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Friday, 19 December 2014

#NewEraEstate: a social housing victory, not social cleansing.

Perhaps this offers hope for the South Kilbuurn Estate that is being subjected to social cleansing as land is sold off and secure tenants sold out, while Brent Council's bad advice can be seen as amounting to entrapment, comments Dude Swheatie of the KUWG

From Change.org

Petition update
Lindsey Garrett & Barry Watt . just posted an update on the petition you signed, New Era should not become The End of an Era..

People power works - #NewEraEstate is saved

Dec 19, 2014 — YES!!! WE WON!!! New Era Estate has been taken over by Dolphin Square Foundation / Dolphin Living! We believe at this time that this is a total victory!! Time to celebrate... Read more
Read more

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Misselling of IDS and his agenda

By Dude Swheatie of the KUWG

A BBC Newsnight report by Michael Crick in 2002 reveals that the CV of Iain Duncan Smith — the then Tory Party leader and now Work & Pensions Secretary — as published on the Conservative Party website contained a number of inaccuracies.

After analysing and revealing what those inaccuracies were, the BBC Press Realease concerned notes:
Notes to Editors

The Conservative Party website page can be found at: http://www.conservatives.com/iainduncansmith/biography.cfm

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

While the relevant link no longer serves its purpose in the original context, sadly the BBC does not seem to scrutinise the utterings of the now Work and Pensions Secretary with as much rigour as Michael Crick exercised in analysing the now Work & Pensions Secretary's statements regarding the CVs of the targets of right wing welfare reformers.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Amazon, pay living wage!

From Bex Hay of Change.org

This Christmas Amazon will make huge sales but people working in its warehouses report low pay and tough conditions. Join the movement calling Amazon to pay the living wage.

“I would never work for this company again, I felt like a slave trapped in a big metal cage.” That's what one former Amazon employee told me about their experience working in one of Amazon's warehouses.
This month Amazon hires thousands of temporary staff at it packing factories to fill millions of orders. But while Amazon rakes in huge sales, the people working hard in the warehouses face low pay and tough conditions. When I read about the conditions at Amazon factories last year I wanted to take action, so along with a few friends, we started a petition calling on Amazon to pay its workers a living wage.
Despite billions in sales and expensive promotion campaigns such as sponsoring Downton Abbey, Amazon still have the majority of their staff on insecure contracts, paying a wage that doesn't meet the cost of living. I've spoken in confidence to some of the people working in Amazon's UK warehouses, and published their stories anonymously so the company's abuses can become more widely known. [1]
As customers, or potential customers, we have huge power to let Amazon know what we expect of them as a responsible company - but only if enough of us come together. They claim to be "Earth's most customer-centric company", so let's put that to the test. Already 65,000 people have signed our petition and thousands have signed up to avoid shopping at Amazon this Christmas. [2] 
This is Amazon's busiest time of year so it's the most crucial time to get our voices heard.
Sign the petition to get Amazon to pay its workers the living wage and join our movement to get Amazon to become a responsible company.
Thank you,
Bex Hay
[1] Amazon Anonymous: Worker Reviews [2] Guardian: Amazon Christmas boycott campaign gathers weight

Monday, 8 December 2014

Jobcentres and access requirements of people with diabetes

By Dude Swheatie of the KUWG

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group Honorary Member Kate Belgrave has written:
.... [G4S security guards in jobcentres] tell people off for eating – a problem for Eddie, who is diabetic and sometimes needs to eat the biscuits he always carries with him.....
And I note that the problem of no reasonable adjustments for disabled people at jobcentres indicated in Kate's blog piece is made more persistent by the regime of daily signing on at jobcentres that is becoming far more prevalent. That increased prevalence is according to the findings of KUWG members leafleting and talking to jobcentre 'customers' exiting jobcentres after their poverty parole sessions, as sampled at various jobcentres near Kilburn.

I am also aware from previous First Aid training I received in 2005/2006 as a care worker, that hypoglycaemia can lead to behavioural problems. Thus aside from likely 'knee jerk reaction' by jobcentre 'customers' to the impact of the general vindictiveness inflicted upon them under 'welfare reform' measures, G4S' institutional ignorance of diabetic access requirements makes 'powder keg' situations far more likely. 
And of the hundreds of Londoners put on JSA sanctions each day, perhaps at least a few are sanctioned on account of behaviour resulting at least partially from hypoglycaemia — if indeed those who give the sanctions need any justifiable reason to inflict a sanction. (Most JSA sanctions are overturned.)

Further still, when people are sanctioned out of food money for weeks upon weeks — whether they have diabetes or not — their blood sugar is likely to run low, limiting their available blood sugar and thus producing irritability. Thus sanctions and low blood sugar are likely to have an impact upon whether a person is inclined to do damage to jobcentre property and thus be banned from attending the jobcentre and being further compromised regarding accessing 'the help [they] need, when [they] need it', wouldn't you say?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Brent Council's 'savings' slaughter services

By Dude Swheatie of the KUWG

Brent's 'savings' slaughter services

Brent Council's 'savings' slaughter services is the clear message that can be gleaneed from Martin Francis' initial scrutiny of draft proposals for cuts in services that will be considered by the Cabinet on Monday December 15th.

For further detail on these proposals in the borough where a blogger seems to be a more effective scrutineer of council shenanigans than its omnibus 'Scrutiny Committee', go to the Wembley Matters blog posting Youth, children, carers, environment hit by Brent Council cut proposals

From Women of Colour in the Global Women's Strike

G4S Guards on Trial
for the death of Jimmy Mubenga
10am,  Court 16
Central Crown Court (Old Bailey) London EC4M 7EH
Nr. St Paul’s tube
The trial of the three guards who restrained Mr Mubenga on board a British Airways flight is likely to finish next week. Closing arguments are expected to start Monday. The jury is likely to go out Wednesday and we urge all who can to come and bear witness in the final days of the trial.
A member of the All African Women’s Group (a self-help group of asylum seekers) from the Congo who has attended regularly said: “Witnesses describe Jimmy calling out “I can’t breathe”, and asking for help but he didn’t get it. What happened to Jimmy can happen to any of us anywhere, unless justice is done.”
Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike, which has helped co-ordinate a rota of people to go to the trial, says:
"We are attending the trial to support Mr Mubenga’s family and to demonstrate to all that Jimmy’s life mattered. 827 people have died in police custody since 2004 many of them people of colour. It is women – mothers, sisters, daughters, wives who are left to pick up the pieces, defend our loved ones and are at the forefront of campaigns for justice. From London to Ferguson, New York to Gaza, as long as money is poured into privatised/militarised police forces, prioritising profit over life, all our lives are on the line."
0207 482 2496                 globalwomenstrike.net
To check hearing times:
Crown Court 0207 248 3277 or via their website

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Jobcentre as walk-in-and-out-cattle-pen?

By Dude Swheatie

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group Honorary Member Kate Belgrave and witnesses report on how the drive to get throughput in and out of Kilburn Jobcentre in a form of ritual humiliation amounts to number-crushing.

Tube trains carrying a workforce into their waged positions are often likened to 'cattle trucks'. A Kilburn Jobcentre customer cited by Kate complains of being treated like catlle under the daily signing regime made worse by a half-day-closure of that 'facility'. Instead of being relieved of the duty to sign on with the half-day closure, afternoon signers were ordered to attend in the morning, reducing 'quality time' all round.

Under such circumstances, the treatment given to jobseekers regarded as 'overstayers' — a phrase I heard applied to myself after a time on Labour's 'New Deal' expired in 2003 — it is obviously the person denied 'the help they need, when they need it', is treated as abuser of the system rather than the person abused.

And under such circumstances, I'm really glad that I accepted the fact that for me to carry on as a disabled jobseeker till retirement would make myself vulnerable with not worth the pain of that gamble. From November 1977 till I claimed Employment & Support Allowance in early 2009, alongside inadequately supported stretches of government funded training and 3 years as a full-time undergraduate, my sum-total of waged employment had amounted to a grand total of 19 months.

Of that 19 months, 11 months — May 2005 till April 2006 — were so part-time that I was submitting part-time earnings forms at the jobcentre on my fortnightly signing on dates. And against that backdrop I was also experiencing the frustration of not having my JSA top-up entitlement recognised even while the few hours I did as a £7.81 per hour careworker to adults with learning difficulties was below a single 24+ year old's JSA levels. Forget the idea that that income would allow me to travel by tube to shifts with my service users; I gave up that work when the stress of not getting the JSA top up I required earned me cellulitis in my legs as I walked about 3 or 4 miles to a shift and the same back for one of those shifts.

But I was not the only one let down by the system in those days of the 'noughties, as a Community Care magazine report suggested. The report by welfare rights specialist Neil Bateman sadly lacked anything like the coverage given to portrayals of benefit claimants as 'shirkers' has had. So, yes the current Government has made life much worse for benefit claimants, but the anthem with which the Blair Government was elected — 'Things Can Onlyu Get Better' — did not really apply to people let down by jobcentres even then.  Neil Bateman's report is well worth reading for the picture of a system in meltdown — Jobcentre Plus: Poor service continues.

Yet now that more and more and more people are being abused by the system, it is clear that the agenda has changed from 'cock up' to smear story fuelled malevolence. And of course, the involvement of private 'security company' G4S in jobcentres only adds to the context that jobcentres are now places of penal servitude for those whose only recourse is to seek state benefits to which they are entitled. So maybe nasty right wing governments of whatever political party's administration should formally rebrand the UK's 'jobcentres' as 'correction centres' as the American legal system calls its prisons? (Where are the jobs anyway? Right wing lobbyists are hooked on 'the pursuit of inequality' to the point that they want to drive wages right down and eliminate jobseekers' bargaining power.)

And of course, conversely in reality, when animals bred as food are treated well the nutritional value of the food source they become is improved. And that has parallels with the message of the book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always do Better.

To find out more about what Kilburn Jobentre was like this last Thursday, read Kate's blog-piece Reasonable adjustment for disabled people who sign on? I think not!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Urgent Action: #SaveILF judgement due Monday 8 December 2014

From Carer Watch's blog

URGENT ACTION: #SaveILF judgement due Monday

Received from Inclusion London. Please share with your networks.
URGENT ACTION: #SaveILF judgement due Monday!!!
10am – Monday 8th December 2014
As the future of disabled people’s right to independent living hangs in the balance, disabled people will not be beaten.

Join us to get the message out loud and clear: whatever the legal ruling, we will not be pushed back into the margins of society, we will not go back into the institutions, our place is in the community alongside our family and friends and neighbours and we are fighting to stay.

On 10am Monday 8th December the judgment in the most recent legal challenge against the closure of the Independent Living Fund will be passed down.

In November last year the Court of Appeal quashed the government’s decision to close the ILF with the Court of Appeal judges unanimous in their view that the closure of the fund would have an ‘inevitable and considerable adverse effect which the closure of the fund will have, particularly on those who will as a consequence lose the ability to live independently.”

In March this year the then Minister for Disabled People Mike Penning retook the decision and announced a new date of June 2015 for permanent closure of the Fund that provides essential support enabling disabled people with the highest support needs to live in the community when the alternative would be residential care.

In October a second legal challenge was heard in the high court brought by disabled claimants claiming that the Minister had not considered any new information to properly assess the practical effect of closure on the particular needs of ILF users. The Department for Work and Pensions mounted a defence based on their assertion that the Minister had adequate information to realise that the independent living of the majority of ILF users will be significantly impacted by the closure of the fund.

The closure of the ILF effectively signals the end of the right to independent living for disabled people in the UK. Whilst never perfect the ILF represents a model of support that has enabled thousands of disabled people to enjoy meaningfully lives and to contribute to society as equal citizens. The closure of the Fund to new applicants in December 2010 has resulted in disabled people trapped indoors without their basic needs being met, treated worse that animals and if they complain to their local authorities about needing more support, threatened with residential care.

The fight to #SaveILF is part of a much wider fight for social justice for all disabled people....

Continue reading on Carer Watch's blog....

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Kwug xmas carol 5

Cabinet members' austerity diet?

By Dude Swheatie of the KUWG

Alongside the news announcements of the Chancellor's Autumn Budget Statement, the photos of George Osborne seem to have been 'airbrushed' or 'PhotoShopped' to give the appearance of a lean man leading an austere life.

With all the 'planned' cuts in welfare spending, I am reminded of starvation diets. An historical figure who really did go in for an austerity diet was Yorkshireman Lumley Kettlewell. He was reportedly gentle — quite unlike a Con-Dem Cabinet member. Hear what happened to him in the Nick Dow song The Ballad of Lumley Kettlewell.

Kwug xmas carol 4

to the tune of 'All I want for Xmas is You ' - for original Mariah Carey song see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWEfszb9h8Q. Only the first part of the song as the bridge is just too hard to sing!


I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I don't want a lot for Christmas
Just a roof above my head
If I was paid a living wage
All of this need not be said

I just want enough to eat
And to fund a little heat
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is FOOD,
FOOD, baby

I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas Day

Oh, I don't want a lot for Christmas
This is all I'm asking for
I just want to feed my baby,
Not use food banks any more

Oh, I just want fair work, fair pay
Earn enough to make my way
Make my wish come true
Baby, all I want for Christmas is FOOD,
FOOD baby

All I want for Christmas is food, baby
All I want for Christmas is food, baby
All I want for Christmas is food, baby
All I want for Christmas is food, baby

Kwug xmas carol 3

Kwug xmas carol 2

Oh Little Payday Lending Shop 

(sung to the tune "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem")

Oh, little Payday lending shop
You bring me Christmas Cheer

Without your clout
I have no doubt
No gifts I'd give this year.

Your credit line allows me
To run up bills , no stop

And when I'm through
Exhausting you
I'll go to 'Moneyshop'.

(Same tune, sung in late February)

Oh, little Payday lending shop
You bring me discontent

I calculate
Your int'rest rate
Is over two thousand percent.

Each month, your cry for payments
My letter-box bombards;

I'm one more sap
Caught in your trap
Next year I'll just send cards.

(adapted from an old MAD magazine song parody)

Kwug xmas carol 1

David Cameron Looked Out

(To the melody of 'Good King Wenceslas')

David Cameron Looked out, On the Feast of Stephen.
When the snow lay round about, Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night, Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight,
Gathering winter fuel.
"Hither, page, and stand by me, If you know it, tell me
Yonder peasant, who is he, Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he's a disabled man, Can't afford his heating,
Gets his food from from a food bank,
He's hungry and he's freezing..”

Scrounger, scrounger”, Cam'ron says. “He has walked a mile here.
Reassess his sickness claim, Take away his day care.
Charge him for his council tax, tax his extra bedroom,
Benefits are far too lax,
send him to the courtroom”

Said the page, “But he is ill, he has not been shirking,
Epilepsy, Crohn's disease, He canot be working”
Nonsense, nonsense”, Cam'ron says, “We're spending too much money
Make him work, and make him pay
If he wants a full tummy.

"Take his food and take his drink, Take his Christmas dinner.
Just who does he think he is? He needs to be thinner.
Mark my words, Ian Duncan Smith, His type is just a canker.
Disability's a myth,
We must support the bankers".

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Autumn 2014 Budget Statements in placards

By Dude Swheatie of the KUWG

Challenge all benefit sanctions!
It really is the Government and its minions at jobcentres that are 'faking it'. In a world where daily signings on and intimidation regarding enforced conscription to 'Universal Jobmatch' are taking the place of real job creation and opportunities, benefits sanctions are applied unfairly and — when challenged — are overturned.

So reclaim what is rightfully yours, above all, that includes your dignity in the face of tyranny.
With a General Election 2015 looming, your MP can be more sympathetic and empowering than usual!
The Department for Work & Pensions' ploy of bringing in 'reconsideration' and 'mandatory reconsideration' measures before a claimant can appeal against a sanction or having their Employment & Support Allowance claim rubbished by the medically negligent is just to wear claimants down. Knowing that can do wonders for your resolve against those fakers. Writing your MP about such mistreatment that you have experienced can boost your claim to social justice, especially with a General Election 2014 looming.

Osborne's 'austerity' is not working but slavery
The 'austerity' measures of this Government operate to excuse a fire sale of public assets to the global wealthy, against the backdrop of public service cuts. It means what amounts to various forms of slavery for the rest of us. Naomi Klein's book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism can be very instructive regarding what is really going on.

One form of slavery is the regime of daily signing on, of which KUWG's Honorary Member Kate Belgrave has written illuminatingly.
Daily signing on is right wing government's substitute for real support for the unwaged and demeaning

Benefits that have never kept pace with inflation are being taken away from us
Derail the 'slash and burn' of 'austerity'
Smear stories sneak in unjust laws

Successive UK governments have followed right wing agendas and the dictates of lobbyists from global corporations. Taxpayers' money has been used to turn public opinion against the vulnerable, and now there is the Gagging Law to reduce a counterbalance of truth promotion.

Yet against that backdrop, Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group operates with its regular leafleting of jobcentres showing the unwaged that there is hope and good reason to attend our weekly meetings. This boosts the diversity of our meeting attendances, and our casework taken at and beyond weekly meetings is direct action against injustice. That direct action has helped many people get the benefits that even existing laws allow people.

In all this, we are funded through donations and are not statutory funds. If you are able to assist us in all this financially,

All cheques and donations to KUWG should be made out to 'KUWG' and sent to:
Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group
C/o 85 Webheath, Netherwood Street, London NW6 2JS.

Thank you in anticipation.