Disability rights

Emergency powers: who checks?

Published on: Wed, 25/03/2020 - 08:46

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

RLB, abortion rights and disability

Published on: Tue, 10/03/2020 - 17:13

Pete Boggs

During the Labour leadership contest, Rebecca Long-Bailey answered a questionnaire from the Catholic church in her constituency, saying amongst other things that she personally disagreed with the different term limits for terminating a pregnancy when there is no disability (up to 24 weeks) compared to when there is (up to full-term). Whilst this alone does not make it clear if she personally wants term limits to be removed altogether or for them to be reduced to 24 weeks across the board, in the context of her other comments about abortion in the questionnaire the latter seems more likely.


Fight and a "bit of banter"

Published on: Wed, 19/02/2020 - 09:24

Emma Rickman

In a previous entry I wrote about K, an industrial cleaner who was poisoned by ingesting lime. In the meantime a senior operator retired, leaving space for an assistant to step up, and a vacancy on the assistant’s team. K interviewed for the assistant’s job and (finally) got it. This left room for A, a new recruit, on the cleaning team.

A is loud, cheerful, hard-working, and has autism and ADHD. He takes to hoovering the plant and doing sandwich runs energetically. The problem, as well as the sighs and the stupid comments from some, is that his Dad works in the control room. This is a source

Other motions not passed - AWL conference 2019

Published on: Tue, 21/01/2020 - 14:28

Angela Driver, David Pendletone, Simon Nelson, Luke Hardy

Motions on left antisemitism, the Hijab in schools, and social security and Labour's policy, were all submitted to AWL conference 2019. The conference decided that the first of these motions - on left antisemitism - should not be voted on, after a debate; the second, on the Hijab in schools, fell; the third - on social security - were not voted on, as decided before any debate.

Neurodiversity at work: a social model

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 18:29

Janine Booth

Fatima’s autism makes her hypersensitive to bright lights, so she can’t work in our office, poor thing.

Or: The bright lights in our office make Fatima distressed as she is autistic and unusually sensitive to light. She can work here if we turn them down.

Ed’s dyspraxia makes him so clumsy that he is a danger at work.

Or: The workplace is arranged in a way that is dangerous to Ed, who is dyspraxic, and to other workers.

Faryal is dyscalculic and cannot be trusted with people’s money, so she cannot possibly work in the finance department.

Or: Some ways of working in the finance department might

The neurodiversity manifesto

Published on: Wed, 27/11/2019 - 18:29

Louise Wildon

Earlier this year, a group of Labour Party members launched an Autism and Neurodiversity Manifesto, after a steering group had spent three years consulting with various organisations.

All of the members of the group are neurodivergent, as one of the key principles is to involve advice from the very people the policies would affect.

The other key principles of the group are to follow the principles of the Labour Party, to use the social model of disability, to use the neurodiversity approach that recognises that humanity is neurologically diverse and that those differences should be accepted


Published on: Wed, 14/08/2019 - 11:05

Defining away impairment

My exchange with Janine Booth (Solidarity 513 and previous) started with a comment by me, in an interview with Judy Singer previewing the neurodiversity session at Ideas from Freedom.

Some neuroatypicalities, I suggested, are just “differences”; others are also “impairments”. (There’s a big grey area, as with physical atypicalities).

I cited examples from my experience as a maths teacher. Some autistic students are “just different”. Others, maybe impaired.

Example: “student B” spent most of his school time in the Special Education Unit. The SEU asked him to go to my

Letter: Disabled, not impaired

Published on: Wed, 17/07/2019 - 11:18

Janine Booth

Martin Thomas is still insisting that the student he referred to in a previous letter is impaired, but has yet to offer convincing evidence of this.

He appears to conclude that if we don’t recognise this student’s impairment, then we are denying the existence or significance of impairment.

I am comfortable with being labelled “disabled” as an autistic person, because society disables me by being geared to neurotypical interactions and sensitivites. I don’t think my autism is an impairment. I accept that for some people, their neurodivergence — or aspects of it — may be impairment.

I have no


Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 12:38

Difference and impairment

I can still remember my PE teacher at school yelling at me: “What’s the matter with you? Are you disabled?”

He was angry because I was clumsy and awkward. The tiny experience perhaps helps me understand why autistic and other neurodivergent people resent being called “disabled” or even “impaired”.

These days I’m impaired by arthritis, and because ageing has slowed down my brain processes: I am much slower, and fumble much more, with mathematical working today, at 70, than I did when I was 17. Luckily for me, these are impairments which carry little stigma, and I live

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