There are lots of things that have to be decided before we can get a new organisation off the ground. There are lots of obstacles that we will need to overcome. I want to see a union that as many disabled people as possible will sign up to, and that we can all participate in even when we don't agree. Something that takes accounts of the range of impairments and illnesses that disabled people have, while still allowing everyone to take part. These aspirations mean a lot of things to overcome, in terms of practicalities and in terms of principles.
I want the union to be effective at representing disabled people, and at securing positive change in the lives of disabled people. That means working out how things can be done effectively.
I don't want the union to replace existing organisations or subsume them. That means identifying what's already done well, and working out how to support it without duplicating work.
I also don't want to be controlling and dictatorial. That means working out how what I want fits in with what other people want, and integrating as much as possible of different hopes and dreams for the new organisation.
I have a lot of ideas. This idea has turned into a dream for me, and it's occupying a lot of my thought, so I've developed those ideas a lot. But it's not just about my ideas, or my dream - this is for all of us. I don't want to share all my ideas and have them accepted by inertia, or be seen as a fait accompli, a done deal.
So rather than post a load of my ideas as blog posts, or in a forum, I want to talk about my ideas, and all of your ideas and your thoughts, in a more interactive way. There's a lot of questions:
- What will be the essential principles of the union, and what will be its aims?
- How will it make decisions?
- What kind of things will it do, and how will it do them?
- How will money be raised and spent?
- How will meetings be run?
- How will it relate to other organisations, existing and ones that may be set up in the future?
- Should we even be doing this?
This isn't just going to be me telling everyone what I think we should do. This is the chance for everyone to share ideas. I will share my ideas, and the reasoning behind them, but I hope to be asking questions as much as I answer them.
Of course, you can share your ideas without coming to the chat. I'm not the only person trying to work this out, and you can all share your ideas on your own social media, blogs, or whatever. Please do let me know about posts like that, and I'll try to re-share everyone's ideas as well. In the 2 weeks after the chats, I'll post here more about options and what we could do, based on what everyone contributes to the live chat. Then we'll probably have some more live chats, and hopefully we'll be nearer to getting something off the ground then.
I hope to see as many of you as possible in the live chats.
We can do this, together.