The Way We Roll

Agree to disagree? Assisted Suicide, Disability on Television

November 26, 2021 Phil Friend and Simon Minty
The Way We Roll
Agree to disagree? Assisted Suicide, Disability on Television
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Two topics feature in this months podcast.  Gardners might use the term perennials to describe them. Others might say weeds that never quite go away. Two topics we discuss and we disagree on, but we have an enjoyable and explorative discussion getting there. 

Assisted suicide, aka assisted dying, is back in the spotlight as Baroness Meacher’s Assisted Dying Bill passed through the House of Lords at the end of October. Whilst this won’t directly change the UK legislation (currently, assisted suicide is illegal), it shows the debate is very much alive. Phil is opposed to changing the law, and Simon asks him why. 

Do positive action schemes, disability training, and targets work? In his MacTaggart lecture, scriptwriter Jack Thorne suggested that to get more disabled people on TV. It’s time for quotas. Mind you, it feels like a golden period for disability appearing on television. After years of encouragement, are TV execs commissioning and casting more? Have the schemes finally paid off? Or has the murder of George Floyd and that which followed rippled across the pond and changed everything? Simon thinks yes, Phil asks him why. 

Geoff tells us his latest cultural recommendations, including the return of Succession and what he thinks of John le Carre’s final book, Silverview. There’s a great Listeners Corner to finish. 


Assisted Suicide 

Baroness Meacher bill on Assisted Dying

Not Dead Yet UK

Baroness Jane Campbell article 

Colin Low, Tom Shakespeare and Christie Arnsten article

Disability and TV

Jack Thorne MacTaggart Lecture Aug 2021

Royal Television Society panel discussion on disability and television

Cultural corner 


Silverview - John le Carre

Here’s where to start reading John le Carre blog

Announcer  0:08  
Welcome to The Way We Roll with Simon Minty and Phil Friend.

Simon Minty  0:14  
Hello and welcome to The Way We Roll with me Simon Minty.

And me Phil Friend.

Welcome, Mr Friend.

Phil Friend  0:21  
Welcome, Mr. Minty. How are you?

Simon Minty  0:23  
Not too bad, very tired. We have both been very busy.

Phil Friend  0:26  
Very busy. Very, very, very, very can't even say very.

Simon Minty  0:30  
One of those topics. We have no guests. By the way, this week, it's back to the one to one which we know you love. One of the reasons you've been very busy is on the topic of assisted suicide.

Phil Friend  0:42  

Simon Minty  0:43  
the day of recording what's happening.

Phil Friend  0:46  
On the day of recording, the House of Lords is debating the latest attempt to change the law on assisted suicide, Baroness Meacher is presenting a bill before the House of Lords. And although it's not a voting bill, in other words, the Lord's are not going to vote on it. It is a significant attempt, again, to change the law on assisted suicide. Would it help you if I explained? 

Simon Minty  1:14  
Yeah,  Well, we got a lot of international listeners, this is a complex topic as well, I think so what is the change they're asking for.

Phil Friend  1:22  
and it and it is an international issue. Okay, basically, in the UK, if you assist someone to kill themselves, you are committing a crime. And there would be an investigation and you potentially could go to prison or something. It's never really happened because most of these sorts of killings in quotes, when they occur, are seen to be mercy killings. And, you know, people being very ill at the end of their lives and suffering a lot and the relative decides to help them on their way to so so to speak. But this this bill would allow doctors particularly to prescribe medication to an individual that would lead to their death. So that is assisting their suicide. 

Simon Minty  2:13  
Suicide meaning they've said, I want this to happen, it's not someone doing it against their will.

Phil Friend  2:18  
No, it is somebody who is and and the bill has safeguards in it to rule out sort of that kind of thing.

Simon Minty  2:27  
You're selling, you're selling, it to me at the moment. 

Phil Friend  2:32  
I'm trying to be even handed there are safeguards in the bill. There are checks and balances in the bill. But I'm, I'm sorry, the organization that I work with on this subject, Not Dead Yet UK, are terrified is not too strong a word for it. Because the safeguards aren't safeguards, I want to give you one example of the safeguard, the idea is that in order for you to be assisted, two doctors would have to see you and then there would be a judge making a decision based on that. So let's put into the mix here, that somebody is at the end of their life, they've got cancer or something very nasty. They are very depressed as a result of this. And they happen to have a learning disability. So their mental capacity is an issue. Their depression is an issue. And these two doctors, one of whom may well know the patient, well, the other probably doesn't. And the doctor who knows the patient very well needs to be very skilled in assessing mental capacity and depression, which in themselves are really complex issues which people receive treatment for for many, many years. So you can see, the safeguard doesn't feel very safe in that particular circumstance.

Simon Minty  3:53  
And I mean, that's quite a complex issue, I suppose. If someone is at a really bad run of luck, and things have gone wrong, and life's not good, actually. But they've got to have a terminal illness as well. They can't just go life's crap, please help me die, they've got to have a terminal illness, which is theoretically going to reduce their lifespan anyway.

Phil Friend  4:16  
Well, a doctor has to say that they may well die within six months, this terminal illness could kill them within six months. Now. We all know about what doctors bless them. Yeah, how good they are at predicting how long people go. And and you know, somebody just asked me the question the other day, which I'd never thought of before. Why six months? Why isn't it three months? Why not nine months, why not a year? How did they alight on the six month thing? So there's the big issue that the other issue without taking up the whole podcast on this subject, which I'd love to do it has to be said is what we see going on in other jurisdictions throughout the world. So the most. The most recent example is the Canadian example, Canada passed a law, which allowed doctors to assist people to die with terminal illnesses. And so that next year, they're going to pass an amendment which will allow people who are depressed to apply for assisted suicide. 

Simon Minty  4:18  
So no terminal condition, 

Phil Friend  5:20  
no. So this has happened in other jurisdictions, too, we see in mainland Europe. So what we're saying not only is the safeguards not safe, that's one of our arguments. But the other is that once this door is open, you can't close it again. And the very people that would not be helped at this point, so many of the cases brought before judges and so on have been people with motor neuron disease, for example, who are not terminally ill, what they want to do is to have the ability to end their lives when they want to, but they're not terminally ill. So in order for them to be covered by this legislation, it would have to be extended. So we are really frightened. You say what our opponents would say is, but why are you worried disabled people won't be affected by this? We are saying Not yet. Not yet. We won't be. But within years, it's highly likely will be and and that's very worrying, the easy way of doing it is leave the law as it is.

Simon Minty  6:26  
And saying it now before I forget is the organization's called Not Dead Yet UK.  And you can read a whole load of gumph. And if you agree with Phil, and I've known Phil and four other people who are doing this work, and it's phenomenal, because I think there's a small team. But also, when you look at the broad public surveys, I mean, that said broad public service want to bring back hanging. But this one is one of those ones where a lot being go. Yeah, of course. And it's been down to you. Five to try and challenge that and show hold up. There is another point of view. I did read, I think I sent it to you about California changing theirs, it was meant to be you asked for assisted suicide, you wait 31 days, they changed it now to 48 hours. So as you say everything seems to be getting easier and easier and easier. I think there's also that little bit Well, I do worry, we had it with COVID people with learning disabilities and do not resuscitate notices being given out without notice. So is there a value that's less I saw it the other day of family  on Twitter, my mom's eighty whatever shes fallen over and broken a hip, going into hospital, the doctors just come out and said to her, what do you want to do if it goes wrong? So they're basically saying, Do we resuscitate you're not? Now, a bit of this is already happening, isn't it? I mean, and I also know people who deal with older people, there's this if the family say we're okay, if they go? Is that because they want the money? Or is it because they feel that's the best thing? This complex complexity and the idea that doctors do start popping people off? Feels fundamentally wrong, isn't it?

Phil Friend  8:08  
Well, that's the there's so many angles to this aren't there. One is that if you now allow doctors to assist with your death, what does that do to the patient doctor relationship? What does that do to they shall do no harm? You know, that's one of the great planks of medicine, we will do no harm. The other thing is to say that Age Concern, Age UK as they are now they talk about elder abuse. I mean, it's a big issue. How are you going to how are two doctors and a judge going to work that one out? Where they coerced? Well, given that they may have dementia? How are you going to find out? Where's the mental capacity? So there are you're absolutely right, with the hanging thing. If you're hanging the wrong person, you can't undo it, which is one of the major major reasons that's used to never bring it back. With assisted suicide, you've got the same kind of conundrum. And while we're on safeguards, which I'm going to come back to, what were the safeguards, like for the 25,000 people that died in care homes discharged from National Health Service hospitals? What safeguards Were at place there? Where are the so called safeguards? You know, we know that safeguards are you know, the the abuse of learning disabled people in residential care settings? Where are the safeguards? So, you know, I have a healthy skepticism around the word safeguards. And here we're talking about two doctors and a judge making decisions. And and how long have they got to do this? I mean, you know, you've only got six months to live. I've got to get some to I've got to get a judge a court hearing. I've got all that stuff all that admin. mean, we can't even try. We can't even try people that are murdering people because the courts are full up. So mean where are these judges coming from? All sorts of issues that I suspect are just gonna, you know,

Simon Minty  10:09  
I take your point, although I may get it was fundamental I will probably is admin I already too much paper. They always this singular argument is always very hard to argue, which is my relative has got cancer, they're not going to recover. They're in immense pain. Yeah. I've seen your responses to that. And I like I mean, how do you respond to that? This relative gonna die, terrible pain, cancers, taking them? And you're saying No, they've got to live through this.

Phil Friend  10:43  
Now I'm saying that what we need to do is invest much more in palliative care. We know that pain control is there, we know that people can be helped, we know that life can be made comfortable. For the vast majority. I'm not suggesting because no doctor would ever say no expert in palliative medicine would ever say that they can alleviate all pain and suffering. But, but our Palliative Care Medicine is so under resourced, that people who are watching their granny go through that process wouldn't have to watch it in the majority of cases, if we invested more at the end of life care. I mean, the hospice movement for goodness sake is funded by voluntary donations mostly not by government. We you know, and they do a fantastic job. But and you know, when you talk to people who've been through hospices, where they watch their relatives die, in the main, they talk about the, the, the not the pleasure of that's not the right word at all. But the the idea that the people were comfortable that it was good, that they had the opportunities to put their lives in perspective and stuff like that. Well, you don't get that on a general ward in a busy busy teaching hospital, you need palliative care to help people so I think my argument would be for that relative which is in no way to diminish what they're going through, is to say, we should be getting our palliative medicine right before we start passing laws on helping her to die.

Simon Minty  12:15  
In depending on you, good listener on your point of view, if you disagree, that's okay. As in the argument if you do agree with Not Dead Yet position, then I don't know why I'm saying this, but support them in some capacity, whether they actually type on a website. Yeah.

Phil Friend  12:32  
We've got a website sign up as a supporter and we'd be delighted to have you.

Announcer  12:36  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend, you can email us at or just search for minty and friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Simon Minty  12:51  
A new subject, or for today, a new subject, but a perennial, as you said to me a bit earlier. I want to mention the phrase quotas. The context. This is Jack Thorne, who is a writer screenwriter and script writer he wrote Harry Potter and the Cursed Child that's the one that the theatre he's done Skin Shameless. Cast Offs, and even adapted. Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. So this is a big hitter, and he talked at the Edinburgh Festival, the Television Festival, and it's a very prestigious McTaggart lecture. And that's normally a key figure that talks to the industry. And he said, We need to bring quotas back in because it's not moving. It's not changing. And he was talking about disability specifically, just as a little reminder, targets are things that we aim for we aspire for we do things to try and get there. Quotas are there are penalties if you don't reach there. And there may be bonuses if you do. So you are absolutely forcing it. I think about a year ago, I started mentioning quotas again for the first time, because 19 years, I've been anti them, because I feel it leads to all the wrong results and you get people in the wrong roles and the wrong behaviors. And do I then doubt whether I'm truly worthy of this role? But because there's been no shift or very limited shift, I'm now saying maybe we bring them back?

Phil Friend  14:19  
I remain generally speaking opposed to quotas. So we move on to the next topic.

Simon Minty  14:27  
I bit like the old assisted suicidew agreeing  to disagree, yes, I sort of gave a summation of why there is opposition continue.

Phil Friend  14:38  
Yeah, I'm being serious. I get I you know, I can see. Let me first of all, agree with the general. I read the piece from from the lecture and I can't disagree with anything. He said. You know, I am sick of going to meetings where we hear people stand up and say, and we've got to do more for Black and ethnic minority people and women and so on and nobody mentions disability, just the not even on the agenda. So I get that. My big worry is that quotas lead to all sorts of other things that it's bit like assisted suicide, they lead to other things. So I've got to fill me quota we got, you know, it's not about skill, it's not about the best for the job, it becomes a tick box exercise. I remember because I'm very old, the quota scheme that applied to disabled people, the 3%, as it was known, and you know, you had people in are you disabled Yes oh brilliant, I can tick that box. That's great. Thank you so much. I tell you what I would suggest about this. My thinking is that in order to ensure the organization's have proper sort of inclusion of minority peoples, whatever you want to call them, in this case, disabled people, the first thing you have to compel is that they get counted. You must know what your workforce looks like. So that's the first step. And then you impose draconian penalties if you don't increase those numbers that in some ways are agreed. So rather than having quotas, I like your target targets. So the thing for me, I think, if you say that we want 6% of our workforce to be disabled people across all our job roles, then that's what we're aiming at. That's what we do. And if we fail to do it, we need to pay some kind of levy or or be held to account for not doing that. Because in the old banking, you know, you and I both work for bank, Simon, you used to be a banker. If it's not counted, it don't matter.

Simon Minty  16:46  
What you sort of blended the two, but in essence, you have ended up with a quota there's a penalty, or a bonus, if you don't reach the target. That's the quota.

Phil Friend  16:56  
Yeah, yeah. But a target isn't a quota, or is it you got to have 3%, what you're doing as an organization is saying, we are aiming at this number of people. And if we don't get there, it's it's many of the organizations that he talks about in his lecture aren't measuring anything.

Simon Minty  17:11  
you said, if they don't get there, there is a penalty or if they do get a bonus, that's a quota, because that will be saying, well, I've got to get you in great. Your if you come in mate yo u're disabled, I'll get my money.

Phil Friend  17:24  
I'm, I'm I'm not explaining my penalty. Right. Okay, the penalty that I would have is that the line managers, the recruiters in the business, don't get their bonuses. That's the penalty, not a government fine. So if the business sets targets, and those targets aren't met, I mean, if you if you're set a target to sell so many widgets in a year, and you don't do it, you don't get a bonus, I equate equality issues with pay. I'd be saying to people, your bonuses, in part will be measured on your ability to ensure that you have a diverse team. So the people running the production company, for example. What about the we know that most television programs and others are contracted out now. You know, they're made by independent companies? Well, when I'm letting the tenders I'd be saying to those companies, how many disabled people have you got you know, because if you haven't got them the American military famously transformed itself by saying to its supply chains, if you don't do this, we're not giving you the bucks. It's that kind of thing that I'm more interested in and saying we want 5% in the industry and if you don't do it, we'll fine you

Simon Minty  18:37  
I suppose the only i the risk of semantics you're just saying rather than the government doing it the business does it and that's exactly my argument. I wasn't trying to get a government scheme introduced I'm saying businesses must link this to managers heads of functions. payment that is a quota for me. It's just not a government quota. Its an internal quota there's a there's a reaction if you don't make it a target is aspirational. We don't get it so be it but nothing changes

Phil Friend  19:09  
well that's where we where I part company with you because I say if a target is not met then you're in trouble. That's a great it's not so be it. But I mean it is semantics you're right I'll be a quota is I must have 5% of this right and if I don't get it quotas are always for me about government. It's a statutory thing

Simon Minty  19:30  
but make it a double an internalized one that is

within I'd call it a target call it a target within so the

essence or how do I say that the fundamentals are the underpinning it the same for me it's just the fine is internal not external.

Phil Friend  19:45  
Well, it's not a fine its you simply don't get paid more. Or and actually, if it continues, it may lead to you being on your bike. Absolutely. Well, that's that we are done with them. 

Simon Minty  19:58  
We actually sort of agree, it just the words different. I think disability and the media is going through a revolution. And it is happening. And there is a lot of brilliant stuff already happening. And I know there's stuff in the pipeline that's going to happen even greater. So over the next two or three years, this may almost be a sort of academic exercise in the sense of, it's already in the industry, we're seeing a lot more representation and a lot more inclusion its weird, because we never liked it. But my question is, nothing ever changes and your point about well, it encourages the wrong behavior, or you're disabled come in, always known skills, the counter argument, which I've heard is, there's an assumption, therefore, then that the reasons why disabled people, people, ethnic minorities have not got the roles, they're not quite good enough. And it's because you know, we're picking the best people, the most skilled people. It just so happens, they don't happen to be disabled, or ethnic minority people or women or whatever it might be. 

Phil Friend  21:01  
Yeah, but we know that we know, we, you and I've been around a long time, we know that there's pipeline issues here, you've got to, you've got to do more than just look for talent, you've got to grow it, you've got to bring people in that you can see will achieve those positions. I mean, the women, the similar to the whole debate about, you know, equality in gender terms, women who were taking time off to raise their children and so on, were being left behind. So when they competed for senior roles, it couldn't have been because they didn't have the experience. Well, there's a way of fixing that, which is that you give people fast track, you help women returners, go through a really fast, you know, experience thing. So they can now compete with everyone else, when it comes to the boards, who's coming through the door at the bottom end matters as much as the, at the top end who were promoting and because, you know, if there aren't enough disabled people at the lower ends of the organization, you're never going to promote them,

Simon Minty  21:59  
Are you fast tracking whatever group who might choose, which means that they might get the senior position, which means the person who isn't in their protected characteristic isn't. So you are positively discriminating against those people to get them into that role.

Phil Friend  22:15  
No, I'm positively actioning, the fact that there will be those diverse groups in the room when we're talking about promotion. So I, at the moment, we're trying to appoint an a, you know, senior people in say, a one of the charities, we want to make sure that those who are providing us with candidates provide us with diverse candidates. If you can't do that, we're not going to hire you as a recruiter. Because I think you're right, Simon is a general point. What we're seeing and going up you're saying is going on in TV and so on at the moment is an explosion of new thinking, new programs, new talent coming through. That's because for the last five or six years, people have been saying we've got to do more. Now we're seeing the fruits of its a bit like academies,

Simon Minty  23:00  
i The My only problem is that the 1012 years ago, it's all we've got to get the diverse recruiters, we've got to get the talent, and then another isn't the talent out there. What are you talking about? And I just think that same back to initiatives and programs, and they've not led to change. The reason this is happening now is because George Floyd got killed 18 months ago. And it was a revolution in terms of equality. And everyone said, We've got to stop tinkering around the edges. We've got to stop being hesitant. We've just got to get on suck it and see see what happens, the world won't fall apart. It is better to do something than do nothing, which is what we've done. I don't I mean, okay, incrementally 20 years of campaigning might have pushed it. But I think that I think this is a revolution because of external factors.

Phil Friend  23:48  
I find it interesting that you think that George Floyd has affected disability, rights? Because I think you I find that interesting, because I would not make that connection. 

Simon Minty  23:58  
It affected equality and diversity across the board. It changed it from well, we're trying to do stuff and we're looking at this and we were trying to get a bit more like that. And we've got this program for these people to this is happening. This is fundamentally wrong. I mean, it's ridiculous. Not ridiculous. That's the wrong word. It is remarkable that the death of a black man in the US might lead to more disabled people being on British television. I agree. That's a weird, tenuous link. But I think there's a sea change that has happened that said, we can no longer continue like this, we have to change it.

Phil Friend  24:31  
See, I kind of get that. But my worry is as the lecture, McTaggart lecture kind of pointed out, when equality is talked about disabled people aren't often mentioned. So when George Floyd is being talked about, he's being talked about in the connection of equality. Oh, and then there's the disabled lot that we keep forgetting. I think it's more fundamental. You see, I think I think disabled disability equality is lag behind so much. Because of the way people see disability it's not

Simon Minty  25:07  
I agree, although we've got this counterintuitive Oh, that is happening in television and media, we know it's happening, you know, still a long way to go, could be just a wave could change after two years fade back. And that's when all your other things still need to kick in. But I even though disability maybe the poor relation in TV, it's starting to happen. I mean, seeing talent there. What I would then argue is okay, let's look at corporate world genuinely government departments civil service, and we can get the numbers there.

Phil Friend  25:37  
The other thing that he talked about did he not in the in the lecture was the fact that we don't have enough behind the camera, we don't have enough in the other, you know, the other range of opportunities that exist to make a program, that it's not there. So whilst we might in front of camera now be seeing more like our friend, Rosie Jones, and, you know, Alex Brooker, who we had on the show, both Rosie and he'd been on the show both doing tremendously well, both great role models for disabled people. But behind the camera in the cutting room, in the kind of marketing suite, the PR areas not disabled people  or at least far fewer. So I thought the lecture was kind of pointing up and there you know, if you're going to be a program maker or program editor, you do need to have specific skills to be able to do those things. And where's the pipeline for that? Where are we bringing in youngsters or oldsters to learn that it's an interesting Well, quotas or targets you you choose? Really, let's get the thesaurus out.

Simon Minty  26:32  
Well, I'm happy to go with your phrasing because the end result is still what I want, which is there is there is a link to impact on the individual. We know that could, in theory, occasionally create the wrong results.. But I'm prepared to take that as a risk to overcome the 10/15 years of the wrong result. Anyway,

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Simon Minty  27:02  
And we got some news. First up is Fry Law, which is a legal firm law firm.Which  took on lots of disability cases. And what's happened.

Phil Friend  27:14  
They've I think filed for bankruptcy. I think they've gone bust. It's been a series of very unfortunate some of them COVID related some of them business related issues that have meant that they had to file for administration, as I understand it, Chris Fry who set it up his firm saw disabled people as a as one of the most unrepresented groups in legal terms and set about doing something about that, and I met him as a result of what he was doing. And I great, great time for him. The other thing they did, which I think is particularly sad is that he encouraged, he did a deal with an insurance company, which meant that you could take insurance, and that would pay your legal costs if you wanted to bring actions against service providers in particular. And I thought that was a really innovative idea, because one of the reasons people don't bring cases and I can't afford to. So I'm really sad that I mean, he's now working for another law firm. So Chris will carry on but his attempt to bring some serious, I don't know what you would call it muscle to the legal thing. Sadly is no more I'm

Simon Minty  28:26  
Reading it there is this sort of fundamental part that there's some sort of funding facility that was withdrawn? And we've seen this before. I don't know enough about it. So this is absolute speculation. But you you wonder whether the backers or the bankers have said, we're not going to do this anymore and withdraw it and suddenly cash flow and boom, your bust. Generally banks can be mean, but they they will have reasons. So you want to know that but he did say I've got an order book full of cases. So there is work and he said all the years he's been trading has been profitable. And I started thinking, okay, where else do you go, you know, we've got Disability Rights UK, we've got the quality and Human Rights Commission. There's also did law DID. And I know Karen Jackson, she specializes in this as well. She's been very successful with some really great cases. And she has a savvy,

Phil Friend  29:18  
we shouldn't forget, forget the good old CAB Citizens Advice Bureau, which will provide free at least partly free consultations before going to a case and they do provide some initial legal advice. Well, I do love the CAB. I think they're a great service. But I don't know that they can afford or would take on a case. I think the Equality and Human Rights Commission obviously are more interested in cases that might set a precedent or change the law. But yeah, difficult

Simon Minty  29:47  
It's a huge shame in your point about if there was insurance service provision cases are very rarely taken as you say one because they're expensive and two, it's really hard but employment we know the tribunals and although there's real restrictions. It's not easy. That does happen a bit more. And that's a real shame that they I'm hoping that insurance scheme can be transferred over to wherever he's working. Now,

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Simon Minty  30:13  
Moving across, you've got a new wheelchair.

Phil Friend  30:16  
Yes. Brand new set of wheels. Yeah, cause more than a Porsche. Not Really? Yes, I, I've been having issues with my posture. So I thought I ought to because I now spend all my life in a power chair. I've perhaps ought to make sure it so that involves a new seat, which couldn't be fitted on the old chair? Of course not. No, that would never do. So I've now got this brand spanking new chair with all sorts of  there's the headrest, I'm just showing Simon the headrest listener, it's, you know, it's a chair that I live in. So it's worth the investment. But I do get troubled always by the costs of medical equipment.

Simon Minty  30:59  
Just check in. So you say it's a very Phil Friend thing, by the way, everybody he'll go, oh, this pens run out. I need to buy a new office. And you Oh, yeah. Oh. I'm trying to think of it's like, a tiny thing. But you said the cushion on your chair. So you had to spend 1000s on a brand new wheelchair? Couldn't you couldn't have got a different cushion?.

Phil Friend  31:26  
I could have got a different cushion. But to be fair, being slightly serious. You are right about me? Yes, it's a new trinket in the shop window must have. And oh look, the one in the middle is the most expensive, so therefore, it must be the best. So therefore, that's the only one I'll have. I am like that. This is more this is more serious about posture. This seat, it's the whole seat, not the cushion. Yeah, because in itself isn't really the issue. It's the backrest and how it shapes me and holds me in position when I'm sat upright. So. So it is a bit more than that. But I would not deny the the assertion you make about my ability to spend money on things which I perhaps don't always need.

Simon Minty  32:06  
just I mean, I totally agree. The fundamental point, which is it is criminal, and I'd put inverted commas for the cost. Yeah. Are you happy with the chair? Does it feel a good decision? Is it changed your life?

Phil Friend  32:21  
I'm happy with it. It's an improvement on the old one. From a ride point of view, it's not quite as jiggly. It's generally very good. No, it's it's very easy to drive and manipulate turn and all that stuff. No, I think as I as I just feel, I don't know the answer. Simon, you know, as you know, your work with Motability. There are there is support to get powered wheelchairs through the Motability route, give up your DLA payment or PIP payment for that. But I've already got a car. So I couldn't go down that route. Access to Work occasionally helped with this. But but but I'm not really working now in the way I used to. So I can't really go down that route. So it's really having to use your own resources of which, you know, I do have some I was thinking more about those people who don't have the resources I've got and can't use Motability or access to work. What do they do or what they do as they go around in second rate equipment. That's what they do.

Simon Minty  33:22  
Oh, and both makes me sing and make me feel very sad when people have got to do their I'm raising money. You know, will you Yeah,

Phil Friend  33:31  
crowdfunding? I mean? Have you seen crowdfunding chairs? Yes, yeah. Yeah, it's ridiculous.

Simon Minty  33:39  
Links to that but different. I was out on my scooter. And normally my scooter if I want to push open the door, it just nudges it with the front wheel and door swings open. I was doing certain maneuvers and it just quit on me. I went to the cinema and it was just I could feel it was sluggish. It wasn't quite right. I met another friend who's got a scooter she says the battery is gone. The last one I had last year five years and I gave up the scooter before the battery so I was a bit surprised. This one's about three and a half years old. Previously I'd always buy the batteries, put them in myself. I did this because you could buy the whole unit already done 200 pounds, or you buy the batteries, two batteries at 50 quid all in. So that's 150 pounds for someone else to do it for you. So I bought them, undid it all and then I just I mean, 6/8/10 kilos each battery. This I did this on the floor. Not only that they velcro them in so they didn't move. So I'm trying to pull eight kilos, which is then double the weight because of this bloody Velcro. I got very hot. My arms ached for three days afterwards I was in pain. I remember I looked at my neighbor's text because I was about Text him today you got to come around because I can't do this anymore. And it was a little bit of I've had this a bit from you. I've heard it from my dad where people go, your physical strength diminishes as you get older. And I am at the point thinking, I don't know how many times I can do this anymore, I may not be able to do it anymore. One person on Twitter because I tweeted it said, the cost difference 150 pounds, get someone around a friend to do it for you take them out for a meal. That way, you probably still save money. You have a lovely meal with a friend. And you get it done. And I thought that's the answer. I just need to help.

Phil Friend  35:35  
Yeah, you need you need someone to be your muscle. I I tweeted about this and you did not retweet it. I'm very disappointed in you. Actually Minty. I knew there was something I had a  moan about I replaced a showerhead and shower hose.  Unaided singlehanded all by§ myself. And I'm wheelchair you Yeah, this should not be possible. You did. I did it. I did it without a safety net. Brilliant.

Simon Minty  36:05  
And actually, I've got one of those need changing. So when you're popping over, You know what  I saw it. You did an accidental humble brag cuz you phrased it that it meant it looked like a third party or something like finally a wheelchair user breaks all stereotypes and changes a showerhead. And the way I read it is like, oh, you know someone who's done it. And I was looking for a link. I was looking for a photo. I didn't know it was you? 

Phil Friend  36:31  
Of course it was me. You need to read. You need to read behind the story. Mr. Minty see the hidden nuances that are at work there. You see you're taking things on face value all the time. It's very bad. 

Simon Minty  36:45  
Well why didn't you say I am thrilled you have broken the stereotype. I just managed to change a shower head.

Phil Friend  36:51  
Because Because I think that's the immodest I think thats showy offI. I don't like showy offy. 

Simon Minty  36:57  
However, you're now critical because I didn't pick up on your showing off

Phil Friend  37:01  
course. Absolutely. Yes. Of course. Of course. I'm deeply hurt. 

Simon Minty  37:07  
Well done. You I'm changing it. I've heard i Someone tweeted the other day that someone else did that. And clearly,

Phil Friend  37:15  
Sue loves it she went leapt into the we share the wet room together, not at the same time. Dear Sue was in there, she turned it on my new brilliant adaption and it shot water straight across the room because it's not adjusted down properly

Simon Minty  37:30  
Anyway, that said, and I don't know if it's just disability, but you know, we've all got our level of impairment and restriction because of that. What is something that you've done, that you have sort of DIY or repair or fix? And it's giving you that sense of satisfaction?

Phil Friend  37:45  
I think that's a great question to ask our listeners. 

Simon Minty  37:48  
It really does make you feel good.

Announcer  37:50  
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Simon Minty  37:55  
Dear listener, you will have missed him because he wasn't here last month. But we are very happy to welcome back Geoff Adams-Spink who's going to talk to us about his cultural highlights, he always recommends some fascinating things for us to consume that are cultural. So Geoff, what's your first one?

Geoff Adams-Spink  38:12  
Yeah, my first pick is Silver View, which is the posthumous novel of the late and great John Le Carre. A the spy writer who for let's say, I don't know, half a century or more has been entertaining readers and and then by extension television and film viewers with his amazing tales of Cold War skullduggery. And that was released quite recently. So I was I pre ordered it and got it on the day of release. And, you know, opened it with with bated breath as it were on Audible. And I have to say, I wasn't particularly impressed. I think my expectations were very high. And in the end, it didn't feel like the usual polished, accomplished, multi layered. John Le Carre spy novel it felt like a bit of a first draft really,

Phil Friend  39:10  
Oh, shame, what a pity. Bit like a bit like having a lovely meal and then going back to the restaurant and it not being as good the second time around, kind of, yeah,

Geoff Adams-Spink  39:21  
and then it's the head chef day off and they dropped in somebody who's  on some  youth training scheme instead. Just for listeners who aren't aware of John LeCarre a or aren't familiar with his work I mean, he's, he writes about spies and he writes about famously the Cold War but other subjects as well. He famously described James Bond as a gangster and his espionage novels are much more on the sort of cerebral or psychological end of espionage you know, he's heroes are much more Alec Guinness than than Daniel Craig. No, no flashbangs No, no Bond girls, no fast cars. It's all about mental torment. And you know, what drives somebody to betray their country, that kind of thing.

Um, I read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. I know his Smiley's People were huge ones and more when I say more recently is the Russia house. What was that one they made into TV, the midnight something. The Night Manager, The Night Manager. Thank you very much. So, I mean, this is great stuff that he's written. And I mean, the spy came in from the cold. So it was heartbreaking. It's, it's amazing. That's what it was. He worked for the security services for a while, didn't he?

Yes, he did. He worked. He worked for he worked for what people call MI6. He started to publish his novels under the pseudonym John Le Carre name, his real name is David Cornwell. And he, I think, in the end became so successful and got a bit of stick from his bosses for writing spy novels. So he decided to become a full time writer. You know, since the Cold War ended, Le Carre's tackled some other really big subjects like arms and drugs dealing the behavior of Big Pharma, you know, testing drugs on unsuspecting populations, that kind of thing. And, you know, media manipulation, and he was famously a very, a huge opponent of Brexit. And apparently before his death, he took Irish citizenship.

Phil Friend  41:32  
I mean, he is always struck me as being the sort of writer that you can't, you've got to go in with all of your gray cells full on. He really challenges you, not in a difficult way. He, he's incredibly thoughtful, clever plots, and how they all intertwine, I think he's a great read, and particularly as an audiobook. I love them as audiobooks. I found them harder to read than I do to listen to.

Geoff Adams-Spink  42:03  
Yeah, I mean, as listeners probably know, I'm, you know, I have impaired vision. So I tend to prefer audio books to the printed word, I do read ebooks, because I can enlarge the print. But you're right, Phil, they make brilliant audio books. Almost every work he's done has been dramatized either for film or by the BBC as a TV series.

Simon Minty  42:28  
And thank you, Geoff. It's a shame. The last one didn't quite hit the spot for you. But I think if you're listening to us, you and you haven't come across him, it could be amazing. There's plenty in his back catalogue that will be introduced. Do you need to be into spy novels? And anything you do? Because like, as I said, the spike I mean, from the gold is just a fabulous, interesting novel.

Geoff Adams-Spink  42:47  
Yeah, yes, exactly. And that's why I sort of put the warning out about the James Bond comparison, you know, if you if you want the James Bond end of espionage,  don't read John Le Carre, if you want to have your gray cells, as Phil says, you know, jiggled about a bit, then read John Le Carre because it's, it's much more about what drives people to do what they do, rather than, you know, how can I blow up that building?

Simon Minty  43:20  
Thank you, Geoff. So your second recommendation this month.

Geoff Adams-Spink  43:26  
My second recommendation is the third season of something called Succession. Which you can either get on Sky Atlantic or Now TV.

Phil Friend  43:39  
Can I say Geoff you can also get it on Amazon Prime.

Simon Minty  43:44  
Yay. Finally, or you can also get

Geoff Adams-Spink  43:47  
Are you sure about that?

Phil Friend  43:48  
Well, I've been watching the series on Amazon Prime you pay for it. It's not free. Sorry, Simon to prick your bubble. You can buy the series on Amazon Prime. Sorry, Jeff, I cut across you.

Geoff Adams-Spink  44:02  
Not a problem basically it is a tale of a global media dynasty. No comparison to any other living or dead media families. So we won't mention any of their names. But really, it's it's about how a patriarch, the head of the family. A guy in the character called Logan Roy played brilliantly by Brian Cox is handing over or thinking of handing over the reins of power to his three kids. And there's this massively unseemly almost Shakespearean squabble and vying for power between them all and Brian Cox the Logan Roy character is sitting back with a wry smile and watching his kids fighting like rats in a sack to become the heir apparent.

Phil Friend  44:58  
Sorry, I was just gonna say Oh, I've, I've I've watched a couple of series of this. I am in awe, Geoff of your ability to summarize and put so succinctly what evil nasty spiteful horrible individuals these children are. 

Geoff Adams-Spink  45:17  
They're all vile aren't they, they're vile. And it's very entertaining,

Simon Minty  45:22  
it's getting a huge amount of press at the time of recording. And the two of the lines I really liked from reading reviews, one, which was, it's good to know that even billionaires are stupid, thick people or something like that. Just because you got money doesn't mean to say you're smart and clever. The other one was it was saying that it's very rare that you can say a television series is really getting into its stride and getting better by the third series, or third season. So it's almost like it's getting better and better and better.

Geoff Adams-Spink  45:52  
I think. I think I think you're right, I mean, and it is really just getting into its stride. It's a very ambitious undertaking Succession. I love also the sort of glimpses into the lifestyle of these super rich people, you know, the sort of helicopters and the private jets and the the convoys of giant blacked out SUVs when they arrive at a location and the sort of high grade cocaine that some of the younger family members indulge in and and just the sort of really ridiculously childish antics that they indulge in to try and undermine each other.

Phil Friend  46:27  
It's a kind of a real sad reflection on how the world is turning. Some, at least to some groups of people.

Simon Minty  46:35  
I'm trying to think of it is it the, the Barclay brothers who I think they owned a newspaper, and then the family members were put into recording devices around the wrists in their private areas to try and spy on them. So they could Yeah, I mean, it really was skullduggery. So this is real life, let alone fiction. I've heard great things about Succession i Sounds like as ever, Geoff you're finding things that means I've got to subscribe for a month and then jump off again all these free months probably disappeared

Geoff Adams-Spink  47:04  
Pay your way there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Simon Minty  47:08  
I had a quick question. You're already getting it's part of your package. Would you recommend people go and pay independently? Is it that good?

Geoff Adams-Spink  47:15  
I would say in terms of the canon of TV drama, it's in the top five of my all time favorite things it's right up there with Breaking Bad The Sopranos Mad Men. It's it's really I would say high grade TV it's it's it's a nine and a half out of 10 I never give 10 On principle but you know, it's as close as a 10 to attend as I can get amazing.

Phil Friend  47:43  
Well thank you Geoff. As always, that's brilliant in Succession and the latest John Le Carre a book. Those are the Silver View .We'll put we'll put the links as you say on to the website. So

Simon Minty  47:56  
Nice to have you back Geoff.

Geoff Adams-Spink  47:57  
Cheers guys.

Phil Friend  47:58  
Yeah, take care Geoff. Lovely to see you.

Announcer  48:00  
This is The Way We Roll presented by Simon Minty and Phil Friend. You can email us at or just search for Minty and Friend on social media. We're on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Phil Friend  48:13  
Right so just before we wind things up, we do of course have to pay our usual visit to Listeners Corner Do you have what do you have Simon I've got one or two bits but what have you got? You kick us off

Simon Minty  48:25  
Three quickies? When I say quickies? I'm going to do them quickly. But thank you. We love you getting in contact. Our regular Melanie Kaufman. I hope I'm pronouncing your name properly. Melanie. She normally writes us essays this time is a quickie. Glad you had Fiona Kumari Campbell on your show. That was the ableism podcast we did a couple months back and reading her book Contours or Ableism now and it's powerful. Diane Sider who is a person we work with. She's a new listener. She said about your take on micro aggressions. I really like the chatty style you manage very well with difficult balance between raising issues that annoy us, yet not turning the show into a whinge interesting informative. Fun. Excellent. And Geoff, who you just heard on Cultural Corner, he had an interesting take, we can revisit microaggressions he said I get it. I understand what we were saying about the pushing back. He said but I worry that we're gonna make people already feeling awkward around disability even more reluctant to engage. And he said it depends on what kind of day you're having. And sometimes positive statements. You're amazing. You're inspiring. Can hardly count as aggression? So debate out on their context, days, that sort of stuff? They're my three right? Okay.

Phil Friend  49:41  
Well, I've got two really, one is from our usual Mr. Rees, Dave Rees, my old colleague, PDP colleague who just wanted you to know and me to know that he had had another the way we roll fest. He kind of locks himself in a room and plays and he  binges, binges. He did call it a fest. And he is just mightily impressed. He thinks they're getting better and better and the ableism one in particular, he found really interesting. Dave is not a disabled guy, obviously worked very closely with me on disability stuff. So he's pretty, he knows he's heard it certainly. So that's good. And then an email from Judy Erwin, who we both have great time for she's training doctors, medical students, and she wanted to know whether they should all be made to listen to The Way We Roll podcast every month, that would go a long way to make them better doctors of the future, you both strike a wonderful balance between serious and chuckles so effective. You've always been brilliant at that. And then she went on to say, this is a serious bit really, and you and Simon touch on the subject of eradicating certain congenital conditions. In a recent, Independent article, Ian Birrells. My View article it is headlined a stealthy, new age of eugenics, and discusses the law on abortion on the grounds of severe fetal abnormality. You probably know that Ian has a severely disabled daughter, and is a strong advocate for her rights and frequently highlights this issue. She wonders whether we might not contact him and see where he's at. So interesting what the podcast seems to do. It sort of provokes thoughts and so on. And I'd love to make it compulsory listening for doctors, and you be great.

Simon Minty  51:41  
It can be a new quota. Yeah, yeah. We sit them down, we keep their eyes open and make the headphones on full blast. Listen. Yeah, no, I, yeah, we get lovely comments like that. And you know, people are new to disability, you kind of go through the back catalogue as a sort of mini education of stuff. Yeah, I should say listener, we get 1000s of complaints. And today, it's a rubbish show. But we never talk about those. No, no. Thank you, everybody, for contacting us. It lightens our day. And it makes us feel a little bit worthwhile the fact that people get in contact, so thank you, and drop us a line on Facebook,

Phil Friend  52:27  
Facebook, Twitter, we've got our address. And if if you feel there's a subject that's near to your heart that we haven't talked about, let us know because we would certainly be happy to think about it and look at it. So keep in touch.

Simon Minty  52:43  
That's it for this month. Thank you very much for listening all the way to the end. You get a bonus point. Take care. We will be back soon. Yeah.

Phil Friend  52:51  
Cheers, everybody. Take care.

Transcribed by

Assisted Suicide
Quotas and Targets
Fry Law
Phil and Simon's Wheels
Cultural Corner - Geoff Adams-Spink
Listener's Corner