The Hardest Hit October Action

Today, up and down the country, disabled people and their carers and allies came together to protest the unfair and overly harsh cuts to crucial services they are suffering under the current government. We rallied under the banner of ‘The Hardest Hit’, a coalition of hundreds of disability charities and individuals.

We headed into to Birmingham this morning to join the local rally and after grabbing a quick hot drink we made our way over to Victoria Square (opposite the Council house) and said hello to the brave souls at Occupy Birmingham.

The Occupy Birmingham Camp

Just before 12pm a band started up on the main stage to welcome us all and to attract attention from the passers by. They were stunning. Really entertaining and really talented, I just wish I could remember their name so I could hunt out some more of their music.

Music

At 12.30 the rally began and there were some amazing, heartfelt speeches from disabled members of the community. The welfare reform bill, ATOS and the cuts were all heckled whilst cheers went up to those hammering home the point that we just wanted to live and be respected rather than survive as objects of pity. It was noted (bitterly by many) that no Conservative or Liberal Democrat councillors or MP’s had accepted the offer to come and speak, or even come and show solidarity. Jack Dromey (Labour MP, Erdington) and a ex-labour MP involved with the local mayoral campaigns came to speak. Jack particularly went down very well. There was also a showing of Labour councillors, including my own, James MacKay. Where it was lovely to see them supporting us there is still a feeling of betrayal when one remembers that they were the party that inflicted ATOS and the massively flawed work capability assessment (WCA) on us all. It would be nice to see the party start taking disability seriously and working to improve things like the WCA rather than working to reduce the amount of money it pays the genuinely sick and disabled.

Jack Dromey MP speaking
For me, this was a wonderful chance to meet some lovely new people and feel a little less alone. Where, on one hand, it’s nice to know you are not the only person to have been wrongly given ‘0’ points by ATOS whilst severely disabled it’s also very depressing you start realising just how wide spread it is. It also gave me a chance to try and impress how these cuts are effecting people daily to politicians and some members of the press. I’m not sure if it will have done any good, but I feel better knowing I tried.
To finish off I thought I’d share some of the super signs people had;
Now I have all but run out of ‘spoons‘ so I’m going to take a lot of pain medication and get some rest.

Edited to add some quick links:


BBC article on Birmingham Action with one of the wonderful speakers.
Another article by Damon Rose for the BBC.
BBC on the Cardiff Action.
Guardian article.
Birmingham Mail article.

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  1. Great article Emma!

    Like

  2. Thank you so much!

    Like

  3. Awesome article Emma. Wish I could have been there with you, and really pleased you had such a positive experience.

    Like

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