It is time to talk about the UN and Disability

A lot has been made about United Nation’s Committee of the rights on right of people with disabilities report on whether the UK had made grave systematic failings under the UN’s Convention with the same name. The headline is that the UN has called the Tory government and its welfare reforms a ‘human catastrophe’, which has been used by Labour and others to attack the government, but very little is understood about it. Here is what I know about it.

The investigation was initiated some years ago by Disabled People Against Cuts, a far left civil disobedience organisation that has made its mission to make the welfare reforms as toxic as possible, and it has actually been very successful in doing this, causing maximum distress and even suicides.

The investigation was supported in have been in secret, as a good CIA approach of justice and rights, but it got leaked to the media and the witch hunt began. There was no public call for evidence and any meetings with UK disabled people were carefully organised by the far left organisations involved. What is most shocking is that despite claims that 1000s of pages of evidence were considered, the slim report had no evidence attached to it.

The report could best be described as a peer review and despite the claims, it has no teeth or meaning in the real world. As opposed to any comparison to other countries, and noting it was the first report of its kind, it seemed to be comparing the UK to theoretical concepts and goals. Can any country ever claim to be fully accessible in the way we can ever end misery as these are relative concepts?

I could have told you what the report was going to say before it was even written and it was always going to attack the government based on far left ideology. Ignoring what the government is achieving for people with impairments, the report was heavily focused on social security issues and as assumption everything far left activists say is true.

What is most worrying is the report is as outraged as the left generally that not enough people are being found unfit for work and excluded from the workplace, and questioning if people should even be assessed as ‘we know they are pointless’. While the report did make the mandatory moan about the employment gap, the chair of the committee showed the UN’s true colours when she was caught on tape saying this was a pretence they have to claim, when she also compared the attitude on believing people with impairments can work with eugenics, confirming the left’s use of the benefit scrounger rhetoric to make employment toxic. The report also used a new human rights model of disability, where self-defined identity is regarded as a gateway to welfare and other solutions, as opposed to actual need.

While the government has tried to respond to the UN report, it has ignored it mostly, and attacking the report will probably increase the death threats it staff receives from those promised a something for nothing in the culture of the left. But the report is one of those things the activists of the Tory party has to start to challenge in order to protect the idea everyone has human potential, and no one should be thrown on the scrapheap in the name of human rights.

The Battle for Disability


When I talk about the negative attitudes of left wing activists towards the idea that all people with impairments have the ability to make a meaningful contribution to society in terms of some form of paid employment in the long term, I am often asked to wonder if it is an attitude across the whole spectrum of politics. My response is while the Tories are far from perfect, Labour has certainly successfully hijacked the moral highground on the issue of disability and used it for their own socialism agenda.

The problem with this is that their real understanding of disability issues is at an all time low point, as it probably is with most things. I would agree that New Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had a comprehensive understanding of disability issues based on the views of many different sections of the disability community. Nowadays, Labour is solely interested in the desires of the sick movement, creating a negative medical model agenda.

The sick movement is based on the viewpoint of people who are in the angry stage of adjusting to their new state as people with manageable impairments. They may be functionally ready to return to some kind of paid employment, which may be different to what they were doing previously, but they are emotionally not ready to accept their new state of being. This means their anger is directed at the government and benefit assessors who tell them the truth they are not ready to her.

Putting the sick movement in charge of Labour’s disability policy is like making new victims of crime court judges, a very dangerous idea as everyone else’s rational viewpoint will be ignored in preference to decisions based on anger and bitter emotion. Because no one else understands what is going on, as I remain an isolated viewpoint, the sick movement’s medical model understanding of human rights and ‘social barriers’, as a corrupted version of the social model, as seeped into the general lexicon of disability political correctness.

This is why the United Nations and the Equality and Human Rights Commission has been so happy to demonise the meaningful inclusion of people with impairments, particularly in terms of paid employment, because it contridicts of welfare based agenda of the sick movement which regards having an impairment as no longer being to contribute to the workforce from a marist perspective. The United Nation has recently confirmed this demonising by accusing anyone who believes people with impairments have a place in the workforce and not on Labour’s ‘valued’ scrapheap is calling people with impairments ‘parasites’. The benefit scrounger rhetoric has infact been a product of the sick movement itself to demonise any efforts to support them into employment.

There is a battle for disability, between the dark evil of Labour’s medical model welfare agenda and the Tory’s bright good social model support for meaningful inclusion. While the Tories have in reality the moral highground in hindsight in standing up for disabled people, they are very bad at defending us from the endless and hostile attacks from left wing activists, allowing inclusion to be further demonised as human rights is used to argue for our continued oppression. When the United Nations is demanding the mass exclusion of disabled people in the name of rights as social security as inferior beings is all we can expect, you know that things have become slightly fucked.

I do have my silent supporters in this battle and they are growing as Corbyn is open about his hatred of reality and disabled people’s inclusion. It is still however many years before this battle against catastrophe of hate is understood by history as the world enters generally the most dangerous era of political beliefs since World War Two.


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Overcoming my speech impairment


Out of all my impairment related difficulties I have, my most challenging is my speech impairment. This is something I have needed to overcome all my life. I believe I have been extremely successful in how I manage my impairment although it has remained a key component in my impairment identity and something I had to embrace with pride.

On a practical level, the easiest way of overcoming my speech impairment is simply not talking. The improvements in technology over the years has made the need to talk much less with emails, texting, instant messaging and so on. I now only use of phone as a last resort when other methods are unavailable and only with the assistance of my personal assistant.

When I do need to talk, I prefer to speak unaided as most people can understand most of what I say if they are willing to try, which is sadly sometimes not the case. When this option is not working, the next solution is to use my personal assistant to translate what I am saying as I am saying it. I now do this at most of my meetings, especially my important ones, so I am sure I am heard and I can say more as opposed to sticking with terms I believe people will understand better, which can make me appear blunt.

My final option as a last resort, or in very noisy environments, is using a special app on my iPad as a communication aid. The aim of this solution is to support my speech and help listeners who are having issues understanding specific words or phrases. I am not amused when people do not bother to try to listen to me when they know I have my iPad as a communication aid, and I will not simply play ball as I demand they at least try to listen to me.

In understanding the limits of the social model, I acknowledge that with all the things society and I can do to limit the effects of my speech impairment, it is still a part of my identity and people who I meet face to face will have a psycho-social response to it. My speech, along with my jerky movements, still puts me in the realms of being a freak, where many other impairments have now been accepted into the social norm.

Being a freak is not a criticism but an observation, and a status that comes with the power of fear and embarrassment. People do not often know what to do when they meet me and that gives me the opportunity to guide the interaction. They often have no previous social norms in meeting someone like myself, and so in their confusion, I can dictate the norms I want to be used. It is a power that few people understand or able to consciously utilise.

The disadvantage of the appearance that my speech impairment provides is that many people assume that I have a learning difficulty to some degree. This can be very frustrated from me, especially as I know I am often the superior intelligent being in the relationship as a matter of fact, although I hope I do not come across as arrogant, I believe I am no more or no less equal than anyone else. When someone has made their mind up you have a learning difficulties, the only way to prove your intelligence is sarcasm as anyone can be programmed to say a list of achievements where making people laugh spontaneously requires great skill.

I would never wish my speech impairment away as I have built my whole personality and skills set around it, when you are very different, you have to play the game differently to succeed to shine my strengths and turn my weaknesses into what makes me strong. I believe I have embraced my speech impairment and turned it into an advantage.

A fire hazard in Budapest

I have just come back from a nice if not cold break from Budapest, staying with a very close friend I had not seen for a few years. One night I asked if we could go out somewhere and she thought of the nightclub attached to the Full Moon hostel, a new generation of party hostels allowing guests to party all nighg and sleep all day.

So with my volunteer, her and her boyfriend, and myself, we walked the 5 minutes to the club. I was in my newly acquired Quantum electric wheelchalr. On approaching the enterance to the club, we were confronted with the usual security type staff this sort of place has, and this is where the fun and games began.

I find it interesting  that it does not matter what language it is in, even when I do not understand a word being said, I can quickly understand when I am being talked about and when it is not good news. My friend had the ‘conversation’ with the security staff, the gist of which was from what I could tell was I was being refused entry as a wheelchair user because I was a fire hazard!

My friend is an experienced coporate lawyer and I was proud to say that due to past experiences she had with myself many years ago and other dysabled friends, she was not going to let this one lie. I calmly waited, refusing to get mad at that point, as she commenced battle. She demanded to inspect the club to check its accessibility, to discover to her further annoyance that for the most part, the club was fully wheelchair accessible, the best she had seen!

Armed with this piece of information, she swiftly verbally disarmed the security staff who sheepishly now let us in. I then find it slightly insulting that after this awkwardness, we still had to pay at the door, and it was not the right place to ask for a ‘carer’s discount’. After this difficult start, we had a great time and I was proud that at almost 42, I can still occasionally really enjoy the youthfulness of an nightclub.

So why was this incident worth writing about? Surely this is  commonplace in a less developed country like Hungary? Well, while we enjoy an almost unparalleled level of accessibility in many parts of the UK (to the point I am embarrassed when some activists complain about it), Hungary is a highly developed country as a member of the European Union. While Hungary may be slower at implementing accessibility, like most Western democracies, the moral arguement for accessibility has been won.

Activism has to tackle the small things as well as the large ones. My tools includes writing aricles and so as soon as the incident happened, I was starting to write this article in my head. You can call it awareness raising, revenge, an attempt to embarrassed the hostel, or simply a coping mechanism to offload the unconscious hurt an incident like this can cause. I always hope sharing my experiences will help others to take a similar stand when they face discrimination themselves.

Information is power and now the power to share information is in the hands of the masses, so lets use it to expose the everyday difficulties we face, like the discrimination I faced at this nightclub.

I want Dysability Action, not Disability Rights

Everyone seems to talk about ‘Disability Rights’ these days but what does this mean? Have the notion of rights for dysabled people been corrupted to mean whatever people want at that time, and even an excuse for inaction?  Has ‘Its my right’ become a political weapon for those who feel life owes them because they have one or more impairments? I want more, I want Dysability Action, I want people to play their part in making a real difference to their lives and the lives of others.

I am not against rights, they are the skeleton of a civilised society, but they do not help you on a Sunday morning where everything is going wrong, and all the ‘rights-based’ services paid to help you are closed until Monday morning at the earliest! We need rights in place to stop us going backwards to a time where many dysabled people had no place in society, but they are not about  delivering real advancements in the life opportunities and experiences of individuals.

The state can only ever support people to a point and often the quality of our opportunities and experiences do not relate to money once the basics are in place. You can provide any individual with all the resources available to them, as a right or as a norm, but the state can not directly control how they will use those resources.

The same resources, provided to individuals on the same terms, as political correct as you would like, can be used to keep someone institutionalised by their own beliefs or liberated to make a meaningful contribution to society. The inner thing that makes the difference between these different scenarios is something I been trying to understand all my life.

I know I have the thing that provides me with the determination to use the resources around me to ensure my liberation and participation in society, although I can not explain what it is and why I have it. I know when it is missing in others, many others, and I want to be able to give them this thing so they can liberate themselves.

I can not do this alone and I need others in society to recognise it is now time for action. Rights have got us to this point in time, but the next stage in the liberation of all dysabled people requires a focus on action. Individuals have to know themselves, like themselves, love themselves, believe in themselves and trust themselves, but how many individuals can say they have really achieved this, dysabled or not?

Dysability Action will require a completely new form of activism focused on the greater good of everyone, and not the political dog-fighting of recent years. The negetive ‘dog-whistle’ implications that dysabled people lack the deep rooted ability to be equal members of society, which has peppered all sections of media  for decades, has to be recognised, challenged and slowly reformed.

The biggest threat to many disabled people is not austerity or cuts, or violations of their huma rights, but their own lack of confidence or skills to move themselves forward in their own personal journey and contribution to society. All these charities, organisations, public services and individual activists who claim they ‘care’ about dysabled people should be focusing their effiorts, and their often huge funding, om supporting dysabled people in gaining skills and confidence, as oppose to endless research on what the government is doing wrong, which helps nobody but themselves.

Dysability Action has to be the way forward and it needs to start now in 2016. Sadly, I fear too few people will be able to put away the rights agenda, which often suits their own agenda, and commit to really helping dysabled people to become liberated as contributing members of society.

Puting the y in Dysability

The terms used to describe dysabled people have radically changed over the last 200 years as many terms are corrupted, with many terms ending up being now used as derogatory insults.

The term disability replaced handicapped as the main term in the early 1980s, and it has lasted well, where Disabled people is a wholly accepted term. But over the last 5 years, I feel the term has lost its meaning and now used too widely to described too many people.

This corruption has been entirely political, ‘being disabled’ is now instantly linked with welfare, poverty and cuts by the media’s endless onslaught. The lines between illness, sickness, impairment and disability has been blurred so much that a touch of stress means you can refer to yourself and be referred to as a disabled person, with few people even blinking!

Disability means a lack of ability and many newcomers to impairment equate that to ‘I can’t’. ‘But I am disabled’ is now a brick wall people can put it to excuse their unwillingness to even try to do anything they do not wish to do. Political correctness has turned any attempt to challenge people’s notions of their ability into a breach of their human rights, or even a hate crime.

A few months ago I decided I had to move myself away from this madness and use a new term. Many terms like ‘differently able’ and ‘physically challenged’ have come and gone, mainly because they tried to ignore the issues. I have chosen Dysability, a term I briefly used in the 1990s. Back then, I was younger, inexperienced and lacked authority, so I dropped it. I have now revived it with a greater understanding of what it means.

Dysability basically means a difficulty in ability, and I believe this is more in line with the social model. Impairments are the biological differences we have that are mostly perceived to negatively affect our function. We have difficulties in being fully contributing citizens because of the way society is constructed in terms of the built environment, attitudes, and so far not fully understood, how we do things.

The thing with difficulties is they can normally be overcome in one way or another through changes, adaptations and/or support. Therefore the term Dysability is not only a new term to describe people, but a new positive but realistic term for people to define themselves, as capable people with difficulties. I believe this different mindset compared to that of disability will have major consequences to how people see their relationship with society, from victim to interdependent partner.

I am not going to make this into a campaign. I am using this term as I know what it means. If others want to embrace the term, that is great, I only want people to use the term if they understand what it means to them. We will then have to watch this space to see if and how the usage of the term will grow.

– If you like what I say, have a look at my website at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74

The forgotten history of the Disability Discrimination Act

As people celebrate 20 years since the Disability Discrimination Act was enacted, it is worth briefly reminding ourselves that it was not the act anyone campaigned for or wanted. Instead, it was a compromised act proposed by the then Conservative government to divide the disability movement and to stop a more substantial Disability Rights private members bill from being passed. I know because I was there, a fresh 21 year cp campaigner with a lot to learn.

To understand what really happened, it is important to understand there were a large succession of private members’ bills over the years before 1995 focused on Disability Rights. The last two of these were the Roger Berry bill, and the Harry Barnes. Harry had particularly added a cause in his bill to make polling stations accessible, something we still do not have.

The Harry Barnes bill was actually going through parliament at the same time as the Disability Discrimination Act, making life exciting and confusion. All the lobbying by  dysabled people and organisations were focused on the private members bill, not the Disability Discrimination Act. I attended some of the lobbies at parliament, where fresh face Tony Blair was a speaker, although I never got involved in changing myself to buses.

The original act was flimsy and complex to explain with many loopholes. When Labour came to power in 1997, they set up the Disability Rights Taskforce, which saw many amendments to the act including the formation of the Disability Rights Commission, who used a picture of myself on their first leaflet, unfortunately without my permission! Today, the act is now a part of the Equality Act, monitored by the Human Rights and Equality Commission. 

Things have changed a lot in the last 20 years in terms of environmental accessibility and attitudes towards dysabled people, but we are still a long way from the true and meaningfil inclusion of all dysabled people. For myself, I feel disability organisations have wasted the opportunities the last 20 years have provided and that the last 5 years have shown how hollow their belief system is as they have quickly reverted back to a medical model welfare agenda.

Dysability and Disability is more complex than it has ever been in the UK, where the next step in our liberation is not about making laws, but learning to help ourselves and push our own boundaries as well as those of others.

– If you like what I say, have a look at my website at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74

Why is the United Nations working with Disabled Terrorists?

As it is now generally known, the United Nations are investigating the UK for violations of the ‘rights’ of dysabled people. This is upon the request of ‘Disabled people against cuts (DPAC)’, who as far as I can see have complained about everything you could possibility complain about in the home something may stick.

It is very important to understand that the investigation has been done in secret and as far as I am aware only DPAC and left-wing ‘disabled’ activists who oppose the full inclusion of dysabled people are being interviewed, as there has not been any public call for evidence.

It is important to also understand DPAC are terrorists who have stormed parliament to harm MPs, are linked to death threats against ATOS staff, and have probably caused suicides by their pro-eugenics exclusion agenda. This would be no different than the UN taking the word of the IRA over the people of Northern Ireland.

Their complaint is entirely welfare led, framing dysabled people, or anyone who wants to be dysabled, as naturally unproductive burdens who must be paid whatever they want to sit at home doing nothing in the name of compassion and fairness until Labour can legalise their murder, as already attempted.

Inclusive London, another left wing organisation fighting to exclude dysabled people while being paid to ‘represent’ us, have prepared a report of how dysabled rights have ‘regressed’. It is merely a collation of every anti-dysabled lie and conspricacy theory peddled by welfare activists over the last 5 years, who mostly think people with high support needs like myself are better off dead, simply to pay for benefit fraud if nothing else. This was highlighted when the report stated that a national benefits fraud hotline was a breach of ‘disabled people’s’ human rights because it caused ‘stress’. Again, no one interested in the quality of our live experiences and opportunities, just money, money, money and money.

Last week, a vocal exclusion activist Jenny Morris summed up the general myth in an article when she argued the rights of dysabled people are regressed in the last 5 years. Her basically argument is less money means less rights. It is firstly based on the idea that anyone society labelled disabled must be entitled to the same level of resources. So an alcoholic or drug addict must receive 24 hours care if they want it unchallenged, since assessments are now a hate crime.

She cites ILF as the holy grail of ‘independent living’ but ignores the increasing evidence it failed most users, enabling family abuse and causing over-dependency, which only a future generation will listen to. But we must remember she is part of the movement who celebrated a cold blooded murder, Fiona Pilkington, because she was a carer and it made money for the hate crime movement, teaching dysabled people to be disempowered victims.

The UN report, funded by trade unions and linked to terrorism, will say whatever DPAC has demanded is said, that the full and meaningful inclusion of dysabled people is against their human rights and they must be paid a lot of money to sit at home doing nothing as it is ‘wicked’ to make them work, even if anyone believes they could. 

It is a report written by bigots for bigots and shows the real state of dysabled politics, where Jenny Morris et al demand our rights to exist are removed because it is our right not to exist. The way forward is now for a new grass roots movement to form from dysabled people who want real inclusion through meaningful debate without being controlled by anti-inclusion socialists. Sadly, while DPAC, Jenny et all have the power to exclude us, this will take many years to happen. 

The future is not about label-based money but the attitudes of dysabled people themselves and how they are supported on an individual level to grab the opportunities they have.

– If you like what I say, have a look at my website at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74

Is ‘User Involvement’ used to keep people disempowered?

I have been involved in User Involvement in one way or another for the last 20 years and it is important to say I am not against the principle at all. However, a few weeks ago I briefly saw a photo of a slide of a title of a paper presented somewhere by Peter Beresford, and it suddenly made me realised that the way user involvement is often implemented is a con, simply designed to keep people disempowered.

After 25 years experience in any field, I should be at the top of my game and paid accordingly, but when it comes to dysability, the being paid part is not there. If I was non-dysabled, then certainly the big fat salary would be on the table. But as a dysabled person, I am supposed to feel grateful that I have a voice in issues that affect me.

‘Service Users’ are starting to be paid for their time but getting paid as an ad-hoc contributor is time-consuming and bureaucratic, and most importantly not comparable to my non-dysabled peers. I have sat on too many committees where I have the greatest experience and expertise, but I am the only one not being paid a middle-class salary.

Is user involvement simply tokenistic? By calling us users rather than partners, it is simply a way to drain our expertise from us, often to improve their own career prospects, without paying us? And who is controlling the agenda?

I have reached the conclusion that user involvement is now simply an exercise to disempower us, by ensuring the professionals keep the control. And I fear because ‘user-led’ organisations have carved their survival by paying the user involvement game, reinforcing dysabled people as unpaid experts, they are not the way forward.

Dysabled people can no longer be perceived as the experts simply because they have impairments. I also do not believe anyone can represent ‘all dysabled people’ since it is an issue of understanding, not a democracy. We need dysabled professionals who are experts in dysability issues, and paid properly to convey relevant information to organisations who are required to know about these issues.

Lets move beyond user involvement, and start having professional engagement on dysability issues so those of us who know what we are talking about can be properly paid for our experience and expertise.


– If you like what I say, have a look at my website at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74

Dysability is an issue, not a democracy

A few weeks ago I had a twitter exchange with the Socialist Health Association, where they appeared to challenge my expertise as a dysability consultant because I did not always make it clear other dysabled people have different opinions to myself. They then went on with the usual tactic of saying how lucky I was I had a voice and other people are not as strong as me.
This annoyed me because of a number of reasons. Firstly, I have endlessly stated I do not represent anyone else and I have actually formally positioned myself as having a viewpoint that few people will admit to having. I can only say what I believe with an individual with no formal title other than my own. If I had to disclaimer everything I say because it is not what others want to hear from a dysabled person, there is something very wrong with free speech.
I am also tired of people assuming the fact I appear to have been successful in life somehow means I have had it easy! I have learnt the hard way you can not compare one person’s life experience with another’s. To experience the fame I have, I have needed to put the work in and sacrifice things like family to achieve this. I am a natural leader and I take this responsibility very seriously, especially at a time where the bigotry towards dysabled people by ‘disabled activists’ is at an all time high.
The most important point is that dysability is an issue, an academic discipline, and not a democracy. Many dysabled people over the last 50 years have carved out a level of thinking the average dysabled person will not understand. At a policy level, people like myself have to make decisions on all the information and factors. This is like the science of how supermarkets are laid out, built on many years of learning. A supermarket should not have to change its layout because one shopper disagrees with them.
It is easy to be a protestor demanding more money, cheaper goods, better pay etc without ever having to make the important decisions in the wider picture. Most dysabled are consumers, with consumer understanding of issues. I am a professional, because I have worked over 25 years in the field, trying to fit the desires of dysabled people into the bigger picture, making the difficult decisions most people do not see or understand.
It is time the Socialist Health Association and other organisations respected professionals in the dysability field, and did not see us all as amateur protestors, which has been reinforced by under paid ‘user-involvement’. It is easy to demand a better world, it is however much harder for those of us trying to deliver it.

– If you like what I say, have a look at my website at or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74