Friday, 27 February 2015

A Note to the People of Bath and North East Somerset


My name is Helen Sims. I was born with Cerebral Palsy, and I cannot walk or stand unaided.

I am one of the many thousands of disabled people being vilified and suffering as a result of this government's Welfare Reform policies. I need to tell you that disabled people like me, are living in fear of five more years under this government.

It would mean a lot to me, if  before you vote in May, you considered  the following:

Our Tory MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg voted:

IN FAVOUR of the Welfare Reform policies that have devastated the lives of disabled people.

IN FAVOUR of a reduction in spending on welfare benefits

AGAINST doing a Cumulative Impact Assessment, (to find out how Welfare Reform was impacting on disabled people).

AGAINST paying higher benefits over longer periods, for those unable to work due to illness or disability.

AGAINST finding out why food bank use has risen.

AGAINST increasing social security, (at least in line with prices)

IN FAVOUR of 'Bedroom Tax' - ('Spare Room Subsidy') 

IN FAVOUR of tuition fees

IN FAVOUR of restricting Legal Aid

AGAINST a wholly elected  (rather than hereditary), House of Lords

AGAINST spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for young people who have spent a long time unemployed

AGAINST same sex marriage 

AGAINST equal gay rights

IN FAVOUR  of culling badgers to tackle bovine tuberculosis

AGAINST the smoking ban - (It was later revealed that he had connections to tobacco companies, which he failed to declare)

IN FAVOUR of ending financial support, for some 16-19 year olds in training and further education.

Do you want this man re-elected as MP for Bath and North East Somerset, for another five years?

As a disabled person (and long time, Disability Rights Campaigner), - I don't!

I dread to think what further damage, he will do to the lives of disabled people, and those on low incomes, if that happens! It actually scares me.

He has also spoken in favour of a pact between Tories and UKIP.

This is the stuff of nightmares for disabled people. It must not happen.

Recently, he also  stated that members of the House of Lords, should be entitled to the 'highest quality champagne' because, it is their 'privilege!'

While many of his constituents, including disabled people and those on low incomes, struggle to make ends meet (and many have to rely on foodbanks, to feed their family), this is a disgusting attitude to have.
It only serves to prove how out of touch, he really is! 

I feelhe does not have our best interests at heart.

Do you want him, to represent YOU?!

Thank you for taking the time, to read this.

Helen Sims.


Thursday, 26 February 2015

Where Are Our Oscars?

 To win an Oscar play a disabled person! It seems a dead cert!

Don't get me wrong, I think Eddie Redmayne did a fantastic job playing Stephen Hawking in 'The Theory of Everything', and I think it's a big step forward to see disabled people being portrayed in film and television, at all.
There are just a few things that need pointing out though, in light of the win.

There is the question of able-bodied actors playing the role of disabled people. Surely there are enough disabled actors out there, who would be more than willing and able to do it? I would think so, anyway. 

I also think it would give the roles extra credibility and give publicity to disabled actors. who are too often ignored. There is plenty of talent out there. It should be seen! 

As a disabled person I often feel a mixture of anger, and unease, when I see an actor I know to be  able bodied, playing a part. 

No matter how 'real' and well done it is,- I'm aware that, they don't feel what we feel. No matter how much research is done, somehow it just doesn't feel right.  

The thing is,  we ARE disabled people, we LIVE it, and we can't just stop and leave it behind when the role ends! 

Knowing that the actor can somehow takes away something, from my enjoyment of the performance, and sometimes, I feel hostile. It's all right for them! It's just a part. They can get up, and walk easily out of the studio and go back to 'normal' life. 

We don't have the luxury of that. It is life for us! There is no escape when the cameras stop rolling!

We have to watch,non disabled actors get an Oscar, for portraying what we go through everyday.
They get endless recognition, 'Congratulations' for playing a role, that 'must be SO emotionally draining!' 

If you think it must be draining to perform it, imagine what it's like, living it! It's hard and it's heartbreaking. It's a constant, endless struggle, to do the simplest of things. We didn't ask for our disabilities and illnesses. We didn't choose to play this role. We are stuck with it! It's our reality.

It is also difficult to see actors being applauded, and praised, and congratulated, when I know that
REAL LIFE disabled people are being victimised, suffering hate crime, being stripped of vital benefits, and dying as a result of government policy. 

It seems hypocritical to congratulate an actor, for playing a disabled person,recognising how hard and draining it must be for them while making the lives of REAL disabled people, even harder, than they already are!

I feel the same about this as I did about the Paralympics, and the so called Paralympic legacy. The reaction is one thing for  the 'stars' and the opposite, for the rest of us!

I think we all deserve, an Oscar!


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Why Aren't There More Disabled People in Parliament? (2015 Edit).

Why aren’t there many disabled MP’s?

Well, judging by the way some of them have been openly mocked by other politicians, coupled with the coalitions treatment of disabled people, it comes as no real surprise.

If I thought for one second that they [other MPs] would treat me like a ‘human being’ and not put more than the usual amount of obstacles in my path, AND if I felt my health and energy would allow me to do the job properly, I would probably stand, and it's not like I haven't been asked!

We do need more MP's who will speak up for disabled people, and I do  think, ideally, that the Minister for Disabled People, should BE a disabled person. 

That way, there will be someone who actually understands the challenges we face, everyday. That would make such a difference, when deciding policies, that will impact on our lives. 

With the election coming up in May, this year, it is even more important, than ever, that voices of disabled people, are heard, but it will be harder than ever, for disabled people, to be elected to Parliament, with the  cross party fund for disabled MP's,- (The Elected Office Fund), being closed, in March.


If the fund were kept, and there were, (more disabled people in parliament), maybe government wouldn't get away, with implementing policies, that have destroyed so many of our lives, -but the fact is, we have to be realistic about what we can achieve with everything that is already stacked against us.

We face enough prejudice and discrimination in society already. I am not going to put myself (and my disability) in the middle of what is, essentially, an elitist boys club!

I also wouldn’t want to be tied down by any ‘party lines’ so being an Independent would be my only option. Realistically, it’s too much work – and too much stress!

Lastly, I loathe the way politics works. I loathe the egos, I loathe the whole ‘doing things for votes idea’. You should, in an ideal world, do things for the good of the people – not for yourself, and what you can get out of it.

But politics doesn’t work that way, and while there are so few ‘ordinary people’ in Parliament, it never will. Therein lies the problem. To change things you have to get there. IF you get there, you have to overcome obstacles and all the health problems disabled people face.

Disability doesn’t give you (in my experience anyway) the energy, the freedom, the health and the flexibility you need to be in ‘the right place at the right time’ and to smile sweetly for the camera!
I am not like that; ‘Hello,’ ‘nice to see you’ ‘will you vote for me’? ‘Where’s your baby? I’ll kiss it!’


I love my activism exactly the way it is. I can work at my own pace (or not, if I don’t feel well), I can REALLY help people, I can keep my own identity, ideas and opinions – and I don’t HAVE to tow the usual line or smile for the camera.


Thursday, 12 February 2015

If You Had Everything (Poem -November 2000)

If you had everything, 
Where would I be? 
Getting used to the fact, 
That you wouldn't need me. 

If you had everything, 
Where would I go? 
Forget about the pain, 
And ‘on with the show'. 

If you had everything, 
What would I see? 
Left all alone, 
With the mirror 
And me. 

If you had everything, 
How would it seem? 
Pull myself together, 
And give up a dream. 

If you had everything, 
You'd never know 
How much you'd miss me, 
When I got up to go. 

If you had everything, 
What would you do? 
Left all alone, 
With the mirror 
And you. 

If you had everything, 
How would it feel? 
Living out your days, 
As if they weren't real. 

Now we have everything, 
We're so close 
Standing here together, 
Luckier than most. 

Now we have everything, 
Things stay as they must 
Being here together, 
With the mirror 
And us. 

(Image - Google)

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Thinking Pink...(Vans)!

I was asked, what I think of Labour's use of pink vans, to attract the female vote?
They aren't ideal. 

They idea of 'blue for a boy' and 'pink  for a girl', is outdated, in my opinion. 

After all, women and men should not have into fit to gender stereotypes, and the pressure to do so, is a lot less, in today's society - and quite right, too! 

In my opinion, though,there are much bigger things to worry about, like the way disabled people are being treated, and having our lives destroyed, by this government. Like the fact that people are relying on foodbanks, to survive and homelessness, is up!

Is it sexist? Yes! Is it stereotypical? Yes, -but, Is the colour of vans, really important, in the grand scheme of things?

I can see why some people are annoyed, and it's not the wisest of moves, but, on the other hand, it's drawn attention to something, and it's got people talking. They, ahem, stand out!

People will notice them, no matter what their feelings are, on whether they are sexist, or stereotyping.
As a 'get noticed' tactic, it's a good one!

If people change a vote, just because of this one thing, when there are so many others, to consider, then that says a lot.

We must look at the bigger picture...always!