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Thread: Disability Labour

  1. #1
    Senior Member sea queen's Avatar
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    Disability Labour

    Has anyone else seen this - it's an interesting read


    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2...people-dignity
    Sea Queen

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Interesting article, and the Disability Labour website.

    Might be more credible if they weren't asking for a membership fee (reduced fee for the 'unwaged') or waived the fee for people on disability benefits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    Might be more credible if they weren't asking for a membership fee (reduced fee for the 'unwaged') or waived the fee for people on disability benefits.
    The minimum it will cost to join Disability Labour is £33 per year unless you are a full time student or under 27. This is made up of £23 reduced rate subscription to the Labour Party (unwaged, low income, working less than 16 hours per week or a member of an affiliated Trade Union) and the reduced rate £10 annual subscription to Disability Labour.


    I am always torn when it comes to political parties, as my views do not fit closely enough with any of the major parties to feel able to join. Depending on the issue, I side with one of two parties (neither of which is the Conservative party - I have never voted Conservative, I cannot see me ever voting Conservative and certainly cannot see me joining them). I know and respect people who are members of both these parties, including several members of the House of Lords.

    This places me in an awkward position, as I realise that politics in the UK is heavily dependent on political parties and, in many ways, I'm glad that we don't have American style single issue politics.


    Party politics is flawed in my opinion, much as I struggle to see what viable alternative there is.

    Part of the reason I believe party politics is flawed is because I have doubts about whose interests the main parties truly serve, especially as the parties rely solely on privately raised funds. The majority of politicians of all parties strike me as largely self-serving. The Conservative Party seems to be far too close to the rich and powerful. Whilst I support the concept of trade unions and believe they play an important role in the workplace, I believe that the current relationship between the Labour Party and the affiliated unions remains dysfunctional, despite changes since the union vote played such an important role in the last Labour leadership election. My father is a long term member and branch official of what is now Unite, but shares my view about the dysfunctional relationship between the unions and the Labour Party - he has never paid the political levy nor has he ever been a Labour Party member.

    Part of the reason I believe party politics is flawed is because the reality of the UK constitutional settlement effectively gives complete control to the party/parties of government. Theoretically the Bill of Rights 1689 makes Parliament supreme. However, the government party/parties exercise control over the use to which almost all Parliamentary time is put, government whips will do their best to prevent rebellion against government policy and Private Members' Bills stand little chance of becoming law unless they are supported by the government of the day. (As an aside, the Bill of Rights 1689 has much more importance today than Magna Carta - almost all of Magna Carta was repealed long ago meaning Magna Carta is important primarily as a historical document).

    Part of the reason I believe party politics is flawed is the practical effect of the 'first past the post' electoral system in concentrating genuine political power in the hands of voters in a relatively small number of marginal constituencies. 'First past the post' has the advantage of creating a strong link between the constituency and its MP, but I believe this advantage does not outweigh the disadvantage that voters in 'safe seats' are effectively disenfranchised in the choice that matters most, the choice of party or parties that hold power nationally.



    You can see the 'safe seat' effect in the constituency where I live. You have to look all the way back to the 1950 general election for the Conservative Party to score lower than 45% of the vote in this constituency in a general election, though significant boundary changes make it largely meaningless to look back earlier than the 1997 election. The second party in the last two general elections has been the Liberal Democrats, with Labour third.

    I expect a significant slump in the Liberal Democrat vote in 2015 in this seat, especially if the Conservatives seem likely to achieve an overall majority in the House of Commons. I would expect most of the votes lost by the Liberal Democrats to move to the Labour Party, potentially allowing Labour to beat the Liberal Democrats, though I'd be surprised if the Labour vote rose much above 25%.

    The Conservative Party may well lose some support in 2015, but the nature of this area means there is unlikely to be a significant swing of former Conservative voters to any party other than UKIP. I'm sure there will be some swing from the Conservatives to UKIP, but cannot see almost half of the Conservative vote defecting to UKIP, which would be necessary to unseat the Conservative incumbent in the event of what I regard as the best case showing for Labour.


    As someone who cannot support the Conservative Party, this means my vote is all but worthless. However I vote or abstain, it is almost certain this constituency will re-elect the sitting Conservative MP and therefore support the Conservative candidate to be Prime Minister. Nevertheless, believing in the importance of democracy, I will cast my vote even if all it does is trim one off the Conservative majority.

    The only elections I have failed to vote in have been some of the Town Council elections (which has little power and the majority of candidates do not stand on a party political ticket) and the Police and Crime Commissioner election (who has little power and which I disagreed with as a matter of principle).


    Whilst I realise it was a matter of particular importance, the approximately 85% turnout in the Scottish independence referendum shows what can happen when people know every vote counts and they feel some connection with the issues.

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    Seems strange to me that there is an additional fee. Is this normal practice for sub groups within the Labour party?

    Interesting article in the Independent where some disable people who asked to move so Ed can be seen with "the bright young things"

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...s-9754437.html
    No single thing can define me; not my work, not my politics, not my hobbies, not my vices and not my disability. I'm way more complex than that!

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    Quote Originally Posted by vantage View Post
    Interesting article in the Independent where some disable people who asked to move so Ed can be seen with "the bright young things"
    If it happened - and it quite probably did considering that there's no response from the organisers in the piece - it's very sad. Unfortunately, though, it's typical of the shallow window dressing and spin that goes on in politics.

    I'd be surprised if it was deliberate. Quite likely someone was given the task of making sure a handpicked group of people would be the backdrop to the party leader and felt so pressured to make it happen that they didn't think that there might be good reason why those particular seats were reserved for the existing occupants. If there was any attempt to resist, the official in question likely asserted their authority to rearrange the seating plan.


    I've been at large conferences before, though not a political one, and have had problems with stewards overstepping the mark at key events.

    On one notable occasion, the organisation's stewards were short of seats for the opening event and decided to fill the access area with lots of extra chairs shortly before the conference started. The result was predictable - three minutes after the conference opened, I was told by the venue's fire officer that my wheelchair was blocking the escape route and I had to move.

    The venue had a tiered floor, so I only had access to a small area at the front of the hall, which I could only access from one side via a service corridor. This meant there was no other area I could move to without crossing directly in front of the platform and from what I could see the remainder of that level was equally full. I knew there was no way I could reposition my wheelchair to meet his requirement for an unimpeded aisle without everyone else in the area moving their seats and wheelchairs, and felt it was unlikely we would all fit into the available space even if we all repositioned optimally. Despite being the only elected member in the area, I gave way and left the hall, not wanting the invited guests who had been put in that area through no fault of their own to have a bad experience and recognising it would have caused an unacceptable level of disruption if we had tried to sort it out during the session.

    The irony was that I was not only an elected member of the conference, giving me the right to be seated in the voting area in front of any guests, but I was providing the summaries of business and the keynote speeches for the in house media team. I was wearing credentials for both these roles at the time this happened and was well known within the organisation. I landed up listening to the opening speeches in the broom cupboard we'd converted into a radio studio - I hauled myself through a wheelchair inaccessible door on my feet (I can walk a few steps and was a little more mobile then than I am now), sat down next to the rather surprised media officer, pulled on headphones to listen to the auditorium audio and opened my notebook. I managed to complete the report of the session on time.

    On my way to the broom cupboard I had a blazing row with the secretary of the arrangements committee, and I'm ashamed to say that I pulled my credentials off my jacket and threw them at him. What happened was unfair and wrong, but it wasn't directly his fault - he knew nothing about it until he saw me leave the hall. Indeed, he and I now get on very well. The problem was, as always, a lack of awareness - in this case that a wheelchair takes up significantly more floor space than someone seated in a folding chair especially when you allow for manoeuvring space.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    What to say other than- bravo for losing your rag and throwing you badge, I'll bet he didnt expect that and it made him think more about how to treat people of all abilities.
    I do not suggest that everyone should always kick up a fuss at the slightest provocation, but now and again it is justified.

    As for the politics I couldn't agree more.
    Politicos still trot out the line that you are voting for someone to represent the interests of your local area. You are not these days you are voting for a political party. Indeed a lot of MPs often never lived in their constituency before getting voted in there.
    As you say at least we are not yet as bad as the USA, but we seem to be heading that way.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sea queen's Avatar
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    Well done flymo - I too can be very vocal when things happen which shouldn't.
    Someone has too!!!!
    Sea Queen

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    The very reason I became a Disability Champion - albeit the training was provided by one of Labour's largest supporters - Unite the Union.

    I am also a Unite Safety Rep, Equalities Rep and Union Rep - as well as my full time job as an aeronautical engineer I also volunteer with local disability charities and my local doctor's surgery.

    I think there's a tiny space left to join my daughter's PTFA of which we go to the first meeting tomorrow evening.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    .......As for the politics I couldn't agree more.
    Politicos still trot out the line that you are voting for someone to represent the interests of your local area. You are not these days you are voting for a political party.......
    Clearly that is not true and I must disagree. All local elected MPs are available to assist people in overcoming personal problems of anyone residing within their constituency. Some MPs are obviously better than others in providing this type of support. Having said that, yes accumulatively most MPs do follow the party whip and pursue agreed policies of their respective political parties.

    Chris

  10. #10
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Yes, most MPs do a good job for their constituents once elected.

    The point I was making is that without the backing of one of the three major parties you are very unlikely to get voted in. So in effect you have a choice of voting for one of the big parties, or voting for someone who has very little chance of being elected.

    Currently 95% of our MP's belong to the big three parties. Here is a link to the figures:
    http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-a...f-the-parties/

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