The Way We Roll

Disability Confident but Don’t Assume

November 03, 2023 Phil Friend
Disability Confident but Don’t Assume
The Way We Roll
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The Way We Roll
Disability Confident but Don’t Assume
Nov 03, 2023
Phil Friend

They say you shouldn’t kick a person when they’re down. It feels right now the UK Government are down. And unfortunately for them, Phil and Simon have found more reasons why they deserve maybe not a kick but a strong toe poke.   

Launched in late September 2023, Ask Don’t Assume is the government’s disability awareness-raising campaign. It asks everyone to avoid making assumptions about disabled people as well as asking non-disabled people to become allies. Many disabled-led organisations and influential people dismissed it. We explore why it feels outdated and inappropriate and ask why, if it was created with disabled people, it doesn’t have more validity.

Another government initiative is the Disability Confident employer scheme. Quoting from the Disability New Service, Phil suggests the results show it’s not working. Simon flips the statistics around and shows it can be argued that it is doing very well. We know statistics can be manipulated, so leaving that aside, is the campaign any good?

Phil gives an update on his recent cancer treatment, and Simon tells of his recent talk at the Royal Television Society on 20 years of disability representation on television.

Ask Don’t Assume 

Disability Confident article 

 Simon’s talk with Steph Lacey at the Royal Television Society

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

They say you shouldn’t kick a person when they’re down. It feels right now the UK Government are down. And unfortunately for them, Phil and Simon have found more reasons why they deserve maybe not a kick but a strong toe poke.   

Launched in late September 2023, Ask Don’t Assume is the government’s disability awareness-raising campaign. It asks everyone to avoid making assumptions about disabled people as well as asking non-disabled people to become allies. Many disabled-led organisations and influential people dismissed it. We explore why it feels outdated and inappropriate and ask why, if it was created with disabled people, it doesn’t have more validity.

Another government initiative is the Disability Confident employer scheme. Quoting from the Disability New Service, Phil suggests the results show it’s not working. Simon flips the statistics around and shows it can be argued that it is doing very well. We know statistics can be manipulated, so leaving that aside, is the campaign any good?

Phil gives an update on his recent cancer treatment, and Simon tells of his recent talk at the Royal Television Society on 20 years of disability representation on television.

Ask Don’t Assume 

Disability Confident article 

 Simon’s talk with Steph Lacey at the Royal Television Society

Announcer  0:12  
This is the way we roll presented by Simon minty and Phil friend, you can email us at minty and or just search for minty and friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Simon Minty  0:31  
Hello, and welcome to the way we roll with me Simon minty. 

Phil Friend  0:35  
And me, Phil friend.

Simon Minty  0:38  
 Later in the show, we will do a health and wellbeing update with Mr. Friend and a little visit to me doing a big talk. But first off, I think we're gonna give the government a bit of a rough time, aren't we

Phil Friend  0:51  
 not for the first time Mr. Minty?

Simon Minty  0:54  
 We are to anarchists

Phil Friend  0:55  
 kick it off, kick it off.

Simon Minty  0:58  
You may have seen all over social media, the government launched a disability campaign, I suppose a communications type campaign. And the hashtag was asked don't assume. And they it was developed in partnership with disabled people based on individual experience research and disability stakeholders. And it talks about don't assume what disabled people may want or need. And it's this okay? If I ask a different question, Mr. Friend, rather than just say, do you think the campaign's goo d or bad, indifferent, whatever? How do we overcome this bit where they are real life disabled people saying this is what's important to us. And yet, when it launched, there was a whole load of disabled, we know is saying, This isn't good.

Phil Friend  1:42  
It's this kind of, I don't know, it's the people that object generally, will now talk about specifically this campaign. But when you hear voices raised about something that an organisation does, it could be a charity, or it could be the government, whatever, you get this raised voice of the organisations or the professional, disabled people, those that are in the game, you know, the ones like me and you, right, we're watching for this stuff. And then you've got what you might call the unattached ordinary, everyday disabled person, and their view on it. And they are often very different. And that's true, is it not of any, any campaign, you know, women who are watching what's going on in their space, are not the same as women who are just getting on with their lives going to work each day, all that kind of stuff, they're not interested, or at least, they appear not to be interested in some of the issues or political things around women. But having said that, it's the campaigners who generally spot something, raise it. And then so we ought to do something about this. And then they do bring women in, say, or disabled people in that perhaps didn't have a view before, but now do because of the campaign. So I kind of we distinguish between so the people in the campaign, I suspect, were just ordinary folk ask questions, which they answered. And that became the campaign. Our friends, Sophie, Sophie Morgan, who we've had on the show, was one of the first out the trap with saying, This is rubbish. You know, I'll tell you if I need help. You don't have to watch me, I know what I need. So you kind of get this immediate sin.

Simon Minty  3:20  
I think you put that very well. And it's tricky because ultimately, there are differently abled people, different people who are disabled that have different points of view. But the if you are new to it, and this sounds really patronising, but if you're new to it, you may not have seen all the different nuances that it reminded me 20 years ago, we made a training video. And it was a sort of how you interact or how you might interview or how might your customer service on disability. I think Barclays helped us make it and we call it just ask. Because that's what it all came out of every time he spoke to some Yeah. So when I  saw Ask Don't Assume I'm like bloody hell, we've just jumped back 20 yrs again, but or are we just not made any progress? 

Phil Friend  4:07  
Well, something is interesting here because our just asked thing was all the time. When we were not asked people just did things, right, didn't get consulted. They just went and did it. You know, people were frequently being pushed across roads, they didn't want to cross. Deaf people were frequently being interpreted for when they didn't need any help. I mean, it was so our time then was to say please don't intervene. Just ask us and we'll tell you. Yeah. Now, what we've now got is 20 years on as you say, where disabled people perhaps are much more sophisticated now about and more assertive about saying when they need help, they will ask for it rather than waiting, you know for but we're back to etiquette again, is this bloody etiquette thing?

Simon Minty  5:00  
I think listener if you are an avid follower I buy shares ago I talked about my croissant in Sainsbury's moment when you know, I've got my headphones on, I'm kind of a mosquito get my croissant and three different people came up to me and started offering help, or can I do something? Can I do something? And? And that's the bit you're like, well, so there is a bit of Ask, Don't assume they did ask, but I kind of didn't really need it. I think there's the fear of the campaign was that it would give permission to ask anything. So it's no longer do you want a hand? Or is there anything I can do to help you? It turns into? Why are you like that? Or what's your like being blind? Or how long? Have you been using the word yet? Or what's your neurodiversity? And that's not I just Well, I don't want you to assume I just don't want to really talk about it unless it's the right context and time.  So yeah, I want to try and say well, meaning that it just didn't, it felt really old, really tired. I don't want to devalue people's input, because clearly, that's what is important to them currently. But I wanted a bit more from it. 

Phil Friend  6:08  
I think, in graduation terms, encouraging people to ask, rather than encouraging people to just act is a step forward. But it's an old step forward. We've been talking about this for a very long time. So there's nothing in a sense new about it. But we live in a different world. Now we're, I suppose the different I'm thinking on my feet a bit here. I'm a wheelchair user visibly very disabled, or at least in quote, visibly disabled, someone new neurodiverse, who is not visible at all, was having some kind of condition. How does this help them? What what does this campaign saying about that? Because what I'm doing and I think Sophie Morgan and others are doing is fending people off, leave me alone, you know, but people with neurodiverse issues may be being completely ignored, you know, by the non disabled world, when actually what they might need is for somebody to say, are you okay, do you need a hand kind of, 

Simon Minty  7:09  
or, or that they are having assumptions and being judged? Because there are certain behaviour or certain way that they are interaction? And people are all right, or they're like that, are they? And actually, they're assuming that rather than actually, they've got something else going on? Yeah, I, I, you know, what was it six, seven years ago, scope? Did the end the awkward? Yeah, I did a training course, yesterday, really loved the people. And we two thirds of the way through, and we were doing some big debate and stuff really lovely. And one of them said, So, could you tell me what words and what words are? Sorry, can you tell me what words I can use and what words I can't use? And my heart sinks. And I said to them, I will send you a glossary afterwards. So you can have a little look, but please, that isn't the most important thing. There are so many things that are more important about your policies, your procedures, and you don't need the glossary, because you'll never learn it. And there's too much going on, you need to just be able to say, What's the best way? Or what should I say here? Or can you give me a lead? And then I said to him at one point, because they said it's really hard this language stuff? And I said, Well, yes, of course, I said, as disabled people 20% of the population, from time to time we get together, and we say, Look, they've nearly nailed the language thing. Their roles changed to change it. So they all get a bit muddled up again, and we can have them present something. That's where I kind of go. I just feel there's bigger stuff. 

Phil Friend  8:44  
Do you think that in a sense, this campaign, in some ways, has caught the backdraft from the Ferrari that has been around gender fluid by set, you know, the whole transgender, there's been a real focus recently on issues that affect transgender people, gender, fluid, people, and so on. And all sorts of notaries have been attacked for what they did or didn't say, there's been cancelled culture, all that stuff. Do you think that's we've caught some of the backdrop from that, that people now are really, really scared of saying the wrong thing? Because if they say the wrong thing, they're going to be absolutely pilloried for it. Whereas back in the day when we did our just ask, that was very different world then we didn't have that kind of anger and hostility towards people saying stuff. I know what do you think? 

Simon Minty  9:44  
If people are a little bit hesitant or nervous about some of these issues, they just need to say, can I go on GB news because you can say what you want

Phil Friend  9:53  
and then get fired? 

Simon Minty  9:54  
Yeah, exactly.I don't know. I think you're asking something else because I wouldn't have made them connected. I think disability has always been like this. And there's a, because people are scared of upsetting or offending, because somebody is already disabled. So if you say the wrong thing, oh my God, not only are you disabled now I've offended you. I'm the worst person in the world. That's there's a fear at error. I think that some of the other areas and the equalities that you're talking about, people are either wanting to do the right thing and don't know how to I'm scared of getting it wrong. But because they'll get a backlash as well, or are they? I think there is a growing pushback. To say this has gone too far, or the pendulum has swung too far. We can't say anything that said that. Stuart Lee did a piece on the comedian about political correctness, you know, 1015 years ago, maybe every generation has this next push, and people resist it. And then it just becomes Okay, and normal. And then off we go again, I wouldn't have put them together. But you might be maybe onto something.

Phil Friend  10:57  
 I just think there's a general attitude prevailing now, which is I have to be careful what I say. 

Simon Minty  11:03  
More than ever. 

Phil Friend  11:04  
Yeah, yeah. And in some ways, that's not a bad thing. Being more sensitive to other people's situations, of course, is helpful. But it also means that people feel very scared about saying something and doing it in a clumsy way. So yeah. 

Simon Minty  11:17  
And it's, well, I read a lovely story about the NHS and someone who was trans, he went in, and the NHS just straightaway said, What are your pronouns? How do we work this and they just nailed it all the way through, and it's a really lovely experience. The flip side, I I have a counsellor and the counsellor said, It is tricky sometimes for us, because we are being forced to think about things that we've never experienced before. Now, of course, that's growth and development. But if you were born in the 40s, born in the 60s Born in the 80s, some of the concepts now are very, very different. And you need to get your head around some of it and it's, some of it can be quite uncomfortable. 

Phil Friend  11:55  
Yeah. Agreed. Well, let's, let's see how this develops. 

Simon Minty  12:00  
Glad we've solved that. 

Phil Friend  12:01  
We've sorted that out. So we move on to something else that needs sorting. 

Simon Minty  12:04  
Oh, really?

Phil Friend  12:06  
 Yeah. Hm. Government at it again,

Announcer  12:08  
 if you liked the show, and want us to like you write us a review. 

Phil Friend  12:12  
This gives a little bit of background. Right, we regroup, Phil regroup. Some of our listeners are old enough to remember the days of quotas, and disabled people in jobs. If you have more than 20, employees, et cetera, you don't have 3%, etcetera. And there was green cards, and it was all very lovely. And we lived in a very lovely world where disabled people didn't benefit in any way, shape, or form. And that scheme.

In actual fact, that wasn't true. No, that one person had been. And I think the fine was about 20 quid it was, it was pathetic. I think it was in Wales I've got feeling my memory serves me It may have been Wales anyway, the longer the short of this is that these schemes were done away with the 95 Disability Discrimination Act did away with the quota scheme. And it was replaced, obviously, with the concepts of reasonable adjustments and all that kind of stuff. So there have been a number of initiatives over the years to try and encourage employers to take disabled people on, you know, talented, clever disabled people keep either keep them in work or recruit new people. And the, the scheme that was is now currently in, in in situ that's been around for five or six years, is what's called Disability confident. Disability confident means that you have done a number of things as an employer to try and retract or retain or recruit disabled people into your organisation that's, and these things are listed and you can kind of be awarded status is 123 or four. Under the disability confident, it's managed by the DWP and Harar. Now, I should just say at this point, because it always goes through my head when I think about this, Susan Scott Parker, who used to be the chief executive at what was then the employers forum on disability. Now, the Business Disability Forum went apoplectic when she first heard about it because they had been talking about disability confident as an organisation in all sorts of other ways. And she felt this term had been a bit hijacked to be fair, but anyway, 

Simon Minty  14:48  
Can I just had when I've spoken to her, she said her colleagues got angry with her because she did eventually or at some point said to the DWP, you can use it and her colleagues went, I can't believe you just given away  a phrase that we've been using that you created? Susan came up with being confident around disability disability confidence. So, yeah, 5050 I don't think they completely nicked it, she did get permission. 

Phil Friend  15:10  
But yeah, but even so it was kind of it was because the disability confident from the BDF point of view, it's still used by BDF was a much more complex thing. It talks about the whole organisation and what it did, but anyway, so that's the backstory for those of you that don't know all about this. Recently, our friend Mr. Pring John Pring of the disability News Service, which I would commend people look at, it's a, you know, one of the areas we can go to, to see what's going on in the world of disability. And John is a very good journalist. He's just published a piece, which says that one in three disability con confident employers have employed no disabled people, since they became disability confident. So I think those of us who've been around the block a few times have always maintained that any scheme, which is policed or not policed at all, or police, the by employers and so on, is unlikely to attract the kind of responses that you want. And we have a law, let's remind ourselves under the Equality and Human Rights Act, disabled people have rights in employment.

Simon Minty  15:10  
 equality, equality act. 

Phil Friend  15:26  
Sorry, what did I say? 

Simon Minty  16:21  
You put in Human Rights Act, which is lovely, but not that's not? 

Phil Friend  16:35  
I mean, you know, yeah, anyway. I'm conflating legislation. Right. Yeah. You know, that, that not to have making adjustments to employ disabled people is clearly not in is not legal. So Simon, I don't know what your reaction to this is. I for one, I'm not surprised at all, that this scheme has not produced desired results. Namely, it has not changed the landscape for disabled people at all. As far as I can see,

Simon Minty  17:06  
 I have one tiny bit because it's me being really pedantic and I know exactly what you meant by it, but a bit early and said, you know, the idea is that employers will take on clever, talented disabled people, I would tweak that to say employers are taking on people who've got the right skills and abilities. It's not Yeah. But that was me just being me. And it was. I think this is a funny one. This is, first up, I agree with you, or I agree with John, in his article, disability confidence. I think years ago, when they were adopting it, I was asked to sit as part of the panel and I resigned from it. I just thought I can't bear this. I can't work in a place like this. Well, meaning but you just knew you'd be frustrated. I know I work with organisations and they say to me, Oh, we've got the sage, one disability conference. And I was like, great. And they said, it was a waste of time. We just had to say, Yes, we love disabled people. Yes. If they can, we'll have an interview. They said there was nothing we had to do to get to it. It's only the third level that actually there's some rigour applied that says, What what are you actually doing? And how does that work? And are you measuring it? What are the Business Disability Forum, as you mentioned, what do you call it? It's not there. Is it the benchmark or the standard? Yes, yeah. It's like an audit tool that I remember, again, people we work with, they get bloody Oh, it took me three days to fill that in. And then they asked me, I'll load more questions. That's kind of what you want, you want a little bit more rigour? How about if I'm devil's advocate for a moment and say, the disability confidence scheme has been so successful, two thirds of the people who have signed up to it and now employing disabled people? 

Phil Friend  17:06  
Okay. Let me quote one or two figures from this article, that nearly a fifth of large employers who joined the scheme did not report recruiting a single disabled person further demonstrates the scheme's lack of impact. That's one. 

Simon Minty  18:59  
So can I just say, so you're saying 80% of those who reported said they did record a disabled person 80% did? 

Phil Friend  19:07  
Well, yes, that's the other way of looking at it. But how many? I mean, the unemployment rates for disabled people have stayed largely the same, haven't they? The DWP declared itself a gold standard employer of disabled people under the scheme securing the status of disability confident leader just days before being found guilty of grave and systemic violations of the UN disability convention in 2016. I mean, it's it's window dressing, it's not achieving the objective it starts off with all the right intentions let's let's give them you know that the idea was let's get employers and we've got a scheme that will encourage employers to do that. The biggest problem with it is that nobody police's it Yeah, it's or it's self policed. You do it yourself. So companies like the fifth who did nothing about recruiting disabled people, so still keep the confident badge, they don't lose it. Nobody comes along and audits what they're doing. So it's pointless. It's just window dressing. 

Simon Minty  20:08  
I do agree with you. I mean, I think as I said, I think that the way that article is presented, I can just flip it around and make it a success. So you know, there's there's facts as facts and there's dampa. It goes 60 and 80%. Sounds like pretty good numbers to me. But why I do agree is it's a bit of a waste of space, I don't think but the first few levels are so wet and wimpy. I know we used to have the two ticks in with him we

Phil Friend  20:35  
Yeah, this came out about oh, wait. 

Simon Minty  20:37  
My question is if I'm a person who has a disability and I'm looking at applying for a job does the disability confidence logo symbol? Kitemark inspire me? Or does it make me as it makes no difference to me whatsoever? 

Phil Friend  20:53  
Well, as well, you're an employer as it made a big difference to you. 

Simon Minty  20:58  
Right? You really got me there. Bearing I mind I just lambasted you with the figures. I did not even sign up to it. 

Phil Friend  21:07  
Well, leading disability confident proponent and you haven't even signed up. for goodnes sake 

Simon Minty  21:15  
There's another scheme being run called the disability aversion.scheme yeah, this is a oh my god. And then when I go there, it's too complicated.

Phil Friend  21:24  
 When you and I ran our business together, and at its height, I can't remember the number of staff we had it. I was thinking of it around 30 ish. Something. Yeah. So. And I remember and I say this with pride. And I say it to anybody who asked me, yeah, we had no problem whatsoever. Recruiting disabled staff. It was not an issue.

Simon Minty  21:47  
And I agree I because I do try and make people laugh. I always exaggerate. So I always say 35 people work for us. 30 of them at some point had some sort of disability or condition. I remember the hardest one was the woman who we were recruiting. He wasn't disabled, we thought she's brilliant. She's they kind of work part time. And we're like, oh, how we wanted a full timer here. But we worked it because we just thought we need her. She's great. I thought you're gonna say we said no charts and discriminated against people who wanted to work. Now, what I'm saying is the non disabled person. I mean, we didn't have difficulties. 

Phil Friend  22:25  
We had issues. Some of the people we employed weren't as good as we hoped they would be. And we had to manage that we had others where adjustments were quite tricky, but we had to manage those to. 

Simon Minty  22:36  
And there was people who thought we weren't as good as they wanted us to be. And we had to manage that.

Phil Friend  22:40  
But they werewrong about that they weren't they? Anyway, I think the point I'm trying to make the overall point is yeah, if your organisation is known, to be welcoming of makes every effort to recruit and retain disabled people, that is your recruiting sergeant, you don't need schemes. Yeah. And I think what's going on in the world of disability and employment at the moment is that employers are still as they have for 10s of dozens of years, not seeing disabled people, as seriously good people to be appointed by them.  

Simon Minty  23:17  
I am doing a talk next week, I'd be interested in your point of view. And I've said to them, I think you have two recruitment methods when you relating to disability. One is you're open mainstream, and you make it accessible, whether it's through your agencies, or through your website, or the process, make it accessible to all. But then you also have a disability specific one, for those people who might want a little bit of extra reassurance or you might need to spend a little bit of extra time, or you are showing you're serious about this. Are you saying we do away with a second? 

Phil Friend  23:49  
No, no, I'm not saying that. Because I think we recognise that actually goes back a bit to the previous conversation we were having, we recognise that the world is now a very different place. So we don't talk about mental health or mental handicap, or autism, or we talk about neurodiverse people, people who are on some kind of line where their particular issues need to be managed in this way, someone else over here has had slightly different nuanced issue. So you do need to sit down, I think and encourage people who are thinking of applying just to this to be available to them to talk through how that job might work if they applied for it. And I think you do that before. You get into interviews and selection processes and all that stuff. Certainly in the charities I've chaired, we had a deliberate, very open over policy of stating that we are we want disabled people to apply and we will be available to talk to them about their application. 

Simon Minty  24:52  
And just so we're not breaking laws. This isn't saying it's a pre interview. So we'll talk because I'm worried, you can chat with someone. And they say, Well, I've got this and you go, well, it might be tricky there, don't bother to apply. Well, you've just got yourself in real hot water. This is more, what's it like to work here? What do we do? What's our policies? What's our adjustments? Yeah, some other disabled people who work for us. So this is a sort of get to know this. And then you can decide whether you want to apply or not, 

Phil Friend  25:20  
it's, in a sense, it's more than I mean, anybody applying for a job or a role as a trustee, or whatever it is, if they've got any sense about them, we'll do some research. Mainly that means on the web, doesn't it you can just sit outside buildings and watch people here, get me in trouble a bit, to be honest. But binoculars in a raincoat going in that office knows that. The point is that anybody worth their salt is going to do some research themselves about whether this is the right role for them or whatever. Now, there's only so much you can get from going online and looking at that stuff. If the employer has also added in, they're happy to have a conversation with you about this role, to help you decide whether you wish to apply or not say, yeah, that's it. That's the end of it. People can ring you, you'll answer their questions and then they decide whether they can cope.

Simon Minty  26:13  
Nice. So we are not keen on hashtag ask don't assume. And we're not keen on the disability confidence thing because we both think they're 

Phil Friend  26:23  
Yeah, they I think they both go into room 101. Don't they? We chop? Yeah, we get rid of that noise, not impressed, and no HS2 either. fresh off the press.

I thjink as an older man I know everything. 

Simon Minty  26:56  
That's the That's why exactly what I just said please let us know.

Phil Friend  26:59  
How could I be wrong about anything? I just cannot. Anyway,

Announcer  27:06  
 this is the way we roll hosted by Simon Minty and Phil friend. How are you? 

Simon Minty  27:11  
You were having some treatment? 

Phil Friend  27:15  
Yeah, well, I came through. I basically went to Mount Vernon hospital, they gave me a piece of wood to put in my mouth and bit down hard, drank the whiskey.

Simon Minty  27:27  
And ah, can I ask you a question here? Is Mount Vernon, a real hospital they near you? Or is it a film reference that I'm not getting?

Phil Friend  27:34  
It's a real hospital it is a cancer specialist cancer treatment centre. In in near Watford. Yeah, and it's a funny old place, it's falling down its needs a lot of money spent on it is a certain charm around the place. And what there is, is some fantastic staff who are just top dog, I, you know, I met some very, very good people, the long and the short of it is that I had to go for five days, I had five treatments, it involves me transferring from my chair onto a trolley table, which then fired beams bit like an x ray machine in many ways. A very targeted area in my body and and that was it. 30 minutes. I mean, the whole process was about an hour, you have to drink lots of liquids before they do this and various things. And the first two treatments, I came home said sack a piece of cake. Well will this day three, huh? God? Yeah, just wanted to sleep. And I think for the next three or four weeks after I've now I think I'm five weeks now since five weeks since the treatment. And I'm feeling really much better now much more back to normal. And things like my going to the loo and that kind of things all settled down as well. So really, it wasn't as difficult as perhaps it might have been in the old days when radiotherapy was perhaps a bit less precise. I think the thing I just would mention, because I don't want to you know, as far as I'm concerned, all is well I'll have some blood tests in October, November, and then I'll know whether the treatment has worked. And I'm very optimistic about that. But I just wanted to mention the experience of arriving at each day at the same time, being in a waiting small waiting area with six or seven other patients who were also going to have radiotherapy of one sort or another. And after five days, I'd met these people every day. And you form an interest. I mean, you're all talking about toileting within like 20 minutes, which is so I'm British. Talking about your personal habits and stuff in a way which you'd never normally do. That was one aspect The bit that really struck me very forcefully, was just how incredibly stoic and and I use the word brave. Some of the people were that I was meeting, I was having five radiotherapy treatments, I met a woman who was on her was having 39, who had been through two courses of chemo, who had got very serious spreading cancer, who just talked and expressed herself in a way, which was incredibly humbling. I mean, these ordinary people who you would never, if you walk past them on the street, probably wouldn't give a second glance, are managing some of the most terrifically difficult situations. And I was mightily impressed by that. And it was good. In that sense, it was a good thing to go through, because it just reminded me of the lives that some people lead in the complexity of those lives and how much support they need and how little, you know, the hospital itself was fantastic, but I have no way of knowing how they cope these people at home, knowing what social care is like, like the pressures under health, all that stuff, you know, but anyway, all is good, Simon. 

Simon Minty  31:16  
And I, first up, I'm very pleased, if you your understanding is that's it, we've zapped it, it is back in the box, and hopefully you're out the other side. And as you said, your body and energy levels are returning to some sense of normality. I mean, that's where I'm really pleased. I'm pleased to hear it. But obviously sounds like there's a few tests as to check. And I totally get your other but I'm, I'm always cautious of this, because we get it as someone who has a disability and people go, you didn't say this, by the way. Yeah, when we kind of got I got to admire them, or aren't they brave? And you're like, Well, no, there's not an option really here. They gotta get on with it. But I think your word stoic is a perfect one. It's like, it is what it is. And you got to make the best of it. And all of the other things.

Phil Friend  32:07  
 You mentioned in the last show about Danny Baker and his neck cancer. Well, you know, he had said, I'll come on What choices do I have? I think the thing that the other word I would have used and didn't use but would use was resilient. I mean, that keep coming back every time. And knowing that what's going to happen to you is going to make you feel very ill and may have all sorts of unpleasant side effects. I think that's, that's, that's pretty that's resilient. You just keep coming. And that just says how precious life is doesn't mean that people will go through all these things to try and maintain You know, presence on the planet. 

Simon Minty  32:45  
It's kind of my friend's son is studying biology at Durham University. Don't you know? And obviously, he comes home. And he's like, and we'll say stuff like this. Yeah. Well, so the human condition. And it's the human condition. And I like that there's something in that I, my uncle, he lives in Australia. He's early ages. He's not very well, all sorts of things going on. He did an Advanced Directive. So this happens, this happens. Let me go. This is the plan. He had a really substantial stroke, had all sorts of pipes and oxygen ever been going in? And his partners said, if he'd seen him, he would have said, you know, you can let me go. But she went to him and said, How you doing? He went, I don't want to die yet. I'm not ready to change my mind. And that's back to you. But I mean, I can equally think of our dearest friend James Partridge, he wasn't ready. And I've definitely not. But again, you're right, there was a resilience of stoicism. There's a you got a crack on. But yeah, and 

Phil Friend  33:56  
there are stories going on all around us that we don't know about. And, and it's very helpful at times to have an opportunity to to draw back the curtain and have a look, because it just puts things into a different bit of perspective, really. 

Simon Minty  34:12  
But yeah, if you go back the curtain in a hospital, you might get thrown out you think well, yeah, you do remember the Career Development Programme when we get these 12 people that they come up and within two hours they're talking about, they're sharing things about their disability or their condition that they've never shared with anyone else before? Yeah. It's a phenomenal thing to see happen. 

Phil Friend  34:32  
So I think, you know, in that little waiting room, I knew they knew we would never probably ever meet again. So it's a place where you can just offload stuff with people. I mean, you know, have you been yet you know, you're going to try laxatives? Yeah, conversations going on, all around you.

Oh, absolutely.  We should should we move on? Do you think? Oh, okay. The Poo department. 

Simon Minty  35:06  
Well, we're glad you're doing okay. And I hope it continues and fingers crossed. Oh, yeah. All those other people you met as well, I hope it's the same.

Just hopefully a quickie. I did a talk for the Royal Television Society, which is the sort of prestigious place in the TV world. And the topic was we called it tonight we celebrate tomorrow we go again. And someone had said to me, we love it when you do your the progression, what's happened on the representation of disabled people on TV? And I said, Well, I don't mind doing that. But there was a line when Judy human, the US disability rights person died. And she had a line that said, Look, I feel we reached the summit. We've got law, we got the changes. It's amazing. But if you're 25, this isn't the summit. This is Basecamp. It's a new Basecamp. So I said, Why don't we I do the celebration, look at all this amazing stuff. Then we get the younger person who says how old up Simon and then start showing all the gaps and the things we haven't done any know for one of the better cliche it might be, we do have people popping up on the screen. But we can list them boom boom boom rather than just, it just happens automatically. Or they do have someone who pops up in a drama says three lines. Yay. But they're not a returning character. They're not a lead character. They're not part della Della. So it was lovely. It's terrifying because they were the great and the good from the industry. I had to go for drinks beforehand, which was more scary than the speech for me. Because I'm I'll go well, this is gonna be hard work. I don't know if it's gogglebox. I don't know if it's age. I don't know. But I just had a ball. I mean, I was bumping into all sorts of people and having a lovely old chat and people hadn't seen between Surrey and cheer. She was there. So yeah, he used to be chair of Barclays. He's now chair of channel for me and me just catching up and purely the blaze and a lot. Well, I've known him 20 years is amazing. Anyway, lots of lovely people about gogglebox loving it. Did the talk the next day. Really positive feedback. I sat with the chief executive of Channel Four. How many name drops Am I getting in here, by the way 

Phil Friend  37:13  
Youre doing all right? Yeah, about 26. Right. 

Simon Minty  37:16  
I've got another 12 to go. I sat and her name is Alex Mahan. And I think she's amazing. I think she's brilliant. I sat next to her and she said your speech was great. And I said, thank you. And I said, 30 people have come up to talk to me about it. And she said, that is amazing. That's awesome. And I said, Yeah, but 270 haven't yet. And she went, Oh, you're one of those people, are you? And I said yes. I mean, if I think that the other speakers, Emma Watson. Oh, Emma Thompson, James Gordon, Piers Morgan. I mean, Krishna. Guru Murthy. From Channel Four. Yes. I was kind of what the hell? How did me and Steph step was a step lazy from Triple C was my co talker. It was a good gig. 

Phil Friend  38:06  
And what's your kind of takeaway? Oh, I mean, you obviously did well, the speech was well received. You just made the points you wanted to make? What? What's your sense of what happens now? If any?

Simon Minty  38:21  
I think we re energised people. There were some that came up and said, You know what, what you just did watch me in the heart and made me realise I haven't done enough of this. There was other people came up and said, Look, we're done some really good stuff. But you've just reminded us we've got to go further. It was that kind of stuff. And I, I think it was, it's this balanced that we do where I wanted to Pat people on the back because I talked about strictly rose being on that. I talked to him about the Paralympics. I talked about Nicola guard working at the BBC being a senior person. I'm trying to think of the other things I did. I talked about all these amazing things that we've done. But Steph then became more sophisticated, more nuanced. And so I think it's just a case of us taking them down another level, getting better at it. The agent who says no, I'm to the disabled person. Well, no, I don't I've got one of you. It's getting better than that. So I hope there will be half the people in that room. Who will go okay, where do we go next? What are we going to do? We can't sit on our laurels. This still needs a lot of attention. 

Phil Friend  39:32  
I mean, I've heard you do this over many years, and I suppose the audience's are now far more receptive than they were back in the day when you started on this mission of representation. But I think you're right, that it feels as just an ordinary viewer. You know, I consume a lot of stuff on social media and Netflix and BBC and all that stuff. You can still name them. And I suppose the mission is that it's, it's, it shouldn't be extraordinary. It should be ordinary, we shouldn't even notice that there's a bloke with a guide dog in a queue, because it's just what happens, you know, 

Simon Minty  40:16  
really nice way of putting it. And that's what Steph picked up. It's always me giving my five brilliant moments. And she said, Why are we naming them? I mean, she's sort of deliberately crucified me. But that's the whole point of what we were doing. I will finish on a couple of bits. One I use the day. He's, he's a comedian. And he says, it is amazing. Now, he said, I can turn on the TV. It could be question time. It could be a drama like Silent Witness. It could be a quiz show. It could be a comedy show, and I will see a disabled person on it. Admittedly, it is always Rosie Jones. I will  Wait, which is? 

Phil Friend  40:58  
good old Steve, 

Simon Minty  40:59  
I always worked with an independent production company this week. And they said we're doing great stuff. But around disability, they said one of our shows is a zombie apocalypse show. And they said we got a bit of an issue. Because one of the scenes is where the zombies come and the crowd of humans have to run. And they said, the disabled person we know who'd be first for the eating here. How do we do this? And I said, Oh my God, because it's like always the disabled person will be the one that's caught. when people say what would they do on dating sites? What would you do in a zombie apocalypse? People go? Oh, no. What would you do if a bear attacked you? And you go, just make sure you're faster than the other one. Yeah. And that means you and I get eaten every bloody time. I said to him, this is an amazing example. And I we were working it through. We said, well, from time to time, that is realistic, it will have to happen. I said, if I was being chased by a zombie or a bear, I wouldn't be running from it, I'd be hiding. Or I'd almost crouch into a ball, I would try and get out of it to play dead. Exactly. So I said, maybe speak with the person who's got the disabilities and actor and see if there are variables, I said, the other thing I'd probably do is trip over someone who's not disabled. So they fall down, and I've got a chance to get away. So you know, you can play with this. 

Phil Friend  42:24  
You could of course, be the one that just happens to have a rifle or, you know, the, there might be a weapon that you've got you can use. 

Simon Minty  42:32  
Exactly. So that was the I love the fact that they were bringing it up. Now it's a great example. Yeah, a great example. Well, this, it's to be continued, isn't it? It's It's the ability for us to turn on our televisions and not be surprised. My point is, there are people like Steph Lacey, Triple C, there's a bundle of people who will take it forward. Sure. I, I am pleased and I'm proud of where we've got to but it doesn't mean to say I want to do another 20 years of it, someone else needs to step up and you know, take it to where they want it to be. 

Phil Friend  43:10  
What we know that things are changing all the time, I suppose the other area that we won't talk about now, but we always talk about as part of our theme is how many people are disabled behind the camera or or writing the scripts or that stuff? Yeah. And that's that's an important area too. 

Simon Minty  43:28  
And the word intersectionality so people who have different backgrounds as well as a disability, I mean, there's, there's loads of big areas that are still to come. 

Phil Friend  43:37  
Keep you in work for a while. And that's good news. 

Simon Minty  43:40  
The little line was you know, my work here is done. I can retire instead. Now you can't bud

Phil Friend  43:47  
I would urge you know that we want a lot more grey haired people in wheelchairs, in soaps and things, all these young whippersnappers doing all this exciting work being zombies and being chased. I want to be chased in my power chair.

Simon Minty  44:03  
I'll have a, see if I can get you a role

Phil Friend  44:08  
I think we're done aren't we I don't think we've got any listeners corner have we unless you've had a surprise. 

Simon Minty  44:13  
only one to say Alice. Often listener who writes to us, she posted about the seven things that disabled people think about on her Twitter feed on her LinkedIn feed, and said thank you to the way we roll for telling me about this article.

Phil Friend  44:31  
there we go good. 

Simon Minty  44:33  
Yeah, she wasn't telling us off this time. She was pleased. Thanks, Alice.

Phil Friend  44:38  
Yes, thanks, Alice. We do we do as we're told normally. 

Simon Minty  44:43  
And you reminded me a little shout out thank you to Robert he when he put a shout out saying what do you think of nd awkward campaign? He did drop us a direct message. I'm so sorry, Robert. It we only got one and that was you. So thank you for making the time and the effort, we do appreciate it. As you heard at the top of the show, if you want to contact us, we are on Facebook, we're on LinkedIn, or on Twitter or on Instagram. We are everywhere and 

Phil Friend  45:12  
we certainly are and we've got an email address which is, where you can drop us a line like Alice has done and we'll deal with it. Okay, well good to see you, Simon. Enjoy your weekend and whatever comes after that. And we'll see each other very soon. 

Simon Minty  45:31  
Bye bye. 

Phil Friend  45:33  
Cheers everyone.

Announcer  45:33  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil friend. You can email us at minty and or just search for minty and friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Simon Minty  12:43  
There's that lovely stat, I think the quota scheme came in in 1945. And then 1990, when they banned it and made up that year, when it finally went and they said, no one has ever been taken to court for not meeting the quota.

Phil Friend  20:34  
came out of that.

Simon Minty  22:24  


Do let us know what you think these are two, middle aged and slightly older men, white men talking about something we know disability, but we don't know everything. So I'd love to know. We'd love to know what your thoughts are.

Phil Friend  32:05  
I'm sure mentioned,

Simon Minty  34:53  
Post surgery even at my hip replace. All we talked about was constipation and having a poo Yeah.

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Ask Dont Assume
Disability Confident
Phil's Treatment
Royal Television Society
Listener's Corner