For me it beggars belief that the 48 years my wife and I have spent at the coal face with our daughter counts for nothing with these arrogant Barnet councillors and officers. Do you know that between the parents of the people with learning difficulties in Barnet there are 100s of years of coal face experience that Barnet council could have called upon when deciding on the changes to support services. However they decided to avoid meaningful consultation at all costs, the name of the game was privatisation at all costs no matter what the views , fears , feelings or concerns of those coal face workers and no matter what the cost to the people with learning difficulties (LD).

I wonder how many of them would agree to their child being taken out of a purpose built Academy school, and  dumped in a church hall to continue their education. I wonder how many of them would think it right and just for their 48 year old daughter to be ripped away from the community of her peers and dumped in a church hall to dance with a group of pensioners, who unwittingly and unknowingly patronise the hell out of her in the kindest possible way.  Patronisation that does not occur within her own community of her peers. I wonder how many of them would allow their child to go swimming during a Siberian cold spell when it was minus 3 degrees, as my daughter was being sent just a few days ago. I wonder how many of them would allow their children to walk the streets and markets and Stanborough Lakes in the midst of winter,summer, autumn & spring, and call that high quality services. Activities that were never viable with  a large group prior to privatisation cannot possibly become viable in the smaller lost privatisation period so those activities are being cut. Offering less choice for people with LD, rather than in my opinion the " More Choice " so dishonestly peddled by Barnet council and their officers. People with LD are now dumped in unsuitable church halls evicted from their purpose built day centre their central community hub that afforded them the stimulation all communities should have the human right glean from their equals.

People with LD have now been separated from their peers and the safe community of peers, they have become nomads wandering the streets in all weathers, belonging nowhere and wanted by nobody, least of all the uncaring Barnet council. As they no longer have the right to belong to their own community, my question is what right do Barnet council have to deny them this human right that they have always enjoyed?

We know from the outburst at a recent transport meeting, the Cllr Coleman view of disabled people, this councillor believes that "These  People " should not have transport provided by the council. Disabled men women and children that have  already been cursed with a disability, are now being cussed about as an expensive drag on public funds by a leading Barnet councillor, whilst the councillor for the disabled and the council officer responsible for the disabled in Barnet sat back and never challenged the disabled being described as " These People " in a derogatory fashion.

In my opinion Coleman is a loud mouthed bully boy and has no experience of life. He is just a wind bag. It beggars belief that this man who as we all know loves a taxi ride at the tax payers expense, feels he is entitled to transport of the comfortable variety yet people with a disability are not entitled to the uncomfortable transport facilities they have enjoyed as a right for so many years .

The lives of people with LD, with a disability and the disabled people in Barnet are being destroyed. In some case that can be quantifiedpossibly put at risk in the name of privatisation and cuts at any price no matter the cost. At the altar of the dogma and ideology of the Barnet councillors. I simply wonder what my innocent daughter  who has never hurt a fly in her life has done to the likes of Coleman and his fellow councillors, and some of the officers to bring down this torrent of anti disabled hatred upon them. Support Services for the disabled are being destroyed in Barnet at a pace, so the question is why do they hate the disabled so much. What have the disabled done that has turned them from being poor dears just a couple of years ago, to the spongers and a drag on society they are condemned as now. Has the rate of attacks on people with a disability in recent months anything to do with the utterances of people like Coleman? coupled with the silence of those around him that are supposed to defend the rights of the disabled and not the unwarranted opinions of the likes of Coleman.

 Do you know that many of the disabled people I refer to were not born with a disability like you and I.  They were born fit and well, and sadly they had a stroke or some other serious illness that has left them disabled and condemned them to a life of disability. Which suggests that it could happen to any one of us including you, and incidentally including the Coleman and his crew. I wonder if he and they would be so quick to condemn the disabled, if he like them had been struck down by an illness not of his own making.

The others like my daughter and her peers were born as they are they never asked to be born with a disability, we parents never asked for them to be born with a disability. We parents have had to sacrifice so much in our lives to look after and protect our loved ones from ignorance and smears. But when that ignorance and smears comes from the lips of a leading councillor supported by his silent supporters. You wonder why you bother, you wonder what our society has become, have we really become so rotten, so perverse. Somebody said they were draining the cesspit at The Sun newspaper to clear out all of the filth. Maybe it is time we drained what has become the cesspit of Barnet council when it comes to the treatment of people with LD, people with a disability and the disabled in general along with their parents & carers and show once again that we are a caring society and not a society built on greed, dogma  and ideology as the uncaring Barnet councillors would have us all believe.

In order to protect my daughter and her peers and all disabled people in Barnet from the contempt of Barnet councillors and officers, I along with other parents/carers concerned about the future of support services for the disabled in Barnet (which might be you one of these days) formed a new action group called CADDSS, we do exactly what it says on the tin , we  "Campaign Against Destruction of Disabled Support Service " in Barnet.

If you wish to protect the disabled, which I repeat might one day be yourself or your child or your loved ones, then I ask you one thing on behalf of all disabled people in Barnet to do something today that makes you feel proud.

I ask you to join CADDS  ( )and join the fight to protect the disabled from the ravages of the Barnet council, disabled people  are being forced to pay a disproportionate amount for the dishonesty of the bankers and at the altar of the greed, dogma and the ideology of Barnet councillors , stand up and be counted and say " Not In My name ". Do you really support the perverse and for me as a parent the sick minded desire of these uncaring Barnet councillors, who wish to make a profit from the variety of afflictions that have befallen this unfortunate group within our society.

" Making a profit from the tragically afflicted, surely that is not the behaviour of a civilised society"            

    " Do Something Today To Make You Feel Proud  & Join CADDSS "  ( )
John Sullivan is the father of Susan Sullivan who has never harmed a soul in her 48 years of life, just one of the many innocent souls having her way of life destroyed by the uncaring Barnet council. Guest blogs are always welcome at the Barnet Eye. Please submit via the link in the sidebar.


Social Work Action Network London said...

A brave blog piece about the injustices and impact of the wider retrenchment of social services. We must challenge the attitudes of people as they harden against disabled and other marginalised people in society: people with mental health problems, immigrants, travellers and of course anyone in poverty. The bottom of society is scapegoated for the woes of the most priviledged (the economic crisis brought on by the unregulated financial system). We must not be divided by them, but stand in solidarity together.

Of course, the 'curse' of disability, as you put it, does not lie in the impairment itself. Human beings are diverse. The tragedy of disability lies in the attitudes and disregard of society to people with impairments in whatever form. If you are not familiar with the social model of disability, a brief introduction lies here:

Jacky said...

Until 2007, my mother received Home Care from Greenwich Council's directly-employed care assistants. In March 2007, she received a letter saying private agencies would take over but THE SERVICE WOULD NOT CHANGE. There followed a series of private agencies providing dreadful levels of care causing us to write several letters of complaint. In the end, the family took over 24/7 care ourselves. I wanted to take legal action against the council but was too stressed to deal with it. My mother has since died but I know of others still suffering. Please know you have support from many many people like me. Thanks for doing this.