Disability rights

A win for Osime Brown

On 7 October, Osime Brown, a young man jailed under “joint enterprise” law, will return to his family home on his release from prison, rather than being taken to an immigration detention centre. This win follows many street and online protests demanding his freedom. But Osime’s fight is still on: the order to deport him to Jamaica (which he left at the age of 4, and where has no support network) still stands. No date has been announced, but Osime still has this threat looming. Campaigners are running a “Twitter storm” on 6 October, and ask supporters to keep signing and sharing the petition...

Free Osime Brown: stop his deportation, cancel his conviction!

Without urgent action, Osime Brown, an innocent 21 year old black learning-disabled man will be moved to a detention centre on the 7th October, awaiting deportation to Jamaica. This is a country he left aged 4 where he has no friends, family or support in. Osime's situation is a grim example of the racist and ableist nature of the British immigration and policing systems. We must urgently stop Osime's deportation, cancel his conviction, and fight to overthrow the brutality that puts anyone in this situation. You can read more about the case here. The campaign are asking all of its supporters...

Social care: control, markets and public provision

Jamie Hale (Solidarity 546) makes a number of points that strengthen the central argument in Solidarity 544 for public ownership of social care. A strengthening of workers’ rights for those in the sector, including higher pay, proper contracts, sick pay and holiday pay, would mean less rushed workers providing care and support for people without having to whizz round multiple people, with very differing needs, over a short space of time, and with minimal training. Jamie points to the importance of direct payments and the management of care institutions by those who live in them. A charter...

Threat to disabled people

Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) are objecting to the lack of adequate healthcare, the loss of social care support, the erosion of rights – and the ominous attitude that disabled people are somehow less worthy of life. At the onset of the pandemic, assurances abounded that people need not worry too much, as the virus posed a serious threat only to the old and those with underlying health conditions. These people were “someone else” in messages directed to the “normal” population. Even now that it has become clear that everyone is in danger, disabled people remain more vulnerable, not...

Emergency powers: who checks?

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

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"

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

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

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...

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