In 1968 at the Mexican Olympic games, two athletes stood on the podium in the Gold and Bronse medal positions and gave a clenched fist salute that came to be known as the Black Power Salute.
Tonight, the majority of Paralympic GB team appreared to give their own understated version, in the form of a Disabled Power act, by hiding the lanyards for their identity documents which are prominently marked with the name of games sponsor Atos. Atos are the French company who carry out work capability assessments on the sick and disabled.
Even though Atos currently have at least 40% of their judgements appealed, and at least 40% of appeals are won, they still got a contract to assess disabled people’s level of disability for the new benefit to replace Disabled Living Allowance (DLA).
While the athletes are in a no win position, in which they can’t openly criticise a sponsor without risking their place in the squad, or without risking a medal if they win, this small act is tremendously appreciated. While the athletes would no doubt be accused of carrying out an overtly political act, I would suggest that allowing Atos to be a major sponsor is just as political, it presents them as a trusted entity in an environment in which they are probably detested.
It just goes to show that anything is possible, if you dangle enough money under the right persons nose. I doubt there is any way in which those accepting the money from Atos could not have known how Atos are regarded by disabled people in the UK.
All I can say is that it was fucking awesome!!!