Pride's Purge

Tory Britain:

The directors responsible for the Carillion bankruptcy should get MILLIONS in pay-offs:

Carillion fat cats still earning up to £55,000 a MONTH even after quitting

The workers made redundant by the Carillion bankruptcy should get VASECTOMIES:

Tory vice chair urged jobless to stop having kids or UK would ‘drown in wasters’

Yet more Tory eugenics …

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The poor side of life

Hello readers, and thank you for reading my blog. It always feels like Thursday comes round very quickly, and because Thursday mornings are usually very busy outside the Jobcentre thats entirely appropriate.

I’ll start with the weather, freezing cold, although not quite as cold as some other weeks and it wasn’t raining, brilliant that made a change both for us and the people having to use the Jobcentre. There’s nothing worse than being wet and cold and not having the ability to dry off.

I arrived at the Jobcentre and was almost immediately met by a lovely lady by the name of Vicky. She had travelled all the way from Salford, which is quite a distance away with some extra food parcels containing goodies such as fruit, UHT milk, margarine etc. Believe me when you have nothing these essentials become luxuries and you treasure them. Vicky was so lovely and…

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clusterfucka

I have received my PIP decision which is to pay me £214.65 every four weeks, that’s a loss of £95.95 from DLA which was £310.60. All else being equal, and it isn’t, I can take the hit, it’s manageable.

My first payment is due on 6 February which means neither DLA nor PIP this month, an instant hit of £214.65 from my real time income so that, in my retirement, the government can teach me how to manage on a work related system of payment in arrears.

Curiously, I managed my entire working life on payment in arrears, whether weekly or monthly, but it seems it is important that I now relearn this in retirement.

Presumably DLA was paid in advance, I have no idea, and my last payment was 12 December and with PIP starting in February, it just leaves a hole. It might all balance out in the end, but a hole is a hole which just takes something else unexpected to make that a sodding great ditch.

My Pension Credits were due to be paid on 5th January, they weren’t, so that hole instantly became a ditch of £490.73 (on top the £95.95).

I called Pension Credits on Friday and was told their system was down. That wasn’t the reason I wasn’t paid, it was just down and phone staff had no access to it.

I have rung them this morning and was asked if there had been any change in my circumstances. I told them I was moving from DLA to PIP. ‘That’ll be the problem,’ they told me. Although PIP has nothing to do with Pension Credits, it has, apparently, caused a glitch in the system which they will look into urgently and sort out as soon as possible.

Ok, so two completely unrelated benefits are linked in such a way that one disappears without notice under Universal Credit. The costs of Universal Credit over its ‘lifetime’ are estimated at £15.8 billion, much of the cost being linked to software problems of which I now have two, their system and my grey matter, neither of which is doing well.

All this is happening because the Tories decided that the old system of social security created perverse incentives to sit around all day watching super sized plasma TVs, drinking alcohol and taking drugs and, naturally, sleeping them off. Universal Credit has introduced ‘conditionality’. Claimants are faced with a series of mandated tasks, often meaningless and trivial, which they must complete or face a sanction. The government believes that people will be incentivised by being deprived of the most basic means of survival. I can see how that works, the poorer you are the harder you have to work to stay alive, which means that the loss of all income must transform people into super workers… with nothing to live on. What could possibly go wrong with that? The future is bright, if you believe that death is the doorway to the glory of heaven.

As a retired man I mistakenly thought that the pension I had paid into all my working life would provide some surcease to the daily travails of worrying about where the next penny might be coming from and enable some income stability with which to relax somewhat into my dotage and spend my time working on things that matter to me as a human being, like writing.

Grand fool that I am, I am writing. About a government that is hell bent on hounding all of us from the cradle into an early grave. Life, that most precious free gift of nature, far from being celebrated and enjoyed for the wonder it is on a planet that is capable of meeting our every need, if not our every consumer want and desire, has been turned into an inhumanly contrived man made burden we must earn our (begrudged) right to keep on a daily basis. Or else!

When I look at the Tories, a quite revolting task, I see a bunch of criminals basking in their own contrived ignorance. They are dedicated to siphoning the wealth of the nation, its assets, resources and people into the hands of the already exceedingly wealthy to stash away in Tax havens while those they have robbed die in their hundreds of thousands.

The Tories, the gateway to oblivion for the many, not the few.

KOG. 08 January 2018.

torya

It is not the strongest of a species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one most adaptable to change, that survives. Charles Darwin.

The growth of civilisation was made possible because every able bodied person is capable of producing more goods than they need for their own personal survival, bearing in mind that human societies were formed and flourished long before mechanisation.

Work, as we now know it, was established in the Industrial Revolution. Workers were not paid for what they produce, but the minimum that the industrialists could get away with, whilst keeping all the produce and the profits from their exploited workers.

To be honest, I think that overall we’ve been pretty tolerant of this over the last two and a half centuries, as far as I know not a single factory or business owner has been strung up, not least for the exploitation, beating, maiming and killing of children in the work place. Measures to support and protect workers were hard fought for and hard won by workers unions, which are, to this day, utterly despised by many business owners, conservatives and, what we now call, the right wing media.

I think it is remarkable that contempt for workers seems to exist in direct proportion to the greed of factory/corporate/business owners. Perhaps it is just an extension, from feudal times, of contempt for the peasantry and perhaps that helps explain the contempt of the Tory party, which is establishment to the bone, who are busily dragging us back to, for them, the halcyon days of Poor Houses/Work Houses and Debtors Prisons.

Work, or employment, is one of those encultured norms, like Royalty and Christmas, that are so difficult to challenge. Working class people who vote Tory, called deferential voters, also tend to follow the Daily Express, Daily Mail, and latterly The Sun, line in despising our Unions, and are frequently likened, with a fair degree of accuracy, to turkeys voting for Christmas.

The corporate media is well practised in the dark arts of division, sowing and breeding hatred between different groups of tax paying workers. In the recent Birmingham bin strike, the Daily Mail headline, or one of them, was “Birmingham bin strike costing taxpayers £40,000 a day”. Stoking discord and petty hatreds is pretty standard stuff, as George Osborne proved in his 2012 Conference speech, “Where is the fairness, we ask, for the shift-worker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their next door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits?” Sadly, it works like a charm, preventing workers from seeing or doing anything about the daily reality of being robbed blind in the work place and the accumulation of wealth made on the back of their daily toil and even being paid a minimum wage that is not enough to live on.

Not content with getting away with paying a minimum wage, many companies now exploit workers through zero hours contracts and what Damien Green, then Work and Pensions Secretary, called the exciting Gig Economy, saying it had huge potential, but omitted to say, ‘for worker exploitation’.

It is a measure of the tenacity and determination of workers, even the most exploited and befuddled by political and media rhetoric, that their ability to adapt and change under the most trying conditions imposed upon them is taken for granted and exploited by their oppressors.

Not so their oppressors, the merest hint of actually paying their fair share of taxes or decent wages is enough to send them into apoplectic rage, resentment and the bribery of politicians to maintain their accustomed and cosy lives of greed and plenty at our expense.

It is in the nature of human vanity that those who enjoy the benefits of the current system the most think of themselves as the strongest and most intelligent, but they are the least adaptable.

The Tories despise the rise of social media and its existence as an open democracy for ordinary people. They simply cannot adapt and can be frequently seen walking into the brick wall of their own privilege and ignorance and would like nothing better than to shut social media down. The Snoopers Charter, under the guise of preventing terrorism is, in reality, a means to snoop into the lives of ordinary people who they uniformly despise.

Unable to adapt, they choose repression and when challenged they bluster, hide, lie and deny, or besmirch and vilify those who oppose them.

2018 is going to be an interesting year, because, if Darwin is right, then the end is swiftly approaching for the Tory party which is ripping us all off and has plunged the country into chaos, not least in our greatest ever achievement, our NHS.

It is not my intention to suggest that the Tories should die, and, like the dinosaurs, become extinct, but it is my personal and fervent hope that, as a political party, they disappear into the vault of history and never darken our lives again. Then we might begin to address the oppression and exploitation that has bedeviled us for centuries and achieve a change for the better for all ordinary people, the many, not the few.

KOG. 07 January 2018.

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/britain-1700-to-1900/industrial-revolution/children-in-the-industrial-revolution/

http://www.sarahalbeebooks.com/2012/01/poorhouses/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4794372/Birmingham-bin-strike-costing-taxpayers-40-000-day.html#ixzz53RkFQZlo

https://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/george-osbornes-speech-conservative-conference-full-text

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dwp-gig-economy-damian-green-speech-holiday-minimum-wage-sick-pay-hours-a7421071.html

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/ip-bill-law-details-passed

Politics and Insights

Related imageI rarely venture into large retail areas and shopping centres. They make me feel unwell. I’m rather claustrophobic to begin with. I also have lupus, one of my symptoms is a quite extreme photosensitivity. The lighting in these places quite often triggers an attack of vertigo, nausea, incapacitating disorientation, co-ordination difficulties, muscle rigidity, temporary and severe visual distortions and a very severe headache.

However, I visited one recently with a friend, who was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. He promised we would visit just two shops, and that our visit would be over quickly.

What struck me straight away is how much retail design is now just about revenue-producing. Shopping malls are unforgiving, soulless and unfriendly places. I was reminded of something I read by David Harvey, about the stark reality of shrinking, privatised and devalued public spaces. Neoliberal marketisation has manifested ongoing conflicts over public access to public space, where profiteering…

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Trutha

Seeing the title of this piece, readers can be forgiven if their immediate reaction is that I am just being ridiculously naive.

Politicians and lying go together like a horse and carriage, fish and chips, Batman and Robin, Theresa May and Brexit cluster fuck. Surely everybody knows that!

When David Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010, he did so on the back of a whole series of manifesto lies and what prompted me to begin ‘A letter a Day to Number 10’ was the need to expose the truth of what the Tories were doing to Britain. Not least amongst all the destructive policies that the Tories unleashed was that we the people were forced to rescue the (too big to fail) banks and as a consequence were punished by the Tories with austerity. One of George Osborne’s most used expressions was that we, the bread and butter people of Britain, had to pay down the debt.

In his 2015 summer budget speech, Osborne said, “So those who oppose any savings to Tax Credits will have to explain how on earth they propose to eliminate the deficit, let alone run a surplus and pay down debt.” He very specifically laid the responsibility for eliminating the deficit and paying down the debt on low income families, who, as we all know, had gambled away and crashed the global economy.

You couldn’t make it up, but George Osborne did.

Year on year the lies kept coming until Theresa May became Prime Minister at which point the lies became much more sinister and cynical, she promised the Earth and gave us hell, not least to the survivors of the Grenfell Tower catastrophe to whom she promised, “Residents of Grenfell Tower will be rehoused at the earliest possible opportunity, within three weeks at the latest.” They are still waiting six months later.

Poor, sick and disabled people are being brutally punished under Universal Credit (UC) and despite calls to pause or scrap the rollout of UC, the government are having none of it, claiming the system is working.

But something else has risen up and grown since 2010. Those familiar with my letters, are probably also aware of the incredible artwork of Stew Art’s postcards to David Cameron, the biting humour of Katy Anchant’s letters to her unwitting paramour, Dave, her ‘little pink flip-flop’, and the postcards of Linda Strickler. There were also the beautifully illustrated ‘Dear Dave and Nick’ letters of Bern O’Donoghue.

Also rising and now dominating the political landscape, we have Vox Political, Skwawkbox, The Canary, Another Angry Voice, Pride’s Purge, The Poor Side of Life, Dorset Eye, SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites), Evolve Politics, Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC), Samuel Miller (a tireless campaigner for social justice), Taxpayers Against Poverty (TAP), Rachael @Rachael_Swindon on Twitter, Sue Jones – Politics and Insights, Welfare Weekly and many others who have slipped my mind. There are also individual campaigners like Paula Peters and protector groups against fracking and ecocide, amongst many others.

What we all have in common is speaking the truth to power and exposing the lies, deceit and corruption of the Tories and holding government to account and demanding justice.

In 2010, David Cameron promised, “Greater transparency across Government is at the heart of our shared commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account.” He lied.

It should not be down to us as individuals or for organisations to dedicate our precious time to exposing government corruption and lies, that is a travesty of justice. We need much more stringent powers to hold government to account, not a bung happy free for all amongst over privileged career politicians who think and behave as if they are above the law and sneer at court judgements and, of course, the many and diverse ordinary people who make up this once functioning nation.

Is truth in politics really such an outlandish thing to demand from our supposed representatives in government? Are they not just glorified (mostly in their own sight) managers of the nations laws, finances, social services, infrastructure and our international interests? The Queen calls them ‘her government’, if so, why isn’t she paying for them and not us and why isn’t she demanding that they do their damned jobs with honesty, integrity and due diligence and if they don’t, and they aren’t, why is she not kicking their worthless hides out onto the streets or putting them behind bars?

In 21st century Britain can we not do better than a bunch of lying, corrupt, self serving criminals in the, so called, mother of all parliaments?

Truth in politics should be the very least of our demands and expectations.

It is time for a new, honest, accountable, politics, it is time for Labour headed by Jeremy Corbyn and a manifesto for the many, not the few. The challenges he faces are immense, from a corrupt right wing media, a dirty opposition, opposition within the Labour party, a country in Tory induced chaos, corporate self interest and greed, to name the more obvious ones, but above all he must be true to the people in an institution steeped in historic elitism and privilege and the insidious corrupting influences of wealth and power. Personally, I think Jeremy Corbyn, the team of people around him and we, are ready, and most especially those whose lives are most at risk every day under the Tories.

I am 66 years old, first generation NHS, and I never imagined that I’d see the country, and the world, so betrayed by corruption, self interest and greed or such a rise in informed opposition to it. It is very much time for change. Decency, honesty and integrity are, and always have been, powerful, and the politics of our time demands them for the present and for any kind of humane, sustainable, future. The generation that survived WWII built a Britain fit for all and we can do it again.

KOG. 02 January 2018

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/10-big-policy-promises-broken-6965585

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/chancellor-george-osbornes-summer-budget-2015-speech

https://news.sky.com/story/theresa-may-pledges-to-rehouse-grenfell-tower-fire-victims-in-three-weeks-10917886

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/disability-cuts-department-for-work-and-pensions-esa-a7560961.html

https://www.ft.com/content/03f2fe5a-b40e-11e7-aa26-bb002965bce8

https://www.facebook.com/StewArtsPostcardsToNumber10/?fref=ts

http://www.deardaveandnick.com/

https://dpac.uk.net/

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/jun/01/government-data-david-cameron-letter

http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2017/05/16/dwp-sets-80-benefit-appeal-rejection-target

downing-street-protest

In 1921, C P Scott, editor of the Manchester Guardian for nearly 50 years, wrote an essay to mark the papers centenary in which he wrote that the “primary office” of a newspaper is accurate news reporting, saying “comment is free, but facts are sacred”.

He would likely have abhorred the present time where news is less the result of investigative journalism and largely just the regurgitation (copy and pasted) of whatever is reported on newswire or PR copy.

Modern news reporting is in a parlous state, not least because the expression ‘fake news’ has been dragged from obscurity, where it belonged, and has been forcibly injected into the current mess by those who should know better and those for whom it serves their twisted agenda of falsity and deception. It comes at a heavy price, in particular for those who are the main consumers, but not creators, of news, ordinary people. The most invidious use of ‘fake news’ is in dismissing anything that the user wishes to dismiss without bothering to provide any evidence. Used in that way, it becomes a term of deception in itself, and it is a mark of our times that grappling with the news is like trying to find our way in a thick smog, it befuddles the mind, which is entirely the intent.

We live in an age of deception in which war is peace, or as George W put it – spreading democracy, and driving millions of people into poverty, as the Tories are, incentivising them to work.

Incentivising people into work through sanctions and benefit delays is not fake news, but it is a deception that has at its heart human rights violations which are driving people into penury and death.

Claims for social security have ceased to be access to a social safety net which people pay into over their life time, and have, under the Tories, become trial by ordeal, or conditionality, with requirements so exacting, cruel and harsh, failure, and therefore punishment by sanctioning, is almost guaranteed.

The Tories claim that trial by ordeal, or incentives, help (drive) people into work. The entire system is based on double speak for forced labour, which, no matter how you wrap it, is a violation of people’s human rights, just as escalating poverty is a denial of people’s right to life and homelessness is a denial of people’s rights to respect for privacy, family life, home and correspondence.

The point of human rights it to prevent suffering, mental torment and anguish and premature death, through reduced life expectancy and suicide.

The Tories have long expressed their desire to rid themselves of the Human Rights Act, but why bother when they can so successfully circumvent them through deceit, psychobabble and corruption? Exactly the same tactics which have been used to bring our NHS to its knees and privatise it.

What we are witnessing is a degree of UK state criminality against the people which was hitherto unthinkable, such that it beggars public belief, which is exactly the point. Fooling the public is now a government industry, ramped up under David Cameron, costing the public tens of millions of pounds every year, backed by a vicious right wing media.

Thankfully, the growth of social and independent media is proving to be a significant thorn in the side of government corruption. The power of the people is growing daily, much to the government’s dismay and anger. What is significant about the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, or Snoopers Charter as it is known, is that under the guise of preventing terrorism, it is every member of society who suffers from paternalistic and ever more intrusive government policies.

What is truly shocking is that all of these policies, enacted by government, through subterfuge and deceit, without our consent, are paid for by us. We paid for the bankers bailout, we pay for austerity, we pay for Universal Credit and every sanction piled upon us, we pay for the Snoopers Charter, we pay to be lied to, we pay for the privatisation of our NHS, we pay for corporate tax breaks and tax avoidance and evasion and we pay the salaries, expenses, food and booze bills of this rogue government. No matter what it is, we, the people, always pay.

Has anyone heard a single ‘thank you’, ever? Hardly, because they despise us. The Tories are bleeding us dry and the only issues that remain are how and when we get rid of them.

I wish everyone a happy and politically active new year, make every one of our lives count against this atrocious government of thieves and charlatans, who have not suffered a day of the austerity they have imposed upon us, indeed, they are all better off because we paid for that too.

KOG. 31 December 2017

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/figures-show-link-between-benefit-10311087

https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/work-as-a-health-outcome-making-work-pay-and-other-conservative-myths-and-magical-thinking/

http://www.flassbeck-economics.com/the-connection-between-universal-credit-ordeals-and-experiments-in-electrocuting-laboratory-rats-by-sue-jones/

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/07/nhs-bosses-warn-of-mental-health-crisis-with-long-waits-for-treatment

https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/human-rights

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/07/theresa-may-human-rights-european-charter-terrorists

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/30/health-act-means-death-of-nhs

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-cameron-spends-10million-army-7029803

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/29/snoopers-charter-bill-becomes-law-extending-uk-state-surveillance

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/mps-pocket-another-bumper-pay-9910734

The poor side of life

Hi folks my apologies I’m having to write this week’s blog on my phone so if it’s not up to scratch then I apologise in advance. This week was our annual Christmas demo, we do this every year and have every done for three years now. We didn’t do this on the first year of our demos, I don’t know why, but we should have done. I do regret that now. I planned the demo loosely around the theme ‘A Universal Credit’, normally we wear costumes but this year we didn’t I simply didn’t have time although a friend made placards for us to wear which is always much better than carrying them with does become hard work after a while. There’s a lot to be said for sandwich boards at times like these.

Because my daughter had finished school for the Christmas holidays the day before I was able…

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Grenfell Action Group

By now it almost goes without saying that a catalogue of failures and criminal negligence contributed to the Grenfell Fire disaster. The criminally negligent decision to replace the external cladding and insulation with inferior alternatives that were highly toxic and highly combustible was of course chief among these. But there were many other factors that contributed to this catastrophe: the gross overdevelopment of the adjacent area that badly compromised emergency access, the gross underfunding of the fire service over recent years that left them ill-equipped to deal with the enormity of the challenge they were faced with, the smoke detection and extraction system and the fire alarms, all of which appear to have failed, the botched installation of the windows and the decision to fix gas pipes for the new heating and hot water system to the walls of the stairwell and lobbies. All of these factors appear likely to…

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188a

When I was at school I was often reprimanded for being a dreamer. I am very pleased to announce that it is a failing that has, above all others, lasted to this day.

But what does it mean to be a dreamer? It is used as a pejorative term but which, if it makes you lots of money, is called, innovation, entrepreneurial, blue sky thinking, being creative, thinking outside the box, success. But, if it isn’t index linked to a successful career, the stock market and profit it’s a put down for what is in simple terms, caring and consideration.

Looking back, it is easy to see that what my being dreamer was all about was caring enormously about life in hard times. It wasn’t just an escape into la la land, it was a way of working things out and what mattered to me. It was an internal exploration of life, the universe and everything and it remains a critical ability in today’s hard times and it is as precious to me now as it was then.

Christmas time is here, and, as I’ve said many times, I don’t ‘do’ Christmas any more, but that does not mean I don’t think about it and this year more than most. So please bear with me while I DO a bit of Christmas.

What has struck me this year is the impossible comparison between the relentlessly dismal world of the Tories and the very real and present hope in people for better and reaching out for that. Across the country people are gearing up for a Christmas in Tory DisMay Land, homeless projects, food banks, helping others caught in the Universal Credit death trap, making sure that children do not go hungry and have at least one small present to open on Christmas Day, in this, the, so called, 6th richest nation in the world and the reality of social exclusion from any share in that wealth. Living in Tory Britain is like living with Scrooge on Crack.

We talk about a light at the end of the tunnel, an expression I’ve used many times, but I think we’re being disingenuous. People are being beacons of light every day, and never more so than at Christmas. The light isn’t some fairy god light which has become occluded by the brutality of the Tories ideologically driven austerity.

I wonder how many people out there are planning to share a meal this Christmas with someone in need, with a lonely pensioner, someone less able than themselves, or even in the many centres that will be open (for homeless people not the least) to people in want of a meal and a little human kindness and consideration? No one will be recording the numbers, data grubbing, extolling their own virtues, they’ll just be getting on with it. And if that isn’t the real and present light, I don’t know what is.

It’s the light of living people, real people, sharing love. I am 66 years old and it’s something I have witnessed every year since I was a small child and in receipt of that loving care myself, with little grasp of the efforts of others it took to share that with us as a struggling family, one amongst many.

The British Legion took us to a pantomime every year. I didn’t know that it was something they did, year after year, for struggling families. They organised and paid for the coaches and the tickets and I recall the huge number of coaches arriving on the day from many different areas, not understanding at all what that meant. I shall never forget the unfamiliar grandness of the theatres, the rows on rows of seats, the hub bub and excitement of what was about to unfold before our eyes on the magical stage and the magical, real, live, actors who got us involved… “Oh no they didn’t!” “Oh yes they did!” And they threw sweets to us as well.

The British Legion also brought round to my Mother a box of second hand presents every year, donated by local people and a hamper of food. I know that my Mother struggled with the shame of it, it was brutally hard for her, who battled every day with poverty. It is only in looking back that I can appreciate the enormity of her heroic struggle, year in year out and the breakdowns she suffered in the struggle to survive and raise us, her loved and cared for children.

She didn’t know that one day her son would become a writer, she didn’t live to see it and nor did I treat her as kindly as I might had I truly grasped the enormity of her struggles in life.

Yet here I am, the product of loving kindness. A product of The Light which is as alive and well today, as it ever was.

It’s not at the end of any tunnel, it is here and present and it’s alive this Christmas.

And we are it.

With love,

KOG. 16 December 2017