Saturday, 28 March 2015

Election 2015 - Quick, Get the Crips Out of the Attic...

In a perfect example of disabled people being thought of as solely useful as a PR gimmick, Esther 'they get better' McVey's electoral leaflet features a prominent picture of her alongside several of the disabled people from the charity People First England (which promotes the voice of people with learning disabilities) who campaigned for our voices to be heard at the Tory party conference.

Which is nice, as we were never first in her thoughts when she was Minister For Disabled People. Of course it would have been nicer still if she had checked they were okay with that, or if they even supported the Tories. Kaliya Franklin (@BendyGirl) of People First England (on the scooter next to McVey in the picture), noted "We expected the photo to be on a website, or even used by DWP. But not in party campaign material" and speaking through their twitter account (@People1stEng) People First England stated "It's positive to see voters with learning disabilities on the front of the former disability minister's campaign material. We want to encourage everyone to use their right to vote. So we look forward to a version of this leaflet in Easy Read. Campaign information should be accessible to all, especially when it features voters with learning disabilities. We'd like to make it clear that we are a non partisan organisation. We do not support any party or candidate"

So given McVey was so quick to take advantage of intellectually disabled people, will she be equally quick to take up their challenge to produce a version of the leaflet in Easy Read? (Not that DWP have ever been quick off the mark to produce any of their disability related documents and forms in accessible formats). And next time she wants to use disabled people as a PR gimmick will she pay us the courtesy of assuming we're adult enough to need asking for permission, not little children with a voice that doesn't count?

 (And it occurs to me that given the Tory gagging of charities under the pre-text of  limiting lobbying, it would probably have been illegal for People First England to campaign in such a party-political fashion, but McVey is perfectly okay with using them to do it for her without their permission).

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