Sleeping with the enemy?!

Crippen's Rights cartoon

Most people know how many of us feel about charitable organisations like Leonard Cheshire (LC). Apart from the institutionalised abuse experienced by many disabled people in their care, they continue to hijack our social model based language whilst still portraying disabled people as vulnerable and in need of their care.

So, what the hell are the United Kingdom Disabled People’s Council (UKDPC) doing, getting into bed with LC?

We’ve already seen how the big disability charities are being geared up to act as the sole representatives of disabled people in the UK (see my blog on 6th Jan ‘Wolves in more sheep’s clothing’), a move that will take disabled people back 30 or more years when the fight for ‘rights not charity’ first took a hold amongst the disabled people’s movement.

Desperate for funding like most of the other disability charities, LC is looking for credibility in its aims to attract the attention of future funders and government and be the sole focus for disability in the UK. By aligning themselves with a group like the UKDPC (a group that most of society wrongly believes is representative of disabled people in this country) they appear to be going a long way towards achieving this.

And it’s not as if UKDPC are unaware of the political aspirations of LC and the other disability charities. When it replaced the British Council of Disabled People (BCODP) a few years back, a few politically aware crips stayed involved with them and maintained their links with other factions of the disabled people’s movement. Information about the underhand tactics of the various charities and groups ‘for’ disabled people was shared amongst the groups ‘of’ and we all worked from the same song sheet.

Currently disabled people’s groups like the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN),  the Trades Union Disability Alliance (TUDA), Black Triangle and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) are part of the massive groundswell of disabled people’s organisations who are protesting against this government’s slash and burn tactics. We are all united under the same banner ‘Rights not Charity’ … all except the UKDPC it seems?!

Anyone from the UKDPC like to comment and explain what’s going on?


Additional comments

Since publishing this blog, I’ve been sent a link to a blog article that takes the question a stage further. Click on -


9 responses to this post.

  1. Craig Lundie has just posted the following on Face Book:

    Well done Crippen for highlighting this issue. It is fundamentally political because so called “moderates” are falling over themselves to find ways to compromise people’s rights and, by dint of this, their quality of life.

    I have never met a… disabled activist who didn’t oppose every cut or fail to understand the folly of “slow cuts” currently favoured by the Labour Party leadership for instance. We must never allow these smily-faced collaborators to piggy-back onto our anger to achieve their dubious goals of power and control over us.

    If the political classes are ignorant (or, more likely, forgetful) of our rights then we must (re-)educate them. We want robust rights which will allow people to live independent lives with dignity; not charity, which is optional and allows those who would pick and choose the deserving to control us and threaten to withhold their so called, “generosity”.

    To offer to roll back the threat of fascism and replace it with Victorian values will not wash with this generation. The resources are there in abundance – only the political will is missing.


  2. Posted by Linda Burnip on 08/03/2011 at 20:42

    I’ve just been told that good old LC have taken a contract to support disabled people in working with the local council away from one of our real DPOs in Islington. Maybe they would like to show solidarity with us all by foregoing that??


  3. Posted by Debbie on 08/03/2011 at 22:09

    This is spot on- at a time when disabled people are losing their rights, and seemingly going back in time to the ‘bad old’ days (if the coalition get their way)-this latest move is totally bizarre. Charities have rarely done anything of use for disabled people, they have made money from disabled people and incarcerated them, benefited from government contracts regarding them, and generally been despised by them. I really didn’t think much more could surprise me after emergency budgets and ‘spending reviews’, but I would have found a Disabled Peoples’ Organisation teaming up with one of the most despised charities very difficult to believe … Rights not Charity!


  4. Posted by John Hargrave on 09/03/2011 at 06:28

    What a disgusting state of affairs. Of course LC are not on their own, many ‘well know’ organisations say they are working for us, when in fact, they are working for themselves. Too often large charities have a couple of disabled people on board and think the know ‘what is best for us’. Guess what, these parasites, don’t even come from France! If we all stick together then we will win our rights war, if we don’t then, well, it is just too unthinkable.


  5. Posted by Anne on 09/03/2011 at 14:34

    Perhaps asking UKDPC what the truth is rather then making assumptions would be apropriate?


  6. […] With thanks to Crippen / Dave Lupton Cartoons: www for his most excellent cartoon. Do view his entirely more incisive article on the same subject. […]


    • “Leonard Cheshire Stinks – They’re worse than you think!”

      lc – you wanna support disabled folks? then FREE OUR PEOPLE!

      Miss Dennis Queen
      (was Clair lewis)


  7. Posted by Sasha Callaghan on 17/04/2011 at 15:12

    LCD, Mencap, Action for Blind People et al are all Poverty Pimps, making profits by ensuring that disabled people remain powerless. I’m getting increasingly exasperated by UKDCP’s failure to at least explain what they think they are doing by aligning themselves (and by extension, us) with our oppressors.The only issue I have with Craig’s take on this is the reference to ‘rights’- I think ‘Liberation’ is what we should be fighting for.And I don’t think LCD will be seeking to align itself alongside Black Triangle struggle for liberation any time soon, principally because they know we’d tell them to fuck off.


  8. These are really trying times for getting across that disabled people are vulnerable and becoming more so (and many of us *are* vulnerable, through marginalisation, poverty and the insecurity placed over all benefits and services just now) whilst avoiding tragedy/ charity model cliches.

    The trouble is that the rhetoric of this government is so pervasive. Concepts like “genuinely disabled people”, the financial provision of a “compassionate society” and so on. It feels easier right now to argue that they’re failing to act compassionately towards genuinely disabled people than to use the language of social justice and rights.

    I think we should try, but I also think it’s very tough.


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