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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Unite Community-sponsored Inequality Bus Tour goes through Kilburn on Saturday 26 April. Get on board!

KUWGAs leafleted Kilburn Jobcentre to publicise Unite Community-sponsered 'Inequality Bus Tour'

Inequality Bus Tour goes through Kilburn Saturday 26 April 2014. Get on board!

Is it a ghost? No, it's a reflection in a bus window
Some baldies are more discreet than others

Out and proud! Sunbathing, KUWGA style

What are you laughing at?

What were we advertising?
The leaflet from Unite the Union Community Section reads:


The Housing Inequality Bus Tour is coming to you! Saturday 26th April 2014


We are bringing
  • Music
  • Refreshments
  • Useful information that can help with your housing problems
Hop on the bus to find out more about what is causing London's housing crisis and what we are doing about it.


  • 32 Cambridge Avenue NW6, 1pm Approx.
  •  Bishops Avenue N2, 1:30pm Approx.
  • West Hendon Estate NW9: 2pm Apprx.
  • Jubilee Sports Centre, W10: 2:45pm Approx.
  • South Kilburn Estate — Peel Precinct, NW6. 3:30pm Approx.

Our tour visits places in London that show the harsh human consequences of our housing crisis.

Soaring private sector rents, sale of social homes, evictions due to welfare reform and gentrification, and the use of London's houses as investment properties for excessively walthy people, all meaning that ordinary people are finding it increasingly difficult to live in the city. These are things we don't have to accept. A home is your right, our city is for living in!

Organised by Unite the union Community section and local housing groups

Facebook: Unitetheunion1
Twitter: @unitetheunion

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Revd Paul Nicolson: "David Cameron is highly selective about the kind of Christianity he believes in"

Guest blog piece by Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty


David Cameron is highly selective about the kind of Christianity he believes in and, as he says, a bit vague about the more difficult parts of the faith.  He has experienced the healing power of the Church but says nothing about the crucifying power of the State. People are hungry not because the charities have failed to feed them but because Parliament has passed laws which mean the poorest citizens cannot pay the rent and keep warm at the same time as buy food and cook it.   

The difficult part of Christianity is in the crucifixion of its founder by the State. His teaching urged us all to love the poorest, marginalized and excluded people first, before the rich and powerful, and in every thing we do, including law making. Most of the rulers of the time also found that difficult to stomach. 

Happy Easter


Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
93 Campbell Road, 
London N17 0BF
0208 3765455
07961 177889
also at www.z2k.org 

Please sign our petition celbrating Martin Luther King
Parliament is asked to debate the speech made by Martin Luther King 50 Years ago in Washington USA on the 28 August 1963 and to note that it can be applied to circumstances in Britain in August 2013. He said “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

Saturday, 19 April 2014

VICTORY: Legal aid has been granted

VICTORY: Legal aid has been granted

Guest blog piece by Lucy Herd via Change.org

After almost a thirty year battle to find justice for my mother Cherry Groce, we've finally been granted legal aid. This will allow us to have professional representation and actively participate fairly in her inquest.

Independent reports said that the events in 1985, when my innocent mother was shot by a police officer, sparking the Brixton riots, were a significant factor in her death in 2011. Despite numerous calls for legal aid to represent us at the inquest and unlock the truth surrounding her death our appeals were denied by The Legal Aid Agency.

But following our campaign, with over 133,000 of you supporting our family, national media coverage and help from Brixton MP Chuka Umunna, the Ministry of Justice were forced to intervene.

On Friday 11 April 2014 they said;
"Legal aid funding for lawyers to represent the family of Ms Groce at the forthcoming inquest into her death has now been granted. Having considered the request of the Legal Aid Agency, ministers have decided to authorise funding for this case. We hope that this legal representation will help her family and those who knew Ms Groce find out more  about the circumstances leading to her death."
Please share this news -- click here to tweet -- it will come as a beacon of hope to others in my shoes who feel they are not being heard. When we come together, we can’t be ignored.

This is not the end, we need to make sure that the inquest brings us justice. The inquest is due to start on 30 June. In the meantime you can follow me on Twitter for updates: @mrleelawrence

Thank you for all that you’ve done for our campaign.

Lee Lawrence,
Son of Cherry Groce

PS We have set up a charity to honour our mother's legacy dedicated to supporting those who have become disabled through tragedy, illness or accident. Please visit and support at: www.cherrytreetrust.org

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Heavy-handed policing as "proportionate response" in bolstering unavailable for comment landlord's rights indicates the state we are in

Heavy-handed policing as "proportionate response" in bolstering unavailable for comment landlord's rights indicates the state we are in

Arrest attempt turned demonstrator's skin blue as vulnerable tenant was evicted

By Swheatie of the KUWG

There is this report from Camden New Journal website:

14 arrests as protesters link arms around property ruled 'too small to live in'

Photo caption: The scene this afternoon on Lymington Road in West Hampstead
Published: 10 April, 2014
FOURTEEN people were arrested at an eviction protest in West Hampstead today, writes Jacob Mignano.
An estimated 40 police officers broke up the demonstration in Lymington Road after a stand-off began at around 3pm.
Members of Camden Housing Action and the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group (KUWG) had linked arms around the property.
The campaigners said a tenant had been ordered to leave private rented accommodation after a council inspector had ruled that the room he was renting was too small to live in.
Pamela Aukle, 45, from the KUWG, who was arrested during the protests, said the man – known as Mark – had “no money” and the “council have nothing for him”.
“Anything they offer is outside of Camden,” she added.
Police said that two of the 14 arrested were later de-arrested. They described the high-level presence as a “proportionate response”.
The landlord was not available for comment.

The report mentions nothing of the injury caused to John Tymon of Kilburn who was the first that the police tried to arrest, apparently for being the most vocal. Eye-witnesses reported that the police bundled JT to the ground so hap-hazardly that he appeared to have been rendered unconscious to the point of his skin turning blue and an ambulance being called.

As stated in the article though, supporters of the evicted man were very concerned for his mental health, a fact that the police seem to have completely ignored while they describe the high-level presence as a "proportionate response." What will they get up to with the new paramilitary hardware that a researcher has told me they have bought?

There is space on that Camden New Journal page for people to put comments.

History made by those who were arrested into not attending our meeting, but the meeting still went on of a sort

Meanwhile, I note that the eviction that had been timed for earlier this morning prevented some of our most frequent Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group members attending the regular business meeting that started at the same time that the police got really heavy-handed. Yet the meeting went on 20 people in attendance including a member of the BAMER [Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic or Refugee] community who had been sanctioned off Jobseekers Allowance for three months even after having done unpaid work for exploitative 'charities' British Heart Foundation and YMCA, left malnourished and obstructed in stating his claim for Employment & Support Allowance as a man not fit for work. "They say that they are waiting for proof of my immigration status, even after I have been receiving Jobseekers Allowance up till the point where I was sanctioned," he said. "It has made me feel that I no longer want to live. It is worse than slavery."

He left our meeting a little more hopeful, negotiating how he could get some support in approaching Brent Council toward his making a NIL INCOME claim for Housing Benefit. The motto of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group is: "Never attend anywhere official alone."


Hi all people are saying to get to Holborn police station at 8pm as they
are there. I'll just pass on what I see come past as I'm not sure what's
going on.


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Anti-Bedroom Tax Demo, 5 April 2014: Swheatie's snaps

Anti-Bedroom Tax Demo, 5 April 2014: Swheatie's snaps

Mainly outside One Hyde Park

Love community, loathe obscene inequality!

Our Nora picks up mail from new doormat
Our Abby with a vampire on her back

Dashing knight and damsel in Knighsbridge

Our Lexie knows which side of pavement to stand!

In search of spare bedrooms 1

Crowd amasses slowly

Where are the police? We are the new police!

Is this building a 'carbuncle'?
Our Clarence is not camera-shy!

CJ deserves a medal for what he's been through

Hi, ho! Hi, ho! It's on the march we go

'Welfare reform' spells doom & gloom clouds

Friday, 4 April 2014

Equal opportunities monitoring and the dissing of single parents — invest in caring, not killing

Equal opportunities monitoring and the dissing of single parents and carers

By Swheatie of the KUWG

I am in the process of compiling returns on behalf of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group, in response to an equalities monitoring exercise put out by Camden Council. (The Council funds the Kingsgate Community Centre in Kilburn Ward of Camden where we have our meetings.) I believe that there seems to be a serious omission or two, at least.
The categories Camden wants numbers for are:
  • Female/Male
  • Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, or Refugee
  • Disabled
  • Young People (18-24 yrs olds)
  • Older People (50+)
Yet the very broad social group that is single parents is yet again seriously targeted by punitive 'welfare reforms' that ignore the fact that even the DWP recognises that
"Where single parents are not working, this is often because there are health issues that make work difficult: 33 per cent of unemployed single parents have a disability or longstanding illness (25) and 34 per cent have a child with a disability (26) "
See Gingerbread - Statistics
So a council's monitored categories pay no regard to the vital matter of parenting while the stress of under-provision that David Cameron and his wife never experienced while raising a very severely disabled child has a serious impact on family stability, especially when childcare funding is on the decline. (I have read previously on a Gingerbread factsheet around 2010, that overall in the UK, the figures relating to disabled parents and parents of disabled children as single parents was 1 in 7. It seems that the DWP regards disability as tantamount to fecklessness, perhaps?

Through the casework of Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group, I know that single parents — especially those who do not know their rights! — are most likely to be bullied at the jobcentre by threat of sanctions, even while the single parent concerned is doing what they can raising two children and attending a pre-university course with which they are making progress. It seems as a general rule that both single parents and people with poor command of the English language are especially prone to be targeted for excessive jobsearch demands that are really designed to break the person into burnout leading to sanctions, or to get so fed up that they recklessly sign-off the dole, than to ever help them get a job. (I have received anecdotal evidence that staff running 'Mandatory Work Programme' at Ingeus are especially hard on young Somali men, demanding that they apply for a minimum of 50 [yes, fifty!] jobs per week.)

At the same time, I also draw attention to the role of family-based carers that in some ways parallels that of single parents. It has been estimated that family-based carers' contribution to society saves the NHS more per year than the annual budget of the NHS!
Against this backdrop, there is a petition to invest in a caring society via a living wage for mothers and other carers. But experience suggests that even with a separate table being provided for single parent's children, it is difficult to accommodate single parents in a once-a-week business meeting. I believe that local councils need to consider this matter when they lay out their equalities monitoring schemes.

The Children's Society say: "Do you want to be part of something big?"

The Children's Society say:

Do you want to be part of something big?

The cost of living is rising and families are feeling the squeeze.
Parents tell us they are lying awake at night, worrying about how to provide even the very basics for their families. They are scared, stressed and fearful for their children’s future.
Children see, hear and feel what is going on around them, and are damaged by the impacts of debt. 
In the next few weeks we will be lifting the lid on the devastating, and misunderstood impacts of The Debt Trap. You can be part of something amazing; by helping us end the damage debt causes children
Watch out for further updates and use the buttons below to connect with us on social media. Be the first to add your support.
Katie Curtis 
The Children’s Society
More at

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Metropolitan Police team up with Brent Housing Partnership, but what is their real objective?

Metropolitan Police team up with Brent Housing Partnership, but what is their real objective?

Kilburn High Road Stn/Cambridge Avenue bus stop
The advertising hoarding on the left reads:

We're tackling drug dealing on the South Kilburn Estate by carrying out drug warrants and working with Brent Housing Partnership to evict problem tenants, resulting in 135 fewer complaints last year.
— Metropolitan Police

That is all very convenient, it seems to me, when Brent Housing Partnership really wants to clear poor people out of LB Brent. Has the SKE really been a manifestation of Skid Row?


Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group and friends commemorate Nygell Firminger

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group and friends commemorate Nygell Firminger

Outside Kilburn Jobcentre, two years on from the day he was due to attend a 'group session' but had killed himself the day before "as a direct result of the stress brought on by eviction"

Nygell used to sign on here 1

Nygell used to sign on here 2

Nygell used to sign on here 3
How does Genesis Housing do 'cost/benefits' analyses?

Outside 32a Cambridge Avenue, where Nygell lived, was evicted from, and died

Whatever happened to the previous occupant?

Residence sold over Nygell's dead body

Nygell, KUWG commemorates your passing

Hello in there, hello!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Workfare, demolition of the welfare state, and whether perpetrators or their charges should have more sleepless nights

Workfare, demolition of the welfare state, and whether perpetrators or their charges should have more sleepless nights 

By Swheatie
Knock! Knock! Q: "Who's there?"

A: "Insomniacs"

Q: "Insomniacs who?"
— From Spike Milligan, in 'An Adult Entertainment' live concert with Jeremy Taylor

Do Ingeus run insomniac zoos?
The flyer pictured above is for a 'Good Sleep Guide workshop' run by workfare profiteer Ingeus that was founded by the enterprising wife of former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. It reads:

Good Sleep Guide workshop

  • Do you want to improve your sleep?
  • Do you want to find out about common sleep problems and what to do about them?
  • Do you want to learn techniques to get a better night's rest?
If the answer is YES to any of the above & you receive ESA then the Good Sleep Guide is for you

Monday 31/3/14
Speak to your case manager who can book you onto the workshop
It almost sounds like Ingeus are being responsive and responsible to the people allegedly in their care but — hang on a minute! — should they and their staff be getting millions of pounds of profit from a system that a European Committee of Social Rights report has adjudged 'woefully inadequate'?

I am reminded of a tale that  in the 1980's and 1990's when a rampant Peter Lilley was putting his 'little list' into action, social security managers in the UK who had a conscience were turning to alcohol to help them sleep more easily, and the statement from Jean-Paul Sartre's adaptation of Euripides' tragedy 'The Trojan Women': "Those who give the order seldom see the mess it makes."

We have an increasingly right wing media conducting censorship by omission and witch-hunts of those who dare to speak out these days. An increasingly mercenary educational, children and families outlook with Michael Gove at its head implies that poverty is the fault of the people who are poor and that social workers and social work students who dare to think otherwise are full of left-wing dogma that is too much for their tiny little minds. Something that has helped prevent me from suicide even in the days when I was constantly in debt as a jobseeker is the realisation that education should really be about how to be more win-win powerful in and of oneself, rather than someone who can read sufficiently to 'make the grade' and 'follow orders'.

While I do sometime experience insomnia, I am sure that I have fewer sleepless nights as a white and literate — however slow — person than I would have if I was targeted for extra bullying at the hands of 'Mandatory Work Activity' purveyors with their love of applying sanctions especially to people they see as isolated and ill-informed of their rights.

Being a part of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group and well-networked helps me sleep at night. Meanwhile, we are determined to help people know their rights whatever the purveyors of witch-hunts want to do with us. And maybe the perpetrators of 'welfare reform' would improve their performance as humans if they did have more sleepless nights? In Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol', Ebeneezer Scrooge became a transformed character.