Monday 23 April 2012

Across the pond

We all know that DLA and social care cuts are going to result in more disabled people being institutionalised. When the money to fund independent living is taken away you have no choice but to acquiesce to being banged up. Tonight's Panorama is one of many recent examples of how horrific institutionalisation is. Remember Winterbourne View?

Over here disabled people have almost no support from the mainstream in fighting the cuts that will ultimately result in more people being incarcerated in these places. The media campaign decrying all disabled people as faking scroungers being so pervasive; people are even less likely to stand alongside us than they ever were.

Not so in America.

Today ER star Noah Wyle has been arrested at a disability rights protest in DC organised by ADAPT. They're fighting the proposed cuts to Medicaid; the scheme that funds independent living over there.

Noah Wyle being led away by police with his hands cuffed

Photo tweeted by @NationalADAPT

Wyle is the second ER star to be arrested for protesting in recent weeks. Last month George Clooney was arrested protesting outside the Sudanese embassy in DC. Does anyone have Alex Kingston's number? I ask purely for activism purposes, obviously... *innocent face*

It's both exciting and saddening. Exciting that a Hollywood star is willing to stand up for disabled people's basic right to live outside of an institution. But saddening because you can guarantee that it'd never happen over here.

Edit 24/04/12: Here's a brilliant interview with Wyle in which he explains that: "To institutionalize a disabled American costs four times as much than to give assistance for independent living."

It's the same story here, of course. Disability Rights UK have carried out an impact assessment of the cuts to DLA and found that the costs of cutting the benefit will wipe out any planned savings.


  1. Great post. <3 Noah Wyle. I still think money changing hands behind the scenes is much of why we're so friendless over here. I want to know who is being got to and how.

  2. In the USA an adult with a physical disability is much more likely to be institutionalised than in the UK - if you are a quadriplegic and have substantial needs for assistance with personal care and you don't have money or there is no insurer liable, then in many cases the state will not pay for home care, and in others they will pay for some people's and not others'. American nursing homes are often hideous places for such people; there is little or no privacy (some people with spinal cord injuries have spoken of having their bowel evacuations done in front of their roommate). America is still 30 years behind us and the battles that were fought years ago here are still being fought there, which may explain Noah Wyle's actions. Here, they were substantially won, and we are now back-sliding and the majority of people do not realise.

  3. Is it not time for the Crown Prosecution Service to “dust off” their rules on the common law offence of MISCONDUCT IN PUBLIC OFFICE which can carry life imprisonment. ( see: )
    According to the CPS the offence is committed when:
    a public officer acting as such
    wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself
    to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder
    without reasonable excuse or justification.
    A reminder of the penalties before each vote in Parliament – Lords or Commons – might shake the corruption out of the system.

    If it is felt this is a bit harsh then people should realise that the impact of the changes falls on those least able to protect themselves :
    1. The sick and disabled ( obviously)
    2. The poor
    3. The aged
    4. Carers – mainly women.