“I’m standing for the NEC to bring the disabled people’s movement into the Labour Party, & ensure our voices are never shut out again.”Ellen Morrison, NEC Candidate for Disabled Members’ Rep
Next week, we have a unique opportunity: the chance to elect the first ever representative of disabled members on Labour’s NEC.
I’m standing as a genuine representative of the disabled people’s movement, to open up Labour to disabled members, build new representative structures, and to ensure the policies that affect disabled people are written for us, by us.
Disabled people are facing a moment of crisis in this country. We are the most at-risk from coronavirus, accounting for six in every ten Covid deaths in the UK, and numbers will continue to rise as the government’s mishandling of the pandemic continues.
At the same time, we’ve had access to the services that allow us to live decent lives in dignity stripped away, as the Tories have pushed local councils to the brink, and then removed their duty to provide social care and support.
This is all after ten years of brutal austerity, in which welfare services have been slashed, sanctions and “work capability assessments” imposed, and in the words of the United Nations, the government has committed “grave and systematic violations” of disabled people’s rights.
In the fires of that struggle has been the formation of an active, campaigning disabled people’s movement, in organisations like Disabled People Against Cuts, who led the condemnation of George Osborne’s policies when the leaders of our labour movement were unwilling to speak out.
Fighting trade unions, too, led the way, with Unite Community branches providing an organised network and a voice to disabled activists across the country.
It’s a movement I’m proud to have been part of, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with other disabled activists in protests on Parliament Square and in our meetings and rallies to challenge the Tories and raise awareness of our struggle.
I’m standing for the NEC to represent that shared history of activism and solidarity. To bring the disabled people’s movement into the Labour Party, and ensure that our voices are never shut out again.
I’ll do it by pushing for a Party-wide Accessibility Review, to ensure our structures and decision-making are as inclusive and open as possible. It’s time disabled members had a fair and equal say in Labour.
The pandemic has shown that remote access is not only possible but achievable, and I will argue for remote meetings and conferences to be kept, improved and extended.
I will also fight for the democratic structures we were promised in the Democracy Review to be established at Labour’s next conference, so that we have our own spaces and structures to organise in.
It’s only by allowing disabled members to self-organise can we bring that active, campaigning disabled people’s movement into Labour, and become the representative force for change that we need to be.
If elected I’ll make it my priority to establish policy-making for us, by us. We can’t go back to the days when Labour abstained on cruel Tory welfare policies and refused to stand up against benefit sanctions.
I brought the motion that changed Unite policy to Stop and Scrap Universal Credit, and the Trades Union Congress and Labour followed suit.
If I’m elected to the NEC, I’ll continue to fight with campaigns like this to ensure Labour in power ends the Tory war on disabled people once and for all.
Disabled members won the right to our own voice on Labour’s NEC, through our activism, our resolve and our determination. Now is our chance to win the position for that movement, and radically transform the Labour Party, opening it up to us and ensuring we neve see a return to the disgusting narrative of ‘strivers and scroungers.’
This is how we win. Labour’s first ever Disabled Members Rep will be elected by both Labour’s affiliated trade unions and our disabled membership. With the union votes cast, it’s an incredibly close race and I’m not far behind in second place. I can only win this, for all of us, with the disabled people’s movement behind me.
Help me make history. After ten years of cruel austerity, of sanctions, work assessments, of dying in care homes from coronavirus – it’s time we said enough is enough. It is time we won a voice for disabled people in the Labour Party and used it to make our movement’s voice louder than ever.
- Back Ellen for Disabled Members Representative on the Labour NEC and find out more at https://ellenfornec.com/