Monthly Archives: March 2014

My Bedroom Tax protest speech

Yes, Stephanie Bottrill would still be alive. A very nasty move by a very nasty party to close that loophole. Let’s hope the end of the bedroom tax is near – please support the national day of protest on 5th April being organised by The People’s assembly. Lovexx

Mike Sivier's blog

Standing in the shadow of a giant: Vox Political's Mike Sivier (front) at 'Cooper Corner', with Caerphilly Castle in the background. Standing in the shadow of a giant: Vox Political’s Mike Sivier (front) at ‘Cooper Corner’, with Caerphilly Castle in the background.

Vox Political was relatively quiet yesterday; although I reblogged plenty of articles from other sources, there was no new piece from the site itself because I was in Caerphilly, delivering a speech at a Bedroom Tax protest there.

Caerphilly is the birthplace of the late, great comic Tommy Cooper, and it was in the shadow of his statue that the demonstration took place. I instantly (and privately) named the location ‘Cooper Corner’.

I took the opportunity to lighten proceedings at the start by suggesting that Mr Cooper (albeit in petrified effigy) would be providing the jokes. I held the microphone up towards the statue. “Anything? No? No. I didn’t think so.” Turning back to the crowd I added: “The Bedroom Tax is no laughing matter.” Then I got into…

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Esther McVey must have a bedroom tax fur coat

These figures need to be broadcast far and wide. 19m being paid out in private housing than the cost would be for social housing. Let alone the cost in misery and lives. Bedroom tax one year on protest day – 5th April!! We need to get this one really put to bed!

Benefits assessment led to woman’s suicide says watchdog

This is very wrong and tragic. Will contact my MP. this must be stopped.

Benefit tales

The way a woman was assessed for benefits led to her suicide less than a month later, according to a mental health watchdog.

The woman had a history of depression and was on significant medication, but scored zero points in a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), carried out by Atos.

A Mental Welfare Commission report said it could see no other factor “in her decision to end her life”.

The Department for Work and Pensions said correct procedures were followed.

The woman, who is identified only as Miss DE, was in her early 50s and had been out of work for just under two years due to stress-related depression when she was assessed for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). ESA replaced incapacity benefit as part of changes to the benefits system, introduced by the UK government in 2007.

Miss DE did not receive a self-assessment questionnaire and no evidence was requested…

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‘We’re living in barbaric times.’ Charles’ story

How do we get to a world where people are cherished? Sharing this and supporting these projects and sending out love. Yes, he has every right to be angry but we have to come together to take on the mafia at every level. I once met Pastor Niemoller when I was a teenager but who would have thought they were coming for us so soon after the myth we won the war.


Ann McGauran

Charles at the Jerico Road project in Catford Charles at the Jerico Road project in Catford
Charles is a pensioner of 72 who must at times feel that he’s fallen off the edge of a world that he no longer recognises. He’s well spoken, very intelligent and has an air of dignity, despite the enormous challenges he faces in trying to exist from day to day. The world is chipping away at his soul and is bent on eroding his humanity, which despite all remains intact. I met him at the Jerico Road project, which feeds between 100 and 150 people in Catford, South London each Wednesday evening.

The project provides a safe space for the growing number of vulnerable people in this area within its thriving church (though you don’t have to be religious or Christian to benefit from what’s on offer). It gives advice on everything from homelessness, benefits, and getting back to work, as…

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Britain Becomes South Africa: Primary Teachers Bring Food for Starving Pupils

The rise of malnutrition especially among children is appalling. The harm that is done to children still growing remains for the rest of their lives in emotional scars as well as damaging growing brains. Is this really happening in the 7th largest economy in the world??

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Monica Caro Foodbank

Monica Caro, Campaigner against the government’s benefit cuts, outside the Royal Free Hospital in Camden

A few years ago I used to work with an academic, who was very involved in civil rights work to improve conditions for the Black community. He later moved with his family to the new, post-Apartheid South Africa. Talking to him later, I found that he was appalled at the poverty in his local area, and was trying to find donors, who would provide much-needed equipment for the local school. Apart from the poverty that still afflicts the vast majority of Black South Africans, there area suffered from unemployment. As a result, many of the schoolchildren were coming to school hungry. To combat this, the government had launched the ‘Nelson Mandela Feeding Programme’. This gave schoolchildren a meal when the came to school. My friend told me that it was only a peanut butter sandwich…

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The poverty of responsibility and the politics of blame – part 2

Excellent, thought full article. Spot on!

Politics and Insights

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Social security came about precisely because we evolved to recognise a need for a social safety net to protect vulnerable citizens, because we learned last century that we are all potentially vulnerable, and that it isn’t anything to do with a person’s characteristics, they are not to blamefor socio-economic circumstances, or becoming ill and disabled. Unemployment, accident and illness can happen to anyone.
In 1992, Peter Lilley, the somewhat salacious Tory department of social security secretary said he had “got a little list” of people to stereotype as scroungers. Lilley amused the Conservative Party conference with a plan to “close down the something for nothing society”, delivered in the form of a parody of the Lord High Executioner’s “little list” song from The Mikado  by Gilbert and Sullivan:
“I’ve got a little list / Of benefit offenders who I’ll soon be rooting out / And who never would be missed…

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Top award for this London borough’s food banks

Disgraceful in the 7th largest economy in the world where 5 families have more money than 20% of the poorest together.

Ann McGauran

Something worth celebrating happened here recently. Nominated by members of the public, the foodbank network in the borough got a special award for its contribution to the community. The ceremony was held at the town hall, and the lovely and very dedicated food bank manager Alan was there to receive it.

As I’ve said before, this cash-strapped local council isn’t perfect, but it does try harder than most to help the growing number of vulnerable people in the area. It also values social cohension and is striving against considerable odds to address issues of inequality and poverty.

The council is being starved of funding, like all local authorities. The Local Government Association (LGA) has pointed out that overall funding for local government has been cut by more than 40 per cent in the course of this Parliament. The LGA has already called on the government to think again about getting…

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Concentration camps for the workless

Between 1929 and 1939 25 concentration camps at secret locations were built. 200,000 unemployed men were sent for 3 months at a time under military discipline to “harden up”! Records were destroyed at the outbreak of war….


> Part of the Great British history they don’t teach you at school – how the jobless were treated in the 1920s and 30s… and who’d bet against camps returning again ?

During the prolonged unemployment of the 1920s the British government proposed a scheme for transferring labour from the worse effected areas to training schemes in the South of England. For this purpose an Industrial Transference Board was set up in 1928 to monitor and control the transfer of labour form unemployment black-spots. The ITB soon brought to the attention of the Ministry of Labour a ‘class‘ of men not easily fitted into the broader scheme, men deemed ‘soft and temporarily demoralised through prolonged unemployment‘. These men were considered a danger to the morale of the other men and were considered unfit for transfer until they had been ‘hardened’.

The scheme for ‘hardening’ in Labour Camps…

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