A lovely 'you-couldn't make-it-up' incident presented itself to me tonight. Earlier on this evening I took part in Channel 4's 'Street Riots: The Live Debate' over in a studio in Endell Street, Covent Garden. It's nice being picked up by a chauffeur driven car; deposited into the heart of the West End; and, by-passing queues to be admitted into the green room for free nosh and drinks.
But, I deviate.
Anyway, back on track. Eventually we're herded into the studio and the warm-up guy does his warm-up stuff, and we gingerly laugh at his not-so-funny patter. Krishan Guru-Murthy, a lot smaller in real life (wears Cuban heels), then gives the SP of the show and introduces us to Iain Duncan-Smith,Hilary Benn MP, Adrian Mills an Ealing restaurateur (his restaurant was ransacked and looted), Paul Gladstone Reid a composer, pianist, singer-songwriter and producer, and a rather taciturn policeman who referred to all explanations and views contrary to his as 'excuses'.
The debate went fairly well. Duncan-Smith and the businessman holding the old law-and-order line; people-have-to-take-personal-responsibility-for-their-own-actions was intimated several times by Duncan-Smith in relation to cutting benefits and evicting, even, parents of children convicted of looting.
The Tory line when confronted with problems is always to fall back on the old chestnut of family values and personal responsibility. And Duncan-Smith ensured that nobody, whether they agreed with him or not, left the studio without his message messing around with more pleasant thoughts, such as those ice cold bottles of Peroni waiting for me when I get home.
The show ended and the floor manager wanted us, wheelchair users, to wait until the studio was cleared. No way Pedro! I'd sat for an-hour-and-a-half in a lot of pain, and I needed to pee, quite quickly. So, I got out first, or so I thought, and headed for the lift to take me to the ground floor and the adapted toilet.
Up we went. Out of the lift, throw a right. Bob's your uncle, there's the 'special' loo waiting to accept yours truly.
A young geezer all skinny jeans, Loake's brogues and Ralph Lauren cardy looked at me as I reached for the door."Sorry sir, there's someone in there. He won't be a minute" instructs this trendy clothes horse, probably a TV researcher. "Ok mate" I say; relief, hopefully, a minute or two away.
Three minutes later the door to the disabled toilet, the one with the big sign announcing in pictogram the universal symbol of disability, and out strolls Iain Duncan-Smith!
Oh glory! Hallelujah! My peeing need seemed to vanish from my mind as I mentally uncrossed my legs and said to Duncan-Smith: "This is an adapted toilet, see the sign?" Which he acknowledged uncomfortably. "Why are you abusing this facility? I've had to wait in extreme pain and discomfort because you think you're above the rules that everyone else accepts!"
Duncan-Smith, is somewhat trapped, because I've placed my wheelchair between him and the door, and my PA is standing by my legs, so the trapped rat can't vault over me and do a runner.
Then I have him on the ropes, just waiting to deliver my coup de grace down drop his gloves his guard is gone as he splutters out "I'm sorry, but somebody told me I could use it".
And, in true Sun headline grabbing thought...GOTCHA!
"So, if someone told you to pick up that TV because it was going begging. You'd pick up the TV?" I asked. "What's happened to your sense of personal responsibility for your own actions?" I pressed. "Are you exempt from the rules and regulations you spent the past hour telling us we must adhere to because that's how we maintain an orderly society?" I finished pushing my way into the loo.
Duncan-Smith, thinking he could do a runner took full advantage of the cessation in my harangue and just as he thought he'd escaped the loony wheely, I looked into the bowl and spotted he hadn't flushed the loo.
"Oy!" I shouted, arresting IDS's flight: "Do you know it's customary to flush the khazy after use?"
I can still picture his look, a mixture of abject contempt and 'beam-me-up-Scotty', as he drew an embarrassed grin across his Chevy while abruptly turning a corner to the safety of the street.
just loving every word you say to him, as you found out whilst waiting for the toilet they dont give a damm
"Someone told me I could" is no excuse, but I suspect it was a lie in any case. I'd press him to name names.
You wonder if he parks in disabled spaces too.
If Cameron wants to tackle the "moral decline" of this country let's hope he pays attention to EVERY level of society.
(And consider please, that there were no riots in Glasgow which is even poorer area. Given the national welfare system, poverty is not the sole explanation for the riots even if it is an aggravating factor.)
Sorry to disagree but "disabled accessible" toilets are not "disabled only" toilets.
Unless the loo was secured with a Radar key then he was entirely within his rights to use it.
Why do people preface statements with 'Sorry to disagree', when clearly they are not!
"IDS is entirely within his rights to use it"
Just like the idiots who park in DISABLED PARKING BAYS in Tesco I suppose?
One would have thought a man of such an obvious education would have made the CHOICE not to use that toilet?
This topic just goes to show and Prove how society in general views disabled people and their problems, nothing stopped IDS waiting to use another toilet whatsoever, he used his push self to get what he wanted, special treatment because he is a minister.
I'm actually sending one of his aides a email after I've left this comment letting him know what I think of him, If they bother to reply I'll let everyone know.
Anony at 13:16,
Then what's his excuse for not flushing? Filthy lout.
I'd have to agree with Anonymous at 13:16 above. The disabled sign usually denotes that the toilet is adapted for wheelchair users, it doesn't specifically bar anyone else from using it.
Entirely distinct from a disabled parking space which is intended to specifically bar non-disabled drivers.
No excuse for not flushing though.
What self-righteous nonsense. You should cut the arrogance - it makes you sound like an idiot. So IDS is a really bad man is he? Because he used the wrong toilet? Christ, you'd just been discussing people getting murdered, burnt, abused by violent criminals. Do you not see how stupid you look?
Hee hee - enjoyed your piece and the dialogue with Mr IDS. BUT - if I may say - not all disabled people who need to use such toilets are in wheelchairs or, indeed, necessarily have any obvious outward sign of disability. Like myself, for instance, and I have been spoken to quite abusively by someone in a wheelchair for using an 'accessible toilet'. Yeah, I doubt that was the case with IDS (of course he's have good reason for not admitting such a thing), but let's be tolerant (toilerant? Nah, doesn't work) to those of us without any obvious signs of such a need. Cheers.
So, does IDS take personal responsibility for the torrent of lies and disinformation that he and his department constantly feed to the press?
Somehow, I doubt it very much.
IDS was a model of restraint and politeness on the programme. You may not like his policies, but this post reads as a bitter attempt to smear him. Pathetic.
While IDS can, as can anyone, use an adapted loo common courtesy dictates otherwise, when there are unadapted loos available.
Like anon at 15:46 I too have disabilities that are not obvious in the main. But I've not yet been spoken to in an abusive manner by a wheelchair user.
IDS a model of restraint and politeness? I take it you aren't one of the disabled people his department has set out to consistently smear as feckless scroungers if not outright fraudsters, behaviour in which IDS has personally taken part, and which has forced Scope to publically state that DWP press releases and the associated campaign of whispering from DWP 'sources' are directly driving a rise in disability hate crime. Meanwhile this behaviour has drawn a stunning rebuke from the Select Committee on Work and Pensions, and last week forced the UK Statistical Authority to invoke it's legal authority to compel DWP to stop mis-using statistics as a political club to beat disabled people with.
As for those who claim he had every right to use disabled toilets, astounding. I cannot believe there are people so self-righteous as to argue on a disability forum that they have every right to abuse the facilities set aside for us in recognition of our special needs. For many of us waiting outside the door of the disabled toilet, because some oaf thinks his convenience comes first, means acute pain, while many more of us have almost no warning of needing to use the toilet. Disabled toilets are not simply there for our convenience when the ladies or gents are inaccessible, they are there to meet the often urgent needs of our disabilities. They are not there for you to abuse because you lack any sense of personal responsibility.
What we see here is the sort of entitlement culture the Tories really want, disabled people and everyone else trampled underfoot in pursuit of their own convenience.
Here's a suggestion. Try reading what was written, rather than simply parrotting your own grievances. I said
"IDS was a model of restraint and politeness *on the programme*"
And he was. Has it escaped yournnotice that this post was about a TV programme and what allegedly followed it?
This post seems to me, to be an attempt to tarnish IDS' name. Sure, he used the adapted bathroom. However, it is an adapted bathroom, not a restricted one. There are no rules that say he could not use it, just common courtesies. However, if he didn't know you were coming, he couldn't extend his manners to find a different loo. If he was told he could use it, then use it he may. Whether that was the truth or not I cannot say, but at the same time, neither can you. There was no need to act the way it appears you did, and you've come across as a rather arrogant person.
'tarnish IDS' name'?
Nah, I think he lost any credibility as a person when he took the tories shilling, and peddled misinformation and false statistics.
He and his contemptous gang deserves everthing he gets, while if you're....
People without disabilities are expected not to use accessible/adapted toilets. This is for the reasons laid out in the comments above.
While it may be unkind to abuse an ordinary member of the public on using an accessible toilet, IDS deserved it. This is because he has set himself up as someone who knows all about disability issues and is confident that his approach to welfare for people with disabilities is the right one, even though it is screwing up thousands of people's lives. Anyone with knowledge of disability issues would not use an accessible toilet when others exist in the same building. By accepting advice to use the accessible toilet, IDS has shown himself to be way too ignorant of basic disability issues to justify his position. That's the point.
This is one of the finest blog posts I've read this year.
It deserves to be on the front page of the Guardian.
I agree with those who point out that it is common courtesy to leave wheelchair accessible toilets available for those who need them. IDS definitely should know better and I'm afraid politicians have to be that much more careful, in all sorts of ways including in relation to their personal lives, as they are in the public eye.
I'm with the writer - this was not IDS's finest hour and I bet he was squirming with embarrassment!
We don't need to treat politicians with kid gloves; do they treat us like that, or do they persist in the view that we must be continually assessed to see if we're lying? Rhetorical question, but you can see where I'm going...
IDS should not have used a disabled wc and he knows that. He only used it for privacy reasons which is very common in wealthy conservative circles. Had he been on a train he would have sat first class and if it wasn't available he would have sat second class by himself
There is no way on earth he would sit next to the average person
His DWP department is badly run and that's because it's leader allows it nothing more nothing less
The riots are of a complex nature brought about by governments continual policy's to bring more to the haves and very little to the the have nots
Governments that do the wrong thing for the sick and disabled in causing them undue grief and pain is one thing as they cant fight back but to those who are fit and have to live on the edges of society they will see things differently
Having a riot is not the answer as that just gives the government of the day justification to use punishment upon them the right approach in a democracy is to have a peaceful march for better condition's
Had the mp's who live in the areas affected by the riots done much better over the years for their constituents then the riots would never have started in the first place
Most of the boroughs affected by the riots have been seriously neglected over the past 30 years in many areas and that doesn't help bring about a feeling of a fulfilling community
Their has been much talk over the past 30 years in ways of dealing with the inner cities by politicians but sadly that's all it has been is talk
I have faced much abuse for using accessible toilets from wheelchair users. It annoys me as they have no idea of my access issues or my need to use supports to lower myself onto the loo.
And often baby changing facilities are in accessible toilets, and I've been shouted at, humiliated and told I should leave mid nappy change to allow a wheelchair user in.
As a disabled person with mobility issues but not a wheelchair user, i get sick of this sense of disability hierarchy. If someone needs a piss they need a piss.
It is also important to point out, i feel , that the toilet is not disabled but the room is considered accessible, that does not preclude non-disabled people from using them, but it is a matter of courtesy should there be other toilets available that they are used as an alternative. This is not always possible, just as a mobility issue is not always visible.
Giving IDS a bollocking for needing the loo is a bit self righteous. Giving him a bollocking for not flushing is entirely justified.
I really found this riveting reading (Beam me up Scotty ) Havent said that for ages. Now very seriously. Duncan might well have had said hidden Disability. but surely He as A member of Government should have procedures in place for his security and every aspect of his visit structured planned maticulously and use an exclusive bowl. lol. talkinf of takinf ones own responsibility. if he feels the need to usea loo obviouslt for those who need urgent and delicate changing facilities myself included. Lets just look at the new rules around work and (incontinence). They now think we the incontinent should go to work with a change of clothes to manage frequent but not fully voiding accidents im sure you know what I mean. He has obviously got a hidden cloak down himself to cover up his embarrasment if he got stuck in the line behind you lol. I have a hidden disability I need urgent access at all times like many othersanyone who does not should respect this. every second counts you know what I mean. if I was stuck behind him not you and I had the dredded public accident just where could I hide how could I shower and change at such a venue with no support cos im a working age man and my disability is ignored and discounted along with my need to access a loo anywhere in public places which are alost non exhistent just try Kings Cross for instabce after a long trip. go to work shower and change on the bus/metro street at work etc this brings up many serious social issues and needs debate and Duncan needs a bit of a quiet word around the needs of those living with above mentioned by those who live with it and the discrimination that comes with it im almost housebound due to lack of facilities in this country profit and savings make the many disempowered.
Just shows what a weaselly selfish git he is. And didn't even flush, Tories have no sense of community...
Excellent. Was it a floater?
But the whole Tory ethos is "every man for himself and sod the rest of you", so I'm hardly surprised!
He was disgusting for not flushing properly however, that's all he did wrong.
Toilets adapted for disabled users are open for use by all in just the same way as I can use an entrance ramp, bus, taxi or most other things adapted for use by the disabled.
That isn't the same as abusing disabled-only services such as parking bays. A disabled car driver will almost always need a close place to park but (except in the case of specific disabilities) might not always need to siphon his python.
Disabled toilets in particular are often better maintained, provide more privacy or space if you need to wash your face as well as just go for a quick slash.
In IDS's case I have no doubt his primary reason for using it was that the lockable door and single cubicle and washbasin space provided extra security. It's either that or have security staff watch over him whilst he drains his spuds.
Of course, he didn't count on some crazed nutbar accosting him the moment he opened the door and I'm sure if you weren't in a wheelchair his security would have politely told you where to go rather than letting you have your rant.
Besides, if you'd been thinking straight you could have bottled up his reeking swamp water and sold it on ebay to make up for the money the tories plan to take away from you.
I'm another disabled person with a hidden disability. I have a Radar key for restricted-access loos but like other disabled people I expect able-bodied people to use the regular loos and leave our adapted ones for us - it's common courtesy. I personally need the extra space afforded by an adapted loo, plus the alarm cord, because of my condition even though my needs may not be obvious to all.
Anonymous must be joking if s/he thinks disabled loos are better maintained! I've lost count of the number of really disgusting adapted toilets I've had to use - dirty, smelly, broken seats, no paper towels or toilet paper, rubbish on the floor because no one came in to clean, alarm cords tied up out of reach so they are unusable, broken heated hand dryers... Shall I go on?
Frankly, I don't care about IDS being a minister. He ought to know better (and I bet his mother never told him it was fine to leave the toilet unflushed), the more so given his current post. I bet even the queen would use the proper loo and I'm no fan of Her Madge.
It angers me that Anonymous thinks s/he can come on here and slag off disabled people for defending the meagre rights and access we have, much of which is vanishing before our eyes. But it doesn't surprise me, given the rising level of disability hate crime in the UK.
I've Tweeted this! What's a good hashtag?
Perhaps he is shy.He might only have a little one and not like sharing the Mens Room.
The facilities we are discussing here are the studios of Channel 4.
There are regular toilet facilities - IDS was not being subjected to slashing with the general public.
He may not have REQUESTED to use the disability accessible loo's, but having been directed there he FAILED to point out that he wasn't disabled.
He FAILED to point out that these facilities are essential to disabled people.
He FAILED to stand up to a Channel 4 lackey and point out that his personal responsibilities extended to not using disabled facilities when there were disabled people present who may need them with a much greater need.
He was aware that there were disabled people present, he had just spent an hour on tv debating with the gentleman who wrote the blog.
Yes, thats correct, not some nobody who wandered in off the street, or even a member of the audience (of which at least two were wheelchair users), but someone who he had spent time in the Green Room with, and an hour on tv with!
IDS could have, like most normal people, gone to a normal loo - I suspect that the facilities at the studios for guests are quite plush and suitable.
The question is, knowing that there WERE disabled people present he should have been honourable enough and a Gentleman, and refused on principle to use the loo.
IDS obviously has no Honour, no Principles, and is definately not Gentlemanly in his actions.
As for using the disabled facilities to wash your face, or have a quick slash, then I hope you dont mind if I change my colostomy bag in your car, or at your dining table, because it would be just so much nicer for me to do it there.
What you didn't explain was why you were in more pain than Duncan-Smith possibly was before he peed and why you shouldn't have to wait to use the loo like everybody else? I think the reason why able-bodied people use disabled loos (and sometimes parking spaces) is because they are generally going begging. I even used a men's toilet at the airport recently because the women's had a queue and I certainly would use a disabled toilet if there was a queue for the women's.
Talk about taking the piss.
Typical overblown 'make a mountain of a molehill' reaction! An accessible toilet is not exclusively for disabled people - unlike disabled parking spots - so let's not confuse the issues!
Also, it's this precious sense of entitlement that everyone seems to want to wear that is the *reason* for the mess that society at large is in. You aren't owed anything by anyone - so quit being being so darn precious!
Typical disabled a@sehole. Just 'cos you've got a wheelchair, you think you've also got a right to be thoroughly rude and obnoxious.
Be fair - he's not an a@sehole because he's disabled! he might've been an a@sehole even if he didn't have a wheelchair!
Perhaps he wants a sign on some of the other toilets saying 'No jews and dogs allowed' or segregated loos!
For the personal attention of:
Mr Iain Dipstick-Smith
And I bet he didn't wash his hands!
Why is a toilet that is "adapted" for disabled users therefore considered exclusively for disabled users? As far as I am concerned they are a unisex toilet that should be available to all, but carry the capability for use by the disabled. There are not enough disabled users to warrant exclusive use. I don't understand what everybody's problem is?
I wish in my political career I have a chance to call out my opponent like this.
Not being British and not familiar with IDS I have to LOL at the quick witted response of yours.
To people complaining about entitlment mentality of disabled people get over yourself. They can't use ordinary toilets while you can. The disabled toilet allows them to do something you take for granted. I'm on crutches or a walking stick and I don't use them often enough just when I need the rail so IDS shouldn't have used it.
I am amazed at some disable peoples believe that a disabled toilet is for there use only! because it has a picture of a wheelchair! A very large number of office only have disabled loos on the ground floor in reception. because of limited space and the need to have disabled toilets they are not there for disabled people only they are there for the use of all visitors!
IDS was an idiot for 2 things blaming someone else, he had done no wrong but had keep someone waiting so a sorry for keeping you waiting is all that was required not "they said I could" and for not flushing the loo.
If I was queuing at a disabled toilet, which I can do, and a some came along in a wheelchair I of course let them go before me because I was being lazy not looking for another loo and they had no choice.
Using an accessible toilet is not the same as rioting and looting.
If he'd punched you in the face and nicked your wallet you may have a point.
There's never a CCTV around when you need one! They are all full of cliches and platitudes, and what about when they were looting the expenses system? Not quite the same I know, but even so...
This has brought such a grin to my face. :) :) :)
My word, what bizarre reactions!
The writer does not have to explain, and neither does any disabled person, why they need a disabled loo, and need it faster than the average person.
However, in future, I shall start changing my colostomy bag in public, or just allowing it to burst all over the floor.
Has it occured to any of those who believe that disabled loos are for able bodied people that this is a tad greedy?
After all, you have your own loos, and no medical problems that mean you need special facilities.
Besides, the man you are soooo busy defending doesn't even flush!
The selfishness shown by some of the posters, and IDS, is indicative of the society that we live in, which is the whole point.
Guess the irony just went over their poor, vacuous, uneducated heads...
Newsflash: even abled bodied people occasionally have to wait three minutes to use a toilet.
If you want equality, then you wait in line with the rest of us on an equal basis. You are not more equal just because you're in a wheelchair. I'm pretty sure that IDS wouldn't have used the toilet if there had been a queue of wheelchairs, and the idea that his asking whether he could use it when no-one else was using it represents something morally equivalent to rioting is pathetic.
Disabled people often cannot wait 3 minutes, or leg it to the nearest loo, or the furthest loo.
Like I said, indicative of the rotten society that we live in.
Morally wrong, not morally equivalent to rioting, but still morally wrong.
Its equality of OPPORTUNITY, not equality. Disabled people can hardly be described as equal, as we have functional loss.
If you want to quote about equality, make sure you have at least half an idea - otherwise you just end up looking an arse.
What you may have failed to realise is that IDS may have decided to use those facilities because he had a large one in the bomb bay, may have even been 'touching cloth' and considered himself to be disabled by this at that particular moment. Therefore his use was entirely legitimate. If he had just crapped on the floor though, I would have complained.
If IDS publicly admits to it being a "touching cloth" moment, then that is pretty legitimate!
Actually if he admits that publicly I may pee myself laughing.
Maybe he was not briefed properly by his aides. So he did not know how to behave correctly.
I don't know if the signage is the same in the UK, but in NZ there are two clearly different sets of signage used on disabled equipped loos intended solely for the disabled (the well know wheelchair symbol) and those intended for all which are labelled with both the wheelchair logo, plus those of the gender of non disabled who are allowed to use them.
Simply if your logo ain't on the door don't go in.
Some of these responses are so ignorant and selfish. It's no wonder disabled people are treated so badly.
I would love to see the day when you lot of ignorant bastards discover you can no longer walk, or soon as you realize you need the toilet you've pissed yourself.
Disabled toilets are for the disabled for a reason. They're not disabled because it means you can quickly use one when you can't be bothered to wait.
Be greatful you are able to wait! Be fucking greatful your health is at the level where you don't pee yourself before you even realise you need to goto the toilet.
It must be really awful having to walk to the abled bodied toilets, while theres a disabled person who cannot even walk using theirs.
It must be really awful having to park in a normal car parking spot, and being able to walk to the store rather than relying on someone to push you.
Jesus christ you guys are a bunch of cunts.
Typical Tory. He uses the resources ostensibly intended for the disabled and vulnerable, blames someone else when caught and leaves it to someone with a proper senses of responsibility toward the community to clean up the mess he's made!
What a complete pile of crap
I am sorry, but disabled toilets are NOT meant to be used by the non-disabled members of the general public..they are called disabled for a reason!! I am not in a wheelchair, I use a walking stick, so I can use 'normal' ones if I have to. Just a short anecdote; once at the Barbican I was in a queue for the disabled toilet, and it was occupied for almost the entire interval...and then it transpired that a woman had been in there with her kid, who was playing with the water!! You are allowed to use those facilities for changing nappies, but they are not playrooms. I didn't complain, but someone obviously did, because now there are notices on all the Barbican disabled toilets reminding people that they are for DISABLED people!
It says a lot about the people defending IDS that most haven't got the guts to leave their name.
Why couldn't IDS have asked where the gents were or had a quick look himself instead of deciding that only the disabled loo would do? It's not that hard.
I imagine he thinks he's too important and his time too valuable to waste it looking for toilets... or it would seem flushing them.
I do hope the dirty b***** found time to wash his hands.
I thought this post was fantastic if only for the evidence that IDS is human. I always thought he was a Dalek! (Exterminate the crips! Exterminate the crips!)
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