It has been a while since my last blog post. So what have I been up to? After the independence vote there was two weeks of parliament and then another recess which I took off. Here I got a chance to meet the new interns starting, which was really exciting.
There have been a few things of note since my last blog. One thing was me publishing a motion for World Cerebral Palsy Day which is obviously something very close to me; it received cross party support and can be viewed here:
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx?SearchType=Simple&Keyword=world cerebral palsy day&ExactPhrase=True&DateChoice=0&SortBy=DateSubmitted&ResultsPerPage=10
I also have been busy collecting the information from the Freedom of Information requests which I sent to every Scottish Local Authority concerning the care tax, we received interesting date but I can’t share it.
On the back of this I researched and wrote a brief for Rhoda for a speech she was delivering on the debate about welfare benefits for people living with disabilities. It was funny hearing what I had written being used in the parliamentary chamber. I was really busy that day but I did go into the chamber and sit to hear Rhoda speak. I must admit it was a moment I will always remember. I hope my contribution will make a difference to the disabled community.
I also have been attending receptions in the evenings; the last one was Specialised Healthcare Alliance hosted by Annabel Goldie. The Alliance is a coalition of over 100 patient-related organisations, supported by 14 corporate members, which campaigns on behalf of people with rare and complex diseases – a very worthwhile cause. Alex Neil the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing spoke at it and I was introduced to several MSP’s – and the wine wasn’t bad!
You may be aware about the story in England when the mother refused to move her sleeping baby in a pushchair for a wheelchair user that came onto a bus.
I got really offended with some of the comments –
‘But Claire Muller, a mother who recently had to get off the bus for a wheelchair user, feels as entitled to that space as a wheelchair user. She says that people could end up resenting disabled people. “At the moment you’re firstly hoping there’s not another pushchair on there, and then at every stop you’re hoping there’s not a wheelchair user,” she says. “It shouldn’t be the case, but it is.”’
I know the majority of people are appalled at this attitude. I’m a regular bus user and I do get annoyed at some people’s attitudes towards to the disabled seats. I know the bus service in Edinburgh is amazing, both for wheelchairs and pram allocation.
I however feel that there needs to be better education on why there are disabled seats and why they are located at the front. On additional note, one pet hate I have is being asked to let someone out when the bus is moving due to my balance.
I put forward a suggestion to Rhoda about me putting on a campaign to get bus services collectively have set regulations in terms of how allowing disabled people to access their services with equality. I have been given the green light to run with this. This is something that I feel that would be really beneficial to all in society.
My internship is an honour and it could be said that I am seen as an advocate for the disabled community, I feel I have an obligation to help them to build our place in society more equal. I carried detailed research in the welfare cuts for the debate and I felt grave sadness and guilt (as being a member of society) hearing when people were waiting to be reassessed for months for the new PIP without any money coming in. I know what’s it like to be vulnerable and being absolutely desperate to find a job. I hated the way I felt about my disability and my ability in the work force, I really want to harness that feeling and make a difference in society and I truly think this internship is in a step in the right direction.