Archives for posts with tag: homeless

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

50979-full

There are many people who cannot give praise, encouragement or a kind word. It’s almost as if they are regarded as sparse commodities that might run out.

The point is that they are a give, a gift, from one person to another (or many others), they are the expression of an innate regard for the well being of another, but not in a way that’s self denial because giving the gifts of kindness, care and consideration to another puts us firmly in the frame. We have to be there to give the gift. We are the well spring from which it is drawn up and given, we are only selfless in that moment in that our ego is necessarily muted. If it isn’t the whole thing reeks of self interest and is received as fake.

Do goodery is not the same thing as kindness and it is well said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions because good intentions are essentially egotistic. They are the imposition (usually without seeking permission) of an intervention defined by ourselves regardless of whether it is merited or even welcome.

Kindness, care and consideration are essentially other regarding and they send a powerful message that we’re paying attention.

As a community and youth worker the question came up from time to time, what is the best thing I can give my children? My response was always, your time and attention. These days, with family life under direct attack as wages plummet and work is ever more insecure, it is expected that parents work (singles or couples), and children are expected to spend a significant part of the day in child care.

At its most toxic, the pressures of life and struggling to make ends meet can lead to children growing up starved of attention (which high quality child care can pick up on and address). However, growing up with an attention deficit, can lead to a narcissistic need for attention and an inability to give it, which very much includes praise and encouragement.

However, the story is bigger than that. Capitalism is a champion of personal insecurity, it powerfully encourages narcissistic self regard and, at the same time, insecurity. Advertising, capitalism’s mouthpiece, is an industrial purveyor of insecurity.

On a side note, I use an ad-blocker in my browser and increasingly websites are blocking access if you use an ad-blocker and ask you to whitelist their site. Advertising has inveigled its way into becoming a source of income for sites and users who block adverts are rogue users who have chosen not to be the target of marketing. Not wanting to be targeted by adverts is regarded as selfish. It’s positively Orwellian and part of our modern dystopia. It’s not ok to not be a consumer beyond what we actually need and to be self determining about what those needs are. In that sense, advertising is infantilising, it’s the promotion of need above our individual self defined needs.

Needless to say, I really, really, don’t like adverts, they are the antithesis of kindness, care and consideration and self affirmation and giving affirmation to others and, indeed, self determination. I don’t like nagging and adverts are nothing if not that, especially on television, where they are subject to endless repeats at short intervals and the primary reason why I do not own a television. If companies want to pump adverts at me then they should ask me and be prepared to pay me for my participation. Currently, and absurdly, we pay for them to do it in every form of commercial media.

People have become just another product or resource. We are reduced to our usefulness in servicing the free markets through our profitability, a profitability which is a one way street. Tens if not hundreds of millions of workers across the world are profit makers but denied a share of the profits they create. Asian factories producing iPhones fitted suicide nets to prevent workers from taking their own lives in despair.

A sign of our times is the growing dysfunction of our humanity, especially online. Trolling and abuse is rampant, but that requires a suspension of humanity to treat others with contempt with complete disregard for their well being as real people. Death threats being the ultimate expression of the degradation of life, value and meaning.

C S Lewis wrote: “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”

The world is crying out for want of kindness, care and consideration. We live in times where the affirmation of others and helping others are revolutionary and yet dismissed as coming from bleeding heart liberals or lefties.

On Wednesday this week (30th November 2016) a homeless man was found frozen to death. Far from finding this horrific, there are plenty of people who will be gratified that another useless eater and waste of space is dead and no longer a burden on their, self focused, narcissistic, humanity.

Against such degradation, which is promoted from the very top by government, holding on to our humanity has become something that requires our best attention. (Lord) David Freud, who is thankfully leaving the Department for Woe and Persecution, said in 2014 that disabled people are not worth a full wage. In fact, not being worth a full wage is the norm for millions of people. It is government which sets the minimum wage (or the so called new living wage which isn’t) (introduced by Labour as a protection from the worst iniquities of the market, which quickly became the industry standard), and is set as less than that what we need to live on. Money has become the measure of our worth and lack of money the measure of our unworth, disregarding entirely that the measure of our unworth is systemic, imposed by government and yet it is government that leads the way in blaming poverty on individual failing.

Resisting the tide of the degradation and erosion of our humanity has become a vital necessity for mental wellness. Today, Gandhi’s saying, ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world’, is in affirmation and in giving kindness, care and consideration and it is demanding of our best attention to survive the onslaught of right wing marketeers who are destroying our way of life, depriving us of security, homes, food, warmth and health care for profit. The most basic of human rights.

From personal experience it is like living with a gun at your head, never knowing when they are coming for you through the next iniquitous policy to deprive us of the means of survival and of life.

David Cameron said, “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.” Resisting such government extremism is the battle of our times, whether the attack comes through sanctions, depriving disabled people of vital support, being denied a pension, being priced out of housing through unrestrained housing prices and rents, denied health care and the loss of vital front line services, yet the biggest battle ground is for our own minds and our essential humanity.

We must not forsake our selves, every suicide is a cry for our humanity to fight back for everything we hold dear. And to fight together, and acknowledge that we exist through co-operation, as social creatures who rely on each other for everything, including our well being. As John Donne rightly said, “No man is an island, entire of itself… any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” The alarm bells are ringing and it is our humanity which must and does respond. It is innate, but we must protect it from being drowned out by those who mean us harm. Revolt is expressed through attention, through kindness, care and consideration, by being the opposite of their intent; holding on to our humanity with every fibre of our being and being bold in giving the best that we are, both to ourselves and to others.

When I stopped writing the letters, I’d come to the end of my resources and am still recovering. It was hard to see and hard to acknowledge that I am broken hearted and I have wept bucket loads of tears as I work to recover. It has made me realise as never before, how precious life is and yet how fragile and precarious it can be against unscrupulous forces and this government in particular. I’ve said it before and will doubtless say it again, as now… We are better than this!

KOG 02 December 2016

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-29631573

https://www.wired.com/2010/08/foxconn-rallies-workers-installs-suicide-nets/

homeless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KOG 10 November 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

23_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,531

Tuesday 23 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Another homeless person has been attacked on the streets of Britain and is now in a coma, fighting for his life.

I cannot accuse your government of doing nothing when it is doing so much to create such fragile existences.

Homelessness is the embodiment of fragility on the public stage of everytown, shame on those who are offended and angered by this very public display of precariousness and assault those who unwillingly and unwittingly force it upon their attention, exposed, as they are, without privacy, dignity or security. Shame on all those who persecute those less fortunate than themselves.

I feel this insidious rise of precarity, at 65 I fear homelessness, it is not something I can ignore in an ever more insecure world, but I do not fear the homeless, for they are me in one twist of neoliberal driven misanthropy.

If I attacked them, I would be attacking myself, my own psyche, but as if this very public display of abject loss were not bad enough, councils are making homelessness and begging illegal and even impose fines for begging. Fining people for having nothing is a particularly twisted kind of perverse and sadistic cruelty which actively increases the danger of assault because ‘society’ has legislated against and criminalised homeless people.

The bedroom tax, benefit delays and sanctions, enforced pension delays, the Universal Credit system and benefit caps are all policies which put people in danger of homelessness to which many have already fallen victim.

Fragile and precarious living is the new normal for millions of people in Britain today as are the increasing attacks on those living in enforced vulnerability. Homelessness, like poverty, is a political issue and not the individual personal failing of those afflicted. Such people are the economically excluded as Britain’s safety net is demolished. You pledged that, “The government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few but by yours.” I have only one question. When?

http://www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk/news/homeless-man-in-coma-had-been-evicted-after-facing-bedroom-tax-claim-1-8080777

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/conservative-council-set-to-fine-homeless-people-50-for-begging-in-worthing-a6971476.html

https://www.rt.com/uk/248625-homeless-criminalize-oxford-council/

http://www.nottinghampost.com/nottingham-man-fined-banned-begging-city-centre/story-29313706-detail/story.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/if-its-crime-against-people-with-disabilities-we-dont-care-a6966776.html

23_march_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,380

Wednesday 23 March 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Someone commented on my Facebook page about your party yesterday… “and they are supposed to work for us???” I chuckled. Funny how you can laugh about something that is not remotely funny and which is, in fact, a sick joke: gallows humour.

It’s the same with you and your “modern, compassionate, one-nation government”. The only person I know who could get a real belly busting laugh out of that is Frankie Boyle. From you it is self serving, brain dead, terminal nonsense and as trustworthy as me, at 65, trusting a fart not to follow through.

It got me wondering, when was the last time we could trust a government? It has to be pre 1970 and, as I thought about it, it was probably the government of Clement Attlee at the time of the founding of the NHS after the hideous brutality of war and a time for the nation to rebuild.

That was before my time, having been born in 1951, but I do remember, in my first decade, living in a newly built council (proper) house. I was not politically aware then, so I guess the first sparks of awakening came in the sixties, which is the one decade I look back on as a period of optimism and dramatic social change. Following on from the likes of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, the sixties was the decade of the phenomenal explosion of youth and youth culture and music, music, music. And it was an explosion, I was briefly a Mod and then a Hippie, a life changing experience which has never left me.

I recall vividly the saying of Harold Macmillan, “most of our people have never had it so good” (1957) during the post war economic boom, which became colloquially, ‘you’ve never had it so good’. Today, looking back, I wonder if that wasn’t the shot across the bows, the warning of lean times to come. Despite the economic boom and his desire for increased production Macmillan also wanted to suppress wages and spending. From my personal perspective, all else followed, to the ultimate ball buster Thatcher and successive governments who had little or no regard for ordinary people. The optimism around Blair was brief and destroyed by the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Now we have you and your party of pariahs, the ultimate betrayers of ordinary people, behaving like lords of the manor wining and dining on the backs of the rest of us, feeding the rich and starving the poor. A government that has raised two fingers and said ‘fuck you’ to everyone from the destitute, the homeless, disabled people, children and old folks to junior doctors, teachers and nurses, frontline services, legal aid and our NHS, privatising and selling off everything in a national fire sale on an unbelievable and unprecedented scale. You are supposed to work for us maybe, but in reality? Don’t make me laugh.

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

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-camerons-poverty-stricken-britain-6990540

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/kamran-hussain/david-cameron-austerity_b_4310611.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/george-osborne-on-course-to-sell-off-more-public-assets-than-any-chancellor-for-more-than-30-years-a6786926.html

http://weownit.org.uk/evidence/nhs

13_february_2016A letter a day to number 10. No 1,341

Saturday 13 February 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Last year in England and Wales there were 42,728 landlord repossessions by bailiffs, that’s 117 families or individuals being forced out of their homes every day, reportedly equating to a daily total of 269 people losing a roof over their heads. That is the highest number since records began and an increase of 53 per cent over five long soulless years.

The Mirror also reports that increasing numbers of low paid workers are homeless, ‘born out of low wages, insecure work and the broken housing market’.

Shelter chief executive Campbell Rob says, “Worryingly, we know there are thousands more living in constant fear that just one thing, like a cut in work hours, could leave them homeless.”

What that all means is a failure in any coherent housing policy, a failure in unrestrained market rents that George Osborne is so enamoured of, the abject failure of making work pay and a failure for the economically illiterate Osborne and his long term economic plan which is built on human misery and suffering.

The Morning Star reports that, ‘Sixteen out of 20 boroughs with the highest proportion of landlord repossessions are in London – the area hardest hit by the housing crisis and the sell-off of truly affordable homes under the right to buy’.

If you ever bothered to look down it you’d notice that all this is going on right under your nose. But what does all this matter to a self satisfied, self serving, cabinet of the privileged who understand nothing about the lives of ordinary people and who couldn’t care less for the millions suffering under your heinous policies?

You boasted after the general election you’d lead a “ministry of all the talents”, I’ve yet to see any talent at all apart from destructive, punitive and deceitful.

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-0119-Bailiff-evictions-reaches-record-40,000-in-a-year#.Vr4jsebMvc4

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/scandal-working-poor-living-streets-7353600#rlabs=2%20rt$sitewide%20p$6

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/11/david-cameron-unveils-first-tory-only-cabinet-in-18-years

24_december_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,295

Thursday 24 December 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

The staggering genius of Iain Duncan Smith!

If people don’t want to lose out under Universal credit, which Smith has insisted will not happen, all they have to do is work an extra 200 hours a year, according the self same Smith, and they’ll be on the same income as now. Working more hours is genius, I wonder why no one ever thought of working more hours before?

Smith has said that Universal Credit ‘will provide all the resources necessary to ensure that their situation remains exactly the same as it is today’, which in Smith-speak means cutting people’s income to incentivise them to work harder and longer to maintain the same level of poverty as now.

Of course people don’t want to work harder and longer and must be incentivised because British workers are “among the worst idlers in the world” according to Priti Patel (Smith’s new right hand glove puppet) and four other MP’s in a book wot they wrote. And well done them for that, how charmingly industrious of them.

Oddly, according to the Office for National Statistics Britain’s workers work an average of 36.3 hours, an hour less than the EU average but taking the overall EU productivity average as 100, Britain’s productivity is 107.2. Not bad for a bunch of lazy skivers I’d say.

Smith’s genius seems to take a bit of a tumble when one wonders how hundreds of thousands of workers are going to persuade businesses to give them more hours. I wonder, for example, what Sports Direct, famous for its zero hours contracts and draconian working conditions, will have to say to those asking for more hours who already work in constant fear of being sacked?

Let’s not forget either that we live in a free market economy so beloved of George Osborne, Britain’s very own economic genius. If the free market economy worked there wouldn’t be 20 million people living in poverty, we wouldn’t have a homeless crisis, we wouldn’t have some 800 foodbanks with over a million food parcels handed out in 12 months, we wouldn’t have bailiffs evicting 11,000 families in the first three months of this year and we wouldn’t have had a global crash caused by an unrestrained financial system dependent on free handouts of tax payers money to bail them out because they are inescapable of regulating themselves.

Ok, I lied about the genius thing, I am not sure your government has two brain cells to rub together between you.

http://www.welfareweekly.com/make-benefit-cuts-working-200-hours-government-says/

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2011/dec/08/europe-working-hours

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/09/sports-direct-warehouse-work-conditions

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

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

https://fullfact.org/factcheck/economy/food_bank_number-40853

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/may/14/tenant-evictions-reach-six-year-high-rising-rents-benefit-cuts

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

20_july_2015A letter a day to number 10. No 1,153

Monday 20 July 2015.

Dear Mr Cameron,

It comes full circle, we have people living on the streets, we have people dying on the streets and now we have a woman giving birth on the streets.

This is Britain, of the free market economy which dictates insane rents, house prices spiralling upwards with no attempt to control them, work which doesn’t pay, a minimum wage that no one can live on and swingeing cuts to welfare support for people caught in the maelstrom. Your government gives tax breaks to corporations but removes tax support for working people because those same corporations can get away with not paying people enough to live on whilst walking off with (stealing) all the profits from those same peoples labour.

An independent study reveals that the biggest cause of homeless in Britain are welfare reforms such as the bedroom tax, sanctions and housing benefit cuts. Government policies, then, are the driving force behind homelessness today, with London being the epicentre.

Former housing minister, Kris Hopkins, responded to the study by saying the study’s claims were misleading, ‘Local authorities had a wide range of government-backed options available to help prevent homelessness and keep people off the streets’. As I have come to expect from your government, Hopkins doesn’t let a little thing like reality muddy the waters of his denial, the same as the DWP in stating,  ‘It’s wrong to suggest a causal link between the death of an individual and their benefit claim’, as  yet another disabled man dies two weeks after being found fit for work and having his benefits stopped.

Just because your government is made up of people devoid of human compassion or feeling doesn’t mean the rest of us are, the failure, and the betrayals, are yours, not ours, although, judging by a few of the comments on the story of the homeless woman giving birth, the government and media spread vilification of the poor is not without support from brainless sheep who swallow it whole and then regurgitate it.

A woman giving birth on the streets of London, the millionaire capital of the world, in a country that is the most unequal in Europe, is a tragedy in a broken country that despises, demonises and vilifies the poor that also saw the grand master of benefit stripping villainy, Iain Duncan Smith, ecstatically cheering Osbornes cuts to tax credits which support workers paid poverty wages.

Britain isn’t so much going to hell in a hand cart as being driven there by over privileged, pampered fools, in limousines, who’ve just been given a pay rise that they are helpless to refuse (they are not, those who make the rules can change the rules), poor darlings.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/police-officers-deliver-a-rough-sleepers-baby-on-the-streets-of-central-london-during-rush-hour-10394027.html

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/01/04/home-j04.html

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/04/homelessness-study-welfare-reforms-crisis

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/disabled-dad-told-fit-work-6093870

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/aug/05/london-millionaire-capital-world-city-new-york-tokyo

http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2015/05/britsian-now-unequal-european-countyry-saysy-new-reportc/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-uturns-over-mps-10-pay-rise-and-makes-final-plea-for-rethink-after-pressure-from-cabinet-colleagues-and-labour-figures-10296743.html

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/06/no-mps-are-not-giving-themselves-a-pay-rise/