Thursday, 28 February 2013

Response to the Daily Mail Cartoon debacle.


Just a quick post today. So, on 25th February, the Daily Mail published this cartoon, accompanying the article discussing how many disabled people are rushing to claim Disability Living Allowance before it is phased out to make way for it's replacement, PIP. 

Understandably this cartoon caused fury and outrage amongst social networking sites. In fact, I was so infuriated by what I saw as disabilist propaganda, that I felt moved to complain to the cartoonist, as well as report this to the Press Complaints Comission. I know we have come to expect such atrocities as this from the Daily Mail, but I have had just about enough. Disabled people are suffering disproportionately with austerity, and we are constantly being demonised and stigmatised by the likes of this vile paper that I lost my patience and bit back. 

Anyway, I sent an email explaining that not only was this cartoon offensive, it was also wholly inaccurate. Now, my condition is permanent, it's incurable and impacts greatly on my life. I have been through the process of applying numerous times, (in fact since I was a child) and every few years the DWP make me jump through hoops, to prove that my cerebral palsy hasn't spontaeously got better, and that my care needs, and mobility needs are still the same. Whilst I think it's a bit ridicuclous I am continually reassessed given my condition, I can in someways understand it. It still doesn't excuse the fact it creates much stress and uncertainity. Also, DLA. doesn't make it better. It doesn't get rid of the pain, the tiredness or the inability to do certain things that comes with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. I should note that, although I have long since accepted my disability, and I am proud and happy to be who I am, I HATE relying on state support. I hate admitting that I need help every single day. I don't think I'll ever get used to that. Anyway I am majorly digressing, I decided to blog the response from the email, since tweeters were asking what the response was, and it's a little difficult on twitter to reduce it to 140 characters.

So here was the response:

Dear Ms Jones

Many thanks for contacting our cartoonist, Jonathan Pugh.  Both he and the Mail sincerely regret if you found his cartoon, regarding the Disability Living Allowance, offensive.

His sole intention was to mock those who claim that the DLA system is such an easy touch and the minority who aim to abuse the system to the detriment of genuine claimants.  It is the role of the cartoonists to satirize and provoke. By suggesting something so preposterous the cartoonist hoped to make it abundantly clear that the idea of someone claiming for a blister was a joke. Neither he nor we were implying that genuine claimants should not be fully supported.

Nevertheless, we appreciate you taking the time and trouble to respond to us and we have taken your concerns on board.

Now, whilst I appreciate the response, I am not impressed. I totally missed this interpretation of the cartoon. Given the Daily Mail's reputation for being grossly inaccuarate and misleading on disability welfare issues, I do not for a minute agree with this response. I also don't think that the majority readers will see the purpose of this cartoon. If their commments are anything to go by, they already ignorantly think claiming DLA is an easy process, with the disability benefit handed out for the most trivial of ailments. 

I still think I was right to complain and to be upset by it. I guess it's all a matter of interpretation. 


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Carrot & Coriander Soup Recipe

Hello all. I appear to have been MIA with respect to this blog, but I'm back to share a yummy soup recipe with you! This soup is a good old classic, carrot and coriander, but I actually made it for the first time ever today. We currently have snow in Shropshire, so it's the perfect day to make this winter warmer.


1 white onion, chopped.
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped (this is to thicken the soup, so add less if you prefer it thinner)
1 tsp ground coriander
450g carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1L of vegetable stock (I religiously use Kallo)
A good handful of fresh coriander, stalks and all! 


1. In a large saucepan, fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the ground coriander and stir.
2. Add the potato and fry  for 5 minutes until it begins to soften.
3. Mix up the stock and add to the pan, along with the chopped carrots. Simmer gently for 20 or so minutes until the carrots are soft.
4. Take off the heat, when cooled, add to the blender along with the fresh coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. 
5. Serve hot with crusty bread. You can add a swirl of natural yoghurt, cracked black pepper and a few leaves of coriander as a garnish if you like!