Since my accident in the causeway (when I toppled over backwards in case you can’t remember), I have been considering starting a campaign fighting against the ridiculous speed humps. Soon after the event, I met with two junior officers named Lawrence Pratt and Daniel Flitton. They were not helpful at all and didn’t seem to grasp the severity of the incident, highlighted by their solution which was to put paper signs on the benches warning wheelchairs users of the ‘waves’ (an attempt to cover their own backs if, a legal challenge did arise).
The next thing I done was contact the HertsAd about the story in the hope that it would gain exposure and put added pressure on the council by sparking public outrage. The article certainly worked as many furious letters about the Causeway have been printed as a result and various people have approached me on the street to comment on the ‘disgraceful’ project. This in turn led to two members of the St. Albans cabinet wanting to meet down the Causeway to discuss the issue further.
I went down there with my brother and sister as back up on Tuesday evening. Robert Hill, from the local campaigning group for disabled rights, arranged the meeting and joined us. Cllr Julian Daly (Executive leader) and Cllr Daniel Chichester-Miles both arrived on bikes (without helmets) which seemed like a bit of propaganda by politicians, masters in the art of spin and PR. It was meant to make them seem one of the people but that backfired. I saw them both and thought, “It’s going to be like talking to brick walls” what with them being cyclists. And how right I was.
To them, the whole project was marvellous and the best thing since sliced bread. But, even if you ignore the inaccessibility and don’t look from a disabled point of view (like they obviously done when building it), the whole thing has blatantly been a waste of money. From the rails protecting the roman walls being removed so it can be destroyed by kids or animals to bikes going faster in order to jump the speed humps, it is clearly not working. On Tuesday, all of the points put forward were perfectly illustrated by members of the public in about half an hour but the councillors denied what was going wrong in front of their eyes.
My brother came along just to push me (my sister finds it difficult) and vowed to stay quiet but as soon as the Cllr turned to my brother and said, “This (the exposed roman wall) is nice, isn’t it?” he started to become agitated. Like me, is quite skilful with the English language so began arguing and didn’t stop. I chipped in but my voice isn’t that strong so I had to put my hand up and shout “listen” before reeling off my point. That way, they couldn’t ignore or speak over me. I was in control. When they sidestepped my argument, I repeated it and made sure they answered everything in sufficient detail.
Nothing at all is going to happen… yet because the Council fails to understand the various problems and think it will all blow over soon. However, I am putting together a campaign and know people who I’m sure will be interested in supporting it such as Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson. I’m also meeting with Sandy Walkington, the Lib Dem councillor who would love to get one over on the Conservative opposition.
My closing speech was a touch over-dramatic but it shows I mean business. I spoke of the grave error being made if the Council dared to underestimate ‘Wheelchair Boy’ and unless change happens soon, heads will roll (not literally obviously). I think that proved I won’t take their nonsense.
Bye for now!