Saturday, 28 February 2015

"Universal Citizens income boosts net GDP and human happiness," says one of wealthiest 1% of UK population

From Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty

Someone among the 1% of the wealthiest has commented on Taxpayers Against Poverty Facebook page


Dear all, 

We are having an excellent debate about benefit sanctions on the TAP facebook page. This post has so far reached 42,208 people, its has been liked by 1,326 including the 181 likes in the 650 shares. There are 123 comments. 

NO SANCTIONS WITH OUT A FAIR TRIAL

In letter to the Guardian in the previous post I suggest that a person accused of abuse of tax payers funding of human need should be given a fair trial because that does not happen now. In the jobcentres there is no fair trial before the imposition of a deeply serious punishment - cancellation of the means of subsistence.
  1. there is no independent judge as in the courts - jobcentre officials are implementing government policy
  2. there is no opportunity for the accused to be represented
  3. the housing and council tax benefits are canceled by the computer of the jobcentre which sends the cancellation signal of HB and CTRS (New CTB) to the local authority computer - making the applicant reapply for HB and CTRS - which can take weeks to reinstate.
  4. the DWP is content to make people hungry. 
  5. total cancellation of the means of subsistence is a disproportionate and unjust punishment.
We so far have 11,249 TAP page likes.

All good wishes, 

Paul

THIS THOUGHTFUL CONTRIBUTION IS FROM SOMEONE AMONG THE 1% OF THE WEALTHIEST BRITONS. IT IS EXTRACTED FROM TAP FACEBOOK PAGE  AND HAS BEEN RE-POSTED BY TAP FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION. 


THANK YOU "Peculiar Musings" 

I have multiple degrees and an income that puts me in the 1%.

The basic issue is the state's "human right" guarantee than nobody in our society should be allowed to starve or go homeless.

It would be political suicide to openly revoke the underlying guarantee of the welfare state. However, austerity has been implemented as death by a thousand cuts. You can still claim benefits, but the bureaucracy will make it more hassle than its worth and deliberately introduce enough arbitrary rules that statistical reductions in payouts can be made, just by excluding people for a minor technically.

This is probably counter productive in most cases. People wanting to game the system are the ones most likely to pay attention to the technicality rules. For everybody else, the sanctions create a financial emergency that distracts from the bigger picture goal of getting their life back on track.

The alternative to sanctions is a universal citizens income. 42% of GDP already goes to the government through taxation, so we already have a significant amount of convoluted income redistribution.

Removing all conditionality means some people will chose not to work, but that already happens under our existing system. This is a cost of doing business for making a "human rights guarantee", but one in the grand scheme of things we can actually afford as a country to make.

The net result is to give people the freedom and security to focus their attention on their long term needs, rather than being constantly distracted by short term emergencies. 

My belief is that both net GDP and human happiness would grow as a result.

Taxpayers Against Poverty
No British citizen without an affordable home and an adequate income in work or unemployment. 

93 Campbell Road, Tottenham, London N17 0BF
020 8376 5455
07961 177 889, 
 

Maximus Day of Action 02-03-2015

See




Equalities & Diversity Team Leader, anyone?

From the Wembley Matters blog that largely addresses LB Brent matters

Disbelief as Brent Council choose Cara Davani to head up its Equalities Team

There was disbelief today when the Kilburn Times LINK reported that Cara Davani, Head of Brent's Human resources and found by Watford Employment Tribunal to have racially discriminated against, victimised and constructively dismissed a black council worker will - wait for it - head up Brent Council's Equalities Team!...

Continue reading on Wembley Matters blog

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Statistics, elections and smear stories

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug


The matter of lack of witnesses is implicit in today's reporting on the Jimmy Saville abuses at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the 1970's. In the 1970's there was a huge PR machine behind Jimmy Saville amounting to a manufactory of consent for whatever he planned. Now in the 21st Century there is a manufactory of consent via The Sun, The Mail, and whatever, for the smear stories soliciting General Election voters to make life ever harder for the economically not so advantaged.

With a General Election coming on Thursday 7 May 2015, we should be extremely cautious about statistics that are given out by government ministers and errors that are by accident or design. With the smear stories concerning obese people as benefit claimants, we should learn from Health Minister Lord Warner's 'administrative error' regarding obesity. Community Care magazine reported in February 2004:
The government has apologised after massively overstating the number of obese people claiming benefits.

Earlier this month, health minister Lord Warner said that 900,000 claimants of incapacity benefits were obese, prompting headlines in the national media.

The Department of Health now says that the actual figure is 900 and that this only relates to people who receive incapacity benefit as a result of obesity. It blamed an “administrative error” for the blunder.

It added that the total amount paid to this group a week is £70,965 rather than the £70.9m figure initially used.

— February 25, 20004: Minister cuts the fat from figures

Full Factcheck, anyone? Fact-checking is another vital form of witnessing.




Tony Cox is not Jimmy Saville or David Cameron

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug

What does the charge sheet for Tony Cox of Scottish Unemployed Workers Network read? What was he charged with?

Scottish Unemployed Workers Network reported yesterday:
... if you’re fond of a joke, you might like this description of the SUWN from Tony’s charge sheet. Apparently we ‘solicit’ outside jobcentres and attempt to ‘coerce’ benefit claimants to get them to have us accompany them! You couldna make it up – but someone just has.
Higher up on the same blog post, I read:
Of course courts are inherently full of rules and controls, but the case took place amid tight security, there was a heavy police presence outside, and we were taken aback to be told that only three members of the public would be allowed in. When it was pointed out that courts are meant to be publicly accessible, they soon gave that one up.
 In that, I was reminded of how the Welfare Reform Act 2012's war of even greater attrition was smuggled through the House of Lords by Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud by staging a reading of the Bill in a Committee Room that had little space for wheelchair accessibility. The Broken of Britain blog called for its supporters to:
.... Highlight the injustice and hypocrisy of the government's behaviour in trying to sideline this important Bill into a room too small for all the Lords to attend and certainly too small to allow those in wheelchairs, or with guide dogs, the very people most affected by this bill to be able to observe from the public gallery.

If we make enough noise before 3.30pm today the government will have to drop this underhand tactic and the Bill will continue to be debated in the main chamber of the House of Lords where everyone who wishes to can attend and observe.


And the matter of lack of witnesses is implicit in today's reporting on the Jimmy Saville abuses at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the 1970's. In the 1970's there was a huge PR machine behind Jimmy Saville amounting to a manufactory of consent for whatever he planned. Now in the 21st Century there is a manufactory of consent via The Sun, The Mail, and whatever, for the smear stories soliciting General Election voters to make life ever harder for the economically not so advantaged.

Disabled and disadvantaged people and their advocates need more witnesses and supporters, not fewer. Join the 38Degrees petition Advocacy is Not a Crime.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

KUWG support of Tony Cox

Report and photo by Elephant Pam

We were beamed up to Scotland in solidarity with Tony Cox who was arrested at Arbroath Jcp for supporting a vulnerable claimant


CJ and I (Pam) arrived on time at Kilburn Jobcentre for 9.45 am. We spotted Marie approaching Kilburn JCP from the bus and we stepped off it running into Abby. Dude Swheatie came along shortly with his straight talking placards. Barry the photographer came. He interviewed CJ . CJ told Barry about the behaviour of Security guards on these occasions "they're 'orrible ",  oblivious to the fact that behind him, we had posed (illegally) on JCP property for photos. The Security guard came out to shoo us off the ramp, but we cheekily stayed put until Pauline and the other photographers had what they wanted. 

Needless to say the Security man was incandescent, but this time we put the O into 'orrible! 

We played and sang our song. Our audience  (Eva, Petros, Vera ) were amused to see us unsure which verse it was, but understood when I explained the song has 18 of them!
The photos I sent earlier were the ones I took on my phone and emailed to the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network just before 10am this morning. I'm sure they will be happy to hear from their cousins in London.

See also: Scottish Unemployed Workers Network news: Feb 25, 2015: Advocacy on Trial at
http://www.scottishunemployedworkers.net/news/

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Arrest abusers, not jobseekers' advocates


For background, see posting about national day of action at jobcentres set for Wednesday 25 February.

KUWG will be outside Kilburn Jcp, Cambridge Avenue (Kilburn High Road Stn) from 09:45-10:45 and then outside the Caxton House HQ of the Department for Work & Pensions from 3pm. Caxton House Tothill Street London SW1H 9NA.

Placard designs by Dude Swheatie of Kwug


'Never attend anywhere official alone' as Kwug slogan pre-dates our logo!

We repeat, 'Never attend anywhere official alone'!
"Advocacy is not a crime" placard and 38Degrees petition link

Police should arrest jobcentre staff who abuse claimants, not the people who stick up for vulnerable claimants
Tony Cox was arrested at Arbroath Jcp for standing up for a vulnerable claimant
'Tony Cox is innocent' wording by CJ

Mon 23022015 Block Budget

BLOCK THE BUDGET #HousingAction


Monday 23 February, 9 onwards protest. 12 – 2pm Music, food, entertainment, speakers

City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA
KUWG placard: Cancel 'austerity' — not tenancies!
Land sold off, secure tenants sold out!


Mayor Boris Johnson is the most powerful politician in London when it comes to decisions about housing, with control over a £1.8bn budget for delivering new homes and hundreds of hectares of public land.

His budget goes to the vote on 23 February and if passed, will mean more sky-high rents, sell-offs of the public land we need to build council housing and ‘affordable’ housing that most people can’t afford. It’s a recipe for bigger profits for landlords and developers, and more social cleansing and homelessness for ordinary Londoners.

Join us to BLOCK THE BUDGET and demand SOCIAL HOUSING NOT SOCIAL CLEANSING
Family friendly demonstration with music and food.
#housingaction #blockthebudget
Pilgrim Tucker
Unite Community Coordinator
London and Eastern
33-37 Moreland Street
London EC1V 8BB
Social housing enriches social mix

How to get there by public transport, cycling and/or walking

Placard designs for Maximus Day of Action

Join the Day of Action against Maximus

Event Details

Placard designs below by Dude Swheatie of Kwug

DWP test disabled people to death



Atos cast-off join Maximus
Atos to Maximus - Zombie medics as usual working for DWP

The Housing Action Group meets 24/02/2015, 12pm-2pm at Kingsgate Community Centre

Samantha Lewis, a Community Organiser based at Kingsgate Community Centre, 107 Kingsgate Road, Kilburn, NW6 2JH writes:

Hi everyone
Just a reminder the housing action group meeting is this coming Tuesday 12-2pm @ Kingsgate Community Centre look forward to seeing you all
regards 
Sam

Like KUWG, The Housing Action Group is a self-help organisation that helps people with their casework. For further details, contact Samantha.Lewis AT corganisers.org.uk 

How to get there by public transport, cycling and/or walking 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Shine a light for NEETs

Johnny Void argues:

that NEETs [those Not in Employment, Education or Training] are one of the most valuable assets that a society can possess.  Young people, left to their own devices and even on meagre resources, can do incredible things – and this does not just apply to the young.

Well worth reading in full at Workfare Iis a Betrayal Of our Children And We Will All Pay the Price in Time.

.

Sat 21 Feb Brent Fightback vs cuts

Invoice coalition partners for money denied LB Brent public services


  • Protest outside Sarah Teather MP's office 2pm, 70 Walm Lane, NW2 4RA (near Willesden Green tube)
  • ... then outside Brent Conservatives' Office, 3pm, 271 Preston Road, Wembley HA3 0PS
  • Present the Tories and Lib Dems an invoice for all the money they have stolen from the people of Brent

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Brent Fightback says no to cuts

Report on Brent Fightback Public Meeting held Tuesday 17 February

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug


Paul K of the KUWG and I attended last night's Brent Fightback public meeting against Brent Council's further erosion of public services.

Platform speakers included writer and broadcaster Owen Jones, along with Anne O'Neil (Brent Mencap), Anne Drinkell (Defend London's NHS), Stonebridge Adventure Playground, Our West Hendon.
  • Anne O'Neil said that under the proposed budget cuts, daycentre services would be substantially reduced if not completely destroyed, limiting support for people wanting help in applying for ESA. These matters should be referred to at General Election hustings and in any contacts with parliamentary candidates, she said. She also said that care workers' contact time with the vulnerable adults they support would be halved from 30 minutest to 15 minutes.
    Something she did not say about that that I know from previous painful 2005-2006 experience is that care workers do not get paid for the time taken in getting from one shift to the next, nor the travel expenses involved. That will make the plight of care workers untenable under Universal Credit, where people in paid employment would be liable to sanction of all their benefits for allegedly not trying hard enought to become financially independent of income-top-up payments!
  • Anne Drinkell reported that older people have been largely scapegoated as a drain on A&E services; GP services are being largely privatised and the Health & Social Care Act should be scrapped; the Harmoni out of hours medical advice service has been taken over by the infamous CareUK; and hospital closures lead to a bonanza for property speculators. She too stressed the importance of General Election campaigning as an opportunity to put pressure on politicians.
  • The speaker from Stonebridge Adventure Playground said that Stonebridge has actually been a borough-wide service and its fiscal eradication would be a crime against the community. Stonebridge Adventure Playground allowed kids a safe place for recreation and a badly needed break for hard-pressed parents. Closure of such safe places would put kids more prone to mischief. Adventure playgrounds had given the speaker — an ethnic minority member — advantages for advancement in life that he would not otherwise have had access to.
  • The Our West Hendon speaker told of the incremental displacement of social tenancies to make way for privatisation of housing, and also said that the tenants had become a force to be reckoned with collectively while their tenancy rights had become eroded over time.
  • Owen Jones said that Brent Fightback had acquired a well-earned reputation for fighting back against public services cuts and people should make maximum use of the General Election 2015 for redressing the damage caused by 5 years of cuts in public services. He also referred to the benfit sanctions fiasco and the way victims of cuts had been maligned, and Ukip's attacks on migrant workers as yet another example of scapegoating. Instead of Cameron and Osborne enlisting the services of tax-dodger Sir Philip Green to advise Government on how to cut costs, it would be much better for public services funding in this country if Government squeezed the tax dodgers and reduced the influence of the big four accountancy firms and Google etc that find all the loop holes they can to preserve the wealthy's advantages at the cost of thhe public purse.
Several floor speakers followed, with about two minutes per speaker. I was first of the floor speakers and had already been photographed by Kilburn Times phoographer outside the venue with placard.

In my short floor speech I emphasised our motto 'Never Attend Anywhere Official Alone' and corrected Owen Jones' statement that we had had 5 years of cuts by saying that disabled people had experienced cuts in services for several years previous and that the big difference for the past five years was that cuts in public services had become more mainstream. The situation for disabled people as disadvantaged people was similar to that Martin Luther King referred to in his 1963 'I Have a Dream Speech' where he said that where it came to equality of opportunity for American blacks it was as if a checque had been returned to themmarked 'insufficient funds'. It's important to ask why people are disadvantaged, I emphasised. Eg, Q: why are there so many Polish migrant workers in this country? A: Because capitalism fucked up the Polish economy after the collapse of the Iron Curtain. [More specifically, as Naomi Klein reports "the fact that [Poland] accepted [the] radical prescription of free market economic shock therapy" led to a situation in which the restoration of capitalism in Poland has "created a social wasteland."]

Several other floor speakers followed, including a rep from Advice 4 Renters saying that she would welcome listening to people's stories of renting. I had great difficulties hearing most of the floor speakers, but there was a Trade Union & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) speaker as well as Marie Lynam. There was even a Ukip parliamentary candidate, whose contribution was generally unwelcome. For me, the best of the floor speakers was our friend and comrade Sarah Cox. She denounced the racism of Ukip and scapegoating as means of bringing in an anti-social agenda, and emphasised the forthcoming demonstrations outside Conservative and Lib Dem offices set for the afternoon of Saturday 21 February. 

Brent Fightback will also protest outside the Council budget setting meeing on 2 March, she said.
Brent Council's current budget proposals for the next few years seem to pre-empt the result of General Election 2015, I recall her saying, and we should make the most of the General Election campaign to say 'no' to further cuts and privatisation in public services.
Saturday 21 February 2pm protest outside offices of Brent Central MP Sarah Teather, and at 3pm outside Brent Conservatives' offices

And our friend Ben Samuel as Green Party parliamentary candidate for Hendon learned the hard way the value of getting up early to speak from the floor, as his potential contribution was timed out.

In platform speakers' follow-through Anne Drinkell said that the Ukip speaker should be ashamed of the way his party maligns migrant workers who are a mainstay of the NHS. And Owen Jones emphasised the difference between most Ukip members' desire for a free at point of delivery NHS and renationalisation of our railways with the plans of the Ukip leadership for privatisation of public services.

After the meeting, I noticed the presence of Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt who had apparently remained silent during the meeting. I wonder whether he 'got the message' that those present did not welcome his budget proposals?






Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Inequality, Health Insurance and ILF (Independent Living Fund)

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Tottenham Hotspur Football Club — aka 'Spurs' — has gained some infamy in recent years for links between its stadium expansion plans and the gentrification of Tottenham, as well as providing case study exemplification in how a multi-million pound corporation can screw money out of Council Tax payers. (Council homes in Love Lane were demolished so that Spurs' corporate customers would not have to walk through a council estate!) Yet a story broadcast on the London regional news output of BBC TV and ITV on Monday 16 February gives another prime example regarding social inequality in modern Britain and much more.

ITV reports Spurs found liable for player's brain damage [sic], while the BBC website reports Tottenham Hotspur liable for player brain damage [sic]. (Very much in line with capitalist thinking, the term 'brain damage' suggests, perhaps, that the brain is a piece of merchandise. I would much prefer use of the term 'brain injury', and people with brain injury are all too frequently labelled 'brain damaged' as a derogatory term.) This compensation arises from the apparent negligence of Spurs as an employer to one of their former playing staff members Radwan Hamed who had a heart attack while he was playing in a match for them. (Spurs were held 70% liable and the the Football Association's Regional Cardiologist for South-East England 30% liable.)

Of course, in awarding the compensation which could reach £7m for the injury incurred in a 2006 youth game, loss of potential earnings would be a major factor. Such are footballers' wages and potential wage losses. Sadly however, not all disabled people have such a good starting point in life. The Independent Living Fund has previously provided some finanancial buffering for the most severely disabled people. But the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition has determined to eliminate that while shedding reponsibility for ILF's aftermath onto the councils that the same Government has determined should forever cut expenditure and have fewer resources.

That is the same Government that has maintained that the deaths of disabled people via the Atos inquisition has nothing to do with the actions of this Government. But of course, they have the right wing press and the BBC largely on their side as well as highly paid lawyers paid out of the public purse, and family-based carers are not so fortunate.

This is what comes from successive UK Governments being 'advised' on 'welfare reform' by an American health insurance company called Unum since 1994.

Monday, 16 February 2015

25 Feb UK-wide day of action at jubcentres

From Boycott Workfare


Solidarity with unemployed activist arrested for representing a jobseeker:
Take part in a Day of Action at Jobcentres Britain-wide Wednesday 25 February 2015

Support Tony Cox from the Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network, who was arrested after assisting a claimant at Arbroath Jobcentre.
Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox was arrested on 29th January after Arbroath Jobcentre management called police to stop him representing a vulnerable jobseeker. We urge you to join a Day of Action on 25th February at Jobcentres round Britain to show your solidarity.
We must fight back against this clear attempt to intimidate claimants and deny us the right to be accompanied and represented. Tony will be in court in Forfar on 25th February facing charges of “threatening behaviour, refusing to give his name and address and resisting arrest”. That same day we call on people to descend on jobcentres round Britain to show their solidarity with Tony and distribute information to claimants urging them to exercise their right to be accompanied and represented at all benefits interviews.
As we face unprecedented sanctions and benefits cuts, it’s more important than ever that we support each other and stand up to the DWP bullies. The Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions and other groups have established a strong presence at the Jobcentres in Dundee and in nearby towns and cities like Arbroath, Perth and Blairgowrie, supporting claimants in opposing sanctions and harassment.

On 29 January Tony was accompanying a vulnerable woman claimant, who suffers from severe dyslexia and literacy problems. The claimant, D, had been signed up to the Universal Job Match (UJM), the computerised job search system, and was being forced to complete five job searches per day, the pressure of which had led to her having several panic attacks. Tony proposed that D’s UJM account be closed, and that her number of job searches be significantly reduced. The adviser refused to consider this, and so Tony and D met with the Jobcentre manager.
The manager likewise refused to even look at the issue, falsely claiming that all jobseekers had to be registered with UJM. She even suggested to D that she should arrange another meeting without Tony or any other witness or rep present. Despite the pressure D was being put under by the manager, she replied that she would not attend another meeting without Tony. At this point the manager demanded that Tony leave the building or the police would be called. Tony refused to leave, but the meeting ended when it was agreed that a further meeting be arranged to discuss the issue further. Tony was arrested after he left the Jobcentre.
The right of claimants to be accompanied to interviews, and for the accompanier to have the right to speak, has been established by groups like Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty, who have forced the DWP locally and Britain-wide to apologise for calling the police on ECAP reps, and to affirmclaimants’ right to representation. The DWP clearly state “Claimants accessing Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits and services can have someone to accompany them to act on their behalf…”
The attack on benefits and claimants is part of the austerity assault on the entire working class. We call on all unemployed and claimants groups, anti cuts and anti austerity groups, human rights groups, workplace activists, and all working class people, waged and unwaged, to show solidarity with Tony and the right of the unemployed and all claimants to organise collectively to fight back.
Visit your local Jobcentre on 25th February with banners and placards and distribute leaflets to claimants on Tony’s case and the right to be accompanied to all benefits interviews.
  • Send a message of support to admin AT scottishunemployedworkers.net
  • Complain to Noel Shanahan, Director General Operations DWP, Caxton House, Tothill Street London SW1H 9NA
  • Sign the petition
  • There will be a picket of the Forfar court before the hearing on 25 February, by activists from Dundee, Tayside and area – for details contact admin AT scottishunemployedworkers.net
  • There will be a solidarity action in Central London at 3pm – for details contactinfo@boycottworkfare.org
Call out by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty - ecap AT lists.riseup.net
Please add the support of your group/organisation: and ecap AT lists.riseup.net
email admin AT scottishunemployedworkers.net
And don’t forget Disabled People Against Cut’s Day of Action the following week on 2 March!

Public meeting vs Brent demolition of public services

Where: Tavistock Hall, Harlesden Methodist Church, 25 Harlesden High St, NW10 4NE
When: Tuesday, 17 February, 7pm
Named speakers: Owen Jones, Anne O'Neil (Brent Mencap), Anne Drinkell (Defend London's NHS), Stonebridge Adventure Playground, Our West Hendon, and other local campaigns

Brent Fightback poster giving fuller details


Dude Swheatie of Kwug's take on Brent Council's Public Services Grand Plan

Placard design shows cranes with wrecking balls taking over map of Brent

Related posts


See you Tues 17 Feb, 10am-11am outside Kentish Town Jcp, 174-178 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2AG

Kwug will be joining demo called by Camden & Islington Branch of Unite the Union Community Section this Tuesday 17 February as agreed at KUWG business meeting on Thursday 12 February.

Unite the Union Community Section London & Eastern Region Organiser Pilgrim Tucker writes:

Hi all

Just to remind you we will be at Kentish Town jobcentre,
174-178 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2AG
from 10am- 11am tomorrow (tuesday), talking to jobseekers about how they are treated, sanctions, jobcentre training etc.

Please join us if you can!

best wishes

Pilgrim

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Uploaded with caution

Preface by Dude Swheatie of Kwug to KUWG' recording of 'He's Taking from the Poor to Pay the Rich'

As princicpal blog uploader for this blog, I have previously resisted requests that I upload this video to the blog. As a volunteer, I have the right to refuse whereas I would not so readily have that right to do so if I was on one of the Government's forced labour schemes known as 'Community Work Placement' or whatever name they dress up such modern day slavery with.

That objection on my part to personally uploading it was put accompanied by my proposal that others have the log-in details to do the uploading so as to make the blog more of a group operated resource. Now that the title of the video has been altered to emphasise the actions of the Prime Minister rather than state his alleged character, I have decided to upload it as part of an attempt to fuel debate.


The Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group is non-party political and non-religious while I am a Quaker and Quakers are not keen on labelling people's character.  Quakers believe that labelling people's character sets up barriers to their capacity to change.

And as a disabled person with a real surname starting with the letter W I have painful memories of being labelled 'wanker' by abusive schoolday taunters and former scapegoating co-workers. The stigma of a lack of success on my part in attempting to find waged work before I eventually claimed Employment & Support Allowance after winning a tribunal also ties in with what the word 'wanker' is associated with.

As I have pointed out before on this blog, David Cameron and his Government and those who massage claimant statistic have been the ones who have really 'swung the lead'. (Maybe we could substitute the word 'penis'?) Does forcing JSA claimants onto a regime of daily signing on at different times get them closer to getting a job, or to being sanctioned for the human capacity to crack under excessive pressure? What Government, Labour or Conservative/Lib Dem coalition has made it any easier for disabled people to get waged employment? In my experience, their compliance with disability legislation has been a mockery of social justice while they have used smear stories to bring in even greater discrimination against disabled people.

While typing this, I am hearing Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith telling Andrew Marr that people previously on Incapacity Benefit have been "left languishing" for years before the 'reform' that brought in ESA. Well, I never claimed Incapacity Benefit and from the time I first became unwaged in November 1977 till I claimed ESA in 2009, my sum total of waged employment amounted to a sum total of 19 months!

What are the alternatives?

Alongside my reservations against labelling character of the current Prime Minister, I also note that focusing excessively on the sins of David Cameron lays us open to the danger of voting for politicians who will do nothing to further equality in society. Eg, I remember that in its first term of office Labour colluded with American insurance company Unum toward the further demonisation of benefit seekers and the privatisation of the welfare state.

The Blair Government halved the length of training periods for JobCentre-funded training courses. In the year 2000 I turned down a place on a Web Design training course that I had passed the entry course for. It had taken me two years of self-directed learning with a computer paid for by my mum and training manuals I bought out of my dole money at the sacrifice of any socialising time and money that the pittance that JSA was even then, to acquire the underpinning knowledge to pass that entrance test. The course provider agreed with me that the 6 week foundation duration of the course was inadequate for the amount of course content. They told me that the course period had been double that length until the Blair Government halved the length of the training period so as to get double the throughput from the dole queue.

And it was Labour's Yvette Cooper as Work & Pensions Secretary that signed the authorisation for the harder to pass 'Work Capability Assessment' before she left office.

Now, before the 2015 General Election manfiestos of the political parties have been published, councils are publishing 'consultations' about how they will implement public spending cuts already dictated by the current Government for 2017.

And Labour agrees with the discredited Universal Credit that the Tories are determined to bring to Brent before the May 2015 General Election. Under Universal Credit, even claimants of the current Housing Benefit in waged employment deemed to be not working hard enough to gain independence from state benefits.

So, why should you vote for any party that offers you more of the same 'austerity'? Ask all the political parties standing in your constituency what they have to offer, and don't let them bullshit you. Get them to denounce smear stories against claimants as the quasi-Nazi trick that they are.

See also:

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Claimant count and electoral wipe-out

From Steve Donnison of Benefits and Work Publishing

Fight for the truth

The government may have silenced much of the voluntary sector, but you can play your part in silencing the DWP’s worst lies and spin in the run up to the election. The fantastic Full Fact charity have until 27 February to raise £25,000 to fund a six week, 18 hours per day election fact-checking project.
If you can make a small donation or simply tweet, blog and email details of their fundraising campaign you could maConservative majority versus claimant count, Carlisleke a real difference to how many lies are told about claimants in the run-up to the election. Full Fact are already well over halfway to their funding target in less than a fortnight.

And, finally, a visual reminder that claimants are far from powerless – there are many seats that could be taken from the coalition by a small percentage of working age claimant voters.

This time we’re highlighting the constituency of Carlisle.

Good luck,
Steve Donnison
 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Pensioner inequality and home owner TV

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug

While flicking through the TV channels this morning, I noticed that Andrew Marr seemed to have an item about Chancellor George Osborne's introduction of 'Pensioner Bonds'. (That item starts around the 40:00 mark of the BBC iPlayer showing.

Clearly that was for a voting audience in a different league from that of 66 year old Malcolm Burge who committed suicide after being hounded over £800 housing benefit debt by Newham Council.


The appalling death of a man caught up in benefits nightmare

Malcolm Burge’s picture in his Order of Service
Friday 06 February 2015
Malcolm Burge, 66, faced a bill of £800 because of a payments mix-up by Newham Council. With a bank balance of only £50, he took the only way out he could see....

I also noted, with considerable irony, that Mr Burge committed suicide after journeying from London to the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, while one of he other 'public service broadcasting' programmes that I flicked through was in the home owner TV series known as 'Escape to the Country'.

When will 'public service broadcasting' be genuinely informative rather than what for a large many of us is a delusional form of escapism that perpetuates blaşe blinkers with less than three months to the UK's next General Election?

Jobcentre called to order

Message supplied by Elephant Pam of Kwug

[Names may have been changed for confidentiality purposes.]

Hello Fellow KUWorms,

I received a phone call today from Indira, a lady we met at N.Ken weeks ago. She was updating me on her situation as I helped her fill an ESA form. Indira initially went to N.Ken to pick up this form but was refused one by the Security guard "I can't give you one you must get it online or phone for one. We don't give them here." A very distressed Indira heard the racket KUWG were making outside (CJ and Big Bertha again!) so she came out and told us. KateB and I went in asked for this form. The afore mentioned security guard asked who it was for, got a form, walked over to Indira and handed it to her. He seemed to have forgotten his own rule!

Indira and I filled it days later but we needed a fresh one without my errors and adjustments. So yesterday Indira went to pick one up. She met this same security guard. This time he had remembered his rule of NOT giving forms. Indira told him she knew they DID have forms and he COULD give them to people. He got angry. He told her he would NOT give her a form and she must leave the jobcentre or he would...yes you've guessed it...call the police! Indira began shouting that it was their duty to help the public by giving these forms and she would NOT leave. He shouted back if she did not go he would call the police. She shouted back "Call them so I can tell them I asked for a form and you won't give it even though you should!" He stood glaring. Indira persisted "Why aren't you ringing them? Shall I do it for you? I want the police here!" and to paraphrase the Elephant Man she shouted "I AM NOT A CRIMINAL!" (can't help thinking of Elephant M. as have massive stupid bump on forehead!).

 The manager Elizabeth came out asking what was happening? When told by Indira, Elizabeth asked the security guard (Dave) why he wouldn't hand over the form? Then she went to a cupboard, opened it, took a form and gave it to Indira who peered inside the cupboard and said "Look at all the forms here, these should be given to people, there are all kinds of them, why does he refuse?" Manager Elizabeth said he (Dave Security Man) is wrong to refuse. The manager gave Dave SM a good dressing down and then she tried to reassure Indira. Indira told the manager that some North Ken staff are not doing their duty which is wrong and people are being treated as though they have committed crimes when they need help, advice and guidance. The manager looked ashamed and said that the security should not behave that way and if Indira needed any help she should ask for the manager Elizabeth.

Before Indira left she decided to console Dave SM by asking him if it was his birthday a few weeks back as there were a bunch of people shouting outside with a loudspeaker. 

Elephant Pam x