Disabled folks ‘ought to push for radical overhaul of society after pandemic’ – Incapacity Information Service
Disabled people should oppose the idea that life should go back to “normal” after the end of the pandemic crisis and instead press for a “radical overhaul” in the way society is organized, according to a leading disabled activist and scientists.
Dr. Miro Griffiths (pictured) said the UK government’s approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic is to use its guidelines and guidelines to empower notions of individualism and personal responsibility.
He said this had resulted in a “really worrying” relaxation and “easing” of central and local government responsibilities to assist disabled people, for example through measures introduced in the spring under the Coronavirus Act.
And he feared that this approach – the elimination of duties and obligations – would prove to be the future of health and social policy within the “neoconservative” agenda of current and future Tory governments.
Griffiths, a Leverhulme Research Fellow at the University of Leeds, former government advisor and now a member of the Equality Guard’s Disability Advisory Board, spoke during an online presentation on COVID-19 and disability hosted by the university.
He noted the “clear undertone of eugenic ideals” underlying some of the state’s actions during the pandemic, including the misuse of forms to try not to attempt resuscitation that have been put on disabled people’s records without their consent.
He said, “On the one hand, disabled people have been told, ‘do things for yourself’ … but at the same time there are constant attempts to devalue or question the worth of disabled people … and to evaluate their contributions to determine whether they should have access to support or not. “
He said the combination of a “punitive” social security system and other “violent and hostile” measures during the austerity years, the historic application of Segregation and the Coronavirus Act, and other pandemic measures created a “really grim picture” for disabled people.
The media had also failed to accept and analyze the social factors – how they are doing well and how they live and work – that contributed to the disproportionate deaths of people with disabilities during the pandemic. he said.
However, Griffiths said the pandemic has also shown how education, employment and other support can be provided more flexibly, such as working or studying online, working from home and leveraging new technology.
He said this demonstrates the need to celebrate “the variance of human existence” and give people more opportunities to engage with society that takes this variation and its access requirements into account rather than forcing them to adopt a “preferred system” adapt.
He added, “I don’t want to go back to normal.
“I would like to come up with the idea of questioning these dissolving ideas about the ideal way to be self-sufficient … and recognizing and celebrating human variance.”
Such a “radical overhaul” of society would not only work for disabled people, but for “many different communities”.
And he said there is now an opportunity to “rethink the social contract between disabled people and the state” by pushing for a new human rights approach that recognizes the overlapping modes of oppression of disabled people.
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