Dear Collin Brewer
Around 2 months ago a huge mistake you made came to light.
In your role as local councillor you made a hot-headed comment that 'children with disabilities should be put down'. Apparently you were angry. Apparently you were stressed.
Now anyone in public office; teachers, ministers, police officers, councillors and so on should never entertain such notions, let alone say them aloud. My brain wouldn't know how to begin to form such an insult, whatever the circumstances in which it was used.
The world got wind of this leak of your outdated and bigoted thinking and was outraged. Not just the disability community, but any person with an ounce of decency felt emotions ranging from anger to fury to sadness and disappointment. They rallied on radio shows and internet sites to tell stories of love and positivity about family members with disabilities.
When I say the world, I don't simply mean your world of Wadebridge East. As a local disability writer and campaigner I watched as groups as far away as Australia and America demanded your resignation. Many wanted you formally charged, others wanted to confront you personally.
I personally rolled my eyes in your direction, and thought you a buffoon, a dinosaur and a sad individual who has yet to understand the value of those with disabilities within our lives and communities. I wrote you a carefully considered and balanced letter which I doubt you read, explaining the wonder our daughter Natty, who has Down's Syndrome brings to the entire family and everyone she meets. I pointed out your naiivety at turning a blind eye to public opinion.
I admitted that you were not a Geoffery Clark in my eyes, a man with a manifesto of hatred, but a man wholly unsuited to the office you were clinging stubbornly onto despite a glowing past.
Then you resigned after a hard-hitting interview live on the Laurence Reed show.
The world sighed a sigh of relief.
What you don't realise Collin Brewer is that at that time I and many of those in the media were concerned for your mental wellbeing. We worried how you would cope with your long and fruitful career ending in such a hateful way. We worried about your self-esteem, your mental health and, to be frank, your personal safety. And here is the thing, we actually did much to protect you from the wrath you had created for yourself. We smoothed things over, telling people to forget you if they could not forgive you, to move on and pour their energies into more positive work to improve the lives of those with disabilities.
We held back on interviews and publishing more information about you. We assumed you had slipped quietly away to lick your wounded pride and perhaps redress the hurt you had caused so many by doing some voluntary work or fundraising for Disability Cornwall (to an employee of whom you had made your fateful comment).
We were all shocked into silence that you decided to stand again for election this May.
The audacity, the arrogance, and again, the ignorance that the world was watching and waiting.
The results have just been counted and you have won by a whisker, 4 votes if I'm not mistaken. Who these people who voted for you are do not matter. They may have been oblivious to your comments in the first place.
The worlds disability groups will now be joining force.
Friday, 3 May 2013
Collin Brewer: Re-elected but not welcome.
Down's Syndrome, Down Syndrome, support, parenting bigot, colin brewer, Collin Brewer, letter, put children with disabilities down, wadebridge east
I am a former language teacher, wife and Mum of 2 beautiful girls. I am also an expert in Down's Syndrome. I was thrown onto a crash degree course in the subject 6 years ago when our youngest child was born.
My mission is now to support and inspire new parents, show the world what is possible for our beautiful children and teach everyone that Down's Syndrome is not to be feared.