Defending public services

Battles against privatisation and cuts

Speaking out about deaths in care

Speaker

Janine proposing a motion condemning deaths of autistic and learning disabled people in care, at TUC Disabled Workers' Conference in May 2019.

***

On 21 March this year, an inquest ruled that the death of Colette McCulloch was avoidable.

Colette was thirty-five years old when she died. She was autistic, and in a hostile society, she had become mentally unwell.

Ban the Booth!

Ban the Booths campaign logo

Inside a cell three-walled in fears
kept separated from their peers
A throwback to the Dickens years
the pride and joy of Wackford Squeers
Victorian values raw in tooth
So Tories, damn you - ban the booth!

Narrative Verdict

I rise to call my first dead witness
Counsel may contest his fitness
for his part to testify
to tell you how he came to die
He leads a host of souls to tell
their stories from a bitter well
of negligence and ignorance
of culpable indifference
An inquest has been held for each
but now this hearing must impeach
the system which we'll hear has let them

Affordable Home

house make of cash

Apartments and unfurnished
Flats rented or retailed for a small
Fortune, unfortunately unaffordable
Out of the price range, out of
Reach of those who need a place to call 'fixed abode'
Dictionary defines 'affordable'
Adjective: within one's financial means; not
Beyond the budget; not so dear that
Landed gentry and lottery lucksters only need apply for
Extensive, expensive accommodation eloquently extolled as 'affordable': adjective

'Having a cost that is not too high', too
Opulent, over-the-top, off-the-scale, or obviously obscene
Market-mangled meaning strangles
English language

Homage to Hospitals

All hail to public hospitals
Which treat us at no cost at all
Come forth and heed the homage call
Give thanks and praise

Admire their shiny corridors
The wonder drugs in well-stocked stores
And colour-coded wings and floors
And curtained bays

Where patients' injuries are healed
By specialists in every field
Equipment-laden trolleys wheeled
In urgency

Not OK

I saw a poster the other day
that said it's OK
to not be OK

I was sitting in a waiting room
while others sit
or just exist
on a waiting list
for months or years
Worsening trauma, growing fears
Not serious enough to jump the queue
or get what's good for you
Bide your time
stand in line
wait your turn
And as you wait, maybe you'll learn
to be more resilient
that would be brilliant
Parity of esteem?
in your dreams
The stuff of inspriation memes
Buzz words
fuzz words
nothing does words
Set targets
trust the market
It will decide
and it will provide
for those who pay

Stop SEND cuts!

This is my proposing speech for TUC Disabled Workers’ Committee’s emergency motion calling for action to stop cuts to funding for kids with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Several trade unions’ delegates spoke in support of the motion, which was passed unanimously.

 

Conference, I am going to tell you:

Requiem for Carillion

Once Thatcher sold our silver for a song
Our telephones, our water, power and steel
The vultures were not satisfied for long
They wanted snacks to follow up their meal

The public body's stripped, its clothes torn off it
So next they chopped its limbs off piece by piece
And tossed them to the hounds that sought to profit
And let the corporate speculators feast

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