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How disabled was a wheelchair user in 1979?

The Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act had been passed 9 years earlier Introduced by North West MP Alf Morris. Morris had won first place in the 1969 House of Commons private members ballot, and with it the opportunity to introduce a bill that could become law. The bill, sought to give people with disabilities an equal opportunity of a place in society, free from disadvantage.

The legislation faced opposition from within Morris's own party and was almost scuppered when the 1970 General Election was called by Prime Minister Harold Wilson, but thankfully the bill became law, the first of its kind in the world.

The act has been described as 'a Magna Carta for the disabled' - at the time it was revolutionary in transforming official policy. It set down specific provisions to improve access and support for people with disabilities.

Life for a wheelchair user in 2020, while still not perfect for many, is very different from that of those in the 70s. those members of society who are wheelchair dependant for mobility are given every opportunity to access education, employment, sport, leisure and goods and services.

I am conscious that some wheelchair users may take umbrage with the apparent flippancy of that statement, especially when a simple internet search gives us a torrent of examples of disablism in everyday life. I aim not to offend, but simply to emphasise that life for those with a visible disability has thankfully changed vastly in the past 40 years.

The conditions that create the necessity for the use of a wheelchair haven’t worsened, and to my (admittedly limited) knowledge, our generation hasn’t invented any new form of physical impairment, so why has life changed so much for so many.

Could it be that the disability never actually lay with the person, but with the society to whom that person belonged? If so, it stands to reason that, a physical impairment can become less debilitating with societal education, growth and acceptance.

How disabled is a person with depression or anxiety in 2020? ……………

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