A letter a day to number 10. No 1,534

Friday 26 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Up to 500 disabled people a week are losing their independence under the ludicrous and obscene ’20-metre rule’ in the Personal Independent Payments (PIP) system. Even the previous 50-metre rule was limited, that’s a there and back trip to a corner shop within 25 metres of home, if you’re lucky enough to even have one that close. Under the ’20-metre rule’ that might just cover putting your rubbish out, providing you can walk and carry a sack full of waste at the same time.

In 2014 the Guardian reported that corporate handouts were £85 billion, in 2015 that was up to £93 billion. It seems we can support Disney to the tune of £167.6 million since 2007 to make films in the UK, but we can’t afford to support either the Motability industry or those who rely on it just to manage to get around on a daily basis.

Speaking to one Motability company in North Devon today, they report that garages and workshops that adapt vehicles are quiet and as PIP rolls out I wonder how many UK businesses are going to hit the wall?

The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that the cost of all PIP payments between 2015/19 will be £66.4 billion, or £16.6 billion a year. If we can afford corporate handouts of nearly £100 billion a year, why are disabled people being targeted and penalised?

Culling benefits and therefore those who rely on them was George Osborne’s explicit chosen route to paying down Britain’s debt which, I hasten to mention, he managed to double during his time as Chancellor of the Exchequer. According to the Centre for Welfare Reform, Britain’s disabled people have been hit 9 times harder than the average person and severely disabled people 19 times harder. Presumably Osborne had inside knowledge that Britain’s severely disabled people were responsible for the 2008 crash and therefore should be expected to bear the greatest burden for Britain’s recovery. Either that or austerity and attacking the UK’s poorest and most vulnerable people is ideologically driven without a shred of justification. I wonder which it is?

Meanwhile Carly Tait, a member of ParalympicsGB athletics team in Rio, has been deprived of her means of transport and George Osborne has been made Companion of Honour in Cameron’s resignation honours list. I have nothing further to add.






The surprising truth about disability benefit cuts


Government ‘has stripped Paralympians of their Motability vehicles’



A letter a day to number 10. No 1,533

Thursday 25 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Figures from the Stockholm Peace Research Institute in 2015 show that between 2010-14 Britain was the 6th biggest arms exporter in the world.

The Guardian reports that, ‘More than £3bn of British-made weaponry was licensed for export last year to 21 of the Foreign Office’s 30 “human rights priority countries”, a huge increase from £170 million in 2014.

What is the point of the Foreign Office holding a list of countries with a record of human rights abuses if it is not just ignored but we export arms to them?

Apparently the UK ‘approved licences for the sale of £7.7bn of arms last year’. A government spokeswoman said, “The government takes its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms-export-control regimes in the world.” Really? The arms trade is not morally neutral, it is not just another business and we should be striving to end it, not escalate it.

The world is ravaged by war, there are about 21 million refugees globally according to Amnesty International, the number of civilian deaths from war are an atrocity, 180,000 people died in 42 conflicts in 2014 alone.

There is nothing to be proud of in war and yet the arms trade is allowed to promote their deadly wares in grand and obscenely named arms fairs, London being home to the world’s biggest, Defence & Security Equipment International, which was found to be selling illegal arms by Stratford Magistrates Court. The judge found, “[There is] clear, credible and largely unchallenged evidence from the expert witnesses of wrongdoing at DSEI and compelling evidence that it took place in 2015. Protesters arrested for blockading the event were acquitted by the court.

War is the ultimate failure of governments who wrap it up in jingoistic patriotism and heroism. There may indeed be heroism among those called to fight wars, but there is none in war itself which is the ultimate form of terrorism.

On 7th August I asked why there is no Department for Nuclear Disarmament, I’d like to add why is there no Department for Peace? Perhaps a start might be for the Queen to give up her role as Commander-in-Chief of Britain’s armed forces.







A letter a day to number 10. No 1,532

Wednesday 24 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Paul Marlow is a man who reports he worked for 31 years taking only 2 days off for sickness in all that time, until he developed cancer in 2002. Since then he has had 42 operations and is suffering from hepatitis B, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a medical drug addiction and other health problems and yet the DWP found him fit for work. Five weeks after the DWP stopped his support payments he has now won his fight for the reinstatement of his social security payments.

The Oxford Times reports, ‘The Department for Work and Pensions originally said they found Mr Marlow fit for work and added decisions were not based on the condition of claimants, but on what they can do’.

This is an explicit admission, as many have experienced, that the DWP routinely ignores medical evidence even to rebranding ‘Sick Notes’, with the Orwellian ‘Fit Notes’. If someone can nod their head they are capable of hitting a machine button with it and turn out egg cups, or whatever. The fact they might be dying in the process is neither here nor there.

Of course this is all part of a set piece gouged out by ‘Lord’ David Freud and the outlaw USA based Unum Provident insurance company to rebrand sickness and disability as ‘malingering’ and the ‘motivation for claimants of disability benefits’.

Whilst this whole filthy business began under ‘New Labour’, in the unlovely hands of Iain Duncan Smith it rapidly expanded into Britain’s secret penal system imposing heavier fines than the entire UK legal system and depriving people of the means of survival, something no court in the land would do.

Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow had the following to say, “The British political class has come to believe that benefit claimants must be punished to make them look for work in ways the state thinks are a good idea.”

This arrogant authoritarian paternalism is an affront to humanity. It is little more than a psychotic perversion from over privileged and over bearing elitists who are too big for their own britches. Life is not a sweat shop for profit.

As I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, the philanthropy of the poor to the rich far surpasses anything we might claim in feeble benefits, yet for which we are despised.


Mo Stewart: ‘The influence of the private insurance industry on the UK welfare reforms.’

#DWP ‘Benefit sanctions: Britain’s secret penal system’ by Dr David Webster University of Glasgow





A letter a day to number 10. No 1,531

Tuesday 23 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Another homeless person has been attacked on the streets of Britain and is now in a coma, fighting for his life.

I cannot accuse your government of doing nothing when it is doing so much to create such fragile existences.

Homelessness is the embodiment of fragility on the public stage of everytown, shame on those who are offended and angered by this very public display of precariousness and assault those who unwillingly and unwittingly force it upon their attention, exposed, as they are, without privacy, dignity or security. Shame on all those who persecute those less fortunate than themselves.

I feel this insidious rise of precarity, at 65 I fear homelessness, it is not something I can ignore in an ever more insecure world, but I do not fear the homeless, for they are me in one twist of neoliberal driven misanthropy.

If I attacked them, I would be attacking myself, my own psyche, but as if this very public display of abject loss were not bad enough, councils are making homelessness and begging illegal and even impose fines for begging. Fining people for having nothing is a particularly twisted kind of perverse and sadistic cruelty which actively increases the danger of assault because ‘society’ has legislated against and criminalised homeless people.

The bedroom tax, benefit delays and sanctions, enforced pension delays, the Universal Credit system and benefit caps are all policies which put people in danger of homelessness to which many have already fallen victim.

Fragile and precarious living is the new normal for millions of people in Britain today as are the increasing attacks on those living in enforced vulnerability. Homelessness, like poverty, is a political issue and not the individual personal failing of those afflicted. Such people are the economically excluded as Britain’s safety net is demolished. You pledged that, “The government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours.” I have only one question. When?







A letter a day to number 10. No 1,530

Monday 22 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Philip Green is not a happy bunny. Holidaying on his £100 million boat, he was confronted onshore by Sky news reporter, David Bowden, who said to him, “Sir Philip, people want to know why you’re on holiday when they think you’re supposed to be sorting out the pension deficit.”

‘Sir’ Philip magnanimously replied, “Will you go away,” several times, and, after manhandling the camera being pointed at him, “Which bit are you not understanding? Just go away. That’s going in the fucking sea.”

Hell hath no fury like a rich man called to account for robbing the people who created his wealth, eh?

Please note that this darling man has no problem with his own investments creamed off the lives of his workers, but in caring for his workers pensions he’s managed to leave a £571 million black hole and he’s frightfully upset that anyone should have the temerity to call him to account. Please also note that the pension fund deficit, affecting tens of thousands of workers who have diligently paid into it, is only just over half the cost of his (third) boat which they unwittingly paid for by serving in his shops.

Green was recommended for a knighthood in 2006 by Sir John Collins, apparently on the basis of his ‘track record in retail, backing for a high street training academy and his integrity’. ‘Sir’ Philip Green was thus duly knighted as a captain of industry, please also, also, note that Dick Turpin, the infamous highwayman, was hung for daylight robbery.

It’s a filthy question, but when are the people going to get a share of the profits they create? Robert Tressell wrote The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists, published after his death in 1914, set in the aptly named fictional town of ‘Mugsborough’. The basis of the book is of workers who vehemently support the interests of their bosses in their own exploitation. A mere century later and nothing has changed. It really is like turkeys voting for Christmas and the cooks screaming blue murder if they don’t. The story of the working classes is one of unsurpassed generosity towards those who rob them and despise them. At least cooks like the turkeys they prepare for roasting.



A letter a day to number 10. No 1,529

Sunday 21 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

I wonder how many Tory MPs have the remotest idea what it means to live poor, let alone destitute. For some years of my life before I was able to abandon London for the sanity of rural Somerset I simply could not afford to live.

For me the terror of facing the insecurity of homelessness a second time in my life was something too unbearable to contemplate, as long as the rent was paid everything else was of secondary importance.

Food, if you can call it that, wasn’t a major issue for a single guy, I had a, kind of, regular stomping ground round my local shops and hungry eyes will spot the bits of ‘shrapnel’ lying in the dirt and a 22p packet of Custard Creams would get me through the day. I shall never forget the feeling of elation when I found the last 2p, or whatever, that meant I could eat something. Custard Creams were a favourite because there’s enough stodge in them to kid your body it’s ok, although they probably contained as much goodness as sugar sprinkled cardboard.

Oddly, I didn’t think of myself as poor, that was just the way it was. How I lived wasn’t a matter for discussion with others, and it is really only in discussion that the word ‘poor’ has any relevance or meaning. It’s not something that I carried inside me as a label on my life, what good would that serve? It doesn’t go anywhere, apart from making you dismal, so it’s best not to even go there and just carry on. Being poor is about managing as best you can, moaning about it is futile.

One of the more than 300 documents that were tipped out the day parliament shut down for it’s annual six week break was a report on the dismal failings of the bedroom tax. More than 364,000 households in social housing (because the bedroom tax is exclusive to them) fell behind in their rent in 2014/15 and 348,000 people had fallen behind the previous year (austerity eh?). 153,800 households said that benefit cuts were the cause of the problem and 57,485 households blamed the bedroom tax.

There are simply not enough smaller properties for those being penalised to move into and thus the bedroom tax is a vindictive, spiteful, draconian policy causing unnecessary hardship by an authoritarian government which is failing to address the housing crisis in Britain. Ordinary people do not have the wherewithal to address the problem, councils have been cut to the bone and ‘right to buy’ is further reducing housing stock and councils are being forced to sell off precious stock to fund it. The housing crisis is the dismal failure of government and punishing the poor for it is an obscenity. Britain needs houses and housing security, not punishment.




A letter a day to number 10. No 1,528

Saturday 20 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

There is one great big reason that fracking is an issue that we must face and deal with. It is the last gasp of a dinosaur that refuses to evolve or die; an industrial behemoth that doesn’t care how much devastation it causes in its death throes as long as it can strangle the last penny out of the Earth in its rapacious greed for profit.

Peak oil is something that the petrochemical industry has never wanted to acknowledge or talk about and yet fracking is the embodiment of the exploitation of last gasp resources. It is nothing like the discovery of oil, great underground oceans of black gold ready to gush up out of the ground. That stuff is running out and petrochemical companies are desperate, why else would Shell want to undertake vastly expensive and high risk arctic drilling which would devastate the world’s last pristine environment?

The great oil and gas bonanza is over, oil is on the way out and what’s left is desperation and governments and corporations are prepared to rip the Earth apart in that desperation regardless of the consequences to the environment and life itself.

The only viable future is in renewables, but right now the future is looking more like an extinction event if the greed for oil and natural resources is not constrained and contained. Is there anyone left on Earth who seriously believes that Bush and Blair wanted to bring democracy to the Middle East? America is the most militarised resource hungry nation on earth which has amply demonstrated its willingness to embark on corporate colonialism and terrorism to feed its greed even whilst abandoning its own people. America is a nation divided, corporations and the people, and it is increasingly militarising against its own people as well as the world. Even whilst Bush was chanting his newly found mantra of ‘Terrorist’ he was The Terrorist in Chief aided and abetted by Blair and look at the world now.

If people want to understand fracking and its devastating consequences, they need look no further than America. The only future we can have is if we keep dirty fuel in the ground and stop the resource wars before some fool presses the nuclear button and commits the ultimate act of ecocide and genocide. Nature is very forgiving, it’s the very thing that gives us life, but unless we learn to know our place in nature and do something about it and clean up our act, the best thing that we can do is carve our epitaph now with the words, ‘An object lesson in greed and futility’, as a warning to any space travellers who might happen by one day.







List of Bans Worldwide


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,527

Friday 19 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

The annual report (2015-16) from the Social Security Advisory Committee chaired by Paul Gray reveals that the welfare reforms were driven by pressure from the treasury and that assessments of the likely impacts were non-existent, ignored/rejected or, through the use of secondary legislation, deliberately bypassed altogether.

What is also clear is that recommendations presented to government were rejected, an example being that the reduction of the maximum period for backdating ‘a claim for HB from six months to one month was too severe’. The government response was, “We remain of the view that the arguments are not compelling for retaining an additional two, or five month period during which entitlement to support for housing costs can be backdated for an increasing minority of new claims to benefit.”

With the imposition of Mandatory Reconsideration’s, benefit delays increased enormously, or ground to a halt, and any reduction in the period of backdating would, and has, led to hardship, hunger, homelessness, increasing numbers of suicides and death.

I put it to you that cuts to social security were always ideologically driven, that is, George Osborne had simply decided that the poor were ones who were going to be penalised to supposedly pay down the debt created by the banks. I also put it to you that this was an orchestrated war on the poor, in which sanctions and imposed hardship were weapons used against the poorest and most vulnerable people in Britain. Whilst George Osborne was cutting inheritance tax and corporation tax, rewarding the wealthy, the poor were, and are, being driven into the ground.

I also wonder where this war on the poor got us given that George Osborne created more debt than every Labour government in history and doubled the national debt. Poor, sick and disabled people have suffered, and continue to suffer, for no better reason than vindictive spite and even the stated intention behind such appalling treatment was entirely false.

Lastly, after the imposition of permanent austerity, the countless billions in cuts across the board, including our NHS, the fire sale of national assets and the increase of over £500 billion in the national debt, where the hell has all our money gone? As you are currently enjoying a walking holiday in the Swiss Alps, perhaps you could give a few banks a call and find out if George hasn’t opened a secret Swiss bank account and squirrelled all our money away there, because I am damned if I can figure it out.


The Tories aren’t persecuting the poor out of spite, it’s even worse than that

Tories pushed through welfare changes ‘without meaningful analysis of impact’



DWP admits responsibility for benefit-related deaths with a single, small word







A letter a day to number 10. No 1,526

Thursday 18 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Investments and the stock markets are wonderful things, investors can trouser £billions and laugh all the way to their next killing, unless it just happens to be your own money, earned through blood, sweat and tears, invested in your own pension fund from your own wages. Under those circumstances, the government will quite happily deny you your hard earned entitlement to payments and steal your money from you.

Such is the case with the miners, one of the most dangerous jobs in the world and from which those who survive will, almost to a man, suffer from serious, mining related, ill health. Many older ex-miners suffer painful, lingering, deaths with never a penny in compensation, yet government continues to rob them blind to this day. It is reported that the government took £750 million in 2014 alone. Over the years it has amounted to billions, yet many older miners have been offered as little as £100 in compensation for lung damage caused by coal dust.

This appalling deal was struck in 1994 when coal was privatised under John Major and his government agreed to underwrite miners pensions under the condition that the government could take a 50/50 split of any gains from investments. What the miners didn’t realise is that they were being suckered, it was a very low risk venture for the government as many miners don’t live long after retirement and the miners were treated as a cash cow that just keeps on giving.

In a curious, and perhaps typical, Machiavellian twist in this daylight robbery, Lord Truscott not only approved the robbery but came to the conclusion that ‘the taxpayer’ shouldn’t be expected to stand ‘the loss’ (sic). As ex-miner Dave Douglass observed, “Erm… excuse us, ‘the taxpayer’? Not one penny piece of this money came from ‘the taxpayer’ other than ourselves, it was never intended that our fund be used to offset the tax burden of the population at large who never contributed into it.”

Mining destroyed the health of miners and Thatcher destroyed the mines and miners livelihoods and the robbery and injustices roll on. It is estimated that at least £8 billion was been stolen from the miners over the years and as I’ve said many times, workers are rarely, if ever, invited to share the profits of their labour but this robbery of miner pensions is obscene by any standards.

Try imposing a 50/50 split on stock market gains in the City of London, they’d hear the screams in Orgreave.








A letter a day to number 10. No 1,525

Wednesday 17 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

What does it say about this country when the following appears on Craigslist (still there at the time of writing): “Homeless Females ? Free Rent House Share (Hillingdon). “As the ad states if there is any Homeless Single stunning Females who are out there seeking to save or seeking to be re-housed by a friendly genuine white britisg guy then look no further I offer a Genuine offer to any young single hot sexy female of any nationality or culture to house share with me free rent free food drinks etc and usage of all facilities if this is you and you are a female seeking desprately then get back to myself with a pic of your self for mine in return with more details as well contact details too ,… [sic] Regards xxx” – advert, Craigslist July 2016″ Did he mean [sick] I wonder?

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, or care, but Britain has a housing crisis and this is the bottom of the barrel. Whilst the advert doesn’t specifically state sex for housing, the predatory nature of the advert is as plain as the nose on my face. Trading ones body for shelter? How does that sit with you Mrs May?

Whether you are repulsed by this or not the simple fact is that there are not enough houses being built in Britain and that is a political issue. According to data released by the independent House of Commons library, ‘David Cameron had the worst housebuilding record of any Prime Minister since 1923’.

Instead of fiddling with the financial markets the bank of England could print money and put that into the real economy and, not the least, fund a programme of house building. As Positive Money has pointed out, for every £1 spent into the real economy it grows the economy by £2.80, whilst every £1 given to the financial markets returns just 8p in growth.

House building makes good economic sense, but that is not the main issue here, housing saves lives and keeps people safe and vulnerable women would not have to be exposed to predatory offers to prostitute their bodies for something as fundamental and basic as shelter. We have the means to save lives, but do you have the political will?








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