Archives for posts with tag: NHS

George Orwell War is Peace

This election is going to be one of, if not the hardest elections the left has ever fought. The ruling elites don’t like Corbyn, the monied elites don’t like Corbyn, the main stream media almost all don’t like Corbyn, the BBC, meant to be the nations impartial broadcaster, doesn’t like Corbyn, the Tories, moving ever further to the right, don’t like Corbyn, Daniel Finkelstein, a Jewish Tory Lord, speaking to British Jews via the Jewish Chronicle, writes, “If Jeremy Corbyn and his followers do not suffer a gigantic defeat in this election, it will be an utter, complete, ghastly disaster for Jews.”  The Labour Party Blairites don’t like Corbyn. Much of the nation, responding to the relentless negative press and propaganda, doesn’t like Corbyn. Even educated fleas don’t like Corbyn (sorry about that). And, of course, none of them like Corbyn supporters, against whom the kindest of the many names used, ‘Corbynistas’, is spoken with disdain and contempt.

This was a recent Tweet to me about socialism, “It’s a failed experiment that some insist on endlessly repeating. Thankfully the majority understand this.”

Given all that, and that’s a lot of ‘that’, it’s surprising that the local elections returned a single Labour win, if all we had to go on was all or any of the above.

Unsurprisingly the Tories are still ahead in the polls and given that all the vast majority of people have to go on is the main stream media it would be wholly surprising if they were not and the uncomfortable truth is that the Tories could win in June and with a clear majority.

As a simple test to find out what people know about Tory policies, may I suggest asking around a bit, friends, supermarket check out people, people in your church, neighbours you might chat to, I don’t think you’ll have to try too hard, ask them if they know the NHS is being taken apart and privatised. No more than that, although they may ask what you mean and you might tell them it is being broken up and given to private companies like Virgin. From their answers and even their questions you’ll get a clear idea of how much or little they know.

If they know nothing, they aren’t sheeple, stupid or ignorant, but the sources of news they rely on in their busy lives have simply failed to inform them what is going on, wilfully, deliberately and with malicious intent.

People aren’t generally stupid, but they are creatures of society and habit and most people simply don’t question that, or the media, and why should they? Activists are always a social minority, most people want to get on with their lives and most people lead busy lives (yes, including activists) and is it so great a crime to want to get by and not have to deal with the complexities of politics? And, godammit, they are complicated and they are complicated by slick talking, money grubbing, snake oil salesmen out for power and money.

The problem with Jeremy Corbyn, and don’t they just have a problem with him, is that he talks plain speak, plain English, and the career politicians have no answer other than to mock, denigrate and slag him off and those who support him.

Socialism hasn’t failed. Our NHS and our system of social security, those bastions and triumphs of socialism, aren’t failing, they are being dismantled by a right that is cunning, deceitful and brutal, full of its own grandiosity and greed.

How many times have you heard, “Why should I pay for them (poor, unemployed, disabled, old people, you name it)?”

When have you ever heard socialists screaming over the years, “Why should we pay for you?” Health, education, university, fire services, ambulance service, police, GPs, our vast national infrastructure, libraries, legal aid, etc.

And then there are all the benefits that organised labour and the unions have fought for – weekends, paid holidays, maternity leave, 40 hour working weeks, retirement ages, occupational health and safety, workplace pensions, the right not to be sacked for getting married, having a baby or being ill, the list goes on.

But do let’s hear it for the bankers, “Why should we pay for you!?!” And all the corporate scroungers, “Why should we pay for you?”

Never have I heard it said, “let’s have a cut off point, a level of income at which you can sort all your own shit out, every last whining, whinging, ungrateful bit of it.” It would be impossible to make it work.

Yet now, out of spite and media hate fuelled prejudice, people want to cut off their own noses to spite everyone including themselves, they want to sacrifice the benefits of socialism they’ve enjoyed all their lives because they hate the idea that other people are getting something out of it as well, and perhaps a bit more than them at this moment in time.

If there was any truth in advertising and without relentless propaganda, it is the Tories who would be unelectable and who would be vilified the length and breath of Britain.

The fact that the ruling elites, the media barons and the exceedingly wealthy, who do everything in their power to avoid contributing to the tax pot, detest Corbyn should really speak for itself, but the efforts and money they expend to trash him works.

Jeremy Corbyn is one of the most, if not the most, electable Labour leader and future Prime Minister the party has has ever had. The battle we have is not to prove he is electable, it is to battle the power of the wealthy propagandists and the ruthless Tory campaign war room backed by enormous wealth and employing unscrupulous masters of the dark arts of perception management.

Social, citizen and independent media has never been more important that in this general election and for the able bodied to hit the streets to get the honest message across that Britain needs and deserves to hear. Labour does not need to deceive, the Tories do. Labour wants to rebuild the nation after the Tories have spent seven years dismantling it and they’ll finish the job if they get back in.

KOG. 07 May 2017

https://www.thejc.com/comment/columnists/corbyn-must-lose-for-our-sake-1.437827

http://www.fleetstreetfox.com/2011/11/what-have-unions-ever-done-for-us.html

http://www.politico.eu/article/theresa-may-campaign-war-room-conservative-stephen-gilbert-lynton-crosby/

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As a 66 year old bloke, a post war baby boomer, it is incredible to witness that the NHS and the welfare state aren’t even going to make it through the life cycle of one whole generation.

Out of the debt and destruction of war came the greatest revolution in social care that this country has ever seen and I am watching it be destroyed.

Remember houses for heroes, the greatest house building programme this country has ever seen, built by the survivors of war, in which I am part of the first and only succeeding generation to experience that monumental achievement in social housing. House building peaked in the 1960’s at 400,000 homes a year.

The post war consensus was not a harmonious meeting of political minds so much as an uneasy alliance in which the Tories gave grudging agreement and yet, in reality, were bitterly opposed to it. It lasted until Thatcher came to power, 1979 marked the beginning of the end and by the time she was defeated by the treachery of her own party it was dead.

Since 2010 the velvet glove of oppression has been entirely abandoned, every penny spent on the working and jobseeking ‘stock’ is a penny wasted. It was ever thus, but now is exposed in all its brutality and includes children, the elderly and sick and disabled people.

We are in a catastrophic housing crisis, and scarcity, as we know with jobs, is just another means to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich via unrestrained market forces. Councils are now prevented from building houses and it was just over a year ago that the Tories voted down an amendment to the housing bill to force landlords to make rented homes fit for human habitation.

Those who have contributed all their lives to universal health care and the safety net of social security are now being scorned for being too old and a burden on the state by whipper snappers who demand to know why they should pay for us? How dare they? We contributed and helped build a system of care that could and should have lasted generations, indeed we contributed in good faith in the knowledge that generations to come would enjoy the benefits of our labour. And now we are scorned.

The wealth of the nation is being siphoned into the hands of the banks, financial markets and corporations who enjoy tax breaks and financial incentives, though never called welfare. Welfare is only for the scrounging poor who are to a body a drain on the nations resources. COE pay goes through the roof and bankers still enjoy their excessive bonuses, whilst workers are yet to be granted a true living wage as the minimum exchange for their labour.

Blaming baby boomers for getting old and living too long is an outrage for which poverty and the denial of health care are a sure cure. Let’s go back to the days that Harry Lesley Smith remembers only too well, who recently wrote in the Guardian, “Neither the midwife nor my mother would have expected me to live to almost 100 because my ancestors had lived in poverty for as long as there was recorded history in Yorkshire.”

That is the world the Tories long for, that is where they are so avidly driving us, but this old man, like Harry, will not slip silently into my coffin nor spend my last days in Tory driven misery. I have more to offer now in old age than at any time in my life and long years of experience on which to draw. I will not be silent nor be dictated to by ignorant children who have never known want or the terror of poverty and yet see themselves as political movers and shakers with the right to dictate misery for millions.

Every suicide hurts me, every sanction is an affront to human dignity, every cut for the poor and tax break for the rich is an outrage which I take personally and every lie coming from the mouths of thieves must be countered with the truth.

I look back at the revolution of youth in my teens with great love, which inspires me to this day, and today’s young ones deserve no less. The dismal Victorian workhouse ethic of the Tories must die, it is not a matter of if, only when. I may not even see that day, but that doesn’t matter, all that matters is the desire to fight and keep on fighting for a better world than this dismal neoliberal nightmare.

KOG. 26 February 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/24/history-british-housing-decade

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/adnan-aldaini/housing-crisis_b_6639040.html

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/12/tories-reject-move-to-ensure-rented-homes-fit-for-human-habitation

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/24/dont-dread-old-age-fear-tories-tyranny-austerity

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/16/uk-poverty-rates-office-for-national-statistics

Businessmen making handshake while passing money - dealing & bri

The Tories want to shrink the state, if not dispose of all state provision completely and (so called) privatise it. The problem, just one of many, is that we’re still paying for it all.

The burning question is, where is all our, tax payers, money in all the cuts, caps, sell offs, sanctions, sell outs and wholesale destruction of so much that we, the people, have paid for and no longer see any return for and yet still pay into the exchequer?

Here’s a list of stuff that we’ve had stolen, it is not exhaustive, but the sums of money involved are vast:

Student fees, nurses bursaries, now loans and on which interest is charged. The Educational Maintenance Allowance, scrapped in England.

The sell off of national assets, which raised £26.4bn in 2015 alone and still short changed the public by offering sweetheart deals to the vultures.

The scrapping of the Independent Living Fund, cuts to motorbility, sanctions, rent caps and so on.

Cuts to front line services staff and infrastructure (fire engines and stations, Police, air sea rescue etc).

Upping the pension age so that workers pay more, work longer and receive less and miners pensions which successive governments have robbed 50% of since the 1990’s, penalising taxpayers and National Insurance payers of their own money, to the grave.

Our NHS is in a league all of its own, beloved and paid by us, denied countless billions driving it into what the British Red Cross rightly calls a humanitarian crisis, whilst Theresa May denies this and blames it on the elderly. That’ll explain hospital closures then and the loss of 5.5 million bed places a year due to cuts.

Stagnant capital expenditure, especially housing. Even the Telegraph acknowledges the housing crisis is the worst for 20 years.

Caps and cuts to pay and services too numerous to mention.

It’s worth adding a few of the tax scroungers in support of whom we are treated as a cash cow – corporation tax cuts, tax avoidance and evasion and, of course, the bankers bail out. Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) estimated payback by us in interest charges, £301 billion on investments of some £54 billion. Oh, and Parliament’s drinks bill, courtesy of us, has tripled in two years – to £1.8 million.

But the big question remains. Where are all the hundreds of billions of pounds that have been and continue to be stolen from us?

They say there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes, true perhaps, we know they happen, but who knows anything more than that?  In both cases it’s like staring into the great unknown, a complete void. I have nothing to say about the mysteries of death and whether there is something that comes after. But we, mostly, take for granted that we are skinned alive for taxes all our lives and we know the Tories are fantastically good at taking and giving nothing back but grief, but where in the name of George Osborne’s coked up nasal passages has all our money gone?

I have no beef with taxation per se. It is a reasonable way, in theory anyway, of financing those things which are of universal benefit to the nation, yet that is precisely what the Tories are unravelling and destroying. With something like the NHS, it should be possible to strike the best deals with industry to supply its needs across the board. In reality private companies are ripping us off to the tune of billions of pounds a year, staffing agencies, management consultants for whom the imposition of austerity became a cash cow, and above all, pharmaceutical companies dictating prices to the NHS. Last year Pfizer was fined a record £84.2 million for overcharging, in one instance the price of an anti-epilepsy drug was increased by up to 2,600%.

This is the myth of the free market economy, so beloved of Theresa May, and, of course, corporations which spend huge sums lobbying and bribing their way to keep themselves free of regulation. In 2014 the Mirror published a list of 70 Tory MPs (who we also pay for) with interests in health care which included Jeremy Hunt who received ‘£32,920 from hedge fund baron Andrew Law, a major investor in healthcare firms’.

Were there any transparency in government we might have some idea of the degree to which we are being ripped off by people (including MPs) and companies who see us as a cash cow for their benefit and profit. Well in excess of 50% of each of our incomes is taken in various forms of taxation, including VAT, fuel duty and national insurance contributions. One estimate is that for every £100 we receive, only £35.12 is available to us for actual living, the rest is siphoned off into the exchequer for services that we are increasingly being denied.

There is a scandal here of epic proportions waiting to happen. Will it? Not so long as people blame the poor, immigrants, elderly and disabled people, and so on, who are all routinely blamed for the state of the economy. Ordinary people are incapable of the degrees of systemic corruption that bedevil our lives, in fact the system ensures that we are not. But who protects us from the system and will we ever have any way to plumb the depths of corruption that we pay for or hold it to account?

KOG. 10 February 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jan/27/tories-accused-shortchanging-public-record-26bn-privatisation-state-assets-press-association-data

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/jul/05/pfi-cost-300bn

http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2016/01/women-and-the-state-pension/

http://www.chad.co.uk/news/miners-we-have-been-robbed-of-half-our-pensions-1-7567126

https://www.gov.uk/education-maintenance-allowance-ema

Tories have unmade almost 5.5 MILLION #NHS bed-spaces a year – so you can’t lie in them

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/06/nhs-faces-humanitarian-crisis-rising-demand-british-red-cross

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/08/theresa-may-denies-humanitarian-crisis-in-britains-nhs

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/secret-nhs-plans-shut-down-9254830

Tories have unmade almost 5.5 MILLION #NHS bed-spaces a year – so you can’t lie in them

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/07/britains-housing-crisis-worst-20-years-yet-obvious-answers/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/parliaments-booze-bill-tripled-two-9775540

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/07/pfizer-fined-nhs-anti-epilepsy-drug-cma

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-32961240

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/17/management-consultants-cashing-in-austerity-public-sector-cuts

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/selling-nhs-profit-full-list-4646154

http://www.simplefs.co.uk/press-release/how-much-tax-on100-pounds.asp

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The Independent reports that five families are being made homeless every hour in the UK. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports that ‘almost 13 million people are living in poverty in the UK’, with over half of those in families with at least one adult working. And the BBC, amongst others, reports that, ‘More than 16 million people in the UK have savings of less than £100’.

These are dreadful statistics that highlight the terrible suffering of people in Britain today as a matter of policy. This is not a failure of government, it is deliberate policy, an economic war of attrition being waged against the poorest and most vulnerable people in society who are not just being abandoned, but are being targeted and penalised for absolutely no good reason.

I am sick to death of reading that some of those being attacked are called wasters and losers, alcoholics and drug addicts, fraudsters and cheats. As if such ‘character defects’ are exclusive to the poor. Who in hell created this mess, who bombed the global economy, who has trillions of dollars stashed away in tax havens exploiting all the benefits of society and contributing nothing? The poor?

Anyone who whinges about the poor on benefits needs to take a long hard look at the world and themselves and maybe begin to wonder, who makes these stories up, who is aiming the arrows of their hatred at the most deprived and yet cover up and hide the most depraved, like ex-prime minister David Cameron, George Osborne, Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVey, Priti Patel, Philip Green, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and the entire financial ‘free’ markets? This is orchestrated hatred which is morally and socially bankrupt.

Richard Branson lives in a tax haven. Yeah, he really is one of the good guys! He’s one of the people stealing our NHS from us. Richard Branson is a carpet bagger of the worst kind, looting and plundering what we have paid for.

Meanwhile, every single day, there is an unsung army of ordinary people giving of themselves and the little they have to succour and support others. There is a 91 year old man called Morrie Boogart, a cancer sufferer who lives in a hospice, yet who found purpose in knitting over 8,000 hats over the last 15 years for homeless people which are delivered to shelters throughout the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area in the USA.

This Thursday, Charlotte Hughes will be at the Jobcentre in Ashton-under-Lyne, as she has been for two and half years supporting those hounded by the DWP in one of Britain’s most deprived areas. Charlotte and friends, whose names I do not even know nor how many, are feeding, supporting, offering advice and a kind word, to those who are victims in one of the DWP’s test areas, where the DWP practice their cruelty first before rolling it out across the country. I name her only because I know her and have the utmost respect for her, yet she is suffering for what she is doing, it is tough and demanding and at times downright dispiriting.

Under the shadow of oppression there are millions helping out, volunteering, giving of their time gladly, against the odds.

People know of the Trussell Trust, but they are only one part of the food banks that now exist across the UK, keeping people alive just because they care.

There are street kitchens, cafes and restaurants across the UK feeding the elderly and homeless, not just at Christmas, but every day.

It is impossible to even begin to name all that goes on every day out of kindness and care by ordinary people giving their time and energy to support others. It is impossible to even guess how many lives are saved daily who are abandoned and ignored by government.

This is barely even news, whatever scarce mention is made in the news of those who care is the merest tip of an enormous tsunami of care happening every day, saving lives, offering support and advice, giving a helping hand, lifting up and sustaining life.

If there is any place for cynicism, it is not here, if there is reason to abandon hope, it is not for want of the efforts of those trying to offer it. Yes, we do lose people and each one hurts and at times the tears and sorrow are overwhelming, but that is not the time to give up, even if we must pause for breath and catch up with our own needs, because we forgot to do that for a time.

But that is not what takes courage. What takes courage in a time of need is asking for help. It says much about us that we manage, and we manage and we manage, until we have nothing left, but that is not the time to die, that is the time to courageously ask for help. Asking for help is not weakness and nor is it failure, that is the time to surrender and say one of the toughest words to say, ‘help’: to a friend or neighbour, a doctor or care worker, someone who can connect us to the care we need. It is not that no one cares, they just might not know we need it, and may be stricken if we die when they might otherwise have offered a helping hand had they but known.

It may feel easier to die and cease to be a burden, but caring does not recognise any of us as a burden. I speak from personal experience, it is ok to need help, but it takes courage to seek it and ask for it. It is ok to be in need.

KOG. 30 January 2017

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/homeless-rough-sleeping-figures-increase-rise-conservatives-housing-shelter-vertical-rush-a7550251.html

https://www.jrf.org.uk/press/report-reveals-new-face-uk-poverty

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37504449

http://www.taxjustice.net/topics/more/size-of-the-problem/

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

http://streetskitchen.co.uk/scotland/

http://www.peopleskitchen.co.uk/be-a-volunteer/

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/06/europe/muslim-restaurant-christmas-homeless-elderly-trnd/

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If there is one thing I have learnt over a long lifetime it is that ordinary people are the donkey engine, the powerhouse, that drives the nation in war and peace and that for those in power, our lives are entirely expendable. In war it is we who are sacrificed and in peace we are (or were) the industrial heart of the nation, and in both war and peace, we pay.

It was ever thus, but we are now in the era of neoliberalism, capitalism with the gloves off, and they are wringing us dry for ever greater profits that they neither need nor care about the harm they cause.

Ordinary people are both the sacrificial lambs for rampant greed and also the cash cow that feeds their greed.

Inequality is raging across the world, last year it was reported that just 62 people had more wealth than half the rest of the world and the top 1% had more wealth than the all rest of the world put together.

In her 2016 Christmas speech the Queen said, “My ministers will continue to bring the public finances under control so that Britain lives within its means.” To which I can only say, ‘Then fix your own house love,’ as the government prepares to give her £369 million of public money to fix up Buck House, not to mention doing up Houses of Parliament at a cost to us of up to £5.7 billion.

Britain is not broke, there is enough money to do everything that is required for stable and prosperous public services, including the social safety nets and our NHS.

Only the other day someone asked me what we are supposed to do if we don’t privatise the NHS because we cannot afford it?

The problem is one of perspective and most people simply have no idea how much wealth there is, which very much includes me. I measure money in terms of tens and hundreds of pounds, I simply have no real perspective beyond that and think of a thousand pounds as a lot of money, even whilst knowing that several grand over a year goes nowhere.

Start talking about millions, billions and trillions and I am basically ga ga because these are meaningless numbers to me.

According to an Oxfam study, $7.6 trillion is sitting in offshore accounts and that is just 8% of individual financial wealth, which puts the total amount of global individual wealth at $95 trillion. That’s $12,838 for everyone on Earth. That may not sound like a lot in a first world nation like Britain, but of the 7.4 billion people on Earth, 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day or less than $730 a year.

What does all that mean? I don’t know in terms of social justice and inequality except to say this, clearly a very small percentage of people are not only living within their means they are so far within their means that the mere concept is meaningless to them. I can only suggest that it’s like an elephant walking up to an ant and saying, ‘I’m bigger than you,’ and the ant wondering, ‘Did that mountain just speak to me?’ How can an ant make sense of an elephant? I know the feeling.

According to Noam Chomsky it used to be that some 90% of wealth was created by producers, traders and investors in the real economy, that is ordinary working people, today that is reversed with 95% of wealth being in financial markets and financial speculation and just 5% in the real world economy.

That being the case it is not hard to see why the powerful elites might think that ordinary people are now superfluous to requirements. Production is no longer labour intensive and most of the stuff we need is turned out by machines.

Our labour is no longer a necessity, but instead of everyone sharing in the abundance of wealth in the world with more spare time and fewer working hours, and for many, if not most, maybe none, wealth has polarised and ordinary people are not just abandoned, we are being robbed at every turn and hounded to death.

The world is at permanent war, and war has always been an excellent way to keep the population down and, of course, grab even more resources for the few at the expense of the many. But it seems even that is now no longer enough. In the search for endless profits, they have turned on the national pots of public taxation and public services, built and paid for by the people, and people are literally being sanctioned and financially penalised through poverty pay and shutting down the social safety nets (the same as turning off life support).

I hear a lot about Agenda 21 and population reduction, whatever your take on that, the fact is that we are being exterminated. In my first letter to Number 10 I wrote, “Clearly your contempt for the people of Britain can have only one logical end, so why not begin the cull now?”

I was, of course, being tongue in cheek because they had already started. Can anyone seriously deny it now?

Ordinary, decent, human beings have trouble with words like exterminate at any time, and quite rightly so. Words like extermination and genocide are horrific in their meaning, taking life knowingly and wilfully, which no decent person would ever consider even for a moment. But these things go on in the real world and it is always ordinary people who are the victims of such inhuman barbarity.

As recently as last November the government was slammed by the UN for abusing the human rights of disabled people, the government response? It strongly disagreed with the UN findings and Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said the findings demonstrated ‘an outdated view of disability which is patronising and offensive’. He went on, ‘The UN measures success as the amount of money poured into the system, rather than the work and health outcomes for disabled people’. So there we have it, if you can’t work in some bullshit job scrabbling for pennies, you might as well fuck off and die.

KOG 02 January 2017

http://www.globalresearch.ca/economy-for-the-one-percent-unprecedented-global-wealth-disparity-the-richest-1-have-more-wealth-than-the-rest-of-the-world-combined/5502320

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

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-11-18/369-million-makeover-for-buckingham-palace/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33184160

http://www.citylab.com/politics/2016/01/wealth-inequality-tax-havens-oxfam-poverty/424659/

http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/25/122.html

http://www.thecanary.co/2016/11/08/uk-government-just-slammed-violating-human-rights-theresa-may-doesnt-care/

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

02_september_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,541

Friday 02 September 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Jeremy Hunt has accused junior doctors of inflicting ‘the worst doctors’ strike in NHS history’. It is hardly surprising given that we are afflicted with the worst health secretary in history.

What is more worrying is that the rest of the nation is not striking as Hunt and CEO of NHS England, Simon Stevens, are about to crucify our NHS by reducing the 140 full A&E hospitals in England we had in 2013 to somewhere between 40 and 70 under their so called ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’.

The NHS and the country is now split into 44 regional areas – known as ‘footprints’ which have been labelled the ‘The 44 footprints of death’.

This national vandalism being inflicted on our NHS is, as far as I can see, the final nail in the coffin for our publicly funded, publicly owned, free at the point of use NHS paving the way for full privatisation and an American style health insurance system.

Stevens used to be President of Global Strategy for United Health of America where he apparently lobbied for healthcare around the world to be included in the despicable Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This is the wolf who is now CEO of NHS England.

I am sure Hunt must be delighted that his lousy junior doctors contract is hogging the headlines. The vast majority of the general public seem to be completely unaware of Stevens’ plans or the impact they will have. We the public must be prepared for longer ambulance journeys for A&E treatments which for critical patients will put lives at risk, longer waiting times for treatment adding to the risk of increased patient deaths and including the possibility of paying extra to be seen by a doctor.

Eamonn Holmes gave Hunt a grilling yesterday on Sky News over the junior doctors strike. Hunt, as he so often does these days, looked like a rabbit caught in headlights, but he must have been secretly delighted that Holmes made no mention of the obscene acts of social vandalism being rolled out by Hunt and Stevens.

The bottom line is that this is all about profits before people and healthcare and it is utterly despicable.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/sep/01/jeremy-hunt-five-day-doctors-strike-worst-in-nhs-history

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

Watch – This will be “the worst doctors’ strike in NHS history,” claims Hunt

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

27_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,535

Saturday 27 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

Since 2010 we have seen the rise and rise of state cruelty. This isn’t about injustice, that’s normal, built into the system and has been from time immemorial.

In days of yore, brutal men would just grab any land they fancied, whether it was occupied or not, declare ownership of everything they’d possessed by force or were granted by yet other brutes, call themselves lords and barons, charge the people on the land for the privilege of being owned and expect their fealty and deferential servitude. Chivalry did not extend to ordinary people. So much, so history.

This modern cruelty started with Thatcher, she was bold, brutally breaking the miners and industry and setting the stage for neoliberalism and the cult of competitive individualism. She broke the workers but she dared not touch our NHS and the welfare state remained a safety net for those in need of a helping hand, although she presided over the end of the post war consensus of the universal provision of care.

The coalition under Cameron with the imposition of austerity saw the beginning of the end of the state as any sort of benign force for the good of the people and the speed of the implementation of the wanton destruction of the state spoke of plans long in the making and now the gloves were off.

The re-writing of social security as ‘benefits’ and the escalation of punitive policies and benefits denial against the most vulnerable, the development of Universal Credit as a system of scarcity and punishment, the rebranding of sickness and disability as ‘malingering’ and wholesale attacks on disabled people and the introduction of forced labour were driven by vindictive cruelty and contempt for the lives of ordinary people.

This is where we stand today and stand we must. There is no possible excuse for this cruelty in one of the worlds richest nations. The Telegraph reports that in 2014 ‘Blue chip bosses in the UK earnt an average of £4.96m’: obscene inequality is no accident of nature it is callously wilful. In your ‘coronation’ speech you said, “The government I lead will be driven not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours.” The time to prove that is passing swiftly and there is no evidence that any such change is likely or ever will be as Liz Truss announces that she will be scrapping the Human Rights Act.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/thatcherism_01.shtml

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/04/12/who-are-the-highest-paid-chief-executives-in-the-ftse-100/

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/statement-from-the-new-prime-minister-theresa-may

We’re still scrapping the Human Rights Act, says Liz Truss

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=8a2yDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA195&lpg=PA195&dq=chivalry+did+not+belong+to+ordinary+people&source=bl&ots=neBcKi1abY&sig=sCYaI6TlrluoyG6-B5zSI3884V0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwis9IGEy9_OAhXiBcAKHTVpCo4Q6AEIKDAD#v=onepage&q=chivalry%20did%20not%20belong%20to%20ordinary%20people&f=false

12_august_2016

A letter a day to number 10. No 1,520

Friday 11 August 2016.

Dear Mrs May,

I confess that I am confused. Why oh why are you Tories hell bent on privatising the state?

Private companies, small businesses, trades and so on, serve a useful function bringing goods and services to people and it is perfectly reasonable to make a profit. Supply and demand is fine but public services are a very different animal. Bidding to take over a part of state provision inevitably harms that provision and does not serve the public interest, but that of the interests of the board room.

A percentage of the public money given to these companies is siphoned off as profit and that makes no sense when all that money could be used to maintain and improve publicly owned services.

Inevitably, privatisation means cost cutting and cutting corners (streamlining or efficiency drives to maximise profit), cutting services and jobs thus putting remaining staff under pressure to do more with less, including repressed pay. Everyone loses except the owners and executives whose pay often rises dramatically and we have no means to restrain executive pay, we just end up paying more. As we’ve seen so often, the greed of the few trumps the needs of the many.

Once a service is privatised public oversight and accountability is lost, it’s our money being spent but we have no say in how it is spent, there is no democratic accountability and companies can hide their activities behind commercial confidentiality.

Once a public service is privatised it is difficult and expensive to get it back if it fails for whatever reason. If it’s not already in turmoil, it enters a time of uncertainty which can dramatically adversely affect the public and staff.

Public services offer real jobs to people and the skills and training to do those jobs. David Cameron boasted of creating a million jobs, he did nothing of the sort of course and zero hours contracts rose dramatically under his government. These are essentially junk jobs adding to the precariousness of his ideologically imposed austerity and poverty is still on the increase no matter how much people want to ‘get on’. If the country is to recover then keep public services public, fully fund our NHS and train staff, build social housing which would be a massive boost to the real economy and stop the ridiculous privatisation scam and the transfer of public wealth into private pockets. Why are you Tories married to something which is fundamentally flawed and absurd?

https://weownit.org.uk/privatisation

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/09/uk-workers-on-zero-hours-contracts-rises-above-800000

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-poverty-the-charts-that-show-the-true-state-of-low-income-britain-a7031666.html

http://www.hbf.co.uk/media-centre/news/view/massive-hidden-social-and-economic-benefits-of-home-building-revealed/

http://labourlist.org/2016/03/osbornes-austerity-is-nothing-more-than-a-transfer-of-wealth-from-the-poor-to-the-rich/

QE — the ultimate subsidy for the rich