Mar 292011

Many thanks to Sean for allowing us to publish the speech he gave on behalf of disabled people at the 26th March TUC rally at Hyde Park.

Sean McGovern

Sean McGovern



Hello Comrades, I’m Sean McGovern, a disabled trade union activist; and, I’m honoured to be here today part of this anti-cuts movement. Which is growing daily!

Comrades, disabled people are fighting for the most basic of human rights.

• The right to work;
• the right to a living income for those who can’t work;
• the right to sustenance;
• the right to decent care support;
• the right to live without hate crime; and
• the right to dignity!

May I congratulate some of our popular media? Well done the Daily Heil, the Sun and Express, you purveyors of disablist propaganda. Along with the rubbish-end of TV and attention seeking politicians you’ve managed to demonise disabled people.

In times of recession and economic downturn governments and their media hounds need a scapegoat; history has shown us this; today it’s the turn of disabled people – who’s next?

No wonder hate crime against disabled people is on the rise.

While the bankers caused this economic crisis disabled people’s support and benefits are being blamed.

So much so that we are feeling the brunt of the ConDem ideological cuts.

They say these cuts aren’t ideological – liars!

• Replacing Disability Living Allowance with a Personal Independence Payment, with predicted savings of 20% – naked ideology!

• Introducing a draconian set of Work Capability Assessments – viciously ideological!

• Migrating disabled people from Incapacity Benefit to poverty level JobSeekers Allowance – driven by ideology!

• Removing hundreds of items from Access to Work; a scheme that earns 20% for every pound spent! – stupid ideology!

• Supported employment schemes such as Remploy under threat; thus adding to an ever-increasing unemployment queue and benefits bill – misguided ideology!

Not content with attacking our jobs and benefits they’re bent on depriving us of life enhancing resources. And calling it the BIG SOCIETY!

Day centres are closing. Council care is being cut. Direct Payments bills slashed as eligibility criteria are squeezed to critical only.

Comrades, every day disabled people are dying due to ConDem ideologically driven policies. They must go!

Today the struggle shifts up a gear! From here we must return to our cities, towns and villages to organise everyone against this ConDem regime; these enemies of disabled people, these enemies of the people – our class!!”

Feb 202011

protest poster
We now have some access details for the 26th March –

heres the map with the assembly point for disabled people.

Arrangements for disabled people who:

  • wish to join the march at the main assembly point
  • wish to join the last part of the march for a shorter route to the rally
  • wish to go straight to Hyde Park.

Details below can be found at March for the Alternative website

Remember to let Peter Purton know by March 14th if you need access permission.

There is a Buddies for rallies page here if you need help and want to send out a message.

Also UNITE are providing free transport for non-union members: contact your local UNITE office about this.

At Victoria Embankment assembly point

  • There will be a special assembly point in Savoy St at the start of the March for people in wheelchairs and disabled people  who wish to join the demonstration in a group. There are accessible toilets within reasonable distance of the assembly point. This will be separately stewarded and marchers will be slotted in towards the front of the march.  Savoy Street is now shown on the assembly point map. We understand of course that many people with disabilities will want to join their union or other groups in the rest of the march.
  • The size of the event means that there will be major road closures throughout central London all day on March 26th starting quite early.
  • Roads at the assembly point will be closed from around 9am and drop off times before then will be limited to 10 minutes. But it will be possible for taxis/dial-a-ride/minibus vehicles, though not coaches, to drop near Savoy St up to 11am (but not park). We will need to gather requests for such access (and we also need to arrange pick-up access after the event at Hyde Park). We will be issuing permits for this, and without them access may not be possible. Email Peter Purton at by March 14th.

Short march assembly point

  • For those who wish to join the march for a shorter distance there is a further assembly point in St James St (off Piccadilly). It is now on the route map. There are accessible toilets that we have arranged within reasonable distance of this assembly point. This will allow people to join the march for the final stretch into Hyde Park. We would want people formed up there by 12:45, but if you are being dropped off in a vehicle it is likely that all nearby roads will be closed from 11am. We cannot arrange exceptions for this as access roads will be completely closed and other roads by this time will be heavily congested.  We will also need to know in advance about anyone coming who needs vehicle access to the short march assembly point so that we can discuss arrangements, particularly for pick-up. Email Peter Purton at by March 14th.
  • Of course people can join or leave the march at any point along the route, and as the march will be huge it is likely to be moving along Piccadilly from 1pm to probably at least 3:30pm, so if people wish to arrive later by tube they can. Piccadilly, Green Park and Hyde Park Corner are all on the final stretch of the march.

In the march

  • We are expecting that there will be St Johns Ambulance ambulances at the front and rear of the march and there will be trained first aiders distributed along the route.
  • It will not be possible for other vehicles to join the march.
  • Stewards will be briefed on disability issues, particularly those stewarding the assembly points in Savoy St and St James St.

Coach Parking arrangements

  • As there are so many coaches coming we are allocating coach drop off and parking places in advance, and people will make the rest of their journey by public transport or under their own steam.  A number of tube stations close to the assembly point are accessible and we will allocate coaches to drop off points near to accessible stations if we know about special needs in advance.
  • All coaches need to be registered with the TUC in advance. Coach organisers should  include any access issues when they do this, or tell us later if they only become apparent later. This should be done through the contact page.
  • We are not yet in a position to allocate coach drop-off and parking points as we are still trying to gather as many options as possible. There are rumours that all coaches are going to Wembley. This is not true, although we will be using the Wembley coach park as one of a number of locations. We will be using a range of different drop-off points and parking arrangements around London for coaches. One reason for this is to make it easier for access for vehicles delivering and picking up people with disabilities to get to the march – and more importantly pick-up points.

In Hyde Park

  • There will be a signer on the giant screen(s).
  • There will be a further St John Ambulance facility, which will be joined by the ambulance at the front of the march when it arrives.
  • There will be a hard surface area accessible via hard paths that are suitable for wheelchairs.
  • There will be disabled access toilets.
  • For those who wish only to go to Hyde Park there will be some limited vehicle access taxi/dial-a-ride and minibus style vehicles either within Hyde Park (though space is very limited) or nearby. This will only be by pre-arrangement and with a permit issued by the TUC. Contact Peter Purton in advance by March 14th.

Pick up points

  • We will be able to arrange pick-up points for taxi/dial-a-ride and minibus style vehicles either within Hyde Park (though space is very limited) or nearby. This will only be by pre-arrangement and with a permit issued by the TUC. Again you need to contact Peter Purton in advance by March 14th.