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DPAC London demo blocking ambulances

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Sunny Clouds:
DPAC held a demo in London on Tuesday against the £20 cut and other welfare cuts.  They advertised it as being at a location (outside St Pancras) not as a march. 

They were joined by activists from a non-disability group, some of whom were visibly disabled, i.e. overlapping interests and the banner-displaying, slogan-chanting and noise-making began.  It started raining and they went in the station, but it's large and other people were able to get past. 

However, the group was then led out onto the Euston Road, with police stopping the traffic, and then, a bit further along, tried to block both sides of the road.  It took effort from some of the demonstrators plus the police to try and get enough of the other demonstrators off the road to try to get an ambulance through, but some were very obstinate and refused to budge, leaving one carriageway of the road blocked off, making it difficult to move buses out of the way of the ambulance.  I don't know how long it took the ambulance finally to get through.

I can't get my head round how anyone would think that they'd get any support for a cause by stopping a blue-light emergency vehicle getting through.  They were also blocking buses, including ones that had destination St Barts Hospital.  Traffic was backed up to Euston Station, including another ambulance, albeit with its blue lights switched off.

I feel about this the way I do about the Insulate Britain campaigners blocking motorway traffic.  Amongst the casualties was a woman having a stroke being driven to hospital by her son, and who is now paralysed down one side.  It is being said that the doctors say if there hadn't been a delay of several hours, they could have prevented that happening.  A cancer surgeon missed a day's operating. 

I really can't see that causing ordinary, unconnected people to suffer like this helps causes.  To attract people's attention, maybe annoying or delaying non-urgent activity a little, or a pre-planned march with traffic diversions, can make a point.

I will never support another DPAC demo.

As soon as I read the third paragraph of the above, I thought "Have they been taking lessons from Insulate Britain??"

--- Quote ---I can't get my head round how anyone would think that they'd get any support for a cause by stopping a blue-light emergency vehicle getting through. 
--- End quote ---
No, me neither.  Whenever I hear about/read about/see the latest disruption caused by Insulate Britain (apparently an off-shoot of the equally infuriating Extinction Rebellion) I forget all about what they're actually fighting for.  All I can think of is "what a bunch of self-aggrandizing, totally irresponsible numbskulls".   (Well, I think something far ruder but I wouldn't post it on here).  To say they're not doing their campaign any favours is an understatement - talk about self-defeating action!

I feel sad that DPAC have been stupid enough to follow the same path.

>edited to add a paragraph break as for some reason my initial posts aren't including them...)

Sunny Clouds:
I sometimes find myself wondering whether some of the people leading demonstrations like that are either daft (and I'm not referring to intelligence levels but to lack of common sense), a bit deranged (or even psychotic), or just jumping on any old cause for the sake of having an excuse to stubborn or whatever.

I know it happens with nasty regimes and nearly-nasty regimes that tip over.  What I struggle so much with is when it happens in this sort of situation.

For me the best recent example of camera footage of people taking advantage of demonstrations for what I personally think are good causes was BLM demonstrations in America where some people used them as an excuse to loot shops.  Nasty.  It's happened over here on various demos for a range of causes, I just think the American camera footage is more vivid.

But what on earth possesses people with a range of impairments, some of whom must have surely needed urgent help at times in their lives to put others at risk of becoming disabled to an extent that could have been avoided?  If you're campaigning against benefits cuts, why increase someone's chances of becoming dependent on benefits?

I keep wondering whether the lights-off ambulance further back had someone in it, perhaps a frail, dying person on a hospital transfer, or perhaps a mentally ill person utterly terrified.   And what about those on buses - missed appointments?

London is huge.  There are opportunities to demonstrate in a way that attracts attention without blocking essential traffic.

As an aside, it was an incident with an ambulance many years ago (not in London) that still gives me hope in human nature.  I was eleven, waiting for the school bus on a main road, just wide enough for one lorry/bus to pass each way.  The snow was deep, maybe knee height at the kerbs. 

A siren could be heard from round a bend in the road.  The vehicle couldn't be seen and might have been going a different way across traffic lights just out of sight.

Drivers started shuffling their cars back and forth into the snow drifts without waiting to see the emergency vehicle.  An ambulance came through.  Pedestrians then moved forward and spread out to help the cars back onto the road.  We were pretty soggy but felt emotionally warm from the community spirit.

I will never forget that incident.  For all that when I see an ambulance, I feel for the casualty, whenever I see a driver, a cyclist, a pedestrian move out of the way, it gives me hope.

Sunny Clouds:
Mind you, a day earlier, I got annoyed with a bus driver in my home town but warmed by passengers.

An elderly man went to get off the bus.  As he passed my seat I called out to tell him the papers in his pocket were falling out, but he didn't seem to hear me.  He got off the bus and three other passengers shouted that the paperwork was on the floor.  We shouted to the driver to stop but he wouldn't.

Other passengers said he'd dropped his bus pass when he got on.

I pressed the bell and got off at the next stop, pausing to point out to the driver as I glanced at the papers that it was a hospital appointment letter.  I hurried back down the road, but couldn't find the man.  I thought maybe I could drop the letter off at his house, but when I looked again, I saw that the appointment was for about half an hour later in an old-age unit, that he would have to do an immediate about turn catching the  bus the opposite way to get to it, several stops back in the direction he'd come.

Writing around the date and time suggested confusion.  Not changes to the time and date, just someone trying to make sense of time, day, month, year.

I found someone with a smartphone and asked them to phone the hospital and say that if he didn't arrive or arrived late, that was why.  I went to the hospital and tried to hand in the letter and to begin with the receptionist didn't quite understand, maybe thinking I'd been sent by him or was a carer or something, and was impatient, but then she realised what I meant and was helpful.

I hope he got to his appointment, and if not, that they sent him a new one. 

Again, I was annoyed with the bus driver, but warmed by the other passengers and by the lovely man with the smartphone, who didn't just call the hospital, but checked with me to see if it would maybe be easier for him to take the letter to the hospital than for me, saying which road he lived in.

So stuff the DPAC and Insulate Britain block-the-essential-journey twerps.  Most people are kind and care about others so far as they are able. 

Sunny Clouds:
Another aside about kindness.  A near neighbour just turned up on my doorstep with some hot food.  We do those daft things round here.  I think my best gift to someone was a pack of loopaper with the words "Happy New Lockdown!" on it.  One neighbour gave me some balloons with faces drawn on them.  That's the tip of the iceberg.


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