The National Disability Union – A Way Forward?

Further to my blog last week on The Desperate Fight Within Disabled Campaigning, my #TRUTH Campaign colleague Debbie Sayers has offered us a forward :

Afternoon folks,

There’s seems to be some confusion, I get the impression that people think Sparticus or the Spartacus network was run by Sue Marsh, that wasn’t and isn’t true, Sue was one of many individuals that worked towards several goals, her main job was media and PR… It was her job to get the work and ideas out there… Which she did very well… The Spartacus network was started by Jane Young as was the Spartacus forum Sue was not involved with the net work other than helping with getting info out such as tweeting and emailing out the Reversing from Recovery Report, or Past Caring etc the Spartacus Network was a collection of individuals that sometimes worked together, it was never an organisation. The network was handed over by Jane to other people working with Sue nearly two years ago, I think Sue involvement would have been much the same at that point as she was very ill, I’m not sure you will have to ask those involved with the network now.

Me and Gail started a new forum to work on the idea of a national organisation… Many years ago we tried to get groups to work together to no avail… After the election I wrote a blog post called one voice by which I meant a collective voice, Gail and I agreed to write an open letter to see if a national group like a union was wanted or viable even… We agreed to send it to people who campaign that we knew… I sent mine to a list of my friends partly from the old Spartacus network days (I wasn’t around for the Responsible Reform Report sadly) and partly from campaigning I have done since leaving over two years ago. I invited Sarah Campbell who wrote the RRR, Kailya Francklin who was involved with RRR, Jayne Linney who I’ve been working with on the truth campaign to get Mr Smith for his use of Statistics and his lies. And a few others that I’ve got to know who campaign in their own right… Gail invited those she knew, DPAC members, BT members, Mo Stewart, Susan Archibald etc, we asked them if they thought it was a good idea some said yes, some said no and refused to be involved. We put the open letter with a list of those who said they thought it was a good idea up on google docs to get a feel for how people felt about it, the response for the most part was good. In the mean time Sarah Campbell came to me and said did you read Sams blog about forming a union, I hadn’t but having read it we all felt he should be involved, a few didn’t like his connections to the new sparticus network, but his desiar to help form this organisation was the most important element so we asked him to be involved, he’s not keen on forums but he was facilitating open chats about the idea and was getting some good ideas together… This is when I found out about Sarah Campbells blog about forming a national organisation that she had written before the election.

 Gail and I, well Gail mostly set up a forum, at that point some people who didn’t want to be involved started spreading stories about how this was a Sue Marsh project saying the ‘Cult of Marsh’ (If there is one I’m not privy to it) had taken over the project, this was a lie everyone involved had been invited by me or Gail because of their expertise, track record or interest… I was told more than once that I should remove the ‘Spartacus element’ if I wanted this to succeed but how do you remove yourself from yourself? I am an ex spartaci, I can’t change that nor would I want to… I’m still very proud to have worked with the author of the Responsable Reform Report, Sarah Campbell, and worked with her and others on the Revising from Recovery Report and Past Careing Report… but does it mean everything I’ve been involved in since or in the future is some how insidiously linked to Sue Marsh? Of course not… She has said herself she’s not involved, she’s not involved in campaigning anymore… You may not like what she’s chosen to do but it has no bearing on this project, she is not involved… I hope she achieves her stated goals with her new job, but it’s nothing to do with me, I’m sure the flack she’s endured for her decision has been awful if my recent experiences have been anything to go by…

The National Disability Organisation, was to be designed by disabled people for disabled people with a voted for steering group to help keep it ticking over, someone has to do the day to day jobs that keep these things going. Even DPAC has a streering group. At this point someone asked if Sue Marsh could join this organisation if and when it became a reality… Some said no, some said if we want an inclusive organisation then yes she is disabled… It all fell apart at that point… Some of the people that used to work in the Spartacus network began to be personally attacked and bullied, Sarah Campbell was so badly treated she has left campaigning, that is tragic, a very clever lady with lots of expertise lost to us… Gail also took a great deal of crap of of folks for being involved… That is why she chose to close the forum she had made and leave the project, she felt that she couldn’t be involved in a project that would start a national organisation that one day might let Sue Marsh be a member… I respect her decision but…

 I think, that not doing something because of a possible future outcome would be sad and seems a bit daft… A million things have to happen before it’s even an issue…

Even though we’ve all had enough abuse… A few of us decided that although we are less inclined to be involved we still want the community to have a place to organise this national group, so I have made a new forum for this to take place. If you are still interested, please come join the new forum by following the link…if your only interested in spreading lies please don’t bother I don’t want to spend hours busting up fights on the forum as admin, if your interested in what you all have to say and or have ideas to share please come along and try to help create this national organisation… Dxxx

Please go and have a look at the forum, and if you feel this is a way you support, or even if you don’t but have some constructive ideas, let us have them….REMEMBER


30 thoughts on “The National Disability Union – A Way Forward?

  1. Pingback: The National Disability Union - A Way Forward? ...

  2. She felt that she couldn’t be involved in a project that would start a national organisation that one day might let Sue Marsh be a member… I respect her decision but…

    I think, that not doing something because of a possible future outcome would be sad and seems a bit daft… A million things have to happen before it’s even an issue…

    No not a million things have or need to happen, just one assurance needs to happen and there will be no issues.
    That the mercenary turncoat SUE MARSH is acknowledged as/for the traitor that she is and never ever invited as a member…and her treacherous selfish views ever listened to again.

    The thought of joining a club or a union or an organisation that would/could possibly have her as a member is sickening to a lot of people including ME.

    I personally have a long memory and so – it seems – have a lot of others, she’s selfishly caused a lot of problems for ESA/PIP recipients and shown no remorse, instead she made excuses to justify her actions, and then disappeared of the scene hoping we will all just forget.

    Well that’s not the way it works, not in my BOOK.

    She has made her bed and cannot be – or even seen to be – made welcome under any circumstances.

    I cannot speak for others, and can only speak for myself, but that’s my – and I don’t care who doesn’t like it – personal view.

    A UNION ?, It’s never going to get of the ground or be effective until that view (which it seems is In the hearts of a lot of people who felt betrayed) is acknowledged and seen to be acknowledged and dealt with to everyone’s satisfaction,


    • Hi Zoro thanks for your comments, in my opinion feeling so strongly about membership is one very good reason for joining the forum and saying this; even better stick around and ensure you opinion is heard when it matters xx


  3. Whatever one’s position on Sue Marsh, if we allow the issues around that one person to interfere with organisation and lobbying and representing our interests, then “they’ve” won. As this one person is so divisive, and feelings so run high, we have to recognise that that one person alone is fully responsible for making the “brand” – Spartacus – toxic, but we should remember that is the brand, not the people.

    SM is now an employee of Maximus, working for the DWP and IDS, under a Tory government. and as such is bound by employment contract to act on behalf of her employers. Her personal “brand” is now too toxic, and anyone who thinks she may be rehabilitated within the movement must give up that idea absolutely, and move on.

    May I suggest that Spartacus could sign a joint statement regarding the fact that it was not just one person, that in it’s day, Spartacus did excellent group work to be rightly proud of and Spartacus members can bring vital skills and contacts. It must state their complete dissociation from this and any other individuals or organisations that work for IDS or their contractors.

    To discriminate against individuals because of others’ actions is unacceptable in any organisation, least of all one that specifically fights discrimination. Simply being (ex- )Spartacus is not a conflict of interests. Working for IDS is an insurmountable conflict of interest. Any organisation must reserve the right to exclude any individual or group where there is a known conflict of interest. Good organisations have wide levels of tolerance, but there are limits, and they must be clearly laid out. That is not the same as banning someone from mailing lists or other membership. It is a ban on being involved with any such group or organisation, its’ running, it’s actions, and it’s research and reports, attending planning sessions, etc.

    As for a Union, I have stated elsewhere that in my opinion we would be better looking to an established organisation – union – who is willing to invest in helping the Disabled Movement to set-up a disabled section, or affiliate section, As much as it sounds a great idea, creating a disabled union from scratch will take too long and without a clear ground plan will end up in these sorts of cul-de-sacs such as the SM debate, when we need to move on. We need something positive to sell, and a blue-sky project isn;t going to cut the mustard right now.

    Let’s not waste any more energy & time on this issue. SM now works for Maximus, / DWP / IDS and that fact transcends any other “qualification” for being involved. Able bodied may join the campaign & groups, so disability per se is not a criteria for membership. loyalty or activism. If any can’t accept the rules that exclude this or any other person, then they should recuse themselves too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: A Visit to the Autism Research Centre | aspiblog

  5. Regarding S. Marsh. IDS, DWP, & Maximus are in the business of cutting benefits. S. Marsh now works for Maximus, so no disabled person – or anyone who genuinely helps disabled people – should have anything to do with her. It’s a matter of us & them – she’s them!


  6. I think actions Speak louder than words, most not all but most of the original group of people who worked in Spartacus have not worked with SM since the RRR, all the other reports where published by the Spartacus Network, if you need proof please go take a look, all those involved with the reports where named on the front page of each report. I think people should be judged on their own actions not on the actions of any individual because if that was the case there are other organisations that should be asking about the behaviour of their members and how that reflects on there organisations. Perhaps they should be asked to sign declarations. I’m just the admin of the forum I’ve already decided to not be involved in any steering group, at this point even though I believe in its creation I doubt wether there would be any point in being a member. How one persons actions can have such a detrimental effect on the hours and hours of work myself and others did both in writing and supporting reports and actions as well as admining groups and forums is very disalusioning. Spartacus was not a brand it was a # that the community adopted to describe the work of eight people, those that where actually involved in writing. I’ve already described how this came about, add to that the thousands that helped get the reports out there into the wider world it would have to be a very big document of intent… Thinking of leaving campaigning for good in solidarity Dxxx

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Jayne… I can’t thank you enough for helping me through my partners cancer and operations giving me something to focus on through our #Truthcampaign … I would work with you and the other x Spartici in a heartbeat but I fear that my inclusion would be detrimental to any campaign. I’m deeply sad that the ideal of inclusion is being lost and at the moment i need to think about where that takes me… As for the national organisation I’m sure the membership could chose to ban whom ever they chose… Right now I would completely expect to be on that list… Dxxx


      • No thanks needed lovely, and if the group once it arrives at the point of membership and inclusion decided that, so be it, it could happen to any of us. The main thing is you decide where you want to go and what you want to do – you have my support unconditionally. Thank you for all your work xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  7. OK. I have a different way.


    Click the red button for more pages.

    Only politicians sitting ruling the UK parliament can pass law and lay down guidelines.

    Whether it is about money or NHS or provision of services. The disabled rely on the state and that state is well on the way to be all gone.

    This Daily Telegraph article BEFORE the election, with pretty well the same folk in power today, show all the cuts to come and some already have arrived:

    The international OECD tell us the UK is on par with Greece as the most unequal of societies, with the poor getting ever poorer. The rest we are equal to is impoverished eastern Europe.

    Yet we are the 6th richest nation on earth.


    at least double current contributtory JSA / ESA
    to comply with EU Social Contract amount.

    at 60 for men and women
    for a full SERPs pension of £276.10 per week
    irregardless of National Insurance history
    topping up current pensioners to that amount

    Supplement for the disabled for both.

    Disability registration within current NHS budget by diagnosis by senior medical consultant / specialist.
    The medical profession would have to opt you out, as disabled registration would be automatic on diagnosis and would be made very difficult indeed against medical diagnosis.

    Life Awards of disability supplements of incurable disabilities.

    Ending all DWP admin, both state and private firms.

    Shut all Jobcentres, fit for work assessment, workfare and work programmes.

    End sanctions as no more benefit conditionality.

    Free social housing for the poorest

    Rent capped for the rest.

    End Council Tax and Bedroom Tax.

    All surplus food to go to foodbanks from the entire food industry or social supermarkets or the social cafes.

    There would be no need of the threat to Carer’s Allowance as all would get equal CITIZEN INCOME til 60 when get CITIZEN STATE PENSION.

    Free carers on NHS budget.

    Nothing stopping you, if have money to directly employ carers, but then have to have money for an accountant to do the employer paperwork as well, including works pensions.

    Funding for Orbit – the subsidised maintenance jobs in the home for no job too small for elderly and disabled.

    Living Wage
    helped by end of National Insurance Fund
    giving workers an instant 10.4 per cent or 12 per cent full standard rate of NI
    as saved wages from that deduction.
    Also boss can keep your works pension as good, by not having to pay the employer National Insurance contribution, losing its 3.4 per cent rebate by the SERPs opt out ceasing next year.

    No Road Tax for all cars.


    The national debt paid off and more youth employment.

    The end of workfare will see more jobs for the low waged, now being lost.

    75 per cent of all tax from people to government comes from stealth indirect taxes and VAT on what we SPEND.

    The disabled, poor, and elderly are the bulk of the shoppers on the high street.

    With money in peoples’ hands and not wasted on all the conditionality of benefits admin just to leave us to starve, this money in people’s purses and wallet would generates business, creates jobs and brings in more business rates to cash-strapped councils.

    The elderly and disabled would be VAT free on disability aids.

    After all the firms who sell disability aids pay company taxes.

    Such firms would see a boom in business.

    By keeping the low end of the average waged down to low wages in London, instead of socially cleansing the city, the high streets would keep employment.



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