Wolves in more sheeps clothing?!

Crippen's charity cartoon

Francis Maude, Cabinet Office minister has just issued a green paper on “giving” in the hope of “building culture change” in our attitudes to charity. He wants us to change our donation habits to be more like the Americans where there is a competitiveness about charitable giving.

By making charitable giving more visible and competitive in the UK, his plan is to bring in more money to the charities who will be used to fill the holes created by public spending cuts. In a nutshell, the whole ‘Big Society’ concept is about communities, individuals and charities plugging the gaps created by the public spending cuts that are under way.

The reason that the success of the ‘Big Society’ will depend heavily upon Maude’s scheme becoming a reality is due to the fact that charities currently receive about £35m annually from the government (although perhaps another area for the chop?). This means that unless ordinary citizens put their hands deeper into their pockets and boost the income needed by charities to fulfil their new role, then the ‘Big Society’ won’t even get off the ground.

Another problen for this government is that charities don’t always have the same priorities that they have. In the UK, it’s been calculated that the most popular causes are for children, animals, cancer and lifeboats! Disability charities are amongst the causes that are least likely to arouse the public’s compassion (unsurprisingly groups and organisations OF disabled people don’t even figure in these statistics). It doesn’t help those disability charities, who will be expected to take over many of the community care duties, that the CONDEM’s have also been implying that a lot of people claiming to be disabled are most likely faking it!

There’s a ray of hope for all disabled people here though. By introducing this ‘scrounger’ element the CONDEMs have inadvertantly sabotaged a major part of their grand design by ensuring that the general public will be even more reluctant to give money to those charities that claim to support disabled people. These same charities that will be expected to fill this particular funding gap!

So, where does this leave us? If Maude’s scheme works by increasing the visibility of charitable giving and encouraging people to compete against each other to donate more, this will inevitably mean that the likes of Scope and Leonard Cheshire will be given more money to fill their coffers. They’re already aware that due to the cuts to benefits and the reduction in community services, they’ll be getting more disabled people unable to live anywhere other than in their care homes.

And more disabled people living in their care homes means yet more money pouring into their coffers and less disabled people on the streets. Less disabled people on the streets, using public transport, participating within mainstream education and doing all the things that other members of society take for granted means that we will soon fade from the public consiousness, hidden away as a distant, bad memory.

We’ve got to wake up to the fact that we’re fighting for our very lives here. We have to find a way to bring ALL disabled people together to challenge these changes and expose this monstrous government and it’s brutal, backward looking policies. Unless we do this, we have no future. We may even cease to exist as laws are changed about assisted suicide and society decides that it’s much more humane to have us all put down or killed at birth.

I’ve unashamedly taken a lot of the information needed for this blog from an excellent article by Peter Wilby in the Guardian. Please cut and paste the following link to read Peter’s article in full –


10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Linda Burnip on 07/01/2011 at 17:46

    I’d like to say something profound about this but am left feeling too depressed to do so. Sadly it doesn’t seem to be an exageration and if we don’t FIGHT BACK now it will be too late as we will all end up in nursing homes making more money for charities. Some of us ( not many) are worth £14,000 each to them if only they can force us back into some sort of work.Doesn’t that make you feel valued?


  2. Posted by rich on 08/01/2011 at 06:28

    nice looking blog Dave and so easy to navigate. Does it not say something else about charities that you have to set up a political blog separate from DAO? Not that i know that DAO is a charity even. Its just that their seems to be so much confusion about who can say what, where to who. The personal cannot be political. Free speech is restrained. This is one of the great evils of charity that rarely gets discussed other than to say politics….. well, we can’t talk about that. Charity is the great silencer. Which is why its important to use technology to subvert what cannot be said elsewhere. I’VE BEEN THE VICTIM OF IT MYSELF where i work, as have colleagues, as have the organisation. We were not comentating on parties, I was commentating on independent living. And it set the local disabled people’s movement back.


  3. Posted by Criptique on 08/01/2011 at 08:52

    Under a Labour government it would be fair to say that disabled people did travel some way towards independent living, winning the right to such things as direct payments and DLA. Cash benefits allowed us to pay for services and facilities that made things more comfortable or helped remove barriers. Recognizing our right to control and giving us the spending power allowed disabled people to put some distance between us and disability charities. As our independence grew they (under Labour) were struggling to keep their role in a more equal society.

    We’re not long into a new government administration, heading into rocky and choppy waters charities are being re-born as they are now finding a new reason to exist. A new raison d’être. Every day they have new and deplorable, scandalous tales to report on our behalf. The shocking stuff that is happening to us right now is being retold by the Charity PR gravy train. Let’s name the guilty, Scope and its management now are running to our rescue, speaking for us again. Our crisis today is their job tomorrow.


  4. Posted by Celia on 08/01/2011 at 10:26

    Half a million people are about to lose their jobs, included lil’ ol’ disabled me. Where exactly do they expect ordinary people to get enough money to donate to charity from when we can’t even pay for our own basic needs with all the cuts and price hikes?

    And do I really want to go cahelp from some condecending, middle class idiot who hasn’t a clue about what it’s like to live with a disablity in this so called uncaring “Big Society”?


  5. Posted by Linda Burnip on 08/01/2011 at 11:10

    but many of them would make money from us whatever happens, since they still run ‘special’ schools, ‘rehabilitation’ services and nursing homes which is why they have no real need to maintain our choice and control over our own lives.

    Time to do it for ourselves again I feel, and forget them.


  6. Posted by Sasha Callaghan on 09/01/2011 at 18:09

    Scope, LCD and their known associates are the agents of disabled peoples’ oppression. They are NOT the guy on the white horse, galloping to our rescue, however much they may cast themselves in that role. DPO’s falling for this blatant con t…rick either have no sense of history (look what happened with RIGHTS NOW debacle) or are so naive or desperate that they are prepared to deliver us into the hands of our enemies. A new and very angry disabled peoples movement, inspired by the student protests, seems to be emerging through social networks – this is probably the best hope we have at the moment.


  7. Posted by Stephen Brookes on 09/01/2011 at 18:09

    I would alter the first line to ‘…misadministration


  8. Posted by Penelope Friday on 16/01/2011 at 19:17

    Hi Dave,

    I’m hunting you down here as well – please can you email me apropos of using your work for disability activism?


  9. Posted by lillly on 16/03/2011 at 22:04

    hello just found your cartoons etc and was very interested in the social model you introduced me to..very interesting.I wanted to know what we can do as individuals.
    i became ill more than a year ago and am dumfounded by the situation WTF.
    I am struggling at times with my memory and words due to my disability so found the cartoons straight tothe point.
    Thank you ,who knew when thhey were campaigning that the big society meant looking after each other ,that will never happen its to big of an ask crafty *****


  10. Send me an email to – daveluptoncartoons@live.co.uk – and I’ll see if I can help you to find a group ‘of’ disabled people near you. We’re stronger when we’re together tackling the problems associated with the barriers within society that disable us. 🙂


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