Colchester activist tells Labour Party conference disabled people are sick of “being demonised”
PUBLISHED: 19:30 28 September 2015 | UPDATED: 21:12 28 September 2015
Disabled people might as well “walk into the gas chamber” if the Government brings in a British Bill of Rights, a Colchester activist told Labour Party members.
Sioux Blair-Jordan, who has a spinal disability, a sleep disorder called hypersomnia and post traumatic stress syndrome, said she was sick of “being demonised” and blamed for the country’s problems, adding people who are chronically sick or disabled should be “seen as human beings”.
Justice Secretary Michael Gove has promised to set out this autumn the Government’s proposals to scrap the Human Rights Act - which enshrines the European Convention on Human Rights in British law - and replace it with a British Bill of Rights.
Ms Blair-Jordan, who is a performance artist, also received a hug from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn following her speech, after earlier telling delegates: “I’ve met him a few times, he gives wonderful hugs.”
The 59-year-old, who lives on the Monkwick Estate, came under fire from the anti-semitism campaigners who said here comments were “gratuitous and offensive”.
A spokesman for the Campaign Against Antisemitism told The Express: “Over six million Jews as well as others, including the disabled, were murdered during the Holocaust, many of them in gas chambers.
“Education about antisemitism and the attempted Genocide of Europe’s Jewish people is vitally important, especially as antisemitism is rising once again in many parts of Europe.”
But Ms Blair Jordan said the context she was using it in was not anti-Semitic and she had many friends who were Jews.
She said she was referring to the way Hitler had focused on one set of people and she said she felt that was what the Tories were doing in a modern context.
In her speech on the main conference stage, she said: “Not all health issues are visible. I am sick of being demonised. I am sick of being blamed for all that is wrong with this country.
“I am sick of the welfare cuts and I am not to blame, nor are the chronic sick and the rest of the disabled community, for what’s wrong with this country.
“We are sick of being hated for being disabled. We are sick of being defined by our health. And we are sick of being denied our rights which many of us worked for.
“We need, as a party, to change how disabled and the chronic sick are seen and talked about. We need as a party to stop the facilities that disabled and chronic sick need from being closed - in my town, we’ve lost nearly everything.
“We need the disabled and the sick to be seen as human beings - we have our right to have our rights upheld and we need the NHS. We also need the EU to uphold our human rights because if Cameron does his Bill of Rights we might as well walk into the gas chamber today.”
Ms Blair-Jordan previously met Mr Corbyn when he visited the University of Essex during the leadership election campaign.