A Guest post by Sandra Webster
18 Days to go to go and I need a cup of tea. Thank you very much to my friends at A Thousand Flowers for inviting me the honour of this guest blog. We are in the final countdown, apologies there will be no more references to B-movies or Euro pop.
Some of you might know me as Sandra Webster the co-spokesperson of the SSP who always goes on about the rights of people with disabilities and those who care for them. For me and many other folk this is personal though, It is all about our lives. When I speak I always have my children in my thoughts. We all live with a rare chromosome disorder which means my sons have autism. My daughter who is just 20 is just home from hospital with crutches to walk with. She said to me, “Mum I don’t want to have this, I want to live and see the world,” I told her she would but I fear my bairns and all our bairns if we don’t get a YES vote. That is why we have 18 days to save the lives of so many people.
I have been “lucky” enough to attend an ATOS assessment. I was fortunate to have a good friend who could advocate for me but many people do not have that resource. I remember a young man who had served in Afghanistan who was ragged but he could smile and present well, I fear he was taken off his benefits. Disability related benefits are crucial to help people with disabilities and their families manage the additional burdens of the impact with living with long term health conditions.
Folk at last get physical disability but the more hidden disabilities such as mental ill health and autism are less easy to understand. I remember one day a few years ago when my eldest son had a meltdown in Paisley High Street because of the smell of a burger van and two women tutting. I told them, “I am so sorry, he is autistic”. One of them replied, “I dinnae care if he is artistic, he just needs a good skelping!” Unfortunately it is this attitude that prevails and allows Ian Duncan Smith to turn this into hateful ideology which impacts on so many vulnerable folks lives.
So today, that’s why I am tapping on this computer without a cup of tea. My life is hectic like those of so many women who I hope saw through those terrible patronising adverts put out by project fear, Our lives are complicated by the horrific cuts that are impacting on already very fragile lives but we are holding things together. I was in Nelson Mandella Square on Monday at the launch of Carers For Yes and I remember marching through there a few decades ago with the calls of “No Ifs, No Buts, No Tory Bastard Cuts.” Alas they are still happening. Westminster will never work, we need a new way and that is why I am hoping for Independence.
Don’t get me wrong, Independence is only the beginning, then the fight starts to make the kinder, fairer society I want, not only for my bairns but all of our bairns, where no-one will be left behind. As the RIC slogan goes “Another Scotland is Possible” – another former UK too; no-one left behind, we can transform the world. I hope for a different kind of politics where the voices of those I hold dear to me are listened to because they are the most important ones and I want them to be centre stage.
18 days to go and then let’s put an end to all the tea partying politics and fight to create a different Scotland, a different world. Real actions, no more slogans or political posturing. Thanks compañeros, let’s fight for this. I truly believe it is worth the struggle.
More tea & cakes: