Archives for posts with tag: Iain Duncan Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conditionality – obedience or death.

KOG. 11 April 2017

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

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

Benefit Sanctions and the Rule of Law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KOG 14 November 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

04_september_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,543

Sunday 04 September 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Just as Jeremy Hunt is stealing the life blood out of our NHS, so too is the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) draining the life and spirit out of the people. None of this is necessary, these are policy decisions driven by ideological choices as was the imposition of austerity.

The DWP’s idea of incentivising people into work is through punitive impoverishment. In late 2015 a coroner sent a regulation 28 report, or a Preventing Future Deaths report, to the DWP when a man committed suicide having been found fit for work following an ESA fitness-for-work test by Atos. In her verdict senior coroner for inner north London, Mary Hassell, said “The anxiety and depression were long term problems, but the intense anxiety that triggered his suicide was caused by his recent assessment by the Department for Work and Pensions (benefits agency) as being fit for work, and his view of the likely consequences of that.”

As recently as last month the DWP said, “decisions were not based on the condition of claimants, but on what they can do.” No matter what the claimants condition or how extensive the evidence they provide, that has no place in making an assessment.

The central issue in the junior doctors dispute with Jeremy Hunt is that patients lives will be put at risk if Hunt imposes his work contract on Junior doctors. Hunt is also imposing hospital closures through his so called ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ again putting lives at risk. Both the Department for Health and the DWP are actively and knowingly putting people in harms way.

Speaking to the Guardian, Nick Clegg had the following to say about George Osborne, “Welfare for Osborne was just a bottomless pit of savings, and it didn’t really matter what the human consequences were, because focus groups had shown that the voters they wanted to appeal to were very anti-welfare, and therefore there was almost no limit to those anti-welfare prejudices.”

I find nothing in what Clegg has said that is inconsistent with what we have witnessed for over six long years of Tory misrule. Yours is a party which is entirely comfortable putting people’s lives at risk and Iain Duncan Smith has gone to extraordinary lengths to hide evidence of benefit related deaths, leading Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, to call for Smith to face criminal charges. To be honest, I think we are spoiled for choice as your entire government should be in the dock.

http://news.sky.com/story/qa-why-are-junior-doctors-going-on-strike-10561087

http://999callfornhs.org.uk/footprints/4592357931

Coroner’s ‘ground-breaking’ verdict: Suicide was ‘triggered’ by ‘fit for work’ test

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/news/14699246.Cancer_sufferer___39_put_through_hell__39__after_told_he_was_fit_for_work_by_government_assessors/

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/sep/02/nick-clegg-george-osborne-cut-welfare-poorest-boost-tory-popularity?CMP=share_btn_fb

DWP hides seven secret benefit suicide reviews

Shadow chancellor backs calls to prosecute Iain Duncan Smith over WCA deaths

31_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,539

Wednesday 31 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Within the DWP, as Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) casually informed us at a parliamentary hearing, people receiving social security payments are known as ‘stock’ and, infamously, David Freud said, “people who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks” as they have “the least to lose”.

On tackling immigration, Iain Duncan Smith has announced that low skilled migrants should only be allowed to come here if there are no British workers to fill vacancies, emphasising, “You focus more at the lower-skilled areas.” Deal with the least wanted, the least valuable and the most useless first eh?

Isn’t it astonishing that low skilled workers are paid the least? So called low skilled jobs play a vital role in the smooth running of a nation, but they will certainly pay junk pay?

This narrative of low skilled workers and migrants coming over here and taking our jobs comes from government and the right wing press. The reality is very different, but only if you prefer facts over fiction, something which IDS and rags like the Sun, Express and Mail never aspire to. But that isn’t the point I wish to make.

What is important here is what’s missing and is always missing in the right wing world of authoritarian control and the brutal treatment of workers in which ‘other’ hatred plays such a vital role in maintaining people in their unquestioning misery.

Can you see any human beings here or anything that suggests any semblance of respect or dignity for people’s lives? If you can keep people dehumanised, you don’t have to worry about whether they can afford to live.

With some 13 million people in the UK living in poverty, more than half for them are in work, yet who among you cares? Where humanity is out of sight, increasing poverty doesn’t matter. 391 people died of malnutrition last year, but where are the headlines? In order to reach the headlines, people’s lives have to matter and as Freud and Smith have worked to so assiduously at and made so abundantly clear, they don’t! That is a crime against humanity which every sanction and every food parcel from a food bank and every eviction and every hungry child and every poverty related death screams out. That is Tory Britain.

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

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

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-08-28/iain-duncan-smith-says-low-skilled-jobs-should-go-to-britons-first/

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/20/reality-check-are-eu-migrants-really-taking-british-jobs

http://www.jrf.org.uk/data/work-poverty-levels

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

29_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,537

Monday 29 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

It is a sad fact that so many are misled by the idea that their disability or sickness has any relevance in the Work Capability Assessments (WCA). As the DWP recently pointed out to The Oxford Times, “decisions were not based on the condition of claimants, but on what they can do.”

People think they are going for a WCA to have their ‘condition(s)’ assessed by medics employed by the DWP at vast public expense. In reality they are being assessed on whether they are capable of doing something, anything, no matter how tenuous that might be. The fact that they might be dying or that every moment of their life is lived in a torment of pain or their every waking thought is suicidal, is irrelevant.

When I was called in for a WCA I was refused a home visit on the grounds that my doctor had informed the test centre that I was able to get to hospital for cancer treatment. As someone who suffers from acute social phobia that was so Orwellian that I felt positively ‘normal’ in having such difficulties in going out. If that is what passes for rationality the human race is clearly doomed. It’s an admission that we are living in the age of stupid and there doesn’t seem to be any hope of recovery.

When Iain Duncan Smith invoked the words written over the gates of Auschwitz, ‘arbeit macht frei’ (work makes you free), he wasn’t kidding around, he even appeared on BBC Breakfast television saying, “Look, work actually helps free people.”  The liberation granted people in the death camps of Germany is not something that any sane person would hold up as a working model for the Department for Work and Pensions.

People need to understand that when they attend a Work Capability Assessment they enter a twisted Tory dystopian environment based on the principles of fascism. It comes as no surprise that a WCA whistle blower said, “Almost every day one of my clients mentioned feelings of suicide to me,” or that the DWP has issued written suicide guidance to frontline staff, apparently printed on laminated pink card.

Ken Loach’s film, ‘I, Daniel Blake’, on the failings (or success from a government perspective) of the UK’s benefit system, apparently reduced film critics in Cannes to tears and led friend and fellow activist Charlotte Hughes to write, “Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake needs to inspire us all to act against the political and moral debasement of the Tory government.” Britain’s dirty little secret is that Tory welfare reforms saw the launch of a penal system of brutal cruelty denying people the means of survival.

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/news/14699246.Cancer_sufferer___39_put_through_hell__39__after_told_he_was_fit_for_work_by_government_assessors/?ref=fbshr

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/jun/16/lawrence-mead-tough-us-welfare-unemployed

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8707652.stm

https://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/what-rabbit-hole-have-we-fallen-down-my-experiences-of-atos-work-capability-assessment/

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/05/work-programme-adviser-box-ticking-sanctioning-sick-people

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

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13620988._Suicide_guidance__given_to_benefits_staff_preparing_for_desperate_calls_on_welfare_reform/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/08/starve-benefit-sanctions-unemployed-hungry-government

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/ken-loach-film-i-daniel-blake-wins-cannes-award-director-slams-austerity_uk_57420d66e4b0ffced8625a4f

https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-e9ce-DWP-inhumanity-needs-to-be-challenged-urgently#.V8KoyTWzzc4

24_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,532

Wednesday 24 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Paul Marlow is a man who reports he worked for 31 years taking only 2 days off for sickness in all that time, until he developed cancer in 2002. Since then he has had 42 operations and is suffering from hepatitis B, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a medical drug addiction and other health problems and yet the DWP found him fit for work. Five weeks after the DWP stopped his support payments he has now won his fight for the reinstatement of his social security payments.

The Oxford Times reports, ‘The Department for Work and Pensions originally said they found Mr Marlow fit for work and added decisions were not based on the condition of claimants, but on what they can do’.

This is an explicit admission, as many have experienced, that the DWP routinely ignores medical evidence even to rebranding ‘Sick Notes’, with the Orwellian ‘Fit Notes’. If someone can nod their head they are capable of hitting a machine button with it and turn out egg cups, or whatever. The fact they might be dying in the process is neither here nor there.

Of course this is all part of a set piece gouged out by ‘Lord’ David Freud and the outlaw USA based Unum Provident insurance company to rebrand sickness and disability as ‘malingering’ and the ‘motivation for claimants of disability benefits’.

Whilst this whole filthy business began under ‘New Labour’, in the unlovely hands of Iain Duncan Smith it rapidly expanded into Britain’s secret penal system imposing heavier fines than the entire UK legal system and depriving people of the means of survival, something no court in the land would do.

Dr David Webster of the University of Glasgow had the following to say, “The British political class has come to believe that benefit claimants must be punished to make them look for work in ways the state thinks are a good idea.”

This arrogant authoritarian paternalism is an affront to humanity. It is little more than a psychotic perversion from over privileged and over bearing elitists who are too big for their own britches. Life is not a sweat shop for profit.

As I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, the philanthropy of the poor to the rich far surpasses anything we might claim in feeble benefits, yet for which we are despised.

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/news/14699246.Cancer_sufferer___39_put_through_hell__39__after_told_he_was_fit_for_work_by_government_assessors/?ref=fbshr

Mo Stewart: ‘The influence of the private insurance industry on the UK welfare reforms.’

#DWP ‘Benefit sanctions: Britain’s secret penal system’ by Dr David Webster University of Glasgow

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

http://www.desmog.uk/2015/07/27/landed-gentry-jackals-claiming-billions-farm-subsidies

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/07/corporate-welfare-a-93bn-handshake

29_july_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,506

Friday 29 July 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

In my letter of 26th July I wrote that we are ‘patronised and even despised for our modest lives’. Just writing that I knew it was a subject I needed to come back to.

My life is a small life, lived from a small space and place. No £millions here. Thank goodness. I’ve never aspired to that nonsense.

As it happens, there is nothing wrong with modest lives and modest living, but that is exactly what is being brutally attacked.

There has been a relentless campaign against us and I am not immune from its insidious power. In a few days I will lose my vehicle, which, as someone with mobility difficulties, is a cause of enormous anxiety and distress. I literally do not know what I am going to do, but here’s the thing, the worst of it is that I feel ashamed in a way I never have before. It is a shame based on fear of deliberately targeted brutality.

In an area and indeed a country where so many are struggling just to get by and doubtless also shamed and fearful, I am ashamed of having such a need. And that feeling comes right from the top, a measure of the success of the war on poor and vulnerable people.

I have no reason to be ashamed, especially living in rural Britain, or of having restricted mobility. But here it is, it’s crept in, promoted by maliciously vicious politicians and a maliciously predatory media intent on shaming our lives. As Guardian writer Barbara Ellen put it, “How shaming the poor became our new bloodsport.” “How long would it take,” she asked, “for “poor-shaming” to embed itself in the national psyche as borderline normal?” The answer is six years, from 2010.

I loathe that it has got inside me, that it has risen unbidden and certainly unwanted, promoted by shamelessly evil people, such that it should be treated as a hate crime and the worst of it is that it’s just a PR campaign to undermine us, a way to inflict policies that no civilised society would tolerate for one moment without that relentless campaign. This is what David Cameron, George Osborne, Iain Duncan Smith (“Poor-Shamer General” – Barbara Ellen), David Freud, Esther McVey, Priti Patel and many others, including the mainstream media, have achieved, wilfully, deliberately and with malicious intent. It is a pernicious evil that is going to take years to undo, it has dragged us into a gutter world of lies and violence, and it is utterly unforgivable.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/03/blame-poor-poverty-barbara-ellen

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/27/disabled-lives-law-hate-crime

28_july_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,505

Thursday 28 July 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

A report by the TUC finds that Britain’s wages have tanked since the bankers broke the global economy and we now languish with Greece at the bottom of a league table of wages growth.

The Ripped Off Britons blog gave a summery of just some of our travails under a Tory government (but merely the tip of the iceberg): “In recent years we have seen wage freezes, benefits cuts, and the erosion of our pensions. Our access to legal aid has been sliced. Employment protections and the right to strike are being attacked. Services from libraries and public parks to police officers and defence are being scrapped. We now get unqualified teachers in “free schools”; unqualified translators and under-qualified barristers in the legal aid system; paramedics doing what doctors used to do; reservists doing what the professional army used to do.”

It is clear that since 2010 your party have sought to undermine the lives and well being of ordinary people with concerted attacks across the board. That this has been undertaken under the smoke screen of the financial crisis caused by the banks, is both deceitful and unforgivable.

What is now abundantly clear is that ordinary people are now treated as merely a cash cow to feed the naked greed of the markets and extreme wealth. The message from Iain Duncan Smith in his time with the DWP was, if you cannot work you cannot eat. Even the most severely disabled would be forced to work with no support from the nation. It mattered nothing to him that without support many would not even survive. Tory welfare reforms amount to little more than a national cull of poor, sick and disabled people.

Nothing in recent times shows the contempt for ordinary people more than the behaviour of Mike Ashley and Philip Green, both of whom had to be almost dragged screaming into parliament to answer for their filthy behaviour. It says a great deal about how brow beaten ordinary people are in this country that the response to Green was a petition calling for him to be stripped of his knighthood. A more impotent token gesture it is hard to imagine.

BHS has seen thousands of jobs lost, loyal workers ripped off for profit, some for all their working lives, and Green doesn’t give a damn. Both Green and Ashley behaved like spoilt brats who think the world revolves around them, showing utter contempt for workers on whose backs they make their obscene profits. Capitalism/neoliberalism grows fat on the backs of wage slaves and despises, demonises and betrays them for their unwitting generosity and the Tory government has thus far been firmly on the side of the abusers, aiding and abetting them through policy.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/jul/27/uk-joins-greece-at-bottom-of-wage-growth-league-tuc-oecd?CMP=share_btn_fb

http://www.blog.rippedoffbritons.com/2014/10/the-most-fearsome-beast-in-political.html?utm_content=buffer47fbd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#.V5hRfqKzzc4

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/iain-duncan-smith-tells-disabled-people-to-work-their-way-out-of-poverty-a6683361.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/26/broken-britain-lives-on-in-sports-direct-and-bhs

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/mar/21/sports-direct-founder-mike-ashley-snubs-call-mps-parliamentary-select-committee

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2016/jun/15/sir-philip-green-questioned-by-mps-over-bhs-collapse-live-updates

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/02/fate-of-bhss-11000-workers-to-be-sealed-as-decision-looms-for-tr/

26_july_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,503

Tuesday 26 July 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

The people of Britain have been forced against our will to bail out the banks, we have had austerity forced upon us as a result, we have seen a catastrophic rise in opportunistic insecure employment, we have been victimised and demonised and accused of being ‘among the worst idlers in the world’.

George Osborne incited hatred against people on social security in his conference speech in 2012, “Where is the fairness, we ask, for the shift-worker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their next door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits?”

Iain Duncan Smith justified his war of attrition against disabled people, saying, “We won’t lift you out of poverty by simply transferring taxpayers’ money to you. With our help, you’ll work your way out of poverty.” Disabled people have borne the greatest burden of cuts, leading to isolation, loss of jobs, hopelessness, despair and death.

It comes as no surprise that you have appointed George Freeman as the head of your policy board, a man who wrote in 2013 that he would like to suspend employment rights for new firms for three years and cut wages for workers in poorer areas and that he would also like to cut corporation tax to 10% for Britain’s biggest firms. Who would pay for that tax hole I wonder? It is hardly likely that this leopard has changed his spots or that he or your government will encourage worker participation and inclusion in the wealth that they create. Such ideas are alien and indeed anathema to right wing policy makers and board room profit racketeers.

We are not vassals of the state and nor are we corporate slaves. It is unacceptable that we are exploited for war and profit and yet are denied equitable reward for our efforts and patronised and even despised for our modest lives and status.

One of the reasons Jeremy Corbyn has attracted such overwhelming support is his call for a more equal and just society and it is an object lesson in how far to the right Britain has lurched that he is universally despised by all right leaning politicians, including those in his own party. The transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich is an obscenity and a travesty of social justice. That the mere suggestion of a fairer distribution of wealth sends the stealers and hoarders of wealth, the right wing media and politicians into apoplectic fits of rage and hate speaks very eloquently for itself.

Ordinary people getting above themselves is regarded as offensive and an affront by those in power and that is precisely why we should and why I write these letters.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19300051

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/george-osbornes-speech-conservative-conference-full-text

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-simon-duffy/austerity-cuts-disabled-people_b_3248615.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35476904

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

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/theresa-mays-plan-slash-employment-8486233