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No TV News Coverage For The #SpartacusReport On DLA Yet Disabled Cats Get Covered

January 10, 2012

Throughout December, disabled people have been preparing a report, officially titled Responsible Reform, on the Government’s consultation about the plans to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Headed by Sue Marsh and Kaliya Franklin, a group of disabled people researched and wrote the whole report themselves. Once it was ready to be printed, Sue Marsh launched a fundraising campaign. Hundreds of disabled people and our supporters gave what we could spare so that the report could be printed and sent off to politicians.

They collected statements of support from charities and celebrities. They wrote a press release that is almost 2000 words long. They even had the support of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, something that was revealed last week.

Finally, at 10am yesterday, the campaign launched. Disability bloggers and disabled people, political bloggers and carers, all waited in excitement for a day filled with news coverage of the report that we had all come together to create. A report that we dubbed #spartacusreport in a day-long Twitter campaign in which we explained why we support it.

But, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. The news coverage never came. Sue Marsh was given 15 minutes of ‘fame’ on Victoria Derbyshire’s Radio 5 live show yesterday. Political blogs, to their credit, were fantastic, as was the Guardian who gave Sue space at Comment Is Free and in yesterday’s print edition. Liberal Conspiracy and Left Foot Forward both ran posts on the report, and when the House of Commons wanted to charge to receive it, Left Foot Forward organised for it to be hand delivered.

Yet the closest we got to TV coverage was a false promise from Channel 4 News. The BBC News website and TV channel completely ignored the report, even though several disabled people had contacted them on Twitter asking for coverage.

I wasn’t happy about this lack of coverage all day yesterday, but I had no plans to write such a strong article. Until, that is, I saw that the BBC News website have devoted an article to the heartbreaking, world-changing story of… wait for it… two disabled kittens.

Kittens. Two kittens who each have extra toes.

So, readers, our national news channel is happy to cover the story of two kittens with 18 extra toes between them in great medical detail, but they won’t give a word of coverage to a report which has been researched, written, printed and circulated over months thanks to the hard work of hundreds of disabled people.

Those cats simply posed together for a photograph and gave cute grins for a camera. Disabled people gave time and precious energy. Disabled people gave from the very DLA that is under threat- from the very DLA that so many of us use for food. So many of us overcame personal challenges greater than anyone can imagine to create this report and ensure it launched before Parliament  votes on the planned PIP. Yet we were completely ignored by our national channel in favour of a couple of cute cats.

If anyone from the BBC reads this, I would like them not to get the wrong idea. I love cats. But to me, people are far more important than any animal. There seems little point in writing about disabled animals on a day throughout which an issue that could have such a negative effect on the lives of so many disabled people has been so completely ignored.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jane W permalink
    January 10, 2012 1:35 am

    May I saw f**kwits, or would that be too…..lame! x

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