I could not have said just two years ago that I was ideological or even sentimental about the welfare state, I simply made my contributions to the national debate on welfare reforms because I was affected by them. It didn't take long before I formed views that there is no ethical alternative to comprehensive welfarism in a developed modern nation. I dislike the thought of being an idealogue but I would fail at self-criticism if I didn't admit that I am and like all idealogues I see patterns in society which I try to explain through my idealist prism. One repeating pattern is that those of an ethical bent so out of the ordinary as to be indefensible in ordinary terms try to re-frame the standards that their ideas should be subjected to. In the case of the Coalition policy to save money through a under-occupancy penalty on social housing tenants with what are deemed spare bedrooms, the response to criticism that the policy was effectively a 'bedroom tax' was to aggressively brief the news media that the policy was to 'end the spare room subsidy'. It didn't matter that such a subsidy never existed to be removed, an insidious idea was disguised by placing it against an insidious background.
In the decade before the Coalition I'd struggled along in ad hoc employment, training programmes and futile attempts to get help as a person with a cognitive disability who was not learning disabled or mentally ill(yet). I made many tremendous mistakes and even learned from them. I'd tried to find some sense of belonging and support from online Autism groups but there was an astonishing Berlin-wall running right through them all: messageboards for parents and messageboards for Autistics, always on different websites. These two groups absolutely could not relate to each other and when they attempted to mix the results were explosive and bans were handed out. It did not go unremarked though that the parent boards were far more likely to ban anyone, way more likely to ban someone if they were Autistic and not a parent and to do so for even slight perceived infringements. Considering one group is thought to lack social skills and tolerate insults to their comfort zone, it was surprising that it was the other group that freaked out over even mild criticism and responded with abuse.
Unfortunately it is that group who control the largest and most powerful Autism organisation in the world: Autism Speaks. This organisation is quick to respond with lawyers and I will not go on about them, but they too practice re-molding standards to suit their ethics. In one example a splinter-organsation was founded here; Autism Speaks UK. Unfortunately Autistics had successfully fed local organisations and the National Autistic Society with toxic disability propaganda like the social model and 'nothing about us without us' which meant that ASUK found itself in a hostile environment and without the usual option of simply excluding Autistics from every area they were wishing to influence. They went from describing themselves as 'the UK's leading Autism charity'(as long as you ignored the then 50-year old National Autistic Society) to 'the UK's leading Autism research charity' and changed their name to Autism Research UK. People still didn't buy it though so they got round to calling themselves 'Autistica'.
If it sounds similar to 'Aspergia', an infamous Autistic community from 2000-2002(spin-offs and splinters continued to use the name afterwards), that's because this appears to be a deliberate attempt to make people think that the organisation is Autistic-friendly. Aspergia was one of the most fondly remembered communities, but also the closest you could get to an online 'Aspie Benevolent Militant Fascist Republic' planning supremacy and baked THC-based confectionary.
Why bring them up? Because they are the only source for comment in reports featured in the news today about LSE research into the 'costs of Autism', you'd actually think that the press release the reports are based on were put out by 'Autistica'. If it shows anything, it's that they may have changed their name(twice) but not their crummy ethics.
Now you know Who, next post I'll tell you Why.