I've been ridiculously ill and am waiting to go back into hospital for yet more surgery. For weeks, all I've really done is stay in bed being sick and writhing about, or attend bizarrely important stuff. I don't know if I can sum up how very odd that is.
My amazing GP allows me the meds I need to get through it all and I get unsteadily to my feet, pull on a frock, paint my puffy, tired face with an inch of make up and somehow transform into confident, insistent campaigner.
Yesterday, my twitter account was never quiet as hundreds of you thanked me, but it's an enormous privilege. It really is.
The life that so often seeps away from me has so much purpose. Every single time one of you tells me it gives you hope, it gives ME hope. The talents that sat dusty in my mind can be used for a great good and that is a truly amazing thing. I'm privileged that you let me be your voice and that others have been so generous in facilitating that.
To that end, a HUGE thank you to Brendan Barber for asking me to speak and to the TUC generally for supporting our campaign at many events and conferences now.
So, here's the video of my speech yesterday, and a transcript. Another HUGE thank you to James Albury (@alburyj) for recording it and to Steve Sumpter (@latentexistence) for posting it t youtube for us.
Friends, every last one of you that marched today believe in one thing above any other. Justice.
You couldn’t sit at home while injustice and exploitation are closing in on us wherever we look.
You are the faces, here, today, of so many millions more who are shocked and frightened by the careless way this coalition of clowns are ripping our communities apart.
But there is a casual cruelty taking place that is so inhumane, so calculating, right now, here, in the UK in 2012, that it shames us all.
When you get home tonight, home to every corner of our nation, tired but exhilarated, weary but filled with pride – When you see the vast, defiant crowd, speaking with one voice, I beg you, to remember this :
For every one of you who marched today, a seriously ill or disabled person will lose the Disability Living Allowance they rely on to live with dignity and a little security.
This parliament of fools use numbers lightly. They count their losses in billions, their debt, in trillions, those thrown on the scrapheap of their incompetent policies in millions.
But THIS - this here, today - is what half a million people look like.
But there’s more :
A million more - TWICE as many as you marching here today - will be “reassessed” by the French IT company, Atos as fit for work. Their only income ripped away on the hunch of a few millionaires. Every single “report” or “committee” or “enquiry” into Work Capability Assessments have found them “Unfit for purpose”.
Coroner’s are reporting this “reform terror” as cause of deaths. Doctors demand WCAs are withdrawn immediately. Appeal tribunals warn that they are swamped to crisis point and beyond.
Hundreds of thousands of profoundly disabled children will see their support cut by an impossible 50% while Osborne’s “Bullingdon Budget” gave millionaires £40,000 extra. Each.
The Independent Living Fund – Scrapped
Severe Disability Premiums – Scrapped
Social Care packages - slashed
They are not numbers Mr Cameron, they are LIVES!
They are our mothers; our brothers; our daughters and sons.
Disease or Disability can strike any one, at any time.
We are the sick and disabled people of the UK, so under threat are urgently crying for help against the wind, like a drowning man.
And so, I’d like to leave you with the words of Edmund Burke :
”Justice will NOT be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
PLEASE, STAND WITH US, SPEAK OUT WITH US, WE NEED YOU.
PLEASE get outraged, because sick and disabled people in the UK need you as never before.