Guest blog by Peter Murry
As a disabled Brent resident, I was invited to the International Day For People With Disabilities event held in Brent Civic Centre on 3rd December 2015. Attending this event was my second visit to the Civic Centre since its opening in June 2013.
The event gave certain Brent Councillors, (Cllrs Butt, Hirani & Pavey), an opportunity to grandstand Brent Council’s achievements for People with Disabilities. Perhaps because many in the audience may not have understood some of the speeches, or were attending as paid carers for other audience members, the councillors were able to express their concerns for People with Disabilities without anyone asking any awkward questions, like:
· How will the London Borough of Brent implement central government austerity policies without harming People With Disabilities or other vulnerable Brent residents?
· Will Brent Council make any effective attempt to resist these central government austerity policies or even visibly protest against them, in view of the fact that these policies are now forcing even more severe cuts than those that Brent has already carried out?
We heard a lot about ongoing improvements to Brent Civic Centre, which was apparently still the ‘greenest public sector building in Europe’. It is indeed an impressive edifice, but I suspect, most Brent residents use it even less frequently than I have; still it’s nice to think about the council workers having such a wonderful warm spacious atrium to sit and eat their lunches in, instead of being outside on cold, wet, winter streets.
The various stalls from a variety of organisations at the PwD event were quite useful although the display table shared by Unison and the GMB, didn’t seem to have many anti-cuts leaflets on it.The Choir and Dance group, both featuring performers with disabilities, were good and it’s nice for a diabetic like me to get a few sweet biscuits once in a while; however once I’d had my free cheese sandwich lunch, I’d had enough, so I never found out if the elephant in the Civic Centre trumpeted and stomped on Councillor Pavey during his closing address