Archives for posts with tag: Department for Work and Pensions

pink-floyd-wallpapers

Whether I am given a parking fine, a court summons for not paying my council tax and imprisoned, made bankrupt or homeless as a punishment, fallen behind in my rent because I have too low an income to cover the market rent and am forced to choose between eating and rent, sanctioned and deprived of all income for being a minute late for a Jobcentre appointment, in fact, name the countless ways in which we can be punished for financial want, these are paper crimes. There is no motive of harm or wilful hurt caused to another and, excepting the very few who defraud for personal financial gain, these are what I would call crimes of innocence.

In Britain we have two types of law, as best as I can understand it, Common Law and Civil Law.

Common Law is set by precedent and is also known as Case Law and Natural Law, evolved and developed over time by the court system and comprises what we know as natural justice.

Civil Law or Statute Law, is set by parliament and whatever passes in parliament goes on what we know as the statute books. The definition of Statute Book is the: “Chronological collection of the statutes approved by the legislative body of a country and forming its legal code.”

Britain is a confusing mixture of both these forms of law.

Readers may remember when I attempted to bring charges against Iain Duncan Smith and (Lord) David Freud under the Human Rights Act for depriving people of the means of survival and therefore infringing their right to life. What I unwittingly came up against was a conflict between two statutory laws and was informed by the Police that in order to challenge the sanctions regime I would have to bring a civil case, which is a ‘legal dispute between two or more parties’. It was, and still remains, my right as a citizen to do this, if I could afford it. As the police informed me, it wasn’t a criminal case because Iain Duncan Smith wasn’t breaking the law, sanctions have been around since the National Insurance Act 1911, my case, if I had one, was to pursue a conflict in statute law in which a judge would adjudicate.

Which roundabout route brings me back to crimes of innocence and why outrage is both entirely right and appropriate and yet hobbled. What we are up against is that most hideous of creatures, the Jobsworth, who obeys the letter of the law absent of any common sense, decency or rationality and who positively enjoys penalising people for no good reason. I give you, the Tory government, who are experts in achieving illegitimate ends by legitimate means: i.e. they have the legitimate means to deprive people of the means of survival through sanctions, the end is that people die either through penury or through suicide, and the government claim they’ve done nothing wrong in their twisted, perverse thuggery. Worse, they ladle the blame on us, who, were they to vanish in a moment (I wish), would carry on with our lives free of their vile perfidy and constant threat.

I recently quoted from ‘Britannia Unchained’, a book co-written by Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss, who castigate ‘the “baby boomer” generation for seeking to raise taxes for young workers to pay for their lavish pension pots’. In so doing they promote a lie and generate discord and hate for a crime of innocence, where pensioners have paid into their pension pot in good faith, over their working life times, to receive on retirement a state pension which is anything but lavish.

This stuff is as infuriating as it is teeth grindingly irritating, from self serving politicians making political capital out of our lives and a presumption of guilt for no crime we’ve committed either wilfully or in error.

And they know exactly what they are doing. It is enraging to watch their smirking faces when they are challenged in parliament and the lies with which they justify themselves and wilfully avoid any accountability whatsoever.

This country is ruled by the unjust and the innocent die. They have weaponised poverty and made of it a crime of innocence, for which the penalty is death by sanction in Britain’s filthy secret penal system, the Department for Work and Pensions.

Conditionality – obedience or death.

KOG. 11 April 2017

https://onlinelaw.wustl.edu/blog/common-law-vs-civil-law/

http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/regime-change-sanctions-and-law-claimants

Benefit Sanctions and the Rule of Law

denise-and-paula

It was a huge shock to lose a good friend and campaigner on Monday 1st January 2017. I spent the day in and out of tears, but as the day unfolded I was astonished to realise the extent of her reach and the number of lives she had profoundly touched. It was typical of Denise Bellamy to just get on with it, she was at times completely disabled by recurring illness and had a busy family life to boot. I can’t imagine how she did it, but I do feel profound awe and overwhelming of love for a dear departed friend and campaigner.

We’re just a few days into the new year, it’s not even toddling yet, but what has struck me is the force of the opposition to what the Tories are doing to our country and our people. It feels the year has started like a tidal wave and we are a lot wiser than at the start of 2016, but the fundamental problem remains, the way the Tories treat us and their attitude towards us.

Today I read about a woman who had her mobility allowance stopped because she could squeeze someone’s thumb. She has since had her mobility allowance restored and backdated after interventions from her MP and the press, but that is not the point. Despite having evidence from MS specialists at Leicester’s hospitals, during the assessment the lady was asked to, ‘squeeze this person’s thumb, to touch her toes from a sitting position and to stand on one leg, which she managed to do although holding on to something.’ And that was it, her support was stopped.

I must mention here that within the Department for Work and Pensions we are called ‘Stock’!

Throughout history the lower orders, that’s ordinary people, have been used and abused as cannon fodder, cheap labour, providers for the great and the good as well as being their servants (and being forced into other less savoury roles) and the problem with this government is that this attitude still prevails.

The Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is designed to be humiliating, demeaning, infantalising and downright disrespectful. Medical evidence that claimants provide is ignored and people are forced to perform for so called Healthcare Professionals who go through a tick box process and the results are sent to a decision maker who has the final say in denying them support.

One nurse who worked as a Healthcare Professional had this to say about her job, “It is made clear throughout training and working that we are not nurses – we are disability analysts. Also, we do not carry out “medical assessments” we carry out “functional assessments”. We did not even need a diagnosis to carry out assessments.”

The entire point of ‘functional assessments’ is to assess whether the claimant could do any form of bullshit work at all, no matter how limited, so squeezing a finger qualifies a claimant as capable of work and the entire point of the assessment is to deny benefits to as many people as possible. In short, it’s a punitive system of benefit denial.

What used to enrage Denise, which we discussed many times, and still enrages me and many others is the arrogant paternalism of the government who treat people more like groveling penitents who are forced to physically beg for help through a series of meaningless and demeaning actions like performing monkeys. The word and expertise of real healthcare professionals, like GPs and hospital specialists and, indeed, the word of the claimant, is treated as of no value and meaningless.

In his book, PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, Paul Mason wrote the following, “The truth is, as finance has seeped into our daily lives, we are no longer slaves to the machine, to the 9-to-5 routine, we’ve become slaves to interest payments. We no longer just generate profits for our bosses through our work, but also profits for financial middlemen through our borrowing. A single mum on benefits, forced into the world of pay-day loans and buying household goods on credit, can be generating a much higher profit rate for capital than an auto industry worker with a steady job.

“Once every human being can generate a financial profit just by consuming – and the poorest can generate the most – a profound change begins in capitalism’s attitude to work… financialization is a permanent feature of neoliberalism. Like fiat money, it leads to breakdown – but the system can’t do without it.”

Financial insecurity, whether through poverty pay, insecure jobs on zero hours contracts, the destruction of social safety nets, reducing or denying people the pensions they have paid for over a working lifetime, is a systemic abuse of ordinary people for profit and the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich.

Drive people into the ground and they become slaves to debt and interest rates all of which just increases the wealth of those who control the financial markets and so it is no surprise to see a report today that the public subsidies to the privatised rail networks, £3.999 billion in 2015/16 alone, is declared as profit and siphoned off as bonuses and fatcat pay packages. Meanwhile rail fares are on the rise again and rail networks fail to meet customer needs merely to get to work.

Whether it is in the trenches over 144 days of hell and ultimate horror in the battle of the Somme at the cost of over a million lives, numberless billions trying to scratch a mean living as wage slaves, or sick and disabled people denied even the right to basic mobility and care, it all feeds the greed of those who own and control wealth and make obscene profits and pay themselves more money than they could need in a hundred lifetimes and give nothing back, not even taxes towards the very system that sustains them.

The entire world runs on the backs of ordinary people, the worker, the disabled person, the immigrant, the single mum, the OAP struggling to stay warm, the evicted homeless, all of us plain, honest to god, ordinary folks.

And do you know what? We’re amazing, we’re so damned decent it takes my breath away. The outpouring of love for Denise says everything about us and nothing about the thieves who despoil our lives for profit. If you are English, then you quite likely hardly know how to complain about a poorly prepared meal in a restaurant, or take back shoddy goods to a store without making a fuss, just standing firm and expecting a refund, or whatever. The crimes committed against us on a daily basis we’ve suffered for generations.

Back in July 1957, Harold Macmillan blithely told us we’d never had it so good, before deciding that we needed to increase our productivity and have our wages suppressed. And he got away with it.

We are so damned good and decent it’s staggering, and when the time comes to be as obnoxious as humanly possible towards the system, we are completely nonplussed. It’s not that we’re out of practice, we’ve never really done it before. Civil disobedience? What’s that?

Personally I am learning every day, building up grit and sinew, cutting away at the veneer of civilisation because there is nothing civilised about organised society, other than in the civility of ordinary people. Behind the veneer of a supposedly civilised state is a shocking brutality in which people are dying daily and does the state care? Not one bit, indeed it creates the very circumstances in which so many are losing their lives.

It’s a slow process and we are not to blame for that, we’re learning as we go. Learning to stand up for ourselves and it is happening. When I think back to planning what I could do in 2011/12 before starting a letter a day to number 10, there was barely a ripple in general to what was going on. As 2017 begins it’s a very different story by comparison. Is it good enough, are we good enough? Yes, we are.

It takes patience, it can’t be rushed for love nor money. Not a one of us can demand any kind of popular uprising, but we can and do work towards it, daily. As others join, so much is already in place and they don’t have to do the groundwork, and getting up to speed is made easier by those who’ve gone before and worked their socks off.

Denise was such a one and I applaud her life and all she did for every one of us, yes, even those who do not even know it yet, never knew her and never will. Her efforts were no less heroic for that.

If she could have left a message on my answering machine, I am very sure she’d have left (in spirit) something like:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are –
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Attributed to Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

KOG. 04 January 2017

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ms-sufferer-who-struggles-walk-9553366

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

https://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/what-you-need-to-know-about-atos-assessments/

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/01/04/the-gravy-train-rail-firms-make-3-5-billion-profit-from-our-subsidy-while-the-service-fails/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8145390/Harold-Macmillans-never-had-it-so-good-speech-followed-the-1950s-boom.html

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

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

13_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,521

Saturday 13 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that there were 746 hospital admissions and 391 deaths from malnutrition in 2015, a rise of 27% from 9 years ago.

The response from the Department for Work and Pensions? “We now have record numbers of people in work and wages rising faster than inflation. But we need to go further, which is why we’ve committed to increase the National Living Wage (not true), we’re taking the lowest paid out of income tax (yet still pay the highest, around 30% of income, in indirect taxation) and our welfare reforms are ensuring it always pays to be in work.”

Not a single word of regret that nearly 400 people starved to death last year in the world’s 6th richest country and an admission that your welfare reforms are so punitive that work always pays (it still doesn’t) no matter how precarious, insecure or low paid that work is. We used to have a social safety net but since 2010 you Tories have cut the ropes.

The food supply in Britain is incredible and awe inspiring, shifting food and stock on a daily, even hourly, basis. From the largest supermarkets to the smallest rural shops, Britain’s roads are full of huge trucks down to small vans and even car boots, 24 hours a day in an endless supply chain keeping shelves filled with goods from across the globe. You’d think it would be a logistical nightmare, but it runs almost invisibly (taken for granted) minute by minute, day by day, all manner of plain and exotic foods in plentiful supply in a land of plenty.

There’s only one problem, food is only good if you can eat it. It’s of no use to anyone if it’s languishing on shelves in shops or finds it way to landfill sites, as half the food in Britain does. If you can’t grub for pennies, you don’t eat, no tokens, no food. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so deadly serious. We all live on this luscious ball of goodness with everything we need to sustain life as a free gift of the universe. Yes, really, I am not making it up, but we have this insane system imposed upon us that you can’t plant a single carrot without either owning or renting the land or having someone’s permission. A share of the Earth’s bounty isn’t a right, you have to earn it and the DWP has introduced forced labour just so that we know our place.

You might think that feeding the starving would be a government priority, rather like the nations health before Lansley and then Hunt got their hands on it, but it isn’t, the priority is profit. The entire Earth has been stolen from us: like the British Empire, stick a flag in it and it’s owned by a rapacious select few hell bent of stealing the world’s wealth from ordinary people. If we don’t like it we’re treated to violence and arrest, compliments of the state. The Irish potato famine was English state controlled genocide in a land of plenty, people were shot for trying to stop the food from being stolen from Ireland by the British gentry.

No one, but no one, should be dying of malnutrition in Britain today, that they are is a matter of wilful and deliberate neglect by the state in which arms are a greater priority than feeding the starving. You’ll steal our money to replace Trident, but you won’t feed the poor.

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

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-graph-that-shows-how-the-poor-are-paying-more-than-the-rich-in-tax-10353982.html

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jan/10/half-world-food-waste

http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/node/2163

http://www.irishcentral.com/news/proving-the-irish-famine-was-genocide-by-the-british-tim-pat-coogan-moves-famine-history-unto-a-new-plane-181984471-238161151.html

http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/famine/hunger.htm

25_june_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,474

Saturday 25 June 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

If the referendum has been about anything, it’s been about framing. Britain’s exit has been received as the triumph of ignorance. Brexiteers despised as some kind of Neanderthal, sub-human, knuckle dragging, species that have destroyed Britain.

And yes, divide and rule is still holding the foreground. From what I’ve seen, and I am inclined to go with Owen Jones and John Harris on this, the great divide hasn’t been about age groups so much as poverty and desperation. Poor areas voted Brexit, more affluent areas voted remain.

Back to the framing, or should I say frame up? Immigration has been wilfully used and abused by politicians and the media alike and it can hardly be any surprise that it took root. Desperate people with no answers have a tendency to clutch at straws and even pin their hopes on hopeless solutions. If the economic woes of the poor are blamed on immigrants and if the poor pick up the mantra thrust upon them relentlessly from all sides, who is really to blame? The poor, of course and never, ever, those who cause poverty or frame the debate. God dammit, the poor are always to blame! And now we have Brexit and the venom is dripping.

Ashton-under-Lyne, was recently described in the Guardian as having ‘developed a reputation as the embodiment of the Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) grim frontline’. It’s  one of the areas chosen as a test bed for new DWP policies prior to them being rolled out across the nation. A group of activists has been meeting weekly at the local Jobcentre for two years to assist and support those bearing the brunt of your brutal welfare policies. Charlotte Hughes regularly reports on the utter desperation of people driven to the brink, she described one man, sanctioned under the new in-work conditionality regime, who was deprived of his housing benefit ‘after he missed the jobcentre’s job search target by one hour’ – “He was working nights, all hours. But they stopped his housing benefit,” Hughes said. “He’s lost his home. We gave him a coat in the end. I’ve never seen a man more broken.”

Let’s just pause and consider how that man might have voted in the referendum, beaten, broken, busted and desperate against a political and media driven narrative of other blaming. Could anyone blame him if he thought Brexit might be a good idea, that it might offer some semblance of control back into his life, that change might offer a little light in a very dark existence, that his plight might be inextricably linked to the issue of immigration? It’s easy to condemn, the referendum was a festival of blame, such that I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. Personally, I think the timing was lousy, too many desperate people under a brutal regime. We now have to find a way forward and I, for one, hope that it includes regime change in which your resignation is only a start.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2016/jun/22/eu-referendum-welcome-to-the-divided-angry-kingdom-video

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/24/eu-referendum-working-class-revolt-grieve?CMP=share_btn_fb

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25287068

https://www.rt.com/uk/252753-tabloids-un-hopkins-migrants/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/23/charlotte-sees-desperation-first-hand-job-centre-benefits-system?CMP=fb_cif#comment-77017853

14_june_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,464

Tuesday 14 June 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I would like to thank you for the GOV.UK web page – “Report online material promoting terrorism or extremism”.

I have taken the opportunity to report an organisation that has recently accepted that its actions are a factor in the deaths of many people in this country. In their defence they state that it would be inaccurate and misleading to link deaths solely to their behaviour. Which may be so, but that does not in any way absolve them of their extremist behaviour towards people in the UK and the part they play in causing the widespread distress that has led to so many deaths. The organisation is, of course, your governments own Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The website I reported was the Gov.UK ‘Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance sanctions statistics’. I included the following in my report: “The website represents Britain’s secret penal system, imposing judgements and sentences without trial or representation and depriving people of the means of survival. Something no court in the land would do. The sanctions regime is government extremism which leaves victims destitute and desperate.”

There are three levels of sanctions, lower, intermediate or higher level, that is 4 weeks, 13 weeks up to 156 weeks and since 2012 the amount sanctioned is ‘100% of the prescribed amount for a single claimant’. This prescribed amount refers to the minimum amount the law defines a person needs to live on, in other words the minimum amount of money a person requires for their basic survival.

Without food it is reckoned that it is possible to survive for three weeks, so with no other means of support, at 4 weeks the sanctioned claimant would be rather dead, at 13 weeks they would be very dead and smelly and at 156 weeks I guess they would be a somewhat withered husk. To the best of my knowledge death has an extremely limited recovery rate, so whichever sanction is applied, at the end of the sanction it is unlikely the body would be able to sign on without a great deal of help, nor yet be able to fulfil whatever commitments the DWP demands of claimants. It seems to me that under such circumstances the corpse would very quickly find itself subject to yet another sanction, but on the up side, the corpse will probably not be all that bothered.

Is it just me or does this all sound a bit extreme to you? Living in bonkers Britain it is hard to know any more, after all you Tories seem to maintain some functional capability even though you lack both hearts and souls. Despite this you do seem to have retained some limited ability for speech, yet every word that comes out is a lie, so I wonder if that isn’t just the babbling of the father of all lies transmitted through however he manages to animate your heartless, soulless bodies from the bowels of hell?

https://www.gov.uk/report-terrorism

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

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/how-dwp-rhetoric-on-responsibility-for-benefit-claimants-deaths-has-subtly-shifted-a7041291.html

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jobseekers-allowance-sanctions-leaflet/jobseekers-allowance-sanctions-how-to-keep-your-benefit-payment

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/186931/foi-844-2013.pdf

17_may_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,436

Tuesday 17 May 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Power speaking to me is not democracy, authority is not democracy and in order to speak to me it must be legitimate. I am democracy, I speak to power as a right, that is democracy. Write that down and remember it well, because no matter what happens, or how this present desecration works out, that is the truth. If people fear to speak to power then something is terribly wrong.

Democracy is something I exercise as a human right and when you told us, “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,” you declared your intention to abuse the exercise of power without being held accountable. Whatever the rules are, whatever the law is, you presumed to declare yourself lawless, and to act against us in whatever way you choose. And you have done just that.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) deprives people of the means of survival on a routine basis. The Human Rights Act 1998 states, ‘Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law’. The DWP is clearly acting outside of the law, imposing sentences that are not handed down by a court of law and in excess of any lawful sentences, through its own arbitrary rules and for the most trivial reasons.

The Workfare programme is a system of forced labour, without pay, under threat of sanctions. Article 4 of the human rights act stipulates, ‘No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour’. Workfare infringes our human rights and any normal civic obligations and is a criminal offense. The courts have already ruled that the Workfare programme is illegal, and yet the DWP persists in its pogrom of forced labour.

In making the statement above to the country, you betrayed whatever legitimacy you might have had and became a self declared rogue government. What matters is that people imprint that in their consciousness and, no matter what you get up to, apply that at all times and under all circumstances. You are right that for too long, we have been a passively tolerant society but only in a historic subservience to power. That is what requires a seismic shift.

No one is above the law and that includes you.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/counter-extremism-bill-national-security-council-meeting

http://indy100.independent.co.uk/article/this-is-the-creepiest-thing-david-cameron-has-ever-said–e1q_01xlZZ

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/schedule/1

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/16/human-rights-abuse-of-power-conservatives-bill-of-rights

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/24/benefit-sanctions-trivial-breaches-and-administrative-errors

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

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/workfare-ruled-illegal-court-appeal-1705844

https://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/high-court-throws-out-duncan-smiths-flawed-and-tawdry-retrospective-workfare-law/

03_february_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,335

Wednesday 03 February 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

As the national legislative body governments are responsible for the smooth or otherwise running of the nation. If policies create chaos the buck stops with government, be it work and pensions, foreign affairs, education, flood defences, the economy, health care, justice and so on. Yet governments and particularly your government are extremely good at finger pointing and laying the blame anywhere, usually the opposition, but where it rightfully belongs.

The current debacle over women’s pensions was wholly created by government. Hundreds of thousands of women have fallen foul of the DWP’s abysmal failure to notify them of changes in the pension age and the speeded up process of change which has left women with no chance of making alternative plans.

Speaking in parliament Shailesh Vara,  Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions, told MPs, “We need to look at things in a broad context.” then proceeded to list a range of benefits, including jobseekers allowance as a solution to the problem failing himself to address the broad context in any way. He dumped the entire problem right back in women’s laps and shrugged his shoulders.

Meanwhile, his fellow minister for DWP chaos and mismanagement, Priti Patel, sat smirking and nodding as if Vara was pointing out the bleeding obvious to stupid children who are too dumb to get with the programme. I think the pair of them got off very lightly, cries of ‘rubbish’ were the least they deserved. How MP’s resisted the temptation to wipe the smug arrogance and self satisfied self assurance off their faces with a hefty slap I will never know.

Interestingly both Vara and Patel are the progeny of Ugandan immigrants of Gujarati origin, Patel’s parents fled here from Uganda under Idi Amin’s tender mercies about which Patel says, “Coming from a country where you’re persecuted means that you want to work hard and to contribute to the society where you end up.”

The irony cannot be lost on anyone with two brain cells to rub together that both have ended up in a department that specialises in persecuting people, nor that they take such evident pleasure in so doing and couldn’t care less for the consequences or for the justified complaints of those whose lives have been thrown into chaos.

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/jan/09/state-pension-inequality-cost-women-20000-campaign

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tory-minister-says-women-hit-7288105

http://www.coastweek.com/3819-Kul-Bhushan-Minister-Priti-Patel-From-Uganda-to-British-Cabinet.htm