I can’t quite believe a month has gone past already! I have mostly been listening (and writing lots of notes!). Learning about learning disability. Learning about charity structure and fundraising (so many more elements to this than I thought!).

I love the way a whole world of information is opening up around me – when I listen to the radio or read the news, so many more stories grab my attention.

You might have heard the news stories about Collin Brewer, an independent member of the Cornish council. A formal investigation was started after he told the Disability News Service he believed there was a good argument for killing some disabled babies with high support needs because of the cost of providing them with services.

Youssef Abidat, who works at Mencap, wrote the following response to Collin Brewer’s comments, as part of Mencap’s call for Collin Brewer’s resignation.


“My name is Youssef. I work for learning disability charity Mencap. I live in London. I am born and bred in England.

I have heard about the comments that Cornwall councillor Collin Brewer said about disabled children being like ‘misshapen’ animals who should be ‘dealt with’ and ‘put down’.

I have a learning disability. I have a brain tumour, I have epilepsy and I am partially blind. I work, I volunteer my time. I’m a father of 2 children. I lost a son to cancer 5 years ago. I cared for him when he was ill. Am I a burden?

People with disabilities didn’t ask to be born this way. We didn’t ask to be treated differently. This is the hand life has dealt us. Who is he to tell us we should be ‘put down’?

It’s not fair, what he said. He hasn’t faced reality. He should think for one minute if he had a disabled child or if he was a carer of a disabled child.

Collin Brewer is a politician.

I would like to know how many people in his area would agree with what he has said.

He cannot say that sort of woggle and get paid for it. We are not a burden; he’s a burden wasting time and money spurting rubbish.

What would he think if he was told that he would be killed off for no apparent reason other than he existed?

What about people who are ill? Are they a burden? Would he put them down?

Children are the future. It doesn’t matter if they have a disability or not. If there are no children, there is no future.”

Mr Brewer resigned earlier in July and a by-election for a replacement is due to be held on 5 September.


  1. Hi Kathryn,
    Thank you for writing on this and bring this issue to light. In many part of the world, people with disabilities have not right, in fact, not just ‘equal right’, but just the right to live. I trust that we can all contribute the little we can to educate communities to fight this. Thanks!

  2. “I have mostly been listening (and writing lots of notes!)” that strikes a chord. Good to see this issue being aired. Unfortunately in the townships children with disabilities are often hidden from view and live an isolated segregated life often being sent to boarding schools for long periods of times. It is also shameful that attitudes such as those from the Cornish councillor still exist in the UK.

  3. Hi Kat, am so sorry I missed having more of a chat with you last week when we all met you in Paddington! My spine tingled when I read this blog; I am shocked that still there are people in this civilised world who reach a position that their misguided ideas can be heard. On reflection too, I am pleased to hear there are enough clearly-thinking individuals to make sure these voices and ideals are squashed. No one asks for their disability, be it physically obvious or otherwise; personally I would hate to be thought of as a burden on society. Power to those who add beautiful colour to life!

  4. Thank you Kat for posting on this and sharing Youssef’s piece. The greatest burden in society is indeed those who do not respect other people or society itself, who abuse the human rights of others or try to bully them psychologically or physically, who abuse and take for granted the support they themselves receive from society throughout their lives. Human society should care for and value all its members but some still seek to disrupt, undermine or destroy those principles.

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