My sister took me to the Magna Science Museum in Rotherham last week. The site of a former steelworks closed in 1993 and converted into a family tour on what went into the record-breaking steel production and manufacturing innovations of the 20th century. Had I been born in another time, there would have been a place for me in South Yorkshire's factories but it was not meant to be. But before I'd even gone in I received a phone call.
It was the National Autistic Society. Some weeks ago I filled in one of their surveys, about how important Disability Living Allowance is to me(you can guess for yourself by reading The Phantom Menace In Starbucks Bin; something for which the DLA assessor wrote: "can not be in an unfamiliar place unsupervised"). They were contacting me and others who filled in the survey because our respective MPs were of the view that the planned DLA reforms are the way to go and the National Autistic Society as well as us believe very strongly that this is a mistake.
On the 16th of March there will be a lobby session at Portcullis House organised by the NAS and they have invited many people to come and lobby their MPs on DLA reform. I am not optimistic about this and without going into too much detail: virtually every Coalition MP in Yorkshire has been 100% loyal in their voting since May 2010, including the one for my constituency. I had reservations about this as it was a long way to go and at great cost to be disappointed. The NAS have told me now they will pay my travel costs and that of the necessary guide I will need, which removes the largest barrier but not all. I have to consider whether to go as myself or as Mason Dixon, Autistic. If I'm only going to be speaking to my own MP, then it's myself because I'm very prickly at the moment on not having my location and by extension my local A4e branch identified. I can't be connected with what I write online until A4e is long behind me for certain. If this session is organised the way I hope, then Mason Dixon, Autistic will be the far more effective speaker and breaking cover in this controlled environment will be worth it.
It's not certain yet what will happen. I have only been to London once as a child and I need to ask some people tomorrow if any of them could be available. I hold no hope of changing minds at this event considering the pathetic voting records of MPs, but some gains can be made in Case file #1: the investigation into the reasons behind the Coalition's welfare policy. Extensive preparation will be necessary and blogging time will be lower than it already is until the 16th if my attendance goes ahead. I expect to embarrass some people. Good.