Paralympics and the big society
Below is a letter I have written to a national newspaper on the subject of fair and equal treatment of the Paralympics on behalf of a group of disabled people, and as a part of a growing internet campaign.
To Whom it may concern,
It has come to my attention when shopping at ASDA today that the bunting other accoutrements which have decorated their stores during the Olympics and jubilee was being taken down, when I questioned that the Paralympics was still to take place I was told that it was a corporate decision. This may in itself seem a small thing but it seems to be one of many, the royal mail has also declined to extend the gold post box or stamp initiative to the Paralympics. I am far from alone in my outrage at this. Although I am disabled myself, I am in no way in favour of positive discrimination, but at a time when disabled people are still gawped at in the streets, insulted or patronised, this should be an opportunity to show the world at large that disabled or a able bodied makes no difference. In order for this to happen role models need to be developed, England and the world needs disabled equivalents to Usain bolt or Sir Chris Hoy and Paralympics athletes need the same support their able bodied counterparts enjoyed. I am quite frankly disgusted that these two companies have ignored this, and as a result made clear that their interest in the Olympics was not as a spectacle to ensure a generation, but merely as a marketing opportunity.
I Hope that you decide to run with this story, so that the glorious opportunity that the Paralympics is, for creating a better feature for disabled people is not passed up by narrow minded people concerned purely with profit.
Yours sincerely Benjamin Burcombe-Filer
I can think of no better example of how big society could potentially work, society on all levels working together on an issue such as disability through the medium of the paralympics and yet it seems the absolute antithesis of the big society initiative, namely ignorance and or cold profitability still dominates. The fact that it is doing so after all of the good work the Olympics has done in bringing people together and changing attitudes quite frightens me, but at the same time give me hope. The Olympics has shown that big society can work, and if together we can right the injustices shown in this letter it will prove still further that the big society can work. But the fact I am writing this shows it has a long way to.