Brexit: Petition to remain in the EU hits one million signatures in just one day | Euronews


The response of Chris Sterry to this Euronews article

So, a Petition has received more than 1 Million signatures, but the 2016 Referendum received more than 17 Million votes. The 17 million were accused of not knowing what they were doing because the information that was produced in support of leaving, was, we are told not completely correct. But neither was the information supporting remain.

It is assumed by persons wishing to remain that if we stay in the EU, that the EU will continue as it is, but what about the threat to proceed to further political union, what will this entail, have we been informed. Will we be in control of our military forces, will we still be able to decide on our own legislation, will taxes and other forms of obtaining finance still be within our control. Will we still have an independent Government, or will it be so depleted to be as Local Government is today.

These are major issues, which currently we have not received any information on, so voting to stay is as much in the dark as voting to leave. I voted in the 1975 referendum and voted to stay within the EEC, now transformed to the EU. Did I vote for the EU, no I did not and nobody did. We could have voted on these issues, but, one, Tony Blair and other Prime Ministers did not allow a public vote. We are now told because of the lies and misinformation we should have a peoples vote, as though the vote in 2016 was not a peoples vote, so what did vote in 2016, were they not people?

We are told there are now people who were too young to vote in 2016, so they should now be allowed to express their vote but was this not the case in 1975. In 1975 there were also lies and untruths, for were we told of the wish or desire to proceed with Political Union, which we are now advised was known in 1975. I voted to stay in the EEC, but not the EU, I and many others have been denied that right since 1975.

All that is being said about the wrongs in 2016 could also be said of the 1975. But there is a major difference, in 1975 the vote was to stay, was this what the Establishment wished for, but in 2016 we voted to leave and that appears to be not what the Establishment wished for. Sour grapes by the losers in 2016, but not the losers in 1975. As 1975 was allowed to stand, so should 2016, whether it be right or wrong, just as in 1975. To say otherwise means that the democratic principles are not being adhered to and that means why should anyone really vote again, as it appears no matter what the result the Establishment will do as they please, is that not the ideals of a dictatorship?

 

Source: Brexit: Petition to remain in the EU hits one million signatures in just one day | Euronews

European Disability Card marks step towards barrier-free Europe


From Inclusion Europe

‘……….

The free movement of persons is one of the basic rights guaranteed by the European Union to all its citizens. Still, people with disabilities are often prevented from traveling freely by the lack of recognition of their disability status, and by their inability to access services they would normally be entitled to in their home countries.
Fortunately, as a result of discussions with the disability movement, the European Commission is taking steps to remedy this situation by introducing a European Disability Card as a means to mutually recognise the rights and benefits of people with disabilities in the European Union Member States. The announcement was made by Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, at a European Parliament event on 30 June. “Mutual recognition of a person’s identity and status is an essential element of this right to free movement,” Thyssen said. “This counts in particular for people with disabilities,” she added.
The European Commission has pledged to allocate €1.5 million to support the 17 Member States that will pilot this initiative by early 2016. The European Disability Card will allow Europeans with disabilities access to the same benefits in the areas of culture, leisure, transport and sport at home and abroad.
While Inclusion Europe welcomes the European Commission’s initiative to introduce the European Disability Card, we hope that persons with intellectual disabilities will be able to truly benefit from it, as the Disability Card will only affect a small number of areas. However, we know that persons with intellectual disabilities face significant barriers in other matters related to free movement, such as accessing public services and information, education, employment, social and health services. Thus, we advise the European Commission to see the introduction of the Disability Card as only a first step, with a view to eventually expanding the scope of the Card and ensuring persons with disabilities can travel throughout the European Union on an equal basis with other European citizens.
Inclusion Europe is also urging those Member States that have not joined the initiative yet to commit to supporting the freedom of movement of their citizens with disabilities, and recognise the European Disability Card as a tool for equal treatment.
While the European Union has removed the physical barriers to free movement, its next challenge is breaking down the administrative ones as well. We are happy to see they are taking steps to make this happen.

For more information, please contact Silvana Enculescu, Inclusion Europe Communications Manager, at s.enculescu@inclusion-europe.org  …………..’

 

Modern Slavery needs Modern Laws


84 years ago Charlie Chaplin was at the height of his career, 84 years ago the very notion of a computer or instant coffee was pure science fiction. 84 years ago forced labour was still legal in at least 20 countries1 and an international law2 was established to end this horrific practice.

But the world has changed since then. Now 84 years later, we finally have a chance to update this law to protect against today’s slavery.

Just days ago the International Labour Organisation released two options3 to update this law, but only one will work. In just a few weeks every country will have a choice between weak, unenforceable guidelines and a strong new law.

Call on your government to vote for strong protections from modern slavery.

[1] Jean Goudal, May 1929, The question of forced labour before the international labour conference, International Labour Review, Vol. XIX. No. 5.
[2] http://bit.ly/RiCP3Z
[3] http://bit.ly/1htlnQB

Know Your Rights


Reblogged from Beyond Disability


Students with disabilities have the right to:

. Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the academic community. This includes access to services, benefits, co-curricular activities, housing and transportation, when viewed in their entirety, that are comparable to those provided to any student.
. Information regarding the availability of auxiliary aids and possible accommodations as well as procedures for making requests for either.

. Request reasonable accommodations which provide equal access.
Confidentiality of all information and the right to choose to whom information about their disabilities will be disclosed.
. Availability of information and access to university’s grievance procedures.
Disability Friendly institutions
Henry Kiprono

Students with disabilities have the responsibility to:

. To self-identify to the Disability Resources office and provide documentation regarding your disability from an appropriate, qualified practitioner.
. Meet with disability resources staff each semester to review course requirements and obtain accommodation letters for instructors.
. Request all services in a timely manner, and follow established procedures.
. Meet with faculty to review accommodation letter each semester.
. Report any concerns that you have regarding accommodations as soon as they arise.
. Treat all university personnel with respect.
. Meet the university’s graduation requirements and academic standards for completion of any academic program.

The University has the right to:

. Identify and establish the abilities, skills, and knowledge that are fundamental to academic programs/courses and to evaluate each student’s performance against these standards. Fundamental program and course standards are not subject to modification.
. Request and receive documentation that supports a student’s request for accommodations. The University has the right to deny a request if the documentation demonstrates that no accommodation is necessary, or if the student fails to provide such documentation.
. Select among equally effective accommodations for an individual with a disability.
. Refuse an unreasonable accommodation or one that imposes an undue hardship on the University.
courtesy of Disability resources

Five questions to improve the lives of Europeans with intellectual disabilities


Original post from Inclusion Europe

‘…..BRUSSELS – 19 March 2015

Caged, abused, forcibly sterilised, ignored. These are not situations one would ever believe citizens of the European Union would live through in 2015. Still, it is the daily reality for some people with intellectual disabilities in one of the most economically developed parts of the world. Many more experience discrimination, segregation and the denial of fundamental rights throughout the European Union (EU).

When the EU acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) in 2010, disability activists rejoiced. This landmark Convention became the first human rights treaty to be ratified by the EU. Disabled people and their families believed this to signal the deep commitment of the European Union to fight for equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. Five years on, however, people with disabilities are still discriminated against, are hindered from fully participating in society and cannot even enjoy the fundamental rights guaranteed to all other Union citizens.

In a coordinated action, the whole European disability movement has identified the areas where the UN CRPD has not been properly implemented today. Inclusion Europe has contributed by highlighting the perspective and experiences of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. The report was now published by the European Disability Forum as the Alternative Report on the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Alternative Report was prepared to help the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities review the progress of the European Union in implementing the UN CRPD.

While Inclusion Europe recognises that the EU has limited legal competences in several policy areas, we are convinced that the European institutions could do a lot more to ensure the fulfillment of the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities, particularly in the areas of legal capacity, education, participation, accessibility, community living and right to family life. It is evident that fundamental changes are necessary across EU policies, programmes and the internal operational structures of the European Institutions.

On 2 April 2015, the UN Committee will examine the the measures taken by the European institutions to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are considered in all relevant legislative proposals, as well as in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EU policy. Later in the month, the Committee will adopt a List of Issues, a set of questions and requests for clarification for the European Union.

Inclusion Europe will be in Geneva to voice its main concerns on the implementation of the Convention by the European Union. We believe Committee members have a duty to the 7 million EU citizens with intellectual disabilities, as well as to their families and carers, to make sure the European Union gives thoughtful answers to these five main questions:

1. How does the EU plan to support the further development of organisations and groups of people with intellectual disabilities who defend their own rights in Europe?
2. How does the European Union guarantee that persons under guardianship can enjoy their rights as EU citizens on an equal basis with others, particularly in regard to participating in European elections?
3. How does the EU ensure the involvement of persons with intellectual disabilities and their representative organisations in the planning, implementation and monitoring of living facilities financed through EU the structural funds?
4. How does the EU promote and protect the right of persons with intellectual disabilities to family life, and recognize the work of parents of children with disabilities as primary caretakers?
5. Are there any specific provisions in the draft European Accessibility Act on making all goods and services accessible for persons with intellectual disabilities in the EU?

The European Union should pave the way in promoting a human rights-based approach to disability, as it has vowed to do so by ratifying the Convention. The CRPD Committee must now make sure the EU is indeed fulfilling its legal and moral obligations towards people with disabilities. If the EU leads by example, its Member States will follow. Otherwise, the whole implementation process will be jeopardized, and millions of people with disabilities once again forgotten.

For more information, please contact Silvana Enculescu, Inclusion Europe Communications Manager, at s.enculescu@inclusion-europe.org……’

 

Passive smoking was to blame for the death of her family Dog


This is in deed devastating for Heather Goddard, but was passive smoking to blame, some would say yes, while others would say no, or not sure. But is it not that smokers should consider those for whom the choice of smoking is not within their ability. To show respect for others is a quality that we should all consider in all aspects of our life.

Original post from Daily Mail

When her beloved dog collapsed and had to be rushed to the vet, Heather Goddard was horrified.

The grandmother was left grief-stricken when tests showed Clover, an eight-year-old crossbreed, had lung cancer and would have to be put down.

But the biggest shock came when she was told that her dog’s death was caused by passive smoking – the result of being in the house as she and her husband Keith puffed through 30 cigarettes each a day.

Devastated: 62-year-old Heather Goddard, from Seaton Delaval, said her dog got lung cancer after inhaling the toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke - she is now speaking out to protect pets in the future

Devastated: 62-year-old Heather Goddard, from Seaton Delaval, said her dog got lung cancer after inhaling the toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke – she is now speaking out to protect pets in the future

Happier times: Ms Goddard, with husband Keith, granddaughters Chelsea and Leona and dog Roger, quit smoking a year ago and has been told she now smells 'like a proper grandma, which is lovely to hear' 

Happier times: Ms Goddard, with husband Keith, granddaughters Chelsea and Leona and dog Roger, quit smoking a year ago and has been told she now smells ‘like a proper grandma, which is lovely to hear’

Now Mrs Goddard, 61, has quit smoking and is alerting other pet owners to the dangers posed to animals by second-hand smoke.

She and Mr Goddard, 67, of Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, were walking Clover in a park when the rescue dog became ill.

They took her to a veterinary practice in Morpeth, where they were told she had black spots on her lungs and was also suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The vet said nothing more could be done for Clover, adding that the cause of her cancer was passive smoking.

‘Knowing my smoking was to blame was like somebody had just put a bullet into my heart. It was a nightmare that had come true,’ said Mrs Goddard, a retired cleaner who has another dog, Roger, as well as two cats and a rabbit.

‘Clover was a lovely dog. She was friendly and there wasn’t a bad bone in her body.

For video please click link

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1169542.html

Fond memories: She says thinking about Clover 'brings a tear to my eye just thinking about the damage my smoking was doing' - she is now hoping to inform others about the dangers of second-hand smoke

Fond memories: She says thinking about Clover ‘brings a tear to my eye just thinking about the damage my smoking was doing’ – she is now hoping to inform others about the dangers of second-hand smoke

Clover had to be put down after a scan showed up black spots on her lungs

Clover had to be put down after a scan showed up black spots on her lungs

‘She showed no signs or symptoms of being ill. We had no idea why she had collapsed until we took her to the vets. It was such a shock.

‘You don’t think about your animals but they are just like us. They can get illnesses like diabetes and cancer the same as us.’ Mrs Goddard says she now regrets exposing her family and her animals to years of cigarette smoke in the house and the car.

She added: ‘I think I would have tried to give up earlier if I had known the damage it was doing to my animals. As long as the animals were fed I would be happy to go without food but I had to have my cigarettes.

‘I didn’t connect passive smoking with animals. You don’t realise how much of it they are taking in. My grandchildren are only here once or twice a week but our pets are with us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.’

It still took her nearly three years following Clover’s death before she managed to quit her 30-a-day habit – and by then she too had been diagnosed with chronic lung disease.

Her husband has also given up smoking, much to the delight of their three children and eight grandchildren.

Mrs Goddard, who had smoked for 40 years, said: ‘I feel a lot healthier now I have stopped.

‘I can walk to the end of the path without getting as out of breath and I don’t use my inhalers as much.

New start: Ms Goddard pictured with her grandchildren - who are 'always happy that I no longer smoke' 

New start: Ms Goddard pictured with her grandchildren – who are ‘always happy that I no longer smoke’

‘My grandchildren tell me they are glad I stopped smoking because I don’t smell of smoke any more. When I gave up smoking that stopped my illness from getting any worse.’

She hopes by speaking out she will alert other animal owners and help protect more pets from the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke.

‘I would tell anyone who smokes and has animals to think twice,’ she said. ‘I know how difficult it is to give up but they need to think about their animals. Don’t give up trying, even if you have two cigarettes less a day.’

The British Veterinary Association has long warned of the dangers of smoking around pets, saying it can lead to incidents of cancer, asthma and bronchitis in cats and dogs.

Related articles

 

Top Ten Tips for Newly Diagnosed Families


Original  post from Autism Speaks

‘…………..This is a post by Autism Response Team Senior Coordinator Jodi Miller.

Your child has autism.  Now what? You’re part of a new family, a group of people you never planned to be a part of, a life you never planned for yourself, your family or your child.  Your mind is swarming with questions. Who? What? When? Where? How? Why?

Though you never dreamed of or planned for this, things do get easier. Life will be good – it will just be different. You will celebrate this different life and revel in all of your child’s achievements.

It won’t be easy. It takes hard work and patience. Luckily, you aren’t alone on this journey.  There are people, resources and organizations to help, but you will need a roadmap.

1. Get organized

Receiving an autism diagnosis can be overwhelming. Not knowing where to begin or how to move forward is difficult. Get organized. Focus and simplify. Buy a 3-ring binder, dividers and paper. Create sections organizing information (i.e. contacts, schedules, diagnosis, etc.). Tips and forms are available in the Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit.

2. Become a research guru

Learning about autism and treatment options will empower you to make decisions. Read, go online and see what others are doing. Contact hospitals, universities and organizations learning about research studies. Your involvement helps you and professionals understand autism. Resource providers like doctors and therapists are in the Autism Speaks Resource Guide. Tool Kits cover a variety of topics ranging from pre-diagnosis through adulthood. Our Family Services Community Connections newsletter covers many topics. Find information and other resources in Autism Speaks’ Resource Library. Research opportunities and information are also available at the Autism Speaks website.

3. Evaluate your child’s strengths and needs

You know your child best. Your input helps determine therapies and treatments. Evaluate your child’s strengths and deficits. Just like any individual, children with autism are unique. It is sometimes said that if you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism. People with autism have a variety of difficulties; they also have unique abilities and areas of strength. Identify strengths and hone in on them helping your child feel proud of their achievements. This provides motivation and support to learn and excel in other areas. Check out a list of autism characteristics and unique abilities in the Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit.

4. Understand insurance/insurance reform laws/waivers

Insurance plans, laws and state waivers are confusing. Treatment options for autism aren’t consistently covered by health insurance. Currently, 38 states have passed autism insurance reform laws requiring certain policies cover autism treatments although some aren’t subject to these laws. The Autism Speaks Advocacy link has information about state and federal laws. Use the insurance interactive tool to learn more about what your plan covers and check out tips and strategies to improve your company’s insurance coverage. The Autism Response Team has information and resources helping you contact your state’s waiver program to learn more about the services in your area.

5. Assemble your team

A team of people including yourself can help you make decisions about your child’s medical care, therapies, treatments and education. Your team will consist of medical professionals, behavioral, speech, occupational and physical therapists depending on your child’s needs. Tips for interviewing and screening your team are in the Autism Speaks 100 Day Kit. The Autism Speaks Resource Guide lists service providers and can be searched at a local level to find providers that are nearest to you.

6. Know your child’s rights

You are your child’s best advocate. Learn the laws regarding your child’s educational rights and types of school environments. Learn about federal and state laws and how to write appropriate educational goals for your child. Know how to seek legal help if necessary. Tool kits focusing on the IEP process, working with the school community and learning how to advocate are available through Autism Speaks.

7. Communicate and connect with your child through therapies and play

Find activities that your child enjoys. Adapted activities make your child successful. Many communities have adapted recreational activities like “buddy baseball”, “hippo therapy”, and sensory friendly theatre events. Planning activities your family enjoys helps you bond. TheAutism Speaks Resource Guide has information about community and recreational opportunities. There are several issues of Community Connections focusing on this topic.

8. Care for the caregiver

This is an important one! Parents must learn to take a break. Everyone needs refreshing and recharging. You deserve it and shouldn’t feel guilty doing so. You will be stronger and healthier and benefit your entire family. Spend quality alone time with other members of your family. Find respite care providers in the Autism Speaks Resource Guide and read ourRespite Care and Autism issue of Community Connections.

9. Network with other parents/professionals

Connect with parents and professionals that have walked this journey. They know what works and doesn’t and can make recommendations about service providers and therapies. Join a support group and share with others. Support groups are available in the Autism Speaks Resource Guide.

10. Know how to ask for help

Know how to ask friends and family for help and don’t be afraid to do so. Your friends and family want to help but may be hesitant for lack of knowledge. The family and friends support tool kits helps get them on board. Teaching others about your child and autism helps you feel comfortable and accepted and allows your loved ones to help.

Severely disabled people face disaster if the Independent Living Fund ends


Original post from The Guardian

‘………………Campaigners say closure of the Independent Living Fund will exacerbate ‘grave and systematic violation’ of disabled people’s rights

People with disabilities protest outside the Department of Work and Pensions, London.

People with disabilities protest outside the Department of Work and Pensions, London.

Photograph: Graham Turner/Guardian

Stop what you’re doing and ask yourself this question: “If you were to have a serious accident that left you with a severe disability, would you want to be shut away, out of sight and out of mind?” This is a scenario no one wants to imagine, but for Linda Burnip, a spokeswoman for the campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), it illustrates what is at stake for people with severe disabilities if last-ditch efforts to save a vital benefit fail in the run-up to the election.

Short of a late surge of widespread public outrage and an inconceivable volte-face on the part of the government, one of the most important protections for disabled people, the Independent Living Fund (ILF), will soon cease to exist in England. Despite vigorous campaigning, protests, petitions and legal challenges, the ILF will close in June.

This ringfenced pool of money – introduced almost 30 years ago to help around 18,000 of the most severely disabled people live independently in their own homes and communities – should never have been a target for government cuts. It is an essential benefit is often used to supplement other support. By paying for full-time home care packages, for example, people can work or participate in the kinds of everyday activities the rest of us take for granted.

The culling of the ILF is one of the most regressive, inexplicable and indefensible actions taken under the coalition’s austerity programme (and let’s face it there’s no shortage of competition), adding to a raft of reforms and cuts that have already disproportionately affected disabled people, and in particular those with severe impairments.

As Burnip puts it: “The closure of the ILF in England will exacerbate the grave and systematic violation of disabled people’s rights to live independently in the community.”

Over the years, the ILF has represented much more than vital financial support as a route to independence for individuals with severe disabilities, including thousands with learning disabilities. It has been a potent symbol of progressive shifts in how society views disability and disabled people. Its loss, as one campaigner told me, “is like 30 years of campaigning and progress have been stripped away in one go”. And, just in case anyone out there is assuming Labour would reverse the coalition’s decision, think again. Despite pleas from campaigners, Labour has refused to halt the closure if elected.

This month, disability rights activists are stepping up efforts to highlight what the loss of ILF will mean. They will be protesting at Labour’s policy launch in Birmingham at the weekend, and are calling on the government to agree to a UN rapporteur visiting the UK to investigate policies that have an impact on disabled people.

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are making their own arrangements to safeguard funds for severely disabled people. The Green party has announced that reinstating the benefit will be one of its top election campaign priorities.

A Green party spokeswoman described its scrapping as “shortsighted [and] yet another onslaught on the rights and benefits of the disabled”.

The government has repeatedly denied that the abolition of ILF in England is a cut, saying it is transferring millions of pounds to local authorities “to ensure disabled people get the targeted support they need”. But with cash-strapped councils teetering on the brink of financial meltdown and redrawing the eligibility criteria for disabled people applying for additional support, disability campaigners are right to fear that there is no guarantee that their needs, other than the most basic, will be met.

Sometimes it is absolutely necessary to defend something on principle. This is one of those occasions. If we stand back and say nothing while something so critical to protecting the dignity and rights of disabled people disappears, we are as much to blame as the government for the consequences.  …………………………’

 

 

 

Obama in Selma: The march isn’t over


This is true, for when you consider what has been gained, there will always be more and bear in mind, that what has been gained can be lost, so always be ready to stand for what is right. This is not only true of America, but also the World.

Original post from The Hill

‘…………By Jesse Byrnes and Mike Lillis

Getty Images
SELMA, Ala. — President Obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of the bloody march from Selma, Ala., to the state capital of Montgomery on Saturday by saying that the march reflected a broader quest to remake America that carries through to today.
“We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and our hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us,” Obama said while standing in front of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where 600 marchers clashed with state troopers in 1965 in an incident that helped spur the Voting Rights Act.
“We know the march is not yet over, we know the race is not yet won. We know that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged, all of us, by the content of our character requires admitting as much,” Obama said.
Still, Obama maintained that America has made progress in terms of race.
“If you think nothing’s changed in the past 50 years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or Los Angeles of the 1950s,” Obama said.
Throughout his more-than-30-minute speech, Obama emphasized that the Selma march was not limited in time and involved more than just a fight for voting rights, suggesting it spanned to present day and beyond to illustrate the push for gay rights, guaranteed education and improved economic opportunities for poorer Americans.
“The march on Selma was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations, the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes,” Obama said.
In one of the speech’s most energetic moments, Obama called on the dozens of members of Congress in attendance to return to Washington and rally support among their colleagues to “restore” the Voting Rights Act this year.
“It is important for all of us to know that the story of Selma is the story of America,” said Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), the first black woman elected to Congress from the state.
“Selma is now. Every generation faces its own social and political struggles,” Sewell said. “There is unfinished business of the voting rights movement.”
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who was injured in the march in 1965, reflected on being able to introduce a black president, saying he would not have been able to consider the idea when standing on the same bridge half a century ago.
“On that day, 600 people marched into history,” Lewis said.
“It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills. A contest to determine the true meaning of America,” Obama said of the day.
“They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence,” he added later.
Obama reflected on America’s dynamism, saying, “it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals.”
Obama suggested that the doors of social change and opportunity flung open for Americans of different races, genders and sexual orientations, as well as for the disabled.
“Their endeavors gave the entire South the chance to rise again, not by reasserting the past, but by transcending the past,” Obama said.
“The single most powerful word in our democracy is ‘we.’ We the people, we shall overcome. Yes we can – that word is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone,” Obama said, harkening back to his 2008 presidential slogan.
In one tense moment, a group of young protesters attempted to disrupt the speech, beating drums and chanting, “We want change.” The protest drew howls from the Obama faithful watching nearby. A dozen Alabama state troopers moved in, and a woman in the crowd shouted, “Here comes your change.” Obama never stopped speaking.
“Alabama is a different state than it was in 1965, and so is our nation,” Alabama Gov. Robert J. Bentley (R) said in remarks before Obama spoke, suggesting the state and nation had come a long way.
“We need more men and women who are not afraid to stand up and work for what they believe in,” Bentley said.
There were light-hearted moments in the day, too.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), in the middle of an interview with The Hill, was interrupted by Clarence Jones, a lawyer who served as a speechwriter, political advisor and close friend to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jones said he’d promised his wife that if he met Castro, he’d give him a kiss for her. Which he then did in the middle of the street, to the delight of dozens of snapping cameras.
Obama used his speech to underscore Selma’s 50th anniversary as a time to reflect on history.
“We respect the past but we don’t pine for the past. We don’t fear the future. We grab for it,” Obama said.
“If Selma taught us anything, it’s that our work is never done,” Obama said.
“Our country will never, ever be the same because of what happened on this bridge,” Lewis said. “We’re black, we’re white, we are Hispanic, Asian-American, Native American. But we’re one people.”………….’

How the Government believes it is supporting Carers


How the Government is supporting carers  from Gov.UK

An extract ‘Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support, writes about the contribution of carers and new funding for projects to support carers.

Carers make a vital contribution, often balancing caring with other aspects of their lives, sometimes caring for more than one person or balancing working and caring.

We’ve reformed the law so that from April 2015 carers will have clear new rights to be assessed and these assessments will include consideration of the impact of caring on the carer, and the things that they want to achieve in their day-to-day life.

While a caring role can sometimes be complex, some of the things that carers have said they need are actually very straightforward – things like clear information about being a carer that can help to support them in their caring role. The Care Act means that local authorities will need to provide comprehensive information and advice about care and support services in their local area. This will help people to understand how care and support services work locally, the care options available, and how people can access care and support services. And, so that people know what the Care Act will mean for them, we will also be launching a national communications campaign that starts in 2015, helping them to find the right information and support. ……………………..’

So the Care Act 2014* will be implemented April 2015 and on the face of it this may be good news, but is it?

To hear from the Government, they apparently believe the Care Act 2014 is the ‘all seeing’ answer to all the problems around care in the UK.

Granted the Act does bring together the process, systems, previous legislation and more into one area and as the legality as well. Many Local Authorities will view the many parts of the Act that it is reenforcing much of what they are already doing. But is what they are already doing effective and value for money. Many carers and the persons receiving care may well and do disagree.

Just because processes are there does not mean they are effective. Currently and for the last few years and apparently for more years to come, the Government with its austerity cuts has been reducing the grants payable to Local Authorities, so making less money for the authorities to spend on local services. This has had a major impact on the Social Services sections of local authorities, where some care and support to those in need have been reduced or in some cases completely withdrawn.

So will the Care Act reverse this as the Act states local authorities have a legal duty to assess the needs of people in need of care and now also those of the family carers. But if the authorities have a reducing budget at a time of increasing need, how can they effectively comply with their legal duty.

This is at a time when the same Government is closing the Independent Living Fund* (ILF) and while there are only approx 18000 persons concerned throughout the UK, they are in the main, persons who require the most need of care, support and protection. While the Government is apparently transferring the funds for the ILF to the respective authorities, they may only be doing so for one year. Also many of the local authorities have yet to decide how any of the monies will be allocated once it has been transferred. This is because the Government are not likely to ‘ring-fence‘ it. So local authorities could just include it as an addition to their reducing grant and use it for any purpose within their whole local authority. Even if the local authorities did decide to ‘ring fence’ it would most likely be just included in the normal Social Services budget and not used for the persons for whom had previously been receiving it.

The Act states, as well as the requirement to assess need, the person requiring these assessments should have their right of choice maintained, in that they should be allowed to use their individual budget** in their own choosing, while in accordance with the individual support plan derived from the needs assessment.

If the local authorities do not provide the right care and support, the persons requiring care could suffer in that their quality of life would diminish. Where there are family carers, who in the main do not receive any financial support for their caring role, will feel the need to do more in excess of what they are already doing. In fact for most carers they are already doing as much as they can. To reduce care and support, with a reducing quality of life, will in the long-term, if not the short-term, increase the need for care from the NHS for the persons in need of care and also any family carers. Thereby increasing costs for care from a service already under immense strain.

So where is the right of choice, if the person requiring care wishes to live independently from their family, how can the family do more, if they wish to respect this right. For many families once their children come of age, be it any time after attaining, say 16+, they do have a right to their independence, so should this not be so for persons requiring care.

So the Act is defining and putting a legality on the aspects of care and support, but the finance needs to be there to achieve this.

But there are many calls on this finance, so is this the right time to levy more financial burdens on local authorities?

* Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

**Contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v1.0.