Wednesday 6 July 2011

McDonald, R (on the application of) v Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

David Cameron, October 2010

The Supreme Court have made a decision in the case of Elaine McDonald a former principal ballerina in the Scottish Ballet. The legal arguments are varied but centre around whether there was a fair review of care conducted, whether the decision infringed Ms McDonald's rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and whether there was a breach of section 21 and 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) (now superseded by Equality Act 2010)

On a 4-1 majority the Supreme Court have dismissed Ms McDonald's appeal. Whilst the legal principles are important, for most of us they aren't relevant. The crux of this issue is very simple.

"What do we, as a society, think is an acceptable way to treat our elderly people, our disabled people, our sick people?"

The answer from the courts is damning to us all. It says that as a country we find it acceptable to leave our elderly people, our disabled people, our sick people lying in their own piss. All night. Even when that person is not incontinent and only requires a few moments assistance from another person to ensure their dignity and comfort.

Is this what we want for our mothers and fathers? Is it what we want for our grandparents? For a generation who fought for all our freedoms? Is this what we want for ourselves? Even if you don't really care about sick or disabled people one day we will all be old. We will all be vulnerable. We will all learn the lessons of powerlessness, of how it feels to have our lives held in an uncaring hand. When that time comes for you, do you really want to be left in your own urine. All night. Every night. Until you die?

Monday 4 July 2011

Anne Novis, MBE - Issues with BBC Breakfast Show interview #DLA #TBofB

I was interviewed by the BBC for the Breakfast show on DLA linked to the Disability Alliance initiating legal action re the consultation on DLA.

The crew came to me and did a long interview and filmed aspects of my home that indicated extra costs I had as a disabled person.

All well and good a great interview and interested journalist.

Then late in the day a man phoned from the BBC asking if they could use some of the interview on the BBC news, he asked me questions about my impairments which I declined to share publicly as I have multiple health issues as well as a spinal condition.

He asked how much I received in DLA so I explained about the two components and that my Mobility fund was spent on a wheelchair adapted car leased via Motability and that half my high rate care component was taken in charges for Independent Living Fund support for care so in reality I receive only £125 per month.

So I was shocked and surprised to hear him state I received this per week!

Also my surname was not pronounced properly , it became ‘Nevis’ not ‘Novis’ and the MBE I received this year was not noted on my name as it was in the morning.

Although he stated I had a spinal condition he did not state I had multiple health issues too.

It seemed to me the stance of the piece shown was different from the Breakfast show piece and so much was left out of my interview.

I had explained about the multiple impact of all the cuts on disabled people, the closure of the Independent living Fund, the anxiety caused to so many due to lack of appropriate consideration of our views on the proposed changes to DLA.

It seemed in the morning the genuine concerns of disabled people were to be heard but by the evening I became a burden too far as Maria Miller and the tax alliance focused on misuse and how ‘unsustainable’ DLA is, also the ignorance of disabled people not understanding the government stance which is oh so clear these days was also the focus by Maria Miller.

We have to ask why the approach to this information changed from the morning sharing real concerns and anxieties to the evening where the focus seemed to be more on disabled people expecting too much.

Anne Novis, MBE

CHINA: #ChenGuangchen - Blind Activist Tortured & Beaten Unconscious #TBofBTT #solidarity


FROM: Bob Fu, President, China Aid Association
Reggie Littlejohn, President, Women’s Rights Without Frontiers
Request for Immediate Medical Release
DATE: June 19, 2011


Blind activist Chen Guangcheng’s health is in serious jeopardy.  According to a letter from Chen’s wife obtained by China Aid on June 15, the Nobel Peace Prize nominee’s health has continued to deteriorate since his fierce torture in February, after which he was denied medical treatment.  He is now in a severely weakened state.  China Aid and Women’s Rights Without Frontiers issue this urgent action appeal that Chen be immediately released from China to receive critical medical attention in the United States.

Self-taught, blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng exposed the widespread use of coercion in the implementation of China’s One Child Policy.  Specifically, he uncovered the fact that there were 130,000 forced abortions and involuntary sterilization in Linyi County, Shandong Province, in 2005.  Time Magazine named him in its list of “2006’s Top 100 People Who Shape Our World,” in the category of “Heroes and Pioneers.”  In 2007 he was awarded the Magsaysay award, known as Asia’s Nobel Prize. 

The Chinese Communist Party sentenced him to four years and three months in jail.  His defense lawyers were detained and unable to attend his trial.  His wife and children were subjected to harassment, surveillance and confinement during the duration of Chen’s imprisonment.  Released in September 2010, he is now under strict house arrest.  Both in prison and under house arrest, Chen has been tortured severely and denied medical treatment.  He was released from prison with a chronic, debilitating intestinal illness for which he has been allowed no treatment. 

 A video featuring Chen was leaked to the China Aid Association Wednesday, February 9, 2011.  In this video, Chen encouraged his fellow citizens to stand up for human rights.  Chen and Yuan also described the conditions of their house arrest:  A total of 66 security police surround their home day and night.  Their telephone and internet access have been severed. They suffer from a lack of food.  No one can enter or leave their home, except officials, who can enter at any time, without notice. 

Chen and Yuan were “beaten senseless” and denied medical treatment in connection with the release of this video, and denied medical treatment.  Security forces appear to have intimidated their entire village.  According to a Radio Free Asia report, a woman attempting to visit Chen said, “No one in this village will speak a word about [Chen] . . . None of the villagers I spoke to, nor the police, was even willing to utter his name.”

In February 2011, lawyers scheduled a meeting to discuss how to help Chen.  Several lawyers and rights defenders were placed under house arrest, preventing them from attending this meeting.  Lawyers who did attend the meeting, including Jiang Tianyong and Teng Biao, were detained or placed under house arrest.  Authorities grabbed Jiang by the neck and smashed his head against the wall.  Foreign journalists have been prevented from entering Chen’s village.  CNN released a video of men pushing a journalist and throwing rocks at him to prevent him from entering Chen’s village.

On June 15, 2011, China Aid obtained an undated letter from Yuan, in which she gives further details about the torture and abuse she and Chen have endured:
 They beat and tortured my husband Chen Guangcheng and me for more than 2 hours . . . More than 10 men covered me totally with a blanket and kicked my ribs and all over my body . . . I saw more than ten men surrounded Chen Guangcheng, torturing him. Some of them twisted his arms forcefully while the others were pushing his head down and lifting his collar up tightly.

 Yuan’s letter also states that the police sealed their windows with sheets of metal, seized their computer, confiscated their books, stole Chen’s blind cane, and grabbed toys belonging to their young daughter. Her letter expresses anguish over Chen’s health:

Guangcheng’s mother is closely followed and physically monitored by 3 men every day, step by step, even when she works in the farm’s field. After mid-March, she was not allowed to go out even for buying vegetables. Therefore our daily life has gotten too hard to survive. Besides, Guangcheng’s health condition got worse. The blood from his diarrhea turned to dark instead of red as before. That is why I am so worried.


The governments of the free world should unite to protest to the Chinese government for Chen's brutal treatment and urge the Chinese government to immediately arrange medical treatment for Chen Guangcheng and his wife Yuan Weijing

The governments of the free world should unite to negotiate an exit strategy for Chen and his family to be allowed to leave China for medical reasons

The United States Ambassador, and other Ambassadors, should visit Chen
Citizens of free nations should call and write Chinese embassies and consulates and sign the petition to Free Chen Guangcheng:

        Links to latest reports by two major news agencies:
          Letter Alleges Beating of Chinese Activist and Wife

           By the  Lifesitenews Report