What are Basic rights and needs?

When I find the time, I am interested in exploring what basic rights look like in practice and how we can turn human and civil rights into a list of things people can expect as citizens of the UK in return of obeying the law and taking on the responsibilities expected on them as working if they can and maintaining their health.

It is quite a complex issue and I want to take a supposely simple example of a place to live. This firstly can not be the right to owed a place regardless of economic ability as a place to live may include living with parents, so long as its a safe environment to do so and possible on many grounds.

And what do you mean by a place to live? We would need to break that down to somewhere safe from the weather that includes a bed, a means to maintain personal hygiene, a means to prepare hot food and so on. When we live in a “rights now responsibility later” culture, we need to ensure people can not take legal action against the government for not providing them what is a lifestyle choice or a luxury of economic ability, but still protects people’s basic rights.

It could be an interesting piece of work and I will keep you posted as I develop it.
If you like what I say, have a look at my site at www.simonstevens.com or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email simon@simonstevens.com  

The right to spend money

I am not sure if many people realised the Disability Discrimination Act, a key component to the rights disabled people now have in the UK was enacted in 1995 under a Conservative government. And the civil aim of the act was to give disabled people the right to spend money and be consumers without facing less favourable treatment. As well as not be discriminated in the workplace. It was revolutionary in its time.

And for me the DDA made sense as discrimination is about being treated less favourably than most people could expect. It is a clear and simple concept which is about inclusion and equality as civil rights. 

I worry the new unclear focus on human rights is concerning since people have taken some very basic rights we all without doubt have in the UK and twisted them to argue the most petty points. It has been used by disability charities to create a ‘rights without responsibilities’ culture where disabled people feel they have the right to have things beyond their economic, academic and other ability.

We need to remind ourselves of the success of civil rights and actually use them, rather then dismiss them in this “me first” culture.
If you like what I say, have a look at my site at www.simonstevens.com or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email simon@simonstevens.com