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The post Did Vaccines Really Save 500,000 Lives in the UK? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
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The post News Round-Up appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.
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New campaign to secure rights for people with disability
health / disability issues |
Thursday March 16, 2006 16:55 by Miriam Cotton - Disability Election Pledge Alliance
Disability Rights: The Discussion is Not Over
A coalition of voluntary disability groups around Ireland has announced itself today. The Disability Election Pledge Alliance are set to mount a challenge to the recent implementation of the Disability Act 2005.
A stunned disability lobby is slowly regaining sensation in the wake of the Disability Act 2005. Not even the most cynical of observers could have suspected that the government would, despite all their previous promises, revert to a piece of legislation which conceded virtually nothing on the previously disgraced and discarded bill. This issue has been written about on Indymedia before (link here http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70525) so this article does not discuss the reasons why the Act was such a monumental disappointment again.
The government has clearly hoped that by burying the Disability Act 2005 in the middle of its election term, the issue will have burned itself out by the time the election comes around. Well, that time is approaching and the lobby has this to say in response: the discussion is not over.
The routine response by government is to point to the so-called 'multi-annual funding' package which it claims is directing fantastic sums of money at the issue. A seasoned disability rights campaigner and member of the former Disability Legislation Consultation Group, Mr Seamus Greene (Director of the National Parents & Siblings Alliance) has already forensically disected the government's claims on multi-annual funding, most notably on Prime Time, (link: www.rte.ie/news/2005/0512/primetime.html ) and given the lie to the government's claims. Not too surprisingly the figures turn out to have been presented in an extraorinarily misleading way so that the truth is, little additional money is being invested in people with disability. Many are experiencing cutbacks in services. So, beware of ministers talking telephone numbers where this issue is concerned because people will continue to suffer damagingly delayed assessments, inadequate supports and the all too familiar frustration with the social, economic and other impediments needlessly affecting them every day of their lives. Deperately needed respite care is ever more scarce and those who struggle to provide it are in despair in many instances.
Unfortunately, however, the mainstream media in this country are, for the main part, collectively as rabbits in headlights when it comes to government misinformation. Where disability and multi-annual funding is concerned, a chorus of delighted approval greeted its announcement and trying to distract the frozen stare of the press from its lights can be a very frustrating business indeed. It's all smoke and mirrors, people, can you get your heads around that I wonder? Or does the prospect of displeasing your 'contacts' upset your digestion? Groucho Marx must have coined his famous line for you: 'Those are my principles: if you don't like 'em, I've got others'. Come to think of it, he might have had almost any of our political parties in mind.
Rights for people with disability? 'It'll bankrupt the country, I tell you!' Many people convince themselves that this is true when it is actually undiluted nonsense. We have seen billions vanish into uncompleted road schemes, massively over budget. Costs for completing almost any public project in Ireland exceed those incurred in any other European country for the main part. This is waste on a monumental scale and all that taxpayers money vanished into God knows who's pockets, usually without trace. If even a tenth of it was directed at disability, the situation would be significantly improved. And despite the waste, you will notice that the sky has not actually fallen down, nor has the eocnomy collapsed. Far from it. Imagine what might have been, though? Instead, for example, we have school children with special needs whose already meagre supports were cut back. Service providers for people with disability everywhere are chronically underfunded and their budgets were actually cut, too. And again the main stream press will not report it.
Disability is an issue like no other in its capacity to illustrate the true nature of the society we live in. It is the ultimate litmus test of where we have come to: all our prejudices, greed, incompetence and outright contempt for people needier than the comfortably off is nowhere more apparent. And on this last point, make no mistake about it, the idelogocial influence of the PDs on our society is the most critical factor of all. For them, it actually does not matter that the country can now easily afford to fund decent infrastructure and public services. No, it is a stubborn and deliberate refusal to concede the meanness of their political philosophy. Business comes first every time around. No exceptions. How can a hadful of zealots like this be allowed to run amok with the interests of the people of this country? Can Mary Harney actually hear herself, you wonder, when she says that MRSA is not a matter of resources. It's like a slap in the face to those who have lost relatives to this bug and a kick in the teeth to the hospital staff who are exahuasted from working in underfunded institutions around the country.
To underline the insult and hypocrisy - leave aside altogether the crass prejudice of the disability-rights-will-bankrupt-us charge, and to illustrate the point made above, we now also have the spectacle of the SSIA cash cow bonanza. Where under Jesus do people think this money is coming from? The arse pockets of philanthropic ministers? (It certainly will not be the same money that disappeared into those other pockets referred to above.)
The money is coming from the public purse, from taxpayers, and the only way it can be done is by squeezing the life out of services for the sections of the population who can least afford it. For many of them, they pay their taxes and cannot afford SSIAs but it is still their money that will go to rewarding people already well off, by definition. Marie Antoinette would have been proud of this breathtakingly 'let-them-eat-cake' indifference. Was it not Mary Harney, again, who declared that rich people deserved more of a say in the running of the country? There ought to be a little metaphorical head rolling around here, for sure. To all you savers relishing the prospect of your tummy tucks, or whatever indulgences you are planning for, could I put this question to you? At what point do you think enough is enough? Is there anything that will call you back to the ideals of social justice and moderation that used to at least partly characterise our society in the not so distant past? Of course for some people, their SSIAs will have been a modest investment for their futures, but for huge numbers of others, they most definitely will not. Surely the whole proposition is nothing but a naked bribe aimed at persuading you all to vote the same wrecking crew back into power? Why not have the last laugh? Take the money and run for any other party you care to think of it. The PDs and Fianna Fail should not be rewarded for this.
So, please dont tell us that funding rights for people with disability is beyond contemplation. Disability is an issue which has been neglected since the birth of the country (and before it too). The neglect is not something that can be redressed over night. But there is no reason why a properly guaranteed, legislatively-backed funding programme should not be planned and implemented over a reasonable time frame. It is the only workable solution.
And to those who say it's all too late because the Disability Act (and the Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs Act for that matter) are on the statute book: nonsense again. The Government is initiating new legislation every week of the the year, from scratch. The only difference with this issue, is that all of the work that is needed to draft adequate legislation has already been done, so in fact nothing could be easier legislatively speaking. In fact, an appropriately worded draft already exists. The Disability Act 2005 and the EPSEN Act, 2004 were the governments second attempt to regulate the issue of disability. We have to make it third time lucky.
Please the address above if you would like to register your support for DEPA's campaign or would like further information.