Thursday, 29 April 2010

Labour's Shocking Insensitivity!

Many things incense me and few things surprise me! Both these comments can apply to the information sent to me recently by a friend relating to a poster posted on The Labour Party website. She was so shocked that she rang her local Labour Party to complain and then contacted me.

Such was my rage that I needed several minutes to calm down from a raging storm to a heavy shower!

Over the years there have been many distasteful and ridiculous advertising misdemeanors but this one from The Labour Party must surely jump to the top of the list. Over the past months, the Labour Party has displayed pretty poor judgment but allowing such a poster to appear within their election campaign advertising is a disgrace. You cannot tell me that no-one within their marketing department raised the issue of just how offensive this poster would be to wheelchair users.

Following a number of complaints, The Labour Party has now removed it from their website but surely the question must be who in their right mind allowed it to be there in the first place?

As I deliberate who to vote for on May 6th, I will consider the attitudes of all the political parties towards disability issues and I must say that this certainly does not give me the impression that The Labour Party understands and comprehends the issues disabled people face on a day-to-day basis.

My blood is still boiling over at the insensitivity they have shown.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Election Fever & Voting

Election fever has hit us – well the politicians at least. For most there is a sense of empathy hanging in the air and I feel this is probably because most of us cannot make head nor tail of the real actual policies of the different parties. I have now assumed that where the main three political parties are concerned, they do not want us to know their policies as, in truth, they haven’t actually developed them!

I felt certain that the live television debates would give the general public a clear idea of what each party stood for but alas the only subject that seems to make the headlines are the popularity polls. Unfortunately being popular because you wore a nice tie or you talked into a camera does not necessarily mean you are fit to be Prime Minister and that you can deliver the strategies your party feel are best for the country.

For most, visiting the polling booths on 6th May will involve remembering where you put that damn voters card that was sent to you weeks ago in the post, going to your correct polling station and putting your cross in your chosen box. However, disabled voters need to be more aware of the assistance that is in place to help them cast their vote. Below is a brief overview for you if you are not fully aware of the arrangements.

Polling stations and local information

Under the Disability Discrimination Act (1995), service providers are legally obliged to make any 'reasonable' physical adjustments to their premises to make them accessible to disabled people. This legislation covers polling stations.

Local councils should provide information about polling stations, including details about physical access - disabled parking spaces and entrance ramps; low-level polling booths and equipment such as magnifying glasses for voters with a visual impairment.

If you need help on polling day, you can apply to the presiding officer asking them to mark your ballot paper for you. Alternatively, they should allow you to vote with a companion's help.

Visually Impaired Voters

All polling stations must provide a tactile voting device and at least one large print display version of the ballot paper. This makes it easier to vote without another person's help if you're blind or visually impaired. You can also ask polling station staff to read the list of candidates and their details to you.

Ways to vote

If you find it difficult to get to your polling station, you can vote in a different way.

Postal voting
Postal voting is open to everyone and you don't have to give a reason to vote by post. You must apply to vote by post well in advance of the election.

Voting by proxy

If you can't vote in person, you can apply to vote by proxy. This means that you appoint someone else to act as proxy to vote on your behalf. Contact your electoral registration office at your local council for an application form.

With all this information to hand, I urge you to make your vote count on 6th May – that is, of course, if you can make out the differences between the political parties!

Happy Voting.........

Thursday, 1 April 2010

National Care Service could mean Disability Cuts!

The National Care Service being proposed by the Labour Government caused even more controversy with the publication of a white paper that revealed a possible £100m annual cut to disability benefits. Page 132 of the white paper contained an admission by the health department that spending on disability benefits will be cut in order to help pay for the free care pledge.

The Government, of course, have denied that they will effectively be waving a machete to the disability benefits to fund their proposed social care plans.

Andy Burnham, Health Secretary published the Government’s social care proposals yesterday and indicated that Labour aims to have the social care proposals in place by 2015 but investigations seem to point towards £100m being cut from the Attendance Allowance for disabled people in order to help pay for this policy.

Underhandedly, it should be noted that a draft of the white paper issued on Tuesday had the content of page 132 missing with a statement merely saying that “wording to be agreed by the treasury, No.10 and special advisers later today”.

The revelations of page 132 seems to negate the assurances given by the Labour Government that benefits would not be cut and their actions can only be viewed as sneaky and beyond belief.

Conservative Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley MP said that “Labour's health plans seemed to have fallen apart in disarray”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb, has said "Labour promised to protect disability benefits from any future cuts, but it looks like they're going to have to raid budgets to pay for their free care plans.”

It seems to me that not only were there huge potholes in the Budget figures recently but we are now seeing further evidence that financial planning by the Labour Government is awash with enormous black holes. Time after time they have failed to set out strategies that shows how their policies will be funded in the future and yet again disabled people are being seen as the easy targets. Shame on you Labour!

Gordon Brown says the national care service will be founded on labour's enduring belief in fairness and responsibility yet their actions do not demonstrate this ethos. Cutting budgets from those that are in desperate need of them is not fair and does not show a responsible attitude to their plight.

Care services minister Phil Hope pledged the creation of a national care service was "to provide care for people free, when they need it - and that includes adults with disabilities as well as older people”. He strongly denied that the government planned to change any of the rules affecting attendance allowance but their own white paper seems to indicate otherwise.