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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Friday, June 01, 2007

Who wants to live for ever?

Earlier this week, one B. Dude Esq reminded me of the existence of the TUC Disability Champions website.

We hadn't pottered around the site's pages for, oo, must be at least eighteen months, but the Dude had been reminded of it by an email he had had the misfortune of receiving.

Although I'm about to point and laugh (but only in a nice way) at what is really quite a small fly in the ointment, I should stress that I support the project in principle one hundred per cent. It's something which is sorely needed because disability rights is such a technically complex area and disabled union members really do need properly-trained representatives when they are experiencing discrimination.

(Unfortunately, it's one of those frustrating websites in which the URL stays the same regardless of which page you're looking at. So I can't provide you with links through to individual pages. If you're interested in learning more, I'd recommend the The Project link on the menu on the left, and following that with the More about the project link at the bottom of that page.)

As I said above, I am wholly in support of the project in principle. Being a bit of an intolerant old bat, however, I find myself flinching at the quality of some of the information produced by the union reps who have trained as Disability Champions. Which isn't to say that they aren't doing a sterling job back in their workplaces. Or that you have to be of a certain intellectual calibre to fight disability discrimination wherever you encounter it. But...

If you follow the Information link in the menu, you'll find yourself presented with a list of impairment-specific guidance produced by some of the champions while they were being trained.

(It's probably only fair to confess at this point that, social model advocate that I am, I have serious concerns about any disability guidance which focuses on the medical details of particular impairments rather than on the barriers faced by people who have those impairments. Think that's an unnecessarily subtle distinction? I've seen guidance for staff with colostomy bags telling them in no uncertain terms that they have a responsibility to tell everyone they work with what it's like to have a bag so as to "explode the myths". My response to that sort of nonsense is unprintable. Suffice it to say that, if you need to work as near to the loo as possible, your manager and colleagues don't need to know why. You really aren't under any obligation to be an evangelist for your own impairment.)

Anyway, back to the guidance on the Champions website. You'll see that a chap called Brendon Kirkpatrick has written a piece on diabetes. Guidance which includes the following astonishing statement:

"The overall risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double the risk of their peers without diabetes."

Now, I don't know about you, but this is news to me. And, as someone who's got diabetes, I've got to admit that I think it's just the teensiest bit unfair. I and my fellow diabetics are doomed to certain death while the rest of you have a one in two chance of having a crack at immortality. Frankly, if I'd realised six years ago just how tough diabetics have it in comparison with the rest of the population, I'd have been a lot more upset about my diagnosis.

So, if you'll excuse me, I'm off for a sulk. If anyone needs me, I'll be sitting in the corner in a distinctly huffy manner.

The Editor


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The overall risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double"

So, if I just stay away from crowds of people with diabetes, I'll live forever! Sorted!

4:18 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

That would be an alternative reading of the statement in question, yes.

And you know us diabetics - we do have a tendency to hunt in packs...

7:25 pm  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Ah well, diabetes may give you a disadvantage, but an aspirin a day might yet make you immortal. According to the Daily Express:

Aspirin Cuts Risk of Dying by 25%

9:46 pm  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

Hmm. Like you I am all for union reps being given disability awareness training, in fact the esteemed Mr C and I are providing some training for a large public sector union this week, but there is nowt like actually being a crip in making you aware. There are some severally nmon-disabled people out there and unfortunately some of them are representing us.

On the question of immmortality I already beleived that Lady Bracknell was already immortal.

12:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I confess that my own favourite quote from one of the "Champions" is, "...I got involved with this project because I became fed up with the equalities that were happening to work colleagues and those who have a disability."

As a learned colleague of mine is oft prone to observe, "Why should England tremble?"

8:36 am  

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