The Way We Roll

If disability is so good, why don’t we all become disabled?

June 05, 2023
If disability is so good, why don’t we all become disabled?
The Way We Roll
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The Way We Roll
If disability is so good, why don’t we all become disabled?
Jun 05, 2023

Disability talk and debate: what might be the consequences of how we talked about being disabled, reducing benefit fraud, the impact of the digital divide and street harassment, all discussed by Phil and Simon? 

What are your thoughts on benefit fraud? How should it be tackled? Are the Tories being absurd or frightening? 

Simon recently saw a play, ‘It’s a Mother f**king Pleasure’ at the Soho Theatre by FlawBored Theatre. The main thrust was irreverent fun ridiculing short-term ‘ableist’ attitudes and disability in society, including introducing ‘able anxiety’ as a term, But it went deeper: If some disabled people say how great life is, does that potentially encourage people to become disabled? 

How would you get on if you didn’t have a smartphone, email, or Google? Many worry about wifi dropping or the impact of social media, and we talk about those who don’t even go online.

We explore the digital divide, explaining how some people are left behind as the world moves online. This can impact your wealth, health and mental well-being.

Most people would agree that harassment of anyone on the street is a bad thing and should be stopped such harassment, particularly experienced by women, also impacts disabled people too. We might agree it should be against the law, but how do you police someone ‘staring intently’? 

Listeners Corner returns about jogging pants and your ‘favourite’ grandchildren. 


Minister of Disabled people swanning around in a flack jacket, helping to "hunt" down benefit cheats!

FlawBored Theatre Company

The Challenges of tech for disabled people in rural communities. digital divide

Disability street harassment a crime 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Disability talk and debate: what might be the consequences of how we talked about being disabled, reducing benefit fraud, the impact of the digital divide and street harassment, all discussed by Phil and Simon? 

What are your thoughts on benefit fraud? How should it be tackled? Are the Tories being absurd or frightening? 

Simon recently saw a play, ‘It’s a Mother f**king Pleasure’ at the Soho Theatre by FlawBored Theatre. The main thrust was irreverent fun ridiculing short-term ‘ableist’ attitudes and disability in society, including introducing ‘able anxiety’ as a term, But it went deeper: If some disabled people say how great life is, does that potentially encourage people to become disabled? 

How would you get on if you didn’t have a smartphone, email, or Google? Many worry about wifi dropping or the impact of social media, and we talk about those who don’t even go online.

We explore the digital divide, explaining how some people are left behind as the world moves online. This can impact your wealth, health and mental well-being.

Most people would agree that harassment of anyone on the street is a bad thing and should be stopped such harassment, particularly experienced by women, also impacts disabled people too. We might agree it should be against the law, but how do you police someone ‘staring intently’? 

Listeners Corner returns about jogging pants and your ‘favourite’ grandchildren. 


Minister of Disabled people swanning around in a flack jacket, helping to "hunt" down benefit cheats!

FlawBored Theatre Company

The Challenges of tech for disabled people in rural communities. digital divide

Disability street harassment a crime 

Announcer: [00:00:08] Welcome to the way we roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Simon Minty: [00:00:16] Hello and welcome to The Way We Roll with me, Simon Minty.

Phil Friend: [00:00:20] And me, Phil Friend. Now then, Simon, How are you, by the way?

Simon Minty: [00:00:24] I'm very well, thank you. I'm very good indeed. Coffee?

Phil Friend: [00:00:27] A little bit of coffee.

Simon Minty: [00:00:28] So I have got coffee and I've been coughing.

Phil Friend: [00:00:31] You've been coughing?

Simon Minty: [00:00:32] Yeah.

Phil Friend: [00:00:33] Listeners, he's using a plastic mug. It's very, very chic.

Simon Minty: [00:00:38] Thank you very much.

Phil Friend: [00:00:40] Anyway, on with the show. Mr. Minty. Now, you and I know of an organisation, and I'm sure many of our listeners do called Abilitynet and they do a very nice podcast on all things sort of technical stuff. And recently they've been doing a little series. They, they are part of the Tech for Good awards and they've been doing some work, um, just revisiting some of the award winners and so on over the years. And I came across and I listened to their podcast. So I came across this story that they were reviewing again, which was to do with, um, the mean, the social impact of digital exclusion in Cornwall is what it's called. Um, and, and.

Simon Minty: [00:01:25] Yes, it was like they call it the digital divide, but they said Cornwall is the biggest, it had the biggest impact there didn't it? Yeah.

Phil Friend: [00:01:33] I mean the thing I think those of us who are sort of techie people like me and Simon. Yeah. You know, down with the kids and Come on. Latest gadgets.

Simon Minty: [00:01:43] Yeah. Apps. Apps, apps.

Phil Friend: [00:01:46] Apps everywhere. Um, there is a serious issue here, which is that if you live and many of us maybe we don't have any listeners in rural areas because they can't listen to us. But being serious is a sort of taken for granted if you're a city dweller that, you know, Wi-Fi is brilliant and all that stuff. Um, but in the rural communities it clearly isn't. And whilst on one hand we all kind of know that what I think the Cornwall Project was showing is just how worrying this actually is. So, for example, we've all noticed that banks are disappearing from the high streets. Um, so cash is also disappearing from the high street. What happens if you're not connected? Then How are you supposed to do any banking? That a simple thing like paying a bill to answer that.

Simon Minty: [00:02:34] And quite a lot of pressure there. Think I don't know. Well, go on. I look, I read it and it it's a the digital divide I'm noticing with family and even sister. 

Phil Friend: [00:02:52] I was going to ask you about your mum and dad because you spend quite a bit of time sorting out their tech, don't you?

Simon Minty: [00:02:58] But I'm even thinking of someone like my sister who doesn't really want to engage and she is not elderly. But when I was reading it, they had a definition, didn't they? That was if you've not used the internet for three months, that means whatever their definition of being excluded is. And there are some stats that I think, yeah.

Phil Friend: [00:03:18] I've got well, just a couple. I mean, in March 2021, it was estimated that 9 million people in the UK lack either access or the knowledge to use the internet and digital devices effectively making up 16% of the adults in the UK. And they did a piece of work in 19 to 23 where they were looking at the outcomes, the possible adverse impacts, and there were things like poorer health outcomes both mentally and physically, lower life expectancy, increased loneliness, less access to jobs, and education. It could mean paying more for essentials, financial exclusion and increased risk of falling into poverty. So on the one hand, we kind of the Simon's and Phil's of this world, Oh, it's so annoying. Can't get Wi-Fi. But, but what this means for people in the longer term are the things I've just said. And that is really quite scary. I hadn't thought about life expectancy.

Simon Minty: [00:04:15] Oh, that sort of sort of creep that happens really terrified me or concerned me. And I think a couple of other stats I spotted, but I think you hit the big ones, which is the impact of it. I think it was something like 13% of people in Cornwall had never used the Internet. I mean, across the UK, 8.4% have never used the Internet. And you'd kind of think. Somehow a family member or a friend would have just shown somebody. But it's this alien thing. And I think the report also said Cornwall, 76% have the skills to turn it on and off and know the rudimentary. So don't know searching the website or something. But only 44% actually use them and you're like blooming eck. Um. I can see why has the impact. There was things like you pay more money, you have to pay for more extra things because you can get things on the internet cheaper. But also it must take so much more time. You've got to do everything manually or visit or telephone or whatever it might be. And we know the telephone sort of services are dwindling, so you're more likely to have to go on. 

Phil Friend: [00:05:21] Well as you know, I'm I'm a member of the customer leadership programme. There's a committee looking at this in BT and what's going on at the moment across the whole country, not just BT, all telephone services is they're switching over to basically you'll get your calls via the inter net. You won't have a cable. The old copper cables are all. Totally out of date. Can't be used.

Simon Minty: [00:05:50] I already have that when I moved a year ago. Don't have a telephone line anymore. It's all VoIP or whatever it is.

Phil Friend: [00:05:56] Your modem or your router. Yeah. So that's going to happen across the country. Yeah. And of course as BT and other and I only know about BT, but as BT have been working towards this big move across, of course there are horrendous issues coming that they've got to now think about. For example, I don't know. I do. Did your mum ever have a pendant?

Simon Minty: [00:06:22] Necklace-type pendant. Yeah.

Phil Friend: [00:06:24] Necklace thing. When you fall, it's you. Oh.

Simon Minty: [00:06:26] I thought you meant just jewellery. I mean, yeah, she got a few bits of nice jewellery, but, yeah, she has.

Phil Friend: [00:06:32] I have to ask your Mum's earrings. Anyway, um, the alarm pendants, the things that many people who live on their own have, and it alerts emergency services, whatever. Well, of course, they're all provided by different companies, and they all are slightly different. And they're all connected via the telephone. Yeah. And this is all going to stop. And so there's a real concern about how you switch over to systems which are clearly going to be more reliable and so on. But if you don't know how to use this stuff, which is the central theme of this bit of our conversation, well, what do you do about that as well? I mean, it's all happening around you. You have no idea how to control it all.

Simon Minty: [00:07:13] So need to apply some rigour as we are famed for on this show. Um, rigour. My two questions to you.

Phil Friend: [00:07:21] Rigor Mortis is what we're famous for.

Simon Minty: [00:07:22] Is, first of all, this is a disability show, so give me the link. I don't know where it is. I do, but I'm pushing you. And the the second question is, will you give me lots of problems? But I'm not hearing any solutions.

Phil Friend: [00:07:34] I'll get you this morning a bit grumpy anyway. The plastic mug. 

Simon Minty: [00:07:41] Yeah, exactly.The plastic cup of coffee. I get moody, regressed.

Phil Friend: [00:07:44] You gone back to being a child. Um, the link is that that the the report that we're talking about this bit of work that's been we're talking about was done by a group and set up an organisation called Cosmic became very famous that's what won the award. And what they set about doing was trying to help people who didn't understand how to use technology and so on to to to be better skilled at it. So they set up a whole range of things like visiting people, running groups, all sorts of stuff like that to try and help. And one of the messages they put out, which you you touched on actually was we could all do more. You know, each of us could go and see somebody that's local to us and say, are they okay with this sort of stuff? And if we've got some skills, we could at least share. And I think where that that links a bit back to your mum and dad when they want to say use Facebook and didn't know how to, you would go around there, show them how to do that and although they wouldn't want to know how to use, I don't know, Google Mail or whatever they they did want to use. So it's focusing on things that people want to use IT for and just helping them do that bit, not give them everything. Because my wife often accuses me that when she's got a small problem with her machine, I go across and I give her chapter and verse on the Ms-DOS and.

Simon Minty: [00:09:01] I feel for your wife sometimes. Yeah, I agree. I had a neighbour in where I used to live and when we were in lockdown, she had an iPad. But first of all, she didn't know that talked to her phone. And secondly, she didn't know how to use Zoom. And so I spent and this was I mean, can you imagine the digital divide you in lockdown? Where how do you communicate? How do you see people? Everybody jumped on blooming video calls.

Phil Friend: [00:09:26] This is a I think this is insidious. It's going on under the radar and most people aren't. We're not really thinking about what this means for disability rights, for those people who either find it very difficult physically to use the technology, ie typing on keys and how do they do dictation and that kind of stuff, or the software just takes no account of their impairment, so they can't use it for those reasons. Or more typically in this Cornish example, it's being excluded because you either don't know how to use it or the Wi-Fi or the Bluetooth or whatever else is just inadequate.

Simon Minty: [00:10:07] Um, I do get your insidious thing. I always think maybe because of my age and, you know, I've got a little way to go, but I'll be older. And so you suddenly become very aware that you don't want to get shut out or left out. And there's already people who are it becomes selfish. You kind of almost need to be impacted on it or by it before you take an interest. And that's not right. We need to be aware of it all the time.

Phil Friend: [00:10:30] I mean, I am really interested in tech, as you know, and I'm, you know, struggle a bit occasionally thinking, how does this work? What's this? That's one thing. But I think the more, more scary bit is the economics. We're talking about cost of living crisis. How much does a phone cost? How much does a new computer cost? And they're they're built in obsolescence. So programme§s get out of date. You have to review them, you know, replenish them. If you're on a very low income, how are you supposed to do all that? I mean, there's that side of it, too. It's not just the fact that the technology is difficult. It's how do you afford it.

Announcer: [00:11:05] You're listening to the Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Simon Minty: [00:11:10] I'm going to spring something on you. We normally have a list of topics to talk about, and I've just thought of one which so poor Mr. Friend has had no pre-warning of this. Um. I will try and be as articulate as I can. I went to see a show. It's theatre-stroke comedy. It's by a, um, an outfit called Flawbord, Um, and they are an award winning disability led theatre company. They were at the Soho Theatre, and there's three performers. The whole show is fully accessible. They talk about it throughout the show. Um, there was one little moment. One of them who is a blind person says, Has anyone heard of the social model? Please put your hand up. Um, now the joke is everyone puts their hand up or not, and he goes, I'm blind. I can't see it. How did. How dare you do that? Because I'm an idiot. I went, Yay! And he went, Well, no, I don't want people cheering anyhow. Um, trying to cut to the chase. It's like a very long sketch. And it's about someone who is blind, who becomes an influencer, and they do all sorts of sponsorships and then they go on to write a book saying we should all be blind because once you're blind, you understand the world better. This is a great place to be. I love myself, all of this stuff, and it's more complex and more interesting than I'm going to make it. But he's the blind person is working with a creative agency who manage him. And then it gets to this point where there's, um, there's some ableism done by a big corporate, uh, and there's also a term they called able anxiety that is everybody who's scared of disability or saying the wrong thing. All this is quite fun and but also poignant and clever. Then there's this one moment in the show that I won't describe because it will in detail, because it will ruin it for anyone wants to see it. But cutting to the chase. A teenager and its audio described. So we don't see it self-harms to become disabled.

Phil Friend: [00:13:23] Ah ha.

Simon Minty: [00:13:24] So the blind person who's influences is. Oh, my God, this is terrible. This has gone too far. The ad agency character says, No, it isn't. This is we've said this is great to be us to have a disability. This is a natural thing. Why would we say this is wrong? I'm like, Well, yeah, I'm okay being me, but I'm not saying people should be harming themselves to become. To have an impairment or a condition. And there's this argument that goes on and and, you know, the blind person. But she's a teenager and the PR goes, well, hold up. So you're saying teenage people who think they're trans, they have no validity just because they're teenagers. And it's this beautiful, beautiful argument of if we take everything literally to the end point, this is where we end up. And I went with my friend Steve, who's not disabled but been around disability and comedy for a long time. And afterwards he said. He said, I don't know how much I laughed at. He said it was interesting and well done, but. It anyway. I just wondered what you thought.

Phil Friend: [00:14:31] Well, I think it's as you were describing it towards the end of your description, I was thinking the blind bloke's been hoist by his own petard because he sold blindness as the absolute state of grace. Yeah. And then when somebody decides to join it by poking both their eyes out, whatever they did, um, he goes, Oh, my God. So he's basically not convinced that actually it is the place to be because if he was, he wouldn't worry about her doing that to herself.

Simon Minty: [00:14:58] But do we you, me, other disabled people potentially go around going, I like being me.

Phil Friend: [00:15:06] Yeah, and that includes being disabled.

Simon Minty: [00:15:08] So therefore it's okay for someone to disable themselves because we think it's nice.

Phil Friend: [00:15:15] No, because I haven't said that bit. I've said I like being me and part of me is my disability. I'm also a white straight bloke. I like that too. So I'm not I'm not saying that everybody should be white and straight and a bloke.

Simon Minty: [00:15:29] But I think you're already saying there's a problem, isn't there?

Phil Friend: [00:15:32] Yeah, but. But what I'm saying is. I think. I think. The dilemma that the disability thing points up is that those people who were born disabled and don't know in the in the play whether the guy was born blind or whether he went blind or the central character. Was it a man or a woman? It's a.

Simon Minty: [00:15:51] Male character.

Phil Friend: [00:15:52] Male character. Right. Um, so. So in a sense, I think the debate often for us is if you were born disabled, you know nothing else. So therefore, if you acquired it later on, then therefore and in this situation, it's important to know whether this the male character was born blind, because if he was, then you can see that he's he's selling something, but he's not going on to say and everybody else should be blind, is he?

Simon Minty: [00:16:20] His book says we should all be blind. It's the best place to be.

Phil Friend: [00:16:24] But does he give ways of doing that? So for like, you know, how to make yourself blind? Chapter seven.

Simon Minty: [00:16:31] He's just saying it's a good state of play. It's a good he loves himself. He loves being him. So why would he?

Phil Friend: [00:16:39] Well, that's that's I think what I'm getting is he's imposing what he thinks is brilliant on other people. You should all be blind. It's great. And the sighted are going. Hang on a minute.

Simon Minty: [00:16:52] You know what? This There's a relationship here. And at the date of recording everybody. Or if you go back and there'll be a gogglebox episode on Friday, the 5th of May and in it you will get to see these is real life. It's a documentary about a blind person who gets a guide dog, and his wish is for the guide dog to meet the person who trained the dog and they have a reunion. And then cut a long story short, they actually then bring all the guide dogs, brothers and sisters, and there's five of these dogs all meeting bounding about. And anyway, they the interviewer says to the blind person, You know, your life's changed. You were 50. You suddenly became blind five years later. And the blind person said, You know what? If you offered me to go back, I wouldn't. I feel I'm happier now than I've ever been. And. And I think there's a little line from me that says this is the million dollar disability question. Would you take the red pill? The blue pill? Would you go back? Would you change? And I said, it's amazing the number of people that actually go, you know what? I'm all right being me. And that's I'm slightly worried, by the way, that everyone's go. Who the hell? What's he saying? But I think the point where the play challenges is saying. It's okay being us and we like being us and we are totally fine having a disability, but to pretend that it is always perfect and joyful and never complicated or sometimes difficult. That was perhaps the gap. It was almost we couldn't acknowledge a weakness or a difficulty because that would unravel the whole thing.

Phil Friend: [00:18:32] Yeah, and I think that's in the early days when the disability movement was kind of finding its feet and trying to, you know, if you didn't sign up, you were excluded. You know, we. What do you mean you don't want to be disabled? Did I hear you went along and had your cataracts removed? That is outrageous.

Simon Minty: [00:18:51] Or what was the one that Capital D deaf people. Um. What's the cochlear implant?

Phil Friend: [00:18:58] Oh, yeah. Cochlear implant. Sold out. Sold out. Totally sold out. Yeah. I mean, I think. I think what's interesting about the Gogglebox guide dog reunion. I love that idea. Brilliant. Um, is, is that the guide dog added something to his life that made him more independent, I'm guessing, and therefore improved his quality of life. So he was able to say, I feel much better about my world now than I did before I had the dog. So being a blind person with no dog, you're reliant on lots of other people to help you do certain things, which means you're a burden or you might feel you are. And therefore so I can kind of in the play going back to that now, there's no mentions about those sorts of dynamics or are there about because I just think there's something about. Being who you are and appreciating it. What were you and I both really do not like is the assumption that because we're disabled, our lives are less valuable or less fulfilling or less exciting or, you know, those kinds of things. And I think that is bullshit. Actually. I have done so many things in my life, many of them because I'm disabled, not because, you know, so I kind of feel society needs to get a grip of that, that actually there are many, many happy people whose bodies aren't working in the way everybody else's do.

Simon Minty: [00:20:24] Um, and I think the, the bit that the play challenges is this acknowledgement that you can have still have difficult times, which weirdly enough I've heard non-disabled people have difficult times too, and have insecurities and all the other things.

Phil Friend: [00:20:39] I'm amazed. I thought if I was cured, I'd be fine. Yeah. Yeah.

Simon Minty: [00:20:43] Um, so.

Phil Friend: [00:20:45] state of Nirvana.

Simon Minty: [00:20:46] I. I liked the play. It's called It's a mother swear word. King Pleasure. Um, and by the time this goes out, it will have finished its run at the Soho Theatre, But I think it's gonna be performing elsewhere, so.

Phil Friend: [00:21:01] Sounds a really interesting play. And I know you see a lot of stuff, so if you enjoyed it, that's high recommendation.

Simon Minty: [00:21:07] I liked it because it challenged me and then it was funny at other times, so that that was the joy of it.

Announcer: [00:21:12] You're listening to the Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Phil Friend: [00:21:17] While we're on the subject, Simon of. Talking about non-disabled people and disabled people and plays and things like that. And I came across I came across a picture of our beloved minister for disabled people. Now, before we move on, I want any listener listening to tell me who that is. Who is the current Minister for disabled people? Because I'll put money on it. Most people listening to us haven't got a clue. Oh, well, you will have when we finish with this. So his name is Tom Pursglove and he is the Minister for Disabled People. And as most of you will know, he's based in the Department of Work and Pensions. That's where his ministry is. Now, I came across a picture of this man in a flak jacket with bulletproof vest with DWP on the back of it. And I'm sure some of your listeners have seen this too. And he was being part of a dawn raid up in Scotland with the police to arrest benefit fraud cheats. That was what he was doing. And he's been variously labelled as Liam Neeson in Taken you know the sort of which to.

Simon Minty: [00:22:31] Add because this was a little clip that they put out and they say we have a special set of skills. We will be able to track you down, we will hunt you. And it was kind of lines from Taken with Liam Neeson.

Phil Friend: [00:22:45] Exactly. And there's dark music going on and it's all whatever, whatever. Um, now. There are obvious questions here. What is the Minister of Disabled people doing on a benefit raid in the middle of the night or whatever it was? What message is that sending out? It's about benefit fraud. Is it sending out that actually disabled people are the worst offenders, which is why they had to have the minister of state there? Maybe it was along to make sure that when they were arrested, they had reasonable adjustments. I mean, I don't know. Maybe he was there to enforce the Equality Act. But the fact of the matter is, it was gormless there was all sorts of stuff about how much did this raid cost and the film that followed it and the Twitter campaign and all that stuff too. But here's here's a piece of serious information that I also found in this. The first is that something like £6.5 billion worth of of estimated benefit fraud was committed between 21 and 22, 2022. Fraud levels across all benefits. All benefits. Fraud levels are at 3%. Yeah, 3%. And much of the much of the losses are from errors. They're not they're not people defrauding the government. It is basically down to clerical error or filling in the form wrong or whatever it is.

Simon Minty: [00:24:15] So let me just clarify. I didn't read it. I said 6.5 billion was fraud and that's 3%. There is also 2.1 billion, which is error, clerical error or whatever. I don't know if it's the same part or a different part, but nevertheless.

Phil Friend: [00:24:33] It's £2 billion down the Swanny. Yeah. There's no mention of how much there, how much it costs to catch benefit fraud fraudsters. So that adds to the bill. Of course, now nobody's going to argue against trying to stop benefit fraud. That makes perfect sense. I mean, why would you? It's taxpayers money, etcetera, etcetera. So there's no argument with that. It's about the timing of this. It's about the minister being involved in it. It's the messages it's sending out. And they also talk about in the the sort of Liam Neeson bit of it was that they were comparing, um, benefit fraud to and linking it to illegal migration, immigration, that kind of thing. So they were accusing benefit. Claimants, I guess, to be seen in the same light as illegal immigrants. I mean, it just it's a mess. Anyway, I saw it. It made me angry. I thought, I'll have a little rant with Simon, and the listener can make their own mind up. And why doesn't he do something about enforcing the inequalities of the bloody situation that disabled people find themselves in? For a change.

Simon Minty: [00:25:41] And it when I looked at it, first of all, it's one of those you would think it's a Mitchell and Webb sketch that you know the new minister it takes all his heavies in and I mean you'd think it's a comedy sketch. The unfortunate bit is it's actually pretty dark and kind of horrible. I was going to say, it's a dog whistle to the sort of more right wing, but it's not even a dog whistle. It's just there in your face. There's no nothing hidden about it. Um, and as you say, then linking it up with other groups, whether it's, uh, immigrants and so on. So you can see there's a whole level is the hard bit is and let me say, play devil's advocate for a moment. If it costs 100 million to track benefit fraud and it's costing 4 or 6. Billion, then That's good money, isn't it?

Phil Friend: [00:26:33] Yeah. You made a profit. Yeah.

Simon Minty: [00:26:35] Because to say what this to say, it's cost more to go and find the benefit forward. That doesn't really make sense to me because. Well, of course it costs because you've got to stop it. Um, but.

Phil Friend: [00:26:45] Yeah, I mean, I'm not. I'm. All I'm saying is that there are no data about that. We don't get any data. What will we get is the data about benefit fraud. What we don't do is get the data about how much it costs to, you know, enforce things. Or we also don't hear the stories about the fact that actually benefit fraudsters might wait 3 or 4 years to come to court because the courts are falling over because they've got no lawyers, whatever, whatever. They've removed legal aid, you know? So it's just.

Announcer: [00:27:11] Thank you for listening to the Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend. If you enjoy the show, don't forget to subscribe Rate and share.

Phil Friend: [00:27:19] Uh.

Simon Minty: [00:27:20] This was an article from a little while ago. Um, I think it was December last year and it was as in 2022 and was based on some research in March of the same year. Uh, it's about street harassment. And they focus primarily on women. Two thirds of women didn't feel safe walking home at night if they were under 34. They experienced a lot more hassle. And this was a move to sort of beef up the legislation to make street harassment, um, legal, certain types and the punishment from six months to two years. And some of the comments were, uh, to prohibit walking close, really close to somebody obscene gestures, offensive or aggressive comments, obstruction, blocking people, people driving slowly. I'm kind of imagining kerb crawling type thing. Um, and it just reminded me of disability stuff. Um, I mean, we have hate crime I suppose in one way, but that some of that I have experienced, um, the campaigners and this is what got really interesting for me. They said, Wolf, whistling should be included and staring intently. Now.

Phil Friend: [00:28:36] I smile being a police constable trying to work out. Are you staring intently at that person now?

Simon Minty: [00:28:42] But the flip side is when I read staring intently, I know that I go down the street and people stare at me. They may even look me up and down. They'll look at different parts of me. I will go past them. They carry on staring at me. Now that's staring intently. Um. It's tricky. But anyway, I liked the concept. I wish there was a bit more about disabled people who would experience this, particularly maybe people who have got a learning disability or that sort of bullying or intimidation that you might get in the street. People with mental health conditions as well. Um, they didn't mention disabled people, but I presume it would be covered by this. But there's the other side of me thought, blimey, this is complex. Um, this is going to be hard to police. We, you know, it's, they said, they said type thing. Um, two voices and how do we prove it and all that kind of stuff. I just wondered if you had some thoughts.

Phil Friend: [00:29:38] Well, I do. And I agree with you. I think how do I sometimes wonder what the police think when ministers and others are sitting in these dark rooms coming up with plans. Now, that's not to say for a minute that harassment shouldn't be dealt with. I'm not saying that. But I do think sometimes that the lawmakers have very little thought for the law enforcement agencies that are going to have to police this. So that's a worry, I think. How do you enforce it? In a time where we can see that the most horrendous crimes say rape. The number of arrests are falling. The number of prosecutions being brought are going down, which is, you know, on one level, that's the other end of this. That's where, in a sense, you could argue that's where harassment ends up. You kind of harass and then you don't get caught. So you do a bit more of that and then eventually you end up in this. But I think in a time where particularly women feel that they're they're they're not protected, and even when they bring cases, they're not they're not either not listened to or they're not or they're not brought to court. This seems I don't I'm not I don't want to be I'm not saying it is trivial, but it sounds trivial by comparison to all these other things. So just say that, um, yeah. I mean, in terms of harassment of any kind, it's up to the individual generally. I mean, why are they what's bringing this about? Is this because of that horrific murder of the woman by the police officer? Everard Yeah. And that was around not December, but it was something like that, wasn't it? Um, and people and women then came forward and told all sorts of stories. And your story about yourself, um, people staring, making rude remarks. Wolf whistling, all that kind of stuff. Um, it's about our behaviours, isn't it? We've got to learn to behave differently. Well, and it's another to stare at you kind of thing.

Simon Minty: [00:31:40] They didn't add in filming, you know? I know short people.

Phil Friend: [00:31:43] Filmed.

Simon Minty: [00:31:44] Just for walking down the street. I'm just going to go back a step. So, so far I've got from you that it's okay to defraud the benefits system. It's okay to harass people and women on the street because there's more important things to worry about. That's what I'm getting from you today.

Phil Friend: [00:32:00] Sounds a bit like I'm on GB News. Exactly. And you're. Whatever his name is, Philip, I am not. I did try and explain my position. Um, no, I. I. I think bullying and harassment should be dealt with. I think they're horrific things. I'm I'm sort of I am on a theme about where are the resources for this? How are we going to manage this? Where do we what's we should be starting, I'm guessing at school and children being educated about how they behave with each other and people who are different from them and that kind of thing. But again, then you look at teachers and think, how many hours in the day are there? I mean, I've got to teach you English, maths, all this other and I've got a civil duty and all that. I don't know. It's why.

Simon Minty: [00:32:47] And you also hope to think some of that teaching would be parents rather than you don't shouldn't learn to be nice to people just at school. You should be learning that at home as well. Um, yeah. And yeah, I thought it was an interesting piece. Um, I think sometimes with these things what we read and think, oh, that's quite a big step. Now in 5 or 10 years we're like, Well, of course that should exist. Um, I agree with you. The first point should be how people are brought up and you know how they should learn to behave around other people and then what support and resources are. Because you're right, there are some big crimes and they don't get solved. But the flip side, I would say if you are a woman or someone with a disability and you feel scared coming from the train station to your home at 8:00 in the evening, that's rubbish. I mean, that that shouldn't be the way.

Phil Friend: [00:33:39] No, absolutely. And and and, of course. People, then their lives get transformed by that because they don't go out, they don't have relationships with people. They're living. I mean, God knows what happens to your mental health if you're living in fear all the time, you set foot outside your house. Um, and the issue is how do we how do we stop it? I think one thing we might suggest, and I used to feel this very strongly, you know, when I did work. Page three of The Sun, for example, the famous page three of the Sun, which portrayed semi-naked women in what was allegedly a newspaper. And and people said, oh, it's you know, it doesn't it's not people like it, you know, that kind of thing. And I used to get very weird looks from men when I would say I find it offensive. I don't want to open my newspaper and find a half naked woman looking at me. And they were astonished by that. Well, what's the matter with you? Well, actually, what's the matter with me is that we're painting pictures of people that I think are inappropriate in this situation.

Phil Friend: [00:34:46] Now, I think men can do a lot more to support women by standing up and saying something about this stuff instead of leaving it all the time. And I'm not a woman, so I'm not speaking as one, but I am saying I too can be offended by this stuff. So if I'm going down the street, I remember when I was with you as a famous example, but when I was with you and you were getting stared at by all those kids at the sailing base, I got really bloody angry about it. I was offended you stopped me doing anything about it because you said leave it, whatever. But the fact is I have rights in that situation. If I'm with you and you're the one being stared at intently, I can feel uncomfortable. And I think I have a right to then say something about that. So in some ways, I suppose we should be much more supportive of the harassee, um, and stand up and say something about it instead of just leaving it to the bloody police or whatever else when.

Simon Minty: [00:35:39] We were at that boat thing. And people say, just for the listener, I was topless. So that was probably why I got a little bit extra attention.

Phil Friend: [00:35:45] And he hadn't been going to the gym so regularly. So it was not a pretty sight.

Simon Minty: [00:37:52] Getting towards the end of the show, we've had an email from Lara Greene. Thank you, Lara. Sorry we've been so rubbish in not replying to this because you sent this a little while back. Um, but you talked about getting a peloton. We'd been talking about the gym, um, and got on board screen Reader So I'm guessing that's a bit of accessible tech for you. The more interesting bit listeners was me trying to get Phil to wear jogging bottoms because he believed they were like 1950s. I don't know what you even call those things. He hadn't realized they had updated, but she said she often wears them. She's got a particular brand that she loves. Feejays Cloud, Feejays, thick fleece, integrated feet. I mean, this sounds amazing. Uh, so what do you think, Mr. Friend? Have we got you some jogging pants like Lara Greene and myself want you to do?

Phil Friend: [00:39:02] Well, I know Lara, and I'm grateful for her spending the time doing the research to tell me about the Feejays. And I haven't done anything about this yet, but I am going to because I think I owe it to Lara to look them up now and see what she's on about. I also am very impressed by the on screen or the on board peloton equipment for her, because blind people particularly have a real issue about when they go to the gym, how am I doing, you know, if it's not voiced and stuff. Yes, I will. I will do this. I will go and look, I have, um. I have got several pairs of, um, what I would call elasticated. They're not really tracksuit bottoms, they're more sort of Rohani things, but they're very elasticated. So I can pull them up a bit more easily. But it is still a conundrum If any listener has got a quick way of pulling your trousers up without standing up, I'd be delighted to hear what they are.

Simon Minty: [00:40:03] So these have not got flies or a button. You just pull them up and pull them over.

Phil Friend: [00:40:09] These have got flies, which is very important for a man. No, it isn't. Oh, hang on a minute. Look, just. I've got some. I mean, let's not get indelicate here, but there's got to be some way of having a wee, hasn't there? Yeah.

Simon Minty: [00:40:23] I don't think I've used the flies on any of my trousers for 15, 20 years.

Phil Friend: [00:40:27] Just. You're standing up.

Simon Minty: [00:40:31] You're sitting down.

Phil Friend: [00:40:32] You know? So if. What do I do? Pull them down every time I want a wee?

Simon Minty: [00:40:37] Take your point.

Phil Friend: [00:40:39] You've got to roll the bloody trousers down every time and then pull them up again. And that's the whole problem I've got is getting the trousers up.

Simon Minty: [00:40:46] Because you would then have to put weight on your legs to push yourself up to be able to squash it down.

Phil Friend: [00:40:51] Can't do that.

Simon Minty: [00:40:52] You're quite right. That doesn't work. That's a really good point. I mean, I mean, I'm standing on tiptoe, don't forget, because the the the loo is high, so.

Phil Friend: [00:41:00] It may not be. Yeah, absolutely.

Simon Minty: [00:41:02] But I take your point. I can see there is an issue there. 

Phil Friend: [00:41:07] Back to the drawing board. Simon. Come on listeners. We need. I don't want to hoist either. Thank you. Anyone suggest a hoist?

Simon Minty: [00:41:12] We're heading to Velcro, aren't we? That dreaded disability access.

Phil Friend: [00:41:16] Anyway, Lara, I really appreciate the efforts you've gone to to assist me. I will look up these things just to see what they're like, and I'll keep you posted.

Simon Minty: [00:41:25] One Yeah. Okay. I'm actually going to leave that. We'll talk about potential method offline, but it's a bit too indelicate. We've explored it enough. Yeah. Thank you, Lara. It's always lovely to hear from people. Sorry it's taking me so long to reply to you. And if someone wanted to comment, Phil, where would they write to? Well, they.

Phil Friend: [00:41:42] Would of course email us Simon at

Simon Minty: [00:41:46] Yeah Just like Lara did. And that's what happens. Um, and.

Phil Friend: [00:41:50] You get Mensch.

Simon Minty: [00:41:51] We are on, uh, Facebook, we are on Twitter and we are on Instagram. Uh, so we'd love to hear from you there. And if you want to get all of our stuff, I think it is The Way We Roll. It's got links to everything and you can subscribe.

Phil Friend: [00:42:08] Excellent. So there we are.

Simon Minty: [00:42:11] Just a little heads up, people. A couple of months time we have Sophie Morgan coming on the show. Very excited. The amazing Soph So that'll be brilliant.

Phil Friend: [00:42:19] Yeah, we talked a lot about her in the last show.

Simon Minty: [00:42:23] You did?

Phil Friend: [00:42:23] I know I did. I got a bit carried away. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing her again.

Simon Minty: [00:42:28] Uh, have a good month, Mr. Friend. We'll speak soon.

Phil Friend: [00:42:30] And you, too, Simon. Take care, everybody.

Simon Minty: [00:42:32] Take care.

Announcer: [00:42:33] This is the Way we roll. Presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. You can email us at Or just search for minty and friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Digital Exclusion
It's a mother f......g pleasure
Benefit Fraud
Street Harassment
Listeners Corner