How long does it take the average person in a large urban area to commute five miles? If you are unlucky and the traffic is impossible, you may spend half an hour stuck in traffic. But next time you moan about your commute, think about this: if you had a disability, it could easily take you one and a half hours, no matter what the traffic is like. A recent BBC interview with Jackie, Nikki Fox reminds us of how we, in a society that dares to call itself civilized, still put the ‘dis’ in ‘disability.'
The look in London
London is just an example, but it is not much different from many other metropolitan centers around the globe; in fact, London may be much better than many other cities. The London Underground, the pride and joy of the capital, has 270 functional stations, yet, if you have a disability, the map of the Tube, as we locals call it, suddenly becomes a series of brightly colored lines with nowhere to get on or off for miles on end. In fact, only 67 of these stations offer access to everybody. If you have a disability, you are still a second class citizen.
“Don’t worry; we are making progress,” you may be thinking. Well, you are mistaken. As reported in The Guardian on 21st January, local authorities, faced with cuts from the central #Government, are contemplating mobility service cuts; these cuts are particularly painful if we consider that the banks received a bail out for leaving the economy a mess, while essential services to real people don’t seem as deserving as the needs of billionaires.
We are still disabling people. If the yardstick of democracy is how we care for the more vulnerable sectors of society, this is a violent slap in the face of justice. Still looking at London, this is the city that no long ago was so proud of having hosted the most glorious Paralympic games of all-time, so, what’s happened to the legacy we had all been promised? Put your money where your mouth is, and start showing us the humane face of politics and economics; we have been waiting far too long.