I’m going to wish every one of you lovely people a very, very happy 2021 because wishing others well is one of the few things I believe has a spiritual dimension. So a very happy new year.
Without trawling back, I can’t say exactly how much time I talk about disability on this forum. A bit from time to time. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes it’s a bit angry. Sometimes about me. Often not.
When I was sixteen, all I desperately wanted was to be normal. Normal meant learning to drive or getting a motor bike, going clubbing, chatting up girls, having a job to have my own money. Being cool and sexy. Some of that just wasn’t going to happen … although I went as far as sneaking some driving in the local teacher training college grounds and even asking a friend if he’d take the test for me. Maybe I chickened out. Maybe he did. I don’t remember.
The thing is, I didn’t want to be defined by a disability. I wanted to be a cool, revered musician with beautiful girlfriends, a Bentley and a Ferrari, a big house etc etc. With a lot of perseverance, a lot of cheek and leaving Britain for somewhere less prejudiced about disability, I actually achieved all of it.
So it came as a surprise to me that, six decades on, I was positively thrilled to be asked to become head of the UK’s largest disability charity. Covid has refocused all our minds, hasn’t it? I got utterly stuck without any of the usual carefully crafted support. Eek!
This isn’t really one of my usual ramblings at all. It’s a cross between a spoiler and emotional manipulation by me, tinged with the need to be fair.
Oh get on with it Robin…
I am going to send out another piece in a very few days. In it I will describe what’s happened to disabled people during the pandemic. I’m still reeling from the Office for National Statistics figures. Wait for this.
Almost two-thirds of all people who have died from Covid were disabled and over half of younger people who died were disabled.
Yes I know, I had to check that too. It still seems unreal – unless you talk to the people at Scope, that is. They are at the sharp end.
This next follow up note I’m talking about will tell you about a ridiculously daunting challenge I’ve taken on to show courageous leadership and to raise money because all the Scope shops are closed.
The spoiler is because I don’t want any of you ever to feel I lulled you then suddenly asked for unsolicited donations. The note will be called The Scope Challenge. Please just delete it if you would rather stick to my astoundingly astute, insightful and occasionally hilarious flowery writing. Thanks.
PS. a new phrase entered the English language yesterday: Former President Trump. It’s got a nice ring to it I think.