Simon was at the airport recently. He was on his mobility scooter, and his mum was using an airport wheelchair. Looking at the long line in the disabled passport queue, his walkie-talkie sister and cousin decided to move to the non-disabled line. We explore what happened and how it made Simon feel.
The Business Disability Forum has produced a second adjustments in the workplace piece of research. Both managers and individuals who are Deaf, disabled or neurodivergent responded. Phil picks through the key findings.
History is littered with new businesses created to serve disabled consumers that weren’t viable. It feels different now. Simon asks, with the growth in service providers, including bespoke clothes makers, the hotel and leisure industry and accessible car and van hire, has the Purple Pound finally landed, and how do you cater to the diversity of disabled people?
Oh, and Bake Off want to hear from you.
A wheelchair user in the airport https://spintheglobe.net
This is The Way We Roll, presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. You can email us at minty and email@example.com or just search for minty and friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
Simon Minty 0:38
Hello, and welcome to The Way We Roll with me Simon, Minty.
Phil Friend 0:42
And me, Phil Friend.
Simon Minty 0:43
Are you well, Mr. Friend?
Phil Friend 0:45
I am indeed very, very well, indeed. I am actually, I'm feeling pretty chipper for a change. Until tomorrow.
Simon Minty 0:55
In terms of listeners who have listened the last couple of shows when you talked about your cancer treatment, are you in recovery, letting it all flow?
Phil Friend 1:03
I think it's old news. I can't find a symptom that I can bore people with. I actually but being serious i i think I'm very much back to how I was before all the treatments. I'm still waiting to go and see the oncologist about the results and stuff. So that's a bit of a hurdle to jump. But other than that, no, I'm absolutely fine.
Simon Minty 1:24
Very good news.
Phil Friend 1:25
And your up on your feet and doing 50 million jobs a day.
Simon Minty 1:32
We're recording this before the big international day of disabled people. And it's the busy time for people like me, suddenly, everyone who cares about this topic and they care even more when it comes to international day. But it'll be great. It'll be tiring. But we're on the homestretch towards Christmas, aren't we? A few days off for everybody. Hopefully. We've got three topics. Let's start with yours. But my ones are going to be around apathy. And also in bit apathetic about. And new markets. I just think there's stuff going on out there. That didn't happen before. But anyway, that's a teaser. Let's start with yours.
Phil Friend 2:17
Our friends at BDF Business Disability Forum, a gang of people Ange being one of those. Yeah. And Angela, we've many, many years ago we had on the podcast.
Simon Minty 2:30
Yes, she was she did some interesting stuff with us.
Phil Friend 2:33
Angela, primarily, as far as I can tell, at least does lots and lots of research for BDF. And they've just published a piece of work, which is called a Different Slant. Reasonable Adjustments Alone Won't Cut It. So they've looked at employers and reasonable adjustments. They've talked to disabled employees, they talked to the companies and so on and so forth, and they produced this very useful report. Now we will obviously put the notes and the links to that. So people can look at what Angela put together. What I've tried to do is summarise it a bit, so that we don't have to go through every line, but you know,
Simon Minty 3:11
Very professional. I like the new Phil.
Phil Friend 3:13
Yeah. Yeah. Yes, I should have cancer more often, anyway, oh, my God, this weird sense of humour. Anyway, listen up, because I think the summary that I would make of this is that the first one would be a Waiting Game. So disabled employees often initiate adjustments, but experience significant delays in implementation. This is an old chestnut, one that we've seen before. I need a new thingummy doodle and the employer says, All right, and then six months later, nothing's happened. So that's one. The gap between perception and reality. So managers perceive adjustments to have a positive impact, but many disabled employees disagree. So although I'm sure there will be some improvements for the employee. It's not this magic bullet that may be the employer thinks it's going to be so that's another interesting angle that the research points out.
Simon Minty 4:11
Are going to do numbers on this, because I got a I mean, it said like, adjustments, help disabled staff be more productive. Three quarters of managers 75% said yes. 48% of staff said yes. So the manager saying, yeah, they're better now and only half the actual people are going, Yes, I'm better.
Am I there's
Phil Friend 4:30
There's a kind of different view of it. Isn't there, the employees feeling one thing, the employer, it's still significantly better. You can't argue with that. 48% of disabled people say it's better, the adjustments have helped.
Simon Minty 4:42
And I'm just thinking, if you got two steps, and I can't get in on my scooter when you make it a ramp I'm not gonna say we're now I do my job better. I'm like now on Basecamp. Now, I'm the same as everyone else. So is it me just going well, there's no make me better. It's just allowing me to do the blooming job. So there's a perception maybe
Phil Friend 5:00
Yeah, I think I think that's right. I think that there's this optimism around the manager and employee thinking when I get this gadget, it will make so much difference. And the manager kind of goes, yeah, it did and the employee is saying maybe not.
Simon Minty 5:15
Sorry one last and we're loading this we meet in a dig deep. But you wonder where the manager going their folding their arms again, look at me, I did that. Look at them. They're much better now, because I helped them there might be a bit of that.
Phil Friend 5:27
We know that physical adjustments are always favoured because you can point at it. Yeah, I got you that chair, didn't I? Yeah. Whereas adjusting an hour or something isn't so visible. So that's, that's another biggie, then there's this that I've called it barriers beyond adjustments, accessibility issues, and workplace bullying related to disability persist, even with adjustments in place. So okay, so we get the adjustment. But actually, there's all sorts of other stuff going on the culture of the organisation may be, which are getting in the way. So although we've done one bit properly, there's all sorts of other agendas going on, that people may be less aware of, or want to tackle or something like that. That's one of the things that I think Angela and BDF are pointing up. It's not enough just to do the adjustment,
Simon Minty 6:14
I am really pleased this sort of research exists, because you would say It's patently obvious, you can put all the adjustments in the world for someone, but if they have an energy limiting condition, or they have chronic pain, or they have other things like that, you can't necessarily adjust for that. It is what it is. And that may be I think what Angie is essentially saying or sorry, the research is saying the impairment itself, or in her words, condition or disability is the disabling bit. Yeah, that's what she's surmising, at the end, you can have all the adjustments. And it's, I remember a video years ago with Lawrence Clark, and he says, if we get rid of all the barriers, we're still going to have the condition. But we won't be disabled by it anymore, because we got rid of all the barriers. Ange is saying no, there's inherent barriers. That's what this research is showing, by your very existence with a condition.
Phil Friend 7:10
You know, a very simple example. So I've got this issue. I go to my manager, I talk about this issue. We agree on adjustment, the adjustments put in place, but actually, I'm still not invited to lunch by the team. I'm left out at parties, I still don't I get your name called when I'm, you know, when nobody's looking? That is the underlying issue here. It's not, I think the message is, it's not just about adjustments, you've got to think about other things.
Phil Friend 7:39
Simon Minty 7:39
I split that apart as well. And I think there is an inherent part of a condition that may limit you. And then there's your own perception of yourself. And I think there's occasion I go to a board meeting, and someone doesn't chat to me the same as they do with others. Or I feel that I'm sitting on my own and everyone else is having these little private chats, and I'm not part of it. And you go, I don't fit here. I'm not as important. I'm not as welcome or whatever it might be. And then I go oh, is it because I'm disabled? Is it? Because I'm short? Is it dada dada. And I don't know. I mean, in the olden days, I'd say there's people who are scared to speak to me, therefore, I think that they're avoiding it. And off, we go into this weird, sort of who's doing what type thing. And there's something about in the report that says it's about people who say they don't belong there. They don't feel they're justified to be there.
Phil Friend 8:33
I get that. And I think if it happened, so at a meeting you went to once you'd be left thinking, whatever you're thinking, if it happens every day, you go into the office, ie people don't talk to you. I always remember I went to a conference many years ago, I'm sure I've told you this. And while I was waiting, I was very early, and I and there was a guy there who was early to just the two of us. He was a very tall black guy. And we got talking. And we started talking about the similarities between being a wheelchair user and being ostracised say, and being a black man being ostracised. Within minutes, we were talking about this, I thought it was extraordinary anyway said let's do a little experiment. I'm going to go in first into the auditorium. And I'm going to sit right in the middle of the middle row. I'm telling you now, the rest of the room will fill up around me but no one will sit next to me how much do you want to bet on it? And I said, I'm not betting because you'll probably win. Anyway, I went in sat where I had to sit the wheelchair space. He went in did exactly what he said. And lo and behold, the seats either side of him were the last to be filled. Now. It's happening to him all the time. So it's not his agenda. Now, this is other people's agenda because he's got evidence if it happens once we'll find so I think disabilities. Now obviously it's a different dynamic going on. If people don't know that you've got some kind of impairment and you're not sharing it with them. So what they do is they join up the dots, don't they? They see what you're doing. And then oh, she's lazy. Or he's lazy, rather than thinking, maybe there's a physical issue as to why this person can't do that.
Simon Minty 10:09
And, by the way, it happened not long ago at a meeting, and at the end of the meeting, one of the people walked passed and just tapped me on the shoulder and said, Good to see you. And I suddenly felt included. Yeah, I mean, it's really subtle, how it can swing and how you can say, okay, there's these two things, you and I, well, you two, maybe two more of an extent, and I'm getting a bit over the top here, energy limiting. And that will have an impact or chronic pain, I think those things can be significant. Then there's a bit about how much is stigma, treatment, perception, all of that stuff. It's a long way of me trying to get to I agree with the research. Of course I do it. It's good, interesting stuff. I hope they've had more managers remember the first time they did this research in 2019, there was a real lack of managers bonding with all the disabled staff. My question to you Mr Friend is your bringing me a lot of problems again, but we're just solution. I have one.
Phil Friend 11:06
Okay. Well, let me just frame the next point. Because I think it's your question, right. Because one of the other summaries I would make is the lack of senior leadership, one in three disabled employees believe their organisation lacks sincerity in removing disability related barriers. That tells me about the senior leadership team and how they are not supporting it, which feeds into your question about, you know, how, what are the solutions? One of the solutions is for the senior managers to put this on their list of priorities, it has to be much higher up the ladder of priorities than it currently seems to be for many organisations, not all but many. Did that answer your question, Mr. Minty?
Simon Minty 11:51
I'm so sorry. I drifted for a moment. I drifted because I was reading something at the end of that report. Go again, I'm so sorry. You were saying that the lack of senior engagement was part of it, and then I lost you.
Phil Friend 12:03
Yeah, the reason the reason adjustments take long or don't get on or whatever, is because senior leaders don't take it seriously enough. Now, if there's an attitude around the place, that disability is not that important, then why would things change? So you said, what are the solutions? One of the solutions is for senior management to take this seriously? Yes, that's one of them.
Simon Minty 12:24
And now I'm back in the room. I'm blushing. I kind of feel we've got these, we've always said there's individual team member, then manager and all manager is really important. And then we've got the senior team, and are they sending the right messages? I now feel there's a middle bit of a heads of function? Who are because I think most senior teams now know this is important. But are they filtering it down? Or are they their heads, their team heads? Are they making them work really hard and not addressed this properly? So I totally agree better a policy, I mean, process,
Phil Friend 12:56
I think Valuable Five Hundred oh dear Me Who's the woman we had on the Caroline Casey, our ally in the dynamic, Caroline, how could I forget her name? I think what Caroline did with Valuable 500 and is doing is the senior senior senior leaders really getting it in the boardroom because she spotted that that wasn't happening. So we've got the senior leaders, as you say, now more much more engaged. But it's this middle bit how higher priority is the organisation really putting on it, so that managers lower down the hierarchy are also taking it seriously. Because if you think it's just window dressing, well, you ignore it.
Simon Minty 13:36
And here's a radical idea.I believe one of the solutions to this is career development programmes. Now, I need to just preface that, because I've now loaded this on the disabled person who's saying I'm not being included and adjustments are taking too long, that's not what I'm saying. But I think we are part of the solution. And we know when we've done these career development programmes, someone understanding themselves understanding their condition, how it operates, how they manage it, how they talk to people about it, how they present themselves. All of this is critical. Now I find I mean, by the way, I know Ange, well, we meet every six months, we have big arguments, we disagree on lots of things. And I find it very interesting. At the very end her her she's got inherent bias in this as well with her own conditions and how she sees it. There isn't a mention of any personal experience of disability. And it's all professional stuff. And I think that's valid. But I think if you're if you believe a certain thing, or you understand yourself, and it's a long way of me saying I think the Career Development Programme, helps people readjust how they perceive themselves and their part in the world that can then help.
Phil Friend 14:54
Yeah, I'm not going to disagree with that because I ran lots of them and they were fabulous. They're fabulous for the individuals, I think the people that go through the process with us, come out the other end, by and large come out the other end really transformed. They now get it and they're going to do so they become their own campaigner, but there is a danger here, because I've always believed and the social model view is that the barrier removal stuff isn't the disabled persons problem. It's the sorry, it's the person with impairments problem. It's the organization's problem. Now, I agree with that. I think that's true. However, if I feel confident, and able to express my point of view about what those barriers are, and get support their removal, that surely got to be a good thing. So I'm not saying that the individual is responsible. But I think they do have a responsibility to stand up and say, sorry, stand up, they have a responsibility to say, this isn't working for me, this is what would work for me, who's going to sort it out. And I think you're right PDP programmes, equip individual disabled people with the confidence to go out there and challenge the issues that they see in front of them. Rather than say, I can't change anything, might as well give up.
Simon Minty 16:13
And because we try and be flip sort of flip side, both, I'm going to contradict myself now. I totally agree with that. The flip side is if the organisation has a really lousy adjustments policy, or if we've got, I've got a lousy manager that doesn't think this is important. Or I do get ostracised at meetings, and don't you know, every staff do I never get invited to this is really hard. How do you overcome?
Phil Friend 16:38
I am famously on record, on many occasions for saying, leave, take your talent somewhere else. I mean, why do people put up with this crap? Seriously? Why? You know, if you're being bullied, and you're not a disabled person, do you stay? No, you don't you go and find now don't get me wrong. I know, the big downer with my argument is it's very difficult to get jobs if you're a disabled person. So of course, that's why we hang on in there. But leaving is an option. And if you feel you're talented, and your talents being wasted, why are you still there? That's a question I think people have to ask themselves.
Simon Minty 17:20
The Career Development Programme I just finished, we are now going to train the managers of the individuals, because we realise these individuals come back bouncing off the walls. And this is what we're going to do and the managers like, Oh, my life, who is this? So we need to get them up to speed and kind of, and I think that's part of it. And that's the double. When I was saying I think they're part of the solution. I do agree with you. I mean, I did a an event recently, and the individual is about mid 20s, maybe very confident person. And this person said, I'm never gonna leave my job. I love this company. And that blew my mind. I mean, bearing in mind, you and I, throughout our whole careers, have we changed clients contracts, delivery people every two weeks. I mean, it's, and there was someone who in there before their 30s, saying, This is what I'm going to be for the next 30/40 years. This was a person with a disability. I think they could go anywhere they wanted to go. It's a testament to the organisation, rather than
Phil Friend 18:23
that's the way of seeing it, isn't it? There's something so right, I don't want to go. That's not it's, it's, I'm getting what I need here. So why why would I move somewhere? Well, that leads us really to the final point of this really, which is holistic approach needed. What the report suggests is that focusing solely on adjustments is insufficient. Inclusion should be ingrained in the company culture with proactive commitment from senior leaders. So it's kind of picking up what you're saying. I mean, the idea that you train the managers, as well as that's the holistic approach its giving all parts of the organisation responsibility for making sure that all of our colleagues disabled or not, are, you know, welcome being being stretched, being given the chance to progress all those things? I think my sadness, so this is the end of this really, my sadness about this report is that this law came in in 1995. It is now nearly 30 years ago. And this report is still saying the same things that were being said 25 years ago. That's my, I think we've got more sophisticated we look at things more holistically now all of that, clearly a lot of things have changed. But how is it possible for Angela to still write this kind of stuff, after the 30 years of legislation, as well as hours and hours of people like me and you sharing with companies how they could do it better?
Simon Minty 19:55
And to if you said yeah, the difference is we've now got 80% employment of disabled people, it's on a par, non disabled, that hasn't changed either. So basically BDF you me, we need to just pack up, go home,
Phil Friend 20:10
'm going to take up knitting I've had enugh of this stuff.
Simon Minty 20:13
Well, I'm going to give you some stigma attached to that If
Phil Friend 20:15
Youre rubbish, you'll go nowhere. If you knit like that,
Simon Minty 20:21
I am doing certain talks or events or conversations now that 30 years ago would have been considered wacky or off the wall or completely non productive for an organisation. And we know staff networks, the ERG is employee resource groups when i Although these stats may not be great, I would say the culture of an organisation is improved. Lots of organisations have improved and they are not like they were before. And we've got channel fours. NatWest, where staff who have a disability are more engaged than those who aren't. So there are still there are beacons of really good practice, I totally get your point. It is disappointing to read some of these same old same old comments,
Phil Friend 21:08
I think I'd be foolish if I didn't acknowledge all of that we live in a different place now. I think what's sad is that some of Angela's findings or BDFs findings have not changed that much. But there clearly is a greater understanding people do get this more than they used to, but bullying and harassment and all this other stuff carries on.
Simon Minty 21:39
One last bit, I do think there's a an underlying piece in this, which is the debate I've had with Ange and doesn't like the social model of disability. And you and I are smart enough that when we talk about it we go this can be really helpful and really powerful for certain people at certain times. And it can be really helpful for managers, sometimes or organisations more than the individual. But I think the bit that has changed in the last 30 years, it is not wheelchair users, deaf people, people got a mobility condition, we've got anxiety, we've got complex mental health conditions, we've got the pain, we've got the energy limiting all of these that weren't part of that before, wrongly. And now these people have come under the umbrella they're debating do they don't see themselves necessarily is disabled. But and they will also say, Look, you can put all the adjustments in the world, but my life can still suck because of ABC, I still feel this, I still experience this. And it's an acknowledgement that it just putting adjustments is not sufficient. There are other things. And that's, I mean, I know you because you'll argue it that well. It's just attitudinal change that and we're back again. So it's a strength and a failing of some of our models, I guess, and the breadth of what disability is today,
Phil Friend 22:56
I suppose it's it is the I'm not going to go there because I will. For me, it's quite interesting that people don't want to be seen as disabled. And that tells me the stigma of about disabilities feels alive and well and kicking. You know, people don't seem to have a problem signing up to being black, or gay, or bisexual or whatever. And that brings them a lot of grief, you know, but they sign up to it anyway. And I think disability still has amongst its membership, people who don't want to be a member, and I kinda get it anyway. See I told you I shouldn't start it.
Simon Minty 23:32
Just a little last one. I did a training course recently and there are an organisation that is fairly ofay. So rather than just do my basic stuff or my essentials, I got no debate going and I split them into groups and said, the word disability has had its day, we need a new term. Doesn't matter whether you believe it or not. You've got to argue this position in the other group, we've got to argue that position, there was a joyous moment as a trainer I love it when you step back and they just start doing the work themselves. And they were coming up with phrases that or comments that I had not actually thought of and I thought this is lovely. This is really good. And you could see in the end I think there was a slight favour to still keep it and the argument was let's change our attitude towards the word in itself is neither here nor there. It's how we perceive what comes with it. Also well done BDF this research is powerful it's helpful it allows us to have the debate and you know highlight the good and the bad so
Phil Friend 24:31
We'll post it on the as I said that became we'll put the notes up for people to have a proper look. I don't know whether Ange can be contacted a BDF I'm sure she can be
Simon Minty 24:44
I'm sure she'll be thrilled when a 1000 people start writing
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.
Simon Minty 24:57
I had a couple of moments When I doubted myself, Mr. Friend, yeah, I need to go on my own career development course
Phil Friend 25:05
Do you wanna have a lie down?
Simon Minty 25:07
No, I don't I want to sort it out. I think I need to go on my own career development programme. If I'm starting to doubt myself, so here's the deal, and I can't work out why I felt the way I felt. I went on holiday with my family, my sister, my cousin, Georgie and my mum. My mum used a wheelchair, which we borrowed throughout the airport process. And either my sister or Georgie pushed it. And I took my mobility scooter. We landed back at Heathrow and the four of us were sort of shepherded to the wheelchair passport control line. If you are a disabled traveller, you will know sometimes it's a gift there is no one there you've lived through next to the crew. Thanks for the flight. Let's get back to our lives wizz we're through and other times, which is increasingly happening. It is 15 people deep. And it takes for ever they're all in airport wheelchairs?
Phil Friend 26:16
We need to ask are they all disabled?
Simon Minty 26:19
Well, I'm when I've done work at airlines, there is or airports, they say there's a couple of airlines that they'll have 60 wheelchair users and all the others is average two, or three. So there's a perception is nice to get in a chair. But who knows, I don't go around, testing their reflexes with a little hammer to see if they knee moves, I promise you. Anyhow, when we got there, the four of us so it was 15 people deep. I knew for some reason it takes forever, that would have been an hour. So my sister, and who's not the most patient in the world, and Georgie who is but was with us and said, let's join the other queue. And the person who was pushing my mom said, we can't this is the wheelchair line. And then we're not staying here, it's going to take forever, let's just go to the normal line or the non disabled line. And I was like, Ah, know, if I was on my own, I can't work out what I've done. Sometimes I've skipped and I've gone to another queue. And they get very angry with me. But I'm like hell to you. I'm doing it anyway. Unless I'm in America. And then I know I'll get arrested or just shot yeah. There's other times I'm like, Okay, I just have to suck it up. This is the life of a disabled traveller, you have to wait an hour longer than anybody else, I'd already waited 30 minutes to get my mobility scooter back, by the way. So I'm already a bit punch drunk. Anyway, I'll get to the point. They said we're not staying in this queue. So they, the woman who was pushing my mum was politely dispatched, we then went round and the people guarding the regular queue. And you can't come in here. And we say yes we can we're going and then some security guard came over and lifted up the barrier. And let us jump through this other queue. So we did get through really quickly. I don't know how I feel because they made the right decision, in the sense of we got through 50 minutes earlier than we would have done. I don't know whether I'd have done that. And why have I lost the gumption? Or the pushback or the confidence? Why would I have potentially just sat in that queue
Phil Friend 28:27
Who said you've lost it? Where did the lost it thought come from?
Simon Minty 28:34
Because I wouldn't have put up with that.
Phil Friend 28:36
No but you did on this occasion? I mean, I think sometimes it's assertive not to be assertive. Sometimes sod it, I'm just going to put up with it. That doesn't mean you've lost it. It just means that on that particular moment, on that particular day, you didn't have the energy or the bloody where with all to take on all the crap that was going to descend on you if you did,
Simon Minty 28:59
choosing to do nothing is a decision? I know that it is yeah.
Phil Friend 29:04
It's a very, actually quite a difficult decision to take. When most of you is feeling bloody angry and wants to kind of either know, let everybody know it.
Simon Minty 29:14
Okay but I'm being really harsh on myself it my sister and my cousin. Were right. They made a decision that moved us and we got out quicker if you'd gone with mine. It was the worst decision.
Phil Friend 29:27
Yeah. And I think their motivation was more about their mum being in this queue. There was also I suspect storylines going on about your mum not being particularly happy with being wheeled about. She doesn't normally use a wheelchair.
Simon Minty 29:42
Right I would bet my house was not about my mother. I know my sister and my cousin. I love them dearly. They are impatient as hell. This has nothing to do with me and my mum were lumps of luggage at that point.
Phil Friend 30:00
Well, now there may be the answer that your authority had been taken over by carers. Carers now are speaking on behalf of their brother and their mother.
Simon Minty 30:13
And bearing in mind, we'd already had to wait for 30 minutes in the, at the end of the jetty off the plane for my scooter. So I'm very conscious everyone's standing waiting while I'm waiting for this scooter, which when I travel on my own, I don't have this. Because I'm not worried about anybody else.
Phil Friend 30:31
What you're reminding me is that when I go anywhere with Sue, which isn't, you know, I mean, I'm not thinking now about big deals of going abroad and things. If there's a glitch to do with the fact that I'm in a wheelchair or something, she gets furious. And I'm sitting there feeling quite embarrassed and wishing whereas if I'd been on my own, I might well have picked up the issue, but I would have done it in a very different way. So I think it's, there's something going on between the dynamic, which is their angrier than you are, they take responsibility for dealing with their anger, and you're just kind of part of the you're just swept up in it rather than being in control of what's going on. I'm
Simon Minty 31:13
gonna use the B word here for the B word and say, you feel like you're a burden.
Phil Friend 31:19
What? I feel like I'm an embarrassment.
Simon Minty 31:24
E and the B word and the rising burden.
Phil Friend 31:27
I'm an embarrassment. I'm, I'm, I'm embarrassing people by being , yeah, burden I don't know about burden. I think embarrassment.
Simon Minty 31:36
Well, you slowed everything down.
Phil Friend 31:38
Yeah. And they're waiting. And they're all behind me. And there's 15 of them. And I wish this would hurry up. Yeah, all that.
Simon Minty 31:43
And by the way, I know both my sister and Georgie would not and what was my sister, she had a lovely line. She said something about I'd realised now travelling with someone who has a disability. There's always it's, it's a song as well. It's something like equally cursed and blessed, I think was her phrase. And there are moments you fly through, you get treated better whizz through everything smooth. People love you you jump cues. And then there's moments your inverted commas cursed because you have all this pallava you're waiting around. It's almost like, you know, you have to wait around, will you ever catch up that time by jumping queues. And when you end up in the passport queue for wheelchair users, and there's 15 people and each of them take 10 minutes, you've lost all your your bonuses.
Phil Friend 32:36
Again, thinking about this in terms of disability rights. Why are you in a separate queue? Why can't every queue handle wheelchair users? What's the big deal here? I mean, it's a fundamental question, which is, you know, we want to be in the queue. We don't want to be at the front of the queue. Yeah, that kind of idea. I want to be where everyone else is, why am I over here? Well, I Well, we can get you through quicker and I of course go thank you that will go with my blue badge as well. Because that can park anywhere. That there are the benefits of being disabled. And the downsides of being disabled are clearly huge and numerous and whatever. But what we as disabled people, maybe what we're doing is we don't want to give up the benefits, but we don't want any of the grief.
Simon Minty 33:15
I remember it was about 10/15 years ago someone said we're in the Golden Age we've got all the rights and all the bonuses all the benefits. And you know, keep quiet because otherwise they'll start taking them away. I think the government do their argument being if you've got adjustments, why are we still giving you the bloomin benefits and you're like bloody hell, this is brutal. That's not anyway, we slightly digress another bigger issue. I thought my sister's equally cursed and blessed was a really interesting point. I just got a bit confused by it. I suppose the wheelchair line, as you've just said, really, that line should be people who use crutches or walking sticks. So standing up for a long time is painful or difficult. That's their queue the rest of us who is sitting down who can sit longer than anybody else go in the main queue.
Phil Friend 34:05
Yeah. I get that. I think that's often the issue at all sorts of events, queuing for cinemas or clubs or whatever. Some people you know, you and I are discomforted when you're on your scooter. We just sat there, you know, everyone else is standing up. I think the thing that's interesting, though, is the dynamic between your family and how they were handling this and how you were feeling while they were handling it. Because you're absolutely right. When you're on your own you deal with it. You either put up with it or you don't you know,
Simon Minty 34:33
I will move on the couple of add ons to that I you know, it was an overnight flight is 7am you but terrible sleep. So I'm already ratty as hell. Plus, I would say I've said You know, I've lost my gumption when we checked in at the airport to leave to come home. I went up with my scooter, my family checked in and the guy was tapping the keys. How are you taking your scooter? And I said yes, I'll take it to the plane and he said ok fine, and he was typing away the computer probably for about a minute, maybe a minute and a half without talking to me. So I jumped up on the weight scale thing, you know, where you put your suitcase and said, Is there a problem? Is there a problem? No, I'm just putting the information into the computer. And I went I gave you that weeks ago, why haven't you got it anyway? Well, I'm just updating it now. I mean, I was so in for the fight. And there's no problem. I'll let you go in a minute. All right, fine, fine. But it was again, I'm so primed for a bust up.
Phil Friend 35:39
But were you on your own at that point.
Simon Minty 35:42
No, three had gone through they'd all checked in. I was the last time I was checking in for everybody. To be honest, I was doing it for everyone. So I was the last one to get my boarding pass and get the scooter there standing around next to me. They're not. I mean, yeah.
Phil Friend 35:58
But they're not intervening at this point is you That's, oh,
Simon Minty 36:02
God, I they'd intervened I'd have bellowed them out as well.
Phil Friend 36:06
It's hardly a sign of someone who's lost their mojo. Is it? A
Simon Minty 36:09
That's my contradiction? That is my contradiction.
Phil Friend 36:11
You'll have to ask your sister and your cousin Georgie, won't you? I think it's to do with feeling disempowered, by what's going on? And we're not kind of used to that,
Simon Minty 36:25
I'm disempowered, but it's also the power has gone to them. Yeah, they've taken over. There's not even an official, it's family. And I need to qualify this. By the way, we had an amazing holiday. I didn't get in the taxi on the way home going, Oh, my God, what did you do? I don't, it was me just going. That's really interesting. What went through my head at that point. And I will happily speak.
Phil Friend 36:47
I'm sure many of our listeners have to where you're in a situation which you would if you were on your own, you'd manage Yeah, you might choose not to manage it, you might choose to it. But when you're with others who are because they have a right to be angry about what's going on, but their actions somehow disempower you. And that's not what they mean to do at all. I mean, I still living with the image of you leaping on the scales, next to this poor bloke is typing away. That's, I don't it's bullying, that that was bullying someone that wasn't assertive!
Simon Minty 37:23
It was, I mean, with hindsight, all he's got to do is say, I'm just putting your information in Give me a minute. It's because there's a big pile. All I'm thinking is no, he's just gonna turn me away. But
Phil Friend 37:35
it's an interesting conundrum. Listeners, what do you think about this? He ought to drop us a line and say, Is this ever happened to you? And how did you feel
You're listening toThe Way We Roll We're Simon Minty. And Phil Friend, if you like what you hear, please leave us a review, or search for us on social media
Simon Minty 37:50
Final subject. I've noticed something. Phil in the probably the last five years. So when you and I were doing some of this work 10/15/20 plus years ago, we would sometimes discuss things around services for disabled people. And we go The problem is there's not a market, or it isn't financially viable, or there's just not enough of us or it's prohibitively expensive if they do it anyway. And some of those things were around getting the hotel, right, you know, making more accessible rooms, it might be particularly around clothing. So there will be clothes that you or I and other people with disabilities could buy and it would fit and it would be okay. And even car hire. So could you hire a car that was adapted or wheelchair accessible, etc, etc. And I think I see it mostly on Instagram. But I've had meetings with people who are venturing into this world. And I could probably if you gave me a few minutes, find three, four or five different adaptive clothing wearing people now who are making this for disabled people. I know I there's a regular hotels we know. And then I went to the blue badge awards. These were high end hotels, they were high end restaurants. I mean, these are the things you might go to once every three years if you're lucky, but they are doing amazing stuff around accessibility. And, and then Proximo who is a WAV car hire wheelchair accessible van hire place so you can hire cars from them now. And I just I'm thinking, what has changed in the last 20 years that is making this viable? And I'm talking commercially it works it will give a return that they carry on doing it and not cost us the Earth.
Phil Friend 39:46
My My gut reaction to that question is because younger people will not put up with stuff that we did. I my problem with a lot of this clothing and various other things You remember our conversation about me pulling my trousers up? Yep. You know, that kind of thing. You suggested all sorts of ideas and one or two listeners did as well. It's not just about whether it works for you, ie the car is adapted. It's is the car sexy, too, I look good in the car, would I be seen in that car? So we've moved perhaps away from you have any pair of trousers you want, so long as they're that colour, too. We've got 15 different varieties of different colours and so on and so forth. So there's been this it's the same old thing with wheelchairs and crutches and all that stuff. Why couldn't we have powder sprayed crutches back in the 1990s? So you can have any coloured stick you wanted? Well, now you can you can have any colour you want. Something I think the market may be younger people are driving some of these agendas in ways we never did. We just put up with what we got really. So we want function. It's got to really work well get over the issue we've got as well as looking good. Feeling good. And you're absolutely right Simon affordable, something we can pay for.
Simon Minty 41:10
Okay. Well, yes and no, but I you are reminding me what was it there's a disabled living foundations catalogue. And that was the go to you could get the DLFs catalogue and it had all the stuff in there. And you didn't look for style, really, you looked for function of something that exists that will help me do what I do. The idea that is a catalogue with all that stuff in there. Now I there is 1000 websites, I can go and search and it's all there.
Phil Friend 41:41
The problem we've now got is that we don't know it's there. So but I think again, tech savvy younger, and not just younger people but tech savvy people, like yourself will go on to Instagram, you'll see a wheelchair user wearing some piece of kit. I've noticed it too. A lot of women are modelling various outfits, they even though they're they're clearly models, and they are but they're doing it in an everyday way. They're not catwalk models, they're just a wheelchair using woman who's found a nice dress that she wants to wear. And she's taking pictures of herself and told us where we can buy it from. It's that kind of thing is very different to how the DLF catalogue.
Simon Minty 42:22
My only. Okay, but you're saying young people are driving it, they won't put up with it. But that's not the same. That's not the same as saying it financially viable now, because
Phil Friend 42:34
because the market there, presumably the mark up makes them enough money to do it, that they must be making a profit. Otherwise, they would go bust
Simon Minty 42:42
of the two or three clothing pieces that are manufactured close to you. They've got quite a lot of backup seed funding to see if this works. Okay. It varies. But I am wondering how much Tech has changed because I'm thinking one of them is saying there'll be a point now where we will be able to you'll go into a shop or maybe even at home, as the computer will measure everything of you. You go back a week later and the computer has made the clothes to fit you. And everyone will do this. It's that's how we make things therefore, it's not lots of human beings. Adjusting patterns.
Phil Friend 43:19
Yeah, so quantities now are not the issue. You either sell millions or you sell very expensive 20. Nowadays with I don't know 3d printing is a good example, isn't it where you can make something on a 3d printer, just a one off, doesn't cost you much to do just the raw materials that you use, and you can sell it at a reasonable price and make a profit on it. Maybe that's got something to do with it. The the mechanisation of this industry has
Simon Minty 43:43
I saw an advert yesterday for Woolworths, which was a Christmas advert I felt like the 70s might have been early 80s They had a clock radio made by Binatone. That was 20 pounds. And I looked and thought bloody that's expensive, you could get one cheaper now and a better make. And then there was a Music Centre made by Ferguson which was 170 pounds. And I know you could get a better Sony Music Centre for 100 quid now. So a bit of me thinking, the tech some of the stuff we're working on the chips, the non all of this technology has become better, cheaper. So maybe the raw costs are less, maybe the consumer demand is greater. And then you add in the availability and accessibility through online Instagram or online shops. All of these things are building up to show that there's a marketplace.
Phil Friend 44:38
It feels like a sort of that wonderful book in the year 2000s when it came out called the Tipping Point remember The Tipping Point. Yes, Malcolm Gladwell.. Now, the basic premise of that was that you needed certain components in place in a group for that then to lead to something in the famous example was hush puppies, , they'd gone out of fashion. Nobody bought them, granddad's. And then suddenly this group of black men with became very hip were hush puppies and sales just went through the roof. But when they looked at the black men, they had certain roles, that that meant when they all came together. It just worked. And I get a sense that you're talking about something like that, that the manufacturing is now right. The costs are about right.
Simon Minty 45:28
I, I think you're muddelling things because I know that's happened with Birkenstock as well. And during COVID, everybody started wearing Birkenstocks because the're comfy now they're just totally acceptable. But that's not the same as an aid or a specific target for disabled people. I don't think these things would become fashionable. I just think they become available and financially viable. It's not it's not like they're a choice not loads of people are now buying canes, wheelchair cane, walking sticks, just because they're cool.
But just follow my thinking.
I'm trying to that's the problem!
Phil Friend 46:04
You've got our friend Sophie Morgan. Yes,she is a model she is looking good as and does wear some really nice clothes looks really very stylish. She's got a great figure. So all these things work for her. Now, before the Sophie's of this world, what did young women do? In turn, I suspect that seeing Sophie get on a motorbike in full leather gear to ride the bike is saying to all sorts of people, this is what you can look like. So having those role models, I do think is an image I think Sophie's an influencer in that way, And there's another woman, I can't remember her name, but she's on Instagram. She's always sitting in a wheelchair, she's always modelling something new. But she's very, I don't mean this disrespectfully, she's very ordinary person, just always wearing slightly different clothes and saying how lovely it is and where she got it from and stuff like that. That didn't exist 20 years ago.
Simon Minty 46:58
I mean, there's there's some some men out there some middle aged men as well,
Phil Friend 47:03
Who are you alluding too Mr Minty anyone we know?
Simon Minty 47:05
I'm sort of I'm waiting and waiting. I got a message the other day from someone saying you are living your best life right now. And, and there is a deliberate bit when I put my pictures up of me doing something fancy pants, partly is because I've enjoyed it. Partly, I might be trying to say thank you to the people who did it. But there's also a bit of, I get messages now. But from people saying, I didn't know I could travel with my scooter, I've seen you out and about doing that. I didn't know you could do that. And I'm like bloody right you can,
Phil Friend 47:32
Being serious, you have a very big presence on Instagram. through your Gogglebox work, you've got a lot of people following you. So I suspect if you did turn up in a particular top or something. Some of them might well get in touch and say You're joking, mate you look terrible.
Simon Minty 47:50
People who know me do that.
Phil Friend 47:53
Or, but here, here's the thing, I'm sitting talking to you. And I'm wearing a fleece type jacket, made by Weird Fish, which are a very, very popular brand for people in certain ages. I guess the reason I'm wearing it is because it's incredibly easy to put on. It's very warm. And I think it's got a style about it, which I want to kind of I don't know, what do you call sign up to? I'm of a generation where it was Dunn & Co where they sold hats and blazers, and, you know, deer stalkers stuff, the choices were so small, but I think what's happened in design is maybe the I'm, I'm an old man, an older man. And yet I don't want to wear clothing that says I'm 80 or whatever. I want to wear clothing that says I'm middle aged. I don't know. I don't know. I'm not a fashion guru. I don't know.
Simon Minty 48:53
I think all that I remembered we did some work with a Jewish group for older people who were Jewish. I can't remember the name and they were lovely outfit. And they they had the homes for people one was in Golders Green. And the argument we put to them, which they also agreed with was the generations expectations change every 10/20 years. I think at that point, we were saying they're gonna come in with their iPhones and they need Wi Fi and Bluetooth speakers, because that's what each generation is going to get more sophisticated. It's, and maybe one bit I do need to add, and we've been a bit glowy and naive is only as you said it, I thought, well, do we exploit the people who make this now so I mean, it's all this stuff coming from Bangladesh, or is it coming from China? It's made for peanuts, and that's why we can get it. I don't think there's a slight difference with some of the clothing because I think they're trying to make it in Europe and it's slightly different, but it would just It surprised me to see the Volume of businesses and services and products that had a disability element that 30 years ago people who said there's not a market, or it's not financially viable, and I'm not sure maybe, maybe they're like all startups, one in 10 of them will survive. Most of them will fall by the wayside, but there's something going on. Well,
Phil Friend 50:22
I your Proxima car, the hire car. In 1992, this was a conference in Canada, people from all over the world came Independence 92. And it loved that, like a three or four day conference. Brilliant. Absolutely. Anyway, I got off the plane, went into the car hire place, they fitted the hand controls on my car while I waited and I drove off. That was in 1992, in Canada. And I came back from this trip. And I was I remember saying, I can hire a car in Canada and do this, but I can't get me on post office. It was a kind of now it's taken that long has it for British car people to come up with. We can make a car that you know, put a hand controls on it. I mean, God's sake, but I'm not knocking it. Thank goodness it's going on.
Simon Minty 51:24
The problem is now if you hire a car in Canada, and you're a disabled person, they'll also offer you the right to die. It won't be because they're a little bit over the top with their MAID.
Phil Friend 51:34
My guess assisted suicide. Well, thank you for that Simon perhaps at that point, we should draw this podcast to a close
Simon Minty 51:41
Oh my god, hope we haven't come up with a new business idea. Finally, we got accessible clothes and we got
Phil Friend 51:47
Onl got a week to wear them. Anyway. That's an interesting interesting issue, though. And and good. Good that things are changing in the way they are. So Listeners Corner we got anything.
Simon Minty 52:02
we both we both got hit up on this didn't we? I don't know the theme team well enough. But the Great British Bake Off, wrote to the way we roll to abnormally friendly people and they said can you help us promote because I presume the fact that coming to us means they want lots of diverse people to apply to be on bakeoff we will put the link in our show notes. You've got till the second of January, I recall. And it'd be I mean, they've got a deaf person this year Deaf with a capital D I think they've got cochlear implants they use sign language. They've been doing it for a few years. But I love I love this proactivity they're going after loads of people saying look, apply we want you in
Phil Friend 52:52
Know that's great. And thank you for reminding me I did it did land in my inbox to and I think it's great.
Simon Minty 52:58
A very good friend of mine who is not disabled has applied before and didn't quite get through and I've said to her look just give yourself something and you'll get on this.
Phil Friend 53:08
Like the the airport getting a wheelchair.
Simon Minty 53:10
Exactly. Oh, hang on. Now, because we've advertised it there'll be 30 people applying and got disabilities. The queue will be so long.
Phil Friend 53:19
I'll never get an audition. Exactly. Anyway,
Simon Minty 53:22
thank you Love Productions for asking. So that's cool. Yeah,
Phil Friend 53:26
and good luck. I hope. I hope it generates some interest in our leader in our readers leaders listeners. Anyway. Good stuff. Okay. I don't think there's anything else except the credits Mr. Minty the credits.
Simon Minty 53:38
What's that then? Produced written by?
Phil Friend 53:42
How do they contact us, you know, that kind of thing.
Simon Minty 53:44
Oh, sorry. Got you. Written by Simon Minty.
Phil Friend 53:48
Do you work in Telly at all? Is that what you do?
Simon Minty 53:51
Yeah, but the human contact details credits are where you
Phil Friend 53:55
I know, it's clapper boards and first rig and third rig and all that stuff Gaffer I always wanted to be best boy.
Simon Minty 54:06
You are the best boy.
Phil Friend 54:07
Thank you so much.
Simon Minty 54:09
Transcription by Mr. Friend if you didn't know we do do a transcription and Phil likes the idea that you actually might read it. So tell your friends, Facebook, Twitter, X, as it's now called Instagram, and LinkedIn, we appear on all of those and you can get hold of us.
Phil Friend 54:28
And you can also email us our email address which is firstname.lastname@example.org. So there we are.
Simon Minty 54:35
Thank you so much for listening. If you've got any thoughts or comments, or if you're Anje and want to tell us where we missed the trick, do drop us a line it'd be lovely.
Phil Friend 54:46
Take it easy everybody. See you soon. Bye bye
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai