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UK Disability History Month

Baroness Jane Campbell

jane campbell photoBaroness Jane Campbell has been in the House of Lords 11 years. Jane has spinal muscular dystrophy.

How did she get interested in disability politics? "I went to university gaining a first-class degree and masters and got a job at the charity RADAR. They sacked me because I could not type fast enough. I was invited to one of the first meetings of BCODP by Frances Hasler. I had steered away from disabled people because of my internalised oppression. When I heard Vic Finklestein and Mike Oliver explaining the ‘social model’ it suddenly transformed how I thought. I was interested in independent living. John Evans explained how he received Direct Payments. I wanted this in Kingston and a new Director of Social Services agreed so Ann MacFarland and I were the first 2 disabled people to get this. Then we campaigned to get a Bill through Parliament. It took 6 years and now any disabled person can have Direct Payments from their Council. I had a series of leadership jobs and eventually was made a Peer, but everything I do is guided by Nothing About Us Without Us’.

When Jane gets flu, the hospital does not want to resuscitate her. So she always makes sure someone is with her - she says "Our lives are still seen as not worth living". 

Jane started ‘Not Dead Yet’ ( a UK-based network which is part of a global alliance of disabled people, who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide.