Thursday, February 17, 2011

Street theatre, from the gallery

Adrenalin starting to subside - it's been a long day. We went as a disabled family to let the County Council know exactly who they were cutting. But they cut anyway. They made £179m worth of 'savings' over the next three years. Mainly at our expense.

One saving will close disabled childrens' respite centres, another will take money away from charities who provide care to disabled adults, yet more will be saved by taking support away from people with 'moderate' disabilities. People with a learning disability are particularly being hit with their current support service being 'remodeled' (read cut). There are many more. They actually made more 'savings' than the headline figure because they're bringing in cash by increasing charges - less services for vulnerable people who have to pay for the little that's left.

No namby pamby library closures or reductions in cultural services here - go for the jugular - cut basic living services for those they think can't answer back. The elderly, the disabled, carers.

Anyway, we buttonholed a lot of councilors before the meeting - the conservative majority didn't want to talk, unsurprisingly, but at least they now know what a disabled person looks like. Then we trooped up six flights of stairs to the gallery (wheelchairs not admitted of course). There was some shouting from the gallery (one mum took exception to the phrase 'cutting out waste' justifying her sons service cuts - I thought she was quite restrained actually) so the police were called to clear out the public gallery. Shifting disabled families with a real grievance can't be the most fun a policeman gets but it kept the council's 'headmaster' happy.

It made the news so the message got through - it didn't stop the service cuts. So the real work starts here, when each cut gets implemented. It's not even militancy - it's self preservation.

These carers and disabled people didn't fit the quiet, heroic vulnerables, silently suffering nicely out of sight (and mostly out of mind) image the media likes. We can be feisty when we have to - oh, and we have the vote these days as well.


  1. Terrifying reading. I'm in Ireland, but we're likely to face this next :(

  2. Well done for getting out there; I know they're just going to go ahead because they honestly think that people will just sigh and let them do it. I feel however in my heart of hearts this is the one time people won't just give up after an initial refusal of the government to acknowledge how angry people are getting.

  3. Once the cuts start getting implemented, they'll really bite and people will react. they're starting to already - last nights news showed similar pictures in Lancashire, Devon and another place I missed.
    We shouldn't have to do this, but it'll be worse if we don't.

  4. This is a fantastic blog, and good on you for showing your anger at the cuts - they truly are sickening.

    I'm editor over at Blog Preston - a community news site for Preston - and I'd love to hear your views more in-depth.

    Any chance you could drop me an email on

    Look forward to hearing from you.
    All the best.