Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Brent Martin was, according to his family and friends, a caring and trusting man.
Even when the 23-year-old - who had learning difficulties - was being subjected to an onslaught of violence, Newcastle Crown Court was told he did not lift an aggressive finger to his attackers.
The two teenagers - one aged 16, the other 17 - and a 21-year-old man who killed him have been warned they face a mandatory life sentence.

Disability Now, the magazine covering disability issues, has put together a dossier of what it believes are disability hate crimes.

Over two years it identified fifty-one cases of people with a wide range of disabilities being attacked. Detailed in this dossier are some truly horrific attacks:

In Cornwall in 2006, Steven Hoskin, who had learning disabilities, was murdered by people he thought were his friends. He was led around on a dog's lead and then made to hang from a viaduct by his fingertips. He fell to his death when they stamped on his hands.

In the Forest of Dean a few months later, Kevin Davies who had epilepsy and learning difficulties died after being tortured and kept in a shed. His tormentors were jailed for unlawful detention.

And in April of last year, Colin Greenwood who was blind, was kicked to death by two teenagers in Sheffield. He told the woman who went to help him he had stopped using his white stick because it attracted attention and he'd been attacked before.

Katharine Quarmby, news editor at Disability Now, was shocked by what she found: "I think it tells us that disabled people are targeted by a certain number of people in the population and they are seen as easy targets because of their disabilities. [From the BBC website 23/01/2008]

Why when these despicable attacks are becoming more frequent are certain charities closing down rural village communities and pushing the concept of care in the community?

These rural communities are usually situated in pleasant surroundings with beautiful views. They provide both safe accommodation and the chance to enjoy crafts such as pottery and woodwork. Yet are close enough to towns to allow residents to go to college and take part in local activities.

Why close them? Why deliberately move the residents into flats and houses in the more deprived areas of towns where they will be in danger of adding to these statistics?

Apparently the residents will be able to walk to the shops and to the pub. Of course whether they will be able to walk back home again is questionable in our broken society.

I shall be posting again on this subject in the next few weeks, and perhaps explaining what happens when there is an unholy marriage between philosophy and finance.

[to be continued]


Blogger Philip Amos said...

I second every word you write. Expatriate in Canada, I was not aware that these sheltered communities were being shut down. I look forward to reading your reflections on the unholy alliance of philosophy, or 'philosophy', and finance. 'Care in the Community' was a catchphrase of the Thatcher government, one of many such tossed out during the 80s in Britain and also by the Reagan Administration, and meaning quite the opposite of what they purported. Blair and Bush have similarly made good use of their advertising agencies. 'Care in the Community' was very swiftly picked up by the then Social Credit government here in British Columbia, with exactly the same disastrous results you refer to. The vulnerable are at the mercy of the criminal. Also, of course, the mentally ill, the majority paranoid schizophrenics, go unmedicated, and thus it is that they very often wind up living on the streets, committing criminal acts, and going to prison. Of course, the only motivation of the governments responsible was the ideological obsession with reducing the size of government, privatizing, and cutting budgets. I think the unholy alliance came about because, and this is a tendency of academe in recent times, ambitious 'philosophers' -- economists and theorizers in various fields -- were only too anxious to belly up to the seat of power and sell the governments in question utterly spurious justifcations for their policies. At the same time, charities, like non-profit organizations of all kinds, are now customarily run by CEOs with MBAs, no particular interest in the causes and purposes of their organizations, and minds that cannot help thinking in terms of profits and bottom lines even though the law forbids that they make a profit in the first place.

4:35 AM  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Thanks Philip. I will be posting next week but clearly you already have worked out the reasons.
The CEO of the charity I am concerned with earns about £100,000, his predecessor £68,000 and she received £70,000 in compensation for loss of office. Those who donate money think it all goes to keep the residents.
It is a depressing story, but I have to be very careful what I say as our libel laws are pretty ridiculous. I should have the next post on this up next week.
Thanks for your input. I like the phrase "utterly spurious justifications for their policies". In fact a lot of experts can see the problems, but their advice is ignored, in favour of those that fit the policy.

7:31 AM  

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