How do we break down barriers for disabled people?
To begin with let's hold rogue employers to account. Strengthen, or better still, actually use current legislation to its full extent. Years ago I recall Margaret Hodge claiming that disabled people shouldn't rush to litigation when confronted with discrimination, but rather they should negotiate.
The days for negotiation are long gone. Successive governments tell us that employers need education not legislation. I don't see this applied anywhere else. Why can't we educate benefits claimants rather than using sanctions against them? Why not educate 'debtors' instead of evicting them?
No, let's use legislation as a blunt instrument to bash recalcitrant employers over the head, in the same manner the Tories are planning with their vicious anti trade union laws.
Tom Shakespeare, in every other area of civil life there are laws and rules by which we live. If and when we stray across the boundaries within which these laws and rules are set, we are punished.
In attempting to make a case for the use of law I am also aware that this government and its predecessor have ensured that millions of us are denied access to the law by placing, often insurmountable, financial barriers. As we are left with fewer 'legitimate' avenues from which to fight our corner alternatives such as taking to the streets and civil disobedience are all that remain.