It was sad to hear about the recent death of Lord Morris of Manchester, the prominent disability rights campaigner and former Minister for the Disabled.
Without Alf Morris’s determination to see legislation put in place to give disabled people the rights they deserve, this country would be a very different place today.
Everything from discrimination law to access to buildings, as far as it concerns disabled people, can be traced back in some way to the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act that Lord Morris steered through Parliament just over 40 years ago. This was the first legislation in the world to recognise and give rights to people with disabilities. I am sure I am not alone in being profoundly grateful for the pioneering work he did.
Lord Morris was also a lifelong supporter of the Co-operative Movement, serving as a Co-operative MP as well as a Labour one, and this commitment was recognised in 1995 when he became Co-operative Congress President.
As the London Paralympics approaches, we’re set to see the biggest celebration of “disabled” ability ever in this country, and I for one hope the games will show just what disabled people can achieve when given the right support and opportunities.
Disabled people are often wrongly perceived as not being able to contribute their fair share to society and the economy, and are sometimes portrayed as being solely dependent on the state or other people. I think this is mainly an image created by certain sections of the media, as I know from personal experience, and from working with charities and other disabled people, what a huge contribution disabled people can make if given the chance.
Thanks Alf for giving disabled people the opportunity to shine and I’m sure we will all be just as inspired by the Paralympians in a few weeks time as we were by the Olympians in the last couple of weeks (if not more so!).
Image courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Posted at 9:27am on 16th August 2012
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