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Disability Bitch vs blue badge reforms

23rd October 2008

Fans of Disability Bitch, welcome to my shiny new-look column. I know it's pretty but don't let that distract you. There's serious hating to be done. Join with me, fellow cripples, let's all chorus as one: I HATE DISABLED PARKING REFORMS!
A blue badge in a car windscreen
It goes without saying, indeed I have said before, that I hate almost everything there is to hate about Blue Badges - the scheme which enables disabled people to park in cheeky places where your normal common-or-garden driver would get towed away.

It sounds like another stunning advantage to being disabled - this and free money from the government - when actually blue badges are so annoying and pointless, I've sold mine on the internet for several thousand pounds. We've all got to supplement our benefits somehow. Don't panic, though. The man buying it did say he was definitely disabled himself.

The thing is, I've been browsing through the government's recently published Blue Badge reform strategy, and it seems they'll soon be handing out badges to just about anyone who asks. They've got loads of guff in there about fraud prevention. There's also talk of having to have a medical assessment before qualifying for a badge. And that's fine too because, y'know, as a disabled person I've only been to six different hospital appointments this week, I don't feel I'm medically assessed often enough.

Read the small print, though, and you discover this supposed tightening up is a farce. For instance, blind people are still going to get Blue Badges 'because of the difficulties they can face crossing the road safely'.
Disabled parking spaces
Um. Right. First up can someone let the government know that - as a general rule - you do still have to cross the road when you have a Blue Badge. It's not like angels magically appear and stop the traffic when you flash your parking permit. Sometimes I want to go to a shop that's on the opposite site of the road from a handicap space and I actually have to walk across the road! With moving cars and everything! Shocking. Am I doing something wrong? Should I be writing to my MP? Look, it's just I've NEVER seen a blind person using a car without the benefit of a fully sighted accomplice, and I'd at least hope that they could help with the whole crossing-the-road lark. Maybe mention if there are cars coming to their blindie mate, that kind of thing? Depends how much they like them, I suppose.
But that's the least of my worries. I read that soon 'people with temporary mobility problems' lasting at least a year, will be granted badges. Well that's just ridiculous. These people only have to be a bit disabled for 12 months. Have they never heard of Tesco.com? Can they not get taxis? Do they have no friends? Really. This policy has not been thought through. In a world where more than half of all blue badges in London are used fraudulently and a shiny blue spaz parking permit will sell for thousands of pounds on the black market, do you not think people will resort to self injury to qualify? Course they will! The government is encouraging self harm, I tell you. The NHS will be overwhelmed by people with DIY broken legs. They will hobble into casualty clutching their blue badge application forms and there will be no parking spaces left for the rest of us. You mark my words. It's an outrage!

MillsWatch

Strange but true: a waxwork model of Paul McCartney's head was accidentally left on a train in Maidenhead, it was reported this week. It was eventually found but I was trying to start an internet rumour that it was on a stake in Heather Mill's back garden. I'm nice like that.

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