During the Christmas holiday madness, when every car in the country
seemed to be competing for every parking space, there appeared to
be an increasing number of cars that were not displaying blue
badges parked in blue badge spaces.
I get really angry about this, particularly when my driver
can’t find a space. Convenient, safe parking is one of the
few privileges that people with mobility problems have.
I’ve tried to dream up a few ways of getting revenge, from
“accidentally” scraping my wheelchair along the side of
an offender’s car (criminal damage, so I’m told), to
having special stickers printed to plaster across the offenders
windscreen with slogans like “You’ve got my parking
space: would you like my disability as well?” or simply
“You Inconsiderate B*****d”.
Occasionally, if I spot somebody parking illegitimately in a blue
badge space, I will confront them. When I ask them why they are
parked illegally, the responses range from: “That’s not
my car” (but I just saw you driving it! I’m paralysed,
not stupid!), to “I’m shopping for my disabled
relative” (and that’s made you an honorary disabled
person, has it?) to “I’m only going to be a couple of
I’m surprised that nobody’s told me to mind my own
business – but there again, it is my business, I
There are problems with the scheme, which lead to frequent abuse.
Labour MP Ross Cranston pointed to a weak legal framework for
enforcement of the scheme during the House of Commons debate on the
When I ask the large retailers about abuse of blue badges in their
car parks they say they have no effective sanctions for
transgressors. It may be an urban myth that some GPs authorise blue
badges for anyone over the age of 65, but research would find the
truth. Cranston has said that illegal copies of blue badges are
changing hands for up to £400.
We need some new ideas to put back some respect into the blue badge
scheme, and to make abuse of it socially unacceptable.