Go GB Go – Lasting Legacy

As some of you may follow my blogs from time to time, they range from personal opinions to observations of the state of elements of our great nation, and not always positive commentary I am afraid, but that cannot be said of the Paralympics, nothing but positives will come from this showcase of what is able.

The Paralympics brings into sharp focus just what is achievable with that most noble of Paralympic value of determination. For those not aware, the values were first enshrined by the philosophy of Pierre de Coubertin, seen as the founder of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games. These values are:

Respect – fair play; knowing one’s own limits; and taking care of one’s health and of the environment
Excellence – how to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life; taking part; and progressing according to one’s own objectives
Friendship – how, through sport, to understand each other despite any differences

The Paralympic Values are based on the history of the Paralympic Games and the tradition of fair play and honourable sports competition enshrining:

Courage
Determination
Inspiration
Equality

Yes for me, as a disabled person, the Paralympics is the epitome of what is possible regardless of the barriers one faces in life. Heroes and media stars are going to be born, medallists becoming destined for State and Crown awards, MBE’s, OBE’s, even Knighthoods and Peerages will be laid upon them, and they will lose count of the opening ceremonies they attend over the months and years to come. But the real legacy is showing people what is possible, showing both abled bodied and disabled alike that barriers are there to be overcome, and that your dreams and aspirations are not limited by failure of limbs or senses, only by your capacity to apply yourself.

What I would really want as a legacy for every GB Paralympian medallist is to give them a seat in our most high of parliamentary houses, the House of Lords. This would bring positive change to the very heart of our parliamentary system, showing real commitment to change that will go far beyond the headlines of the games, lasting longer than the memories of the general public, who are soon to be bored silly by a new general election, already looming on the horizon.

The Paralympics will be a mere flash in the pan of our consciousness compared to a lasting legacy of change by putting the Social Model of Disability at the heart of party politics. Let the Paralympics be the starting gun loudly signifying across our society that the issues important to people living with disabilities will now be addressed:

 Inequality will be resolved
 Disenfranchisement will be a thing of the past
 Hate crimes targeted by changing the way society sees and treats disability in all its forms
 Transportation barriers eliminated
 True integration into society
 Proper accessibility

Not bad as a starting point for a manifesto of pledges or even a portfolio of work for our new Peers of the Realm. Let us as a society demand that we put people that truly understand these issues in a place where they can lead the charge to eliminating them, driving the legislative agenda that will benefit all. These people have demonstrated on the world stage that they understand what it takes to achieve their aims, they seem like the right people to put in the centre of the political mechanism to me, you never know they may even be able to overcome the biggest block on change quite often, that dreaded Civil Service, now there’s a contradiction in names if ever I heard one, civil indeed!

Our Paralympian Medallists really do deserve to be given the chance to change the agendas of those wanting our votes, and placing them in the House of Lords will really show generations to come what it means to be truly able despite what cards life deals you, this can be the true legacy of the games if we insist it is.

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