Campaigners have cast doubt on Twitter’s commitment to protecting disabled people from vile disablist abuse on its social media platform.They spoke out after the media giant launched its new Twitter Trust and Safety Council, which it claimed would help “ensure that people feel safe expressing themselves on Twitter”.The council is made up of 50 individuals and organisations from across the world, including representatives of anti-bullying, LGBT, Muslim, Jewish and feminist organisations.But with the exception of the Samaritans and a campaigning Australian mental health charity, there is not a single disability-related organisation represented on the new council, and there does not appear to be a single disabled member.Disabled activists say this underlines Twitter’s failure to take seriously the disablist abuse that blights the social media platform.One disabled Twitter user, who asked not to be named, said: “What this says is that Twitter just don’t care about disability hate crime being carried out on their site.“They don’t care about disabled people being told to die, that we should be beaten.“They don’t care about people organising hate mobs to try to ruin disabled people’s lives.”She said: “I’ve read lots of articles about the council; and not one addresses the fact that Twitter are basically sanctioning disability hate crime on their platform by not being interested in tackling disablist abuse.”One disabled campaigner who contacted Disability News Service told how she was subjected to the following tweet: “You’re just a disabled bitch that should be put down. nothing but a lazy workshy, scrounger.”She said the person was subsequently banned by Twitter “for about an hour”.Another disabled activist was called “spastic”, “retard” and “cretin” during a short Twitter exchange.Another was called a “fucking freak”, and told: “You should be in a care home and not let out without mental health carers you’re a danger to the public you’re mentally retarded.”One prominent online disabled activist, Ella Sumpter, was forced to block several Twitter-users who subjected her to abuse, often suggesting she was “faking” her impairments and claiming benefits fraudulently.Although this happened three years ago, one referred to her “designer diseases”, said she had a “severe case of spazzeritus”, and called her a “benefit scrounging wanker”, before adding: “Now I hate disabled people because some benefits scrounging cunt can’t be arsed to get up. Fuck right off. How many starving Africans have ME.”David Gillon, an online disabled activist, monitored the disablist abuse that followed the screening of Channel Four’s Benefits Britain: 1949, for a blog he wrote in August 2013.He said that tweets that featured the #BenefitsBritain hashtag included: “Funny how it’s the fat, foul mouthed bint with illness u can fake that is the one with the issues,” “Luckily for these slackers, it’s difficult to prove ‘pain’,” and “#Motability What clown thought this idea up? Free cars for bone idle, lard-arses.”Many #BenefitsBritain responses even threatened violence, such as: “I’d quite happily kick the shit out of that fat, lazy fucker!!”, “Take the cane off that woman and beat her over the head with it,” and “Utterly contemptuous cow. I hope she really does become confined by her ailments. Permanently. In a wooden box.”Gillon said that Twitter had a “lackadaisical approach” to stopping online abuse in general, despite being forced to improve its procedures following the harassment of a number of high-profile women’s rights campaigners.He said that Twitter’s page that deals with online abuse gives “the definite impression they don’t want to be bothered with it”.He said: “First they tell you unwanted replies are legitimate, then that you should block the person, and that if it escalates to threats, contact the police.“There is no coverage of harassment and abuse short of threats of violence.“Buried just below that, with no separate header, is: ‘You can report the contact to Twitter here.’“If I was trying to hide the link to minimize use, that’s exactly how I would do it.“Then it tells you to ‘reach out’ to friends or relatives to help you deal with it, which I think amounts to victim blaming.”He also pointed out that Twitter’s form that allows users to report harassment does not provide a clear option for reporting hate speech.He said: “Twitter need to be more pro-active, and they need a report form that actually allows us to report hate speech.”Twitter has refused to comment.
The sister of a disabled man who died after being left destitute by having his benefits sanctioned has launched a high court legal challenge over a coroner’s refusal to hold an inquest into his death.David Clapson (pictured), who had diabetes, died in July 2013 as a result of an acute lack of insulin, three weeks after having his jobseeker’s allowance sanctioned.Because he had no money, he couldn’t afford to pay for electricity that would have kept the fridge where he kept his insulin working, in the height of summer, and he had also run out of food.An autopsy held after his death found his stomach was empty, and the only food left in his flat in Stevenage was six tea bags, a tin of soup and an out-of-date can of sardines. He had just £3.44 left in his bank account.But despite the circumstances of his death, and clear links with the sanctions system, no inquest was ever held, even though DWP admitted that it knew he was insulin-dependent.Now Clapson’s sister, Gill Thompson, has issued a judicial review and human rights claim in the high court, challenging the refusal of the senior coroner for Hertfordshire to hold an inquest into her brother’s death.Thompson has been campaigning for an inquest to be held in a bid to secure answers and change the sanctions system she believes led to her brother’s death.She has set up a crowdfunding account to pay for her legal battle, and needs to raise another £7,000 to reach her target.Her solicitor, Merry Varney, from human rights lawyers Leigh Day, is arguing that Clapson died an “unnatural death” because of the benefit sanction imposed on him shortly before he died.Last year, Varney wrote to the Hertfordshire senior coroner, Geoffrey Sullivan, to ask him to overturn the decision not to hold an inquest.But he refused to order an inquest, and said that “the evidence does not support either a direct or contributory causal link between the imposition of the benefit sanction and Mr Clapson’s death”, while there was “no evidence as to whether the benefit sanction was imposed properly or not”.Varney said: “A DWP-imposed benefit sanction left David with no income, unable to afford food or electricity, circumstances which diabetes experts agree could easily render his condition fatal.“The law requires a coroner to hold an inquest into certain deaths and we believe the circumstances of David’s death clearly trigger this duty.“Our client, who has campaigned since her brother’s death, is asking the high court to quash the coroner’s refusal so that a full, fair and fearless inquest can take place, and so that issues of significant wider public importance concerning benefit sanctions and vulnerable people are properly considered.”Thompson added: “The thing that continues to haunt me is that the DWP knew David was an insulin dependent diabetic, yet they stated: ‘…we followed procedures and no errors were made.’“Diabetes is a serious condition, which in cases such as David’s requires both food and insulin to stay healthy.“I feel that the sanction resulting in my brother being left destitute and having no money to chill his insulin or to buy food, ultimately led to his untimely death.“Going to court is an option of last resort but I feel compelled to use every effort to ensure that the impact of the DWP imposed benefit sanction on David’s death is properly and independently investigated.“I believe the DWP continue to impose sanctions on diabetic benefit claimants and not only for my brother’s sake, but also for others at risk, I hope the high court grants me permission to challenge the coroner’s decision.”
SAINTS have had a few dramatic finales with Warrington throughout the Super League era and tonight they served up another rich classic.Tied 14-14 with less than a couple of minutes on the clock Jordan Turner polished off as stunning a team move as you will see to put the champions top of the table.The talismanic James Roby started the move with a characteristic pass, Travis Burns offloaded to Adam Quinlan before Mark Percival stepped inside to allow Mark Flanagan, Luke Walsh and Joe Greenwood to find the centre.And he made no mistake.It was a breathtaking end to a breathtaking match that had everything – last gasp defence, flowing moves and great kicking.Saints made a late change to their side with Mark Flanagan coming in for Josh Jones – and he didn’t disappoint, especially when Captain Jon Wilkin left the field early doors with a damaged thumb.Warrington started brightly in front of a decent home crowd forcing a penalty from the visitors and then putting pressure on Saints’ line.They got little change and then Saints had decent back to back sets following great work from Travis Burns and James Roby.And eight minutes in they almost made the second of those sets pay.Warrington dropped out, Saints applied the pressure but Walsh’s high ball into the try area was well taken by the rearguard.Saints continued to press and after Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook went close James Roby shot over from close range.Walsh added a penalty 19 minutes in before a series of indiscretions saw James Child on his whistle more often than he would have liked.Both sides threatened the line in the madness but the Wire were more wasteful as on 28 minutes Ratchford ballooned his pass into touch – with a nice overlap waiting.With seven minutes to go Anthony England thought he had scored under the posts but Brad Dwyer’s pass was inches forward.But on Warrington’s next foray to the Saints’ line they scored – and it was Ben Currie a great angle that finally broke the visitor’s resolve.Gareth O’Brien making it 8-6 with the boot and that’s how it stayed until the tenth minute of the second half when the Wolves struck ahead.On the last Walsh couldn’t get the ball away with a player on the floor impeding the play-the-ball, but he managed to wriggle it free and then throw a pass to the left.But it was intercepted by Kevin Penny and he went under the sticks.Saints hit back straight away. Walsh’s high ball and LMS’ chase forced a drop out and then Mose Masoe ran 20 yards, smashed his way through and was under the posts.Walsh tagging on the conversion to make it 14-12.Warrington thought they’d gone back ahead when Chris Hill ploughed under the posts – but he was held up – and then Jordan Turner forced the ball out to save a certain try.Saints needed some possession in Wire’s half and they got some as the game entered it’s final quarter thanks to the boot of Walsh.His kicks turned the Wolves around time and time – but they were still seeking that killer score to put their hosts away.And that lack of ball control came back to haunt them as O’Brien kicked a penalty following a bizarre call from the video referee.Atkins caught a cross field ball, twisted and turned but lost it as he hit the floor.The referee took an age to chalk it off, but then gave Warrington a penalty apparently for ball stealing.But these boys aren’t champions for a reason and with two minutes to go they pulled off a coup de grace in front of a superb away support.Burns, Roby, Quinlan were all involved as Saints did what they do best – it found its way to Turner who made no mistake.Cue wild scenes.Saints defended the short restart well and secured their third win over the Wolves this year. And there won’t be any better than this.Match Summary:Wolves:Tries: Currie, PennyGoals: O’Brien (3 from 3)Saints:Tries: Roby, Masoe, TurnerGoals: Walsh (4 from 4)Penalties:Wolves: 10Saints: 9HT: 8-6FT: 20-14REF: James ChildATT: 11,618Teams:Wolves:1. Matthew Russell; 22. Gene Ormsby, 6. Stefan Ratchford, 4. Ryan Atkins, 24. Kevin Penny; 20. Gareth O’Brien, 7. Richie Myler; 8. Chris Hill, 9. Daryl Clark, 10. Ashton Sims, 12. Ben Westwood, 17. Ben Currie, 13. Ben Harrison.Subs: 15. Roy Asotasi, 19. Anthony England, 25. Brad Dwyer, 26. Joe Philbin.Saints:37. Adam Quinlan; 22. Matty Dawson, 17. Mark Percival, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Travis Burns, 7. Luke Walsh; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 14. Alex Walmsley, 21. Joe Greenwood, 12. Jon Wilkin, 15. Mark Flanagan.Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 19. Greg Richards, 25. Andre Savelio.
SAINTS are pleased to announce the new sponsorship deals for powerhouse Andre Savelio and new recruit Theo Fages.Andre Savelio will again be proudly sponsored by Cultivate Creative for another season in 2016.Cultivate Creative is a St Helens based graphic and web design studio that creates innovative tools for effective communication.They use their experience to create fresh ideas and smart solutions that actually work in the real world.Not only are Cultivate Creative a sponsor here at the club, but we have also worked alongside each other across various design projects over the past few seasons. They are also the club’s official design partner.To learn more about Cultivate Creative visit their website at www.cultivatecreative.co.uk or call their studio on 01744 750 880.Exciting new recruit Theo Fages will be proudly sponsored by IPM Plumbing & Electrical in 2016.IPM Plumbing have been a regular player sponsor of ours over the past few seasons sponsoring Paul Clough, Ade Gardner and Mose Masoe in years gone by.They are a family owned plumbers’ merchants with more than 37 years’ experience of servicing St Helens and the surrounding areas. They sell bathroom suites, showers, central heating systems, boilers and all plumbing fittings to the general public, DIY enthusiasts and the trade.To find out more about IPM Plumbing & Electrical, visit their website at www.ipmplumbing.co.uk or call into their showroom at Unit 6 Park Court, Sherdley Business Park, Sullivans Way, St Helens.Players are still available for sponsorship in 2016! To enquire about Dominique Peyroux, Lama Tasi, Greg Richards or any of our younger players please contact Neil Douglas or call on 01744 455 080.