Ian Birrell has had his (unrealistic) hopes dashed:
Tomorrow marks one year since the Paralympics, that glorious festival of sport, began. It ended with highfalutin speeches and proclamations of a seismic change in attitudes. We were told people would never see disability in the same way after witnessing the dazzling exploits of David Weir.
And you believed that? Really? Good lord!
The sad reality is little has changed. Yes, there have been some small steps forward. My profoundly disabled daughter gets perhaps a few more smiles on the street; some sports have seen a small rise in participation from disabled people; a handful of companies have become slightly more progressive. Channel 4 deserves credit for sustained coverage of disability issues on its news.
But life remains difficult for a minority still segregated from the rest of society, the tide of intolerance strong.
Life will always remain difficult – in some respects – for the disabled. Assistance aids and redesigns alleviate things somewhat, but the blind will never see, and the paralysed never walk, short of a medical miracle…
A study this week by the disability charity Scope is expected to reveal that most disabled people have seen no improvement in attitudes since the Paralympics; some say things have actually deteriorated. It is great to open up a few basketball clubs to wheelchair players – although still only one-in-four sports clubs have suitable facilities for disabled people – but this is no panacea for people routinely abused and unable to get dressed, gain jobs, travel on public transport or access local shops.
Well, what would be? Don’t tell me, Ian, is it ‘more money’?
We live in a country where eight in 10 people have never worked alongside a disabled colleague, and even fewer have had a disabled person in their house for a social occasion.
What?!? What sort of comment is that..?