Archives for posts with tag: Damian Green

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The world is being driven by the morally bankrupt and the utterly corrupt for whom accumulated wealth has more worth than life itself and in the hunger for which, globally, they destroy the lives and livelihoods of billions of people.

It is impossible for most ordinary people, including me, to know how corrupt the UK government is, and, indeed, governments and corporations across the world.

In the UK corporations are invited to advise on writing tax law and help design the loopholes they will later exploit. In 2010 Ian Brimicombe, described as a tax guru for AstraZeneca, was appointed as an adviser to a government liaison committee, along with senior executives from some of Britain’s biggest companies, to develop UK corporate tax policy. Within 5 months of the new tax regime coming into effect in 2013 ‘AstraZeneca had set up an unusual and intricate Dutch tax avoidance structure that would enable it to take full advantage of the new loopholes it had so helpfully advised on.’

Meanwhile over at Forbes, Tim Worstall writes, ‘Now They’re Chasing AstraZeneza: If Only These People Understood The System’. He goes on to say, ‘To be honest, it does seem reasonably sensible to have the world’s experts in corporate taxation advising on how to tax corporations but perhaps other people don’t see it quite that way.’

I rather think that Worstall knows the system and displays his disingenuousness well. Britain is languishing under a terrible misapprehension, the myth of the great and the good. Leave it to the experts and don’t worry our little heads about why the system is so complex and why it is, according to Tax Justice Network (TJN), that between $21-32 trillion dollars of private wealth is held offshore in tax havens. TJN goes on to say, ‘Measuring the size of the offshore economy is an exercise in night vision. It is hard to define it; it is fragmented and messy, and it is swathed in secrecy.’ But, but, but, wasn’t the system designed by the great and the good, the worlds finest, so there’s nothing to bother our little heads over? It’s 2017 and we didn’t discover financial literacy yesterday and yet somewhere in excess of $500bn per year of corporate profits is shifted by multinational companies into tax refuges and (unsurprisingly) ‘as a percentage of their gross domestic product, developing countries are hit hardest.’

But I need not delve so far into the twisted la la land of the financial interests of the super wealthy to gather hints of the enormity of corruption that bedevils us.

In 2010, as manifesto pledges, David Cameron promised, ‘With the Conservatives there will be no more of the tiresome, meddlesome, top-down re-structures that have dominated the last decade of the NHS’, ‘absolutely no plans to raise VAT’, ‘No cuts to front-line services’, to name but three. How great the lies that trip off the tongues of the great and the good to bedazzle and beguile the minds of those they rob blind.

As important as lying to the public is, the lies and deceit that Cameron and his cronies and the present government under Theresa May spin so glibly, provide only the merest glimpse of the tip of the iceberg of the fantastic corruption of those who lay false claim to serve the best interests of nations.

2013 also saw the introduction of the ‘bedroom tax’ and David Freud and Iain Duncan Smith were busily redesigning Britain’s system of social security, transforming it into a secret penal system that, it is now horrifically clear, is more brutal and far harsher than any punishment delivered by the nations justice system, and which, with casual indifference, has wiped out the lives of tens of thousands of people, and targets the poorest and most vulnerable people in the UK many times over. A report from The Centre for Welfare Reform in 2013 revealed that under the governments welfare reforms, ‘People in poverty are targeted 5 times more than most citizens, Disabled people are targeted 9 times more than most citizens and People needing social care are targeted 19 times more than most citizens.’

Austerity means hunger, deprivation and death for the poor and tax cuts, bonuses and protection for the rich.

Britain is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world and in 2015 was found to be the most unequal country in the EU. The UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has established that ‘welfare cuts have created a ‘human catastrophe’ for disabled people in the UK and accused the government of “grave and systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people. Damian Green, then Work and Pensions Secretary, dismissed the EU’s findings as, ‘an outdated view of disability which is patronising and offensive’, and claimed, ‘The UK is a recognised world leader in disabled rights and equality.’ If so, then this disabled person says to the government, “Spare me your tender ministrations and the Judas kiss of your treachery.”

The problem with corruption in high places is that it is so much a part of the system and so normal that its magnitude is barely discernible to even the most determined investigative research. It is not that there might be a few rotten eggs in the basket, but that the entire system is based on corruption as an absolute, it is written into its DNA, corruption is its raison d etre, backed up, supported and underwritten by a right wing media that targets and vilifies those who oppose and expose this obscene orgy of corruption.

In 2015 David Cameron spent over £10 million on what was described as ‘his army of spin doctors and advisers’ to purposefully deceive the nation. They are the living proof that not only is it entirely possible to polish a turd, but too many people are far too willing to feast on it, digest and regurgitate it in virulent retribution and hate and attack disabled people, immigrants and vulnerable people on the streets as if they are the cause of the all the worlds woe and, as we’ve seen time and time again, much to the delight and braying laughter and mockery of the architects of despair in government.

David Cameron, just prior to an anti-corruption summit in London, said, in front of the Queen and televised, “We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain… Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.” leading the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to disagree and say in defence of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, “But this particular president is not corrupt… he’s trying very hard.” James Landale, BBC diplomatic correspondent, said of Cameron, one of the most corrupt Prime Ministers in UK history (and certainly the most blandly shiny faced), ” it is perhaps one of the most undiplomatic things a prime minister could say – to describe two countries as fantastically corrupt just hours before their leaders visit Britain.” And therein lies the real problem of the fantastically corrupt, like Cameron, a wholehearted belief in their own righteousness and outspoken in their appalling ignorance.

Just like May’s government, Cameron served on an entirely corrupt platform of lies and deceit, penalising and brutalising millions of ordinary people, who they despise, whilst transferring the nations wealth into the hands of a grasping elite which is corrupt to the bone.

And children starve and the innocent die young.

KOG. 27 November 2017.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/13/tories-big-business-tax-loopholes

https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/10/14/now-theyre-chasing-astrazeneza-if-only-these-people-understood-the-system/#707e7bf2580e

http://www.taxjustice.net/topics/more/size-of-the-problem/

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/11/pre-election-pledges-tories-are-trying-wipe-internet

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

http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/library/by-az/briefing-on-how-cuts-are-targeted.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/these-are-the-ten-most-unequal-developed-countries-in-the-world-10267862.html

https://www.indy100.com/article/the-uk-is-the-most-unequal-country-in-the-eu–l1It2nHEZb

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37899305

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

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41648865

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36260193

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In the Tory mindset, the lives of ordinary people have no intrinsic value. Our value is measured only in terms of our utility in creating wealth, all other aspects of our humanity are treated as useless and a drain on the ‘free’ markets, including thought, child birth and rearing and our most basic human rights and needs.

The financial markets are treated as more valuable than life, yet without human life there would be no markets at all.

The Tories value as supreme those who control and hoard money and expect the rest of us to feed their greed. Anyone who is not participating in feeding market greed is treated as superfluous to requirements, humiliated, punished and eradicated through deceitful policies of attrition and persecution.

David Freud said, “people who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks as they have the least to lose.” and he also said disabled people are, “not worth the full wage”.

Anyone who measures the worth of life in monetary terms is a stain and a blight on humanity.

Currently, the duplicitous National Living Wage, which is actually the new minimum wage, is £7.50 per hour for those over 25.

£7.50 per hour is an insult to our humanity. They are telling us that an hours labour is worth less than one bloody plastic DVD, less than a mass produced Aluminium 20cm Saucepan from Tesco. The current real living wage is £9.75 per hour for London and £8.45 per hour everywhere else, and that’s not much to write home and brag about.

We’re so used to being totally undervalued we undervalue ourselves. We’re treated like shit and the Tories get away with insulting us with £7.50 per hour and companies are doing everything they can to deny us full time work or even the minimum wage in Damian Green’s bastard (sorry – “exciting”) gig economy.

Britain is now a country where poor, disadvantaged, traumatised and destitute people must be punished and forced to pay a premium rate penalty for their poverty. The Tories are stealing even the basic necessities of life and then punishing those they already persecute.

Oxford is threatening homeless people with a £2,500 fine because they are “having a detrimental effect… on the quality of life of those in the locality”. When you are literally on the floor, homeless and destitute, non-people, persona non grata, only a moron or a sadist would think the solution is a £2,500 poverty penalty.

Let’s take it as self evident that Tories (who are barely holding Oxford) are morons but they are sadistic morons and they are running a pogrom of social cleansing. There is a magic money tree for the rich and eradication for the everyone else.

They began with poor, sick and disabled people (the war on the poor) and have been escalating it ever since. They have weaponised money and are conducting economic warfare. They have absolute, sovereign control of the money supply. If people go to the banks or money lenders for loans all they obtain is a debt plus interest. People bargain their labour for debt, and if their labour is so undervalued that it doesn’t even provide enough to live on, they become debt slaves. If people want an education, they now begin their working life as debt slaves.

We have been robbed of our bargaining power, health, safety and employment rights. We have no recourse to justice because justice is only available to those who can afford for it.

We are slaves to market forces, the average market rent is £921 a month and they have destroyed social housing.

A new indignity has just emerged, hygiene poverty, personal hygiene or eat and we even have a tampon tax.

All of this, all of it, is driven by government policy. There are no natural forces at work here, the natural primal needs of life are being wilfully denied and penalised. Living has become a crime for which millions of people are being punished, sanctioned and murdered.

And the only defence the Tories have is to lie about it, to parliament and via the media and their own propaganda in which they invest millions of pounds.

They have no legitimacy, they have attempted to buy what meagre authority they claim to have, they have no mandate, no manifesto. We do not have a government, we have a cabal of thieves, a mafia, an extreme terrorist organisation, on organised crime syndicate, a bunch of gloating, braying, thugs.

They won’t walk out so they must be pushed, by every means of resistance and protest we have available, words, non-violent action, resistance and civil disobedience. They have the means to resist violence and will not hesitate to use it, not least because our lives are so cheap to them and they have nothing but contempt for us. But constant, sustained and relentless pressure they cannot prevent and they cannot suppress. Freedom of expression is available to everyone, the right to speak, the right to write, the right to protest, the right to peaceful assembly, these freedoms exist by right of being alive, inalienable, self evident, contained in our being, constrained only by fear, expressed by boldness and courage in the face of an implacable, brutal, enemy. We can spread information like the plague or virus they think we are, informing others.

We have a government in waiting, a national leader worth having, supported by ever growing numbers as people wake up to the reality of lethal Tory brutality. It is only a matter of time. The Tories must go! If you will pardon me for stating what should be the absolutely bleeding obvious to anyone but a Tory, people must come first for life and living.

KOG. 27 July 2017

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

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-29630529/pmqs-cameron-and-miliband-and-freud-wage-comments

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/26/oxford-homeless-people-face-fines-belongings-doorways

http://www.oxfordshireguardian.co.uk/oxfordshire-county-council-elections-2017/

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/mar/13/uk-average-annual-rents-fall-stamp-duty-hike-letting

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/27/poverty-driving-people-to-choose-between-eating-or-keeping-clean-in-kind-direct?CMP=share_btn_fb

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Every time I see a headline like, ‘Government is failing disabled people’ or as in the Guardian, 1 April 2017, ‘This benefit cut will make youngsters homeless. It’s another Tory failure’, I am immediately stuck by an overwhelming sense of disbelief that either the media simply doesn’t get it, which is unlikely, or this is wilful perception management to keep us wrong footed or to deliberately deceive us.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out the Tories are entirely comfortable with their policies and the effects they have and, indeed, lie through their teeth and spin endless nonsense despite overwhelming evidence of the harm their policies cause.

Whether it’s making work pay, the bedroom tax, sanctions, multiple attacks on disabled people, racist vans, bullshit jobs for bullshit pay, ending housing benefit for young people, no more top down reorganisation of our NHS, using European workers as bargaining chips, the junior doctors debacle, ending access to legal aid, denying the escalating numbers of suicides, the housing crisis, mass deportations, privatisation of the state, selling off state assets at knock down prices, cuts, caps, raising VAT, abandoning care for the elderly and raising pension age, tax cuts for the rich, austerity for the poor (and that is just the short list), the Tories are entirely comfortable with it all, their policies are working exactly as intended. They are not failing, they are succeeding.

Anyone who says they are failing, especially journalists, is misinformed (as much of the public is), an idiot or fully complicit in this mass deception.

This is not about cognitive dissonance, ‘the mental stress (discomfort) experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values’, this is perception management on a grand scale.

How many deaths would it take to give any reasonable organisation cause to examine its policies or even just acknowledge that there might be a problem? Since 2010, tens of thousands of people have died or committed suicide and the government is not only not interested but denies there is even a problem. Damian Green took over from Iain Duncan Smith in July 2016 and has not only continued with the punitive regime put in place by Smith, but has escalated the attacks on poor and vulnerable people and claims the benefits cap, ‘costing almost 90,000 of Britain’s poorest families more than £2,000 a year, is a “real success”.

And he’s right. It is a massive Tory success. Poverty is rising and persistent poverty for children has consistently risen since 2010 and food bank usage under the Tories has gone through the roof, leading Chris Mould to state that the DWP regards people driven to food banks as “collateral damage”. Iain Duncan Smith, far from doing anything about the situation, accused the Trussell Trust of scare mongering and he and Lord Freud have consistently refused to meet with the Trussell Trust.

Why would they meet with the Trussell Trust? The system was designed by Smith and Freud, and it is doing exactly as intended, to penalise and hound people to death. Dr David Webster, writing on the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies web site, called Benefit Sanctions, ‘Britain’s secret penal system’, which imposes more and harsher fines than the entire British court system.

What does it take to call a spade a spade?

To even begin to understand the Tories we have to see them as they see themselves and report accordingly, as a towering success. Their policies are not ill informed or hastily come by, they are well planned and enormous amounts of time have been spent formulating them. The Welfare Reform Act 2012, introduced by Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud, and the unfolding misery it has given rise to, was not written in a day, or hastily, it was long in the making almost certainly predating the 2010 general election. It’s 350 sections and 187 pages were meticulously written and is a huge success story for the Tories.

Reporting any of this as failing or failure, is to entirely misreport the reality of Tory success. They are not failing disabled people or young people or anyone else, they are successfully implementing policies which they fully intended would cause pain and suffering on the grand scale we see to this day.

Alex Brooker on the Last Leg rightly called Tory disability cuts, “disabled genocide” and if you have a terminal illness but are expected to live longer than six months you do not qualify for extra support. So yes in real terms the government is failing ordinary people, but they are doing so wilfully and knowingly and mocking us in the process and consider their policies entirely successful.

The mainstream media headlines should reflect the reality of the situation, and hit hard and true. That they do not is to entirely fail to understand what is going on or to wilfully mislead.

Given the cost in lives for their failure to present the facts and the reality of the situation, then they are culpable in this unfolding catastrophe in the lives of millions of people in Britain today. Too much of the corporate media is engaged in perception management for self serving reasons and given the proliferation (thankfully) of independent media, bloggers and writers, it falls to us, ordinary people, to hold them to account and to call a spade a spade. The Tories have blood on their hands and it bothers them not one jot.

KOG. 02 April 2017

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/government-is-failing-disabled-people-on-discrimination-say-peers/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/01/housing-benefits-cut-young-adults-homeless

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-poverty-the-charts-that-show-the-true-state-of-low-income-britain-a7031666.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/food-bank-usage-at-record-high-reveals-trussell-trust-a6984921.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britons-driven-to-food-banks-by-poverty-seen-as-collateral-damage-by-dwp-says-trussell-trust-a6794101.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/iain-duncan-smith-accuses-food-bank-charity-the-trussell-trust-of-scaremongering-9021150.html

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

https://www.loc.gov/law/help/welfare-reform/great-britian.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welfare_Reform_Act_2012

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/the-last-leg-diability-cuts_uk_58ba72f0e4b05cf0f400d555

https://www.mariecurie.org.uk/help/money/benefits-entitlements/living-with-terminal-illness/special-rules

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Last Sunday I read an article on the cost of badger culling. It is enormously costly, between 2012 and 2014 we paid £16.8 million to kill 2,476 badgers, that’s £6,785 per badger. In Wales, where they use vaccinations, the cost per badger is £293, that’s £6,492 cheaper per badger, a saving of £32.5 million and 5,000 badgers alive and hopefully well in Wales.

When I shared this on Facebook, I made a comment that the Tories like culling, which reminded me of my very first letter to Cameron in which I wrote, ‘Clearly your contempt for the people of Britain can have only one logical end, so why not begin the cull now?’ Actually, they had already started but I was just waking up to just how devious and appalling the government was and still is.

Despite their dishonesty, what I had to learn to do was believe the evidence before me and extrapolate from that what their plan was based on the evidence on the ground. The badger cull holds a lesson.

As far as evolution is concerned those ‘in power’ regard us on a par with badgers and consider themselves higher, if not highest, on the evolutionary scale. Iain Duncan Smith said that they call us stock. He meant that, just stock, and you can do anything you like to stock because stock don’t have a say. Badgers, cattle, sheep, humans – stock.

The evidence is right under our noses, but how hard is it to see it? It beggars belief, even when the evidence points right at it. With badgers it’s shotguns, for us it’s economic, how many more have to die before we believe the evidence?

How cuts are targeted: people in poverty – 5 times the rest of the population: people with disabilities – 9 times the rest of the population: people with severe disabilities – 19 times the rest of the population. Sanctions, exclusive to poor, sick and disabled people, deprive us of the means of survival. Remember David Clapson? He was sanctioned for missing a Jobcentre appointment and died of diabetic ketoacidosis because he could not afford to keep his insulin cool as he had no money to run his fridge. He died with £3.44 in his account, no food in his stomach, though a pile of CV’s was found near his body.

We are consistently told how huge the benefits bill is and that we just can’t afford it. According to figures from the Centre for Welfare Reform, “The real cost of benefits and pensions is very low, 86% is paid straight back to the government in taxes. The net cost of benefits after taxes is really only £25 billion.” After circulating in the real economy supporting and boosting trade and jobs, 86% finds its way back into the tax pot. What that means is, if someone is receiving Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) of £73.10 a week, once it’s been used to scratch a mean existence and gone full cycle, the actual amount of money that people on JSA get to cover their needs is £10.23, the rest is just the tax imposed on living. In real terms, David Clapson, whose job seekers allowance was £71.70 a week, died for £10.03 after tax.

I don’t know how many times I was bollocked for writing Letters to Number 10, usually in private messages. Who did I think I was writing to the Prime Minister in the way I did? And that’s the problem right there. People unthinkingly submit to authority. It’s ok for governments to kill people, they do it all the time. Of course they don’t do it themselves, they get others to do it for them and they don’t pay for it either, we do, which includes the soldiers who go to fight their bloody wars. We’re not just working stock, we are the cash cow that pays for government to do everything it does.

We pay their salaries, their expenses, their food and drink, their golden handshakes, their knighthoods and gold plated pensions and we pay them to kill us. All perfectly legit in our ‘representative democracy’, voted for by a dubious but supposed voting majority.

As Frank Herbert wrote in ‘God Emperor of Dune’, “It takes a pretty dull policeman to miss the fact that the position of authority is the most prosperous criminal position available.” Governments, media barons like Rupert Murdoch, bankers, corporations, kings of commerce, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces  – the Queen.

So habituated to authority are we that when some corporation or council or government official writes to us to tell us we owe them money, most people just pay it without challenge, because authority invokes fear. The notion that we are innocent until proven guilty is alright in theory, until the TV licence authority comes knocking demanding to know why we haven’t paid our TV licence, or the bailiffs comes to throw us out of the only shelter we have or steal our possessions.

We’re surrounded by authority, we’re trained and educated in obedience to authority, and those who question authority are regarded as dubious freaks. Not respectable or respectful. Of what? Someone dressed in a suit and tie, a uniform, or with an unsigned warrant, a demand?

Theresa May said that we are policed by consent and that the police are there to protect the public and to protect property. Really? Try that little nugget on the police the next time you’re stopped by them, they do not take kindly to smart alecks who question their authority. They are trained to exert authority and we are trained to surrender to it. It’s written into the DNA of our culture.

The government absolutely relies on public obedience, the docility of the majority and goes to enormous lengths to ensure it. Remember the Battle of the Beanfield, the miners strike, Orgreave, Occupy and Tarpaulin Square, the evisceration of the Unions?

We have a supposed ‘human right’ to peaceful protest, here’s the rules, “Organisers of public processions are required by law to notify police AT LEAST 6 DAYS BEFORE the event occurs, of the date, time, proposed route and the name and address of an organiser. Completion of the form 3175 satisfies the legal requirement to notify police of a public procession under sections 11(1) and 11(3) of the Public Order Act 1986.”

‘Human rights’ are subject to conditions, the chief one being obedience. How does the presumption of innocence stack up against the presumption of obedience? David Cameron said, “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’.” That makes a mockery of the expression, ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about’. The government doesn’t have to do away with the human rights act, they disregard human rights anyway, on a routine daily basis. If the government can deprive us of the means of survival, we have no right to life, as David Clapson and tens of thousands of others have found out at the cost of their lives.

Sanctions kill, legitimised by the authority of the government, yet Damian Green condemned Ken Loach’s film, ‘I, Daniel Blake’, without having bothered to even see it, bleating that it’s ‘monstrously unfair’. That must surely be the supreme arrogance of the man in charge of the DWP horror factory to bleat, ‘It’s not fair’. Is that the best he can do? Why doesn’t he go up to Ashton Under Lyne this Thursday and meet up with Charlotte Hughes outside the Jobcentre for their weekly protest and try saying it there? I wonder how his authority would look faced with real people on the ground suffering under this governments vile regime?

Those at the top are not used to being held to account. Iain Duncan Smith has a habit of ducking out of back doors, as he did in Bath at a protest I attended to celebrate the occasion of his visit to the Jobcentre, not even prepared to face us from the safety of his chauffeur driven car, meeting up with it only after it had safely left the scene of his crimes.

It is we who must find courage in the face of adversity, those who create our adversity rarely display any courage at all beyond the cloisters and safe protected haven of the Westminster bubble.

KOG 14 November 2016

If you think the Conservatives can be trusted with the economy, look at the cost of the badger cull

http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/library/by-az/briefing-on-how-cuts-are-targeted.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/killed-benefits-cuts-starving-soldier-3923771

http://content.met.police.uk/Article/Organising-a-protest-march-or-static-demonstration/1400002380711/1400002380711

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

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/damian-green-never-seen-i-9166462

https://thepoorsideoflife.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/exhausted-and-thursdays-demo/

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What makes Ken Loach’s ‘I, Daniel Blake’ so powerful is where the plot impacts on life. Most films and documentaries take for granted certain elements of life, like eating and shelter. Such things are assumed, a meal – at ‘home’, in a cafe or restaurant, and access to a home, cafe or restaurant which means having the wherewithal to afford and be in those places. These are assumed cultural and societal rights or norms which the ‘plot’ does not need to establish, they are taken for granted.

‘I’ Daniel Blake’ blows that right open (as much as I have as yet seen), these foundational norms can no longer be assumed. They are stripped bare, revealed as fragile and vulnerable.

The means, the wherewithal, is no longer anything that can be taken for granted, the door to that security is slammed in our faces by a DWP ‘Decision Maker’, an ‘other’, and that is terrifying, stupefying, an assault on our lives.

That loss of power over our basic securities has been weaponised against us and we get no say in the matter.

Money is the token of access, our ticket to belonging, our legitimacy, without which the door to life closes and we realise that we have been excluded. There is no handle on our side. The government, the DWP, the Decision Maker, have rendered us persona non grata, a non-person, leaving us staring into the void.

Homeless people gravitate to human habitation where all the social structure exists for modern life and scrabble for scraps from society’s table, but the right of access has been removed. We become unwelcome strangers, unwanted, shamed and humiliated. We may even be fined and criminalised for being there, the exclusion is complete. No money, no membership, no entry.

Exclusion means even scratching through litter bins is shunned, it is a misuse use of society’s system of waste and rubbish facilities, looking for a morsel in the waste of others. It may have been a burger 10 minutes ago, but once discarded it is no longer food, it’s rubbish, and picking it up and eating it is offensive, disgusting and embarrassing to those who ‘belong’. It is not because people are reminded of the fragility of life, it is that they are offended and ‘turn their noses up’ to such aberrant, distasteful, behaviour.

The ‘fragile life’ idea has a romantic appeal which is not borne out in practice, the notion of ‘there but for the grace of god go I’ is clear to some but not most people. But it is not the grace of god which arbitrarily imposes, condones and supports social exclusion, endorsing the righteous, it is a structural exclusion, the will of ‘man’.

Were it the grace of god then activism would be unnecessary, it would be merely precarious divine fate over which we have no control. And who are we to presume otherwise? Under such grace, poverty is fine, homelessness is fine, starvation of children is fine, every social injustice is divine in origin. It isn’t.

If I plead with god for the poor and do no more, then I am essentially giving in to futility, sacrificing my innate power to act to divine caprice. It’s entirely self defeating because I am self evidently equipped to act. I might just as well ask god to look after and brush my teeth for me when I am fully equipped to do it myself.

I may be less clear about what I can do about social injustice, what effective steps I can take, but it behoves me to grapple with the complexities of life, inequality, social justice, social exclusion, not abdicate my will and abilities and choice to an ‘other’.

Rising injustice has seen a rise in the use of the term ‘Karma’. This is a lot more than merely actions having consequences, which is self evidently true. This use of Karma assumes some kind of universal power of justice beyond our control. It’s god thinking in disguise without the religious overtones. But it is essentially disempowering because it is an excuse to do nothing, because something else will sort it out. It is fateful thinking which in human terms is not helpful in the slightest other than in the comfort it gives in invoking it. It’s essentially a cop out at a time of obscene human made attacks on social justice. The war on the poor is flourishing and karmic reprisals (or even just some kind of balance of power) are conspicuous by their absence.

In fact what we are experiencing is the unaccountable power of the few over the many, holding the poor to account by robbing them blind as wealth inequality is driven through the roof. And it’s brutal. As Ken Loach said, “The present system is one of conscious cruelty. It bears down on those least able to bear it. The bureaucratic inefficiency is vindictive and hunger is being used as a weapon. People are being forced to look for work that doesn’t exist.” More than that, people are being knowingly deprived of the means of survival and, as current head of the DWP, Damian Green, said, “We are building on the record of Iain Duncan Smith, who over six years poured his heart into welfare reform – as did his successor Stephen Crabb… We should be proud of that record.”

The man is a bloody monster! Proud of causing children to starve? Proud of depriving disabled people of the means to even walk let alone live an independent life? Proud of stealing the means of survival from people as a punishment. Proud of the return of Victorian poverty related diseases and others, malnutrition, gout, rickets, tuberculosis, scurvy, mumps, scarlet fever, cholera, diphtheria and typhoid? Proud of tens of thousands of deaths? Proud of the millions of emergency food parcels handed out by an ever increasing number of food banks. Perhaps we should be campaigning for the return of public floggings.

The proud record of Tory brutality since 2010 is an outrage and yet I am utterly convinced of Green’s sincerity as far as this is concerned. He is an abject failure as a human being and certainly unfit to hold office, yet in July this year the Tories had a 16 point lead over Labour. How is this possible or even credible?

The elevation of Donald Trump to president has revived the old ‘dumb Americans’ trope, I’ll just hold their beer as they laugh and point. If life was a car, millions of people in the UK, it seems, are asleep at the wheel because we’ve already driven off the cliff. Of course the Tories will fall eventually, but how many more lives will be ruined and snuffed out before they do?

To every single person speaking out and acting for change in whatever way time and ability allows, my utmost thanks, we are the light in the wilderness, no matter what they do and no matter what they throw at us. The Tories and all neoliberal right wing leaning people and apologists are a terminal wrong and a stain on the world.

Find whatever peace and souls ease that you can to give you strength to carry on fighting. You are not alone even though isolation and division are things that the Tories work hard to force upon us. Life is not a competition, yet cooperation, care and support are now revolutionary acts in Tory Britain.

KOG 10 November 2016

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/nov/23/ken-loach-benefit-sanctions-jeremy-corbyn-food-banks

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/new-tory-welfare-chief-damian-8977533

https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2014/aug/08/return-victorian-diseases-gout-tb-measles-malnutrition

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/25/childhood-rickets-vitamin-d

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/labour-leadership-tories-conservative-party-poll-vote-intention-theresa-may-jeremy-corbyn-a7156381.html