How do you see your role as the Disabled Rep on the NEC?
Educational resources are key to spreading awareness for those not impacted by disability. Working with employers, services, and charities will also be necessary to make available these resources, and to influence policymaking.
I will argue for developing our Labour network of Disability Equality trainers and the key components of that training. I will campaign for all branch and constituency officers, MPs, Councillors, NEC members and prospective Councillors and MPs to undertake disability equality training on a mandatory basis. This training to include intersection with other equality issues.
During the election, I regularly spoke to constituents about the problems disabled members of society face and they were very shocked at the lack of funding for services, cuts to mental health services, cuts to public transport, lack of disability friendly transport. The thing about disability, is, that it can happen to anyone at anytime and this is the way I direct my conversation. Since lock down, the mental health of many of the general public has deteriorated, so people are much more aware of the impact that depression has on a persons ability to live, function and how hard it really is to get up each day. I have given talks to teachers, social workers, foster carers and police about the barriers my own children have faced, what I have done to fight for basic education and access to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. My own son was illegally expelled from a mainstream primary school at 6 years old, after diagnosis of autism and adhd and a statement of special educational needs. The same day, he attempted to hang himself using his school sports bag on his cabin bed, I walked into his bedroom just in time.
I have advocated for my children and many others for a long time, because I want/have to make positive change, we and our children deserve to be included and welcomed for who we are and I guarantee, I will gain the interest and support, my passion is infectious. “
I am a comms professional and will use those skills.
Mr George Lindars-Hammond
I think there are two sides to this. Firstly, I think most members want to do the right thing by Disabled members but need help to understand the changes that need to be made to change things. Secondly, I strongly believe that on policy, the society
John James Doherty
I would make myself available to all able bodied members through Social Media, E-mail, Phone and Post at any time and keep them up to date on any issues concerning disability within the Labour Party and also provide them with any information they may require.
Disability effects the whole of society, it is society that needs educating on the issues effecting them, & how in society disability has to work for all. I believe that as a party we should be front, rear, & centre in bringing information out into the whole of society
We know that one in four people have a disability, and that the majority of those were not born with a disability, but ‘become’ disabled. We are all just one day, ageing, an accident, and illness, away from being disabled. Access isn’t just for disabled people, it is for carers, parents, the elderly, people who work unsociable hours, and is there when you break your leg. I am more than confident in my ability to persuade and articulate the many benefits of inclusivity to all, and if all else fails I have no qualms reminding people of their legal obligations.
I’d want to show and campaign all members to understand all about disabilities
A lot of people who are not impacted by disability often do not grasp the concept that disabled people want to live exactly the same sort of life they do. Without realising it they have in their head a watered down version of equality for disabled people. Therefore I envisage there would be occasions when I may have to metaphorically shout long and hard to get peoples’ attention and to also forcibly maintain that equality means equality
However I also believe that people join the Labour Party because they want to create a fair and just society for all and they believe that solidarity is crucial to this.
Therefore I believe that once they do listen and if they are made aware, through training sessions and having guest speakers at CLP meetings of the struggles faced by disabled people, they will start to be interested in and supportive of those people who are personally impacted by disability.
Also it should be pointed out to non disabled people that anyone can become impacted by disability through accident, illness or old age.
For people that do not have a disability, and for this reason are less aware of people’s ability to access things, it would be my personal responsibility to speak to those in charge of any Labour Party activities/ events to make sure they are accessible to all. This also relies a large amount on education for people less informed about the impact of specific inpariments. Therefore I believe training should be available for any member of a CLP EXC that wishes to learn how to improve their local factilites
The NEC has 38, and soon will have 39 voting members, many of whom will not have a solid understanding of the social model of disability or how we can make our Party more accessible and inclusive for disabled people.
I understand that making practical change will require working with many of these individuals, including many non-disabled members, and I intend to approach this with cautious optimism. Labour is a democratic socialist party, after all, that seeks to promote equality in wider society. I would aim to build good personal relationships with colleagues on the NEC regardless of their backgrounds or standing, as I want them to listen to me when I speak for disabled members.
However I also understand that Labour has failed disabled people for far too long, and, for example, we’ve only seen long-awaited changes recently to how meetings can be conducted because the pandemic has had an impact on non-disabled people. I’m ready to use my voice constructively in NEC meetings – but also am willing to speak in public forums if that is what is needed to convince fellow representatives. I have experience in winning change for disabled people by using my voice and I’m confident I can deliver results.
If I come up against opposition when advocating for the calls from disabled members and the wider disabled people’s movement, I won’t be afraid to be robust, and if necessary speak out publicly to mobilise the support of disabled activists and show the Party our strength of feeling. Throughout my campaign, I will be bringing disabled people together to talk about the issues that affect us and build a strong movement of people behind me – whether they’re from Worthing or Walsall. I will call on this movement to influence their local representatives and politicians if needed.
I know and understand the desire for change among disabled members, and if I’m elected want to take the disabled people’s movement with me. It’s only by working together we can achieve the change we need.