Category Archives: TUC

“Unfinished Business”: Further thoughts on “Extremist”

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If there is one good thing about all this ‘Big Brother’ malarkey, it’s that when someone like me hoves into view with a litany of observations about an event, folk can go have a look for themselves to see what all the fuss is about.  So, thanks to YouTube, you can listen to Paul Maynard yourself.

 

I posted, a couple of days back, my reaction to the above, likening it to a ‘cluster-bomb of the psyche’. There must have been something that resonated with others because the reblogs, tweets and comments have blown me away with gratitude. There have also been a couple of troubling responses too – some seem to ‘get’ the general idea but either through genuine kindness, or personal ‘blindness’ (which has nothing to do with sightedness – most physically ‘blind’ people I’ve encountered ‘see’ very clearly indeed), they miss out a very important step in the Judgement process. Both issues, however, intersect neatly in the realm of Emotional Intelligence. My previous post addressed ‘spiritual intelligence’ (that which is found through morals and ethics). When something is deeply wrong in the ‘spiritual’, imaginal or Otherworld dimensions – whether an individual is religious or otherwise – this will appear in all other realms too. When we see the same thing, in the intellectual (free-thinking); emotional intelligence (instinct) or material dimensions, the evidence to be rendered for Judgement is complete. Religion only serves to try and impose order on this ‘otherworld’, at worst. At best, true spirituality offers guiding tools for human spiritual behavioural interaction which turn up in qualities of moral and ethical practice.

 

For example: psychotherapeutic tools cannot be used to ‘analyze’ a public official without their full and willing consent. It can be done – Antony Clare’s Radio programme “In The Psychiatrist’s Chair”, is a prime example. So when I start taking Paul Maynard apart within the Emotional dimension, he has not given his consent; to be moral and ethical, I need to find a way around this problem. Here is my solution:

 

Any following observation I make regarding Mr. Maynard’s behaviour come from my memory of what I saw on the day. I have no wish to revisit that experience because I have enough problems with my present reaction to needlessly put myself through it again – but you, the reader, can look. We know that what he said set off this clusterbomb of negativity within me and I am going to have to deal with this first before I go near this subject again if I am to retain as semblance of personal responsibility. Anything I say is going to be me dealing with damaged aspects of myself – a form of internal self-healing, if you like. Nevertheless, as a wounded-healer/warrior shaman, I also believe it is important to shield those more trusting than myself. Trust is a precious and vulnerable commodity in this materialistic world and if there is one thing I cannot abide is to see it abused, especially in matters of Judgement. So I’m going to begin my internal ‘fight-back’ or ‘jihad’ in defence of a dear and valuable friend to many of us.

 

I love Suey Marsh. If ever the sick and disabled community delivered up an illustrious heroine, then we got one in Suey. As expected, she had her own response to Paul Maynard. If ever you, the reader, needed an example of turning the other cheek; following the precepts of the Dalai Lama; and answering hurt with compassion, that post meets every standard. It’s a measure of Soul and the human capacity to be great. This is why I consider it an honour to be Suey’s friend – her generosity of Soul makes her “Great”. Nevertheless, on this occasion, I fear Suey may be casting her pearls before swine (no offence to Pig Spirit intended).

 

Suey is one of the known and identified ‘extremists’. It’s probably wise to adopt this ‘negotiating’ position when dealing with someone who is complaining she has nothing good to say about ‘him’ and his espoused policies. How else does one ever bring these profoundly-reluctant people to volunteer to take responsibility for their actions? The choice always has to be there because it’s an ethical and moral requirement NEVER to withhold the possibility of Redemption from any Soul. So, well done Suey – in the spiritual dimensions, you’ve just done the perfect job but… and this is the point where we have to part company, because whilst you hold the Compassion end of this polarity – I am holding the Judgement end. I’m holding it in the same way I held my spiritual opinions – I don’t claim to be right. I am merely reporting what I see.

 

Suey is ‘wrong’ to offer Paul Maynard redemption at this time because he hasn’t earned it. To be truly redeemed, we must first be sinners and acknowledge our sin – this he has not done. Paul Maynard has not earned Sue Marsh’s compassion because he has shown her none at all. His speech (above) was an active betrayal of every single human being who ever gave love, care and daily support to him. Suey is absolutely right to detail and list all those Maynard betrayed last Wednesday, when he personally insulted Suey and all those who stand with her, because we need to know who they are. Paul Maynard has cerebral palsy – only the second MP of his kind. I didn’t know that when I wrote my first blog – when Suey told me that, I found myself more deeply sickened than before.

 

If there is one dream Suey and I share, it’s of finding our way back to living in an inclusive community and, my additional dream, to learn to live gently with our Mother Earth. This is a community where everyone – regardless of human packaging – belongs; where we can fulfill our potential; where everyone gets to both creatively  give and receive with those around them; where there is a high tolerance for individuality without any loss of the cohesive community Soul. She might not describe it that way, but I’m probably on the button. Souls made of Love have a tendency to yearn for that kind of home. I can easily imagine a great shoutout of recognition, even if we disagree on everything else but… this only comes about by sharing.

 

Paul Maynard doesn’t share. He has apparently, given his behaviour which did not appear to be coerced in any way, absorbed the Love of many carers to people of disabilities but he doesn’t pass it on – like Suey and so many others. No, this man hoards it to himself and openly insults those who do. Could any action, coming from a disabled man obviously given all kinds of life-long assistance to get to where he is today, be any more grievous a betrayal of all those who gifted him their love and support? He called them ‘extremists’ too. So he happily absorbs that which has been freely given but refuses to even meet with those who come to him in dire need, hiding behind his party’s propaganda and the language of terrorism. Is there really anything more emotionally abhorrent? In my mind, his behaviour summons words like ‘abomination’, ‘treachery’, ‘treason’. Someone, on my first blog, labelled this the ‘cowards’ behaviour – maybe it is that too but the word that really nails it for me is ‘Traitor’. In the Emotional dimensions, this is an unforgiveable sin and remains so until the sinner shows true signs of remorse. I have yet to see them. Until such time as those signs appear, this will remain my judgement.

 

Suey’s compassion is wasted on this man. Compassion only accompanies repentance. Whilst she is showing Maynard compassion – which he clearly only knows how to hoard at present – the community who genuinely needs  and who would most value it – is deprived by his ‘greed’ and disrespect. It’s useful to observe that bigotry, prejudice and all other ugly inhuman attributes are entirely equal opportunity! To show compassion to ourselves, would be to continue all the legal actions we have underway at present, but see if we can raise this process to a class-level one. Maynard’s behaviour, coupled with the rest of that particular department, is now raising very serious human rights concerns. What do we do when it is actually occurring in the here and now? How to we get past this legal thicket of ‘approving criminal behaviour in law’? Those evil bastards aren’t listening to anyone else but themselves – to deal with that requires law. That’s what Judgement is all about – applying the Balance of Law, particularly in unbalanced times. Let’s start showing ourselves some compassion instead of wasting it on those who only have compassion for themselves.

 

Moving away from Suey, I’d apply the same kind of standard to men who start sulking when women point out we have it harder than them. One recently described the process I described in my first blog as being ” it’s anything but theatrical for those of us on stage, being buttfucked :-s”.

 

Buttfucked may be the man’s view but a woman’s body offers a greater variety of experience for those with a ‘taste’ for rape.  I am sick to the back teeth of having to explain it to men who’s behaviour resembles Paul Maynard’s. Let’s remember what we are REALLY talking about when this kind of male-think gets out of hand (WARNING: GRAPHIC).  Maybe I read the guy wrong but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough when I post this blog.

 

I’m tired of men dropping their ego problems on women and expecting us to cope with it these days. So when I let fly at Paul Maynard’s behaviour, I am letting fly from my woman-power. How dare he treat women this way! How dare any of them treat vulnerable people this way! And how dare Paul Maynard treat Sue Marsh in that way because if anyone lives up to the word ‘inspirational’, it is she!

 

Our best men do not stand by whilst our honourable women are publicly insulted by traitors to Life, Love and Truth. How long must the women take the brunt of these attacks upon our community values, ethics and morals whilst the men stand-by and permit this? Shame on all of you who are not yet standing alongside us – you are not fit to call yourselves men anymore – you are still little boys thinking you can order ‘mummy’ around to suit your own little needs. Well, this ‘Mummy’ is fully aware of what you are doing and I am now in the darkest storm you have ever experienced from a woman before. Treat me with respect and you will have no problem at all – I love and value true men as Sons of our EarthMotherGoddess because they know how to share. This is the Model of Ethical and Moral Behaviour on Mother Earth. It is the one we learn through the process of evolution – the ego state is regressive and anti-ethical to Earth. Those who promote selfish ambitions will never be sated – they feed upon the suffering of others. They invite the judgement I place upon them by their disrespect.

 

It’s time the true Children of Mother Earth began acting together to put a permanent end to this corruption.

 

This is my opinion, based upon my personal response. I share it with others so they might clarify their own thinking and to observe where we might agree or differ. You are invited to compare my observations with Paul Maynard’s actual behaviour to check my responses for errors. If I think Suey made a mistake, I’ve probably made one too.

 

All I ask, if you choose to respond, is that we are respectful of not only ourselves but also the dignity and integrity of others. I am very tired of having to reassemble myself because those qualities have been absent. This will mean some very sharp-tongued responses if I don’t delete your comment entirely – that last bit has nothing to do with your free speech and everything to do with my right to not have to listen to lies.

 

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The Ethics of Obeying Orders

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Amidst the various news stories I came across yesterday were two that caught my attention. The first was a ‘note‘ written by a successful suicide and published by the family because they thought the information contained within it needed to be shared with others. Given that their decision came from one of the most painful experiences known to people, I acknowledge and respect the courage of both the author and his surviving family.

 

The second article was this: UNISON instructs its members to enforce the bedroom tax. As a former shop steward from one of the unions amalgamated into UNISON, I’m going to comment on this latest ‘advice’ to members, not only because I think this instruction is wrong but also because I believe the impact of it has the potential to cause very great harm to the ordinary  membership who are going to have to comply with it.

 

Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his outstanding art work

 

But let’s begin with the bigger picture.  I make no bones about my opinion of our present incumbents in the Houses of Parliament. With the exception of a very few, no MP of any party has yet to earn the epithet they award themselves; ‘Honourable’. The UK Government, with its now daily offerings of cronyism, corruption, personal profiteering and ideological tyrannyin all walks of life – makes it all but impossible to conclude that these elected/appointed officials have any interests over and above their own career path. As the suicide and death rates rise, it is also becoming easier to believe that the results of Austerity presently being experienced by ordinary UK people are exactly the outcomes our government is seeking. To put it bluntly, the UK government is presently pursuing murderous policies against the wider British public; employed or unemployed, healthy or not,  and there has been a stark increase in people dying unnatural early deaths as a result of government policy. Whilst it is true that not everyone lives to a ripe old age, when death is caused by the intentional actions of other people, our law is inclined to call it murder. When such murder is being inflicted on a people by a government, our law has also been known to call this genocide.

 

One of the problems we face – those of us on the sharp end of these policies – is the apparent lack of comprehension from decision-makers in all trades/professions because those involved are frequently directly unaffected by what is happening on the ground. The UNISON decision falls within this remit. From my perspective, it is as though the leaders have forgotten some very basic Trade Union wisdom about solidarity with ordinary people. They are disconnected from reality in a way that is likely to prove extremely BNVz2o2CUAEFaXxharmful to their members and it is one of the reasons why I currently place no faith in traditional ‘working-class’ solutions to our collective problems. I am not alone in this opinion but mine is based on understanding the impact our involvement has on the psyche of each and every TU member party to implementing these government policies.

 

It would not be fair to single out UNISON alone – many of our public service trade union members face exactly the same problem – but let’s use my old TU’s ‘advice’ for the sake of this blog. The mythology that public service pays better than the private sector is now just that – a myth. Decades of public sector wage restraint has eaten away any advantages that might have once existed and our services now stagger from one crisis of service to the next. These services are provided by employees who are frequently low-paid, which means that when sanctions for non-payment of bedroom tax are applied to those who simply cannot afford to pay, UNISON members are likely to be sanctioning their own colleagues – something that is already occurring within the Department of Work and Pensions. So much for solidarity amongst the membership;  indeed, I cannot think of anything more divisive to workers’ organisations. The Unions apparently seem to be unable to support their own membership, which makes any declaration of their support for other social groups highly suspect.

 

UNISON claims the following:

It is… vital to ensure that UNISON members are advised, that if they are employed to administer part of the arrears recovery process, that they should follow the instructions of their employer and that they should be advised that they are placing their continued employment at risk if they choose not to fulfil their contract of employment.

This applies whether that is the sending of reminder letters, issuing possession proceedings, applying to the Magistrate’s Court for a possession order, attending Court, instructing bailiffs or attending with bailiffs in order to secure possession.

 

It is interesting that this advice centres on the Contract of Employment, not least because there are other legal interpretations that could be made had the union been willing to contemplate them. Whilst the reader can find more details here, I want to focus on what has happened to the ‘heart’ of this Contract, bearing in mind that there exists, in law, something known as an ‘Unfair Contract’.

 

I’m going to look at this from the perspective of civil and crown servants simply because the heart of the contract between Crown and Servant has been made explicit. Please bear in mind that these are only my observations. My opinion may carry no weight in law and therefore needs to be checked.

At the heart of the psychological contract are the following conditions: respect, compassion, trust, empathy, fairness, and objectivity. At the heart of the Crown contract, a servant must demonstrate the four core values detailed below:

  • ‘Integrity’:  putting the obligations of public service above your own personal interests;
  • ‘Honesty’: being truthful and open;
  • ‘Objectivity’: basing your advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence; and
  • ‘Impartiality’: acting solely according to the merits of the case and serving equally well Governments of different political persuasions.

In addition, if a civil servant believes that that he/she is being asked to behave in a way which conflicts with the code, he/she may now report the matter direct to the Civil Service Commissioners.

It is now clearly specified that the code is part of the contractual relationship between the civil servant and his/her employer.

As an observer, I would wonder whether these legal requirements for integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality also fall upon the employer too. If they do, and there is objective and politically impartial evidence to show that the employer is failing to adhere to these requirements, I would suggest that this may go to the Heart of the employees’ Contract of Employment. It may be that an employers’ breach of the Civil Service Code could be deemed sufficient to render previously forbidden industrial action lawful especially if the action sought to impose ‘fair’ conditions, like integrity and honesty, upon government in this instance. It would probably be necessary to demonstrate that individual members of government were failing to adhere to their own Code of Conduct with objective and impartial evidence.

 

There will be differences between a civil service/local government Contracts of Employment but they will be written down somewhere because this is how public servants function – everything is written down, or should be, because it allows for public scrutiny and the ‘heart’ of the Contract will contain the same standards.

 

Knowing these things, I look at the UNISON instruction and ask how the BMGmmISCcAE1_Mcpsychological ‘heart’ of the contract is being met by asking some union members to cause severe hardship to other union members for the sole purpose of keeping their job? I also ask how well Ministers issuing these instructions are complying with their own side of the Contract. In fact, from where I am standing, it appears that any living, beating heart has been torn from the living body of the British public… that no Heart exists in that realm anymore which, by logical progression, means that public sector staff are being instructed to deliver a heartless service to the people.  That my old union, UNISON, is instructing members to comply is about the worst thing it could do under present circumstances, not just to its own membership but also to the public at large.

 

There is one element that seems to be missing from the union’s thinking and that is the issue of ‘unlawful instructions’. No employee is required to obey unlawful instructions – simple. If an employer starts to issue unlawful instructions, an employee is actually required to disobey them – the reason? Because if we obey unlawful instructions, we become an accessory to crime and are guilty ourselves. Certainly, to take such a path will be fraught with dangers and dismissal may certainly feature within the experience whilst the case is fought through law but that is still no reason to refuse the solution, not least because our refusal will impact upon our psyche.

 

How is an employee likely to feel if, as a result of their unions advice, they become responsible for the prosecution and likely homelessness of one of their colleagues? How are they going to feel, day after day, dealing with the suicidal distress of the public? I wonder how Stephanie Botterill‘s case-worker feels because, in complying with government instructions, they may have violated their own heart and the damage this causes to the pysche of otherwise-loving people is as extreme on the inside as it is on the outside. The suicide note of David Somers describes the effect of treating other people as if they have no instrinsic worth:

 

I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.

 

This stuff eats away at our very soul until all life is extinguished. We end up carrying, personally, the guilt of others until it destroys everything within us that we value:

 

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

 

When I departed my trade union/local government life, I went into the psychotherapy business and learned, sitting with those who entrusted the tender aspects of self to me, exactly what happens to people who face this kind of systemic crime. The harm visits every generation afterwards. What we choose to do now will affect your children, their children and all the children who follow after. The decisions we make today have that kind of power.

 

And I have to ask myself, is this what UNISON intended when it instructed its members to collaborate with a criminal government? If it isn’t, then the union better reconsider its actions so far.

 

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“The #UK Human Cull: Progress Report” #NotSatire #EvidenceBased

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The red areas are doing significantly worse than the national average (source: BBC)

 

Today, the BBC is reporting on this: “Longer Lives” – you can find the report here. The aim of this post is to identify how the UK elite report on this with a particular emphasis on what they have failed to include. So let’s start with the BBC’s report first:-

 

The local variation in early death rates revealed in a new league table for England is “shocking” and must drive action to improve health, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

Public Health England’s Longer Lives website, which ranks local authorities, shows people in north-west England are at the greatest risk of dying early.

Mr Hunt said the data could be used to tackle smoking, drinking and obesity.

Labour called for a “One Nation approach” to end health inequalities.

 

In fact, Jeremy Hunt – the UK’s Health Minister – is reported as going further:

 

Mr Hunt said: “This shocking variation in early and unnecessary deaths means people’s lives are needlessly cut short, and that cannot continue unchecked.

“I want areas to use the data released today to identify local public health challenges like smoking, drinking and obesity and to take action to help achieve our ambition for saving 30,000 lives a year by 2020.”

Local authorities are being given £5.4bn over two years for public health.

 

Now isn’t that nice of Mr. Hunt? Or is it? A very quick look at the statistics tells a very different tale. Fortunately “Longer Lives” gives us the figures and you don’t have to be a mathematician to work out exactly how far Mr. Hunt’s ambition extends.

 

So, according to the statistics (and do check my numbers – I do make mistakes), 456,342 people died under the age of 75 between 2009-2011 (3 years) which becomes 152,117 deaths per year. Therefore to reduce this figure by 30,000 a year by 2020 begins to look rather a poor ambition to have, especially when the same Mr. Hunt happens to be privatising the NHS. Those figures take on a very different flavour when we look at how long we are going to have to wait before we save just these 30k people from an early death.

 

If we use present statistics, between now and 2020 (152,117 x 7 years), to ‘save’ our 30k over ONE MILLION PEOPLE (1,064,521.1) will have died. That’s a rather alarming fatality rate to attain Mr. Hunt’s ambitions. What we also need to bear in mind is that another report, “Walking The Breadline” and published by Church Action Against Poverty and Oxfam, provides some very telling statistics of its own which point to the likelihood that present early-mortality rates are set to rise very rapidly – here’s their explanation of why:

 

“We estimate that over 500,00 people are now reliant on food aid – the use of foodbanks and receipt of food parcels – and this number is likely to escalate further over the coming months. This is substantially higher than the headline figure of 350,000 supplied by the Trussell Trust, as at least half as many people again are provided with food parcels or other forms of food aid by non-Trussell Trust food banks and other emergency food aid projects.”

“Some of the increase in the number of people using food banks is caused by unemployment, increasing levels of underemployment, low and falling income, and rising food and fuel prices.”

“More alarmingly, up to half of all people turning to food banks are doing so as a direct result of having benefit payments delayed, reduced, or withdrawn altogether. Figures gathered by the Trussell Trust show that changes to the benefit system are the most common reasons for people using food banks.”

“There is clear evidence that the benefit sanctions regime has gone too far, and is leading to destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale.”

“The growth in food aid demonstrates that the social safety net is failing in its basic duty to ensure that families have access to sufficient income to feed themselves adequately. The exponential rise in the creation of food banks reflects a growing problem and only delivers mitigation. Food banks provide a vital emergency service to the people they support but they do not address the underlying structural causes for the growth of food poverty”

And widening the issue to other sections of our society, CAAP and Oxfam go on to say: “It is unacceptable that whilst thousands are being forced to turn to food banks and millions are unable to meet the rising cost of living as a result of the Government’s austerity programme, wealthy individuals and corporations continue to dodge their obligation to pay their fair share of taxes.”

 

In other words, we have a problem with poverty in our country. It is interesting to note that the BBC reporting of this fails to mention or highlight that there is a connection between poverty and early mortality.  Funny that, because its in the report itself.

 

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I wonder why the BBC would leave something as significant as the above out of it’s reporting? I don’t suppose it might have something to do with this?

 

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When activists say that the BBC has become the propaganda wing of the Tories they make a fair point. In abolishing the NHS, under the shelter of BBC non or slant reporting, what contribution is this likely to make to our early mortality rates in England? For clarification:  I am using the word “Tory” advisedly. When I say Tory, I mean those who are or intend to profit from this. I do not include those who are politically Conservative because I believe they will be as appalled as I am. To fully understand what is happening, I recommend you read what the CAAP and Oxfam have to say. I add my own voice to their report and others have added their voice to mine. How many people have to say this and die before those with social and public responsibility begin to act on it?

 

As far as I can see, a large part of the British Parliament has forgotten the true meaning of public service, even though they attained their parliamentary posts for the express purpose of serving the public. One of these responsibilities is a duty of care to ALL citizens. I don’t need to explain this responsibility to those who already understand it – those who need to have it explained to them are more comfortable in the private sector because their inability to understand renders them unfit for public office.

 

So, in a climate where poverty is one of the major contributory factors of early mortality, how does Jeremy Hunt and the BBC discharge their Duty to the Public? They blame the usual suspects – obesity, smoking and alcohol. Since we can already demonstrate an absence of salient facts by the BBC, let’s look at what the CAAP and Oxfam have to say about them…

 

People on low incomes in the UK pay higher prices for many essential goods and services than people who are better off. This is known as the Poverty
Premium. Save the Children has estimated that it costs the average low-income household an extra £1,300 a year, as they pay more for food, fuel,
finance and other goods and services.
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The Poverty Premium is related to food poverty in a number of
ways. The creation of large superstores and out-of-town shopping developments have driven local, independent retailers out of business and left the poorest people in ‘food deserts’ without access to affordable, healthy food. Superstores are difficult to reach for people on low-incomes; 85% of households with weekly incomes under £150 do not have a car. The poorest people in the UK are paying more for their food than their richer counterparts. Research has found that a list of the cheapest available selection of groceries was up to 69% more expensive in some of the poorest parts of the country than in stores belonging to the same chain in richer areas
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At least four million people in the UK do not have access to a healthy diet; nearly 13 million people live below the poverty line, and it is becoming
harder and harder for them to afford healthy food. Lower-income families in the UK have cut their consumption of fruit and vegetables by nearly a
third in the wake of the recession and rising food prices. At the end of 2010, lower-income households were buying 2.7 portions of fruit and vegetables per person, per day, compared to the average household which continued to buy about four portions per person, per day. These rates are likely to have declined further in the past year, as inflation has continued upwards and household incomes have shrunk.
“In the most deprived part of the borough [Westminster], life expectancy for men is 17 years shorter than in the richest part of the
borough. If I went to Glasgow it’s even worse – a 28 year difference in male life expectancy. Life expectancy in the poorest part of Glasgow
is 8 years shorter than the average male life expectancy in India. That’s how bad health inequality is in the UK.”
Sir Michael Marmot (Director of the International Institute for Society and Health)
Poor families are not only hit with the problem of how to put food on the table in the short term, they are also suffering the double injustice of the
long-term effects of food poverty. People who are forced to live on an inadequate diet have a significantly increased risk of developing serious health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes; they are also more likely to suffer from stress, ill health, poor educational attainment and shortened life expectancy. Poor children suffer
from lower nutritional intake, bad dietary patterns, hunger, low fruit and vegetable consumption, and problems accessing food in the school holidays.

 

The report goes on to comment about how the government, which claims there is no money for poor people, has been dealing with what welfare system remains to us.

 

In recent years there has been growing concern about the hardship caused by an increasingly harsh and punitive benefits sanctions regime
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In 2010, in response to the Department for Work and Pensions’ consultation
21st Century Welfare (Cm 7913), a number of consultees raised concerns that
if conditionality is increased, protections must be put in place to ensure that vulnerable people are not penalised.
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At the time, Oxfam’s UK Poverty Programme warned that the new sanctions regime being introduced alongside Universal Credit would “expose people to the risk of destitution. Removing benefits and leaving people with no income will result in extreme hardship for them and their families.”
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In April 2011, The Guardian published an analysis of DWP statistics which showed a 40% increase in the number of people who have lost their Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) between April and October 2010.
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In October 2012 a new JSA sanctions regime came into force, which  introduced a new and ‘more robust’ system, with low-, intermediate- and high- level sanctions. A broadly similar sanctions regime will be introduced under Universal Credit (the revision to the entire benefits system which the DWP started to roll out this month). Just three months later, in January 2013, an internal DWP ‘scorecard’ leaked to The Guardian revealed that more than 85,000 sanctions had been applied or upheld against JSA claimants in one month alone. This would translate into more than a million sanctions per annum, against a total JSA caseload of just under 1.5 million.
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Most of the policy debate on sanctions to date has focused on the extent to which the sanctions regime is fulfilling its primary purpose in promoting ‘good behaviour’ on the part of benefit claimants. More recently, there has been a growing controversy as to whether Jobcentres have ‘quotas’ for getting people off benefits. As a result of this debate, the Government has now agreed to set up an independent inquiry into the use of sanctions,
which is a welcome move.
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However, to date there has been little or no Parliamentary debate, or Government or Parliamentary research, on the wider impacts of sanctions in terms of generating material hardship, stress or hunger

 

As for smoking, when the anti-smoking lobby finds it necessary to lie to get its message across, I start to wonder whether that is propaganda too. With alcohol, Tory policy has never been in the public interest. Perhaps if the poor weren’t treated so badly, they wouldn’t need to smoke or drink as much as they do because these are activities designed to ease pain; drug addiction has a similar cause. I wonder why a part of our public is in such pain in the first place. At the same time, the Tories have put precariats outside the protection 0f the law.

 

As a retired shop steward, I can tell you now that public servants caught lying, stealing or involved with corrupt practices get the sack and are prosecuted – or they were back in the day and this is why.

 

A Public Servant, whether elected, appointed or employed as, has a duty to serve ALL members of the public because not all members of the public are able to speak for themselves and that duty is a “Duty of Care”. Society is a huge web of human complexity and people have experimented with a variety of different organisational models in order to manage that. The last time one of our neighbour society’s experimented with the particular model of ‘social management’ detailed above, the global community deemed it to be criminal. Arising out of those global lessons came a Woman’s Law – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – and its a Woman’s Law because Eleanor Roosevelt gave birth to it. At the same time, the working class men of Britain created the Welfare State – which is where the people learned about Public Duty and personal ethics. The Welfare State is also Woman’s Law because every improvement we saw, after it’s inception, took care of British Women and Children. Margaret Thatcher began the process of stealing it from us. Let’s have a look at how far the Tories have gone with what she and Ronald Reagan began. This is the US but the UK won’t be far behind

 

 

I began this post, I realised how little I knew about tax avoidance, so I asked my twitter pals for plain-english (which most Precariats understand) suggestions. My friend, Steve Walker, has shared this this this and this (thanks Steve) and everyone recommends the Tax Justice Network. What there isn’t is a Precariat guide to exactly what the Tories have been up to. Nevertheless, the fact remains that they are getting richer whilst, at one and the same time, they are intentionally depriving more than a million people of the means to a natural life-span. In fact, the public are already being told, by the BBC and Tories in all our political parties, that over one million in poverty will lose their lives early by 2020 due to the debunked and deadly gods of Austerity. If that isn’t a declaration of intent to commit wholesale murder of the poorest people in Britain – but more especially, England – then I really don’t know what is.

 

Every single way precariats come at this problem, we see the same thing.

 

Public Duty has never been about the money. Public Duty carries a sacred responsibility that is understood by atheists because it is intrinsic to a healthy human being. The bottom line is we don’t treat people this way – not if we’re truly British because Gandhi told us so (apocryphal) . Perhaps Gandhi was wrong about a lot of British men but he was right on the money when it comes to British women.

 

To the British men – young and old – who’ve been strutting their left-wing credentials and proposing people’s assemblies that look remarkably like the old ones, I say this:

“Your methodology failed with Thatcher and it will fail again because I’ve yet to see it sustain a win. You fail because you don’t speak Precariat – you speak Working Class. As the rich got richer, the poor have gotten poorer. We can’t be working class because there are no jobs ON PURPOSE! The working class ‘leaders’ are now suspect and so are you if you are not at the sharp end of this.”

 

Then I’d ask this question. Given that I had a heart attack last November, what do you think of the DWP decision to call me to TWO Work Capability Assessments in the 10 months immediately following? What do you think it might do to the likelihood of my being one of the statistics of early mortality? Does this violate my Right To Life and could it be considered psychological torture? If it is, do I get to stand on the same platform as you? Have I earned the right to be heard? Is your life on the line? Because, if it isn’t you won’t know what you’re talking about and anything you say about us can only ever be secondhand. If you haven’t lived it, you don’t qualify.

 

Then go have a look at the Human Rights Act and ask yourself what you intend to do about it. You are not doing this for the glory, you are doing this because  women and children, alongside all our other vulnerable peoples, being forced into hunger, homelessness and early death by downright evil people and that cannot be anything but wrong.

 

And once you know what it is you need to do – GO DO IT!

 

 

Idle No More UK

Idle No More UK

 

One final point: I don’t believe all money-rich people are Tories but there are an awful lot of sheeple who are mesmerised by the lies and propaganda. If you aren’t one of them and you are money-rich, then now is the time to start giving it away to women. Keep what you need and give the rest away without strings. The women will take care of the rest – honest men included – and woe betide any woman caught misappropriating or misusing this without reasonable excuse. Self-serving misuse is no longer regarded as reasonable. Money is a tool, not an ambition. I say this now because tomorrow I might be dead and I’d regret not saying it when I could.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to the TUC Conference

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To Frances O’Grady, the new General Secretary of the TUC

 

 

My very dear Sister,

 

You have no idea how long I have waited to be able to greet a Leader of the UK Trade Union movement as ‘Sister’. It makes such a difference to how I say the following and how it might be heard. I know you have a busy few days ahead and that your agenda was decided ages ago but very recent political changes might allow for the odd emergency motion. Even if that isn’t possible, perhaps some of the points I raise might influence future TU thinking about the problems facing all ordinary people.

As someone who is moving slowly from sickness benefit to self-employment I’m not eligible for TU membership but as a former shop steward and TU activist during the Thatcher era I’ve never lost the ‘attitude’. From what I am observing, just about every union member has reason to object to current government plans, whether they are affiliated to the TUC or not. What I would ask you, as the new TUC General Secretary, is to remember  that these problems are being faced by everyone, whether they are a TU member or not, because the hardships your members are facing are already impacting upon those living at the poverty end of our social spectrum. I doubt if you need reminding. Your grassroots membership will be directly experiencing these issues anyway.

The trade union movement and ordinary people have faced these kinds of Tory – (and, sadly, Labour) – problems before and the Coalition seems intent on following the same agenda. It starts with  attacks upon resources, which can be on the existence of work itself; terms and conditions; pay;  pensions; and/or a combination of all the above.  The TU movement traditionally responds with protest marches, industrial action and strikes which, sadly, have been known to fail miserably. Given the present Coalition government and its attitude towards the electorate in general, the possibility of further failure starts to look like becoming a miserable reality. With this in mind, I would like to suggest an addition to any actions the TU movement might be considering.

One of the phrases that has apparently fallen off the collective UK agenda in recent times is the issue of the social contract between governed and government. If I look for legislation that might cover this, I find myself looking at Human Rights law. Fortunately this continues to remain in force within the UK (for the time being) and can therefore be tested. The Act recognises peoples’ right to very basic requirements, like life itself, which are under apparent attack from our government. The existence of the Act could offer a route to challenge what is occurring if dealt with in the proper way.

From my own perspective, the heart of government attack upon the social contract resides in the repeal of the UK government’s obligation to provide universal healthcare in England.  That this has been enacted by a government-without-mandate; who purposefully disguised their intentions prior to their election; and who actively withheld advice on the changes being proposed when the matter came to be debated in Parliament, points to an intentional breach of a UK social contract that had been in place for sixty years.  Removing this right to health-care goes to the heart of both the social contract and Human Rights legislation because it affects everyone. At the very least, it ought to be subject to informed debate and any honourable government proposing such a massive change has a social responsibility to put the matter to those affected by it, if not by election then by referendum at the very least. That our present government actively chose to circumvent this democratic process in order to force these changes upon the people ought to be challengeable through the courts even if the aim is simply to require the democratic right to vote on it. If fundamental human rights are being withdrawn by government then, in a democracy, the people have to give informed consent – the people of our country were not told, nor were they asked. In fact, they were intentionally misled. This has been called “a deceitful way to govern”, particularly when set alongside the removal of accessible safeguards or advice to help those affected by such changes.

I am no lawyer but, in the past, when employment law failed to provide the necessary vehicle for problem resolution, trade unionists fought their cases via contract law. Human Right’s legislation forms part of our social contract. If that contract has been violated, then laws ought to exist that challenge this. If the TUC were to consider exploring this possibility, I suspect there is a firm chance that you would find yourself backed by the public in ways you have not been before.

For those outside the trade union movement – and particularly those outside work – it can be hard to feel a part of the ‘working class’ given the issues being fought. Strikes around pensions or pay mean little to us and this creates conflict even though the issues impact upon us all. It’s hard to work up enthusiasm about protecting public-service pensions, for example, when we can’t feed our families, heat our homes or find meaningful work. This isn’t meant to be critical of trade unions – from past experience, I can fully understand the need to address such issues – but it is a fact and it results in the unions themselves becoming isolated, which makes you easier to pick off. I know industrial action may look as though it is about money, and this can be true, but I also know that public service unions act to protect the existence of the services their members provide to us. Such protective industrial action will be under consideration by your conference this week and it is also being considered elsewhere.

Without doubt, if the trade union movement embarks on major industrial action in the face of government attrition towards our public services, in all likelihood you will be attacked using the same old divisive tactics, especially if the issues are limited to pay or pensions. On the other hand, if the trade union movement, as a whole, were to include legal challenges aimed at restoring the democratic process by demanding a referendum on the peoples’ right to health care, or whether our emergency services should be subject to privatisation, or *fill in this space*, the chances of your attracting collective public support could be extremely high. The TUC and the trade unions might not be able to do this directly, under your rules, but I doubt these would prevent you jointly creating an organisation that could.

Ordinary people have been looking for help and finding none. The Labour Party’s performance in these areas has been abysmal; too many Labour MP’s and peers seem to be profiting from these government changes to render it trustworthy. The usual cries of solidarity with Labour are likely to fall on very stony ground as far as the poor are concerned because Labour has been silent for too long and appears complicit in government attacks upon the needs and resources of ordinary people.  For the TUC, this problem is for the Labour Party address, but if the so-called political wing of the trade union movement is failing in its duty, then perhaps it’s time to create another wing, beyond the reach of party politics, that will tackle these issues.

Speaking as one woman to another, when the hungry children of our country are viewed in this way, there is a crying need for democratic change. Based upon recent behaviour, we will not be getting this from many of the incumbent parliamentarians, regardless of party. The only other existing routes for the people are through the likes of the trade union and other social movements.

As the new Leader of the TUC, I’m asking you to consider these points and lead the collective action needed to successfully challenge our undemocratic government through the use of Law. This can be done in addition to any other actions the trade union movement may deem necessary.

If the people, as a whole, know you are acting on their behalf as well as in the interests of your members, the inevitable hardships that follow can be faced together. We’ve seen this happen before during the Miner’s strikes of the 1980’s, when the women stepped up to stand alongside the men. Were the women of the TUC to spearhead a democratic initiative to force referendums on present government plans, I suspect that this phenomenon would happen again. Why women? Because they are the people who hear and feel their children crying from hunger!

These are only ideas – I’ll circulate them to see if they gain traction. In the meantime, perhaps Conference delegates would be willing to consider them too, since we’ve got them altogether.

Thank you for listening.

 

In sisterhood,

 

 

Dee Wilde-Walker