Archives for posts with tag: economic warfare

homelessb

We have a problem and it’s one we need to fix urgently. Housing… to briefly put aside all the other myriad disastrous problems which lie securely at the door of the Tories and the neoliberal consensus.

I’ll begin with a proposition – no one should be evicted from their home for financial reasons, as a human right.

In May 2015 The Tenants Voice reported that evictions had risen 53% since 2010, with 170 tenants being evicted every day in 2015.

Money is increasingly weaponized on a daily basis targeting the very poorest people, yet Britain is the 5th richest country in the world but also one of the most unequal in which ‘the richest 10% own over half of the UK’s total wealth’ and the government is knowingly and deliberately pauperising increasing numbers of people with the purpose of increasing that inequality and the flow of wealth out of the hands of ordinary people.

The poor are being used and abused as wealth creators and yet are being denied any part of the wealth they are brutally forced to create. The most targeted group, of course, being disabled people about whom Priti Patel said, ‘cutting some disabled people’s benefits by £30 a week is justified as it will help those with a “limited capability” to work find a job’*. And, just for the record, Patel also thinks ‘the British are among the worst idlers in the world’, in a book she co-wrote with fellow fascists Dominic Raab, Kwasi Kwarteng, Liz Truss and Chris Skidmore,  in which they claim ‘that “lazy” Brits prefer a lie-in to hard work‘ and ‘criticises the “baby boomer” generation for seeking to raise taxes for young workers to pay for their lavish pension pots’*. (*my emphases)

This is the religion of the far right, who treat poor bashing as an article of faith, who would have pensioners working for the pensions they have spent their working lives paying for until death.

In a country in which depriving people of the means of survival and their economic rights is now routine, it is inevitable that, as a consequence, with zero income, people are wilfully prevented from paying their rent to which the answer is, eviction.

It is also inevitable that at the mere suggestion of housing as a human right and that no one should be evicted from their home for financial reasons, the intellectually supine and propaganda rags like the Sun, the Mail and Express, and other right wing, rage fuelling, toss rags, will cry, ‘Why should we pay for scroungers?’, to which I riposte, ‘We pay for the wealth snatchers every day, like media corps, but if people think it is the poor who are the problem, they are bigger fools than even the government takes us all for’.

A study by Crisis on the financial cost of single homelessness in Britain reports that the New Economics Foundation estimated, ‘a single homeless person, if they were homeless for one year, would cost the UK public purse between £24,500 and £26,000 more than other citizens’.

It is economically illiterate to evict people and force people into homelessness. How many times must we have these sad and tired conversations whilst the greedy stuff themselves stupid on the backs of our lives?

Full employment is both pointless and unnecessary, the problem isn’t worklessness, the problem isn’t the poor, the problem isn’t a lack of housing, the problem is wealth distribution and a world predicated on exploitation and the privatisation of resources, including people, and profit.

Millions of jobs have been automated out of existence, but what happens to the people who used to do those jobs, are they taken care of out of the profits from the automation of the work they once did? No, they are thrown on the scrap heap whilst all the profits from automation rise beyond the reach of ordinary people into the hands of the grasping few, often to languish in tax havens thus further avoiding any social responsibility for the distribution of their unearned, other than through exploitation of people, resources and technology, wealth.

However, if anyone is struggling, the DWP offered contracts in 2015 to procure ‘Online Supported Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’ (CBT) worth £21 million to promote work as a health outcome. Bullshit!

We are drowning in bullshit, it is a tidal wave that is still mounting and people are dying in despair. The government wants us to rent out our bodies for less than it costs for us to inhabit our own bodies, for life. Our wages are asset stripped (as taxation) to support extreme wealth and corporations who hide their ill gotten gains in tax havens. And if we fail to juggle the impossible we are thrown on the streets to subsist or die.

We know the answers, we know exactly what is wrong and how it could be put right. We know who our enemy is and what they are capable of, and they are not done yet.

This is economic warfare and we are the target. None of this is happening by accident and nor is any of it unintended. We are certainly victims, but let us never make the mistake of in any way sympathising with our oppressors or making any excuses for them. There are no excuses.

Keep fighting and, above all, keep supporting and caring for those on their last legs who this rotten system has broken and if that someone is you, tell someone, as hard as that may feel, reach out.

KOG. 05 April 2017

Samaritans – free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

http://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/your_home/evictions-up-53-in-5-years/

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/feb/11/tenant-evictions-highest-level-england-wales-ministry-of-justice

http://www.cityam.com/227917/world-wealth-britain-crowned-fifth-richest-country-in-the-world-behind-us-china-japan-and-germany

http://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/14296603.MP_Priti_Patel_says_cutting_some_disabled_people_s_benefits_by___30_a_week_is_justified/

‘Lazy’ workers: the ignorance and shamelessness of Tory ‘rising stars’

http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/lord-bichard-force-pensioners-work.html

http://www.welfareweekly.com/tens-of-thousands-of-disabled-people-hit-by-cruel-benefit-sanctions-dwp-figures-show/

http://www.crisis.org.uk/data/files/publications/CostsofHomelessness_Finalweb.pdf

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/fcdf22ca-cac8-45da-a614-fbc5754de037

https://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/hunger-homelessness-and-despair-the-stark-reality-of-the-benefit-cap/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/23/charlotte-sees-desperation-first-hand-job-centre-benefits-system

Advertisements

25_july_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,502

Monday 25 July 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

The privatisation of, er, well, everything, reminds me of Douglas Adams’ title of the fourth book in his ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ trilogy, ‘So long and thanks for all the fish’…

So long tax payers and thanks for all your cash.

Flogging off state assets, PFI’s, Academies, privatising our NHS, public services (water, gas, electricity, buses, ambulances, police, etc.), Royal Mail, you name it, is just a massive con, transferring the nations wealth into private hands.

I don’t think that tax payers generally have got it yet, that all their wealth transferred to the treasury as taxes is regarded by you Tories as just a gigantic corporate slush fund. Call it what you like, class warfare, economic warfare, a giant Ponzi scheme, daylight robbery… With more people now in in-work poverty than out of work poverty, in excess of 40% of their income is siphoned off as taxes to pay for privateers and fat cat salaries. That’s great, isn’t it, cuts to social welfare, money for corporate welfare, meanwhile back at the food banks…

This isn’t the politics of envy, that great get out of gaol free card for those who exploit the tax system, it’s social injustice on a massive scale.

The privatisation myth that, ‘competition promotes excellence and market forces breed efficiency’, is just that, a myth. To take just one, water, in late 2015 it was revealed that private water companies were ripping customers off to the tune of £1.2 billion, whereas Scotland,  with its entirely publicly owned water services, is the cheapest in Britain despite a £1.8 billion investment in infrastructure.

Whilst the poorest are subject to forced labour under threat of sanctions and slavery, via Workfare, the nations hard earned money is handed to the boardrooms of vulture capitalists, gathered like bears around a honey pot and these same companies will be paying minimum wages on zero hours contracts to the very people who fund them, to maximise profits, whilst their workers are striving to work their way out of poverty. Fat chance! And the icing on the cake is that many of these privateers avoid paying their taxes through tax avoidance and tax evasion schemes and stash their ill gotten gains in tax havens in British overseas territories and dependencies. Nice, if rampant greed is your thing…

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/jul/23/education-academies-funding-expenses?CMP=share_btn_tw

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/11618980/George-Osborne-to-privatise-23bn-of-taxpayer-assets.html

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/jun/16/british-public-wrong-rich-poor-tax-research

http://www.poverty.ac.uk/tags/work-poverty

https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2014/aug/06/privatisation-ripping-nhs-from-our-hands

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/shopping-and-consumer-news/11929998/Water-rip-off-bills-are-800m-too-high-watchdog-finds.html

https://www.unison.org.uk/news/article/2014/03/efficiency-myth-of-privatisation-exploded/

12_june_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,462

Sunday 12 June 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I am curious to know why the main stream media, and the BBC in particular, is not reporting on the ongoing protests and civil disruption in France. Of particular national interest in Britain might be that France is considering its position in the EU and whether to leave. It took the business section of the Telegraph to report that 61% of French people favour leaving the EU and want ‘powers returned to the French parliament’ which, unlike Europe, can be held democratically accountable by the people.

Do you not think that what is happening in Britain’s nearest neighbour and currently sister nation in the EU might be of significant interest to the people of Britain at this time? The media silence shows a contempt for democracy and the people of the UK in not providing information which has a direct bearing on our ability to make informed decisions.

The German Deutsche Bank, Europe’s biggest and most powerful financial institution, has seen it shares go into free fall. Deutsche Bank is nearly three times bigger than Lehman Brothers, the first bank to fall in the financial crisis. Based on employee numbers, Deutsche Bank is four times bigger than Lehman Brothers. If Deutsche Bank goes down the Euro will almost certainly fall. Germany would doubtless be forced to step in and bail the bank out, and yet Greece was forced, not least by Germany, to allow their banks to fail. It will not go down well.

You and, recently, Gordon Brown in an impassioned video, have talked about the EU maintaining peace within its collective nations and the perils of leaving the EU. But times have moved on and there is another kind of warfare going on, as we’ve seen in Britain, economic warfare, particularly and most egregiously against ordinary people. That the economic warfare and social crises taking place in the EU are not being reported in the UK is unforgivable.

Just as there is more than one type of warfare, so there is more than one kind of peace and peace and economic security in the EU is under threat. People in the UK fear that if we leave the EU we will be at the mercy of the most vicious government this country has ever seen. The EU has not in any significant way protected ordinary people in six years of Tory misrule; the EU is no knight in shining armour protecting our lives.

So let me spell it out (and I am giving away no secrets here), you are accountable to us, it is our democratic right and within our power to stop you and break you. We the people have to power to shut this country down, just as the French are shutting France down. We are only at your mercy if we allow ourselves to be victims of state brutality. That is the very real choice facing Britain and it is a more important choice than voting in the referendum. The choice is ours, I hope we collectively have the courage to see it through, because if we do not, the failing will be entirely ours. If we fail to even try, we will not only have betrayed ourselves but our children and our children’s children. May that never be.

France Announce Likely Exit From Europe Ahead of Brexit Vote

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/07/france-shuns-europe-as-brexit-revolt-spreads/

France Announce Likely Exit From Europe Ahead of Brexit Vote

This Major Bank Is about to Go Bust – And It’s 3X Bigger Than Lehman Bros

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/predictions/politics/11722344/Germany-refuses-to-let-Greece-off-hook.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/brexit-could-trigger-world-war-7928607

16_may_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,435

Monday 16 May 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Following on from yesterday on investigations into electoral fraud, had the election results been different, not only would your majority have been in question, but the vote to cutES ESA by £30 a week for the sick and disabled people would also have been in question. 309 Tories voted for the cuts against 274, no other party voted for the cuts, whilst 26 Labour MPs abstained.

I have no idea who those abstentions were, but shame on them anyway. Had they voted with any sense of social justice the vote would have been 309 to 300.

What an entirely different story that might have been if the alleged corrupt elections had produced a different result and a few more backbones had straightened up.

Your wholesale attacks on sick and disabled people are without precedent, you have weaponised money to assault the poor. Any government that can afford to give tax breaks to the rich whilst targeting cuts at the poor to supposedly pay down a debt which the poor had no part in creating has abandoned all decency and descended into barbarity.

Let’s make no mistake, Stephen Crabb, who has replaced that arch villain Iain Duncan Smith, is a neoliberal sock puppet, as is Priti Patel who seems to find abusing the poor amusing. It is a great pity Patel cannot be prosecuted for electoral fraud as a self serving political careerist. Actually, were such a thing possible, it would spell the end for your party, there may be a few exceptions amongst you but I can’t think who they are.

Topically, I am reminded of William Shakespeare’s, “Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war” Money was once a means of exchange, now it is a means of economic warfare, as such it is globally the most used and abused weapon of mass destruction.

Little did we realise at the time, the bankers global economic crash was a window of opportunity to attack the poor, to rebrand us as grasping losers, as welfare opportunists and a source of modern slave labour. You have abandoned civilisation for plunder. You leech off us and loathe us in equal measure in your, as Ken Loach said, “conscious cruelty” towards the poor. It makes me grateful that by fortune of birth I was not born into your loathsome, bigoted, privileged world of inherited wealth and worth.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/how-mp-vote-cuts-esa-7488790

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/budget-2016-disabled-benefits-slashed-to-fund-george-osbornes-tax-breaks-for-the-rich_uk_56e9a320e4b05c52666f89a6

https://www.rt.com/uk/338517-austerity-cuts-tax-breaks/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tories-like-priti-patel-only-7456220

http://nr.news-republic.com/Web/ArticleWeb.aspx?regionid=4&articleid=64344845

14_march_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,371

Monday 14 March 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

It seems George Osborne’s economic calculations have been thrown off because of ‘lower than anticipated tax receipts’.

With public sector pay being restricted to a 1% rise and with more cuts planned which will target poor, sick and disabled people, it is hardly surprising that tax receipts are falling.

The Equality Trust found that ‘the majority of the UK population (66 per cent) hold no positive financial assets at all’, that means that up to 42 million people are spending close to or 100% of their income on living with little or no hope of saving. Any loss of income means less to spend and less in tax returns. Austerity, what Paul Krugman calls ‘the austerity delusion’, is counter productive, if Osborne wants growth then what Britain needs is investment in growth which includes income: stimulation not attrition.

It is impossible that Osborne does not know this, austerity has always been ideological, serving an agenda of shrinking the state and the transfer of the nations wealth to the private sector.

Financial journalist Sarah Coles reported in 2014 the annual income from hidden taxes, VAT – £102 billion, fuel duties – £27.3 billion, alcohol duties – £10.6 billion, tobacco – £9.8 billion, stamp duty – £6.4 billion and car tax – £5.9 billion. On top of which National Insurance raises £105 billion a year.  Austerity shrinks all of these, it literally bites the hand that feeds the nation in infrastructure, front line services, the NHS, social security, schools, local authorities, care services, you name it.

Austerity drives poverty, small wonder Iain Duncan Smith wants to rewrite poverty given that upwards of 20 million people are currently living in poverty. But then, that’s the Tory way, bury the harm you are causing by cooking the books and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Austerity is economic warfare being waged against and disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable people in the UK. No matter how Osborne spins it, this is a brutal war on the poor.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/12/george-osborne-to-hand-billions-to-wealthy

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/08/unions-1-per-cent-pay-rise-public-sector-workers

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/12/disability-benefit-cuts-could-see-500000-people-lose-150-a-week

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/analysis-of-britains-9-trillion-of-wealth-reveals-a-deeply-divided-nation-10251573.html

http://www.theguardian.com/business/ng-interactive/2015/apr/29/the-austerity-delusion

http://money.aol.co.uk/2014/09/30/the-hidden-taxes-costing-you-a-fortune/

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/02/23/iain-duncan-smith-defends-scrapping-child-poverty-measure_n_9300122.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/breadline-britain-20million-now-living-5123323

21_february_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,349

Sunday 21 February 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Since 2010 you have embarked on a ruthless crusade against the people of this country, the unemployed, the young, the disabled, nurses, the fire service, police, people in social housing including the bedroom tax, children, the working poor, the public sector, junior doctors, the NHS, teaching and schools, legal aid, flood protection, employment protection, human rights, care services, pensions, Unions, immigration and refugees, privacy, the prison service. That is not even an exhaustive list, it is pretty much straight off the top of my head. I am sure my readers could come up with many more from their personal experiences.

What is incredible is that none of those mentioned had any hand in the financial crisis caused by the banks and which gave rise to your ideological austerity and the ensuing economic warfare relentlessly pursued against us by you and your government.

Iain Duncan Smith has claimed that there is no causal link between the death of an individual and their benefit claim. Smith dismissed calls in 2013 for him to prove he could live on £53 a week, calling it a ‘complete stunt’.

I am sure he would also refuse to prove he could live on nothing as sanctioned claimants are expected to do. Three months of living on zero income would find the causal link between absolute poverty and death beating him over the head. Within three weeks he’d be on deaths door step, that is if he could survive that long knowing that he was in for three unforgiving and unrelenting months of zero income. Even knowing that if he could survive a return to his life of plenty awaited at the end of his sentence, I am sure that a noose would prove very appealing as hunger crippled his body and mind.

This country is in the grip of a national disaster and that disaster is your government. Nothing in living memory compares to your wanton destruction of the state. Harry Leslie Smith is of an age to remember what life was like without our NHS, but even in his youth the brutality he experienced was not a wholesale government attack, but rather the violence of abject poverty, brutally ignored by governments perhaps, but what we are seeing today is driving us back there and beyond as a matter of policy, an ideological destruction without precedent.

There are no possible excuses, no mitigating factors, all that remains is how we end it. That, and that only, is the driving issue facing this generation.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-wight/tory-attacks-on-the-unemployed-_b_2455655.html

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/16/government-young-people-student-loans-housing

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/welfare/2015/09/art-cruelty-why-conservative-attack-disabled-people-harms-us-all

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-facing-worst-ever-winter-6611011

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/11/25/george-osborne-cuts-grants-for-student-nurses-replaces-them-with-loans_n_8646538.html

http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/sep/16/tories-fire-and-rescue-authorities-cuts-abolish

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/top-cop-warns-tory-cuts-6821701

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/07/governments-plans-are-nothing-short-attack-social-housing

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/01/28/iain-duncan-smith-accused-of-dodging-scrutiny-of-vindictive-bedroom-tax_n_9096546.html

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/07/benefit-cap-pitch-children-poverty-12bn-cuts-tory-budget

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/tax-credit-cuts-george-osborne-u-turn-only-delays-squeeze-on-working-poor-a6750641.html

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/25/public-sector-workers-pay-rise-greg-hands-treasury

https://socialistworker.co.uk/art/42157/Junior+doctors+walk+out+against+Tory+attacks+on+the+NHS

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/these-are-the-nhs-figures-jeremy-hunt-did-not-want-released-until-after-the-conservative-party-a6687721.html

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/01/05/educ-j05.html

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-3d77-MPs-Tory-legal-aid-cuts-dont-save-money#.Vsh5r-bMvc4

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/02/tory-cuts-wrecking-uk-flood-defences

http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/tory-attack-employment-rights-pay.html

http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2016/02/02/gove-has-basically-admitted-the-attack-on-human-rights-is-de

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tories-axe-carers-thousands-blind-7215953

https://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2014/02/04/hypocritical-tories-plan-attack-on-pensioners-while-protecting-themselves/

http://labourlist.org/2016/02/the-tory-trade-union-bill-is-an-unnecessary-undemocratic-and-unfair-attack-on-working-people/

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/18/tories-tough-talk-immigration-doomed-fail

https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/campaigning/other-campaigns/no-snoopers-charter

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-bf15-Our-prison-service-is-at-crisis-point-Is-Gove-going-to-act#.VshySObMvc4

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/06/11/statistics-refused-benefits-death_n_7561918.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/its-a-stunt-iain-duncan-smith-dismisses-demands-to-live-on-53-a-week-8556985.html

http://www.dorseteye.com/north/articles/our-great-and-precious-nhs-is-under-attack

26_december_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,297

Saturday 26 December 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

The words of Howard Zinn – “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders… and millions have been killed because of this obedience… Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”

We are living in interesting times as the famous curse goes, they have arrived in Britain and I was certainly caught unaware. The coalition years were a foretaste of things to come if you Tories ever got in again with even a small majority. The shock of the general election was extreme, it knocked me for six, knowing for sure that the worst was yet to come. I was not wrong.

There is now an enormous chasm between the spin and the reality from the worst government in UK history. You’ve abandoned any semblance of honesty, just spinning whatever nonsense you dream up whilst people are living in despair as a result of your policies.

Zinn was exactly right, our country is being run by grand thieves and the problem is that you are regarded and treated in any other way. We do not live in a democracy, the people’s voices are treated with utter contempt and ignored. Everything is geared to the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich and the relentless demonisation and hounding of ordinary people.

Your attack on trade unions is as unwarranted as it is malicious, but what we face is quite another battle which is much bigger than workers issues and rights. You have brought the attack into the homes and lives of ordinary people, undermining the very foundations of living and being in any security in our homes, undermining, through cuts and taxes and sanctions, even the right to life through economic warfare in a country in which money is the means of survival. We’ve been caught unaware, taken by surprise. Few expected such government extremism and brutality. It has taken time to absorb the enormity of the malicious intent of your government. 2015 has seen a rise in opposition and a firming up of attitudes and actions, 2016 can only improve on that. Civil obedience only exists as long as we consent, it is time the consent of the governed was withdrawn and you must learn that such consent must be earned and not given blindly or presumed. You have no right to such presumption.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/why-want-tories-out-ordinary-5645209

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/nov/15/coalition-helped-rich-hitting-poor-george-osborne

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/davis-camerons-war-trade-unions-fundamental-attack-democracy-1511023

24_november_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,265

Tuesday 24 November 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Do ordinary people really matter so little to you in your ambitions, Mr Cameron?

Award-winning director Ken Loach is currently filming in Newcastle and has spoken out about the hardship he has seen. He didn’t pull any punches in condemning the realities of Iain Duncan Smith’s brutal regime, “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.”

Whatever the realities of benefit related deaths, realities that Smith does not want us to know, Smith and your government are wilfully imposing hardship and suffering on millions of people in Britain.

Loach was shocked at what he witnessed at a food bank, “This is a real open wound in our society. We are just closing our eyes to this. The situation is much worse than in the days of Cathy Come Home, at least then if people had a trade they could have a job for life. Those jobs don’t exist now and working people are no longer in control of their own lives. All this is about dividing people into skivers and strivers. There needs to be public rage about this.” He went on to say, “The idea that someone in the system can decide whether or not you can eat is appalling.”

How, then, you can prepare for war hoping, yet again, to gain a mandate from parliament to engage in bombing Syria and say, “So we will tackle the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism and refocus our aid budget to support fragile and broken states and regions, to prevent conflict and promote the golden thread of conditions that drive prosperity across the world: the rule of law, good governance and the growth of democracy”, I do not know.

Promote the golden thread of conditions that drive prosperity across the world: the rule of law, good governance and the growth of democracy? If you cannot, and, indeed, will not do it at home, heaven help those in distant lands that you are striving to deliver your munificence to with all the tools and violence of modern warfare. Economic warfare against the poor at home and military warfare abroad and both leading to more suffering and more deaths (even militarily, innocent civilians predominate, as in Iraq). You are very fond of the word ‘extremist’, Mr Cameron, all I can say is, if the cap fits, wear it.

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/award-winning-director-ken-loach-10407775

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

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/more-4-million-british-people-4766579

https://www.iraqbodycount.org/

12_october_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,228

Monday 12 October 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Just in my area this past week a 15 year old said she wanted to end her life and a young married man with two children has taken his life and these are only the ones I know of. How many more people live locally in such desperation I do not know, but what is certain is that there will be others.

It is easy to judge, to claim the moral high ground and dismiss suicide as the ultimate act of selfishness. For sure, such extremes of misery and distress are self focused, such that it is impossible to think straight, impossible to grasp anything or rationalise overwhelming pain.

Compassion takes a bit more effort because compassion engages, it doesn’t walk away, turning its back.

What can drive a life to the point of self destruction? It doesn’t happen in a vacuum, there are always circumstances, always a circle or cycle of events which give rise to such desperation. Even genetically determined mental illness has social implications and impacts.

Whatever Iain Duncan Smith may believe or pretend, he clearly has no feeling or respect for the value of life itself in others, quite the reverse. His punitive welfare reforms are nothing more than economic warfare being waged against the most vulnerable. Sanctions against disabled people are reported to have risen to 3,000 a month with those with mental health conditions or learning difficulties being disproportionately sanctioned.

Iain Duncan Smith has repeatedly said there is no provable causal effect between benefits and mortality despite a recent court judgement finding just that and on which the DWP has been entirely silent, and in 2013 Stephanie Bottrill left a suicide note to her son saying, “Don’t blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the Government”.

What cannot be questioned is the profound distress caused by Iain Duncan Smiths welfare reforms, the bedroom tax, sanctions, the closure of the Independent Living Fund and cuts to carers allowance, to name but some of the multiple cuts and reforms that are affecting peoples lives. Only a feeling-less monster devoid of sense or reason could possibly claim other wise.

Life on Earth is both precious and wonderful, Mr Cameron, it doesn’t take a genius to work that out. It is not some economic commodity to be used and abused as your government does. Life is a miracle of the universe, each life here for a finite time. That life emerged at all on the third planet from the sun, in just the right place with just the right conditions to create an abundance of sustainable life is worthy of awe and wonder, not punishment. We live in a land of abundance, that is obvious to even a casual glance, that people are dying in want under the misrule of a punitive government is utterly despicable and without excuse.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/19/number-of-suicides-uk-increases-2013-male-rate-highest-2001

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/20/britain-male-suicide-rate-tragedy-failure

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-2ee4-DEATH-AND-THE-STATE-HOW-DWP-SANCTIONS-SNUFF-OUT-LIVES#.Vhqo1Svp5j0

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/aug/27/thousands-died-after-fit-for-work-assessment-dwp-figures

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/coroners-ground-breaking-verdict-suicide-was-triggered-by-fit-for-work-test/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/suicide-bedroom-tax-victim-stephanie-1883600

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/nightmare-downing-street-tory-army-5665328