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STUART TAYLOR COLUMN: From Abba, Ikea and Swedish House Mafia to Cerebral Palsy beer.

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: July 20, 2013

SWEDEN has given us many great things, Abba, Ikea, Swedish House Mafia but now it hands us the best of the lot — Cerebral Palsy beer.

This isn't the start of a Frankie Boyle joke, without the punch-line, according to reports pubs and bars in the Swedish city of Gothenburg with good access for disabled people are being "rewarded" with limited edition bottles of Cerebral Palsy beer, known locally as CPA.

According to the BBC, the initiative is the work of The Gothenburg Cooperative for Independent Living (GIL), which hopes that the beer will get people talking about the issue of physical and mental disabilities.

The beer was launched at the Gothenburg beer and whisky fair in April. Only 220 litres were brewed at first but it has apparently been so popular that a further 1,600 litres have been brewed. The beer even has a comic picture on it of a lady in a wheelchair who, seemingly has CP, and is hammered!

As I have Cerebral Palsy and also partake in the odd San Miguel or two, I found myself wondering if this thought-provoking gimmick was a good idea or not.

Anders Westgerd, of GIL, told the BBC: "Disabled people are marginalised in media and hence you have to do something non-traditional to create feelings and make people angry."

Make people angry? I'm not sure that's the right way to go about things. While I'm all for equality and anything that helps break down barriers, surely it's not about getting angry it should be about trying to help people be more aware and accepting of people's needs, disabled or otherwise.

The countless times I have had total strangers come up to me in a bar or club and say "good on you for getting out and having a beer" while the sentiment is well meaning, the reality is I'm just having a few beers just like anyone else would.

Although I must admit I do make such "good on you" conversations last a tad longer if they happen to be female.

Well, it's rude not to isn't it?

Would I go as far as letting her buy me a drink? Well of course, I'm all for equality.

I will leave the final words to my new Swedish friend Anders: "We're not cuter than anyone else. We're just as stupid, smart, confident and happy as you are."

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