As ever, Frances Ryan’s stories just don’t seem to pan out

It’s often said that the mark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens in times of austerity. And in the past week, Britain has had not one but two damning judgments – the first from a committee room in Geneva, the second in a courtroom in London.

Last Thursday a United Nations inquiry into disability rights in the UK ruled that the government is failing in its duties in everything from education, work and housing to health, transport and social security. Presented with overwhelming evidence of a range of regressive policies and multibillion-pound cuts to disability services, it described the treatment of disabled people in this country as a “human catastrophe”.

The actual report is about whether we’re up to the standards of the 2007 Convention:

The UK government is failing to uphold disabled people’s rights across a range of areas from education, work and housing to health, transport and social security, a UN inquiry has found.

The UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities examined the government’s progress in fulfilling its commitments to the UN convention on disabled people’s rights, to which the UK has been a signatory since 2007.

Its report concludes that the UK has not done enough to ensure the convention – which enshrines the rights of disabled people to live independently, to work and to enjoy social protection without discrimination – is reflected in UK law and policy.

Sigh.

25 thoughts on “As ever, Frances Ryan’s stories just don’t seem to pan out”

  1. “It’s often said that the mark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens in times of austerity.”

    Not it’s not. At least, those last four words aren’t often said.

  2. The UN? The organisation that has human rights abusers on the human rights committee?

    There’s another club we could do with leaving.

  3. The best aim in regard to the disabled is to improve medical technology to the point that they can all be cured. A longterm goal to be sure but one that has not yet been publicly stated as it should be.

  4. Speaking of reports, I am looking forward to the reaction to David Lammy’s on crime amongst the ethnics.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41191311

    The BBC, as ever, faithfully reports whatever David Lammy wants it to report, but my favourite line, an absolute wowser:

    “Mr Lammy…said the criminal justice system appears to have “given up on parenting”.”

    What? I mean, what?

  5. @Mr Ecks: And then face disability ‘discrimination’ charges from the deaf advocates who don’t want to be cured because they believe there’s nothing wrong with them?

  6. Rob: “Speaking of reports, I am looking forward to the reaction to David Lammy’s on crime amongst the ethnics.”

    Summed up in the hashtag: #thatcanfuckoff

    Yet more of the soft bigotry of low expectations.

  7. From that ‘Guardian’ article:

    “Lammy said the UK should adopt Germany’s approach to assessing the maturity of younger offenders. Rather than an “inflexible” boundary, at the age of 18, between youth and adult courts in England and Wales, the German system allows for less punitive juvenile law to be applied to young adults if the “moral and psychological development” of the defendant suggests he or she is immature or “like a juvenile”.”

    Describing black people as ‘like children’ who can’t tell the difference between right or wrong. Can’t see that going awry.

  8. Given the propensity of black boys to reach six foot tall by the age of 12, a system which judges young offenders by their maturity would likely treat them more harshly, not less.

  9. From Lammy’s own column in CiF: “Most of all, young people need a different future to aspire to, but our criminal records regime is holding them back. Half of employers would not consider employing someone with a criminal record. But over the past five years 22,000 minority ethnic children have had their names added to the national police computer database. There should be more flexibility. As in parts of the US, there should be an opportunity for ex-offenders to come before a judge, or an organisation like the parole board, to apply to have records sealed in all but the most serious cases.”

    Yes, that’ll improve the hiring chances for all BAME candidates, won’t it?

    Which employer wouldn’t want to take a chance that the young fresh faced black kid in front of the interview panel was an ex-member of the Dem Shanks Krew..?

  10. It’s often said that the mark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens in times of austerity.

    And we may find out, if we ever have austerity.

  11. The UK government is failing to uphold disabled people’s rights across a range of areas from education, work and housing to health, transport and social security, a UN inquiry has found.

    I’d be curious to know which country they think handles it better. I am forever hearing people complaining that while the London Underground has improved access massively over the past 20 years to allow access to people in wheelchairs or with pushchairs, the Paris Metro remains way behind.

    Perhaps the UN complained about the French too but, being French, they chucked the report in the bin with a Gallic shrug.

  12. Julia: “Describing black people as ‘like children’ who can’t tell the difference between right or wrong. Can’t see that going awry.”

    It worked for Sanders of the River.

  13. “It’s often said that the mark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens in times of austerity.”

    There are inaudible voices ringing in this woman’s head

  14. Knowing Me, Knowing Steve

    That UN committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities comprising:

    Saudi Arabia
    Nigeria
    Thailand
    Tunisia
    Kenya
    Uganda
    Colombia
    Mauritius
    Russia
    Serbia
    China

    …all countries who have much to teach us about treating vulnerable people with dignity, I’m sure.

  15. Perhaps the UN complained about the French too but, being French, they chucked the report in the bin with a Gallic shrug.

    You certainly won’t be reading banner headlines about it in Le Monde. I like to keep a close eye on the French press (mainly to keep my French up to snuff), and the words ‘parochial’ and ‘chauvinistic’ hardly begin to describe it.

  16. If a conviction is spent the record ***IS*** sealed, with a small number of exceptional exceptions. Eg, taxi licensing, we had one chap who, because of something he did decades ago always had to go to committee for renewal. The process tended to be: Hello Mr Smith. Everything the same? Ok, wait outside. No changes? Ok, bring him back in. Hello Mr Smith, here’s another three years.

  17. ken,

    > In the UK all the usual fake charities and New Labour fronts put in loads of reports to help the UN Committee reach the “right” conclusion.

    I examined your claim. The Guardian cites two NGOs: Disability Rights UK and Disabled People Against Cuts. The former is a registered charity, and in their annual report they state that some of their income is sourced from:

    Department of Health Strategic Partnership – this grant funds a joint project with Shaping Our Lives and Change. It aims to share knowledge of health and social care policy amongst disability groups and to feeback intelligence to the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England

    So yes, there is a certain element of the government paying someone to bollock it.

    The other group, Disabled People Against Cuts, appears to be a Murphy-esque blog/rant site, operated on a shoestring budget.

    These days, anybody can set up a website called Squirrels For Nuts; they can issue press releases, get themselves interviewed on Radio 4, and submit clickbait pieces to the Guardian (HuffPo / BuzzFeed / etc.). Government grants are nice to have, but no longer essential.

  18. ‘government is failing in its duties’

    Governments decide what their duties are. They decide how much and what they are going to do.
    Governments may not do what you want, but that doesn’t equal ‘failing in their duties.’

  19. Gamecock

    Technically the UK has signed a treaty, which obligates the government to meet the obligations of the treaty. While the Queen in Parliament is sovereign, most constitutional scholars agree that Public International Law obligations such as treaties are binding unless expressly legislated against or until the government withdraws from the treaty (historically a crown prerogative – the court case over triggering of article 50 was about this.)

  20. The UK government has done what it thought it should do. It can’t do anything else. Someone else’s judgements have no effect on this.

  21. After travelling through europe i can’t say i came across much adaptations for disabled people – especially in the so called visegrad countries. Some of the trains you practically need a step ladder just to get on the train . The faux outrage is just another opportunity for the usual suspects to denigrate the uk.

  22. Some of the trains you practically need a step ladder just to get on the train

    I got off an SNCF train at a provincial station a couple of years ago and almost turned an ankle, not anticipating that the platform was about two feet below the floor of the train.

    You’d need a fucking winch to get a wheelchair onto a train there, but hey, evil UK, etc.

  23. People often think of the disabled as one group.

    We are not.

    Its simply a large group of people within the population who disagree with each other as much as any other large group does.

    I’ve been disabled since before 2007, things have overall improved. And become worse.
    Hey, just like in the rest of society.

    Sure the housing benefit changes for rooms in houses caused us problems. The councils apparently have the capacity to make exceptions in individual cases but are reluctant when they can instead blame central government.
    For instance the classic excuse (and far more common than the media say) of needing a spare bedroom for the additional equipment.
    The housing benefit changes caused problems to lots of people. Disabled were not singled out there.

    What I have found is that hotels, conference centres, fast food places, pretty much most places dealing with customers on a personal level have been extremely accommodating over the past decade.
    From offers to carry my tray to providing additional items in the room to providing staff lift access to avoid a long walk.
    Not government, not council, this is companies and individuals.

  24. “It’s often said that the mark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens in times of austerity.”

    So she will be joining an anti-abortion campaign shortly?

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