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Saturday, 8 September 2012

100 (Silly) Voices -The Brandon Trust

Saturday morning arrives at about 7.30 am. I try to ignore the bottle of whisky that’s sitting by the kettle as I fumble to generate enough coffee to kick-start the day.

cheap drink, strong dope and tranquillizers

I don’t remember how it got there. I kinda guess it’s related to the “oh-my-god-life-is-so-shit-I-want-to-die” episode I had last night. As usual, cheap drink, strong dope and tranquillizers got me through.

streamed live on Teh Intawebz... 

Firing-up my geriatric computer to attack the headlines aus Die Zeit mit meine schlechte Deutsche, I notice on Twitter the Brandon Trust are having another “100 People: 100 Voices” Learning Disabilities Conference, and it is to be streamed live on Teh Intawebz... The flyer says “This is your opportunity to tell us what is important to you”.

Live from Teh Intawebz - Mr Personality
The Brandon Trust, originally a just residential care company, say about themselves in their Vision Statement

Brandon Trust sees a future where people with learning disabilities will exercise full citizenship with all its rights and responsibilities within UK society, where every person will be empowered and supported as necessary to safely live their life to its full potential.

Great White Hope and putative saint

And headlining the event is none other than the Disabled Community of Britain’s Great White Hope and putative saint, Bendy Girl.

the corpulent sight of Matt Britt

Hitting the video feed, I'm greeted with the corpulent sight of Matt Britt, one of the the Brandon Trust’s umm... “Employment and Support” advisers. (Little did I realise at this point, that this horror show was going to contain more than one Matt).

“Why haven’t you got a job?”

Looking distinctly Pooh Bear-ish in his spanking new blue Brandon Trust T Shirt, Matt I (as we will call him for ease of identification) outlines a future where asking the Brandon Trust for help and social care will get the response

Why haven’t you got a job?

I’m serious. (I’ve got the short-hand notes in case of High Court actions).

putting pressure on the disabled, their parents and carers

Matt speaks of putting pressure on the disabled, their parents and carers to change the current habit of asking

Do you want a job?


You will go pack incontinence pads at one of our ‘work-projects’, on a short-term temporary contract, wholly dependent on massive hidden government subsidies, mainly paid through cutting your benefits and support to as close to zero as humanly possible.

 he’s “enabled” many of his clients to join “Job Clubs”

He also speaks glowingly of how he’s “enabled” many of his clients to join “Job Clubs” where despite their numerous and serious disabilities, they will disappear from the disability statistics and glory in their new found status as fully enabled, supported and largely unemployable Job Seekers.

the blonde, poodle-haired, irredeemably chirpy PR guy

Next up is Matt II, Matt Boyle, the blonde, irredeemably chirpy, poodle-haired, PR guy from the Brandon Trust who is conducting an “interview” with one of their “local user forums”.

Live From Norwich... It's Gorgeous!
excruciating sub-Alan Partridge repartee

He begins with excruciating sub-Alan Partridge repartee

Your mum and dad brought you down!?

(Everything Matt II says comes with an exclamation and question mark.)

I need a bus pass

replies the less than enthusiastic interviewee. Matt II rapidly moves on to his next victim.

Any experiences you want to share about the buses!? You have something positive to share about the buses!?

A long painful silence follows.

Do you have a bus pass!?

No, I'm scared.

Another painful silence follows, although fortunately slightly shorter than before.

Do you have a bus pass!?

Hey! That's a great photo on there!

Matt II ploughs on, to no reply. Undaunted, he continues, addressing what seems entirely empty space, Hey! That's a great photo on there!

Another of the user panel erupts UrrghArrrghUrrrrrrrrgh!, at this point, I find myself joining the interlocutor in an unholy counterpoint...

Full Metal Jacket Matty continues

Any experiences you want to share about the buses!?, Full Metal Jacket Matty continues.

I get teased...

Desperately he turns, seemly at random, only to hit point-blank by

The bus stop is so far away, I have to get a taxi to it

I scream. Literally, I scream

I scream. Literally, I scream. I’m autistic you see. I have alexithymia. Difficulty expressing my thoughts and feelings so instead I just go UrrghArrrghUrrrrrrrrgh! and smash things up.

Frequently it’s the telephone. I’ve got through 4 in the last year. I always make a point of buying the cheap ones, knowing they’re not going to last long.

the endless stream of negativity

Matt II continues, the endless stream of negativity from the panellists can’t be ignored and he is begrudgingly dragged into engaging with their concerns... I leave the room at this point.

ignore the whining from the lonesome whisky bottle

It’s about 11.30 am and I can no longer ignore the whining from the lonesome whisky bottle. Despite this failure, I do manage to ignore the seductive susurration emanating from the tranquillizer cupboard. They can't be wasted on generalized existential angst. They're for life-or-death situations.

I return to the forum, dainty porcelain cup of whisky and a suspiciously large and stinky brown roll-up in hand.

Speaking in a particularly sexy low-cut maroon ensemble

Bendy Girl, Kaliya Franklin is powering up an improvised ramp onto the stage accompanied by rapturous applause. Speaking in a particularly sexy low-cut maroon ensemble, she appears to be accompanied by what looks like a G4S security guard in a blazer and tie. I try to ignore this fact. I don’t succeed.

silly-voice-o-meter hitting about 5.5

Kaliya gave a brief introduction, but almost certainly due to the psychic trauma of what followed, the recollection entirely escapes me, save for the flash-back of the silly-voice-o-meter hitting about 5.5 on a scale of 0 to 10,

one of the most grievous errors of judgement 

In what must surely rank as one of the most grievous errors of judgement since Bill Clinton did-not-have sexual relations with “That Woman”, Bendy Girl announces that we are going to have a “musical quiz”.

 a “musical quiz”

My spare bedroom, (which is about to attract a £13 a week reduction in my housing benefit), erupts to the sound of The Wheels of the Bus...

“The wheels of the bus, go round and round, go round and round...”

the ringing afterglow of this thermonuclear stupidity

In the ringing afterglow of this thermonuclear stupidity which at one point included Noddy (sorry but it's true), I was so distressed that for a moment, reality began to slip away. UrrghArrrghUrrrrrrrrgh! goes the scream of the slo-boi on and on, on and on...

Presumably feeling that her experience of physical disability equates with ours with mental disabilities, Bendy Girl goes on to say that we are partly to blame for the bullying and harassment we suffer... and that it is the sequela of expecting the worst of people... and we need to be more open with our attitudes...


 "UrrghArrrghUrrrrrrrrgh!", I reply to the screen, "UrrghArrrghUrrrrrrrrghArrrgh!"

Several minutes later I regain my composure to hear her sign off and leave the stage with the Gandhi-esque phrase “Together we can change the world...” as once more my world is drowned in tinny music. This time it’s Queen

Buddy you're a young man hard man
Shoutin' in the street gonna take on the world some day
You got blood on yo' face
You big disgrace
Wavin' your banner all over the place
We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you

After lunch, (in my case 2 cups of whisky, 3 ‘roll-ups’ and a determined ignoring of the drug cupboard) the video feed resumes and introduces (for some reason) the Labour candidate for mayor of Bristol, Mervyn Rees, who doesn’t say (or do) anything.

Unlike the Labour Candidate - can speak.
And then, appears the magnificently camp Rt Hon. Peter Main, current Lord Mayor of Bristol, who says how pleased he was that the Brandon Trust users put employment top of their list of concerns... Leading to this conference, (seemingly mainly focussing on bus passes...).

I may have lost consciousness at this point

For some reason my mind wanders to Chomsky... I think I may have lost consciousness at this point...

Sometime later, I come-to, and realise once again I’m drowning in an tsunami of Schlager. This time it’s Abba‘s “Money Money Money”.

reality is about to be torn

The panic rises, an unstoppable red-hot column of lava - I make a grab for the pills, then inexplicably, the sense that reality is about to be torn into jagged, bloody pieces, recedes.

It all suddenly makes sense.

Money, Money, Money,
It must be funny,
In a rich man’s world.

Kaliya Franklin/Bendy Girl is an impressively brave woman. A fact that brooks no confutation.

own particular brand of neo-Liberal nastiness.

However the huge maturity, professionalism and realpolitik shown by her and the others in leading the campaign in defence of disabled peoples’ rights in the face of the government’s cuts, has led her right into the gaping maw of the Brandon Trust’s own particular brand of neo-Liberal nastiness.

drowned today in a sea of condescension and cheap music

The voices of the autistic and intellectually disabled people that the Brandon Trust and their “Official Ambassador” Kaliya Franklin, claim to represent, drowned today in a sea of condescension and cheap music.

We don’t need you to speak for us.
We can speak for ourselves.
But you’re not listening.

You got mud on your face
You big disgrace
Somebody better put you back in your place

We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you


  1. I have a feeling this will make me very unpopular - ha! - but, loved it.

  2. It's difficult to tell the truth sometimes. But it has to be done. We must fight this battle to the end, not capitulate at the first sight of the chocolate in their Officers' Mess.

  3. Tory wankfest. Period.

  4. Sometimes things are so awful one just has to turn away and pretend it didn't happen.

    Oh look! Tea and Kittens.

  5. Your attention seeking bitter vitriol is quite breath-taking. Really.

    1. So I am a breathless, bitter, vitriolic attention seeker? Ok, that granted, any 'Issues' you'd like to chat about?

  6. "Attention seeking?" Yes, I want my voice heard in this debate. I don't want to drown anyone else's out. But I do expect to have my views given space.

    "Bitter vitriol" Slightly tautological, but if there is vitriol and bitterness it is sweetened by some truths. "Kaliya Franklin/Bendy Girl is an impressively brave woman" and "the huge maturity, professionalism and realpolitik shown by her"

    And also I suspect you are failing to make the reasonable adjustments mandated by law to compensate me for my disability.

    "Quite breath taking" - Probably not as breath-taking as waking in the night paralysed from a fit and chocking on your own vomit. You may need some serious desensitization to cope with the rest of your life without getting PTSD.

    "Really" - a lame intensifier.

    Also, please have the courage to pick a single online identity and stick to it. Anonymous sniping is just soo trashy.

    Stand up and be counted.

  7. I though it ws absolutely bloody hilarious. Cant wait for part two.

    1. I wouldn't know what to say. Apart from: UrrghArrrghUrrrrrrrrgh!

  8. Big Society in action.

    1. There's no such thing a Society. Just a bucket of shit.

  9. To say it again: UrrghArrrghUrrrrrrrrgh!

  10. Oh Dear.... I stumbled upon this 'blog' (ha ha) as I thought it was about the 100 Voices conference. Then I realized it was a senseless and bitter rant. Poor you.


    1. I'm afraid I will have to deny "senseless". But I'll admit 'poor' for reasons you probably won't understand. Now, sing with me, "The Wheels on the Bus go round and round, round and round"...

    2. No you didn't stumble upon this piece. This "blog" is not visible to search engines. I guess you are a Brandon Trust employee?

  11. I don't know about Jon, up there, but I found it via twitter.

    Fritz, are you the same person that is being sued for £100k?

    Calm down Harry, really. LMAO

    1. ENTWICKLUNG DURCH IKONKLASMUS - I should always translate: Evolution through Iconoclasm.

      *sigh* Often the views expressed on the New Republic are not shared by the author let alone the editorial board.

      It's polemical rhetoric, I learnt it from Mr Gadsby, after he'd finished stuffing me with Orwell.

      Sometimes I even end up convincing myself.

    2. Polemic rhetoric != bitter vitriol and personal attacks on disabled and mocking of people with learning disabilities. But whatever floats your boat Harry.

      Keep up the great work of publicising others' work, whilst trying to get attention for yourself.

      Good luck with that.

    3. Polemic: In antagonistic rhetoric, the rhetor tries to accuse, discredit, indict, convict, defeat, neutralize, eliminate or even bring about the death of the opponent. Sometimes called "polemic" rhetoric. This is the opposite of nonantagonistic (cooperative) rhetoric. Antagonistic rhetoric divides. Cooperative rhetoric unites. The task of the rhetor is to distinguish between situations in which antagonistic rhetoric is necessary, and those in which nonantagonistic rhetoric is appropriate. .

      So Mr/s Rhetor, stake your claim for non-antagonism.

      Also, I mock Poodle-hair Bus Pass man, and Pooh Jobclub. I mock those that steal our voices and drown out our words. I mock myself and my symphony of funny noises.

      But more I mock the lack of solidity and structure to your argument.

    4. And why so anonymous?

    5. Actually posting anonymously, but using what you think is my first name is deeply creepy. I think you had better go away and not come back. I have your IP address and if want to start doing weirdo anon-pony shit then I'll tell my care manager at the LDP and get the Police involved.

  12. Not anonymous just out of ideas for a handle19 September 2012 at 03:27

    Are you @Skip_Licker?

    1. Me or the Troll? No, I'm not. Neither is s/he. Skippy's on BT in Cidershire, the Troll's on Virgin in Bristol.

  13. There is nothing here for you Brandon Trust. Go away.


    1. It's here.

      There are becoming a regular pair spotted on the Scene - this could get interesting.

  15. I am caught between laughter and tears. Witty writing on a sad state of affairs.

    1. Thank you. Although any wit present is likely to have been stolen from Clive James :)

  16. Ha ha :) perfect.. B.T- living a lie

  17. yes abandon all trust and get on the bus to london and complain about the shite music and the patronising verbal that oozes from this living a lie company

  18. I wonder if it would be more helpful to go and meet with The Brandon Trust and provide feedback directly so that the next conference can be improved upon? Your experience does sound excruciating but rather than criticising how about helping improve? My sense is that Brandon Trust are genuinely looking to assist and campaign for better support for people with learning disabilities... and probably would like some encouragement in doing so.

  19. A very useful and positive suggestion. Thank you.

  20. Lots of anonymous comments. Why so shy?