questions to Labour Leadership candidates

July 11, 2015

Questions to ask the Labour Leadership candidates? here’s mine.
1 What policies would you support as leader which will assure disabled people that a Labour Government is best placed to promote the rights of disabled citizens in our society? 2 Why should disabled people vote Labour?
3 What will Labour do to remove the barriers that stop disabled people getting and keeping jobs? How would our right to work become a reality under your leadership?
4 What would the next Labour Government under your leadership do to create a society where good social care truly delivers the independence and inclusion of all disabled people?
5 What will the next Labour Government under your leadership do to address disability harassment, discrimination and violence?
6 what will a Labour Government under your leadership do to increase the supply of homes in all sectors built to Lifetime Home Standards?
7 What will a Labour Government do under your leadership to promote disabled people’s right to ride?
8 12 M Britons are disabled. Under your leadership what will Labour do to ensure the selection of candidates at all levels, reflects Britain today, including disabled people?

when did fairness, dignity and respect leave the room?”

July 11, 2015

Maiden speech to Haringey Full Council in the Haringey debate on Mentall health issues
Monday November 24, 2014
when did fairness, dignity and respect leave the room?”
I am honoured to address the council on this important issue. This is for my chosen sister Tina, , a lesbian mental health system survivor; who did not survive, despite her loving circle of friends.

Listen to the daily mail shouting! Fraudsters, liars, lazy parasites . Scroungers, undeserving benefit cheats. Work shy burdons on the tax payer. Just a few taunts aimed at disabled people, mental health service users and system survivors among us. I Welcome Lib Dem’s focus and commitment on mental health issue. ALL disabled people, Mental health service users and system survivors amongst us, are the biggest casualties of the austerity zealots. Mental breakdown and even suicides have resulted from cuts. Living on next to nothing is stressful to say the least. Employment Support Allowance is frightening disabled people off benefits. If claimants can’t meet their work-related activities plan, their benefits are cut. The work Capability test doesn’t measure the true barriers to employment. It also fails to measure the impact of mental health issues upon people’s lives amongst other factors.

Add this, to the torment caused by the torrent of abuse aimed at benefit recipients; and the message is shockingly clear to disabled people. they say we are too expensive; not value for money, and that we don’t deserve support.

Yet government tax plans will benefit the rich. So if you’re a banker it seems you deserve sympathy.

The government says that there’s no choice, that there’s no money and we have to take action now. We’re all in it together.

Add up: cuts In service provision, + major job cuts, + cuts in benefits, then add rising inflation, and high unemployment (green shoots not withstanding), we just don’t have a chance.

Cuts are compounded further by the fact of poverty and other barriers that face Disabled people from different communities. young Pakistani Londoner’s are twice as likely to be disabled as their Peers, reflecting the compound impact of disability discrimination, racism and poverty. In Haringey, high rates of mental ill health are compounded by racism, poverty, poor housing, joblessness and discrimination.

We have extensive equality law in the UK: But it is no protector when institutions who should be standing for us all, work only for the privilege, the establishment for the rich.

the coalition turns its back on promoting an equal society in favour of the survival of the fittest; and in which disabled people including mental health service users and survivors, are the losers. when did fairness, dignity and respect leave the room?”

Councillor Kirsten Hearn
Labour member for Sstroud Green Ward.

Lost Boys

July 11, 2015

Another blog piece found in the depths of my writing file.
Lost Boys
Friday May 22, 2015.
Walking down the road last night, I am greeted by a friend’s grandson who I know has stepped onto the path of destruction, which begins as he hangs out on the fringes of a street gang. the grandson is at the truenting, petty thieving, running away, foot soldier of older gang member kind of place. Sweet voiced and polite, he engages me in conversation, courteously and well manneredly, as his grandmother has taught him. But I know that he has been in another gangs territory, getting up to goddess-knows-what and that later tonight, he will continue, this is what his nights are like, according to his grant mother and auntie.

I am reminded of the journey taken from terrible gang violence to remorse for wrong and determination to live a life as a loving parent to his children, as described to me once,by a prisoner. Redemption, for him, brought about by his own actions, is so clearly, alive and kicking. for both young people, their parenting was less than helpful to their future. I tell the grandson about the prisoner, how after a very long prison sentence, he has built a life and a future worth celebrating, but that he will always look over his shoulder to see if the gang he bore witness against, is catching up on him. The grandson sounds impressed, but I suspect this is what he wants me to hear.

We part, amiably enough and I walk slowly home pondering on the craziness of a world in which possessions and money and the something-for-nothing culture are prized above and beyond love, nurturing and support. Is the difference between these two young men, the fact that the grandson has a loving grandmother and tough-love auntie, or is this not enough to turn him away from a path that may lead to something that will blight his life, even possibly take his life?

In the grandson’s case, the agencies attempt to intervene but he has to actively engage for it to work. In the prisoner’s case, he made a choice, then actively engaged, which is why he has stepped over the threshold into a new life.

Huge rounds of cuts in criminal justice services are on their way. I shudder at the thought of Michael Gove in charge of justice
goddess-help-us-all!

Caribbean Queen RIP

July 11, 2015

Caribbean Queen RIP
Sunday March 23, 2014:
“Returning from dinner at a friend’s, this evening, my taxi driver tells me he was a regular attendee at my upstairs neighbour’s soirees, more than 20 years ago. We fall to remembering Ian Warred, DJ, club manager and photographer, a larger than life, supremely camp pink-kaftan-wearing Jamaican gay guy, wild locks and all who died 20 years ago this month. One of many brothers in struggle lost to AIDS in the dark days before retro-viral drugs made it possible to think of life with HIV, he was my cheerful, noisy but friendly and yes protective neighbour for more than 6 years. .
Heavily into lesbian grunge at the time, I would sneak out of the house hoping Ian wasn’t looking out of the window. If he caught sight of my scruffy arse hi-tailing it down the road, he was not shy about bellowing his disapproval for the whole street to hear. It was a bit like having a gay man for a mother!
“Put some colour on, girlfriend” he would shriek as I shuffled away, clad from head to foot in black and matching black, with a bit of toning black to go with it.

Ah the days when we were young and could party all night and didn’t get fixated about what we looked like, because of course, fashion was a patriarchal plot!
RIP Ian Warred, you are still missed, 20 years on.

A gap at our baracade

July 11, 2015

Unpublished blog from 2014
A gap at our baracade
RIP Jenny Cook
Wednesday July 16, 2014
A friend said on hearing that Jenny Cook (60) has died today; “another empty space at our table”. For those of us who have at points during Jenny’s life, spent time sitting at table talking, we who consider ourselves to be family, & that family to include Jenny, today the table is thinner, emptier, quieter than before.

In a week since Jenny was rushed to hospital with a terrifying chest infection, we are in in that strange place of explaining the variety & difference that is Jenny, to a medical world a little baffled by her difference an uniqueness, but who, to a man & woman stands up to the challenge of treating her best they can, with every skill they can muster. Cancer, chemo, chest infection, a body which has not stood up well to the ravages of time & a serious of ailments, illness & health crisis after health crisis, in combination, in a parade of what must have at times felt like cruel twists of fate have assaulted her. Yet she has stood up to their attack, somehow reshaped & regrouped, worked out another way to be, found the most amazingly devoted personal assistants to help, & stayed the course, sometimes against all odds.

In recent years, she ran her life from her bed. But in my memory & in evidence of the many photos of Jenny taken by Ruth Bashall, a history of activism, of fighting back, of saying “no”, is revealed. Today as her heart stops, rallies again & stops again, we who witness her last hours of life, see in this final dance of her heart’s rhythm on the screen, a fighter, a warrior-crip-dyke, a woman who says “no” & “not in my name” & so much more.

Our Jenny lies curled on her side in that signature at rest, safe & in comfort pose, a little frown on her brow. In her stillness, I still feel the energy of her determination, for she is not lying on her back with her hands folded across her chest, all neat & prim. In death she defies convention as she did in life.

Yes, a space at our table, but also a very big gap on our barricades. Rest in peace, Jenny Cook, 1954 to 2014.

BORIS and His Night Tube Fantasies

July 11, 2015

BORIS and His Night Tube Fantasies
Saturday July 11, 2015.
It would be great to have a 24 hour tube service, but not at any price. Talking to a tube worker at Finsbury Park yesterday lunchtime, he tells me, the strike was solid, not because everyone wants more money, but because workers fear they will be forced to work nights. It is hard enough getting time to see his children, thanks to the way shifts are arranged, he says. In general, tube workers have little choice of the hours they work. One week a worker is on dead earlies, (starting at 5 am). A few days later, they get a relatively normal day time start, then a series of dead lates, (not finishing till 1 am). They may have a day or two off in-between, but often, they are working 7 days in a row. Oh and they can’t drink in the 2 days before going on duty, so no nipping down the pub with the girls of a Friday night.
Shift working with hours that switch and change is terrible for the body clock. You can’t do this all the time. The body won’t have it, especially as you age. Someone has to work most of the clock around so we can have the brilliant service we do. Adding a fourth option to the hours a worker can be asked to work, if they have little choice to do it, is asking too much.
I don’t get the impression that tube workers are against the night tube; they want it to be properly planned, with environmental, equality and service impacts fully considered before it goes ahead. There will be workers willing to do nights, but only with the right safeguards, the right amount of staff to keep the system safe so a World class service can continue to be provided on the night tube too.
The night tube is yet another damaging vanity project for Boris, like his soddin’ inaccessible Boris Bus! Ignorant of the figures on the numbers of passengers who fell off the back of the route master, Boris committed himself to the outdated, romantic ideal of an old fashioned chubby red London bus, trundling comfortably through the city. The resultant bus is barely accessible, with a squat wheelchair space and no room to squeeze oneself past a fat buggy. It has a pointless back door which can’t be used unless there is also a conductor on board.
If Boris had run the Night Tube idea past TFL and they had sat down with unions months ago, something might have been salvaged. Possibly, broaching the idea in a manner that asked staff and unions to suggest how it could be made to work might have produced innovation and cooperation. Instead, bullish industrial relation tactics are deployed, forcing the unions onto the defensive.
Of course its nonsense that in this world class city, the tube closes down at all. Providing an efficient, safe, customer and staff friendly service surely is the goal. Who else to inform thinking other than the workers who actually do the job? In some (daily Mail and Evening standard) circles, it has long been cultural to tut about the tube and its workers. But I won’t have a word said against them.
I’m visually impaired and travel alone, four days out of seven, at various times, making a range of different journeys on the system. I have had nothing but fabulous service from staff, even when they’ve been stressed. You couldn’t say that of the Paris Metro, for example, for you’d be hard press to find a member of staff at all.
Despite their shrinking numbers, the quality of London Underground staff is what makes the tube so safe. We’ve just commemorated ten years since the terrible bombings on three tube trains and a bus. Who was on the scene immediately after the bombs exploded, at Algate, Kings Cross and Edgeware? Whenever a passenger falls under a train or a drunk kicks off on a crowded platform on a Friday night, who’s there first? A tube worker of course. It’s their visible presence on the system that provides the reassurance for travellers who, in years past, would not have considered taking the last tube home.
The London Underground is an excellent public service, staffed by committed professionals. . It’s tremendously overcrowded and at times, stretched to braking point. Yes, we need more investment to take the continuously increased demand. Any extension of the service has to be carefully planned to make sure it doesn’t bring the rest crashing down.
So next time you’re out on the system, smile at the next member of London Underground staff you come across, and maybe say thank you for the great service you are getting.

Adventures with half an eye

July 11, 2015

Adventures with half an eye

Saturday June 27, 2015:

I hate it when facebook eats my words! I have just written a piece about Pride and without a “by your leave” or even an “up yours, you prosy old dyke”, it sodding well gone all silent and consumed my wise outpourings. Hurrumph!

So you’re not going to hear about the adventures of my pride pal & I, only half an eye between the two of us. Lost is the description of our two person accapella version of Baker Street, (with me on mouth sax). Never to be heard are our adventures with densely unobservant and mainly oddly dressed, other street inhabitants, also bent on being at Pride.

Sorry but, the malapropisms of Siri, as I attempt to text friends to explain where we are, are lost too. the world will not hear of the weirdness we find in realising that some stewards are ablist fools, who believe us when we say, we’re loitering inside the barrier somewhere around Piccadilly because our wheelchair using companion’s motor is very tired and needs a rest and as she’s acting as our eyes “we’re blind you know” non of us can move right now.

No, all the delights of the commercially driven, capitalist Pride bonanza, unreconstructed ableism of some pride goers, the “aw poor things” patronage of others, will never be told. Oh and neither will it be heard that, despite all this, nothing, but nothing will stop me and other disabled people getting out on the street, this one day of the year and confounding the belief that we don’t exist, by being visibly, proudly, cheerfully, triumphantly & defiantly disabled lesbians, so there, nur!

The Right To Ride

December 1, 2013

The Right to Ride
Why disabled people’s direct action was good for all transport users. I’m going to name check some significant players in the struggle for accessible transport. Well it is DHM!
I’ll start by quoting a song: with grateful thanks to Elaine Kolb who wrote “We Will Ride “which I then mangled to be relevant to a British Disability Rights scene.
“Far too many people have been locked away too long.
We won’t accept excuses, right is right and wrong is wrong. Still the state believes that we should live on charity.
But we’re not going to take this anymore, we will be free.

And we will ride, we will ride.
We have strength and truth and justice on our side.
For united we will fight, defending human rights,
we will ride we will ride.”

Defending human rights: The right to ride, the freedom of movement is a fundamental human right. It is also the key to wider participation and inclusion. If we can’t ride, we can’t take up education, employment, training, health treatments. We can’t exercise our democratic rights, we can’t build and maintain a family and social network, we can’t in truth be part of this world.

A functioning, affordable accessible transport system is the life blood of our country. It’s effectiveness governs our prosperity, amongst other things. I’m a Londoner, who travelled daily since I was five, on inaccessible and dangerous route masters, and from the age of 11, on overland trains and the underground too. As a partially sighted child, my biggest challenges were knowing which bus or train was arriving and knowing where to get off. Some people would say I still don’t know where to get off!

Maybe 1 in 4 of the population is disabled, many more are also older. It’s quite “normal” to travel with children in buggies or with heavy luggage. for All these people, using our transport systems can be a significant barrier, if not impossible.

In 1982 disabled people sat down in the road outside Stoke Mandoville Hospital. We were protesting against the participation in the Paralympics games of South Africa. Alongside me on the tarmac were Keith Armstrong, and the late Vic finklestein South African born disabled activists. I quite liked sitting in the road. about that time, I did it again and again as a woman at Greenham Common, protesting against nuclear proliferation. There was something about putting my body in harm’s way for a cause that mattered to me that made me feel like I was doing something. It was a visceral antidote to the feeling of hopelessness I felt over the hostility of the world towards disabled people, women, lesbians and all other marginalised groups. For I had recently discovered that being disabled wasn’t the problem, it was the way the world is designed.

Another comrade in struggle, the late wonderful Bryan Heiser responded to transport accessibility by developing a parallel transport system. Dial-A-Ride freed many people to ride who had never done so before. But free our people was one of the disabled people’s movement’s demands. We wanted to travel like ordinary people rather than witness the world, second hand through the window of a special bus. For us, this smacked of further segregation.

Keith Armstrong went to Denver and went on an accessible bus. He joined disability rights activists in further protests about accessible transport, meeting Elaine Kolb, who originally wrote “we Will Ride” as an anthem of that movement.

“The world is inconvenienced by disability.
But we have human rights and we are aiming to be free. Riding public transport is one way to get around.
So minister of transport hear us now, we’re freedom bound.”

Inspired by this, Ruth bashall, a transport campaigner, disabled dyke and mother, along with Tracey Proudlock (then Tracey Boothe) and the late Steve Crib decided enough was enough. This apartheid transport system had to go. They organised the campaign for accessible transport, and, getting bored of meetings went out onto the street.

I’d recently acquired a temporary mobility impairment. A badly broken leg left me having difficulty in walking any distance. Buses, tubes and trains were no longer accessible to me. But I was also fired by the justice of the matter. I joined Cat and we sat down in the road.
We didn’t just sit down in the road, we caught buses and held them captive. We bought central London to a standstill.

After a while, the authorities could not ignore what was going on. They nicked us. They carried us up steps into inaccessible police stations, and then inaccessible courts. This made for fantastic pictures on the evening news. charges were dropped but the transport planners were in a bit of a flurry. Our activity spurred on the legitimate crips with their campaigning who lobbied and agitated for fairer treatment.

Spinning on ten years. In 2000, Ken Livingstone was elected Mayor of London. Dealing with London’s transport system was high on his agenda. Initially waxing sentimentally about the iconicness of the route master, he was soon persuade to change his mind by his newly appointed transport advisor Bryan Heiser, his newly appointed board member me, and the vice chair of the transport for London board, another transport activist, Dave Wetzel. We suggested that the bus contracts should be changed and a commitment to an accessible bus fleet be a criteria for choosing the successful contractor.
In a matter of years, London had the largest accessible low floor fleet in the world. At last, Londoners had the right to ride. We altered contracts further to require that the buses talked and had real-time audio visual travel info on them. We also put in place a programme of accessibility to the tube and the over ground and worked with rail track and the train operating companies, via Alice Maynard and others to influence accessible train development. Anbd then Boris came along … and slashed the tube accessibility programme.

We’ve since had the buggy wars. Accessible buses helped those with small children ride too. But the ruling that wheelchair users have priority, for you can bold up a baby but you can’t fold up a wheelchair user has prevailed.
“We are here to tell you just exactly what we’ll do.
We’re fighting for the right to move in freedom just like you. Let every kind of people have the power to be free.
To live and learn, and move and work and love, and vote with dignity. Kirsten hearn November 23, 2013 for Mmoving On MOAT13 DHM event

A brief history of activism

December 1, 2013

A brief history of activism
Disabled People have always advocated nothing about us without us. It’s been central to the fight to end our oppression that we are able to speak for ourselves and to be heard, no matter how we deliver our message or how hard other people find to understand us. So nothing about us without us is one of my themes tonight.

Darkness fell upon me at the age of sixteen! In those days, way back in the early seventies, disability rights were unheard of. It was definitely something about us without us.

The streets were paved with charity dolls with holes in their heads, “plastic Spastics” as we came to call them. Jimmy Savile was hyodling nd dying his hair stupid colours to help us poor benighted handicapped young people. Now we know what else he was doing at the same time. But it didn’t matter, those disabled kids, at least they were getting something?

I ended up in a special school where I got a sort of education. Torn away from my partying sisters, all in the sixth form of the school I had to leave, this was very dislocating. I was an instant convert to Inclusive education, even though my mainstream school’s inability to meet my access needs put me in the special school in the first place.
At this special school, we had five choices of career. We could be social workers, teachers, physiotherapists, secretaries or telephonists. Oh and the lucky ones amongst us could be wives! I didn’t do any of those things! After school, I became a student activist, which exposed me to the women’s movement and then I noticed I was a disabled person! The special school had worked hard to erase this fact from my identity.
I joined the Liberation Network of People with disabilities. Yes I know, doesn’t sound like the social model does it, but you know, we worked on the principle that the personal is political. Like our feminist sisters, we got angry and began to organise!
There was something so liberating about realising that it wasn’t me that was the problem, it was the world. It made it possible to look at barriers and campaign to remove them.

As a blind person of a radical bent, I realised that information was being censored. Through The Alternative Talking Newspapers Collective, we organised to put socialist and feminist information into accessible format. The Campaign for Braille, an access Trade union info campaign worked in the unions to make change and was instrumental in creating self-organised groups within unions that bought disability issues further up the agenda.

In the eighties, nothing about us without us became a lynch pin of how disabled people organised. We formed our own organisations and began representing ourselves. Rights not charity, became our slogan. We fought for the removal of barriers that disabled us being seen as a rights issue. At the same time, we had to bite the hand that fed us, and turn on the charities that had until now, been the only voice on disability.

Logically, having decided that being disabled isn’t the problem, it’s more the way the world is designed, we began to think that actually celebrating who we are as disabled people would be cool. It would challenge the negative stereotypes and make us feel a whole lot better about ourselves to boot. The disability Cabaret scene challenged discrimination, negative stereotypes and much more through poetry, music, film, drama, comedy etc.

But something else was also going on. Most radical movements reflect the wider society’s power structures. Disabled women, disabled lesbians and gays and later on disabled BME began to organise, celebrating our differences arguing for inclusion as people from marginalised communities within the disabled people’s movement; challenging discrimination within and without.

Some of us worked for law reform, some of us chained ourselves to buses. Some did both.
So spin on 20 years. This is a different world. Yes we have some protection in the law, but every day, a hostile government is dismantling all that makes it possible for us to survive. We battle things out in the courts & on the street, on social networks and where they allow us, in the media. And some we win and some we lose.

The social model of disability itself is under attack. So we have to fight back. The UK disabled people’s manifesto is a blue print for doing that. We have to unite to fight to stop the rot that will leave us caged and bound, prisoners of an ideology which would have us silenced, because we cost too much.

The concept of the useless eater is alive and kicking today. We have to fight back.
Kirsten Hearn, 19th November 2013 for Disability History Month Launch.

A life less valid

December 1, 2013

My comrade in struggle Anne Novis has asked me to post the below on my blog. Well said, Anne.
Kirsten A life less valid – When is a hate crime not a hate crime? By Anne Novis MBE

It seems that a hate crime is now not defined by the perception of the victim, his or her family or communities, as it should be in law. No matter how many times a victim has reported each and every time they are harassed, abused and attacked due to race and disability, or being perceived as ‘different’.

As has been highlighted by the case of Mr Bijan Ebrahimi, murdered by one man (assisted by one more), following years of abuse and hostility by many others who lived near him in various homes.

Let me list what we know happened to Bijan, a disabled Iranian man with mental health and physical impairments, bear in mind there is much we do not know yet;

Between 2008 and 2011 he reported harassment 14 times to police Verbally racially abuse
Physically assaulted by people in a shared house
House broken into
Hot water thrown on his chest and feet
Threatened with hostility and death
Property and possessions vandalised
Driven out of his previous home by an arson attack
Mobbed by up to twenty people hurling abuse, threats and calling him names Arrested when he called police for help
Falsely accused of being a paedophile
Beaten to death
His body doused with white spirit and set alight.

His family believe he was picked on as he lived alone, was disabled, vulnerable, and because “he was different”.
In a statement, the family said in one “callous act of unimaginable hatred” its entire world had been taken. …we are gravely concerned that the actions of those men may have been made possible by the failures of the police and others to protect Bijan.
So as a disability campaigner and activist on disability hate crime for nearly two decades, knowing how hard myself and others have worked to raise awareness, improve reporting to police, changing the way police and legislation promotes justice for disabled people myself and others expected the Police, Crown Prosecution Service and the courts to recognise this case as hate crime from the outset.

Why? First because the police have already admitted they let this man down by their actions and poor responses to his experiences, the family had made it clear they saw this murder linked to all the other hate crime Bijan had experienced, and lastly because we have evidenced that many disabled men get falsely accused as being paedophiles as part of a campaign of hate and horror against their victims.

As Katharine Quarmby, a journalist, friend and coordinator of the Disability Hate crime Network stated in one of her blogs:

‘In just over one year, in fact, I found five such killings related to false sexual offence charges, including paedophilia. These included that of Sean Miles, who was stripped, stabbed and drowned after being accused of being a paedophile. Steven Hoskin was similarly accused, tortured, targeted and murdered by so-called friends, who dragged him around on a dog leash before pulling him to a railway viaduct and pushing him off. Now Bijan Ebrahimi takes his place on that sad list of murders – a grim pattern of disabled men falsely accused of sexual crimes they didn’t commit, and then killed with overwhelming cruelty by a lynch mob.’

Katherine and I had worked together on a groundbreaking report called ‘Getting away with Murder: disabled peoples’ experiences of hate crime’, we had also worked with others, advising the Equality and Human Rights Commission on its inquiry into disability related hostility.

Its report ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’, published in 2011, had stated that the false allegation of pedophilia against disabled people was a clear and present danger to their lives.

I have also produced reports cataloging over 70 murders of disabled people and hundred of attacks as evidence for this inquiry.

Through my own experience, work with victims of disability hate crime, and disabled peoples organisations I know any excuse is used to validate abusing, attacking and murdering a disabled person just because they are perceived as different.

From before birth, the abortion of disabled a foetus up to 40 weeks of pregnancy, to segregated education, euthanasia, assisted suicide, so called ‘Mercy killings’, the killing and segregation of disabled people has been justified for centuries and contributes to the attitudes disabled people face these days in society.

Add to this the current political and media stances about disabled people being a burden on the state, unsustainable, fraudsters and non tax payers we are facing vitriol and scapegoating for all the problems at this time.

In the media and in interviews about the murder of Bijan Ebrahimi interviewers have asked ‘Is it reasonable to expect at this time of financial cuts to be able to support and protect disabled people?’

My answer is absolutely Yes! for if we cannot support those in society who need support and protection what does that say about us as individuals and as a nation?

How much money does it take to do your job properly as a police officer, housing officer, MP, or judge?

No extra money at all for in this case, as in many others, it’s the poor responses to reports of hostility by disabled people to these agencies that can lead to deaths and a life of fear and abuse.

So the term used by the Nazi’s about disabled people having ‘ a life less valid’ echoes down the years as we face yet again the lack of justice for a disabled person who faced years of harassment, abuse and hostility before he was brutally murdered.

As for hate crime, I ask as many must do at this time, if Bijan’s experiences and murder cannot be recognized as a result of hate crime by the CPS and court, what can?

How much more evidence does anyone need to understand the lived experience of victims of hate crimes?

Shame on all the people who let this man down, who abused, harassed and murdered him, shame on the UK justice system for allowing such an injustice to occur and shame on those who try to ‘excuse’ such crimes by stating he was partially at fault due to making so many complaints which is what the prosecution used as a defence and shame on those who think it is unreasonable to expect such a victim to be protected.

So now across the country the question has to be asked: when is a hate crime not a hate crime


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