Archives for posts with tag: food banks

david-freudb

Philip Hammond recently said to Andrew Marr, “Public sector pay raced ahead of private sector pay after the crash in 2008/9 and taking public sector pay, before pension contributions, that gap is now closed, public and private sector pay on average are round about the same.”

This statement by Philip Hammond is a golden nugget, a mini master class on the arrogance of privilege.

Prior to 2010 public sector pay was subject to modest rules, improvements and protections, teachers, nurses and other public sector workers were not getting rich off the fat of the land, running huge investment portfolios or making off with million pound bonuses. They might get cost of living rises, but little more than that. They are just part of the vast body of workers, public and private, who live modest lives on modest means and who keep Britain running, day by day, year in year out.

What they did not do, any more than those struggling in poverty, or disabled people or young or old people, was to crash the global economy. Had they done so it is certain that, unlike the way bankers were treated, the government and the media would have screamed it from the roof tops. Oh, but hang on, they did scream it from the roof tops. Benefit scroungers, work shy and lazy, sleeping off a life on benefits, generations of unemployed, ‘cuts for the poor’, George Osborne cried, ‘how else are we to pay down the debt?’

Private sector wages took a hit after the crash and so, in the words of Hammond, ‘Public sector pay raced ahead of private sector pay’, clever mealy mouthed words which justified cuts to public sector wages to drive them down to match dismal, struggling, private sector wages. A gap which Hammond now proudly announces is closed. Fairness and justice for all, the Tory way.

In the exciting new private sector gig economy, of low pay, no pay, zero hours contracts, we can’t have the public sector undermining the first world free market slide into third world, sweat shop, employment. Globalisation and liberalised markets means everyone must scrabble to the bottom and be grateful if the food banks haven’t run out of food.

And if public sector workers complain, they get told firmly, ‘There’s no magic money tree you know’. Except for the rich, of course, people like multi millionaire Philip Hammond who has never suffered a days austerity in his life.

It is the privilege of the privileged to kick and cull the poor. It is a time honoured tradition, like conkers and casual racism.

No one, but no one, screams louder against social justice than those who profit from injustice, for whom inequality is a way of life and for whom money is the measure of their own worth and who, by dint of their own excessive wealth, demand ever more. They give tax cuts to the rich and arrest beggars on the streets. They own multiple properties and despise the homeless. They have fancy schemes to avoid paying taxes and stash their wealth in tax havens yet hound and prosecute the cash in hand window cleaner as a bad citizen if every penny is not accounted for and taxed.

It would be laughable were it not so stinkingly mean, if Hammond wasn’t really just a grasping crook and a dismal throw back to the days of work houses and gruel for the poor, taking vicious pleasure in flogging the urchin who dares to ask for a penn’orth more gruel.

And the greatest tragedy of all is. after all their lies, of hounding the poor to death, of stealing the food from the mouths of children, finding the food bank empty and facing another horrific week of poverty and despair, Tory propaganda is so successful that vast numbers of the poor go to the polling booth and vote for them. That is the Tories greatest success and the worst travesty of any form of natural justice. Or, perhaps the very worst travesty of all, is the Tories delight in mocking and shaming the deceived poor, laughing and jeering in parliament when they cut their incomes further.

Hidden in Hammond’s weasel words lies a profound truth, in the pursuit of wealth our lives are less than bargaining chips, of less value than wheat or steel or the minerals poverty workers drag from the earth, rather we are expendable stock. They care nothing for the substance of our lives or whether we live or die.

The poor are suffered to exist only to serve the interests of the rich.

KOG. 17 July 1017

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-accidentally-reveals-how-much-10666222

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/827571/Theresa-May-s-adviser-attacks-people-who-pay-workers-cash-in-hand

 

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Readers might be somewhat put off by a silly, perhaps frivolous, attempt to portray the Labour and Tory leaders as characters from a movie, but the truth is that we’ve gone a very long way beyond that, so please bear with me.

For over a week now I have had a growing ache in my body, a wrenching ache that has steadily increased. I have felt the need to rest more, to sleep it off, but it is relentless and the very simple fact is that I am living on the edge of tears that will, at some point, release, but the problem remains.

I am outraged at the farce this election has already become, the power games Theresa May is playing, the lies and deceit and the vile twisted spectacle of it all.

My response has been mixed, from sharing some of the stories going the rounds which I felt needed sharing, to mocking and satirising the whole damned ludicrous ‘thing’, to sharing the policies that should be the real story but which are being smothered to the point of banality by ‘spectacle’.

The facts are that we’ve lived through seven years of Tory hell and thousands of people have died. They are stealing our NHS right from under our noses and if they get in again it’ll be all over for our most treasured institution and our greatest national achievement. They have turned the national safety net, our system of social security, into a secret penal system driving people into despair and death and attacking the weakest and most vulnerable people in the UK. Since 2010 food banks and food bank usage have gone through the roof as has poverty. And those are but a very few issues that we face which will, of a certainty, get very much worse if the Tories get back in.

I am getting on in years, I live on ‘my’ state pension, I have terminal cancer and I struggle with mental ill health and the brutal callousness of the Tories has had a dramatic affect on my life. I have little hope that my remaining years under a Tory government will be in any way peaceable and the reality is I do not expect to survive another five years of Tory misrule and their callous brutality. I do not require anyone’s pity, but I do require of myself that I face reality. I will fight these bastards to the bitter end but I have no plans to lose my sense of humour, my love of life and nor do I have any intention of giving up fighting for justice, but it hurts and it hurts badly.

I’ll find the release in need in tears, I’ll take their healing balm and I’ll go on, I will not fall into despair, endless depression and futility.

This is no film, some romantic dreamscape in which good triumphs over evil in a pre-scripted plot, but nor can I ignore these times in which the plots of a million films are being lived out. because this is fundamentally a war of good against evil, although I never thought I’d live to see such a thing.

Since coming to power in 2010 the Tories have been conducting a war on the poor with brutal contempt for our lives. Theresa May can hide in her exclusive gatherings of the Tory faithful, to the exclusion of all others, including the press, and pretend she’s the ruling matriarch of Britain. She may even believe she has some divine right to rule and she may be planning a coup if she does not, who knows? We’ll certainly never know from her or her sick party of the privileged.

Jeremy Corbyn won’t play their games, he won’t join their macabre pantomime, nor indulge in the name calling, dirt scraping, tactics so beloved of the right. And yes he does rather resemble Obi-Wan Kenobi, played so well by Alec Guinness and Theresa May does resemble the evil Emperor Palpatine played by Ian McDiarmid. And there is steel in Corbyn that May can neither emulate nor overcome. The force is as strong in Corbyn as the farce is in May. Overcome we shall, overcome we must, because our lives really do depend on it. This is the fight of and for our lives.

KOG. 03 May 2017

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

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

http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/02/18/tory-cuts-have-caused-thousands-of-deaths-again-they-are-denying-it-with-nonsense-claims/

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/nhs-health-service-healthcare-privatisation-a7160771.html

http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2016/05/05/benefit-sanctions-are-britains-secret-penal-system/

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

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

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

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/16/child-poverty-in-uk-at-highest-level-since-2010-official-figures-show

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This is a difficult one, what I am about to do is like going on stage and having a shit. As a writer, that’s not something you ever want to do and then something happens and you have to write something because if you don’t it’s just going to be in there tearing your head and heart apart.

What the fuck happened in London? People have died because someone for reasons unknown decided to drive a car through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people and injuring 40 others, and attack parliament with a knife, stabbing a copper to death. I don’t care who the guy was and I care even less about why he did it and I am deeply sorry for the harm he caused and those he killed and I cannot help but be affected by that, especially in ways that are not obvious until you start to think about it.

It headlined all around the world… Latest terrorist attack, usual racist, xenophobic, shit from the Sun and others, hate spreading. Heroes of the hour. Statements from Theresa May and parliament. Endless talking heads talking bollocks and meaningless conjecture.

We are living in extraordinary times, but certain things have not changed and parliament is still the home to the worst, terrorist, government in UK history, and Theresa May, whatever she may say, doesn’t give a shit about ordinary people and what this fucking idiot has done is hand her a golden chalice to continue to oppress us, invade our privacy, destroy lives and steal from us all that makes life good and meaningful. All the stuff that day by day does not make any headlines, all those who have died due to Tory austerity policies, the violence of increasing poverty, the suicides, the hunger that drives people to food banks in shame and despair.

Every fucking day. Every day.

Parliament was in lock down on Wednesday, Theresa May was whisked away to safety, safe in the knowledge that she will probably never have to answer for her crimes against humanity, just like David Cameron and a Tory party which is robbing all of us blind: the most corrupt government in UK history and entirely corrupt financial markets which have also robbed us blind and are protected by government as they continue to do so.

On that day, Wednesday 22 March 2017, the world reacted in horror and Britain joined the club of nations subjected to a very public, so called, ‘terrorist’ attack – by a bloke with a knife.

Knife crime in the UK is rising, the Office for National Statistics reveals that there were 13,613 offences of “assault with injury or intent to cause serious harm” in the year to the end of June 2015, a rise of 1,788 from the previous year.

Disability hate crimes recorded by police rose to 2,765 incidents in 2014-15 compared to 1,955 incidents in 2013-14, up 41 per cent. A UN report revealed evidence of “grave or systematic violations of rights of people with disabilities” by the UK government. Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green rejected the report’s findings and said the document demonstrated “an outdated view of disability which is patronising and offensive”.

Damian Green also criticised as “monstrously unfair” the portrayal of Job Centre staff (who are, by government dictat, destroying people’s lives on a daily basis) in ‘I, Daniel Blake’, despite admitting he had not watched the film.

Ken Loach, the films director, said of the government, “If they don’t know what they are doing to people they are incompetent and shouldn’t be in Government. If they do know what they are doing then they are not fit to be in Government.”

When is the world media going to report on the systematic brutality and cruelty of the UK government towards ordinary people, when will we see the outrage, the shock, the horror of what goes on every day in Britain by the terrorist actions of the UK government?

KOG. 24 March 2017

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/22/victims-london-terror-attack-murdered-police-officer-named-keith/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/the-uk-is-a-global-corruption-centre-campaigners-claim-a7058126.html

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/knife-crime-in-britain-soars-by-15-in-one-year-new-figures-show-a3091326.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/hate-crime-against-disabled-people-rises-41-per-cent-in-one-year-a6713546.html

http://dpac.uk.net/2016/11/the-united-nations-report-into-the-uk-government-maltreatment-of-disabled-people-has-been-published/

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

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/ken-loach-i-daniel-blake-damien-green-monstrously-unfair-a7393031.html

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I missed a doctors appointment this week, it was entirely down to an oversight on my part for reasons that don’t matter. The next day I visited the health centre to apologise and to make another appointment. The receptionist was very gracious, not a trace of impatience or frustration that my oversight had put unnecessary strain on a practice which I know is stretched to the limit.

I felt strongly enough about this that I asked the receptionist if I could make a donation to the practice to at least put something back for the time and expertise, cost and inconvenience, I had unintentionally caused both them and my fellow patients.

The receptionist said that they had no facility to accept donations, but suggested I talk to my GP about it, which I will do, but what astonished me was as she said this she teared up.

I also spoke to friend yesterday who had called me for some advice. In the course of the conversation he told me about a recent visit to A&E and how under stress the medical staff were and yet how amazing they were. As he left the hospital he thanked the nurse who had looked after him and he was taken aback when her eyes filled up. She was grateful for a kind word, something which she said was rare and often quite the reverse.

These are just two on the hoof moments but they say something to me. Both these situations bespeak of people working hard under pressure and wanting of simple kindness and understanding.

In a world being torn apart by people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing, it would seem that this is a world in want of kindness, thought and consideration, and, here’s the rub, these are within everyone’s power to give for free.

Governments are selling out to the economic forces of greed, the so called free markets, and far too many of us are feeling the strain of heartless economics that are creating an ever expanding underclass of impoverished people living precariously. Is it any wonder that people who are forced to go to food banks for the basics of survival are often reduced to tears, not just in gratitude for a bite of food to eat, but by the kindness they encounter?

When ‘I, Daniel Blake’ was shown at the Cannes festival audiences were reduced to tears. These were not the tears of goofed out sentimentality, but tears of empathy, anger, identification, of being moved by the suffering of others and unnecessary cruelty.

Ken Loach’s film is not a Hollywood blockbuster dripping in sentimental romance and tear jerking lurv, it is a documentary which hits hard. That said, what also comes across is the care with which it has been written, performed and made. I have not yet seen the film, but its impact is clear.

Readers may be aware that I have just begun therapy to help me break my self imposed isolation of over 20 years and deal with issues I have struggled with all my life. I have elected to pay for this therapy because I want a therapy that is compatible and sympathetic to me and my circumstances. That is going to involve some fancy belt tightening on my part, but I am happy to do that because being isolated has ceased to be a haven of safety and become an intolerable burden to me. I’ll come to why in a moment, but what I must say is that the money I pay for this is to cover the obvious needs we all have as a perfectly reasonable contribution towards the material needs of my therapist. What that money does not pay for, other in the most tangential sense, is the expertise, care, kindness, consideration and the focused intention and attention of my therapist to work with me towards achieving my aims and desires in life.

The money I pay her is not a reflection of her dedication or years of study and practice which have given her the skills she has today. To me, her skills are priceless. Only in the most simplistic sense am I paying for her time, what I am getting is a whole lot more on which it would be hard (if not impossible) to place a value in mere monetary terms.

I recall a story of a woman watching an artist finishing a sketch of seagulls flying. She was awed by the skill with which he captured their movement and grace in simple pencil lines and she asked him how long it had taken him, to which he replied, ’35 years’. The story may or may not be true, but how much is a picture worth if we think in terms of the skills acquired over such a length of time and the love he has for his craft?

So why am I in therapy? What is it about? Whether I want to join a fracking crew of protectors or get active in protecting our NHS I want to free myself to do that. Right now I am not free.

But I have something else weighing on me. I want to either join or start a kindness project. We need many kinds of revolution in many areas of life, but it seems to me that we also need a revolution of kindness and, for me, that is a big fucking deal! That is something worth living for and doing.

We are up against intractable and implacable enemies and I’ve lived with the anguish and pain they cause. I may not know how to tear them down, as much as they richly deserve it, but starting at our ordinary level of life and living, I can be part of something that lifts people up and it is the freedom to do that that I want. To engage.

All the people who have truly impacted my life and made me who I am today have been people of extraordinary kindness. I could say they’ve branded my soul with it, it’s something I cannot ignore, it is so powerful in me and the love I have for them is for all the inspiration that lives inside me now that has been their gift to me in life. These are people who have helped me deal with the hardest things in my life, whatever skills I have learnt have been learnt under the umbrella of incredible kindness and gentleness of others in dealing with, what was for me, life threatening trauma.

Above all, kindness is a gift, it can’t be bought, it is a bottomless well innate in all of us, although it may need some help in learning to share it when people are trapped in fear and the best help is being on the receiving end of it. It has certainly helped this soul to heal from the terrors that bound me.

A world without kindness is not fit for life.

KOG. 25 January 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/26/ken-loach-food-bank-cannes-i-daniel-blake

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05august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,513

Friday 05 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

It is expensive being poor. Being poor comes at a premium cost, whether it is food, health, essential services, transport, life expectancy, being exploited as cheap labour, lack of choice, mental health and quality of life, the poor pay more.

Michael Gove is reported as saying that families were visiting food banks “often as a result of some decisions taken … which mean that they’re not best able to manage their finances.”

Others, like Baroness Jenkin, claim the poor don’t know how to cook.

It is an age old myth that the poor are responsible for poverty as if there are no structural causes that create and drive poverty.

It is 2016 and we still have a minimum wage, that is a wage less than the minimum required to live on. The minimum wage has been exploited ruthlessly as a cheap standard of pay regardless of an ability to pay more and, of course, the motive for that is simply greed, boosting profits. That makes cheap labour an assault on people’s lives. It means that poor people create wealth but are denied any share of that real wealth. Labour comes at a cost but the cost should be borne by the value workers add in the work they perform, if they did not add value the business would not be viable. Yet workers are routinely denied the value of their labour, denied even a minimum on which it is actually possible to live.

The scandal over Mike Ashley and Sports Direct is a case in point. Ashley is a billionaire and Britain’s 22nd richest man. There is no magic involved, he’s a billionaire through ruthless and brutal exploitation. Instead of treating those who work for him with dignity and respect, he despises them, treating them like dirt. Workers are the wealth creators of the nation, were that not true Ashley would have no billions, no life of luxury and no football club. Philip Green is just the same, just another robber baron who has utterly betrayed those who have faithfully laboured to create his wealth.

There are no excuses, no exceptions, the poor cannot afford those who get rich on their backs and it is your duty to end this historic, systemic and obscene exploitation and brutality. That’s not socialism, that’s justice.

https://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/nov/10/poverty-premium-costs-poor-energy-phone-tariffs-councils

Michael Gove Doesn’t Get It. Being Poor is Expensive

http://www.bridgingthegap.scot.nhs.uk/understanding-health-inequalities/poverty-and-health-inequalities.aspx

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30386108

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/09/how-sports-direct-effectively-pays-below-minimum-wage-pay

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-36950806

14_july_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,493

Thursday 14 July 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

I am most interested that the target demographic for your reign as prime minister is: “If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise. You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home but you worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school. If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly.”

If that is your datum point, you are aiming high, there are many millions below that who are traditionally ignored, voiceless and, indeed, have been the target of social cleansing under David Cameron’s leadership from 2010. Oxfam finds that ’13 million people in the UK do not have enough to live on, and most do not have the power to speak out about what this feels like and why it is wrong’.

You said that your party is called the Conservative and Unionist Party, I would remind you that a union, like a chain, is only as strong as its weakest link.

It is to Britain’s shame that we now have food banks the length and breadth of Britain, that further education is subject to a life time of debt, that many women are facing years of hardship having been denied a pension or any interim help for which they have spent a lifetime working, that the provision of universal health care is no longer a duty of the state, that those in the most need face a sanctions regime that deprives them of the means of survival, that sick and disabled people have been cast aside through brutal cuts.

If your focus is not on building a nation from the bottom up, of supporting the most vulnerable, living the most precarious existence, of giving the voiceless a voice, then we are no further forward and those without hope are facing the same future that David Cameron, George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith have cast them into. In this time of political upheaval we need change, drastic change, and I am not at all sure you are offering anything like what is needed for Britain as a whole.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/theresa-mays-first-speech-prime-8415313

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-a2b8-Camerons-Social-Cleansing-of-Britain#.V4aUuKKzzc4

http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/our-work/poverty-in-the-uk

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a1c27f38-0c86-11e6-b0f1-61f222853ff3.html#axzz4EJqsz2Zn

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110776

http://classonline.org.uk/news/press/its-time-for-a-political-response-to-attacks-on-universal-health-care

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/19/benefit-sanctions-ruin-lives-dwp-fiction

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/15/disability-cuts-cutbacks-destroy-independent-living-budget

20_may_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,439

Friday 20 May 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

I was very impressed at this little nugget that you threw into the Queen’s speech for the State Opening of Parliament, “… and to move to a higher wage and lower welfare economy where work is rewarded.”

It’s amazing, in all the commentary that has followed the Queen’s speech, not a word has been mentioned about pay being redefined by your government as a reward for labour, yet it is possibly the most egregious patronising insult contained in the speech.

Pay was once an entitlement in exchange for labour, but, of course, that’s something you have worked assiduously to bring to an end. The fundamental right to expect a decent rate of pay in exchange for the expenditure of our labour no longer applies in Tory Britain, that is what Workfare has stolen from workers. You have rewritten work as a state duty under threat of punitive sanctions, in which pay has been eradicated and is now merely a reward, if we’re lucky.

I don’t care how many times I have to say it, forced labour is a crime under the Human Rights Act! Yet under the DWP’s brutal and punitive regime this is now routine. The reward being that if you meekly obey you will get to keep the pittance reward of so called ‘benefits’. Even our pensions are called benefits, disregarding that they are an entitlement we have contributed towards all our working lives.

How you’ve stealthily slid us back into feudalism!

Priti Patel is promoting Brexit on the basis of halving the ‘burdens’ of the EU social and employment legislation, which exist to protect workers rights. Such inconveniences you refer to as ‘red tape’, which prevents businesses from being even more profitable at the expense of workers.

Your government is behaving like feudal overlords, patronising us as vassals of the state and rewarding us with a token keepsake if we’ve performed well whilst stealing all that we have so arduously laboured for. Small wonder the Trussell Trust reports that the number of working people needing emergency food parcels from food banks is increasing, citing  low wages, insecure work, high living costs and problems accessing working benefits. Weaponising money to use as a bargaining chip over people’s lives and calling it a reward is a crime against life.

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2016

Who let the cats out? Priti Patel suggests we could lose half our EU work rights after #Brexit

https://www.tuc.org.uk/international-issues/europe/eu-referendum/workplace-issues/priti-patel-reveals-leave-campaign-agenda

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron-scrap-80000-documents-of-red-tape-for-businesses-and-builders-9087036.html

Foodbank use remains at record high

30_april_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,418

Saturday 30 April 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Just in case you were wondering, junior doctors have not gone away, Jeremy Hunt is not off the hook and the support for junior doctors will continue. The contract that Hunt wants to impose on them is not safe and will put lives at risk.

But let’s shimmy aside from junior doctors here and consider our fire services which have been subject to crippling cuts leading to stations being closed, equipment sold off and huge staffing cuts. The latest report says that fire deaths have seen the biggest increase for a decade and yet the fire service faces up to 50% further cuts by 2020, following 30% cuts under your coalition government. Cuts imposed by your government cost lives and that will only get worse.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard or read people say, “It’s as if the government doesn’t care about our lives,” to which I respond, “There’s no ‘as if’ about it, the government doesn’t care about our lives.”

Yours is the government that deprives people of the means of survival for up to three years, has ignored the massive rise in food banks and yet gives tax cuts to the wealthy and reduces corporation tax.

How many lives would have been put at risk if you’d hiked corporation tax as a response to industrial scale tax avoidance and tax evasion thus imposing an industry wide corporate responsibility to address tax dodging? How many people would starve to death if a City Tax was imposed on the City of London, home to those who get fat on selling Olympic sized tax dodging deals?

Every single person and every single business that sets about dodging tax is putting up two fingers to the nation which sustains and supports them through the massive infrastructure that taxation pays for. Whether it’s junior doctors, fire services, low paid workers or disabled people, all pay the price for greed.

Greed costs lives, it’s not an impact free choice, the consequences are measured in human suffering and deaths. Osborne expects those without wealth to pay down the debt caused by those who enjoy obscene wealth and who continue to enjoy fat city bonuses. You claim we are all in this together, were that true then we might get a fully 7 day NHS which includes elective care, we would not see a 21% increase in fire deaths, we would not see the biggest increase in England’s death rate since WWII caused by the imposition of your ideological austerity. Austerity is a war imposed on those who can least afford it by those who are unaffected or gain from it.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/26/is-junior-doctors-strike-justified-contract-dispute

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/apr/26/fire-deaths-rise-by-21-as-chiefs-issue-cuts-warning

https://www.fbu.org.uk/save-our-fire-and-rescue-service

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/14/more-jobseekers-allowance-claimants-subject-benefit-sanctions

Latest Stats

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/17/osborne-tax-cuts-for-wealthy-create-32bn-headache-resolution-foundation

http://www.newstatesman.com/economy/2011/02/london-corporation-city

http://www.theguardian.com/business/blog/2016/mar/27/bankers-bonuses-still-simmering-companies-face-shareholders-agms

https://www.rt.com/uk/332633-austerity-death-rate-rise/

10_december_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,281

Thursday 10 December 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

The boy’s own Chancellor speaks to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Britain’s air strikes in Syria – “Britain has got its mojo back and we are going to be with you as we reassert Western values, confident that our best days lie ahead.”

I am happy to say that Britain is a very long way ahead of him. Behind the ever escalating need for food banks there are millions of good hearted people who are supporting Britain’s hungry to eat. It would be presumptuous of me to second guess what motivates others to engage with the violence of poverty and help and support others. What matters is that, quietly, they do.

This winter and Christmas our NHS, albeit in government imposed crisis, will be working to save lives; nurses, junior doctors, surgeons, specialists, cleaners, porters, emergency services, telephonists, receptionists, cooks and bottle washers, too many to imagine let alone mention. Not heroes, nor out of the ordinary, just ordinary people doing what they do, many working antisocial hours and giving up family time and celebrations for others. It happens every year.

Across the country people are daily helping the homeless, from organisations like Shelter and Crisis to individuals, people rise to the increasing crisis of homelessness in Britain. This Christmas there will be countless initiatives to feed the homeless and provide warm clothing and shelter, mostly unseen and unheard, as are the homeless themselves. People helping others for no personal gain or self aggrandisement. Just helping.

I have no idea what Western values George Osborne is talking about and I suspect he doesn’t either as he has no idea what values are apart from the accumulation of wealth and the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. As the Mirrors associate editor Kevin Maguire put it rather well, ‘He’s a Chancer of the Exchequer wedded to an unequal free market that enhances the wealth of a powerful elite at the expense of the overwhelming majority’.

I wonder if Osborne even knows what a Mojo is? It’s a spell or magic charm, although latterly it has connotations of sexual prowess and virility. Perhaps that’s what he means as he struts his stuff before the world. It’s a “source of real pride” for Osborne to be bombing in Syria. War isn’t, or shouldn’t be, a source of pride, it’s a cause for sorrow. War is a tragedy, not a cause for celebration. It’s made acceptable through the spin of pride and patriotism and flag waving rhetoric from those who will never put themselves in harms way but persuade or conscript the youth of the nation to fight and even lose their lives in conflicts which are none of their making. To be honest I think Osborne has lost his mojo along with his marbles.

http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/george-osborne-says-that-bombing-syria-has-given-britain-its-mojo-back–ZJK6yjsdql

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/food-banks-in-the-uk-volunteers-face-a-growing-battle-as-benefits-crisis-bites-a6762011.html

http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-use-remains-at-record-levels

http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/homeless-def-numbers.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/george-osborne-totally-opposed-redistribution-6749109

30_october_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,245

Friday 30 October 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Malnutrition is on the rise, food banks are proliferating, according to Child Poverty Action Group the number of children in absolute poverty in the UK has increased by half a million since 2010 and now news is emerging of hospitals offering food parcels (and clothing) to patients showing signs of malnourishment. Tameside hospital is also looking at distributing food throughout the area to improve the levels of nutrition in Tameside.

Allow me state what should be blindingly obvious, this has happened and continues to happen on your watch although people would never know it if they listened to anything you say.

You claim to have created 1,000 jobs a day, a boast you have repeated many times. It’s true you have created a low pay, no pay economy and people are, in desperation, declaring themselves self employed in a desperate attempt to find any income at all in a country that increasingly abandons the poor, but as for your government creating jobs, where? Do name even one.

What you never mention is the millions of jobs that have been lost in Britain since 2010 with many more to come. The present crisis in the UK steel industry is a shining example of Tory unconcern for thousands of job losses, not to mention the loss of one of our last major manufacturing industries. It is nigh on impossible to find any kind of collective figure for job losses through Tory cuts in public services but they are astronomical. NHS staffing is at critical mass and some police areas are predicting that they’ll only be able to offer a blue light service and let’s not forget firemen reduced to tears as entire stations were closed. One of the major issues in our crisis struck NHS is the billions of pounds being paid out for agency staff to plug huge gaps in staffing. Britain isn’t short of nurses, it’s just that they’ve been thrown out on their ears by your government. I wonder where they went?

Britain is, and always has been, full of hardworking people, but if you are for hard working people they should be running for the hills and building agrarian communities to survive. Your claim to be the party of working people is, as the many awaiting hear their fate on tax credits are just discovering, a tissue of lies from a party that considers lying a vital part of the job, without which you’d be, rightfully, unelectable. I have no idea what a ‘servative ‘ is, but I know what a ‘Con’ is, and that’s what people should be focusing on.

http://www.cpag.org.uk/child-poverty-facts-and-figures

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/28/nhs-hospital-tameside-food-parcels-patients-risk-malnutrition

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check/2015/mar/31/has-david-cameron-really-created-1000-jobs-a-day

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/20/tata-steel-expected-to-announce-1200-job-losses-in-uk

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/step-in-to-save-the-1700-jobs-at-the-redcar-steelworks-jeremy-corbyn-tells-david-cameron-a6672451.html

http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2015/jun/22/public-sector-staff-redundant-tory-cuts-nowhere-to-go

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/225014/Council-job-cuts-top-140-000

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-job-losses-hundreds-more-2785957

http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/cuts-to-cumbria-police-would-put-public-and-officers-at-risk-1.1228854

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/firefighters-cry-as-10-london-stations-including-clerkenwell-close-due-to-cuts-9050079.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nhs-blows-55billion-private-agency-4551944

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32297199