Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Local MP Ignores the Plight of Disabled Constituents - My Response.

Dear Mr Rees –Mogg,

I was very disappointed to find that you and one other MP voted against an inquiry into the effects of the government’s Welfare Reform policies.

As a disabled person, long time disability rights activist, and one of your constituents , I find your actions heartless and short- sighted to say the least.

While a hundred and twenty five of your fellow MP’s (finally) voted for an inquiry into these damaging, divisive, and compassionless policies, you wanted to ignore them.

You wanted to ignore the plight of disabled people, 10,700 of which (at last official count)  have died after being wrongly found ‘fit for work’ by ATOS, many through suicide.

You wanted to ignore the devastating impact of Bedroom Tax, which has contributed to a rise in homelessness and hardship across the country.

You wanted to ignore the many families who can no longer afford to put food on the table as a result of the brutal benefit sanctions your government has imposed on some of the most vulnerable in society.

You were elected to represent all the people of Bath and North East Somerset, both the successful and the disaffected, and as a disabled person, you have failed me, and others like me.

May I take this opportunity to remind you that many of the benefit claimants you have chosen to dismiss, are in fact ‘in work,’ but they need the benefits to top up disgustingly low wages.

Contrary to what your government may have the rest of society believe, being on benefits is not a ‘lifestyle choice’. It is a heartbreaking necessity for most.

I have had Cerebral Palsy since birth, and as you know when I spoke to you on the phone (virtually in tears), I would give anything to live a ‘normal’ life. I’d love to be able to be a mother and manage a full-time job, but because of my disability and related health conditions I simply don’t have those options.

It breaks my heart to know that the government is systematically punishing, victimising and destroying the lives of people like me. 

It is something that damages my faith in democracy. It is depressing to know that my MP lacks the empathy and understanding (despite the ‘Christian’ virtues he always espouses) to at least support an inquiry into where the policies are hurting people in the name of a conservative ideology of dismantling the state.

Disabled people and those at the lower end of society are being ignored, lied about and blatantly bullied by the government. But it is no surprise that those like yourself who are staunchly very much on the right wing would not want those things exposed in any inquiry.

Yours sincerely
Helen Sims
Disability Rights Campaigner

Full Transcript of debate (from Hansard), including vote results.

This letter was sent to the local press on 14th January 2014,

Please help me by sharing it widely.


Image: Google

(Somerset Guardian Article - of this blog)

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Abandoned - Why I Love Derelict Buildings

People tell me my love of derelict and abandoned buildings, (well any place that's abandoned, really) is strange.

I think people who don't love them are strange!

What is there to love?  Everything! It's the history, the peace, the mystery -the calm, and lots more besides!

Who was the last person to stand in here? Who was the last person to lock up and go?

Who put such and such on the floor and left it there?

What was this place like when it was 'alive' with people?

That's another thing. People make the mistake of thinking that a deserted building is dead and meaningless. It isn't. Even the decay process itself is beautiful, if you choose to see it that way. All those changes, colours, textures - and once again, the history.

What gives anyone the right to destroy something that has been there so long? Improve it, bring it back to life. Don't make it disappear, then act as if it never existed. Don't replace it with something ugly and modern, just because you can make money from it!

Money isn't everything!

If we don't protect these places, and protect our past, how can we learn from it?

I'm not saying that we must keep everything. Some things have to go, especially if they are dangerous, or whatever.

The point is, why let them get to that state?

Maybe I'm being too much of an idealist. We all know that money is a big issue. They say 'money makes the world go round' - but it doesn't have to - not always!

All I'm asking is for a bit of thought when you walk past one. Let your imagination run wild a little. Then, I hope, you will see what I mean.

I've lost count of the windows I've peered through, and the places I've wished I could get inside, like some do. With my difficulties, I can't of course, - but I can dream, and I can do so much wonderful research. 

There are so many beautiful pictures online, taken by people who have the guts to squeeze through gaps, under things, and over things, so that these lost treasures can be documented, shared, and kept,( in a lot of cases long after the building itself has been destroyed). 

 It's not always safe and it's not always legal, but urban exploration (or 'urbexing' for short), is a growing phenomenon, and I think it's a necessary one.

I can't describe the feeling I  get from looking at them. I get excited, like a kid in a sweet shop! I feel light, and happy.

It gives me a buzz similar to the one I get from writing, or singing.

These places are special. They are frozen in time, and they belong to a world that doesn't exist anymore.With everything around us changing so fast, and everyone struggling to keep up, shouldn't we be keeping pieces of our history?

Once they are gone, they cannot ever be replaced.

People loved these places once, and luckily, some of us still do.

 For more information search online for: 'urban exploration,' 'abandoned places,' 
'derelict buildings' or 'urbex' and see what you find. If you're anything like me, you'll be there for hours!

Image: Google!