“Woke Up This Morning Feeling Blue, Man I’ve Got Those Blue Badge Blues”

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2013 [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…

Dear Dave, Regarding My Previous Letter About Motability, DLA & PIP

Dear Dave,

In a recent letter I spoke about an upcoming battle that myself and thousands of others were definitely not looking forward to.

I’m talking about the battle to keep my Motability car next year, when DLA (Disability Living Allowance) is replaced by PIP (Personal Independence Payment).

Why this update?

Esther McVey made a speech in parliament earlier today, specifically about the implementation of PIP. A full record of this speech can be found at the ‘Newsroom’ section of the DWP’s web site.

‘Dear Dave, Regarding My Previous Letter About Motability, DLA & PIP’ continued

Universal Credit & One Man’s Problems

Unless you’ve been living on the moon, you’ll be aware of the abolition of certain benefits and the introduction by the ConDem Government of Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is being launched in April 2013 and will replace:

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Child Tax Credits
  • Working Tax Credits
  • Housing Benefit.

‘Universal Credit & One Man’s Problems’ continued

Dear Dave, A Battle Is Won – But The War Goes On

Dear Dave,

On the 31st of July this year I was fortunate enough to win a battle. The battle that thousands of people before me have won and the one that thousands of people have yet to win.

The battle I’m referring to is my migration from IB (Incapacity Benefit) to ESA (Employment Support Allowance).

‘Dear Dave, A Battle Is Won – But The War Goes On’ continued

Dear Dave, I Saw This & Thought Of You

Dear Dave,

Firstly, I want to apologise for the delay in writing this second letter, but I’m sure you’ll understand. Problems with pain, cognitive functions, medication changes, depression and other stuff.

You do understand – don’t you?

Yeah right. What am I thinking…

Anyway, on with the show…

Now, what was I going to say? Drat this short-term memory problem.

Oh yeah, I remember now…

I was rolling up newspaper to light my fire the other day and came across this cartoon:

‘Dear Dave, I Saw This & Thought Of You’ continued

Dear Prime Minister, Let Me Introduce Myself

Dear Rt (Right) Hon (Honourable) David Cameron, PM (Prime Minister) of the UK (United Kingdom).

You know what? There’s something about all this Rt Hon and PM stuff that’s really bugging me. I mean, it’s all just so formal isn’t it?

Don’t you agree?

What a monumentally stupid thing for me to say. Of course you won’t agree with me and, it has to be said, there are several very good reasons – from your point of view anyway – why you won’t agree with me:

‘Dear Prime Minister, Let Me Introduce Myself’ continued

Disclaimer for DWP, Atos & Other Malicious Readers

If, by chance, you work for the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions), Atos or are just a mis-guided, ill-informed gossip or malicious busybody who, after reading some of my articles, thinks to themselves:

“If you can write articles like this then you’re a benefit fraud. You should be out working and not sponging off the government or the rest of society.”

If this is the case, then I have this to say to you:

“Those articles weren’t written in an hour or in 2, 3 or 4 hours. Nor were they written in 1, 2, 3 or 4 days.”

In fact, in most cases, they were put together over several weeks. That’s right – not hours or days, but weeks.

‘Disclaimer for DWP, Atos & Other Malicious Readers’ continued