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I'll be around even less than usual - if that's possible - this month, as I'm doing NaBloPoMo over at my blog.

My blog's DW feed is here if you want to follow it here, rather than at the blog itself. But do stop by occasionally so I can see good visitor numbers and be happy. :)
This is a repost of what I put on my blog a couple of days ago. The campaign needs to continue to grow - so if you didn't see this at the blog, and you're in the UK, read on to see how you can help.


What Lisy says:

Without my DLA I'd be practically housebound, unable to afford supermarket deliveries and would pretty much have no quality of life at all. Also bear in mind that most people develop some kind of impairment in old age; Attendance Allowance, a benefit for over 65s who need assistance, is currently the benefit at the top of the 'at risk' list. So signing this petition isn't just for those who are currently claiming, signing is an investment for your own future!

What BendyGirl says:

It's impossible to explain how much people like me rely upon the extra income from Disability Living Allowance... Without my DLA I would be housebound. I would not be able to afford to run a car, without which I cannot shop, access health care, collect prescriptions or pay for the care I receive. The idea of allowing local authorities to control this benefit is enough to give me nightmares for the rest of my life. Local authorities already ration care, the process is desperately stressful and only those considered to have 'critical or substantial' needs will qualify. Trying to justify oneself as disabled enough for the local authority is the most degrading thing I've ever experienced, topped off by a social worker who clearly stated he would 'ensure I lost my entire care package'...

What I said:

Benefits and Work sent me the following e-mail. They're looking for 1000 people to sign up before they start hardcore campaigning, in order that there are enough people on board to make a different. I think their campaign is massively important, given the serious threat to our Disability Living Allowance*/Attendance Allowance** and other benefits.

DLA was established, after years of research, because the costs of living as a disabled person in a barrier-filled world organized by and for non-disabled people were considered to be so high. The estimated costs of disability that came out of this research were far, far higher than what is actually now given to DLA claimants. It was also emphasised that DLA should not be means-tested, because the costs of disability are high whether a person is extremely poor or generally has enough to live on.

Yet the government is proposing either means-testing DLA and AA, or removing it altogether. Their proposal to put the money in the hands of local councils is TERRIFYING, especially to those of us who have experienced first-hand the way that council-funded care has been limited, cut and removed from a majority of disabled people. Councils would leave DLA claimants without enough money either to fund their care or to cover their disability-related costs. The end result of this could well be the death of the poorest disabled people. Do we want to live in a society where the richest are subsidised to the tune of millions (HBOS et al), while the poorest people with the highest costs are left without enough money to fund their care, to support their mobility needs or potentially even to eat?

Benefits and Work's e-mail about their campaign, detailing their campaign, is copied below. As of this morning, they have over 5000 people signed up to this campaign. We need more people involved, because not all disabled people have the energy, resources, money or access needed to campaign on this issue. Ironically, and usefully for the government, the fact that we are disabled could lose us our disability benefits. So we need YOU.


Claimants have just 100 days to prevent their DLA and AA being abolished.

A government green paper has revealed proposals to stop paying ‘disability benefits, for example, attendance allowance’’ and hand the cash over to social services instead.

Under the plan, current claimants would have their disability benefits converted to a ‘personal budget’ administered by local authorities and used to pay for services,– not to spend as they wish.

Once the green paper consultation period ends in 100 days time, if an almighty row has not been raised, it is likely that both major political parties will see the lack of outrage as a green light to end both DLA and AA.

We’re looking for a minimum of 1,000 claimants, carers and support workers to join our campaign to save these benefits from being abolished. Find out how you can take part from this link:


We know that many people will take false comfort from the fact that, unlike AA, DLA is not specifically named as being for the axe. But if the government was planning only to abolish AA it is extremely unlikely that they would refer constantly throughout the green paper to 'disability benefits', a term which includes not just AA but also DLA.

Others will dismiss this as just another idle discussion document and our concerns as scare mongering. But it’s much more than that.

36 meetings have already been organised around the country for people working in government and the caring professions to meet to be told about the setting up of a new National Care Service which would oversee the system. In addition, a stakeholders panel of more than 50 voluntary sector organisations, trades unions and academics has been established to offer advice to the government.

Some organisations and individuals, such as RNIB and welfare rights worker Neil Bateman writing for Community Care magazine, have already voiced their alarm.

But not every disability organisation is opposed to the proposals and some even agree with them.

In a press release, Disability Alliance has welcomed the publication of the green paper and said that it 'looks forward to working alongside Government and all the other stakeholders in bringing these plans into fruition.' They have even said that they agree that there is a case for 'integrating disability benefits such as attendance allowance' into the new system.

One thing everyone does seem to agree on is that huge cuts in public spending will have to take place in the next few years as a result of the credit crunch and global recession.

Political parties are desperately looking for the softest targets to be the victims of these cuts. Dismissing the green paper’s proposals as hot air and not worth worrying about could be the costliest mistake you ever make.

Find out more about the proposed abolition of DLA and AA and how you can join our campaign to fight back:


The government's green paper on care threatens to remove our disability benefits, currently given to us to cover our disability living expenses, handing the money over to local councils (so that they can treat us in the way BendyGirl describes above). This would be a disaster. DON'T LET IT HAPPEN. Join the campaign.

And to end with more reasons, in our own words, why we can't lose this benefit - Batsgirl says:

The reason DLA and AA are given as money and don't require receipts and suchlike to prove how the money was spent, is because of the huge diversity of disabilities and living conditions it covers, and because the expenses don't always work out that neatly.

Let's explore an example: grocery shopping. I have to pay more for my grocery shopping than an able-bodied person.

First of all, I have to pay for home delivery. I rarely have the spoons to manage to get all the way around a busy, bright, noisy, complicated supermarket, even with a mobility scooter - much less to then be able to get myself and my shopping home, and then immediately put it all away as well. To someone with a condition that makes moving about painful, who has difficulty lifting and carrying, who becomes tired very quickly, or who is easily confused, that's a triathlon.[...]

I had typed as far as my ninth point before I realised I'd gone a bit off course and deleted most of it. Hopefully I've demonstrated my point: disability-related expenses crop up in unusual ways and aren't always possible to calculate - which is why getting DLA or AA in the form of extra money to be spent at the claimants' discretion is utterly invaluable.

*DLA is given to claimants up to the age of 65 who have significant care and/or mobility needs.
**Attendance Allowance is the equivalent benefit for those over 65 - but there is only a care component, no mobility. As far as I can tell, this is because people over 65 are expected to have mobility problems. Nice.

Since I'm now mainly at Dreamwidth (and other places), and I don't expect to be here very much at all from now on, I've had a big purge of anyone on my reading list who I mainly keep in touch with in other ways. This is just a quick post to explain that. It's purely because I don't come here anymore.

I may or may not keep copying things over here. Hard to say...!

I'm at Dreamwidth as http://seska-w-i-t.dreamwidth.org/ , and at my blog is at http://lilwatchergirl.blogspot.com / . You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.



My dreamwidth reading page is buzzing with the extremely disturbing news that adverts such as this and this have recently been shown on livejournal.

They later said they would be pulling the ads - and in the process, admitted that they have no control over what adverts are shown on their site (see the first set of comments on that page).

I've downgraded my account from 'plus' to 'basic', as I don't want to end up unwittingly supporting this kind of thing.

Dreamwidth is seriously worth looking into as an alternative to livejournal, if you find this equally disturbing. I have a couple of invite codes, if anyone would like them - let me know.

Thank God and all Her angels that it's a bank holiday. I actually managed to park my car outside my house (by moving it at 8am before the undergrads arrived en masse to take over the world). I did not get a parking ticket, which proves my earlier point about no one bothering enough to come here. Hence my continuing lack of a designated spaced outside my house...

Now work. Really work. Hours and hours of it. I want to have this frakking draft completed by the end of the day. (Now there's an unrealistic goal for you.) More tea needed.

My BADD Favourites

May 1st was Blogging Against Disablism day. Dozens of entries get written for this every year. I usually participate, but this year it was just too much to think about. Instead, here are my four favourites so far. I still have more to read, but these struck me as very powerful. Oppression is everywhere - it's there when we protest for our rights, when we go shopping, when we turn on the TV, and in every aspect of our lives, from the inconsequential to the life-altering. These posts explore those dimensions of disablist oppression. Read; think; remember.

More people need to know what happened to ADAPT at the White House last week, and about the parallel events involving the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's recent protest. If we shut our eyes to oppression, it continues. Autism - Change.org discusses the details.

On dreamwidth, [info]trouble writes about a Torchwood episode that I don't remember recongising as disability-themed, at least not to the extent that [info]trouble noticed. I need to watch it again and take note, because, as I said in a comment, if we don't stop and acknowledge this kind of mainstream media disablism, the oppression will only continue. 

I adore Hoyden About Town's post on needing a seat. Access issues that don't involve ramps are so often overlooked. (And wheelchair users face these kinds of overlooked access issues too.)

Disablism is a daily part of many people's lives. Acknowledge it, challenge it, don't perpetutate it. Wheelie Catholic's post struck a very loud chord with me.

X-posted with my 'disability' blog.


Hurrah! I got a dreamwidth code. How lovely. I will be cross-posting with livejournal on most things, at least for the time being. (I need people to suggest journals I should read here. Cheers m'dears!)

I am doing nothing but writing essays. Well, I say writing. Mostly attempting to write for ten minutes, getting distracted for an hour, going back to it for ten minutes, rinse and repeat and repeat and repeat...

I am enjoying some TV in between though. (Spoilers follow, up to current US-aired episodes, so I shall spoiler-mark in case UKers stumble across this.)


House: FTW? He gives a kid treatment to which the aforementioned kid and his mother do not consent, that could change his identity entirely. An act of total, evil violation (in my humble little disability-rights-obsessed opinion). How does the show respond to this? It more-or-less condones it. Because the means justify the ends if a disabled person is 'cured', doesn't it? *headdesk*

How I Met Your Mother: Just adorable. Cobie is so very pregnant, and they appear to have given up trying to hide it, except for shared-joke-with-audience well-placed magazines etc. Cute.

Dollhouse: I am still desperate for this show to achieve the potential of which I occasionally see beautiful glimpses. The two previous to this week's were amazing. This week's was dull, dull, dull. Come on, Joss - get there faster...


I am trying to work out if the college that rejected me for a job discriminated against me, or not. I don't really care, but I rang and asked for feedback, and they (sounding terrified of a lawsuit) said it was mainly because I haven't taught A-levels in two years. I've had this year off for an MA and the previous year working in learning support because of disability-related illness.

What's funny is that this college is working towards the 'two ticks' accreditation. If they'd got it, they would have to guarantee me an interview. And then I'd been in with a really good chance of getting the job, because I can talk my way out of anything (and they admitted that my experience was great and my form was interesting). But, do I want to work for a college that is so concerned about my absence record that this comes first for them? No.

OK. Work. Really.

Edit: for the benefit of livejournal readers, I am seska_w_i_t on dreamwidth. Yes, I am going back to a *very* old handle. Retro, baby.

Meme shamelessly stolen from bohemiangel

Today I am happy because, in a fantastic enactment of highly appropriate metaphor, my Tom Shakespeare book threw itself off my desk in a suicidal fashion, taking about eight other things with it.

And because my essay is really boring me:

Naomi successfully brought about world peace for 3 minutes and 17 seconds.
... afterward, Naomi decided to marry their imaginary friend.
'How will you be remembered in history books?' at QuizGalaxy.com

I think neither of these things would be a terrible way to be remembered.

I go off to watch The Big Bang Theory now. You can't not love it.
Today was the ThoughtBubble comics convention. TG is here. We went. I got some X-Men. She is currently researching a particular aspect of comics, so she got something relevant to that. Was all good, 'cept my battery ran out (it was a forty-five minute walk up and down hills to the venue) and we had to get a taxi home with a rather horrific driver who, when I asked whether he shouldn't be parked by a curb before getting out the wheelchair ramp, suggested that we'd have to try and it see and how it went (ever so surprisingly, it was too steep and I could have ended up in a pile on the ground under 20kg of wheelchair). And then he objected when I insisted that TG helped me down the ramp. Well, he wasn't exactly showing off his up-to-date safety training.

I have too much work. It's ridiculous. Still on the campaigns trail, though. I want the government to pay Winter Fuel Payments to disabled people. Some perfectly comfortably-off and non-disabled older people get them for no more achievement than reaching 65. Whereas I know young disabled people who end up in hospital every winter because they stop being able to turn on the heating because all their DLA is being paid to their councils to cover their care needs. And when we sign petitions about this? The government kindly reminds us how much DLA we receive. Great. Thanks. Have you ever tried being a disabled person and seeing if DLA covers all your costs? Have you ever tried being one of the thousands of disabled people who can't even get DLA because the system is so screwed up? In fact, have you ever experienced the abject poverty that, for a huge number of disabled people, is par for the course when you're a crip? No, you haven't, because you only ever talk to the 'charity model' organizations, like the non-disabled-run RNIB, so that you never have to talk to real disabled people. Wonderful.

Older people have some massive public support - they have a 'czar' for goodness sake (not that I think we'd particularly benefit from having one of those). Where do they get this ability to mobilize, while disabled people can't agree on anything because we're such a fragmented and disunited group? It's doing us no favours. I don't know what the solution to that is. I do know that we can't sit back and argue about our individual viewpoints on the social model when our brothers and sisters are dying from the cold. In an rich, post-industrialized Western nation. And no one knows or cares that it's happening...

I'm lucky. I'm in a minority among disabled people - I have enough money to live on. Even so, every year when I'm reminded of what it's like when the weather gets colder and the pain levels go up correspondingly, I get pissed off about this whole issue. Reading this government response to one of the petitions I signed was sort of the last straw. All I ever hear about this, on the Ouch messageboards and from other disabled people generally, is complaints. I don't know where our 'charities' and organizations are, and why they aren't campaigning harder - if at all - on this issue. So. If they won't do anything about it - what are WE going to do about it?

This has been an off-the-cuff disorganized rant. I will get my thoughts together into a blog post soon. In the meantime, I need ideas for mobilizing disabled people around this issue. Anyone who can offer any is welcome.
I've been missing livejournal, and its ability to let me post rubbish without having to be coherent (unlike my blog, which I feel should be properly written and all that). As a result, I may be back.

Yesterday: Anti BPP-demo, followed by a four-hour-long very intense board game at sci-fi soc games day (yes, they have activities every single day, which makes them the perfect society for those of us that get sudden urges to see people after locking ourselves in our room with our reading for a week). The demo was interesting. The police were truly appalling to the about two hundred, mostly mild-mannered, non-violent students who were demonstrating - except to me, to whom they were patronising and asked "Who are you with?" (the other demonstrators...) a lot, and kept telling me to get out of the crowd. Eventually I had to do just that, as it started to get a bit rowdy (fault of the police). Which was a shame. Hard to do a mainstream demo when you're in a wheelchair and can dislocate things. The BPP didn't turn up in the end (or they went elsewhere to do their very random protest against rap music), which we felt was a victory - they were clearly worried about the counter-protest. Not a bad result.

Then I went to the sci-fi soc games thing (not roleplaying games like D&D - mainly complicated board games like Risk - sort of a social with entertainment that you have to think about). We played Railroad Tycoon, which is one of the most complex games I've ever attempted. I lost horribly, but picked up some tips and tactics for my next attempt.

Now trying to decide whether to go to the weird random-sounding pro-LGBT technically-C-of-E-but-only-just church I've been told about, or just head to the local Quakers for some quiet. Might depend on how awake I am in an hour...

In which I ramble.

We're starting to laugh at this now (well, I am), but The Girl and I have just had one hell of a twenty-four hours...

We had somehow managed to fit in getting me to church, having lunch with a friend of hers and then going to see my baby niece (aww, Flo), even though neither of us was feeling very good - migraines abound in this house at the moment - if one of us doesn't have one, the other will. Anyway, we had been at my sister's (in Reading - an hour-and-a-half's drive away) for a while and were thinking about heading home, when TG started going funny colours. She suggested that we got out of there quick as she was having signs of a bad tummy bug. We set off, and made it five minutes down the road - where, fortunately, there was a hotel - before there was puking in the car park of a very nice establishment. We persuaded them to give us a room - they weren't keen on the idea, for some reason - which was fortunate, as she needed to be near a toilet for the next sixteen hours.

On account of not getting much sleep (although I got a lot more than TG did), I woke up at quarter to nine this morning and realised I really wasn't going to make it into work for 9.30, especially since TG was still very unwell, and I wasn't feeling great. (But work is a whole other issue that I may ask for advice on sometime. It is not going all that well. Hmph.) So I called in sick - third time in two months. I then rang NHS Direct, who gave us the excellent advice of giving TG some Migraleve, the anti-nausea ingredient allowing her to drive us home before she was bedridden again. Neither of us is likely to be leaving bed again today, which is a bit of a problem as I told my PA not to come (on account of how we weren't at home) - the flat looks like a bomb hit it, I doubt we're going to get any dinner, and it's taking all my energy just to make sure we both have enough water. If I could be bothered to explain things to my flatmate I'm sure she'd help, but I seriously don't feel up to talking, TG even less so. Tomorrow I have a care review from my social worker (ha ha - at least he'll see what things look like around here when it all goes very wrong), followed by a visit from the community physiotherapist who is assessing me for crutches etc (because I really can't walk anywhere at the moment. At least I can give them a solid reason *why* now. Might help). I may be too tired for either. We shall see.

Some better things that have gone on recently:
- At my Disability Living Allowance tribunal I was awarded higher rate care, and my higher rate mobility was confirmed. This was something of a shock which I am still getting over, but I'm awfully pleased. The back-pay will go a long way towards helping me to afford to do a course next year. (I'm thinking of doing an MA - yes, another one - in either Equality and Diversity or Disability Studies. In Leeds, where they do these things. It's something I've wanted to do since about 1997 but never got round to. And it's not like I'm interrupting a stunning career at the moment, or anything.)
- I have a fabulous new wheelchair. She is called Luna (we went through about seven Harry Potter names before settling on that). I can't use her completely independently, but because she's very good (and was quite expensive), I can get a lot further in her than I thought I'd be able to in a manual. The terrible evil that is Access to Work bought her for me. I'm still trying to decide if that makes up for the ongoing, utterly appalling levels of stress that organization is putting me through. I'm not sure.

Does anyone on my f-list know of anyone who might want to help me out next week while my PA is on holiday? (I, being deathly afraid of care agencies after the last time, have not bothered to register with one. Hmm.) There are eight hours of work available over as many days, and it's quite straightforward stuff like helping me with shopping. £10 an hour (negotiable if I get desperate. Heh).

Right, I'll stop rambling now.