Parking row illustrates a wider need to change attitudes.
Next month, I will be spending an afternoon at the magistrates’ court contesting a parking ticket I received a few months ago from Islington Council.
I fully expect to win. For me the issue is not really the fact that the ticket was wrongly issued and that I will have righted a wrong, but more the fact that, as a disabled person, the onus seems to be on me to prove that I am in the right.
In order to prove that I was not breaking any law, I have had to spend time writing two appeal letters, pay someone to type these letters (I cannot type or write), and then next month take the time off work and spend the money to attend court, in order to make a point of principle, that many people would quite rightly feel strongly about.
This wild goose chase of me by Islington Council is symptomatic of something that is happening on a wide scale – disabled people, more and more, are being asked to “prove” they are doing things by the book.
Whether it be contesting a parking ticket, or being required to show you are disabled so that a companion can accompany you to a film for free, or having to attend a medical at the GP in order to qualify for disability benefits, there seems to be a subtle shifting in the onus of responsibility.
That shift reveals an increasingly unhealthy attitude. And if the health of any society can be judged by how well it treats those more disadvantaged than the majority, maybe this society should consider getting in better shape.