One of the architects of the last Labour governmen

first_imgOne of the architects of the last Labour government’s “life chances” strategy has described how “broken promises” by successive governments have shattered disabled people’s hopes of a genuine right to independent living. Dr JennyMorris, who led the independent living section of Labour’s Improving the Life Chances ofDisabled People strategy, said its publication in 2005 had been a “moment of hope”.But shedescribed how that sense of optimism “seemed to disappear almost overnight”,following the financial crisis of 2007-08 and the 2010 election, which led to aTory-led coalition government.She saidthat she and others working on Life Chances had made a “fatal error” by notstressing the need for a nationally-funded independent living system “based onthe principle of entitlement”, and had not paid enough attention to the growingfocus within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on “getting people offbenefits”.Morris wasdelivering the first Lorraine Gradwell MemorialLecture, in memoryof one of the key figures in the disabled people’s movement, who died in September 2017. It is hoped the lecture will becomean annual event.She wasunable to attend in person but a film of her delivering the lecture – whichMorris called Broken Promises: Looking Backon “Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People” – was shown inManchester on Friday (8 March), followed by a question and answer session.Two disabledpeople’s organisations (DPOs) that Gradwell founded or co-founded, Breakthrough UK and Greater Manchester Coalition ofDisabled People, helpedorganise the lecture.Morrisdescribed how DWP’s emphasis on cutting the number of benefit claimants hadbeen demonstrated by the employment chapter in the 2005 Life Chances report,which spoke of work being “a component of good health” and emphasised the“beneficial health effects of work”.In the sameyear, DWP released research that would form the basis of the work capabilityassessment (WCA), which she said focused on “getting people off benefits”,“scrutinising whether people are ‘fit for work’” and “people’s supposedattitudes and motivations”, instead of workplace barriers and equalopportunities for work. Worse than that,she said, was “the denial of people’s own experiences of illness and/orimpairment”.In the lastdecade, the greatest challenges to the WCA and the introduction of personalindependence payment, she said, had often come from people with chronic illness,such as members of the Spartacus network, and, more recently, the Chronic Illness Inclusion Project.Morris saidthat she and others working on the Life Chances report had made a “fatal error”in their proposals by failing to recognise that the Independent Living Fund“had more potential to deliver a right to independent living than any reform tolocal authority social care”.  Althoughthey had “floated the idea” that independent living should be funded nationallyand “taken away from local authorities”, they did not challenge thegovernment’s insistence that this would undermine local accountability.Instead, theIndependent Living Fund was closed by the coalition government, and the“self-determination” promised by the introduction of personal budgets hadmostly “failed to materialise”.The currentsocial care system, said Morris, was incapable of delivering the right toindependent living set out in article 19 of the UN Convention onthe Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  What wasneeded, she said, as proposed by the Reclaiming OurFutures Alliance, was“a national independent living service, funded from general taxation, free atthe point of delivery, and delivered locally in co-production with disabledpeople”.She alsowarned of the failure to realise one of the key proposals of Life Chances, for thereto be a national network of user-led disabled people’s organisations (DPOs),modelled on centres for independent living.This, shesaid, “was never fully realised” and since 2010 many local DPOs had had theirfunding cut and had “found it increasingly difficult to hold onto existingcontracts to provide direct payments support services”. She added: “Suchlocal organisations are a vital part of any nationally-funded independentliving service.”And she said: “It’s at the local level and amongst disabled people ourselves that we will develop innovative ways to enable people to live ordinary lives.”Picture: Some of the audience in Manchester after the lecture, with a picture of Lorraine GradwellA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

CHAIRMAN Eamonn McManus talked about a very speci

first_imgCHAIRMAN Eamonn McManus talked about a “very special” season in the Manchester Evening News this week.Here is an article that appeared on Wednesday:It’s been an unbelievable season for Saints – what’s been your highlight?Very perversely, and at the time very privately, coming out of the players’ changing room after we had been beaten 17-16 by Huddersfield in our final league game absolutely confident that we would win the Grand Final four weeks later.The players had shown a level of commitment higher in that game than any throughout the season. We were clearly adapting to Nathan’s selection and tactical adjustments to reflect the losses of our key players in key positions.I could feel that players knew so in the changing room and I knew that something very special was about to unfold. It did in the following month.Four weeks after leaving the changing rooms in Huddersfield, I was on the pitch at Old Trafford facing a sea of ecstatic Saints’ fans in the Stretford End, where I had watched United all my life: it was a twilight zone experience. I was happy and relaxed.What’s encouraged you most about the season and the way Saints have performed? Not using or accepting excuses. The players did not talk about injuries, adversity or luck. They talked about challenges, adaptation, improvement and an iron will to win. There was not one iota of self-doubt for one second. Totally professional.Who’s been your most improved player? Luke Thompson. He is barely 19 and has had only a handful of first team appearances. I felt that he was the best forward on the field at Old Trafford in what was necessarily going to be a forwards’ oriented game plan for us. It was a desperate and uncompromising contest and he shone. Well done indeed Luke.After the horrific assault in the Grand Final does rugby league need to do more to cut out thuggery?These matters have to be dealt with by the appropriate body within the game and it has so been. Whilst serving his ban it is critical that Ben is now provided all due personal and professional support. His rehabilitation is now paramount.During the period of his ban he will, in reality, be no more than a 26-year-old boy who will be extremely vulnerable emotionally. We must assist him in any way that we can and accept him back into the sport. There is a person behind the player, and I am reliably informed by all that it is a good one. He must know that from all. Lance Hohaia certainly feels that way towards him also.The sport of rugby league should not be judged by this event, but by how it deals with it. This matter gives the sport of rugby league the opportunity to positively differentiate itself yet again by dealing with a high profile problem in an efficient, transparent, pragmatic and effective manner. I am confident that it will.What other steps could be taken to improve Super League?The new league structure, with a significantly improved funding base, will materially improve Super League next year. All clubs will be able to spend full salary cap without financial risk. It will be a highly competitive league every week and will produce a strong commercial platform upon which the game will readily and rapidly build.The new World Club Series to be held in February is a marvellous initiative which will appeal to the national sporting public and not just rugby league fans.We will play Russell Crowe’s South Sydney Rabbitohs at Langtree Park on February 22 as the Series’ highlight and also to determine who is the best rugby league club in the world. What we do in life echoes in eternity: strength, honour, shadows and dust indeed. I simply can’t wait.You must have been gutted to hear that your coach Nathan Brown wanted to return to Australia – what news on his replacement?Nathan had laid a strong foundation for the future as well as leaving behind a champion team. But, excitingly, it is a team that is capable of further improvement and achievement. The ethos and culture of the club has been the same throughout the history of Super League and so coaching changes can be made and absorbed very readily. A new coach will be appointed and announced before pre-season training starts. I have never been more excited about our future and that of the game.Why has he gone back? Entirely for family reasons. He has four young children and their grandparents in Australia are getting no younger. We wish Nathan, Tanya and the brood god’s speed and a happy and contented life for all in Australia.How hard will it be to replace him?We have the Club, we have the team, and we will shortly have the coach.Given Saints won most of the silverware this year are you surprised that not one of your players has made it into the England squad for the forthcoming Four Nations tournament in Australia and New Zealand?James Roby, who is one of the best players in the world, couldn’t go as he needs minor clean up surgery. After that, the only omission that perplexed me was that of Tommy Makinson. He’s had a great season and he was my man-of-the-match for the Grand Final. Thereafter we have a very young team and a few are close to, but probably a season or two away from, regular international representation. It will come.What are your hopes for next season? Merely to stay grounded and continue to improve. We will need to: Super League 2015 will be tougher and consistently more competitive.What is your favourite nickname among your players?Paul Clough is known as “the Owl “. It is not due to him being a font of wisdom. He actually is a dead ringer for an Owl when he stares at you. It is deeply disturbing.What do you want to say about the fans who were so magnificent at the Grand Final and throughout the season?Magnificent all season when their emotions and nerves have been tested to the limit. The Club had an almost spiritual feeling to it in the week before the Grand Final. I have never known the town and the fans to be so firmly behind the Club and the team. It provided a huge and serene emotional drive which became embedded in the players’ psyche.They were a magnificent advert for our Town, our club, our sport and our values. Thank you.last_img read more

DAY 17 Part One – As well as the games training

first_imgDAY 17 (Part One) – As well as the games, training and activities throughout the past three weeks, the 2015 Academy tour of Australia has given all of the staff an opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues from years gone by, writes Ian Talbot.Former Saints coaches, Daniel Anderson, Royce Simmons, Mick Potter and Nathan Brown have all made time to come along and meet up with the tour party, chat and reminisce about good times gone by.One member of staff in particular who has more memories than most is club stalwart and record appearance holder Eric Chisnall.Eric is no stranger to Australia, having been on all six of the academy tours to date, acting as an assistant coach and mentor to the lads.This goes with his impressive playing CV, representing all St Helens, England and Great Britain on these shores.Eric got the opportunity to meet up with former Saints teammates Cliff Watson and Dave Eckersley but more importantly, and impressively, he got to sit in the same seat at the Sydney Cricket Ground that he has done several times before.Eric has played in the world renowned stadium on four occasions; two test matches for Great Britain in 1974, a World Cup game for England in 1975 and the 1976 world club championship match for St Helens against Eastern Suburbs, now known as Sydney Roosters.The lads, and the rest of the staff, always enjoy chatting with Eric, listening to stories of his experiences and about how the game was played in his day.One thing is for sure, that every person that has ever been on one of the academy tours has the utmost respect for Eric and his achievements, and having the privileged opportunity to listen, first hand, to some stories about the heritage of our game really enhances what already is a once in a lifetime experience.last_img read more

Watch Muscat must choose to protect Life or protect votes – Delia

first_imgPoverty, abortion and the PL threat to job security were the main these which Partit Nazzjonalista leader Adrian Delia discussed at Rabat in the daily round of political activities leading up to the MEP and the local Council Elections. Delia said that government does not believe in subsidiarity because it wants to concentrate control of everything in few hands.Protection of life is paramountDelia said that the child in the womb, however tiny, is for the PN a life not a number of cells. Life starts at conception and deserves the highest protection affirmed Delia. This is where one shows where the heart lies, said Delia, whether it lies in the protection of life as it does for the PN or in the protection of a vote as the PL sees it. Delia accused Muscat of blatant vote-shopping. He said that the heart needs to beat also for those who seek to make ends meet on a meager salary or a pittance of a pension.Delia said that the central government needs to be well organised so that the very valid work carried out by the local councils is not wasted by government. He said that the present government never believed in local government or in subsidiarity since the Partit Laburista wants the hegemonic rule of the few and not the democratic participation of the many. Delia said that the local councils have been undermined by a long period of lack of elections and the removal by government of hamlets from the revised legislation.Losing the handle on taxes threatens jobsTransferring the same logic to the EP elections, Delia said that Prime Minister Muscat does not believe in the EU and in the abilities of the Maltese to contribute to this institution. He said that the Socialist group in the EP wants taxation to be decided in Europe  and this was agreed to by the Partit Laburista. Delia said that this may threaten 27,000 jobs.Concluding, Delia said that in the span of time Muscat has been in government, he did not construct a single housing unit. “That is Labour for you”, he said “the party who purportedly fights for the poor, has left them to their own devices” concluded Delia.WhatsApp <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a> SharePrintlast_img read more