Archives for posts with tag: a letter a day to number 10

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On March 17th 2012 I chose to enter the political ‘arena’ in a pro-active way by writing ‘a letter a day to number 10’. It was a personal decision because I had passed the tipping point in what I could stomach from a government which continues to have a callous disregard for the lives and well being of ordinary people.

The irony was not wasted on me that I was writing to the Prime Minister of a government which was implementing the final solution, the eradication of the lives of all those considered to be useless eaters, of whom I was one.

It was a refusal, on my part, to slip silently into the grave without protest. In limited circumstances the one thing I could exercise was my voice, as protest, and if the letters proved anything, it was in the lack of a single reply from the man responsible for what we now know was the implementation of a pogrom of genocide on the most vulnerable people in society.

Prior to Theresa May’s snap election in 2017 Disability activist and writer Fiona Robertson wrote, “Voting Tory in #GE17 is a vote to kill people like me, and you need to know why.” She went on to say that following the 2015 General Election, “Amid the elation so many in Scotland felt at the sweep of SNP seats, we disabled people also felt utterly betrayed and hopeless, because the population of the UK had voted to enforce extreme, frequently lethal, damage to our health.”

I watched on the Internet in the early hours of 8 May 2015 as the results of the General Election came in with the growing realisation that either through ignorance or callous disregard, the voting public had committed us to another five years of Tory misrule and the brutal destruction of our lives. I shall never forget the overwhelming feelings of despair and hopelessness that crushed me for days afterwards.

I wrote to Cameron on the 10 May, “For those who rely on help from society for whatever reason, another five years of you and your government is going to be an unmitigated disaster, striking terror in their hearts and facing the very real possibility of literally being driven to death. Austerity is merely the deceit of transferring financial risk to the poor. Capitalising on people who Iain Duncan Smith refers to as ‘stock’ and treated as expendable, after all suicide is good for business, getting rid of the high cost elements and concentrating on the stock you can manipulate, not the dead end stock, like the disabled.”

As the facts have emerged out of the Grenfell Tower disaster, it is clear that it was an act of genocide, a disaster that was waiting to happen for which warnings had been consistently given and ignored and even silenced, but worse, far worse, was the arrogant disregard for safety by those responsible. Cost cutting, corner cutting, disregard for safety regulations, meant that the disaster happened with all the inevitability of a killing ground by those who cared nothing for those who lived and died there. Grenfell Tower was social murder because, quite simply, the lives of those who lived there did not matter and everything that has happened since only serves to reinforce that simple but catastrophic fact.

So why write this, what can possibly be the point in writing about genocide whilst it is happening and will continue to happen whilst the perpetrators do everything to evade and avoid any form of accountability?

It is quite simply that, when representative democracy dies, killed by those who have set themselves above the law, only the people can resurrect democracy. When our lives become forfeit for the sake of profit and greed and the doors of the privileged and powerful in government are slammed in our faces, then we are the last and only bastion of democracy and its only hope.

I have lost count of the number of times I have been told to be silent, criticised for penning a letter a day to David Cameron, I was even offered a proper rewrite of one of my letters in the appropriate language to use to those in power, to which I have said every time, ‘I am not a democracy’. I did not seek anyone’s permission to speak out, nor offer anyone a vote on the matter, because I am exercising a right, as now, which is not subject to permit. Rights are sovereign, inaccessible to democracy, and yet are the heart, soul and expression of democracy. The absolute right of ordinary people is the exercise of democracy, and anyone who stands against that is a despot, a tin pot dictator, and, above all, a fool because they are seeking to destroy their own rights and their own freedoms by attempting to curtail mine.

Are we a ship of fools to stand silent whilst the boat is scuttled? Is that not absurd? The residents of Grenfell Tower were not listened to and are still not being listened to. Is the answer, then, to be silent? To give up? Surely the answer is to make such a noise and clamour that those who ignore us quake in their boots and if they are inconvenienced by that, good, so they damned well ought to be.

The powers that be, including Theresa May, have said there will be an investigation into the Grenfell Tower disaster. Should the survivors of genocide be silent whilst its perpetrators investigate it? Is that a joke?

Several people have resigned in the wake of the Grenfell disaster, each of them to golden handshakes and doubtless gold plated pensions as well, just as David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister to a life of greater privilege and wealth, just as May will when she finally resigns or is driven out. Poor people can be sanctioned and deprived of the means of survival for being a minute late for an appointment at the Jobcentre, whilst those at the top are rewarded for the policies that kill poor people or cause them to take their lives.

Excuse me if I get above myself in saying that’s not right. They can call us all the names under the sun, rabble, ‘stock’, extremists, yobs, malcontents, Marxists, Communists, Corbynistas, socialists… Socialists!?! Is that meant to be an insult?

Writing in the Dorset Eye, Eddy Abs offered ‘A quick explanation of socialism’. “You know the way you love your family? The way you’d do anything to protect them? Extend that feeling to everyone else and that’s socialism. In a nutshell.”

If you want to know what democracy is, if your child is being bullied at school and you decide to do something about it to protect her, that’s democracy, in action. The exercise of an inalienable right when it is threatened is the expression of democracy. There are a million ways to express democracy, but few that suppress it and always by illegitimate force by those who pretend to legitimacy through the imposition of intimidation and fear.

Do I fear the government? Yes. They are horrifying and despicable. Should I be silent? No. Should I be cowed? No. Should I respect them because they are in a position of power? No. Should I do what I am told? Should I submit to their power? Should I forsake my own life in silence because they have the power to kill me? Isn’t it obvious? Do you need my answers? Are you a democracy? Or do you already know your own answers and your own mind because you are not a democracy? You, dear reader, are a sovereign being, just as I am and being a sovereign being can be very, very scary, but we are worth fighting for and we are worth fighting for our selves.

These are truly bad times and yet more and more people are waking up and realising that we are the people we have been waiting for. It has always been so. Whatever Jeremy Corbyn has to offer us, he cannot do it without us. The Tories have made it very clear that they can do without us and our inconvenient lives, whatever Jeremy Corbyn has to offer he needs us because we are the people who will make it happen. Who built the NHS that the Tories are stealing from us? Who teaches our children, who operates our frontline services, who make the wealth of the nation? It has always been us, even though we have been despised for doing so.

We may not have been consulted, but we bailed the banks out and saved the corrupt financial system. Did anyone hear a thank you?

KOG. 06 July 2017

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/social-care-scandal-tory-cuts-9836261

https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10803/fiona-robertson-voting-tory-ge17-vote-kill-people-me-and-you-need-know-why

http://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/matt-stadlen/grenfell-tower-a-ghastly-monument-to-england-2017/

http://www.neonnettle.com/news/2280-grenfell-tower-fire-blogger-silenced-by-government-for-exposing-dangers

https://thepoorsideoflife.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/1824/

http://www.dorseteye.com/north/articles/a-quick-explanation-of-socialism

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I have received a message from Jason Cridland, co producer of Dorset Eye:

“We must have a plan for both a win and a defeat mate. Many, many people will be distraught if Tories get a majority so we must prepare for it now. Many will need a vanguard and we must be part of it. Whatever happens the next stage is vital. xxx”

He’s right, whatever happens on the 8th, we must go on, either into a new beginning or dealing with what, for me right now (or up till now), is the unthinkable.

I’ve been intensely campaigning for a long time, beginning on March 17th 2012 with ‘A Letter a Day to Number 10’, since then I have gained a modest following and become a part of citizen media though Jason and Debbie, who are now personal friends, and Dorset Eye.

Unlike the mainstream media, we have a moral and ethical care for what we do. Call it conviction politics, or something wider like social responsibility, but whatever we might call it, it comes from a profound personal inner conviction in social justice in which politics plays a central role.

Media outlets are in the vanguard of news and public debate and none more so now than citizen media, which plays a vital role in the furtherance of democracy and democratic engagement and, for want of a better term, social ethics.

So what’s going to happen?

Personally, June 9th is either going to be agony or ecstasy, celebration or profound pain and despair. I’ve pinned my colours to the mast, a nautical term for a determination to fight on even if half your rigging is blown away: to keep going until the end becomes inescapable reality. No one enters a fight to lose, not if they have half a grain of sense, but, and it’s a biggy, losing is therefore all the more devastating for the conviction that preceded it.

I have deliberately not thought about losing, I can’t function as a writer or as an activist by borrowing trouble from tomorrow. I can’t deal in ‘What if’s?’ Conviction is in the now, and conviction also determines my future, which conviction must survive under the best and worst conditions.

So here it is, if we lose I am going to be flat on my arse! Mentally, physically, emotionally and in any other way you can think of. I remember how I felt in 2015 with the awful knowledge that we had another five years of Cameron. This is going to be much worse than that.

The first day will be when the shock hits and the next day(s) may be even worse as the realisation really sinks in. That is not the time to do anything precipitous, like killing ourselves. That’s the time to let it out, scream and shout, break stuff, get help, have someone hold you, phone Samaritans (116 123 on any phone, at any time, in the UK) maybe more than once, or rest, curl up, hug yourself, read a book, watch a film if you can, do something to get your attention away from the distress and the pain, walk, stomp, run, garden, swim, whatever it takes.

Believe this, you and I and millions of others will be going through it. Put something on social media or just browse social media, it’s going to be full of it, you won’t miss it, but as the saying goes, ‘This too shall pass’.

But what if we win after seven long gruelling years of oppression? I am not sure how I am going to react although there will be tears. It will feel like I’ve been holding my breath for seven years and suddenly I can dare to breath again. The feelings I will have will be just as dramatic but in a very different way, they’ll be a cathartic expression of hope held and suddenly realised and that’s going to take a great deal of adjusting to.

I have thought about this, if we have a Labour government on June 9th, ‘What will I do now?’ I am not sure how to describe it, but I guess it’ll feel like I’ve lost my job overnight, just like that. I’ll need an adjustment period at least as long as if we lose.

I’d like to think that there might be a spontaneous mass street party to give us all a chance to give vent to a great collective sigh of relief, not to mention cheers.

Whatever the result there’s no escaping that either way it’s a big deal. Winning will mean, at some point, knuckling down to rebuilding what the Conservatives have so determinedly torn apart. That’s not going to happen overnight, they planned too well and oh too deceitfully to inflict as must damage as they possibly could in their filthy greed for privatisation. The wounds to us, our NHS, education, housing, welfare, front line services, earnings, personal financial security, care services in the widest sense, alienation and divisions are deep.

Whatever happens, we’ll need to pull together, watch out for the vulnerable, those on the sharpest end of society. Life will go on, that’s not so obvious today, but it will and must and every lesson learnt, applied, to fight on or heal and grow. Are we not people, in all our wonderful diversity?

In the end, nothing changes in the need for kindness, care, consideration, love and togetherness. Despite their best efforts, the Conservatives, and the wider neoliberal agenda, have failed to kill those essential human qualities off and always will fail because those are the very same qualities we’ve been using all along to resist abuse and oppression and to fight for the better life we all so very richly deserve.

KOG. 01 June 2017

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I’ve lived a reclusive life for over 20 years and been a loner from as far back as I can remember. I’ve tried to do all the things that we’re all supposed to do, school, job, meet someone, get somewhere to live, settle down, have kids, grow old, die and I’ve been crap at all of it, though, to be honest, the last two are a work in progress.

I don’t do guilt any more since I discovered how useless it is apart from making me feel bad, but I do have one abiding regret which is inescapable, letting my daughter down and betraying her when I abruptly brought my marriage to an end. I am not going to say much about it other than she was the innocent victim of adult circumstances. It’s enough to say Philip Larkin was right, ‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had and add some extra, just for you’. It is just true, and there’s no point making excuses for it or beating myself up, it happens. Nothing makes it right and it is pointless to call it wrong, unless it is done maliciously and with deliberate cruelty in mind.

It is hard (perhaps impossible) to forgive deliberate cruelty and yet it is a fact of life, from snubs and insults to the brutal horror of war. Wilful cruelty lies at the heart of much, if not most, campaigning, my own included, which brings me to my point here.

2008 was a watershed moment when the bankers crashed the global economy and have been richly rewarded for doing so ever since, at our expense. In Britain it led to another watershed moment in 2010 when the coalition government under David Cameron launched its attack on the lives of ordinary people, wilfully, brutally and with malice aforethought. But that wasn’t the worst of it, it was intolerable but the kicker was that they enjoyed it, it pleased them. No one knows the number of lives lost since, although they probably have a good idea, but they’re not letting on and they simply don’t care.

This is last gasp capitalism in which the bankers caused a crisis, if not deliberately, then wilfully through greed, which has been brutally exploited ever since. Since Thatcher destroyed Britain’s industrial base we now have an excess workforce which, despite all Cameron’s bogus claims about job creation and making work pay, sees millions of people doing bullshit jobs for bullshit pay. How they made this bullshit work was in the transformation of our system of social security into a secret penal system that has been depriving people of he means of survival and killing people off ever since. People are supposed to be pathetically grateful for a zero hours contract and an hours work a week, because that’s better than the treatment dished out by the DWP and Jobcentre Plus. I think the ‘Plus’ relates to the added anguish and torment which now comes as standard.

I joined an ever growing number of people who decided speak out and act to expose and challenge what was going on. For four and a half years I wrote a letter a day to number 10. I believe it is vitally important to challenge the official narrative which is just propaganda and based on deception and lies. When I began writing in 2012 it was not clear to me what their plans were, what emerged over the ensuing years was shocking. It wasn’t just a war on the poor, it was a demolition derby, a neoliberal feast of the state, with its eyes on the tax pot, public services, state assets and people’s lives, a massive transfer of wealth upwards to the already exceedingly rich; a new imperialism based on the economic conquest of the nation’s wealth for private gain. It was the same colonial mindset turned inwards, devouring the nation for profit.

I burned out after four and a half years. Nothing had changed for the better politically, but opposition to this obscenity had grown along with understanding.

For me, personally, the burning question was and is, ‘what am I going to do now?’ And therein lies a problem.

I have made a working peace with reclusiveness and social phobia, problems that seem intractable, but lately that peace has been shattered, they have now become a source of acute distress and discontent in which my home has changed from being a haven to a prison. I began to realise that I had to do something, but what? I found myself thinking round in circles, unable to remain in, nor yet finding any way to move out in a circular war of fear and frustration. So acute is the distress that I found myself just before Christmas 2016 wanting and hoping to die.

That is not a solution, that would be the end and I am not ready to give up on life, which I care passionately and deeply about, enough that I am not going to be driven to death either by those who are so abusing life, nor by my own fears. Which means I need help. It’s time for change and that means I must change and that means stepping out into the great big scary unknown.

The greatest effective changes in my life have been brought about through person centred therapy. With the aid of amazing therapists I have walked to the precipice of my fears and stepped out to discover that the abyss I feared was in reality, solid ground, but daring to go there means engaging with terror in a way that I do not believe can be or should be attempted alone, certainly not in my circumstances.

Tomorrow, 23 January 2017, I am taking my 65 year old bones to an initial meeting with a local therapist. If we find we are both comfortable working together then I will begin what I know will be a very scary and yet exciting journey of discovery. If either of us is not comfortable, then I shall seek another. Whatever happens now, I want to make the journey into the unknown, I am ready for change, enough that tears are falling down my face in the yearning for it.

At every level, I feel in my bones, it is time for change and whatever else follows, change begins in me.

KOG. 22 January 2017

https://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk/resources/benefit-sanctions-britains-secret-penal-system

04_september_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,543

Sunday 04 September 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Just as Jeremy Hunt is stealing the life blood out of our NHS, so too is the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) draining the life and spirit out of the people. None of this is necessary, these are policy decisions driven by ideological choices as was the imposition of austerity.

The DWP’s idea of incentivising people into work is through punitive impoverishment. In late 2015 a coroner sent a regulation 28 report, or a Preventing Future Deaths report, to the DWP when a man committed suicide having been found fit for work following an ESA fitness-for-work test by Atos. In her verdict senior coroner for inner north London, Mary Hassell, said “The anxiety and depression were long term problems, but the intense anxiety that triggered his suicide was caused by his recent assessment by the Department for Work and Pensions (benefits agency) as being fit for work, and his view of the likely consequences of that.”

As recently as last month the DWP said, “decisions were not based on the condition of claimants, but on what they can do.” No matter what the claimants condition or how extensive the evidence they provide, that has no place in making an assessment.

The central issue in the junior doctors dispute with Jeremy Hunt is that patients lives will be put at risk if Hunt imposes his work contract on Junior doctors. Hunt is also imposing hospital closures through his so called ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ again putting lives at risk. Both the Department for Health and the DWP are actively and knowingly putting people in harms way.

Speaking to the Guardian, Nick Clegg had the following to say about George Osborne, “Welfare for Osborne was just a bottomless pit of savings, and it didn’t really matter what the human consequences were, because focus groups had shown that the voters they wanted to appeal to were very anti-welfare, and therefore there was almost no limit to those anti-welfare prejudices.”

I find nothing in what Clegg has said that is inconsistent with what we have witnessed for over six long years of Tory misrule. Yours is a party which is entirely comfortable putting people’s lives at risk and Iain Duncan Smith has gone to extraordinary lengths to hide evidence of benefit related deaths, leading Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, to call for Smith to face criminal charges. To be honest, I think we are spoiled for choice as your entire government should be in the dock.

http://news.sky.com/story/qa-why-are-junior-doctors-going-on-strike-10561087

http://999callfornhs.org.uk/footprints/4592357931

Coroner’s ‘ground-breaking’ verdict: Suicide was ‘triggered’ by ‘fit for work’ test

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/news/14699246.Cancer_sufferer___39_put_through_hell__39__after_told_he_was_fit_for_work_by_government_assessors/

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/02/nick-clegg-george-osborne-cut-welfare-poorest-boost-tory-popularity?CMP=share_btn_fb

DWP hides seven secret benefit suicide reviews

Shadow chancellor backs calls to prosecute Iain Duncan Smith over WCA deaths

03_september_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,542

Saturday 03 September 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

David Freud said, “people who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks” as they have “the least to lose”.

The rich have everything to lose whilst the poor have nothing beyond mere survival, so we must pay more eh? I do not take kindly to being sacrificed on behalf of the wealthy and privileged.

Those who desire to govern and dominate and profit by others are definitely not going to save the world or make it a better place to live in. That is now abundantly clear.

Poverty is not a personal failing it is systemic and maintained by political and economic will to take advantage of people.

Poverty is not inevitable, it is the result of extreme inequality. It may well be true that inequality will always exist, but it is extreme inequality that drives poverty.

An Oxfam report, Even It Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality, stated that ‘Eighty-five people in the world own more wealth than half of the world’s population’. I am sure Oxfam would have made sure that such an assertion was accurate and it is mind boggling.

When someone like Freud makes such an asinine statement he is not only revealing himself for a fool, he is also revealing himself as a vicious brute. It is poor people who have paid for the bankers crimes, whilst those with wealth have prospered, as Oxfam put it, ‘the rich grew richer, while the global poor took the hit’. Since 2010 your party has systematically hounded the poor, many to their deaths. Poverty has exploded into a national curse driven by Tory policy. The manufactured scarcity of money for ideological reasons is an abomination. There are no excuses or mitigating circumstances, it is an ideologically driven war on the poor and it is unforgivable.

https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/4846/why-poverty-isnt-inevitable

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/general-election-2015-16-reasons-5647467

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/08/starve-benefit-sanctions-unemployed-hungry-government

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/tag/benefit-related-deaths/

02_september_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,541

Friday 02 September 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Jeremy Hunt has accused junior doctors of inflicting ‘the worst doctors’ strike in NHS history’. It is hardly surprising given that we are afflicted with the worst health secretary in history.

What is more worrying is that the rest of the nation is not striking as Hunt and CEO of NHS England, Simon Stevens, are about to crucify our NHS by reducing the 140 full A&E hospitals in England we had in 2013 to somewhere between 40 and 70 under their so called ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’.

The NHS and the country is now split into 44 regional areas – known as ‘footprints’ which have been labelled the ‘The 44 footprints of death’.

This national vandalism being inflicted on our NHS is, as far as I can see, the final nail in the coffin for our publicly funded, publicly owned, free at the point of use NHS paving the way for full privatisation and an American style health insurance system.

Stevens used to be President of Global Strategy for United Health of America where he apparently lobbied for healthcare around the world to be included in the despicable Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This is the wolf who is now CEO of NHS England.

I am sure Hunt must be delighted that his lousy junior doctors contract is hogging the headlines. The vast majority of the general public seem to be completely unaware of Stevens’ plans or the impact they will have. We the public must be prepared for longer ambulance journeys for A&E treatments which for critical patients will put lives at risk, longer waiting times for treatment adding to the risk of increased patient deaths and including the possibility of paying extra to be seen by a doctor.

Eamonn Holmes gave Hunt a grilling yesterday on Sky News over the junior doctors strike. Hunt, as he so often does these days, looked like a rabbit caught in headlights, but he must have been secretly delighted that Holmes made no mention of the obscene acts of social vandalism being rolled out by Hunt and Stevens.

The bottom line is that this is all about profits before people and healthcare and it is utterly despicable.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/01/jeremy-hunt-five-day-doctors-strike-worst-in-nhs-history

http://999callfornhs.org.uk/footprints/4592357931

Watch – This will be “the worst doctors’ strike in NHS history,” claims Hunt

01_september_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,540

Thursday 01 September 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

From today people now need a license to watch BBC iPlayer, live or catch-up, and for all live viewing and recording, no matter which channel we are watching or what device we are watching on.

As someone who has no interest in watching television I refuse to participate in the BBC’s game of being guilty until proved innocent. I have for years now refused to allow television license ‘enforcement officers’ into my home stating that it is not my duty to prove my innocence, it is their job to prove my guilt.

Although the presumption of innocence has taken a beating with, not least, the escalation of on the spot fines, and CCTV cameras everywhere, it remains that the burden of proof lies with the accuser and not the accused.

The UK Criminal Law Blog seeks to clarify what the presumption of innocence means and has this to say, ‘The defendant bears no burden of proving anything and it is not his task to prove his innocence – There is no obligation for the defendant to do anything at all’. It goes on, ‘A person cannot be imprisoned (or otherwise punished) for a crime unless they have been proven guilty to the required standard’.

Whilst I do not own a television, I do own a personal computer on which televisual content is freely available. It is not my task to provide access to any data which may incriminate me or prove my innocence and I assert my right to privacy without harassment or interference from these so called television license ‘enforcement officers’.

It is the governments task and duty to ensure that the law is upheld, although that is an increasing dubious premise these days, and therefore to monitor the behaviour of the nations public broadcaster.

I call on you to demand the BBC produce, at the very least, a means of blocking BBC iPlayer from personal computers and other digital devices. If this cannot be done then people are going to be subjected to unwarranted and, indeed, unlawful harassment, distress and invasion of privacy. David Cameron said last year, “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’.” No one should be allowed to behave above the law, least of all government, this is intolerable and unacceptable, making an ass of the law.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/tv-licence-laws-changing-september-8537535

Innocent until proven guilty…but what does actually mean?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-is-too-tolerant-and-should-interfere-more-in-peoples-lives-says-david-cameron-10246517.html

31_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,539

Wednesday 31 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Within the DWP, as Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) casually informed us at a parliamentary hearing, people receiving social security payments are known as ‘stock’ and, infamously, David Freud said, “people who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks” as they have “the least to lose”.

On tackling immigration, Iain Duncan Smith has announced that low skilled migrants should only be allowed to come here if there are no British workers to fill vacancies, emphasising, “You focus more at the lower-skilled areas.” Deal with the least wanted, the least valuable and the most useless first eh?

Isn’t it astonishing that low skilled workers are paid the least? So called low skilled jobs play a vital role in the smooth running of a nation, but they will certainly pay junk pay?

This narrative of low skilled workers and migrants coming over here and taking our jobs comes from government and the right wing press. The reality is very different, but only if you prefer facts over fiction, something which IDS and rags like the Sun, Express and Mail never aspire to. But that isn’t the point I wish to make.

What is important here is what’s missing and is always missing in the right wing world of authoritarian control and the brutal treatment of workers in which ‘other’ hatred plays such a vital role in maintaining people in their unquestioning misery.

Can you see any human beings here or anything that suggests any semblance of respect or dignity for people’s lives? If you can keep people dehumanised, you don’t have to worry about whether they can afford to live.

With some 13 million people in the UK living in poverty, more than half for them are in work, yet who among you cares? Where humanity is out of sight, increasing poverty doesn’t matter. 391 people died of malnutrition last year, but where are the headlines? In order to reach the headlines, people’s lives have to matter and as Freud and Smith have worked to so assiduously at and made so abundantly clear, they don’t! That is a crime against humanity which every sanction and every food parcel from a food bank and every eviction and every hungry child and every poverty related death screams out. That is Tory Britain.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2013/dec/10/treasury-questions-politics-live-blog

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/nov/23/lord-freud-welfare-poor-risk

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-08-28/iain-duncan-smith-says-low-skilled-jobs-should-go-to-britons-first/

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/20/reality-check-are-eu-migrants-really-taking-british-jobs

http://www.jrf.org.uk/data/work-poverty-levels

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/number-brits-dying-malnutrition-hunger-8611991

30_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,538

Tuesday 30 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

What is happening within the Labour party has repercussions for all of us, but more broadly what the parliamentary Labour party and you Tories have in common is utter contempt for ordinary people and democracy.

What has been revealed is a war between democracy and totalitarianism.

Frank Field summed it up very nicely, pouring scorn on the very idea that he is in any way meant to represent the views of his constituents. His patronising, sneering, response on BBC Westminster Live to the idea that, ‘A lot of people watching might think that an MP is there to reflect the views of his or her constituents’, was, “No, dear, they are longing to have somebody they can all boss around as if they had a view.”

This disdain, this contempt, isn’t new, it’s as old as the hills. Only yesterday I read that Prince Harry wants those wounded in battle to be given ‘a Purple heart-style medal’. Does he not know that ex-service personnel are not getting the medical help they need, that thousands of them are homeless and going hungry and even being sanctioned by the Department for Work and Pensions or that due to government cuts they have been sacked and denied their pensions? What the hell use is a medal? It’s an anachronism from the privileged, so steeped in their own pomp and splendour, yet all they offer those who fight their wars for them is a gong with ribbons on. Service women and men swear an oath of allegiance and yet no allegiance is offered in return for their lives and well being.

Whilst we are hounded from pillar to post to be productive workers, what are our rewards, no access to fair representation in law, a minimum wage which is impossible to live on and no share of the profits we create, privatising health care and dismantling our NHS for profit, 500 disabled people a week stripped of access to Motability, no access to a decent pension after years of faithful work and, indeed, successive governments plundering pensions, plans to scrap the human rights act, flogging off the nations assets which were paid for and built by us and permanent austerity. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

And what happens when a Labour leader emerges who believes in democracy, with people having a say, with fairness and justice for all, health, housing and education for all, a fair deal? Those whose only interest is their own worthless privileged lives, including almost the entire mainstream media and the taxpayer funded BBC, lose their minds. Frank Field dismisses the concerns of 70,000 constituents and yet he expects them to not only accept whatever dictat he and parliament forces on them but to accept the enforced silence and impotence that those in power maintain over us. And so, here it is, another letter for you to ignore, I may be just an ordinary guy, but I have never and will never sell my soul for power and privilege. Even the thought of it disgusts me.

The Labour coup’s final plan to oust Corbyn proves it holds the membership in contempt

https://number10duckworthstreet.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/frank-fields-arrogantly-admits-his-constituents-views-count-for-nothing-and-its-not-his-job-to-speak-up-for-them/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/prince-harry-calls-hero-wounded-8725495

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/10918631/Wounded-soldiers-failing-to-receive-the-care-they-are-entitled-to.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/9000-ex-service-personnel-homeless-after-2071049

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-3555196/Abandoned-Armed-Forces-veterans-lost-jobs-denied-pension.html

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-plans-to-dismantle-our-nhs

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/disability-benefits-motabililty-rule-change-disabled-people-vehicles-dwp-a7191636.html

http://www.waspi.co.uk/

http://www.minersadvice.co.uk/pensiontheft.htm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/georgeosborne/12126140/Government-sold-off-more-public-assets-than-ever-before-in-2015.html

29_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,537

Monday 29 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

It is a sad fact that so many are misled by the idea that their disability or sickness has any relevance in the Work Capability Assessments (WCA). As the DWP recently pointed out to The Oxford Times, “decisions were not based on the condition of claimants, but on what they can do.”

People think they are going for a WCA to have their ‘condition(s)’ assessed by medics employed by the DWP at vast public expense. In reality they are being assessed on whether they are capable of doing something, anything, no matter how tenuous that might be. The fact that they might be dying or that every moment of their life is lived in a torment of pain or their every waking thought is suicidal, is irrelevant.

When I was called in for a WCA I was refused a home visit on the grounds that my doctor had informed the test centre that I was able to get to hospital for cancer treatment. As someone who suffers from acute social phobia that was so Orwellian that I felt positively ‘normal’ in having such difficulties in going out. If that is what passes for rationality the human race is clearly doomed. It’s an admission that we are living in the age of stupid and there doesn’t seem to be any hope of recovery.

When Iain Duncan Smith invoked the words written over the gates of Auschwitz, ‘arbeit macht frei’ (work makes you free), he wasn’t kidding around, he even appeared on BBC Breakfast television saying, “Look, work actually helps free people.”  The liberation granted people in the death camps of Germany is not something that any sane person would hold up as a working model for the Department for Work and Pensions.

People need to understand that when they attend a Work Capability Assessment they enter a twisted Tory dystopian environment based on the principles of fascism. It comes as no surprise that a WCA whistle blower said, “Almost every day one of my clients mentioned feelings of suicide to me,” or that the DWP has issued written suicide guidance to frontline staff, apparently printed on laminated pink card.

Ken Loach’s film, ‘I, Daniel Blake’, on the failings (or success from a government perspective) of the UK’s benefit system, apparently reduced film critics in Cannes to tears and led friend and fellow activist Charlotte Hughes to write, “Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake needs to inspire us all to act against the political and moral debasement of the Tory government.” Britain’s dirty little secret is that Tory welfare reforms saw the launch of a penal system of brutal cruelty denying people the means of survival.

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/news/14699246.Cancer_sufferer___39_put_through_hell__39__after_told_he_was_fit_for_work_by_government_assessors/?ref=fbshr

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jun/16/lawrence-mead-tough-us-welfare-unemployed

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8707652.stm

https://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/what-rabbit-hole-have-we-fallen-down-my-experiences-of-atos-work-capability-assessment/

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/05/work-programme-adviser-box-ticking-sanctioning-sick-people

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/27/death-britains-benefits-system-fit-for-work-safety-net

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13620988._Suicide_guidance__given_to_benefits_staff_preparing_for_desperate_calls_on_welfare_reform/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/08/starve-benefit-sanctions-unemployed-hungry-government

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ken-loach-film-i-daniel-blake-wins-cannes-award-director-slams-austerity_uk_57420d66e4b0ffced8625a4f

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-e9ce-DWP-inhumanity-needs-to-be-challenged-urgently#.V8KoyTWzzc4