Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Purple Pound

You know how things are labelled? Always categorised and put in a box and any inconvenient differences ignored? Well now even the money we disabled people spend has a label or, more specifically, a colour. Following on from the equally puke-inspring stereotype of the 'pink pound' apparenty spent by gay people and the wholly unflattering 'grey pound' spent by the elderly comes the 'purple pound' spent by disabled people in the UK. Essentially, this refers to the economic spending power of disabled people in the UK and moves are afoot to help businesses maximise their potential to get their grubby mits on our hard-earned crust. Well, they would be if we weren't all a bunch of loafing scrounging work-dodgers on benefits. If they are serious they could start by moving the steps away from the front of 50% of bars and restaurants in some cities. And 100% of booby bars. Regardless, it would seem that we are willing to take on this extra stereotype and even had some hand in deciding which colour to go with, as we will see later, but I would still like to know whether there is a colour for the pound spent by people called 'Dave' or those who have dandruff.

So why purple? The BBC tried not very hard to get to the bottom of this thorny issue in an article published earlier this week. They stated that purple was the favourite colour of two people in particular, the founder of a public spending cuts protest blog whose name is Kaliya Franklin, and multiple Paralympic champion and celebrity disability poster girl Dame Tanni Grey Thompson. If only those elderly buggers hadn't got in on the act first we could have taken Tanni's surname and had the grey pound all to ourselves. Still, the Dame herself likes purple, so purple it is. Purple has also apparently been associated with power, with kings and queens (and now Dames) although tellingly, Franklin gave away far more than she probably intended when she was quoted in the BBC's article as saying 'Purple seemed to be the only colour left so it was a good job we all liked it'.

Incidentally I met Tanni once. Well, I say I met her, I was in the vicinity of her for an hour or so on one occasion. I hate it when people assume that you know everyone with a disbility just because you have a disability yourself. You don't know every able bodied person on the planet, or even in your town, so why should I know Tanni Grey Thompson, Frank Williams or that lass with one arm off Blue Peter of whom it was once ludicrously suggested that she frightened children? I don't. But the fact is that mine and Tanni's paths have crossed once or twice. Once specifically I remember outside the dorms at Stoke Mandeville around a million years ago when she was just Tanni and I was still pretending to be an athlete. And another time when she was at a basketball game I was playing in, because her husband was on the other team. But that's it. On neither occasion do I recall her wearing anything purple or expressing a preference for purple and we're not an item so stop asking.

So what does all this mean in any case. What is the purple pound, I mean really? Basically it is the collective income of disabled people, standing (pun intended) at £80billion according to the Beeb's meanderings. They also claim that 19% of the UK population has a disability. I want a recount on this one. That is almost one in five people and it cannot possibly be that high, although it is alleged that one in five Americans believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim so anything is possible. But really, if one in five people were genuinely disabled then discrimination would fly out of the window faster than a Phil Jones spot-kick. There are clearly a lot of porkies being told by people filling in job applications, or more likely benefit applications and censuses. If I may be so bold as to clumsily pluralise it thus. Unless you have trouble walking, talking, hearing, seeing or maybe even thinking then frankly my friend I am not having you as a disabled person. If you have a disability which stops you from being able to spell or to accurately judge distances or some shit, then can you please vacate the disabled toilet now because I need to go. You're making me feel a bit sick with your bogus claims. I'm not at home to disability when it suits and not when it doesn't, when there's nothing to gain and everything to lose like the respect of society. You fucking Undateable cretin.

Anyway about this £80billion. Since it covers people with pretend disabilities it follows that it must also cover those people who were unfortunate enough to suffer a life changing accident at some point in their lives. Here's another of my favourite bug-bears that I can now bore you with. If you are born with a completely fucked spine and the natural problems that will develop thereafter (CKD is not an aftershave or a pair of pants, it stands for Chronic Kidney Disease) then you just have to lump it. However, if you have a terrible fall or are in a road accident or some other such tragedy then you are likely to come into a large sum of money. It can be argued to be someone's fault, and if so then you are rightly compensated. However, birth cannot reasonably considered to be anyone's fault, so people who are born with a disability get what Jim Bowen used to call BFH. In some ways this is a positive as it means that you have the drive to go out and earn yourself a living and be a slightly less accepted, dissaproved of part of society, but I wouldn't be human if I didn't look out of the office window some days and think 'how come nobody has given me a couple of hundred grand for my predicament?'.

Just a final word on the figure of £80billion. At the end of the BBC's article they revealed that the figure was 10 years old, and that there were no plans for it to be updated. So the purple pound could be an even greater wad of cash than we thought, but we may never know. There's no point updating it anyway. It's only the fucking disabled.

Only a fifth of the population. Or something.

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