Wednesday, 11 May 2011

We Have A Dream Speech #hardesthit

We have a dream. This is our dream.

Three score years and six ago the welfare state was formed. A vision of Britain as Jerusalem for all, a beacon of hope in a country battered and bruised by the ravages of war. Principles so important that despite the crippling debt of the post war years, our grandfathers and grandmothers made sure their dream of a society caring for all was a priority. Despite two world wars and countless people disabled in the pursuit of justice it took another 25 years for disabled people to start our own road to freedom..  
Now is the time to remember the founding principles of the welfare state. Now is the time to rise up. Now is the time to remember ‘rights not charity’ Now is the time to make equality of opportunity apply to all people, now is the time to measure our worth in talent not gold. 

It is obvious that Britain has defaulted on it’s promissory note of welfare for all, a famous note signed by Lloyd George, Beveridge, Attlee and Bevan with their hopes and dreams of a better world, a fairer future for all. A beacon of hope carried forward some 25 years later by Lord Morris with his Chronically Sick And Disabled Persons Act , the first in the world to recognise and give rights to people with disabilities. 

We refuse to accept a system bailed out by the taxpayer is so bankrupt it can no longer meet it’s obligations to the basic welfare of all people. 

We refuse to believe in a world which bankers choose to increase bonuses whilst disabled people choose between food and heat. 
We refuse to believe local authorities deem it right and proper to save money by leaving old ladies overnight in their own urine, we refuse to believe that removing respite care can be right. 
We refuse to believe that we should be blamed, targeted, made less human by those who sip from the cup of success.

It may now be a nightmare, but we too can dream. To dream is a right for all humans and the first step on the road to justice. Without our dreams we have no hope, and we all have hope. Our rights, our dignity, our existence can all be threatened, but the flame of our hope cannot be extinguished. The hope of a world in which all people are seen as human first, human, with fundamental rights; to eat, to drink, to live, to love, to be free, to dream. We can dream of a day when all children grow together, learn together, play together regardless of ability. We can dream of a day when those children become adults, accepting adults who see the world as equal, a world of ability not disability. We can dream of a world of people with the right to have their basic needs met in whatever form they arise.

We are asked “when will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as those rights, first enshrined in statue are under threat.  We can never be satisfied as long as disabled people are victim of unspeakable horrors. We can never be satisfied as long as we remember Fiona and Francecca Pilkington, driven to such desperation by disablist bullying that suicide seemed their safest place. We can never be satisfied as long as we remember Christine Lakinski, urinated over as she lay dying in a doorway. We can never be satisfied as long as we remember Colin Greenwood, kicked to death by teenagers he couldn’t see. We can never be satisfied while disabled people kill themselves for fear of the DWP. We must embrace our diversity, our differences, our talent and work together until we can dream the dreams of all.
We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with fatigue cannot gain access to the transport, to the workplaces, to the leisure spaces of our cities. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are segregated, denied appropriate aids and parents broken by the lack of support.

We make to you this promise. We will not cease from mental fight. Nor shall our pens sleep in our hands. Til we have built a new accessible Jerusalem. Til we have built a Jerusalem we can again be proud of, in England’s green and pleasant land.


Oya's Daughter said...

Very powerful message, and brilliantly written.

spackmanjackman said...

God Bless you. I support your stance for justice.

Simon said...

Fabulous speech, and one that ought to be heard by every person living in Britain to let them know what horrors are being done in their name.

Sadly at the moment the Mail/Express are helping the coalition to win the propaganda war, particularly regarding incapacity claimants. Let's face it you can declare anyone fit for work if you shift the goalposts enough, but to manipulate the figures to declare "94% of incapacity claimants found fit for work" is pure malice. Demonising people in this way will cost lives. It happened to the Jews.

Make no mistake this is a deliberate policy of abscission - cutting off a group of people that the government has no wish to survive. You have my word that I will do all I can to help oppose this. I well remember my neighbour's experience of the Work Capability Assessment. He had COPD, alcohol abuse problems, couldn't walk up a few stairs without being half dead, and came out of the assessment with no points. He was dead within 3 weeks but they probably still have him registered as 'fit for work'.

Anonymous said...

Great speech indeed we need someone like martin Luther king to speak on our behalf and that is what's missing today

Pauline said...

Well written stirring stuff. Martin Luther King would find it hard to follow that. It touched a particular nerve with me as only yesterday I had to take my son to the doctors. I pushed him in his wheelchair uphill all the way there. While we waited for our turn, we sat opposite three children sitting with their mother. The children sat sniggering at my son and their ignorant mother looked on and did not chastise them. Normally I would have chastised them myself, but yesterday I felt physically and emotionally exhausted. I sat there, near to tears, and took it.
Oh and another thing my local authority closed down the day centre my son attended, he spends his days at home now.

Jane said...

I was shocked to see that there was no mention of The Hardest Hit march on the BBC News last night (Wednesday). Please join me in complaining to BBC Newswatch about the lack of mainstream reporting perpetuating our invisibility, so it's more likely our complaint will be aired on the Newswatch programme on Friday evening (BBC News Channel, Fridays at 8.45pm). Thanks everyone!

Anonymous said...

The you tube video clip is very good but am unsure about the background noise I'm hearing ?
Personally i think it should be in keeping with the speech or silent ?

Anonymous said...

Moving article, BSS. Yes, continue the dream of an English New Jerusalem. The British government has especially deserted its responsibilities towards disabled English people, not just British disabled people in general. The Health and Social Care bill relates to England only, and the local authority cuts are far more severe in England than in Scotland and Wales. And Scottish residents continue to obtain free social care.

The British state has indeed reneged on its promissory note to provide a dignified life for all English people. Only an English government, elected by the English people and resolved to look after their interests as the Scottish and Welsh governments look after their own people's interests, can realise the New Jerusalem you dream of.