Britain’s disability rights movement has been left weakened after respected campaigners quit over alleged bullying, intimidation and partisan politics.
At least four of Britain’s most respected disability and welfare rights campaigners, with more than 100 years experience between them, have chosen to hang up their boots and quit the movement.
The furious and disgruntled campaigners claim they have been subjected to months or years of bullying and verbal abuse, as well as being pressurised into adopting a politically partisan approach to disability rights campaigning.
Steven Preece, who is also the founder of Welfare Weekly, said he felt the movement had become more about partisan politics – and people pushing their own political agenda or beliefs onto others – than standing united in defense of ALL sick and disabled people.
“Anyone should be able to join in and campaign for a better life for disabled people, regardless of how they vote or other political or personal beliefs”, he said.
“I’ve seen people being pushed out or isolated, due to a sort of hierarchy where some groups and individuals seem to believe they have more power and say than others.
“If you don’t vote for their chosen political party, or support a party or organisation they disapprove of, you can find yourself being bullied and intimidated over your choices.
“Such an approach to disability campaigning will only alienate and discourage more people from getting involved.
“This is particularly important when so many vulnerable people are suffering from some of the most draconian and cruel austerity cuts we’ve ever seen.”
One former campaigner posted on Facebook: “As of today and with a heavy heart after nearly 40 years of campaigning for the rights of disabled people I am quitting.
“I naively thought we were all fighting for the same cause, which was to help and maintain to keep the right of disabled people on an equal footing.
“Instead there has been in my opinion aggressive threatening behaviour that has been very detrimental to the hard work done in the past and what have we got to show for it??”
Another said that they didn’t “want to be part of something where people are attacked and bullied for having different opinions”.
“Many lifelong campaigners have had enough of being hurt and disregarded”, they added.
“The best I can hope for is that questions will be asked within campaigning about why so many feel the way I do, to the point where they are prepared to give up something they believe in and love – and in a lot of cases have devoted their lives to.
“Nobody does this easily and for no reason.”
Last edited at 01:16 on 4 April 2016.