Thursday, 24 March 2016

Lone/single jobseekers become first lambs to slaughter by Universal Credit

I am reminded of that Pastor Niemoller poem, ‘First they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew.’
“…. The first claimants to Universal Credit are single jobseekers….”
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/universal-credit-roll-out-progresses
And as for claims that the most vulnerable would be protected, the London Underground tannoy’s regular announcements about ‘incidents’ that can be translated as what tube drivers refer sardonically to ‘one under’ would fuel a huge backlog in coroners’ courts.
The way that Nygell Firminger of South Kilburn committed suicide did not involve a tube train, but was benefits sanctions and subsequent eviction-related. It also occurred within the week that the Welfare Reform Bill 2012 was passed.

“Those who give the order seldom see the mess it makes.” They also seem to have vested interests in blocking evidence for informed debate. Yet as for whether it is a case of ‘conspiracy’ or ‘cock up’, it seems to me given the 2004/2005 systemic meltdown in the benefits system, that ‘conspiracy’ and ‘cock up’ debate matters are like the ‘chicken and the egg’ debate.

Community Care mag November 2006 article: Jobcentre Plus: Poor service continues
I suppose that the fundamental answer is that they care less for economically vulnerable people than they imply!

See the emerging 'shared intelligence' on Kate Belgrave's blog for more details.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Refugees welcome — Part 1 of 7

The KUWG member who sent Dude Swheatie this youtube video clip has not only the talons of a bird of prey, but also the sharp eyesight of one. I make that reference to her quality of eyesight because she has spotted the KUWG banner within this video clip.

Can you do so also?

BBC1 tv's 'The Big Questions': Should a society be judged by how it treats its less fortunate members?

This was first broadcast on Sunday 20 March 2016. Panel members include Guardian columnist Owen Jones (a Labour Party member) and Green Party Work & Pensions Spokesperson Jonathan Bartley.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0755gl8/the-big-questions-series-9-episode-11
"Moral, ethical and religious debate with Nicky Campbell. Should a society be judged by how it treats its less fortunate members? Should climate change now be taken seriously?"

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Iain Duncan Smith's limits in 'defending the indefensible'

Today my TV woke to the BBC Breakfast news announcement that Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has resigned over 'indefensible changes to disability benefits'. And BBC Breakfast interviewed Labour's Work & Pensions Secretary over the matter.

Yet as the BBC did not interview any other Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary today, here I republish a youtube 'liarpoliticians2' clip from the BBC's coverage of the 2015 General Election in which Green Party Work & Pensions Spokesperson Jonathan Bartley challenged IDS over what might be best described as 'death in DWP custody'.



It really does seem to me that IDS' resignation raises more questions than answers. Eg, 
Is this Tory Government so shaky that David Cameron will not last a full second term as Prime Minister? 
Who would the Bullingdon Club Boys Cameron and Osborne have replace IDS as Work & Pensions Secretary?
If IDS has been reviled by benefit claimants as critics as to have been labelled a 'psychopathic murdering wanker', what might they say of Gideon 'George' Osborne?


Dude Swheatie of Kwug, declaring possible lack of 'neutrality' in that I am a Green Party member

See also
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/who-replace-iain-duncan-smith-7588014

BBC News: Stephen Crabb named as Iain Duncan Smith's replacement http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35850932 

Country Joe McDonald song 'Tricky Dicky' based on an marketing manager Joe McGinnis' 'kiss and tell' book 'The Selling of the President' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmp9gRsncuY

Reverend Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty on IDS' 'legacy' http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/duncan-smith-no-hero-he-cut-housing-benefit-and-increased-punitive-benefit-sacntions-creating-evictions-and-misery/

IDS resignation letter in full http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/18/iain-duncan-smith-resignation-letter-in-full

New Stateman: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/03/best-reactions-iain-duncan-smiths-resignation

Ekklesia | Transforming Politics & Belief: 

Iain Duncan Smith resigns from key ministerial post http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/22868

http://londongreenleft.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/is-duncan-smiths-resignation-beginning.html 

Is Duncan Smith’s Resignation the Beginning of the End for Cameron?

                                                                         

Stop Press:

Received by email: Iain Duncan Smith resignation party
Tomorrow (Saturday) at 17.00, Parliament Square
Join DPAC in celebrating the resignation of one of the chief architects of the brutal Tory welfare policy that has caused so much suffering and harm.
When: 5pm tomorrow (Saturday 19th March – after the Stand Up to Racism demo)
Place: Parliament square
Bring your party gear!

BBC Sport Relief rolling in corporate 'gift aid'?

BBC News announces that the BBC's most recent do for covering up the cracks in State funding for vulnerable people's services via charity, Sport Relief has raised a 'record breaking £55m.

In these days of manufactured 'austerity', Dude Swheatie of Kwug wonders what portion of that £55m was made up of tax-deductible 'gift aid' by which mega-businesses can give money and yet still manage to say that they are helping communities?

Refugees welcome demo assembles 12 Noon at Portland Place, Sat 19 March

UN Anti-racism day demonstration supported by KUWG

Placard: Welcoming immigrants sponsors social dividends
Placard: Welcoming smiles can spawn admirers
Placard: Equality & Diversity sponsors abundance
London Route map

Further details

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Toward a Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group response to Osborne's 2016 Spring Budget

Placard statement: Benefit cuts = corporate homicide
When benefit claimants receive letters confirming their/our 'entitlement' letters, those letters state that the amount they will receive from the DWP is the amount that the law says they are entitled to, which also allegedly is how much the claimant needs to live on. These amounts have been in decline for decades as Revd Paul Nicolson has pointed out. Eg,
http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/946/ and

 http://www.taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/benefit-sanctions-are-state-sponsored-oppression-against-the-poorest-vulnerable-and-disabled-people-of-the-uk/

Those 'entitlement' letters also state that the claimant must inform them of any extra money they might receive, even as gifts from concerned friends and relatives who know more of the claimant's situation than distant 'decision makers'. The Government argument is that non-declaration of such income amounts to 'benefit fraud'.

Osborne etc in their 'upbringing' as millionaires remind me of military generals with sets of toy soldiers that they send off to the slaughter of war. WTF do they know about costs of living and dying?

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Kill the Housing Bill 2016 march report

A report on the Kill the Bill Housing March

Defend Council Housing's Eileen Short
addresses the crowd

Joan writes:

Abby, Joan, Alan1, Aleco and Giselle went to the Kill the Bill Housing march on 13th March 2016. I was very disappointed with the turn out. The usual suspects were all there. That includes our comrades from Unite Community

The turn out was nowhere near are big as it should have been given the importance of the issues. Basically, the Tories are abolishing social housing. John McDonnell turned up and gave a brief speech. Jeremy Corbyn did a no-show. Emily Thornberry read out a statement from him, She was drowned out by a bunch of Troyskyists. Abby asked them to make less noise, but got no joy. The Bill goes back to the House of Lords but is all but passed. I have to say, I felt quite discouraged.

And Alan1 adds: For me, the best thing about it was an opportunity to catch up with old friends and comrades. And while I found participating in conversations with three or more people in parallel at the same time, it was great catching up with people I'd not seen for some time and having one-to-one conversations with them. While it was disappointing in terms of weighing the turnout against the severity of the issue, the lack of congestion on the march helped allow my completion of it.

GeorgeI was there at the start in Lincoln's Inn Fields, though he said at the outset that he doubted he'd be able to make it for the full length of the march. I also met up with a friend I'd known from local Inner London Education Authority-run Community Education Centre days of the 1980's but not seen for quite some years now, along with Martin Francis of Brent Green Party and the Wembley Matters blog.

There were a few Labour Party banners that I spotted, but it would take a real Green Party activist such as Martin Francis to locate Green Party banners. Green Party leader Natalie Bennett also spoke as one of the first speakers. Her speech told of discussions she had just had with a marching mother of a full time student who anticipates the 'pay to stay' burden hitting their family upon the student's graduation. Natalie Bennett also added that this Tory Government is very weak, having recently lost the vote on Sunday Trading through the impact of its own MPs voting against Tory policy. She argued that the nation cannot afford to wait for a 2020 General Election and the Housing Bill should not be allowed to come into law.

The march was also attended by Trade Unionists For Housing, who declare housing a workplace issue.

A speaker from LB Barnet pointed out that many of the changes brought in by the Housing Bill 2016 have already been piloted in LB Barnet. Since Sunday's march there has been a TV documentary broadcast about Barnet residents' objections to being turfed out of their social housing as Tory Barnet has sold off their land to Barratt's the builders. And much as the Housing Bill 2016 trumpets 'Right to Buy' for people in social housing, what would be the point of social housing tenants taking government subsidies to buy their social housing accommodation only for a company such as Barratt's to then have the legal right to demolish that same property?

which helps show how much 'austerity' is being used to lever in fire sales of public assets.


Report on the action against Remploy Maximus 'job coaches' in GP surgeries

Report on the action against Remploy Maximus 'job coaches' in GP surgeries
Demonstrators from Kilburn and beyond opposing IDS' plans
to sneak in compulsory 'treatment' for not-fit-for-work people
There was lively action against Remploy job coaches being put into GP surgeries.

The protest was outside a GP surgery in City Road, Islington. The Council is apparently supporting the pilot. This is apparently a pilot project, but we have to assume it will be rolled out more widely. The very idea is outrageous. It seems particularly targeted at people with mental health conditions. It will destroy trust between doctors and patients, if these job coaches can see patient records.
Clarence had an IDS mask on. Abby was a Maximus Job Coach – Maximus own Remploy.

Paula Peters spoke very well as usual. Video of her speech has also been uploaded to youtube. We also had support from a junior doctor, Dr Mona Ahmed. There is a short video of her speech here. 


Various other professionals also offered support. Plus there was also two speakers from the campaign to restore bursaries for student nurses.

'Bandaged' and 'blinded' demonstrator proclaims Iain Duncan Smith's
mass murder crimes against vulnerable people


After a noisy and good natured protest at the GP surgery, a decision was then taken to march down the street to Old Street and block Old Street roundabout. There was some fairly good coverage in the Guardian online the next day – link http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/04/protest-london-plan-embed-job-advisers-gp

See also
http://www.islingtontribune.com/surgeryjobcoaches
http://www.islingtontribune.com/GBjobcoachesprotests
http://www.islingtontribune.com/jobcoachesthreatentrust
http://www.islingtontribune.com/jobcoachesGP





Camden & Islington Unite Community meeting, Friday 18 March, 12:30-2pm

Camden & Islington Unite Community Meeting, Friday 18 March, 12:30pm-2pm

Venue: 4th floor board room, Ron Todd House, 33-37 Moreland Street, EC1V 8BB

The building is fully accessible with ground floor entrance, lift to all floors and disabled access toilets on each floor — if anyone has access needs please get in touch with me (Janet McLeod)

Agenda

  1. Welcome & Introductions
  2. Minutes & matters arising
  3. Elections to vacant branch officer positions — see below
  4. How do we grow the union and build strength?
  5. Sanctions Day of Action — report back and where next?
  6. Housing March — report back
  7. Social media training – report back
  8. Dates for your diary
    • London & Eastern Region – Activists Meeting @ Unite House, 128 Theobald’s Road, London, WC1V 8TN, Monday 4 April, 2 – 4pm
    • Camden & Islington Unite Community – Branch Meeting @ Ron Todd House, 33 – 37 Moreland Street, EC1V 8BB, Friday 15 April, 12.30 – 2pm

Elections to vacant branch positions

Camden & Islington is the latest Unite Community branch to be formally constituted in the region but has been an activists group since the beginning of Unite Community four years ago. There is a strong core of activists whose experience and skills have guided the branch this far and who are encouraged by the rise in new members to seek new activists to take on more of a role in the branch committee.
Unite Community offers training and support to any of its members – we have training for branch officers, on social media, campaigning and welfare advocacy and are always open to looking at new courses as the need is identified by our branches.
The branch invites nominations from any of its members for the branch officer positions listed below. If you would like any more information on any of them please get back in touch with me and I will be happy to go through it with you. Nominations will be taken in the meeting or in advance of the meeting by email or phone.
    The current vacancies are
  • Equalities Officer
  • Campaigns Officer
  • Industrial Liaison Officer</>
  • Young Members Officer
  • Social Secretary
  • Membership Secretary
  • In addition the branch has the right to decide on and elect officers to cover specific areas of campaigning or specific localities if it will assist the branch to recruit, organise and campaign. Camden & Islington decided at its AGM in December to seek election for a Welfare Officer to guide the campaign work around claimant support.

I look forward to seeing you at the branch meeting on Friday.

In solidarity

Janet MacLeod
Unite Community & Unite in Schools Coordinator
London & Eastern Region
33 – 37 Moreland Street
London
EC1V 8BB

07718 668498
FB London & Eastern Unite Community
#OurCommunityLE

Thursday, 10 March 2016

No Benefit Sanctions Day 2016 Report

David Clapson remembered at No Sanctions Day 2016

Demonstrators tell DWP, "Cuts kill."
Location: DWP Caxton House HQ on
No Sanctions Day 2016
There was a day of actions against benefit sanctions on 9th March 2016. Benefit sanctions are when our benefits are stopped for a period of anything from 4 weeks to 3 years if we fail to comply with DWP requests. However, being late for an appointment that you never got told about, can land you with a sanction. Hundreds of thousands of people are sanctioned each year. The Government saves millions of pounds off the welfare bill with this policy.

Being sanctioned has led directly to despair and suicides. There are 95 cases that the DWP is aware of. In April 2012, former KUWG member Nygell Firminger committed suicide as a direct consequence of homelessness that was brought on by rent arrears resulting from a benefits sanction. The 95 people were remembered at the protest. today (9 March 2016).


Tapestry of names of vulnerable people who died in sanctions-related-deaths
David Clapson was someone who was also sanctioned. Without money, he could not chill the medication that he needed to treat the type 1 diabetes that he lived with. He died within a week of being sanctioned.

His sister, Gill Thompson, has led a campaign to have an inquest or inquiry into his death. The Government has refused that request. She handed in a petition to the DWP asking them to have an inquest or inquiry into her brother’s death – as per photo below. Footage of his sister speaking to the crowd has been uploaded to youtube. She is also campaigning for the government to implement the recommendations of a review of sanctions. She is now crowd funding a campaign to challenge that refusal. To support her campaign go to: www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/david-clapson

A DWP official hears from demonstrators.
Location: DWP HQ, Caxton House on No Sanctions Day