Research Bulletin, June 2020

Hello and welcome to this monthly summary of my community research, the fifth so far. This month there is a new publication of findings online for you, plus the usual updates. The over-arching theme of Independent Living campaigns continues.

I could write at length about the current pandemic in England and the government’s appalling policies and practices, but in a nutshell I am following the grown-ups in Scotland for the time being. If the English government’s health policy was herd immunity, it changed some time ago to become the herd graveyard. Breath-taking incompetence.

1. 2020 – Independent Living and Covid-19

Previously I’ve been looking here at the number of deaths of people living in care comes compared with people living in the community, and my strong conclusion continues that Independent Living saves lives.

However, let’s not be naive and think that numbers alone will persuade the various vested interests that the game is up on profits and segregated institutions. This blog is my summary of what I think the coming battle for social care might well look like.

2. 1970 – Alf Morris 50th anniversary

In February I circulated some draft Research Notes for comment on the campaign by disabled people and allies in the 1960s which led to Alf Morris writing the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (CSDPA). Thanks for comments and the final version is here (pdf).

For every social services department, the 1970s was the first time they made contact with many disabled people, and that was because of this new law. Books have been written on the years after the CSDPA, but very little has yet been researched or written about the years beforehand, and only one (an autobiography) on the campaigns by disabled people to live independently with support. This is even though disabled people’s campaign for independent living featured in a mini-series on BBC2 television in 1968 (page 16 in the pdf link above).

3. 1995 – DDA 25th anniversary and DAN demos

The news embargo has been lifted on a forthcoming docu-drama being made for BBC2 this year on the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN) and the campaigns in the early 1990s for civil rights leading to the (flawed) Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). The GMCDP Archive has an extensive set of papers and objects in its DAN Collection, and we’ve been told the collection is providing useful research material for the writers of the programme. Details on the BBC Media Centre here.

4. GMCDP Archive

I’ve been listing the names of the various collections within the archive in recent bulletins, and some new ones that are waiting to join. These collections have been generously donated by disabled people’s organisations and by individual disabled people from the campaigns they have been involved in over the years. A recent assessment of the archive noted that it is now “130 linear metres,” or 14 double-decker buses long as a colleague helpfully calculated. With the pandemic lockdown the archive development can only be home-based at the moment, and we are hopeful of announcing more developments soon.

Keep well everyone


Previous copies of this Bulletin are online:

Research Bulletin, May 2020

Research Bulletin, April 2020

Research Bulletin, March 2020

Research Bulletin, February 2020

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