One of my tweeps** retweeted my Paralympics press release earlier today, appending a note saying “He took days to write this”.
Now that’s OK, I know exactly what Jeni meant because at some point on Twitter I’d said it myself – I had been so ill when I wrote it – Arrowe Park Hospital screwing with my life yet again – that it took me three days to write a 1,444-word blog post, then edit and correct it. Under normal circumstances, I’d have knocked that out in a little over an hour, but things were a long way from normal, as regular readers will know.
It was worth the effort, though, because it badly needed saying, and judging by the reaction to it, both in the comments and on Twitter, it had clearly needed saying exactly at that time – and another tweep, Bev, has worked her socks off retweeting it every chance she got, and every retweet brought in new readers.
At the time of writing (17:15, August 20), it’s been up 16 days, and has been read 1,205 times, been retweeted169 times, and posted to Facebook 181 times. And they’re the ones that I know about – there’s no telling how far it’s been passed around on FB for example
I’ve also emailed it to every newspaper and broadcast medium that I could last week. About 15 of them were undelivered, either because addresses had changed or because the email systems treated it as spam, so they’ll have to be resent manually if I can find addresses (I used the bulk email list I’d used in support of the TUC march last year).
And I’ve not had a single response from anyone. The Guardian, in particular, I expected some sort of reaction from as I sent it both to the society editor (disability benefits news ends up in the society section), and the news editor. I’m also dropping it into the comment section where it seems a appropriate – and this is where I need your help.
What I’d like you to do, please, is take a moment of your time, copy and paste the press release (link at the top), and email it with a link back to the original (so recipients get to see the comments), to pretty much anyone you can think of who might be influential, because once the Paralympics gets under way – probably even before that – this government is going to do its level best to ensure that the Chronically Sick and Disabled community will become pariahs.
That’s what my press release is aimed at preventing, but there’s only one of me, and I’m dying – there is a limit to what I can do.
So please, whether you’re a member of the CS&D community or not, do get behind this.
Especially, perhaps, if you’re able-bodied, because one day you, or a family member, could very easily be in the position in which we now find ourselves – none of us ever expected to be dependent upon the state for our very survival, or to have that support removed from us, as is happening to far too many people.
Hell, I was as fit as I could possibly be; fitter than most people, in fact. Up until 1984 I was an active backpacker and rambler, walking at least a thousand miles a year, sometimes a lot more. But, in the autumn of 1985 I developed agonising pain in my thigh muscles, and in less than a year I was in a wheelchair, and drawing Invalidity Benefit and Mobility Allowance, as they were then, instead of wages, and it’s been downhill ever since.
So please, get behind this and help us get the message out to as many people as possible, because if we don’t change the public’s perception of us now, our very own equivalent of Kristallnacht is surely not far away.
If disability could come out of nowhere and wreck my life, it can happen to anybody.