Disabled parking is the motorist's battleground

We don’t yet know the whys and wherefores of the tragic incident in Asda's car park, but we do know that when a resource is scarce, conflict often ensues

Share

We had my blue badge with us when we visited our local Tesco at the weekend. We had it, but we didn’t use it.

Tired and in pain, I had opted to stay in car with Five Live for company and seeing that there were only one or two spaces available we thought it best that we leave them available to someone who was actually intending to get out of their vehicle. My wife said that she and our two children could easily walk the extra five or ten metres this would entail.

She returned from the store fuming: Of the ten or so spaces available just three of the cars in them were actually displaying blue badges. Based on that, the chances were that we’d probably ended up leaving the vacant space I was entitled to use legally, but not morally because I was staying in the car, for the able bodied but idle.

As she returned Five’s breathless newsreader had just got to the tragic events of the weekend when a heated row between two men in the disabled spaces at an Asda had tragically resulted in the death of one of them.

Look, we don’t yet know the whys and wherefores of what police described yesterday as “an argument about nothing”.

But we do know that, as a general point, when a resource is scarce conflict follows. Disabled spaces at supermarkets are becoming scarce because they are increasingly being snaffled up by people who can’t be bothered to walk, depriving people who either can’t walk or who find it extremely difficult.

And the supermarkets don’t care. They’re afraid that fining the lowlives who pinch disabled spots will result in them taking their custom elsewhere or, in extremis, that if they did take action it would create a fuss, leaving them open to charges that they’re joining bungling town hall bureaucrats in their assault on the poor, picked upon, motorist.

This is where the gleeful populism of local government secretary Eric Pickles and his colleagues leads; the creation of a general perception that all parking restrictions can and should be ignored and if that means some disabled person has to walk a bit, tough, right coz they’re probably scroungers anyway.

I’ve written before that younger badge holders often take flak from older ones, and some non-badge holders, who think that we are trying it on. The Paralympian Kylie Grimes tweeted her distress about one such incident not long after the games, commenting wearily upon how quickly goodwill had drained away.

I’m not as disabled as the frankly incredible quadraplegic wheelchair rugby player, but I know that feeling. My family has had it when we park in a disabled space before I alight and they can see my sticks and the chunky caliper I wear most of the time.

Blue badges aren’t easy to come by. Only a tiny percentage of people who have them are cheats. The fishy looks are best focused on those who shamelessly use disabled spaces without any need to.

I’m not the sort of person who particularly enjoys public confrontation (except in print or on the radio). But I have started to take exception to these people. It’s risky, and it can lead to unpleasant situations, but I’ve had enough. It’s necessary.

Look, I don’t want the damn badge. I’d be delighted to be in a position where walking was easy. But it isn’t, and a parking space close to a shop is therefore something that I need. The same for other badge holders.

Laziness is not a disability but because of it those spaces are becoming scarce resources. When resources become scarce conflict ensues. With potentially tragic results.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Political satire is funny, but it also causes cynicism and apathy

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
It is much easier to correct errors on the web than in print  

There would be no need for corrections if we didn’t make mistakes in the first place

Will Gore
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links