Getting disabled people to vote
Crip the vote started in the US in February 2016 during the run-up to the last presidential campaign. It is a nonpartisan online movement activating and engaging disabled people on policies and practices important to the disability community. It is grounded in online conversations encouraging individual and collective action in the face of inequality, ableism, and oppression in all forms.
Their campaign was – and is – high profile and has incentivised many disabled people to get involved in politics and vote for candidates whose views would best serve disabled people. Although that election is over the campaign continues. Activists are now looking to move into other forms of political participation.
Now Crip the vote has launched in the UK. Started by some campaigners from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts), it has had its own blog, and is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
DPAC have organised or been involved in all the Direct Action protests against Austerity Cuts in the UK since 2010. Their visibility for those of us who may be unable to be involved so publicly for whatever reason, has highlighted the inequalities faced by disabled people.
I’m proud to be part of #CripTheVoteUK. As my friend Dennis Queen said; “Disabled people are quite literally voting for our lives. We need ALL voters to know this is an emergency for thousands of disabled people and help us fight back.”
You can read more about the campaign here.
Did you know both the United Nations and the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, have condemned the UK government for many abuses against disabled people?
Did you know that at least 10,000 disabled people have died in the last 7 years (since 2010) within 6 weeks of being declared ‘Fit For Work’, and the government has ignored warnings from its own research about the impact of their regime? The next Labour Government has pledged to scrap these cruel tests.
Those two facts alone, should make any voter think hard about what sort of a country the UK has become under the last three Tory led governments. Don’t forget the LibDems were part of this too.
This is why I’m voting Labour at this election. If you live in a constituency that is already a Labour seat or could become one, please join me. If you live in a seat held by a Tory or LibDem vote for the party who can most easily unseat the sitting MP.
Disabled people, our families and friends make up almost half the UK voting population. Think what a difference your votes could make?
By voting for a Labour MP you could, quite literally, be saving the lives of disabled people.
A shorter version of this blog post has been published on the Huffington Post UK site, where I will be blogging regularly.
Keep the £20 Universal Credit uplift
At the beginning of the pandemic, in April 2020, the Chancellor announced a £20 per week increase for almost 6 million people who claim Universal Credit – UC.
Because the government were aware that everyday food items were now more expensive, this £20 would help the poorest people to be able to afford to feed themselves and their children properly. However, he didn’t make the same increase for almost 2 million people, including myself, who are still receiving legacy benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance – ESA. There is no logic in giving to one group and not the other. We have missed out on over £1,000. Food, heating and other necesities still cost us more. That extra money would have made a real difference to people who have to make a choice between heating and eating.
Now the government wants to take that uplift away. We are still in lockdown, and it will be months before restrictions end. Food and other everyday items are still going to cost more. There has been a suggestion of a one off £500 for everyone who claims UC. People who have to claim benefits need a regular reliable income. £20 per week for the next 25 weeks is a better way of receiving that money than a one off payment.
Numerous charities including, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, support keeping the uplift. You can sign their petition here.
What else can you do?
Disabled People Against Cuts – DPAC are having a Day of Action on 1st March to support keeping the £20 uplift and extend it to all disabled benefits claimants.
The Budget is happening on 3 March 2021, so you still have time to write to your MP asking them to support the retention of the £20 uplift. Disabled People Against Cuts – DPAC have a template letter you can copy. You can download it here.
To find out the contact details for your MP go to Write to them, put in your postcode and that will give you your MP’s email or postal address.
There is also a poster that you can print and put in your window, as well as links to tweets that you can retweet. These are all on the DPAC website.
DPAC believes that the £20 uplift should be given to all claimants. I agree with them.
Please support this campaign, even if this doesn’t affect you, by lobbying your MP you will be helping other people who need to keep on receiving the £20 a week uplift.
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