Friday, 20 December 2019

Deaf Difference and Space.

Deaf MP refused sign support.

David Buxton head and shoulders
David Buxton head and shoulders Deaf election candidate plans legal action over the government’s access costs refusal.

A Deaf candidate in last week’s general election is planning to take legal action against the government after he had to raise thousands of pounds to cover the cost of sign language interpreters during the campaign. Liberal Democrat David Buxton, who came second to Tory Damian Hinds in East Hampshire, believes he faced discrimination because of the government’s refusal to meet the impairment-related costs of disabled election candidates. 

He also believes that this failure was a breach of his rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Buxton (pictured) calculated that he would have needed about £20,000 to pay for all the British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters he needed for a full election campaign, and to challenge his Tory opponent on a level playing-field. 

But he was only able to raise about £5,000 and so had to cut back on his campaign plans, restricting his ability to meet and communicate with local voters. Because of the government’s refusal to ensure this level playing-field, disabled parliamentary candidates like Buxton were forced to pay for costs such as BSL interpreters, personal assistants, assistive technology and taxi fares. Although the Liberal Democrats were able to provide some financial support for Buxton, he had to meet most of the costs himself and through contributions from family and friends. 

He told Disability News Service this week that he now planned to take legal action against the government. He has contacted the same legal team that represented him and two other disabled politicians in their successful case against the government’s decision to close the Access to Election Office Fund (AEOF) in 2015.

ATR:  The 'right' of deaf people to be funded for 'social reasons' has always been a no from the system.  UK Deaf and disabled are only able to claim support funds to access systems, (E.G. Health emergency etc welfare areas), but not stand for parliament.  ATR recalls a complaint from a deaf parent with a child in residential care who was refused signed support because the parental request to visit her child was made by the parent and was not an arranged visit, by the social care worker who would have 'legitimised' the visit on welfare grounds but only on the child's behalf, not the deaf parents.  

Systems claim to support deaf people outside welfare systems and emergencies, would open up demands for 'social' visits to cinemas, hearing clubs and every area hearing attend.  Albeit real demand for that has never been proven, deaf preferring own social bubble.  I suspect this attempt to sue is more to raise BSL awareness than any realistic prospect support to follow would have got him elected anyway.  It would appear the deaf area isn't targeted specifically for lack of funding to stand politically,  other disabled are too.

Is there any voter in the constituency he stood for prepared to comment?  Was he viewed aware of local and national issues e.g?.  Is Mr Buxton deaf OR disabled?  The area he represents (The deaf one) insists he isn't disabled but he is suing on that basis as the systems do not see deafness as anything other than a disablement and his demands for expensive support bears it out £20,000? blimmin eck!

Didn't blind MP David Blunket stand for parliament and win his seat, with just a dog and a notetaker?  And Jack Ashley a deafened MP do the same?  I am assuming Mr Buxton can read... or even use the current technology to assist?  Rights ONLY apply IF, the person applying has an access problem that such singular provision can ONLY be used to follow, but the deaf have other and alternatives to sign to follow and use them every day.  

Choice has to be respected in regards to the fact alternatives exist and the person if claiming can utilise those, preference is being used as a blunt tool by some deaf and does nobody any favours, given BSL support is horrendously expensive provision and they are refusing cheaper and equally viable options they can use.  Cost is the driver and if deaf want such access they have to use the options they already use daily anyway.  All the HoH have is an aid and a loop!

Footnote:  Mr Buxton has stood before and been elected ergo:  David has run for Parliament twice, the last time in Lewisham East where he achieved a swing against Labour and the Conservatives

In 1997, fighting Labour in Lewisham East, he maintained the LibDem's share of the vote despite a Labour landslide victory
In 2001, fighting Labour, again in Lewisham East, he increased the parties vote by 5.2% with gains from Labour and the Tories
From 1997, David and his team fought hard to increase the number of councillors in Lewisham from 3 to 17 by 2006.

In 2010, Liberal Democrats came second at the General Election from a poor third place in 1997.

David's policy in 1997 of keeping to an agreed strategy led to more votes, more support, more helpers and more new members.  So how did he win those without sign?