Disability Campaigners: Choose your champions carefully

Liz Jones, legendary (in the worst possible way) Daily Mail Columnist, is Deaf. I was completely unaware of this until it was brought to my attention in today’s Society Guardian.

 Liz Jones. The Mail columnist who famously wrote about her annoyance at not being able to get vaccinations at a moment’s notice at her local NHS clinic (where she wasn’t registered), has now written about her deafness. Despite being disabled, she complains I get absolutely no perks at all. Journalist Charlie Swinbourne has written an excellent response to Jones’ piece, including an open letter to the columnist:

You said: “Shall I tell you why deafness gets no truck, no special treatment, no politeness? It’s because it is seen as the disease of the old.”

Liz, for the first time in nearly this whole column, I agree with you. There’s very few positive deaf role models out there, and we could really do with a Harry Potter style character who wears hearing aids rather than glasses, to make deafness cool in some way for the first time like, ever.

We could also do with better researched articles that don’t make deaf life out to be harder than it really is. We want other people to help us sometimes, but we also need to help ourselves.

Source: Society Guardian, 7 October 2011

People who should know better are once again overlooking serious character flaws and narcissistic motivations in a bid to crown a disreputable public figure as a champion in raising awareness of disability-related issues on blogs and social media. Jones has a ridiculous sense of entitlement especially in situations deserving of more gravitas. The Swinbourne article, along with comments on the latest barrel-scraping Mail whinge-fest,  clearly illustrates that Liz Jones exists in a strange privileged existence where self-righteousness ignorance prevails over humility. She can always be trusted to let what is, in her mind, a good story get in the way of facts…typical of the tabloid by which she is employed and poor at £200k per annum, allegedly.

Like Jones, glamour model and master media exploiter Jordan (aka Katie Price) has admirers who support her every move as she “defends” severely disabled son Harvey from the slings and arrows brought on by her continued exploitation of her son for money, tv shows and column inches. The same Jordan who, in her “Jordan: Model Mum” documentary, seriously considered livestreaming her eldest child’s birth on the internet as a pay-per-view event. Mercifully, the crass nowhere-near-being-a-model mum decided against it. However, after her infant son’s vision impairment diagnosis the enterprising exploiter of all things personal  decided that there was “no difference” in her selling photos (and stories) of Harvey “because someone else is going to”. This caused a great deal of tension with Jordan’s mother Amy, who thought felt her grandson was being over-exposed in the tabloids and hoped (unconvincingly) that her daughter wasn’t using himAs the years have passed Jordan has decidedly shown herself to be a dab hand at doing just that, after insisting for (for a minute or two) that she would be keeping him out of the limelight. The same can also be said for her other children

While I do appreciate the value of public figures sharing personal experience with disability and illness, I believe it is prudent to question the motives and actions of those with Marmite reputations not particularly known for humility. Some journalists and celebrities have no shame in seizing upon anything and everything to make a name for themselves – and a small fortune.

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3 thoughts on “Disability Campaigners: Choose your champions carefully

  1. When Jordan released a range of children’s clothing all her kids modeled them in an ad campaign except Harvey, he wasn’t included at all. I thought that was really bad, she could have made a statement about including disabled children (and adults) in the media/advertising. But for some reason she chose not to, she’s happy to parade him on reality shows when it suits her though.

  2. excellent blog piece – you write extremey well – it’s you who should be getting articles in the press, not the likes of Jones!!

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