These posts are coming a bit quicker right now. Sign of grim times still. There was an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Learning Disability meeting yesterday. Barbara Keeley MP tweeted after the meeting clearly laying out the continuing failure to get people out of ATUs. The meeting involved a mother talking about her son’s ongoing inpatient treatment then a load of blather. Helen Whately, Care Minister, was present and again, seemingly excelled in mediocrity.
I don’t know why, nearly 10 years on from Winterbourne View these meetings need to involve the live retelling of atrocity stories. We’ve heard so many now it’s become almost voyeuristic, generating faux horror from a bunch of dusty parliamentarians many of whom couldn’t give a flying fuck outside of that space. It can also be parasitic and draining emotional labour for the storytellers and others present.
The way in which these meetings are organised sustains a narrative of disposable humans and bleak lives while taking time from what should be a clear, focused and strategic discussion on, er, action. It always seems to be the same parents in attendance too. The same small group of cherry picked bods.
This morning on twitter the discussion continued with John Lish dismissing APPGs as a meaningless industry. Five seconds of googling found that it is our old chum Mencrap which organises these meetings. Bit of a giveaway really in calling it ‘Our APPG’ on the website.
Holy macaroni. I tumbled straight back to an underground cafe near the Houses of Parliament where, months after Connor died Rich and I were invited to a meeting at the House of Commons by Mencrap. Not the learning disability APPG I’m now wondering? Surely not… In that dim space, we met other bereaved families and I was given an A4 laminated photo of Connor. Eh?
An hour later, ‘important’ people spoke at the meeting while families sat silently around the edge of the room. Five minutes before the end of the meeting, we were told to stand and hold up our laminated dead.
Seven years on and Mencrap is still laminating the dead. Still following the same revolting template of presenting bereaved or devastated parents to a room of pomp and performance. Nothing has changed. John is right. This is an industry. And further evidence that nothing will change while Mencrap retains the power the organisation has to effectively maintain the status quo in its own self interest.