Always interesting, often different

Throwback Thursday 2

Please……. bear with me……. there is a real connection.

In January last year, The Times newspaper published two columns with distinctly ableist views. 
The first was on 5th January written by Jeremy Clarkson.

Clarkson is well known for his reactionary views on gender and sexuality, so I guess I shouldn’t expect him to be disability aware.

His article took issue with some comments from Richard Leafe who runs the Lake District national park authority. Leafe was saying that the area is not doing enough to attract black, asian and minority ethnic visitors. Leafe also said that there’s a similar issue with young people and those who are less able in terms of their mobility.

Whilst Clarkson’s main argument is anti-ramblers, his casual ableism about the idea of making an old railway line into a tarmac path for wheelchair users is just unacceptable.

Encouraging and enabling disabled people to use the countryside and outdoor activities means having enough car parking, properly designed and monitored, discounted prices for entry and routes that you don’t need a mini 4×4 to navigate.

The second column was published on 25th January, it was written by Carol Midgely, and titled ‘M&S peels and appeals to Britain’s lazy cooks.’

M&S prepped vegetables in packet

Sure, we all want and need to save the planet, but prepared vegetables are a must for many disabled people. Many of us cannot prepare vegetables or fruit, we need someone to do that for us. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have carers, usually only get them for a short time.

I was actually told by one Social Worker that I could never have fresh vegetables or any food that wasn’t cooked in a microwave as the carer would not have time to do anything else! No wonder I developed severe physical health problems and anaemia.

Having ready prepared fruit and vegetables can help disabled people have a balanced and nutritious diet. They are really important for us.

So Times journalists, before you diss the need for disabled people to access our national parks or buy ready prepped fruit or vegetables – stop and think – you are just one illness or one accident a way from being disabled. You might just be grateful for wheelchair accessible paths and pre-prepared fruit and vegetables one day.

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