Timidity and the Yellow Brick Road

Been chewing over stuff this week, given the pre-inquest review (howl), launch of the Bubb report, accompanying media coverage and commentary. (See Chris Hatton, Matthew Smith and Rob Greig and ace coverage by Saba Salman on her blog and in the Guardian.) It was also the CQC 3 Lives* follow up meeting.

Relentlessly unchallenged crap practice and helplessness consistently crop up. We know that ATUs/some supported living settings are spaces that leave human rights on the doorstep. Containing people for years in hideous ways the public only find out about when something goes wrong. Those in the know know, of course. The frontline staff delivering nosh, medication and often little else, clinicians signing forms, local authorities/commissioners/NHS England shelling out small fortunes, and tribunal members. They all know. We all know really. But only give it some thought when the next catastrophic event crops up.

And then what happens? Talk, as always. Lengthy, wordy, jargon filled reports and meetings with the same old suspects, many of whom have screaming conflicts of interest. 

I had a quick shufty at a couple of charity accounts this morning. Again, a whole PhD to be had exposing the pomp and self congratulation around commitment and involvement to the Winterbourne Concordat by various organisation in the past coupla years. Quick to grab their moment in the brief sunshine of planet Concordat.  I wonder how many charities will record in the 2014 accounts that it was an almighty failure. And their commitment amounted to, er, nothing.

In among my rambling, exhausted thoughts, timidity kept cropping up. And that bloody lion in The Wizard of Oz. Tom was in a school performance of this a couple of years ago. LB, generally a big fan of any type of production and extravaganza, took offence to the constant repetition of the chorus.

“Not that fucking yellow brick road AGAIN!!!” he roared. Before Rich took him home in the interval.

Timidity is a kind way of characterising all I see, hear and read around learning disability provision these days. Timidity underpinned variously by:

    • a lack of understanding of how to make change/what to do
    • a lack of interest/commitment
    • incompetence
    • conflicts of interest
    • concerns about self preservation/future career paths

Well timidity, for whatever reason, is going to change fuck all. And until people with some influence and power grow some, we might as well all give up, creep back to our respective holes and get on with the lives we are lucky enough (or otherwise) to have.

I’ve always thought LB was saying exactly what most people in that packed, hot hall thought that evening. He was just fearless enough to say it.

*Lisa is now shopping weekly at Tescos and been to Matalan.

5 thoughts on “Timidity and the Yellow Brick Road

  1. As isolated individuals, I think it is very difficult to feel optimistic. Compared with you, Sara, I feel I have always reverted to timid, baffled by other people’s certainties. I don’t, however, feel it is the powerful who will change things. They don’t get to be powerful without, maybe, being compromised by complexities. I do, though, feel rather more hopeful that change is becoming possible because “we” are, perhaps, becoming less isolated, less easily silenced.

    Yes, we need the powerful to effect change. But also larger numbers of people to demand change, to question the stereotypes and mistaken perceptions of the way things are. One of the things I found depressing this week was that Guardian editorial on this topic attracted nine comments – as opposed to the hundreds who have strong views on far less urgent topics. And it was also fairly clear that some of those commenters had no idea just how bad things are, and very little awareness that “Learning disabled” does NOT mean, poor, suffering, beyond help, for whom death might be a blessed relief. In fact, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that learning disabled doesn’t mean anything very clear. The powerful – the Bubbs, the charities, the politicians, will act when people demand that they should. If we can keep hammering away at the detail, the reality of what is going on maybe that can happen?

  2. It is clear that government policy is, to make as much money as possible out of the disabled, and then when they have been abused, AND as much money earned from them, drugged and encaged, sometimes with all teeth removed by court order, put constantly, in their own private 101 room for expensive ‘extinction theory’ therapy.

    They will be euthanised, under the Assisted Suicide Act , as they are incapable of making the decision to end their own life under the MCA,, AND IT CAN BE MADE FOR THEM, IF THOUGHT THEIR QUALITY OF LIFE IS SO POOR, HAD THEY THE CAPACITY, THEY WOULD END IT

    No questions can be asked, no inquest can be had, and even their body parts can be sold under regulations under the MCA.

    No one can speak up, because all, particularly charities, have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. To ensure this,control is brutal, the dissents lose their jobs, starve, and are made social pariahs, and, if they are silly enough to go to their GP or for a carers assessments, are labelled with a mental disorder.

    No, this must all start from the top prompted by knowledgeable exposure from the bottom, But how ?

  3. Pingback: Over 800 pledges of support for #LBBill | LB Bill

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