Kwug look forward to DPAC Week of Action, 4-10 September 2016 #RightsNotGames

Kwug look forward to DPAC Week of Action, 4-10 September 2016 #RightsNotGames

Details link: Rights, Not Games! Fight the Cuts!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

UK benefit cap, party conference season, BBC, Russia and hegemony

Blogger Johnny Void reports that when the overall benefit cap is lowered this Autumn, it will be for the third time in just five years. What does that all mean? How about, as JV writes, Hunger, Homelessness and Despair, The Stark Reality of the Benefit Cap?

Of course that is not the analysis we shall be hearing trumpeted this October when BBC News reports from Conservative & Unionist Party Autumn Conference 2016. What will other political parties have to say about this third lowering of the benefit cap in five years? And if they do say anything about the benefit cap at those Autumn conferences, will the BBC report it? 

Oh, no! What have I done now? I've probably sown the seeds for more and more page viewings of Kwug Blog from Russia, where it seems their larger population are dead keen to seek out reports of how nasty the UK Government is to poor people within the UK. (For the past month or two, there have been about four times more page viewings of this blog from Russia than from within the UK, until my health forced me to cut back on my output — reducing the number of page viewings of this blog per week to practically zero from Russia.)

Needless to say, while internal debate is potentially healthy, as a Green Party member too poor to attend party conference and very restricted by the agendas of DWP regarding how much money the law says I need to live on and what I need to declare, and the timetabling of Green Party of England & Wales Conference Arrangements Committee etc, I hope the Green Party Autumn Conference discussions about 'progressive alliance' politics do not entirely overwhelm matters of how nasty 'austerity government' is to poor people.

Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Progressive Alliance vs tribalism as an aid to democracy?

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug, expressing a personal viewpoint

Reading the Wembley Matters and London Green Left blogs and observing the output of Green Party leadership hustings, it seems to me that the idea of Green Party participation in a 'Progressive Alliance' arouses a lot of tribalism within the Green Party's eco-socialist tendency Green Left and Green Party activists in general. (1) (2) (3)

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group is not party-politically aligned, containing members of various political parties and none, and we come together over the common concern of supporting vulnerable people while most of us are vulnerable ourselves as individuals.

Sure, there should have been more conferring with party members by the Green Party leadership before they made any pronouncements about a 'Progressive Alliance'.(4) Yet rather than condemning the other political parties, I believe that Greens including Green Left members could use the concept of a Progressive Alliance as a means of bringing those other political parties to change their ways.

Those other political parties would have to make great strides toward getting Greens to stand down. In a previous council election, Brent Green Party stood down one candidate in a three-seat ward to allow space for a candidate from pressure group Keep Willesden Green.(5)

Meanwhile, one of the greatest challenges for democracy is where a political party becomes so dominant for so long that its elected representatives lose any sense of connection with poor people who are so disenchanted as to become non-voters while that party uses 'regeneration' as a pathway to social exclusion. As Revd Paul Nicolson observes, while those in political power can become very detached we should not write them all off.(6)

Ultimately, a political party is a coalition. So too is a non-party-political grouping such as Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group. Co-operation as in the forming of a progressive alliance or even moving toward the formation of a progressive alliance can be a challenge. Kwug has had at least one Lib Dem activist among its members and we have not written them off for what Lib Dem MPs colluded with in a Con-Dem coalition. The standards required in forming and moving toward a progressive alliance can be a bridge whereas excessive tribalism can be a wall that shuts us out of exerting any influence. Mahatma Gandhi observed that no enemy can be thoroughly disarmed until they have become befriended.

Link addresses

  6. Around 35 minutes to 36 minutes mark at 

Dude Swheatie of Kwug, a Green Party and Green Left member expressing a personal viewpoint.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Why single claimants should submit an ESA Mandatory Reconsideration BEFORE their JSA claim

Comments on a Kate Belgrave blog post have given rise to speculation that Jobcentre Plus has constructively cancelled the Jobseekers Allowance (Jsa) claims of single claimants in order to railroad them onto Universal Credit with all its nightmarish procedures such as online-only application.(1)

Under Conservative Government, the hoops and hurdles benefit claimants have to negotiate have changed in other ways such as, if you are rated 'ineligible' for Employment & Support Allowance, you must make a claim for Jobseekers Allowance instead, even if you are really not fit for work or 'work related activity'. Now though, it seems that there is a way around that problem. 

Our friends at Scottish Unemployed Workers Network (SUWN) report:(2)
.... We came across a ... case today, again an older guy who had been bumped off ESA and who was now forced onto JSA. He explained that he could not understand why he was being forced onto JSA when he felt he could not, in all honesty, hold down any kind of regular work, despite the fact that he would love to return to paid employment rather than being treated like a scrounger. We urged him to submit a mandatory reconsideration BEFORE he applies for JSA; as a single claimant he can be forced onto Universal Credit (UC) if he makes a new claim, but if he puts his mandy recon in first he will not be classified as a new claimant, and will thus avoid being put onto UC. Remember, if you are removed from ESA, always submit your mandy recon against that decision BEFORE you make any claim for JSA. We also advised him that once he is on JSA he can get a doctor’s line for an Extended Period of Sickness of 13 weeks....(2)

Link addresses

Brent Central Labour Party Gala Dinner offers more than bread and warter — but at what price?

Thanks to Wembley Matters blogger Martin Francis for this.(1)
Gala dinner flyer. Lowest charge £35 concessions
Regarding aspirations for social inclusion, I am reminded of the saying, "Money talks; merit walks." I am also reminded of Revd Paul Nicolson's statement, 

"It is beyond the comprehension of national and local law-makers that £73.10 a week [Income Support/JobSeekers Allowance/Employment & Support Allowance] is TOO LOW TO TAX"(2)

How about the menu?

The menu offers a lot more variety than bread and water
The menu offers a lot more variety than bread and water. I wonder though, do those who have no misgivings about whether they could afford to attend such a 'gala' ever pause to consider the costings of meals on £73.10 a week? How much nutrition can you get for £73.10 a week?

Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Link addresses


Revd Paul Nicolson: Restoring 100 percent maximum Council Tax benefit is best

In LB Haringey, Taxpayers Against Poverty founder Revd Paul Nicolson has launched a personal campaign of civil disobedience over his Local Authority's insistence on levying Council Tax on those "too poor to be taxed.

He has written me regarding Camden's current Council Tax Reduction Scheme consultation:

I suggest as many people as possible respond to the consultation to support Camden's preferred Option 2 restoring the 100% council tax benefit by clicking the following in paragraph 2 of the consultation  - "  - ....
When Camden reports on the consultation they will report the numbers supporting each option,

All good wishes, 


Alan Wheatley

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Assessment of Z2K's advice services

Z2K is short for Zacchaeus 2000, the justice for vulnerable debtors charity that was set up by Kwug's friend and activist Revd Paul Nicolson. It has had more years of giving advice services to vulnerable people than KUWG and its caseworkers and we have frequently referred service users with cases outside of our expertise areas to Z2K.

Yet just as KUWG has had to go through assessment of its processes in making funding applications, so to has Z2K with its advice services. You can read Z2K Chief Executive Officer Joanne Kennedy's blogged assessment of that assessment procedure at

Funders increasingly demand such audits of organisations that apply for extra funds to help sort out the problems caused by government systems. Would it not be great if the devisers of government systems that cause enormous problems for vulnerable people and their case workers could be subjected to nearly so much scrutiny?