[Warning – this article, which is my contribution for BADD (Blogging Against Disablism Day) 2013, contains a sprinkling of earthy Anglo Saxon.]
Is it just me & my ever-present paranoia, or has anyone else noticed an increase in the number of people misusing parking spaces reserved for blue badge holders over the past 12 months or so?
I’ve only held a blue badge for about two and a half years but, thinking back, I realise now that I quickly settled into a weird routine. Every time I parked in a reserved area, at a supermarket for example, I found myself looking in each car I passed to see if a blue badge was being displayed. If there wasn’t one on view, I would wish dark and demonic tortures to the owner of the vehicle concerned.
I think most of us will have seen - at one time or another - similar abuses of the reserved parking system. But initially I very rarely experienced such a thing on days when the weather was good. Usually, these infringements were witnessed on days when it was raining, snowing, blowing a gale, etc. This phenomenon of rainy day misuse of reserved parking was being observed by folk all around the UK (United Kingdom).
These infringements were, of course, only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The whole blue badge scheme was open to abuse and misuse in the UK. Blue badges were relatively easy to obtain and fake badges were even, or so I’m told, available from a ‘well known online shopping outlet’.
In the past couple of years however, there has been a tightening of the rules governing the issue of blue badges and most, if not all, county councils in the UK now charge a fee for a blue badge.
Now though it seems that an open season has been declared on parking spaces reserved for blue badge holders. Furthermore, this open season is not regulated by the weather at all; people seem to be deliberately misusing these spaces whatever the weather conditions happen to be.
But it’s not only an increase in the numbers of people misusing reserved parking areas that I’ve noticed over the past 12 months or so, there also seems to be a change in the attitudes of the people themselves. People seem to be much more hostile and prone to be more open about their feelings towards the disabled than they used to be.
For example, I’ve personally experienced verbal harassment for daring to glare at someone misusing a reserved parking space and I’ve had the looks that seem to say “Go ahead and say something. Come on then, I fucking dare you…”.
So, why are we – or is it just paranoid old me – seeing this reaction of open defiance and hostility towards the disabled?
I’ll give you 3 guesses who I’m pinning most of the blame on; yep, the good old ConDem coalition government in power in the UK at present.
This government, and their media lapdogs, have demonised us – the disabled – as being the reason for the crap state of the UK’s finances and more. Certain sectors of the public have been quick to latch onto this and we’ve seen an increase in the number of disability hate crimes across the UK.
I can just imagine the thought processes of the type of individual who, having swallowed the latest bit of disablist propaganda, drives into his local supermarket:
“Bleeding hell it’s busy today. Looks like I’ll have to park at the back and walk a distance. Hang on, that cripple bay’s free. Bollocks to it. They’ve ruined the bleeding country, why should they have special treatment? I’m parking in it and fuck ‘em all.”
So, is it just me and my paranoia?
Or have you noticed the rise in this phenomenon as well?
Finally, I present the fact that George Osborne’s car was photographed using a disabled parking space at a motorway service station a few weeks ago.
Remember that this is the man who’s responsible for bringing so much financial misery to the disabled and the poor.
In true fuckwit fashion he, of course, blamed his driver…