Politics! Politics! Politics!

Colette Walker writes about her journey from being impacted by policies as a disabled person to getting involved in politics for disabled people.

"If you told me 10 years ago I would be so passionate about being involved in politics I would have laughed in your face. 

But, my life experience as a disabled child and adult has been a challenge then to top it off I become a lone parent / carer to my son who is totally blind and profoundly autistic.

At every stage of my life, I have had to fight, or work three times as hard as everyone else to get anywhere, yes I am visually impaired, I might need support at times but I am a human being and so is my son at the end of the day, and we expect to be treated as such, but in today's society we don't, which in 2017 is shameless. 

My father kept telling me I should be in politics with all my moaning and complaining at what was happening to me and many others in my situation .

Me ? Politics? No I don't think so !! I didn't go to a grammar / private school, I didn't go to university and not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. 

But low and behold, due to my involvement with Inclusion Scotland, I see a post on Access to Politics fund for disabled people, oh now what is this? Could I? Should I? Oh to hang, contact them and find out. 

All of a sudden I am meeting with a member of staff, discussing the fund and possibilities, then being given Lee's details about her project to encourage woman into politics, then going to Holyrood, meeting my local MP, going to a public meeting training day at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow, helping Katherine while she canvasses in her area in Musselburgh, going to another woman in politics meeting in Edinburgh where I met Kate and then attending a hustings meeting hosted by Glasgow disability alliance, where I had a very good discussion with the Conservative candidate in the local election.

Through going out, meeting new people, discussing topics in forums etc I feel I have built a lot of confidence already at speaking out for what I feel passionate about and how I feel things could be changed.

For a while I was undecided on what party I wanted to become a member of, but after looking at policies, and comparing that to what I am looking for in a party I eventually decided, but ultimately too late to stand in local elections. 

As I see it, things happen for a reason, now I am a member and GE is coming up I am planning on working hard for my party, I worked at the polling station last Thursday, will then be campaigning for my local MP and attending training offered, working in the new shop premises they have opened for GE doing leaflet work etc. 

I am now on the panel that has been set up to organise and revamp the Scottish benefit system now they have been devolved, so it makes it a fairer and less stressful system for the service users, this will be a great experience. 

I have joined two disabled groups to start working with them and getting myself known in this community, so when I plan to stand in future, they know I have their interest at heart, from one disabled person to another, one carer to another, one lone parent to another. 

It certainly has been a very different and enjoyable few months and this is only the start. Watch out!!