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Monday, 28 March 2011

Armchair Army: BEC CORN Guest Blog

I neednt say anymore.....wonderful guest blog...

Armchair Activism - My Story BEC CORN. 

I took a step for an alternative today, I joined the march against irresponsible, ideological, damaging, cuts to the social fabric of our society - and I didn't leave my armchair. I couldn't in fact, because I'm suffering from a debilitating auto-immune condition which makes me the ‘one in ten’, one of the 1.3 million disabled people in the UK. 

But I am angry and I will not let this get in the way of my voice being heard. I joined the First Chair-bourne Division of the Armchair Army and I am spending my day on a virtual march of e-campaigning - in solidarity, realising a vision of empowerment, part of the growing movement demanding reversal of this policy.

I am a postgraduate student, with a successful academic history, and the world at my feet. But I face an epic personal struggle with a disease that threatens my mobility and my life chances, and I am scared about what this will mean for my future. Since diagnosis I have applied for government support so that I can buy walking aids, employ carers, adapt my home, and use taxis to attend hospital appointments - so that I don't become isolated and at risk. I was refused at first try, even told by the Job Centre advice line that it is now normal procedure to turn down a first application, and I await a tribunal which will take place in the summer, to prove that my needs are 'real' enough to be worthy. I am being taught that my disability means that I am to be presumed a fraudster and must remain disempowered and excluded until I can prove I am genuine. This is a total reversal of the philosophy that used to be at the heart of our society. This is what cuts mentality does.

I used to be a student union president and I studied law. I know my rights and I will fight for them. But what about the next person of the one in ten, what about the next of the 1.3 million whose access to society is sidelined? When identity and potential is ignored, facilities for self-education closed down, transport services cancelled, how many will be excluded beyond view? We cannot let this happen.

I am marching from my armchair, to protest a structural adjustment policy akin to much of what the developing world has experienced over the last half of the last century; a removal of government subsidies in education, destruction of health and welfare services, decimation of access and advice services which support the excluded and incapacitated, which amounts to the most dramatic dismantling of the social justice framework since the second world war. I am part of a movement demanding an alternative.

Whilst between 250,000 and 500,000 are marching, more than 2,000 who can’t attend physically have committed to Armchair Activism, and this is just the beginning. The cuts are affecting those least likely to have the means and ability to be on the march, those whose voices are so often missing from the political dialogue - and this, the growing movement of virtual solidarity, is a chance for empowerment as well as change.

We are not fooled. We know this neoliberal ideology. We didn't vote for it because we don't want it. Please learn from the anti-war march – we were right then, and we are right now. We say "reverse this policy before you destroy our society, please".



Sent to: mike.sergeant@bbc.co.uk; tonight@itv.com; news@channel4.com; studio@five.tv; news@sky.com; newsonline@bskyb.com; newsnight@bbc.co.uk; politicsshow@bbc.co.uk; editor@timesonline.co.uk; news@mailonsunday.co.uk; editor@independent.co.uk; lette...rs@independent.co.uk; home@guardian.co.uk; letters@guardian.co.uk; letters@standard.co.uk; codone@newstatesman.co.uk; dtletters@telegraph.co.uk; letters@the-times.co.uk; nick.clegg.mp@parliament.uk; nickclegg@sheffieldhallam.org.uk; camerond@parliament.uk 

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