Disabled activists halted traffic around Westminst

first_imgDisabled activists halted traffic around Westminster three times in a protest against further government austerity measures, just as Tory chancellor George Osborne was delivering a budget that will slash billions of pounds from disabled people’s support.The #Balls2TheBudget protests began in Whitehall shortly before 11am yesterday (Wednesday) with activists from Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) – and supporters from other grassroots protest groups, such as WinVisible, Black Dissidents, London Latinxs, Occupy and Global Women’s Strike – halting traffic.On a signal, they pelted the gates outside Downing Street with plastic balls, on which they had written anti-austerity messages.Andy Greene, a member of DPAC’s national steering group, told fellow protesters: “There is no mandate for austerity, there is no justifying the cuts.“We want to deliver our messages, and these balls, right down the heart of the British government.“We want to deliver them right down Downing Street, to make sure that [Osborne’s] budget is scarred with our messages, that his budget isn’t the only narrative today, that we are the people, that we will have our say.“We will, whether they like it or not, keep coming back and keep resisting.”The protest moved on to Westminster Bridge, near where DPAC had hung a huge #Balls2TheBudget banner on the bank of the Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament.After retrieving the banner, they spread it across the road, forcing police to close the bridge – which overlooks parliament – to traffic for about an hour.Protesters then moved to Parliament Square, directly outside the Houses of Parliament, where they blocked three key road junctions and brought traffic to a halt.Robert Punton, one of the DPAC activists who took part in the protest, said: “We gridlocked the three intersections, which knackered up the centre of London, which got them really nervous.”Police officers persuaded some protesters to move from the road but others refused, and four of them – three men, including Greene, and a woman – were arrested for highway obstruction and taken to a West End police station.Some DPAC activists also attended a short parliamentary debate on the impact of the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF).DPAC’s latest direct action protest came only two weeks after they came close to forcing their way into the main debating chamber of the House of Commons during prime minister’s questions, in a last-ditch protest against the ILF closure.Punton said yesterday’s protest had been a “brilliant action that got the point over. I think we achieved what we set out to do, and probably more.“The aim was to highlight that this was not a budget of the people, but a budget for the bankers and a budget for the millionaires.”He said the hope now was to build on the protest of two weeks ago and the latest actions, and use them to shake potential supporters out of their apathy.Punton said: “It’s now about building on what we did two weeks ago and what we did yesterday, and bringing the more apathetic population along with us.“The slogan by the end of yesterday was, ‘Actions speak louder than words.’ Doing something positive rather than talking about it.“We are trying to increase the number of people who get involved, because we can’t do this on our own.“The result of this prolonged attack on disability is that people are trying to camouflage their disability, rather than being proud of being disabled. We are looking for disabled people to redefine themselves once again as disabled people.”He added: “We were highlighting what was obvious to everybody, that we are again the groups that are paying for austerity.“It is people like us who are paying the bill, not just financially but socially, such as with our involvement in our community.”Punton said he believed police had only made the arrests because protesters from the mainstream grassroots group The People’s Assembly began turning up for their own Parliament Square protest.Punton said: “That’s when the police thought, ‘Let’s put an end to this, because it could really get out of hand.’ They had to quash it.”Picture by Kate Belgrave, www.katebelgrave.comlast_img read more

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Mainstream arts organisations have a mountain to

first_imgMainstream arts organisations have “a mountain to climb” to ensure they have an acceptable proportion of disabled directors, artists and staff, according to leading disability arts figures.They spoke out after new figures showed a new Arts Council England (ACE) programme to improve diversity in the industry had made little headway in its first year when it came to disability.ACE released figures this week showing the progress made since it launched its Creative Case for Diversity last December.Although there was some improvement in black and minority ethnic (BAME) representation in arts organisations, figures for Deaf and disabled people were “largely static”.Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of ACE, speaking at an event in Birmingham, said the survey showed there were now “slightly more staff, fractionally fewer managers, and discernibly fewer board members” who identified as disabled.The figures show that, among its national partner organisations (NPOs) – the larger organisations funded by ACE – the proportion of the workforce who were disabled rose from 1.8 per cent to just 2.0 per cent from 2013-14 to 2014-15.The proportion of disabled artistic staff rose from 1.4 per cent to 1.9 per cent over the year, but representation on NPO boards dropped from 3.5 per cent to 3.2 per cent, while ACE itself has no disabled board members, although more than 11 per cent of its managers are disabled.Among the museums receiving major funding from ACE, the proportion of managers who were disabled plunged from 8.3 per cent to 4.1 per cent, while disabled artistic staff fell from 7.4 to 4.5 per cent.The number of performances made accessible to audience members who were deaf or blind increased from 3,066 to 3,760, while the number of accessible exhibitions increased from 6,941 to 8,054.And ACE’s Grants for the Arts programme saw 168 disabled applicants secure funding of more than £2.8 million in 2014-15, compared with 124 successful disabled applicants being awarded funding of £1.74 million in 2013-14.Tony Heaton (pictured), chief executive of Shape Arts, said the poor progress reflected the lack of investment in disability arts.He said it was “woeful” that just two per cent of the NPO workforce were disabled, particularly when the government was making desperate attempts to force more disabled people into work.Heaton also pointed to the proportion of disabled NPO directors, at just 3.2 per cent, a fall since 2013-14, while ACE itself had no disabled board members.He said: “The people who affect change are the people who have power. What we can see is very few disabled people who are in positions of power and influence and who can change things.”He called for a much more collaborative working relationship between the disability arts sector and ACE, and a more “intensive level of investment”.Heaton said: “They need to fund real disabled-led organisations to do stuff for disabled people because they routinely fail to really invest in the disability-led organisations they have got.”He compared the level of funding received by disabled-led organisations with the “substantial amount of public funds” handed to opera and orchestras, which have “a mountain to climb in terms of addressing issues around diversity”.Heaton also called for a much more social model approach to improving the representation of disabled people in the arts, addressing the physical and attitudinal barriers they face in the sector.But he praised the work and intentions of Sir Peter, and said: “I genuinely think Peter Bazalgette wants Arts Council England and the arts community to be much more diverse.”Ruth Gould, artistic director of DaDaFest, who spoke at the ACE Birmingham event, said there was “a pressing need for more disabled people in influential positions”, while she was “disappointed about the lack of disabled people at board level across the sector”.But she said: “We do appreciate the Creative Case focus and know that ACE is trying to influence change, which we really support.“However, ultimately the most impact will be from internal transformation and ACE and its funded organisations need to embed this change to truly learn to reflect the wider public within their governance, leadership and workforce.“Disabled people on average represent over 20 per cent of the population and the current representation is nowhere near where it should be, so we have a long way to go to truly demonstrate inclusion.”Dr Ju Gosling, artistic director of the disability arts, culture and human rights organisation Together! 2012, said it was “clear that disabled people have very little influence still at a senior level in the arts”.And she said the overall figures “disguise the fact that attitudes to disabled people vary wildly between sectors, with significant progress having been made in the live music industry, not least due to the long-term efforts of Attitude is Everything”.But she said that gender discrimination was “rife” in the live music industry, so she was pleased that ACE was “taking an increasingly joined-up approach to diversity”.She said: “Non-disabled women and BAME artists and arts workers are not prepared to put up with the patronising, charitable approach to equality that disabled people have experienced for far too long, while gender and race discrimination impacts equally on disabled and non-disabled artists and arts workers alike.”She also said that some “caution” was needed with figures showing an increase in accessible performances, exhibitions and screenings, as the “understanding of what makes a performance or exhibition accessible is still very limited, particularly among curators and programmers”.Gosling said she was also concerned at the “growing tendency to prioritise white, middle-class audiences when showcasing the work of disabled and other diverse artists”.But she said: “I do believe that the Arts Council has a genuine commitment to increasing diversity, and will watch their efforts over the next year with interest.”Sir Peter announced four new funds designed to advance diversity, worth a total of £8.5 million.They include a £2.1 million fund to develop diverse-led organisations; £2.6 million to help address the lack of diversity in arts leadership; and another £1.8 million to support the development and commissioning of new work by deaf and disabled artists, through the Unlimited programme, which was originally launched as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.last_img read more

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The prominent Remainbacking MP Ben Bradshaw has u

first_imgThe prominent Remain-backing MP Ben Bradshaw has urged colleagues not to break away from the Labour Party in an interview with LabourList.The former Culture Secretary, now a leading supporter of the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign, confirmed reports that he told party colleagues on a pro-referendum WhatsApp group not to “do something silly” and walk away, following last night’s refusal by the Labour leadership to back an amendment demanding a year-long extension of Article 50.He called for the whip to be enforced against Labour MPs who voted for Theresa May’s Brexit deal – and warned of an ‘exodus’ of Labour members unless the leadership backed a fresh referendum.Speaking to LabourList, Mr Bradshaw rejected calls for a split: “My very strong view is that everybody’s efforts at the moment need to be focused on getting us out of this Brexit nightmare and ensuring the party leadership honours our unanimously agreed conference motion.“It’s clear there can’t be a general election in the next six weeks, and Theresa May has rejected Corbyn’s softer Brexit offer. The party must move now to implement our policy which is a public vote.”Putting pressure on the Labour leadership, Mr Bradshaw told this site it was unthinkable that Jeremy Corbyn could continue to resist calls for a so-called ‘People’s Vote’.“It’s inconceivable to me that Jeremy – who has based his whole leadership on party democracy and listening to members would renege on our agreed policy. If that happened it would cause uproar.”Following reports of a mass walkout of members over the party’s Brexit policy, Mr Bradshaw said he was “very worried” about an ‘exodus’.The MP for Exeter refused to comment directly on MP colleagues’ discussions regarding a ‘Valentine’s Day split’, but said: “A lot of [party] members are hanging on because they’re hoping Jeremy will not betray them.”Much hinges on the next few weeks and whether Article 50 will be delayed. The backbencher said the party would ‘potentially have more time’ to clarify it’s Brexit position were there an extension.But he warned against dithering: “The public and party members are looking for firm leadership at this very perilous time in our country’s history.”When asked about fears that backing second referendum could leave to a collapse in Labour’s support in Leave-backing areas, the Exeter MP added: “All the polling evidence shows Labour would suffer huge damage if we are complicit in or enable a Tory Brexit.“Most Labour voters in [Leave-backing] seats voted Remain and the swing since the referendum has been most marked in the seats that voted leave. It’s a time for those MPs to do what is in the country’s best interests.”Commenting on the four Labour MPs who voted for Theresa May’s Brexit statement on Thursday night, he suggested disciplinary action could be considered. “It’s very disappointing, but it emphasises how important it that the whip is properly enforced.“Many members and MPs were concerned two weeks ago when the whip on the Cooper-Boles amendment [attempting to rule out no deal] was not enforced – in contrast to when those who broke the whip to vote for a customs union and the single market were sacked or asked to resign.”While refusing to call for the whip to be withdrawn from Leave-backing Labour backbenchers, Mr Bradshaw added: “We do need to have some consistency.”Pro-EU MPs have long been angry over the apparent discrepancy between the leadership’s treatment of Remainer rebels compared to Leaver rebels.The prominent Remainer also avoided suggestions Remainers could lay an amendment for a second referendum in coming weeks. “It’s certainly getting very late to table and vote on a public vote amendment. We can’t wait to the end of march to do so…The immediate priority is to take no deal off the table. If May won’t do that herself, Parliament has to do that for her.”“Given that all the other options in Labour’s policy are now exhausted, I don’t see what’s holding the front bench up of going for a public vote.”On Thursday night another prominent Labour Remainer, Chris Leslie, said backbenchers were “being played for fools by the leadership” over Corbyn’s refusal to back a fresh public vote.Asked whether he agreed, Ben Bradshaw said: “I’m not as pessimistic as Chris. But if that doesn’t happen, there will be uproar in the party.”Josiah Mortimer is editor of Left Foot Forward and is covering Sienna while she’s away.Tags:Interview /Labour /Ben Bradshaw /Brexit /Corbyn /labour split /second referendum /People’s Vote /Valentine’s Day split /Bradshaw /exclusive /last_img read more

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Aircraft owners advised to evacuate Cape Fear Regional Jetport

first_img Airport Director Howie Franklin said owners should move their plans now while the weather is still nice or they may not be able to if they wait. BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County Airport Commission recommends all Aircraft Owners to move their aircrafts out of the Cape Fear Regional Airport in Southport while they can.This comes after Governor Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency for the whole state.- Advertisement – last_img

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Leland Police looking for breaking and entering suspect

first_imgAlexander Dequan Pellom (Photo: Leland Police Department) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Detectives with the Leland Police Department are asking for your help finding a Wilmington man wanted for breaking and entering.23-year-old Alexander Dequan Pellom is wanted for breaking and entering a motor vehicle and larceny of a firearm for incidents in Blake Circle and Lincoln Place Circle on Saturday.- Advertisement – If you know where Pellom is call 911.last_img

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Sex offender accused of being on Roger Bacon Academy campus

first_imgCorey Jason Lightbody (Photo: BCSO) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A man convicted of sex crimes in New Jersey now faces charges in Brunswick County.According to the arrest warrant, Corey Jason Lightbody, 31, went on the the premises of Roger Bacon Academy in Leland on Wednesday.- Advertisement – According to an article from the New Jersey Herald, Lightbody was part of a cyber sex sting that snared six men in 2008.The NJ Department of Corrections shows Lightbody was last in custody for sex offense crimes in April of 2017.Lightbody is in the Brunswick County Detention Center under $51,000 bond.Related Article: Woman charged in Wilmington hit-and-run involving multiple police carsHe’s charged with sex offender child premises and resisting public officer.last_img

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Closed ports lost power How storm could hurt area economy

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — Ports are closing. Farmers are moving hogs to high ground. Dealers are moving cars into service bays for refuge. And up to 3 million energy customers in North and South Carolina could lose power for weeks.Across the Carolinas and parts of Virginia, businesses are bracing for the economic damage Hurricane Florence is expected to inflict on the area. Industries like tourism and agriculture will likely suffer, and the losses won’t be easily or quickly overcome.- Advertisement – Once it makes landfall, Florence is expected to lash coastal communities with 130-mph winds and to dump several feet of water. Flooding could prove devastating. The storm will likely damage homes and businesses, kill crops, drown livestock, wash away cars and suspend much of the area’s economic activity.last_img read more

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Bladen County men sentenced for hog farm thefts being habitual felons

first_imgWesley Keith Carroll, of Clarkton, and Joshua Bryan Evans, of Bladenboro (Photo: Bladen Co. Sheriff’s Office) BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Two Bladen County men are headed to prison for years after being convicted of stealing from area hog farms and for their life of crime.Yesterday a judge sentenced Joshua Evans to 67-93 months in prison after Evans pleaded guilty to one count of felony larceny, three counts of larceny after breaking and/or entering, one count of larceny of a firearm and being a habitual felon.- Advertisement – Today, Evans’s co-defendant, Wesley Carroll, received a sentence of 77-105 months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of felony larceny, five counts of larceny after breaking and/or entering, one count of larceny of a firearm, one count of obtaining property by false pretenses and being a habitual felon.Last fall the Bladen County Sheiff’s Office said it wanted Evans and Carroll for a series of hog farm break-ins during September and October. Investigators said the men stole thousands of dollars worth of property from the farms.In addition to the prison time, Evans was ordered to pay $22,280 in restitution to his victims, and Carroll was ordered to pay $25,970 in restitution.last_img read more

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Update Brunswick County woman is located and safe

first_imgMissing: Ana Elizabeth Chilel (Photo: Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office/ Facebook) ***UPDATE***Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office say Ana Elizabeth Chilel has been located and is safe.- Advertisement – SHALLOTTE, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office needs your help finding a missing woman.The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office said Ana Elizabeth Chilel, 25, was last seen Thursday night around 8:30 in Shallotte walking near Mcmilly road.The Sheriff’s Office said Chilel is Hispanic, has light brown hair. She is 4’8″ and weighs about 125 lbs.Related Article: FIRST ON 3: Deputy’s vehicle hit during traffic stop in Brunswick Co.If you have any information, please contact Detective Hester at (910)713-8360.last_img

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