Tag Archives: Crime

“Extremist”: My government’s latest ‘label’ for me!

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Door to Hell, Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan

Door to Hell, Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan

 

Watching UK parliament in action is not something I do very often because I find the levels of cognitive dissonance too great to tolerate, but there are exceptions and yesterday was one.

 

The debate centred around a request from the opposition for a Cumulative Impact Assessment of the variety of welfare cuts affecting the sick and disabled in the UK.

 

During the debate, an MP from the government benches made an allegation, repeated several times, that some of the disability activists who has been trying (repeatedly) to meet the Government to discuss the impact of cuts were ‘extremists’. The reason, apparently, is due to the fact that these ‘extremists’ refuse to accept that government changes to their personal situation are ‘constructive’. I’m not going to go into detail about this because the subject has been covered by other ‘extremists’ more knowledgeable than me.

 

No doubt, analysis of the detail of the debate will occur but I want to look at the ‘psychic effect’ this statement – this is not a blue-print for the ‘correct’ response, this blog is about the impact the extremist ‘meme’ has upon me personally. I am directly affected by what occurred yesterday and, despite all my training, knowledge and acquired wisdom, this ‘meme’ still had the impact of ‘internal destruction’ that, I suppose, it was meant to have.

 

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The government’s ‘spin’ on their refusal to reveal the facts of their welfare reform is very telling and fits with observations I have made in the past.  Nevertheless, within the social structures I dwell within, they have ‘social power’ and I, apparently, do not. The attitude and demeanour of those very few government MP’s who actually made the effort to turn up for the debate made it very clear how they viewed the folk they were debating; comply with our view or be excluded from any and all discussions on the grounds that we are extremists. Basically, this seems to include anyone who disagrees with current UK policy – no matter how lethal, harmful or damaging to those on the receiving end. Pain, suffering and death are not things the present British government need to worry itself about because it holds to the certainty of its own ‘righteousness’ – anyone who disagrees or protests becomes an ‘infidel’ to be condemned, rejected and ignored.

 

This reminds me of all those criticisms leveled at all those folk who meekly filed into the gas chambers of the Third Reich. Why didn’t they fight back or protest, goes the narrative of post-apocalyptic studies? Well, if we consider the dynamic that occurred yesterday, the answer is fairly easy to find – they had been bombarded with the kinds of messages delivered to the sick and disabled of Britain by their own unelected government.

 

BMNphbECMAENZdHIt really gets me down when I am coerced into accepting views that are based upon prejudice rather than fact, particularly when those views are espoused by those who have ‘control’ over my personal circumstances. It gets me down because I have been around this dynamic for most of my life. It could be argued that this ‘meme’ or ‘irritant’ has been a stimulus for my own growth and development – I would not disagree with this. Experiences of closed-mindedness has prompted me to explore it in very great depth. My problem is that although I have learned a great deal, many more have not and continue to perpetuate such ugly ideas to this very day.

 

The ‘Extremist’ ‘meme’ is a cluster-bomb of the psyche because attached to the word are ideas, experiences and histories that explode into my internal experience with the same devastating effect. It’s a word that, in recent times, has been used by government after government – particularly since 9/11 – to justify the most appalling atrocities against their civilians. The meme refuses to differentiate between justified objections to abuse and cruelty inflicted on innocent others and encourages those who oppose it to become as reactionary and close-minded as their oppressors.  It assumes a righteousness to the opinions of those in power that, when examined under the cold light of evidential fact-finding, can be proven to be flawed at best and downright prejudiced at worst. In the case of the British government versus their sick, disabled and vulnerable citizens, the arguments for seeing government policies as prejudiced gain ground every day, not because opponents and protestors are ‘righteous’ as such but because their protests are validated by facts and evidence.

 

BNfv1psCYAAplJnThis government ‘meme’ about folk like me seems to act like a cancer-cell within my psyche. It reproduces itself very quickly, invading and colonizing much of the hard-earned lessons of my life, reducing me to a state of ‘No-Worth’. According to the label ‘extremist’, I can never be trusted to tell the truth, no matter how much evidence; how many facts; or, even, how many predictable deaths weigh in to validate my viewpoint. The meme is not interested in facts – it’s interested in reproducing itself as fast as possible until nothing remains of those who might remove it. This meme is intent on ruling everything and everyone and destroying anything that does not accord with its distorted and corrupted world view.

 

As far as I can tell, the message it seeks to impart to extremists like me is that I am not only mistaken, I am so ‘wrong’ I am not even worthy of existence. It feeds my suicidal ideation; bolsters hopelessness and despair; and ultimately makes suicide/self-destruction personally attractive. I start asking myself “What’s the point? Give these death-dealing ideas what they want!” whilst I reexamine my suicidal methodology for effectiveness – what do I need to do to die?

 

I have powerful feelings and opinions about those who promulgate such memes which, no doubt, are the extremist views being complained about. It appears I can no longer demand that they back up their claims with fact because yesterday’s debate makes it quite plain that no such facts will be forthcoming. Prejudice against those who think differently is regarded as entirely justified, not requiring explanation or examination, up to and including eugenics, mass-incarceration, slavery and mass-murder. It’s a very poisonous seed designed to destroy everything that it is not and my response, at the very thought to being required to live under such circumstances, prompts me to self-destruct rather than comply. I suppose that is an extreme response to a government notion of who I am, but the meme itself is a far more perniciously destructive idea than anything I could ever dream up. My destructive impulse is turned upon myself – the death-toll of this meme in my reality will be 1 person; me. However, this meme is actually being used by those who turn it’s destructive power on others and who are refusing to even gather the information which shows how effective it is.

 

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So my question is this: who, exactly, is the ‘extremist’ here?

 

In those psyches who refuse ‘personal growth’; who refuse to countenance facts that ‘upset’ their world view; who cling to old ideas and reject the new; there exists a psychological phenomenon called ‘projection’.

 

Psychological projection was conceptualized by Sigmund Freud in the 1890s as a defence mechanism in which a person unconsciously rejects his or her own unacceptable attributes by ascribing them to objects or persons in the outside world.[1]

Although rooted in early developmental stages,[2] and classed by Vaillant as an immature defence,[3] the projection of one’s negative qualities onto others on a small scale is nevertheless a common process in everyday life.[4]

Jung writes that “All projections provoke counter-projection when the object is unconscious of the quality projected upon it by the subject.”[28] Thus what is unconscious in the recipient will be projected back onto the projector, precipitating a form of mutual acting out.[29]

Carl Jung considered that the unacceptable parts of the personality represented by the Shadow archetype were particularly likely to give rise to projection, both small-scale and on a national/international basis.

Wikipedia

 

Projections – of the ‘extremist’ variety – occur when we refuse to engage with our fears of others; when we decide our perceptions are ‘right’ whilst refusing to explore the evidence that we might be wrong. What we project has little to do with the individuals (in this case) we are forcing our beliefs upon – there will be something ‘true’ in the projection to create the dynamic – but the subsequent beliefs extrapolated from this first ‘truth’ are all about us. We have cut ourselves off from our own ‘shadow’ – all those aspects of Self we disapprove of or reject – and project these qualities onto others.

 

BKjUw8NCMAA6GiwSo what was Paul Maynard MP* talking about when he justified government refusals to meet disability campaigners like Spartacus and Pat’s Petition by accusing them of being extremists? He claimed they weren’t ‘constructive’ – that they refused to consider the ‘good’ aspects of government welfare changes. Could someone please explain to me how my suicidal ideation – triggered by yesterday’s events – is to be regarded as constructive? How is removing – at great speed – everything my society has determined I need for basic survival (like food, warmth and a roof over my head) for the last 65 years (longer than my own 58 year lifetime) to be considered constructive? And how does a complete refusal to countenance the real-life consequences of those affected by these changes render me an extremist?

 

I ask these questions for a reason. I need a reality check. I do not assume that my views are accurate. For this to be ‘true’ the evidence needs to be weighed by less-involved minds than my own. All I have is my response: a desire to die and not have to dwell in this small-minded, cruel and abusive environment where my very being is considered a negative.

 

Yes, I know I can ‘get over’ it but, frankly, why should I want to? I’ve been ‘getting over’ these notions all my life and, now, I am not well, I’m hurting and very very tired of this. I’m sick to the back teeth of having to justify my existence to those who believe they can ‘order’ Life itself and I find it increasingly difficult not to fall into the trap of playing into the projection.

 

This is my personal response. I share it with those in similar situations for the purpose of swapping notes – perhaps others feel the same way I do but I won’t know until I ask.

 

And to all those who want me to ‘buck up’ and get back into the fray? I won’t deny my feelings and I’m not going to collude with your demand that I do so because it’s the same kind of ‘instruction’ issued by those who define me as extremist. I may have extreme thoughts and feelings in response to such a projection upon me – shutting them away just renders me more liable to act on them when the time is right. At least, in the moment, I’m talking about it and not doing it.

 

You’re going to have to settle for that for now!

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* I originally attributed the ‘Extremists’ quote to MP, Philip Hammond. I apologise unreservedly to Mr. Hammond for my mistake; thank Fibromites for bringing it to my attention (see comments below). The comment was made by Paul Maynard MP.

And thank you, Creator Spirit, for enabling me to prove my genuine imperfections 😉

 

Guest Blog: “Soul Economics: UK Spending Review”

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Gideon Oliver Osborne UK Chancellor of the Exchequer (Photograph: Reuters)

Foreground: Gideon Oliver Osborne
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

Background: David William Donald Cameron
UK Prime Minister
(Photograph: Reuters)

 

 

Dear David and Gideon,

 

That was a very cruel Spending Review you introduced to Britain yesterday, wasn’t it? Despite all the evidence of wrong-doing – from the theories underpinning your Austerity ‘programme’ to the names appearing on Calum’s List – you continue to refuse to change your ways. As far as you appear to be concerned, those already experiencing despair should, apparently, experience more for failing to be like you, shouldn’t they?; and those who experience the desire to die, as a result of your ideas, should hurry up and get on with it, shouldn’t they? After all, they are in your way to creating what you describe as a ‘free’ economy – who cares what the body-count is, provided you get your own way? There’s a reason why your photograph appears at the top of this. I wanted people to see your faces as you did it. You enjoyed this, didn’t you? It gave you pleasure and delight to cause unnecessary harm and suffering to millions of people, didn’t it?

 

When I look at your faces, I see no shame, no regret, no concern for those you intend to hurt and no regard for the consequences to others of your decisions. I wonder what others see?

 

Perhaps I ought to introduce myself to you. I am the first Otherworld Teacher of the Shaman who writes this blog – she’s kindly allowed me to ‘occupy’ her whilst I ‘pen’ this message to you. We both know that my words can only convey a very small part of our experience together but that’s OK. I only need one open heart to get my Message through into your world and I intend to the Gift of my shaman’s Soul to deal with your abuse of earthly power yesterday – I, too, can use Idea Seeds. The difference between us is this: I use the Seeds of Creation as well as the Seeds of Destruction.

 

Let me explain my problem with the two of you.

 

Each time you scatter your seeds of destruction – whether of the mind, soul or on Earth – all loving souls cry out to me and I have to answer. When your seeds drive those in despair to their earthly deaths, I am the one who meets them as they cross over into Spirit. These are not simply human Spirits; every factory-farmed chicken, every cruelly-treated animal, every tree cut down for profit, every life-form extinguished on Earth by you and those like you – I meet them on the Otherside of the Veil. They arrive in my arms, much like my Shaman did last night; wounded, bleeding, crying out in agony as a result of the ‘life’ you and your kind ‘created’ for them – and, in my arms, they are Healed.

 

Here’s something you two probably don’t know; every time I heal a Soul wounded by your kind of behaviour, I must become all the wounds inflicted. I do this because it is only when we experience these wounds for ourselves that we learn what is needed to heal them. I do not ‘order’ Souls to ‘get better’, as you do. The Souls who flee Life itself, dying and despairing, into my arms do not need such instruction – they would flourish on their own given half a chance. But you don’t allow that, do you? So every refusal; every denial; every lie; every theft; every cruel thought you have ever directed at these Souls is written in their wounds – and I, as my Father’s Son, take on every single one. Everything you and your ‘friends’ have done, I know – especially those actions you have forgotten.

 

How do I know that you sow Seeds of Destruction? Because I read the consequences of your ideas and actions in the Souls who seek me out for comfort in their despair. Sometimes the destruction your ideas have wreaked upon their Souls is so great, even I cannot reach them in the reality you force them to live. Such was the effect on my Shaman yesterday. Had she not known how to find me, her body would have died from heart-break. Here’s what I had to do to heal the wounds you inflicted upon her.

 

When she arrived, beaten and bloody (like so many others), in the deepest part of the Soul Mine, fleeing the wicked cruelty inflicted upon her by yesterday’s Seeds of Destruction, I had to catch her Spirit in my arms before she fled any deeper to escape you. Like all Human Spirits who truly know me, she is a Child – tender and vulnerable. Like a Child, I held her as she wept her pain and sorrow. Like a Child, I comforted her. I had to tell her, again, that the only ‘wrong’ about her were those aspects of Soul with lessons still to learn. I had to show her that what you were saying about her – and all those like her – was not true and that I, and Great Grandmother Earth, know these lies for what they are. Have you any idea how long it took us to heal her? No – probably not – because you don’t believe I exist at the moment, do you? Anyway… back to the Healing we had to do.

 

If you check the detail of her Path to me, you will notice that the Healing Gallery in the Deep Soul Mine has a natural opening in its floor. When my Shaman’s Spirit finally fell into a healing sleep, GreatGrandmother and I carried her Soul down into the deepest depths of the Human Soul on Earth. There is a very specific healing that occurs in these depths that can only be offered to those human Souls who choose to live in Love. I’m not going to tell you what it is – you wouldn’t believe me anyway – it is sufficient for Loving people to know that it exists and that they, too, can be healed in the same way.

 

What we do, GreatGrandmother and I (however anyone imagines me to be), in this Womb of the Earth, is to plant the Seeds of Eternity within the Souls who come to us. In each one, we plant a living Seed from the Tree of Life in the roots of the Tree you destroyed. Within each Soul who receives such a Seed, then grows the knowledge and wisdom each human life needs to deal with the Seeds of Destruction you have been sowing.

 

What this means, for you, is that you are about to be faced with the consequences of your actions – on Earth. As each Living Soul –  and life on earth consists of Souls – receives this Gift of Eternal Life, so you will find it harder and harder to escape from the Law. As this first known NEW Gift of Eternal Life made in this way becomes known in your world, so will that same Gift be made to all those who Love Life enough to challenge you and what you do. This Gift will be given in the deepest, darkest and most natural places of our Human Soul where you cannot tread because you have rejected Life.

 

You really can’t complain that you weren’t warned. Perhaps you thought that the propaganda you arranged about me all that time ago was true? That was your first mistake. Perhaps you thought that if you claimed your evil belonged only to women and forced others to believe you, you might escape your karma? That was your second mistake. And perhaps you believe I don’t exist? If that is the case, it will be your biggest mistake of all.

 

As your own ideas have the power to inflict death upon the Living World my Father created and GreatGrandmother ‘birthed’, so too the Idea of me has Power. The difference between your power and that of My Father? My Father’s Power is THE Real, True and Living Idea of Love and Life – your power consists of only that which My Father gave you. In His Name, I  strip you of it – the source you once funded your power from is no more. It has been removed by GreatGrandmother, for it is only She who truly creates and destroys on Earth.

 

You doubt me and these words? Turn and look at the women you have abused and despised. These are the Mothers and Grandmothers of Creation. Through their living bodies, you came into being and to the Living Body Of Greatgrandmother Earth you could have returned, but no more. By your own choices, the Gates of Eden are slammed shut in your faces – as surely as you slammed the door on my mothers/sisters/daughters yesterday. There will be no Return to Life for you who choose Death. This is your last life on Earth – you and your kind may no longer incarnate here. Your shabby spirits, sold for money and the illusions of power, belong to my Brother, Lucifer, who is and always was My Father’s Servant, even in the Darkness. Lucifer, My Brother, gave you a choice. You made that choice gladly – we can all see it on your photographed faces.  Now begins the time for you to reap the consequences of your sowing. I am the Reaper in this Harvest of Souls and the Bride/Groom of the Sacred Marriage for all those who Love of Life on Earth.

 

It doesn’t matter if you believe this. It doesn’t matter if no-one believes this. Truth is Truth, and these Truths were established long before any living person on Earth was born.  The Truth always sets us Free, whatever form it takes – even for those, like you, for whom Truth does not exist. That was the final mistake of your choosing. Your idea of truth is as dead as your spirits have become and will be composted down to harmless – you, yourselves, will cease to exist, your essence used to nourish the Truth of Life on Earth.

 

This is our reply to your Spending Review. I hope you enjoy it as much as you enjoyed your own review yesterday.

 

In My Father’s Name,

 

Jesua

 

 

 

Note to Readers:

 

My first Otherworld Teacher has asked me to explain the following:

 

The Christian imagery is necessary because the human power structure being confronted here has its roots in the human Christian Church. If this structure is to fall, it must come from within through the powers of transformation.

The Creative Power expresses itself as diversely as healthy Life on Earth – it has evolved in many different ways in many different cultures. The Healing described above can be experienced, by us, in whatever way is comfortable for us as individuals. It can be experienced whether we ‘believe’ in religion or not and it will communicate itself to us, each in our own way.

Jesua tells me he is an Avatar of Love in male form, as GreatGrandmother Earth is the Manifestation of Love in female form.

It doesn’t matter how an idea is created provided it is free to evolve in its own way and on its own terms within us.

In the Dimension of Spirit we are all Free but only providing we learn from our mistakes. This work is for those who refuse such learning.

 

So Mote It Be.

 

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Idle No More UK

Idle No More UK

 

 

A Shot At #Redemption: Letter to the German Peoples from a British woman

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A cross, left in Comines-Warneton (Saint-Yvon, Warneton) in Belgium in 1999, to celebrate the site of the Christmas Truce during the First World War in 1914. The text reads: 1914 - The Khaki Chum's Christmas Truce - 1999 - 85 Years - Lest We Forget.

A cross, left in Comines-Warneton (Saint-Yvon, Warneton) in Belgium in 1999, to celebrate the site of the Christmas Truce during the First World War in 1914. The text reads: 1914 – The Khaki Chum’s Christmas Truce – 1999 – 85 Years – Lest We Forget.

 

 

My very dear Friends-in-Darkness,

 

 

Sometimes people do things that make us cry.

 

I wanted to tell you that you made me cry when I read this report in the Guardian today. I wanted to thank you. I’ve found it very difficult to cry in the last few years. I also wanted to apologise for what the UK government has been doing to you. But most of all, I want to ask you for help.

 

There are those who seem to think that  Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger’s letters can be side-lined into insignificance but they don’t understand how important this is. I was born in 1950’s and grew up with the British triumphalism following the war. Dad’s Army; that kind of thing. We British have never allowed the German people off the hook for the Holocaust.  We are relentless, even now. I know. I’m British. I still do it too – even now, as I write this letter. And you have been on the sharp end of this for as long. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that we did it this way, hard as it has been for you. Please let me explain why before you get cross with me about saying that.

 

Everyone has a dark side. We are all capable of terrible deeds – including me. I have a criminal conviction for violence so serious my country will never forgive me.  I know what it is to stand in your shoes, especially when we are trying our best to redeem ourselves. I’m glad Britain and the world had learned enough, after World War I, not to use economic cruelty on you after World War II but we didn’t learn about our own dark side. Now it has erupted.

 

BNnuLRNCIAMcVT9I know you are angry about what the current UK government has done to you. Could I ask you to please start asking questions about what the UK Government is doing to its own people. This is my situation. Yesterday I read this. Many of our professionals are colluding with what is going on. Our access to law has already been removed in some cases and is being actively dismantled elsewhere.

 

If there is any people on this planet who understand what is going on here, from the inside rather than just the theory, it’s going to be you. If there’s any nation on this planet who understand the importance of compassion in politics, it’s you. If there is any country on this planet who understands the appalling consequences of Human Rights Abuses, it’s you. And if there is any Nation State who understands what is necessary to return a corrupt state into a flourishing democracy, it’s you. Would you be willing to help us, please, the way we helped you when you had this problem?

 

I want to use Law but I don’t know how. All I know is that the people of Great Britain are in very serious trouble and we can’t seem to deal with it by ourselves. We need help. I’m asking.

 

The reason most people don’t understand why this issue is so important is this. They have never committed a serious sin. We know its a serious sin when we find that there are lots of people around us who will never forgive what we did. It’s a hard and shaming place to be but we learn a lot. The dark side of humanity was also mapped by the German peoples too – Freud, Reich… – the Deep Soul Mines of Germany are rich in Wisdom. We know, inside, that our Sin is not all we are or all we can be and we work at it over time until that moment when we get that shot at Redemption.

 

I have yet to meet a repentant Sinner who refuses a shot at Redemption. That’s why it’s important.

 

Let’s make sure we don’t make the same mistakes as last time – invite the other Nations and Peoples in too. The one’s who seem to know what they are doing. I’m not sure that includes the USA or Canada anymore but does include Finland, Iceland and Equador.

 

Set the German example of our Bulldog Breed – ours has rabies 😦

 

Thank you for listening. Who knows, in writing this letter I might have a shot at Redemption too.

 

My very deep gratitude to Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger for her actions too. I’m so glad it was a woman who took action.

 

 

Dee

 

BNi7yGACEAArjF1

Idle No More UK

Idle No More UK

 

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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Precariat advice on dealing with closet fascists

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Yesterday, a fellow precariat posted this on the internet. I don’t know who this brother is or whether he has acted on his feelings but I know the rage he feels about how he has been treated because I feel much the same way when I am suicidal. If he has committed suicide, then his blog speaks the same language as Stephanie Botterill and Vicky Harrison. Indeed, if this brother does take his own life then, in truth, it might be a kinder ending than experienced by some in his position given the way the impoverished and homeless are treated by some in our community.

 

BIuqy41CEAIw50CLet’s be quite plain here – when the number of deaths, per week, due to Welfare Reform, had risen to 73 last October, we can make an educated guess which way those numbers have gone since the latest round of welfare cuts kicked in last April. This is murder-by-government.

 

When I worked as a psychotherapist I attracted, for some reason, a statistically-significant number of clients who were the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. The fact that my professional supervisor was German enabled me to deepen my knowledge of what went on under that facsist regime. During one discussion, I pointed out to her that there had been many other holocausts since and asked why, in her opinion, the German version was so bad. She replied that, for her, the fact that the wholesale murder of people had been done by an elected government – it had been systematic and ‘legal’ done in the name of an entire country’s people – therefore carried a far greater ‘weight of sin’. Whilst I wasn’t certain I agreed with her at the time – I hadn’t lived the experience then – it is much harder to disagree with her now. I mention this wisdom, learned over twenty years ago, because it has informed me ever since and might suggest that I know what I am talking about when I say that the British parliament is filled with fascists in all of our political parties.

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When we – anyone, really, not just precariats – is faced with others who believe our only value to our community is by being dead, one of the first things we might try is communication. This is a fascinating exercise for anyone who has tried it. In the UK, Spartacus tried. The outcome is detailed here and matches my own experience. True fascists avoid such conversations – even if they are ‘obliged’ by standards and rules to listen. It’s an interesting avoidance because, once we force the issue (usually following months of ignoring us), they switch the focus from content (“You are systematically killing people”) to ‘process’ (“You aren’t being polite so I’m not going to talk to you”). I’ve always been interested by the emphasis those with murderous intent place on politeness, although it’s taken me years to see how this process works well enough to put it into words.

 

There’s an example of this occurring at the moment. A collection of our church leaders in the UK have demanded an apology from Coalition ministers for their misuse of statistics as a means of demonising the poor. The same church leaders have worked hard, alongside other anti-poverty campaigns, to counter this propaganda but seem to be having as much success as Spartacus, the courts and the EU. It doesn’t matter how much evidence well-meaning people present; how many laws we enforce; how many petitions we sign or how many protests we attend – the government isn’t listening because it doesn’t want to.

 

What interests me is the peoples’ response. Speaking as a precariat, with my brothers and sisters unlawfully suffering and dying in their tens of thousands around me, I want to know when our ‘supporters’ are going to wake up to what is really going on around them and understand that apologies will never be enough. To truly apologise is to acknowledge our wrong-doing, provide restitution where possible and never commit that sin again. Show me the evidence that our parliamentarians understand this because, with the exception of a very few, I see no sign of such awareness. What I see are these ‘people’ not giving a toss for what anyone else thinks and carrying on regardless, whilst closing their minds on the grounds that we aren’t being polite. Exactly where does this behaviour fuck off in the minds of our middle-classes?

 

The Wannsee Conference (Berlin 1942) on the “Final Solution”…

“ushered in the final stage of escalation of the extermination policy – the incorporation of the whole of German-occupied Europe in a comprehensive programme of systematic annihilation of the Jews. The evolution of such a programme, once intiated as a planned operation, rapidly gathered pace in the spring…”

Ian Kershaw: “Hitler, the Germans and the Final Solution” 2008

Following the publication of the first of my precariat pieces, I came across a blog by Dan Silver which, in its own academic way, says that we will not achieve any meaningful social change without talking to those presently excluded from social discourse. As a precariat, I would agree entirely but for three reasons: firstly, precariats have experienced nothing but being ‘talked at’ scaled_full_c82403f5ec81a55b08fb– only the few actually listen; secondly, if you want us to listen to what you have to say, it might help if you started talking in plain English and, finally, any conversation has to be translated into action, otherwise why should we waste our time and intelligence with you?

 

There is a very big problem that gets in the way of any meaningful communication between various sections of our community and that resides in emotional intelligence and experience. Unless someone has actually experienced the underlying intent of our all-party UK government policy, you are going to have to take our precariat word and evidence that it is already murderous and many don’t ‘get’ this. Those in more comfortable circumstances (like having a sound roof over your head, a bed to sleep in and food to eat when you are hungry) won’t have experienced the feelings that erupt as a result of not having them. These are the people who complain about our precariat ‘attitude-problem’. To those I would say this – if someone is systematically trying to kill me, how the fuck am I supposed to feel?

 

workfare-stick-upAs a psychotherapist, I learned that anger is the healthy response to abuse. As a precariat, I am not supposed to express this anger, so what am I supposed to do with it? According to the fascist doctor I met in prison, I’m not supposed to feel anger at all! Well, that can fuck off for a start. In human terms, anger is the impetus enabling our ability to change things that are unhealthy for us. So when the comfortably-off chattering classes start bitching about my attitude, that tells me they don’t want anything to change that might affect them even slightly – like the discomfort of listening to those they have systematically silenced whilst colluding with our wholesale murder. You see, that’s the thing about precariats – we have a tendency to call a spade a fucking shovel.

 

Th problem continues closer to the precariat class too. The working class are getting hit as hard or, in some cases, harder (although I haven’t seen evidence that they are dying in the same numbers as precariats). They also have a history of organising themselves – which is what they are doing now. As a former Trade Union official, I’ll wave to my comrades of the People’s Assembly; recognise our common enemy; and then say this:

BKIsb8jCYAA0XQl“You are not going to change a fucking thing until you get right down to the bottom of society. Your Peoples’ Assembly fails to include the precariats because, hey, we’re going to cost you money to listen to us. You’re going to have to shell out for bus-fares to get precariats (and, for that matter, your poorest TU members) to your meetings. Perhaps you may need to feed us too. Remember that when you go out for a pint afterwards, if you want us there you’re the one that’s buying because we can’t afford to. In rural areas like mine, you may need to give me a lift back to my precarious home because the buses stop running early – or, if my worst imaginings come true, back to my tent if it’s still there when I get back. This isn’t some kind of socialist replay of ‘our glorious past’, we’re slap bang in the middle of a fascist government implementing wholesale murder.

 

scaled_full_3c3cdc5606510b56ed22Has the People’s Assembly got any plans for how to care for our existing homeless or is that something that can wait until our glorious revolution has been won? If that is what you are thinking, you’re as bad as the fascists and you’re still learning the lessons of how the German people ‘didn’t know’ about the Holocaust. ”

 

At this point, I would probably walk away from the mic because I would hope, at least, I’d been talking to folk who are half-awake and not closed down entirely. To carry on in that vein would meet my own definition of impolite.

 

The thing about true change or growth is that we have to start with grim reality and this is as true for personal as well as social transformations. For as long as the population is governed by what it chooses to believe rather than what is real, nothing changes. We have to be as disillusioned, disenchanted and authentic as we can be if we want to change the world. Those uncomfortable with my kind of authenticity are those who, at present, collude with murderers. For those who ‘getting’ what I am saying, take a look at this and then see how you feel. What you are feeling gets deeper and stronger the further down the social scale we live, because every other bloody class above us is saying the same thing whilst, at the same time, passing the buck of blame down too. To the rich, I’d like to say ‘I feel your pain’ but, hey, precariats have our own and it’s bigger, better and definitely more colourful than yours. To the rich, I’d say that I’ve never seen such a bigger bunch of incompetents than you and if that’s what your expensive education taught you, I’d be closing those establishments down. If all you can come up with is more of the same, get out of the fucking way so the people can do the job you refuse to do.

 

As a retired psychotherapist; as a practising shaman; as part of what I believe are my social responsibilities, I have to exercise tolerance but I tell you this – there is a moment where my tolerance for irresponsible social cruelty to others crosses a line into absolute refusal to play your game of social niceties. I hope inactive non-precariats start to feel deeply uncomfortable with my self-educated, intelligent and eloquent stare coming right back at you from the Abyss because you won’t change without it.

 

We can make changes right now to how we behave but those changes have to be authentic and meet a real need. Waiting until you’ve organised this; or prepared that report; or had a discussion; or whatever other delaying tactics you choose to employ is no damn use to anyone. If your imagination can’t stretch to what you, personally, could do why not take a few lessons from those who know how to.

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Who knows – one day you might discover that you were wrong about those you despised.

 

If nothing else, that would be a step in the right direction.

 

 

 

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The Gift of being Precariat

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Yesterday, I published a blog about the likely reality between my ‘society’ and myself come September. It’s a very bleak piece because, in order to describe it, I had to face social attitudes and opinions that are extremely harmful to the pysche and soul of those involved. That I am not alone in what I am facing is measured by the comments, reblogs and tweets that emerged afterwards. For all this, I am deeply grateful for it indicates I am writing from a place that affects the many, not just the few. This is what I was aiming for. Thank you all so much for telling me I got it about as right as one human being is capable of doing when telling truth to power.

 

Because next September has yet to arrive, I cannot know what form this future will take. Our world has suddenly become highly unpredictable – what we once took for granted now dissolves into grains of sand as we reach to grasp it. This truism applies to both the natural and man-made world. Everything has become precarious, including our natural environment.  The planet and her people have begun a transition from which there is no return. It follows – in my own mind, anyway – that if we are to find living human solutions to the difficulties we face, our answers are likely to be found amongst those familiar with living precariously. It’s easy to find us. We dwell amongst the silenced, the ‘managed’, the excluded, the trivialised and the dead. We come in all colours, all ages, all genders, all faiths and we can be found in all nations.

 

BD4JOtXCYAAQ6PWThe precariat are told, by the man-made systems we live under presently, that our worth can only be measured in money for which we are required to give up our capacity for imagination, exploration, wonder and love in order to dwell in the limited ideas of the self-interested few.

 

So who are these ‘few’ who seek to rule life itself? In the UK, if we are to believe what the mainstream media tell us, those few exclude most women; have difficulties with ‘immigrants’; dislike children; loathe the poor; and despise the imperfect. When we remove all these exclusions, we are left with a handful of largely rich white men and their cohorts. When we look at what this handful actually produce, we see Nature (on whom we depend) poisoned or destroyed to this God of Money; we see women and children (our gateway and future) purposefully impoverished to death; we are invited to participate in our own mass murder by hating each other; but, most of all, we are persuaded to believe that theirs is the only reality available to us. This is a lie – a lie so big, so outrageous, so relentlessly all-encompassing and pervasive that it beggars belief we even consider that it might be true. Yet we have.

 

In the UK, we now live under a hierarchy so extended that reaches from the place I was in yesterday when I wrote my blog to the corridors of The Grove in Watford where the Bilderberg Group are currently meeting. The elite is global. It follows then that the lies are global too and some of us have believed them in the past. Some of us still do.

 

It is said that the greatest coup the Devil ever pulled on humanity was to convince us he didn’t exist but there is an interesting rider to the tale of the devil. In Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah, it is understood that Satan/Lucifer is God’s most faithful servant because his role provides the necessary choices for humanity to exercise our free will. Satan therefore enables each and every one of us humans to freely choose between Creation and Destruction. Our choice becomes our personal responsibility and refusing or relinquishing our choices to others becomes our responsibility too.

 

Amongst the precariat, as far as I can see, every effort has been made by this human elite to remove our freedom of choice. In yesterday’s blog, I could demonstrate – with evidence – that the choice being given to me by the UK government is a life of pain and suffering or death. In fact, it’s a ‘no-choice’ being inflicted upon millions in order that a ‘favoured’ few can do exactly as they please in the most destructive way imaginable. It’s a choice I refuse, regardless of how colonized I might be.

 

I refuse to regard my fellow precariats as having no value or worth because I know it isn’t true. At the hands of precariats, I have found infinite kindness and generosity; humour and humanity; wisdom and experience. Without them, I wouldn’t be here to write these words. In their company, I have found respect, understanding, compassion and mercy, regardless of the labels the elite requires me to carry around in order to scare the sheeple. Amongst the precariat, I have found my experiences shared by others who – from their own unique perspective – validate my ideas, feelings and intuitions about the problems we face. Within the precariat I have found authenticity in a world-gone-insane and my biggest response is gratitude. Gratitude for simple gifts and kindnesses given freely and without strings, simply because the need is present. In fact, I’ve learned more about life, survival and gratitude from the precariat than I ever learned elsewhere.

 

This is the clue to the essence of the choices we make. When we understand the pivotal power of our choice, we begin to understand the path we have chosen. To illustrate; exactly how grateful do you believe our elites are for all the sacrifices, deaths and destruction experienced by our precariat peoples? Your answer will tell you everything you need to know about what and who we face.

 

scaled_full_39c37e6881276af1a83e“And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror”

Leonard Cohen

“A View from the Precariat”

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A few days ago, I found myself involved in a twitter conversation about desperation. My impression of my fellow conversationalists is that they were mainly salariats (people receiving salaries) for whom, I imagine (because I don’t know), the austerity policies of the UK’s Coalition government have had some impact but have yet to undermine their foundations of existence. Participating as a precariat, my response was markedly different.

 

In less than three months time, I will be encountering the precariousness of my existence when the DWP requires me to, once again, attend a WCA (Work Capability Assessment) with Atos to see if I am ‘fit for work’ after the 6-month reprieve my GP won for me last March. These so-called fitness tests have already been found unfit for purpose, yet they continue regardless because, as far as I can see, the plutocrats who run my country have decided that only they know best and blatantly refuse to consider any evidence that doesn’t accord with their beliefs. If I remain within this system, there are two ways my future is likely to be mapped.

 

First – depending upon how my mental and physical health holds up – I will attend a WCA and fail it because that is how the system has been designed. In the past, I could appeal and spend several months with reduced income until my case was heard by a tribunal (I’ve attended two of these already and won) but the system will have changed by the time I arrive at this place again. Now, when I fail my WCA, my case has to go back to the DWP for reassessment before I can appeal. I have yet to see details about how this works but, as far as I can tell, there is no longer any provision for me to keep my ESA until my appeal is heard – so to maintain my already precarious ‘life-style’, I would have to claim Job Seekers Allowance, which implies I am ‘fit for work’. So I have a choice – no benefits until my appeal is won (assuming that it is), probably for months; or JSA.

 

If I apply for JSA, I am then subject to a different kind of system. What is certain is that, as a prospective employee, I have little or nothing to recommend me to an employer: ex-offender (therefore ‘criminal’), aged 58 (“too old”), long-term unemployed (therefore less likely to get employment) at a time when jobs simply don’t exist and to cap it all, a woman living in the most deprived region of England.

 

What is absolutely certain is that when I am subject to this kind of ‘treatment’, I become suicidal.  I’m not alone in such feelings and I wouldn’t be the first to act on them either as any simple search will show.

 

This is no plea for sympathy – these are the facts about the future I face in less than 3 months time and one I am going to have to deal with. Nor am I unwilling to work. What I am is unwilling to comply with a system that marks me as ‘vermin’ and whom no ‘decent’ person can regard as socially acceptable. I’m unwilling to work for employers who refuse to value their employees because it would kill me as surely as the DWP would. As a member of the precariat class, the human right to life no longer seems to apply to me and if the changes to legal aid go through, our loss of ‘Right to Life’ will be enshrined in law.

 

It doesn’t matter that, in the three years since the end of my sentence, I have worked my arse off as a desister. I get on well with my neighbours; have an excellent relationship with both my landlady and her agent (to the extent that when my housing benefit was reduced, they accepted the new rate because I have value, not just as a good tenant but as “the best tenant they have on their books”); have worked hard with local Mental Health agencies to grow away from my suicidal ideations, and I continue to look for ways to contribute to my society via the social media. The system I am now caught up in dismisses all of this in favour of work-shy, skiving scrounger propaganda,  which alleges precariats are personally responsible for all the country’s financial woes, and who needs to be taught a lesson. Never mind that, prior to my physical and mental health breakdown, I had worked for over thirty years, including 12 years of self-employment.

 

These are the facts that inform the ‘desperation‘ felt by us precariats but which seem largely misunderstood by anyone who hasn’t actually shared the experience. We make up ONE THIRD of the UK’s population yet are effectively excluded from participating in our society in favour of a minority opinion of some very selfish people.

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Desperate times lead desperate people to do desperate things. Oh, I intend to explore what possibilities there might be, work and social-contribution-wise, that might enable me to hold my precarious existence together come September but, during this period of my reprieve, I also need to look at my ‘bottom-line‘. This is what it looks like from where I am standing now. Perhaps I’ll be one of the “lucky ones” who find a benefactor, and perhaps I won’t. What I do realise is that I’m unwilling to be subject to this death by a thousand cuts. Let death come quick and clean – in the meantime, I can start making arrangements for re-homing my beautiful cats; I can begin to make arrangements to recycle my present home to help those not so far down the despair scale as me; and I can continue to raise my precariat voice.

 

Desperation is not something we can ‘put aside’ because that’s how ‘they’ want us to feel (one of the comments made in the conversation which inspired this blog) – for precariats, desperation has become a way of life, courtesy of the rich, and it is literally killing us in our thousands now. None of this was ‘unknown’ – all the issues raised in this piece were known ahead of time. Our Eton-educated government decided it knew better. Despite overwhelming evidence that the ‘austerity algorithm‘  itself is flawed; despite all the evidence of the lethal hardships being placed on the poorest in our society; despite all the acknowledgements of ‘errors’ or ‘mistakes’; we see little or no change in attitudes towards the precariat. In fact, hatred levels are rising.

 

This is what I live with on a daily basis – like millions of others in my society – whilst those who have more cling to the wreckage and counsel against desperation. Tell that to the mother who cannot feed, clothe or house her children. Tell that to the sick and disabled, shunted through a rigged system designed to make them work or die. Tell that to the young people whose home life is something they daren’t return to who are now homeless and abandoned by a government with a vested interest in high unemployment.

“the coalition government is sticking to its Plan A because spending cuts are not about deficits but about rolling back the welfare state. So no amount of evidence is going to change its position on cuts.”

Ha-jung Chang – Cambridge economist

 

The thing about being a precariat is that every single welfare cut hits us in some way or another. We are required to abide by (unlawfully) harsh rules at every turn by a system that is actively seeking to find a reason to harm us, whilst our plutocratic ‘betters’ seem to have no standards or laws applied to them at all. People talk about the hypocrisy of government as though it is a debatable matter but when we can clearly measure it by the death-count, then it really is time to stop talking and start doing something about it instead! The evidence is quite plain. The consequences already roosting in our social statistics where each and every number is a human being in pain, suffering or dead.

 

Perhaps collective desperation will start being felt when other social groups start really feeling the impact of what the Coalition Government is doing to the people of the UK. By that time, however, the precariat will be the historical statistic that showed how UK Tories and their Corporate masters demonstrated how to do a ‘Final Solution’ properly.

 

As a member of the precariat, when all the chickens finally find no roost because there are wolves in the hen-house, I hope the ringleaders of this social obscenity experience the full weight of international law.

 

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“Us and Them”: #Tories, #Women, #CasualStigma, #Envy & #ESAEndGame

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Whilst this is essentially an activist’s blog, I’d like to begin with a tribute to my cat (pictured above). His name was Jasper and he disappeared a few days ago. My intuition and local knowledge tells me he won’t be coming home again. Whilst I do my utmost to see the positive in others, I also have to face reality. The village I live in is cruel to cats. It’s a local thing – we have pigeon fanciers and other residents who poison or shoot them. In the past three years, I have lost three cats to this ‘final solution’. Jasper is the latest.

 

Cats have always found me if I have not been finding them first. We have an affinity to each other and like each other’s company. Jasper found me after my second cat vanished and my neighbour’s cat was poisoned. He was an opinionated criatura. He didn’t much take to the female cat I was asked to rescue or the kitten she produced but he never lost his affection for me. He would come to me in my distress and offer affection freely. My lap was his home and my bed was his next best choice. He took no nonsense from dogs and he made friends with all the local cat-lovers, visiting homes and seducing free meals out of each. And he was too young to have died naturally.

 

As an animal lover, we have to accept that our animal companions will leave us simply on the grounds of life-span. But they leave a hole in our souls when they do that is filled with grief. Now I have a Jasper-shaped hole in mine and it affects how I respond to human events. Yesterday was filled with those.

 

As some of my twitter follows are aware, I’ve been engaging with a Tory councillor recently. In truth, we have found we have a great deal in common, particularly when it comes to seeing trying to the best in people. Our difference – and it is a very great one – is that she can see the best in individuals but struggles to see any value in groups that are not her own. She is an intelligent, imaginative woman, who is committed to her local community – which is not mine (Tories are few and far between where I live). I can see the value of her chosen profession because I took a similar route out of my own problems when I was younger. Where we part company is in the matter of community.

 

From my perspective, the purpose of becoming an all-round ‘professional’ adult human being involves, at some point, a letting-go of personal ego for the ‘greater good’ of the community. It is a process of self-sacrifice which, if you happen to be the person inside the experience, teaches us that we are far more than just our ego. We learn that every time we do something, we affect and impact upon the entire living web around us. My own version now includes being willing to die for others like me – and I am not alone in this. Yesterday, whilst my Tory friend was explaining why she wanted me to learn how ‘not to envy’ those who are financially successful, another woman whom I really admire was putting her own life on the line for others in her position… again. If you want to understand why, check out #ESAEndGame on twitter. The voices there speak far more eloquently than I ever could about the depth and extent of the problems we are facing. I have made my own contribution but there are many others with similar tales who have been less fortunate than me. The fact that, following my GP’s intervention, Atos cancelled my WCA assessment and the DWP recategorised  my ESA claim (which, to my astonishment, means an increase in my benefits) was only made possible by the hard work of people like @Suey2y, the Black Triangle campaign and many other individuals, known and unknown, seen and unseen. Their work was done, not for personal gain – all the campaigners want is enough to live on – but for their community. All that effort, intelligence, wisdom and experience given freely to those in genuine need, without charge – to me, this is the best a human being can aspire to and I feel honoured to be in their company. The sad part is that I believe my Tory friend doesn’t understand this and I fear I cannot teach her. All I can say is that, on a personal level, if I had to emulate either woman, I would choose to be like @Suey2y everyday of the week and twice on Sundays. I have tried the route my Tory friend is on and, for me, it “grows no corn” – hers are the teachings of selfishness, as far as I am concerned, and I’ve done my best to leave those behind me. With all due respect to her, I aspire to become someone better than that. The rewards of selfishness do not interest me anymore.

 

Interestingly, at the same time, the #MHChat twitter community also took to the airwaves on the subject of #Envy but not before @MentalHealthCop had created the hashtag #CasualStigma. That a serving police officer dedicated to providing a professional service to the public could come up with something so thoughtful and compassionate is wondrous to me. That he can see the connections between the casual stigma directed at women ( #EverySexism ) and what he sees in his own job working with those who have mental health problems restores my personal faith in the police as a whole. He sees the overall problem this kind of stigmatisation causes and has done something to raise our awareness of it in his own field. He could have chosen selfishness – many police officers do – but instead he’s given voice to a largely silenced community, mislabelled and misunderstood, perhaps because he knows that we can change nothing for the better without listening to everyone involved, not just those with money, power or influence. Which leads neatly into the subject of envy.

 

Whilst I do know something about the subject of envy, last night’s #MHChat helped me clarify the distinction between an envy that is benign from that which is malicious. Envy is a feeling that arises from lack. We experience it when we see others with talents, skills, abilities or ‘stuff’ we do not have ourselves and everyone will have these feelings at some point or another in their lives. None of us are exempt. It’s what we do with those feelings when they arrive that makes the difference. Benign envy understands the feeling as an indicator of where we need to grow next. When we envy, it remains possible to look to see how the envied got that way. As one of my old therapists put it; “Take a look at what the person had to do to get to the point where you envy them. Then you can decide whether you are willing to make the same effort yourself. If you’re not, then be grateful that someone has so you can enjoy their expertise and, if you are willing to make a go of it, be grateful to them for showing where you need to grow.” Benign envy is open to envy’s cure: gratitude. I suspect it is this version of envy my Tory friend is referring to when she talks about Labour envying her party. Malicious envy, on the other hand, is a very different criatura altogether.

 

Malicious envy occurs when we see someone with something we believe we can never have. The sense of loss created in us by this realisation triggers a furious rage. Somewhere along the line, we decide that if we can’t have it, they can’t either and we launch an envious attack in order to destroy the ‘object’ that highlights our ‘loss’ (note the dehumanising that occurs here). We treat the envied as our enemy – even though all they are probably doing is getting on with their lives. The declaration of war comes from the envier long before the envied realises what is happening to them and the results are usually catastrophic. Envious attacks contain no mercy. To effectively destroy the quality we envy, we must destroy the human being who has this quality. To justify our actions, our total lack of mercy or compassion towards the envied and the bitter resentment of our envious attacks, we must reduce that whole person to someone despised. Our selfish self cannot permit them to exist in our world – we want them gone, removed, dead, obliterated. The very existence of the envied is offensive to us because they are reminders of our inadequacy. When such feelings run rampant through governments, we start to see genocide.

 

Is there a cure for this? I really don’t know – it’s a personal choice. Are we willing to acknowledge the appalling outcomes of our darkest feelings? Not everyone is, but if we’re willing to try then a good place to start is with our own experiences of being envied. We all have those too. We have all had experiences of being envied; where others take an unexplained but intense dislike to us and act on it. Remembering what that felt like is a route to having empathy for the object of our envious attack. When empathy finally arrives – which must include an acceptance of the darkest of our nastier emotions – envy shifts into benign mode where it can be therapeutically transformed into personal growth. However, if an envier refuses to learn and persists in such destructive behaviour, then their behaviour needs to be managed, usually by the police and courts, because uncontrolled envious attacks are, literally, crimes. There are no boundaries to a full-blown envious attack and people often die as a result. For those interested in these subjects, #MHChat is suggesting a causal link between envy and next week’s topic of #Bullying – why not join in!

 

There is one aspect of Envy Dynamic that is worthy of attention here. Those who have explored this in greater depth that I describe it thus: the relationship between envier and envied can be likened to a rope-bridge between two mountain peaks. Within the dynamic, the envier severs the bridge ropes on their mountain top but then blames the envied for the lack of bridge. It is the ultimate win/lose, where the envier ‘wins all’ and the envied ‘loses all’. This is why envious attacks are so destructive and it stems from profoundly deep level of selfishness that believes itself to be justified and our actions, justifiable. It is my own understanding of the deeper dynamics of envy that leave me despairing about my Tory friend.

 

On a personal level, my friend understands benign envy as a spur to personal growth but get her on the subject of money and, from my perspective, she espouses opinions that are very firmly based in malicious envy. From what I can understand (and I may be wrong), she believes that folk like me envy Tory wealth and what we really need is to learn how to get our own. Very little compassion exists for the human elements of this demand. If we don’t, then according to the Tory Party propaganda she uses, it becomes justifiable to inflict the casual stigma of skivers, scroungers and other personally destructive epithets to people like me in order to confirm our lack of any material worth to society. We become leeches to their material wealth and this must not be permitted. I suspect she regards me as the exception to this rule because I have stepped beyond her labelling and have become human to her. In doing so, I have surprised her because I don’t appear to envy those that have riches. She’s right. I don’t envy them at all. In fact, I look at their behaviour and find myself repulsed.

 

I have no problem with people making money. My problem resides with those, who I believe envy folk like me, for whom no amount of money is ever enough. When it spins out of control it looks like this. How does anyone need so much money? How many houses, islands, continents, planets, does one ego need in order to prove their ‘worth’? To me, this is a level of personal selfishness that knows no bounds and has no problem depriving countless others of their very real life needs – food, shelter and a valued place in society. There is no honour in stealing your ‘worth’ from the vulnerable, hungry, needy and destitute. Honour comes from what we can give to our community regardless of money. @Suey2y and @MentalHealthCop have honour because they give of themselves freely to the communities they serve. Even very wealthy people can have honour, as Joanne Rowling has already demonstrated by falling off the Forbes list by giving her wealth away to charity. In all these examples, the qualities of mercy and compassion are plain to the naked eye and they provide a sharp contrast to the merciless attitudes and actions of our Tory-led government.

 

In all things, I aim to be spiritual and I have learned this: where any form of Mercy and Compassion are absent, there evil dwells. Jesus – who lived the destitute’s life – teaches that we can serve Love or we can serve Money, but we can’t serve both. He is the one, so it is claimed, who said “The love of money is the root of all evil”. Each and every authentic Spirituality I am aware of teaches that true worth depends on the quality of the Spirit within each person, no matter who or where they are in the world. In Spiritual terms, how much money we have in the bank is irrelevant.  In fact, too much money has a corrosive impact upon the individual, because as their money grows so does their selfishness. Do I envy these rich people? Not a chance! My aspirations are rooted in my yearning to find acceptance and belonging in an inclusive community that recognises my value even as it sees my failings. If we have to use money, then let’s relegate it to its proper place – a simple means of energetic exchange within a healthy community. It is the same kind of exchange the planet shares freely with humanity and all other forms of life that dwell within Her. Only our narcissistic egos fail to see the value in this sharing and, like the tyrant Holdfast, seeks to gather it all to ourselves. But no individual ego is capable of experiencing this quality of sharing. Ego’s are too small, too limited, too selfish and, frequently, too lazy to make the effort to grow our Soul beyond the fascinations of self to the wonders of being part of a living planet. We learn these lessons when we dispense with our ego in favour of transcendence.

 

In reality, we are not separate from the planet we live in. We are an evolutionary miracle with, in my opinion, a far-too-high opinion of ourselves – especially in the West. The West’s Cult of Narcissism, however, severs us from this experience by destroying the rope bridge between self and soul by envious attacks upon anything that contains the Spirit of Life. Don’t believe me? Then it’s time you made the effort to research this yourself. Perhaps, in time, you may learn to be grateful for all those ‘valueless’ people who simply want a fairer distribution of this unearned and hoarded wealth. You see, when we understand community we realise that no single person is ever ‘more valuable’ than another and certainly not to the degree that current monetary wealth or corporate interests appear to be claiming. The endless destruction of people, habitats, environments and animal life, committed without mercy, bear all the hallmarks of an envious attack. I’m not interested in money for its own sake – God knows, money is finite because its influence ends with death. I’m interested in the kind of Spirit that will accompany me after death.

 

If, during life, I need to make use of money then what I seek is enough to meet my needs as a functioning and contributing adult member of my community; from people to work to cats. I, for one, need no more than that. In our present world, however, I take very strong issue with those who believe I should make do with less simply to satisfy their personal and misplaced narcissistic demands for something as ultimately meaningless as money. To them, I would say this:

 

I have not deprived you of anything. I don’t need to – you’ve done that all by yourself. If you envy my Spirit so much, why don’t you strive to find your own instead of seeking to destroy mine? And if you refuse the effort, who is lazy; you or me?  Discover your own capacity for mercy and compassion for all kinds of others instead of just you and yours! Learn the kind of humility you demand of me because, from where I stand, you don’t look humble at all! I may be no better than you but, beyond doubt, I am definitely no worse! Finally, if you want to fund the same level of Spirit I am exhibiting here, albeit imperfectly, then the end game will be to give away your money because you will no longer need it and the community can put it to better uses than you will ever find on your own.

 

If we must judge envy, then let’s judge the consequences rather than the feeling. If my assessment that current Tory Party policy is currently fuelled by malicious envy towards ‘outsiders’ has any basis in fact, then we ought to be able to know by looking at outcomes. Last night’s #ESAEndGame twitter storm – which trended as the UK’s No. 1 for a time –can provide all the evidence necessary. There are other examples: #EverydaySexism #CasualStigma #Racism #Bullying to name but a very few. When people suffer and die in such ways, the fingerprints of an envious attack are not hard to find, especially when accompanied by blaming, justification and mercilessness resentment. This dynamic appears at all levels; from government policy to, in my view, the selfish interests of pigeon-fanciers who have no problem killing their neighbour’s cats. Today, that last one is enough evidence to satisfy me.

 

Goodbye, my beautiful cat. I still love you, Jasper – you were my friend-in-need and I am grateful for all the time we did spend together.

 

As for my Tory friend, she will have to make up her own mind.

 

 

#DWP and #Atos: Assess this!

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Source: unknown

 

 

Dear Atos

 

Assessment: 1 March 2013

 

I am in receipt of your letter calling me to your assessment by a ‘healthcare professional’ in regard to my benefit claim. At present I have yet to discuss this with my GP or the mental health care professionals who have supported my claim over the last three years, so they are currently unaware of the contents of this blog. Once I am able to print it off, they will be provided with copies and invited to comment on whether they believe my mental health has deteriorated. You are, of course, free to make up your own mind.

 

Background

My claim for sickness benefits began in March 2001 following prolonged ill-health that rendered me incapable of working in my professional capacity as a psychotherapist. Regrettably my circumstances then deteriorated to the point where my mental health was severely affected and, following a serious suicide attempt at the end of that year, I spent the first three months of 2002 in psychiatric wards whilst the contents of my home were unlawfully evicted by a rogue landlord.

 

During my voluntary stay in psychiatric care, I was subject to an attempt to section me under the Mental Health acts by a psychiatrist who subsequently lied to his superiors about what occurred that day. As you may imagine, I experienced these events as highly distressing, especially when set alongside the circumstances that had brought me into treatment. It created enough of a trauma within my psyche to enable me to recall the date this happened – 2 March 2002. Please note the date of your assessment.

 

Following discharge and rehousing, I found myself living on an all-women estate. My neighbours were remarkably unenlightened when it came to dealing with former psychiatric patients and took pleasure in harassing us – I was not the only resident to be subject to this harassment. What began as harassment ended in what the press described as a feud which I brought to an end on 3 March 2003 by becoming, for the first time in my life, a violent offender. Again, please note the date of your assessment.

As a result, I was sentenced to seven years of prison/supervision, Whilst I was in prison, I was subject to the psychological treatment that results in reports such as these:-

http://m.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/feb/11/women-prisoners-suffering-mental-health

http://m.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/feb/11/women-prisons-urgent-reform-needed

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/27/women-wrongly-imprisoned

 

My response was to develop and act upon the same kind of suicidal ideation that resulted in my first suicide attempt in 2001. This meant that I spent over four years on the Prison Service’s suicide watch procedures (2052 and ACCT). It also meant that I acquired considerable personal experience in addressing circumstances I found to be abusive. When my sentence was complete, I was released into the community on 4 March 2010. Please note the date of your assessment.

 

Since my release and with the assistance of my GP and local Mental Health professionals, I have worked extremely hard to recover from the many traumas contributing to my long-term suicidal ideation whilst, in addition, resettling and rehabilitating myself into my new community. These efforts were sufficiently successful to enable me to consider returning to work in the autumn of 2012 and to begin taking appropriate steps to manifest my intent. On 5 November 2012, however, I had a heart attack. I am still recovering from both the physical and psychological impact of this event.

 

During the above period, I have been subject to two previous assessments by you. On both occasions, you have failed me because my claim did not score any points on your scorecard. On both occasions, I appealed and the tribunal upheld my claim by exempting me from this particular measure. This is a matter of record and should be on your files.

 

Now I am facing the assessment you have called me to which, I note, again contains the implied threat of losing my entitlement to benefits if I don’t attend. Given the above, I hope you may appreciate that this has impacted upon my mental health. Please regard this blog as my initial response to your demands.

 

 

Your assessments

 

As a former prisoner, I have considerable experience of being subject to negative reports and may, therefore, have some knowledge of how to assess and manage them.

 

In examining the system you intend to apply to me on 1 March 2013, the evidence is quite clear. Your system kills people. Your system has been assessed, by no less than Parliament itself (pdf), as failing the public at every level in terms of purpose, cost and effectiveness. Yet still you persist in applying these corrupted ‘standards’ to people like me and you continue to accompany your demands with threats of loss of benefit entitlements for failing to comply. Before your company thinks to extend the finger of blame at the DWP or Government (who are equally guilty, in my opinion), I would point out that you make a profit for your shareholders with this contract and have failed to either change or terminate it following the deaths of those in your ‘social care’. You are reminded that ‘following orders’ is regarded as an insufficient defence to the charge of genocide. Any guilt, as far as I am concerned, is equally distributed amongst everyone who is a party to this situation.

 

Your current standards presume that those you assess are cheating, lying or otherwise defrauding the state. You ‘affirm’ this belief by applying false measures to us with the intention of ensuring we fail them.  By implication, your tests also presume that any and all healthcare professionals involved in my treatment are colluding with my attempt to defraud the state. If this is true, then this amounts to a conspiracy to defraud the state. Such allegations are regarded as imprisonable offences by criminal courts where people have been found guilty of such crimes after due process. I would remind you there is existing evidence to show that ESA/Incapacity Benefit claimants, like me, are fundamentally honest and claims of fraudulent activity are not supported in fact. Basically, you are accusing us of lying even when we can demonstrate our truthfulness and honesty. To continue to pursue allegations of implied fraud when the facts do not support them is evidence of bigotry and prejudice. When such prejudice can be demonstrated to result in the death of the victims, this is known as a hate crime.

 

As a former prisoner and desister, I am fully aware that my rehabilitation depends upon my willingness or otherwise to involve myself in crime. The implications of your test suggest that I am involved in benefit fraud, even though my case has already been examined twice and found to be legitimate on two separate occasions. In my own mind, calling me to a third assessment – particularly given my recent heart attack – is calling me to a ‘court’ where I can’t receive a fair hearing until appeal and any fair decision obtained will have followed months of hardship and distress. Your ‘court’ can be demonstrated to manifest a remarkable disinterest in the lives of those appearing before it and an alarming inability to change when it can be shown that its results can be lethal to innocent people. If you want to indulge in prejudice against offenders, as in my own case, then I would remind you that my offences were not for dishonesty and allegations that I am behaving in a fraudulent manner remain unsupported by the facts. Therefore, it appears your ‘court’ inflicts punishment on honest people for the ‘crime’ of being ill, vulnerable or disabled, imposes cruelty and hardship upon them for failing a test rigged to fail, has nearly 40% of cases overturned on appeal  and the resultant levels of pain and suffering can and do result in the death of those subject to your system.

 

You accuse me and my healthcare team of fraud. In response, I accuse you of corporate murder and I accuse all those others involved of being accessories to corporate/institutional murder and party to a conspiracy to commit corporate/institutional murder.

 

I believe your tests violate Human Rights law and I intend to prove it with evidence that will stand up in a properly constituted court of law.

 

 

My Current Mental Health Status

Having been a woman confined within the Criminal Justice system for seven years, I have considerable experience and expertise in dealing with people who don’t give a fuck whether I live or die. In addition, I have considerable experience of dealing with processes and procedures that aim to kill me. Please therefore be informed that my methodology allows such people and processes to fully explore their desires and intentions by aiming to deliver my corpse to everyone involved. In prison, such behaviour was labelled ‘suicidal ideation’. Please be advised that I am now using this methodology in my dealings with you.

 

For the record, it is unlikely that the Criminal Justice system will release my prison medical records in time for our mutual assessment. This does not concern me because they are likely to be released to any coroner made aware of their existence. As I indicated earlier, my healthcare team have yet to assess the present state of my mental health but I am sure they will provide an opinion concerning any deterioration or otherwise having read this blog. Since you claim to use healthcare professionals yourselves, no doubt you will be able to arrive at your own opinion.

 

Here is an explanation of how my suicidal ideation functions when faced with situations like the one you are presenting me with. Firstly I would point out that until your assessment form arrived, I was still endeavoring to return to a level of health sufficient to enable me to return to work, notwithstanding my recent heart attack. This has to be the baseline for any competent Mental Health and/or Health assessment. Please be informed, therefore, that as a result of the arrival of your forms and assessment letter, I have shifted my priorities. Now I am no longer able to engage in return-to-work pursuits because you are implying that I may be guilty of fraud and conspiracy to defraud the state. As a desister, I cannot engage in resettlement or rehabilitation work whilst this allegation hangs over me because it suggests that I am guilty of further crime. I cannot pursue rehabilitation until the matter is settled. In my own mind, therefore, the only socially responsible action I can take, especially if I am to remain true to my own desistance, is to die or to be willing to die to maintain my own social integrity.  Please be informed that I intend to deliver this outcome to you if you persist in your actions.

 

I find I have already taken some steps to achieve these aims and objectives. For example: I have given up any attempts to stop smoking. Whilst I continue to make efforts to exercise, my commitment has been undermined and this is being reflected in my behaviour. Lastly, I find myself engaging in confrontations with systems not unlike your own. These confrontations affect my limbic and autonomic nervous systems, raising my blood pressure to danger-levels regardless of any medication I might be taking to prevent this. For example: in prison, it was known for my BP to rise to 230/140 under such conditions. Perhaps one of your healthcare professionals with experience of treating cardiac problems could comment on the impact my ‘new’ behaviour will have on my recovery. Perhaps, too, they might also have an opinion about what the likely impact will be on my physical health were I ‘forced’ to attend an assessment that I believe doesn’t care if I live or die and from which there is no apparent ‘flight’. Finally, I am clear in my own mind that if, at any time between now and a satisfactory resolution of this situation, I experience a further heart attack or other life-threatening experience, I will seek no help or assistance because I will accept the need to die in order to retain my spiritual and psychological integrity. This is Stage One.

 

Stage Two will occur when and if the DWP decides that I am no longer eligible for ESA. At this point, the following will occur:

  • I will continue to reduce life preserving behaviours to the point of cessation.
  • I will cease any and all life preserving medication.
  • I will appeal the decision and represent my own case at tribunal. This blog will form part of my submission.
  • I will cease all efforts and attempts to reintegrate into my new community on the grounds that society – as represented by you and the DWP – believes me to be dishonest and fraudulent.
  • I will carry out these actions with behavioural impeccability and will not, at any stage, pose any kind of violence risk to anyone but myself.

 

You are invited to consider whether any or all of the above indicate any deterioration in my mental health or present any heightened risk to my physical health. My own healthcare professionals will, of course, make up their own minds.

 

Spiritual Issues

 

Underpinning all of the above are the spiritual precepts and principles I live by as a shamanic practitioner and as a woman. Much of the above has its roots in these and it would mislead you to say otherwise. Suffice it to say; to submit myself to your system as it stands at present, and without challenge, would be to violate everything I hold precious and valuable about life itself. The only way you can obtain such a level of submission from me will be over my dead body.

 

At this stage, I see no purpose in labouring this aspect – spiritual practices are private and personal matters to be determined by the individual. Nevertheless, my response to your letter calling me to your discredited assessment remains spiritual in nature. My shamanic challenge is not based upon what you think of me – as a woman with powerful convictions such prejudice is normal. This society is always going to challenge my honesty simply because of my past. My past, however, informs me that I had a fairer chance of a just decision through our criminal justice system than I am ever likely to receive from you. This means that you are treating vulnerable, disabled and sick people without any criminal history more unfairly than the genuine criminals amongst us. This cannot be anything other than wrong.

 

On a spiritual level, you have besmirched my name and called my integrity into question. This I can tolerate. What I will not tolerate is the implication that all those health and mental health professionals who have supported me on my long road from prison are insufficiently competent and require you to ‘manage’ their work. Such a suggestion is profoundly offensive to me, not least because the facts do not support your insult. These people have worked extremely hard to help me and their efforts were paying off. I was getting better. I was getting better enough to actively begin seeking work and my heart-attack points to the possibility that I was probably trying too hard. The care I received from my local health professionals has been second to none and now you are proposing to enforce a system upon me that sabotages, undermines and devalues everything these people have done. This is an insult too far.

 

Please be informed, therefore, that I challenge your corrupted power with every super-string of my essence as a shaman and a woman. I aim to be gathering evidence to satisfy a court of Law that your intentions towards those subject to your will are murderous and my objective is to submit my own dead body as evidence for the prosecution. How you respond is entirely up to you.

 

I will be contact with you again once I have discussed this situation with my GP.

 

Yours truly

 

 

Dylanie Wilde-Walker

Probation and Rehabilitation

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Source: unknown

“But the river remains unchanged, sad, refusing rehabilitation.”

                                                                    James Kirkup
                                                                   ‘No More Hiroshimas’

With privatisation proposals for Probation now on the government’s agenda, the campaign to keep the service public is getting into its stride. Amongst the service’s supporters, a great deal of emphasis is being placed on the role Probation plays in the rehabilitation of offenders. Whilst it might come as a surprise to some, these claims are technically unlawful.

To understand this point, we need to appreciate the legislative difference between the public and private sectors. No public service can exist without legislation that explicitly states what that service is empowered to do. When the legislation is in place, what is specified is all that service permitted to do. It is not authorised to do any more than the legislation permits. This is the legal difference between public and private. Private organisations can do pretty much anything provided it is not prohibited by law. It is a small but extremely important difference and I was taught this by the legal section of NALGO (now Unison) during my time as a shop steward.

This becomes relevant because when the Labour government enacted the NOMS legislation, it removed the word ‘rehabilitation’ from Probation’s terms of reference in favour of the term‘offender management’. This means that any rehabilitative work Probation might lay claim to falls outside the purview of the law. Simply put, if those employed by Probation are engaged in providing rehabilitative services to offenders, they are in breach of the legislation and possibly open to the charge of misappropriating public resources. If you doubt this, check it out for yourself. This legislative removal of ‘rehabilitation’ was the executive explanation supplied by one Probation area when dismissing a formal complaint that changes to my supervision were causing significant harm to my rehabilitation. It was made very clear to me – Probation does not ‘do’ rehabilitation anymore. Even if front-line staff aren’t aware of the impact this change has made to their work, their senior managers certainly are. Therefore, until the word rehabilitation is restored to UK legislation governing Probation, any claims of success merely point to the fact that employees are acting beyond their powers, i.e. unlawfully.

 

This creates an interesting situation. Technically speaking, this means that any offender who has successfully rehabilitated or desisted since NOMS came into existence has done so in spite of the Probation Service and not because of it. At the present time, such a suggestion might not sit comfortably with those proclaiming the service’s rehabilitative successes. Notwithstanding the legal position, these repeated claims also contain a remarkable blind spot in Probation’s view of itself. It is as though the offender ceases to have any involvement in their own improvement – the credit for our success accrues solely to our Probation supervisors. It is hard to put into words how profoundly disrespectful such attitudes are. How dare you exclude me from credits in the very hard work of my own rehabilitation! How very dare you! It explains my personal difficulty in finding any level of support within me for Probation (a problem that does not occur elsewhere with either the equally beleaguered police or prison services, I note.). When all my personal effort is so casually disregarded in favour of a service’s self-importance, I hope my ambivalence might be forgivable, especially when those claims also point to a public service stepping beyond its legislative powers.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve encountered some very fine people working within Probation and with whom I would gladly share the credit for my rehabilitative successes – if it were lawful for them to have helped me. But it isn’t. Was I to do that – especially in the light of the executive reply I received to my formal complaint – I could be placing them at risk of employment sanctions. That is not how I repay personal kindness. Instead, the service needs to be held accountable for their failure to comply with, or explain the impact of, the change in legislation and its impact on delivering rehabilitation to offenders. Additionally, the government needs to be called to account for blaming Probation for failing to deliver on rehabilitation when, lawfully, the service has no authority to provide it.

 

No doubt someone somewhere will pick up on this apparently minor but highly significant point of law and challenge it using Human Rights legislation. After all, to legally remove offender access to rehabilitation is inhuman and forms no part of a mentally healthy society. This is an issue Probation must address if they are to avoid the charge of hypocrisy, especially remembering that ignorance of the law is no defence.

 

In closing and especially for those practitioners who think it’s OK to ignore this legislative change in their own work, it might be worth remembering that thinking the law doesn’t apply to you suggests that you are no better than those you supervise.